It’s nearly 3:30 on Wednesday and I have no clue what is on the agenda for Wacky Wednesday. The original plan was to take Rony for a picnic at the Lake Harriet . But it is hot. And Grandpa Stan is in town from California and would like see the kids and meet Rony. And I skipped grocery shopping over the weekend to go to a friend’s cabin (Hi Jess!) and so I already used up some of my creativity making lunches for everyone.
So. John and I have traded several phone calls and text messages but we have no plan. And it is 3:30. And whatever plan we make it will likely mean someone (=me) will be running around.
Should be interesting… but I am always up for a challenge.
I am home after a whirlwind trip to Chicago for an annual trade show event that I attend every year in June. I grew up in suburban Chicago until the latter part of grade school and so Chicago always feels a bit nostalgic for me. Truthfully, I remember the neighborhood that I lived in but I don’t remember the city all that much. (The 1970’s were a long time ago!) But still there is something about the foods and the pace and the accents that feel like “home” to me. And yet, after spending a few days in a hotel and eating out at restaurants it felt so good to be home.
And while I was off visiting the Windy City, our new exchange student was getting settled in at our house. She is many miles from her home in Isreal.
So tonight’s theme for Wacky Wednesday is Home.
We are going to eat in our dining room, which is the first room we walked into when viewing our house for the first time. When I saw it, I knew that this was “the” place that would cease being a house we looked at and become a home a for our family.
And we will dine on foods that remind us of home:
- Cucumbers (Rony)
- Garlic Bread (Sophie)
- Chocolate Milk (Alex)
- Fruit Salad (Jen)
- Salami, humus, Olives, Tomatoes, Avocados, Cheeses (John)
Sounds like quite an eclectic mix but it is all foods that we eat a lot of at our home. At least several times a week. I hope it isn’t too boring for Wacky Wednesday? But I know I will appreciate the taste of home and I am hoping Rony will two as she is rounding out her first week of being away from her family for 4 months.
What foods remind you of home?
Last night, WE ROCK’d for Wacky Wednesday. Here’s a picture of our Ramen, Olives, Cucumber and King Salmon. Get it? ROCK?
Stay with me here. You can see we also had Edamame. Add the Water we drank and you totally have the WE ROCK theme.
But it gets better because we also indulged in a childhood favorite of mine: POP ROCKS!
I can remember being fascinated by them as a kid. Something my own parents surely remember as they give me some of them every year during the holidays.
Apparently a lot of people don’t realize that you can still buy them. You can. And they even have new flavors. This was the first time I tried to the Candy Cane flavor. I am not a huge fan of mint so they were … interesting.
We also rocked out to some classic rock that kept us all dancing while I cooked and then we cleaned up together.
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
- Fruit Salad
- Donuts with Nutella “Frosting”
What are you doing for Wacky Wednesday? Or Hanukkah? Or the Winter solstice?
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:
- Chips and guacamole
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…
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
- 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…
How can it be that almost a month has passed since my last blog post? In a blur. That’s how. It’s been a busy fall. I do know that for a couple of the weeks, we managed to pull off slightly irreverent dinners even if it wasn’t out-and-out wackiness. And that’s okay. I think if we try too hard it might make take some of the fun of it out and who wants to do that?
Last week, Wacky Wednesday truly went to the dogs and we noshed on all our our dog, Lucy’s, favorite foods. We had chicken, buttered noodles, broccoli & carrots and then bowls of ice cream for dessert. Lucy got her own plate on the floor. And no, that didn’t stop her from begging at the table.
This week is a bit bittersweet for me. Lucy’s getting up there in years and we’ve had to make a difficult decision in regards to her care. At the same time, we’re planning for a family vacation that involves airplanes and the ocean. (It’s hard to say which the kids are more excited about.) And so the balance of life goes on. The yin-yang. The happy sadness.
The menu for this week will seek that balance. We’ll sip pink lemonade and have a picnic on the floor with the dog:
Heart Shaped Pesto & Olive Pizzas
Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
Pizza is always a big hit at our house. The heart shapes are just to convey how much love and how big of a part Lucy has been in our lives. We adopted her as an 8-week old puppy from an abandoned litter. She was our baby before we had kids. She’s lived uptown and downtown and then settled down with us in Saint Paul where we’ve welcomed our real babies home.
And what doesn’t chocolate make better?