Monday, March 29, 2010

Be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it

When I was pregnant , I had fond hopes and wishes for my son. I wanted him to be intelligent, compassionate, law abbiding and able to stick up for himself. Yesterday I realized I had gotten my wish- and wanted to kick myself. Then later in the day I began to think that perhaps I should nudge my son into considering a career in law...

The day began with Birthday wishes and overnight steel cut oats. In today's mix took 4 cups of water, 3 chopped madgool dates , 2 T of dried tropical fruit mix and brought it to a boil. Then I turned off the heat, added 1 cup of steel cut oats, put a lid on it and went to bed. In the morning I put it back on the heat, added a little more water because it had swelled so much and cooked it about 5 minutes. The I topped it with blueberries- quick , healthy breakfast for 3 ! A nice start to the day.

And then, the trouble started. Bad news on the doorstep, in the form of the Sunday Paper with coupon inserts. Nick LOVES to read the paper and he pays very close attention to those things that he has learned to be important - like the sales fliers and coupon inserts. He also loves the Arts and Entertainment section, the book section and home and garden. Good things. Nick is a high functioning autistic who has some behaviors that make you think of the movie Rain Man (KMart has underwear 3 for 5), and can drive you nuts. He also memorizes things like our house rues, everybody;s favorite everything,and more. Thus was the makings of "The Perfect bad food storm". House rule 1 is that when it is your birthday, you get to pick the eats. House rule 2 is unless there is an allergy involved, no substitutions. House rule 3- use a coupon whenever possible. So when it is your birthday and the paper offers coupons for Steak and Shake and you repeat this fact to your mom 9 billion times in an hour and remind her of how much she likes their portabello burgers between those repetitions, it becomes something like Chinese Water Torture. I finally asked him if he was trying to say he wanted to go to Steak and Shake for his birthday lunch and he said yes. Nick still has problems discerning between being asked if he wanted something and being told we are doing something, so we try not to mention anything he fixates on unless we are prepared to offer it. I forgot because I was being pecked to death by a duck, so to Steak and Shake we would go. Bob got home, we told him of the change in plans and then he dropped the next bomb- his singing schedule for the month after Easter. 3 Saturdays and Sundays , which means once again we can do nothing on any weekend, go no where and weekends will be rushed. Extra bonus if there are any Saturday Morning Funerals, which there is no way to predict in advance. After 29 years of this, I am getting really , really tired. Yet, there is no way out of the situation. It is who he is, his vow of ordination means he will serve in what ever capacity he is called on for , and we need the money he makes from this. Also his plan for retirement ( coming in 10 years) is to go full time into doing wake, funerals and weddings in a multi denominational capacity , and he needs to build up contacts and connections now. Just means I have to think more outside of the box to figure out a way to make all this work. I will,but at the moment I felt like I had been beaten by a sledgehammer and I just did not care about food. Steak and Shake it is.

Afterwords we went for a walk in the park, and talked. Walking and talking really helps me to clear my head, and we were given a rare 20 minutes of peace while Nick decided to play in the playground. It kind of ended when he fell off the slide ( mass + gravity+slick pants = boy shoots off slide like a missile). It was really nice to walk in the sunshine and STIFF breeze though !

Dinner was right back on program for all. Nick requested crab cakes, macaroni and cheese and spinach salad for dinner . I made baked crab cakes for the guys ( Moc crab, lemon juice, yogert, horseradish, breadcrumbs , mustard and parsley , form into patties and bake at 350 for 15 minutes) and the following

Mandarin Spinach w/ Caramelized Walnut

Line 3 bowls with desired amount of baby spinach, add thin sliced red onion an 1 clementine orange to each. Top with caramelized walnuts and dressing ( recipe follows)

Caramelized Walnuts:
2 cups water
1 cup ¼” diced walnut pieces walnuts
3 Tablespoons splenda
Boil water. Add walnuts and cook for 40 seconds. Strain the walnuts. Combine walnuts and sugar in a bowl. Stir to coat. Place sugar covered walnuts on a sheet pan and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 /2 cup splenda
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tsp Spanish paprika

Process in a blender till combined

And Macaroni with 4 cheese- a healthier version of an old favorite comfort food

Macaroni and 4 Cheeses

Cooking spray
1/2 pound small shaped whole wheat pasta
1 can solid pack pumpkin OR 1 pack frozen pureed squash
1 cup skim milk( or rice, soy or almond milk)
2 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar -- grated
1 ounce Monterrey Jack cheese -- grated
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 /2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon unseasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, place the pumpkin or frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, Jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.
Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned

Dinner got thumbs up . Spring break begins for us today and my plan is to do a lot of exercise and figure out how to further refine our life !


spunkysuzi said...

You've got to stop posting those food pictures as i'm seriously going to start licking the monitor :)
Glad you had a nice birthday day!!

Loretta said...

Your meals sound delicious!!! Thanks for posting the recipes. I really enjoy finding new, healthier things to make.

Happy belated Birthday to your son!

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I hope you enjoyed Steak and Shake! Nick sounds like a very lively young man.

As far as the weekend singing/commitments go - is your hubby able to take a day off during the week on occasion? Since you homeschool you have the flexibility to have a weekend day on Monday if you want. That's what we do when our weekends are crazy and we need a day off. Just a thought - and one I'm sure you've already thought of!!

Take care.

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

The other tricky thing in all of this is that my husband saves his vacation time for Holy Week, Christmas ( two of the heaviest times of the year with Church commitments) and then the rest of the time for family emergencies. The home school schedule is very flexible, but the church commitments are not. He has flex time ate work , but it gets used up with funerals. I am really trying to figure out just how to make this work , and every year he gets more and more involved. He is now serving with two congregations, which seems to be making life more complicated than it was when he was on active status as a Deacon. It's not an easy situation to figure out, but I am trying to figure it out.Perhaps I should volunteer to become a couple on that new show The Marriage ref ! :-)