Home Alone

Oh oh oh! AND THEN! Jason left for a short business trip yesterday, right after I got back from my suuuuuper-relaxing dental appointment and a milk/eggs/cereal run, because I know how to Treat Mah Self. And I do mean short. As in, he's already on his way home now. Less than 30 hours of solo parenting. Way less once you factor in 1) sleep and 2) the fact that I mostly hid from my children all afternoon yesterday. I put Ike down for a nap, deposited every blinky-gaming-type phone/tablet/screen we own on the coffee table for the older two, then barricaded myself in my office and tried to get work done. Nobody was to bother me unless they were bleeding. Profusely. Y'all know where the band-aids are, work it out. (AWKWARD RECIPE SEGUE LIKE A BOSS) Even dinner was leftovers, for God's sake — I made some rice and nuked up bowls of our Surprising Recipe Home Run Success of the Month, aka a curried lentil and swiss chard stew with chickpeas, aka one of those ideas you get that flies in the face of all good sense and logic and totally works out anyway. My kids — a couple... Read more →

Today in Further Tales From Obviousville

So here's a confession, of sorts: For YEARS, I blamed myself for Noah's picky eating habits. It was all my fault, you see, because I'd done some very specific things "wrong" when he was a baby and toddler. I started solids too early, I relied almost exclusively on jarred/packaged/processed baby foods, I never incorporated child-led weaning practices, I let his pickiness rattle me and I made it all a big deal, I short-order cooked for him and eventually mealtimes just devolved into dry Cheerios, peanut-butter crackers and a cup of milk because I just couldn't deal with it. And here's part two of my confession: For YEARS, I have likewise taken full credit for Ezra's non-picky eating habits. Because with him, you see, I did everything RIGHT. I delayed solids and let him take the lead, I made all his baby food from scratch, I grew our own fruits and vegetables so everything was as fresh as possible, I exposed him to a ton of variety, I gave him what the rest of the family ate whenever possible, I included him in food shopping/prep/cooking and yet above all remained cool and unflappable in the face of food whims and rejections.... Read more →

Dinner in Real Life, v.2

So it's pretty clear to me that if I want to keep going with the Dinner in Real Life-type posts (in which I give y'all a THRILLING 1,000+ WORD RUNDOWN on what we fucking ate for dinner, because you care and you care deeply) I really need to remember to take some goddamn photos before all the food disappears into our face holes. Photographing the recipes for blogging usually occurs to me the day after, while I'm reheating the leftovers in the microwave, and I am sorry, but making leftovers look like anything other than a choppy mess of brownish things is way beyond my modest skills. Look at this two-day old pasta! It is vaguely reminiscent of the idea of al dente! Bon appetit! Or I decide to document the preparation steps and...well, this happens: Remember the mini chicken and broccoli pot pies? I make those about once a week, because they are easy and the kids love them and FINE, I love them because it sort of feels like I'm eating Hostess pies for dinner. HOWEVER: No, I am not rolling out the world's biggest quadruple batch there; that's what happens when I plunge face first into a... Read more →

Dinner in Real Life

READERS BEWARE: There' s a ridiculous amount of boring dinner/cooking-type talk ahead. Also an inordinate number of parentheticals, even for me. I tried to make it funny. I tried and I probably failed. In other words, hold onto your butts, and may God have mercy on your souls. I have to admit I really enjoy rappin' with y'all about the cooking topic — trying to keep a family happy while not losing your mind with boredom over making the same damn recipe over and over and over again, and also trying to expand kids' culinary horizons without a full-on uprising at the dinner table. I've had a modest string of successes over the past couple weeks, happily enough. (Interspersed with nights when I was like, fuck it, here's mac-and-cheese and fishsticks; Jason, just pick up some sushi on your way home, okay?) (Last night was one of those nights. Ezra asked to try some tuna sashimi. I was very impressed until he spat it out half-chewed in disgust because DAMN, THAT WAS MY TUNA SASHIMI.) (Oh, and I also completely borked up something previously tried-and-true: Smitten Kitchen's most excellent chana masala. I overdid the cayenne and had the bright idea... Read more →

Another Super-Exciting Post About What We Ate This Week, Oh My GOD

(So it's come to this. Oh, blogging. The world had such high hopes for you!) Despite the now-documented existence of ZOMBIE BETCHTABULS, Ezra continues to blow my tiny little mind with his love of salad. And Noah continues to glare tiredly at me, meal after meal, because he is NOT RELATED TO THAT FREAK OVER THERE. THE ONE EATING RAW LETTUCE LEAVES. So meal planning continues to be a delicate dance o' Food Tetris — Child A will eat this but not that, Child B will eat that but not this. Child C is a wildcard, accepting and rejecting foods randomly and capriously like a total freaking jerk. Meanwhile, Jason and I would also, you know, like to eat things that we like. And to eat things that are healthy-to-healthy-ish, but are satisfying enough to curb the 10 pm cravings for ALL THE CARBS IN THE HOUSE. And can it not take a million hours to make? Also, please include some free diamonds and a unicorn, while we're making requests. We have had some successes, though. Noah discovered that he likes carrots. Cooked carrots, anyway, and carrots that have been glazed in butter and maple syrup. Which...okay, maybe not the... Read more →

Salad Days

About two months ago, Ezra randomly announced that he loved salad. I believe his exact words were, "Salad? I LOVE salad!" (Note that no one was even eating salad at the time. But such is The Ezra, The Neverending Mystery of Weird.) I also believe that prior to that announcement, he had never willingly taken a bite of anything that would traditionally be considered "salad" in his entire life. Ezra, as you know, has always been a good eater — though prone to fickle fits of pickiness just like any toddler and preschooler, rejected previously loved foods for no real reason other to drive his mother to (more) drink — but...lettuce? Plain raw vegetables that have not been doused in cheese or purposely hidden inside of something more acceptable? Or basically any vegetable that is not a pea, a carrot or a sweet potato? It seemed like a stretch, even for him. But sure enough, a couple nights later we made these Asian turkey lettuce wrap things that Jason and I go for when we cannot bear the thought of another goddamned taco night. The kids all like the filling, which we usually serve over rice or noodles for them.... Read more →

Rock Out With Your Kraut Out

This post is sponsored by Kraut Rocks I've written about the semi-complicated process of sponsored posts. I love them, I need them, I also kind of fear them because I tend to overthink them. What if the client hates it? What if you guys hate it? Cue the self-doubt-fueled writer's block gaaaaahhhhhhhhh. But then sometimes a sponsored post comes along that involves hanging out with an old friend, gossiping, drinking beer and cooking mussels and hot dogs and sauerkraut over an open flame on a bar counter wait WHAT. There's a month-long sauerkrautaganza going on in D.C. right now called Kraut Rocks. Top Chef's Spike Mendolsohn is the host and several other local chefs are featuring their take on sauerkraut on their menus. I was asked to write a post about it. Amy's Mouth: Sure! Why not? Amy's Brain: Why not? You mean other than the little fact that you don't particularly like sauerkraut? Amy's Wallet: QUIET, YOU FOOL. At first I thought maybe I would do a cooking demonstration of my own, or we could visit one of the participating restaurants and photograph me attempting to gain a new appreciation of sauerkraut the superfood, but then when I saw... Read more →

Stupid Girl Does a Stupid Thing, Part Two

I woke up on day two of the godforsaken motherfucking juice cleanse fully expecting to feel sub-human. I'd read at least a dozen bloggers' experiences with three-day cleanses and it seemed like day two was the day you broke out, leached toxins out your liver and fingernails, sprouted gills and breathed fire...you know, stuff like that. Especially since prevailing pseudo-wisdom seems to be that the more "toxic" you are when you start, the worse you feel as your body rids itself of all the toxins and garbage and the persistent coating of congealed Velveeta in your colon. So I was surprised to realize that I felt totally fine. I didn't even feel hungry. Maybe it wasn't working? Maybe it was all a load of horseshit, perhaps? (IMAGINE THAT!) Either way, I was determined to go on, if only to have something to blog about. FOR THE BLOG! TO THE JUICE! Day two started out much, much easier. It helped that I had that dermatologist appointment to suck up most of the morning and keep my mind off the clock-watching and idle-snack-obsessing. (Getting your Rare Congenital Ear Lump photographed by the Inventor of Accutane does make for a pretty amusing morning.)... Read more →

Stupid Girl Does a Stupid Thing, Part One

At some point last week, I got it into my head that I wanted to try one of those three-day juice cleanse things. And by "wanted" I mean, "wanted to spout idle Big Talk about possibly trying one of those three-day juice cleanse things, because come on." Our time at the beach was a week-long experiment in testing the limits of just how much garbage the human body can consume. Results: A LOT. After seven days of nothing but heavily processed cheese, carbs, sugar, meat and booze, I was desperately craving a salad and felt an acute need to just...reset. (Also: the scale. FUCK YOU SCALLLLLLE.) And so I convinced myself that a juice fast was just the fad-thing I needed to undo some of the damage and start fresh. Three days + 18 jars of juice (plus three "shots" of beet juice and one ginger) = the weirdest and possibly dumbest impulse buy of my life. I hauled it all home from a fancy local juice bar that I had never even set foot in before, arranged it neatly in our basement fridge...and then stared at it for awhile, while the imminent expiration dates mocked me, as there was... Read more →

Cooking With the Mighty Zah

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! And good news! Thanks to the money-grubbing powers that be (AKA MY OWN SELF), I accidentally scheduled a sponsored post for today so y'all are spared having to read something goopy about my husband. Instead, we're going to talk about vegetables, thanks to Hidden Valley Ranch. Vegetables are romantic, right? (I know where your mind is going right now and I do not like it. I LOVE IT.) Specifically, I'm supposed to talk about getting kids to eat their vegetables. LIKE I HAVE ANY IDEA. The only kid in my house who is currently not a jerk about consistently eating his vegetables is the baby. Because vegetables are pretty much the only food group he is aware of. I make all of Ike's food, and I...well, I make his food because I think it's fun. It's very easy and satisfying and it makes me happy to see my baby's face light up when he tastes something fresh and delicious and baby-birds his mouth for more, more, more. Plus, it's cool to have a baby who eats vegetables beyond the jarred green beans and carrots. There's only a short window before the Great Beige Food Phase, so... Read more →