Category Archives: cooking

The Cutest Cookie Monster Ever

My kid is picky eater. He has no go-to foods. He won’t eat the same thing for two meals in a row. And he is very adept as saying, or more often screaming, “No!” when you get too close to him with a forkful of food. So, getting him to eat–and I would say eat healthy except that I’ve had to lower my standards–at mealtimes is always an, umm, adventure.

But lately things seem to be getting better. I think that daycare is helping the whole mealtime drama. All the kids have to sit down at their little pint-sized tables for breakfast, lunch, and two snacks, which are given on a precise schedule. So, the routine is definitely helpful, but more than that I think just seeing all the kids enjoying their turkey hot dogs or pasta with red sauce makes him want to do the same.

My husband and I have been trying to make a bigger effort to have us all eat together–versus what we normally do, which is feed the kid, put him to bed, and then figure out what we’re going to eat. We’re hoping that we can model the good eating behavior he seems to be picking up at school.

So far, I’m not sure we’re being successful. Our child has yet to eat any of the same food as we have prepared for ourselves. And he in no way has showed any more interest or patience in sitting in his high chair while we enjoy our meals. In fact, he is increasingly becoming intolerant of sitting in the high chair, which is a Stokke and about the least looking high chair you can possibly get. Basically it’s an retro-styled adjustable chair that you strap your kid into so he can sit at a big person’s table. Instead, he prefers to crouch on one of our dining chairs, fork in hand.

Point in case was the other night. After his fork flew across the table, we decided that it was time to let the kid loose, even if he hadn’t eaten a bite, if we were going to be able to finish our dinner without losing it with all the screaming, crying, and carrying on this kid was doing.

No sooner did his footie pajamas hit the floor than he was pitter-pattering into the kitchen. I hear the cupboard door to our snack stash open.

He came toddling out of the kitchen with one of those 100-calorie packs of Nutter Butter cookies. He gave them to me and said, “Cookie.” Except he says cookie iwith a French accent so it sounds more like “koo-key” rather than “cuh-key.” I took the bag, said mercy, and put it on the table.

Pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter-pat back into the kitchen.

He returnd with a package of Oreos. He toddled over to my husband and handed them to him. My husband took them graciously, said thank you, and put them on the table.

Pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter-pat back into the kitchen.

This time he returned with the whole box of cookie packs.

Not exactly how I had hoped dinner would turn out, but it was admittedly entertaining. Even if we couldn’t laugh out loud for fear of encouraging him.

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Filed under cooking, daily life, feeding, parenting, toddlers

Fine Dining in the Frozen Food Aisle

There are two things that my kid can do that can send me over the edge on any given day. The first is put up a fight while I’m changing his diaper. The second is refuse to eat anything.

The diaper issues is more or less fixable. All it really takes is putting a firm forearm down across my baby’s torso. Sure, there’s some screaming sometimes, but it’s over rather quickly once the diaper is totally on.

But the latter? Not so much. And don’t think I haven’t tried to pretty much force feed my kid. I dare say that after about three days of refusing to consume anything solid other than Goldfish crackers, I’ve almost had him in a rear naked choke waiting for him to open his mouth to cry so I could cram a few spoonfuls of something with actual vitamins in his mouth. And it’s not like I lack any tricks of the trade. I have about a million distraction techniques in my repertoire. And still, it’s often a fight to get food into his face.

So, I recently have taken his refusal to eat as a challenge; I absolutely will find something that he wants to eat. This mission, however, has made me reneg on one of the few things I said I was never going to do as a mother: Let my kid eat crap food. But I have been losing in this battle over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so it was off to the frozen food aisle for fortification.

Under normal circumstances, I rarely go into the frozen food aisle. Mainly because I just don’t like a lot of that stuff. I detest Lean Cuisine dinners, I think frozen pizza tastes yucky, and oven-baked french fries never taste as good as McDonald’s fries. So, you won’t find any of that in my freezer; instead, you’ll usually find a few bags of decaf coffee, a couple of tupperware tubs of leftover pasta sauce, and a steak or a salmon filet or two.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. So, into my cart went a bag of tater tots during the last grocery run. Followed by a box of mini chicken-and-cheese empanadas and a bag of chicken nuggets. I couldn’t pass up the fish sticks or the Stouffer’s french bread pizza. And oh wait, I forgot that there was such a thing as frozen vegetables, so I grabbed a bag of mixed veggies–diced carrots, peas, green beans, and corn. I couldn’t believe I was caving; I made my own baby food for god’s sake.

When mealtime rolled around again, I set the oven to 425 degrees and laid out a high fructose feast on a baking sheet. Twenty minutes later, I cut the crispy, crunchy canapés into cubes for my crumb cruncher. Tater tots got high marks from him, as did the pizza. He was pretty happy with the veggie medley, although it’s proved to be impossible for him to resist picking up those perfectly pint-sized pieces and pitching them across the kitchen. He’s warming to the chicken nuggets and the fish sticks, but the jury’s still out on the empanadas. He ate a whole one once, but I’ve yet to see a repeat.

While I’m disappointed that I seem to be a fast-food mom in the making, I wonder what the alternative is when you’ve got a kid who just won’t eat. At this stage in his young life, it would seem that calories are king. And while it would be great if they came from whole grains and organic vegetables, I guess I’ll just take them where I can get them, be it via fish stick or chicken nugget.

Photo: Courtesy Flickr.com

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Filed under babies, cooking, daily life, feeding, food, toddlers

Sunday Funday

Most days my former single life seems forever ago. (Oh wait, it was.) But this morning, as I cruised by Target before strollering on home from the gym, it occurred to me that maybe my college days weren’t as far behind as I would have thought. Just take a look at my so-called grocery essentials:

The Essentials

That’s right: beer, bread, peanut butter, milk, and a light bulb. (In order of importance, to be sure.) I’m not even sure in college I had so much in common with a 19-year-old frat boy.

But maybe babies actually make parents retreat to what actually is really important in life–basic food and fun. It’s hard to believe that a college sophmore could possibly know more about what’s truly important in life than a 33-year-old mommy. But maybe college kids really do have their life priorities in order. At least for an NFL Sunday.

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Filed under booze, cooking, daily life, food, moms

You Will Have Days Like This

Yesterday was just one of those days that if you couldn’t laugh about it, you were totally going to cry about it. Fortunately, I had slept fairly well the previous night, so my sense of humor was relatively in tact. Otherwise I could’ve had the kind of momma meltdown that so many of my mommy-friends had warned me about.

Yesterday was my first real day on my own with baby. The hubster is in the field, completing his last training exercise before graduation (yay!), my maman left on Sunday morning, and my sister, Auntie Kate, left later that afternoon. So, I got up around 8ish, fed the wee one (again), and actually squeezed in a shower all before noon. I felt like Super Mom.

Baby was waking up and in serious need of some liquid satisfaction, so he was starting to fuss. I had just started sterilizing some bottles, nipples, funnels, flanges, and other feeding accoutrement. It only takes about 5 minutes, so I picked up the wee one and started walking around with him in my arms in hopes that I could stave off a milk meltdown for the five minutes I need to finish sterilizing the stuff.

However, with 3 minutes left on the timer, there was what I’m going to call an “incident,” for lack of a better term. I will spare you the details, but I’ll just say that never in my life would I have ever thought something like this would happen to me. It was a very real reminder that even at 2 weeks post birth, not everything is back to its normal self.

To give you an idea of just how big of an emergency situation this was, at one point I found myself standing in my kitchen, naked from the waist down in front of my two 8-foot glass doors to my backyard. My kid was lying on the bare, probably dirty tile floor, screaming his head off. (I didn’t have enough time to grab the bouncer seat.) The dog was doing his best to dig through the trash in hopes of eating yet another maxipad. And the damn stove timer was bleeping as the pot I was sterilizing everything in was bubbling over onto my stove top.

It was utter chaos.

And to think just minutes before I was feeling confident that I had things under control.

I get everything cleaned up, picked up, and turned off and sort of have a little giggle to myself about how funny, if not totally embarrassing, the whole situation was.

With the chaos tamed back into submission, I start my day again. Next on the agenda was making the dog’s food. My pup got seriously sick not too long ago and the vet has recommended a very plain diet of white rice, veggies, and ground meat for the time being. So, about twice a week, I have to cook up a huge vat of rice and brown some meat to take care of his meals.

Despite the setback caused by the incident, I’m still feeling confident that I can tackle this task. So, I throw a pot of rice on the stove and set it to a boil. I take care of a little bit of laundry in the basement before returning to the stove and turning the flame down to low for the rice to simmer.

At this point, I think it’s probably a good idea to get on the computer, check a little e-mail and maybe write a quick blog. Then the baby is hungry again, so I take him upstairs to feed him. At some point, I make it back to the computer as the dog walker pops in to take the pup for some exercise. (Incidentally, the dog walker is a godsend–so worth the expense when you’re by yourself with a newborn and don’t know what you’re doing.)

For some reason, as I’m talking to him, I start to smell burnt toast. And I realize that I’ve been smelling it for awhile. It was my rice. I had totally forgotten about it–for like 3 or 4 hours.

Do you have any idea what rice looks like when it’s cooked that long? Check this out:

Cooking with Newbie Mommies

Yum. I managed to scrape out some of the stuff that was just slightly brown and crispy from the center for the dog.

I’m not sure if my pot is going to ever recover. At this point, the bottom of it is completely black. If anyone’s got any remedies for eradicating burnt on food from pots, please share. I’m wont to throw it out, as this is one of my more expensive pots. If this is bound to be a regular occurrence, I’m going to have to invest in some cheapo pots.

At any rate, hope all you mommies-to-be enjoyed the preview into what life is like with a newborn. Happy mothering!

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Filed under cooking, moms, newbie parents, newborns