Tag Archives: I cook stuff

This Summer Vacation Has Headlines AND Details

Summer Vacation, Two Weeks Early

We were all holding out hope that the teachers and government would come to an agreement over the weekend, but then we heard nothing all weekend and well, the Monday news was: No deal, strike NOT averted, it’s the other guy’s fault, Summer Vacation HAS BEGUN. START YOUR ENGINES.

I’m not going to comment further on the labour dispute because I feel like it’s hopeless and I’m sick of listening to bafflegabbing spokespeople say empty, political things and nothing changing ever. Let’s go to the beach.

No, wait, it’s kind of showery, so instead I went to the dentist and the kids played at my parents’ house and then we came home and Eli had a friend over and everyone scootered for ages and then we had burgers for dinner.

Here’s a Recipe

I made my own burger buns because I didn’t want to interrupt the scootering to go to the grocery store. Pace yourself, stay-at-home-mom! Don’t do it all in one day! Groceries will wait until tomorrow.

I used this recipe . If you make these buns, know that my child with the sweet tooth declared them “too sweet” and just ate the burger. Cut the sugar accordingly. Otherwise, they were delicious and ever so easy and way more fun than going to Safeway at 4:45 pm with two children of any age or designation.

Co-operative Play Without Injury!

Here is what children can demonstrate if you deny them cool toys and fun adventures:

This morning, Arlo found some swim googles and put them on his eyes backwards, so they were pressing into the eyeball. Then he instructed Eli to lead him around the house in a strange sort of trust game that I thought was going to go terribly wrong at any moment, but it did not! Then, Arlo removed the goggles and blinked his weird, squished-up eyes and said, “Everything is animated!” Then of course Eli wanted to do it too so they reversed the roles. They played this game for a good twenty minutes. And no one got pushed down the stairs! There is hope for all humanity.

Inspirational Claptrap

Tonight I met my good friend at the coffee shop and we were talking about library summer reading club, where you read 50 books over the summer, take your little passbook thing to the library and get a sticker, and at the end of summer you get a medal? With Oprah (a poster of Oprah, technically) regarding us with the benevolence of a thousand angels, we decided we would form summer writing club, where the rules are:

Write 15 minutes a day
For 50 days
Get yourself a medal, or just steal your kid’s old Summer Reading Club medal.

You can join if you want. Fifty days. Fifteen minutes a day. Summer Writing Club.

My Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Sundried Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions

First the children’s servings of macaroni and cheese were left on their plates until they became cold. I told the children they should try the food hot, that even I prefer my food hot, but they weren’t going for it. When food is cold, you can really taste the flavours I guess. Or it tastes worse so you don’t have to lie about hating it.


Eli: Takes a small bite; gags; turns bright red; doesn’t vomit but sounds like he might. Is excused.


Arlo takes a small bite. Ponders.
SA: What do you think?
Arlo: Well. I don’t really like it.
SA: Try a second bite. See if you can taste the flavours.
Arlo takes a second bite. Ponders.
Arlo: Well. It’s creamy. And plain. And a bit chewy.
SA: Yes..
Arlo: And a bit bitter. And a tiny bit spicy.
SA: Hmmm
Arlo: Yeah.
SA: So what part don’t you like.
Arlo: I don’t like the creamy part and the chewy part together. And I don’t like the bitter part. And the spicy part, it’s not really that spicy, just a tiny bit spicy, but when you first taste it you think “Oh, here comes the spicy part. My mouth is going to set on fire!” But then it’s not that spicy after all.
SA: I see.


The macaroni and cheese contained no spices other than salt and garlic powder.


I had two servings. It was delicious.

Ninety-One — Variety

It started with food; my kids are picky eaters and we are constantly changing the way we ‘do’ dinner to try to unlock their magic eating powers. I tried the ‘here is an assortment of fine foods, please enjoy any/all of them!’ approach for a while and they ate peanut butter sandwiches or the closest thing to that on the table, so now I am trying the ‘eat a bite before you get anything else’ approach and they are eating a bite and THEN eating peanut butter sandwiches so I declare the Hunger Games OVER because peanut butter.

Wait! Except Eli. Eli refuses to eat anything but the things he wants to eat. So on butter chicken night, he ate nothing for dinner. And on omelette night, he ate apple. On the bright side, he is eating a MUCH more robust breakfast these days because by 7 am he is sta-r-fuck-ving.

I know. It doesn’t scan, but I needed to put the word fuck in there because fuck. It is hard to make your children embrace variety. They fear what they don’t know. It’s a self-preservation thing.

In some respects, it’s not so hard. Music, for example. Since they were wee/born/fetal, they have enjoyed all the music I have to offer, all the music SA has to offer, all the music off the radio, some kids’ stuff, etc. In the car I stab at the radio buttons madly to find a song I don’t hate and then I leave it there for a while. Arlo loves SONIC HITS NOW which plays, well, all the hits, and Eli likes SONIC HITS NOW too but also ROCK AND ROLL and sometimes THE CBC / THE NEWS. Sometimes I override them, because I am driving and I get to choose.

They pick their own clothes. They pick their friends. They pick their own books at the library. I don’t like all of it, and they don’t like all the things I like, but variety. I am starting to think that the key to life is variety; understanding it, embracing it. Seeing, or even better, assuming that all the people you meet have different ideas of what is THE BEST EVER and it’s okay. It’s even great! It’s okay to not love Star Wars (that’s me) or not like Joni Mitchell (both kids) or hate sauces in general (Eli) or not be fond of carrots, because it’s a big world and just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you get to tell other people to like it or not.

Sometimes social media acts like that kid who tells you what’s cool, what t-shirt you should be wearing, how you’re never going to have friends because you don’t like Lego Star Wars or you don’t like it the right way. If you only hang out there, you can forget what you actually think. Sometimes I get so wrapped up reading what other people have written on the Internet, I don’t get around to writing my own stuff.

Twitter is a wonderful thing sometimes; it is full of people who might get you, people you get. It is funny and sympathetic and sometimes exactly what you need. At the beginning, after a year of Twitter I thought it was cutting into my productivity. I was right! But the solution in these modern times is not to quit The Internet. The solution is to moderate one’s own intake. The solution is variety.

Luckily there are books and notebooks and real-life conversations with people. There is always something to clean or throw away in this house. There is always meal preparation and the fitting of my tongue with a steel sleeve so that when I have to bite it during dinnertime while the kids pick pick pick at their delicious food I don’t bleed all over my plate. There is always something else I could be doing, other than following a trail of links to the bottom of an internet pile-on. The world is big and wonderful and full of things.


For Dinner…And Beyond!

This morning, pretty much as soon as I opened my eyes, I started craving lasagna. Probabaly because it’s November, traditional “put cheese on it and bake the shit out of it” month, and because it’s raining and dark and actually I don’t need an excuse to crave lasagna. I’m half Italian and lasagna is awesome.

The other day, my pal mentioned in passing that she was making The White House lasagna for her dinner.
What? I said. The what?
It’s the lasagna the Obamas eat, she explained.
Oh. Well then.

Hey, this pal is American. She knows her POTUS. Secret: until about two weeks ago I had no idea what POTUS and FLOTUS stood for. I just saw the letters float by on my computer screen all the time and was all “shrug, I guess the Americans need to care but I don’t.” (It’s President of the United States and First Lady of, in case you were also being willfully ignorant. You may arrive here ignorant but you will not leave the same way! Aha!)

So this morning, anyway, craving lasagna, USian election coming up real soon, I decided I would make a symbolic White House lasagna and then eat it instead of voting, since I can’t vote in the US election because I am Canadian. Although! I feel like I SHOULD be able to vote, given all the tweets and facebook posts, dear god in his heaven, can we give facebook back to the nerds now? and baloney I am forced to witness, not to mention how close I live to the border. I vote for more Costcos that sell booze, right on the border! And for a woman’s right to choose! OK. Booze and choose. The end.

We already had a shopping list two miles long (see? Miles. That’s a nod to you, USian friends, else I would have said kilometres) so I added the ingredients to it that I needed for White House Lasagna and then remembered that today is Farmers Market day in New Westminster. I wrote two separate lists: one for Superstore and one for the market.

Down at the market, I got apples (such glorious, marvellous apples) and garlic and eggs (eggs a full dollar and a half less than at Superstore I will have you know) and saw the happy people eating the delicious foods and then I went into the liquor store next to the Paddlewheeler Pub and bought two bottles of beer: a Farmhouse Saison because Saint Aardvark likes that one, and one called Hop Manna, which said it was an IPA and I will always buy an IPA I have not yet tried.

When I got to the till, the man who sold me the beer told me the Hop Manna is Kosher and I smiled because my friend who told me about the White House lasagna is Jewish (although she doesn’t like beer) and it felt like everything was coming together in a most promising way.*

Here is the lasagna link at Oprah.com because that link has the least pop-up bullshit associated with it.

* and then! I saw that the recipe is from a book called A White House Garden Cookbook, written by a woman whose first name is CLARA and that’s MY NAME. Seriously. The universe is aligning for some good right now. I can feel it. **

** Also, the book is supposed to help your children eat more healthily and Fresco just told me that the food smells delicious but it won’t taste delicious and he isn’t going to eat it. Dear Obamas: Do you have a room in your house for my stubborn, stubborn child. I would vote for you if I could and if you took him in for a year or two. XOXO.