Category: Baby Stuff

What’s been cooking– recent weeks at Gradissima’s house (honey sweet and sour ; Tibetan flatbread)

Spring makes me love the world again. Strike that. SUN makes me love the world again. We haven’t had too many days with glorious sun and good weather in the past weeks, but we’ve had enough to jumpstart my biological clock into “I love Portugal and farmer’s markets and flowers and the organic farm and fresh food and produce and making EVERYTHING in my kitchen” mode.

After such a long, gloomy winter, my sunshine standards have lowered quite a bit.

It also helps that Grandissimo, coming out of a few baby illnesses, teething periods, phases of velcro napping (ie, sleeping only when firmly attached to Mommy), etc. has gotten back into an easier routine. (I write this with great optimism, as the ‘routine’ has really only been a sporadic sequence of happy events… I think the real routine is rough, and the successes are little Easter eggs along the trail….)


A few weeks ago, while Grandissimo was sleeping and latched onto el boob, I watched a rerun of Jaime At Home (Love you, Jaime Oliver! Don’t you wish you could work with him? Anywhere?) and he was having fun with rhubarb. I loved what he did with pork (more or less THIS recipe). In reality, I just liked the garam masala and honey idea in a sweet and sour dish.

I recreated it, sans rhubarb and pork, with TVP nuggets. It was delicious. The oven time was ideal (like a fast marination) and let me do baby stuff in between prepping dinner in stages. I added extra carmelized onions. Greatness.

Then, this weekend, I did more or less the same with some shiny, happy eggplants from our local organic farm. Awesome. I’ve been eating my veggies….ahhhhhh. Responsibility tastes good 🙂 And, of course, I’ve been feeding My Man healthy food, too! (Grandissimo is still a bit young for the kind of spice I throw into these things, but he likes the noodles!)

Another recipe I’ve developed a serious crush on is this Tibetan Flatbread recipe. La Fuji Mama adapted it from Jacques Pépin. It probably has a very marginal affiliation with anything Tibetan, but it works, and it lends itself to adaptation.

I have a love affair with this bread for the following reasons:

1. I was already in the habit of making pancakes in the afternoons for snack time with Grandissimo.

2. La Fuji Mama’s directions are crystal clear. With photos for each step. And it worked for me the first time.

3. It is a great, great recipe to have if you live in Southeast Asia or anywhere conventional ovens are hard to find…if you like fresh bread.

As you might know, I spent some years in Timor, and I have beloveds still living there. Fresh bread on demand was hard to come by (though you could get awesome rolls in the mornings, if you caught the pão guy and his cart, or got to Tiger Fuel in time), and even folks with toaster ovens were bread-challenged. I wish I’d had this recipe back then, and I think my Timor pals will get a lot of use out of it now.

Last-minute, home-made, cheap bread. What’s not to like?

I have some Pro Tips for you before you get started.

1. Follow La Fuji Mama’s directions. They are clear. Yes, the bread will be very plain… but doing a trial run without variations is cheap and it will help you get an idea of what you need to tweak in terms of temperature, or baking powder, or flour or oil or water or pan… Have patience. Do the trial run.

2. If it sticks when you try to flip it, let it cook longer.

3. If it starts to break apart when turning, let it cook longer.

4. Now that’s out of the way, here are some variations I’ve tried and loved:

  • Mix dried herbs into the dough. Put half the batter into the pan, then layer cheese and tomatoes (seeded) and basil in the middle. Put the rest of the batter on top. PIZZA BREAD!
  • Mix about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and a couple teaspoons (or more!) black pepper into the dough. Instead of one big blob in the pan, make several “biscuits”.
  • If you want to use a bigger pan, increase the recipe by 50%.
  • Sautee some mushrooms or onions or garlic (or all of these) and throw them into the mix…

5. I know La Fuji Mama says (in the comments section) that a pan without non-stick coating should work, but I’ve had the best luck with the non-stick pan. I know…it’s bad for you, and the kids, and the air, and the world…but it works. I do think an uncoated pan would work, but sometimes things stick. And burn. I have little patience for anything BUT my child. Stick ‘n’ burn = no.

Give it a whirl, and let me know what you think!



Today’s recommended reading for Gradissimites…

Because you need to laugh. And then because the one HuffPo weed piece is a decent follow up to awesome Jezebel weed piece. I was going to give you some teaser highlights for each piece, but I don’t want to ruin the laugh-pee effect when you read the articles.

Do it.

While you’re reading, I might try to finish that other post I was working on…. 😉

(If you like “Go the F#ck To Sleep”, you’ll enjoy this one.)

Because even though I’m not stoned, and you probably aren’t either, it doesn’t mean we’re not both wishing we could hi-five this mama.

And apparently it’s a thing, so now we’re briefed 🙂



Moms don’t go crazy because they are inherently crazy. There’s no ‘mom’ gene that I know of that makes us snap. We go crazy because of years of time deprivation. Time? Years of a lack of it? Yes. Yes, exactly.

Time spent doing things, even things you love, is not the same thing as time spent doing whatever the hell you want and need to do for yourself. It’s not that we don’t want to do what we’re doing–we do (“we” being my totally unauthorized way of speaking for all mothers… which at this point, you should realize, I don’t). I’m five months into this, and I’m already losing my shit. Not because I don’t want to be a mother– or a stay-at-home mother– or even what is shaping up to be one of those attachment parenting mothers– because I do. I am doing what I want to be doing. My life right now is a result of planned, deliberate, luck-drenched choices I’ve made. 

However, no matter how much a person loves his or her job, is fulfilled by it, challenged by it, believes in its purpose– everyone needs breaks. And the nature of this job, folks, is that those breaks are few and far between. Even in the best, most privileged circumstances (I count myself, absolutely, to be in this group.)

I don’t mean for this to be one of those Reader’s Digest rants, or something that your mom’s friend or weird, yet folksy neighbor had stuck to their refrigerator or sent you on Facebook… even though I’m rehashing the same material, my education and upbringing somehow leads me to cringe at the comparison. They make good points, those trite little tidbits on mothering– the time invested, the socially invisible work, the effort that goes into the job without easily demonstrable outcomes at the end of each day (unless you get metaphorical on that sh#t, which is fair, but it isn’t the same as having a PowerPoint or report or sculpture or amount of cash or something else that the rest of society can look at and say, Yep, you’ve been working!)… And I agree with all of those points. Who wouldn’t, assuming we’re polling a group of people without their heads up their asses.

But my thing right now is the time. Life is spectacular, and I can roll with all the sh#t that comes along with the job because it’s worth it, but I also need time to myself. And as a stay at home, exclusively breastfeeding, first-time mother, I don’t have that. Even when I’m not “working” in this metaphor, I’m always on call. Always.

Case in point– my husband came home for a couple hours this afternoon so I wouldn’t lose my shit, and I’m taking a break from this short post to go breastfeed. —- Two boobs, a poop and a puke later, I’m back.

Ok, so my already dubious sense of focus is disrupted. I had some stuff lined up about Hanna Rosin, the stupid mommy war stuff and what it might signify, whether “soccer mom” is now a derogatory term, and what that  might mean, a bit of feminist analysis of the “crazy mom” trope…and also some stuff about how my husband is a rock star, my dog is the coolest, and how I’ve got the greatest kid in the world, bar none. Oh. There was likely to be some basic grammatical editing involved as well.

But as far as time goes, at least I just had some. And that short bit of time to myself (which is now over– My Man just headed out the door back to work) makes me feel sane again. I feel good. Screw the editing. This was time well-spent. 😉

The perverse pleasures of naptime…

Ah… I realized I’m getting an almost perverse pleasure out of just logging into WordPress today. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to write something, and these fleeting naptimes are all over the place– usually about 5 minutes long before Grandíssimo wakes up, pissed (it’s been a tricky couple of days)…but sometimes they go for an hour. You never know until the nap is over!

The uncertainty just adds to the naughty thrill of writing 😉

And so, here are some thought nuggets I’ve half-written in my head the past few days:

1. Is it ‘writing’ if you don’t type it or put it on paper? I’ve been writing a fair bit in my head, but I rarely get to the computer in a timely manner. Is this sort of a ‘tree falling in the forest’ question?

2. Bjorn to Bake– so bad, it had to be said. I found myself lamenting, yesterday, that Past Gradíssima didn’t make enough cookies and cookie bars to freeze for then-Future-Now-Current-Gradíssima to eat on the fly. My Man encouraged me to see what I could whip up, with an offer to swoop in a take Grandíssimo should a baby freakout ensue (My Man was studying, and I was on baby duty).

That gentle nudge led to some tasty goodness.

…Aw…SNAP! Grandíssimo is awake…

Ok, remind me to tell you about the healthy-fiber-protein-one-bowl-wonder-bars I made yesterday…

gotta run!