So Nate is now playing on a soccer team that Michael coaches and I "manage" which brings the entire family to Mccarren Park every Saturday morning around 10am. Which means, of course, we are obligated to go to the amazing weekly farmer's market there that we too often avoid out of sheer laziness.
Last weekend we hit it after a winning game and Michael and I separated, each buying way too much produce. When I told Michael that we could not buy any more vegetables because we didn't have room in our fridge and it would all go bad before we could eat and what was the point of buying it if it was going to go bad...he said, "I love you very much." And then proceeded to buy more carrots.
We are a good match because Michael curbs my neurosis with passion and good humor and I fulfill his culinary dreams often based on too much of a good thing. He is the dreamer and I'm the doer. And of course I made it my mission this week to eat, cook, serve or preserve all the many veggies we bought which started with Michael cleaning and cutting the carrots and celery. Huge help!! The only way the market load every really works is if you get home and do all the primary prep work so you see beautiful clean colors and not bags of dirt when you open the fridge.
Anyway, I was on a mission so every evening we had cut up veggies and dip to tide everyone over until dinner. Mack must have eaten 60 carrots this week. Next best use: soup. I made a beautiful zucchini soup which lasted us all week. And finally, this incredibly delicious spaghetti squash with garlic and cheese.
For some reason, I cannot order takeout when the rest of the intelligent world would, so tonight's dinner is a result of what was in the freezer/fridge after a week with TWO school holidays, six loads of laundry and a movie about cartoon turtles who fall in love. Eaten silently with a spoon in two identical bowls. And yes I realize they don't really go together and yes, I was too hungry to take pictures so this is a somewhat lame post but actually both were pretty awesome...Michael and Mack ate every last bite. I will make both recipes again. Unless someone orders takeout.
Easy Chicken-Broccoli "Fried Rice"
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- chicken thighs cut into small pieces
- 1 bag frozen broccoli defrosted
- 1 tsps each fish sauce, soy sauce
- 1 small bag Uncle Ben's parboiled brown rice
- 1 egg
Heat olive oil and garlic clove in saucepan. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes then add fish and soy sauces. Cook for 5 minutes and add broccoli then rice. When hot, add raw egg and mix to cook. Season with soy or hot sauce to taste.
Easy Greek Shrimp
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 1 pound raw shrimp cleaned and shelled including tail (I used bag o' frozen)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup feta
In saute pan, olive oil and one garlic clove then add tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa and cook until tomatoes are soft. Add raw shrimp, stir until covered then scatter feta on top. Cover and cook over medium high until shrimp is cooked and feta melted (about 3-5 minutes).
Sandwich dinner is many family's cop-out meal. Not ours. For us, sandwiches for dinner turned out to be an emotional journey and a major turning point on our road to better times. Some people don't know this but my husband, Michael, is actually the self proclaimed king of sandwiches. See this post. Our kids however shun sandwiches. Last week Mack ate a few bites of salami and cheese sandwich and Michael was glowing for days.
The idea arose this morning. Me: Nate you've eaten 85 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this summer. Can we try another kind? Nate: no. Michael "Nate I'm going to make some sandwiches for you to try tonight at dinner," translation: mommy is going to make sandwiches for us.
I bought some new breads and salami, then made egg salad. (It occurred to me that Nate likes hard boiled eggs so what if they were just mashed up?) I'll admit, I was somewhat hopeful that this dinner would change the rest of our lives,
An hour before dinner Nate fell into a funk. I don't want sandwiches for dinner, Don't worry, I said. There are lots of options...." he looked intrigued. "Like hot dogs," I lied. Nate made his way to his room saying he wanted to be alone. I gave him some cool down time then entered to find him crying. I held him, then threw a couple hot dogs in the microwave.
When we sat down to dinner, I was nervous, standing up a lot, making announcements and stopping Michael from saying anything that might ruin my master plan which was anything at all. I quickly spread some egg salad (but refrained from calling it "salad") on a lenders bagel and gave it to Nate, then proceeded to pretend to not care what happened next. Michael made Mack a salami sandwich and I started to make myself a sandwich when a crazy thing happened. Nate ate the open-faced egg salad bagel and liked it. Next we tried a closed egg salad bagel with toothpicks and he ate that too. I was so excited that I rewarded him with no carrots required AND candy. Michael was pleased. Well done he said.
My theory is that seeing foods that Nate could reject (salami, ham, etc) gave him the leeway to choose something that looked familiar even if in a different form.
Unfortunately neither of us noticed that Mack didn't eat anything and he was up all night, hungry. It was a big cleanup and Michael had to leave early to play tennis in Queens. Looking back I will probably realize what a ridiculous person I have become, with fucked up values and an unhealthy need for my kids to eat well. But for the night, I called it a triumph.
Yesterday, while breakfasting on bagels and bacon, Nate pointed out that both items began with the letter "B". Then Michael said we should do a different letter every day for breakfast! Then I was shopping for cantaloupe.
We've only done a few letters but it is proving to be a good way to introduce some new foods (or just get Nate to eat something other than frozen waffles) in the name of the "game".
So far we skipped A (see above) but followed through with...
B: Bagel with Butter and Bacon (accompanied by Bear and Buffalo)
C: Cantaloupe and Cinnamon Cereal with (not shown) Coffee.
D: Danish and Dip (yogurt and honey) with fruit
E: Eggs and English Muffins
F. French toast and Fresh Fruit