2.09.2016

She'll be so happy to discover the bag of lard in her lunchbox

WHAT TUESDAY IS IT? PANCAKE TUESDAY!

Like I said...

PANCAKE TUESDAY
PANCAKE TUESDAY

(Note: if you recognized that as a Hamilton reference despite the total lack of thematic or syllabic connection, congratulations, you also have a problem.)

Guys, any day can be Mardi Gras Pancake Day as long as you still have sprinkles leftover from the crazy rock cupcakes you made that time. Just a little tip from me to you. I personally went with Banana Bread Pancakes this morning based on my exacting recipe standard of "only requires ingredients I have on hand."







If you really want to do Fat Tuesday right, though, might I suggest employing a charmingly literal six-year-old to demand things such as "DOES ORANGE JUICE EVEN HAVE FAT IN IT?"




NO FAT NO DICE


Outside of today's fat and fat-related activities, we have been hard at work around here.


Getting our Valentines greetings addressed.


Getting our March calendar in order.

2.05.2016

Just like eating actual rocks

Back to Nerdy Nummies, in the hopes that I can quickly overwhelm the children with impractical confections to the point that they never ask for them again. It's the 2016 YouTube version of making them smoke an entire pack of cigarettes, always seemed like sound logic to me, don't know what could go wrong. Geode cupcakes it is!






Having made the #1 good decision to embark on this culinary undertaking, I quickly made good decision #2: save about $5 by making my own fondant. I may have failed to account for the fact that having really, inescapably messy hands causes me mild panic.



I would have paid $50 to immediately blink out of this situation.

But look! Fondant occurred!




Ivy was on board from the beginning.




Which is why I made her do the chocolate batch.






The next step was pouring colored simple syrup into the fondant molds so that the geode crystals could form. I made sure to add a note so that the rest of the household could rest assured that I had accomplished something with my day.


I could not finish the laundry, I was very busy.


The recipe says to give them "at least 12 hours." I gave them about 40 and they had 1/10 as many crystals as the ones in the pictures. This made me re-think a lot of my life choices.



I could not finish the laundry, I was contemplating some things.


The most exciting aspect of this project was asking the girls to unwrap about 100 pieces of candy without eating any of them. But they did it!





...as far as I know.






Anyway, disappointing crystal generation aside, they looked pretty good:





Keep looking, I spent like three days on these things:




HOWEVER, being covered in large chunks of Jolly Ranchers renders them basically impossible to eat.


She no longer has any baby teeth.

As opposed to the Unicorn Poop Cookies, which tasted like sweetened craft paste yet the girls pestered me for nonstop until they were gone, several of these cupcakes have sat unmolested on the counter for almost a week now.


I THINK MY PLAN IS WORKING.



Readying Phase Two.



2.02.2016

I suspect we are wintering incorrectly

January has come to an end, and so has the hotly contested, impartially judged War of the Food Magazines That Just Show Up at My House. The final skirmish: stir-fry vs. stir-fry.

Contender 1: Eating Well's Make-Up-Your-Own Stir Fry with Mojo Sauce. I did not like this! But I picked the ingredients! So I guess it is my own fault! 


How could you fail me baby corrrrrrrrrrrrns


Contender #2: Rachael Ray's Stir-Fry Veggies With Ginger-Almond Pesto. This, on the other hand, was one of those meals where I can't say for sure if it was because I was especially hungry or especially in the mood for this combination of flavors or used the especially fancy Marcona almonds leftover from Christmas, but holy wow it was good. Like, probably my favorite recipe of the whole month good. And that is despite the fact that it has mushrooms in it.



The implications of this victory are dizzying.


OVERALL WINNER: In a bit of an upset, as hard as I tried to rig the election, I have to go with Rachael Ray this month. I'm using the extremely scientific metric of "what would I want to continue cooking out of going forward." And we didn't even make the chocolate goop in the cover photo! Imagine the possibilities.


Nothing like an 86-degree day in January to lift the spirits.



The summer-hibernation instincts are strong with this one.


We also made some more Nerdy Nummies ridiculousness, which I will get to next time. Don't worry, we'll save some for you, right Ivy?





Ivy?



1.29.2016

I spell it "donuts" and I am too old to change my ways

Super Social Food League of Austin found itself at the end of January and themeless for the year, which led to an impromptu theme of "donuts for dinner."



In truth, it has probably been gestating for years.


For some reason, Regan insisted that we eat "real food" first. I defied her by only ordering fried things while she had a salad like some sort of grown up decision maker.



I will not be led astray from my theme, Regan.


We didn't go too crazy. I think we got a really, really normal amount of donuts.










If you've ever walked down 6th Street at night and thought "I wish more people would harass me while I try to get back to my car," I highly suggest carrying a big pink box of donuts with you. Works like a charm!


I was too busy eating normal amounts of donuts to take any pictures of my children this week, so here is a picture of EnnuiAnna™ from four years ago today.



You can almost feel the burden of a pleasant afternoon on the back porch.

1.26.2016

Texas Winter PSA

Guys, I'm having a real "How am I supposed to make the coffee before I drink the coffee" sort of morning here, so let's just power through Battle: Fish as best we can.

Contender #1: Eating Well's Roast Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce.  


It said "serve with roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes" but somehow my eyes read "tater tots," weird.

Pros: tasted good, the fish was nicely cooked, came together quickly. Cons: forced me to use and therefore clean a food processor, generated way way way more sauce than the meal called for, offered several suggestions for using up the leftover sauce knowing full well I am going to leave the little container in the fridge until it seems safely past its prime at which point I will wash it down the sink and thereby making me feel guilty in advance.






Pros: hard to go wrong with mango and coconut milk. Cons: looks pretty terrible in photographs, I am a subpar pan-fryer of fish, only calls for 3/4 cup of coconut milk which means after you absentmindedly dump the whole can in the pot you have to do some math to increase all the other ingredients proportionally, also means you have a significant amount of leftover coconut rice, actually that last con is more of a pro.

Winner: ideally I would just pair the salmon with the coconut rice. Tie.



No blizzard here, but it did get cold enough for hot chocolate.


Not for pants.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Many people don't realize this, but cabin fever can strike on even the 70-degrees-est of days.


You have to be vigilant.







1.22.2016

I did have to put on a coat this morning, if that helps

 MORNIN.'




Late January seems like the perfect time for Battle: Soup. I mean, any time is the right time for soup. But especially when it's 65 and sunny every day which is why I put up with the ridiculousness that is August uh, FREEZING out, right everybody? Just...just the gloomiest. (I'm genuinely sorry if you are stuck in or about to be stuck in snow, you should probably reward yourself with soup afterward.)


Contender #1: Eating Well's Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup. I cannot judge this one accurately, as I failed to follow the very simple instructions and cooked all the ingredients together all day instead of letting the onions caramelize in the slow-cooker first. The correct way would have been better, I bet! But it was still good, because it was onion soup with cheese toast on top of it. 



Still good.


Contender #2: Rachael Ray's Black Bean and Kale Tortilla Soup. This looked like it was going to be more of a hassle than it actually was. And it was good! It didn't photograph well, but it tasted tortilla-soup-ish enough to pass.



Soup-ish.


Since both of these were good but didn't blow my socks off or anything, I'm going to leave it to Anna to apply her current test of heart-healthiness in order to determine a winner.



Also, we'll see where this list of "Heart Attack Warning Signs" is when she wants cheeseburgers tonight.

Winner: Rachael Ray, by absence of cheese and virtue of having directions that I actually followed.


1.19.2016

Winner: YouTube, I guess

Hey guys, I don't have a head-to-head magazine battle for you today because Dan has been out of town for a few days and we've been eating cereal for dinner I've had my hands too full to document the very nutritious meals I've been preparing. Instead, we have a special project, courtesy of the Nerdy Nummies Cookbook the girls got for Christmas: UNICORN POOP COOKIES. (Warning--that link goes to a video. Everything about this project is...special.)






Before you get started, make sure you have the essential ingredients: seven bowls, twelve or so hours, a positive attitude:



"I am positive this is going to take all day." #momjokes



Have an enthusiastic six-year-old do the rolling of the dough, if possible. Do be prepared for the fact that she will likely turn seven at some point before the process is finished.



Tell her that this year instead of a cake she gets several piles of half-rolled dough.



Remember: in order to achieve an accurate rainbow, you must carefully roll out like eight hundred colors apparently.


It's a good chance for everyone to practice counting. To eight hundred.


There will be tears.



But also! The special joy borne of artificially colored sugar patties.




These cookies do not taste good, and also they have the word "poop" in the name. Your children will not care.





They will not look HALF as much like poop as those donuts I made that time.


1.15.2016

A dark horse in the pasta competition

Can you believe it's already time for BATTLE: NOODLES? Man, this month is just flying by.

Contender #1: Eating Well's Spicy Cauliflower and Pancetta Spaghetti. Disclaimer: I took the magazine-provided option to un-spice it, which may have affected my enjoyment of it but was not an unsanctioned change.

I wanted this to be better, because it certainly seems like a very good combination of things. I think the main problem was that it is almost impossible to get a satisfying all-ingredient bite on your fork. All the good bits kept burrowing down underneath the spaghetti nest.






Contender #2: Rachael Ray's Butternut Squash and Brown Butter Linguine. Disclaimer: I used whole wheat linguine instead of regular because that was what was on sale at HEB.

This was considerably easier to make, but a little on the bland side for me. Look how pretty a big dollop of ricotta on top of dinner is, though!





Winner: this king cake Regan brought me from New Orleans.


Hey Regan this was only supposed to be two servings, right?


So far my favorite thing about Girl Scouts is the Walmart employee cosplay.