Monthly Archives: October 2012

Guilt Free Saturday.

Last Saturday, I realized something important. That in my mind, I had created a weekly holiday.
Observe:

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No, it is not called “Let’s throw the Cheerios Day.”
I call it Guilt-Free Saturday.
I would also like to acknowledge, here and now, that this is my solution to a truly first world problem.
So, without descending into a socio-political debate, let me share with you the origins, and celebration, of this special day.
My husband works every Saturday. This is not overtime, or an option. It just IS.
Prior to becoming a mom, and after i finished graduate school, I spent Saturdays as “me time.” Mostly, I did very little, cooked elaborate recipes (would have been a GREAT time to start a food blog), and pooped around.
Fast forward to the past 16 months. As a working mom, being alone for 12 hours on a Saturday freaked me out. Why? Because I had so much to DO. Laundry, housework, grocery shopping, cooking, and, oh yeah, recovering from my week. I have an intense job, and it FRIES me. Plus, family demands-grandparents to see, parties to attend. Add on top of that an increasingly active munchkin, who has her own laundry list of needs.
I am a queen multitasker, but I can not do everything and pay attention to my little girl, and be happy with my life.
Whatever focus I chose, I could not escape the guilt. I could never do all the housework, finish the laundry, get all the errands done, and enjoy my one special day with my little one. Each Saturday would end with me in tears, miserable.
I decided that this was, simply, not working. I needed a solution.
And, most importantly, I wanted to have some FUN. It is, after all, the weekend.
So I slowly tackled the day, beginning with breakfast. I prioritized my coffee. Then my food. I started making Mommy and Me breakfasts we could share. I dropped the rigors and formalities of the weekday, as well as my own Mommy standards.
So yes, we eat fatty, salty, breakfast sausages while sitting on the floor, watching TV.
And I practice mindfulness. I feel the guilt. I notice it. Then, I say “Dueces!” (that means bye in teenspeak) and eat another sausage.
It evolved. I outsourced a few things. I visited the local drive- thrus. I started saying “yes” to help and “no” to my own inner critic.
I let my little one eat however many carbs she could cram in her little mouth. And I ate them too. (see aforementioned Cheerios, served “a-la-in-the-box.”) She eats organic quinoa with lentils and oatmeal with apples the other six days of the week. But on Guilt-Free Saturday, we eat pizza and Special K cracker crisps (which I recommend).
I call the grandparents over, and instead of pressuring myself to host and entertain them, I let them babysit. I mean, they aren’t here to see me anyway! And I don’t feel guilty about leaving my baby for an hour or two to get things done.
We watch TV. Loads of it.
We play outside for hours and get shockingly dirty.
Sometimes we eat cat treats. Well, not “we”.
We do chores and errands as they suit us.
We go on a lot of field trips.
We make tons of messes.
And we nap.
Last Saturday, I dropped everything to meet a friend and her little one for lunch and frozen yogurt. My little one sat in my arms and ate a hamburger bun and some chicken and fries, and water off my straw. As we relaxed together, I realized I didn’t even FEEL guilty. As my baby girl smeared pumpkin yogurt all over herself while I enjoyed a salted caramel gelato, I told my friend, a newer mom than me, and also a working mom, that I had a new holiday called “Guilt-free Saturdays.”
As I sit here and write, this is what my living room looks like from my morning with my little one:

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And I am sitting here, enjoying a second cup of coffee, and extending to you, an invitation:
Dis-invite the inner critic. You are enough. You do enough. Celebrate guilt-free Saturday!

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Pumpkin Soup…In a Pumpkin!

I think this is genius.

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Pumpkin soup. Inside a pumpkin. Like a bread bowl except better. Fewer carbs.
I have not made this. Yet. But I want to and I will!
I am going to use this recipe. It looks the most delicious of the ones I have browsed through. I like my pumpkin (butternut squash, etc) soups with some zing.
If you make this festive dish, let me know how you do it!

In Search of the Great Pumpkin…food

In New England, with the advent of autumn, comes the onslaught of all things pumpkin. Candles, cookies, muffins, cakes, and…coffee.

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Due to my current lack of time or motivation to be a domestic goddess, I thought I would share for you my quest for the perfect fall pumpkin product. Particularly since, last fall, that quest drove me to purchase, but never bake, the ingredients for a divine sounding pumpkin cream cheese muffin.
My thirst for this seasonal specialty led me first to the great purveyor of caffiene- Dunkin Donuts. And so, I share with you, an open letter to Dunkin Donuts in which I offer feedback on their pumpkin offerings.
…………………………..………
Dear Dunkin Donuts,
Thank you for offering such a plethora of pumpkin products. It was with an eager palate that I purchased myself a hot pumpkin latte and a pumpkin munchkin.
The latte smelled divine. Unfortunately, upon first gulp, I found myself gagging. It was frighteningly sweet. Shockingly sweet, actually. Moreover, it tasted like a candle. If I wanted to drink a pumpkin harvest candle, I would head over to Yankee Candle, buy one, and imbibe the wax. I have long held, since my days of being tortured by endless brewings of Pumpkin Spice Coffee, that coffee and pumpkin do not belong together. You have proven me correct. Secondly, it was a more like a “spice and extra extra sugar” flavored coffee. I get that pumpkin really doesn’t have much flavor, but whoa, in this latte, it was nowhere to be found.
About the munchkin: inside, was a lovely orange swirl. I am assuming this was to give it more pumpkin flair. Well it was flashy, but it did NOT, in any way, taste like pumpkin. Making things orange does not immediately make them taste like pumpkin. You may have well called it a cantaloupe munchkin.
Still thirsting for pumpkin,
Spicy Pepita

What a Crock! Part Two-Mergers and Acquisitions

Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Fear not, I have not deserted you.
Quite frankly, I was very busy and haven’t been so much cooking and eating as opening packages and surviving on my daughter’s half finished apples and extra lunches at my school.
Confession: In 24 hours, I ate an entire bag of Snyder’s bacon and cheddar pretzel bites. I ate them for dinner, breakfast the next day, and then for a snack after school.

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They are divine, I admit.
Also, the bag never left my car.
This long tangent is to say that I didn’t really cook anything blog-able, but instead ate delicious frightfully salty things while driving as meals.
But I remembered my promise to you, dear readers, and purchased…..

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A crock pot!

I chose this particular model for two reasons:
1. It was Crock Pot brand. I figure, why mess with the original.
2. It was super cheap.

What, this is not scientific enough for you? If not, I direct you to the Cook’s Illustrated Slow Cooker Reviews. They always provide good reviews and have never led me astray.
But if you want a super cheap one, go to Ocean State Job Lot. Seriously.

Then, of course, I had to cook something in it!
So I bought Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup.

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I chose this because it was one aisle over at Ocean State Job Lot. Which, by the way, is a FANTASTIC source of discounted organic food.

I cooked the beans on warm for about five hours in low-sodium chicken broth with a pound of fresh spinach mixed in.

This is not really a recipe.
I have been mixing them in to things all week long.
I figure it is nutritional recovery from The Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Binge.

I mixed them into tomato sauce, over whole wheat pasta.
I cooked them down with some quinoa I had frozen to make soup.
I ate them as is, because I was hungry.
I fed them to my child, who loves beans.
I plan on making one more soup with chives and Swiss chard from my garden and slamming the rest into some chili.
This bag makes a Mother Load of beans.
Moving forward…there is a free slow cooker e-book through Amazon Prime, and some reader emails have come in with suggestions.
We’ll see if slow and steady truly wins the race.