Oh, this has been a busy month so far! The speed of everything just revved up once school started, and we haven’t slowed down since. I’m delighted that both my boys are in the same school now, and can, theoretically, walk to and from school without parental supervision. This hasn’t happened yet, but only because the weather has been so nice, and holding hands for those few moments is so pleasant. Derek has been going to work a little earlier, so I’ve been walking the boys, with Kiki, to school every day. The girl usually feels the need to run, or even race home. Although today, there was skipping. The neighbors all walk their kids, too, so we’ve had wonderful conversations each day on the way to or from, and once again, I love my neighbors.

Kiki is now in the local whatever you call it preschool, where the special needs kids are put in with a few “typically developing” kids, to learn social cues, or whatever. All I can say is that it’s got fantastic teachers, and is less than half the price of the other local preschools, for twice the time. Four days a week! I cart her in the bike trailer, and as a result, have lost a few pounds. I really, really love my bike! I feel so hard-core sometimes, dropping kids off, picking them up, shopping, going to food club meetings (I’m in a co-op). The girls at the dentists office were downright shocked that I rode my bike there. I kept trying to explain that one mile is really not far enough to be in awe of, but just the idea of going somewhere without a car is so foreign to some people.

I also just discovered the eternal joys of the pressure cooker. I can’t believe I didn’t know how awesome they were. I even have one already, and use it to cook beans every few weeks. When I got the thing, I really only intended to use it for beans and grains, so I could make large batches and freeze them in meal-sized containers. The other day, I was at the library and spotted a cookbook (somehow irresistible to me), and checked it out. It’s Lorna Sass’s Cooking under Pressure. I had somehow associated Sass with one of those Southern Lady type TV personalities, but I was way off. She’s a food historian (I totally already own one of her historical cookbooks; To the King’s Taste), and isn’t peddling any sort of comfort food, greasy fried food, fake food, or anything really trashy. She’s just into letting us folks know that a lot of the stuff we already do in the kitchen can be done quicker (and sometimes better) in the pressure cooker.

I made barbecue chicken the other day that cooked in 9 minutes. For breakfast yesterday, I made a rice pudding that used pretty much the same recipe as the rice pudding I do often, eggs, milk, rice, sugar, but with completely different textural results. My usual stuff is somewhat like jello pudding, without the yuck. Sass’s pressure cooked pudding is kind of like a flan with rice. And as a flan-o-phile, I approve. And it’s fast. I made applesauce today, and here’s how you do it. Cut up your apples (I don’t skin them or take the cores out, cause I’m gonna use a borrowed food mill), and toss them in the cooker. Add one cup of water or cider vinegar or a mixture. Cover, heat on high until pressure is reached, turn off heat, wait for pressure to come down on it’s own. Then mill, or puree, or whatever. Add some cinnamon, boil it down further for apple butter, etc. The apples totally explode in the pressure cooker, but you don’t have to be there to stir every five minutes, and the crap doesn’t burn. There’s a recipe for Lamb stew that I can’t wait to try.