August 26, 2007

Riley’s birthday is coming up, which is blowing my mind (oh my god, when did my baby turn TWO?) and yet at the same time seems vaguely anticlimactic (hey, we’ve been dealing with the Terrible Twos since he was 11 months old). We’ll be doing the Long Drive to Oregon at the end of the week to hopefully experience a last gasp of summer down at the cabin.

I’m looking forward to the potential of a few days of sun, river-swimming, dragging JB across the road to the corner market for the 3538th time to get another ice cream treat (two words: IT’S IT), and of course experiencing the summery joy of removing a poopy swim diaper (helpful tip: scissors).

Riley has not yet been informed that the cabin is in a remote area far away from any flight paths, but I think he’ll be quite pleased. I know I’ll enjoy having a break from peeling a worried kid off my lap every time a jet engine rumbles by (which, I’ve timed it: it’s literally EVERY GODDAMNED SECOND, ALL DAY LONG).

In other news, I miss having an oven. I’m also tired of the squeaky feel of plastic utensils. Riley has a runny nose and I have no way of knowing if he’s getting a cold or if I’m just poisoning him with kegloads of drywall detritus and sawdust. And you know what? This contracting business we’re working with tried to tell us, back at the beginning of the project, that they thought our kitchen would only be totally down for 3 to 5 days.

Pardon me while I bray a hearty, drywall-dust-choked peal of bitter, bitter laughter! I wonder why contractors have to live up to every single cliche in their industry; they’re like the fucking DMV.

Anyone have some good recipes for meals that involve little to no prep, no cooking other than what a microwave or grill can accomplish, and don’t dirty any non-disposable dishes? Because I’m wondering just how much takeout a person can consume before half their system is permanently coursing with MSG.

And now for the inevitable Images From the Weekend:

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Riley smugly tooling around at Ashley’s kids’ birthday party yesterday.

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Party balloon—I love this picture. Hey, if you ask Ashley very, very nicely, there might be a chance that she’ll share the recipe for the cupcakes she made for the party. They were possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten, ever. Think strawberry shortcake, but in CUPCAKE FORM. With icing, dude.

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My son is a dangler. It’s his favorite activity in the whole world, to hang off various things like an action star in peril. Here JB is indulging him with the creative assistance of a hula hoop.

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I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I like it. Work that hat, JB.

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hello insomnia
14 years ago

Chow.com had an awesome post on dorm-room cooking, complete with a recipe for Microwave Crème Brûlée.

Cari
Cari
14 years ago

I love the balloon picture too. I have been sitting here trying to think of words to do it justice and I just can’t think of any.
Beautiful.

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

This is going to sound so hokey, but do you have a crock pot? You can cook lots o’stuff in it, especially one-dish types of meals. Plus you can start it in the morning and then just leave it til dinnertime. I highly recommend the kind that lets you set the length of time you want the food to cook, then switches over to warm. I’ll get a few decent recipes out of a cookbook I’ve got and post them or email them to you.

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

Oh, and I love the pictures. :)

Taryn
Taryn
14 years ago

you can use foil to make little packets of veggies for the grill. i love to make a packet w/ potatoes, a little butter, and lots of herbs. i’ve made packets of mushrooms (good w/ your steak or microwaved baked pototo), onions, zucchini, squash. and a delicious dessert- make a packet w/ cut up apples that have some butter, cinnamon, nutmeg & brown sugar. after you’ve grilled your dinner you can throw that on & when you’re done eating the apples are finished & you can serve it over ice cream. it’s like pie w/o the shell. it’s easy clean up too. just throw out the foil packet when done!

gabby
gabby
14 years ago

I second the crock pot. Love it!

wilddreemer
14 years ago

RECIPE!!!!!!!!!

Grab a loaf of fresh baked ciabatta bread or sour dough from the store. some fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil (i’m a vegetarian but if you must have meat, whatever grab some deli turkey) , and some balsamic. slice bread put mozzarella sliced on each side, tomato slices on on side topped with the fresh basil, salt pepper and a little balsamic. Put em on the grill over low heat till mozzarella oozes out. The freshness of the basil and tomato will kill off any ooogy take out taste in your mouth, plus DELISH super ultra quick and easy..

I’M TELLING YOU JUST TRY IT!!!!!!

wilddreemer
14 years ago

PS for more easy cooking with all the left over ingredients, a jar of spaghetti sauce and a boboli pizza crust you can turn it into a FREAKING INSANE pizza and since the crust is already cooked, just stick the pizza on the grill, close to circulate heat and WHALA you have a delish tastey frest pizza

Andrea
14 years ago

Thanks for the tip on the poopy swim diaper. Those things are just nasty!

The baloon picture is amazing, what a great shot!

lisa-marie
14 years ago

That balloon picture is awesome! I love the bright summery colours!

Jennifer
Jennifer
14 years ago

Am I the only one that wants the recipe for the cupcakes!! LOL!! Must have cupscakes!!!!!!!!!!!

Katie
14 years ago

That is an AWESOME balloon pic. How much editing did you do and WHAT type (if any?) I want to know how you got it so crystal clear. It is like the balloon is sparkling!

heather
heather
14 years ago

holy shit, that balloon photo is amazing.

Trina
Trina
14 years ago

I third the crockpot. The best invention!! Also, you can use your gas grill like a gas stove so you can put your pots and pans on it and cook like normal. Our power was out for a week. :)

Judy
Judy
14 years ago

Costco has this beef roast that microwaves in 10 minutes. It’s Mortons of Chicago brand. Comes with gravy. Bob Evans mashed potatoes are nukeable along with Birds eye Steamfresh veggies. All packages they cook in are disposable. The roast w/gravy is effin delicious. Better than mine. I know it’s not all new-agey gourmet fare but I bet you would like it ALOT. Paper plates (the sturdier ones) work great along with plastic wear.

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

I second the foil packet notion-

I’ve thrown chicken and cut up veggies in with a little bit of stir-fry sauce, and salmon fillets with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice and asparagus. Throw them on the grill and cook until the meat is cooked through….

Sara
14 years ago

We like to make up little crudites of baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes and olives. Fruit can be good too, and you can cut up meats and cheese. I love to snack and salads can get boring, so this is a nice change.
A good microwavable item is Ian’s chicken nuggets and fish sticks. Our daughter loves them, they are easy to cook and we can eat them too — in a pinch.

Victoria
14 years ago

Oh yeah. Love the balloon photo. Want to eat it.

is that weird?

Erin
14 years ago

Sundry, I’m a bit behind in commenting, but I had to comment about your post like three posts ago…

I *love* the name Emmett!! We just had our second child a month ago and named him Emmett. Awesome. Great taste ;-)

Jennifer
Jennifer
14 years ago

Look at Riley in that sportscar. He’s a natural. I can already hear his driver’s-Ed teacher saying “Both hands on the wheel, kid!! BOTH HANDS!”

JaB
JaB
14 years ago

My wife and I had twins about 7 months ago, and though we don’t have the remodeling issues you’ve got, we do depend on the quick meal. We often cook up a half dozen chicken breasts on the grill, some with BBQ Sauce, some with Italian and Ranch dressing with a little lemon pepper. We eat one or two that night, then put the rest in the freezer in induividual ziploc bags. We take them out when we’re deperate for food, defrost it in the microwave, slice it up, and make a chicken wrap with bacon, spinach, ranch dressing and cheese.

Anyway, my wife got me reading your site, and it’s now on my daily read list. If my coworkers hear me laughing out loud first thing in the morning, it’s usually because of you! Thanks! And if you want to know what my life is like these days, with twins, in the Puget Sound area too, check out my blog. craniumoutpost.blogspot.com.

Emily
14 years ago

I love the balloon photo. And as far as food goes, I’ve always been a fan of Easy Mac, because I suck balls at cooking anything more complicated than one ingredient + water.

Shannon
14 years ago

Hey, don’t like having the planes flying overhead and scaring Riley? Move to Mercer Island! I just read in the paper today that Mercer Island residents PAY LOBBYISTS TO NOT HAVE PLANES FLY OVERHEAD. It pretty much blew my mind.

I second the Crock Pot idea. I also hear that pressure cookers are making a comeback and they’re a lot safer than they used to be, although that scene towards the end of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” where Holly Golightly’s pressure cooker spews her chicken dinner all over the apartment pretty much scared me away from them forever!

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

So in thinking about my crockpot suggestion and reading the comments, I realize that maybe you didn’t actually WANT another kitchen appliance around, especially one that requires cleaning after every use. But it is a great idea when you do get your counter space back. Anyway, in the meantime, mmmm… Bob Evans microwaveable mashed potatoes. Also, McCormick makes these seasoning packets that let you cook veggies in a big plastic bag and they taste really good. For main dishes, we’re pretty basic grillers so I don’t have much input there. :(

JennB
14 years ago

Salads, crockpot… I totally know where you’re at with the no oven thing – I didn’t have one for 3 weeks. I will cop to the fact that we did a lot of take-out – but also a lot of grilled chicken and burgers. Thank god for summer. We grill corn on the cob as well – just take the silks off, tie up the husks, and throw it on the grill for 10 minutes or so. Of course, corn is not a meal. Not really. I like the cibbatta idea…. we did a lot of salad caprese, too.

Happy birthday Riley! Welcome – officially – to the Twos. They’re only terrible if you run out of antidepressants (just kidding) (sort of)

To read about my remodeling go to: http://www.opaqueprintproduction.com/jbblog

JennB
14 years ago

Also: the swim diapers? Don’t they have the little velcro closers like the pull-ups do? We’ve abandoned the swimmies this year. The child will be peeing anyway, so why spend the dough on the swimmies!

Mychal
14 years ago

I’ve got a recipe for you. Just get some chicken breasts and marinate them in Wishbone Robusto Italian salad dressing (it must be this exact dressing, no generic brand stuff). Marinate them overnight for best flavor. Then just grill the chicken. I have never tasted chicken so good. Easy and oh-so-good.

Katy B
14 years ago

Mad props for the arranged-like-a-brand-new-box-of-crayons bookshelf.

Shelly
14 years ago

Must have cupcake recipe!!!

Keri
14 years ago

The balloon pic is awesome! Uhh, in the last pic, your books are color coded…? I have to admit, it does look nicer than my bookshelves! =P

As for recipes, our favorite easy recipe is the Quick Taco Salad which consists of blue Tortilla chips crushed in a bowl. Basically, add anything you want but here’s what we usually add: black beans (from a can, warmed up in microwave), corn (either cut fresh or a canned warmed up) or you can grill your hamburger and crumble it, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and sour cream. FAST and YUMMY!

Jean
Jean
14 years ago

I know you don’t love Whole Foods, but they have a great prepared food bar! Pricey, but tasty and healthy.

jonniker
14 years ago

Oh that balloon photo is wonderful.

Heather-in-Australia
14 years ago

If that balloon pic’ were made into a card I’d buy it I tell thee!

Wonderful :).

Alyson
14 years ago

I go along with the Crock Pot thing. Cooking Light has an incredible crock book cookbook, too. Don’t buy “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” My family hated everything in it.

On hot days, one of the best things I do is about 4C gourmet salad greens, 1/2 a red pepper diced, 1/2 of frozen corn – thawed and 1/2 pound smoked deli turkey – thinly sliced. Mix this all together – drizzle with ranch dressing (light or regular, your choice) and wrap in tortilla wrappers. You can get the veggies and dressing off the salad bar at Top Foods and the turkey from the deli, and then mix it up in the bowl you get at the salad bar!

jonniker
14 years ago

Oh yeah, and I really, really oh-so-desperately want the recipe for the cupcakes, stat.

Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

The crockpot is a great idea, I wouldn’t have even thought of that and we have 2. I was thinking more along the lines of craptastic easymac, which DOES NOT taste like regular mac and cheese.

JennyM
JennyM
14 years ago

Yay for packets! The apple thing is brilliant. I think they also make special tin foil that things don’t stick to, especially for grilling, and I just saw some special plastic bags you can steam things in in the microwave (presumably without getting everything all mushy).

My recipe ideas:

1. Skewers! You know, stick some meat (we’ve been into shrimp lately) and veggies on the skewers, marinate the whole shebang and grill. Can be paired with one of those microwaveable baggies of brown rice.

2. Chicken Rice Goo. Grill some chicken breasts or strips (we like to lemon-pepper ’em), chop. Microwave baggie of brown rice (so handy — probably chock full of sodium, but whatever). In serving bowls, shred hearts of romaine lettuce, add serving of rice, add serving of chopped chicken. Top with shredded cheese and peppercorn ranch dressing. Toss.

We ate those a lot when our stove/oven was on the fritz not too long ago.

Good luck with the dust and stuff….

GoingLoopy
14 years ago

Yes, the Uncle Ben’s microwave rice packages are the bomb. I’m also a fan of the microwave burritos:

~Microwave spanish rice
~Add can of ranch-style beans (whatever your favorite flavor is) and mix them together
~Nuke a little more
~Get some of the big tortillas
~Dump some bean/rice mixture and some cheese (I like using pepperjack and the mexican shreds, but to each her own), add a little salsa if you’re so inclined, wrap in a paper towel, and nuke till the cheese melts. They’re actually pretty filling…and they’re just fine the next day.

A little sour cream on top never hurt anything, either.

To make them healthier, use whole wheat or low-carb tortillas, and instead of the spanish rice flavor, use brown rice and add a little taco seasoning and salsa. And use the lower-fat cheese and beans.

If all else fails, Easy Mac is good.

stephanie brown
stephanie brown
14 years ago

Am I really the first person to notice that Riley totally looks like he’s about to put a hurtin’ on JB in the dangling picture? No more future topus anythings after a blow like that!
hehe
My parents went through the whole kitchen remodel thing. I remember having a lot of “breakfast for dinner”, those veggies from the freezer section, frozen lasagna, etc….
It’s a pain in the process of it all, but man is it worth it when it’s all done…..their kitchen is straight out of a magazine! (luckily my dad did all the work and we didn’t have to have contractors in our house on top of all the inevitable chaos.)
Good luck!

Becky
Becky
14 years ago

ok, don’t they have the crockpot plastic inserts now? Like it looks like a cheap shower cap that you put in the crock pot..cook away..then just pull the plastic out and throw it away?

Other than that….we frequently do veggies on the grill in foil packets…also…my hubby is a HUGE fan of taking Sub rolls….and putting whatever in them..putting them on foil..toss on the grill……says it is like having a Quiznos at home….

janel
14 years ago

I also think a crock pot is a great idea. There are lots of quick things you can do with stuff from cans and broths and the only thing you need to get dirty is a knife and cutting board. You can also leave it outside for the day (or in the garage or wherever) and not heat up the house.

Carrie
14 years ago

Riley just gets more adorable every day! Hey, do you have the books in that bookshelf organized by…color? It looks kind of like a fancy closet where all the clothes are grouped by color. And that so doesn’t seem like you to me. In my humble, what I know from the internet opinion, of course. You seem more of grouping by subject kind of girl.

Josh
Josh
14 years ago

I was really hoping I could find a way to somehow comment on a new dish I tried this weekend, and voila, you bring up cup cakes. Wiggity word. You rock. It’s called eclair pie. Easy to make, yet insanely delishious. Insanely! Google that shit, it is awesome. If Jesus cooked deserts, that would be the first one he whipped up. I want some now. But alas, I have to wait until I get home tonight before I can dive into the giant one I have in the fridge.

Kim
Kim
14 years ago

Last night I made taco salad. I microwaved black beans, and a ton of cheese. I microwaved some *hormel* pork au jus and shredded the heck out of it with two forks, 1 avocado and put on my home made salsa that I keep made for every occasion. (6 tomatos, 1.5 bunches cilantro, 1/2 a red & 1 bunch green onion, 1 small can of green chilis, a squeeze of lime and then add jalapeno , garlic salt n black pepper to taste) I was wishing for a dab of sour cream but that was just too much to ask for.
I just threw it all on some lettuce and OMG it was yummy. With the salsa pre-made it takes a total of 12 minutes. 8 for the pork and 4 for the beans and cheese. YESSssssssssssssssss.
OH, and as for the photos…nice ass hat.

victoria
victoria
14 years ago

I don’t know, but I think a pregnant mom of a toddler whose house is filled with dust & grime & disruption should not be asked to perform even the simplest cooking task. If I were you I would refuse to so much as chop a tomato. Find the silver lining in the pregnancy/toddler/remodel havoc: use it as an opportunity to insist that JB take you out to dinner every night. At *most* you could maybe microwave frozen dinners (heatlhy ones from Whole Paycheck if you’re erally sick of MSH & preservatives). Also — I LOVE the first pic of Riley — so so so so cute!

Megan
Megan
14 years ago

One of my friends recently went through this same situation as her kitchen was ripped out for remodeling while she was very pregnant. She bought a hot plate and swore by it. She set it up in her dinning room and was able to cook a lot of things now that she atleast had a burner. Here is an example of one at Target…plus they are cheap.

http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/sr=1-4/qid=1188243393/ref=sr_1_4/602-0655300-4144653?ie=UTF8&asin=B000HTO186

Brooke
14 years ago

Ooohhhhh! It’s It! I grew up only minutes from the factory where they make those. They can still be had, you know. My Mom had them FedEx me a dozen with MINT ice cream in the middle when I was having a really crappy week at work. My kids variously do not like mint or chocolate, so hallelujah, I didn’t have to share.

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

Boy does it pay to read all the comments. I am so going out to get some crockpot liners.

kalisah
14 years ago

I had a friend whose 2nd son was a dangler. Imagine her surprise when he was just about Riley’s age, and she heard the garage door opening and went outside to find him hanging from the garage door. He had pushed the button, grabbed on and took the ride up.