Monday, August 10, 2015

The Art of Cooking for Kids

I know, I know Mrs. Pattmore.  I need to start taking cooking seriously again.

Coming up with something for my kids to eat three times a day is as much fun as getting weighed at the doctor's office.  As much fun as teaching students to write a proper paragraph.  As much fun as shopping for beige bras.

I used to take my role of "Kid Cook" very seriously.  I freaked out after calculating that my kids were eating more servings of fruit than vegetables.  A ratio of 4 to 0.  I bought Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious, and pureed veggies every Sunday night to "hide" in the kids' food.  Sorry to tell you Jessica, but my kids always knew something gross, like pureed cauliflower,  was hidden in their food.  ("But mom, we like the mac & cheese made with neon orange powder!")  The brownies with pureed spinach flopped big time.  ("Mom!  What is wrong with you??)

The other night, cloaked in "Mom Guilt," I decided to bake an organic chicken for dinner.  I would make a simple side of green beans (picked from our garden) and quinoa.  It was a smallish chicken so I put it in at 4:00 to be done at 5:30. (I error on the side of over cooking chicken since I am 47 and don't have a meat thermometer.)  I felt good about myself.  I was making a wholesome meal that my children would appreciate and love me for.

At 5:15 the kids started circling me, like turkey buzzards around a carcass, to find out what was for dinner.  I proudly clicked on the oven light to show them the chicken.  Satisfied I was doing my job, the kids returned to their rooms.  At 5:30 I checked the chicken.  Still slimy.  At 5:40 I checked the chicken again.  Nope.  Still pink.  At 6:10, I desperately tugged at the leg bone hoping it would pull from the chicken.  No go.  At 6:45 the chicken still wasn't done.  Lulu was following me around alternately pointing at her mouth and stomach.  The boys were sitting at the kitchen table kicking each other.

Then I snapped.  I calmly took the chicken out of the oven, walked to the garage, and dumped the chicken in the garbage can.  I was done, done, done. 
  • I didn't want to continue testing for "doneness." 
  • I didn't want to continue answering the question, "Is dinner ready yet?" 
  • I didn't want to carve the chicken, serve the chicken, pick its bones for extra meat, and make chicken broth in the slow cooker.  
The kids made themselves PB & J sandwiches and lived to see another day.

I wish I felt guilty about throwing out the chicken, but I feel it saved my sanity.  And what is wrong with having cereal for dinner?

Prairie Eydie



Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Art of Being Someone Else - Part Two

I got off the phone ready to put Prairie Sherry's "End of the School Year Cleaning Routine" into reality.  Fortifying myself with yet another iced coffee, I headed into my bedroom.   (Trader Joe's Coffee Concentrate!  Prairie Readers, I get absolutely NO kickbacks from Trader Joe's endorsements.  I just want you to be as peppy as me!) 


Prairie Readers, I am eating a big ol' slice of humble pie.  It is with tail tucked between my legs, that I admit Prairie Sherry was right.  My cleaning energy level is "sloth" compared to her unattainable level of "hummingbird."  I didn't come close to cleaning my entire house in one week.  It took three days to go through every drawer in my bedroom and that is without going through every drawer!  (I didn't go through my drawers of jewelry.  Yes.  You heard that right - drawers of jewelry.)  Here is what happened.

I talked to Prairie Sherry mid cleaning week.  Not wanting to admit I was still in the first room.

Sherry:  So?  How is it going? 

Eydie (Tugging furniture away from baseboards for thorough vacuuming):  Great!  Soon I will be tackling the kitchen.

Sherry:  (Sharp intake of breath)  You do know that is the most difficult room? 

Eydie (Ripping curtains down to be washed, ironed, and rehung): Worse than the master bedroom?

Sherry:  Much worse.

I left the curtains on the carpet (that was still cat hair enhanced) and slogged to the kitchen.  Unicorns and glitter did not greet me. 

This is my cupboard for fancy drinking glasses.  OH!  That is where the cat's ear cleaner is!

My spice drawer.  I spilled vanilla in January and forgot to clean it up.  Not sure what the green stuff is.
The job of cleaning the kitchen was bigger than me.    I was already way behind schedule and needed divine intervention.  Enter - Prairie Ma. 

The challenge wasn't totally unsuccessful.  My bedroom is in pretty good shape.  The kitchen is in excellent shape, thanks to my long-suffering mother helping me.  My advice to you is to ask for help when using the "Prairie Sherry End of the School Year Cleaning Routine."

Hmmm.  I wonder if Sherry has a "Beginning of the School Year Cleaning Routine?"  I bet she does.

Prairie Eydie