Category Archives: recipe

Mama of the Year

I did something remarkable yesterday afternoon.  I’m talking Mama of the Year worthy.  (One could argue that I should’ve done it a long time ago, but this is neither the time nor the place.  Especially not when I’m in the middle of bragging about it.)

You’re not going to believe what I did.  Seriously.  I can hardly believe it myself.  Ready?  I took the boys to our local public library to get their very own library cards.

Oh yes I did!

My mother, a reference librarian, should be particularly proud. I stress the word “should” since I waited so damn long to do it.  Is there a word to describe the act of feeling simultaneously pleased and disappointed?  In my defense, Dylan chewed books when he was a toddler, so going to the library seemed irresponsible.  Since he’s almost seven now, this is probably a good time to shut up.


I marked the momentous occasion with proof pictures.



Writing their names on their library cards!

Hang on a minute.  They got library cards and practiced their fine motor skills?  I need to pat myself on the back.  (Again.)

After checking out a few books, having a teachable moment about how we buy at the store and borrow at the library (a foreign concept for my mini shopaholics), and pooping in the library bathroom (we poop everywhere), we set our sights on the playground across the street.  It, too, was an opportunity to flex my Mama muscles.  I don’t mean to brag again, but I pushed the kids on the swings.  Both of them.  (True story.  I swear.)

And I’m not nearly done.  After our jaunt at the park, I had big – huge – dinner plans.  No leftover macaroni & cheese or frozen chicken nuggets nuked in the microwave for my brood.  (Not last night, anyway.)  No, I had my sights set on a Cooking Light recipe for hummus and brown rice fritters.  You heard me right.  Fritters.  Made with hummus and brown rice.  For realz.

The recipe, by the way, required me to dust off the Cuisinart.


No problem.  Not for this Mama of the Year nominee.  It took a few batches to get them perfectly golden, but I did it.




Ah, just right.  Of course.

Don’t hate me.  No really, don’t.

Dylan tried the fritter* and then immediately gagged in his hands.  Riley liked them until he saw his brother regurgitating, after which he tossed his fritter across the table.  Perhaps I did a little bit too much tooting of my horn, if you know what I mean.  As Dylan often says, no one likes a bragger, which is probably why the evening spiraled into a whining, crying, gagging, fritter hurling, and wine-drinking (me not them) event.


But we did get library cards.



And even though no one ate a fritter (except me**), no one ate a book either.  I guess we can call it a draw.

*Humor and heaving aside, Dylan took a big bite of a new food without hesitation.  Anyone who’s followed our food journey can understand that this was a big deal and a positive step.  I may not be worthy of accolades (as if), but I’m one Proud Mama.  

**The fritters were delicious.  A yummy, easy to prepare, protein-rich, and kid friendly meal idea.  (For someone else’s kids.)

Submit your Mama of the Year nominations in the comments.



Filed under books, cooking, food issues, Gloating Mama, motherhood, parenting, Proud Mama, public bathrooms, recipe, shopping

Mixed Bag Monday

Mondays are full of surprises, aren’t they?

For starters, Riley woke up with an impressive case of pinkeye, which means he’s home from school, which means nothing I wanted to accomplish is getting accomplished.  Instead, I’m avoiding playing Candy Land, and I’m about to start my third load of laundry.

Here’s another one.  I discovered a dead squirrel on the street at the end of my driveway.  (It wasn’t me, I swear.)  Clearly the squirrel is worse off than me, but still, he’s ginning up some trouble.  My curious children want to examine him and reunite him with his mother.  They want to touch him and take him to the hospital.  He’s in good condition right now, but I don’t have a good feeling about how he’s going to look later in the day or week.

And another one.  Later this afternoon, the boys and I are taking Mike to the airport.  He’s flying to New York City on business until Friday afternoon.  This one isn’t a surprise, but it stinks anyway.

Despite the unpleasantries of the day, I’m in a pretty good mood (surprise!), and the way I see it, the week can only get better from here.  That is, unless the “pink guys” get Dylan.

Editor’s note: A few weeks ago, Dylan thought he had pinkeye (he didn’t) and said, “I’m going to look in the mirror and see if there are any pink guys in there.” That’s one for the memory book, which is why I’ve written it here, because I don’t remember the last time I put anything in a memory book for my kids.  Guilty Mama!  (It is Monday.)

The days ahead (Terrific Tuesday? Wonderful Wednesday?) have a lot of potential.  Until then, it’s Mixed Bag Monday.  And Meatless Monday, too!  Since I was stuck at home all day with my little pinkeyed monster, I made mushroom kale lasagna rolls.  Yum-o!  (Check out the recipe here.)  I’ll post a picture of the finished product on my Runaway Mama Facebook page later this evening, which is a good reason to “like” the page if you haven’t already done so (tisk tisk).

What kind of Monday are you having?

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Filed under anxiety, business travel, conversations to remember, cooking, Guilty Mama, pinkeye, recipe

The Casserole

It’s come to my attention that I spend a lot of money.  I’m not talking about Anthropologie binges…or Nordstrom, Gap, or Athleta ones either.  (Shopaholic Mama!)  I’m talking about the money I spend at Publix (my local grocery store chain) and/or Whole Foods and/or Target…almost every day of the week.

I also waste a lot of the food I buy (with a little help from my boys), which is essentially, throwing money away.  How many stale, half-eaten snack bags are scattered on the floor of the back seat of my car?  How many boxes of macaroni and cheese do I cook only have one of the kids say, “I don’t like it”?  But you liked it yesterday!

Kids are money pits and expert food wasters, but I can’t blame it all on them (just some of it).  I can do better.  I can waste less.  I can be more efficient.  I can be more cost conscious.  I can use more – gulp – coupons.  YES I CAN!

I’ve decided to keep a log of my spending this week.  I’ve also decided to forego the $14.99/pound salmon fillets and $4.99 turkey and shrimp burgers I often buy from Whole Foods and instead make a healthy, affordable, and leftover-producing casserole.  Yes, my solution to overspending is The Casserole.  (Enlightenment takes time, folks.)

Okay, so here was my Sunday afternoon total at Publix (I used two –yes two – coupons!):

Not bad, considering this included all of my casserole ingredients.  And I wouldn’t have to go back to the store for several days, except of course I had to go back the next day.  Riley needed Kefir (who am I if not the Mama who indulges her son’s expensive probiotic cultured milk smoothie addiction?).  Plus, I needed to buy a bunch of camp supplies (see abovementioned reference to kids being money pits).  Here’s the total:

Unfortunately, I have a shopping list brewing for Target, too. It’s possible that my carpel tunnel syndrome is a result of the repetitive action of taking my credit card in and out of my wallet.   But, I need more suntan lotion, Father’s Day cards, and I’ll think of a dozen more things I need want once I get there.  At least I have my casserole.

Speaking of which, I do a lot of cooking, but I’ve never made a casserole.  I had no recipe, but fear not, I did a little bit of research before coming up with mine.  Casseroles are actually quite simple to construct.  You need a protein (unless your doing a vegetarian casserole), starch, vegetable, liquid, and cheese.  If only putting Dylan and Riley to bed without a Kindle Fire, LeapPad, or portable DVD player were as uncomplicated!  After much careful consideration, I decided to make ground turkey casserole with onions, sweet potatoes, spinach, diced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

Here were my ingredients:

Here’s how I put it all together.  I started with the ground turkey, which I sautéed with minced garlic, shallots, salt and pepper, and bit of extra virgin olive oil.  Everything else was raw and layered on top (onions, sweet potatoes, spinach, and diced tomatoes with juice).  Voila:

Here she is after cooking covered with foil at 350 for about an hour.  It took longer than I thought for the sweet potatoes to soften.  Thankfully, it’s hard to overcook a casserole:

And then there was cheese.  Back in the oven uncovered under the broiler for a few minutes:

Almost over-broiled!  Note to readers:  Don’t get distracted with Words With Friends when using the broiler!

The final product accompanied with steamed broccoli:

It was okay.  It needed more pizzazz, like some herbs and spices or sundried tomatoes, and it definitely needed more salt.  Still, it was a good first attempt, and even though I woke up this morning craving a cilantro-lime shrimp burger from Whole Foods, I’m staying focused.  I will not waste leftovers.  I will not waste leftovers.  I will not waste leftovers.

I’m going to log my spending for the rest of the week to see if it’s as bad as I think it is.  I’m also going to work on the herculean task of wasting less food once I buy it.  Finally, I’m going to refine my casserole-making skills.  The next one will for sure include my most favorite vegetable, kale.  I’m thinking shrimp, brown rice, and tomato sauce with kale and feta cheese.

Do you know where your money goes?  Do you have any good casserole recipes? 


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Filed under food, recipe, Shopaholic Mama, shopping, Uncategorized