Monday, January 10, 2011

Not Giving Up Yet

We didn't do so well this past weekend in working toward our goal of finding non-shopping things to do with the kids - our only outings were to Costco and Kohl's (well, and the grocery store, but at least I spared the kids and M. that trip, and went by myself). I chalk it up to yet ANOTHER illness that struck us down last week; this time, a stomach bug. M. was the only one spared, and the porcelain bowl-hugging and dirty linens-washing left little time to research fun, little-kid-friendly D.C. area activities. I also chalk it up to our lack of diapers, paper towels, and M.-sized jeans without holes in the right knee (seriously, the man just threw out 5 pairs of jeans with holes in the right knee. What gives? It's not like he's proposing to me every night!). So we'll just have to work on that goal another weekend, I guess.

However, I HAVE been fairly diligent about trying out some new recipes on the family in an effort to get us out of our dinner rut. And I'm beginning to wonder if I'm crazy. On Sunday night, I made Asian lettuce wraps using tofu and a modified version of this recipe. I eliminated the red chili pepper and the fish sauce and used only a teeny, tiny amount of oyster sauce (mostly because, even though I brought myself to buy it at the grocery store, it kind of grosses me out. It's brown and thick and I can't help thinking that it's oyster poop, which I realize is probably not even brown or even collectible but there you have it), and added a dollop of Hoisin sauce to the lettuce pockets. Aside from chopping, it came together quickly, and it was really, really good. But here is a representative picture of how BOTH kids felt about the recipe:

Finn tried one bite of the filling at my insistence (and gagged while chewing it), and Lucy refused to try any, instead taking just one bite of the carrots I cut up for them. The rest of their dinner consisted of picking out the mandarin oranges and black olives from the salad I made. Oh, and a gummy vitamin.

Tonight, I took Susanne's suggestion and made an enchilada casserole/lasagna creation, layering tortillas, enchilada sauce, cheese, beans and diced veggies. Again, it was really, really good. M. and I are really eating well this week! But again, the kids turned their noses up. Finn took one bite, as requested, and declared it SPICY. To be fair, Harris Teeter only had medium enchilada sauce in the store brand, so it was a bit spicier than usual, but the kid thinks EVERYTHING is spicy. Lucy is still not old enough to actually follow our directions and eat one bite of each thing on her plate (our rule for Finn), so she didn't try it at all. Instead, she just dumped her plate out on the table and asked for random OTHER things that I had no intention of giving her. Like candy. Well, really dried blueberries, but they are pretty much just like candy, what with all the added sugar. And milk, of which she had already drank a full cup, so I refused on principle.

Later this week we will try Lori's suggestion of homemade fish nuggets, which we may have more success with. We'll also be trying a new twist on pizza - individualized pizzas so that the grown ups can have fun toppings, and the kids can have boring cheese, and we can all (well, those of us that are home at dinner-making time) participate in making them. I'm hoping it will reinvigorate my feelings about family pizza night, which have been waning. But I'm sure that we will have many more failures along the way as we try to find a wider variety of family meals that EVERYONE can enjoy. Because not every night can be "let's feed the kids left over ravioli, put them to bed, and order Thai food" night. And having family dinner is important to us, even if the experience always (always!) leaves us exhausted and angry and wondering WHY it is important to us.

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