Friday, March 10, 2017

Pizza. It's what's for dinner...every single night until we die!!!

If it were up to my kids, they would seriously eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They love anything pizza related too, pizza rolls, pizza pockets, pizza wheels, those pizza on a bagel thingies, etc. I'm just waiting for a cereal company to finally make their dreams come true and release a pizza flavored cereal, because I have no doubt my kids would eat that too.  I know exactly where they get their undying love and adoration for pizza from too....their dear old dad.

When I first started dating my husband, he was a bachelor living in his own man cave, otherwise known as a one bedroom apartment. The inside of his refrigerator was completely barren minus some ketchup and soy sauce packets from various fast food places and a twelve pack of Mountain Dew. He ordered pepperoni pizza for dinner pretty much every single night of the week. In fact the place he ordered it from, immediately recognized his number on the caller ID, so they knew his order before he even had to say hello.

I like pizza too, but I don't wish to eat it for every single meal, especially as I get older. I swear if I even look twice at a slice of veggie or cheese pizza (really the only two kinds of pizza I can consume since I'm a vegetarian), I gain about ten pounds, pretty much all around my waistline. It may be warm, cheesy, saucy and delicious, but it's best when eaten once a week (twice tops). However, tell that to my dear, sweet, children, as they literally don't want to eat anything else.

Last night I attempted to cook some spinach and cheese ravioli from Costco. You would've thought those little pockets of pasta were stuffed full of rat poison judging from their expressions. They ate one or two little bites of pasta (they literally chewed the outside ring of the ravioli so they didn't have to touch any filling) and then ate a thousand pieces of french bread with butter.

I try very hard to cook them a variety of meals.  For example, I can cook a mean vegetarian crock pot chili but that has *gasp* beans in it so they carefully lick the sauce off the spoon so that they don't accidentally swallow a bean because that would be apparently equal their sudden and immediate demise and then they eat all of the cheese off the top of the chili. Then of course after they get told "No you can't add more cheese on top of your chili until you actually eat some of the chili" they dump their bowls into the sink and then complain about being hungry. This is precisely why I don't kill myself cooking complicated meals because I'm probably the only one who would eat them, along with our dog Olive, who eats absolutely everything with Seanie Mac's poopy diapers being her all time favorite meal.

Our typical meal rotation consists of things like vegetarian hot dogs, veggie burgers, spaghetti, teriyaki ChikN and rice (notice I said ChikN not chicken as it's not really chicken because we don't eat meat...which by the way, things were absolutely no different back when we did eat meat. They still hated everything I cooked), baked macaroni and cheese, tacos, loaded baked potatoes, etc. These are things that I can at least get them to partially eat, but they still would much rather have pizza if given a choice. I on the other hand am sick to death of all of these things. I've tried cooking other meals in the past like lasagna, enchiladas, tofu stir fry, curry and rice, various homemade soups, casseroles, etc, and the majority of the meals ended up going to waste. It's frustrating because people always say, "They will eventually get hungry and eat what's on their plate if you don't give them a choice" but these people obviously haven't met my stubborn little angels. Getting them to do something they don't want is like trying to catch a cat in a carrier to take to a veterinary appointment. Think of the little girl in the Mommy Dearest movie who refused to eat her bloody raw steak (okay so I can't say that I really blame her on that one), but it's pretty much an FBI style standoff every single time, especially with Peanut. This kid could seriously sit at the table for two solid days to avoid eating something that he views as yucky or disgusting (which again is pretty much anything besides pizza or peanut butter and jelly). 

All I can hope is that their palates mature and their minds open up a little as they get older, and that maybe eventually, someday I'll actually be able to feed them a vegetable without them barfing it back up on their plates (yes, this actually happened once with our oldest). I'm not holding my breath though, as I really don't foresee this happening anytime soon. As for what we're eating for dinner tonight? Yep, you guessed it. Pizza.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

So you had a bad day

Earlier this week I had one of those very bad, horrible, no good days. It started off as most days typically do...I pulled sleepy kids out of bed, packed lunches, watched as those same sleepy kids climbed the stairs onto the school bus and rode off out of my line of vision, then walked back home and settled in for my usual morning routine with my Seanie Mac.

My husband came home at lunch because we had a much dreaded appointment to discuss our taxes. We recently received a letter from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service for those of you who are bad with abbreviations) saying there had been an error in our previous tax return, and we owed them some money. Not just some money, but a lot of money. This was very perplexing to us, as we had hired someone to prepare and file our taxes last year, so there shouldn't of been any mistakes.  At any rate, we had an appointment to discuss the IRS issue, as well as file our taxes for 2016. I wasn't looking forward to this meeting, especially since I'm a procrastinator so there I was hunched over the dining room table, frantically digging through a messy pile of papers as well as trying to look over my online bank statement, and adding up totals at the very last minute (my husband freelances in addition to his full time job, so our taxes are a little more complicated), and cursing at my MacBook because it kept freezing up on me.

It was pouring down rain as we headed to our appointment, which isn't normal weather for Central Oregon, and also one of the reasons we moved away from Portland. If there was ever a day where I didn't need rain, this was one of them.  As soon as we made our way into the building, I knew this appointment wasn't going to be easy. The accountant was someone we had never met before and she was an older lady, who had the personality of a blunt object (not to mention she reeked of old lady perfume). She frowned as she greeted us, obviously not thrilled to see that we had brought along our rambunctious, potentially destructive, eleven month old, otherwise known as Mr. Seanie Mac. I packed an arsenal of supplies in my diaper bag as a desperate attempt to keep Seanie occupied, but it was all completely and utterly useless as he immediately began to kick and squirm in my arms. I set him down on the ground and he immediately started to crawl away at full speed. This was a boy who had recently woken up from a long nap, had been fed, changed, and was now ready to show these people what he could do. He was Seanie Mac at full throttle. Knowing this wasn't going to end well, and that he wasn't exactly welcomed by the scary, grumpy, crypt keeper of an accountant, I took him out to the car and told my husband to text or call me if he needed me to come back inside.

I got Seanie Mac buckled into his car seat, settled into the passenger seat of our SUV and turned on the radio. Seanie wasn't happy that I had interrupted his plan to completely destroy the tax office, so he began to protest by pulling off his socks, twisting and contorting in his seat and screaming (oh and he attempted to chuck his bottle at my head too...I'm very thankful for head rests).

Frustrated and bored I picked up my iPhone to kill some time. In hindsight I should've just closed my eyes and taken a much needed nap, but that's not what I did of course. I checked my business email account and there it was....a shiny new rejection letter for a piece I had recently submitted for an upcoming anthology. I wasn't all that shocked, as I honestly didn't spend as much time writing or editing my piece as I should have, so I was half expecting it, but rejection is something I don't handle well. I may look and act tough on the outside, but on the inside I'm a big old ball of soft dough (chocolate chip cookie dough of course). 

I sat and stared at my phone for a little while, unsure of what to do, or how to react. I could feel a sharp pang building up in my throat and chest. A few minutes later my husband started texting me, "Things aren't looking good babe. We're going to owe a lot of money" and that's all it took for the tears to start tumbling down my cheeks. My tears represented the stress, anxiety, and fear of wondering where or how we were going to come up with the extra funds that we weren't expecting to have to come up with, along with the rejection, disappointment, and pain of feeling like a big old failure who obviously sucked so badly at writing, that I might as well just quit blogging and take up knitting or something (okay so maybe not knitting as I would most definitely fail in that department).

This is me just seconds before the tears hit. No make up, no editing, no filters.
I wish I could say that as quickly as the tears hit, I snapped out of it, realized all of the blessings and successes in my life and got over it. Nope, not even close. When my husband made his way back to the car and updated me on how everything went, I felt even more depressed.

So I cried even harder. 
It's funny how easy it is to fall into the woe is me trap, but so incredibly difficult to pull yourself out of it. I wallowed, I sobbed, I typed out a weepy, pathetic post on my Facebook page (word of advice: NEVER EVER cry and Facebook at the same time...trust me on this one). I was a hot mess with a one way ticket to loserville.

I stood up and caught a glimpse of my face in my bathroom mirror. That all too familiar face that had seen better, brighter, happier days. I took a moment and studied every single detail of my pain stricken face as if I seeing them for the very first time:

My puffy swollen eyelids, pasty white tear streaked cheeks, bright red broken blood vessel (which often gets mistaken for a gigantic pimple), wrinkled, not as firm as it used to be skin, wispy wild grey hairs that were sticking up in all directions and were in dire need of a hairbrush (and some hair dye).

As I stared at my pitiful reflection in the mirror, suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. The last time I saw this face was on the evening of Mahlon's disastrous ninth birthday party when no one showed up. I thought of that horrible rotten day, but most of all, I thought about my son. My brave, tenderhearted, sweet little son, who had every reason in the world to fall apart that day, but didn't. Instead he plastered a smile on his face, along with some funky green sunglasses in an attempt to make his devastated, brokenhearted mother laugh, because he just wanted his mom to feel better.  Mahlon is my inspiration, my hero, my soulmate. If he could survive one of the worst days of his life without any tears, then what in the hell was I crying for?

Mahlon rocks in case you didn't know
I couldn't find those funky green sunglasses, as they had gotten broken many months ago and most likely tossed in the garbage, so I grabbed the silliest thing I could find within my arms reach...some cheese hats that a super sweet fan of Mahlon's had sent from their gift shop in WI and sunglasses from ESS (thank you to both companies by the way!!!)

And so I did an impromptu photo shoot with my boys.
Along with having amazing kids, I have a pretty cool husband who in a desperate attempt to cheer me up, sent me some very fitting American Beauty quotes via text message (particularly the one about being boring and ordinary and how that will never be me). A husband who has always been my number one fan and biggest supporter. The very same husband who tells me all the time that I'm talented and funny and capable of achieving great success with my writing if I set my mind to it.

And might I add a man who also helps out with homework duty
I could sit here and list the million and one things that I have to be thankful for, but these things will really only matter to me so I wont. I could also get all cheesy and philosophical and tell you to count your blessings, and blah, blah, blah, but I wont. Instead I'll just say that I survived another horrible, crappy, no good day.  There will be more. In fact the very next day after all of this happened, Seanie woke up from a nap and had the worst diaper explosion of his entire life. There was poop up his back, down both legs and it was so heinous that it even splattered all over myself and the walls when I took off his pants. Let me repeat that in case you missed it...THERE WAS ACTUAL POOP ON MY WALLS!!! So yeah, shit happens but you just have to find a way to get through it. 

*Today it wasn't poop but he still managed to make a big old mess with some aluminum foil AND I discovered that I apparently walked to the bus stop with my right boob completely hanging out of my bra and shirt (I'm praying Seanie's oversized noggin was blocking my boob as I was carrying him in my arms but there's really no way to know for sure without asking the other parents if they saw my breast so yeah, I'm totally winning at this thing called life).

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The most amazing tofu tacos you've probably never had

I know what you're thinking...tofu? BARF!!! Is this chick for real? But before you click out of this post and take me off of your blogroll forever, please just hear me out. These tofu tacos are so ridiculously good you'll want to slap your husband (okay, so you'll want to slap him anyways, for reasons other than tofu tacos, but this gives you a valid reason).

It's extremely unusual for me to post recipes on my blog because as you all know, I suck at all things domestic, but on the rare occasion when I do actually hit one out of the park, I figure it's only fair that I share my success and wisdom with others. Sure, there may be some of you out there who've achieved successful careers, nice homes, fancy cars, vacation condos on tropical islands that I can't even pronounce, but I can cook tofu. We all have our special talents and do the best with what we are given. 

I'll admit that a block of tofu straight out of the package looks pretty unappetizing (AKA pretty damn gross). It kinda reminds me of a giant Magic Clear Eraser but it's wet, slimy and crumbles like blue cheese when you touch it. I haven't had a chance to clean my tub with it yet to see if it has the same cleaning capabilities as a MCE, but I'll get back to you on that one later. 

My husband and I discovered the awesomeness that is tofu tacos at this amazing, trendy restaurant in Bend (which will remain nameless because I would die of embarrassment if they saw my photos which are pitiful compared to their artistic culinary masterpieces). We loved these silly little tofu tacos so much that we were going daily for awhile. Not only did we start to feel a little stalkerish about going to the same restaurant and ordering the same food item every single day, but dining out really starts to add up. We needed to figure out a way to make them ourselves so we could save some money and completely pig out on them without judgment (e.g. someone taking secret cell phone photos of us stuffing our pie holes with tacos) in the privacy of our own home. 

Although we have no idea what the recipe or ingredients are in the tofu tacos at our favorite restaurant (my husband first suggested that we should ask them for their recipe but I was like, "Um, babe, we eat here everyday. Do you really think they're going to just hand us their super top secret recipe so we can copy it and stop spending money at their restaurant? Probably not!"), so we decided to try our own knock off tofu tacos.  Although they don't look anywhere near as pretty as their tacos, the knock offs turned out incredible and now my husband and I are literally gorging ourselves right into the next pant size.

Ingredients you will need for the tacos:
white corn tortillas
olive oil 
tofu (I bought two firm blocks because I wanted leftovers)
cajun seasoning (I use Weber N'Orleans Cajun Seasoning)
lime juice
Salad/spinach greens or cabbage or both for the topping (I like both but my hubby hates cabbage so I leave it off)
cilantro for the topping
jalapeno peppers for the topping (optional)

Ingredients you will need for the spicy chipotle sauce: 
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce  (you wont use an entire can unless you want to set your mouth on fire, which I did the first time I made this sauce....lesson learned)
3/4 to 1 cup of mayo (didn't measure out very accurately..told ya I sucked at cooking)
1/2 cup of sour cream (feel free add more if you want)
1/4 tsp of minced garlic (I may have added a couple of these as I love garlic)
lime juice to taste
lemon juice to taste

Directions for the tofu tacos:
*Drain the tofu, blot well with paper towels, cut blocks in half width wise into two equal pieces and then cut into smaller cubes
*Add cajun seasoning into a plastic bag or container. Squirt tofu squares with some lime juice. Shake cajun seasoning onto tofu until it's well coated
*Cook tofu on a skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil until it starts to turn slightly crispy
*Warm corn tortillas on a frying pan with a small amount of oil and heat on both sides
*Cut up cilantro, salad greens/spinach, cabbage, and jalapenos and set aside

Directions for the spicy chipotle sauce:
Add mayo, sour cream, minced garlic, 1/2 can of adobo peppers, and a few squirts of lemon and lime juice. Blend in blender (I use my NutriBullet) until smooth. I will admit, I adjusted amounts until it tasted good to me (adding more lemon or lime for example) so there is no right or wrong way to make this sauce. I know, I'm super duper helpful.

Once you warm the corn tortillas on the skillet (a couple of min on each side usually) with a little oil, it's time to arrange your tacos. There is no exact science to this process. I put about 4-5 cubes of tofu in each taco, add some salad greens, cilantro and the spicy chipotle sauce on top. My final step is to squirt some additional lime juice on top (I love lime juice if you haven't noticed). You can also add some freshly sliced up jalapenos on top, but I find these tacos are spicy and hot enough without them so do what you wish but definitely have some water nearby because these tacos have quite the kick.

I know, I know, you're super jealous of my mad food photography skills, along with my fancy puke green fine china--courtesy of Walmart
I promise you that these babies taste so much better than they look. And I should probably mention that I added WAY more spicy chipotle sauce than a normal person would (hence the reason why my mouth was on fire). You probably wont want to start with this much sauce and had I not dumped a crapton of sauce all over the tacos, you actually would've been able to see what they looked like underneath (sorry). I told you there's a very good reason why I don't blog about cooking. I promise these tacos are good, and before you know it, you'll be buying the large boxes of tofu at Costco.