Prezzies

Well, it’s that time. A milestone in the year of the life, and this time, it’s for E 🙂

My fiance’ will be turning 30 this upcoming weekend, and although a new decade in the life may be met with some moaning and groaning for some, I plan to make this as smooth a transition as possible.

Case in point, the perfect present I found would have to be something he ultimately wanted. Unfortunately since Aerosmith is nowhere near us and the surprise party has already been done before, I rooted around and finally decided to give him what he wanted: a skydiving lesson and a really good seafood meal.

So now that the skydiving lesson was taken care of (booked for a Sunday not too far from now!) there was deciding on a dish to make. Now of course, this of course is thrown with a little bit more of a selfish intention: I more so want to have fun making something just as much as he will get to reap the benefits of eating it! And since of course in the pro-spousal support he always offers of saying he likes anything I make, well, that wasn’t gonna cut it this time.

And so, after digging around a bit and toying with some ideas, the challenge has been set and the excitement begins! I decided a One-Pot Clambake would be the perfect offering for all of E’s tastes – sausage, potatoes, corn, spices, but most of all, mussels, clams, and LOBSTER!!! (I have yet to make my first lobster, and yep, now the moment has come) Perhaps it’s because I was never the biggest lobster person, but the moment finally seems appropriate.

The new multi-cooker’s waitin’ to be christened and hodge-podge’d. L’Chaim.

Ireeny-beans: To Be or Not to Be (Pt. II)

Hurricane Irene: She came (sort of), she saw (sort of), and left.

we’re definitely lucky that we still had power, no tree damage done in E’s apartment complex. However, last night’s rain left us a reminder this morning in the small lake Irene left in front of the doorstep …

E celebrated it with a paper boat. 😉 and since later this morning, the lake is no more.

Hurricane Irene: did she or did she not make the grand entrance everyone said she was going to? Looks like it wasn’t quite as climactic as people led us to believe this time around.

And we’re totally thankful.

Sunday post-Irene Brunch (consisting mostly of a combination of take-out and 2-day storm essentials) – warmed-up Whole Foods soup, sandwiches, fresh-cut pineapple, and a big ol’ glass of salted chocolate milk 🙂 Cheers.

Ireeny-beans: To Be or Not to Be

The end of summer 2011 is tied up with a big bow of anticipating Hurricane Irene within the next 24-hours or so. The emergency evacuations have been called, and people are scrambling…. big time.

Nope, not a joke. (Thanks Albert, for letting me borrow this picture)

Driving around New Jersey this morning with E, this was a pretty common scenario in the local grocery stores (although when we hit up Whole Foods, surprisingly the water was all still there and apparently is a last-resort for most). Shelves are EMPTY, lines are long, and people are kind of piling in gradually, waiting to see what will happen next.

Needless to say, all plans were dropped quickly this weekend and looks like everyone who planned to travel this weekend somehow managed to get out of the airports this morning (getting back, however, might be another scenario entirely). Luckily, we’ve held onto our college flashlights and Costco batteries, and although we didn’t go looking for bottled water we’re going to make due with the bottles of green tea we have stocked in the pantry at the moment and fill our pitcher and water bottles tonight for good measure. Hoping for no power outtages, we’re armed with plenty of snacks and have the entire 2nd Season of ‘Modern Family’ on hold, pending hours of indoor stir-craziness. Coming or not, we’re ready whether or not Ireeny-beans she decides to pop by for afternoon tea or an extended stay through the weekend.

Though however, there are the 50/50 feelings in me that remain there until Irene gets this party started. One half of you hopes that everything won’t be as bad as it seems (and by that, I’m referring to the repeated warnings and colorful radar maps drawn up every 5 minutes on TV) and this will be one last giant storm Summer rages until she writes the sad poem in her diary and moves on. The other half is the one that you hope is the wrong one, but can’t help but think about. And that is, the “What If” side. What if these guys are right, and all that’s being said of the worst that can happen WILL happen? Being as the city will be pretty much shut down tomorrow after 12 noon (Bloomberg is shutting down public transportation at that point) I’m rooting for the first half.

As trees, rain, and wind don’t discriminate, people, be careful out there.

And now, we wait …

“As I like it”

(we all might have been like this at one point or another in our lives)

As always, when we have house guests over we almost always cook. Life sure could be easier with takeout of course, but I prefer to just make something for the sheer fact that the person is a guest in our house and it’d be great to give something a little closer to the heart.

Every now and then and understandably so, there will be a person who will ask for a little something to go with their meal. One guest asked for hot sauce while we were eating a roast chicken I made, and that of course we gladly provided for them. I myself am not a fan of spicy, but am willing to accomodate for those who are. But one particular guest captured my attention of them all…

It wasn’t a matter of spicy or mild, flavorless or not, but this one visitor had the tendency to douse ketchup and cheese over EVERYTHING that we made. Sure, perhaps it is a teenage way of life (the guest was 17) and it’d been a while since I’d had the company of a teenager. But one couldn’t help but feel … just a tad if not more, insulted.

At one point though, our beloved teen guest was confronted about this questionable behavior towards our food that became an epic ongoing discussion. They didn’t fully understand why it would come off as “insulting” that the food we graciously prepared, was now becoming a new dish on its own with all the works they were putting into it. After exerting long, LONG exhausting exchanges of words, the young guest concluded to us: “I just like food the way I like it.”

Having been a much pickier eater myself for a good 3/4 of my life, I could relate to this statement. However, since I crossed over into my adult life, I now had to raise my eyebrow at this one.

How many times have we heard this referral in a movie? In the movie “Remember Me” (2010) there’s a scene where Emilie de Ranvin’s character is ordering in a restaurant and tells her date (played by Robert Pattinson): “I like to have my dessert first.” Her reasoning? it’s what she really wanted in the end and why wait? Also, who could forget the classic introduction to the neurosis of Meg Ryan’s character in “When Harry Met Sally”:

Now of course, I had to excuse the fact that this teen was young: they had yet to realize a lot of the etiquette we now know as adults. But just as I had been trained over and over again in my life, I took this as their own kick in the butt.

HOWEVER … there was one point that stood out, if anything, from dealing with this matter. This young person couldn’t understand at all why it was a crime to eat something exactly the way they wanted it, how they liked it, and why it’s somehow acceptable to do this in restaurants (they claimed to do it all the time, as they saw many also do while they worked as restaurant staff). Trying somehow to dictate the rules of guest etiquette was starting to become a tad uncomfortable as the real answer lay: “because it’s just not something you do.” It became really clear that this person never learned Grandma’s rule (as Bourdain so-put):

“I often talk about the ‘Grandma rule’ for travellers. You may not like Grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey. It may be overcooked and dry – and her stuffing salty and studded with rubbery pellets of giblets you find unpalatable in the extreme. You may not even like turkey at all. But it is ‘Grandma’s Turkey’. And you are in Grandma’s house. So shut the eff up and eat it. And afterwards say, “Thank you, Grandma, why, yes, yes of course I’d love seconds” — Bourdain, from his book ‘Medium Raw’. 

We told her simply that if she’d gone to a La Bernardin in NYC, and covered her food in cheese and ketchup, she should expect a sneezed-on fish. Unlike Burger King, sometimes, ya just can’t have it your way.

Look, if a salt and pepper shaker exists on your table, take that as one of the only indications that perhaps permission has been granted to make it more geared to your own tastes. BUT … unless the ketchup bottle is on the table or they’ve laid out actual cheese and a toaster for you to add to your meal… don’t do it. Taste it for whatever it is, and move on.

Reflecting – 6/16/11

It’s been a few months now with these blogs, and I think now it’s a good time to reflect.

When I started LittleTreats, it was something that began as a second try to get out there again and write about what I was passionate for: food and life. Sure, it still remains the great foundation for any writing of any sort, but it actually took me a little while since then to realize there needed to be more meaning for me than that.

Thus came the next two: Caro’s RECIPES & Each Time. One documenting how one could make food, and one devoted to my love of the arts. Both of them pretty much captivated by the need to educate. As I consider myself both an educator and an artist, in a way I felt that this truly what I was more passionate about the need to help people learn… and here’s why.

Just as we need to eat? we need creativity. We NEED an outlet for whatever ideas may come about, and we NEED to know how to keep our eyes open to what’s around us.

And as I love teaching, I will definitely try to do my part to continue on with that l’il mission statement. These two somehow, I feel, have become two of the things we’re losing touch with in our ultimate education for life. We depend much on what we’ve learned from school, but always saying we need more, more, more … I’ve come to determine that where schools really can only do so much, in the end it’s up to us to keep that fire going. We’re a very culturally-rich nation, America. But what everyone else seems to have a hold on us is their values outside of their school life.

I’ve come to realize that the need to feed your senses needs to just be one constant walking ground. Just as the arts are important, so is the need to educate folks about food. In the efforts made to better our health in this lifetime, we need to take the steps to be willing to explore, and just be in the know.

That said, I don’t think I’ll lack the inspiration to keep writing. 🙂

Many, many thanks and hoping for the best yet to come ~~ Caro

The Power Struggle

(still one of my absolute favorite Calvin & Hobbes strips 😉 )

So as I mentioned previously before, up until about age 20 I was shamelessly one of the pickiest eaters known to man. Perhaps running off seven-hours from home in college is what did the trick to get me to try other foods. I was no longer shamed into eating or trying something, but somehow, something clicked inside my brain and the ball began rolling. Sure, I still don’t like certain foods and some continue to follow a similarity to me for what would be Satan’s navel piercing, but alas, I’m not a kid anymore and with age came SOME wisdom if any. *Yay*

Though credited as the weaker one of the five senses (crazy, huh??) we’re all driven by taste throughout our lives. That said, I started to wonder if this is really the reason that children are seen as the “picky eaters” in life. But this is pretty much as it goes: as the receptors in our brain are changing, so are the taste buds … pretty highly sensitive things to rely on when you’ve really only got a couple years of life on your roster. The appearance, the smell, just about every bit counts!

So of course with the sensitivity comes the toss-up: Will kids eat it? Or not? Pretty much somehow driving course to becoming a battle to the death at the table.

The familiar scenario: The little Foodette won’t eat it. Something they love is on the table, and they still won’t eat it. You make deals, you bribe, you threaten, you throw up your hands and wonder what’s it gonna take to get this kid to eat?

I’ll tell you what they’re gonna eat: nothing. And they will be sure of that. So give it up.

There’s literally no reason to stress about it. Basically, it boils down to having a choice: You can have your blood pressure rise and fall continuously over this constant power struggle, or you can surrender to the fact that children, as much as you’d like to think are the inferior party, know the hold they have over this part of their lives. You could argue until you’re blue in the face, and one of you is in tears, or you can both agree upon 2-bites of something, drink up whatever’s in your cup, and move on. Not to dessert (unless they ate!), but just moving on in general. The kid will get hungry, but they certainly won’t starve.

Look, just as you wouldn’t want someone to shove food down your throat, don’t do it to them. I don’t think I’d have grown up with half the issues with food that I had throughout my life if I wasn’t guilt-tripped, scolded, and forced into eating stuff I just didn’t want to. Find a balance, talk to kids, see what they’re interested in.

By all means, I’m not saying we should still limit children’s choices in the full-circle of eating. Chicken nuggets are great and the ones shaped like dinosaurs sure make it more exciting, but they’ll be capable of more interesting food if you keep having it make a special guest-star cameo in lives. While making guacamole, I once had a student who decided to snack on an entire handful of cilantro! 😛 saying it “tastes like coffee”. Hey, you never know 😉 We also had a student literally RUN from the guacamole because “it was green”. But lo n’ behold, they ate the most of it of anyone.

A few things I noticed that might help out a bit …

– Eat what everyone else is, and by “everyone”, it’s everyone at the table. Unless someone’s got allergies at the table, hopefully there’s already a good justice system in seeing everyone’s eating the same thing.

– You get what you get, and ya don’t get upset. The same goes for the consequences: you don’t eat? you don’t get the good stuff either (dessert). Tough break, but there’s always another day tomorrow. Try, try again. If there are tears? talk it out. If there’s protesting screaming, they’re asked to leave the table and go find something else to do.

COOK IT TOGETHER. If they’re not gonna eat it, at the very least, they’ll help with how it’s made and they’ll see just what goes into it.

– And again, the 2-bites Dealbreaker is a pretty classic take, with a drink of whatever’s in their cup. In the end, everyone’s gotta eat to feed the body. You need food to be healthy, and food to grow. They’ll be able to put 2-and-2 together after a while.

– oh yea, and ps, read a few books about food too! Perhaps it’ll get a few sparks flying here and there. (I’ve got a few personal favorites, and will definitely post them later)

– and again, no need to make eating a battlefield. It’s supposed to be a fun, joyful thing to do, for both adults and kids alike. And hey, it’s a privilege if you’ve got plenty of food at your disposal (but don’t despair if your kid doesn’t seem to care about that concept. It doesn’t mean they’re heartless! but most likely just something they probably can’t relate to)

Continuing on to promoting a hopeful, great future for the Foodettes?

I hope so. 😉

Ridin’ the Allergy Wave

SPRING!!! That deceptive little saucy beast!!

It showed its pretty face for what seemed like mere seconds here on the East Coast. Somewhere between one winter with some major break-up withdrawal right into what would appear to be a short Spring Fling. In the peak right after its glamor (when I happened to be in Vegas) it decided to do nothing but rain for the entire month between April and onto filling up the entire calendar of May. Can I just say for the record, going from no rain and sunshine (I much prefer the desert wind!) and coming home to yet another downpour of rain more so than when we left? You have to start finding all the reasons again why it was a relief to come home in the first place …

That said, with the return back home came the POSH showing of spring. FLOWERS! The magnolia trees were gorgeous, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the lilacs were wandering over not far behind in their path. As they’re some of my favorite flowers, it was quite an exciting time….

But then of course, came the big show. The SHOW to end ALL SHOWS. The one that just started with a tease and blew up big time when it realized it could cash in on its annual fame …

!!!! ALLERGIES !!!!

For myself, this never used to be a problem. This of course was up until I was about 20-years-old and allergy-induced asthma was starting to become a bit of a problem in my life. Slowly but surely, both fall AND spring allergies were becoming the giant pain and living up to their sterling reputation: dry eyes, sneezes, sniffles, oh and of course, the breathing thing. Now who could forget that one?

So there are a few things to be said about Spring Allergies thus far. They say that this has actually been one of the worst spring seasons for allergies, and even though NYC isn’t anywhere on the list, it still doesn’t make anything better. In the meantime for myself, my allergies gave me quite the nasty upper-respiratory infection and my neti pot  has become quite the close friend. I thought all this rain was supposed to get RID of this nastiness??? GYAH!

But for all my fellow sufferers … let us take a vow of unity in the meantime *ahem*:

Let’s love this durned season… even if it means admiring it from afar out the window.

We shall take the vow of Kleenex n’ let it RUN free .. as fast as your nose RUNS, and I’m sure that these blasted allergies RUN in the family

We shall EAT ’em fantastic bountiful foods to help your ride along your allergy wave: steering clear of dairy, fillin’ up on honey on the spoonful a day, lemon water, our greens n’ Citrusy goodness …

We will enjoy the spring of course, but remember to take our meds: dearest Claritin, Allegra, and Vicks Sinex, nasal spray and of course, much sleep in bed.

We will try to remember to clean our houses with that pesky dust that lurks about, and of course, shower n’ wash ’em clothes.

But most of all, as beautiful as you are, we’re looking forward to your end, and know that our relief to all this suffering is just around the bend.

Yee-haw.