Wednesday, August 21, 2013

...A Whole New World

I have a kindergartner.  A real live 5 year old, who the next time I blink, will be unpacking in his dorm room.  Honestly?  It makes me a little bit sad and so unbelievably excited.  Each stage thus far has been so different and truly enjoyable (well, except for the incredibly picky eating stage), that I can't help but look forward to watching to see who H is going to be.

The night before he asked, "Mom?  Should I dress handsome or maybe fancy for school tomorrow?"
We settled on handsome.  I suggested fancy (i.e. a bow tie) might be overkill for the first day.
School can be an anxiety trigger for so many kids, and I knew that H would really have to work through some of this.  The kid tends to get anxious over hypotheticals rather frequently, and he was pretty open about his concerns all summer long -- especially the fact that his group of best preschool friends will be attending the school where I teach and not the one where he'll be attending.

Ready for orientation with a backpack full of supplies

Luckily, his school has a separate Kindergarten Orientation day.  B, H, L, and I walked to school - just like he'll do on days he's home with B.  He lined up at the door with the 22 other nuggets - varying from bouncing off the walls with excitement to full on tears (we were somewhere in the middle, thank God) - and off they went for a mini class with is teacher while we listened to the principal and toured the school.  When it was all over, we got to help him unpack his supplies and check out his classroom.  It's so surreal being on the other side of it all!

First Day Sillies

Unfortunately, my first day back to school was also H's first day.  But maybe this was easier on both of us.  Even though my principal generously told me I could scoot out of meetings to take him, B and I decided to try to make his first day as similar as we could to the way the rest will be.  As soon as I knew he'd be back at home after picking H up, I called to hear the rundown of how the day went from B.  Only then did I lose it.  And that was when I realized that I wasn't crying because I was sad.  I'm just so happy my kid LOVES school as much as we knew he would.  First Day.  Check.  Bring on the new adventures.

Like unscheduled play dates?!  About 4 seconds after I walked in the door today, the doorbell rang.  It was a little girl from his class wanting to play.  Having lived in a neighborhood without kids for the last 8 years, I think B and I were a little gun shy at letting him run out the door to a house we've never seen (with "it's the one after the bushes that look like blocks" as the only address provided by the nugget), to play with a girl we've never seen, and be supervised by a parent we've never met.  So, trying not to be a psycho, I walked behind the kids (only about 4 or 5 houses away - yay!), and asked H's tiny and adorable friend to have her mommy come out and meet me.  She did.  She may have thought I was crazy, but 25 minutes later, both of her children were upstairs in my house with both of mine, and it made me feel better.

I guess this means he's growing up.  Might as well embrace it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

...Tastiness (CSA Style) - Summer Bean Salad

Throughout the chaos of moving, our CSA box has continued to keep eating interesting.  Roasted kohlrabi?  Yes, please.  Nevermind the fact that it makes the kitchen smell like ass when it's cooking.  H has a new obsession with beets.  So what if I had to tell him that eating a lot of beets would turn his pee a funny color to convince him to try them?  It worked!  Yesterday at the farmers' market, he begged me to buy some because there weren't any in the box this week.  Um...Of course!!!  Unfortunately I made this salad before the farmers' market on Wednesday.  I'd have preferred to use some of the incredible basil and cherry tomatoes we saw there.

This week, our box contained fresh green and wax beans.  I LOVE fresh green beans!  I remembered a salad that I had found several years ago (maybe in Rachel Ray's magazine?  I have no idea.) and attempted to recreate it from memory.  Whether I was right or not, the end result was delicious.

Boil beans for about 5 minutes.

Blanching in an ice bath

Grape Tomatoes

About this much basil - close to half of a container

The dressing

Mix it up

A strangely angled shot of dinner:
Bean salad, homemade "creamed" corn, rice and pork loin.

Summer Bean Salad

  • Fresh green and wax beans (roughly 1 lb green and 1/2 lb wax, but any amount would do!)
  • 1 pt. grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Fresh basil, chopped - close to 1/2 cup depending on your taste
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Clean beans by snapping off the stem end and rinse.
  2. Add to boiling water.  Bring back to a boil and allow to boil for around 5 minutes - until their color brightens.  You want the beans to remain firm.
  3. Blanch the beans in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  
  4. Meanwhile, slice your tomatoes and basil, and whisk the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper together to make the dressing.
  5. Drain the beans, and pat dry.
  6. Mix beans, tomatoes, basil and dressing.  I never end up using as much dressing as I make, as I prefer my salads not to be "soupy" with the dressing.  Use as much or as little as you like.
  7. Serve cold.  This salad is even better the next day.
  8. Enjoy!