Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Day 35

Adult Menu
Girl Child
Ate loads of chicken and salad.

Boy Child
Ate a drumstick, lots of potatoes, and salad.

DH is still out of town so the kids and I had our traditional Dad's Out Of Town Roast Chicken. They helped me cook dinner tonight and really had a lot of fun with it. The girl child was in charge of the salad and decided to use one of our fancy divided trays to make a salad bar type of deal (with carrots, cucumber, pickles and lemons). The boy helped me snap asparagus and make the mashed potatoes. The chicken was DELICIOUS. We are so stuffed we're almost miserable.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 34

Adult Menu*
  • leftover grilled pork chops from last night
  • packaged Parmesan noodles
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Ate everything! She wasn't too sure about the noodles but tried them and said they were good.

Boy Child
Had lots of noodles but passed on everything else. He had shredded cheese (sigh) and raw baby carrots instead of chops and broccoli.

*Just me because DH is out of town this week. I tend to rely more on convenience food when he's not here. We'll see how the week goes, food-wise!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 33

Adult Menu
  • thick cut pork "ribeye" steaks on the gas grill (seasoned with garlic pepper and Jane's Crazy Salt)
  • "buttered" (with Smart Balance margarine) egg noodles
  • leftover HUGE salad with lots of goodies in it (last night for this -- it really was huge!)
Girl Child
Ate everything! She said this was her favorite meal EVER.

Boy Child
Had salad, shredded cheddar, and lots of noodles. Then he was still hungry so he had a "butter sandwich" (two pieces of whole-grain bread with Smart Balance margarine).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day 32

Adult Menu
  • shrimp campechana (see below)
  • leftover HUGE salad with lots of goodies in it

Girl Child
Had a microscopic serving of salad, some shredded cheddar, a piece of string cheese and some whole-grain bread with Smart Balance margarine.

Boy Child
Had salad, shredded cheddar, and bread with no margarine.

DH and I have become addicted to the campechana served at a local Mexican restaurant. They make it with shrimp and some sort of mild white fish with very fresh vegetables and a spicy tomato-based sauce. I googled recipes for it and saw everything from squid to octopus to oysters included therein, with all sorts of different sauces. So I kind of winged it based on what we like and what seems to be included in the restaurant version we love. I didn't measure as I went but here, to the best of my knowledge, is how I made it tonight:

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
1 avocado, diced
1-2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, snipped
the juice from 2 small limes
1/2 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
a grind or two of black pepper

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add shrimp, removing just after they turn opaque and start to curl (no more than 3-4 minutes). Cool shrimp in an ice bath, then rough chop (or leave whole, if they're small) and transfer to a bowl. Add all the other ingredients and toss, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve cold.

DH doesn't like anything spicy, so I made it VERY mild. If you want to boost the heat factor, add a minced jalapeno pepper or two, or sprinkle in some hot sauce with the chili sauce. I didn't add any salt because of the bottled sauce, but you do whatever.

Make sure all the veggies are REALLY fresh. You could scoop this up with tortilla chips or wrap it in lettuce leaves to serve, but I use a fork, the better to cram it into my mouth in an expedient manner. This is a great cold dish for hot weather and goes great with beer AND margaritas.

Let's review: one month in (more or less)

I've been feeling really uninspired the past couple of weeks. I haven't been feeling all that great and haven't really felt much like cooking. There have been way too many pizza nights lately, and way too many Lunchables for lunch (I know I don't post lunches here, but they are a continuous thorn in my side).

And while I'm still not having to cook separate dinners for kids and adults, the kids don't seem to be trying as many new foods lately. Shredded cheese has become a staple, and while technically I approve whatever they make themselves for dinner, I'm not always thrilled with their choices.

I guess I had visions of them making themselves peanut butter sandwiches nearly every night, getting sick of them, and slowly beginning to eat what the adults eat so that we'd eventually all be eating the same thing for dinner. But that's really not happening.

Oh well.

Check back later for tonight's dinner, at which the kids are guaranteed to turn up their noses but I DON'T CARE.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day 31

Adult Menu
  • cold boiled shrimp (peel & eat)
  • Tostitos multigrain tortilla chips
  • a HUGE salad with lots of goodies in it

Girl Child
Had the salad and chips but with cheese instead of shrimp.

Boy Child
Had ONE shrimp, but otherwise ate what the girl ate.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 30

Adult Menu
DH made BLTs.

Girl Child
She slept over at a friend's house and ate dinner there. I think they had pizza.

Boy Child
Had some canned ravioli.

Friday is often fend for yourself day at our house because of our wacky schedule that afternoon/evening.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Day 29

Adult Menu*
It was taco bar night around here. I put out hard and soft taco shells, seasoned ground beef, shredded cheddar, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and hot sauce for everyone to make their own.

Girl Child
Had a hard taco and a soft taco, both consisting of nothing but cheese and sour cream. I didn't insist that she eat a veggie tonight.

Boy Child
Also had a hard taco and a soft taco, but his were all meat and hot sauce. Hot sauce! I had no idea he even liked it! After he finished his tacos, he made himself a little salad of shredded lettuce and cheese. He declared this one of the best dinners he's ever had! I already knew he liked tacos because he buys them at school, but apparently he REALLY likes tacos. Like, really REALLY. He's so cute.

* Just me tonight.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 28*

Adult Menu
I was in the mood for comfort food, so I made a skillet supper of sausages, potatoes, onion and cabbage seasoned with salt, cracked pepper and crushed rosemary.

Girl Child
Passed on everything. She had shredded cheddar, whole-grain bread with Smart Balance margarine, a raw cabbage leaf which she didn't eat, and some raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Had the cheese, the bread (no margarine) and the carrots plus a drinkable yogurt.

*I was indisposed at dinnertime yesterday; DH and the kids had hot dogs.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Day 26

Adult Menu
  • salt & pepper shrimp
  • steamed basmati rice (leftover)
  • steamed broccoli (ditto)
Girl Child
Passed on everything. She had some chicken vegetable soup (from a can), raw baby carrots and whole-wheat saltines.

Boy Child
Same as the girl.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Day 25*

Adult Menu
  • pecan-crusted trout fillets (DH's Father's Day request)
  • steamed basmati rice
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Passed on the fish and had shredded cheddar instead. Had some rice and broccoli.

Boy Child
Passed on everything. Had shredded cheddar, whole-grain bread and leftover salad.

*Yeah, sorry about the gap. There were a couple of days of take-out pizza and leftovers in there.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day 22

Adult Menu
  • thin-cut NY strip steaks, pan-seared and seasoned with kosher salt and cracked pepper
  • sauteed onions and mushrooms for the steak
  • crusty French bread
  • salad
Girl Child
Ate everything except the onions and mushrooms!

Boy Child
Passed on the steak (ditto onions and mushrooms) and had shredded mozzarella instead. Ate lots of salad and bread.

Okay, I know I made steak less than a week ago, but the cuts I buy are really thin and lean and now that I know the girl child likes it, I want to sort of reward her for trying something new. I made her her very own steak with no pepper at her request. She was thrilled. But not very hungry. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Day 21

Adult Menu*
Girl Child
She had Campbell's Double Noodle soup leftover from lunch, raw baby carrots, and whole-grain saltines.

Boy Child
Had whole grain bread with margarine (Smart Balance -- no trans fats), some shredded mozzarella, and some raw snow peas.

*Just me again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day 20

Adult Menu
  • crockpot pulled pork sandwiches (bbq sauce optional)
  • potato salad (from scratch)
  • coleslaw (ditto)
  • a big pitcher of decaf iced tea
Girl Child
She said the pork looked and smelled really good, tried a bite and liked it, so she had some on a bun with no bbq sauce. But then she decided she didn't like it after all, and didn't eat it. I was a big softie and at her request I saved out some shredded cabbage with no coleslaw dressing, but she decided she didn't like THAT either, after trying it, so she didn't eat it. She ended up eating a teeny tiny piece of leftover steak from last week, a few deli ham slices, and a couple of raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
He was hesitant to try the pork but the girl child told him it tasted like chicken, so he tried a bite and thought it was good and let me put some on his plate (no bun or sauce). But then he didn't eat it. He did eat a bunch of shredded cabbage with no coleslaw dressing, and he made and ate a peanut butter sandwich. He tried the tea and said he liked it but it wasn't his favorite and he probably wouldn't want it very often. Then, when I gave him permission, he switched to water.

Sigh. This is one of my favorite meals, and takes a bit of time to prepare, but its reception was less than enthusiastic all the way around. Even DH made a crack about the tea being decaf (I can't have caffeine for medical reasons) and passed on it because he'd already had two glasses of tea today. And he said this particular potato salad, which I love and get recipe requests for all the time, is not his favorite.

Screw 'em all, man. More pork, potato salad, coleslaw and tea for me. And if I'm the only one eating it, it'll probably last a week, at least. Anyone want to come over?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Day 19*

Adult Menu**
  • tilapia fillets, sauteed in EVOO and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • baby spinach, also sauteed in EVOO with a little balsamic vinegar in addition to salt and pepper
  • leftover quinoa pilaf from the other night
  • rather a lot of Gassier Coteaux Varois rosé (I don't know from wine but this one is FABULOUS, by the way -- definitely my rosé of choice since I discovered it)(it's easy to spot because it has flip-flops on the label)(yes, the shoes)
Girl Child
Had leftover frozen pizza from last night along with some raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Had the same thing as the girl child.

* Last night we had frozen pizza. I KNOW. I'd really rather not talk about it.
** The adult in this case would be me, because DH worked late and didn't make it home for dinner.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day 17

Adult Menu
  • thin-cut NY strip steaks, pan seared and seasoned with coarse salt and cracked pepper
  • red potatoes, parboiled and then chuffed up in a hot pan with some butter until crusty and golden
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Ate some steak and broccoli. Passed on the potatoes and had the last slice of leftover pizza. She was hungry today!

Boy Child
Passed on everything. Had two peanut butter sandwiches on whole-grain bread, a couple of deli ham slices, and a bunch of raw snow peas.

The boy child had double helpings of these potatoes the last time I made them, but wanted nothing to do with them today. This has been his modus operandus for at least a year now -- he loves something one day and hates it the next. I don't know if it's an Aspergers thing or what, but it's HUGELY frustrating and was part of the impetus for starting Operation Make Your Own Damn Dinner. Oh well, what he ate tonight was just fine. And even better, I didn't have to make it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Day 16

Adult Menu
  • orange roughy fillets, pan sauteed in EVOO and finished in a light lemon-butter sauce (made in the same pan while the fish was cooking)
  • quinoa in a quasi-pilaf with sauteed sweet yellow onions (I wish I had had some toasted almonds or pine nuts to add, but I didn't)
  • leftover salad
Girl Child
Ate some salad but passed on everything else and had leftover pizza instead.

Boy Child
Also ate some salad and passed on everything else, but he had shredded mozzarella cheese and a slice of whole grain bread instead.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day 15

Um. We ordered pizza. It was a long day.

Let's review: two weeks in

I am really pleased with how Operation Make Your Own Damn Dinner is going so far. Both kids have tried and liked some new foods, and better yet, when they don't like what we're having they MAKE THEIR OWN DAMN DINNER! Dinnertime has become much less of a chore for me without having to juggle kid food and adult food, which is all to the good.

When we started this experiment, I banned three foods from our house: chicken nuggets, breaded fish sticks, and fruit snacks. I'm not saying my kids can never have these foods again, I'm just saying I won't be keeping them in the house. They had started eating way too much of this stuff and I was totally enabling it by buying and cooking it. No more! If they want something fruity, they can have some actual FRUIT. If they want chicken, they can have actual CHICKEN. Same with fish. No more food that isn't really food around here, yo.

Just cutting out fruit snacks, to which my kids were completely addicted, has cut way down on the amount of sugar they're getting. I don't know if it's the diet or the relaxed pace of summer or some combination thereof, but I've noticed both kids are on a much more even keel these past several days. (For those who don't know, the boy child has Asperger Syndrome and the girl was recently diagnosed bipolar.) They aren't fighting nearly as much as usual and the girl child has had far fewer mood swings lately. Again, I don't know if it's the new diet, but it certainly isn't HURTING anything!

Anyway, so far so good.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Day 14

Adult Menu
  • four-cheese ravioli with marinara sauce
  • a big green salad w/cucumbers and carrots
Girl Child
Doesn't like cheese ravioli all of a sudden (even though she loves cheese tortellini, which is the EXACT SAME THING but a different shape) so she had a peanut butter sandwich. She also had some salad and some shredded parmesan cheese.

Boy Child
LOVES cheese ravioli and had three helpings (no marinara) plus some salad.

I keep frozen cheese ravioli and/or tortellini on hand for days when I don't feel much like cooking. This was one of those days. I could whip up the marinara in my sleep, I've been making it so long, and the salad was super easy to toss together (I buy a pre-bagged mixture of greens and toss in baby carrots from yet ANOTHER bag, so all I have to do is cut up the cucumber).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Day 13

DH was sick and I was feeling harried and planless, so the girl child decided it was Make Your Own Supper night. First, she surprised me by making mine: a peanut butter sandwich and some celery sticks topped with peanut butter and chocolate syrup. Yes, I ate it. Urp.

Girl Child
Made herself the same thing she made me. Because it looked SO DAMN YUMMY, I guess. Oy.

Boy Child
Had two three peanut butter sandwiches and a couple of raw cabbage leaves. Then the girl child offered to make him some of her celery surprise so he had that too. Or at least, he tried it. I think.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Day 12

Adult Menu
  • grilled chicken skewers (Buddy's raw chicken breast tenders marinated in Italian dressing and threaded on wooden skewers before grilling)
  • a cold salad of red potatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes with a chiffonade of fresh basil
  • Multigrain Tostitos tortilla chips (I just discovered these and LOVE them -- so much tastier than the regular ones, and no trans fats!)
Makes a rare appearance as he's allergic to poultry (I know, weird) and had leftover steak instead.

Girl Child
Also had some leftover steak because she loves it now, along with a chicken skewer and some chips. She didn't want the potato salad so she had leftover green salad instead.

Boy Child
Said he wanted to try the steak, but I don't think he actually touched the piece we gave him. Otherwise he ate the same stuff as the girl child (chicken, chips and leftover green salad).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Day 11*

Adult Menu
  • grilled ribeyes
  • loaded baked potatoes
  • sliced tomatoes
Girl Child
Tried some steak and liked it. Woo! Also had leftover ham from the other night, some string cheese, and some raw snow peas.

Boy Child
Passed on everything, again. Had string cheese, a bunch of raw snow peas and some drinkable yogurt. He wasn't very hungry.

* On Day 10 DH and I ate out and the kids had a sleepover with their grandparents. I don't know what they ate for dinner, and I don't WANT to know.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Day Nine

Adult Menu
  • grilled ham steak
  • crusty French bread
  • leftover salad
Girl Child
Ate everything!

Boy Child
Ditto! And also he had some raw snow peas, because apparently he really likes them.

This is one of the few meals I make that everyone likes. It's not ALL fish and quinoa over here, yo.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Day Eight*

Adult Menu
  • rainbow trout fillets, sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with freshly ground pepper and sea salt
  • steamed basmati rice (our microwave has a "smart" setting for rice, and it comes out fluffy and amazing)
  • a big-ass salad
Girl Child
Passed on the fish and had shredded Monterey Jack cheese instead (wtf?). Ate some rice and some cucumbers and carrots out of the salad. Tried a snow pea (see below) but didn't like it.

Boy Child
Passed on EVERYTHING. Had shredded MJ cheese (again, WTF?), a piece of whole-grain bread, and a bunch of raw snow peas.

We went grocery shopping today and I nixed the idea of fruit snacks, which have become a staple in my kids' diet. Instead, I offered to buy them any dried, canned or fresh fruit or vegetable that their little hearts desired. They picked out raisins, canned pears, canned pineapple, cabbage, baby corn, snow peas, oranges, fresh pears, mangoes and I don't even remember what else. Yay! Now let's hope it doesn't all go to waste.

* Day 7 was one of those "clean out the fridge" type buffet things. I have no idea what they ate, so don't ask me.