An Unforgettable Visit to the North Pole

Toward the end of November, my family drove to Sacramento for a long-awaited, magical journey to the North Pole on the Polar Express.

This annual Christmas season offering from the California State Railroad Museum is what memories are made of and the tickets sell out in a hot second. This year, after taking out a membership to the museum, Mateo was savvy enough to jump on-line at just the right time to secure four tickets for our family.

We arrived at the Sacramento train station in the early afternoon and after retrieving our tickets from will-call, all we had to do was look for families with pajama-clad children walking toward a classic steam train waiting expectantly on the tracks. We purchased a pair of Polar Express PJ’s for Sadie (Caleb was apparently way too cool to put on a pair), then we eagerly waited in line. Volunteers in classic railroad costume greeted and welcomed us, truly setting the tone for the fantasy journey ahead. Caleb and Sadie were all smiles and just over-the-moon when the time had come to board the train.

We quickly found our seats and then the train exited the station. On our way to the North Pole, we were greeted by a conductor who stamped our tickets, and then entertained by a hobo and a cast of other actors who reenacted scenes from the movie. Dancing up and down the aisle with hot chocolate and cookies, we eventually were offered our own individual Polar Express branded mugs with piping hot (and perfectly mediocre) hot chocolate, along with soft, fresh-baked cookies. The train rode along side the Sacramento river, making a gorgeous backdrop to this unforgettable excursion. The kiddos were in heaven and Mateo and I were feeling triumphant as parents who aim to make lasting, positive memories.

Eventually, our train arrived at its destination: the North Pole. Santa and his elves (several hot chicks in costume) were at the station outside the train, waiving at us, while packing and arranging Christmas gifts for the children of the world. Most of the kids on the train ran to the window to wave back at Santa and his crew. Once the train moved on, a very special visitor came on board and greeted each of the children – Santa himself. I was tickled by all of the thought they put into this exceptional train experience, which was bound to make perfect lifelong memories for our children.

The efforts by the volunteers dressed up in period costume, the crazy hobo who kept running up and down our car, the hot chocolate and fresh cookies, having the book read to us by a grandfatherly voice over the speaker system – all of this was just extraordinary. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m so glad we made this a part of our holiday plans this year – a wonderful way to end the year.

Happy Holidays from the Soltero Family!

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Birth Announcement

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IT’S A CHEESE BLOG!!!

For those of you who have witnessed the hijacking of my beloved blog—dedicated to raising my children to become global citizens through cooking and eating good food—with personal adventures (and misadventures) in cheese, I am pleased to inform you that my cheese ramblings now have a home of their own…

Announcing my new blog: Turophile

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a connoisseur of cheese : a cheese fancier

Please visit Turophile and if you like what you see, I would invite you to follow. You can also ‘like’ the new Turophile Facebook page. The only changes to Cooking with Caleb (and Sadie!) will be more Caleb and Sadie!

Tell a friend!

Taking the Plunge

Mars landing

There is no better way to get closer to your family than by holing up in a cozy cottage down a dirt road, surrounded by pine and oak trees, bears, deer, squirrels, and a rattlesnake which we had the privilege of crossing paths with (thankfully, to no one’s dire consequence).

We just returned from our Shasta Lake vacation — our ‘last hurrah’ summer getaway.

During the day, we drove into Redding and in search of respite from the hot sun, we explored the local water park or the community pool, which cost bubkes to get in and was far more fun. The people-watching up in Redding was priceless! Still a hick town, if I may say so, I noticed one swimsuit-clad mom with a tattoo of a life-sized gun slipped into a garter belt on her leg. If only I could get away with that look!

One evening, we dined at a Benihana-style restaurant in town. Our young chef amazed and dazzled us with his knife juggling skills. Broccoli flying through the air for our mouths to receive, an onion volcano erupting on the large Japanese griddle before us, and the occasional burst of flames, which sent Sadie dropping to the floor beneath the counter top for protection. At dinner’s end, both kiddos waddled over to the waiting area and flopped down face forward on the benches, their bellies bursting at the seams.

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On our last full day in Shasta, we spontaneously rented a patio boat from one of the harbors off Highway 5. We actually had no intention of doing this when we left the house that morning, but on the drive into town, Sadie started complaining of feeling nauseous. Fearing an accident in the car, we quickly pulled off to the side of the road, just at the harbor. When all seemed well with Sadie, we proceeded down the road and found ourselves renting a boat for the half-day. This was truly the highlight of our vacation.

With Mateo and Caleb as co-captains, we motored around the lake for several hours. Caleb steered the boat for much of that time, taking great pride in his ability to keep us from crashing into large rocks or other boats. I was really proud of him. At one point, we cut the engine and I spontaneously grabbed Mateo to take a look at the majestic view from the back of the boat. On the spot, we renewed our wedding vows in the middle of Shasta Lake with Caleb and Sadie as our witnesses.

Before heading back to the harbor, I did something I’ve needed to do all my life. I was the first to fearlessly jump in to the middle of this huge lake. My family, inspired by my lunacy, quickly followed me in with life vests on. All with smiles from ear-to-ear. This plunge held real symbolic meaning for me; the time has come to get my ass off the sidelines and begin a new chapter in my life entitled “Follow Your Bliss and Do What You Love!”

This was a great escape; one that inspired a palpable internal tectonic shift and provided my family with the connection time we needed before the school year begins, and life starts pulling again from every angle.

Taking the plunge

Worry, Pain, and Pancakes

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From the moment you learn you’re pregnant, you start worrying. It doesn’t stop. You worry about the health of the fetus, the sex, the potential genetic disasters that may crop up – you just worry. Then, when you find out the sex of your baby and that he or she is perfectly healthy, you think you stop worrying then? Now, you ruminate about horrific birthmarks, nine fingers and eleven toes, and what to name this child so as not to burden it with a lifetime of teasing, stigma, or corrections (i.e., “Anya, not Anaya, not Amy, not Onion!”)

This child is now seven and on Friday night, he began writhing around in pain, moaning, and doubling over in agony. My ability to worry reached an all-time peak. After speaking with an advice nurse, I rushed Caleb over to the emergency room at Kaiser at 11pm at night. This was our first visit to the ER and I was beside myself with concern for my little guy, who doesn’t tend to over-dramatize pain. I took this episode very seriously. Mateo stayed home with Sadie, and Caleb and I sat around in a brightly lit waiting area, until they called his name.

I began to breathe again, once they placed us in a private room and the doctor came in to assess Caleb’s situation. She ordered an X-ray and gave him some pain medicine. Before long, Caleb and I were laughing about something we had heard earlier in the day (thank you, Auntie Deb for the image of the man running down Haight Street with nothing but a gold lamé sock on his twinkie), then the doctor came in to report that what Caleb was experiencing was an extreme case of constipation. Oye veh, hurray, and a $50 co-pay!

My sweet boy was back in bed by 1am and as soon as I awoke that morning, I ran out to the market to get him a bouquet of flowers and pancake fixings. We celebrated his recovery and our collective relief with Mateo’s signature buttermilk pancakes, and good cheer.

Now, I wouldn’t be a gen-u-whine Jewish mother if I didn’t have something meaty to worry about at a moment’s notice, but I’m glad that this little episode has passed (yes, pun intended)! I know there will be many anxiety filled days and nights to come, especially with two active, curious, and adventurous kids, but I feel great relief knowing that we got through this with only clogged pipes and a good story to tell.

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Four Friends and a Fondue Pot

SisterhoodMore than 25 years ago, my friends Sarah, Deborah, Virginia, and I began a tradition of gathering for cheese fondue, laughter, and close friendship. We call ourselves “The Fondettes” and we’re working on our soon-to-be solid-gold hit: My waistline’s huge and I’m gonna need some Lactaid…ay la, ay la, my waistline’s huge!”

I have known “Virg” since first-grade, “Sar” since second, and “Deb” since our Lowell High School days in San Francisco (I, of course am “An”). We began our semi-annual fondue gatherings toward the end of our senior year. Most of our mothers had a fondue pot laying around, long-neglected since the 1970’s and we quickly learned how to put them to good use.

With income earned from our first jobs, we would purchase bulk Swiss cheese from Safeway, cheap white wine (forget about adding the traditional kirschwasser – cherry liqueur), and a loaf of sourdough for our fondue feast. Sarah, who had worked at a Swiss-German restaurant in high school, introduced us to a nifty side dish, which we have since incorporated into our meal. The perfect fondue accompaniment consists of sliced kielbasa sautéed in orange marmalade until well-glazed. You can’t understand how good this is until you stab the caramelized kielbasa with a fondue fork and dip it into the cheesy fondue, along with a chunk of crusty bread…pure food alchemy! Sarah also started a tradition of being the first to grab the golden chunk of cheesy crust at the bottom of the fondue pot. We just leave it for her now!

Early on, we discussed our latest crushes, the challenges of living with difficult parents, and what classes we were loving or loathing. Today, bulk Swiss has been replaced with Gruyère, Comté, or Ementhaller; cheap Sebastiani with a lovely bottle of dry white wine; sourdough with an artisan batard; and yes kirschwasser! Emails go out, babysitting is arranged, and we sit around discussing love and marriage, the roller-coaster ride that is parenthood, and the careers we are loving or loathing. We laugh, occasionally cry, and rib each other like only old friends can do. I am convinced that the fondue is greatly enriched by a few tears and the presence of mirthful laughter!

We have each come to depend on these regular gatherings, which sometimes occur just for the sake of consuming fondue, and at other times to celebrate a birthday, an important milestone, or because we needed the comfort of good food and friendship to buoy us through many losses and life challenges. Last night, after making our busy-life arrangements, we gathered at Virg’s house in S.F. for our latest fondue feast. On this occasion, one of us had just lost a mother and we were all reeling from the loss of two high school friends.

Virg, who recently introduced us to the healing power of karaoke, busted out the karaoke machine after dinner. A smile is still plastered across my face as I think about this group of close friends now in our mid-forties, all of us mothers, wailing “Oh, no, not I, I will survive. Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive. I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give. And I’ll survive, I will survive, hey, hey!

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Fondue recipe (we substitute flour for cornstarch)

Kielbasa with marmalade: using one or two packages of kielbasa, depending on how many mouths you’re feeding, slice up the sausage into thin coins and sauté with several generous spoonfuls of orange marmalade, until well glazed. Place in bowl and set out on the table along with chunks of bread, and the fondue pot.

My Childhood | Your Childhood

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 Vivid mental Polaroid’s from my childhood have been paying me a visit lately. Growing up in San Francisco in the 70’s and 80’s makes for some colorful memories.

Sisters sunbathing topless on the back deck of our Richmond District home. Floating around in our home-made redwood hot tub with a life-jacket on that my dad required me to wear when he wasn’t ‘on deck’. Parents taking me, their youngest by 13 years, off to Europe to live in a small Mercedes milk delivery truck, which we traversed through numerous countries in over the course of one year. Its interior decorated with my three-year-old art work, a mattress in the back for my parents, a hammock over the front seat at night for me, and a wall with a hole in it separating the two, which I could barely crawl through.

Growing up at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center where my mom worked throughout much of my childhood – the smells of chlorine and baked chicken take me right back to the original building. Tap dance classes in the auditorium with Carol Butler.

Peace marches, folk concerts, and demonstrations. Delicious home-cooked meals by my mom that were my first exposure to really good food. Walking hand-in-hand with my dad to a local dim sum bakery where barely peeking over the counter, I’d pick out a steamed pork bun, and gobble it down on our way back home together.
Even as I’m writing this, more memories are flooding in and I can’t help but compare and contrast the childhood I had, to the childhood Caleb and Sadie are having. As they are growing up just across the Bay from where I was raised, I observe similar themes: close-knit loving family, delicious meals, Jewish community, arts and culture, and parents who want to expose them to as much good in the world as they can. I can’t say I’ve taken the kiddos to a peace march, but have brought them to many an AIDS Walk – a cause that is deeply important to me. I think my “Make Dinner Not War” bumper sticker is a left over from that time and it really reflects my desire to live in a peaceful world, where life revolves around the family table, and a difference is made, one well-cooked meal at a time.

Caleb and Sadie live in a big town, where I lived in a small city. They frequent farmer’s markets and block parties, soccer practice in the park and story time at the library, they go to Purim festivals at the North Berkeley JCC, and they are spoiled on some of the finest food, which is so readily accessible to them. They have a loving Jewish earth momma who blogs about their every delicious bite and food adventure. A doting father who runs them into Tilden Park at every opportunity to be at one with nature, a steam train, a carousel  and a steep grassy hill to roll down. They are surround by wonderful family members who respect who they are and what they have to say, and want to expose them to everything from Jewish holidays, to life on a Sonoma farm and pulling eggs from a hen house, to the correct way of ordering a burrito at a Mission District taqueria.

Where am I going with all this? Not sure! I have a stinky head cold and everything feels very circuitous to me at the moment. This is just a rich life they’re exposed to. I would never trade in my childhood memories – they are unique, eccentric, and reflective of the era in which I was raised – but, I rather envy Caleb and Sadie’s.

Missing Ma

Each year around this time, I typically begin playing my melancholy-mom-song throughout the house…No Frontiers by Mary Black. I flip through photos in my mind of my mom, and all the years I was fortunate enough to have her in my life. I long for the sound of her voice, the taste of her food, and the feel of her love.

She passed away five years ago this month. It’s almost unfathomable how quickly the time has gone by. Caleb was just turning two when she died. He’s turning seven next month and still remembers her. I so wish that she and Sadie had a chance to meet, and that both of my children could have had years to enjoy with their Bubbie, one of the most beautiful human beings I’m lucky enough to have known.

Ma: if you could read this, I’d want you to know how crazy in love you would be with Caleb and Sadie. Lucky for you, their Zadie (Grandpa) showers them with more than enough love for the two of you. I love you, I miss you immensely, and I honor and celebrate your life each day by teaching my children the righteous values you taught me, as well as love for all things food, family, friends, and an appreciation of the colorful patterns and textures of this crazy, beautiful world we live in.

No Frontiers | By Mary Black

If life is a river and your heart is a boat
And just like a water baby, baby born to float
And if life is a wild wind that blows way on high
Then your heart is amelia dying to fly
Heaven knows no frontiers
And I’ve seen heaven in your eyes

And if life is a bar room in which we must wait
’round the man with his fingers on the ivory gates
Where we sing until dawn of our fears and our fates
And we stack all the deadmen in self addressed crates
In your eyes faint as the singing of a lark
That somehow this black night
Feels warmer for the spark
Warmer for the spark
To hold us ’til the day
When fear will lose it’s grip
And heaven has it’s way
Heaven knows no frontiers
And I’ve seen heaven in your eyes

If your life is a rough bed of brambles and nails
And your spirit’s a slave to man’s whips and man’s jails
Where you thirst and you hunger for justice and right
Then your heart is a pure flame of man’s constant night
In your eyes faint as the singing of a lark
That somehow this black night
Feels warmer for the spark
Warmer for the spark
To hold us ’til the day when fear will lose it’s grip
And heaven has it’s way
And heaven has it’s way
When all will harmonise
And know what’s in our hearts
The dream will realise

Heaven knows no frontiers
And I’ve seen heaven in your eyes
Heaven knows no frontiers
And I’ve seen heaven in your eye

Walking with Caleb

My family took part in AIDS Walk San Francisco today and through generous donations from friends and family, raised $1350 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Caleb got so into it, every time we passed a group of enthusiastic volunteers (including drag queens waving pom-poms, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, belly dancers, brass bands, etc.), he thought they were cheering just for him! I was particularly proud of him for walking the entire course, close to six miles, without kvetching much at all. I also took great pleasure (and pride) in walking with Mateo and Sadie. It feels so important, sharing something that you’re passionate about with your family…also, showing them that there is a greater community who cares about the same things. As is the case every year I walk, I was very moved by the experience.

We truly appreciate the support. It felt like we made a difference today. And, one more thing…I LOVE San Francisco!!!

Fifteen Years

Days may be cloudy or sunny
We’re in or we’re out of the money
But I’m with you always
I’m with you rain or shine

– Billie Holiday, Come Rain or Come Shine (our wedding song)

I often tell Mateo, “When it comes to our love, it feels like I keep winning the lottery over and over!”

We met one evening at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. We each had come to watch the sunset. That canopy of spectacular colors was one of the most majestic sunsets I have ever witnessed and it more than set the stage for a beautiful life together.

For us, getting married and imagining a long life together took a considerable leap-of-faith. For several years, we had to take our relationship one day at a time, when my health and long-term outlook were questionable. These days, the future has stretched out before us and we are blessed with a wealth of riches…Caleb and Sadie being at the top of the heap.

Our 15th wedding anniversary was on Friday, May 4. We spent this past weekend celebrating in the wine country, enjoying several romantic meals (no credit going to the French Laundry, whose wait-list we never came off of!), a gourmet picnic lunch at a winery, and much hand-holding and reflective conversation.

This post is dedicated to that momentous and most worthwhile leap we took over fifteen years ago. To the love that brought us Caleb and Sadie. To the hope-filled future we now have rolled out before us. I am immensely grateful to be on this journey with you, Myteo. Your love has truly given me years. To the many, many more we will spend together!

And to the French Laundry…your loss!

Sam Wo Is Me

A moment of silence for the death of the infamous Sam Wo Restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. On Friday evening, I read the obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle and am still grappling with the news.

My childhood memories are filled with visits to Sam Wo’s on Washington Street near Grant Avenue. I would usually go with my dad on one of his lunch breaks from work in the Financial District. We would come off the street, walk through the bustling and unsavory kitchen, then up the stairs to the second or third floor to be greeted by Edsel Ford Fong, an equal opportunity bastard, known as the ‘rudest waiter’.

Truth to tell, I was fond of Edsel. Who wouldn’t get a kick out of a waiter who yelled at patrons to hurry up and order, even though they had not yet received their menus? He would hand you a dish and bark at you to hand it to the table behind you because he could not make it through the crowds. On occasion, he would give us an untallied bill, commanding us to total it ourselves. The walls were covered with Polaroid’s of Edsel being kissed by some unsuspecting female patron, as well as sayings like “Be Specific like the Pacific Ocean!” Edsel riddled every sentence with “Check it out!” What’s not to love!?

Occasionally, we would see a cat run through the kitchen or a surly looking chef sneeze into a pot of boiling noodles as the cigarette in his mouth barely flinched. The food was appealing, but the kitchen was disgusting. For this reason, I got into the habit of asking the cooks to wash their hands before handling the noodle rolls. There was likely a sign in the back with my picture on it, with a command to spit in my food if I ask for hands to be washed!

As unsanitary as the 100-year-old restaurant was (and the main reason for its closure), it had huge appeal and was known for two dishes in particular, the barbecue pork rice noodle rolls and the fish salad. I was, and still am, particularly crazy about the rice noodle rolls – thick sheets of rice noodle filled with char siu (bbq pork), baked egg, and cilantro, then rolled into a log and cut sushi style into thick pieces – and always enjoyed mine with a combination of oyster sauce and hot Chinese mustard. This would definitely be on the top of the menu for my ‘last meal’.

My parents loved rice noodle rolls so much (dad still does), that shortly before my mom died, I ran out to Ranch 99 Market for the ingredients. Back in their kitchen, I lovingly prepared the dish from memory, and was so pleased to watch my mom savor every bite of my rice noodle roll re-creation.

Even though I’ve since moved out of the City, I have always known in the back of my mind that I could return for an order of rice noodle rolls, whenever my heart desired. After receiving the earth-shattering news on Friday, I had to do something to come to grips with my loss. On Saturday morning, I ran out to our local Ranch 99 for the ingredients once again.

Unfortunately, the rice noodles I purchased were stale and after steaming them, I was only able to rescue one sheet of noodle to make a single roll. With the remaining ingredients, I made a ‘deconstructed’ rice noodle roll salad, which I later brought to a potluck. The dish consisted of bbq pork slices, baked egg, cilantro, sliced rice noodles, and I tossed it with oyster sauce and a little hot mustard. It had all of the components and flavors of rice noodle rolls – Caleb loved it, and I would make it again!

It now sounds like the owners of Sam Wo’s are trying to work with the City to re-open the restaurant. They would have to spend much money to repair the ancient building and comply with health inspectors and the fire department. If they do re-open, I’ll be dancing in the streets, kissing strangers, and shoving copious amounts of delectable rice noodle rolls into my mouth. Just you wait and see!

My version: rice noodle rolls and noodle roll salad

It’s Been a Bittersweet Rock Road

Although this post is truly about homemade ice cream, to tell you the truth, this year has kind of been a bittersweet rocky road! Very rewarding, yet exhausting. Mateo and I have been juggling two full-time careers, two children under six, and graduate school (Mateo gets his MBA in 5 weeks!!) As rewarding as the pay-off will be, it’s been kind of brutal. I say, what better way to end the year, than to make delicious homemade ice cream and infuse our lives with more sweetness and fun!

I’ve been threatening to buy an ice cream maker for a while now. I grew up with the hand-cranked maker, which I’m convinced was invented by the Amish! You know, the kind situated in a wooden bucket-looking container. You throw the ice and rock salt in the outside compartment, ice cream contents in the inner compartment and your family members take turn cranking the handle on the kitchen floor, while whining “are we there yet!?”…”this is hard!” Not too far off from how we’ve been feeling much of the year.

Over this holiday break, I finally purchased a Cuisinart ice cream maker. I was so excited to use it with Caleb; I invited friends over for dinner almost as an excuse to make a few flavors with him (we love their company too). Over the past few days, we’ve made two fabulous flavors: bittersweet rocky road (apropos of our year of being in the trenches) and chocolate with caramel and bittersweet chocolate chunks.

I love modern ice cream makers! Freeze the container, mix five or six ingredients in a bowl, pour the contents into frozen container, place in electric unit and let it work its magic. Making homemade ice cream is so easy that I’m making the next batch with Sadie who is only two and a half!

We’re bad. We did some product testing before our friends came over and were quite enamored with our homemade concoctions. We were very excited to share our successes with our friends. For the occasion, I bought handmade cones from a local ice creamery to enjoy with our homemade ice cream.

The verdict all around? Homemade ice cream seriously rocks! It tastes incredibly fresh and without added stabilizers, very delicate and very rich.

Here is to a much sweeter year ahead with less on our proverbial plates, more room in our hearts and lives, and plenty of delicious homemade food on our actual plates!

Happy New Year! Thank you for following our blog this past year. It means the world to us.

Love,

Anya & Caleb (Mateo and Sadie too!)

Stay tuned for cooking adventures with Sadie…

Milestones

One for One!

Please humor a proud momma here. This post has nothing to do with cooking or eating, unless you count the congratulatory ice cream that Caleb was treated to after hitting a major milestone just today! Caleb has reached a number of noteworthy milestones as of late and I’m so proud of him. Here are the big one’s:

Bidding adieu to training wheels (today, hence the ice cream!)…

Losing his first tooth on Halloween…

Starting kindergarten this year…

Learning to read on his own…

And, turning six this month!

Happy Birthday and congratulations to my Caleb! I am so proud of your recent milestones. We’ll have to cook something really fun soon to celebrate! Cupcakes!!!

Sundays

As a full-time working mother of two who supports her full-time working husband in grad school, let’s face it, free time isn’t something I have much of. Still, I refuse to let whole foods and delicious meals fall to the wayside…damn it! I want my family to eat well and I want to really enjoy what I’m eating throughout the week.

I’m constantly thinking of ways to consolidate my efforts to save energy (especially on the weekends when I want to be savoring time with my family) and have found Sundays to be my friend. I look to each Sunday as an opportunity carve out a little chunk of time to prepare some tasty provisions for the week. Food that cannot be easily thrown together on a bustling weekday evening at six o’clock…like roast beets, boiled artichokes, baked sweet potatoes, not to mention the occasional pot pie casserole or roast chicken — all of which get stored in the fridge for the week ahead.

Yes, this sounds like a lot of work on a day that usually consists of shopping, laundry, and play dates, but I find it to be a valuable use of my time that truly pays off. It only feels like I’m overextending myself until I have all of this delicious whole food goodness stocked up in my refrigerator waiting to be enjoyed during the busy days ahead.

What a treat to be able to offer a roast beet salad on a Tuesday night, along with some roast chicken. I can pull out some pre-baked yams from the fridge to put in the oven for ten minutes, drop the artichokes back in boiling water to reheat (in the meantime, whipping up a quick batch of garlic aioli for dipping), then cook up some sausages to go with. Look out, Rachael Ray!

It feels so rewarding to be sitting around the family table in the middle of the week, sharing in a meal that wasn’t pulled out of the freezer and thrown in the oven — one that is gourmet, healthy, and appeals to all of the varied tastes in my family. A bunch of milling around for a few hours on a Sunday really pays off and leaves all of us feeling pretty good.

If You Give a Mom a Bubble Bath

Co-written by two tired moms, Anya Soltero & Amy Stewart-Deaker

(Based on the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series)
 

If you give a mom a bubble bath, she’s going to want a glass of wine to drink in the tub.

If you give her some wine, she’s going to feel sleepy and want to take a nap.

If you let her take a nap, she’s going to wake up in a panic over all her undone errands.

If you let her get in the car and run a million errands, she’s going to need to get a latte. And she’ll see the nail salon next to the café.

If you let her get a pedicure, she’s going to want to buy some strappy sandals to show off her pretty toes.

If you let her buy cute shoes, she’s going to think they are too fancy to wear for mac-n-cheese and she’s going to want to go out to dinner.

If you take her out to dinner, she’s going to want to go to Chez Panisse.

If you take her to Chez Panisse, she’s going to want to eat everything on the menu because she feels so denied.

If you let her eat everything off the menu, she’s going to want you to remind her not to eat everything off the menu again.

If you remind her not to eat everything off the menu again, she’s going to ask you if you think she’s fat.

God help you, if you answer “yes”, she’s going to cry into her dark chocolate soufflé and require extensive validation of how beautiful she is and how she is a wonderful mom.

If you give her this validation, she’s not really going to believe you and then tell you that she’s tired and wants to go home.

If you bring her home, she’s going to want to lie on the couch and moan about how full she is.

If you let her lay on the couch, she’s going to notice her beautiful pedicure.

Her pretty toe nails are going to remind her that they would look cute sticking out of a bubble bath.

And chances are…she’s probably going to ask you to make her a bubble bath again.