Tragic Sandwich

Food. Family. Fun.

Archive for the tag “cooking”

Sand Pail List, Revisited

Sand and Toys

In May, I created my “Sand Pail List” of things I wanted to accomplish this summer. How’d we do? Let’s take a look:

Going to the park
We did go to local playgrounds, but not nearly as often as I’d intended–except for when we were in Santa Barbara. We went to a lot of playgrounds in Santa Barbara.

Summer concerts
Not one. Turns out that the ones held in my friend’s town are on Sunday nights, which didn’t work for us, and we never investigated the ones closer to home. Maybe next year.

Going to the beach
We got to the beach three times this summer, and are going again once Baguette gets her cast off. Labor Day may be over, but southern California’s summer is not.

Swimming lessons
Happening right now! Well, not right now. But we’ve enrolled Baguette in the current session at our local Y, because you cannot keep her out of the water. (Me, either.)

Cooking
Err . . . I’ve done a little, but certainly not as much as I meant to. And I still haven’t gotten back to that farmers’ market.

Well, there’s always fall. What should I call that one–maybe Leaf Bag List? I wonder if that works in the land of no fall colors.

Photo by ~W~, via Flickr.

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Cooking With Pinterest

I don’t believe in Pinterest guilt. Seriously, if you’re judging yourself by other people’s pins, then it’s time to step away from the computer and go play outside.

For me, Pinterest is primarily an inspiration board. I find things I like the look of, and I pin them. Easy.

But then, in my never-ending quest to streamline my day, I found a couple of recipes that seemed worth trying.

The Overnight Slow-Cooker Oatmeal seemed like a no-brainer. So easy! So oatmeal-y! So made in the slow-cooker!

It tastes just fine, but let me tell you, the cooking spray? Did nothing. I’m pretty sure there are oats welded to my slow cooker.

And the Egg Muffins?

Sure, they look harmless. And, after all, a friend did give me fresh chives. But again with the cooking spray #fail. I have no idea if I can return the pan to a usable condition. Also, they’re like rubber. I ate mine on the way to work; I can’t imagine that Baguette will eat hers. And I don’t blame her.

(And did I mention that I already knew that morning is not the time to experiment? But noooo, I’m going to make it work!)

Now I’m anxious about taking on other Pinterest cooking experiments–because while I really want to make this Chocolate Caramel Tart and these Nutter Butter Truffles (although I’m thinking about using dark chocolate), I can’t help but wonder whether I’ll feel mocked by the results.

What about you? Any Pinterest cooking failures? Or, more importantly, Pinterest cooking successes?

Why Our House Is a Disaster – Weekday Edition

caution tape

We’re refinancing, and on a recent Friday, we had a visit from an appraiser. The house was not even remotely clean, although I did set my alarm for 5 a.m. so that I’d have time to at least straighten up the living room (read: put things in stacks). Instead, I was so exhausted that I just kept hitting the snooze button. Sorry, appraiser.

Mr. Sandwich and I are constantly evaluating the way we spend our time, particularly on weeknights, so that we can finish everything we need to and be ready for the next morning, while still getting Baguette to bed. What does that look like right now?

5:30 a.m.

Get up, wash face and brush teeth, unload dishwasher, wash any dishes in sink and put in drain rack to dry, give dog her medicine, open dog door, take one egg out of the refrigerator, put skillet on burner (which is not yet turned on). If it’s a day when we send lunch for Baguette, prep thermos with hot water.

5:48 a.m.
Finish bathroom routine. Shower if I’m lucky.

5:53 a.m.
Go back to bed to keep Baguette from rolling out; Mr. Sandwich gets up, gets dressed, and leaves for work.

6:20 a.m.
Get up, counting on Baguette to not roll out; get dressed, pull her pre-selected clothes/socks/shoes off of the shelf, get diaper and wipes and put them with her clothes, scramble and cook egg, heat up food to go in thermos, put egg in portable container, put food in thermos, assemble her lunch bag, put her breakfast in her tote bag along with anything else needed that day (set out the night before). Put yogurt and granola in my lunch bag if set up the night before; otherwise plan to buy breakfast at work. Feed dog. Make sure back door is locked, cabinets are latched, stove is off, and refrigator is closed.

6:40 a.m.
Unplug anything that has been charging overnight and put in handbag. Go back to bedroom and change Baguette’s diaper. Put her pajamas in the hamper and dress her for the day. Comb her hair. After she lies back down, sit her up and comb her hair again.

6:50 a.m.
Make Baguette stand up and walk to front door. Pet dog goodbye. Pick up bags, lock door, coax Baguette down steps, put her and bags in car.

6:55 a.m.
Arrive at day care. Get Baguette and her bags out of car, sign her in, drop off tuition or hot lunch money or other paperwork as needed, and walk her to classroom.

7:02 a.m. If I’m lucky.
Leave day care. Drive to bus stop. Park car, run across street, hope to catch bus. If I do, hope to get seat. If I don’t, drive to work. It’s an hour either way.

8:05 a.m.
Enter building. Buy breakfast and coffee, or just coffee if I managed to pack my own breakfast (lunch is even less likely). Go upstairs and work.

5:00 p.m. Unless I have to work late.
Leave building. Walk to bus stop. Catch bus home.*

6:00 p.m. Unless traffic is worse than usual.
Exit bus. Get in car and drive home.

6:07 p.m.
Arrive home. Pet dog hello. Change clothes. Put away any dishes in drain rack. Pour milk into straw cups for evening and next day.

6:12 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich brings Baguette home. Feed Baguette as much fruit and/or Goldfish as she will eat.

6:25 p.m.
Take Baguette and dog for walk around the block (1/2-mile distance). Discuss day. Encourage Baguette to walk, but carry her for intermittent stretches. Let her run back and forth when the impulse strikes her.

7:10 p.m.
Return home. Pull together some semblance of dinner for Baguette while Mr. Sandwich helps her play with the hose (it’s hot out). Start her bath.

7:20 p.m.
Change Baguette’s wet clothes and feed her.

7:50 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich gives Baguette her bath. Set out her pajamas and nighttime diaper, take dog out, feed dog, close dog door, wash dishes from her dinner, empty her lunch bag and clean containers, straw cups, and thermos, probably wash the skillet from that morning.

8:05 p.m.
Dry Baguette off, put her in nighttime diaper and pajamas, let her watch Sesame Street. Continue to prep for next day, gathering any paperwork or materials needed for day care. Eat tortilla with peanut butter (if lucky).

9:10 p.m.

Go to bed. All of us, because otherwise Baguette won’t. (Note: That’s “go to bed,” not “go to sleep.” There’s no telling how long that could take.)

What’s missing from this picture?

*This is when Mr. Sandwich does as much laundry as humanly possible in 50 minutes. Neither one of us has time to fold it or put it away.

Photo by skyloader, via Flickr.

My Balance, Revisited

Nearly a year ago, I was inspired by a post by Oil and Garlic to write about my balance. So, where do we stand now?

1. What’s your work schedule?

I still drop Baguette off at 7 so I can be at work at (or around) 8, and I still work until 5 and am home a little after 6. All of this is likely to change on Friday, however, because the Rampture is coming–and that means all bets are off. I have no idea what my commute will be like for the next year, except that I know it won’t be good.

2. How do you handle childcare?

We still love Baguette’s day care. Mr. Sandwich’s parents come over to help around the house, but are less likely to babysit on weekend evenings; they have their own busy schedules, and it’s a lot harder to keep up with a toddler than it was to monitor an infant. However, one of her favorite teachers left the day care (not for reasons that concern us), and we’ve had her over for a get-reacquainted evening so that she can sit for us on occasion.

3. What do you find best about your current set-up?

It works, but just barely. Because of our jobs and commutes, we just don’t have enough time with her on workday evenings. We get home, go for a walk, eat dinner, give her a bath (while the other person fixes lunches for the next day), play a little, and go to bed. There just isn’t a lot of leeway in that schedule. But at least we have a routine.

4. What advice would you give to other moms about the juggle?

It doesn’t last forever–at least, not in this form. For a long time, I barely cooked at all. Now, I can manage to make a big batch of food in the slow cooker on Sundays, and that means lunches for several days that week. But being able to do that, which previously I could not, tells me that some day I will be able to cook meals with more than one dish.

5. Do you think the juggle is harder for women than for men?

Yes. There are no Daddy Wars, not even in the media.

Sand Pail List

Pail

The latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens (and with that, I am officially my mother–or, since she read Woman’s Day and Family Circle, perhaps one of her close cousins) encourages people to make a “Sand Pail List” of things you want to accomplish before the end of summer. It’s like a Bucket List, but only for summer. And presumably without bringing death into the equation. So here’s what I’m thinking about:

Going to the park
Baguette loves to run free, and we’re lucky enough to live near several public parks. I want to make the most of them.

Summer concerts
One of my friends lets us know about outdoor concerts in a park close to her. It sounds like a great family event, and I’d love for Baguette to meet her boys. Plus I’m not sure I’ve seen this friend since shortly after Baguette was born.

Going to the beach
We live close enough–why don’t we go more often? I want to go at least three times this summer.

Swimming lessons
Baguette loves the pool, and she finally loves the tub–she’s even teaching herself to put her face in the water. I want to make sure we start her on swim lessons this summer.

Cooking

This is a perennial goal of mine. Baguette and I love summer produce, and there’s a farmers’ market near our house every Sunday. I want to get back into the habit of buying food there and making healthy family dinners.

How about you?

Photo by k.l.macke, via Flickr.

My To-Do List

There are a lot of things I want for Baguette. The big thing, of course, is an innate sense of self-worth. She has that now, and I want to do everything possible to help her hold onto that. It’s good to question yourself and your actions–but I want her to know her entire life that she has inherent value.

I want her to get an education. I want her to learn to question herself and others. I want her to be not just tolerant, but truly accepting of difference. I want her to learn when to be kind, and when to protect herself.

But there are also things I want her to see me do, because I want her to see the world as a place of possibility that is not limited by her gender.

1) I want to do more triathlons. My last one was in 2009 (I think), so it’s been a while. I had planned to do one this fall, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. But I definitely want her to see me, and not just Mr. Sandwich, be active. Because I want her to be active.

2) I want both of us to learn to drive a stick shift. (I want her to do this a long time from now.)

3) I want to cook and clean and garden, but I also want to learn woodworking and minor home repairs, beyond just tightening the occasional screw.

4) I want to learn another language. My high school and college Spanish classes are long behind me, and considering that I live in L.A., it is ridiculous that I don’t speak decent Spanish.

5) I want to volunteer. It’s very easy for me to focus on the ways my life is challenging. But I have it so easy in so many ways, and I want her to realize two things: that we’re fortunate, and that we owe it to others to help them when they’re not.

There are many, many others. I want to teach and show Baguette so much. But this is a start.

If I Could Turn Back Time

IMG_7480

. . . I’d have done more cooking a few months ago, when Baguette was willing to actually GO TO BED.

Mr. Sandwich gets home from work at 5, and picks Baguette up. I get home a little after six. As far as we can tell, she’s eaten fairly recently at that point, so she’s not hungry. What she does want to do is go out for a walk and see every dog in the neighborhood (yes, apparently they all are named Wicket). The walk around our block is about a half mile, and it takes about an hour. Wicket didn’t take that long to make the trip even when we first found her and she could barely walk at a snail’s pace.

So now we’re at 7:15–7:30, and it’s time for a little food. Then it’s time for books, tooth brushing (she likes to do it herself), and Pajanimals. If you think this means she’s in bed before 8:30, think again. Of late, Baguette has decided that she will only go to sleep if Mr. Sandwich and I are both in bed with her.

Last night we tried something new. We went to bed, and when she finally fell asleep, I got up and fixed her lunch, put dishes in the dishwasher, and ate dinner.

What was that dinner? Scrambled eggs–half of which went to daycare with Baguette this morning. Because nowhere in this schedule is there time for me to make an actual meal.

I know about planning ahead, cooking in bulk, and using leftovers. I’m delighted to find the comments on this post from Casual Kitchen (a blog I’m new to, but clearly must start following). But I’m doubtful that I’ll be able to make much of anything work while I have a toddler who won’t nap, won’t sleep, and won’t let anyone else take care of her.

So I guess my only option is to invent a time machine. If only I had the time to do so.

Photo by Ateupamateur, via Flickr.

My Balance: Tragic Sandwich

Rock-Scale

I don’t know anyone in this photo; I just liked it!

I got this idea from a post on Oil and Garlic; she got it from A Cup of Jo. Does that make it a meme? At any rate, here goes:

1. What’s your work schedule?

I start work at 8 a.m. (or thereabouts, depending on whether my bus is on time) and leave at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Mr. Sandwich works 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., so our schedules are a little staggered. We used to commute together, but when my maternity leave ended, we needed to shift it a bit. Each of us comutes by bus, although I sometimes drive to work if I have a late-afternoon doctor’s appointment, or if I miss the bus and my day doesn’t allow for me to be 15 minutes late. Or if I’m super tired and the bus is SRO by the time it gets to my stop.

My alarm goes off at 5:20, and I get up one snooze-button hit later. I drop Baguette off and drive like a crazy person to get to my bus stop. Mr. Sandwich picks Baguette up, and we all get home a little after 6 p.m. Then we play with her, take her and the dog for a walk, feed her, and bathe her when she needs it. (The order of these events varies depending on the day.) She hates to go to sleep, so there is usually a fairly long wind-down period, with lowered lights and hushed talking and a final bottle. We want her to go to bed between 8 and 8:30, but all too often she isn’t ready until about an hour later. Then we get our things and hers ready for the next day and watch a tiny amount of TV, and get to bed between 10:30 and 11:00–about an hour later than I’d like, but that’s how the time goes.

2. How do you handle childcare?

We found a wonderful day care center that is about a two-minute drive from the house. It’s like paying a second mortgage–and I am not exaggerating–but we have so much confidence in them, and Baguette really likes the teachers and her little friends. If she gets sick, one of us stays home with her. Mr. Sandwich’s parents live in town, so sometimes they will come over on the weekend and help us with supervising Baguette and completing tasks around the house.

3. What do you find best about your current set-up?

It works. I really like her day care, although I wish it weren’t so expensive. I wish my commute were shorter, but I live in the real world of Los Angeles, and that’s how commutes work here.

4. What advice would you give to other moms about the juggle?

Establish priorities, and don’t beat yourself up. I had fantasies of cooking meals for the three of us. This could work, because Baguette is a pretty flexible eater. This absolutely does not work, because I just don’t have time. I felt bad about it for far too long, and then I acknowledged that I really can’t do anything but supervise her when I’m with her–she’s just too active. So now I hope to be able to do that in the future. But it’s completely unproductive to feel bad about not doing something that I just can’t do.

One of my friends has a daughter a couple of months older than Baguette, and she makes amazing meals every night and spends time with her children. I used to wonder how she managed it, and then I mapped the distance between her house and her work. Guess what–she doesn’t have my commute! So she’s got more time to work with. It’s not realistic to compare my life to hers, because they just aren’t the same. That’s true for everyone else, too.

5. Do you think the juggle is harder for women than for men?

Yes. Mr. Sandwich is a very hands-on dad, and he’s also done pretty much all of our laundry for much of the past year. But Baguette is a very hands-on baby, and she wants me when I’m home. I feel like I’ve been mommy-tracked at work, and I made every effort that I could think of to avoid that. He’s got his own work issues (don’t we all?), but I haven’t gotten the impression that he’s been daddy-tracked. That can happen, of course, but I think it’s much less common.

Photo by neurmadic aesthetic, via Flickr.

Nesting

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking over the past week, in spite of (because of?) being sick. I made homemade chicken soup, although I used boxed vegetable stock, and I made slow-cooker BBQ pork, although it also relied on a store-bought ingredient–the BBQ sauce. (Big fan of KC Masterpiece, BTW)

Last night was our usual grilled salmon–marinated briefly in Worcestershire sauce and topped with Old Bay or the generic equivalent–cheesy mashed potato casserole, and broccoli.

Tonight will be a bit of a cop-out, because although I want to cook, I’m still getting over this sinus infection and couldn’t think of anything I specifically wanted to make after getting home from work. Therefore we will be having spaghetti, with our usual array of jarred sauces.

I’d like to use the slow-cooker more during the week, but mine runs hot, which would result in burned dinner by the time we got home. People have suggested leaving it on a timer, but I keep hearing horror stories about houses burning down because of slow-cookers. And why would it be good to leave the food sitting out for several hours before the timer kicks on? I guess it would be less bad this time of year than in the summer, but it doesn’t seem like a great plan.

Oh well. At least there’s spaghetti and jarred sauce.

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve was very low-key at our house, with one friend joining us for what turned out to be an evening of conversation and South Park. The menu:

chili (ground beef, no beans)
cornbread casserole (good, but needed to bake longer in the center)
make-your-own brownie sundae based on Ghiradelli brownie mix, Dreyer’s ice cream, and homemade hot fudge sauce

Now there’s chicken soup cooking slowly in the slow cooker, so we’ll be eating left over comfort food for the rest of the week.

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