Sunday, December 31, 2006

When Life Gives You Oranges, Make Muffins

One of the good things about living in Sicily is the blood oranges. Being from New England, my mom had never tried or even heard of blood oranges until she moved to Sicily. Now she doesn't know how she could have survived all those years without them! Right now the oranges are ripe and almost every day this week we have found a bag or a box of oranges on our doorstep from neighbors or secret admirers. As a result, our house is in major citrus overload so today we made lots of orange juice and some yummy orange muffins. My mom got this recipe years ago out of Shape magazine and now we're sharing it with you. Very Berry Orange-Oat Muffins
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 whole egg
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 4oo. Lightly coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Stir together oats and buttermilk in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl. Grate rind from orange and add to a large bowl; squeeze 1/2 cup orange juice and add to rind. Whisk in sugar, oil and egg until mixture is smooth. Blend in oatmeal mixture, followed by flour mixture. Stir until ingredients are just combined, then gently fold in berries.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mimi's French Onion Soup

This evening Dad showed me how to make his Mom’s (my Mimi’s) French onion soup. It is so yum, I had to share the recipe with you. Mimi’s French Onion Soup
6-8 cans of beef broth
6-8 large Spanish onions
5 egg yolks
½ cup good, dry port wine
½ cup Parmesan cheese
French bread
Swiss cheese

1. Sauté onions in butter until golden brown.
2. Add onions to simmering broth.
3. In a bowl mix egg yolks, Parmesan cheese and wine until like paste.
4. Stir paste into broth gradually. (This is where things can go terribly wrong. Make sure the broth is not too hot otherwise the eggs will scramble and float and that’s not what you want—yuck!)
5. Let simmer covered for 30 minutes to an hour.
6. Toast French bread slices.
7. Place soup in bowl and top with toasted bread and cheese and broil until cheese melts.

Serve with French wine and good company.

I Would Like To Thank All The Little People

I can’t believe it either! I’ll admit it; I was surprised when I learned that I was Time Magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year. It’s quite an accomplishment in itself, but for a seven-month-old it is an incredibly impressive achievement. To paraphrase Time Magazine, blogging makes any would-be intellectual a publisher therefore my blog plays a small role in the revolution of the Information Age thus making me, Currier Quinn Balent, Person of the Year! I will be adding this accomplishment to my resume along with these monumental skills—
* Sits up on own.
* Holds own bottle.
* Crawls backwards on stomach and scoots forward on back.
* Reaches and grasps objects.
* Says several sounds like, ma, da, di, ga, ah and ba.
* Shouts for attention.
* Laughs and smiles a lot.

The Lady is Dressed in White

On our way home from base this afternoon, Mom and I stopped to take this picture of Mount Etna covered with snow. Isn't she lovely? We live in the city to the left—Motta Sant' Anastasia.

Monday, December 25, 2006

My First Christmas

After weeks of sleeping through the night, last night I woke at 12:30, 2:45, 4:00, 5:30 and then finally at 7:30. Dad suspects it's because I'm off my schedule (we had friends over our house the night before last and then last night we had Christmas Eve dinner at the Wissler's house), but Mom is convinced it's because I'm so excited for my first Christmas! Since one of my Christmas wishes is for world peace, let's just say they're both right!
I must have been a good boy because I got lots of wonderful presents from family, friends and Babbo Natale. I'm very thankful!
Babbo Natale left me an ipod under the tree. It's just what my parents... I mean... it's just what I wanted and it's delish!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Straight out of the Lands' End Catalog

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Love, The Balents

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Caltagirone in the Rain and Fog

Today Dad decided to play hooky from work and we took a day trip to Caltagirone to see the nativity scenes. Caltagirone is a small city in the Catania province and is about a 45 minute drive from our house. The city is known for its production of ceramics and its flight of 142 steps decorated with majolica tiles. During the Christmas season, Caltagirone boasts some of the largest nativity scenes in Italy, so we jumped on a bus tour to go check them out. Unfortunately, the rain and fog hindered our plans. As soon as we stepped off the bus into the pouring rain I pulled off my hat and threw it into a puddle (I hate hats!). The rest of the day was spent indoors or running for shelter with a blanket over my head. This is Dad and I on Caltagirone's Scala di Santa Maria del Monte. This picture does the enormous staircase no justice. It's really quite breathtaking. Please click HERE for a view of the staircase during good weather.

Mom dragged Dad and I ceramic shopping. We didn't mind too much since it was down pouring outside. I picked out a nativity scene ornament for our Christmas tree- A little Sicilian keepsake from my first Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Seven Months Old Today... December 19th 2006

This was a big month for me— I got my first teeth, I started eating solids, and I mastered sitting up on my own. My new thing is sticking out my tongue constantly and the saliva has caused a rash on my chin and cheeks. I have to use a prescription cream to help with the irritation because keeping my tongue in my mouth just isn’t an option. I’m super psyched for my first Christmas. I hope Babbo Natale brings me that ipod I've been wanting!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Baby Gene Simmons

I want to
rock and roll
all night
and party
every day!

My First Teeth

Yes, I said teeth- plural. I had two teeth come in at the same time. I put my tongue back in my mouth for a second so that my mom could take a picture of my teeth. Can you see them on the bottom? Ouch!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jumping for Joy

I went to the county fair. I saw Currier there.
Jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping everywhere.
He jumped to the left. He jumped to the right.

He was jumping, jumping, jumping.
He jumped right out of sight!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Meeting with Santa

Santa (or Babbo Natale in Italian) came to Sigonella last night.

Dear Santa,
I would like world peace and an ipod for Christmas.
Your favorite, Currier

Christmas Crib

My parents thought it would be cool to decorate my crib with lights for Christmas and then they realized this is probably a fire hazard. Oh give them a break- They're learning!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Cio' Che Mangiano i Bambini Italiani

So now that I’m on solid foods, we decided to go check out the Italian grocery store and see what kind of baby food they eat. Apparently the Italians feed their infants pasta and olive oil! When in Rome…

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our first Thanksgiving as a family. My first meal.
My mom had her first meal from the same dish 33 years ago! I love sweet potatoes! Peas- Not so much!
Even the dogs got a Thanksgiving meal.
No, we didn't adopt another dog.
The white dog is Jack. We're babysitting him for a few days.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Doctor's Appointment

This morning I had my six month check up. I weigh 18lbs 14ozs and I'm 27.7 inches long. Dr Lyon said that I'm in the 75th percentile for weight and 80th percentile for height. What does that mean? It means I'm a big healthy boy!
I got some more immunizations and it made me cry a little, but it was worth it for the cool Snoopy band aids.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Six Months Old Today... November 19th 2006

This month I learned how to make funny fart noises by sticking out my tongue and blowing—I can do this for hours because the sound is so entertaining. I'm finally starting to grow some hair but you can't tell because it's blonde! I’m now an old pro at rolling over and I can almost sit up on my own. I’m drooling so much now that a bib has become a normal part of my outfit. I can’t stop putting my hands, my toys, my blankets, and my bibs in my mouth. Mom has been prepping me for my first meal by giving me a few teaspoons of rice cereal every morning. I can’t wait to start eating solids—Bring it on!

Hiking on Mt Etna

Mom and I took Bruco and Paolo hiking on Mt Etna this afternoon with our friend Meagan and her dog, Jack. As you can see in the background, the volcano is still erupting and a loud thunderous noise could be heard with each eruption.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Big Transition

Last week I made the transition from co-sleeper (crib attached to mom & dad's bed) to my own crib in my room. I've been going to bed at 8PM and sleeping until 4AM before waking my mom for a feeding. Mom says, "Hallelujah to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep!"
What puts me to sleep? I like to listen to Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics and look at the cool Aquarium night light from my Mimi and Papi.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mia Nonna Italiana

Every Friday I spend the day at Bina’s house so my Mom can get a break. Bina and her husband, Antonio, live in the country and care for a hand full of children. Bina and Antonio do not speak any English so I’m learning Italian. The first couple of times my mom dropped me off at their house she cried as she pulled out of the drive way, but now she high tails it out of there with a big smile on her face and spends her “day off” scrap booking, reading, or napping. Mom knows I’m in good hands because my face lights up when I see Bina’s beautiful face.
This is the road to Bina's house. I told you she lives in the country!

This is the view from Bina's house. È molto bello!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cooking Stuffed Peppers

Last night I helped Mom make stuffed peppers. We decided on this big pot of comfort food for three reasons—First of all, our friend Arailya gave us a big bag of peppers from her garden so we needed to do something with them. Second, autumn decided to visit Sicily and the temperature dropped to 48° F and nothing warms the belly like a piping hot stuffed pepper. And finally, Dad is in Bahrain for three weeks so staying busy and making a mess of the kitchen helps to keep our minds off of missing him. This recipe is my Great-Great-Grandmother's. Aunt Patsy taught my mom how to make Gram McLaughlin’s stuffed peppers; last night my mom taught me and now I’m sharing the recipe with you.

Hmmm… Let’s see… the recipe calls for…

Gram McLaughlin’s Stuffed Peppers
Green bell peppers (about 2 per person)
Potatoes (about 2 per person)
2 15oz. cans tomato sauce
1 15oz. can tomato paste
1 lb ground beef
1 1b ground pork
1 egg
2 cups of bread crumbs
Salt & pepper

Cube potatoes and cover them with cold water in a large stock pot.
Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 2 cups of water.
In a large bowl, mix ground meat, egg, bread crumbs, 1 cup of water, and salt & pepper.
Cut tops off peppers and clean out the seeds before stuffing with meat.
Place the stuffed peppers on top of the potatoes.
Throw all the tops of the peppers in the pot for extra flavor.
You should have enough sauce to cover all the peppers, if not add some water.
Cover and cook on medium for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Pal Bruco

Bruco is here to make sure that I don't tumble off the couch again!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Hate Halloween!

And I hate autumn leaves and pumpkins and stupid bibs that say, "Boo!".

Saturday, October 28, 2006

My First Emergency Room Visit

Daddy and I were taking our regular Saturday afternoon nap on the couch and I somehow slid off the couch and hit my nose on the corner of the coffee table (Didn't I just post something about not leaving me unattended on the couch anymore!). My parents are absolute amateurs~ Dad had to lay down on the bathroom floor for a few minutes because he felt faint and Mom sobbed all the way to the hospital! I hate to tell them this but this will probably not be my last visit to the emergency room!

My First Injury

Once all the blood was cleaned off my face, my injury turned out to be just a small laceration on the tip of my nose and didn't require any stitches. I was sent home from the hospital with Tylenol and Bacitracin.

I mustered up a smile for my parents sake and the doctors and nurses all said that I am ONE TOUGH COOKIE!

Happy Halloween

I’m a lonely little sweet pea in a pumpkin patch and all I do is cry all day- Boo hoo!


Halloween is not a custom in Italy, so we celebrated Halloween Sigonella style. The Navy base kicked off Autumn Fest last night with Trunk-or-Treat. All the cars lined up on base and the children went trunk to trunk for goodies. I'm too little for candy so my job was to look adorable while my mom and dad handed out candy.

A Bat and a Sweet Pea Crawl into a Bar—

My good buddy Ethan and his mom Amy joined us for Trunk-or-Treat.

Candy Coma

Half way through the evening, I passed out in the trunk of the car amid all this candy. Being so adorable sure is exhausting!

Just When Bruco and Paolo Thought They Were Safe From the Crazy Lady—

Auntie Cheryl-Lee-Ski sends us all Gap outfits—
And so the tormenting continues…

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mommy's Little Devil

Get back ladies~ It's all about me!