27 July, 2011

A tale of two mixers.

Whose kitchen currently holds two Kitchenaid mixers? That would be mine. *grin* Let me explain.

Almost a month ago, I received a mysterious package addressed to Himself. As he hadn't told me he'd ordered anything, I rang him and queried its contents. He was equally clueless and told me to open it. That's when I noticed that the name on the return address label belonged to the male half of my adopted grandparents, the couple who spent years travelling with The Mimi and Granddaddy and still take her to breakfast (and us when we're in town) every Saturday morning. I sliced the packing tape with a growing sense of excitement, removed a layer of brown packing paper, and froze in absolute shock. There was a box inside the box. The inner packaging was emblazoned with a very familiar logo... namely, Kitchenaid. Not only that, it wasn't a case of an old box being used for new contents. There was a genuine Kitchenaid mixer lovingly cradled in its styrofoam nest. Shiny and black, it had the balloon whisk, the mixing paddle, and the piece de resistance, A BREAD HOOK. I die.

I can tell you it didn't take me long to get it divested of its packaging. I promptly hauled it into the kitchen, read the manual, dug out the power converter, and washed the bowl and the mixing paddles. We had some friends coming around at the weekend, so I decided that would be the appropriate maiden voyage for such a serious piece of kitchen equipment. Sunday morning rolled around, so I went downstairs and loaded its gloriousness with the makings for oatmeal raisin cookies. I got it all plugged in via the converters and breathlessly flipped the switch. Nada. Yeah, that's right, nothing happened. I called for Himself (and may have cried just a little bit, but we'll blame that on the hormones), who did a bit of research and promptly hied himself up to the electronics store to pick up a heavy duty converter. Unfortunately they didn't have the appropriate one in stock, so he came back home empty handed. I ordered one online and transferred the mixings to a regular bowl and proceeded with cookie making the old fashioned way. You know, with a hand mixer. *grin*

The new converter came fairly quickly. It's the size of a brick and weighs a little more by my guess, but who cares if it makes the mixer work, right? Unfortunately, it didn't make the mixer work. *sigh* All plugged in and ready to go (this time to make sweet potato bread), it blew all three fuses (including the one in the plug) and popped the breaker for the kitchen lights. *lol* Himself and I did yet more research, and it turns out that appliances of that caliber simply don't work in other countries, no matter what the transformer manufacturers say.

At this point, I was in bits. My fairy godparents had sent me such an insanely awesome (not to mention extravagant) gift, and due to my naivete we'd already thrown out the styrofoam packaging it came with so I couldn't even simply ship it back to them. I finally had to accept defeat and told The Mimi what had happened. She told me she'd find out what to do with it, and I tried to put it out of my mind.

Yesterday afternoon I received a call from The Mimi. She told me that I should plan to stick around the house for today because I should be receiving a package. Lo and behold, this morning a delivery van pulled up outside our house, and what came out of its hold you ask? A UK wired Kitchenaid mixer. Shiny and black, it has the balloon whisk, the mixing paddle, and the piece de resistance, A BREAD HOOK. I die. Again. And the best part? It works. *grin* I've been instructed to hang on to the US model, so for right now our kitchen plays host to two of the most beautiful kitchen appliances ever created. Smug, thy name is Gabs. Bring on the bread recipes.

14 July, 2011

JB on the inside.

That's right, folks, we have seen the face of the future, and it is cute.

At least, I think it is. Isn't it?

Himself booked the 3D scan a couple of weeks ago, which impressed me no end as we hadn't really talked about it in a while, so yesterday afternoon saw us trundling along to Harley Street to meet JB. That sounds so effortless... let me just say, she's definitely related to her father. Remember the trifold attempts to get all the medical stuff ticked off the list with the scan we had a month ago? Yesterday was a repeat performance. *lol* She simply refuses to pose for pictures. Her hands were in her face for most of the session, which led to the sonogram tech moving me from back to side to back to side to... well, you get my drift. And I had to get up once and drink some Coke, in the hopes that the carbonation/caffeine combo would shift her. Ask me how effective that was. *grin* I finally resorted to child abuse and had a good poke around, and we got a few good pictures and about a minute of good video footage. I swear she was laughing at me.

It's a very surreal feeling, seeing the face of that which I have incubated for the last six months. It's been likened to opening a Christmas present early, but that's mostly by people who didn't want to know the sex of their babies before they were born. Himself and I were both immediately aware that we wanted to know as much about this tiny human as we could find out before she wreaks havoc on our previously calm and serene lives... *snort* Now see, I almost got that out with a straight face. Those of you who know us at all are more than aware that we've almost killed each other more than once. All the more reason to enter this new experience armed with as much knowledge as we can get our hands on, right?

Unfortunately, one particular piece of that knowledge fills me with, I'll admit it, stark raving terror. She's huge. I mean, enormous. We're talking 90th percentile for size. She weighs 2lb15oz, and we've still got three months to go. On a more serious note, the tech told me I should have my blood sugar checked for gestational diabetes, and luckily I've already got a midwife appointment set for next Wednesday where she'll draw blood and all that good stuff. I find it a little hard to wrap my head around the possibility, given how healthily I've been eating during the preggo times, but if my blood sugar is high I can only blame the constant cravings for fruit Madam has been sending me.

Himself was impressive on several fronts yesterday, actually. Not only did he book that appointment, he voluntarily took me to Ikea. That's not so impressive unless you understand the depths of his hatred for Swedish megastores. I needed fabric to make bumper pads and curtains for JB's room, and also some semblance of craft storage so I can get my piles of fabric under control, and Ikea was simply the place to be for such findings. That said, I was remarkably restrained, and only looked at two things we didn't need. That's a serious accomplishment for me, and I demand that brownie points be awarded forthwith. We were in and out in an hour and a half and back home in time for Himself to declare that "The Glee Project" is boring and not worth watching. The only issue is that now that the fabric is in-house, I have no further excuses not to get her room ready... *grin* I'm going to be a busy girl.

Now if only I could get Himself's cat to stop rampaging across my inert form at twenty to five in the morning, I'd have the energy to get it all done...

01 July, 2011

Kale crazy.

I've heard so much about the health and vitamin properties of kale in the last few months, I finally caved in and bought some. Having brought it home, I immediately started trawling the internet for ideas on how to use it. The two below, funnily enough, I made up, but they were both delicious. The first was a weeknight dinner, the second was to pack and take to the Paul Simon concert tonight along with a huge pot of fruit salad (because I'm a total pig). *grin*

Gnocchi with kale and red bell pepper

1. Mince two cloves of garlic and fry in a splash of hot olive oil (I used a wok, as the later stages are easier in a high bottomed pan)
2. Tear the stems from two or three healthy handsful of kale and tear the leaves into roughly bitesized pieces, add to the garlic in oil and stir thoroughly, cook for about three minutes to allow the leaves to wilt
3. Cut a red bell pepper into small chunks and toss in with the kale
4. Add about a cup of vegetable stock, simmer everything together until it's almost reduced completely
5. Cook the gnocchi in a separate pan with boiling water (it's done when they float), then drain and add to kale and pepper mixture, toss to coat in the veggie stock sauce
6. Stuff your face

Kale, sweetcorn and new potato salad

1. Wash then cut a heaping double handful of new potatoes into quarters or more, depending on the size of the spuds, toss into boiling water until tender, drain and set aside
2. Boil two ears of corn until tender, drain, cover with cold water and set aside
3. Thinly slice a red onion and sautee in olive oil
4. Tear the stems from two handsful of kale and tear the leaves into pieces, add to the oil and stir, cook for about three minutes to allow the leaves to wilt
5. Slice the kernels from the ears of now cooled corn, add with the new potatoes to the kale and stir thoroughly, heat through stirring occasionally
6. When removed from the heat, add several grinds of pepper, a couple of tablespoons of mayo/vegannaise and a few squirts of mustard (basically season/sauce to taste)
7. Eat warm if you fancy it, or stick it in the fridge for later use

I'm going to be dedicating the next blog to the amazing surprise package that arrived at our door yesterday afternoon, so be ready for a slew of baking posts!