Pig Vegan

Back in Novemeber, Tornado S declared himself pig vegan. Which is to say, he decided to stop eating all meat from pig.


Tornado S: No.


Tornado S: No.

Pork chops.

Tornado S: No.


Tornado S: No.


Tornado S: I already said no.

We tempted him. We tried to bribe him. We scolded him. We teased him. We tried to trick him.

On New Year’s dinner, I told him if he didn’t eat the ham, he had to eat everything else, including the beans. And Grandma’s Beans are gross. So very, very gross.

And the kid ate them.

Then I remembered when I was a little older than Tornado S I learned that that dolphins were getting caught in tuna nets. So I gave up canned tuna. I tried to get my classmates to boycott tuna noddle casserole lunch day. It didn’t go over well. The bullies had a field day. But my mom never made me eat another bite of tuna.

So I stopped pestering Tornado S. I gave him real alternative choices to pig meat. He is proud to be pig vegan. And I explain to everyone what it means. Everything has been fine.

Until he tried to ban pepperoni pizza.

Whoa. Whoa. Little man. We respect your believes and allow you to get cheese pizza. Respect our beliefs to eat pepperoni pizza. The one, true pizza.


Sharing is Caring

Leftover night happens once a week at the Faemom’s house, usually the night before trash day.  Evan had a hotdog, and Sean had cheese tortellini smeared with butter and parmesan cheese.  Evan pointed out that I forgot the ketchup, and Sean, seeing Evan got ketchup HAD to have ketchup too.  Eww.  We were all enjoying our separate meals.  As I was taking a bite of cashew chicken, Sean dipped his tortellini into the ketchup and ate it.


Sean:  Peeeeease!


I turned to look at Sean who was stretching out a piece of ketchup-dipped tortellini towards me.


Sean:  Peeease!  Mommy!


Me: Oh, no, baby.  That’s your tortellini.  You eat it.  I have my chicken.  Eat your tortellini.


Sean: (stretching out of his booster seat until he almost fell) Peeeease!  Mommy!  Bite!  Peeease!


I stared at those big brown eyes filled with hope, love, and the need to share.  Eat the tortellini, ketchup and all.  Sean smiled and clapped. 



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Recipes Kids and Toddlers Can Make

I have become obsessed with the crafts part of the blog.  (I know.  I know.  You’re going to point out that I haven’t been publishing crafts very many.  Well, remember I moved.  Lay off me.  Do you ever think we assume the worse because we are the worse?)  But I get a little bored with the same old, same old crafts, and so do the boys as Evan yells he doesn’t want to do another craft.  (Like he has a choice.)  So I thought I start trying to find snack crafts, preferably healthy ones, which turns out to be hard to find.  So here are the first kid friendly recipes.  If you have any, please share!



(Ok.  It was a little like cheating, but I thought it was a great start to teaching Evan and Sean to cook.  They enjoyed helping out and eating the cheese.  You can add any kind of cheese or go crazy and add other stuff.  I’m just a purist at heart.)


Things you need:

·         Tortilla

·         Cheddar cheese

·         Knife

·         Plate

·         Microwave


As the parent, cut the cheese in slices.  Allow the child to cover half the tortilla with cheese.  Cook for 45 seconds in the microwave.  Fold the other half of the tortilla over the cheese.  If cheese isn’t melted, cook for another 15 seconds.  Allow to cool and cut into slices.  Eat.



Cheese Crisp

(This is a regional dish from where I grew up.  My husband believes the region is a five mile radius as it is rarely seen on menus.  It’s a yummy snack or part of a meal.  The boys love making and eating it.)


Things you need:

·         Tortilla

·         Pizza pan

·         Foil

·         Butter

·         Butter knife

·         Cheddar Cheese

·         Cheese shredder

·         Oven

·         Knife or pizza cutter


Preheat the oven to 350°.  Cover the pizza pan with foil.  Place the tortilla on the pan.  Shred the enough cheese to cover the tortilla, about ¾ cup.  Have the child butter the tortilla leaving a crust edge.  Have the child sprinkle the cheese liberally over the tortilla, leaving a crust edge.  Place in the oven for seven to ten minutes, until the cheese is melty and the crust is tan.  Allow to cool and cut into slices.  Eat.



Peanut Butter and Jelly Crackers

(I was looking for a new way to do sandwiches, and the homemade lunchables completely confused the boys.  I made Sean his because I thought he wasn’t ready to wield a knife.  Evan loved doing this.  They both enjoyed eating them.)


Things you need:

·         Crackers (We used graham crackers)

·         Peanut butter

·         Jelly

·         Plate

·         Plastic knife


On a plate place an even amount of crackers, some jelly, and some peanut butter.  With the plastic knife, show the child how to spread the peanut butter and jelly on the crackers.  Have the child make his/her own sandwiches.  Eat.



Frosting Sandwiches

(What meal is complete without dessert?  Seriously, what meal?  My mom used to makes these for us, and we loved them.  In college, the softball player roommate made them, especially when we needed to lift our spirits.  The boys LOVE them.)


Things you need:

·         Graham crackers

·         Frosting (any kind)

·         Plate

·         Plastic knife

·         Sprinkles, chocolate chips (optional)


On a plate place an even number of graham crackers and some frosting.  Show the child how to spread the frosting.  Allow the child to make his/her own frosting sandwiches.  For a special treat, let the child add sprinkles or chocolate chips.  Eat.



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The Evolution of Eating



Sweet, warm milk.

Sweet, tasty, warm, white milk.



White and stiff

Gooey, tasting like milk.


Sweet apple juice,

Sweet warm milk,

Gooey rice,

Apple juice.




Bitter peas.

Green beans.

Pears, squash, spinach, broccoli, blueberries, raspberries, carrots.


Always that sweet warm milk.






Lintels, mangos, apricots, strawberries







Eggy bread and French toast.

Pasta and tomatoes.

Chocolate, cake, ice cream.



White, cold milk.

Everything Tastes Better on a Stick

So yesterday I decided to make a special treat with the boys and add it to the blog.  I have been trying for days to get the boys interested in craft time without any luck.  (And I threatened them that there are two girls out there whose mother keeps promising to send them over and THOSE girls would LOVE to do crafts.)  I brainstormed and came up with a scheme to make something sweet and tasty that would intrigue the boys.


Back in October my mom and I tried to make mini-caramel apples.  Taking a melon baller, we scooped little balls of apple with the peel on the top.  We stuck sticks in the top and dipped them into the caramel.  Well, the caramel had too much water, and then the crispy, juicy part of the apple just made the caramel slide down into a clump around the apple piece instead of looking like a miniature caramel apple with sprinkles.  (I still maintained they were tasty, even if they didn’t look like it.)  My dad insisted my mom didn’t read the directions that called for butterscotch chips and not caramel.


Yesterday I pulled out the butterscotch chips to find only a dozen or so left in the bag.  Who would – oh, wait, that was me.  I have a terrible habit of sneaking butterscotch chips or chocolate chips, which Evan learned, which is why I now keep the chips in the freezer.  Well, never mind, I’ll add some white chocolate chips to the mix.  I set up a double boiler and began balling the apple, adding sticks. 


The boys dragged their little blue chairs over to watch me and beg for some chocolate.  They kept trying to get to the apple pieces.  With Sean’s “Peeease” in my ear, I kept giving him unused pieces off the apple.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that the butterscotch and the white chocolate chips were not melting well together.  Plan B was to melt them in the microwave, which meant I burnt them.  My belief is that the white chocolate chips were a cheap generic brand, and I promise to use the Wilton’s chips from now on.


Consigned to defeat, I didn’t know what to do with the apple pieces.  Then Evan perked up.


Evan: Mommy!  Can I have an apple sucker?


Um, sure.


Evan: Thank you, Mommy!  Seanny wants an apple sucker too!


Ok.  Here, Sean.


Evan: Can I take one to Daddy?  He would like one too!




Evan: Mommy!  Can I have another apple sucker?


Why not?


Evan: Mommy, this apple sucker is yummy!  Can I have another?  They’re tasty and healthy and good for me!


Have them all.


I watched my non-fruit eating boy (with the exception of bananas, grapes, and watermelon) eat half of an apple, and I wondered how quickly I could get more sticks.  I wondered what other fruit he would eat on a stick.  I wondered if I could put vegetables on a stick.  I wondered if Evan would eat kabobs.  Because everything tastes better on a stick. 

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Food Fights

Today I opened up Yahoo to find the news article “6 Food Mistakes Parents Make” by Tara Parker-Pope (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/15/health/healthspecial2/15eat.html?no_interstitial) , and guess what number two was.  Yup, forcing your kid to take a bite of something they wouldn’t eat any ways.  Apparently this will back fire, and the child may end up hating the food.  Probably to show some independence of “see you can’t make me.”  Last night my dad said the same thing.  I think it’s a sign.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about Picky Eaters, I am trying to tackle the challenge of Evan not trying any food by forcing him to eat one tiny, little bite.  Results have been mixed.  The first night after two hours, I forced in a sliver of spinach into his mouth and crammed the juice straw after it.  The second night Evan took a bite of corn after fifteen minutes, and he declared it tasted like candy, which it should because it was sweet corn.  The third night I left my husband in charge, and he just let Evan run off.  The fourth night was almost three hours of whining, pleading, crying, and sulking.  (Guess who did what.)  He went to bed without eating anything but a slice of whole wheat baguette.  The fault was partially mine for putting the whole meal together without more things Evan would eat.  Finally last night, he ate a chicken leg, soy beans, a roll, and some watermelon, but he would not touch the potato salad. 

After two hours of stalemate, I called for help.  My dad explained it was a losing battle and I should back off.  I told him he forced me to eat things.  He countered that I was much older.  Well, I don’t exactly remember my toddler years, so I guess I’ll have to believe him.  And Evan did eat soy beans and watermelon.  So it’s time to sound a retreat and regroup.  Or not necessarily a retreat, just a fall back to evaluate the situation.

So I read the article, twice.  The new plan is to pull out that stupid puree book.  Ok, it’s not stupid; it’s just time consuming.  Of course, I did figure out you could easily use baby food instead of pureeing. The other problem is the meals are somewhat time consuming when you have a little toddler begging to be picked up, pushing you from the counter, trying to turn your legs.  (Yes, Sean actually grabs on to my legs and tries to turn them around.  He’s surprisingly strong.)  When your husband isn’t home to help manage the kids (or he got sucked into a rerun of a Superbowl from twelve years ago), it’s a little hard to fry chicken or bake a lasagna. 

The other part of the plan is to really put out the vegetables.  Three or four, instead of one or two.  I’ll put out more than just raisins at lunch time.  I’ll start trying berries with the banana and watermelon at breakfast.  I’ll have to figure out a new fruit because summer is almost over.  Evan LOVES watermelon.  I’ve got to replace it with something.  The hope is he may just be curious enough to try something as long as I’m eating it.

The last mistake in the article was parents giving up too soon.  Well, that’s not me.  I’m pretty stubborn, more stubborn than my mom and my husband give me credit for.  I will not raise a picky child.  I will not raise a picky child.  I will not raise a picky child.

I really hope I don’t eat my words.

Picky Eater

My husband tells of how he used to HATE to eat.  HATE.  When he was a kid.  He didn’t want to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  He hated coming in to eat dinner, to stare at dinner and try to swallow it down.  He naturally assumes all children are like that.

My brothers and I loved to eat.  Of course, we hated certain foods.  Like fried okra.  To a one, we hate fried okra.  We would walk into our grandma’s house, smelling the delicious smell of fried oil, mouths watering over the thought of fried chicken, mock chicken legs, or chicken-fried steak.  Only at dinner we would be greeted with fried okra.  My baby brother actually threw up once from eating it, and he was never forced to eat it again.  Tim and I were so jealous.  I can’t even eat fried bananas because it’s the same texture.  Yuck!  But back to loving food, we would race through our meal because seconds were up to first come, first serve.  In our teen years, we would compete on who could eat more at the buffet.  And to this day, we still sneak treats from the kitchen, devouring like a swarm of locusts as we converge on my parent’s house.  (Of course, I’m the only one who gets dirty looks from my mom because I still have weight to lose.  Thanks mom.)

Since Evan became a toddler, the discussions of our youthful eating habits are very popular at our house. 

Husband: I hated my mom’s cooking.  I think she was a bad cook.  The only thing I liked were her breads.  Your mom is a better cook.  Better than you.

Me: Hey!  I use the same recipes!  But she is good.  Mashed potatoes, fried chicken, enchiladas, chimichangas, potato soap.  Mmmm.  What did you eat?

Husband: Casseroles.  Lots of casseroles.

Me: Well, that explains it.  Yuck!  That and one pot dishes.

Husband: Yeah, I ate a lot of those too.

Me: Really, there are only a few good ones.  She was cooking with her time.  Everyone did casseroles or one pot dishes back then.  Goulash.  Yuck!

Husband:  I hated steak as a kid!  I hated steak!?  Who hates steak?

Me:  Mmm, steak.  The only time we got steak was when it was on sale and we were going camping at The Cabin.  Nothing like a t-bone over an open flame.  But anyways, your mom had brain surgery in ’69, didn’t she?

Husband: Yeah.  She lost her sense of smell.

Me: Well, that’s an answer.

And yes, we have this conversation several times a month.  Because Evan eats sparingly.  He likes meat but won’t touch a vegetable.  He likes raisins (we’re stocked), grapes, and watermelon (what will I do when summer is over?).  And of course, he inherited my sweet tooth.  And I’m at my wits end.

The other day I served mozzarella-spinach stuffed ravioli.  I swear I have seen him it it before.  Sean was woofing it down, and Evan stared at the plate and asked what it was.  Mini quasidillas.  (ok, Lying is bad.  but really?)  He nibbled.  He nibbled.  Then he saw the spinach.  “Yuck!  The green stuff is yucky!”  Fine, don’t eat.  But the rule stands as you don’t eat dinner, you don’t get anything else.  Until you ask your dad for cereal.  And he says “at least it’s healthy.”  Awesome.

My husband and best friend say that there are just picky eaters out there.  Well, swell, but they have to eat more than a dozen things.  And the hell I’m raising a picky eater.  Not in my household, not when I am armed with my mom’s recipes. 

Then the experts say not to force your children, not to beg.  After 15 times, they’ll learn to love it.  Ok, how do I get him to try it once, twice, the fifth time.  My dad insists that I don’t force Evan to clean his plate because he doesn’t want Evan to eat after he is full.  Where was this logic when I was a kid?  Remember the fried okra?  And I have stooped to pureeing and hiding it in the foods, which my grandma thinks is crazy.  Hey, I still serve vegetables.  Besides, it makes the meal fuller, adds more vegetables, and is helping me loose weight.

So I finally found some options to try to makes him eat, as I watch the Supernanny demand the kids eat vegetables before they leave the table.  Ok, again, I don’t want to force past the fullness.  And as I tell my mom about one crazy scheme after another, she said, “I thought you were going to try the no thank you bite.”  Oh.  Right.  I forgot.

So tonight,  I was determined.  Damn it.  He was going to eat a bite of everything.  The chicken, the rice, the cucumber, the spinach.  And it was crazy.  He loved the chicken.  As it was a new recipe with a soy sauce-honey glaze with sesame seeds, I was worried.  He ate the rice.  He even took a few bites of the cucumber, dipped it in his milk, and took a few more bites.  (At one time, he loved cucumbers, then he stopped six months back.  I serve them a lot hoping for that love to return.)  Then he was done, and I asked him to take a bite of spinach.  One bite.

So began the two hour ordeal.  My husband left to work in the home office, as I tried to entertain Sean, clean up dinner, and force Evan to eat one little bite of spinach.  Evan didn’t want us to play, didn’t want us to watch TV, didn’t want us to blow bubbles or dance.  He spilled his milk on accident.  I got him a new plate with new spinach.  He had to go potty.  He had to be naked.  He wanted his daddy.  He was too cold.  He needed a sweatshirt.  He needed a diaper.  He wanted his daddy.  He wanted to hold his mother’s hand.  All the while “Eat one bite of spinach.  One bite.  A no thank you bite.”  “No, thank you, Mommy, spinach is not for me.” 

Finally I told him grandma would have made me eat the whole thing.  My son did not believe me.  Not Grandma.  She’s a saint. She’s so sweet.  And I remembered what Bill Cosby said, “These people are getting old, they’re going to be judged.  They’re trying to make it up.”

So we called Grandma and Papi.  And they talked to him.  Then after they hung up the phone, I had an idea.  I explained my idea to Evan as I handed him his no-spill juice glass.  I got the tiniest bit of spinach on his fork.  I jammed it in.  I forced the straw of the juice into his mouth, clamping his jaw to make him sip.  I kept saying drink, drink, it’ll make the taste go away.  And the kid didn’t spit out the spinach.  And we were so excited!

And am I crazy?