Laughing at ourselves one meal at a time.

Archive for December, 2011

Highlights

Last week was fun! Here are a couple of the highlights –

Strawberries cut into the shape of hearts:

And Alex devouring his homemade donut smothered in Nutella:

After a week of non-stop celebrating it is hard to even think about Wacky Wednesday. Add in one sick child (Alex came home from daycare yesterday with a fever and a cough), a Camp Reunion Night for Sophie and John’s busy season at work and we’re all thinking toning it down just a tad tonight is just fine.

So, I am going to be a short-order cook tonight. I will put on my apron and if it can be made with the ingredients we have on hand it is fair game. It will be interesting to see what everyone chooses. And since I am one of those if-you-don’t-like-what-I-cook-you-can-have-a-peanut-butter-sandwich kind of a Mom it will be a special treat.

When worlds collide

It’s a busy time of year. Last week was our busy week but this week there are several important events vying for attention on Wacky Wednesday.

The 21st has traditionally been our annual “French Night.” Before there was Wacky Wednesday, heck before there were kids, John and I celebrated December 21st by eating French food and remembering our trip to Paris in 2001. And it wasn’t just an ordinary trip; John proposed to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I was flabbergasted. Truly. In retrospect, of course, it makes sense why he looked so nervous riding up in the herky-jerky elevators where the only signs in English warned “Beware of Pick Pockets.”

The second is the Winter solstice. Being that today is the shortest days of the year it is ripe with opportunity.  That the days are going to start getting longer is definitely a reason to celebrate. Especially when you live in a northern climate.

Third, it is the second night of Hanukkah. We typically celebrate with family and friends over the span of the 8 days but we usually do one night at home where we fry up our own Latkes (potato pancakes) and celebrate just ourselves. Now, I don’t want to sound like a braggart but our Latke recipe is pretty darn tasty. There is nothing complicated about it. Except it is very time consuming to shred the potatoes and then fry them to crisp golden perfection. Which is why, as we’ve learned over the past few years, people do the cheater version with pre-shredded  hasbrown potatoes. No wonder they taste like soggy napkins. Trust me. It’s worth the effort.

So the challenge this week was how to incorporate ALL of these things?

Sophie suggested we make Latkes in shapes of the Eiffel Tower and the Sun. Honestly? Latkes on a weeknight kind of sound like a pain in the neck.

Instead, we’ll tune in some Caribbean music on the radio (thank goodness for satellite radio) and dine by  while we eat some of our summertime favorites flavored with the herbs we grew in the garden last summer. For Hanukkah we’ll enjoy donuts (it’s typical to eat fried foods during the “Festival of Lights”) with a french twist.

Here’s the menu:

  • Grilled Salmon
  • French Bread with Pesto & Brie
  • Corn
  • Fruit Salad
  • Donuts with Nutella “Frosting”

What are you doing for Wacky Wednesday? Or Hanukkah? Or the Winter solstice?

 

 

 

Four

The other day Sophie asked me what my favorite number was. “Eleven” I replied without even thinking about it. I have had the same favorite number since I was a little kid. But it got me thinking about numbers. I use them a lot in my work life but in my home life the one number that seems really consistent is the number four. Especially when it comes to feeding everyone.

I am not sure how it evolved? Thinking back I wondered if it was the container that I packed for years for Sophie to take to daycare/preschool that had little compartments? Nope, it had 3. Perhaps it is trying to come up with well-rounded meals with a protein-starch-fruit-veggie combo? Or maybe it evolved as a part of the effort to  make good eaters out of my kids?  I kind of consciously remember always giving them a couple of sure-fire winners that I knew they’d eat, along with something that they might eat and  something new to try, too. Who knows. All I know is that now when I make breakfast or lunch or dinner I unconsciously always give everyone four things. And if someone else is feeding the kids and gives them less than that? They’ll usually get a “I need more things than this.”

So, last night for Wacky Wednesday we had four things for dinner:

  • Quesedillas
  • Chips and guacamole
  • Apples
  • Corn

It sparked a lively dinnertime conversation about number and favorite foods and the kids even got creative by building a tower. It eventually had four things before it toppled over: 

Usually the kids don’t get to play at the dinner table like that. But it was Wednesday…

Git Yer Cotton Candy here!

I forgot to share last week’s revelry:

I was”hearing” the voice of a barker as I wrote that headline. You know, the seasoned veterans who shout out trying to grab your attention at outdoor festivals, carnivals and baseball games?

Last Wednesday was National Cotton Candy Day. An odd time of year for it if you ask me but it suited my purposes just fine for Wacky Wednesday. We celebrated cotton candy by enjoying a meal of our summertime carnival/fesival favorites:

  • Hot Dogs/Corn Dogs
  • French Fries
  • Watermelon
  • Peanuts & Crackerjacks
  • Cotton Candy

But here is the wacky part:  Have you ever tried to find cotton candy an a run-of-the-mill Decmber workday in Minnesota? Forget that packaged stuff. Honestly, it tastes as much like Fairy Floss (the original name for Cotton Candy when the machine to make it was patented in 1899) as packing peanuts do. Well, I DID find it. At the Mall of America, of course. But it was green. Yes, green. Granted, I am hardly a cotton candy connoisseur but I didn’t even know they made green cotton candy. Ewwww….  I loathe anything with any green artificial color/flavoring. Oh well, more for everyone else.

Fortunately for the kids, I haven’t settled on a theme yet for this week as December 14th is National Bouillabaisse Day. Somehow I don’t think fish stew is their idea of Wacky… Still mulling around a game of dinnertime bingo or all foods that start with D…