Baby? What baby?

29 07 2008

This is the first in a new series I’m doing.  It’s very similar to a Wordless Wednesday, but since I now have two babies at home I’m calling it Twosday Tuesday. (Get it? I thought of it all by myself.)  I even made a new category for it so if you click on that you can see all the entries and feel yourself become happier as you gaze at the incredible cuteness.  This series will focus on the dynamic relationship between Benjamin and Nathaniel.  In this picture we’re in the “I’m gonna ignore it until it goes away” phase of the relationship.

I’d have taken a picture, but where to begin?

28 07 2008

Ever have one of those meals where you don’t just ruin one thing, you ruin everything?  Read on.

This is (for the most part) a PG-rated blog, so I’ll say that dinner Saturday evening was a comedy of errors.   Karen and baby had come home from the hospital on Thursday, so I bought some steaks and was ready for a good cookout.  A friend had given us some vegetables from his garden, and coupled with some stuff that we’d grown, I could make a nice grilled vegetable dish, and all that was left was corn on the cob.  Karen wanted some mashed potatoes too, so that was her physical activity for the day.  And lastly we decided to steam some broccoli for the boys since they don’t like the grilled vegetables.

While shopping Saturday morning I assumed we’ve got most everything for the grilled veg.  I got a red onion just to be sure, but that’s it.  Come to find out all I had from my friend’s garden was two yellow squash.  Oh yeah, and the red bell pepper we’d grown had gone bad this week while we were at the hospital.  So now my grilled veggies consist of two yellow squash, a red onion, and some tomatoes.  No zucchini, no red pepper, no roasted garlic.  I suppose that’s when I gave up on it.  Karen tried it, but that was about it.  I went ahead and steamed enough broccoli for all of us. 

I then set about undercooking grilling the steaks.  I grilled them, covered them, and let them rest.  When I started slicing them I realized that they weren’t rare, they were in fact raw.  Nice.  Back on the grill they go.  After the second time they were at least cooked to temperature.

Broccoli.  Let’s see, it’s green and looks like little trees?  You cut them up and steam them for, how long is it again?  Maybe I didn’t cook them long enough, maybe the water stopped boiling.  Whatever.  They were undercooked as well.  I’d say it was like biting into a stick, but I didn’t even try it.  All I had was the steak, corn on the cob (made by Aliyah), and Karen’s mashed potatoes. 

I was so frustrated I left the dishes where they lay and cleaned up the remnants of my failure the next morning.  I’d blame this one on the new baby, but you’d never buy it.  What’s this blog called again?

A study in procrastination

24 07 2008

I’ve heard the grumblings.  “Where’s Mark gone?”  “Is he back yet?”  “What’s he up to now?”

Okay, maybe you didn’t care, but we have been busy.  More accurately, Karen has been busy.


Little boy #4 showed up on Tuesday morning, just before lunch.  Well, he didn’t just “show up,” he had to be forcibly cut from Mommy because Monday night he did a somersault and turned breech.  He’s the fourth child, the fourth boy, he had to be the first at something.  So he’s the first c-section.  Wonderful.  At least there’s not going to be a #5 (sorry Bennie) thanks to the other procedure they did Tuesday morning.

“Yeah, yeah, what’s his name?”  His name is Nathaniel.  After my contest I’m sure I had my mother in law worried that he’d never have a name.  And with good reason.  He didn’t have a name for the first 27 hours.  We introduced the boys to him that first night and told them “No, he doesn’t have a name yet.”  To be honest we probably won’t call him Nathaniel much.  He’s already been graced with a few nicknames.  I’ve been calling him Mr. Cheeks.

We finally brought home mom and baby on Thursday at lunchtime, and everyone is glad that they’re home.  Ben seems the happiest though.  Many posts later dealing with his reactions to baby brother.

Chicken revisited

15 07 2008

A dad in a hurry + a grill that’s too hot + too much chicken on the grill at one time = Mark Ruins Dinner.

Should I have known better?  Yeah, probably.  Here’s a picture of the chicken after it had been on the grill for 5 minutes:

Impressive, huh?  Karen knows that it’s bad news when I’m cooking dinner and all of a sudden I run upstairs to get my camera.  After I took the picture I moved the smaller pieces to the gas grill where the veggies were cooking.

You know, that Weber cookbook Karen got me last year has a reference at the beginning that tells you how many briquets are needed for low, medium, and high heat.  I should probably glance through that.

Six things you might not know about me

13 07 2008

Karen tagged me for a meme. Thanks hon.

See, here’s the deal. I tend to blather on endlessly talk a lot, and because of that there probably aren’t a whole lot of things that you don’t already know about me. I blogged about my colonoscopy, for crying out loud. I did come up with a list of things at the beginning, but that was more like a “Six things you don’t want to know about me” list. So I thought about it some more, watched a little more Sportscenter, and this is what I came up with:

1. I was the captain of my high school basketball team. I’m 5’6″. Tells you how many games we won, doesn’t it?

2. My first car was a station wagon. And it is, in fact, the perfect car for college students. I loved that car. When I totaled it the odometer read 99,470 (back when odometers returned to all zeros at 100,000). Oh yeah, that reminds me…

Ford hit here.

3. I totaled my first car two days before my wedding. How’s that for a bad omen? I was turning left, didn’t see the oncoming Ford LTD (doing 40mph) that hit me broadside and sent my car careening into a Cadillac stopped at a stop sign. That was one big insurance premium increase I can tell you.  

Cadillac hit here.

4. Ben made me a foodie. Cooking was always kind of fun, but not really something I thought about too much. When Ben was born feeding him was a long and complicated affair, and usually involved sitting in front of the TV for long stretches of time. That was the year we got DVR (Trinidad was in the World Cup). That was also the year we discovered the Food Network and Gordon Ramsay.

5.  I didn’t meet my father-in law until two years after the wedding. This one I’d highly recommend to all you single guys out there.  By the time we met he was past the “You’re not good enough for my daughter” phase.  Both her parents were, however, still in the “You’re too young to be married” phase.  They were probably right.  Driving around Trinidad and/or Tobago with Karen’s dad is awesome.  The man knows everything about its history, as well as all the points of interest (and the back roads to get there).

6.  I can’t stand Teletubbies or Boohbah. Certain children’s shows I can get through, but I honestly don’t understand how these ever got past the pilot episodes. The only time the kids have seen them has been with Karen.  There are enough shows out there geared for kids that I don’t have to endure this crap.  Karen tells me “Boohbah has bright colors and movement and silly noises and music.”  So I have them watch football instead.

Is that six?  Whoo boy, you made it.  Great job sitting through all that, take the rest of the day off.

Ben is getting big

9 07 2008

It’s funny. There have been a lot of people telling us that Ben is “growing like a weed.” It seems that we hear it at least twice a week. We smile and nod, but we had Jonathan. Jonathan was 27 pounds when at six months old. Ben is two years old and 16 pounds (give or take). Ben isn’t really growing like a weed, it’s more like a bonsai.

But every now and then we are struck by just how much he has grown. For example, Ben’s physical therapist first brought a gait trainer for him back in February. I thought it was way cool so I took some pictures.

Lately Ben has really liked getting in the gait trainer so we’ve been putting him in it more often. This past Sunday I took some more pictures.

It may be a little misleading because he is wearing sandals, but he is definitely growing.

He is getting longer (taller? When do you start saying “taller?”) this summer. Why is it that kids always grow the fastest in the summer? He’s too long (tall?) for his 9-month sleepers that I bought him in May. I’m having to go to the attic to find some 12-month sleepers for him. And I’m very glad to do it.

Ben was having such a good time in the gait trainer on Sunday that we kept him in it for a while, and I guess he got tired.

A very comfortable position, wouldn’t you agree? Yes I took him out of it after I snapped the picture.

White Pizza

6 07 2008

It’s been a long time since I posted about pizza. In fact, it’s been almost a year since I last took a picture of one of my pizzas. That’s because this is called Mark Ruins Dinner, and I’ve found a great recipe and I’ve been using it exclusively with equally great results. But Lately I’ve been trying to come up with variations from our usual fare so I decided on white pizza.

I don’t know a whole lot about white pizza. For instance, what to use as a sauce? Do I just use olive oil? What kind of toppings would go with it? I don’t know. So I did some research on the food network and I found this recipe by Emeril, which uses a roasted garlic sauce. Sounds good, now what?

I started with my favorite pizza dough: Whole wheat and rosemary pizza dough from Pinch My Salt. I’ve tweaked it a little and I hope Nicole isn’t too offended. First, I’ve been using bread flour instead of all purpose flour because Karen told me to, and it works out really well. Also, when adding this flour the recipe calls for three cups, and I use three and a half cups. I was having trouble with the crust being soggy when the cheese and toppings were done, and this did the trick. I’ve also been using the stand mixer to do the kneading for me because I always do it wrong by hand.

The roasted garlic sauce was actually pretty easy to do, but in Emeril’s recipe it’s hard to follow because he mentions the last step first. I will list it here in its correct order.

Roasted Garlic:
2 heads garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a small baking dish with aluminum foil.

Cut the top quarter from each head of garlic and place, cut side up, on the prepared dish. Drizzle with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Turn the garlic cut side down, and roast until the cloves are soft and golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Over a small bowl, squeeze each head of garlic gently with your fingers to expel the cloves. Add the olive oil and stir with a rubber spatula to blend thoroughly. Spread the mixture over the pizza crust.

Yield: Each head yields about 1 1/2 tablespoons, 2 heads about 3 tablespoons

See, that was easy, right? Now, for the toppings. I was thinking simpler is better, so I just put some basil leaves and fresh mozzarella on top.

In all this pizza is okay but it could be better. Even with the basil most of what you taste is garlic. It could use something to lighten it up a bit. To that end Karen isn’t a really big fan right now. In fact I’ve made this pizza twice now (yes, the same exact pizza twice) and this last time she ate none. Neither did Aliyah. Does that count as ruined? When I asked Karen how to make it better her suggestion was to add tomatoes.

At least the picture is nice, right?