Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Civilization has arrived

We live in the boonies. In a low density rural area. Town is 17 miles away.  So it has been 10 long long years since I have had hot food arrive at my front door, let alone have someone other than my husband be the bearer of this lukewarm food.

But all that is about to change...

The somewhat nearby 'general store' has begun making and delivering pizza!  And subs!  And, according to the flyer, they will also deliver GROCERIES!, including wine and beer!  Be still my beating heart!  Pizza AND beer!  Brought to my door! Even subs and a gallon of milk!  MILK, delivered!  Sure they don't sell produce and meat but they have the general bread, soup, chips, dairy things and they will BRING IT TO MY HOUSE!!  Can you feel my glee?!  I called when I got the flyer, before I let myself get all gleeful, just to check on the delivery radius and they deliver in a 9 mile radius.  We live 7.6 miles away.  I know because the very next morning I drove there & measured. (its on the way to my kids school, sorta)  Since then I have been far to gleeful to actually call in anything. Ever wanted something for so long that when you finally get it you have no idea what to do with it?  That's how I feel. Paralyzed by sheer glee.

They only deliver Thursday-Saturday. Last week we already had dinner plans for those nights.  Tomorrow we're going out to dinner & what with the cost of where we are going & the cost of the babysitter, we won't be in a position to order pizza this week.  but I'm thinking next Friday we're getting pizza. DELIVERED.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

How are my children still healthy

let alone alive?

I don't wipe every surface in my house down with Clorox.  I've never, not once, sanitized their toys.  We've had other children over to play and I've never even sprayed Lysol around the play area when they left.  There isn't a single bottle of Purell in the house.  Why hasn't CPS arrived yet?

The only thing, and I mean seriously, the ONLY THING, being marketed to me on TV currently is cleaning supplies.  No one is trying to sell me a mini van, (going by the soundtracks they are aiming toward moms 10 years younger than me) or investment advice (geared toward women with kids about to go to college), or even a burger.  Possibly they are trying to sell me Nutrisystem but that commercial featuring the woman who went from a size 8 to a size 2 just pisses me off (I've forced my body into unhealthy weight loss and so can you!), so it doesn't count.

Which leaves Clorox, and Lysol and the billions upon billions of germs that I am wantonly and neglectfully exposing my children to everyday through my thoughtlessly lax cleaning habits.  And Taco Bell who just now ran an ad with "I Melt for You" playing. I may just have to go buy something from Taco Bell in appreciation of their not attempting to frighten me with scare tactics.  And I don't even really like Taco Bell

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

where does he get this?

The younger of the little demons, er, angels, loves spicy food. Where did that come from. DH & I are not spicy food eaters. I like flavorful stuff but heat turns me off. I am a bland eater. I'm not fond of mexican due to the peppers & I like mild forms of Indian & Thai food. I love the flavors in Japanese food & non-hot Chinese food. I like unusual spices but not heat. DH like thigs a bit hoter than me but even then he is an American Hot sort of eater (as opposed to Mexican Hot or Thai Hot, the grades that appear in several of our local ethnic restuarants). DS2 however likes it HOT. He likes spicy curry. He'll eat Wasabi ranch dip with a fork. He loves spicy taco meat. I am a bland cook & I have joked that I need to just start shaking Tabasco sauce on his food to get him to eat it. Turns out it really isn't a joke. I bought chicken taquitos because the store was out of the usual beef & cheese ones. The chicken ones are bland, even to me (and that is sayin something). DS2 loves taquitos but he doesn't like the chicken ones because thy are bland. The beef ones don't really qualify as spicy but they do at least have a nice flavor. He's only 2 and a half & doens't understand that we don't have the taquitos he wants. He sees the box and wants taquitos. Explaining they are the chicken ones he won't eat makes no difference. All he knows is that I am denying him the taquitos of his dreams. So today I went through my spice rack, looking for something to dress up the taquitos. I'd though I had some red pepper (though why I though I would have that is a mystery). What I found was curry powder (and why I have that is a bigger mystery). I made the taquitos and then sprinkled a bit of curry powder on them. They smelled good. DS2 ate them up with speed and requested more. I made another batch, including some for myself. They were delicious. DS1 was not as approving, but he is a bland eater too. He did eat them eventually.

My quest for this evening is to go through my recipie cards and find the reason I bought the curry powder so I can make it for dinner tomorrow. I'm assuming it was a Rachel Ray meal, the only other cookbook I have been using in the past few months is Giada DiLorentis & curry doens't feature much in Italian food.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Baggage - labels

The mental & emotional kind, not the kind that gets x-rayed at airport security.

I have baggage. Everyone I know has baggage of some sort. Among my friends it is religious or cultural mostly, but educational, athletic and economic bags also sit on the luggage cart was well. We all have things that our family made us do, or wouldn't let us do, or were inflicted upon us by our peers. We swear these things will not happen to our children. We will do it differently. We will do it right .

My baggage is food related (with a carry on of organized sports issues). There was little variety in the meals in our house. I was labeled a picky eater at an early age, but never really encouraged to try new things. No one in my family ate new things either, at least not in front of me. I assume when my parents were in Japan and the Philippines my dad, at least, tried new foods. My mom I know existed on Mc D's french fries & milkshakes. It was a case of the pot calling the kettle black. But as a child I could not see that. I now realize that the limited variety of foods in my house was due to my parents own baggage. Dad had issues with things he would not eat from his poor childhood. Mom just lacks a desire to try new foods. So we were left with what what my dad was willing to eat of what my mom was willing to eat. Ground beef, pork chops, ham steak & the occasional grilled steak. Chicken was expensive when I was child, so we had something called 'city chicken', which was breaded pork kabobs. There was also spaghetti, lasagna & tuna noodle casserole. Vegetables were canned green beans, canned corn, canned succotash, frozen broccoli & cauliflower, both smothered in a cheese sauce. There may have been carrots, but I think not. My dad doesn't like peas. There were no other vegetables in my world, apart from iceberg lettuce

So really, looking back it is not surprising I was a reluctant eater. I can't stand canned green beans. Loathe them, always have, but as they were the veg of choice they were on offer 2 or 3 times a week. Limiting my already limited menu caused me to be labeled a picky eater. I never turned my nose up at zucchini or kohlrabi or asparagus. I was never offered them. Maybe I might have liked them. Maybe if I had seen my parents trying new foods from time to time I would have as well. Maybe not. Maybe the list of foods I refused to eat would have gotten longer. But I know now I was not and am not a picky eater. I like different things than my parents do.

Even knowing this on an intellectual level, I still carry this big bag labeled picky eater with me into every kitchen, grocery store, market & restaurant. "What's that thing?" a suspicious child's voice in mind wonders looking at a star fruit. "Eww, that's yuck." the voice says looking at the okra. "Are there onion chunks in that?" it ponders, looking closely at the stir fry on the plate. "You haven't even tried it yet."the adult me asserts. "Give it a chance." I seem to spend as much time trying to convince myself to try things as I do trying to convince my children. I succeed with myself only because the guilt of being a good example tends to overcome the reluctance. I have lived outside my parent's home for 22 years. I have made my own food choices for longer than I had to live with theirs. But the early training is still there. The reluctance to step outside the known, the encouragement to stick with the familiar. "What if is is yucky?" is the question in my mind.

I don't want that for my children. I want them to look at new foods and ask "What if it is wonderful?" So I eat the slimy okra & find other ways of preparing it. I eat the starfruit and the stir fry. I try my best to range outside my own food comfort zone & provide them with variety. And when people say my child is a picky eater I say "He isn't picky. He just doesn't like everything we do and that is ok."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

the single most frustrating thing

I have found about parenting is this:

They do not make choices based on what they want to have, but rather on what they want to deny their brother.

They insist on watching something nor because they want to watch a particular show, they just don't want their brother to watch what he wants.

They scream bloody murder because their brother took a specific toy. Not because they really want to play with the toy, they just don't want their brother to play with it.

When told it is their turn to choose the shared snack, they don't choose what they like to eat, they choose what their brother dislikes.

it's not about making your own happiness. Its about making others unhappy. I'm hoping they outgrow it, because that is no way to live.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

How I kill time online!

I read blogs. I have dozens of them in my bloglines - digiscrapping, challenges, food & parenting. I don't read them every day because I don't have time, but I catch up with them when I can.

I love the food blogs! They are a mix of news, stories and recipes. My favorites are, Slashfood, Simply Recipes, The Great Big Vegetable Challenge and the Food Whore. I keep changing out my digi blogs, adding & subtracting as I find new blog or other blogs go a long time without new posts. My favorite parenting blog is Motherhood Uncensored (she really is not kidding about that, so don't read it if you have issues with language or raunchy behavior). Most of the parenting blogs I read are of the venting & humor variety. I'm not looking for advice just entertainment & the welcome knowledge that mine are not the .only occasionally badly behaved kids in restaurants

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bad, bad baking

I've had a run of bad luck with baking lately. My second to last loaf of sandwich bread did not go over too well with the demons. I have to tread a careful edge on the whole wheat to white flour percentage with them. I thought I had found a good balance but then I tried with this loaf to add some oat bran to it. Apparently it added a barely noticeable density to the bread, which was just too much for them. Their basis for comparison is Wonder bread, which admittedly I love too, so I know I am fighting an uphill battle on the texture front. And I must admit, peanut butter on a slice of dense wheat bread is like eating spackle in my opinion (which i have not voiced to the demons, they arrived a similar conclusion completely on their own). So I decided to make a different loaf of bread, a 'fluffy sandwich loaf' it claimed and it used a similar proportion of wheat to white that had been working ok for me. This loaf had 3 rising periods, which is a pain if you are not around all day to check on it and despite that it turned out like a brick. With DS2 repeatedly begging for 'san-ich, san-ich Mama!' I bought a loaf of Wonder bread.

Then yesterday I decided to make a cake. I had some yogurt that I needed to use in the next day or so and a recipe for yogurt cake I wanted to try out. I baked it the initial 40 minutes but it was underdone so I baked it a bit longer & the toothpick came out clean (I've been having that issue with my oven with everything lately. I need to get a new oven thermometer, the last one got fried when DH ran the the 'cleaning' cycle) It smelled good and looked good. It cooled & I iced it. Dessert time came around & I started to cut it. I have never had to SAW slices off of a cake before but I knew when my steak knife was having issues sliding through it there was a problem. The outer couple inches of the edges of the cake were overbaked & rock hard. The inside was underbaked. I cannot recall the last time I have spit food out, let alone cake, but I couldn't bring myself to finish chewing it. The icing was ok, but it was Duncan Hines.

So I am on a baking hiatus. The cake problem can possibly be blamed on the high humidity - there was too much flour in the mix. Also I am just hopeless baking sweets. I can bake bread and make a delicious cobbler, but that is it as far as baking goes for me. The bread flour is kept in the fridge at a constant humidity, though I suppose possibly the humidity did something during the risings... or there could be a problem with the oven I won't know about that for awhile. It's too damn hot to be using the oven now anyway.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I had good intentions

We all know what road is paved with those....

I was really going to try this year to branch out on side dishes; do something more than just microwave some frozen veggie mix - MAKE THINGS! I was going to make things, to serve something more than steamed broccoli with a bit of garlic butter. I was even going to make a few veggie meals. But it's September & it just hasn't happened. I still make the plans to cook these things, but by 6pm most nights just grabbing a bag of frozen peas & tossing them in the microwave seems an effort, especially since no one will eat them anyway. Peas coated in butter, peas with garlic, peas in ginger sauce, pea soup, peas with bacon. The boys will not touch them. It's draining - mentally & emotionally.

It's not just the peas or the veggies in general, it's everything. Just getting them to taste things is a miserable experience. One bite. That all I ask. Before you turn your nose up and announce "That's yuck!" to the room at large TRY THE THING FIRST!!! Just taste it. If you don't like it, fine. It's ok to not like everything. But taste it...please. I want them to like food, I want them to enjoy food. They don't have to be adventurous eaters snacking on fried mosquito larvae, but for crying out loud take a bite of chicken that is not coated in breading once in awhile.

I keep telling myself it is just a stage, normal & natural. But is it. Other people's kids seem to eat more variety, eat more willingly, don't shout 'yuck' when presented with anything but pizza for dinner. Other children will take the one bite without being asked or told to do so. I don't compare my kids to other peoples in anything but this. Learning to crawl, read, ride a bike, these are things kids do in their own time. They are skills you develop when you are physically & mentally ready to do so. What about trying food? Is this my fault? Are my genes to blame? My parenting? Somedays it just so overwhelming to me that all I can do is order pizza and savor the site of them eating something willingly.