Moms, Movies, and Dinner

The holiday break gave my daughter and I some time together on the couch. Agreeing what to watch together was a lot easier when she was 4, instead of 14. Then we watched Disney movies. Although by the time that period was over, I was pretty much princess-ed out.

Nicole and me in Florida. Nicole is a master packer now.

Now we negotiate between teen romances, rom coms, and more romance. I’m not much for romance films, so it’s a struggle to find something we can watch together. Finally we settled on “Bad Moms.” I don’t need Hollywood to remind me I might be a bad mom (on a somewhat frequent basis), but it beat boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl get back together. At least there’s some grain of  truth in a movie called “Bad Moms.”

Except there wasn’t. This was about a bunch of over-achieving moms who make some modifications to their lives – like telling their teen kids to make their own breakfast – and then live happily ever after  … with the widowed hunk with the adorable daughter. In a beautiful house. In a lovely school district filled with moms doing their kids’ science projects. And sending their kid to school with well-balanced lunches.

Oh, and they got drunk a couple of times – but only when the kids were safely in the care of others.

My daughter kept asking me why I wasn’t laughing. And all I could think was this movie was either written by a man or by a woman with nannies.

Because not once did any of these women open the refrigerator and see … NOTHING but condiments for dinner, a container of blueberry yogurt, and expired milk. Never did they have to announce it was an upside-down day – and serve pancakes for dinner made with the yogurt – and feel proud that yogurt counts as a protein, dairy and some fruit.

Never did any of these women have the principal call and say your daughter had shown her knickers to a group of boys on the school bus. And if she did it again … (But Mom, “they asked what kind of underpants I had on.”)

And none of these moms gave their kid Benadryl in the hopes they would fall asleep on a 3-hour airplane ride as a 2-year-old. Of course, this has the opposite effect when your kid as ADHD (see below).

None of these women didn’t realize their child was ADHD until the child’s uncle suggested you might want to get her tested … and then you find out she is both ADHD and on the autism spectrum … at age 12.

None of these women looked at their child and said, “Honey, I don’t know where mommy is going to live, but it’s all going to be OK” when going through a divorce.

And none of these women ever let their own kid pack her bag for spring break, and then get to grandma’s house in Florida and realize that:

  1. Nothing matches.
  2. Nothing fits.

But I have. And I’m sure a lot of other mothers have too – although maybe not the underpants thing. Although I was really happy she had some on because there was a time when she liked to go commando.

Now that she’s a teen, she’s more than happy to have me serve her pancakes for dinner, especially if they made with Nutella. But I’ve been working on bad mom thing and now try to keep at least a head of unwilted lettuce in the fridge (OK, not always successfully) so I can at least attempt to serve a salad.

Sometimes it’s a salad made with chicken tenders that I keep stashed in the freezer. But steak salad may be served up even faster if you have some sirloin on hand and slice it before cooking. By slicing it, you cut the cooking time down to about 5 minutes. If you have dressing on hand and a loaf of bread, you can rock and roll in about 15 minutes.

As for movies, may I suggest “Harry Potter.” his mom is a saint.

XOXOXO

marnie

Marnie@marniemeadmedia.com

 

Print Recipe
Steak Salad
Course Main Dish, Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Course Main Dish, Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Instructions
  1. Slice the sirloin steak into 1/4-inch strips. Place in bowl or in a zip-top baggie with the seasoned salt and the vinegar. Stir or shake to cover. Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread butter on both sides of sliced baguette and place in oven for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven when butter is melted and bread is just beginning to toast.
  3. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook for about 8-minutes until soft and brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add walnuts to pan and toast over medium heat. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Add steak to pan over medium-high heat - depending on size of pan you may need to cook in 2 batches. Cook until seared on all sides. This should only take about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. (Repeat if you are doing this in batches).
  6. Slice romaine n half lengthwise, Then cut each half into about 1/2 inch slices. Heap lettuce on 2 plates.
  7. Arrange sliced tomatoes and walnuts around the outside of the plate.
  8. Top each lettuce mound with half of the steak; half of the onions; and then sprinkle with blue cheese (if desired).
  9. Drizzle with dressing and any remaining steak juices from the pan. Arrange bread on the plate. Serve.
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Eat, Drink and Be Merry Monday

Another year is upon us. One filled with promise – promises we have made to ourselves and to others. This year I am skipping resolutions, which I never keep anyway, and trying out the word of the year.

The idea is to pick a word that describes what you want for yourself in 2017. You can adapt it to just about all aspects of your life, or to a specific goal. In 2016, I left behind aspects of my life that were comfortable. But I did it with fear and anxiety. I don’t feel like I embraced stepping off the ledge of a 30-year career and into … I don’t know what.

And I struggled with that. I wanted to give people answers. What are you doing? How is it going? People seem to want simple answers. I am a – fill in the blank. It is going swimmingly. I feel pushed to give an answer. And to stick to it. And to say it is going really well.

So in 2016, I tried filling in those blanks. Freelance writer. Social media consultant. Food truck owner. Magazines. Nurse. Bank teller.

Some have some sticking power, like writer. And mom – I love that one. Still contemplating the whole food truck idea, but that’s not something I can just jump into. The rest, well, the universe had different plans.

My sister and I after hiking in Colorado in 2013.

In December, I had to pick a word, and commit to it, in 2017. As a person who is easily distracted by bright shiny objects, I bounced around the word game a lot. But, deep down in my core, I know that I am an explorer. Woods, water, relationships, people, myself … I want to see and learn more about it all.

So I chose adventure as my 2017 word. I want to seek out new paths – in Spain, France, or Ireland. I want to travel rough waters (rapids, here I come).  I want to climb at least one mountain in the U.S. this year.

My food choices tell me when I am getting stuck. They are like little breadcrumbs on my path. When the sugars and starches start to rule my diet, then I know it’s time to make some changes. As a mom, I know to serve healthy meals to my daughter. And I know that it is especially important to teach daughters good food choices because of all the body image conflicts there are out there with the crazy Kardashian women, Gigi Hadid, etc. But, as most moms know … we don’t always practice what we preach. I am guilty of skimming pretzels, handfuls of nuts, a cookie here and there, as I cook. So my appetite for that healthy kale salad with chicken isn’t there. Lunch, alone, is often a graze through cupboards and fridge. Rarely is it the carrots and hummus that I dutifully try to encourage my daughter to eat.

So when I sat on the couch by myself on New Year’s Eve eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (with some broccoli for good measure) by myself, followed by a chaser of toffee with chocolate, I said so long to 2016. I awoke to 2017 complete with a food hangover. I felt just awful. It served as a reminder that I need to feed both my body and brain so I am ready for adventure.

Growing up, I disliked sweet potatoes. I didn’t like the texture of the casseroles that were cloyingly sweet and topped with marshmallows.

North East farmer Gordon Post changed that with his plentiful deliveries of various kinds of sweet potatoes. A super simple way to serve them, especially for lunch or a quick dinner, is to bake up a batch of 4 to 6 because it takes an hour whether you are roasting 1 or 11. Fill them with chicken barbecue, or taco meat, or chili. The sweet flesh combined with the chili spice is a wildly delicious combination.

Happy New Year

XOXOXO

marnie

marnie@marniemeadmedia.com

 

 

Print Recipe
Sweet Potato Stuffed with Barbecue Chicken
Stuffed sweet potatoes make for a tasty dinner, or take-to-work lunch (easily reheated in the microwave). I like to bake 4-6 sweet potatoes at a time and use them throughout the week (since you baking them anyway). This recipe is versatile. You can make chicken with taco seasoning and use it as well.
Instructions
  1. Rub sweet potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Pierce in several places with a fork. Place in 400-degree oven on a foil-lined baking sheet for about an hour. You can reduce the time by about 15 minutes if you put the sweet potato in the microwave for about 4 minutes (pierced). Then rub with oil and salt and bake.
  2. While the potatoes are baking, mix shredded chicken with barbecue sauce in a small saucepan. Cook until heated through.
  3. Remove sweet potatoes from oven, but leave oven on. Slit in half and slightly smash the insides. Top each with half the barbecue chicken. Sprinkle each with cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with green onion.
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