Post-Hump Day post: Detritus

This past week . . .

> We couldn’t stop watching 58 very good impressions by this guy (thanks to the Girl for finding this).
> We listened to this interview which confirmed that we’re not the only ones who are peeved by mispronunciations (really surprised that our favourite, “mischievious” wasn’t mentioned).
> Our current word/phrase: detritus (now properly pronounced, of course). As in, “The detritus that was spewed during the debate was hard to take.”
> Funniest thing we heard on the radio was this even-better-than-usual episode of “Because News”. Practically every joke was spot-on, and we think Ashley Botting was the star of the show who should have won.
> We ate homemade cookies and more cookies!
> We’re loving this product: our fantastic lunchbox system. Packing two lunches every day over the years, we’ve learned after many takes what works and what doesn’t work. This system is great because it’s modular, and the boxes and ice packs can be stacked in different ways for different meals and components.
> Our DIY project was these closet hanger space-savers. Rather than buy plastic ones like these (which are getting harder to find, anyway), we made our own with inexpensive chandelier chain ($1.64/foot) and S-hooks made from thick-gauge wire.closet-space-saver
> We learned some great parenting hacks. Even if our kids are past the age when most of these would be useful, and even if we’re finding it hard to read past number 5 on any given Buzzfeed listicle these days, this one had a few gems.
> And finally, we found this great web site for parents who want to sell on consignment all the stuff that their kids have outgrown and outplayed. Very well organised, takes a lot of the work out of your hands, and best of all, it’s parents running it for/with other parents. Look for one in a Canadian city near you!



Sugaring off: Day 19

I’m having a minor setback today, all because of breakfast. Okay, it actually started before breakfast: I was having a dream about a mille-feuilles pastry. It’s okay to dream about pastry instead of loved ones, right? Or is it wrong to say that pastries have replaced loved ones?

Anyway, back to breakfast. If you order an eggs benedict croissant (yes, I’m filling up on fat in place of sugar), you shouldn’t expect a little freebie side-dish of chocolate meringue cookies, right? Surely I’m correct in thinking that nobody needs chocolate meringues at 9 in the morning? Why did that server have to tempt me? It’s like she’s in on it, conspiring against me, wanting me to fall off the wagon. I’m thinking that no other table in the restaurant was served chocolate meringues, except the one table where it’s prohibited. Ummm . . . Perfect, yummy-looking, fluffy, chocolate meringue cookies . . . I will whip up a batch of these on Day 30. They’ll sit alongside the 189 other sugary items (including mille-feuilles) that I hope to consume that day.

. . .

On another note, somebody told me something interesting the other day: It has been observed that people who love alcohol don’t have the intense craving for sugar, and vice versa. So you’re either a sugar-lover, or an alcohol-lover in life. I can see that applied to people in my life. Not to say that people who drink don’t have dessert, or people who like sweets never drink. But I guess that those would be the two things to choose from, when in need of some empty sort of comfort, and it’s rare that someone will indulge in both equally. So I guess if I had to choose one to be addicted to, I’m glad I’ve chosen the sugar.


Recipe: Chocolate Meringue Cookies (Yield: 50)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

> 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
> 1/2 c. sugar
In a small bowl, combine these two ingredients and set aside.

> 6 egg whites, room temperature
In a large bowl using electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy/frothy. (Tips on making the perfect meringue.)

> 1/4 tsp. salt
> 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

> 1 1 /2 tsp. vanilla extract
While beating to the frothy stage, add these three ingredients to egg whites.

After egg whites have reached the frothy stage, add the cocoa/sugar mixture from above, 1 tablespoon at a time, until egg whites are stiff and glossy.

Drop by tablespoonsful onto baking sheet, 1″ apart.

> 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
> 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, combine the above ingredients, and using a sieve or a sifter, sprinkle mixture over the non-baked cookies.

Bake 90 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly (secure with a wooden spoon), and allow cookies to cool in the oven.

#929: Tastes like chicken

I wonder if we haven’t all, at some point or another during our parenting years, tried to fool our children with some food replacement or trickery. You know what I mean: hide wheat bran or ground flax in a favourite dish; make them some kind of cookie with a purée of vegetables mixed in*; tell them that it’s something that it isn’t. There’s even a cookbook by Missy Chase Lepine (which is fabulous and deserves attention even without the whole Seinfeld controversy) with recipes which everyone in the family loves, even knowing about the puréed veggies.

In our case, we’ve really only done “food trickery” with the Girl. The Boy, as noted before, is definitely an adventurous eater. With the Girl, we’ve had to resort to either deliberately denying that something she doesn’t like, is in there, or outright lying and telling her that it’s something else. Most of the time, it used to be the line, “It’s chicken.”

“Mama, what is this?” she’d ask, starting at about the age of three, fearing that it was some kind of seafood.

“It’s chicken.”

“Oh, okay. It doesn’t taste like chicken, but it’s good.”

It could be chicken . . .

Now, don’t think that we were being deliberately cruel, forcing our child to eat something that she shouldn’t have; she had never shown any sort of allergy to seafood, and in fact, had at one time loved tilapia and other white fish, and had tried shrimp without hating it. But something in her made her refuse to eat fish and shrimp, even though if she did not know, she did not object to them. So it was always, “It’s chicken” for the longest time. And I have to say, we were proud of ourselves for cooking so well that we could adequately disguise something like shrimp as chicken.

Until one day, I don’t know how it came about, I made a confession. It must have been a conversation we were having about seafood, about how everyone in the family loved lobster, except her. She defiantly told me that she would never eat lobster, shrimp, or fish—any kind of seafood.

“You know what?” I said to her with a hint of delight. “You have many times, and liked it. Remember one time you liked that thing wrapped in bacon, and we told you it was chicken? It was scallop. We’ve told you seafood was chicken many times.”

“You know what?” she answered, seemingly with equal delight. “I think I always knew. Sometimes it didn’t taste like chicken.”

I was blown away with surprise. So all this time, she had known, and hadn’t said anything? And even when she knows, she doesn’t mind? (This week, she said, “There are seeds in my scrambled eggs.” “Yeah,” I replied. “It’s zuchinni.” “Oh, okay,” and she popped it into her mouth.)

It’s pretty great having a child who knows that she’s being fooled some of the time, and doesn’t put up a fight, letting you continue the farce for her own good.

. . .

* One of our favourite cookies-with-veggies recipes, modified slightly from this recipe:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour OR whole wheat flour mix
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups grated zucchini


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the grated zucchini. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.