Monday, June 30, 2014

Marinated Cucumbers

I'm so excited that it's the season of farmers markets! East Lake has a great local market. We're doing a subscription again this year for a half share of a market box. For about $15/week you get an assortment of fresh fruits & veggies. Occasionally, they'll also throw in baked goods or homemade jams or relish or even recipes. I feel like doing the subscription is helping me get better at creating meals from what I have on hand.

Cucumbers are one of the items at the farmers market whose flavor far surpasses that of its supermarket siblings. These cucumbers are so good, Andy and I will often eat them by themselves, sliced thin like "chips" to dip in hummus or other dips, or added to a sandwich. If we get a lot of them and I know we won't eat them all before they go bad, I like to marinate them, using a recipe we got in our box last year. They make a refreshing, tangy snack for the hot summer.

Marinated Cucumbers

2-3 cucumbers
1 T salt
3/4 cup vinegar
2 T sugar

Scrape the sides of the cucumber all the way around with the tines of a fork. Slice cucumbers very thin.

Sprinkle with salt then let sit for 2 hours. ***DO NOT skip this step. This releases excess moisture from the cucumbers. I decided to cheat and skip this step one time and boy was I sorry. The cucumbers absorb way too much of the vinegar if you do that and are almost inedible.

Pour off excess water. I even blot mine with a paper towel.

Mix together vinegar and sugar until sugar starts to dissolve a little. I pour in any salt I have left over from salting the cucumbers as well. The cucumbers taste great without adding any additional seasoning, but I like to add some herbs as well. Add about 1/2 tsp of dried oregano & dill or herb(s) of your choice (you can always sub fresh herbs too). I add a little sprinkle of cayenne too.

Throw cucumbers into vinegar mixture and refrigerate until serving. These will keep for a least a week or two.

Friday, June 27, 2014

11 months

Let the first birthday countdown begin! In less than a month, Lucas will turn 1! He is entering the getting into everything stage. This was a fun & busy month!

The day he turned 10 months old, Lucas and I both had our first trip to the Birmingham Zoo with some friends of ours. Don't let the picture fool you--he really enjoyed it. This was as we were leaving & he was pooped.

We took another trip to the lake over Memorial Day weekend & got to see my side of the family. We hadn't seen B & Liz since before Christmas! Too long. Lucas was sick for half of the trip which made it a little less enjoyable but we still had some fun.

He had his first pool experience.

Survived his first water gun fight with the cousins (although he was mostly a bystander).

Rode on the boat again.

And played with his cousins a bunch.

A few weeks after we got back from the lake we went to Andy's home town to celebrate his parents' birthdays by throwing them a surprise party. We had so much fun surprising them and getting to see lots of friends and family who came.

First Father's Day...this is the only shot I got.

His eating skills have really taken off this month. Despite only having one tooth, he can really put away some food.

His favorite is still any kind of fruit. He also loves yogurt, oatmeal, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini and squash, and even cauliflower and broccoli.

He has also figured out how to feed the dog his food. See video below...


He is saying "mama" finally.

His crawl is getting much faster.

He can pull up to his knees but not to his feet yet.

He still has his grumpy moments of course.

Whew! Next post will be his first birthday!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

10 months

Lucas turned 10 months about 2 weeks ago, but we went out of town the next day and are just getting back in the swing of things. He also was sick for part of the week, so he wasn't in the mood for pictures. This month he...

Finally started "crawling". This mostly consists of dragging himself with his arms, scooting with one leg, and lots of rolling around but it gets him where he wants to go.

Got his first tooth! Yep that's right, the first one. He had one unusually fussy night and out it popped the day after. He likes to gnaw fingers (his and ours) more than ever now, but otherwise he has tolerated it pretty well.

He is starting to try to pull up, but isn't quite there yet.

One of his favorite things to do is "hide" things in the couch or under cushions. He'll take a toy or steal our phones and shove them in between the couch cushions only to pull them out so he can do it again.

I have been trying to get him to eat more finger foods. He does best with big chunks that he can gnaw on instead of little pieces. He tends to shove too many little pieces in his mouth at once and gag himself. One of my favorite things I've found to give him are the Happy Munchies rice cakes. They soften up as he chews on them so he can handle them well even with just 1 tooth. They have different flavors and he loves them all. The thing I like most is they have simple ingredients (just brown rice and fruit/veggies) and no added sugar, or artificial flavors.

Bear wanted to get in on the photo shoot

His main interest in his sippy cup is throwing it on the ground. Hopefully he'll take to it more in the next couple of months! We're trying a few different kinds to see if he likes one better than another. But no real progress there yet.

A few outtakes from his pictures...he was determined to get his brush the whole time.

He cried a lot too...

We also had a fun visit from his cousins this month. They definitely keep each other entertained!

He got to try his first Steel City Pops popsicle--which he loved.

And swing in a big boy swing

And of course, there's still lots of love for Bear.



I really cannot believe he'll be a year old in less than 2 months!