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.


My Friday gift to you

This week I've been trying to turn some brain-frowns upside down...s by slightly shifting my perspective to a more positive one. For example! Problem: when I picked the Eating Well recipe for Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani, I consciously registered exactly two elements of it: 1) legumes, and 2) slow-cooker. As three mornings in a row of "oh CRAP I was supposed to soak the beans overnight" can attest, I did not register the soaking the beans overnight element. Slight perspective shift: the feeling of accomplishment when my brain yelled "THE BEANS" at me at 11 pm Wednesday night was very pleasant!

Such a relief to put this one to bed

Problem: I paid $15 for a flimsy piece of licensed garbage. Slight perspective shift: she will probably wear this every day until Halloween, which puts it at 33 cents/wear, which is about right.

Let my extremely inspirational outlook on life be a lesson for you all. You're welcome.


Chicory > chicanery

Okay. I have decided to forgive Eating Well for their coffee chicanery because they included an entire section of "fast/convenient" dinners that involve passing off frozen foods as legitimate meals. I think it's called Put it on Rice and Pretend You Cooked It and I am here for it.

Potsticker & Vegetable Stir Fry.

My favorite thing about this whole section is that even though it includes a recipe for waffles literally made out of frozen hash browns, it tries to justify its Eating Well-ness by gently recommending that you find the frozen processed convenience foods with, like, slightly less sodium or whatever. Eating Well and I are experiencing the same level of denial this month.

Meanwhile, our early-school-year isn't too activity-packed yet, so we're doing a lot of relaxing. Just practicing some regular human relaxing styles.

Like all Earth-people


"A fourth cup of coffee will write that blog post for you"

Hey there Eating Well September/October 2016 issue! Let's have a chat about front cover teasers.

The Bait

Here is what I was hoping to see within these shiny pages: "Researchers have found that this is the best possible habit in humans." "Doctors now say that *more* coffee can actually help *alleviate* anxiety. You just weren't drinking enough of it, Erica!" "They key to drinking coffee past 2:00 pm and still being able to sleep at night is to pair it with plenty of refined sugar." "Coffee breath is SO on trend for fall 2016." "Here is a coupon for 10 lbs. of free coffee."

Here is what I actually saw:

Note that the $3.50/hour here is being compared very favorably to the $1.00-$3.50/DAY mentioned in the previous paragraph.

A long, well-researched, and interesting yet guilt-inducing article about the impact of direct trade on the quality of life for coffee bean farmers.  Oh, with like three "good news" coffee factoids sprinkled in:

One of them is "Also, maybe old people can drink caffeine without exploding their hearts, we're not sure, ask your doctor."

So look, I realize that "Coffee Habit? This Exposé Will Cripple You With Lifestyle Guilt" probably wouldn't move a lot of units, but I feel very much misled, Eating Well.  And what is Big Science wasting its time on that it can't figure out a way for me to have coffee after dinner without staying awake for 48 hours afterward? How is it that we can have Stanley Kubrick stage a moon landing put a man on the moon but still not have solved this extremely pressing problem?

Anyway, there are also recipes, I guess. 

Classic White Bean and Ham Soup

Chicken Parmesan Dip

Looks like the only kid picture I have for this week is "standing at the bus stop." So you'll just have to use your imagination when I tell you that yesterday I thought I heard Anna wailing in her room before I realized she was singing the Pokémon theme song and has just inherited my vocal talents.


I can probably substitute muffins for the toast, right?

I did not really do any cooking this weekend, as two shelves of my refrigerator are still dedicated to muffin storage and it is difficult to motivate oneself to generate extra food in such a case. I did pull the recipes for two of these 33 Amazing Gluten-Free Desserts in order to contribute to football-watching. They were not amazing! But they were desserts.

So, close enough

Eating Well is really hitting me where I live this month, what with the "good news for coffee drinkers" and the "fast/convenient/shortcuts" and the "look at all this stuff on top of toast." I guess we'll see if they can deliver on any of that this week. Would've liked to see a poached egg sneak in there somewhere, is all I'm saying.

Also, I realized that I forgot to include Ivy's Last First Day of Preschool picture last week, so...that's...this here. Is what that is.

This is not captured mid-action, this is meticulously posed. One hunched-over thumb up for preschool!


Next stop: pilgrimage to Drury Lane

Well, I'll say this: of all the manias with which one could be struck, Muffin Mania is probably the most pleasant/likely to deplete your supply of baking soda.

Sweet-Potato and Chocolate-Chunk Muffins. Anna could not believe her good fortune when she realized this muffin was a part of her dinner and not just a dangling carrot to encourage her to finish her spinach. Halfway through she ecstatically declared this "The best meal EVER," at which point she looked closely, discovered one stray sweet potato fiber emerging from the muffin, and quickly set it down, appalled and betrayed. It was an almost shot-for-shot recreation of the time Ramona and Beezus found out that under the gravy on their plate was not pot roast but rather beef tongue.

She did not finish the muffin. Or the spinach.

Breakfast Egg-and-Cheese Muffins. These have a sort of Scotch egg quality to them and I loved them. My children hated them almost as much as that time I tried to sneak sweet potato into their chocolate chunk muffins.

With special appearance by Responsibility Broccoli, hey there old friend 

Gluten-Free Banana Almond Butter Muffins. These came out the ugliest but they are easy and very satisfying. Anna suddenly stopped liking bananas about two years ago in what I honestly believe was an overarching rejection of a commonly-bestowed nickname.

Ivy likes them.

Zucchini, Gruyere, and Black Pepper Muffins. Look, if I have accomplished nothing else this week, I have almost certainly instilled in my children a lifelong mistrust of muffin-shaped foodstuffs.

This is Anna's first year riding the bus and we have been enjoying bus stop time a surprising amount.

I mean, some days are better than others.


I am also wearing about six of them on a string around my neck

Hey listen, I have some extremely important news: The September issue of Martha Stewart Living is chock-full of muffins. I mean stuffed to the brim with those things. And I see that the calendar is trying to sell me on the idea that it's somehow still August, but why wait--life is difficult and sharp and jabby, let's cram muffins onto some of those edges.

Double-Apple Bran Muffins. Tasty enough to eat three, healthy-seeming enough to convince yourself that's a reasonable thing to do.

Kale, Corn, and Jalapeño Muffins. These were very good and did not taste at all of kale and now I'm wondering what else I could force myself to eat via cornbread.

Good start, good start. Hey, cousin Levi turned EIGHT this weekend!

Anna really enjoyed playing around with his drum set. Like, really enjoyed it. 

Ivy knows what I'm talking about.


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.


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.