Tag Archives: food

Two for One Meal: Crockpot Vegetable Soup and Pot Roast

What tastes totally delicious but looks like puke when you try to photograph it for a blog?
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Vegetable soup!

Totally unappetizing LOOKING, but amazing tasting. I promise.

This isn’t usually a recipe blog, and it’s not about to become one, but this was yummy! I had to share it.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Lindsey told me she’d made amazing vegetable soup in her crockpot AT THE SAME TIME as the pot roast she made her family. It pretty much blew my mind, and I decided to try it myself. She didn’t give me an exact recipe, so I winged it and texted her a little in between.

I did:
1 pot roast, probably about 3 pounds?
2 packets of Lipton onion soup mix
1 32 oz box of beef stock
1 can of tomato soup
1 cup of dry sherry (white wine would work)
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas)
1 box of frozen spinach
3 tsp chopped garlic (probably about 3 cloves)
a bunch of shakes of worcestershire sauce
a couple pinches of salt
a giant crockpot (I don’t know the size of mine, but it’s pretty huge and was filled to the top)

I put all of that in my crockpot, cooked it on low for 8 hours and when it was done we had a semi-decent pot roast that all the kids ate, especially with the soup spooned over it AND a TON of absolutely delicious vegetable soup. And I say this as a person who usually doesn’t care that much for vegetable soup. This stuff was super savory and delicious. I think the pot roast really added to the flavor of the soup. We have enough food to last for at least one more meal for all five of us, plus more for lunch for a couple of us. So, basically, I made two different meals at the same time and both were yummy and appreciated.

It was genius. And not even really my idea, but you should all go make it right now because it was easy.

And if you don’t have something, wing it. I didn’t have a real recipe either. It will probably still be good. At least, that’s how it works when I improvise!

The only problem with this soup-and-pot roast-cooking-at-the-same-time situation is a potential for INSANE splatter if you accidentally drop the pot roast back into the soup when you are trying to remove it from the crockpot. Not that that happened to me or anything. Nope. My counter, floor and my entire body were NOT covered with red soup. I didn’t have to stop prepping dinner to go put my clothes in the wash. Not at all!

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Mind Reader

We’ve just finished dinner. I am clearing the table. I do a double check to make sure everyone is done.

Rose: I’m still hungry!
Me: You’re still hungry? I thought you were done!
Rose: You forgot my carrots!
Me: You said you didn’t want carrots, remember? You told me you hated them.
Rose: No, I didn’t!!!
Me: Yes, you did! That’s why I gave you all those grape tomatoes!
Rose: You forgot my carrots! Lily had carrots!
(Lily FOUGHT eating carrots.)
Me: Ok, I’ll give you some carrots, but I didn’t forget them! You TOLD ME not to give them to you so I didn’t.
Rose: You FORGOT my carrots! I LIKE carrots!

End scene. Repeat it tomorrow with a different food.

Why do I listen to her when I’m plating her food?

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Bibs = Worthless

Bibs are stupid. They don’t work and I don’t use them.

“But don’t they keep your kids’ clothes clean?” you ask.

The answer is no. They don’t. Ever. Whenever a baby starts eating solid purees at my house, food flies everywhere. It drips past the bib to the pants. It drips UNDER the bib to the neck of the outfit. The baby gets food on her hand and smears it all over the unprotected parts of her clothes, face and hair. Regardless of the bib, if a 7 month old is eating with clothes on you are probably about to put her in a new outfit.

We have an added mess bonus this time around. Violet is a hardcore thumbsucker. She’s my first (and last) thumbsucker. For the most part I love it because she self-soothes easily and puts herself to sleep in her crib without ANY sleep training effort on my part whatsoever, but when it comes to eating thumbsucking makes it that much more work. The kid wants to suck her thumb while she’s eating, which means if she’s wearing clothes she gets food all over her hands and sleeves. It’s hard to get food in her mouth because her thumb is always in there!

A bib would not protect Violet’s clothes from the thumbsucking, the lap dripping, the under chin dripping etc. I gave up on bibs when Lily was a baby. That’s how long I’ve been anti-bib. What does a bib do? Nothing. It just adds to your laundry.

At our house, when you are a baby eating purees (and I’m not interested in hearing more about baby-led weaning here, thanks), one of two things happens: Either you eat naked and then I wipe you off with a wipe or you eat in clothes I immediately take off of you.

I used to ONLY do the eating naked thing so I could completely avoid stains. Naked feeding is AWESOME for stain avoidance. Sometime between Lily and Rose’s baby food adventures, I started using OxyClean and we rarely have stains even after the most disastrous of messes. If I took before and after pictures around here, I could seriously star in an OxyClean commercial. That stuff rocks.

Between OxyClean and I being lovers and Violet being our for-sure final child unless something really improbable happens, I often let Violet eat in clothes AND without a bib. I really don’t care as much if her clothes get stained since there will never be another baby of mine who needs to wear them. The benefit to feeding a clothed baby is that there is less baby to wash when the feeding is over. The clothes protect the kid from the food and then you just wash the clothes.

Seriously, you’d be amazed at the food and pink bubblegum antibiotic stains OxyClean removes.

However, insider tip: nothing removes baby vitamin drops no matter how soon you wash something. NOTHING. Baby vitamin drops are evil bitches that should only be given while the baby is in the bathtub. HATE.

So, save your money:
*DON’T buy bibs (though I hear they are nice for major spit-up babies. I wouldn’t know.).
*DO buy OxyClean
*Embrace naked baby feedings.
*Give baby vitamin drops at bathtime.

To be fair, I did see a designer baby bib at a boutique recently that included sleeves. I was intrigued, but then I discovered that each bib cost $30. ha ha ha $30 bib. So no. No bibs. Ever.

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Ice Cream Etiquette

Sometimes I think my husband was born on another planet, or at least another country. The other country part does have some basis because he was raised by South Korean immigrants and, thus, some of the typical American childhood experiences most of us assume everyone has had, he missed. For example, when we met, he’d never had a milkshake.

Ever.

And no, he didn’t have a food allergy. He’d just never had a milkshake. (I guess my kids haven’t had milkshakes yet either, but Lily has a dairy allergy. I must get some coconut milk ice cream and fix this.)

I didn’t realize until recently how poor his ice cream knowledge was. We took the girls for ice cream and dairy-free fruit freeze after a trip to the park (They are starting to expect this and demand it if we were planning it. Uh oh/yay.). I ordered a vanilla soft serve cone dipped in chocolate. It had been forever since I’d had one and it was extraordinary. Why have I been wasting my time with other ice creams when I can just order that? Oh, wait, because ALL ice cream is delicious.

Anyway, I was eating this ginormous cone (small, my ass. If that was small, a large must be as big as I am) and my husband turns to me and says “What is that? A sundae?”

I had to explain to my 41-year-old US-born husband that a sundae involves ice cream with toppings in a cup. What I was eating was a cone dipped in chocolate. Somehow in his 41 years of life he had never eaten one.

So I’m licking the cone, because that is how one eats ice cream in a cone, right? You lick it. He turns to me, disgusted, and says “Why do you eat your ice cream like a little kid?”

I asked how I was eating like a little kid. My cone was pretty messy and I had admittedly done some not so graceful work with my fingers/teeth to get the chocolate pieces off of it. I know it wasn’t the most elegant procedure, but the cone was huge and melting and the chocolate was falling off. There wasn’t much way around it, but was I being grosser than I realized?

“You keep licking it. Little kids lick ice cream cones. You are almost 33 years old and you are licking an ice cream cone like a kid!”

I was flabbergasted.

“I’m licking it because THAT’S HOW YOU EAT AN ICE CREAM CONE. How else am I supposed to be eating this thing?!”

He still doesn’t have a good answer for me. Perhaps this is why he eats his ice cream out of a bowl. Maybe he doesn’t even know how to lick an ice cream cone. I know for a fact he doesn’t eat a popsicle properly. He bites it like it’s a breadstick. My teeth hurt just watching him.

I just informed him that I was writing this and he claims that I was making shapes with the ice cream. You know what shapes I was making? The shapes that happen when you strategically lick around an ice cream cone to stop the drips.

That’s how most humans eat ice cream cones. At least in this country.

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Eat Rocks

I was feeding the kids a total Bad Mom Lunch outside. It’s bad enough when I stuff peanut butter crackers, cereal bars and cookies into them to make it from a playdate to afternoon preschool on time, but doing that just so I don’t have to prepare a real lunch to take into our own yard? That’s just laziness! I’d blame late pregnancy, but I’ve been guilty of this before. Oh well. They seem to enjoy Bad Mom Lunch just as much as Mediocre Mom Lunch (yogurt, fruit and bread or sandwiches, fruit and pretzels or deli meat, bread and fruit usually). Yesterday, I brought out an assortment of prepackaged snack foods for lunch and asked what people wanted to eat first.

Rose said she wanted to eat “rocks” first.

Rocks? As far as I knew we didn’t have rocks. Not of the edible sort, anyway.

She pointed to this bag and said “Those are rocks. I like rocks!”
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I guess those potatoes DO look like rocks.

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Cheeto or Carrot?

I love Cheetos, but I almost never buy them. In fact, I probably haven’t bought them in a bag for home since the kids were born. I’ll eat them occasionally at Subway, but I never bring a big bag home. The other day I was craving them so badly that I couldn’t resist temptation at the grocery store. I came home with a family-sized bag.

I offered one to Rose and she yelled “NO! NO I DON’T WANT A CARROT!”

I never realized before how alike baby carrots and Cheetos look.

I can see why she got confused, but she was denying herself delicious junk food over fear that the Cheeto might be a carrot. She usually likes carrots so I’m not sure what the problem was there! I tried to explain that it wasn’t a carrot, that it was a Cheeto and that it was delicious. As I was doing it, I wondered why the hell I was trying to convince my child to try junk food she didn’t want. It would probably be a good thing if she never realized what wonders Cheetos hold.

I was reminded of this time in the waiting room of my OB/GYN when 1.5-year-old Lily asked for an apple because she was hungry for a snack. I didn’t have an apple. All I had was 100-calorie pack Lorna Doone cookies. I told her I didn’t have an apple, so if she was hungry she’d have to eat cookies. She threw a fit while I tried to talk her into eating cookies over eating an apple. I felt like the worst mom ever because clearly an apple was a far better choice, but I was trying to force cookies on her! It was because she was hungry, but STILL. Why didn’t I have an apple? (Because they are a pain in the ass to carry in a diaper bag without bruising or turning brown, that’s why.)

She eventually did try a Cheeto, but didn’t seem to like it much. An hour later, she threw up. It was probably unrelated, but maybe I should listen the next time my kid tells me she doesn’t want junk food– even if the reason she doesn’t want it is because she mistakes it for health food!

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Friday Funnies: Bananas

My kids pretend like they LOVE bananas. When they see that we have bananas, they freak out and demand to eat them.

I would split a banana between them, but neither one of them wants a banana that’s cut up. They both insist on starting a banana from the top while it’s still in the peel. All other forms of banana are absolutely unacceptable. Apparently, they taste horrible if you eat them from any other point than from the top. So I give them each a whole banana even though I KNOW it will be a bad idea.

No matter how excited they were to see the bananas, no matter how hungry they claimed to be, I always get the banana back like this.

That’s right, all that excitement about a banana, but in the end, a good 90% of the banana ends up uneaten. And my children will only eat fresh whole bananas.

Often after I get this abused, neglected banana back, they will ask for another snack. I will direct them to the wasted banana. I mean, I guess I could eat the rest of the banana, but sometimes I’m not hungry. Besides which, I only vaguely like bananas. I have to be in the right mood to eat one. I could save the banana, but I really have no use for it later. The kids won’t eat it because it already has a bite out of it. It doesn’t matter that it’s something that particular kid bit herself, neither one of them will eat it. I guess if I were really ambitious, I would cut the bite off the banana and save it in a plastic bag until I had enough to make banana bread. That sounds like an awful lot of work to me.

And so, our garbage can becomes a banana graveyard. It’s ridiculously wasteful.

As of this week, I have instituted a new rule with Lily. If she asks me for a banana, she has to eat at least half of it or the next time she asks for a banana, she won’t get it. This rule seems to be working well. Her bananas are far more respectfully eaten than they once were. Unfortunately, this isn’t a rule that works well with a 2 year old.

Me: Eat more of your banana please.

Rose: NO!

Me: You have to eat more of your banana or I won’t get you one next time you ask. Eat it.

Rose: NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! *screams*

So… yeah. We waste a ton of bananas at our house and it drives me crazy. I suppose I could stop giving them bananas, but bananas are so good for them and sometimes they eat the whole thing. It’s just so hard to tell when I hand over a banana if it will actually be eaten or if it will get wasted.

Wow, I just said banana a lot.

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That One

Rose’s eyes are too big for her stomach. After Thanksgiving dinner, I took her up to the desserts on the counter and asked her which one she wanted.

Me: Do you want apple pie?

Rose: No! I want that one!

Me: Chocolate cake?

Rose: Yes, chocolate!

So I picked up this piece of chocolate cake and Rose started screaming.

Rose: NO! NO! NO! That one!

Me: Which one? It’s chocolate cake or apple pie!

Rose: I want that one!

I started pointing at each piece of dessert and she said no until I pointed at…

Almost 3/4 of a GIANT rich chocolate cake.

Rose: Yes! That one!

Obviously I couldn’t let my 2 year old consume one of the biggest, richest chocolate cakes I’ve ever seen. I mean, a ton of other people at Thanksgiving hadn’t had dessert yet. I’m sure if left to her own devices with a giant cake, she’d end up covered in chocolate from head to toe and when I’m traveling I’m just not equipped to handle such a disastrous mess. And I’m sure that type of overeating, somewhat on par with a hot dog eating champ’s consumption considering the cake was as big as she is, would result in Rose becoming very sick after the fact.

Me: Oh! Well, you can’t eat that BIG cake. You can have a piece of the cake like this one.

I tried to hand her a small piece of the cake again.

Rose: NO! I want that one!

Every adult in the room was cracking up at this point.

It turned out that Rose’s wee little toddler brain couldn’t comprehend that the first piece of cake came off of the giant cake. When I cut her a new piece of cake, as brilliantly suggested by my mother, she was as happy as a clam. She needed to physically see the piece of cake come off the big cake to accept that she was eating the same thing. Nothing we could say about the first piece of cake could convince her that it had anything to do with the big beautiful cake she wanted so badly.

Though she worked at this piece of cake a long time, barely any of it was consumed. Can you imagine what would have happened if we gave her the giant cake?

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The Trouble with Picky


Because we’re crazy, we recently came home with a bushel of apples. Do we have any use for a bushel of apples? Do I cook or jar anything? No. We like apples just as much as the next guy, but I’m not much of a homemaker with ambitions of a year’s worth of apple preserves. Most of the reason we came home with a full bushel of apples was because the kids picked half a bushel so quickly and were having so much fun that we decided to keep going.

And now we have a bushel of apples we don’t really need. I’ve been cooking a few things and pushing apples at almost every meal. By the end of this, we might hate apples.

The trouble is, the kids won’t try ANY of the apple things I’ve made. Lily LOVES applesauce, but she won’t even taste my delicious homemade applesauce that is SO good that I actually ate it with ice cream the other day. She says she won’t eat it because applesauce is supposed to come out of a jar. I should be ashamed of myself, right? She also won’t eat a grilled hot dog. She insists that hot dogs need to be microwaved. What a sophisticated palette my child has!

I suppose I should go buy a jar and force the homemade applesauce on her, but you know what? More delicious applesauce for me. I also made apple crisp. The kids wouldn’t taste the apple part of it. They only ate the ice cream topping.

It’s not like I’m trying to force brussel sprouts on these kids. The stuff I just want them to taste tastes like CANDY and they won’t taste it!

It seems that this is the only way to eat an apple in their world.

I guess they only like apples in their natural form? I mean, apples are good and all, but apples stewed in brown sugar and cinnamon are better (though perhaps not better for you). Trust me.

Rose is also denying herself most kids’ favorite foods. Rose hasn’t been exposed to a lot of pizza or macaroni and cheese at our house because Lily has a dairy allergy (above ice cream was coconut milk-based). On the rare occasions we’ve had these childhood delicacies in the house, Rose refused to even taste them. It was very disappointing because I’d like a partner in crime in my love of macaroni and cheese since my husband hates all yellow cheeses (what is WRONG with him?!), but Rose turned her nose up at it.

Of all the things in the world my kids won’t eat, they are turning down foods traditionally known as childhood favorites. What kids don’t like applesauce, pizza and macaroni and cheese? Mine apparently.

Freaks.

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Subway Girl

Me: Where do you want to eat dinner on your birthday?

Lily: Subway. I really like Subway!

Me: Subway? Are you sure you don’t want to go for Mexican? You like guacamole and salsa.

Lily: No. I want to go to Subway. I really like Subway! Nonni and Poppy have never been to Subway. I want to eat with them there!

Actually, my parents HAVE been to Subway, though the way they acted when we got there indicated otherwise. Not only were they unfamiliar with the menu, but my mom ate the sub horizontally instead of vertically. Like an ear of corn instead of a hot dog. WHO DOES THAT?

Probably the messiest possible way to eat a sub.

Anyway, Lily loves Subway so much that we actually took her there for both lunch AND dinner on her birthday. It was super extravagant and fancy.

And exactly what her little 4-year-old self wanted. And that’s all that matters.

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