Don't worry, I had some queso over the weekend

Started out pretty hardcore with this box. Like, World's Healthiest Foods hardcore. I know this looks sort of like a frittata, but whereas a frittata is easy to put together and generally delicious, this Spicy Vegetable Tart was complicated and tasted like mushrooms.

I guess because it was full of mushrooms.
Anyway, the crust is seriously made out of flax seeds and sunflower seeds. And that nice egg-looking top is actually egg whites, tofu, and turmeric. I'm telling you, we are not messing around here. CSA swiss chard: used.

Friday morning was beautiful so we went to the park.

I let her drive.
I'm thinking about redecorating her bedroom by filling it entirely with small wood chips.

I'd never have to think of ways to occupy her again.
Friday night was Carrot, Dill, & White Bean Salad. Technically this is intended as a side, but we got a lot of carrots and dill and I'm always happy to eat beans for dinner. I cut down on the honey and olive oil, and later had some leftovers with (the ever-present) barley. I will definitely make this again if it ever occurs to me.

Surprisingly inviting.


CSA box #3: a little bit spikier

First, I wanted to mention that when I picked up CSA box #3 this afternoon, it dropped out of the bottom of my shopping cart in the parking lot and was rescued by thoughtful strangers. Simple mistake or my subconscious making the cart extra bouncy? We'll never know.

However, I'm pretty sure that I would have been more excited if I knew what was waiting for me inside the box.

Alien Geometry Project Cauliflower!
Why is the cauliflower consistently the awesomest box item? I guess it knows that it tastes like cauliflower, so it's really trying to bring the style. I applaud it.

Yesterday I learned that Anna is still afraid of bouncy castles.

Staring into the Tweetie Bird-decorated abyss.
Last night we had an end-of-box celebration, washing down the remaining salad greens with cheeseburgers and homemade barbecue sauce.

Just cleansing the palate a bit.
Of course, that victory was declared a bit prematurely, due to a few stragglers in the fridge, so we had to make up for it by eating turnip greens (and onion, tomato, roasted red pepper, and black beans) for breakfast. At least I put them on cornmeal pancakes. (I left out the vanilla and pine nuts to make them savory.)

Dan's going to be so excited when I let him have a bowl of cereal tomorrow morning.
Home stretch! I took one for the team at lunch today and roasted everything that was left, then threw it on some leftover barley. Did you think I was kidding about that one abandoned broccoli?

I was not.


I found one stray piece of broccoli in the crisper today and heaved a weary sigh

Getting close to the end of Box #2 here, so things are becoming a bit desperate. (The turnip greens. They are lurking. Sometimes I can hear them at night.) Last night's dinner was a weirdly healthy mish-mash of things. It was more or less based on a recipe, but ended up being Swiss chard, beets, onion, garlic, and goat cheese on a bed of barley.

This should be terrible, right? It really wasn't. Nice save, goat cheese!
Then I made brownies.

They were also weirdly healthy, believe it or not.
This morning Anna and I had Gymboree. She tends to become very invested in the organized activity about five minutes after everyone has moved on to the next thing. For example, we were not the only ones in class today:

But the rest of them were on the other side of the room. I would maybe worry about her failure to engage, but honestly I can see the wisdom in purposeful crowd-avoidance. I'm an off-season type of traveler, myself. Also, toddlers knock each other over a lot.

She then spent a good chunk of the afternoon lining up these animal magnets in various locations.

Pretty orderly for someone who can't eat a banana without leaving pieces of it in three different rooms.
All I'll say about this is: zero points for correct snack-cup usage.

Ten points for balance.
Hey, I bought myself a new kitchen toy! It's so heavy and coooooool:

You know I like my tools smashy.
It makes these:
Corn, flat.
In a less successful cast-iron move, I proved very, very bad at cooking potatoes on a non...non-stick surface. You know. A stick one.

Aaaaargh all the flavory bits are lost.
It was okay, the potato tacos had a lot of other flavor going so they were fine. And guess what? Cabbage salsa. It is a thing.

Hope you're happy, people who were feeding me last weekend. Now I have to eat 14 vegetables per meal.


Girls-only Roadtrip

Anna and I were traveling this weekend, so I'm way behind, but people have been feeding me some really good stuff lately. On Wednesday night I had this lovely plate of vegetables (and bacon...little bit of bacon) at Kay's house. This was accompanied by the talent portion of the Miss America pageant and Oprah's interview with the cast of The Sound of Music, so basically a perfect evening.

Stuffing squash is a great idea. So is mixing bacon into broccoli salad.
Thursday night I made sort of a use-up-veggies hash with onion, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and black beans. I know it looks sort of gross and sad.

A little Dickensian, maybe.
But don't worry!
On Friday before we left town I mixed the purple cauliflower in some pasta and cheese sauce (loosely based on this recipe). You've probably never thought to put purple cauliflower in your mac n' cheese, but it's not bad at all. I think if we get more of the purple kind I'll have to go back to cauliflower soup, because...purple soup. Now I'm kinda sad I didn't do that.

While I was packing my stuff, Anna busied herself with some light reading. There were about six books on my nightstand, and this one wasn't even on top, but she knew it was the one she wanted.

Soooo many ideas.
At my parents' house there was, as always, very good food and excellent lighting in which to record it.

Cuban sandwich.

Pulled pork tacos.

Tuscan-style tilapia.
There was also a baby shower and a birthday party tucked in amongst my weekend meals, but I don't have any pictures of either. I will say that one of those events involved a Dr. Seuss theme and the other involved a piƱata full of tiny liquor bottles. Would combining the two have been even better? Perhaps, but a festive day regardless.

In the meantime, we're working on using utensils correctly.
We're not working very hard.


I also ordered her three desserts, just in case

Yesterday I said, out loud, "Now that Anna is a toddler we never have really terrible days anymore," which was obviously quite stupid, as it necessarily followed that we have a fairly terrible day today. Haha LIFE, I totally get it, you're so hilarious.

But before today's long stretch of sleep- and food- and calmness-avoidance, we had a tiny little milestone: Anna's first kid's meal at a restaurant.

Dinner, in Orange and White.
I think we jumped the gun on that by about two years, since she ate approximately 3% of her food, but it was fun anyway. And now I've had my first experience with wanting to eat my child's leftovers after she went to bed. I fear it will not be my last.

Dinner tonight was Pork Chops with Chile Colorado along with some roasted root vegetables (turnips, beets, and kohlrabi, for you CSA score-keepers).

WARNING: the following image is extremely graphic, but I wanted to prove that I took those beets down with my own two bare hands.

Beets: bringing the drama to food prep.
At least I had Anna to help out, as always.

Okay, well...

Not really.
To be fair, she was pretty busy working out some new looks.


At least she was pleased that I did not repeat past beet-eating-wardrobe mistakes.

I know this seems to belie my "terrible day" assertion, but I believe she may be considering stabbing me with that fork here.


Naked chickpeas

I was excited about Friday night's dinner because it called for a spice I had never used before, and that's generally fun, but I couldn't find anardana anywhere. I looked at four different stores. I was kind of thinking that since we have pretty large Indian and Pakistani populations in our area it might not be too hard to track down, but I have no idea where they're all getting their dried pomegranate seeds. Of course, the comment to the recipe points out that it's available on Amazon, but come on. I'm a fairly good meal-planner, but I am not a "wait around for Super Saver Shipping" meal-planner. Anyway, here are the Spiced Chickpeas with Anardana A Squeeze of Lemon Juice. They're on a bed of CSA greens.

It was good enough that I really want to try to make them correctly someday. And not serve them on salad, because that was crazy difficult to eat.

Hmm, that was pretty healthy-looking, let's switch gears. Sunday morning I went to a brunch at Iron Cactus with my Moms Meetup group. Did you know that there's a place in the world where you can eat biscuits and gravy and migas and bacon and huevos rancheros and a chicken fajita and chips and guacamole and some MASHED POTATOES first thing in the morning and no one will say a word (to your face) about how disgusting you are? It's great!

For the record, there was a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available.

In my defense, there was orange juice in the mimosas.
And lest you think that I loaded up my plates and just picked at them, check out this Clean Plate Club action:

Also, imagine how foolish a person looks taking pictures of not one but two empty plates at a restaurant.
Seemed like a good way to work of some of my near-superhuman gluttony was to do a little yard work. Most people do yard work in 50 degree rain, I think. Anna supervised as we ripped out the giant bushes in front of our house.

Stern but fair.
When she got bored of that, we let her play with the hatchet a little bit.

You don't become a world champion without training. Amy Chua knows what I'm talking about.


CSA box #2: voices in my head and delusions of grandeur

So here's what the box looks like when I first lug it home, a potential-filled mountain of vitamins and color. And bugs.

I have to admit that purple cauliflower is pretty cool. Look at it being all coy over there in the corner.
I know it seems appealing, all fresh and crunchy, but the second I start sorting through the different vegetables I can hear them whispering "we are deteriorating super fast, please use us up before we become mush." So instead of seeing a delightful bounty, I basically see the makings of a slimy mush-pile that only I can prevent. I'm like a fresh produce superhero, in my head.

They key is trying to tackle the most mush-vulnerable items, such as cabbage, first. Luckily, I really like cabbage, so it's also a good way to ease into things. Last night I went with crisp tuna cabbage salad on wheat flatbread and sweet potato fries. Considering the simplicity of the recipe, it was a very good salad. Kind of a cross between tuna salad and cole slaw, which sounds like it should be exceedingly gross, but it's not at all. It's nice and yogurt-y and full of black pepper. I might make it my go-to tuna salad in the future.

That 1/4 head of cabbage was saved from a horrible mush-fate by ME.
This morning was Anna's 18 month check-up. She helpfully demonstrated her wariness of strangers, knowledge of the word "no," and a bit of upper-body strength. Without prompting!

You totally can't tell that her head size is 86th percentile, right?


Maybe I should just buy a juicer and save some effort

I neglected to mention Anna's latest fashion move, so we'll lead off with it today.

I'd say she's definitely getting edgier. Maybe all the food she ends up wearing is on purpose, like a Gaga thing.
I feel like I should be holding up the current day's newspaper in all of these soup pictures so that you'll believe they're actually separate meals.

Chipotle Rutabaga soup.

Pasta with Greens and Tomato Sauce.

Seaweed and Tofu soup with Roasted Cabbage in Black Bean Sauce
Anyway, it took many bowls of liquidy plant dinners, but I successfully used up the first CSA box. All I have in the refrigerator right now are a few stalks of celery and some parsley. No beet left behind! Now it's time to start planning in advance of tomorrow's new box. I decided to enlist some help this time.

She's gravitating toward cheeses and breads, so all is going according to plan.