Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Squirrel Land + a recipe

Underneath Isaac's bed is a place my children all call "Squirrel Land."  Remember how we have a couple hundred bottles of water for emergencies?  The children have moved the waterbottles into different tunnels and caves and dens under the bed, and they love playing under there.  The great thing about the waterbottles is they are so easily rearranged to suit the fancy of whoever is currently playing in Squirrel Land. 

Isaac was playing in Squirrel Land just before naptime and I asked him if I could take some pictures.  He was absolutely thrilled  to pose and kept saying, "Nunner one picture, Mama?"

  The thing about Squirrel Land is that it's kind of a one or two-person thing.  Juliet and Isaac are okay together; Abigail tends to get kind of territorial and blocks the other kids out (and then Juliet starts crying because she doesn't want to break down the "walls" to get out, but Abigail has fenced her in.  Oh, the drama!)

Speaking of drama, Luke is on his first-ever round of antibiotics.  I was so hopeful that we were going to break the pattern of constant doctor visits, since he's gone 4.5 months without getting really sick, but...poor little buddy has an ear infection (which, considering everyone else had strep, he's gotten off lightly).  Hopefully he will not pull a Juliet and have 9 ear infections his first year and surgery on his first birthday, or an Isaac and spend his first two years on daily breathing treatments.  (My lucky children inherited some awesome genetic predispositions:  I used to be on an inhaler & opti-chamber and Neil has had pneumonia 3 times since we've been in grad school.) 

But he is so cute that I can almost (almost!) forgive him the sleep deprivation.  I took some pictures of the two of us today--I took some yesterday but I had such deep shadows under my eyes that I honestly looked like I had two black eyes.  It was pretty bad.  I made sure to put on a lot of concealer today to spare the world a repeat.

On a completely different note, I made a dinner last night that everyone actually liked!!  Abigail even told me the kitchen smelled delicious as she was getting ready to eat (so nice to hear that instead of the gagging and retching that usually accompany us to the table).  It's a modification of a recipe from this month's Real Simple (I changed the herbs and cheese and added kale & more mushrooms).

Tortellini with Kale, Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash

1 package frozen tortellini (16 oz)
1 bunch kale (the bigger the better--this is my kids' favorite part so I use a TON)
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks
10 oz cremini/baby bella mushrooms (best part!  add more if you like), quartered
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
3 T. olive oil
2 T. dried rosemary
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss the squash, mushrooms, rosemary, salt (3/4 t.), pepper, and oil in a large bowl.  Spread onto rimmed baking sheets.  Roast for 25 minutes, stirring once.

While the vegetables roast, tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry it in heated olive oil until it wilts down and turns very vividly green (your pan should be totally overflowing at the beginning, so don't worry if this is the case...just keep stirring as it wilts down).  Salt to taste.  Just before the vegetables are done, cook the tortellini according to the package directions.  Drain the tortellini and toss it with the squash, mushrooms, kale, and feta.  Add another 1/2 t. of salt or so, then serve.


Meghan said...

Wait, if they get tortellini at your house, will it still be greeted with joy at mine?

Fantastic pictures. I want a squirrel land.

aLi said...

Good idea, that squirrel land is!!! Thanks again!
Good luck with mr. Luke!!!

Amanda said...

I love this picture of you and Luke. So sweet. :)

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