It’s been pretty quiet here on Pixelated Crumb over the past several months, but I assure you, it has not been quiet in my home. The last recipe I shared with you was written at the end of March. Exactly one week after I shared my favorite pizza recipe with you, my daughter was born. My life turned inside out, the world seemed to spin simultaneously faster and slower, and sleep became elusive. Days and nights ran together. I spent my days pinned to a chair feeding Melanie, the only steps on my Fitbit coming from pacing around the apartment, rocking her, desperately trying to quiet her cries and lull her to sleep. I never expected motherhood to be easy, but nothing prepared me for the reality of being so depended upon. Who knew such a tiny little thing could be so incredibly demanding? Who knew a baby could cry for hours on end? Only every parent before me, I suppose. How did everyone make it look so easy?
I think Emily at Five and Spice described the “utter bliss combined with total desperation” of being a new mom so perfectly. Being a mom is hard. Honestly, much harder than I ever could have imagined. But to look at your child – this tiny little human being that you made – is unparalleled. There are times when I’m utterly exhausted with so much to do, but I still find myself just sitting there looking at Melanie sleep. It’s like a campfire that you just can’t look away from. She makes this sucking noise when she’s sleeping that is music to my ears. I love that sound just as much as her shrieks of laughter. And her smile is like an ocean that swallows me whole. One flash of that gummy smile and I almost forget the hours that I was up with her in the middle of the night the night before. Almost.
In the early weeks after Melanie was born, I often wondered how I had managed to eat all week without either my husband or I cooking (answer: lots of wonderful food from my mother-in-law and frozen Tikka Masala from Trader Joes). Melanie will be eight months in just over a week and we still haven’t resumed our old life of cooking. Our meals are simple and prepared as quickly as possible. We make lots of panini, quesadillas, and homemade pizza. Anything that requires minimal prep and cooking time. My baking has been limited to a few batches of banana muffins and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I miss cooking and especially baking so much, but we never seem to have enough time and our new apartment has maddeningly little counter space (oh yes, did I forget to mention that just a few months after having a baby we moved 400 miles away to Maryland for Joseph’s new job?).
After a brief hiatus, I’m back to the recap of our trip to Europe that I promised. I just had a sneaking suspicion that you might be more interested in a recipe for the most amazing pumpkin pie ever just days before Thanksgiving. Now I’m back to Europe, so to speak.
After Brussels and Bruges, we headed to Amsterdam where we promptly set out to find rijsttafel. What’s rijsttafel, you ask? Translated, it’s rice table, but what it really means is a table full of small Indonesian samplings. Why we don’t have this in every city in the United States is beyond me. It’s the perfect way to get to try several different dishes ranging in color, level of spiciness, texture, and of course flavor. In short, you get to try a little bit of everything. We had 10 small dishes ranging from chicken satay to lamb curry, to tofu curry, plus a large bowl of rice to share between the two of us and we had no problem polishing it all off.
As I said last time, since my knee surgery I’ve been pulling my weight around the house by suggesting to Joseph what he can make for me. And when I opened my weekly e-mail from Food52 last weekend, I immediately clicked on their menu suggestions for 4th of July and stopped scrolling when I got to the “Seriously Delicious Ribs.” I was so excited that when I called out to Joseph, well, we’re lucky he didn’t call an ambulance, thinking there was something wrong with my knee.
We were supposed to go to Burlington, VT for 4th of July weekend, including one of my favorite places on earth, the Restaurant at the Inn at Shelburne Farms, to celebrate our second anniversary. Our anniversary was June 19th, but between traveling and people traveling to visit us, we hadn’t had time to properly celebrate. My grandparents lived in Burlington and we used to go every summer so besides being a really nice town, it’s a very nostalgic place for me and I was really looking forward to it. When my doctor’s office called and told me that the doctor could squeeze my surgery in on July 1st, I panicked. I talked it through with Joseph and my boss at work, and finally decided it would be better to just get the surgery over with. I was so sad that it took me a few days to get around to canceling the reservations. Oh well. I’m sure we made someone on the waitlist very happy, and hopefully we’ll still be able to get up there later this summer.
Now that I’ve given you a full overview of all the cocktails I drank while I was visiting Ohio (here, here, here, and don’t forget the DIY Cocktails giveaway!), I thought I would give you a little snapshot of the rest of my time in Columbus and Athens, OH because it was so much more fun than I thought it would be! After my sister and brother-in-law treated me to a lovely lunch at Rigsby’s Kitchen, they took me to Jeni’s Ice Cream. It. Was. Amazing. If you live anywhere in the Columbus vicinity, you have to check it out. My absolute favorite ice cream place in the world is Toscanini’s in Boston (if you weren’t aware, New Englanders take their ice cream very seriously), but Jeni’s gives them a run for their money.
Jeni’s is a little bit cheaper (you may need a small loan if you go to Tosci’s more than once a month), they make all their stuff from scratch, and they just have a fun, quirky sense of humor (just watch their video on their website). They have a number of standout year-round flavors, and the summer seasonals they were featuring when I was there are spectacular. The Salted Caramel, Buckeye State, and Bourbon Butter Pecan were my favorites of the signature flavors, but they also have some really interesting flavors like Bangkok Peanut. I truly loved all the seasonal flavors that I tried, but my favorites included Rhubarb Cardamom, Rockmill Golden Ale & Apricots, and Brambleberry Crisp. But don’t take my word for it, try them out for yourself! The staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating and I think between my two visits, I tried at least two-thirds of the flavors. Don’t foresee a trip to Columbus anytime soon? I just found out Jeni has a cookbook that just came out and can’t wait to try it out! Continue reading