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Amateur Hour

thunder and CHR bwAs of today, we’ve officially kept Christopher alive for two months, which surpasses our record for potted plants by about three weeks.  I can’t believe we’re allowed to take care of him, that some basic health and safety regulations don’t bar us from being his parents.  It reminds me of the way I felt during intermission at a rodeo in Wyoming once: As a hundred elementary schoolers streamed onto the dirt, I thought THIS MIGHT NOT BE A GOOD IDEA.  And when they started chasing a 200-pound calf around with zero supervision while the audience headed to the concession stands for beer, I thought OKAY THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL BUT I GUESS WE’RE TOO DEEP INTO IT NOW.

We have the basics down, of course.  We know we’re not supposed to draw a mustache on him while he’s asleep.  And so far we’ve restrained ourselves from feeding him little cubes of our favorite cheeses.  But the finer points elude us.  Is there something in particular we should shout when he poops?  Because for some reason my go-to exclamation is a hearty HEYO! LOOK WHAT HAVE WE HERE! like I’m shilling t-shirts in Times Square.

Our family and friends are really coming through for us.  My friend Kate flew in last week even though she’s eight months pregnant and has a toddler at home.  She took took a night shift, and she took Christopher for walks and did the laundry and the dishes and the grocery shopping and cooked pasta and–bless her–got us on a nap schedule.  She even organized our refrigerator, which required asking things like “Can I throw out this yogurt?  Because it’s dated October 2014.  And it looks like the lid is. . . .  punctured.”

seymour and CHR bwI cried when she left.  I also cried when I read what Shannon over at A Periodic Table wrote for me here because it made me feel lucky and loved and like we just might get through this.  Your comments last week made me feel that way, too.  Thanks.

On Kate’s recommendation, I made Yotam Ottolenghi’s zucchini and turkey burgers the other day and they were a huge hit.  And by “huge hit” I mean that Scott and I nodded at each other while we scarfed them down at five p.m., which is our new dinnertime now that we go to bed at eight.

burger ingredients

sauce ingredients



burgers finishedYotam Ottolenghi’s Turkey Burgers {Download & Print Recipe}
From Jerusalem, instructions retold in my own words

Ingredients for the burgers

1 lb. ground turkey (I prefer 93% lean over leaner choices)

1 large zucchini, grated

3 scallions, chopped

1 egg

2 Tbsp. chopped mint

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (you can omit this if you hate cilantro)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (this gives them a kick, so leave it out if you don’t want that)

a few Tbsp. oil for cooking (I used olive oil)

Ingredients for the sour cream sauce

scant 1/2 c. sour cream (light sour cream is fine)

scant 2/3 c. Greek yogurt (I use 2%)

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sumac (I omitted since I didn’t have any and it was still great. But sumac is awesome.)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper


Make the sour cream sauce by putting all the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have it.)

In a large bowl, combine all the burger ingredients except for the oil.  Mix together with your hands until just evenly combined.  Shape into very small burgers (I made 13 burgers, but the recipe says you can make them even smaller and get 18) and put the raw burgers on a plate or tray.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, pour enough oil to easily coat the bottom of the pan.  When the oil is hot, transfer as many burgers as will comfortably fit, leaving a little space between burgers so that you can flip them easily.  Sear the burgers so that they are golden brown on one side, then flip them and sear the other side.  Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.  Add some more oil to the pan and sear any remaining burgers and add them to the baking sheet.

Bake the burgers in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until they’re just cooked through.  Serve with the sauce and a half head of Boston lettuce if desired.

36 Comments Post a comment
  1. What Dr Spock nonsense have you been reading that disallows mustaches? Bull poo. Naps are for mustaches. Do it. Doooo it.

    April 12, 2015
    • I have to say, you’re getting a lot of support from Scott on this one.

      April 15, 2015
  2. You’re the best x

    April 12, 2015
    • NO I LOVE YOU MORE. (Repeat as necessary.)

      April 15, 2015
  3. That’s great that you’ve got friends and family there to support you in what I’m sure must be a very overwhelming time. And these burgers look fantastic – I’ll have to try them soon, especially since I’ve got a languishing lone zucchini in the fridge (probably not much younger than your yogurt!).

    April 12, 2015
    • It has been such a lifesaver having the help. Scott’s mom just left this morning and we have a 6-week stretch before us with no visitors. Ack!

      April 14, 2015
  4. Donna Gold #

    Those look delicious! I use that sauce for super thin lamb burgers but I go with all yogurt no sour cream.

    April 12, 2015
    • Mmmmm, I love lamb. Good to know that it works with all yogurt–I tend to have yogurt in my fridge at all times, but not necessarily sour cream.

      April 14, 2015
  5. sue ellen #

    Sounds like you and Scott are on the right track….you have discovered your lives are revolving around your precious offspring. Be aware dear parents there are many surprises hidden in this tiny being . Some will bring laughter while others will involve you needing to mop the floor often. You my dears are but on the threshold of the best years of your life ! Then there is the sleep thing. Forever you will have memories of those times gone by… well, for the next 18 years anyway! Enjoy your babe my dears, and kiss his sweet little toes for me. (love those ‘baby toes)

    April 12, 2015
    • Aw, Sue Ellen, thank you. It’s so nice to hear someone who has come through the other side of this tell you that it’s going to be awesome. I really appreciate that.

      April 14, 2015
  6. Ginger Cobl #

    We have all the confidence in the world in y’all’s parenting skills. Glad to see you’re cooking again! Can’t wait to try the burgers, think they’d work with lamb?

    April 12, 2015
    • Ginger, you are the sweetest. Thanks! I do think they’d work with lamb–especially because of the mint in there, you know? Let me know if you try it.

      April 14, 2015
  7. I’m so glad to see you’re back, sense of humor intact! And congratulations! 🙂 Oh, and the burgers look delish, too!

    April 12, 2015
  8. I’m not a mom, but small things (like babies) totally rock mustaches. Just saying…I wouldn’t judge you.

    April 12, 2015
    • Ashley, that’s so true. Things that are small are cuter than things that are big. And small things with mustaches, well. . . it’s bound to be good.

      April 14, 2015
  9. Good job watching the baby. Keep him safe. They are pretty indestructible.

    April 12, 2015
    • Thanks, my friend. Thank goodness they’re as hearty as they are!

      April 14, 2015
  10. Sandra R #

    Amateurs we all are for the first one. And really, each child is so different, but you don’t have the “can I keep this baby alive?” anxiety as much. Which you have captured so well! Welcome to parentland! When you finish the day to day part, you may actually have turned into beings that remind you of your parents. And take lots of naps. The sleep deprivation is the worst part. IMO.

    April 12, 2015
    • Sandra, I haven’t napped during the day since the first week he was born. Isn’t that nuts? He’s not that great of a napper yet (we’re working on it, hard), but even when he does nap, I have a hard time letting go. I know I need to not cook and clean and read and whatnot when he’s asleep but it’s hard because it’s the only time I get to do stuff for me, you know? Even though I know the best thing I can do for myself is sleep. Sigh. (Now is a perfect example. He’s asleep and I’m on the computer. Gah!)

      April 14, 2015
  11. You guys are killing the parenting game dead, and the fact that you’re even cooking (and blogging about it!) two months in makes me want to draw a mustache on YOU in your sleep, just a little bit, but I’ll forgive you, because I’m feeling those burger patties pretty hard. Also, your friend Kate sounds fabulous, like a mini savior with a pregnant belly, and that pasta sounds THE BEST. Mostly because anything with frozen peas gets two very (black) thumbs up from me. Keep on keeping on, lady. ❤

    April 12, 2015
    • Girl, I forgot to tell you: About the frozen peas–go get yourself some. You can put them on your swollen boobs once your milk comes in. Strangely, heat helps, too. It just kind of depends on what you’re feeling when. I fell asleep with a bag of frozen peas a lot in the first few weeks.

      April 14, 2015
      • I’m all over it! Peas for daaaaays in the freezer. (I mean, granted, they weren’t originally intended for my nursing ails, but the big boobie cartoons I just drew on them in Sharpie should clear things up…) Thanks for the tips! 😉

        April 14, 2015
  12. jenny_o #

    Ahhhh … so sweet! How are the pups coping? I would have asked how you two are coping, but been there, done that, plus just witnessed it with our daughter and her husband and new baby, so it’s really, really fresh in my mind how new parents are coping 🙂 Hang in there! It gets better when you start getting more sleep, which should be any day now.

    April 13, 2015
    • Jenny, the pups are good! I think. Thunder is better. The beginning was rough on her. She wasn’t getting very much sleep at all. She likes to sniff the baby and lick him. Seymour gets close to sniff but doesn’t touch him. He sometimes licks the air in front of the baby’s face!

      April 14, 2015
  13. Are those baby notes under the grated zucchini? Or plans for a robot (to take care of the baby)?

    April 13, 2015
    • You noticed! (Of course.) That is a list of when the baby slept and pooped. Guess which of those two entries makes Scott proudest? (eye roll).

      April 13, 2015
      • My husband and 9 year old daughter mocked me endlessly over my baby feeding/pooping journal, but since my baby and therefore I NEVER slept more than 20 minutes at a time and nursed endlessly, it was truly the only thing that kept me somewhat sane for months after his birth. It made me smile to see it there under your zucchini. You all will survive, however challenging life is now and may be for a long time. Best of luck to you, it’s so fun to read your posts and remember that time in my life, it goes so fast, cherish as much as you can, my baby is 5 now, almost 6 and I can’t believe it. He’s still challenging, some kids just are, but he’s also adorable, funny, creative and so sweet, when he’s not yelling at me and demanding whatever!

        April 14, 2015
        • Oh my goodness–okay, so what words of wisdom do you have when it comes to getting your child to sleep? Right now one of my biggest problems is that I myself am having trouble sleeping in between his nightly feedings. I can’t stand wasting those hours when I could be resting, but sometimes I just lie in bed and can’t turn my brain off even though I’m SO tired. It’s driving me bonkers.

          April 14, 2015
  14. Amy #

    Yay for keeping Christopher alive…and for being such a good mommy too! I’m obviously behind on blog reading since I still have to get to your other Christopher post but I’m SUPER impressed that 1) you had time to cook with a 2 month old, 2) you had time to blog, and 3) you have him on a nap schedule! You go girl!!! Can’t wait for more adorable pics.
    P.S. Those have to be the cutest little feet I’ve ever seen.

    April 13, 2015
    • Aw, thanks Amy! Um, to be clear, by “nap schedule” I mostly mean that EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE now he magically will fall asleep during the day and when that happens I enter it in an excel spread sheet because it makes me feel like I’m in control. 🙂

      April 14, 2015
  15. I yell “Yaay, Poop!” like a Dallas Cheerleader when I look in the littler box. I’m SURE that’s what Thunder is thinking in the first picture. Either that or “Can I have the baby toe-jam, Mom? Can I? Huh?”

    April 13, 2015
    • Okay, Sandy Sue, I’ll try it. If you get a little shiver, like someone in the world is thinking of you, it’s because I’m over here shouting “yaaaay, poop!”

      April 14, 2015
  16. That’s (way) longer than my record for potted plants too! Keep up the good work! 🙂

    April 14, 2015
  17. Kate #

    I think Conrad was a year old before I cooked a proper dinner, let alone tried a new recipe. You are killing it. Love you so much!!

    April 14, 2015

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