Mission: Improbable

 Hey, July is almost over! Let's wrap this vegetarian thing up with some Red Cabbage and Apples.

And, uh, some grilled fish. The Swimming Vegetable.

And some Summer Rolls!

Ah, Summer Rolls. A bright spot in the darkness. Or shady spot in the brightness, really. 

SPEAKING OF SUMMER and its wretched, wretched oppression, I have an August resolution. A hard one. Like, harder than the time I resolved to stop hoarding Bath and Body Works hand soap every time it went on sale, if you can even imagine that. I am going to stop complaining about summer for a full month. At least out loud.

I read Swistle's post about making note of things you miss about the opposite season and dislike about the current one, so that you can look at the opposite season's list and appreciate your current situation a little bit more. This is a good idea! One that I responded to by thinking "What could I ever POSSIBLY miss about summer?" and making this face:

and saying "NNNNNUFFING." Which wasn't really in the spirit of the thing, so I'm going to go a step further and actually try to generate positive things about this time of year while they are happening. This way, I figure I will have a lot extra energy saved up to rage about the fact that it is still 100 degrees in SEPTEMBER, for PETE'S sake, who is EVEN in charge here

Ahem, sorry. I already kicked off the list.

She mentioned ice cream being a seasonal treat. I would actually classify it more as "medical necessity."

Anyway, I'm sure I can think of more stuff. Do "popsicles" count as a separate entry? Whatever. We got this.


A most unexpected outcome

Okay, Bittman. So far we have had a reasonably nutritious, low-effort, unexciting but generally adequate month together. Let's see what happens with crepes. I am not good at crepes. I sadly await the pile of crepe-shards that I will apologetically present to my family. I will not blame you. My inherent crepe failure is deep, and primal.

*****30 minutes pass*****

oh my gosh what is this did i make crepes

(ALLCAPS did not seem like enough for this achievement, so I am using the whispering-at-your-children-is-scarier-than-yelling-at-them technique of emphasis.)

i mean seriously look at this they all turned out great

look at theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem

I was not worried about the Banana Nut Muffins.

Whole wheat flour and maple syrup variation, blindfolded, one hand tied behind my back, etc.

Unfortunatley, despite these tremendous success, it is still summertime. You can face it with either  defiance or defeat.

Bubbles help, either way.


Nothing to see here

I was too hot and listless this week to do anything other than blindly obey Mark Bittman's every vegetarian order.

"Midsummer" Vegetable Burger, which is kind of silly, because summer is going to be over in a few days, right? Right, guys?

Cauliflower Soup, Italian Style, with Avocado Salad with Ginger and Peanuts. I did sandwichify the salad, so I guess it wasn't blind obedience exactly.

Cold Noodles with Peanut Sauce. The original recipe only calls for cucumbers, but I added in some red bell peppers too. I think it's important to give my children a variety of nutritious vegetables to eat around.

I know I joke about how terrible and soul-crushing I find summer to be, but honestly we're keeping busy and not going insane at all. Everything is fine.

Totally fine.


Celebratory rodentia

It's been five years since I first made a child's birthday cake, and I'm pleased to report that I have stayed true to my personal lack of aesthetic throughout that time:

To be fair, this year's entry was specifically designed and commissioned by the birthday girl herself:

And she was very pleased.

With, just, everything.

I realize no jury in the world would believe me, but I absolutely swear that Chuck E. Cheese was entirely Anna's idea and not my attempt to recreate my own CEC/Showbiz Pizza sixth-year bacchanalia.

Back in the 80s when that place was dark and that thing was a rat and everything was just a lot more gritty and authentic.

One of my children, I should note, was entirely delighted by the experience. When Anna completely freaked out about gently declined the Ticket Blaster experience, Ivy stepped up like "Give me the goggles, I'm going in."

This is my new favorite picture of her, no lie.

Anyway, I'll let you in on my long game, which is to arrive at a July in a year or two and be asked "May I just have a quiet birthday dinner in this year, Mother?" and I think we're getting pretty close now.



SSFMLA Levels Up

Guys, I'm a little worried about the status of the Super Social Food and Makeup League of Austin. I'm pretty sure once the International Makeup Committee gets a hold of this month's pictures they are going to deny our amateur ranking and revoke our designation as "Super Social," because we are very clearly professionals.


Nothing I gave Regan this month was purple. Just throwing that out there.

The "food" part of Food League this month was a movie theater baked pretzel with queso. It looked like blurry darkness and tasted like heaven.

Interested in looking like an actual, literal clown at a bargain price? Get the look:

Distressingly high-performing.

Anyway. When I said I wanted to cook more vegetables this month, what I meant was "beans and pancakes," you guys knew that, right?

Pinto bean tart with millet crust. Somehow the girls were not AT ALL fooled by the pie tin.

They dealt with the pancakes okay though.

So that's…going. In the meantime, it's still summer! And how! We're summering it up, because what other option is there?

Icing down our creams!

Watering up our troughs!

Attempting to escape the incessant talking of our sister but failing because there is no escape in this or any other season. In front of cute wallpaper!



It's Birthday Week here at our house, which means that as of today I am the only member of this family whose age is not divisible by three. I can feel the shift. I am alone here with my awkward fives and sevens and such. My only comfort is knowing that I can still use this opening paragraph to make my loved ones' birthdays about me. Five years of blogging and I'VE STILL GOT IT.

But, fine, it is also a little bit about them, look, there's one now:

The smugness of someone who is divisible by threes and twos and fours and sixes and nines and TWELVES.

I let Bribery Bakery take care of Dan this year, because I am wise.

Sometimes a man needs a very tall cake. I think Gwyneth said that?

 Sometimes a man also needs a Noble Sandwich.

Pork belly: the noblest sandwich of all.

And sometimes a teeny tiny baby turns six like it's no big deal.

Anyway, Ivy is also doing great, thanks for checking.


I honestly thought those patties were going to turn it all around for me

I'm definitely feeling my annual post-4th slump in terms of general life motivation. As in, I actually strained to even finish that first sentence and I have had "go to the grocery store" on my to-do list for four days running. It's nothing to worry about, just this wretched season of sweat and bugs, and it almost always passes by Halloween. In the meantime, let's see what Bittman can do for us, vegetable-wise.

Carrot and/or Celery Salad is made by cutting up carrots and/or celery and then mixing them with olive oil and lemon juice and salt and pepper. This is about the level of very basic self-feeding that I'm at right now, so, thumbs up. 

Cottage Cheese Patties are made by thoroughly draining cottage cheese and adding some onion, realizing that there is absolutely no way in any universe that this concoction is going to hold together in the pan, then adding some almond meal, then adding some egg whites, then watching it fall apart in the pan anyway.

The adding some meatballs from the freezer, I mean, you have nothing to lose at this point.

Here are some orange cabinets that I wanted to buy but did not.

Here are some gummy eggs that I wanted to buy and did.

Here is one child who has started to receive early birthday presents and one child who has not.

Here is the second child making her own…fun.


That pink shirt has blue undertones

(Suspicious) "Mom, what kind of soup is this?"

(Disgusted) "PEANUT BUTTER SOUP? That's weird."

"Remember when we had pickle soup? You liked that."

(Exasperated) "Yeah, but pickle soup makes sense."


Just look at this lovely plate of Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Red Pepper Vinaigrette and steamed corn on the cob, definitely a well-thought-out Independence Day dinner and not at all a desperate effort to make up for all the hot dogs I ate at lunch that day.

(Moment of silence for Joey Chestnut's winning streak.)

Then I followed it with homemade strawberry ice cream because AMERICA, THAT'S WHY.

Anyway, I hope your 4th fashion was on point and your sno-cone flavors were mind-blowing.