More like "Well...Eating" am I right

I continued my exploration of Eating Well's descent into madness this week with a couple more frozen-food-centered recipes. Our temperatures may have dropped all the way down into the 80s here but somehow that was not enough to motivate me to do any cooking outside of the toaster oven.

First up: Fish Tacos with Avocado-Lime Creme. These are just fish sticks with cole slaw on them, but I found them highly successful for two reasons; 1) they were eaten and 2) Anna exclaimed that she had never seen fish that looked like that before. Unfortunately, no one else was there to overhear her say that, which would have given me a chance to smile and shrug as if to say "ah, sweet whole-foods-bred girl, so ignorant of the Standard American Diet, which in this household we call SAD for short," while secretly thinking "child I have tried to feed you meat in breaded stick form thousands of times." 

Although the jig may have been up when the impressed mystery observer noticed the food-coloring-enhanced tortillas I used to tempt the second child.

Next up: Eggplant and Mozzarella Stick Roll-Ups. Guys. MOZZARELLA STICK ROLL-UPS. Hey Eating Well are you okay, do you need to talk to someone?

Please note that the Responsibility Broccoli accompaniment is RAW, that's how much nutritional ground I had to make up.

Hey fellow Texans! Early voting starts Monday! Here is Anna early voting in 2012, for encouragement. If she can do it, so can you.



Send ice

Sometimes it's rough being a candle vendor here in the Furnace Belt, kind of an inverse "ice to an Inuit" situation, but it's always such a relief when mid-October rolls around and the weather breaks and standing outside selling fire to people makes sense again. Oh wait, shoot, I must have just hallucinated that scenario mid heat-fugue.

Did this stop a girl from wandering over to my booth wearing a giant sweatshirt? It did not. Because we are losing our minds.

It's fine. I am dealing with it just fine.

Given this dire situation, I was hard-pressed to come up with any cooking ideas for the week that sounded remotely palatable, but then I remembered that Eating Well hilariously has a section in the latest issue wherein they base a bunch of recipes around frozen convenience foods and then tell you to put a salad next to them. Voilà! You are eating well.

Ham and Gruyère Hash Brown Waffles, sorry about the weird lighting, for some reason the sun is still going down earlier as though it is not stuck in a hellish eternal summer. Mixed signals, sun!

I should also point out that Ivy is prepared to be dropped into any weather possibility, be it summer, winter, NY Fashion Week, whatevs.


"Salad days," but with a negative connotation

Lately our weather has settled into what I would describe as "actually pretty pleasant, for July," which means this week's Martha vs. Rachael battle is...salads. I find the best way to deal with an impending weekend high of 94 degrees is to further punish yourself with raw vegetables. Join me! Or live somewhere reasonable, whatever, it's your life.

Martha: Poached Salmon salad with Spinach and Potatoes and no useful link to the recipe.

I liked this, and I tricked Ivy into eating it by making some of the potatoes purple.  Just a helpful parenting tip for getting my specific child to consume food, you're welcome.

Rachael: Chopped Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing. Downside: unlike the salmon salad, you really can't get away with calling this an entrée. Upside: as the grown up in charge of meals, you can define entrée as loosely as you want. 

"Bread with some stuff," for example.

I considered going a few different ways with yesterday's bus stop pictures, something about how dark it is in the mornings or how not-quite-on-point Anna's practiced smile is, or did I mention it's still *kind of hot* even at 7:00 am? But when I actually looked through the pictures all I could see was "my daughter refused to wear a dress for picture day because she wanted to wear her shirt that says BRAVE." So that's the take we're going with.


Workmanlike Tuesday

Hey guys, I was sick for most of the weekend but don't worry, I'm sure the quality of this post won't reflect that in any way. I mean, in the sense that the baseline for post quality here is "have been ill for several days" anyway.

Dan stepped up and made the Rachael Ray Sweet Corn Risotto with Jalapeño Pesto that I intended to make last week. It was risottoriffic.

I helped by lying on the couch and sighing pitifully, in order to keep his spirits up.

And here's Ivy at a birthday party last weekend, demonstrating her "I am completely overjoyed but working hard to only look mildly amused" face. It only happens on rides that accept quarters.

Which...I realize makes her a time traveler, because no rides accept quarters anymore, but "It only happens on rides that you have you use a tricky swipey game card to operate" sounded inelegant. 



Or possibly fight a bull, I'm not sure

Hi. It's hot outside again. But also cloudy, which makes it *look* like it's going to be cool until you open the door. Anyway, I made some Brussels sprouts from Martha that had bacon and oranges but I can't find a link for them and also I burnt the orange slices to a crisp so they are not pictured. And this is technically categorized as a "side dish," which, whatever, I did serve it on the side of a pile of mashed potatoes.

Letter of the law

I was going to make a Rachael Ray vegetable dish to compare it to but yesterday a new House Rule went into effect which states that if I have to clean up vomit more than twice then we get to have leftovers for dinner. It's a good rule! We're fine now.

Well, she's fine. I might still throw up some.

Oh, did you think this post was going to be a huge downer just because it's muggy and I don't feel good and I burned some oranges? WRONG, so wrong, because we also had a block party the other day and my oldest child is here to dance it out for you.



Do not taunt Happy Fun Welcome Cat

Look, I'm just going to rip off the bad news band-aid and tell you straight up that Halloween is canceled for the foreseeable future. I have stared and stared at the cover of this month's Martha Stewart Living, hoping to discover that this is in fact a Magic Eye version of Martha dressed as a pile of unadorned pumpkins--which would be weird but acceptably diabolical--but I am sorry to say that it is just a picture of unadorned pumpkins. Whither my deranged New England muse? My red-eyed sorceress? My moth-faced madwoman? My beloved disappointed pirate?

No Martha, no Halloween. Sorry everyone. This year we only get fall. Don't you dare decorate that stack of gourds. ARTFUL JUMBLES ONLY.

What's an appropriately boring fall activity, let's see...I guess we could pit vegetable tarts against each other? That's...seasonal and sad enough, I guess.

Rachael Ray: Cheesy Vegetable Tart. Kind of like a ratatouille pizza. Pros: easy to make, crust held up long enough to take it to book club, cheese blends in well enough that you can pretend it's healthy, recipe is linkable. Cons: had some leftover eggplant.

Martha, or whatever humorless, costumeless monster has taken control of her empire: Roasted Carrot and Beet Tart. Pros: looks rustic in a picture. Cons: too many sweet flavors together, crust is unpleasantly dry despite the painstaking olive-oil-painting of each layer, uses a food processor, hazelnuts are expensive, requires four different rounds of things in the oven, beets, everyone vocally disliked it, says "Active Time 40  minutes" but I assume that means "of cardio in order to amass the amount of endorphins required to stop being bitter about the two hours this actually takes to make," no obvious linkable recipe although that is probably neutral seeing as how I can't imagine anyone would want it.

Winner: Martha. Jkjkjkjkjkjkjk, the winner is none of us because Halloween is dead.

We did still decorate a little bit.



This is the first time I've been excited for Ivy's school pictures

TODAY IS MY TENTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. This post isn't about that, but it did seem worth mentioning.

You'll just have to trust me that we look exactly as bright-eyed/bushy-tailed/unburdened-by-small-children this morning.

Oh, I'm now wondering if me writing "this post isn't about that" a second ago implied that this post was, in fact, about *something,* because that would be misleading. It's not, really!

Also of note: my tiny Daisy is now a slightly-less-tiny Brownie. Pro: no longer has the blue vest that makes her look like a retail employee. Con: this one seems to have two pieces so we are definitely going to lose one of those pieces and actually I'm 75% certain that pin is still currently attached to her dress somewhere in the hamper.

At least I hope it is!

She can look at the camera or she can smile, take your pick


Hey do you guys remember when Anna was three and she wore a White Sox cap every day and night for an entire year? Just wondering.


Back to the ol' cyber

So yesterday we had a high of 75 and my children whinged all the way to the bus stop about how cold they were and I'm experiencing some sensations that I have not felt in lo these many months but I suspect may belong in the happiness category. Just wanted to...I dunno, brag, I guess? Anyway, I told you I was going to put the girls in charge of cooking while Dan is away, and I have done it, and it's going great. So far we've had parfaits:

...and pizza.

I just hope they can stay focused and get tonight's dinner ready on time.

You can do it, ladies!

I believe in you.


Masks: eternally unsettling

It's officially fall now so everything is fine haha just kidding it's still close to 100 degrees. Maybe we can turn off the A/C by Thanksgiving, who knows, who knows, who ever knows.

Fact: my children like apples and cheese. Theory: therefore they will eat a soup made entirely of apples and cheese.


Results: they did eat said snack-food-based soup. At or near the dining table, even!

Thus concludes the only actual recipe I have attempted this week. It's fine, we're keeping busy, mostly by trying on all the costumes at Target.

We did not purchase this mask yet I am still convinced that I will wake up to this standing at the foot of my bed at some point.


It's the most demoralizing tiiiiiime of the year

Ah, September. Sweater weather at last, am I right guys?

Don't worry, I reported it. My notes were scathing.

Clearly this is the point at which I would normally take to my bed until Halloween, but unfortunately Dan is out of town for two weeks. That means I am unable to neglect any parental duties, let alone all of them, no matter how inhospitable my chosen environment manages to be. I've been googling to see how long children can live on cereal and goldfish without getting scurvy trying to put together a low-stress meal plan that will be agreeable to the three of us. So far I have come up with three loaves of banana bread.

One each for the week, that seems fair?

You know what though, the oldest one can read. I'm just going to let the girls be in charge of food.