What you learn travelling with kids…

I’m back!  I could rail off 200 excuses, but suffice it to say it all started with a little trip to Japan with 3 kids! Here’s what I learned along the way:

  1. Travelling is all about the kids. Screw the nice romantic dinners out, the cultural experience of plays and “high culture” when you can hit the amusement grounds, parks and indoor playgrounds!
  2. Forget eating where you want. Fortunately, my kids aren’t really into chicken fingers and fries. We had to go to rotating sushi pretty much every other day and this is one of the reasons why…

    yes that is a “mini bullet train” delivering a custom sushi order to our crew…okay, I understand why they wanted to eat at these places every day and frankly I didn’t mind.
  3. Prepare for your kids to be instant models…especially if you happen to be travelling through Japan with mixed race kids. I was hoping to score a million dollkhar modelling contract for the boys. Instead it seemed like a lot of Chinese tourists enjoyed snapping pictures of the brood (look for Higuchi brother dolls at a dollar store near you soon).
  4. The stress is in the line-ups, not the travel.  Try going through humourless customs with three bored and exhausted kids. Invariably it’s a horror show, even if they were perfect angels on the plane!
  5. Forget the sex, no seriously–it ain’t going to happen. And if it does, chances are, one of your kids is going to be traumatized for life!

 

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Oops, I did it again. My love-hate relationship with Costco…

man-909049_1280 (1)There I am on Saturday AGAIN. Every time I go, I swear “this is the last time!” More importantly, every time I go there is someone cursing the exact same thing.  Costco is one of those places I abhor, and yet, as if it had a magnetic field around it (and I’m somehow wearing a metallic suit), I keep going back.

Why? I much rather imagine myself as a “farmer’s market” kind of girl–thoughtfully perusing quaint little baskets of slightly imperfect, but 100% local, organic produce from a Mennonite farmer with an overgrown beard straw hat and horse and buggy parked out back… Continue reading

Allergy Schmallergy!

Sometimes it’s painfully obvious that when I make sweeping generalizations there is someone up there (woman, man, reincarnated spirit, mass of energy–whatever turns you on spiritually) just waiting to bite me in the ass.

 Case in point: allergies.

God, if I had to hear about those damn allergies again. The Western World seems to have gone HYPERallergenic. I mean you’re now officially the Devil if you try and send your kid to school with a peanut butter and jam sandwich. “It’s so freakin’ ridiculous,” I recall ranting to a neighbour. “Just a complete overreaction by the schools to cover their ass liability-wise.” I was a total eye-roller on the issue and really believed it was mommy paranoia taken to the max.

That is, until Noa had a lick of a yogurt popsicle and in 60 seconds or less proceeded to blow up–looking as if he had gone ten rounds with Ali or Tyson.  The little guy was impressive though: despite the fact that he resembled horror-flick Chuckie, he still managed to smile and laugh as I tickled his nose on the car ride to the Emergency Room. Ah yes, the big cheese in the sky was definitely sending a message loud and clear.

Now my perogative is a little different: 

KEEP YOUR F*%CKING MILK, CHEESE AND YOGURT AWAY FROM MY SON OR I’LL HUNT YOU DOWN!  

Ah yes, God works in not-so-mysterious ways…

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

A great, super easy recipe for any deadbeat mom trying to tap into her Southeast Asian Martha Stewart. On second thought, make that the Southeast Asian ‘Two Fat Ladies.’ Let’s face it Martha’s dull and this recipe ain’t.

 

Ingredients:

2/3 cup dried tapioca

1 can coconut milk

1 cup sugar

2 cups water

Fruit for topping

 

Directions: 

1.        Soak tapioca in cold water for 1 hour. Drain.

2.        In pot, heat coconut milk, sugar and water bring to a gentle simmer.

3.        Pour in tapioca and stir.

4.        Cook for 10 minutes on low heat.

5.        Serve with fresh tropical fruit on top.

 

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Yikes!  Want to add a little zing to your breastmilk? This recipe (which was a hit at my deadbeat mom’s lunch) is tasty, easy and, you guessed it, garlicky!

Hint:  This tastes better if made the day before and if you use chicken on the bone. To make it even faster, buy pre-peeled garlic at an Asian market. Got the recipe from Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking book. Serves 6 

1 3lb/1.5 kg chicken cut in pieces skin removed

2 tbsp olive oil

40 cloves garlic peeled

10 shallots peeled

3 tbsp cognac or brandy

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 tbsp chopped chives or green onions

1.        Pat chicken pieces dry. Heat oil in large deep, non-stick skillet. Brown chicken in batches about 8 minutes a side.

2.        Add garlic and shallots. Shake pan to move cloves under chicken. Cook 10 to 15 minutes until garlic and shallots are lightly brown.

3.        Remove fat from pan. Pour in cognac or brandy and flambé using long match.

4.        Add salt, pepper and wine. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chives or green onions

Sean’s Easy Chili

I don’t know who the heck Sean is, but his chili was pretty tasty at our last deadbeatmom lunch. Thanks Kara! 

Sean’s Easy Chili   

  • 4 Tbsp. veg. oil
  • 2 green peppers, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
  • 2 medium onions, chopped into 1/4 ” pieces
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 5-6 Tbsp. chili powder 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. marjoram.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. oregano2 tsp.
  • Durkee hot pepper sauce
  • 2- 19 oz.  Delmonte canned tomatoes (Italian)
  • 2-10 oz.Campbell’s tomato soup
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Diana Original Chicken/Rib BBQ sauce (or substitiute – this is not a very hot sauce)
  • 2 – 19 oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed. 

Heat oil in large pot at medium heat.  Add peppers, onion, celery and garlic.  Cook until light golden in colour.  Remove from heat and stir in chili powder and cumin seed, salt and marjoram. Meanwhile, fry ground beef in non-stick pan until cooked.  Drain fat if necessary.  Add beef to vegetables and add the rest of the ingredients, except the kidney beans.  Simmer for approx 30 min.  Add kedney beans, and simmer for 15-25 mins.