It’s been quite a while since I’ve written, but things have been so busy here and when I find that I have time to write (in the evenings, after Hannah is in bed), I usually didn’t have the energy. But lots of exciting things have been going on!

During the school year, Hannah is in day care while I go to work and Joel goes to class and teaches. She goes to this fantastic center about two minutes from where we live, and we were sad to pull her out for the summer because she loves it there so much. But having the whole summer with her has been great! She still gets plenty of opportunities to hang out with other kids, between play dates, story hours at the library, trips to the pool, farmer’s market, park and museum, etc. HOWEVER…….holy crap, if keeping a 22-month-old entertained all day isn’t exhausting, I don’t know what is. It’s been especially challenging the last few days because of this heat wave we’ve been having, which means we have to find things to do that are a) age-appropriate, b) in an indoor, air-conditioned space, and c) don’t cost an arm and a leg. Fortunately, there are lots of things to do in the Boston area that fit that description, so we’re good. Even so, this heat wave is supposed to finally break tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. Here are a few photos of the activities that we’ve particularly enjoyed:

I guess we’ll start at the beginning and go in chronological order: I’ve been cooking a lot. Last week, I made a new-ish recipe that has quickly become a favorite: the baked ratatouille from Smitten Kitchen. The thing I love so much about this is that it’s so versatile. We usually have it either on sandwiches, layered with some fresh mozzarella and a little pesto, or on a pizza, but I’ve also chopped it up and mixed it in with whole-wheat pasta and eaten it on its own.

Now, if you click on the link to the recipe you’ll see a lovely photo of all the veggies laid out: Image

Doesn’t that look nice? Yeah, that’s not how mine turned out. At all. I’ll spare you the picture of what it actually looked like, but the important thing is that all the veggies did get layered into the dish and it came out tasting great.

Also, in case you were wondering what THE BEST KITCHEN TOOL EVER is: It’s this. I sliced a ginormous pile of veggies in about five minutes with this guy. Apparently you can also do the same thing with a food processor’s slicer blade, but I don’t have one of those and I found my mandoline for about $8 at TJMaxx. Once you get one of those, this ratatouille takes about 15 minutes to assemble, then it’s just a matter of throwing it in the oven and baking it. I made a big batch of it, and the first two nights I used it as a pizza topping,  with a crust made from the Master Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five. (Seriously, this recipe never fails.) I added some browned turkey sausage as well. We had a bunch left over, so the next night I chopped the ratatouille up into little pieces, combined it with the rest of the turkey sausage and mixed it with some cooked whole-wheat pasta, then baked it as a casserole. It was delicious both ways, but the pizza is my favorite preparation. It’s especially good for breakfast the next morning…….just saying. Don’t judge.

 

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