Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's Cookin': Toast, Fries and Salad

I think that the title of this post is a good indicator of how crazy things have been around the George household lately.  It's not that I can't cook, but when your babies have tummy bugs and you are out of the house all day attending the Parade of Weird Homes your choices are pretty limited.

First up:  Move Over Michaelangelo Toast

Inara had a bit of an upset tummy earlier this week, so we've been dry-toasting it for breakfast.  Slowly however, we've been adding back her favorite spreads and I've been enticing her to eat by cutting out her toast into shapes.  On the first day she requested a circle and a square, and I happily obliged.  The next day she asked for a star and an arrow pointing at the star - and I thought it was a bit of a funky request, but hey, it's Inara - what else can you expect?  So I tried my best and came up with a lopsided star and arrow, which she looked at with more than a little doubt, but eventually ate (phew!).

But of course that wasn't enough for my sweet girl.  Oh, no siree.  The next day she asked for dinosaur shapes.  Specifically, a pteranodon and a corythosaurus (damn you, Dinosaur Train!).  Let me tell you, I had to exercise some Serious Artistic Mama Mojo on these - I finally convinced her that just cutting out their heads would be good enough (and I got the Mother-I-don't-know-HOW-you-expect-me-to-put-up-with-this-inferior-service sigh, but she ultimately agreed and then stood beside me and WATCHED as I tried to get the deed done).  Talk about performance anxiety!

And so I did it.  I knew that anyone in their right mind would think my pathetic attempt was completely laughable but good gracious, my girl was so proud of me.  And that was good enough.

Behold - and be prepared to stand back in wonder and awe - as I present to you...

Dinosaur Heads In Toast:

The brown thing on the left is the pteranodon,  and the lighter brown thing on the right is the corythosaurus  (just in case you were wondering).  Okay, so maybe I'm more of a Picasso than a Michaelangelo - but the fact remains that Inara LOVED these.  When Yousuf walked by and snickered: "Very nice shapes, Mama" - Inara TOOK HIM DOWN.  "They are not just shapes, Daddy!  These are MY dinosaurs.  This one is a pteranodon and this one is a corythosaurus (pointing at the wrong ones, as I cringed in the background).  See his crust (meaning 'crest')?"

You tell him, sweet girl.  You tell him.

Next up:  I-Ran-Out-Of-Groceries Fries And Salad
(I promise this next food item will be better.  But only slightly.)

So yesterday I took a day off from seeing bizarre houses and tried to unearth us from the eighteen bazillion tons of laundry that were threatening to take over our teeny tiny townhouse.  I managed to get pretty far, until I came up for air half an hour before dinner and realized that whenever I try to be too efficient the family starves.  Yikes!  So I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off and came up with a completely random, but amazingly tasty dinner.  It was so good that Yousuf insisted I take pictures and blog about it, because it doesn't seem like it should all go together but oh my yum, it sure did!

Here are my Sweet Potato Fries and A Little-Bit-of-Everything Salad:


The fries were super easy to make, I just sliced up three big sweet potatoes, tossed them in a just a bit of olive oil, spread them out on two cookie sheets and sprinkled with the tiniest bit of sea salt.  Then I baked them at in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.  After the 45 minutes were up, they were all soft and caramelized and then I broiled them (I did a low broil) for a few more minutes to get them crispy on the outside.  So delish.

The salad was tossed together with the dregs of greens that I had in the fridge, and then a bunch of other things that I thought would taste okay together (which is how I usually make rhyme or reason, just what I think will taste good on any given day).  This salad had baby spinach, romaine lettuce, chick peas, cashew nuts and grapes (Yes! Grapes!  I love fruit on my salads...I think because I don't love salad dressing, so fruit gives me that bit of extra flavor without the heaviness of dressing.  My favorite fruits on salads are usually grapes and clementines.  Berries are always good too - try blueberries on your next salad - you will LOVE it!).

So there you have it, folks.  Two easy (and pretty!  Who doesn't love dinosaurs in toast?) meals that you too can whip up when your life is so crazy that you can't see straight.  Enjoy!
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