Bring. On. The. Bread.

I don’t know about you, but I’m in the market for some SERIOUS CARBS right now. I’m talking Pasta, Pizza, French Bread, Rye Bread, Bread Crumbs, Bread Pudding, or just good old fashioned White Bread…Southern style…with mayonnaise. Yeah, that’s how desperate I am for this stuff. It’s only been a week but not eating bread can really put a damper on my kitchen chaos. Because there’s only so much you can do with a piece of chicken every flippin’ night. So you won’t be seeing chicken from me tonight. The chaos that ensues from denying someone her fair share of carbs can be hazardous to one’s mental health. Who cares if you drop three pounds? It’s not worth it.

What is worth it is homemade Eggplant Parmesan drenched in bread crumbs. Not oil. I bake mine so before you get your panties in a bunch with your “is this a low-cal food blog?” comments, trust me– it’s just as delicious baked as fried and like a million less calories and fat. But back to the carbs. Eat it atop a mound of penne or slap this puppy on a warm and crusty piece of French bread for added effect. You’ll make up your calories there.

I don’t make Eggplant Parm too often because it’s a weeeee bit labor intensive and I make my own sauce so my kitchen looks like a tornado hit it. But alas, it’s time to rejoice! We can eat bread again. Buh, bye hard, crumbly stuff with holes that should have been a tortilla. See you next year! Que sera che mangiamo pane!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

The more breadcrumbs, the better.

Ingredients:

  • One eggplant
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Large can diced tomatoes with juice
  • Container of low-fat ricotta cheese
  • Bag of shredded mozzarella cheese (or fresh mozzarella that you shred yourself…yummmm)
  • Can of tomato sauce (not jarred)
  • Few garlic cloves (minced)
  • Handful shredded carrots (*I always keep a bag of these in my fridge)
  • Diced onion
  • Splash of white or red wine
  • Dried herbs (parsley, basil, oregano)
  • Angel Hair Pasta (or French Bread if you are doing sandwiches)
Directions:
  1. Peel and slice eggplant  (lengthwise) as thin as you can without making wispy strips.
  2. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and put a heavy plate on top to drain the water out of it.
  3. Wait a few minutes and go check your email or eat a piece of bread.
  4. Beat the eggs in one bowl; pour hearty amount of breadcrumbs in another.
  5. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in the breadcrumbs.
  6. Spray two cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
  7. Lay each piece on the cookie sheets and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Bake at 350 for appx. 20 minutes (flipping after 10 minutes.)
  9. While this is cooking, make the sauce (now you know why I don’t do this too often). But it’s worth it so keep going.
Sauce:
  1. Dice onion and garlic and heat with some olive oil in a large saucepan on medium (couple of swirls of oil).
  2. Add handful of shredded carrots and mix with a pinch of Kosher salt.
  3. Add splash of wine.
  4. Drink a splash of wine.
  5. Hear your kids whine.
  6. When onions are soft add can of diced tomatoes and can of sauce.
  7. Add a pinch of salt and few pinches of herbs.
  8. Mix well and reduce heat to simmer.
  9. Add water if your sauce is too thick, or another can of tomatoes if it is too thin.
  10. Under no circumstance should you add sugar. The carrots will sweeten the sauce the authentic way.
  11. Simmer for at least 20-30 minutes.
Now, back to the eggplant.
  1. Remove eggplant from oven.
  2. Pour a thin layer of your sauce on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish.
  3. Layer with eggplant.
  4. Top with Ricotta Cheese (spread over top).
  5. Add a thin layer of more sauce.
  6. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
  7. Repeat until you’ve used up all of the eggplant and finish off with another sprinkle of cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cheese bubbles.
  9. Boil pasta and cook al dente or heat bread to make sandwiches.
  10. Buon appetito!

Matzah Mystery

So here’s a question. If the Jews were in such a hurry to get out of Egypt and didn’t have time to let their bread rise, wouldn’t it have been much easier to make tortillas?

Seriously, I’m really trying to figure this out. Take a look at this:

I wonder how long those perfectly aligned holes took to make?

And now look at this:

Looks like it was made in about twenty seconds.

If you were racing somewhere for the rest of your life and needed to throw everything on your back for the next forty years with kids and donkeys in tow, doesn’t the flexible/easy-to-stuff-in-your knapsack/it’s almost Cinco De Mayo so might as well have one tortilla seem a bit more practical than the never-stays-in-one piece/crumbs everywhere/cardboard-like/constipating inducing Matzah? And while we’re questioning the whole thing…they were supposed to be making bread and just didn’t have time to let it rise, right? I’m no expert baker, but who pokes holes in their bread dough? Where did the holes come in? So I’m calling the bluff on this one and am officially going to the sages to ask for a tortilla exchange. A week of Mexican food sounds sooo much more enticing than a week of…Matzah. Plus, we can consider it a way to bring two cultures together. I’m trying here — work with me.

As you may have guessed by now, next week begins the eight-day holiday of Passover, also known in our family as the eight-day period of time when you can’t eat Girl Scout Cookies and better have a handy supply of prune juice ready. But we have come to accept this quirky foodstuff, and if nothing else, we buy it in bulk because it makes us feel like we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. Guilt. The number one purpose of religion. We recount the story of the exodus from Egypt (or we watch Charlton Heston do it so much better on TV) and, like on every other holiday, we celebrate overcoming our adversity by eating an insane amount of food.

Don’t even ask where the chaos fits in. The whole thing is chaotic. From the prep to the expectation that people are really going to sit through a five-hour dinner and be happy about it, to cleaning out every single breadcrumb in your entire house and car, to the concept of trying to tell your children they can’t have Mac ‘n Cheese for a week — it’s a zoo. Which means that the food better be darn good at a Passover Seder or your doomed. Doomed like Pharaoh. Doomed like Yul Brenner. I love Yul Brenner. Here he is:

Can your hair do this?

So my job is to make sure the food tastes darn good. To overcompensate for the cardboard-like staple by making the main dish the real star. You already have the recipe for Chicken Soup. It’s a must. You also have the recipe for BBQ Brisket. That’ll be served too. So for the trifecta, I’ll go with a simple herb roasted chicken served with hash browned potatoes and a broccoli casser…oops, can’t say it! (Remember, I don’t drive a minivan and I don’t make casseroles.) Instead, I’ll make a broccoli dish that comes in a rectangle.

Roast chicken is easy to prep the day before and you can put it in your oven day-of and leave it alone. This is one of my favorite things to make for any guilt-ridden holiday or when family come to town (also a time that induces guilt but I won’t go there).

Happy Passover to all who celebrate! And lucky you for anyone who can eat their Thin Mints for the next week.

Roast Chicken with Dried Herbs

Any vegetable you put in the pan will taste great.

Ingredients:

  • One Large Roasting Chicken
  • Appx. 2 heaping tablespoons (not that I’m measuring) of the following herbs: Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Sage, Parsley
  • Whole Onion
  • Few Garlic Cloves (whole)
  • Whole Lemon
  • Few Carrots
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Olive Oil
Directions:
  1. Let chicken sit at room temp for appx. 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  2. Wash and dry chicken.
  3. Rub olive oil on the inside and outside (under the skin, too).
  4. Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt and a little pepper.
  5. Mix up dried herbs in bowl and spread all over chicken…don’t be shy!
  6. Top with paprika. Lots of paprika.
  7. Place onion, garlic and entire lemon in cavity.
  8. Place chicken in a large roasting pan and sprinkle the carrots around the pan (or use other veggies).
  9. Roast on 425 for appx. 1.5 hours or until juices run clear. *Note* Basting isn’t necessary if you want a nicely browned and crisp chicken.


Everything In Its Place

Who doesn't need a Wasabi Pea dispenser?

There’s something about The Container Store that gives me inner peace, despite the fact that everything is triple the price of what I’d typically spend on a piece of plastic. Maybe it’s the smell. Or maybe it’s the color coordination of the flatware trays, cylindrical cereal tubes, snappy lunch gadgets, bamboo closet organizers or the best of all, the bins. Bins, bins, and more bins. Bins that are pink and bins that are yellow. Bins that are made for storing things you never knew you could store. Bins that are $50 and bins that are $100. Who cares if they’re a rip off? They’re from The Container Store! And they make me feel a little less chaotic, even just for a minute. It’s like taking a Xanax without the side effects. Just walk in and stand there. You don’t even have to buy anything. You’ll feel it. If it doesn’t work right away, take a few steps further back into the office area. You won’t find piles of papers, unpaid bills, cords to electronics you don’t even own anymore or home decor mags you just can’t seem to throw away. You’ll find wide open spaces, empty drawers, and containers that house containers. The money you’ll waste is worth the therapeutic properties alone.

Every spring I try really hard to get organized. It’s never a highly successful venture. I’ll start with one room, get bored and quickly move to another room, leaving several rooms 20 percent organized. But it’s the thought that counts. If you come over you’ll never know that ten minutes prior I threw everything somewhere. That’s my secret. Lots of cabinets. So until the day comes that I truly purge all of my junk, get rid of clothing that doesn’t fit, or file things where they belong, I’ll continue to make a weekly pilgrimage to The Container Store and get organized by osmosis.

I think tonight we’ll have a TV Dinner where the sandwich fits neatly in one of those cute little trays.

Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes and Tater Tots (just because there’s a spot for them in the tray and another spot for the Ketchup)

Remember that George Forman Grill from college? It really works.

Ingredients:

  • Nine grain bread
  • Butter or margarine
  • White American Cheese (or try it with fresh mozzarella)
  • Fresh beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
  • *Throw a sprig of fresh basil in there for added flavor and cooking-show quality presentation
  • Tater Tots (frozen)

Directions:

  1. Spread a little butter or margarine on two slices of nine grain bread.
  2. Place bread (butter side down) in skillet. Cook on Medium for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Place sliced cheese and sliced tomato on one piece of bread and lay other piece on top.
  4. Repeat for other sandwiches.
  5. Flatten sandwich with spatula and cook until cheese is fully melted, flipping as necessary.
  6. Cook Tater Tots according to directions.
  7. Serve in one of those little plastic trays from The Container Store that makes everything look orderly.

Scramble Central

For the most part, weekend chaos is pretty much the same as weekday chaos, only with a change in activities and outfits. The Monday through Friday drill of getting dressed, making beds, walking/feeding/training dog, helping with lunches, scrambling to make it in the car by 7:30, going to work, racing to carpool, eating a snack, doing homework and booking it to who knows where, making dinner, walking/feeding/growling at dog, hanging up on telemarketers, bath, yelling, clean-up, wishing we didn’t have dog, more yelling, etc. is replaced by booking it to birthday parties, soccer, laundry, and requisite visits to Home Depot, interspersed with some occasional yelling depending on how much junk is lying around or how many neighbors my dog tries to hump. And you wonder why people turn to substance abuse?

A few weeks ago I met up with some old friends from college at a getaway in Nashville. Hadn’t seen most of them for years so it was really nice to catch up. We stayed at a farm owned by one girl’s family. There were horses, sheep, cows- the whole kit and kaboodle- nestled in a picturesque setting outside of the city. Beautiful views, amazing scenery and the perfect opportunity to do absolutely nothing. Except for one thing. I can’t do that. I was the only one up and dressed by 7 am ready to go. Too bad there wasn’t anywhere to go — the nearest Starbucks was at least fifty miles away! Curses! Everyone else was content to sleep until 9 or 10 am which really threw me for a loop. Who sleeps until 9 am? Oh yeah, they don’t have kids. That’s why. By 9 am at least 50 percent of my day is over! Okay, I know. I’m supposed to do what most normal people do in the mountains: read, look at the trees, reflect, smell the cows.

Nah. Who am I kidding? I can’t do it. I’m just not really a look at the trees kind of person. I need a project. I’m a project kind of person. My entire life is a series of mini projects. Our days are programmed, our weeks are programmed, our weekends are programmed and then all of a sudden you pull the plug on the programming, throw me in front of a mountain and expect me to turn all Zen?

There have got to be some farm fresh eggs somewhere, even if I have to find the chickens to get them. Now there’s a project.

The anniversary of my 20th birthday is coming up soon and as my gift to myself I’m embracing my inner scramble. That’s who I am no matter where I go. So when life gives me quiet mountains and chirping birds, I will make scrambled eggs. And the people who can somehow sleep until 9 am will awaken to a delicious smell wafting into their rooms and will love me for  being so type A for making breakfast while they’re sleeping.

And that will give me the greatest inner peace of all.

Scrambled Eggs and Potato Skillet

My life in a pan

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 4-5 Large Eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Green onions (3 stalks)
  • Handful of sliced mushrooms or one small box
  • Pat of butter
  • Handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Bag of frozen cubed hash browns
  • One yellow onion (diced)
  • S&P
  • Oregano, Basil, Chives or other dried herbs

*Note* You can pretty much use any vegetable or cheese you want based on your taste. It’s all good! But I love the flavor of green onions with scrambled eggs.

Directions:

  1. Cook hash browns in skillet according to directions, adding chopped white onion for extra flavor.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, dice green onions and saute with mushrooms in pat of butter until soft.
  3. Whisk eggs with a splash of milk in separate bowl.
  4. Add a pinch of kosher salt and pepper.
  5. Spray skillet with cooking spray (or use a dab more butter) and turn on low. (*Secret* Eggs turn out great when they’re cooked low and slow!)
  6. Cook those eggs!
  7. Add herbs and shredded cheese after eggs have started to take shape.
  8. Mix often and remove from skillet while still soft.
  9. Serve atop your hash brown mixture or do what I do and mix it all together for great flavor!
  10. Embrace your inner scramble.

Just Pay For It

No, dad. You can’t put my kids in the front seat of your SUV…together. No, they can’t go to dinner at Chops Steak House at 9 pm on a school night. Um, yes, they should be accompanied by an adult (preferably you) if they need to go to the bathroom at the movie theater. Are you sure you can handle this?

The first time I left my kids home with my dad solo I came home to find that the American Girl Store had been relocated to my living room. We made a little trip to the mall that evening.

The second time I left my kids home with my dad solo I came home to find them, well, not home. No messages, no notes, no kids. When they finally showed up at 10 pm jacked up on sugar and subsequently spending a lot of time in the bathroom that night, I realized one thing.

There would not be a third time.

Dad just couldn’t handle it. Or maybe I should say I just couldn’t handle dad. And now when I need quality childcare I do what I should have done from the get-go. I outsource. If I pay there are no strings. And my kids are usually home and breathing when I get there, which is pretty much my only rule (I’m easy). I have found a great mix of babysitters from all kinds of places…referrals, nanny sites, and even good ol’ Craigslist. My kids have spent time in home daycares, in daycare centers, in community centers, in churches, in synagogues, in parks and in hotels. They’ve had sitters who were great, sitters who were horrific, sitters I’d invite to their weddings and sitters who’ve been deported (should have done a bit more of a background check on that one). Hey, at least I can say they’re well-rounded!

So while this is certainly no advice column, when it comes to expectations you may have for your relatives in relation to childcare, I suggest having none. Because even though they raised you and probably went though similar issues with their parents years ago, they’re in a totally different world right now and just don’t get it (minus the few exceptions).

If you wind up getting a freebie every now and then, enjoy. If not, just bite the bullet and pay for it. Don’t forget to round up and tip well for the ones you like best. And please, please, please, don’t ever break the cardinal rule of friendship by poaching a friend’s sitter. Totally uncool.

Oh, and while we’re on it, if anyone has the name of a few sitters I could use them. Mine are graduating and leaving me. And my dad just showed up with three boxes of Peeps and choking hazard toys. Maybe I should have the sitter watch him, too.

PS. You’ll need this.

Discriminating Taste

 

I’m being discriminated against and I don’t like it. Not one bit. And it’s not because of my skin color or my religion or my gender. It’s because of my dog. My sweet (not so little) rescue Hound/Lab/Boxer/1/18 Pitt mix that the friendly neighbors from my alleged friendly neighborhood seem to read as 100 percent Pitt Bull.

Okay, he’s a little affectionate. Likes to jump. Enjoys UPS men and anyone else who’s in view. Goes gaga for squirrels or birds. He’s bulky. He’s clunky. He’s not refined. And he’s definitely not a designer Schnikerdoodle or Doodlepoodle or Guccipoo. Trouble is, I’m surrounded by designer Guccipoodles and Schnookiedoodles and the likes of any poodle cross-breed that my high maintenance neighbors paid thousands of dollars for and don’t want anywhere near my unsophisticated Mutt.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love your Snickerdoodles. They’re very sweet. And it’s super cute how you have their leashes and bows match your leather handbags. But if I put my dog in coordinating leashes with matching bows I’d be arrested by the Mutt police because he’d look like a complete idiot. But then would you let us play with you?

Look, my dog may be big and bulky but he’s no bully. I promise. So please stop grabbing your pooch and running like mad the second you see us. We’re working on the jumping. And the pulling. And the humping. Don’t worry, the last thing I want is for him to impregnate your Guccidoodle. Because then we’d have a Gucciboxerlabpittdoodle mix. And that’s freaking weird.

So let’s just call a truce. I won’t make fun of your dinner and you won’t run away from my dog. You go have your cappuccino and a piece of lettuce with Precious. And I’ll go have my perfectly seared skirt steak and potato wedges with Quincy.

Toodles!


 

 

A Dash of Spring with a Touch of Reality

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. It’s scary. If I had more time to read the paper I’d feel well versed enough to discuss it in detail like I did in college. There are wars happening pretty much everywhere, teachers aren’t getting paid enough, kids bring weapons to school, natural disasters of apocalyptic proportions are striking when we least expect it and Star Jones is still on Celebrity Apprentice.

Where’s Billy Joel when you need him? We could use another version of “We Didn’t Start The Fire” right now to get a full state of affairs in under three minutes. But he’s old. And probably drunk. Which means I’m old. But at least I’m not drunk!

I always wish I could be one of those people who could get in a workout and read three newspapers by 6 am. I once had a boss who did that. Highly intimidating person but what an accomplishment! I know a few moms who do it too (man, I hate them!). I really have no excuse other than being lazy. So I’ll stick to the Internet for now or wait for Billy Joel to get sober and write another song for this century.

Meantime, work beckons and I’m not too happy today. Few people ’round the office aren’t exactly pulling their weight. I’ll leave it at that. I don’t do office politics but sometimes it’s hard to stay completely objective especially when…oh never mind. I’ll spare you the details of my boring office life. The world is falling apart, remember?

But can we talk Pesto? Fresh homemade pesto that makes your house smell like spring? Fresh homemade pesto that can be eaten hot or cold, served on pasta or salad or french fries or on your shoe? This is up there with Ranch dressing in terms of “things you can eat on your shoe.”

It also freezes well. I love pesto. It makes me happy. I just don’t make it too often because my daughter is allergic to pine nuts. So as long as I keep things separate or make it when my kids are out, I can still enjoy it. Without getting too dark, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day nonsense of your own life, not to mention the bigger chaos going on around us. So sometimes it’s the little things like fresh sprigs of Basil we have to employ to put a smile on our faces. I’ll leave it at that!

SPRINGTIME PESTO


Ingredients:

  • Big fat handful of fresh Basil – (or just one of those plants you can get at the grocery store) or appx. 1 cup fresh spinach
  • Appx. 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Appx. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2-3 pinches of kosher salt
  • 2-3 garlic cloves

Now here comes the hard part.

Directions:

  1. Throw everything in the blender.
  2. Blend.
  3. If it looks like you need more Basil, add more Basil. If it looks like you need more pine nuts, add more pine nuts. Get it?
  4. Toss heated on fusilli with lots of fresh Parmesan cheese or dress cold on beefsteak tomatoes.
  5. Go grab a newspaper before they stop making them and enjoy the few minutes before your own chaos begins!

Momflict

I don’t like having conflict with other moms. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It’s juvenile. It’s “Momflict.”

But every now and then a girl has to speak up, right? So I did. And it was uncomfortable. And it was awkward. And it was just a weeee bit juvenile. It happened last week when my daughters were in the school play. Make that the school “production.” Yes, production is a better word because by the way the director and posse of mom volunteers carried on with their headsets and coordinating hats you’d think we were on Broadway. Or that some major talent scout was in the audience. But it was really just an elementary school play that was taken to the next level by a few zealots (read: imperious moms).

Just for the record I like a school play that really has the markings of a school play. One where kids make their own costumes, where sets and props are cut out of poster board and stuff goes wrong. Stuff like kids saying their lines too early, or costumes being just a bit askew. Maybe you even hear a bit of the crew backstage when you’re not supposed to hear them. Yeah, that’s a good one. Because that’s what makes the videos funny in ten years. If I wanted to see a perfectly polished production I’d pay for it. Oh, wait, they make you do that too. If I wanted to see a perfectly polished production, I’d fly to New York and head to the Gershwin on West 51st. When I’m in a gymnasium I seek gymnasium quality.

So when I gladly gave up my Sunday (and previous week of evenings might I add) to volunteer for not one, but TWO performances of said musical “production” for my five- and eight-year-old daughters, I assumed my act of volunteerism would be met with open arms. Except when you have moms who are wearing headsets and coordinating hats yelling at you every five minutes and telling you what is and what is not allowed in the “green room” (really?) for a five-year-old, it doesn’t exactly work that way. What can be even more annoying is when you have to escort one of the 40 (yes, 40) young children you’re supervising to the bathroom in between costume changes and are told he is not allowed to pee. Who tells a five-year-old kid that he is not allowed to pee?

And this is where my momflict comes in. Because after trying desperately to sneak into the hallway when a microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer mom was out of sight, another one came flying out from nowhere to scold me. Poor little Charlie really had to go. And I mean REALLY. So when microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer mom started in (that is how I will refer to her for the next ten years or until she apologizes), I pushed back. I tried to be nice. Really. I used words like “Please let these children go to the bathroom” and “Please consider giving them a cookie while they’re waiting for three hours backstage” but it didn’t work. In fact, when a (gasp!) patron left the theater only to run into a cast member in the hall, all hell broke loose. “Actors shouldn’t be in the hallways in costume!!! What if a patron sees them!!!” But what if the patron is the cast member’s grandmother?!! Aren’t these the only people who come to school plays anyway?

Well, let’s just say that a momflict ensued. My niceties turned a bit ‘not so nice’ as I was unable to contain my frustration when poor Charlie stood there with his knees crossed begging to go to the bathroom at the “inappropriate bathroom time.” I had to break free. I had to show microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer mom that she didn’t intimidate me with her Britney Spears get-up. She was obstinate. I had to get through. She was yelling. I was yelling. It was ugly. And I left feeling bad about the whole day after I marched into the men’s room myself with little Charlie (who was now crying).

Momflict can creep up on you when you least expect it, especially in the most innocuous of places: the soccer field, the gymnasium, the carpool line, outside of a teacher conference or anywhere where a mom is feeling the slightest bit competitive about herself or her kid. This is why I believe moms should work or have hobbies outside of their children. If nothing else, it serves to dilute the amount of energy they use to obsess about their kids. I usually stay out of this stuff but if I feel really strongly about something I speak up. And sometimes it gets me into trouble. Oh well.

So tonight’s Kitchen Chaos is for both the controlling moms out there who exercise their control best in elementary school environments domineering over really nice, easy-going other moms (read: me). And it’s also for you really nice easy-going moms who put up with the controlling moms (read: microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer).

Try stopping me from eating this for dinner. I dare you.

Take it right out of the concession stand so you don't have to stop on your way home!

And serve with this:

Makes all the Momflict just go away...

I Don’t Even Know What to Title This One…

Today’s chaos started when I realized my dog has a cold. I actually didn’t think that was possible. They can’t get stomach flu and they can’t get lice (two things I wish I didn’t know so much about) so I guess I’m lucky. But when your dog starts sneezing uncontrollably, is lethargic and won’t fetch, you start to worry in a way only a mother does.

So, like every good Jewish mother, I did what they’d do. I gave him chicken soup. Not homemade, mind you. I don’t care how great of a dog you are, you’re not getting my liquid gold. But Panera’s I can spare. Seeing that I’m there each and every day anyway, it’s easy for me to pick up. He lapped it up in about 15 seconds.

It didn’t work because we’re now on day four of sneezing uncontrollably. So I’m out $2.50 for soup I should have eaten myself. What was I thinking?

Chaos continued after my orthodontist wired my mouth shut (I have braces). And coming from a person who likes to talk/yell at my kids as much as I do, getting your mouth wired shut doesn’t keep a family running very smoothly. I can’t talk and I can’t yell. So the only one who benefits is my husband who thinks this is the most brilliant idea ever.

I almost choked on a Hershey Kiss when I decided to eat it without taking out my wiring (the rubber bands are removable; they just aren’t supposed to be removed). So I made a perfect hole in my mouth and poked in the chocolate but wasn’t exactly able to bite it so I had to wait until it melted to actually benefit. Coming from someone who can usually suck down ten Hershey Kisses in three seconds this wasn’t very fun. Neither was the choking part. I spent the next hour playing Angry Birds on my phone to get over it.

So my dog has a cold and I’m wired shut and I need to make something for dinner that doesn’t involve biting anything. If I were back in high school I’d hit the 7-Eleven and have a large Slurpee. But that’s not the best parenting so I will cook something that is slurp-able instead.

I open the freezer. Please have something in there. Oohhh. Frozen spinach. I can hide that in pasta. Jessica Seinfeld will be so proud. I have noodles. I have cheese. I have a few cans of diced tomatoes but no jarred sauce. Shoot. Well, diced tomatoes will have to work. I have carrots that came back in the lunch box. I have a straw (for me…don’t laugh). I have wine (which is probably where I should have started). Let’s get to work…