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The Feeding of Cats and Toddlers

14 Aug

I don’t believe in feeding little kids a bland diet.  While Alex did, of course, start out on the typical rice cereal and baby food fruits and vegetables, once he started eating what we eat, I didn’t dumb it down for him.  I didn’t shy away from spices with him.  I think this has a lot to do with why he’s such a good eater now.  We can eat just about anything, and he’s happy.  Tex-Mex, Chinese, Korean, Indian… he’ll eat it all.  (When I made Korean BBQ for my husband for Father’s Day, Alex ate the Spicy Miso Dip like pudding.)

You know what he doesn’t like?  Fast food!  He’ll inhale French fries (who won’t?!), but chicken nuggets?  Burgers?  No interest.  Generally, I’d consider this a very good thing, but it was a pain in the butt when we were coming home from vacation and didn’t want to take the time or spend the money for sit-down restaurants on the last day of our drive home.  But it is good to know that his little palate knows that this food is inferior.

Does anyone else have issues with children’s menus at restaurants?  They’re all the same.  Chicken nuggets/strips, hamburger, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese.  My son doesn’t care for the first two, and the second two are too dairy-heavy for my mildly milk-allergic son.  He eats too much to share my own meal, yet it pains me to pay $10 or so for an adult entree for a not-quite-2-year-old.

It’s so much easier (and cheaper) to just eat at home.

The only truly difficult thing about feeding this child is that he picks and chooses when he’ll like something.  One day he’s thrilled to eat panko-crusted pork cutlets with katsu sauce and a salad of cabbage with a dressing of peanut oil and ponzu.  But the next day, he rejects the same meal.   I guess it’s a toddler control thing.  Truly, I can’t complain.  My kid isn’t insisting he can only eat chicken nuggets, macaroni, and applesauce, as I’ve heard many other little kids do.

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Feeding my cats, on the other hand, has been difficult since moving here.  Doogie eats a prescription renal diet for his kidneys.  My new vet doesn’t carry his brand.  This is problematic, as switching foods is hard on a cat’s stomach, and both Doogie and Ninja have sensitive tummies.  (You can actually read about our issues with Doogie in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul.  Shameless plug.)  Our vet in Texas was happy to continue to supply us with Doogie’s food, but she can’t do that any longer, as she hasn’t seen Doogie in over a year.  It finally occurred to me to check Amazon.  I used to buy our former cat’s medicine from a supplier on Amazon without a prescription.  Sure enough, I found a company selling Doogie’s prescription food without a prescription.  Yea!!!

The other problem we’ve had is that Ninja eats a high-quality wet food that I can’t find here in town.  So I’ve been having to drive to Tulsa an hour away to buy his food.  (He needs this food to supplement his diet, as the renal food doesn’t have enough protein for a young cat’s needs.)  I did try some other brands that I can get here in town, but he just didn’t like them as well.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for my furry boys, and I want to make them happy.  For the first time, I recently found his food on Amazon for less than I can buy it at Petsmart, so he now has a shipment set to arrive soon, too.

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Sometimes it feels as if feeding all the small creatures takes up way too much of my time and energy and thoughts!  But a healthy diet for all is too important to do any less.

Organized Meals

28 Mar

I’ve recently made my life a bajillion times easier.  I’ve been loosely meal-planning for a while now, but I’ve reached that point in life where things really can’t be kept inside my head if I want to actually remember them.  Writing things down is key.  No longer can I rely on my memory to know that I wanted to cook a certain meal on a certain night.  My toddler is sucking my energy and my brain cells, apparently.

I went to Staples and purchased a Martha Stewart weekly planner that I can keep on the fridge.  It’s one of those sticky, yet not sticky things that easily peels off while leaving no residue.  I think it was a mere $5-6, and let me just say that it was money well spent!  I now spend a little time on Sundays planning out what meals I’m going to make, then I write them down on the fridge.

This has the added benefit of keeping me unstressed right now when it comes to cooking, as Alex is currently on a dairy-free elimination diet.  Everything on my planner is made without any milk products.  It’s a bit daunting to realize I can’t use butter or milk or cheese in any of my recipes, but it’s making a huge difference for me to have the whole week’s meals planned out in advance, as I can’t just run to any old, easy stand-bys, as cheese or butter often factor in.

I’m kind of in love with this thing.

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And just because I love me some organization, here’s my spice cabinet.  Yes, all the glass jars are alphabetized.  It’s kind of sick that this makes me so happy.

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Survival Mode

31 Jan

The first month of 2012 brought a vaccine reaction, a cancer diagnosis (the cat), and death (Steven’s brother).  The first month of 2013 brought a steady stream of sickness.  I think we’ve had a total of 4 days this month that no one was sick.

I’m really starting to hate the month of January.

Surprise, surprise, we’re all sick again.  Alex was doing some strange stuff at meal times following his gastrointestinal virus.  We had to resort back to baby food, which was odd for my voracious, adventurous eater.  But I figured it was just a little regression following a really nasty illness. But then came the rash…

I suspected strep.  I called the pediatrician’s office, and the nurses there conferred and agreed that it sounded like strep.  I took him in for a test, and yep, it’s strep.  Again.

I saw my doctor that same afternoon, as my throat had been hurting, and I’d been unusually tired.  My strep test was negative, but the doctor said something was going on, and she prescribed me an antibiotic anyway.

The next day, cold symptoms started in Alex.  Then came the 104-degree fever.  Then the cough.  My boy was sick.  And then… I got it.  Three solid days of 100-degree fever, cough, cold symptoms.  Thankfully, as I’d just seen the doctor, I was able to call and ask them to phone in a prescription for my cough, which had my chest feeling like I was being stabbed in the lungs.  That really was fortunate (the call, not the stabbing cough), as I didn’t have the energy to drag my sick self and an active, but sick toddler to the clinic.  Cough syrup with codeine?  Yes, please!  Sick husband now down for the count, too?  NOOOOOO!!!

Have I mentioned that I miss my mama?  She could/would help me if we were still in Texas.  But way up here in northern Oklahoma, I’m on my own.  I can’t even call anyone to ask for the kind of help I need (watching the munchkin) because the people I know have kids of their own, and they don’t need to be exposed to Alex’s germs.


So, we’ve been in survival mode for much of the month, seeing as every time Alex gets sick, I get sick, too.  Meals?  They’re whatever I can scrounge up.  I keep the freezers pretty well stocked with meals, but we’ve gone through all of them.  I considered myself lucky when I found this in the cabinet and freezer the other day:

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On one of the few days we were well enough to go out in public, I found that soup at Big Lots.  It’s good in a pinch.  Add a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower, and it becomes a little more filling.  I was feeling very glad that I’d bought that stuff!

At this rate, the only creatures in this house with a good stock of food are the cats.  Their order of prescription cat food arrived earlier this week, and they’re set for the next few months.  And really, I should clarify.  We have food.  The problem is that it’s in ingredient form and not put together.  Normally, that’s the point, not the problem.  But when I’m too sick to cook, that can of beans and that bag of flour aren’t looking so good.

My kid has watched more TV in the past month than in the entirety of his life prior.  That makes me feel like a bad mother, but when I’m so sick that I can barely stay awake, Baby Einstein’s animal video feels like a godsend.  He stands there entranced by all the animals he sees, turning around every few minutes to look at me like, “Did you see that?!  Coolest thing ever!”  And I can laze on the couch, not having to run after him to pull him off of the fireplace or the dining chairs or keep him from smacking the cat with a cat toy.  (Poor baby is so desperate to play with his kitties, but he’s just not coordinated enough to control the cat toy without hitting the cats with it.  It makes him very unpopular with the household felines.)

I’m feeling happy that January is at an end.  Here’s to hoping that February brings better health to our household!

The New Sunday

13 Jan

I used to have a strong stance against cooking on Sundays.  We’d put in a full morning at church with music rehearsal and singing on the praise team for me, while Steven would have an elders meeting, followed by youth, then the service.   After church, we’d head out to eat at whatever restaurant was chosen that week by friends or our youth group.  Then back at church in the evening for youth.  Of course, once Alex came along, I stayed home from church on Sunday nights, but it was still a crazy sort of day for all of us.

I miss it.  Or at least, parts of it.  Truly, I don’t miss having quite so much responsibility.  My husband was the youth minister, in addition to having a full-time job.  It was a too-busy life.  But I desperately miss Sunday mornings back in Texas.

Things are so different for us here, although I freely admit that different isn’t bad.  It’s just different.  We go to church, and we know only a handful of people, none of them terribly well.  We have no responsibilities.  At all.  At first that was nice; we needed the break.  But 9 months later, we’re both ready to get back into ministry.

I hate being a nobody.

The biggest change, though, is going to an early service, then just coming home.  We opted for the early service at this point in our lives because it allows us to get home in time for Alex to nap.  I’m a big believer in keeping to the nap schedule, and my well-behaved baby is a testament to the wisdom of that.  But this means that we never, and I mean never, go out to lunch after church anymore.  In fact, all the boys in my household, and by that I mean my husband, son, and our 2 cats, typically fall asleep as soon as we return from church.  (The cats, naturally, do not attend church, although I think watching the birds at my feeder is a near-religious experience for our Ninja Cat.)

While everyone sleeps, I often find myself cooking.  I never thought I’d find myself in that place, but everyone expects to eat, and I’m the bringer of food.  Granted, I could totally serve up peanut butter and jelly, and no one would care.  But I’m finding something peaceful, a little contemplative, and joyful about cooking for my family on Sundays.  I cook all week long, and yet, preparing a Sunday lunch has a different feel to it.  Because even though cooking is sometimes a chore, there truly is a certain beauty in quietly puttering about the kitchen while everyone sleeps.  I think the difference is in knowing that I want to be there doing that in that moment.

This is the new Sunday.

Blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins

Sunday lunch of scrambled eggs with ham, spinach, red onion, and mushrooms

Sunday lunch of scrambled eggs with ham, spinach, red onion, and mushrooms