Laughing at ourselves one meal at a time.

Archive for March, 2011

Happy Birthday

This week is a chance to experience the 7-year-old palate and to celebrate Sophie’s birthday on Wacky Wednesday.

Due to her birthday present being something of an experience on the eve of  her actual birthday we won’t be eating at home that night. At her request,  we decided to reschedule “her” meal for Wednesday.

We’re following a tradition that we did in my family growing up.  On, or near,  your birthday you got to pick the entire meal. My most memorable request was for fried chicken. Year after year, my mom made it for me from scratch in a big cast-iron skillet. ( The memory of its crispy perfection makes me totally unwilling to even eat fried chicken now. It just doesn’t compare.) Those meals are one of my treasured memories from my childhood. It was a fun experience getting to pick the whole meal. And then we always toppped the meal off with birthday cake.

Here’s our menu for Wednesday:

  • Pizza (both cheese and pepperoni)
  • Cheesy Popcorn
  • Frozen Grapes
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Birthday Cake

Sophie doesn’t know it but I am going to get creative with the shape of her pizzas. Because it is Wacky Wednesday.

I’m curious what kind of birthday traditions do you have in your families? Or what kind of memorable birthday meals have you eaten?

Spring Break Plans

No, we won’t be travelling for Spring Break this year. Although it was fun to think and talk about all the possibilities. Should we go somewhere warm near the ocean? Should we go visit distant family? Should we strike out to some place we’ve never been? All tempting ideas. Especially the warm weather ones.  But then the reality of travelling with a two-year-old set in and we decided a staycation was perfectly appropriate this year. 

Sophie didn’t hesitate when I asked her where she would go if we were going anywhere, “France!”

Alex, who is parroting anything that anyone says that sounds remotely interesting, has taken to saying at odd moments, “I want to go to France, Mommy.” It garners some strange looks when we are out in public.

So, we will be travelling to France for Wacky Wednesday this week. Not a truly original idea for us since we celebrate “French Night” every year on the anniversary of the day John proposed to me on the top of  the Eiffel Tower. We’ll dig out our pictures from that trip, listen to French music and cook up our approximation of a French meal.

I do actually think I am a decent cook but I have to say that in no way do I think my food compares to simple street fair we enjoyed from street vendors or little out-of-the-way bistros in Paris.

On the menu:

We’ve never made crepes before so this will be our first foray into them. We are going to try this recipe with berry and Nutella fillings available. I guess this is where the adventurous part of WW is going to come from this week.

A success!

I’d have to say that   last night wasn’t one of our more wacky themes but there was much that I appreciated about the meal. In essence, our mealtime embodied everything I like about Wacky Wednesday (WW).

Unless I happen to be travelling, I am usually the one in charge of executing WW. While my husband is an enthusiastic participant he doesn’t always have the foresight to plan Wednesday’s meal the weekend before. That’s fine by me. Really.  His occasional input on themes is appreciated and his kitchen clean-up AFTER the meal is invaluable.  However, even with a rock solid plan for yesterday somehow the end of the day found me rushing around trying to gather/cook/prepare everything for the meal at a pretty harried pace. But it kind of didn’t matter. Because the meal is supposed to be wacky. So what if something turned out a little differently than I’d anticipated? That just adds to the fun; it makes us laugh. And that is what memories are made of.

I also loved my kids enthusiasm. Sophie skipped in the house from the car to ask what was for dinner and to see if she could help. As we worked, we chattered about why we were having the meal we were having. We got excited about some ideas for future themes. And instead of sitting down exhausted at the end of a long school/work day it was like a breath of fresh air had blown through the room.

Both of my kids cheerfully sampled new foods! No cajoling. No pressure. It is just part of the Wacky Wednesday spirit to be more open-minded and adventurous, right?

My favorite part of the night may have been when Alex responded that his tabouleh was not delicious. Indeed, his verdict was that it was ” D’yucky.”

Out like a …

The beginning of March is always when I think spring should be here but, in reality, no matter what the Groundhog said  we still have a way to go. But every year during the week of St. Patrick’s Day things really DO seem to start to turn the corner and I’ve noticed several promising signs this week. The  predicted snowstorms were revised to a snow/rain mix.  The significant snowbanks  we have in my neighborhood have melted just a smidge so that turning at a 4-way intersection feels less like an act of faith and more like an informed decision. The warble of the birds is getting louder and more voices are joining the choir. And the sun is so high in the sky that you can feel it warming your cheeks on a sunny day. Hooray!

And because it does feel like we’re turning a corner this week, we’re going to acknowledge: “In Like a Lion and Out Like A Lamb.” Since we only have one lamb lover in our house we’re really going to enjoy a middle-eastern feast:

  • Lamb Burgers
  • Falafel Balls
  • Pita Bread w/ Hummus
  • Tabouleh
  • Cucumber and Tomato Slices
  • Olives

A Green Theme

Between all 4 of us there isn’t a drop of Irish blood but even if you will be dining on traditional Irish fair on St. Patrick’s Day (next Thursday)  that is no reason to skip having an entirely green meal for this Wacky Wednesday as part of the Green Theme that dominates March.

Our menu:

  • Pesto Pasta with Chicken
  • Salad
  • Lima Beans
  • Pistachio Pudding

We’ll be using ingredients we have on-hand, including pesto that we made from last summer’s basil crop. Yummy. If you need a recipe this one looks pretty good.  

I should add that Sophie helped in the planning of this menu. When I suggested that it might not be wacky enough she assured me that she has some ideas to add to ambience that include jewelry and possibly green eyeshadow!

Inspiration

These pictures are from a Wacky Wednesday  the week before Halloween that was planned by Sophie. The theme was, of course, orange and black. We had black beans, carrots, black olives, quesedillas AND salmon:

Followed up by gummy skeletons in a grave of chocolate pudding and crushed Oreos:

Looks fun, doesn’t it?

Hello and what is Wacky Wednesday?

I am a new blogger so bear with me as I dive right in. I tend to be a “leap before I look” kind of a gal so I am sure it will take me some time work out the kinks! 

I’m a working mom whose kids are 2 and (almost) 7. Eating meals together is one of my fondest memories from my own childhood. My own family does  eat together a majority of nights. We talk about our day. We tell jokes. We do “Best and Worst”. But as a mom the endless meal, planning, shopping and the daily grind of getting dinner on the table can make it less than fun.

Wacky Wednesday was born out of a desire to lighten things up mid-week; to take mealtime (and ourselves) a little less seriously. Some weeks are effortless and others more elaborate but my favorite ones are the ones that have an unexpected element – like the time we had a picnic on the living room floor and the dog ate our pizza!

As time has gone on, people have asked us to share our ideas and menus for Wacky Wednesday and I am happy to do so. Enjoy and use what you like for your family. We don’t ascribe to any dietetic philosophy so if you are vegetarian or keep Kosher you might need to tweak things a little. We also  have no food allergies in our house and my kids eat a pretty wide range of foods. But I will say that one of unexpected results of Wacky Wednesday has been the great opportunity to introduce and have the kids try new foods.