Saturday, March 27, 2010

New House Photos!

We finally closed and got the keys this past Wednesday, and moving day is April 1st! Our new address is: 19292 Occidental Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98148.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Corned Grace and Cabbage

So, after corning our own beef a few years ago, we both decided we couldn't possibly buy another precorned one again. The flavor and texture is so much better when done at home with love. . .sigh. I did sample a pretty good one at our local gourmet grocer, Metropolitan Market, but it still wasn't quite as "earthy" as ours. Problem is, it takes 5 to 7 days to marinate; I had thought it only took three (seems I mess this part up every year), so we didn't get to eat it until yesterday (3/21). While we were getting it ready, Sean decided to throw Gracie in the crock pot. She fit pretty well!
Corning Your Own Beef:
1 (3 1/2 -to 4 1/2-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
1/2 c. kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons paprika
2 bay leaves, crumbled
Mix the salt and spices together in a small bowl. Spear the brisket about 30 times per side with a meat fork or metal skewer. Rub each side evenly with the salt mixture. Place the brisket in a large zipper-lock bag, forcing as much air out as possible. (I actually insert a straw here, and suck the additional air out for a really tight pack.) Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cover with a similar sized pan, and weight with two bricks or large cans. Refrigerate for 5 to 7 days, turning once daily. Rince and pat the meat dry before using. Cook according to your favorite method, or do what I do:
  • After rinsing the beef, place in your (large) crock pot on top of a bed of large onion pieces from one yellow onion.
  • Top with four wedges from half of a large green cabbage (leaving core intact), three large carrots cut into 3-4 inch pieces, and about eight red potatoes, in 2-inch chunks.
  • Pour in one bottle of your favorite Irish beer (we use Smithwick's--Guinness would be too dark), a quart of low-sodium chicken broth, and enough water to come about 1/2-inch above the beef.
  • We cook ours on high for about two hours, then turn to low for another six hours or so. A fork should slide easily in and out of the center of the meat when it's done. Should feed six to eight, or provide leftovers for some great reuben sandwiches!

Or, you can follow Alton Brown's recipe below. He adds Saltpeter--acquired from your local pharmacist--which is the nitrate that keeps the meat red. Ours turns the same color most cooked beef does--a rosy brown, but is certainly not RED like most corned beef. I haven't tried his, but approve the recipe.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Well, technically--the last name Battle is just as much Scottish as it is Irish--but Sean's mom is a Kathrens--which is very much Irish. I don't have a lick in me, from what I can tell, but when you have a red-headed boy named Liam Battle, you'd better celebrate! Grace is way too mild-mannered to really show the Irish blood--she definately takes after her mom's side of the family!

He finally got it!

We've been waiting, waiting, and waiting for Liam to figure out that the camera means "smile." Now that he's figured it out, he is such a ham!

Birthday Practice

I know it's still a month and a half away, but I can't help myself. There's cupcake places all over around here, and it makes the babes SSSOOOOO happy! Not like I do it all the time. . .

Needless to say, I do believe my two will be pros at the whole first birthday/cake eating thing. Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gracie & Daddy

Little Angel

She's been doing this thing for several months now--I think it was her first way to mimmick me, but now she does it just to be funny, or when she's mad or frustrated. Usually now, every morning when I go to get her out of bed, she spits at me then starts her little shrugging game. It's so stinking cute. . . .have you ever just wanted to hug someone so hard that you're afraid you'll squeeze them to death? I have to be careful of that with little Gracie.

The Little Guy LOVES Music!

This was in the beginning of his dancing phase, like--two weeks ago. He's progressed significantly since then.

Kids at Play

I was having a hard time getting some of my longer videos to load, so I had to go through the YouTube route. Sorry--hope it works as well as it says it's supposed to. . . .This one makes us laugh every time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grace is FINALLY crawling!

She started this past Thursday, two months to the day of Liam starting. (He's nearly walking now, but she'll get there. . .) She's made a lot of progress in just four days, and has become much happier now that she can keep up--sort of--with brother.

They Just Can't Get Cuter!

Notice the outfit Grace is wearing ina couple of the photos. I bought it at least ten years ago, when I was sssoooo into Harley Davidson motorcycles. When I got it, I told my mom to hold onto it for the daughter I would have some day. I didn't realize it would have taken that long, but low and behold, Mom kept the outfit and Grace looks pretty cute in it! And, I finally got a few of Liam smiling, but not without flaw? One he's closing his eyes and mostly naked, another he's got food all over his face. . .I do believe we're making progress, though! And would you just look at those beautiful blue eyes!