I caught a cold and have become a puffy-eyed mouth breather, but still, I’m flying high after the excitement of last week’s taco post. My little blog saw literally ten times the amount of traffic it normally does, and that’s before the city guide has been posted on the AFBA page. So I’m excited. I’m gonna scrap the current blog format and write only snark-filled posts about breakfast establishments. I’m kidding! Don’t worry mom and the other tenth of you loyal readers, I’ll be back here every week with more parental hand-wringing and bad photography. See, like this: I’m in a super bad mood because George was up all night, ostensibly because he has to poop? I explained to him that no one stays up all night because they have to poop- you poop during the day and sleep at night- but he was unconvinced. Nobody listens to me. Here’s what we ate this week.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese. Helen sent me this recipe years ago, back in the early days of Pinterest, in hopes that I would make it for dinner some night and she could come eat leftovers the next day. It has sat in my dinner ideas board ever since. Until now! It’s from Jamie Oliver. The recipe wouldn’t load, so I watched the video instead and loved how he made a version with fresh vegetables and a version with frozen to see if you could tell the difference- he couldn’t. I never cook with frozen vegetables, because they seem inferior to me and I am a privileged asshole who has the very good fortune to get to think things like that. Anyway, I used frozen for this and you couldn’t tell a difference, and it was delicious and cheaper! I added half a pound of barely cooked (4 min) elbow macaroni to the cauliflower because I thought my kids would turn their noses up at cauliflower in broccoli sauce, and I think it was a good addition. Though it didn’t help with the kids. Henry ate the noodles out and left the cauliflower. George ate nothing. Unrelated: there’s thyme in the breadcrumbs on top and that’s a nice thing.
Baby with a Radish. My sister calls dogs’ vaginas radishes, so typing that felt weird to me.
Thai Basil Stir Fry, Cucumber Salad, Fried Egg. Yeah, I set the plates down on the dirty concrete patio because it was the most well-lit place I could find in the eight seconds I had to take a picture. I love this basil stir fry. I had a 1/2 pound of ground chicken left over from making a meatloaf during taco-post week and 1/4 pound of ground beef left over from I don’t know when and used them both here, which seemed weird but tasted fine. George eats very little, and almost no vegetables, but he can’t get enough of spiralized cucumbers, so we’re gonna eat them every day now.
We hosted Little Unschoolers at our place and it was awesome. Helen brought fruit to share and brought me a thundercloud sub(!!), other friends brought purple carrots, crackers, and dip, and cucumber cream cheese sandwiches on croissants, and lots of people helped clean up afterward- this group has really begun to feel like a community to me. I love the camaraderie and spending time in the sunshine. Lest it sound like the whole thing is all rainbows and moon pies, let me add that my favorite part is spending time with the other moms, and the kids are sometimes delightful (an impromptu music parade was pretty great) but often a real pain in the ass. Henry threw a car at a kid’s face, several kids fought over a highly-coveted bucket with a rope tied to it, and there was a neck-squeezing/knee biting incident that I had the privilege of breaking up. Still, the music parade and thundercloud sub were enough to carry me through.
Crispy Kale, Brussels Sprouts, and Potato Hash. Helen came over for lunch and ate some broccoli cauliflower leftovers! Two years later, her plan had borne fruit. George, with prompting from Helen, peed on the potty. I decided to celebrate the occasion by walking to the baskin robbins around the corner from our house. I had never been there because there’s a Sonic approximately 75 feet closer to me than that, and why walk by a Sonic, where you can get ice cream and fried things stuffed with cheese, to get to a place where you can only get half of that stuff? I didn’t know what I’d been missing- that ice cream is glorious. I got a kind that had three kinds of cookies in it! Cookies, you guys! The glorious Phinnie was with us too and looked majestic awkwardly licking her rainbow sherbet cone. Also, an awesome guy came in while we were there, dressed in a track suit made from a spandex-y material emblazoned with teen magazine cover shots. Seventeen magazine was on there, and others, and it was so good. Why does this product exist? And given that it does exist, why aren’t more people wearing it? I tried to find it online, but failed. Anyway, the shop was empty but the guy still sat down at our table, but facing the other way, and never acknowledged us. I took the opportunity to greedily take in the sights of that glorious track suit. He ordered ice cream, left the shop to get a slice of pizza out of his car, and then came back in and ate his ice cream. Helen thinks he was high on cocaine, but I think he’s just a person who is good at living. Maybe he’s both!
We got home late and I made this hash, which takes way longer than the recipe indicates if you want things to actually get crispy, which I do, I really do. Henry and George ate buttered noodles with parmesan because they couldn’t stomach the idea of a pan full of vegetables for dinner.
Quesadillas, Pineapple, Guacamole. This wasn’t on my menu plan, but we spent all day at the wildflower center and I didn’t have time to make any of the stuff I had planned, so quesadillas. I maxed out the saturation tool in the vsco cam app to make that guacamole look edible, which in turn made the pineapple look phosphorescent. I’m super excited that daylight savings time starts in a week and I’ll have the sun on my side again.
Lemon Pesto Spaghetti Squash. If the healthfulness of our meals were put on a graph, this one would be an outlier. A way far off one. Squash instead of pasta? Greens? No cheese? I did not make a hemp seed pesto though, because that would have been a bridge too far. Andy and I fed it to the kids and my mother-in-law and we ate ham sandwiches in the car on the drive down to San Marcos to see my brother-in-law’s play. Enjoy your squash kids, we’re eating ham! The play, Norma’s Rest, is so beautiful. It’s about a halfway house for folks that are getting back on their feet after prison. There’s a lovable neo-Nazi (no, really- he had an SS tattoo on his neck and I thought, “oooph.” but liked him almost immediately anyway), a transgendered woman with Southern hospitality in spades, a total fuck up teenager named, mysteriously, Ferret, and Norma, the cancer-stricken bad ass who takes care of them. Jordan is such a talented playwright. His plays start off hilarious and flip somewhere in the middle and leave you devastated and thinking about the characters for days afterwards. I’ll try to be on my game and tell you in advance the next time one of his plays goes up.
This looks like a liver in an advanced stage of cirrhosis (numerous septa, y’all), but is actually the most delicious loaf of bread I’ve ever baked.
Slow-Cooked Chickpeas, Ciabatta Toast, Garden Salad. Carla, a beautiful unschooling friend who is nine months pregnant with her fourth child, made me these chickpeas. I feel like such an asshole just typing that! But I will greedily accept any and all meals prepared by you, Carla! The chickpeas were glorious. They’re supposed to be served on toast and I had none, so I baked a loaf of ciabatta from The Everyday Baker. The ciabatta I’m used to buying in the store is flat and holey and dry and not all that great. The picture of this loaf in the book made me think it was something different than that- it looked huge and tender and moist. It was all those things! It was an easy process, but when where you have to do something just about every hour for 6 hours, so you’ve gotta be home while you’re making it. The kids and I discovered that you could see the orange hint of a carrot and pink radishes (you’ve really ruined this for me, Helen) peeking out of the top of the soil, plus we had broccoli that was starting to flower and needed to be eaten, kale, and herbs too, so we made a garden salad to go with our chickpeas. Henry ate the carrots, George ate the broccoli, Andy ate what I served him, and I ate the rest. I thought it was great.
Magical, Marvelous, Memorable Cookies. I had exactly one cup of leftover granola, so my hands were tied- I had to make these cookies. They’ve got mini m&ms, toffee, peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips all leftover from our Valentine’s Day cookie decorating station, plus crushed pretzels for that brilliant balance of sweet and salty. They’re my favorite.
In the afternoon, we drove out to Dripping Springs for the Texas Night Sky Festival, which Andy’s dad, a Master Naturalist, had told us about. Dripping Springs is one of two places in Texas and 57 places in the world certified as a dark sky community- one that has committed to using lights wisely to minimize the impact on animals and people, and which has the added benefit of saving energy and providing some fantastic opportunities for star-gazing. Apparently one lady brought this all about. She wanted to make Dripping Springs a dark sky community and made it happen. She talked all the big local businesses into installing the fully-shielded lights necessary for the program. She got vendors and sponsors on board, and she educated a whole community. People are amazing. The festival was a blast. There was a free planetarium, live music, tons of cool arts and crafts and citizen science projects, great food trucks (we ate an awesome Cuban sandwich from Cafe Ybor and a feast of smothered pork chops, homemade peppery macaroni and cheese, beef tips in brown gravy, and meatloaf with green beans from My Granny’s Kitchen and loved every bite), and a star party after the sun went down. We got to look through a giant telescope and see the moons around Jupiter and the whole thing was rad.
Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate Cake with Gluten Free, Dairy Free Seven-Minute Frosting. I scraped off that crown and redrew it three times and it still sucks. I’ve gotta practice piping. And looking up images on google, because clearly my brain can only provide the most general outline of what a crown looks like. The cake tasted pretty good though. It was for my niece Lucy, who is a four-year-old wonder. She is my favorite person to eavesdrop on- she invents the most delightful little games and says the dearest things to herself, quietly. The cake uses cup4cup instead of wheat flour, and coconut milk mixed with a squeeze of lemon instead of buttermilk. The frosting is meringue-y and marshmallow-y and not my favorite, but I don’t have a better dairy free frosting yet. Do you? Please tell me.
Creamy White Bean and Tomato Soup, More Ciabatta. We ate tons of sandwiches at Lucy’s house. They had all the deli meats and bacon and fancy mayonnaise you could put on a sandwich and I lived it up. I’m ready to personally endorse a ham and bacon sandwich for president. The kids fell asleep on the way home, which meant an interminably long day, so we lived it up by eating the other half of that ciabatta and a vegan tomato soup (thickened with beans, y’all, that’s living!) and having a family movie night where we watched episodes of Laurel and Hardy. Henry is a great lover of slapstick and laughed louder than he’s ever laughed at anything. Good on you, 1930’s.
I was working on this blog post last night after the kids went to bed, and then George woke up and never went back to sleep and so I’m ignoring my family and finishing it this morning. The upbeat parts were written last night, when everything still looked pretty good, and the gloomy stuff was written this morning, when I’m facing the prospect of a long day with a startling lack of patience. Also I think George is mad at me for not letting him rub my elbow when he was trying to fall asleep last night. He has a weird elbow fetish and he’s rubbed mine raw and I just can’t with it anymore. Blaaah. Wish me luck not being a whiny baby.