black moon on the day of the Chinese new year,
or the arrival of the cherry blossoms and bees.
What ever it was, both Nikolai and Uliana leapt over major milestones this week.
Nikolai's milestone is best described by this smile:
Nikolai's tears were only partly assuaged by writing a note to the tooth fairy explaining the situation. (He even woke up twice in the night with tears.) Luckily his tooth fairy, Tangle Silverbranch, replied saying that Nikolai could have his tooth fairy money as long as he kept the tooth for himself if he found it.
Uliana approached her milestone with her usual amount of caution. One cautious step on Saturday. Three cautious steps on Monday. Five cautious steps on Wednesday. She still needs coaxing to let go of someone's hand, and is so giddy with excitement that her short walks usually end with her collapsing in laughter.
Uliana is also practicing talking. She has some words that she uses regularly (Mama, Papa, Teddy, Cheese, Uh-oh, hi, hello, bye) and she's constantly adding things to her repertoire. Yesterday morning she said K-lai much to Nikolai's great delight.
I got the slow cooker for Christmas... and it is my new love. It lets us do something fun after school... while still getting dinner on by 5:15pm for my crazy hungry/tired baby.
Prepare a quick tomato sauce of your choice. (I like to use 28 oz crush tomatoes, 1/2 cup of dried red lentils cooked, 1 deiced onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, salt and pepper to taste). I would also cook any vegetables I had around the kitchen into my sauce. The pictured version had chard, but you could use anything that appealed (grated root vegetables, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash).
Thinly slice 2 lbs potatoes. (Santa brought Brad an amazing mandolin for slicing and grating. It is also a favourite around here. You also need to grate some cheese, but I'm not saying how much as everyone has their own taste. We would probably use around 2 cups of mozzarella.
Spread a layer of potatoes around your baking dish and season to taste. Pour over a layer of sauce and sprinkle with thin layer grated cheese. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, then finish with a heavy layer of cheese.
Then bake at 400 F until the potatoes are done. (Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. If you are using the slow cooker, be sure to cook all the water out of any added vegetables or your pizzaiola will be soupy.)