Trying to get a nice high starting number for post-holiday weight loss

Considering the way I've been eating for the past week you would think I would have plenty of pictures to show you, but I am in lazy vacation mode and that is not the case. Tell you what: go to a convenience store, walk down the snack aisle, and boom! You've got a pretty good idea of what's been going on around here. Spend extra time in front of the Slim Jims.

It hasn't all been plastic-wrapped fat and salt, though. There was some free-range fat and salt too. Actually, Christmas dinner was faaaaancy.

And the green beans were muuuuuushy. Excellent.

Baby's first chateubriand.
Bread pudding is difficult to photograph, but surprisingly easy to justify eating for breakfast.

If you squint it looks very similar to oatmeal.
I made up for all the excess by having carrots on my waffle.

Carrot cake jam: sounds weird, tastes good.

Anna's Christmas morning look was fairly festive, what with the glow bracelets and all, but it seems like she could do better.

Ah, there we go.

Marrrrrrrrrghy Christmas!

I'm actually not sure why everyone doesn't open presents in costume.

You never know what could be lurking in that pile.

We even got a dusting of snow this year! We're working on our tolerance for cold.

And our brand loyalty.


Merry Christmas, all!

So here's what I think happened: she somehow managed to transfer her boredom to Santa himself.

It's like throwing her voice except more impressive/diabolical.


Slam fight bright light feeling pretty psyched

Sigh. Well. I had it on pretty good authority (definitely either the radio or the internet or a dream I had) that the world was ending around 5:00 am today, so I don't have much prepared for you. We've basically just been running amok around here, eschewing chores, Christmas baking, blogging, etc.

I did squeeze one good bowl of comfort food in though, a brilliant combination of French beef stew and garlic mashed potatoes.

It is the dawning of a new era wherein I always cushion stew with mashed potatoes.
I'm normally not one to go in for doomsday predictions, but Anna's age-and-activity-appropriate reaction of joy and wonder at the Trail of Lights the other night did feel a little bit end-timesy.

You can see where this would be confusing.
So we decided it was important to introduce Ivy to corn dogs while there was still time.

This resulted in joy and wonder as well.


She also wonders how much of Jeffrey's bumbling is just an act

Obviously macaroni and cheese possesses far too many delightful qualities for me to enumerate here ("is composed of macaroni" and "is composed of cheese" top the list), but I do want to single out one of my favorite things about the dish: its ability to absorb healthy things in its cheesy embrace and make one forget that one is essentially eating like a preschooler. For example, if I were to report to you that I had macaroni and cheese for dinner, you would probably feel a tug of jealousy but also a mild wave of sadness/concern regarding vitamin deficiency. However, when I tell you that I had SWEET POTATO and SPINACH mac and cheese from a website that has the word "NATURALLY" in the title, the jealousy you feel should be pure and unsullied by pity or scorn.

This is also why I put vegetables on pizza.

I also made some spiced chicken and dried fruit from the Runner's World website, because that is the same thing as actually running.

Every grain of couscous = about a tenth of a mile, I think.

Anna seems pretty taken with Ina Garten at the moment.

But I'm not sure she's 100% sold on the virtue of GOOD vanilla.

It's a tight contest, but I'm pretty sure Ina is going to wear her down on this point.

It's been a while since I consulted any developmental charts, but I think the fact that Anna has progressed from "lining-up" to "pyramiding" means she's more or less on track.

Gonna send this picture around to some fancy private schools. Try for a few scholarships.

Hey look, a picture of Ivy without extremely visible snot in it!

Probably best not to examine this one too closely.


Our advent activity today is "buy more Kleenex"

I'm starting to think I have a cauliflower soup problem. Why do I just keep making it? Is it because I know how lovely and not at all vomit-like it looks in the bowl?

Nope! Don't think that's it.

Anyway, that one was nice but a little spicy for me so I added about a cup of yogurt to it. I find that this is a good fix for many things. (Helpful household tip!) (My house is covered in yogurt.)

I'm reading a book about running and diet which mostly consists of telling me that I would be faster if I were less fat, so I'm halfheartedly trying to lighten things up around here. (Should I even add "halfheartedly" anymore or do you all just infer it before every verb by now?) Ergo: quinoa taco salad with shredded chicken on top.

Not pictured: the half dozen cookies I ate yesterday.
Both of my children have been miserably sick all week, so I have very few pictures that aren't too pitiful (read: snot-filled) to publish. Here is one of the less pathetic.

I know you're thinking "Erica, that's just her 'Wednesday' face," but I assure you she is quite ill.


Today she even tolerated a candy cane

You may have noticed that I periodically make a meal of fish and vegetables in order to keep up appearances that I am a healthy and responsible adult, and this week is no different.

Maple and mustard glazed salmon with roasted brussels sprouts and onion. Mmm, virtue-licious.

But the truth is, I spent most of the weekend being fed decidedly non-fish-and-vegetable items by other people. Saturday night I had seven different kinds of cookies washed down with a diabolical combination of champagne and vodka.

Reminds me of my Whole 30 days.

 Sunday was holiday brunch time, which was, I'm sorry to say, another poor showing by Regan.

This actually looked a little too nice, so I broke that orange juice pitcher just to take it down a notch.

She did manage to coat shots of bourbon in powdered sugar, which was pretty impressive.


And there was cookie decorating for the kids!

Anna was basically MADE for the festive holiday season.

Hey, good news though! It looks as though Anna's terror of bouncy houses has evolved into a stoic acceptance.

That's my brave girl.


At least I assume that's what they're for

Huh. It seems that I have gone three days without photographing any food for possibly the first time in my adult life. I'm sorry guys, I'm not sure what to tell--HEY LOOK OVER THERE BEHIND YOU WHAT'S THAT?

Distracto-baby, Volume II.

I wish I had captured Emily's lovely bunko spread on Wednesday, but I was too busy cramming sausage cheese balls into my mouth. (Welcome, new Google-searchers!) Apparently some people have never had sausage balls? This makes the parts of my heart that are not clogged with saturated fat feel very sad. There were also some extremely addictive bacon-cheese-potato thingies and some chocolate covered pretzel and peanut butter things. They were also balls. Do you see why it would have been helpful to have photographs instead of relying on my descriptions? I have now said the word "balls" four times in this entry and I'm starting to feel like the general family-friendliness of this space is slipping away from me.

Moving on!

I think one of the most amazing things about parenthood is that just as the children are constantly learning about the world around them, so too are you, as a parent, learning valuable lessons every single day. Do not open the Play-Doh and then leave the room, for example.

Do not set the wrapping paper within child's arm-reach and then leave the room.

Probably just do not ever leave the room. That's what adult diapers are for.


Baby milestone achieved: cursing the Texas sun

Hey, you all were really interested in/freaked out by the canned meat thing! Maybe I'll get my mom to write a guest post and walk you through it, although I highly doubt anyone outside of my family and under the age of 80 actually owns a pressure canner. Prove me wrong, hipsters! Putting meat in jars is the new knitting club!

All I've done since Friday is throw random things in bowls, so it seems that my motivation-storage is proceeding apace. All I know is, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and chorizo seem sort of random together until you throw a poached egg on top and then BOOM.

It's like it was always meant to be.

I know this one looks like I just steamed the entire produce section and called it a day, but there was an actual recipe involved. Also, peanut sauce.

It's worth eating the entire produce section if there's peanut sauce hiding underneath it.
Ivy is skeptical of 80 degree days in December.

Anna spent the extremely warm weekend discovering her chicken-whispering abilities.

Ivy is skeptical of this as well.


Christmas is coming, the goose is getting canned

I had one major food goal this week, and that was to start clearing out the pantry in anticipation of the holidays. While other people gather up and donate old toys or clothes in order to make space for the coming influx of gifts, I find myself looking at my kitchen shelves, thoughtfully trying to work two servings of roast beef and a small jar of fruit compote into my menu. The adults on my side of the family are only exchanging "consumables" this year, which sounds like "cookies and preserves" but will actually end up being "anything you can fit into a jar and stick in the pressure canner, which is basically everything." I need space! It's a good problem to have! It means I have barely cooked at all the past few days.

Canned item #1: Roasted red pepper potato soup that I put up in anticipation of Ivy's...um...birth. Thirteen months ago. It was still good! Cooked item: none, technically, though I did shred some brussels sprouts for a lovely salad.

This salad also gave me a reason to use my FANCY PEPPER for the first time in two and a half years.

Canned item #2: olive salad for muffulettas. These were highly lazy sandwiches, with only one type of deli meat and the wrong kind of bread. But none of that matters in the presence of olive salad. Cooked item: roasted cauliflower.

Canned item #3: roast beef with carrots, a gift from last Christmas. Yes, the carrots came with the meat.  And it was all just sitting in my pantry in one delightful little dinner jar. Cooked item: roasted broccoli.

I thought Dan was going to lick the aluminum foil in his quest to get all the roasted garlic bits.

So there you have it. In this entire week I have 1) roasted cauliflower and 2) roasted broccoli. Not my most ambitious stretch! But you know I'm just doing some motivational hibernation right now in order to store up for my next project, whatever and whenever that may be. This...historical collection has been suggested, although I think I miiiiiiiight hold out for something that sounds slightly less soul-murdering. Still, you never know. It's a contender, thanks Lynnette! Who am I to resist Inspiration Soup? And, let's be honest, this one was tailor-made for me.

Anyway. I'm 85% certain Anna and Ivy are involved in some sort of Freaky Friday situation right now.


It's a SEE-food diet wait that joke doesn't work on paper

Hey, we're all still talking about Thanksgiving, right? No one has completely moved on to Christmas even though it's still November *cough*Twitter*cough*? Okay, whew. Because I really wanted to let you all know that I have fully mastered this deviled egg thing.

Fine, it's sort of Christmasy colors, are you happy?
I can tell they were good because deviled egg filling is the only solid food Anna ate that day.

It makes me happy to make her happy.
This is how my first attempt to photograph my Thanksgiving plate turned out and I'm going to stick with it because it basically matches my memory of the experience.

A swiiiiiiirling vortex of gluttony.
Ivy was surprisingly unimpressed by her first solid-foods Turkey Day which makes me think she's just trying to show off for her big sister.

That turkey was delicious and you know it, child.
She didn't seem all that interested in decorating for Christmas at YaYa and PaPa's house either.

I mean, fair enough, it is only November.
I'm actually a little spooked at how close Ivy is to mastering Anna's "burdened toddler enduring fun activities" face.

But also kind of pleased. Sisters!
Plus, I get it. Sometimes at the end of a long decorating spree you just want to throw your elf hat over your shoulder and call it a day.

It's milk thirty, y'all.

It seemed like we needed a change of pace. Get out of the house, you know. Eat something on the lighter side after all the festivities cheese enchiladas covered with fried eggs and avocado and strips of steak.

Mine is not your run-of-the-mill holiday detox plan.

And who wouldn't be excited about queso? Queso!

Oh, she's good.
Okay, I really have tried to lighten up a little since last week. I mean, I'm already at the point where I'm eyeing pants that button with suspicion and disdain. So when we hit up Black Star the other night I went for some good, nourishing vegetarian chili.

What do you mean you don't see veggie chili? It's right there. No, under the cheese. On top of the Fritos.
And what's lighter than fish and beans? The pesto is made of arugula.

I don't know what chorizo you're talking about.
And now, apropos of nothing, here is Anna with a stuffed lion.