Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Everyone is Losing Weight at Me


Everyone I know is losing weight at me. It's so annoying of them. They're all: "I want to be healthy and live longer and enjoy my life and look good in shorts and model good eating for my kids and make you look fatter."

Thanks a lot, family and friends. I see exactly what you're doing here and it's not going to work. I don't buy into that nonsense. I love you for you.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

UPDATE: A Recipe I Made Up That Just Happens to Be Awesome

TWO DAYS AFTER THANKSGIVING UPDATE:  
OH MY SWEET BABY PANTHERA. I just made this with leftover turkey and it's really, really good and super easy. Like with leftover turkey it only took 2 minutes. I may be a genius or something, I don't know. I'm going to have Guru look into it.
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I've never posted a recipe before (except for the ones the Yenta did for us) but I made this one up, you guys. At least I'm pretty sure I did. I mean, it's possible I saw it on Pinterest when I was drunk but I'm pretty sure this is all me. I'm obsessed with spinach and artichoke dip and want to eat it always. And I kept thinking it was one of those things that I could make in the crock pot, but as I'm generally pretty overwhelmed and also lazy, I never tried.  

But then this week, I had to do an emergency grocery run when I accidentally broke my fridge and had to throw out all my food three hours before my child's birthday party. And all the ingredients were right there and I was feeling a little crazy so I figured what the fluck.



 Here's what I dumped into my crock pot:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - sliced thinly as to resemble thin chicken tenders.
  • presumably, you could also just buy chicken tenders and not even have to cut anything.
  • 2 blocks frozen spinach (10 oz each) - mine were still frozen. I've also used 2 bags of frozen spinach because I love it.
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained
  • about 1 cup chicken broth (if you're using pre-cooked chicken or leftover turkey, you may not need to add the extra liquid)
Crock pot on high, cook until chicken has no pink remaining, stirring every hour or so. Drain out maybe 2 cups of liquid. Stir in:
  • 1 block of low fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup of reduced fat mayo
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bag pre-shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 1 generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper

It will still look oddly soupy. DO NOT PANIC. Let it all cook for another hour or two on high.

Stir it up like Bob Marley. LITTLE DARLIN, STIR IT UP. (Sorry for that, people who went to college in the 90's, you may have a hard time not hearing it in your brain all day. And for anyone who doesn't know that song, here you go). Serve it like a casserole with either tortilla chips, pita bread or garlic bread. Be prepared for the people in your house to think you're some sort of culinary genius when really it only took about 5 minutes of actual work.

Also, it yielded enough for two dinners for my family of 5 and we're heavy feeders. So that's like 5 minutes of work for 2 nights of dinner. I WIN AT DINNER.

xoxo, Lydia
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The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help. It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.

If you're already on Sweet Relish and you want to find me, click here.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Kids Will Eat Anything

This child is terrifying.
I once made the mistake of telling our friend the Yenta that my kids will eat anything. Being a newlywed who is not a mom yet, she thought that meant they ate a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains and other crap like that. I had to correct her. I was like: "Yenta, when I said they'll eat anything, I meant that literally. Yesterday Mini ate a rock she found on my neighbor's driveway."

But you know what? She still asked me to write a post for her about how to coerce adorable small people into eating food that is healthy for them. And here it is:

Do you have any questions for the Yenta for her next foodie post for us? I for one, want some recipes for Spring and Summer that are crock potty. I love my Crock but feel like I only use it in the winter. I also want to know about eggplant. Why does it always make my mouth feel stingy? I love it so much but it doesn't seem to love me back. Is that normal? Or is my eggplant just being dickish?

One more thing, our darling Yenta has been nominated as one of the top food blogs by our buddies at Babble. Would you mind talking a minute to vote for her? Just click here (she's #386 if you search alphabetically). I tried to use my influence over there to get them to just go ahead and pick her and they were like: "There are rules, jackass."*

*They didn't actually say that but I'm pretty sure they were thinking it.

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ask the Yenta: Convection Confection Confusion



It's the Yenta! She's back and answering our food related questions. Leave any questions for her here and she may answer yours next time. Oh and I pulled this picture off her website because I thought you needed to see this. 

Why? Because that's your Yenta right there being embraced by Tyson Beckford. Congratulations, hookers. There's now one degree of separation between  you and Tyson Beckford. 

Mazel Tav, bitches. That's the way to start a day!

And now, cooking advice from your very own Yenta, Laura Lyons:
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1. Oh how I love the post from Stephi Anderson: 
I am so tired of reading healthy organic-y food blogs by beautiful skinny moms who also sew and run marathons. The recipes are great--I would cook like that all the time and eat like that all the time and look like that all the time...maybe. The trouble is that about 4% of the cooking I do is for me. The rest is for three not-even-very picky kids and a meat-and-potatoes (and Whataburger) husband. I want to know what YOUR hubby and kids eat that are Yenta-approved, and if they won't eat it I don't even wanna know because it's just one more thing I'll want to waste my me-time on. Oh yeah, and we have a relatively small grocery budget, too. No Whole Foods shopping trips.”

Oh, yes...  we all know one of the beautiful skinny moms, the one who doesn’t break a sweat during a spin class while in full make-up and jewelry.   She is no friend of mine. I love the expression “yenta-approved” and I’m thinking I may need to put it on a t-shirt or apron…

Now, I should tell you up front that I do have a bit of an unfair advantage in the husband department, being that he is also a chef.   We don’t have any children yet – but we’re “working” on it.  Was that an overshare?  Eh, who cares.  This is RFML… you can handle it.

Don’t fret Stephi! First off, let’s not try to turn the family inside out and upside down overnight.  You can start incorporating healthier options into your meals little by little without spending any more money or time than you already are.  One of the biggest mistakes we make is telling ourselves and our families that we are “substituting” this for that…   turkey for beef in chili, whole grain pasta for white, etc…

Turkey & chicken don’t want to compete with beef, they are totally different animals, have different tastes, textures, etc.  Turkey & chicken proudly stand on their own and make no apology to beef!  So why are we behaving like “we’re so sorry family, but we’re going to get healthy, so I am using turkey/chicken instead of beef.”  Instead, how about “hey family, I found this great recipe for a Chicken Chili Verde with fresh corn and lime and I can’t wait to make it for all of us!”

So the first step is to behave in a way that gets everyone on board with some new dishes.  Leave the words healthy, change and substitution out of it.

Last night Todd (the husband) and I made Asian Chicken Burgers.  Ground chicken has amazing flavor and with the addition of 1 egg, splash of soy sauce, fresh minced ginger, fresh minced garlic, minced scallion, dash of Sriracha, dash of lime juice…  Mix all together, form into patties and pan fry in a non-stick pan.  To garnish the burgers, put some sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, shredded red cabbage and sliced red onion in a bowl with a dash of red vinegar, minced cilantro, garlic and ginger, spoonful of honey, salt and pepper… Adds great crunch to the burgers!  Serve on regular burger buns! Super healthy and wouldn’t be half as tasty if made with beef burgers, so they won’t be thinking they are missing anything!

 Sriracha (Lydia's daughter used to call it "Cock Sauce")
And listen… if you are the one doing the cooking, YOU ARE IN CHARGE.  Don’t get hung up on following recipes either… use them as inspiration and as a guide.  If you are grocery shopping on a budget, look for the great deals on fresh product and then think about the meals you can make with it.  Don’t shop accordingly to recipes – it will ALWAYS end up costing you more.  Depending on where you live, check out local farmers markets.  The produce is always going to cost less because it hasn’t been shipped from some other part of the country. 

Keep me posted Stephi and let me know how it goes with the fam.  I’m here for you.

2.  Sarah Davis Wilkinson wrote:  
What's the best way to store herbs? Mine go bad fast in the fridge?
 I heart this question! There are a few things you can do…
  • Wash the herbs thoroughly and then wrap in a damp paper towel.  Re-dampen the paper towel every few days.
  • This is a REALLY cool trick!  When the herbs are starting to get to a place where you know they will only last another day or so, take the leaves only and put them in a food processor or blender with kosher salt.  
  • After the mixture is blended, pop into a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for a year! 
Next time you want to season chicken, pork, beef, fish, pasta, breadcrumbs, etc… add a spoonful of your herbed salt!  You can mix your herbs together or keep each flavor separate – your choice!

3. Nicole asked:  
Any great recipes for things that reheat well? My hubby works a weird shift and therefore his dinners are always leftovers… Help!
Prepare dishes that are better when they have time to let the flavors develop like Chili, Soup and Stew. Anything you make will re-heat well, if you give it a little love.  If you roast a chicken and want to re-heat it without drying it out, have a little of the au-jus or gravy with it on the plate or in the Tupperware so when he pops it in the microwave or oven/pan that it will cook with the juices.  (If you don’t have stock or gravy, a little bit of water is better than nothing…) 

Pasta is almost always better the next day or re-heated, so have a little cheese grated in a side container that he can sprinkle on top.  Add a bit more sauce to the pasta and he’ll love you more than he already does.  What about meatloaf? Who doesn’t love meatloaf? Any dish that is better when it has time to let the flavors develop will be perfect for re-heating.

4. Lydia from RFML writes: 
My house has a convection oven. It's supposed to be good. Why? What does it even do? When would I need to use it? Is it only there to confuse me? 
 The short answer is that I use the convection setting to bake and the conventional setting to roast.  The convection setting activates a fan which circulates air/heat which results in non-direct heat cooking and the conventional setting (no fan) results in direct heat cooking.  When the convection setting is activated the temperature of the oven will be lower than that with a conventional setting.

The bottom line is that I only use the convection setting for baking.  Items will cook more evenly, because for the most part your oven will not have “hot spots” with convection. I use the conventional setting if I am trying to roast something at a semi-high to high temperature.  Some would argue that you can cook everything with the convection setting, but that is really a matter of preference.

Also check out this week’s post on The Oy of Cooking:  Quinoa saves lives. What did you do today?

Let’s Dish!
Laura P. Lyons


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Yenta Answers Your Questions

Dearest fabulous RFML readers, 

What a warm welcome! I’m thrilled to be part of the Mommyland family- and promise to live up to all of the expectations you have of a good Yenta... Big hair, big boobs, big mouth.  Since you can’t see me, you’ll have to take my word that I do indeed possess all three qualifications.  Like Lydia mentioned we go way back to high school cheerleading, and I’m pretty sure that the three aforementioned attributes are what got us onto the squad in the first place since I don’t remember being able to complete one cartwheel between the two of us.


[Editor's Note: I could do a round off. Does that count? xo, Lydia]

Let’s get down to business, shall we?

First, the issue of the garlic press. I certainly got a rise out of a lot of you with this one…

Let me just put my cards on the table- I’m against all unnecessary gadgets that take up valuable drawer space.  I’m equally against tools that perform a task that can be done just as easily with a knife or your hands.  And the last reason… have you ever see Julia Child, Morimoto or Bobby Flay whip out a garlic press? No, because they are the real deal.  Say it with me now…  “I Am The Real Deal.”  With a little help from the Yenta, you will soon be much more confident in the kitchen and won’t be needing any cute gadgets!

Ok, let’s put that one behind us.  I know you are still going to use your garlic press, but I also know the next time you do, you will feel a little Yenta guilt…

I have chosen five fabulous questions to answer this week- and hopefully in doing so will address some of the other issues out there.

1. The Koenig Family wrote that they are afraid of fish! Trust me; the fish is MUCH more scared of you than you are of it.  Does that rule apply to fish or just spiders? In any event, nothing to be scared of when it comes to preparing fish. I find that if you know how to cook a chicken breast, you are halfway there.  You could take shrimp, cod, haddock, tilapia or swordfish and sauté gently in some olive oil, a bit of butter (just a bit is okay), some onions, peppers and tomatoes.  Throw in a few chopped olives and some capers…    Easy Breezy! Dinner is served.

2.  Q:  Kate wrote:  “I want to learn to eat greens. I mean, like collards and turnip greens and all those things you generally walk right by in the grocery store. There's a whole SECTION of greens. It's between the celery and the bell peppers."

Swiss Chard is even sort of pretty.
Kate- this was perhaps my favorite question! The grocery store is my mother ship.  I realize I may be in alone in this next statement, but grocery shopping is a relaxing and exciting experience for me.  I fully understand that this is NOT the case for most people.  It’s no coincidence that the wheels on the shopping carts are cockeyed and broken…   I see people taking intense aggravation and frustration out on those poor carts.  Hey Lady- it’s not the cart’s fault that you are overwhelmed by the 17 different varieties of lettuce.  But…  I digress.

The best way to try out some new leafy greens is to dive right in! I recommend starting with Swiss Chard- similar to spinach but with a little more sex appeal.  As with ALL greens, wash thoroughly.  The quickest way to ruin a bite of greens is a mouthful of dirt and grit.  Wash, wash, wash… use a salad spinner if you have one! (Yes, I approve the Salad Spinner!) Remove the leaves from the stalk and rip or cut into large bite-sized pieces.   (Don’t discard the stalks- add to the onions and garlic in recipe below and sauté before you add the leaves.  Why waste?)

A good all-purpose recipe for greens is to sauté a bit of minced garlic and minced onion in olive oil-(not Extra Virgin), put the greens in the pan, let wilt, toss, sprinkle with salt and pepper – done.  The whole process takes less than 5 minutes. 

Other greens worth trying:
Broccolini: The Angelina Jolie of Broccoli.  A little skinner and much more elegant than short and stubby Broccoli.
Kale: Is like Diane Keaton’s style...  we’re not sure what to make of it.  Is it just for decoration or can you eat it? Yes, you can! Can be eaten cooked OR raw.  Check out the recipe for
Whole Meal Salad.
Mustard Greens:  Kind of like the hot chic on Modern Family- a little nutty and a little spicy.
Arugula: Meryl Streep. A winner. So versatile.  Raw in a salad, cooked with pasta, on and on…
Beet Greens:  Julia Roberts.  Classic, timeless and will always make you smile.  These greens are best sautéed in a bit of butter, salt, pepper and if you are feeling fun, add a bit of orange zest.  Beets love orange.

That should get you inspired next time you wander past the Leafy Greens section in the produce department.  Also, keep in mind that all of the above are busting with vitamins and fiber! SO good for you! Go get em’ girl!

3.  I loved the questions about Quinoa from Abigail and MK. On my blog The Oy of Cooking, I've said that there is NO way to enjoy Quinoa.  Well…  I take it back.  I have found a way. Not unlike how many of you said you have to “hide” veggies in your children’s food, hiding the Quinoa is how I have learned to enjoy it.  

I’ve discovered that  if you create a salad using Quinoa with Brown Rice and Wheat berries*, you will actually build a dish with many textures and flavors – add some chopped nuts, some minced dried fruit and an orange/honey dressing.  It will almost be as decedent as granola, but without all the fat.  You can go savory as well – use the same three grains and add diced red onion, some black beans, some shucked corn kernels, cilantro and a red wine vinaigrette.  Serve warm or cold…

The mystery of Quinoa… solved.


These are cooked wheatberries.
[Editor's note - I had to ask The Yenta what the hell wheatberries were. Also? I happen to love quinoa but the rest of the family hates it. - xo, Lyd] 

Lydia, wheatberries are darling little grains that have a nutty taste and popcorn like texture.  You can add that description and these cooking instructions: In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the wheatberries for 1 hour, or until they are tender, and drain them.  Run under cold water to stop cooking and bring temp down.

4. Wow, a LOT of questions about how to get your kids to eat vegetables… 

A few summers ago my sister-in-law was having this exact issue with her two little ones.  She did something genius that had her kids do a complete 180 in the veggies department… They planted a garden.  The kids had to take care of growing cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, string beans, peppers and so on and so forth…

Because they had planted the seeds, watered them, watched them grow, picked them, helped to cook them… they were naturally curious to taste them!  Hasn’t been a problem since.  In fact, the kids have become much more adventurous in their eating… a few months ago we went to an Italian restaurant and MJ’s (5) eyes lit up when I ordered grilled Octopus.  He tasted it, and LOVED it.  Every time I see him now he asks if I brought an Octopus with me.  Yes, I did… its right here in my purse.


But another idea that doesn't take quite so long is to have the kids pick out the veggies in the store…  Let them choose a couple of new things to try each time they go. Have them put together a little pre-dinner crudité with the veggies they picked out and some ranch dressing or some hummus. Dip is good.

5. Anonymous wrote that her rice is Globby… 

Cooking rice: NEVER STIR and you will never get globby rice again.  The basic recipe for rice is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water or stock.  Also, rice goes in the pot with cold water- not boiling.  Follow these directions: a bit of fat (oil or butter) in the pot, add rice, stir until rice is coated in fat.  Add water.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover for approx. 20 minutes.  DO NOT STIR.  Taste rice to test for doneness.  If the texture is where you want it, remove from heat and fluff with a fork- never a spoon.

That’s a basic recipe- now go ahead and add all the flavors and ingredients you desire.

I hope you have found the info useful and I look forward to many more questions next month! Leave your questions in the comments section. Lydia has already asked me why convection ovens are supposed to be good. In the meantime, you can follow my weekly blog The Oy of Cooking and join the Dish with the Yenta… Facebook page for updates! 

Laura P. Lyons
Dish with the Yenta…
Because everybody loves some good dish…

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Introducing... Ask The Yenta!

By now you all know that I'm food obsessed in the manner of a young Labrador. But let me clarify that statement, because this is important. I'm focused on food because I love it but mostly because I'm responsible for feeding five people every day several times a day. I have to be thinking about my next meal because half the time, it must be approached with a level of strategery that even an ex-President couldn't muster on a daily basis.  

For each meal, the following must be assessed and dealt with:
  • What food is on hand?
  • Do I have any desire to eat it?
  • Do I need to go the store?
  • If so, will it be a big trip or a small trip? (A big trip requires a list and coupons)
  • Should I text my husband to see what he feels like for dinner?
  • Can I go to the store in such a way that I don't have to bring all of my offspring with me?
  • Should I just make mac and cheese?
  • Oh crap - how did it get so late?
  • DAMNITALLTOHELL the chicken is still frozen.
  • Sorry, mommy didn't mean to use those words.
  • Call Domino's.
And so despite my love of food and cooking, it all starts to get old and feel like a job. And I need help. I have questions and could really use some inspiration. That's where The Yenta comes in. Her real name is Laura and she is a bonafide expert on food and cooking. And she's not just here for me, hookers. She's here for all of us.

In calling The Yenta, I'm calling in the big guns. And I mean that literally because Laura's cleavage rivals my own. Slightly less impressive is the fact that she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and has worked as an executive chef. She now runs a business called "Dish with the Yenta..." in Philadelphia (where she will come to your house and teach you and your friends stuff while you're drinking - wait. not her drinking - you drinking). She also has a very cool blog called The Oy of Cooking...

So if you have food related questions or need help or a new idea or how to get around a food allergy or how to make something you have to eat less gross - ASK THE YENTA. Leave a question here as a comment and she may just answer it next week. We hope this will be a recurring thing, we ask The Yenta and every couple of weeks she answers.

And also? We went to high school together in NJ and we were both cheerleaders even though we weren't the coolest girls in the world. And if you are very sweet to The Yenta and gain her trust, she may perhaps share photographic evidence of this. Lydia from high school was very, very special. Remember the whole story about me breaking into Mike Tyson's house? Special.

I asked her to share some things about herself with you as she is becoming part of the family. Here's what she had to say:
  • My husband is nine years younger than me. That’s right, ladies.
  • I HATE parades, unless I’m in it and am the Queen of the float.
  • I believe that broken cookies, holiday cookies, any cookies you receive as a gift and cookies that have fallen on the floor have no calories and are fine to eat in excess.
  • If you like my matzoh balls, you’ll love my kugel…
  • I love Beef Jerky. It's delicious and makes me feel like a cave woman when I eat it.
  • I already know you have more kitchen gadgets and chachkies then you need. Next time you go to use any of the following, throw it in the garbage and use your hands: garlic press, lemon squeezer, egg cracker and/or egg separator, Hamburger shaper, etc…
Which leads to my first question - Yenta, why are you hating on my garlic press? What's wrong with a dang garlic press? Also! How does one prepare beets in such a way that they don't taste like dirt? Is it possible? The Cap'n loves them and I think they're made of gross.

Leave your questions below!

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Allergy Mom

Doesn't it look delicious?
Well, you can't have any because it's poison.
This long overdue post about kids with food allergies come to us from our friend Portia, a working mother of two (an almost 5 year old girl and an almost 3 year old boy). She is awesome and funny and brutally honest about what it's like to have a kid with food allergies.

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Hi! I'm Portia and my kid has a pretty severe set of food allergies. And while he is totally awesome - allergies and all - some of the stuff that goes along with it (that really have nothing to do with HIM) are enough to send me to the nervous hospital.

Example? Why sure!

The Doubting Thomas Type 1
Apparently there are people that exist in the world who don’t believe in food allergies. I try to act like I don’t believe in people that don’t believe in food allergies, but they make it hard for me what with all their nagging questions and not-so-helpful suggestions. This was much harder to deal with in the beginning when I suffered from the inevitable doubts myself about whether all these problems could really possibly be caused by food. Nowadays I tend deal with it by vomiting up details the way my son vomits up beef and I find that it really discourages people from involving themselves further.

The Doubting Thomas Type 2
Even those who do ‘believe’ in food allergies sometimes give the definite impression that it can’t possibly be as bad as I say and he can’t possibly be allergic to all the things I say he’s allergic to. And surely one little taste isn’t going to hurt and why don’t I just let him try it and see what happens and I heard even kids who are allergic can eat it if it’s cooked and was it really necessary to snatch the cheez-it from his hand as if it were a venomous snake?

Anyhoo, these are the people that look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that my son can’t have whatever it is they are trying to give him because I don’t know exactly what’s in it. These are the people who start interrogating me when I say he’s allergic (What makes me think he’s allergic? Oh, I brought him to a shaman and had him do a vision quest. It was totally reliable; he had a real tipi and everything). These are the people who are angry because our daycare asked them to stop sending peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in their kid’s lunch.

The "You are a Hoverer Because You LIKE It" People
These are the people who roll their eyes at my ‘overprotective helicopter parenting’ when I follow my kid around in public to make sure he doesn’t pick anything up off the floor or let any other sweet-and-giving child share their snack with him.

Let me add for clarification that I am not a hoverer by nature. In fact, with my first child I accused of being too relaxed. (TRUE STORY: Oh, she just ate a moth? *shrug* Eh, it’s probably not the worst thing that’s been in her mouth today.) But this one I have to hover. Not only is food an issue, but he has severe eczema and if not closely watched and forcibly restrained he’ll (quite literally and with no exaggeration) scratch himself until he’s raw and bleeding. So no matter where we are I am there. Hovering. Hating that I have to hover and trying to ignore the rolled eyes of people who don’t know why I have to do it. Which brings me to…

The Crushing Guilt
Not only is it my fault he’s allergic to begin with because I ate peanuts when I was pregnant/didn’t eat peanuts when I was pregnant/ate peanuts when I was nursing/didn’t eat peanuts when I was nursing/had a vaginal birth/had a csection/didn’t make the proper burnt offerings to the right god, it is also my fault when he does accidentally get something in his mouth that triggers a reaction. Thank JEEBUS he’s never shown signs of anaphylaxis so I’ve never had to deal with that particular hell, but it’s an ever-looming specter. What I DO have to deal with as far as reactions is the vomiting/mucousy-or-bloody diarrhea/head-to-toe-rash/constant-scratching/bleeding/gassiness-and-bloating/insomnia. And to anyone who thinks it’s okay to let him have “just a taste” because “it’s not like it’s gonna kill him” why don’t you ask him first whether a taste of yogurt is really worth all that. Oh wait, you can’t. He’s two.

But I digress. Point being I feel guilty any time he has a reaction and I spend the next…however long the reaction lasts this round…trying to figure out what exactly I did wrong when probably what happened is that he found the pretzel his sister discarded (because it wasn’t twisted right) under the couch and gleefully consumed it (because he KNOWS he’s not supposed to eat her pretzels) and really that’s my fault too because I didn’t vacuum yesterday (or all of last week) and also I should probably just not have pretzels in the house in the first place except big sister LOVES them they’re her FAVORITE and if I don’t let her have pretzels I have that guilt of denying her piled up on top of all the rest.

And let’s not even get into the guilt of trying to nurse him while eliminating every food known to man and seeing him react to everything that goes in my mouth. And the twin guilts of having to abruptly wean him and wondering if I should have weaned him sooner. Yeah, let’s not get into that because then I’ll have to cry.

The Public Play Area
Well, public places in general, but the worst are public play areas. Have you ever been inside those tubes at the McDonalds playground? No? Don’t. You’ll never let your kid in there again. I haven’t let mine go back, and I wasn’t even the one that went in there. Daddy is the one who went in after a youngun and came out shell shocked and traumatized by the experience, muttering something unintelligible about sticky french fries. And while I know Chuck E. Cheez is probably NOT the favorite place of any mother anywhere (potentially a gross understatement) for the allergy mom it is like a frigging war zone with enemy agents waiting to spring on you and deadly land mines lurking under every surface. And I’m supposed to let my kid play there? Um, to totally jack a phrase from Kate and Lydia, EVEN NO-ER. And while I’m on the subject of Chuck E Cheez…

Birthday Parties
I have friends with food allergic kiddos that won’t even go to them, but I feel like that’s cruel. So we go. And then I spend the entire time trying to pretend like I’m not secretly having a panic attack. I have to go through the goody bags with a fine-toothed comb to make sure there aren’t any edible items in them and try to ignore the fact that the mom who put them together is rolling her eyes at me because she’s probably one of those people I talked about in #1.

And let me tell you, there is no greater mommy guilt (without a doubt an exaggeration, but let me have my moment) than sitting in the middle of a room full of sparkly-eyed children getting ice cream and brightly-colored birthday cupcakes (probably decorated with a favorite cartoon character) doled out to them and hearing your barely verbal toddler ask in the most pitiful and plaintive voice ever heard by anyone anywhere, “I have cupcake mommy?” AND HAVING TO SAY NO. And all because I didn’t make it to the store to buy supplies to make wheat, dairy, egg, nut, soy free frigging cupcakes (can you even call them that?). Not that I’d have had the spare time to make them anyway because who the heck has the time to bake everyFRIGGINGthing from scratch? (Yes, I’m purposefully ignoring your raised and manicured hand, Perfect Mommy). And while I’m on the subject of making everything from scratch…

Food. Just all of it.
I never realized how little attention I paid to food before. I mean, I paid attention in that I have a love-love relationship with food. I love it. And then I love it even more, as evidenced by my curvy physique. I’m from the south, so pretty much ever family get-together, holiday, and social function revolves around food. Food is a good thing and the source of all things wonderful (and sometimes gassy). At any rate, I never really gave much thought to what was in my food, not past the oh-my-god-this-is-delicious-what-IS-it level. But now every trip to the grocery store takes at least twice as long because I have to read the ingredients on every. single. item. And I have to do it every. single. time. Because manufacturers don’t care about my precious precious sanity and for whatever reason they think it’s fun to keep changing their ingredients on me.

Oh sorry. Not for you. Move along.

Now I recognize that my son has more allergies than most food-allergic kids, so he’s kind of a special case, but I have to mention here that he can’t eat out anywhere. ANYWHERE. Gone are the days of Happy Meals (FINE! YES, it’s probably a good thing for their health, but dammit they are cheap and fast and easy and EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE it’d be nice to have the option). He can’t eat the food served at friends’ houses or at school (finding a day care turned out to be pure hell) and I’m really not looking forward to the days of Boy Scouts and Baseball Teams because he won’t be able to eat the food there either and it’s only going to get harder for me to monitor and enforce.

And along the same lines, specialty food is EXPENSIVE. Have a cruise through the “natural foods” section of the grocery store next time you’re there. It’s like you’ve magically been transported to Whole Foods for just one aisle, with prices to match. It doesn’t make sense to me, it seems like if it tastes WORSE than its normal food counterpart it should be CHEAPER, but despite my angry phone calls and drunk-rambles on their facebook walls EnjoyLife and Rice Dream continue to disagree with me on that score. And I’m not even going to get into the cost of hypoallergenic elemental formula that at nearly three my son JUST stopped drinking (not because he no longer needs it, but because we can’t get him to drink it from a cup and I can’t take the guilt of having a three year old still drinking from a bottle).

So there you have it. I love my son, I’ll face whatever enemies are thrown at me to make sure he is safe and lives a relatively normal life. But I’ll probably continue to bitch about it when he’s not listening. And sometimes I have to laugh or I’ll cry.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good Nutrition Can Bite Me

I care about nutrition. I really do. As a mom, its my job to make sure my kids aren't eating crap all the time.  When it comes to what I feed myself, however - it's pretty sad.  Like many other mothers I know, I am fixated on having happy, healthy, emotionally stable children while slowly going insane and totally ignoring my own needs and health. My tooth broke in half last year and it took my two weeks to get to a dentist.  If one of my kids gets a rash, they're at the pediatrician's office that very damn day.

So my kids follow all kinds of wonderful rules about healthy eating like "dessert is not an everyday treat" and "I need to finish my water before I can have seconds".  And I enforce these rules while pounding cold coffee and eating all my meals either over the sink or while driving.

And so I was only sort of paying attention when the USDA recently replaced the food pyramid with something else.  They replaced it with this:

This is apparently how all good families are supposed to be eating, while not watching more than two hours of TV per day.  Let's take it a step further.  Let's apply this concept to how moms eat in real life.  To the landscape we actually live in. Where healthy eating becomes a competitive sport. This is the actual "My Plate" for moms...


This is sort of Paltrow-y and annoying but at least honest about how it sucks and is too expensive and requires you to shop for your groceries at about 400 diffrent stores.  If you actually eat like this, congratulations. I don't mean to poke fun.  Seriously. If you eat like that all the time, without being all smug and needing to mention it to other people at the bus stop first thing in the morning - then I say YAY FOR YOU and your tiny, firm ass.

But here's how it actually works at my house:


Please tell me that its not just me, alone in my yoga pants and nutritional shame.  I'm pretty sure it's not just me though, because I saw a total Gwyneth at Chipolte last week and I gave that bitch a high five.

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SGW: Sent to the Principal's Office

Hi, Kate's sister Bianca here. Before you get all rolley-eyed and think, "oh great, WTF does the perfect sister have to share with ME about mommy’ing?" let me set a few things straight.

Yes, I am tall, but Kate is far from accurate about the perfect thing. Yes, my girls are awesome (aren't yours??) and I do have to assume that part of that awesomeness comes from me. [Editor’s Note: Aren’t you kinda hating her already? Me too… -Kate]

But as far as being perfect and all, well, you should ask Kate about the time I gave her 2nd degree burns while basting the Thanksgiving turkey, or... ummm... well, I'm sure there was something else. [Editor's Note: Hey Bianca...Remember "does it begin with a... 'M'?? That was probably equally as painful. OOH! Or the chile relleno night? You wimp.  -Kate] 


Anyway, my rant today is about my youngest daughter. She’s 12 and has this freakish memory for things that we forget the instant after it happens. Like that chick who was on Taxi and she has this perfect recollection of every day of her. whole. life. I can't even recall her birthday half the time. She can give you the daily forecast, the TV schedule and the exact time she woke up that morning at the drop of a hat. She's like the time and temperature phone number that Kate and I called incessantly when we were kids to find out if it was 80 degrees yet so we could wear shorts. [Editor’s Note: We weren’t allowed to wear shorts until it was 80 degrees outside. EVER. Didn’t matter that we lived just thisside of Hell, if the thermostat said 79, we had to roast all over the house while our mother asked us if we knew where she left her little sweater. Now, we both wear shorts when it’s 14 degrees outside.  Just. Because. We. Can. –Kate]

 
She can also tell you exactly what everyone had to eat the last time we visited any particular restaurant, and likely what we were wearing, too. She loves, LOVES school, is at least 10 minutes early to everything and her favorite TV channel is the Game Show Network. I think she must get that from Kate, because her favorite show when she was like 2 was The Price is Right, and she will never pass up an opportunity to watch Jeopardy with someone. Especially when she thinks – umm,  KNOWS --  she can kick your ass. [Editor’s Note: Totally true. I have an abundance of useless trivia in my head. Like, didja know that elevators, ALL ELEVATORS, bing once when they’re going up, and twice when they’re going down? It’s so blind people know which way it’s going. Awesome, isn’t it? You’re welcome. –Kate]

So, last week, I get a call from the Vice Principal at her middle school. He tells me that there was an incident at lunch and a bunch of kids were throwing fruit in the courtyard. I stop him mid-sentence and ask him if he's sure he has the right mom. Not that I don't think that my kid would throw fruit, (well, I didn't, but I was trying to avoid getting all Perfect Mommy on him) but there is another child in the 7th grade with the same first and last name as mine. They have been mixed up SEVERAL times and I was hoping that this was again the case.

Vice Principal: "The child who did this is definitely Marilu P."
[silent cursing]
Me:  *sigh* "Yes, she's mine."

He tells me that Marilu, along with the other accomplices, will have lunch detention for the next 5 days. Which mostly involves not going outside after lunch and cleaning up the cafeteria.

Yet again, Marilus kind of a freak and loves to clean, so she's more upset about not going outside than wiping down tables. I get off the phone flabbergasted and proceed to tell the story to my friend who is with me. "Throwing fruit??? At other kids?? Whuck?? Who IS this child?" 

I am home before she gets home from school (Thank Maude for an older sister who drives carpool!) (and STOP rolling your eyes!) Marilu comes running in my room hyperventilating, crying, writhing on the floor saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!!" over and over again. Yes, she can also be a bit dramatic at times. [Editor's Note: Ahhh, finally something from my end of the gene pool. Excellent. -Kate] I finally sit her down and tell her in my best mean mommy voice to stop blubbering and whining and tell me what happened.

Wait for it, here it comes.... 


Marilu: I don't know...
Me: WHAT? What do you mean you don't know? Who else was there?
Marilu: [Rattles off a bunch of names of which I only recognize one and the others are names that could be boys or girls]
Me: Who are they? Are those boys?? 
Marilu: Yes.
Me: What are you doing hanging around boys? Were you eating lunch with them? 
Marilu: Yes, ma'am [A flashback to her karate days. When she knows she's in trouble, the ‘ma'am’ comes out.]
Me:
Did they start it? 
Marilu: I guess. I don't know it just happened. Mamma, I'm so sorry!! [starts blubbering again]



In my head, I am fast-forwarding a few years when she comes home from college with a tattoo on her lower back and an "it just happened" look on her face
 

Me: Oh stop it! Were you throwing at other people???
Marilu: Oh no, just against the wall? 
Me: What kind of fruit was it? Where did it come from?

Marilu: Apples. I guess from someone's lunch.
Me: So, lunch detention, huh? What does that mean?
Marilu: We can't go on the playground after lunch and have to clean the tables in the cafeteria. It's so stupid because the 8th graders started a food fight after we were throwing the apples and they got the same punishment as we did! 
Me: Yeah, well, I don't care about the 8th graders. 

 I sigh and give her a hug and tell her it's OK, but that getting a call from the VP does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and I NEVER want to get another one. Then I tease her about throwing fruit and being as though she loses her Schmidt whenever there is not fruit in the house, I am shocked to hear that she was throwing it. She would be the one out there rescuing the sad apple slices from the torments of war and giving them a proper burial in a baggie in the trash. 

For the next hour or so, she gave me a hug and apologized every time I passed her in the house.  I am far from perfect, and the same goes for my kids. But they are awesome girls and minor incidences like this are good reminders as to how easy it is to take for granted their awesomeness. We all screw up and it's OK. A hug and kiss and an "I still love you even though you cut your sister's hair" is the best medicine for a screw up.

Now I just have to hope Marilu stays away from those boys. Or, at least learns how to decapitate them with an apple. Seems only fair.


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Friday, February 4, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the CELEBRITY Mom

We think we've found the most nefarious of Domestic Enemies. Enemies that are so stealth and so well hidden that it almost seems as if they aren't enemies at all. In fact, in most of MommyLand, we didn't even know they were enemies. That's how good they are. But our fabulous, famous, west coast friend Kendra Crawford*, who has more acting trophies than...than...than us, told us that celebrity moms are under siege every day. We thought we needed to alert MommyLand. So, take everything you knew about summer enemies and winter enemies and urban enemies and rural enemies and small town enemies and thank your lucky stars you don't live in Hollywood...

*Kendra Crawford is a made up name.  Because she is completely imaginary. We made her up. Because REAL celebrities are too cool to deal with us.  Can you blame them?

Other Celebrity Moms
You think you b*tches hate dealing with Perfect Mommy? You think Kate is bad? You wish. Kate is so far out of our league, she's playing a different sport. That nasty snitch next door, who just had her ugly baby three weeks ago, showed up at the Golden Globes in a strapless Versace and is now on the cover of the Bible. [That would be People magazine, girls. -Kate] I had a dinner party with food brought in from Paris. But little Miss Oscar Winner had Wolfgang Puck in. her. mur.thur.fur.kin kitchen...which sorta doesn't matter, because of...

Food
We can't actually eat it.  It's not the food itself. We like food. Or, at least we think we remember liking food. Right now, and for the past fifteen years, we see food like a pre-nup. Something you've heard about and possibly seen, but never ever touch. We've discovered that if we smell really really hard, it's almost like actually tasting it. Of course, vodka and red bull don't have any caloric or nutritional components, so we can have as much of that as we want, which leads to our problem with...

Vehicles
I'm not sure why it's so difficult to figure this out. SAG and MPAA and MTV...good. DWI...bad. Girls, just because the DWIs come with all those flashing lights and they take your picture and then everyone writes about you, it doesn't mean it's a good thing. How about this? Stop driving. Maybe cut back on the trips to Agent Provocateur and pay someone to drive you to that trashy club where you can lose another pair of your panties. Which brings me to...

Those Things With The Cameras
Look, we just want to go to the grocery store, or Starbucks, or leave the club a little tipsy without having to get through that horde of clicky black boxes. What is wrong with you people? Yes, I look like crap. It's four thirty in the morning. You aren't looking too hot yourself. And then, if that's not bad enough, you sell them to those even more sinister leeches. Bloggers. [Gulp. We know. - Kate and Lydia] You guys sit around in your yellow kitty jammies slamming us for how we look with no makeup? Hey Kate, you still have that Boobs Akimbo t-shirt? Because that looks *fantastic* on you. Add a pair of clogs and let me take your picture. Snitches. [Holy crap.  Can she see me on my webcam? Because I'm wearing the yellow kitty pj's RIGHT NOW. -Lydia] And, then they hang out outside my house...whuck? Go away before I wind up with...

Exhaustion & Dehydration
I have a very stressful life. Someone has to wake me up, clean my house, fix me food, do my hair and get me dressed. Every. Day. And then I have to read stuff and memorize stuff and make sure I work enough to pay for all these leeches who take all these random percentages of money. It can drive anyone to drink drugs overdose turn into Lindsay Lohan exhaustion.
Add in a warrant for my arrest dehydration and that's three weeks in Palm Springs, having people wake me up, clean my house, fix my food, do my hair...so when I get back home, I only have to face...

Children
Thank you, Angelina. We know we all agreed that you could reign over us for a while, mostly because we're scared of you and Julia lit out for New Mexico. But six kids? Have you been around your children? Gah! They're messy. And they smell. And what they want to do to my boobs is just wrong. That. Is. My. Livelihood. Kiddo. You're job is to be cute and quiet and then go from being a tiny baby to a teenager in about two years and then a grown adult two more after that.  I'm not sure how you're not progressing as fast as Erika Kane's children, but you better step it up. Because that snitch is is not going to one-up me.

xoxo Kendra

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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