Thursday, May 31, 2012

Disneyland Mint Julep

After spending far too long at the Cleveland airport, going from one United representative to another trying to get our reservations fixed (personal observation: the United-Continental merger is not having the smoothest transition), and one long cross-country flight, Foodgoat, Princess Goat, the Goatling, and I finally arrived to our much anticipated destination:  Disneyland!

I've been to Disneyland many times, but because this time we came with a 3-year old and a not-quite-one year old, we did a lot of things that I hadn't done before.  The Storybook boats.  The Casey Jones railroad.  The picnic area outside.  And there is a certain magic of seeing Disneyland through the eyes of little girls who are seeing it all for the first time. 

The Disneyland parade was a major highlight. We have re-enacted the parade many times.  MANY times.

You should have seen her in the Tiki Room. Who knew animatronic birds could made a baby so happy?
Disneyland food, alas, isn't so magical.  Much of it is just okay, some of it is downright awful (Tomorrowland pizza, I hope to never see you again), and all of it is expensive.

But there are some good things.  The newest thing we discovered on this trip:  the Disneyland Mint Julep. 
Bright green and so refreshing.  Even the baby enjoyed it.
Found in an out of the way window of New Orleans Square, the Disneyland Mint Julep, according to my mixologist brother, tastes absolutely nothing like a real mint julep, which is almost entirely straight up bourbon.

The Disneyland version is a sweet cold drink that tastes of mint and lime and comes with a skewer of pineapple and maraschino cherry, it's a lovely, refreshing alternative to soda/pop or bottled water. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stuffed Shells: A Win For Everyone

 In our house, there are two adults, one toddler, and one baby. 

Sometimes it's hard to find a dish that everyone can agree on.  But we are all of one mind when it comes to stuffed shells: YUMMY.  YUMMY.   YUMMY.

Foodgoat's stuffed shells is very similar to his lasagna, but better, because each serving is already nice portioned out (no cutting needed), and the delicious ricotta cheese insides stay inside. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Our Baby Food Maker

There are a lot of tools out there for making your own baby food.  
For example, there's the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker ($120) that I have been seeing everywhere.   

We, however, have gone a little more ... low tech.


The Goatling, she never liked the purees.  She wants what we're eating.  So we have just been scooping up our food into her bowl and roughly chopping it up into tiny pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors.  Fast and easy and ready to go.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Way to a Man's Heart

How cute was Amy Farrah Fowler, winning over her man with strawberry Quik and spaghetti with little pieces of hot dog in it?

And so effective ...

I don't think this meal would have quite the same impact on Foodgoat.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

For Just $800 You Can Pretend To Be A Down-to-Earth Farmer Too!

Ah, Williams-Sonoma, you always know just what the people the disposable income, bourgeois bohemian, consumers needs wants.  

There were people out there who read about keeping chicken coops at home in the New Yorker, but didn't know where to find them, or didn't care enough to really look form them, and then suddenly, there it is, at Williams-Sonoma.  Their new Agrarian line features rustically stylish chicken coops ($400-$880), backyard beehives ($340-$500) and canning supplies like the lovely Weck jars ($25/6).

On one hand, it all looks so pretty.  On the hand, I feel like buying a chicken coop at Williams-Sonoma is about as far from authentic as you can get.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Note to Self

Okay, Ladygoat, I know you're not feeling these days, and you tend to fall asleep around 9, and you forget key things like the fact that baby now needs to wear shoes, but do not forget to watch, or at least set your DVR for Sunday, 9 pm EST, PBS.

Sherlock will catch him!  Keep up, Bilbo!

Season 2 of Sherlock starts up!

A girl really needs a TV show to look forward to.  These days, this is the show. 

Vitamix Decision Making Process

How did I not know that high-performance blender maker Vitamix is headquartered right here in Cleveland?  How did I not know that it's an 91-year old local, family-owned company?  How did I not know they have an outlet that recently opened in North Olmstead?

  1. Foodgoat has not articulated a need for a blender. 
  2. We don't have to blend things very often.  As in, once a month or so.
  3. The things I do blend don't really call for a 2 horsepower motor.
  4. We have a stick blender that works well.
  5. It's really heavy.  I have weak little arms.  
  6. It's really big.  We have no counter space.  We have no kitchen storage space. 
  7. $400-$600 is a lot for a blender.  A lot.  It's a lot for most things, but it's especially a lot for a blender.
Obviously, I must conclude that I do not need a Vitamix blender.

Yet I want one anyway.

I could grind grain!  (Because you know, sometime I might want to try that!)
I could make almond butter!  (Even though now there are some good brands out there that aren't too hard to find!)
I could make hot soup right in the blender!  (Because a high speed motor is the most efficient way to heat soup!)
I could make smoothies all day long, for twenty years!  (Because I might get tired of eating fruits and vegetables in the natural, whole form!)

Or I could remind myself about points 1 to 7 above.

Still, maybe I'll stop by the outlet one day.  You know, just to look.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pickiness, and Why It Matters

What's she eating here?  Some form of pasta, no doubt.
Princess Goat is now 3 1/2 years old.  And what I have seen in so many other kids, have long feared and had hoped to avoid in my own, now appears to be coming to pass:  my toddler is starting to get picky.


It's bad enough that I'm always, still, a little worried about her eating enough food in general (thanks a lot, judgmental child growth specialist, I'll never forget YOU).    Now I have to worry about her eating enough of more limited food options. 

Here's what pickiness looks like around here:

Scene 1:
Her: "I don't want to eat that!"
Us:  "You love it! You've had it lots of times!  You like it "
Her: "No, I didn't!  It's yucky!"
Us: "No, it's not!  It's delicious!"
Her: "No!"
Us: "Just eat a little bit!"
Her: "No!"
Us: (ARGH...)


Scene 2:
Her: "I don't want to eat that!"
Us: "You've never had it before!  Just try it!"
Her: "No!  It's yucky!"
Us:  "No, it's not!  Just take a bite!!  Just taste it!"
Her: "No!"
Us:  "One bite!  It really is good!"
Her: "No!"
Us: (really, really ARGH...)

It's Scene 2 that can be truly aggravating - where we have a perfectly good and tasty dish that SHE WON'T EVEN TRY.

It's one thing to have food preferences, even strong preferences.  She doesn't have to like everything we eat - I can understand that she doesn't like blue cheese, or tomatoes, or

But to not even taste something, to not allow yourself to explore something new and potentially fine, that's a loss (and you really missed out on something wonderful with that toasted pistachio ice cream, kid). 

Most kids are, to a greater or lesser degree, picky, and most grow out of it.  So why do I care about this?
  • Pickiness can be unhealthy:  I'd rather not rely on the gummy, bear-shaped vitamins or the fortified breakfast cereal for all our nutritional needs, so we need some variety in our diet to get all our various vitamins and minerals.    You know, fruits and vegetables. 
  • Pickiness can be rude: Someone takes the trouble to cook for you, then you should do them the courtesy of eating it.  At least tasting it.  That's just good manners.  
With convenience foods and fast foods, it can sometimes be easy to forget that cooking and preparing meals can be a labor of love.  Sometimes it doesn't taste that loving (okay, my version of mac and cheese was probably pretty horrible), but one should still acknowledge the time, the effort, and the caring.
  • Pickiness is closed-minded and boring:  The point of food, and the point of life for that matter, is to be filling, enjoyable, and open to the range of experiences.  
It's a good thing, a healthy thing, to be open-minded.  May I remind you of the toasted pistachio ice cream?   Our life, and food, experiences ought be continually expanding, getting larger, and getting more interesting.  Trying new foods is fun.  Yes, sometimes the food you try might be okra, but thankfully, most foods are not okra.  
Perhaps I'm overthinking this.   I'm sure she'll grow up to be as adventurous an eater as anyone.  And just because she won't try the breaded tilapia doesn't mean she will grow up to be a boorish bigot.  And the truth is, she's really not that bad, compared to other kids (my cousin who threw a tantrum at age 8 because I didn't have cheese pizza that one time, I'm talking about you). But I'll still keep asking her to just try tasting things.  Just a bite.