Everyone who has touched us recently should regret that decision now

I based this meal on penne primavera, but you may notice that it's not actually penne (because I didn't have any) and I left out the mushrooms (because they're gross). And doubled the squash. And went with orange tomatoes. It's just pasta with vegetables in it, is what I'm saying.

Still looks vera prima to me (WHAT IT'S BEEN LIKE TWO MONTHS).

And because it's spring now, we should all be eating asparagus. Right, guys? It's the springiest!

Both of these are Runner's World recipes, which at the time of planning was not intended to be ironic, but here we are.

How's it going, Ivy? Not developing any freakish Popeye forearms, I hope?

Yikes, Anna. That left eye looks pretty goopy. Maybe don't touch anybody today.


 Oh, hey. Well. Um, happy birthday, Cash!

Birthdays are a fun time for extra bathing.


Maybe I'll try hiding some chicken under a pile of crackers

Dan got a hold of the camera this weekend, so it's time for a couple of Art Pictures: Paranormal Edition.

For example, sausage and veg is generally a pretty boring plate of food.

Unless you can document its soul escaping. Mmmm, potato soul.
And I thought Anna was just playing with a soccer ball out back, but this strikes me as a little more sinister.

Like she's harnessed a vibrating orb of DOOM.
I pulled off a couple of pretty sweet culinary parenting tricks last week. First, getting Anna to describe these strawberry oat bars as "strawberry crumble pie" and to beg for more all day long.

Second, convincing her that this green smoothie is a "special treat." HAHA YOU DRANK SPINACH AND THANKED ME FOR IT I WIIIIIIIIIIIIIN.

Just let me have this moment, you guys. I'll probably never out-maneuver her again.
She's already catching on, actually. Last night we had (delicious) black bean tostadas.

And she informed me indignantly that "IT'S A CHIP!"

Can't get anything past you, baby.


In manner of Grace Kelly

We had a pretty good week around here, food-wise. I managed to make several things that didn't look at all like excrement!

Pizza quinoa casserole. Adding pizza sauce and cheese is a good way to improve quinoa any food in existence.
Pretty sure I've shown you this ratatouille several times already, but you're just going to have to suck it up because it's beautiful tomatoey goop and I love looking at it.

I have three pictures of it in my wallet.

Tilapia with strawberry-poblano relish. Putting strawberries on fish is weird. You should do it anyway.
Anna has been a very attentive big sister lately, trying to help Ivy learn the ins and outs of the bouncer. Ivy is so appreciative!

"Hey, man. I've got it. Back off."

Lucky for us, Anna took a break from her sisterly ministrations to give us a Fashion Corner update. Spring is here! Protect your 'do with breathable and stylish crochet.

If we ever get a convertible, Anna is going to be SO set.


I don't think anyone should tell Ivy about Christmas

Happy belated St. Paddy's, everyone! You'd think bunko would have depleted my Irish-and/or-green-theme-making abilities, but I was only getting WARMED UP.

Okay, well, maybe I was still in the process of warming up with breakfast. I almost didn't post a picture of these, uh, green-ish donuts, for obvious reasons. But I think it's important to be totally honest and transparent about how turd-like my projects sometimes turn out. Anyway, they were based on these Irish oatmeal cakes and they tasted fine and Anna is still asking for green donuts, so I guess this failure was a mitigated one.

Still, I defy you to make a more turd-like item in your oven.
Quick, look! Poached eggs with green stuff!

Much better.
And finally, beef and Guinness pie for dinner. I remembered why I only make this once a year, and that is because it is 1) composed entirely of flour, butter, and cow, and 2) super delicious.

Even potatoes would add too much unwanted plant matter here.
I, for one, think we're aging BEAUTIFULLY.

I credit the Guinness.

One slight hiccup in the day's festivities: I discovered that if you start off with a generally happy, smiley baby, adding in the excitement of a holiday might just overload her system.

Her first Arbor Day is going to be EPIC.
I also discovered that Anna doesn't seem to realize the camera can get to her through glass.

This will explain how weirdly reflective all future family portraits are.
After all the flour, butter, cow, and beer, it seemed like we should have something ridiculously healthy on Sunday night. I mean, kale, natch, but even cooked kale seemed inadequately punitive, so I stepped it up with a raw kale salad. Did you even know there WAS such a thing? Are you a little bit sad and frightened now that you do? There is also nutritional yeast in the dressing. I just...don't even know.

Further evidence that my husband is the easiest person in the world to feed: his only comment was that the kale was easy to keep on the fork, which he liked.
Eased back into regular-healthy last night with some nice bland yogurt-based egg salad.

Probably would have benefited from some roasted red peppers or spicy mustard bacon.

Okay, time to go, we're teaching Elmo to play Angry Birds.


Friday bonus post: March Madness edition

I'm pretty sure the last thing the internet needs is someone explaining the Very Precious process they used to create an NCAA bracket for their small children, but filling non-existent internet holes is sort of a thing I do, so here we go.

Process for self: Spend 45 seconds picking the name you like best, with some (little) weight given to seeding. Don't advance the home team very far, it's your husband's known weak spot and your only chance at an advantage.

Process for the 2.5-year-old: read every matchup out loud and let her pick a name. Be amused when she solidly supports Georgetown for the win.

Process for the infant: decide it would be cute to base it on how cuddly the mascot is. Spend the rest of your afternoon buried in research, and the following questions: Is it what the mascot would be like in real life, or just the costume? (A grizzly bear is not very huggy, but a giant bear costume is.) When a mascot is abstract but has a cute animal representation, what do you do? (Looking at you, Alabama.) Should you immediately disqualify creepy humanoid mascots? (Yes.) And birds? (Yes.) Killer cat or killer dog? (Depends on their demeanor.) What if two creepy humanoids are head to head? (Think about it for ten minutes, pick one and move on.)

And there you have it! Several hours of surprisingly hard work so that you and your daughters can all lose to your husband, who probably spent 10 minutes looking at sports news.

It's not like they don't make adult diapers

This has been one of those weeks when what I cook for dinner is a little misleading as far as my actual nutritional intake. Healthy stuff!

Lemon and dill chicken. I loooooove fresh dill and would maybe double it here.

Lentil soup with sweet potatoes and spinach. Not bad considering it's just a hot bowl of fiber.
Oh, here we go. Wednesday was Pi Day (3-14). Did I plan ahead for this? No, I did not. But by the time the fifth person had mentioned it on Twitter I was pretty sure NOT celebrating this pun-inspired day of baking revelry would haunt me until my dying days. So I made a pie.

Remember when I made a pie from scratch and it was a whole big thing? Now I know the secret to pie dough is to be super distracted by other stuff and not care very much about how it turns out. This has been Helpful Kitchen Tips with Erica.

What was I distracted by? And why aren't there very many pictures of Anna today? Well, Anna spent the last three days naked because I'm ready for her to prove she's a civilized human by using a toilet. Spring Break seemed like a fun time to pee on various, non-toilet surfaces. (I don't think I'm alone in this.) I've never potty trained a toddler before, so I don't have much to compare it with, but I do like to think I can recognize a hilariously thorough failure when I'm involved in one. It's okay though. She used to not eat bananas! And I recycled a joke from that post recently! Anyway, she totally eats bananas now. She's just a taking-her-time kind of girl. Hey guys, what do you say we abandon this experiment for a while?

And have pizza for dinner?

On the bright side, I'm pretty sure my enthusiasm traumatized Anna so completely that we won't have to worry about going through this again for a pretty long time.


Seriously if you don't hear from me just call those people that clean all the cat poop out of hoarder houses

As it turns out, meatloaf doesn't photograph well even when my mom makes it.

So it's probably a lost cause.
Waffles do, though.

This was the first of five bread-centered meals I had that day. Good day.

Anna loves visiting her grandparents, but as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of Austin...

But she will still hug the crap out of your trees.
We got home last night in time for a "Princess Picnic."

"Slash Cat-hassling Clinic."

Ivy found the whole enterprise pretty distasteful.

And now I'm off to potty-train the child! See you in six months. Send booze.


Green Day

Okay, whew, Bunko has been hosted. I know you guys were pretty concerned, as you should have been, considering I almost let a grasshopper pie (NOT PICTURED) (I FORGOT TO SERVE IT) give me a nervous breakdown. But in the end I overcame the incredible adversity of having a few people over and serving them food, and here it is:

White chocolate Frito popcorn, although mine is really green chocolate because I had a St. Paddy's theme and am a nerd.

Green candy nest. That crazy lady you saw picking all the green Swedish fish out of the bin at Central Market was me.

Emerald eggs, although I subbed spinach for the watercress and yogurt for the mayonnaise and added mustard. And cheese. And crumbled up crackers (sigh, don't ask).

Irish nachos. They are neither.
People pretty much only ate popcorn and chips, so I'm seriously considering an all-popcorn spread next year. I'm serious, guys. I'm just crazy enough to do it.

Alright, we're headed off to my ancestral home the house my parents built four years ago, and it looks like someone is already packed and ready to go. Catch you next week!


To be fair, I consider showering a "moderate" amount of effort

Sooooo I haven't been cooking much lately for a variety of reasons, but if I'm being honest, the main reason is that I'm hosting my bunko group tomorrow night and YES hosting a relatively small party takes the same amount of energy as a full week's worth of menu planning and preparation. So, FINE, now you know. I've never effortlessly whipped or thrown anything up or together and FRANKLY I am starting to doubt that anyone else has either. I'm on to you, everybody! Everything is a huge ton of work, stop lying! (In the interest of keeping expectations reasonable, a note to anyone coming to my house tomorrow: this phenomenal outpouring of effort is mostly just to ensure that you don't sit in any puddles of spit-up. There will also be chips.)

Anyway, I did manage to mangle a margherita pizza pretty spectacularly.

So pretty! Definitely earning my lifestyle guru cred with this one.
Also, my toddler vomited all morning, so that's helping a lot. Don't worry, she's handling illness very dramatically.

I think she actually adjusted her position to get the best light here.
Before infirmity struck, Anna was actually pretty helpful this whole weekend. We spent a nice day with Dan's family, and she managed to help:

Bruce realize his potential as a beast of burden.

Levi practice his IT guy skills, and also his patience.

Everyone feel pretty good about their own wardrobe decisions.