Monday, October 12, 2009

Duffield Roast

Glen and Mary sent us home from Illinois with a lovely Duffield chuck roast. We packed it in ice, and it made the 15 hour drive home just fine. I wanted to make something extra delicious with it, since the meat is so tender and yummy, so I decided on the boeuf bourguignon recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

In the book's foreword Julia writes, "This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children's meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat."

I have read that sentence more than once straight from the book, but was I going to heed her advice? Of course not! Instead, I dove head-first into making boeuf bourguignon on a day when I needed to drive Caroline to and from preschool, needed to buy the ingredients, and would need to feed Jackson throughout the day until Brian got home. Now, her recipe for boeuf bourguignon is not at all difficult. There is not a single technique that requires expertise. That being said, the catch is that it takes quite some time to make her recipe from start to finish. Even when you finally put the stew in the oven to simmer for 3 hours, the recipe calls for you to make two different side dishes to be added to the stew later.

So here's how my day went:
- Load kids into car to head to school
- Run back into the house because I forgot to put the roast in a sink of water to finish thawing
- Drop Caroline off at school.
- Drive to the "fancy" grocery store to ensure that I only have to make one stop because everyone knows that the "fancy" grocery store has everything you could need
- Discover that the "fancy" grocery store is out of cheesecloth
- Drive home and unload everything
- Have a little bit of time before Jackson needs a bottle but not enough to actually start cooking so I have a lovely e-conversation with my sis-in-law
- Give Jackson a bottle
- Cube the roast and refrigerate
- Feed Jackson lunch
- Load Jackson into the car and go to "regular" store for cheesecloth
- Upon arrival at "regular" store begin to wonder why no one has any cheesecloth
- Leave store without cheesecloth (where's the cheesecloth???) and pick up Caroline from school
- Get home, unload kids, cut bacon into lardons
- Begin the actual cooking process
- Brown meat while holding a bottle for Jackson who I'm carrying in the Baby Bjorn (he seemed very interested in the whole process...perhaps this has made an impression and he'll grow to be a fabulous chef)
- Begin to "glisten" from the combination of sizzling olive oil and holding a 25-pound baby boy
- Give in and change into a pair of boxers and a t-shirt (not looking so cute now)
- Continue cooking while preparing snacks for kids, shaking rattles, changing diapers, finding toys, tending to requests like "Mommy, my blanket is messed up, help me fix it," and "Mommy, this blanket is too short. I need another one," and "Mommy, can I have scissors to cut some paper?"
- Get the bright idea to turn on Olivia
- Look down to discover that I'm bleeding from some unseen wound. Oh, wait... no... that's tomato paste smeared across my leg. How in the world?
- Finally get the stew in the oven
- Brian gets home and my job gets a whole lot easier :o)

Brian took a photo of the finished dish. It was yummier than I imagined. Oh, and since I couldn't find any cheesecloth, I made my herb bouquet with a coffee filter. I think Julia would have been proud. :o)

You can see a bowl of peas close by. I simply had to make one of the pea recipes from Julia's cookbook in honor of Louisette Bertholle. Those of you who have seen the movie Julie & Julia will recall that poor Louisette received reduced royalties because she did not put the work into the book that Julia Child and Simone Beck did. Louisette's protest consisted merely of, "But I do contribute. It was my idea of adding peas to the boeuf bourguignon." Love it!

And to Glen and Mary, the meat was superb! So tender and flavorful... thank you again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of autumn

There is a celebration of all things autumn at our house: leaves, pumpkins, pies, and songs.

The Autumn Blaze Maple that Brian gave me for my birthday this past June has turned a glorious shade of red. When I chose that tree, I had read that it sometimes takes a couple of years after planting for it to give off the fiery-red color in autumn, so I was tremendously excited that our tree turned red in its very first year.

The view from our driveway

Check out all those beautiful colors!

Our pumpkin patch was causing me some worry, because it took longer than I thought it should to actually see some fruit. We kept getting these gorgeous yellow-orange blossoms but no pumpkins. Finally towards the end of September, the pumpkins began to grow.

This was the size of our pumpkins before we left for Illinois...

...and this was their size when we got back home. Such fun!

Yesterday during Jackson's afternoon nap, Caroline and I threw together an apple pie. The whole house smelled delish, and the pie was pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

Brian and I were married 5 years ago last Saturday, (been the best 5 years of my life!) and to celebrate we decided to treat ourselves to a new digital video camera. I think we've already made around 10 videos. Here is Caroline singing "It's October." The words are, "The leaves are falling everywhere. The geese are flying over. Boo! It's October."

Too cute!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

6 Months Old!

Jackson turned 6-months-old on September 29th! I know everyone says that time goes by so much faster with your second child, and it really, really, really is true. We can hardly believe we're already half-way through his first year. The pic below was taken on his actual 6-month birthday, but I'm just now getting around to posting it. Since Jackson turned 6-months, he's started taking water in a sippy cup and self-feeding teething crackers.

The day following Jackson's 6-month birthday, Caroline made a dog outfit at school (ears and a collar). When I came to pick her up, all of the kids were coming out of school dressed as doggies and yapping. We parents would ask them questions about their day, only to receive woofs in response. It was too cute. We were laughing so hard, we almost couldn't stop. Anyway, here's a pic of her in her outfit, complete with a dog bone treat with her name on it. Woof woof!

33rd Annual Family Reunion

The last Sunday in September we headed to Mansfield for our 33rd Annual Family Reunion. There was so much food, and it was all delicious. Every year we recognize a family member, and this year we honored Jack Smith. The reunion is a great way to make sure we see everyone at least once a year!

This was Jackson's first DuPriest family reunion.

Caroline is showing off the Sleeping Beauty necklace that Grandmama brought for her.

Here is Papa sharing memories about Jack Smith (seated).

Aunt Babe wrote and read a poem about Jack. Babe will celebrate her 90th birthday next month!!

Sittin' Like a Big Boy

Jackson is SO close to mastering sitting up all by himself. Here are a couple of pics of him working on it. I took these during Brian's trip.

Here he is balancing so well while playing with the alligator xylophone. It looks like his back is touching the chair, but really it isn't... he is holding himself steady all on his own.

Sitting up and smiling!

Brian brought Caroline back a set of stacking dolls from his trip, so now she has a set from Russia and a set from Ukraine. Here she is pretending to be a little Russian girl with her new doll. Too cute.

Butterfly Festival

The weekend before Brian left for Ukraine, we headed to Southlake for a small butterfly festival. The butterflies were housed inside a tent, and we were given sticks with watermelon chunks to attract the butterflies. It was lots of fun.

Granddad is helping Caroline catch butterflies... she has 3 on her stick right now!

Grandmama caught one with her finger.

I put a little watermelon juice on Jackson's head, and the butterfly was happy to stay put long enough to snap this picture.

Caroline wasn't so sure she wanted a butterfly on her head until she saw Jackson with one, and then she was happy to oblige.

Uncle Mike and Caroline playing "red light, green light" in the rain. We walked to Mi Cocina for lunch from the butterfly tent.

Monday, October 5, 2009

First Day of School

September 9th was Caroline's first day of preschool, and she has loved every moment of it. We chose a school that places an emphasis on fine arts, and so far we have not been disappointed. Caroline has brought home tons of artwork, and she loves the music class portion of her school days. Here are some pics!

Dressed and happy it's the first day of school!

Heading out the door with her backpack

Walking into school...her backpack is almost bigger than she is!

When Caroline got home from school, a card from Emily was waiting in the mailbox for her. Emily's timing was perfect, and Caroline was so excited to get the card celebrating her start of school.

And I just have to throw this one in from that day because Jackson is so handsome :o)

So much to catch up on!

We've been very busy at the Peacock household of late, so I'm a bit behind in my updates. Caroline started school the week of Labor Day, and Brian went to Ukraine for 10 days right after that. He had been back home with us for about a week when we took an unexpected trip to Illinois this past weekend to visit all the Peacocks there. So sit tight for a flurry of posts sharing highlights from this past month...

Let's start with our Labor Day trip to the Dallas World Aquarium. We spent the whole day walking through their rainforest exhibit and then looking at sharks, penguins, flamingos, and fish.

Here's Caroline lunching on a PB & honey sandwich at the entrance to the aquarium.

There is a huge waterfall in the rainforest exhibit.

Here's Jackson seeing the waterfall for the first time. He loved it.