So I skipped seven weeks of blogging and we just jumped from Chanukah to Tu B'shvat. Like magic.
I'm a few days late, but happy belated Tu B'Shvat!
We made this fun kinda tree-shaped challah (and sprinkles make everything better, right?).
And I also wrote this Tu B'Shvat article for Kveller. No need to go read it, I'm just trying to archive the stuff I do here for later.
Are you laughing?
Chanukah is donuts and latkes and cocolate coins.
But, some vegetables can't hurt, right?
It's not a lot of salad, but it's in the shape of a menorah, and the pickles are the gelt and my kids ate the vegetables before stuffing themselves with every else so I feel like I won a tiny part of Chanukah. A very tiny part. And if you've spent any part of this past weekend, you know that that is saying a lot.
Happy happy Chanukah!
Have you ever cooked liver? I did, today.
I've never made it before, but I've been thinking about making some for a while. Not like obsessively thinking about it but it's been in the back of my mind ever since I read an article about the health benefits of liver. Also, I think it might be that I read too many articles. I know this because when my eldest child tasted it, not knowing yet what it was, he made a face, looked directly at me, narrowed his eyes and said, What is this? Did you read an article about this?
Umm. The boy is not wrong.
Moving right along.
I spent the better part of today cooking and while I was waiting for some water to boil, I looked online for a recipe for liver and onions. It's a long and complicated story (not unlike this blog post), the recipe wasn't as easy as it looked, but we both - the liver and I - made it out of the recipe in one piece.
At dinnertime tonight, I put some liver and caramelized onions on each plate and these onions, they were really good, really long cooked onions. In my head, everyone would taste this wonderful new food item on their plate and love it, but as so often happens, a lot of times things don't turn out the way I think they should and this was one one of those times.
I can see you're concerned. What kind of crazy mom serves liver and onions to her four precious children for dinner? I hear your question and all I can say is that it was also taco night, so everyone was okay, and I only put about a tablespoon worth on each plate.
My least adventurous eater, but a lover of anything meat, looked at his plate, and this is what happened:
10 year old: This is my favorite meat ever!
Me: Did you taste it?
10 year old: No. But I love how it looks.
Me: That's great! Taste it.
10 year old tastes it and:
Aaargh! Ugh! What is this?! It stinks!
He asked that while holding up his napkin filled with ABC food, trying to give it to me.
Me: Huh. Wait , so you don't love it?
And then I had a pair of 10-year-old angry eyes looking at me.
I hear him. It does stink. Like the inside of something, which is what it really is. Had I known that cooking liver would make my house smell the way it did, I might have given this some more thought before making it. But I didn't know and my house did not smell so good this afternoon. About an hour before I left to get the kids from school, I Febreezed. And then my house smelled like liver and Febreeze, but that is way way worse than liver alone.
So I opened all the windows to let fresh air do its thing. Except, the wind chill today was about zero, maybe maybe a little higher, like 2 degrees. I don't know, but I was cold all day long and the windows open didn't help me warm up but they did help the house smell better...
So back to dinner, the 8 year old, my most suspicious child, loved the onions. And then she said, I don't know what that is, but it's not meat. Are you sure it's meat?
The 6 year old wouldn't even touch it. She carefully took a napkin and used her spoon to push it all onto a napkin, which she then folded up and quietly threw in the garbage. I just love a neat kid.
I'll be honest, I ate it (my own plate, not what she threw in the garbage), but I didn't love it. The whole experience vaguely reminded me of my childhood, when my grandmother would make this but either hers was way better than mine or I've just put a shiny gold halo around all my memories. Or both. Most probably both.
The problem I have now is that I have a ton of this stuff. I wanted to try making liver with liver that is organice because organic. And grass-fed and free range and all that stuff. It must be better, right? So here's the thing - we have a whole case of this stuff because organic liver is only sold by the case. What do I do? And Josh isn't home yet and also, there's no way in the world he's going to taste this. He's a really good sport and tastes a lot of weird things that I make so that the kids will taste things too, but there is a line and it seems that I have crossed it. I know that because he told me I crossed the line when I asked if he'd try it if I made it.
Josh: Jen, no. Just no. It's liver. Just no, Jen.
Except. Except Josh just walked in from work, like right now, as I am typing this.
Josh: Hey! Smells like onion rings in here!
Me: Ooh, lucky you!
Josh: There's onion rings?
Me: No. but! Wait!
Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, he's going into the kitchen and I feel like I'm watching a movie in slow motion, except it's all moving very quickly. It's so hard to type and watch this unfold at the time.
Josh is in the kitchen and I'm watching him take a bowl and fill it with the onions and liver. Does he know it's liver? I don't know! Aarrgh! I can't watch. I have to close my eyes.
I hear chewing. And no vomitting. I can't believe this is actually happening.
Josh just said this - I promise he did:
Yumm, onions and meat and farro*.
He went back for a second bowl; I don't know what to do with myself, I'm laughing so hard. Should I say it's liver? Do I keep quiet? Aaargh! LIFE IS SO FULL OF HARD DECISIONS!!!
***I'll be back, consider this an intermission in live blogging***
I told him.
I had to. We don't have a keeping-secrets-have-your-own-bank-account kind of marriage.
Me: Honey, you know that's liver, right?
Josh, my love, my light, just looked at me for a full minute with this very neutral expression on his face and even though we've been married for a whole 13 years, I really had no idea at all what he was thinking. No idea. I wasn't sure if I should slowly back out of the kitchen.
So what did I do? I started laughing. Hysterical, hyena laughing, tears streaming down my face laughing. I laughed so hard I may or may not have needed to cross my legs while standing there. But I'm okay with that, because I've had four babies and there's only so many kegels a girl can do.
HE REALLY DID NOT KNOW IT WAS LIVER! He didn't know. He just didn't know.
And I couldn't tell if he was playing me or not.
I kept asking, you really didn't know?! Are you sure?!
And he really didn't.
He really thought, ooh, caramelized onions with pieces of steak in it! Happy birthday to me!
I feel so bad.
But not all the way bad because it's so healthy! And he liked it! He finished it off, the pan was empty, I couldn't even take a picture of liver and onions to show you because there were none left.
I am in shock.
I am sitting here shocked.
I don't even know how to end this story.
He's going to feel so energized tomorrow morning from all that iron.
Is that what happens when you eat liver?
I have no idea.
The world is so crazy.
I'll let you know what happens.
*Farro. It's a weirdo grain that I bought ages ago and made this week because I ran out of rice,
I've been peeling carrots for days. Days. Because Costco is huge and confusing, I accidentally bought the very large bag of organic carrots, instead of the regular pesticide-filled one. I'm a fan of organic and paying extra money for things that I may or may not really need to pay extra for, but I don't know. These organic carrots are very skinny. I would have thought the organic ones would be extra thick, like strong and healthy carrots who work in the fields and lift weights and all the things that the word organic makes me imagine in my brain . But no. So here I am, hoping to make quick prep work for a chicken soup because winter came last night, and I'm peeling All The Carrots.
While I've been peeling carrots, I've been looking around my kitchen at all the things I should probably clean out and rearrange and I noticed that my homework cart was in the kitchen. It shouldn't be, it lives in the dining room but someone (perhaps the little girl who rolls it around the house asking everyone if they'd like to buy a sandwich from her cart) left it in the kitchen and then I realized that I don't think I shared the homework cart here and really, it's a homework cart. This is exactly where it belongs.
So this past summer we rearranged some furniture and ever since, we've been working with one table - the dining room table. Everything happens there. Eating, art projects, board games, homework, all of it. The eating and board game parts have been pretty okay, although I wouldn't cry if maybe people would be a little better about putting their plates in the sink and putting the rummykub pieces back in the bag.
The homework and the arts and crafts sections of our lives, though, were not going well. There were pencils everywhere. Markers, crayons, scissors, glue, index cards, the stapler and the Hebrew-English dictionary were not on the table in an orderly fashion. They were strewn across the table and I found myself shoving it all to the middle so we could eat dinner. I didn't like that.
Enter Ikea. The savior for almost anything (anyone) organizationally challenged. Like me.
This rolling cart. I love it so much.
First, it's blue.
Second, it has three sections. One for the supplies, one for the three hole puncher and the binder filled with lined paper and the third level - the one that contains all the papers that everyone wants to show me while I want to be making dinner. Sometimes they even want to show me these papers while I am in the bathroom so they slide them under the door. I'm willing to bet money they do not do that to Josh.
These are not papers, mind you, that need to be signed or worked on. These are the papers that the kiddies complete in class and then because the teachers don't want to be the ones to have to throw them out, they come home in color-coded plastic folders that get dumped onto my couch.
It took about a week, but now they know.
All papers that do not require a parental signature get placed in the paper section of the cart, where I can look at them when I have a second.
My couch is clear (of papers. Not of laundry waiting to be folded. No one get too excited here).
My table is better, it's somewhat clear but I wouldn't call it empty. A miracle worker, I am not.
But I do have a cart.
I smile every time I see it.
It's the little things in life.
When you're six years old and yet somehow find the inner fortitude to go to first grade every single day, even when you really don't want to, you deserve a mini-treat.
And when you're eight years old and you are able to pull yourself out of the very special pity-party-for-one that you throw nightly, in honor of your chumash homework, you also deserve a treat.
Painting our nails seemed like a good treat. And also, another very easy parshat Noach activity. It's okay that's it's Sunday and the rest of the world has moved on to parshat Lech Lecha. We still have the yesterday's parsha questions on the table, so we're good.
Disregard my fat fingers and look at how cute these colors are.
Those little feet are pretty cute too.
This treat won't work for the boys though.
I might have to go bake cookies.
No bowl? Sounds crazy, right?
There was a time in my (early mommy-ing) life when I was all over the different parshat hashavua desserts - one year I built a Noah's ark out of rice-krispie treats and used all the little Fischer Price people and the animals as decorations. Another year I made six different colored frostings and made a rainbow cake. Once, I even recreated the seven days of creation on cupcakes. But that was a long time ago and this is now.
I still enjoy a long drawn out food project, but I find that I don't have the same kind of time these days. So in the spirit of fun rainbow treats for parshat Noach - and in no direct competition at all to any of the gorgeous rainbow challahs, cupcakes, layered cakes and colorful salads that are strewn across Facebook, pinterest, instagram and I have no idea where else, I present to you The Lazy (Wo)Man's Rainbow Challah.
Can I tell you a secret?
This challah? It wasn't even fresh. (shhhh....)
I did make challah this week but I forgot all about all the rainbow-y goodness until I checked Facebook this morning and staring back at me were so many pretty and colorful treats. I considered baking something but the oven is full, school ends in a two short hours and I'm in the middle of allergy-proofing my son's room because he tested positive for an allergy to dust mites this week and adding baking to the vacuuming and curtain dusting? No. Just no.
But. But! I did have an extra challah in the freezer from succos. I rebrushed it with some egg wash and added the sprinkles. I'm willing to bet money you could do the very same thing with a challah that you picked up at the bakery on the way to work. I know. Crazytown.
But you know what? Not crazytown. Because rainbows have lots of colors and whatever multi-step creation I'd choose to make would also make me many many bowls to wash. And people who don't wash their shabbos dishes until Monday (or maybe Tuesday (hi ma!)) do not need to add more dirty bowls to the sink.
And this? When you mix the egg wash in a plastic cup with a plastic fork, this becomes a no-bowl rainbow challah.
It's okay, you can say it. I love you too.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)