Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On Why He May Never Want to See Another Doctor Ever Again

Ayden had an interesting couple of days last week. He had a surgical procedure last Friday (more on that in a minute). But, as if we weren't worked up enough about that, the little angel decided to take a flying leap off out couch, hitting his head on the coffee table in the process. The kid had blood dripping from his head, soaking his white t-shirt and leaving drops of blood all over the living room floor. He had a nasty gash on his head, which meant a trip to the ER for us.

I guess I should consider myself lucky in that, at four years old, this is the first time we've had to go to the ER with Ayden for something like this. Zoe was just under two years old when she somehow got a hold of a small bit of cotton and jammed it in her ear. Moments later she was bleeding from her ear because she was trying to dig it out. Ick, I'm getting nauseous just thinking about it.

So we get to the ER, where the doctor on duty determines that it's just a cut (no concussion or anything like that), so it's two staples on Ayden's scalp and away we go. He needs to keep the staples in for seven to ten days. Picture me trying to wash the kid's hair when all he can think about are the two staples protruding from his head. For the next seven to ten days, people. Again with the nausea.

Which brings us to Friday--two days after the couch jumping incident. Ayden had surgery to correct his "tongue-tie," which is at the point where--if not corrected--could eventually affect his speech (we were already starting to see signs of that). The surgery is known as a frenoplasty; given the fact that my son's tongue tie was rather pronounced, it was necessary for the doctor to put two stitches on the underside of my son's tongue after cutting it. Okay, seriously, I'm turning green over here.

Needless to say, once the little guy woke up from the anesthesia and the drugs started to wear off...he was not happy. Fear not, it was nothing some Tylenol and an unlimited supply of ice pops couldn't fix. He's feeling much better, but he still doesn't want to stick his tongue out. Well, at least the kid's got good manners.

Monday, August 27, 2007

School is In Session

Wondering where I've been for the past week? Well, the family has been getting back into the swing of the school year routine. It's back to school for Zoe and Flamenco Dad. This year it's a little different because not only is Ayden starting preschool, but yours truly is back in the classroom as well. I figured I can get back in the game now, and hopefully my fortieth birthday present to myself will be my masters degree.

I'm doing the preschool curriculum with the little guy here at home since the state's voluntary preschool program is next summer, with Ayden starting kindergarten next fall. My son and I have a good routine worked out already. We begin at 8 a.m., do some work, and around 9:30 is when he has some free time to play while his mom checks emails and blogs.

Zoe's school year began with much fanfare, as she is beginning to mainstream this year. We're all very excited for her. She is also looking into being a regular part of her school's morning broadcast, which would be a great opportunity for her to challenge herself in new ways.

Flamenco Dad has been busy writing syllabi for his students. He's teaching a new course this year(in addition to his regular course load), which required extra preparation (like going through the new textbook and preparing a syllabus and lecture material), but he's done and now the fun begins.

As for me, my first week back at school has been positive. Unfortunately for me, the courses I'm taking this semester have nothing at all to do with my major--which means I've got to work harder at making it interesting for me. And did I mention I'm taking math AND science? I'm an artsy gal, so these subjects in particular are quite difficult for me. I am committed to kicking butt on these classes, whether I'm a math and science girl or not. The first time I was a college student I was much younger, and more interested in my social life than my studies. I spent much time goofing off and going to many a campus party. Fast forward seventeen years (oh, good heavens!) and I find now that I'm considerably more focused on what matters. Thank goodness--I'm a bit too old to be hanging out with the sorority sisters.

Edited to add: Since I've gone back to school, my brother has now nicknamed me "Billy Madison"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Just Wondering...

How is it that my two kids, who have been healthy all summer long, are NOW sick. Now--two days before school starts, the doctor's office is closed for the weekend, and my son has surgery scheduled for Friday. WTF?

Karina's Cookies

We are in heaven here at Casa de Flamenco, thanks to a recipe I found on Karina's blog. Karina is also know as the Gluten Free Goddess(http://www.glutenfreegoddess.com/) . She is an artist and creator of fantastic, gluten-free vegan recipes. Karina recently discovered that she had even more food allergies than she was aware of, so unfortunately this treat is now off limits to her (oh, the horror!). I'm going to have to try to concoct a recipe suitable for her dietary needs as a thank you for her recipes.

This recipe I found on her site is for Almost Nantucket Cookie Bars. I'm not going to post the recipe here, but here is the link: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/11/pepperidge-farm-remember.html. Please forgive me, I haven't mastered the art of linking without having to put the entire url up. I've still got a ways to go there.

But anyway, this cookie is absolutely divine. And it really is incredibly close to those Pepperidge Farm goodies that haven't graced my home in many years. Zoe loved them (even if they do have coconut in them). And as Karina mentions in her blog, they are truly dunk worthy. I didn't even have time to photograph them; I was too busy woofing them down with my husband and kids. So thank you, thank you Karina--the entire Flamenco Family sends many besos!!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sofrito for Attila

I've mentioned the use of sofrito more than once in my blog. It's a seasoning blend used in most traditional Puerto Rican cooking; and many variations of it are seen in Latin American cuisine in general. A fellow blogger, Attila the Mom over at Cheaper than Therapy, asked me to post a recipe for it so that she could give it a try.

There are as many ways to make sofrito as there are cooks that prepare it. This recipe is one that my mother-in-law gave to me; the ingredients make a smaller batch, and it can be easily doubled or tripled to suit the cook's needs. Some of the ingredients may be hard to find in the produce section of your local market; things like cilantro, culantro, and aji dulce may be found at your local Latin American or Asian grocer.

Unlike some sofrito recipes, this one is not cooked in advance. When I use it, I heat oil in the pan I'm cooking in, add a few teaspoons of sofrito and cook for a few minutes, then add whatever other ingredients my recipe calls for. When used in meats, I use it raw--I simply season the uncooked meat with it, adding other seasonings like salt and pepper as needed.


1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 head garlic, peeled
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
1 bunch recao (culantro)
1 small bag aji dulce, about 4 oz.
1 tsp oregano, dried
pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

In blender, place peppers, onions, aji dulces, and garlic; add oil and pulse. Add cilantro, culantro, oregano, and pepper and continue to pulse until pureed. Please note that depending on the size of the blender it may be necessary to do this in batches. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container up to two weeks. This freezes extremely well in airtight containers. You may want to store this in multiple smaller containers and keep one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Again With the Spicy Food

Because the spicy meatballs were not enough, I had to kick it up a notch with this lovely concoction the very next day. I found some gluten-free Andouille sausage and decided to make a Cajun-inspired dish served over steamed white rice (gotta have a little something to balance out the heat, right?). I made this dish with dried kidney beans that I soaked and cooked the day of, but feel free to use canned beans. I would suggest you drain and rinse the canned beans though. The sausage lent much flavor to the dish, so really the only thing I added was some salt. Laissez les bon temps roulez! Let the good times roll!
12 oz. GF Andouille sausage*
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs.olive oil
1 can small red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
salt to taste
Slice Andouille sausage in about 3/4-inch pieces. In a large pot add olive oil and place over medium-low heat. Add onion, pepper, celery, carrots, and garlic and allow to sweat for several minutes. Add sausage and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, and water or chicken broth. Bring pot to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about 15 more minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve over steamed rice.
*Note: please make sure to check ingredients carefully when buying sausage. Many contain gluten and/or casein. When in doubt, as your butcher or the manufacturer.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Now That's a Spicy Meatball

Thursday nights mean flamenco class for yours truly, so I try to get an early start on dinner. As I write this, I've got some homemade meatballs cooking on the stove. The meatballs I made today are all beef; though on occasion I use a mix of ground beef and pork. I use gluten free bread crumbs, egg, dried herbs, and a sofrito.

Sofrito is a popular ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking--similar in appearance to pesto, it combines peppers, onions, garlic, culantro, cilantro, and this really small, sweet chile called aji dulce. These ingredients go into the food processor, and are added to lots of traditional dishes. I make it in large batches, and freeze it in plastic containers. Now I know what you're going to say: that doesn't sound like something that would go in traditional Italian meatballs. You would be correct. But they do go in my Nuyorican meatballs. I remember Giada de Laurentiis from the Food Network using a sofrito once too--though I don't think she put it in her meatballs.

Once the meatballs are done done I'll drop them into my marinara sauce and let 'em simmer for about 30 minutes. I'll serve them over gluten free pasta--today it's Bionaturae Elbow macaroni--they're made with potato, rice, and soy. I really like the texture and flavor of the pasta; to me, it is the most similar to semolina pastas than other gluten free varieties.

Sorry, no picture yet--but once dinner's ready I'll post one. Ciao!
*edited to add: Awww, yeah!