Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Fun Lunch

Picture this... its a rainy day, it's cold outside, it's mid-January, and we've been cooped up in this freakin' house since November. To make matters worse, the Steelers didn't make the post season so watching the NFL Playoffs is depressing, too. The answer... Creative Activities!

Needless to say - the kids are starting to get stir crazy so, being on a cooking kick recently, I tried to find something fun that we could all make for lunch... together. This is what I came up with: Turkey and Ham sandwich wraps! Woo hoo!

This lunch was a total family effort. Step one is to put out all of the crap. We used some baby spinach, sliced turkey, sliced ham, flour tortillas, nickels (not pictured) and a cheese spread that was made with a 6.5 oz container of Alouette Light Garlic & Herb Cheese Spread and 1/2 cup of roasted red peppers - all chopped up - and then mixed together with the spread.

I gave each kid a little container of the cheese spread so that they could smear it on themselves. (Sammy used mayo because his sense of adventure isn't quite as profound as his brothers' and sisters'.) Here is Ella smearing away...

The first thing we did after smearing was to place a slice of ham on the tortilla. Robby took this part VERY seriously:

Next is the spinach... which is a tricky thing. It's only tricky because it's spinach... and, well, 5 & 7 year old kids tend to think they don't like spinach. My trick was bribery, but your choice of manipulation may be slightly different. I leave that to all of you, should you attempt this at home. A nickel was given out for each leaf that was placed on the sandwich. After placing the leaves, James took a quick break from cooking to calculate his earnings.
Next step is to put a slice of turkey on this badboy:

Then James asks the question, "Dad - can we put more spinach on?" My response - OF COURSE! So we put more spinach on there after the turkey (and now I'm broke).
We repeat the meat, spinach process until we have a nice sized stack - then it was time to wrap the whole thing up. I had to do this for each of the kiddos because it was kinda messy and they all were concerned with losing pieces of the wrap. I walked around the room, wrapped everyone's up, and then it was time to chow down!

Geana is out to lunch with one of her friends, so now we watch football all afternoon and take naps.


So I've decided to start cooking. To put this in perspective - I've never cooked a day in my life (with the exception of Kraft Mac & Cheese and the occasional ramen noodles and the like...) Anyway - some recent events have inspired me to start trying my hand at cooking and I'm having a blast doing it (it's only been one day, but still.) I'm not naive, It may last - but it probably won't. I'm sure that I'll get sick of it in a week because that's what I do - but dude... yesterday we had some INCREDIBLE food.

We started the day by heading to the Italian Market to get some produce and to get a piece for the food processor that has been missing since the fire. The kids thought that the dead fish laying on ice were the best part. I, however, preferred all of the fresh produce (and continue to enjoy the fresh produce). It was a mild day for mid-January so we got to walk up and down 9th Street, taking our time, and buying too much food.

As an aside - we got the kids some chop-sticks and thought about stopping in Chinatown on our way home. Realizing that we were going nuts and being overly ambitious - we opted instead to go to a Chinese restaurant near our house because the parking was just too freakin' impossible with our van in town. Here is a shot of Anna using her new sticks.

We came home and I made some Blackened Talapia, Garlic Brussel Sprouts, and the aforementioned Mac & Cheese - or as I have now decided to call it - Dibrunaroni and Cheese. (Named for DiBruno Brothers where I bought the cheese which is, hands down, the greatest store on earth.)

Tonight's menu... left overs.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Surely Our Kids Will Have Nicer Teeth

Looks like we did something before anyone in the history of Great Britain!

Congrats to the Kelly Family!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Recipe For Disaster

We took the kids out to the Old Country Buffet last night... because, if nothing else, our family has class.

Seriously - I'm shocked that there are not knock down drag out fights at OCB on a daily basis. The place is a festering melting pot that breeds anger, frustration, chaos, and injury. Let's examine...

Generally, the clientele at OCB is kinda trashy. I don't want to judge EVERYONE who goes to OCB as being trashy, but it's a general observation of mine. I mean - hey - I go to OCB and I don't consider myself trashy (although others may beg to differ). Further, I have several non-trashy friends who occasionally frequent the establishment. It's cheap, kids love it, and there are unlimited amounts of ice cream so I can totally see why people would take their kids there. All I'm saying is that, in general, the crowd isn't the same as you'd find at... say... Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

Okay - so you take a bunch of trashy people who are starving and you put them in a room with crazy amounts of food. Obstacle #1 is that, although there are obscene amounts of food, it always seems that the good food is empty. Everyone is perpetually waiting for the employees to refill the courses that they desire. This happens EVERY TIME we go to OCB without fail. Mac & Cheese - never there. Waldorf Salad - always full. This may have the result of, I don't know, pissing some people off...

Obstacle #2 - OCB is uber-kid friendly. Listen - that's the reason that we go to the place to begin with. The problem is that you have a bunch of hungry, trashy people with lots of food in front of them - that could disappear at any minute. Now you throw kids into the mix. People generally have little patience with their children, so imagine everybody in the restaurant stressing at the fact that they have to get the kids food (that may disappear) as well as their own food. Kids create several other issues with the potential of pissing people off, too. Like - last night there was this unattended kid who kept scooping and scooping and scooping the Mac & Cheese onto his plate. He weighed all of 40 pounds (and I could have thrown him across the buffet but that's not why I mention his weight.) It was clear that he wasn't going to eat all that he was shoveling, but he was in front of me and my 5 kids so we just had to wait. Then, of course, there isn't enough Mac & Cheese for us - so we have to wait until its refilled. A few minutes later, as I'm leading my brood back to the table with plates that are piled full of Mac & Cheese, there is a 3 year old - also unattended - who darts out from under a table next to us and almost makes me spill my meatloaf and potatoes all over the restaurant floor. Luckily I'm known for my grace and coordination so I deftly avoid his attempt at a chop block.

This brings us to obstacle #3 - Old People (look in the background of the picture above). We've successfully piled our plates full of super healthy food and the kids have sat down at the table and have started to eat. Now I have to head up to the drink station to get all of our drinks. I end up in line behind an old couple who can't figure out how to work the intricacies of the fountain soda machine.

Old Man: How do I get ice?
Old Lady: You push the button.
Old Man: Whaaa?
Old Man: Oh... ok. Here?
(slowly reaching for the ice button)
Robby: Want me to do it?
Me: Shhh.
Old Man: You can do it for me if you want.
Robby: Ok.
Me: No - that's ok, sir. We will wait. Robby go back to your seat, please.
Robby: Ok. I want all of the drinks mixed together.
Me: You'll be lucky if you get ice. Now SIT.
You'll be happy to know that we finally got our drinks and sat down to eat dinner. After dinner we ate our ice cream and left the restaurant without incident. Here is a picture of Anna eating her chocolate cake and ice cream. Mmmmm....