30 Minute Meals for the Rest of Us

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I have tried over and over again to master 30 Minute Meals.  Not a heat something up I brought at the store 30 Minute Meals, but  real 30 Minute Meals.  You know, one with fresh vegetables, meats and a grain, that is wholesome and satisfying.  A meal made with ingredients I buy at the store and prepare myself.

untitled (9)Actually, I am pretty good at meeting the My Plate guidelines.  My kids may not     appreciate my efforts to provide them with nutritious meals, but a least I know Michelle Obama isn’t talking about me when she complains about our kids not eating healthy.

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Sure, she can smile. No one is going to interrupt her while she cooks.

My problem is getting the meal made in a reasonable amount of time without having to start making it in the middle of the day to have it ready for dinner.  So, of course, I watched the Queen of the 30 Minute Meal, Rachel Ray.  No matter how I try to keep up with her, or any of the 30 Minute Meal suggestions that I find in magazines, cook books or websites, I never can do it in 30 minutes.

I’m no master chef, but I know my way around a kitchen.  I get the ingredients ahead of time so they will be in the house when I need them.  I follow all the directions.  So why?  Why am I 30 Minute Meal failure?  Because, like everything else in my life, it must be that I am doing something wrong.  Right?  I need to be more organized.  I need to be more peppy, that seems to work for Rachel Ray.  I need to try harder.

images (4)At least, that’s what I thought.   Then I started paying attention to what I do when I am cooking.  There are a lot of things they don’t account for on Rachel Ray’s show or in any of those cookbooks, magazines or web pages that have vexed me for so long.

These are all the step that the 30 minute meal aficionados have never included in their meal prep projections but that certainly affect mine:

  1. Child 1 enters the kitchen asking, “What is for dinner?”.  When I answer, he asks, “But, what am I having for dinner?  Because I’m not eating that!”.  To which, I reply that he has to at least try its.  I point out that I chose this recipe because I thought he would like it.  Child 1 then leaves the room mumbling about “another disgusting dinner”.  I try to remember what I was doing.  (Duration:  1 minute, 30 seconds)
  2. Child 2 enters the kitchen asking “What is for dinner?”.  I answer him and he replies, ”What can I have after I try it and don’t like it.”.  To which, I reply that he has to at least try it, then he can have some fruit and/or yogurt (just like every other night).  Child 2 then leaves the room mumbling about “really wishing we were having pizza”.  I try to remember what I was doing and to keep from screaming.  (Duration:  1 minute, 45 seconds)
  3. I go into the refrigerator to get the next ingredient and find it is no where in sight. Even though I just put it in the refrigerator yesterday afternoon, the ingredient I need has been pushed to the back of the second shelf and is stuck behind the deli drawer.  I empty the second shelf, retrieve said ingredient and try to remember where I was in recipe. I vow that tomorrow night I will take out all of the ingredients before I start to make dinner. (Duration: 3 minutes, 14 seconds.)
  4. Child 2 asks if I can help him with his homework.  I explain that I am making dinner and will help him after.  Child 2 says he wants to get his homework done now so he can have free time after dinner.  I tell him I am busy.  Child 2 mumbles under his breath about “Stupid Mom.  Never does anything when I want her too.” and starts to have a tantrum.  I settle Child 2 down, help him with his homework and go back to making dinner.  I make a mental note to call Child 2′s teacher and tell her that I think homework is stupid. (Duration: 6 minutes, 38 seconds.)
  5. Child 1 comes in to tell me that I have to see what SpongeBob is doing. I tell him that I never have to see what SpongeBob is doing.  Child 1 then proceeds to describe to me in detail everything that SpongeBob has done during the entire episode, which distracts me.  When Child 1 finally leaves the kitchen, I realize I have skipped a step in the recipe and must go back and fix it.  I try to figure out what I am doing and wonder if it would really hurt to stick a knife in my eye.  (Duration:  7 minutes, 4 seconds.)
  6. The house becomes eerily quite.  I push on through thinking I might actually finish making dinner in 30 minutes.  (I do realize that I am already over 20 minutes into the process but I enjoy deluding myself.)  I decide to set the table.  (Duration:  4 minutes – because Rachel Ray never sets the table.)
  7. I hear yelling from upstairs.  I ignore it.  I am almost done and want to wash some dishes before I have to clean the after dinner dishes. The yelling continues and now includes the word “Mom”.  I run up stairs to find Child 1 sitting on Child 2′s head.  “Are you going to stop saying that or are you going to smell the wrath of my gas?!”  I separate the children and send them to their rooms.  “Are we going to be able to come down for dinner?” asks Child 2.  “Yes,” yells Child 1 from his room.  “That’s part of our punishment.”  I smell something burning and run downstairs.  For a moment I hope I will fall down the stairs so I can go to the hospital instead on continuing to make dinner. (Duration: 5 minutes, 29 seconds)
  8. I discover that I didn’t turn the burner off and the rice has burned.  I decide to serve dinner with bread, instead.  I wonder why I haven’t started drinking.  (Duration: 3 minutes, 17 seconds)
  9. I call the children down for dinner.  Child 1 insists on helping by getting water for everyone.  I start to put food on the plates.  I turn to walk to the table, slam into the still open refrigerator door.  Food goes everywhere.  This startles Child 1 who starts pouring water on the table instead of in the glasses.  Child 2 complains that he is getting hungry and “why is dinner taking so long.”  As I clean up the message and listen to Child 1 explain why it is all my fault that he spilled the water, I wonder why we don’t eat at McDonald’s regularly. (Duration: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)

We are finally seated at the table some 60 something minutes after I started my 30 minute meal.  My children push the food around the plate.  Child 2 comments that “at least the bread is good.”  I realize I don’t need to have dinner on table in 30 minutes because I’m lucky that I get dinner on the table at all.





Preschool Language Fluency

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trapBarefoot Boy and I were at the playground yesterday afternoon for the first time in forever. It was a beautiful day, sunny and 60 degrees and we had an hour before we were to pick up David. So while I was pushing him in the swing we had this conversation:

Me: “Where in the world would you want to visit if you could go anywhere?”

Scott: “I want to go somewhere they speak gibberish.”

Me: “I don’t know anyplace where folks speak gibberish but there are lots of places where people speak languages I don’t understand.”

Scott: “I know some languages. There’s English….Spanish…….karate language…….and British.”

He stopped there and leaned back in the swing looking up at the sky which he referred to as “the roof of our town.”

I think my heart just melted.


I Think My Mind is Leaking Out of My Head

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underwearSo, one of my offspring and I were watching “The Amazing World of Gumball” yesterday when this happened:

Other child: (*walks into the TV room with their pants around their ankles*)  “These are wet.”  (*drops underwear, places towel on couch and sits down on it to watch TV with us*) “I didn’t want to get the couch wet.”



The Wolf of Wall Street

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wolfSo, Mark and I went to see “The Wolf of Wall Street” at the movie theater on Friday. When we described out plans to a mutual acquaintance who had already seen the movie he worried that I might be offended because of all the nudity, sex, drugs, and cursing throughout the movie. He must not know me very well, because that pretty much describes a regular Friday night at my house.

I’m just kidding, of course….its really Tuesday nights.

Superhero Physics

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hulk2So, Mark and I were watching The Avengers last night. And I had a question.

Me: “Mark?”

Mark: *wincing and dropping his head while putting the movie on pause because he knows what’s coming* “Yes?”

Me: “So, when Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk, he becomes a thousand pound rage machine jumping on the high-rises in New York and tossing cars and aliens around, all without any caloric input. Then he turns back into Bruce Banner again and looks completely normal as opposed to an emaciated skeleton. It seems like the caloric requirements of the Hulk would require him to eat enormous amounts of food before, during, and after he morphs.”

Mark: “And…?”

Me: “When I was pregnant I was ravenous all the time, and I only made 7-pound babies.”

Mark: *silence*

Me: “Also, why doesn’t Bruce Banner have stretch marks? And why don’t his pants ever tear off when he becomes the Hulk?”

Mark: “I’m not watching superhero movies with you anymore.”





Paging Stan Lee….

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Butt web

So, Barefoot Boy came up to me yesterday with a perplexed look on his face and asked me this question in a very serious voice, “Mom, if spiders shoot webs out of their butts, then why doesn’t Spiderman’s web come out of his butt, too?”

For the first time in….ever, I was speechless.


Kids Are Gross

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grosskidsSo, I decided to cut sugar out of my diet. For my health. Because I just caught one of my children in the act of removing his hand from the sugar bowl and licking his fingers. The same child who spends half his time with his hand down his pants and the other half with his fingers in his nose.

In related news, I also caught one of my kids wiping his bare behind with the hand towel in the bathroom once. The hand towel that I used to use to dry my hands. And apparently, it was not the first time. We no longer have hand towels in the bathrooms.



Parenting Advice for Free

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I actually saw this question posted on a different website today: “Dear Abby, My 11-year-old daughter said if I don’t let her do what she wants, she will run away. What should I do?”

This is how I would answer: “Dear Parent, Pack her fucking bags.”

If you have any parenting questions please feel free to forward them to me.

There’s Still Hope

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uncoolmomSo, tonight at the dinner table my daughter said that she didn’t think I was cool.

In fact, her exact words were, “Mom, I just don’t think you’re qualified to be cool, like Dad is.”

Me: “What makes Dad cool?”

Kelly: “He has a mustache.”

Given that criteria, by menopause my status should improve dramatically.