Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fantastic Food Fake Out

Ever see those recipes come through your feed with only three ingredients?  Skeptical.  The pancakes are good, the energy bites are okay.  Then I saw this two ingredient gnocchi recipe.  What? There's no way.  It's sweet potato and flour.  Take a roasted sweet potato, mash it up and add enough flour to bring a dough together.  I can't believe it actually worked!

This came at a time when the last few dinners were total battles trying to get our picky eater to eat something, anything, that was somewhat nutritious.  I'm not saying flour is good for you, but getting that sweet potato in along with the delicious bolognese sauce I had already prepared, was a sneaky way of fitting in some much needed nutrients and protein.

This type of meal should be presented on a day following several previous battles at the dinner table. After hearing whining night after night of, "What?  You know I don't like that!" Responding with shame, regarding respect and gratitude and starving children everywhere.  When you switch food up, it needs to be introduced something like, "Fine.  We're having pasta tonight."  It may seem different but after the last few nights of fighting, they may be less inclined to question the look.  Yes, it's a story of great manipulation, however, certain stages of life require certain skill sets that will last as long as they're needed.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
1 roasted sweet potato (Poke a medium sweet potato with a fork all over, wrap in foil, roast in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until done)
unbleached, all purpose flour

Directions:  Leaving the skin behind, mashed up a sweet potato in a medium bowl.  Add flour until you're able to knead into a dough.  Cut dough into smaller portions at a time to roll into about 1/2 inch log.  Cut bite sized portions from the log then use a fork to press indentations into the dough. Drop gnocchi into simmering water.  Once the dumplings rise to the top, remove with a slotted spoon.

The entire dough. Cut smaller portions to roll into 1/2 log.

Strain the gnocchi once you remove it from the boiling water.

You'll have a delicious, fluffy, sweet vehicle to support the boldest of sauces.  Here's the recipe I used for an amazing Bolognese Sauce found on

If you're looking for more adult versions, consider the following sauces:
Garlic, brown butter, herb sauce
Maple, cinnamon, sage, brown butter sauce
Balsamic, sage, brown butter sauce

Amazingly, this was a winner for us especially since we never see second portions taken!  For me, it was glorious to watch all that Vitamin A unknowingly going down the hatch {insert evil laugh.}

Monday, January 9, 2017

Punishment Soup ~ Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics

Winter Break starts out so exciting, with finishing up shopping, anticipating the holidays, baking treats, delivering gifts, visiting friends and family and eating until guts burst.  It can be a whirlwind of activity up through New Year's.  Then shortly after the New Year, normally, people return to work and the kids head back to school.  Oh, but not us.  Our kids have an entire extra week off school, which having moved from the North two years ago, I'm still not used to all the school year time off they get versus a long summer vacation, which I'm properly prepared to handle. 

It's really chicken, noodle, vegetable soup

Once the Christmas decorations get stored away and that (I already got crap and no longer have to behave) magic is gone, I start feeling (in my best Madea voice) like the 'chirren are tearin up my nerves.'

Admittedly, I have my parents' voices in my head with the memory of their, "I can't WAIT for you to have children!"  Oh the paybacks hath cometh.  I don't understand how my parents made it through my brother's and my fighting.  We drove them crazy and now I know the feeling.  My mother usually handled it by yelling at us to go to our rooms.  If she didn't feel like yelling, she would take off into the kitchen and violently rattle the drawer where she kept the wooden spoons and we would run in all directions out of her sight.

Each generation seems to say, "Kids today are so different."  I don’t know if they are or not.  I haven't read a parenting book since my first born was born, so about a decade.  Most days I still don’t know what the F I'm doing.  I used to lie in bed at night and rehash all the parenting that I could have done differently that day, but now I'm even over that.  It's not at all that I don't care-- I love my kids, would do anything for them, blah, blah, okay.  We are in a stage with our little family where there is an endangered supply of fucks given.  And this is how I'm going to push through this trying phase.
Sending the kids to their rooms or kicking them out of the house is only a temporary solution for their personal safety.  It's not really a punishment and it's not behavior changing.  In fact, I don't have any ideas for changing behavior since I'm still saying, "Eat over your plate, please" 500-600 times a day. 

You know where you are?  You're in the jungle baby!

My parental goal is to hopefully raise kind individuals.  It's a simple, yet thoughtful goal and I'm hoping to get back to that goal in the next stage because we've temporarily detoured to, "I hope you have a plan by the time you're 18." 

So getting back to the kids fighting.  This is about their fighting.  If they have time to fight, then they have time to work.  I've decided that whatever items are not yet checked off of my to-do list, will immediately become their next redirection.  I'm totally using their fighting to my benefit, AND I LIKE IT. We hit the jackpot today. Just as poor choices were being made, I had just started dinner. 

Children should learn cooking, cleaning and organizing anyway. Mine don't have a strict schedule of chores.  The projects they don't volunteer for become distractions, gets them some one-on-one time with a parent and almost always leaves them with a feeling of accomplishment and pride.  No, they are rarely happy about it, but that's why I do it.  Hopefully they learn something from it. 

This dough is easy to roll out and cut with a pizza cutter if you don't have a noodle maker, but I feel like how Princess Vespa feels about her industrial strength hair dryer and I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT!

Recipe for Punishment Soup

1 cup flour
1 egg
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
3 medium gold potatoes, diced
1 cup white wine
6 cups chicken stock
Bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 whole roasted chicken, picked and chopped
homemade noodles

Hand Cut Noodles (make these first)

In a food processor, using the dough blade, pulse the flour and egg.  Slowly add a very small amount of water just until the dough comes together to form a ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. 
On a floured surface, cut the dough into fourths.  Roll each section very thin then cut into desired length strips. Allow noodles to dry on floured parchment paper while preparing the rest of the soup.

Rest of the Soup:
Melt butter in a large Dutch Oven.  Add the onion, celery, carrots and potatoes.  Sautee until the vegetables soften.  Add the wine stir often while it cooks out.  Add Bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Add chicken stock and bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer and cover for about 20 minutes. Check that potatoes are soft then add the chicken and noodles.  Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.