Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Food Issues and Uploading Obsession

I have bragged about performances by my daughters. It is time to brag about my boys. They like to play PS2. They are good at it. I am going to drag in some folding chairs, watch them battle it out on some game, and then we will all rise and politely applaud and serve punch and take pics (which I will post later - I promise).

Well there is still no piano link to take you to Ellie's performance. Actually, the "oh my gosh you have to see my kid she is so unbelievably awesome" obnoxious desire to brag has waned. But, Jeff is horrifically OBSESSED with successfully uploading the file. He has the ability to completely lose himself in a task. He could sit through a hurricane doing a "task". And this is his new task. He is spending every spare moment on it. He has uploaded the file a zillion times. He is now supposed to wait 2 days to see if it turns up. I'm not sure he can do that.

I have had my 2nd night in a row making an awesome dinner! It is sad that this is so exciting. But it is! I am so rocking awesome! This doesn't always happen. The intent is there but often I get sidetracked or overwhelmed or busy or something and dinner turns into black bean tacos (favorite standby). But last night I made an awesome spaghetti sauce with our homegrown tomatoes, including the uncontaminated romas we are growing : ). I have never made homemade spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes and what a difference it made! It was soooooo good! I was inspired to look at ketchup recipes and I am sad to say I will not be making ketchup. The recipe included directions on how to peel, seed, strain, and squeeze tomatoes. Zillions of tomatoes. To obtain less ketchup than Camille and Jasper consume in a single fish stick frenzy. But the tomatoes keep coming.

Yesterday for lunch the kids and I had Tofacon (tofu bacon), lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Tonight I made a really good Mexican salad. Everyone liked it except for Camille and Jasper, who basically don't like anything I cook. The Joels would eat rocks if I put it on their plates. Ellie will eat anything that never housed a soul or held consciousness. But the two little ones are stinkers. Jasper constantly says he's hungry and he must be because he never eats anything. When he was a newborn our regular doc was not in the office so we saw Dr. Uptight, instead. Then we just kept seeing him but I don't know why because he upset me and I seemed to upset him. But anyway, at a certain point he was concerned that Jasper wasn't eating solid food. He wanted him to eat solid food much earlier than we believe is necessary or beneficial for our kids. So we went back and forth on it. Dr. Uptight insisted that Jasper would have a hard time adjusting to solids if I didn't "introduce" them. As in "Solid food, this is Jasper. Jasper, this is solid food." I thought this was insane. I imagined a forty-year old bald guy sitting at a business luncheon on a liquid diet because he'd never been properly introduced to solid food. Like that could happen. Anyway, Jasper is now 4 and begs for Kefir (yogurt-type drink) and regularly spits out solid food in little "hiding spots" which are extremely unpleasant to discover, let me tell you. If it is something he doesn't like he'll let it sit in his mouth, and say, "I can't swallow it!" while drooling profusely and looking for some place to spit it out. This makes his father turn to me and say, "Dr. Uptight told you this would happen." Dang Dr. Uptight. Jasper can swallow just fine when he's dealing with a cache of candy out of a Halloween bucket or an Easter basket. He can also get down on fish sticks. I'm not sure there is any fish in fish sticks. I do not know what they are. I know they're not considered a health or whole food : ) But the boy can knock them down with a bottle of ketchup. I guess that will be slightly more acceptable at a business luncheon....

The Joels like to eat anything they think might gross someone out. Raw oysters? Love them. Caviar? Love it. Sushi? Especially the eel. Liver? You betcha. They are enthusiastic calamari consumers. As for everything else, they eat that, too. And lots of it. Today I made a veggie dip out of ricotta cheese blended with ranch dressing. Camille and Jasper were complaining bitterly and just eating their jicama plain (well Jasper was holding his in his mouth and drooling). I kept telling them it was good. "Look at the boys! They're eating it!" Then I tasted it and gagged. I can't believe they ate it. What spurred this culinary experiment was an article I was reading about feeding kids healthy snacks. We're pretty good at healthy but sometimes we need to try new things. But the ricotta dip made every other suggestion seem highly questionable to me. But we are going to try making microwave popcorn tomorrow using a paper bag, Pam, and popcorn kernels. I'll let you know how that works. I don't like them to eat microwave popcorn. I know the popcorn factory workers who have developed black lung disease from inhaling the bag fumes inhaled A LOT of it - but I can't believe that anything that causes black lung disease is good for you in any amount. Call me crazy.

OK - I have to stop blogging. Jeff has just come in and said he is has a problem. He admits he is obsessed with uploading the video. He tried again and doesn't think it went through. He hasn't slept since the recital. I'm encouraged, though. Admitting you have a problem is the first step...

Let me get to the recipes real quick, though!
Spaghetti Sauce

You need a TON of tomatoes. Enough to coarsely dice and fill up your pot about 3/4 full.

Bring to a boil and continue to lightly boil over a medium flame until it is cooked down and as thick as you want it. It took me about 3 hours or so.

Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. When tomatoes are reduced, add the other vegetables and chopped fresh basil and oregano. Now comes the important part - dinner is almost ready. This means it is around 5:30 which is the worst time of day with cranky kids and messy house and dead-dog tired mama, etc. Find a corkscrew and proceed to destroy and mutilate the cork on a bottle of cheap Italian table wine, preferably the kind with at least 13% alcohol content. Pour desired amount into the spaghetti sauce and bring to a boil to evaporate the alcohol. Since the cork is destroyed, locate a large wineglass, tumbler, or mug and partake of the remaining wine : ). Enjoy!

Mexican Salad (I made this up and it is so good!)

Cook 1 cup of brown rice (1 cup uncooked). While it is simmering cut up 2 or 3 tomatoes, half of a red onion, and a handful of cilantro. Put in a bowl and add a can of black beans, a can of kidney beans, and a can of corn. Add the tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Press a clove of garlic onto the mixture and stir. Refrigerate. When rice is finished cooking, let cook and then refrigerate. Next mix 1 1/2 cups of sour cream with 1/4 cup of a fruity salsa (I used a peach salsa) and you can add a tablespoon or so of some kind of preserves (I used apricot). Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of chili powder and a dash of hot sauce. When you are ready to put dinner on the table, mix all of the chilled ingredients (rice/beans/dressing) together. Serve over lettuce and sprinkle with shredded cheese. YUM! Camille ate it and liked it. Jasper just drooled. Oh well.

Check back for the video tomorrow! And just to whet your appetite and tease your curiosity, next week's newspaper column is about frozen dog poop. Exciting, right?

Sardine Mama
PS I just scanned this blog and I used the word "awesome" an awesome number of times. I am so awesomely tired.

PPS Google is advertising toilet seats on my blog again : ) Truly - what have I mentioned to attract the toilet ad? Oh my gosh! Could it be "frozen poop?"

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