8.26.2016

Pleasant surprises: weekly menu edition

First of all, Anna did stop throwing up long enough to actually attend school this week, so we've got that going for us.


I convinced her that starting second grade on the second day was probably lucky, a strategy that is going to start to be a real problem around middle school.



I'm continuing to crib useful ideas from my Food group on Facebook without actually contributing anything worthwhile myself. This is my general relationship with the internet as a whole.


The theme for this week was Sneaking Green Stuff Into Flat Stuff. First up: Summer Squash Pizza. I was genuinely surprised at how great this pizza crust turned out, because in its dough form it looked pretty rough. But it was cracker-y and tasty and I loved it.


Even the girls happily ate all the parts that weren't touching vegetables!



Next up: Okonomiyaki. I like a savory pancake, and these were good, but the sauce was a real delight. I guess it should have been obvious that mayonnaise and soy sauce and sriracha would be a nice combination, but it far exceeded my expectations. GOOD JOB, SALTY HEAVEN SAUCE.





We are handling the first week back to school okay. There are cake pops involved.


8.23.2016

Takes off some of that perfect attendance pressure at least

Woohoo, it's the first day of second grade! We did it, we made it through the summer! Anna was so excited she woke up five minutes before her alarm. And then *promptly* vomited.



I was going to prop up one of those First Day of School chalkboards against her but that seemed like...a lot of work


For the record, I do not believe last night's Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken was the culprit, as the rest of us successfully digested said Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken without incident.



Not your fault, buddy 

Anyway, if anyone needs me I'll be over here eating the Pringles out of Anna's lunchbox and not running errands.

8.19.2016

Schedules are my drug

I would like to kick off this back-to-school-flavored post by pointing out that this is the face Anna made at me when I asked if she could find Canada, which, fair enough I guess.


Asking her to find Hawaii would have been a whole other kettle of fish though. Because they... did not include Hawaii on this map. 


Back to school means back to routines which is sweet, sweet nectar for a mildly anxious/obsessive mind such as my own. I decided to consult my under-utilized Facebook food group for ideas on how to transition back into meal-planning mode, and they totally stepped up. GREAT JOB TEAM.



Thai Coconut Curry Turkey Meatballs. These are flavorful but not too spicy, hold up great as leftovers, and have a nice texture**
**for meatballs whoops I always forget I don't really like meatballs even good ones

Baked Caprese Pasta. I'm always happy when I can basically make spaghetti and jarred marinara sauce but pretend it's real cooking by adding cheese to the top. A plus great dish.


Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. Well, these are a problem. It's very easy to remember that big pile of shredded zucchini that went into them and convince yourself that it's reasonable to eat two. Or six.


Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma. Look, the shawarma has been discussed at length in other venues. It's an object of strange obsession. You know why? *very Seinfeld voice* because people like to say "shawarma."


Our elementary school is now an Arts Integration Academy, which means that music, visual arts, dance, and theater will be incorporated into the curriculum. Sounds good in theory, I'm not sure the girls are going to take to it, though. 








Good thing Ivy has another year before Kindergarten, plenty of time to warm up to the idea here at home.



8.16.2016

Recommended NYC itinerary, cont.

You'll have to excuse my slight disorientation, but we fled this infernal state in mid-August for obvious reasons, only to encounter record highs in New York and return to record lows at home. THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, but there are of course still vacation photos to foist upon you, vacation photos endure.


DAY THREE

1. Enter the Hamilton lottery.

2. Don't go too overboard with breakfast today, you're on the UES. Try to be dignified. Maybe just get a cup of coffee.





3. Now that you're feeling properly adult, go to a museum. Immediately realize that you are still attempting to live out that book you loved as a kid, all these years later. Fight the urge to hide in the bathroom at closing time.







4. Encounter an unsettling portrait of yourself.





5. Lose the Hamilton lottery, because of math.

6. Locate The General, original version.




7. Locate The General, current Broadway version.




8. Continue your post-Hamilton treatment regimen.




9. May as well tick that "bright lights" box while you're here.






10. Street food. Do it.





DAY FOUR

1. Time to go home! Get a grown-up meal with vegetables this time, I'm serious, you have to ease back into real life and you will need your strength. 





2. Reward your good decision-making skills with a muffin.




3. Make your way back to your beloved children. Shower them with souvenirs. 



8.12.2016

Recommended NYC itinerary


1. I mean, obviously. Obviously go to the thing.


Just to be safe, it's best to devote the 24 pre-showtime hours that you are in the city anxiously constructing imaginary scenarios that will somehow keep you from the thing.


2. Okay! You have emerged from the thing both drained and full, destroyed and reborn, having experienced at least two emotions previously unknown to humans. Nothing to do now but return to your hotel and proceed directly to bed for at least--wait, what's that? You went to a matinee? Oh, shoot, I should have told you not to go to a matinee, now you have to go live life in the world for a few hours and that's going to be rough. Well, food time I guess! Try some hot pastrami.







3. And some cheesecake.






Have them bring it all out together so they know you're not playing around.






There are plenty of classic New York venues for these items, when deciding on one just use whatever metric works for you.






4. Can you enter the lottery for the next Hamilton performance yet? Not yet? Oh, okay. Maybe go somewhere very, very tall, I dunno, that seems distracting.


The top of the Empire State Building: one part terrifying, three parts too crowded to be romantic, two parts I wish it were Christmastime. 


DAY TWO

1. Enter the Hamilton lottery. 

2. Go to Russ & Daughters Cafe. Decide to live here. Like, here. Not the East Village, the cafe itself.






3. If you are an Austinite, you will at this point start to feel inexplicably yet undeniably drawn to Brooklyn. Don't fight this! Go be with your hipster brethren. They have egg creams there.





4. And charming chocolate shops.






5. Okay, listen, time to eat some vegetables, because you are a grown up.




6. Reward your good decision-making skills with a second egg cream.



7. And a small pizza.



8. Lose the Hamilton lottery, because of math.

9. Throw yourself into the arms of another well-regarded production.


This will act as a sort of Hamilton methadone.

10. Retire to bed with a small snack.



8.09.2016

Start spreading the news

I know I made it seem like we were immediately leaving for vacation after my last post, but that's because ***BLOG SECRETS EXPOSED*** the only picture I had of the girls from that week was one where they were sitting in the car. But actually we have been at the child drop-off station my parents' house for a couple of days and are now, yes, really now, literally I am getting into the car to go to the airport, headed to the APPLE THAT NEVER SLEEPS. I promise I will give all of your regards to Broadway, and also remember you to Herald Square. If you want to get in touch with the gang at 42nd Street just call them, I mean, everyone has smartphones now. I'm not a messenger service.

Anyway, we did panic-eat some chicken fried steak at the last minute, lest we forget our essential Texanness between now and Saturday.






And Ivy dressed up to send us off, which I thought was nice.


I hope she runs alongside our train waving her handkerchief 




SaveSave

8.05.2016

This was a weirdly fun challenge, actually

We're leaving for vacation in two days, so this week's meal theme was Clean Out The Fridge/Freezer/Pantry aka Every Dollar I Don't Spend on Groceries Is A Dollar I Can Spend On Hamilton Merch.



Recipe #1: The White Carb Special. Half jasmine/half arborio rice, frozen TJ's garlic potatoes, and two leeks because recipes always call for one leek and you can only buy them in threes.



I see your frustrating grocery store inefficiency and I eat in on top of rice 


Recipe: Chicken Salad with Random Things Hidden in It. Golden raisins, for example. Can you see them? Didn't think so.


What's that? You don't have cans of pre-cooked chicken in your pantry that your mom made in her pressure cooker and gave you for Christmas? SORRY BOUT IT.


Recipe #3: I Probably Could Have Passed This Off As Something I Planned In Advance Asian Noodles and Vegetables.



I say this with absolute sincerity: frozen vegetables are a miracle, especially when they come with frozen packets of soy sauce.


Anyway, we had better get out of here before we're down to Stale Chip Marmalade Casserole.