Monday, October 31, 2011

on our reading list

If B. had to list his favorite authors over the past two years it would probably go something like this: Dr. Seuss, Sandra "Moo Baa LaLaLa" Boynton, Leslie "Yummy Yucky" Patricelli and Eric "Brown Bear" Carle. But lately we've been stalled on Green Eggs and Ham and five random dinosaur books that we had to read in the exact same order every single night. After Googling a bunch of "Best 100 Kids' Books" lists we ordered these books on eBay and Amazon. They've just started showing up and I'm beyond excited to have something new to read!

The Knight and the Dragon
Duck On a Bike
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Strega Nona
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Knuffle Bunny
Tikki Tikki Tembo
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
A Giraffe and a Half
Everyone Poops
How I Became a Pirate
Curious George

Friday, October 28, 2011

more veggies masquerading as cake

My aim was to make a pumpkin spice cake but all I had in the pantry was a can of pureed sweet potato so I used that instead. This recipe (which I modified slightly from epicurious) is yummy, moist and sort of dense. Perfect for fall. B's only had a small piece because he's on some weird hunger strike that includes rejecting pizza and mac and cheese. All he's had to eat today are a handful of Cheerios and cheese crackers so he doesn't get cake, even if it's healthy-ish.

Spice Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I ran out and had to use half a cup of olive oil to supplement but it worked out great)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 can pumpkin or sweet potato purée
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9" sheet cake pan. Set aside.

In one bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices. In another bowl beat the eggs, oil and sugar.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the pumpkin (or sweet potato) and stir just until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 mins. The original recipe called for 35 to 40 minutes but that was way too long for my oven.

I also made a cream cheese frosting but it didn't come out that well so I'm not even going to bother listing here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

more kid weirdness from the trenches

I bought a mushroom growing kit from Whole Foods (and was thisclose to buying the mozzarella-making kit) because it seemed like a fun project, there'd be some smarty pants scientific/agricultural component to it and B. would get to see where food comes from.  Plus I love oyster mushroom.
(We live in a condo so a garden is out of the question and the last time I had a window basket all my basil got eaten by caterpillars.)
But he freaked out, wouldn't touch the mushroom box and cried until I was done setting the whole thing up. And that's even before he got to see the composted coffee grounds with mushroom spores inside the box, which I admit looks pretty gross. I love organic food but have such a yuppie disconnect to where it all comes from.
Anyway, since he's showing no interest, I keep forgetting to water the darn thing and have a feeling I should have just bought $20 worth of exotic mushrooms at the store and be done with it.
Such a smart, sweet kid but why oh why so fussy?!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Christmas versus Hannukah

We celebrate both. But Hannukah really has its work cut out. Like today I bought this awesome Dinosaurs Before Christmas book (set to rhythm of Twas the Night Before Christmas). And my husband freaked. Dinosaurs and Christmas? Totally unfair advantage.
In an effort to be fair, I also bought an Eight Nights of Hannukah book but chocolate gelt and a dreidel aren't as flashy as a T-Rex with mistletoe. So why won't the powers that be give me something to work with? I need a reptile who eats latkes or a kindly old man who lights menorahs. Why is Judaism so uncommercial??

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

mr. bones pumpkin patch

I wish I could claim this one as my own but some pumpkin patch employee is the Picasso behind this head. Makes me want to step up my game.

B. ate the snack crackers the teacher handed out with no questions asked. Traitor!

One of B.'s best friends. A nice kid who only speaks Italian at this stage but I understand bits and pieces of what his mom says. And an invitation to dinner would probably be killer. Homemade pasta please!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

t-rex eating habits

I thought I had a brainwave. Add fruit juice to Jell-O. Not the healthiest snack but at least there would be some sort of fruit consumption in our house. Too bad the kid wouldn't even taste the Jell-O. Not even after T-Rex tried our cut-outs and roared his approval. Instead I ended up eating an entire pan of lime Jell-O (pumped up with apple-grape juice). Refreshingly yummy. And B. continues to be a candidate for scurvy.
In better news, I got the "your kid is acting out because he needs more stimulation at school" speech this morning. I'm choosing to look at this as good news. He's one of the smart ones! And Teacher J. (who is turning out to be a rock star) is perceptive enough to see what's happening and engaged enough to try and make some changes so B. is more challenged. Not only that, this woman is a patient saint who corrals 12 two-year-old's all day and then goes home to her own preschooler. If he gets bumped up to the next age group after Xmas, like she's suggesting, I'm really going to miss Teacher J.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

cracking out on crafts

There's something about hours of unscheduled activity time that makes me nervous, mostly because I feel like it's inevitably gonna lead to pleas for Dino Dan on TV or B. demanding I chase him around the courtyard like a bear (which makes me want to watch TV). So I am all over this craft business. I've actually had an entire box of sparkly, fuzzy, sticky stuff from Michaels sitting in my closet for almost a year now just waiting till B. showed an interest.
Yesterday we walked around the neighborhood collecting red and orange leaves so we could make placemats. We (OK, mostly me on this one) stuck the leaves and a construction paper frame in between two pieces of contact paper. Presto!
Then we practiced our favorite letters with glue and glitter. B. just started singing the Alphabet song but he's recognized the letters for his name and the initials of anyone in his family for a while now. And we just added A and S to our repertoire of favorites for two of his friends at school. So I wrote out the initials on a piece of paper with a glue stick and he dumped on the glitter and shook the paper around.
Hubby is complaining about all the sequins and glitter being tracked around the house. But I live in a house with two guys and zero pink--finding the occasional sequin on the carpet makes up for the lack of a Barbie townhouse around here.
The only thing B. didn't enjoy doing was making pizza. I had us hooked up with dough, sauce and cheese while the pizza stone was heating up in the oven but I could not get him to touch the ingredients. To the point of a total meltdown. His and mine. So I made the pizza and he ate it. Yep, sounds about right for this house.

Monday, October 10, 2011

paint ball toddler-style

B.'s attention span is finally so much longer that we can do a bunch of cool crafts and he really gets into it. (As opposed to having me glue popsicle sticks and pompoms together and then pretending it was a kid's art project.) So after making a sparkle bottle last week (thanks for the idea, Jen!) we practiced our golf ball painting this morning. We tried this in a community art class a year ago and B. couldn't really grasp the concept of rolling the golf balls around the pan. Fast forward to this morning and he was rocking and rolling those paint-covered balls all over the piece of paper at the bottom of the pan. It produces a very Pollock-esque art piece without actually having to flick paint around the kitchen. Perfect for condo living or neat freaks who don't want a paint rainbow splattered on the back deck.

what's up doc?

We had our 30-month checkup this morning. And B.'s pediatrician, who's usually a stickler for hitting milestones to the point of being obnoxious, just brushed off my food concerns. Apparently having a diet of exactly 10 items is not as big a deal as cooing on cue, sleeping through the night, potty training, etc. So for now, I'm going to try and follow her lead -- even though that means I'm basically a short order cook until B. decides to eat what the rest of the family is having.

if i had a garden...

I would grow zucchini just so I could make this double chocolate zucchini bread I found online. OMG. So tasty but not even remotely healthy tasting which meant everyone in the house enjoyed it.

I used to hate when my mother fed us vegetables masquerading as dessert but, then again, I ate my vegetables. So while I'm troubled by the trickery and remain a chocolate purist at heart, some tough love is in order for the picky guys in this house. 

Anyway, I made just a few tweaks since I was using what I had in my pantry but it looks like Under the High Chair modified her recipe from Joy of Cooking so it all works out :)

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup grated, raw zucchini (I used 2 medium size zucchinis)
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped up bakers chocolate, which is what I had) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Set aside.

Grate the zucchini using a medium sized grater. (I used a cheese grater.) Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a hand mixer until well blended. Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The original recipe suggested about 55-65 minutes. I found this way too long for my oven and pulled it at 45 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

anothes one bites the dust

Two weeks in a row B.'s refused pancakes. With syrup. It's troubling on so many levels. If we lose quesedillas I'm in big trouble. I suspect he's learned to read, logged online and figured out I'm stuffing his pancakes full of healthy things. Sneaky kid. On the plus side we made a rowboat out of an old diaper box so he could practice "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" like a legit sailor. Amazing how the brain can still function on diet largely made of carbs, cheese and sugar.

Friday, October 7, 2011

i love fall

It has to be my Canadian-ness. I know how to dress for fall (with accessories even!), I know how to decorate for fall and I know how to cook rib-sticking stuff. Not that I don't try to make super light mango-y, fishy, fresh dishes the rest of the year. But fall just comes easy to me. So yesterday we carved a pumpkin and roasted seeds (my first time and I found them highly overrated, sort of like kale chips.) Then I threw a bunch of random winter root vegetables in with some stock and made a sweet potato, parsnip, fennel, celery root and butternut squash soup. Even better, I'm gonna freeze off little portions to add to B.'s mac and cheese since I was running low on frozen cauliflower puree, which is what I usually put in there. I may even be able to use this mix in my pancakes if I add enough sugar and spices. And when I picked B. up from school he was wolfing down couscous. Plain, of course. But, still, something new for the boy. So I immediately bought a box to try at home. Win-win all around.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

return of the paci

Mommy got sick. And busy with work. B. was an intolerable beast who refused to nap. And so the paci fairy returned our precious paci after 9 days. Yep, we gave it a shot and decided to postpone this battle for another few months. Now peace has returned to the Habes house.
But good food habits have not. So I started Googling and found there's a label for my beloved but maddeningly picky kid. He's a "Resistant Eater." Which I don't entirely buy since it's a label largely used for autistic kids or kids with sensory processing disorder and people in this country love to label anything that can't be solved with a hug and a trip to the store. I think Extreme Stubborness disorder is probably closer to our problem. But B. did meet a lot of the checklist: eating a handful of foods and resisting all others, limited food groups, become anxious or tantrum at the introduction of new foods.
As of today we're down to Cheerios, pancakes (which he refused to eat this weekend but I think/hope that was a blip), fluffernutter sandwiches, grilled cheese and ham, pizza, mac and cheese, quesedillas, white rice and plain noodles (but only at school, he generally won't eat pasta at home). Oh and cheesy crackers and chocolate. No fruit, no juice, no vegetables, no meat that isn't hidden in a sandwich or quesedilla. Even banana bread is now off the list. And B. would rather go hungry than eat anything off the menu.
Blerg. When I originally started blogging it was to record all the fun family dinners we shared and in anticipation of all the cooking/baking he was going to do with me -- not a whiny journal about the difficulties of feeding the pickiest kid I know. Hence the lack of posts lately. I bore myself with this bullshit. Looks like we're gonna need another mission statement for me to write about.