Wednesday, March 28, 2012


A sick baby. Runny nose, cough, fever. Nothing can make a new mom feel more helpless. Call the doctor, search the web. That should help, right? So wait--my poor itty bitty bubby is stuffed up, glassy eyed, miserable...and every doctor and website is telling me to get a humidifier and wait it out? My precious angel is burning up and apparently it's not a big deal until it hits 105? 105???!!! One hundred and five degrees? Are you effing kidding me? If I had a 103 or 104 fever I'm pretty sure I'd be PRETTY sure I was dying. Give my little lamb some Tylenol and sit tight? Seriously? And while we're on the subject... They need to make children's medicine in flavors like Creme brûlée and coconut macaroon. That way when 90% of any given dose is splattered all over me I'll smell like something delicious and not something vile like fake grape. In what universe does that smell like grapes? Ya know what smells like grapes? WINE. Don't try and pull one over on me. I'm a professional. Wine drinker, that is. I mean, how many mothers are giving their 6 month olds Hawaiian Punch and Bubbalicious? Do you think my child recognizes these flavors as some special treat? No. She recognizes it as something fucking disgusting like the rest of us. Make it taste like applesauce or carrots or...NOTHING. Who cares? She doesn't exactly have a Top Chef palate. We can put a man on the moon, fight wars from thousands of miles away and have access to the whereabouts of our best friends from from 2nd grade at any given moment. These creepy pharmaceutical companies can't come up with a flavor besides...PURPLE? I mean, I know they're SUPER busy coming up with penis hardeners and EYELASH enhancers, kid's sick over here. And the Frankenberry poison you're asking me to shove down her throat isn't making my life any easier. Maybe some luscious lashes and a stiff cock would help. Maybe. Truth is, 9 times out of 10, as frustrating as it is a little Motrin and waiting it out really IS what's ordered. But obvi, I'm not a doctor. 
And ya know, while we're semi on the subject of colossal companies trying in vein to appeal to the likes of an infant, here's a pickle: WHY, for the love of Bethenny, do there need to be pictures if Elmo and Mickey and Pooh Bear on diapers? She's 3 days old. What does she care? I'M the only one who actually sees the outside of the diaper! Do these companies really think my kid has a say in what diaper I put her in? As if the baby version of some stupid cartoon character is swaying my decision? How 'bout a witty daily life lesson? A fortune cookie insert? Hell, I'd take a word of the day or a make up tip over Dora's loco kisser just...staring at me. I'd LOVE that! THAT might sway my decision. I'm already a sucker for the Huggies denim. Huggies with a horoscope? Even better! I'm going to be spending the better part of the next 7-10 years with these images force fed to me. Can I have at least the first 6 months without Cookie Monster's stoner eyes haunting me during 3am changes? 
Elmo Trumps Santa?? Really? That's deep.
It's scary. No matter how much control you think you have as to what your kid hears, sees, likes, dislikes...ya don't. I mean unless you live underground or on a compound somewhere, ya don't. Somehow those pesky Princesses take over with NO WARNING! And Elmo? Fuggedaboudit. Don't even try to resist. That furry red freak has already won. And I mean, there are worse things right? Meth? Prostitution? But seriously. At some point we have to let go. It's not gonna be about us one day. So insane to me that the little jumping bean in my belly has become this little girl who has a favorite ice cream flavor. The little gem that could barely see the first time I held her now looks me directly in the eyes and tells me to "GO. AWAY. " Heartwarming, really. Our children have their whole lives to make their own decisions. We have just a few years to fully control them. So a message to all those big boys trying to market the things buy to my 2 year old: Mama's callin' the shots, ok? I want cough syrup that smells like poolside cocktails. And while I'm sipping my poolside cocktails, I wanna look at my babe in a swim diaper that looks like a cute suit. She cant see her own ass, so what the Hell does she care if Nemo's plastered on it?
Look, I want my girls to be their own people. I want them to grow up to have their own tastes. Their own styles. Their own ideas as to what's cool and fun and sexy.  And if she decides to grow up to be a chubby twenty-something in an oversized tweety bird T-shirt standing in line at Space Mountain slugging a red Powerade... Who am I to hold her back? I'll take it as her rebelling against her kooky, over-the-top, gypsy of a mom by just being... NORMAL. (shudder) Like that's ever gonna happen.

A couple recipes--even if it's mind over matter--are sure to make Mama and babe feel better in no time!

Homemade chicken noodle soup CAN be the easiest thing ever to make. And the pay off is SO worth it. Maybe your boyfriend has the sniffles and you wanna put on a frilly apron and spoil him. Maybe you're a mom of 2 under 2 and your wine buzz is wearing off as is Junior's last dose of Tylenol and your sweatpants are covered in puke and you haven't washed your hair in 3 days. Either way, why open a can when you can--in no time--throw this yummy soup together, free of MSG and God knows what else. Just a delicious bowl of GET WELL SOON!
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp dill, fresh or dried
Celery salt
Seasoned salt
1 c (or so) chicken shredded, pulled, chopped. You can use leftover rotisserie chicken, cube up a breast or two, or even use an all natural canned chicken. Look for one with no MSG or fillers. Pretty easy to find. You can also omit the chicken all together. There's no chicken broth or stock in this recipe, so it can easily be vegetarian will the same healing properties!
6 c water
1 c (or so) noodles Your choice. There's so many fun shapes and flavors in your regular grocery store nowadays. The last time I made this I used Ronzoni Roasted Garlic Fettucini. It was AMAZING. If you use a long pasta like this break it into thirds or quarters. Otherwise whether it's elbows, bowties, penne, rotini... About a cup will do. 
Chop onion, carrot, and celery in similar sized chunks. Throw in to a little bit of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Grate in garlic. Season veggies with salt, pepper, seasoned and celery salt. Let the veg sweat out and get soft for about 10 minutes. If you're using raw chicken, chunk it up and add it now. Add dill and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer.  If you're using cooked or canned chicken, add it now. As little as 20 minutes, as long as...hours! I like to let this simmer for about 2 hours. That's about all I have the patience for. Add your noodles about 20 minutes before you want to serve. Simmering them for this long will make them super soft and perfect for sore throats or funky tummies. Serve with saltines for the sickies, or with yummy garlic bread and white wine for you and a girlfriend. So delicious and comforting, it's sickening. know what I mean.
Best chocolate chip cookies ever. I love watching people bite into these and the double reaction they get. "Yum! YUUUUUUUUMMMMM! What is that?!" The orange zest and ginger add so much but don't over power. Sure to please any age, any palate. 
3 sticks butter, softened
Zest of 2 medium oranges
2 inches of ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 c all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger (powder)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks
Get yer scoop on
Size Matters
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter, sugars, orange zest and ginger root for a few minutes until fluffy. Stand mixer, hand mixer, by hand, whatever. Add in vanilla, then the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, and ground ginger. Add dry mixture little by little to the butter mixture until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheet lined with silicone or parchment. I always use a cookie scoop. Looks like a little ice cream scoop. I have two sizes. One's about 3cm in diameter, the other about 4cm. I use these ALL THE TIME. Meatballs, cookies, ice cream, cupcake batter...the best investment! I usually use the smaller one for cookies like sugar, coconut, sunflower butter, ginger... But I like to use the bigger one for chunky cookies like oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip. That way every cookie has yummy goodness throughout and nobody gets jipped! So for these, I use the big boy? Bake for 10 minutes till edges are golden. Let them sit on the sheet for two minutes then transfer to cooling rack. 

Yum Yum Gimme Some
Orange Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe makes a BUTT LOAD of cookies. I used reserve half the dough, rolling into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer. Now I pre-scoop cookie dough balls right into a freezer bag and store them that way. Someone stops by unexpectedly? You can have freshly baked cookies for them in 10 minutes! I mean, amazing. How DOES she do it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Miss Penelope Shayne aka Pats: Day 1
It's been almost 525,600 minutes since my youngest daughter debuted onto the big bad stage we call Earth. As we gear up for the day, I can't help but reflect upon the past year. Looking back at pictures, "Oh my God! She was so little!" and "Seems like yesterday!" And a million years ago all at the same time... But then I started REALLY thinking. Thinking about what Pats has actually accomplished this year. She went from being tube fed, well, cord fed nutrients from INSIDE me to just, ya know, hanging out at the 72nd St 1 train stop chowin' down on a Grays Papaya dog. I remember when her eyes opening was just cause for a full on celebration and now she wags her finger at me and says "no no no!" Its actually a bit intimidating when I sit down and process it. I mean, what have I done in the past year? Nothing THAT great. Nothing that life changing. I didn't learn to breathe air. Or feed myself. Or clap my hands. I mean, if a teeny tiny human being can make that much progress in just 365 days, shouldn't WE, as intelligent worldly adults, be able to do the same? Yeah yeah, there's New Year's resolutions. Whatever. How many of THEM have you actually kept? Zero? I feel like a more appropriate date to start would be your birthday. Or even better, right NOW!

On march 11, 2011 I gave myself a challenge. I wasn't gonna buy clothes for a year. A whole year. At the time I took this vow, I was buying -average- 3 things a week? From clearance rack $3 tank top to a $5 street pashmina to a new lululemon hoodie or a Betsy Johnson party dress. I had so much [material] crap in my life and I needed to make a change. No matter how good [you think] they look, there's no need for a 34 year old mom of 2 to own a pair of WHITE short shorts from Forever 21. No need for this same woman to have in her dresser drawer a sleeveless T-shirt with an ape face silkscreen in a child size 4T. Especially when her [2 year old] daughter is currently in a size 3T. And then, the straw that broke the camel's back: I was standing in yoga one morning and realized the yellow tank top that was staring back at me was the same yellow tank top I was wearing when I started my period. Not started my LAST period. Started my period, PERIOD. When I was 14. IT WAS TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE. Period. Why am i holding on to all this STUFF? And it's now been a whole year. With the exception of some emergency underwear, I've bought not ONE piece of clothing for myself. At all. That is a CRAZY accomplishment for me. Very proud. (hold for applause)

Pats: 12 months later. I is this the same person?
But back to Pats. Her development. All the things she's learned and tasted and seen and heard for the first time. How do I compare to all that? Imagine if we, as adults, allowed ourselves and made the time to experience even an ounce of what a baby learns in the first year. We could learn a language. Write a book. Build a house. Start a business. Start a REVOLUTION! Ok. Maybe I'm being dramatic. But I mean, we can do SOMETHING. And it doesn't have to cost a million dollars. And it doesn't have to eat up all our precious time and infringe upon our responsibilities. I mean, I think a lot of us would love to travel around Italy or Greece or South America and taste amazing new foods, see ancient architecture, meet people of whom we've never seen the likes of before. But very few of us have the time or money to do so. So...I don't know...start simple. Obvious. Maybe instead of loading everyone into the Odyssey and heading to... wherever you go everyday, how bout taking a WALK through your neighborhood?Check out things from a different angle. See things in a new way. What kind of trees grow on your block? What do you see? Smell? Feel? Who are the people in YOUR neighborhood? Might be interesting. Or, maybe take an online class, or spend 20 minutes a night with that Rosetta Stone you bought. Learn a new language so that when you finally get to Italy or Greece or brazil you'll be ready!

So, yes, part of it is: Think about what I could accomplish in ONE year if I put my mind to it. Another way to look at it is: If I grew (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually) EVERY year of my life as much as I did my very first year, how friggin' AMAZING would I be? Cleaning out my closet is just the beginning, folks! Mark my words! I'm on a mission. By just opening our eyes and ears and hearts and minds and absorbing all the wonderful and appetizing and disgusting things around us, as opposed to being shut off to them, I think we'd find ourselves far from wondering, "Where has this year gone???"I haven't decided yet what my goal for this year will be after The Great Shopping Drought of 2011. All I know is that it's gotta be good. Pats is getting faster, stronger, and smarter everyday. And there's NO WAY I'm gonna let that bitch be better than me.

Pats was born via scheduled c-section. So on the eve of the procedure, I wanted to have a "Last Supper." I couldn't decide what to have. Italian feast? Chinese delivery? Seafood buffet? Then I decided to have a picnic style BBQ. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw, corn, watermelon... These are a few of my FAVORITE things! Something about this food just makes me so happy! Just makes me think of summertime family fun. Just warm and cozy and...HAPPY. It was a great decision. Here's a couple recipes for a couple condiments and a desert that are so easy and delicious and economical, you'll never by pre-made again! And, all three of these get better and better over time. Just like my Pats.

I Love Cole Slaw. The only thing I may love more is Wheel of Fortune. And I wonder why I feel 80.

2/3 c mayo (I use Hellman's low fat, use what you want but this low fat version tastes just as good and it's pretty much guilt free. So why not?)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon onion powder

2 tablespoons milk (I actually used fat free half and half cause that's all I had in the fridge)
1/2 c sugar 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 bag (16 oz) of pre-shredded cabbage (in the grocery store near all the bags of spinach and lettuce)
Whisk together first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in cabbage. I mean, done. 2 seconds. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Overnight is better.

This yummy slaw paired with Root Beer Pulled Pork smothered in Boof's famous sauce. Yes, please.
Again, this is so easy and so inexpensive, it just makes sense. Plus you know EXACTLY what's going into what you're eating. I'm having label paranoia lately. This is amazing with chicken, pulled pork, or my fave: sweet potato fries!

1 c tomato sauce (one of the little cans near all the canned tomatoes. It's plain, barely seasoned, and it's under $1. Sometimes you even see them on sale 4/$1.
1/2c ketchup (I prefer one without high fructose corn syrup if we're going through the trouble of making our own. Hunt's is good, or Simply Heinz. But Hunts is cheaper.

1/2 c water
1/3 c apple cider vinegar 1/3 c brown sugar 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard (deli mustard)2 tbsp molasses 1 tbsp onion powder 1 tbsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp cayenne (it really mellows out as it sits, but if you really don't like spicy, reduce or omit.)
Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into an old ketchup bottle or sealed Tupperware in the fridge. Just gets better and better as it sits.

So easy you can memorize it! Once I figured this one out, I haven't used a box brownie mix since. And you know I love a box mix! These are almost like fudge. So rich, so good. I like to keep them in the fridge or freezer and serve in tiny bite sized squares.

2 sticks butter, softened 2 c brown sugar
2 eggs 2 tsp vanilla

1 c all purpose flour
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder 1 pinch of salt 1/2 c mini chocolate chips

The moments that make my heart sing! That face!
 Totally worth the risk of salmonella.

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugar (by hand or electric mixer for about 2 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, and salt. Add to butter mixture little by little until incorporated completely. Spread into a greased 9x9 pan. Sprinkle top with the mini chips. Bake about 25 minutes until the sides begin to pull away and look dry. Let cool completely, then pop in freezer before cutting. It helps the edges come out clean. Fudgy, yummy, goodness.