Asparagus Chickpea Brown Rice

This might be the most nutritious and healthy dish I've made thus far. I just couldn't resist when I saw the recipe. I love asparagus, chickpeas and tahini, so why not all together all at once.

Aside from the minor prep work needed before you get started, this is a pretty quick little side. Jeff and I both loved it, and it made for pretty good lunch leftovers the next day. The trick with this dish is to season just right with salt and to add in a little more dressing while eating.

Asparagus Chickpea Brown Rice
From 101 Cookbooks

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 14-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
2-3 cups pre-cooked brown rice
1 cup almond slivers, toasted
kosher salt

Tahini Dressing:

1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1/4 cup tahini
zest of one lemon
scant 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Prepare rice according to package directions

Make the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a big skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the oil around to coat the pan, then add the chickpeas and sprinkling of salt. Let the beans saute for a couple minutes. Add the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute. Stir in the asparagus with another pinch or two of salt, cover with a lid for a minute or two to steam - just until the asparagus brightens and softens up just a bit. Uncover and stir in the rice and almond slivers. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve in a big bowl drizzled with a few tablespoons of the tahini dressing. Serve remaining dressing on the side and let each person add more dressing to their tastes.

Serves 4-6.


Marlo's First Trip to the Park

I'm kind of embarrassed that Marlo is 9 months old and just now we're taking her to the park. I guess I have the excuse that most of her life thus far has been in winter months. With summer officially here though, we figured it best to introduce her to public grasslands and jungle gyms.

So, last Saturday we headed to Meadowlark Park near downtown Carmel. It's a pretty well maintained park. A lot of open meadow area. A walking trail that leads to the Monon Trail. And a nice small playground equipped with baby swings.

I was really excited to get her in a swing. I was sure she would love it, and I was right.

I attempted to swing as well. It had been many years. The last time I was on a swing I was 20 and at a friend's wedding at a park. Me and a few friends swung for about a half an hour in our cocktail dresses. I think this time I lasted about 30 seconds on the swing before I felt like I was going to throw up. Unfortunately, the feeling stuck with me the rest of the day. I remember a long time ago my dad swinging with me as a child and saying he felt the same way. Does this mean I'm old?

We saw lots of fun things at the park. Like this squirrel who was digging for a nut.

Marlo loves little creatures and absolutely adored the squirrel. We had to sit and watch until he finished eating the nut and ran away.

Marlo sat in the grass for the first time. She hated it.

She found various weeds mildly amusing.

On the way back to the car we saw some tadpoles which is something I haven't seen in probably 10 years. Having spent half of those years living in an urban environment, you don't really encounter too many baby frogs. I call this the organic version of The Miracle of Life (Mr. Rock is playing the part of the egg).


Pork & Sauerkraut

This is kind of a pork weekend, right? Brats on the grill. Maybe a little pulled pork action.

Speaking of brats. I'm sure you're totally annoyed with the Hillshire Farms commercials ("When I say Hillshire, you say Farms..."). But the one for "with the Miller High Life cooked in" brats got me going a little. I love Miller High Life, so they totally snagged me and duped me into buying them. We had them on Monday night topped with a mountain of sauerkraut. They were delicious, but I have no idea what maniac would be able to actually taste the Miller High Life. I couldn't even taste beer let alone the brand. Regardless, I recommend.

Back to the story here...If you're not planning on having some big cook out this weekend and are looking for a more refined way to satisfy your craving for dogs and kraut, try this out. We really like the flavors of this dish and felt especially German eating it. You could go all out and serve it with a side of potatoes, but this here dish isn't exactly healthy so we opted for some fresh green beans instead. By the way, it's a wonderful idea for all the leftover sauerkraut you end up having from just feeding two people dogs and kraut, because even a mountain of kraut on each dog doesn't use up even half the container. Another tip. If you don't have caraway seeds in the cupboard, I've seen cans of kraut that have caraway seeds in it. Saves you from having to buy the spice.

Have a lovely holiday weekend!

Pork & Sauerkraut
Adapted from The New York Times

2 slices thick bacon
2 pork chops (bone-in or boneless - I used boneless)
1 small onion, sliced
1 can of sauerkraut
1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup beer
Coarse salt to taste
1. In a heavy skillet, fry the bacon until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Brown both sides of the chops in the bacon fat and add the onion. Saute onion for a few minutes until softened. Add the sauerkraut, the bacon, caraway seeds and pepper to the pan. Cover the chops well with the sauerkraut.

2. Add the beer, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the pork chops are cooked.
3. Serve by stacking bacon on top of chops followed by a generous mound of kraut and onions.


Dancey Dance

For about a month now, Marlo has pretty much demanded dinner music. She literally goes on a hunger strike if there aren't tunes playing while she's eating. She's not picky. I can just play her little tykes radio, or even just sing her some ridiculous made up song about how much she loves her oatmeal. As soon as the song starts, she hangs her mouth open. Without it, her lips are like an iron fortress.

Lately, though, I can tell she really likes the song if she starts dancing. This girl's got some rhythm, too. Here she is rockin' out to Lykke Li.

Well, La Di Da.

Fancy cookie time!

After my impulse buy of lavender from the spice aisle at Meijer, I was determined to make a lemon and lavender something. Would it be pound cake? Biscotti? Then I stumbled across the recipe for these cookies.

I wasn't sure if I was worthy of them. Their simplicity ultimately is responsible for their almost obnoxious sophistication. Would I have to get dressed up to eat them, I thought. The answer is no, in case you were wondering the same thing. A cup of tea doesn't hurt though.

Now, you may be like me and may never have tried lavender anything before. Or maybe it's old news and I've been living in a cave the past 20 years. Either way, don't be afraid of it. These cookies are delightful, mild, lemony and addictive. Take my advice and portion yourself out two cookies because one's just plain not enough and three, well you might feel guilty and these aren't the cookies you want to use up that emotion on.

Lemon & Lavender Cookies
Adapted from When Harry Met Salad

¾ c. sugar
2 T. grated lemon zest + 2 T. juice from 1-2 lemons
2 t. dried lavender (optional, but then they’d just be lemon cookies)
1¾ c. flour
¼ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
12 T. (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
1 egg yolk
½ t. vanilla extract

1) In a food processor (Click here for instructions on how to make the cookies by hand or with a stand mixer), process the sugar, lemon zest and lavender until the sugar looks damp and the zest and lavender are fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then add to the sugar mixture; pulse to combine, about 10 1-second pulses.

2) Scatter the butter pieces over and pulse until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 1-second pulses. In a measuring cup, beat together the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla. With the machine running, add the juice mixture in a slow stream (should take about 10 seconds) and continue processing until the dough forms into a ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.

4) Turn the dough and any dry bits onto a clean work surface and gently gather into a ball. Working quickly, roll the dough into a cylinder about 12″ long and 1½” in diameter. Center the dough on a piece of parchment or plastic wrap and wrap tightly, twisting the ends together to seal. Chill the dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in the freezer or 2 hours in the refrigerator.

5) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

6) Remove the dough log from its wrapper and use a sharp knife to slice the dough into 3/8″ thick rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1″ apart. Bake until the centers of the cookies just begin to color and the edges are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes (the recipe actually says 14-16 minutes, but 10 minutes was plenty for me and my wonky oven), rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. Cool on sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.


Yummy Chicken Quesadillas

Sometimes I wish my mother was Italian and my father was Mexican. Or maybe even the other way around - that might produce a better looking child, but what do I know.

The reasoning behind this is that I love Mexican food. My frequent attempts at making it is always just average at best because apparently I'm way to pasty white to really make it well. I'm not confident handling the flavors or the ingredients and I just constantly feel like a fish outta water in the whole genre. I never know what's missing and what I need to add. This is where a Mexican mother would come in handy because I'm sure that if I had a generations old Mole sauce to make for Jeff, he might love me a little more. Also, I would've inherited, perhaps, a more natural rapport with cilantro instead of being completely repulsed by it.

But even though I don't have any Gomez, Rodriguez or Flores blood running in my veins, these quesadillas tasted pretty awesome. Okay, I understand that quesadillas are probably the whitest of all Mexican food you can make, but cut me some slack, alright? The wet rub on the chicken can really take all the credit for the awesomeness. The flavors are spot on. The addition of the tomatoes really gave the dish a nice fresh flavor, too. Hope you like them! Adios!

Chicken Quesadillas
Adapted from Annie's Eats

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to an even ½ inch thickness
½ small yellow onion, finely diced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
4 large tortillas
olive oil, for brushing/or spray olive oil
1 ½ cups shredded Mexican cheese

For the wet rub:
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. fajita seasoning
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lime

1. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Whisk wet rub ingredients together in a pie plate. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and juices run clear. Remove from the heat and using 2 forks, shred chicken. Scrape out any black bits from skillet and add diced onion. Sauté, stirring constantly, onions are tender.

Brush one side of a tortilla with olive oil. Flip over and top one half of the tortilla with chicken mixture, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese to taste. Fold the tortilla over and carefully place the folded quesadilla onto the grill pan or skillet. Cook until heated through and cheese has melted. Repeat with remaining tortillas. To keep quesadillas warm while the others are still cooking, place in the oven on a baking sheet or other oven safe dish at 200°. Cut the finished quesadillas into triangles and serve with salsa, sour cream or other toppings of your choice.


Thank GOOP for Jaydiohead

Marlo isn't really on the cutting edge of the hip music scene. Not coincidentally, neither am I.

Her favorite songs consist mostly of what I call Zoo Jamz from her Fisher Price zoo toy and also Little Tyke's remixes of the classic "ABC" from the Jackson Five and "Allstar" from Smashmouth. Not very current, I know.

There was a point in time where I used to be hip (musically). I branded that as part of my personality. That may be why I have half the male friends that I do. When all else failed in our social evenings, we could always rely on just sitting silently in the car listening to Radiohead at a just-loud-enough-without-being-too-loud volume, which is probably the closest I've come to a religious experience. Usually no words were necessary, and I understood this. Maybe other girls didn't.

I still consider myself a huge Radiohead-head.. or would it be Head-head, I don't know. However, I'm not in the least bit surprised that I just now found this "Jaydiohead" business, thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow. She sends me emails every week or so. We're tight. Don't buy it? Aren't you a wise owl. If you're remotely interested in what Gwyneth Paltrow thinks is cool, you could sign up for her email newsletter GOOP. She will email you on occasion (it's never an annoying frequency) and tell you about recipes, restaurants, general child rearing advice, etiquette, hotels, vacation hot spots, etc. I don't find that it changes my life, but occasionally she'll have some valuable little nugget. Like this Jaydiohead. It's a marriage of Jay-Z and Radiohead. No, they didn't meet together in some London studio and lay some new tracks (the thought of this alone is quite amusing). Some guy who calls himself minty fresh beats merged Jay-Z raps with Radiohead music. I'm not really a huge hip-hop fan (wouldn't it be funny if I was), but I find it easier to swallow if it's layered on top of a Radiohead song. Have a listen and a nice weekend.


Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sounds good right?

Almost any oatmeal cookie sounds good to me. Especially Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. My favorite cookies in the whole world are Potbelly's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. I might be willing to give my right arm for the recipe. You'd have to catch me on the right day (or wrong day - which is it?) I sent these to work with Jeff when I made them, and apparently they went over well. There was some positive feedback. Personally, I found the flavors really interesting. Nothing about the cookies really shouted "peanut butter!!" or "nutmeg!!" or even "cinnamon!!!" All the flavors just merge and played well together, and make you go "hmmmm" and then "mmmmmm.". Make these this weekend for your kids, or your sig other, or yourself. Everyone will be glad you did.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
As seen on Two Peas and Their Pod. Originally from Dorie Greenspan.

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 1/2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks

Getting Ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Mix in the chips.

If you have the time, cover and chill the dough for about 2 hours or for up to one day. (Chilling the dough will give you more evenly shaped cookies.)
If the dough is not chilled, drop rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. If the dough is chilled, scoop up rounded tablespoons, roll the balls between your palms and place them 2 inches apart on the sheets. Press the chilled balls gently with the heel of your hand until they are about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes. The cookies should be golden and just firm around the edges. Lift the cookies onto cooling racks with a wide metal spatula - they'll firm as they cool.

Makes a TON of cookies.


Hi. I'm...

I love Ira Glass. I love his voice. I love his wit. I love his glasses.

With this in mind, it's a shame I didn't say more about the the live taping of This American Life Jeff and I saw last month in Chicago. A few weekends ago, NPR broadcasted the taping and it reminded me of how funny it was. At times it was more than just funny; it was, for lack of a better word, touching. I laughed until I cried, and sometimes I just plain cried. You see, my emotions were a little less restrained due to a half bottle of wine.

Here is a link to the episode where you can listen to the show through another link for free.

If you listen to the show you may have found yourself doubled over with laughter during the story about the drunk driver accident. The guy telling the story is Mike Birbiglia. Comedian. Funny. As. Hell. Most comedians are kind of assholes. (sorry for all the expletives, I just don't think any other words would seem appropriate) I mean, that's just part of their schtick. They have to have this huge ego. They have to think they're super funny or you definitely won't. Some comedians use this to its full extent. Like Dane Cook. He's not funny, he just cusses a lot. But he is so confident that he is indeed funny, that he's put many people and their money under his spell. Well regardless, Mike Birbiglia isn't Dane Cook. He manages to be hilarious in a non-asshole way. He's really funny in a smart, witty, humble, charming kind of way. Maybe a David Sedaris kind of way.

Moving on, this short animation film was a nice treat they showed the audience during the taping. I think it's an interesting portrayal of how we sometimes treat the people we love. Moral of the story: don't date someone who keeps you in the cupboard. Ta ta!

Quimby The Mouse from This American Life on Vimeo.


Not Just Talkin' the Talk

She's walkin' the walk my friends. Walkin' the walk. (Assisted by her new dolly stroller.)

Sausage & Lentil Casserole

My husband doesn't usually vocalize if he doesn't like something I make. Okay, who am I kidding, it's obvious when he doesn't like something because he just leaves it on the plate. Doesn't even try and squeeze it down for the sake of politeness. He'll pick at it, and just leave the rest for the birds. Yes that's right, he'd rather go hungry than eat something that doesn't suit his palate perfectly. And yes, sometimes it's insulting - especially when I'm my biggest critic and I find the meal outrageously delicious.

Like this casserole. I love it. Could eat it everyday. Jeff groans when I tell him it's what's for dinner. Groans. He claims it's the spinach. He doesn't like cooked spinach. Well okay, that's fair enough but the spinach in this casserole is so mild in flavor and texture I think it's all in his head. I'm certain it's all in head. What you taste most in this casserole is the spicy sausage and the sharp cheddar, all the other ingredients just take very important supporting roles. So if you are like my husband and would rather not eat at all then eat cooked spinach, okay, then this casserole may not be for you; however, even if spinach isn't your favorite (like me) but you won't go running for the hills at the mere sight of it (like me) and you just so happen to love sharp cheddar and spicy sausage (like me and everyone else) then I bet you'll like this casserole.

The only tricky thing about this casserole is finding the right ingredients. The ingredients on paper seem pretty straight forward, accessible, and easy. But then when you actually go out and try to find them, it gets a little tough. Please take my advice on a few things here. I've only found 2 brands that actually make a 19 ounce can of lentil soup. Progresso and Muir Glen Organics. I've used both and Muir Glen is much better than Progresso, but Progresso is cheaper and more widely available. Also, IQF spinach is key and also very hard to find. What you're looking for is going to be a bag of spinach that the spinach leaves were frozen separately in chunks. The boxed kind won't work here. I've made it with the boxed kind, having to cook it first then mix it in, and it turns out mushy and gross. I've found IQF spinach at Whole Foods. Haven't really looked too hard anywhere else. Leave a comment if you find another brand of soup or a store that carries IQF spinach.

Sausage & Lentil Casserole

16 ounces hot Italian-style sausage (I use Bob Evans zesty italian sausage)
1 small onion, chopped
1 19-ounce can lentil soup
2 cups individually quick-frozen (IQF) spinach
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup uncooked converted white rice (like Uncle Ben's)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Remove casings from sausage and crumble with a fork. Add sausage and onion to large skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add soup, spinach and oregano; heat through. Add rice and season with pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking dish; cover with foil. Bake until rice is tender, about 35 minutes. Top with Cheddar and bake uncovered until the cheese is melted, a few minutes longer.

Adapted from Eating Well


Pizza and a Movie

I realize it's been a week.

If you haven't noticed already, I don't post much on the weekend. My husband distracts me. Plus it's hard for me to write sitting next to someone. I get self-conscious. Like they're reading and secretly hating every word I type out. It's paralyzing.

Also, the beginning of the week was spent in Ohio. My friend Savina was home in Findlay from Hawaii for a week. I don't get many opportunities to spend time with Savina anymore, so I jumped at the opportunity to see her. Here is Marlo and Savina taking a break from their deep conversation.

Am I excused?

Will pizza make up for my disappearance? How about pizza and a new Marlo feature presentation.

I made this pizza last week. It's really fun and satisfying to make your own pizza from scratch. While I don't think it necessarily tastes a whole lot better than our favorite pizza shop in town, it feels better. What I mean by that is, it feels good knowing that I know every ingredient and have control over everything so the pizza comes out exactly how I want it.

Tomato & Pesto Pizza

Start off earlier in the afternoon making the dough for the crust. The website I got the recipe from, Brown Eyed Baker, gives directions for making the dough using either a food processor, a stand mixer, or by hand. Please visit the link if you don't have a food processor and need directions for the other two methods. I of course used my beloved new food processor.

Makes enough for 2 medium pizzas.

We find the food processor is the best tool for making pizza dough. However, only a food processor with a capacity of at least 11 cups can handle this much dough. You can also knead this dough by hand or in a standing mixer (see the variations that follow). Unbleached all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, but the resulting crust will be less crisp. If you want to make pizza dough in the morning and let it rise on the counter all day, decrease the yeast to 1/2 teaspoon and let the covered dough rise at cool room temperature (about 68 degrees) until doubled in size, about 8 hours. You can prolong the rising time even further by refrigerating the covered dough for up to 16 hours and then letting it rise on the counter until doubled in size, which will take 6 to 8 hours.

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl

1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

3. The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

I used just half of the dough for this pizza. It was the perfect amount of pizza to stuff both of us. I would use all the dough if you had 4 or so people to feed and double the following recipe to make two pizzas. Otherwise, divide the dough into two equal hunks and freeze the other half if not using.

1/2 of above pizza dough recipe
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. grated Asiago cheese (optional)
3 Tbsp. store -bought or homemade basil pesto
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded fontina
2 ripe plum tomatoes sliced thinly (I used the processor) and let to dry on paper towel
*you can really use whatever tomato you want - I used a hothouse tomato

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out dough to your desired thickness on a well floured surface. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

2. Brush olive oil on the outer rim of dough. Sprinkle Asiago cheese over olive oil.

3. Evenly spread pesto in center of pizza dough. Use more or less according to your taste. Evenly sprinkle cheese over pesto and top cheese with tomato slices.

4. Slide pizza and parchment paper off of baking sheet directly on to the oven rack. Bake 9-12 minutes, rotating half way, until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Adapted from Cuisinart


And now for our feature presentation...

Marlo's doing a handful of cute new things lately.

For the most part she's given up the unbecoming gremlin growl she's had for a good month and traded it in for a nice, feminine "La la", often in a pretty girly voice. "la la la la la" all the live long day here. Occasionally, she'll get fancy and throw in a "buh" and make a few "blah blahs" (these are often accompanied by rather large spit bubbles). The point is: the girl's learning to talk. While I think the only actual word she says associating to an actual object is "dada", I have high hopes that we'll make leaps and bounds the next few months. I'm curious what her first word will be outside of mama and dada. She doesn't have a blanket, nor does she have a bottle, so "baba" is kind of obsolete (unless she means "boob" - which is always possible). I have a feeling it might be some variation of puppy. She loves her puppy dogs.

While she's still working on her words, she's mastering body language. Hilariously, she's learned to shake her head "no". Unfortunately for her, her noggin is so large she about loses her balance when she gets carried away. See for yourself.