All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


6 Comments

Wrapping up the Holidays

Here we are, it’s 2014, and I haven’t visited my own blog in ages. So sad… so very sad.

Things have been busy with the holidays.  My parents planned a family trip to Colorado starting on Christmas Eve, lasting until the 27th, and that trip put a wrench in everything holidays-related.  We were scrambling to buy gifts in time to ship them to the hotel, get things for the flight (stroller, accessories, car seat bag), and pack all four of us up for a four-day trip.  The trip preparations put a damper on everything else, including decorating the house and getting the lights up outside (which never happened).  Needless to say, I was a total Scrooge this year.  It just didn’t feel like Christmas.  I felt robbed – and I still do – in a way.

The trip was great – well – great in an “adult trip” sort of way.  The resort was fantastic (a very special place to my family and a resort that B and I have travelled to many times because it’s special to us too!), the room was spacious (my father insists we call it a suite, which is sooooo not me!), seeing my sisters and their kids was unforgettable, and the food was great.  But my goodness – B and I spent so much time in the room suite with napping/sleeping kids that I felt like I wasn’t able to do the things we were there to do (spend time with my parents, sisters, and their families) and that made me very grumpy.  I wasn’t upset with the kids – they nap (and well) and go to bed early (thank God!) – I was upset that we took our kids away from home ON Christmas to spend it in an unfamiliar place.  The times we spent with my family WERE great and super fun, but I just felt so disconnected from the whole thing, including Christmas in general.  I have nicely told my dad that we will not be doing that again while we have small kids – and he gets it.  I think he knows it was hard for my younger sister and me (she has 3 young kids who nap and go to bed early as well).

(I do want to make a note here that both Matthew and Bryson were complete angels on both flights.  Matthew sat in the big seat without his car seat, and he sat still and was a good boy both ways (and slept the entire return flight).  Bryson nursed and slept on the way up for both flights and flirted with everyone once we reached our cruising altitudes.  The descent on the return flight got to his ears and he cried, but no one can be upset about that.  Poor baby.  We are going to fly again this spring and are super calm about it now knowing how well the boys did for this trip.)

We celebrated with B’s family the weekend before Christmas and it was nice!  There were some annoying things like our 4 year-old niece being nasty to Matthew and our nephew constantly referring to Matthew as, “that kid,” but I put a stop to both of those situations immediately so that we could move on with merriment.  HA!  Matthew still is not into opening presents and I had to give him a time-out to get him to come sit with us to open his gifts.  After doing that, I read that that was the entirely WRONG thing to do so relaxed a great deal about his lack of interest in his gifts both in Colorado and then at our house on the 29th.  I’m learning… I’m learning  😉

We got home from Colorado on the 27th and no gifts were wrapped, so we didn’t celebrate on the 28th.  On the morning of the 28th, we felt a strong need to see B’s parents and let the kids have some good interaction with grandparents who are into them (my parents are not into any of the kids – they just aren’t).  That was good for my soul – it was great to be with B’s parents who are so happy to see us whenever we can make it work (every other week or so) and it was nice to just be still with them.  I’m not sure that makes sense – but that’s how it felt.  I always leave them feeling relaxed, which was not always the case.  B’s mom and I have come a  very long way in our relationship and respect for one another.  It feels good!

We finally did our Christmas on the 29th.  The best part about it was wrapping presents the night before.  B and I setup shop in the basement and I put the art easel together as he wrapped, wrapped, wrapped!  He bought a bunch of fun little toys for the boys, things I hadn’t seen yet, and he wanted to keep it that way so that I was surprised when the boys opened their gifts as well.  That was fun!  I picked out the discovery tower (for the kitchen) and the easel and put them both together since they were my ideas and because I like putting things together.  It worked out great!  I got a little tipsy with my favorite beer – hooray!  The next morning, Matthew took forever opening his gifts which was A-OK with me.  He got some super fun stuff from B and it was fun to see his reaction to things.  B is an AWESOME gift giver for the kids!  And this year – he NAILED it with his gift for me.  It made me cry a bit.

I got a wild hair on (our) Christmas morning and asked B if he wanted me to make a big prime rib dinner if I could find a roast (being after Christmas and all).  Of course he said yes (he loves my prime rib… and I will say that it is pretty good thank-you-Williams-So.noma!) so I got to work and spent almost 7 hours in the kitchen cooking, cooking, cooking.  Oh my god, it was like the best gift to myself!  Cooking big dinners relaxes me a great deal – prepping food calms my nerves.  I made cheese fondue (gruyere cheese, Emmentaler cheese, dry white wine, salt, pepper) as our appetizer, endive salads with blue cheese and bacon, prime rib and roasted asparagus, and chocolate fondue for dessert.  It was awesome – so fun to sit down to a multi-course meal together as a family!  We invited B’s brother who is always a fun addition to the evening!

So our holidays ended much better than they started.  They ended with loving grandparents, a happy family unit, well-rested kids (finally!), perfect gifts, and a fantastic (if I do say so myself) dinner.  Finally – finally – it felt like Christmas 4 days after the fact.

Our tree is undecorated and ready for the wood chipper.  The kids are back to their normal sleeping routines (Bryson is sleeping almost through the night with an early morning feeding sometime between 3:45 and 5:45 before sleeping again until 7:00-8:00 each morning).  Our laundry from the trip (and afterwards) is almost all caught up.  All of the new toys have homes within our home.  NYE was celebrated in an unconventional way by letting Matthew stay up to watch The Po.lar Exp.ress in our bed and then sleep all night with us (oh the joy!).  And we’re now looking forward to a 2014 full of travel (starting Jan 9th to KC) and better fitness… and much-needed (and deserved) sleep.

As my Aunt Linda loves to say – HUZZAH!

 


9 Comments

Stressful Week… Productive Week

I’m solo-parenting this week. I’m half-done. I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams. It’s really not that bad, but it’s tiring.

Bryson sleeps like crap, and I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I think he is frustrated by not being able to stretch out in his rocker, but he refuses anything else. He’ll sleep 4-6 hours. Then is up every 2 hours. Midnight, 2:00, then 4:00 last night before I put him in bed with me. Then Matthew woke up and needed me (us) at 5:33. At 5:53, all three of us got up. Holy hell! It’s a good thing I napped yesterday!

It’s really just the nights that are killing me. And this morning. I’m just so tired. B can’t get home soon enough! He left Sunday morning at 10:00 and comes home Friday at 5:30. It’s essentially 6 days and 5 nights in a row on my own. It’s hard. I have so much respect for single parents, especially those with more than 1 little one.

I enjoyed alone time with Matthew when B would travel.  A week of him being gone never fazed me, because, well, one kid is easy.  Two kids… someone is always being ignored and that makes me sad. 😦  I just pile on the self-guilt when I can’t give either of them what they truly need and want from me.

I told B that Saturday is MY day. My only kid responsibility is to nurse Bryson.  I’m sure I’ll choose to hang out with them all most of the day, but I want to SLEEP and I want to go somewhere, anywhere, by MYSELF while they nap.

***********

The above was written this morning, when I was grumpy, tired, and… pissed off.

I’m much better now.

What changed?  I have no idea.  Maybe it’s the realization that despite the exhaustion and pissiness, I know that things aren’t that bad and that in all honesty, I get a lot of shit done when B is out-of-town.  I mean – I GET SHIT DONE!  Here’s what I’ve done that would normally go by the wayside when solo-parenting:

Sunday:

  • I tried out my new pouch maker!  I steamed up 5 apples and 4-5 sweet potatoes, pureed them, and pouched them up for Matthew to try (I got only 4 applesauce pouches and 4 sweet potato pouches out of that, saving most of the sweet potatoes for a later recipe and also freezing some in cubes for Bryson who starts solids after Christmas)
  • Met up with one of my best friends who moved away a few years ago, and learned that she may move back (YAY!)
  • Bought heaps of produce to make more pouches
  • Laundry
  • Everyone in bed by 8:45

Monday (Preschool Day):

  • Took Bryson to get his photos taken with Santa
  • Scheduled all 3 cats’ vet visits ($$$ ugh!)
  • Bought Christmas PJ’s for our trip to St. Louis after Thanksgiving
  • Ordered 12-18 month sweater one-piece outfits for Bryson (everything we have 12-18 months is for SUMMER)
  • Everyone in bed by 8:36

Tuesday:

  • Matthew’s dental exam first thing in the morning (went well!)
  • Lunch with my friend, K
  • Trimmed and steamed 1 large butternut squash, 12 apples (variety), 1 bag of blueberries, 2 bunches of fresh carrots, 2 large parsnips, and 4 bananas for pouches (with Bryson strapped to me on the front as he napped)
  • Blended 5 different types of pouches ending up with 34 pouches and 3 trays (36 cubes) in the freezer
  • Changed out all towels
  • Laundry
  • Everyone in bed by 8:30

Wednesday (Preschool Day):

  • Took one cat to the vet while Matthew was at school
  • Forced 2 pouches on Matthew who refused them until just before dinner
  • The cleaners came (yes, I have cleaners… but most everyone knows that)
  • Took both boys to see Santa (and Matthew rode the train)
  • Dinner at Chip.otle
  • Changed all sheets
  • Laundry (all done now)
  • EVERYONE IN BED BY 8:05!

Here’s what’s on-deck for the rest of the time while B is gone:

Thursday:

  • Gymnastics
  • Watch my friend’s daughter
  • Go to the grocery store for more produce
  • Steam up the produce I still have (peas, pears, broccoli)
  • Blend 2 types of pouches and freeze them

Friday:

  • Zoo activity at 10:30
  • Buy new sheets for Matthew (he’s picking them out!)
  • Lunch and naps before picking B up at the airport at 4:30!

I’ve come to realize that even though things get stressful, I like to stay busy when B is out-of-town because I get lonely.  You can only watch so much Bre.aking Bad before you want to just DO SOMETHING.  I’ve always been this way, which is why I have a ton of super crafty scrapbooks to showcase my travels as a single person.  When I’m alone, I don’t like to go to bed – I’m a night owl.  So if I’m going to be a night owl, I should use it to my advantage and get shit done.

I’ve also come to realize that I am really, REALLY good at putting my kids to bed.  I wasn’t sure how it would go with B out-of-town since he reads to Matthew while I nurse Bryson, but we figured it out and will actually modify bedtimes from now on because of what we’ve learned.  Matthew has RUN to his room every single night with B out-of-town because of one little change I had to make (let him watch 15 minutes of CG while I nurse Bryson).  He is excited to read his books now, rather than fighting us because it’s bedtime.  The break between bath and books is what he needs to not feel overwhelmed.  AND THESE KIDS ARE GOING TO BED EARLIER!  I always tend to roll bedtime back while B is out-of-town, but then it slides a little here, a little there once he’s home.  I’m not saying it’s all his fault.  But what I’m saying is that it’s all his fault.  😉  He just isn’t tough enough with Matthew, and I am.  Bedtime, from this day forward, is now 8:00.  Lights out at 8:00.  No toddler needs to be up past 8:00!

So yeah, I’ve been stressed, but I’ve also done a lot of good stuff.  I’ve loaded up our freezer with healthy snacks for Matthew (and some essentials for Bryson that he’ll need in just a month – WOW!), I’ve got all the laundry caught up (this is very important to me before B comes home), everyone is sleeping on clean sheets, we’re still getting out of the house at least once (if not twice) a day, I’ve gotten everyone (including the cat) to all activities on time, and bedtime has been moved back to a reasonable time.  Good things happen under pressure, I think!

***********

Whew!  It feels good to get all of that off my chest!  Now, it’s time for some Breakin.g Ba.d!

I’ll leave you with photos of my boys with Santa!  It went really well – my plan worked and although Matthew did not smile, he did go sit with Santa willingly and gave us some cute things to capture!

Awe... this is IT!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


8 Comments

Getting it All Done – From Daddy’s Point of View

We went to a buffet for lunch after our city’s huge parade. It was packed and we had two starving boys. I got food for Matthew and me, and came back to the table with B holding a hungry Bryson, Matthew shoveling applesauce into his mouth (onto his shirt), and B needing to take his turn at the buffet. B helped me get setup to nurse Bryson (I forgot what it takes to nurse publicly!) and was off while I nursed one of our boys, and got food ready for our other boy. B came back to this table:

He was a little surprised to see us all eating, including me. I think he said, “Way to get it all done, Mommy!” All it takes is a little patience and confidence… and maybe a desperate situation. 😉


9 Comments

Because I Just Need to Share

We brought back a little bit of Disn.eyw.orld with us.  In my opinion, we brought back the best part!

When looking into restaurants and booking reservations in advance (something you must do for any sit-down meals on property), I heavily used Tri.p Adv.isor.  TA helped me find our destination wedding and honeymoon resort (which was fabulous!) and we’ve found it to be very helpful, so of course I went there to figure out where I should try finding reservations.  The #1 place on Disn.ey property, and the #3 place in ALL OF ORLANDO, was this little ice cream place.  I figured, ‘sounds good, but I’m not going to spend my time at Mag.ic Kingd.om searching for an ice cream stand.’  I quickly breezed past it but noted the name in case we ran into it.

As we were leaving Mag.ic Kingd.om on our very first day at the parks, because Matthew had had enough and even the DUCKS weren’t keeping him content, we passed this little ice cream stand.  B wasn’t with us – he was back checking something else out.  I pondered for a moment if I should get in the long line or not (there were two long lines, going in opposite directions from the place) and decided that Matthew probably couldn’t handle it.  B caught up to us and said, “I wonder what that place is.”  I said, “it’s the #1 rated food place in all of Disn.eywo.rld on Tri.p Adv.isor.”  His response?  “Well, dammit!”

I described what they had, B raised his one eyebrow (this is one of my very favorite features of his – his eyebrows are so expressive!), and I asked, “want to go stand in line?”  The decision was made, and Matthew and I were off to look at DUCKS again.

B waited in line for a good 10-15 minutes, but those minutes were worth every SECOND.

  • The Place?  Aloha Isle

aloha-isle

  • The Location?  Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom (very close to the entrance!)
  • The Delictable Item?  The Pineapple Float

aloha-isle-at-magic-kingdom

  • What is it, exactly?  Dole Whip Soft Serve (pineapple, vanilla, orange or swirl ice cream) with pineapple juice

B got his pineapple float with orange ice cream, I got mine with vanilla.  I thought mine was better, he thought his was better.  We both won!

That next night, we stopped at the grocery store and picked up a 6-pack of Dole pineapple juice and a box of vanilla bean ice cream.  We had this wonderful dessert for four of the nights we were there, and it was wonderful each time!

I just had one for dessert.  I had one last night.  I had one the night before.  B bought both orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream this time, so we’re both very, VERY happy.  They’re not as good as they were at Disn.eyw.orld because we’re not using soft serve ice cream, but they’re pretty damned good!

I suggest you try this immediately, no matter how strange it may sound to you.

And I will say this right now… YOU ARE WELCOME!


18 Comments

All I Can Really Ask For

It’s a beautiful day outside, and I’m just waiting for Matthew to wake up so we can go out and get some fresh air, even if that fresh air is just between the car and mall to pick out a new blanket for him 🙂

It’s been a rough few weeks, it seems, and not for us personally, but for the people we know. We’ve just gotten bad news, after bad news, after bad news for three weeks now and on Sunday night, I fell apart from it all. It all started with someone our age (a childhood friend’s husband) dying from a 10 year-long battle with cancer. I don’t keep in touch with this gal, but a good friend of mine does and she’s kept me informed of the situation. Things had gotten worse and worse over the last few months and then the end finally came, and it crushed me. Thinking of a father leaving a loving wife and a 5 year-old daughter behind makes me sick to my stomach. After that, we just kept getting bad news every few days, and it shook me to my core. By last Sunday, there just wasn’t much left in me to be strong when I read about someone losing a 1 year-old. I fell apart on the sofa and told B that, “there just is too much bad stuff happening to people we know and people who our friends know.”

He agreed, but pointed out that some good things have happened too. And he’s right.

This week has been good for me. I’ve reflected on just how lucky we are that Wilson’s ultrasound was clear a few weeks ago, that we crossed into viability on Saturday (but we sure want Wilson to stay in there for a lot longer), that Matthew’s back to eating well, that my already affectionate boy is becoming even more affectionate, and that Matthew is finally back on schedule after a horrifying few days and nights dealing with DST (as I type this, he’s waking up early from his nap – HA!). It is also getting nice outside – like REALLY nice! I went out without a coat today and was perfectly comfortable. Spring is around the corner, if it isn’t here already, and this is GOOD!

We will be getting out of the house tomorrow for real – and hanging out OUTSIDE! We went on the best walks last spring and I’m hoping we can do that again this spring. I’m not sure that Matthew will tolerate the stroller like he did last year, but we’re going to try. I love being outside, and I can feel the opportunity knocking on my door. It’s killing me that the mornings aren’t warm enough to take our walks, given that Matthew naps 2.5 hours each day starting at 1:00, eating up much of the afternoon.

My pregnancy with Wilson (I don’t think we’ll be using that name – sigh) is going really well, and quickly. This baby is WAY more active than Matthew ever was. Matthew moved a lot – from side to side – but he never did flips and huge movements. I remember wondering when he would flip on me, causing that roller coaster feeling in my stomach that people talked about. It never happened.  I suppose with a short cord, you can’t do much in there but move from side to side. I think Wilson has plenty of cord because he’s flipping and moving around all the time. I now know what it feels like to have my bladder danced on for minutes on end.  Matthew carried high, with his head in my rib cage the whole time. Wilson seems just a bit lower, and gets around in there so I never know where I’m going to feel him next. He keeps me guessing. Dr. H says that he is going to be our wild man 😉

B keeps reminding me that Wilson is going to make his appearance in late June and that we have a lot of work to do before he gets here.  We need to move rooms around, which involves clearing out the baby store-room downstairs (where all the plastic baby stuff goes to wait for the next baby) to make room for another baby upstairs.  We are torn about what to do – move Matthew into the new room (which was my plan) or let him keep his room and put Wilson in the new room.  Matthew loves his room and we hate moving him out of there, but we also think he’ll want a big boy theme sooner than not and we have that all ready for him (camping and nature hikes).  We just don’t know what to do – and I’m dragging my feet clearing out the baby store-room.  It’s going to be a lot of work and I want to do it when I can devote a lot of time to it – not just an hour here and there.

I’m getting excited about Wilson coming to live with us!  It’s starting to feel more real and I do catch myself daydreaming about the day he’s born and introducing him to his big brother.  I wonder what he’ll look like and how big he’ll be, and if he’ll be calm like his brother or a wild man, like Dr. H is predicting!

Spring has a way of making me feel optimistic and hopeful, and I’m just so grateful for it!  I needed this.  I needed to get out of my stupid funk.  With the late snowstorms, cold temperatures, sad news, and gloomy skies, it was hard for me to NOT waste time on stupid things.  It’s time to be active again, and enjoy the outdoors!  We’ve spent far too long indoors this year (by this time last year, walks were a normal part of our days) and it’s time to get out!

I’m not sure that spring has quite sprung here just yet, but it’s spring-ing, and that’s all I can really ask for!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


12 Comments

The Monday Snapshot – Keeps Us Guessing in the Food Department

With Matthew, you never know what he’s going to eat. Some days, he loves grilled (never, EVER fried) chicken, some days, he refuses it. Most days though, I think he’d rather have anything OTHER THAN grilled chicken because that’s all he ever gets when we eat out (this, of course, does not include Pane.ra salad chicken, which he NEVER refuses). What’s so aggravating to me is that I always box up the refused ($6) chicken and bring it home, in hopes he’ll eat it later.  And sometimes he does, and most times, he does not. When he refuses it, it becomes chicken for my spinach salad which works out great… but even I get tired of grilled chicken ;)Today was one of those days when I wanted to GET.OUT.OF.THE.HOUSE for lunch, but we had so many leftovers in the fridge that it made no sense.  I mean, really, what is so good out that is worth letting food go bad?  NOTHING.   We had leftover pizza from my cousin’s visit Wednesday night (too old – needed to be tossed), leftovers from Matthew’s lunch on Friday (you guessed it – un-touched grilled chicken), AWESOME leftovers from Friday’s dinner out (NY strip of B’s, and veggie pizza of mine – yes – it had gluten), and veggie leftovers from last night’s dinner (mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli).

I figured that Matthew would want the steak. I figured right! He ate all of the broccoli before I even got to the table and was working on the steak before I gave him the mashed sweet potatoes.  We can’t give mashed cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or parsnips to him at the same time as the other food that we desperately want him to eat, or he’ll just focus on the mashed yummies.  HA!  After he finished his first helping of steak, I gave him more steak and also the mashed sweet potatoes – and he didn’t leave a single bite of the veggies for me to even try. I think he ate probably 4 ounces or so of steak – it was ALL gone.

"Finally something DIFFERENT!  Yumm!!"

“Finally something DIFFERENT! Yumm!!”

And then? He ate the rest of the chicken that I was munching on.  He asked for it, I let him try it, and then he signed for more.  I just don’t get it… but I’ll take it!  He can refuse his cod tonight – that’s just fine – because he has had plenty of meat for the day!  But I do have high hopes for the cod (B is a master when it comes to cooking fish!).

"We need to go to the store after this, because this does NOT count as fruit.  But I'm going to eat it as my dessert anyway!"

“We need to go to the store after this, because this does NOT count as fruit. But I’m going to eat it as my dessert anyway!”

This is my contribution to The Monday Snapshot over at PAIL Bloggers.  There are lots of cute posts today – check them out!


6 Comments

An Anniversary Dinner

So the 26th was my 1 year blogiversary.  Who knew?!  I cooked up an awesome dinner, and I’d like to say I did it for my anniversary, but alas, I did not.  It just worked out that way!

We’ve been cooking a lot more at home these days.  We really enjoy it – and it was something we used do regularly together prior to having children.  These days, we divide and conquer.  But last night, it was all me.

A little background – we had a fantastic dinner downtown last Friday while celebrating Wilson’s clear ultrasound, and the side dish was parsnip potato mash.  It was awesome, but obviously potatoes are not something we want to be making at home.  We headed to Wh.o.le Foo.ds on Saturday and bought parsnips, not knowing what in the world we’d do with them.  We figured I’d sort it out later (famous last words with produce!).

So when it came time to cook yesterday, I decided steaks would be our meal and I’d come up with something to do with the parsnips.  Then I got a wild hair that I should just try to re-create the entire entrée from last weekend, because well, we both loved it.  So that is what I did.

An internet search for “parsnip mash” yielded many results, mostly with potatoes, but this parsnip-apple mash sounded right up my alley… and I had lots of apples in my fridge.  My parsnip mash did not end up white like Martha’s, but it was so tasty!

I decided that we had mushrooms so let’s go all out and make a rich mushroom sauce.  I usually just saute them up with garlic, pepper, and salt and call it a day, but I wanted to make an awesome sauce.  I got on BING and searched for “awesome mushroom sauce.”  I’m not kidding – that was my search, and this little dandy popped up.  It included a method for cooking the steaks as well – so I was all set.  AND?  I had all of the necessary ingredients for both recipes in my fridge, ready to go.

I got the mash started (sautéing the parsnips and apples) and then moved onto the mushrooms.  Once they were going, I started the steaks.  Everything was done at 6:03 (we usually eat at 6:00) and we were sitting down to dinner at 6:06.  PERFECT!

I’m not one to post recipes because I don’t think my cooking is all that great (B would disagree, but I would then disagree in return), but this?  This was fantastic!  The only deviations I made from the steak and mushroom recipe were using an espresso balsamic instead of regular balsamic, topping the steaks with espresso salt as well as the called-for rosemary and pepper, and using baby bella mushrooms because that’s what we had at home.

Usually, recipes like this cost a fortune because I need to run to the store to buy things – but I had the steaks in my freezer (thank you, Wallace Farms!), the parsnips and mushrooms in the fridge, and the special balsamic in the pantry.

Happy blogiversary to me!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

(I am posting the text of the recipes here in case they ever leave the internet.  I don’t want to lose these little gems!)

Parsnip-Apple Mash

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 pound tart apples (about 3), such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Coarse salt

Directions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook parsnips in a single layer until just golden on bottoms, about 10 minutes. Flip, and add apples, water, and 1  1/4 teaspoons salt. Raise heat to medium-high, and simmer, covered, until parsnips and apples are very soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered to retain moisture, until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth. With machine running, add remaining tablespoon butter.

Steak with Mushrooms and Awesome Sauce

Ingredients:

Steak:

  • 2 sixteen ounce rib eye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • Dried rosemary

Mushroom Saute

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 5 ounces fresh whole oyster mushrooms, trimmed
  • 5 ounces fresh whole shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

Awesome Sauce (My name, not Bon Apetit’s)

  • 1/4 cup canned beef broth

Directions:

  1. Start by rubbing the steaks with the peppercorns and rosemary and letting them sit for a little bit. I don’t think the sitting accomplishes anything other than making you really really want steak. I substituted fresh rosemary for dried and used more than the amount called for, which certainly looked nicer on the plate, as you can see below:
  2. The entire dish is fairly simple to cook. For the mushrooms, combine garlic, rosemary, and olive oil and sauté over medium-high heat for about half a minute before tossing in the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for 3 minutes or until they start to soften up and then add the balsamic vinegar. Throw in some salt and pepper and the fungi are ready to party.
  3. Meanwhile, in a heavy iron skillet, put about a tablespoon and a half of oil (for every two steaks) over high heat. Cook the steaks for 2 minutes per side, letting them brown. After the outside has browned, turn the heat down to medium-high and cook for another 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the steaks are and how rare you like them. Before you know it, the steaks are done!
  4. BUT WAIT! There’s more!   Whatever you do, do not slice the steaks immediately. Think of the juices, people! Here’s something to keep you busy while you’re waiting: Awesome Sauce. In the pan in which you just cooked your rib-eyes, there will be deliciously meaty scraps, just itching for a second lease on life. Crack open a can of beef broth, and pour ¼ or ½ cup into that pan. Let it heat, stirring and scraping until it has reduced to a succulent glaze. By the time it’s done and saucy, the steaks will be prime for the slicing.
  5. Order them like this: steak, glaze, mushrooms. Consume. Celebrate heartily.