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Friday, May 29, 2015

All hail the mighty pizza

Me:  Hey kids, for dinner, how about I throw some flour, tepid water, a bit of yeast...

Them:  What's yeast?

Me:  It's a fungus...

Them:  OMG, grose, yuck, nononononononono

Plus various faux vomit sounds

Me:  Anywayyyyy.... to that delightful mix I'm going to add nothing but baby spinach, some tomato puree, mushrooms - another fungus - and capsicum.  Sound good?

Them:  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Plus Oscar worthy faking their own death scenes of horror and disgust

Me:  Oh okay, I'll top it with a small amount of cheese.  But not the cheddar you're used to.  We're talking mozzarella.

Them:  The one that tastes like plastic?

Me:  Well, not really. Okay, sort of.  Ummm....Yep, that's the one.


Can you imagine that scenario playing out favourably?

No.

Which is why I will be forever grateful and in awe of the humble pizza.

My kids loathe so many veges between them that it's hard to find more than a few that they'll all eat willingly.

They eat all of the veges, they just don't realise it.  I am all about the stealth inclusion of every vege I can possibly fit into a meal.

Ignorance is bliss!

Nobody questions the almighty pizza.  Least of all, children.

Observe, tonight's dinner plus tomorrow's lunch....

The green flecks are ZUCCHINI and BROCCOLI STEMS, plus some mixed herbs, in my pizza base.
Lest I miss the opportunity to amp up the veg quota.

Please note the first name initial on each tray, to ensure that each child dare not consume a much feared vege.....FFS.
Note: Images are pre-cheese.  Because I totes forgot to capture the joy of the post-cheese pizza, let alone the finished product.  My bad.  My very hungry bad.

If I'd dared suggest my kids eat any combination of these items in any other format, I'd have a mutiny on my hands.

This is, hands down, our family favourite from the Tefal Cuisine Companion.

As much as pizza is my saviour, it has also been, until now, a complete pain in my ass.

I loathe kneading and leaving things to rise and then kneading some more.  

OMG, no time, no attention span....

One batch of dough in the Tefal Cuisine Companion takes me - literally - 7 minutes from the second I walk into the kitchen, until I'm topping the rolled out pizzas.

And it makes enough for dinner and lunch for all of us.  Crazy cheap.

Cheap, quick and easy.

Also healthy, compared to so many other quick meal options.

#1Hubby has been away all of this week.  It's been another week of bowing down and saluting those who solo parent for any length of time.  Single parents, FIFO parents, whatever your situation - I'm in awe of you.

And the working parents.  OMG...by the time I get home from work and school, put all my effort into refraining from using repeated shed words while completing three lots of homework, then do some housework - all while being interrupted multiple times to break up a Hunger Games style fight, or life and death debate before it deteriorates into a WCW smackdown...

I just can't face the time and effort required to pull together a meal that has a decent portion of veg, fibre, protein blah blah blah etc etc etc....  These pizzas have featured on our dinner tables four times once or twice in the past week, because they are so quick and easy.


Also healthy, compared to so many other quick meal options.  And, mercifully, happily consumed.


Am now awaiting the return of #1Hubby this arvo, and also the arrival of my Nobel Prize for Family Fiscal Awesomeness and Nutritional Management.


(Picture me, draping myself rather dramatically over the lounge (wine in hand, obviously)...milking it for all it's worth, intending to stay there for the duration of the WA long weekend, while #1Hubby does the bulk of the parenting).



Friday, April 10, 2015

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach

Of course I took to Facebook to brag about my success.
Action shot taken from the Cuisine Companion bowl before plating.


I shunned chocolate over Easter.

Yes, thank you, stop applauding and sit down. I am already patting myself on the back so you don't need to.

To be honest, I'm more a savoury person, so it wasn't that hard.

Give me a holiday that worships at a temple made from soft cheeses and I am all in.

Crackers optional.

#1Hubby had to return to work in the city, so he left Easter Monday, and I stayed on with the #1Grandparents in the country, so that the kids could further acquaint themselves with fresh air and grass, while riding their bikes on the actual road (Mstr6 finally rides without training wheels or tantrums, thanks to this).

Shut up safety experts. We're at the end of a cul de sac that nobody drives down.  And I was standing guard (wine in hand) on car watch.  More focus on my awesome non-electronic device parenting than the whole OMGTHEYRODEONTHEROAD.


It was while on car watch that I pondered how to reward reward myself for excelling at maintaining the health of my family, via shunning sugar and embracing exercise.

I mean, apart from the Nobel Prize and United Nations committees fighting it out over who gets to use me as their parenting role model and spokesperson.

A long holiday.  Four weeks in Bali for Christmas.

Not remotely related to Easter, and certainly more generous than a Cadbury Bilby, a Lindt Hen House and a Ferrero Bunny put together and coated in real organic corn fed, farm bred, free range, organic, rain forest alliance certified, fair trade gold.

Cheap airfares sealed the deal.  Which only left suggesting it to #1Hubby, letting him think he was making the guided decision to go for it.

Heh.

This required an impressive distraction.  Exhausted from my physical car watching, I decided to go with an impressive meal instead of other wifely means of distracting and persuading one's husband.

We returned home yesterday and I seized the opportunity to overcome my fear of all things electronic (besides my phone, laptop, iDevices and TV, obviously) and opened up the Tefal Cuisine Companion I'd just received and agreed to actually remove from the box and use.  Not leave in some dark corner of my pantry like so many other devices before it.

I'm no food expert, obviously.  But I do like to try and cook as much of our food from scratch as possible, so I was keen to give it a try.  Anything to aid my inherently lazy nature.  Plus, I'm pretty confident I can use it to make cocktails.

Things started off really well...

I managed to leave a large piece of foam inside the base, and so I launched into a minor and ladylike tantrum when I couldn't get the bowl to click into place as a result.

#1Hubby breezed into the kitchen for the 28th time to offer assistance.  This time I did not bite his head off and banish him.

Instead, I went for a petulant "FINE!"

Which we both knew really meant "Oh fine...if you must...I will do you a favour and let you play the hero even though we both know that I am superior in the kitchen and there's no way you will work this out if I haven't been able to".

The added dialogue conveyed via sighing, haughty body movements, and a couple of indecent hand gestures.  Kind of like passive agressive interpretive dance, if you will.

Yeah.

He immediately found the very large and obvious piece of foam.

Remembering the end goal, I pleasantly and calmly agreed to #1Hubby having a gloat about saving the day/universe via Facebook status update.

While he did that, I flicked through the recipe book, completely ignoring the manual, because now I had an expert in the effing kitchen...

And I had consumed half the bottle of wine intended for the seafood risotto.

Okay more like three quarters.

So I found the first risotto recipe and quite literally threw the ingredients in, adding bits and pieces with wild abandon to make the recipe my own, and seafood-it-up in order to impress #1Hubby.

Mercifully, the Cuisine Companion comes with very easy to follow instructions.  Like pictures on their buttons that correspond with pictures on their recipes.  Even three quarters of a bottle of Sav Blanc in, I couldn't screw this up.

And I didn't have to stand over the stove, constantly stirring and adding liquid and fretting about the ratio of rice to liquid and whether or not it was going to work after I'd committed so much time and pricey ingredients to the process.

Something that would have taken me well over an hour manually, took just on 30 minutes from end-of-tantrum commencement, til hasty non-artistic plating.

While he was making all the right bedroom noises over the risotto that he was clearly enjoying, I seized the moment and casually mentioned how good it was to spend Christmas in Bali, and wouldn't it be great if we could get cheap airfares and do it again?

Without looking up, he was all "oh yeah, yes".  

Probably at the risotto, not me.

Regardless, I took that approval and ran with it.  I immediately went off to pretend to Google prices and OH LOOK - there just so happens to be a sale on right now and I will just book us some tickets.  Now.  Not 3 days prior.


NAILED IT

THE RISOTTO
THE MACHINE
THE HOLIDAY CHARADE

ALL OF IT



Here is a post-dinner shot of my "I only like fish and chips" seafood hating Miss9, sprung eating from the bowl....


Busted.  Eating from the bowl.
Next time I'm making a spinach and broccoli quinoa** risotto and handing everyone a spoon to eat from the bowl, since it clearly has magic powers.  Which would also totally make it a one-dish-dinner.




**Even my spell checker didn't know WTF quinoa was.  Heh.  High five spell checker...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rico, not Dave : What's in a name?

We used to have a ginger cat named Chopper.

We loved him dearly, but he never ever forgave us for introducing a child to the mix, and was positively livid when we added 2 more at once.

So he took up residence next door with #1Brother, and only deigned to acknowledge us at meal times.

He passed away almost 2 years ago, and while I've missed him, I admit that I have enjoyed having one less mouth to feed and water.

One less person to crap on everything (figuratively, occasionally literally).

One less person to constantly whine at me for food.

The kids never really spent much time with Chopper, on account of his deathly hatred for them.  And so, they've never really been into pets, other than to acknowledge that we did have a cat at some point but he died and now he's buried outside and can we dig him up to see what he looks like now?

Besides that morbid curiosity, they don't really seem that fussed by the notion of having a pet.  And so we've gone pet-free since Chopper met his demise.

Recently, I noted my kids had developed a wimpy aversion to animals.

It's like they've regressed from their curious toddler selves, who were all happy to pat a spitting alpaca on their grandfather's farm (while Super Dad, #1Hubby, crapped himself at a safe distance from inside the car)...or Miss9's approximately 4 1/2 year old self with this bad boy wrapped around her:

Coffee shop stop, Bali style.

I yelled to the cafe staff from my spot climbing atop the farthest table at the back, that they were responsible for her, and if shit went down, they had to save her because I. WAS. OUT.


Mstr6 is the worst.  He is the epitome of girly-man scared of anything with 4 legs.  One of my best girlfriends has a gorgeous little dog named Tammy - just screams vicious, child terrorising animal of doom, right?

Hardly.  She plods around the house, kindly allowing us a wide berth in her own territory.  She steers clear of my kids, because dogs are smart and she can't be arsed with Mstr6's girly-man-ness any more than I can.

And yet, still, he loses his shit when he sees her.

Miss6 plays it tough but she's always slightly further away than he is - because she's smart enough to know that the weak get taken first...

Miss9 is a cat lover and ignores Tammy for their newest family member, Daisy the tortoise shell kitten.  Daisy is all energy, tearing around the living room, and Miss9 loves it.  She shrieks with laughter, ignoring her friends playing outside to be a crazy cat woman in training instead.

It was after a recent visit that I decided we needed a pet.

I valiantly and selflessly declared that I would take one for the team and invite another mouth to be fed, another being to be loved and cared for, into our family.

But only if it was a ginger kitten, because my selflessness has limits.

Yesterday our 10 week old bundle of fur arrived - a total surprise to the kids who had just been whining for a ginger Fur Real Friends kitten they'd seen on TV.

Naturally I took all credit for exceeding their expectations.  #1Hubby rolled his eyes and I offered him a one finger salute in a loving flick of the wrist.

Mstr6 was totally confused.  Was he excited?  Was he shitting himself with  fear that this orange ball of fluff that weighs about as much as his glasses would come for him in his sleep?

Should I really be convincing him this is the brother he's been asking for, in order to get him to man up and go within 4 feet of the kitten?

Yes, yes I did.  Because I'm fairly confident the potential therapy fees will still be far less than the cost of another child.

First things first, a name....

Here were the initial suggestions:

Donut

Cupcake

Icecream

Milkshake

Chocolate

Marshmallow

I'd just been out for lunch with #1Nana, so I'm guessing either #1Hubby forgot to feed them, or fed them the above list of nutritious items to shut them up while I was out.

A quick word about appropriate names for a boy kitten, and a second round of suggestions:

Chopper (not Chopper II, but exactly the same as its predecessor, who would likely be turning in his garden grave at being so easily replaced with a younger model - totally understandable).

Orange (the neighbours have a ginger cat named Mango, and the kids decided they wanted to call ORANGE AND MANGO).

Puss In Boots

Speedy

Meng (I have no idea...)

And finally, the kicker.  The one that came out of nowhere, and they all loved....

Dave

Yes...DAVE.

For some reason, they had their hearts set on DAVE.

I could just picture myself standing at the front door of an evening, calling for DAVE to come in...and being met by any number of middle aged Aussie blokes named Dave...


And so one final discussion about finding an appropriate name, while #1Hubby Googled pet names and started at A and we all wanted to punch him by the time he got to Anastasia.

Finally, Mstr6 emerged from the toy room where he had been watching the Penguins of Madagascar, and announced very matter-of-factly...Rico.

Now, ignoring the fact that Rico is a penguin, it just worked.

And so, without any further painful ado, I present to you Rico :

The latest love of my life (you had your chance, George), and current front runner for all of my jewellery when my time comes.


All of the cute.

I can't stop myself cuddling this tiny little ball of cuteness, while whispering in his ear "My precious...".

Fingers crossed Mstr6 comes out of his room / down from the lounge and makes nice with his little bro some time before his 21st birthday.

I am now going to start researching how to create catchy cat videos and various witty meme's so that I can branch out from blogging....

Once I have harvested a kidney to pay for the little darling and its associated bloody expensive bits and pieces and fancy arsed kitty food that costs more than what I spend on meals for the rest of the family....




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