Bug,  domesticity,  Stealthy Spy Cooking,  Tis the Season

Falling for Fall

I love Fall. I never used to. As a kid, fall meant bulky scratchy ill-fitting sweaters and tights that wouldn’t stay up. It meant school and lots of stay-inside days. In high school, Fall and Winter meant rain and if it rained then the hairspray on my bangs would completely lose all it’s stiffness and my day would be ruined. Oh the horror.

But now I love wearing bulky clothes. I hardly ever wear tights but I love wearing socks. I still don’t really love rain but I could care less what my hair looked like. I love the crisp air in Fall and the blue blue blue skies. I love taking walks with Baby Bug and not feeling drops of perspiration run down my back underneath the baby harness. I love sipping hot drinks and walking on a beach completely bare of tourists. I love thinking about pumpkins and butternut squash soup and warm cozy things like making pies.

Speaking of… I wonder if I’ll be able to pull off making pies now that I have a baby. It was such an achievement for me last year. I think I can do it. And you know why? Because I AM the MASTER MEAL PLANNER!!! [insert cheery tooting kazoo music here] Meal planning rocks. I thought it was a silly idea at first. Just one more thing to fill up my day. I thought it was overkill. I mean what are you going to ask me to do next? Lay out my clothes on the bed the night before and iron my shirts! Enter my receipts into an Excel spreadsheet? That’s just silly talk.

You know what? Meal planning works. It was a very productive exercise to force myself to sit down and think about what I had on hand and what I needed from the grocery store. I usually just wing it and it’s a good thing I’m creative because you know how well winging it works. Then I got out my big fat Joy of Cooking cookbook (that I just happen to be reading these days. I kid you not.) and I picked out one new recipe to try. We have “new recipe night” now. It’s kinda fun. Except I think I’m either allergic to walnuts or I poisoned myself. (I’ll try to link the recipe on my cooking blog and link it here later.)

I feel like such a fake trying to be so domestic but it’s not that bad really. If I’m here being a mom 100% of the time, I might as well embrace all the facets of professional wife-and-momhood and be good at it. It just feels so foreign. I’m not a good cook. I don’t really like to clean. I’d rather spend all my time playing on my computer and making things. But this is what fits around the baby’s nap times and this is what makes my family happy. So I’m going to do the best job I can. And maybe along the way I’ll enjoy it and become a good cook. Imagine that!

Enough about that. Here are some more swing pictures. We have a lot of pictures of Baby Bug in the swing. Mostly because we go to the park EVERY DAY!!! I have to. It keeps me sane. But these pictures are special because I sort of almost got a picture of her peek-a-boo invisible new tooth. It’s there, I can feel it. It just doesn’t really show up well, especially in a gritty slideshow.


  • Felix

    Good luck on the cooking thing. Rob wants me to take that up – so not happening. But what’s wrong with entering all of your receipts in Excel or laying out your clothes (and the baby’s clothes) the night before? :) That’s so me. When I first started the South Beach diet, I made full day menus up for two weeks at a time so I could plan my grocery shopping (I love spreadsheets!)

  • Beck's Mom

    The Internet has become a wonderful resource when seeking recipes for the occasional ‘something I got because it was on sale and now need to use.’

  • Angie

    The more cooking you do, the better you’ll get at it. Meal planning definitely works. I find I spend a lot less money when I have a list of exactly what I need for the week.

    Love the new pictures. BB’s smile is BEAUTIFUL!

  • whoorl

    hey, excel spreadsheets are my favorite!

    now, if you’ll excuse me, i have to enter anders’ nursing and naptimes into my spreadsheet tracker. i’m crazy like that…

  • Leah

    You’ve got some spectacular fall colors down there!

    And you’re doing what I plan to do: when I have a baby to stay home with, I imagine getting all domestic–keeping the house clean, making elaborate meals–even though I hate to cook and clean and I’d rather just sit on the computer and play around in Photoshop.

  • Audrey

    What an expressive face and great smile Baby Bug has!! I hope that her teething isn’t too painful for anyone involved.

    I have a great recipe for curried butternut squash soup, if you’re interested — yum! Good luck with pie-making — remember, it’s OK to cheat a little and not make your crust from scratch…

  • Brittany

    Can you post the curried butternut squash soup and whatever butternut squash soup recipe you use? I tried the recipe from real simple magazine, and while it was good, it wasn’t as good as the butternut squash soup I’ve had in the past.

    Butternut Squash Soup (From Real Simple Magazine)

    Hands-on time: 25 minutes
    Total time: 2 hours

    Makes 6 to 8 servings


    1 3-pound butternut squash
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 teaspoons kosher salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 large yellow onion, chopped
    3 celery stalks, chopped
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
    1 32-ounce container low-sodium chicken broth


    Heat oven to 400° F. Peel and seed the squash. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the pepper and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Turn and continue to roast until softened, about 15 minutes more. Meanwhile, heat the butter and the remaining oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and sage and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the broth, 2 cups of water, the remaining salt, and the squash and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and warm over medium-low heat.

    To Freeze: Let the soup cool, then ladle it into large resealable bags. Store for up to 3 months.

    To Reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or thaw partially in the microwave. Warm in a covered saucepan over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

    CALORIES 326 (41% from fat); FAT 15g (sat 4g); PROTEIN 9g; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; SODIUM 1518mg; FIBER 3g; CARBOHYDRATE 10g

  • Dahlia

    I have a great recipe for Bourbon and Butternut Squash Soup (with curry powder) that’s really yummy – you can find it over here. If you don’t want the bourbon you can leave it out, its great without it too.

  • beck

    My recipe connection is allrecipes.com. Thousands recipes are submitted from all over and then reviewed by the people (you and me) who try them so you can get an idea for what to expect. I also like that you can scale any recipe to fit the number of servings you need and it will automatically adjust the ingredients accordingly. Cool!

  • aunt kathy

    I have GG’s recipe for pie crust if you want. But I would be the first (this time, 2nd) to say that store bought crusts are not cheating. Make sure your guest know they are home made pies, though. Because of the tin plate they may think they are store bought. Better yet, put the store bought crusts into a glass plate taken from your cupboard!

  • Alissa

    Fall is the best time of the year and a bit of forward planning is not all bad. I like to feel organised and know what’s happening so I meal plan and put out clothes, prepare snacks, etc. particularly if it’s an early-ish start the next day. There’s nothing like running around like a headless chicken (at least that’s the way I feel) trying to get things together. Hope you make some yummy pies.

  • BeachMama

    I love the fall too. Not as much as summer, but I love the sunny coolness that comes with fall. We have had a little too much rain for my liking lately, but I love the fallen leaves and the colours that come with fall.

    Cooking for fall is also yummy. All the harvest veggies and warm comfort food. One of my favorite soups is Butternut Squash. But, I have to admit that I make a really simple version. I cut up a squash, boil it with some onion, salt, pepper and summer savory. Then, I purée it with my food processor. That’s it. If I am really creative I will roast the halves of the squash in the oven, but I rarely do this as I find it tastes the same. And sometimes I serve it with a dollop of sour cream or creme fresh, just to make it look pretty.

    Enjoy your soup, although I made a butternut soup two days ago, I think I will make my black bean and sausage today.

  • Scarlett

    Well, here I was feeling a little down this morning about how miserably I feel I am failing right now at being organized and sorting out some important things in my life, and I go to read you and you make me smile, as always. Baby Bug is most darling (an ooohhh I remember those teeth breaking through!!! Lots of sleepless nights we had!!!) and you are so funny, and we are so alike! I laugh because I can’t cook that well either, (and would rather just play on my computer being creative) and if it wasn’t for my boyfriend, I would exist on dry Golden Grahms, almonds, coffee, and the occasional quesedilla!!! I would like to try what you are doing as well, a new recipe night and try doing some new things, maybe even impress the boyfriend??? I suppose it’s possible!!! My son was sssssoooooooooo picky when he was growing up, my cooking options were really limited, so I stuck to baking chickens with potatoes and broccoli, stuff like that, making basic casseroles! Lucky me, the boyfriend is an ace master cook! I wish you the best in your pursuits of domestic motherdom! I think you’re doing just fine! Oohhhh and I am ssssssoooooooo wanting some of that soup now too! ;)

  • Jora

    Youi must try this butternout squash soup recipe — it’s the best, I think!

    Halve one butternut squash and put on an oiled cookie sheet (cut side down). Roast for about 1 hour in a 400 degree oven (or until soft when pierced with a knife).

    Meanwhile, saute over medium heat: a couple tablespoons of butter, one chopped white onion and a tablespoon or two of minced fresh ginger (this is the key ingredient!). Don’t brown, just saute till soft…

    When the squash is done, let cool slightly and scoop out into the pot with the onion, etc. Add water and/or chicken stock to cover the squash (about 4-5 cups?). Simmer 10 minutes. Puree in blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche, sour cream or yogurt. Yummmm!

  • lin

    umm how come you never told us about the triple layer chocolate cake, with a Kit Kat grill, Ice Breakers Sours headlights, and Pinwheel tires, with an oreo pie crust street shapped as a truck??? you really can do everything!

  • carrien

    owlhaven dot wordpress dot com made pumkind pies from a real pumpkin last week, and she put up pictures. BUt the best part was her really easy piecrust, you should try it.

    But really what I wanted to say is that Baby bug is still the prettiest most delicious baby, and I want to hug her. And I love fall too. I’t lovely not to be overwhelmed by heat the moment I finish breakfast in the morning. ANd I love sweaters.