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Friday, July 10, 2009

What should I have for dinner?

I have received a lot of questions recently about food. I love food and I eat a lot of it, so this strikes me as very appropriate. Here we go...

1. How do you make your steel cut oatmeal? It sounds delish, but I just needed some ideas to get started. Thanks! I love your blogs :)

Instead of water, I use milk (two parts milk to one part steel cut oats). I prefer rice milk, but your milk of choice will work. A crock-pot is also an option, but the oatmeal takes less than fifteen minutes to cook, so do you really need to do it the night before? Crock-pot oatmeal can be a tad gummy, too. Put the oatmeal on the stove while you make your morning tea, bring it to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer while you take a shower. When you get out, add dried fruit, nuts and/or my recent favorite, unsweetened coconut flakes. Because I use vanilla hazelnut rice milk, I don't need anything sweet, but you can sweeten your oatmeal with maple or agave syrup. Or sugar, but that isn't as pretentious. I also love a similar meal made from quinoa.

The most important thing - in life - is that you find a breakfast that is just right for you. I need carbs and protein that will stick around until lunch. Both quinoa and steel cut oatmeal work for me, but your mileage may vary. Ooh! Almost forgot - I made the oatmeal the other day and added fresh peaches, pecans and coconut. So damn good it almost wasn't breakfast.

2. Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? How do you balance trying to feed your kids the healthiest food, without making your life 3X more difficult? Am wondering for my own family. Do you shop at the farmer's market regularly?

I haven't read it, but kept meaning to. Your comment inspired me to finally buy it. Thank you! Your questions about feeding a family are interesting and I would love to address that in a whole 'nother post. In brief, I do shop at the Farmers' Market regularly. It makes eating local, organic food a lot cheaper. We eat very little meat and what we do eat, I buy there. I have also noticed that the more involved my children feel with food, the more likely they are to eat it. I apologize in advance for yelling, but...THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD LET YOUR CHILDREN PLACE ORDERS OR EAT NOTHING BUT CHICKEN FINGERS. And I say this as a mother who keeps organic chicken nuggets hidden in the freezer so we can sneak them out to the pool to feed the baby. We can't deny him chicken nuggets at the pool, the nuggets at the pool are vile, vile, vile, and we don't want him to know they are an option at home.

Anyhow, seeing the farmers makes my children more likely to eat the food. Maybe they feel guilty and want to support them. Maybe I gave them a speech and followed it by asking them if they wanted the farmers' children to starve. Maybe that was manipulative. Whatever. It worked. I also preach a simple, nutritional philosophy: Stick with foods you recognize and make vegetables the biggest thing on your plate. Children don't really listen, so you need to repeat simple messages over and over. Just like you do to your husband. And go ahead and let them eat whatever the heck they want away from home, because if you feed them well at home, they're getting plenty of good food and it doesn't matter what they eat at a birthday party.

3. I wish you would post some of the recipes that you talk about on your other blog. I'm much more interested in the Vietnamese salad rolls and the lemon poppy seed cookies than in greeting card etiquette.

Done! The Vietnamese salad rolls, which are totally freaking delicious, came from a book. So did the lemon poppy seed cookies. They are from Mai Pham's The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking and Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, respectively of course. The cookies are good, if a bit dry, so I recommend serving them with tea or coffee for dipping.

4. Is this on your "to-de(tox)" list for the next one?

Nope. Looks too complicated for this ADDled mother, but it does look good and I'm tempted...

5. What should I have for dinner?

Ooh! Ooh! I know! Go get a pound of crab meat from somewhere good. Make these crab cakes, but make them bite-sized and fry them in an inch or so of oil instead of baking them. Serve with spicy mayo, cucumber slices and roasted asparagus.

If that sounds like too much trouble, go get a pound or three of shrimp, peel-on, heads-off. The peel adds flavor. So do the heads, but they kind of gross me out. Boil them in a pot of salted water with a handful of cloves. No lie. I saw my French mother-in-law do add cloves and it's delicious. Sit on your porch and eat the shrimp, dipping it in chipotle mayonnaise from Rosewood Market if you are lucky enough to live in Columbia, and wait for people to join you. Yell at anyone walking by who looks interesting. Have some chips nearby in case they are allergic to shrimp. Where do you live? I might come over.

Now, I digress. Some of you may remember the running Mr. Potatohead Ear joke between me and TF. I think he just won. I cannot top this. I received this envelope in the mail today. Like many former nerds, I still harbor a small hope that I will turn out cool. I thought, just for a moment, that I was being invited into a secret society.

The Mr. Potato Head Ear est arrivée.

I opened the envelope with trembling fingers. It was lumpy. "Yay!" I thought, "A key to a secret clubhouse! A clubhouse where children and husbands may not go! A clubhouse with free liquor! And foot massages!" What I got was this.

The Mr. Potato Head Ear est arrivée.

Which was pretty funny, but I still want to be in a secret club. And now I'm taking suggestions as to how to deal with the ear. The X-Man said,

"Well, Dad must love you."

"Why is that?"

"Well," he said in that 'duh' tone of voice children use with clueless parents, "An ear? Van Gogh?"

So, I guess he does love me, but what do I do with the ear now?

Namasté, y'all!


Anonymous said...

I suggest (after careful cleaning) you put it into some kind of no-bake dessert and make sure he gets the slice (or whatever) that contains the ear.

Anonymous said...

Do you read Catherine Newman? Similar thinking along the lines of kids eating foods they're involved in procuring, with plenty of humor:

PS - I'll be curious to know what you think of Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. I love Barbara Kingsolver, but found that one too preachy and condemning of those who are unable to do what she does, or choose not to. But some good recipes and insights too.

Kirsten Palmer said...

Made the crab cakes but substituted salmon instead of crab. Awesome! Questions: How you do get your kids (or how did you get your kids) to eat things they don't find appealing? What do you do if they simply won't eat what you've served?

MostlyFlumxdArt said...

Love it! I gave your cool blog an award! Go check it out

Lizzie said...

The Yearly Digress? I miss you!

kbfenner said...

Question for the Fashion Guru:

Why do 95% or more of the subjects on The Sartorialist have their pants legs rolled up--male and female? Is this a trend I am unaware of? Did you see this in New York?

Libby said...

I love the Shop Tart, read it every day! But I sooo miss the Daily Digress.

Anonymous said...

So you wanted to give out some advice? All the single mid 20-something ladies (I asked all the others in an informal poll) want to hear your advice about dating in Columbia. Where's a girl to meet a cool and nice young man around these parts? And I mean for an actual date. Guys around here, and I blame it on columbia being a college town, seem to want to hang on to the college hookup culture a little bit longer than in other cities. I thought at 25 I would be past all this nonsense. You guide us to all the best beauty products, the best deals, and to all fun events happening around Columbia, so surely you must have something to say about this subject. And I know that happily coupled/married folks love nothing more to muse on what us single peeps should be doing. So muse away, we're all ears!

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