Friday, April 4, 2008

Mommy's Little Helper

Wow, I was looking back at my recent posts, and I’ve been in quite the crabby mood lately. Sorry for whining so much! Usually I’m more positive. I’ll have to assume it’s the never-ending winter, but that’s a bad excuse.

Anyway, today is a happier (and shorter!) day.

My kids generally eat fairly healthy foods. They’re little kids though, so there are definitely exceptions to this. But some of the things they eat and enjoy surprise me – salmon, edamame, miso-glazed chicken, mango pudding, beef stroganoff. I’ll toss it all at them and let them decide.

It’s sort of fun to watch them insist there’s no way they’re eating something. I inevitably remind them of our rule that they have to taste something – and no, tasting doesn’t mean putting your tongue in the general vicinity of said item and the insisting you don’t like it. You actually have to take a bite, chew and swallow. The swallowing part is key. Needless to say, I always ensure they have a glass of something to drink in case they don’t like it. And well better than 50% of the time, they decide they like it.

They also enjoy cooking and baking with me – at least until their attention wanders elsewhere. Whenever I’m at the island, Little Miss insists on dragging a stool over and climbing up to observe or – better yet – help me.

This morning, I had to make some more granola. Yeah I know, I make my own granola. It’s what I eat for breakfast most mornings with a bit of yogurt atop it. Yum!

Once we got Mister Man on the bus, we headed inside, and she climbed onto her designated stool. She helped me dump in the four cups of oats. Then she proceeded to pick them up a few at a time and eat them. “Mmmm, oatmeal!” Well, actually they’re oats, Sweetie. “No, OATMEAL! It’s oatmeal, Mommy.” I tried to explain the difference, but to no avail. But let’s back up a moment – she’s picking up dry oats and eating them. And likes them. What kind of a kid does that? Oh yeah, one who decides she likes baking soda.

Then we add the wheat germ. She doesn’t think she likes that one. Coconut is next. By now, I’m catching on, and I decide to add a little extra. Smart Mommy. She ate probably a quarter of the coconut I put in there. Apparently, she also likes coconut. In go the pine nuts. Yup, she apparently likes them, too. As I add the cinnamon, she starts dipping the pine nuts into the cinnamon. Granted, I’m combining the flavors in my granola, but dipping pine nuts into cinnamon wouldn’t be my first choice of a snack. Nutmeg? Same thing.

Of course we have to smell all the yummy ingredients. She now prefers to hold the jars and baggies herself. “No help, Mommy. I can do it myself!” So far, so good – knock on wood. We’ve yet to have a cinnamon-scented floor because the spilled something everywhere.

Well, sort of. As I was getting the olive oil and honey together, she decided she wanted to stir the dry ingredients by herself, just like Mommy did. Yeah, we had a little spray of stuff go all over the island. And the assorted items that somehow seem magnetically and irresistibly drawn there – the books, children’s museum membership card, children’s artwork, etc. Whoops. Fortunately, her stirring was fairly shallow, so only a bit of the ingredients went flying.

Smart girl knows that there are some things she can’t do. The last step is adding chopped dried cherries after the granola has baked. She pulled her stool back up to help me. Then she saw the knife. “This is adult work, Mommy. I’m just going to watch.” She paused for a moment, and then, “But, Mommy, I want some cherries, too.”


House of Jules April 4, 2008 at 4:37 PM  

Super cute post! Speaking of granola, do you read Orangette? She had a recipe on there a few posts back about her homemade granola with chocolate that sounded amazing. Now that I've also read this post, I'm going to have to hit the grocery store this weekend!
House of Jules

justme April 4, 2008 at 5:27 PM  

i am not sure if you are getting my comments, or maybe you emailed me and i didn't get it...but if you want the book you won i need your home address to mail it.

my email is

Michelle April 4, 2008 at 6:34 PM  

No... neophyte me has never heard of Orangette (I also heard something about the Fug Girls? recently but haven't looked into that either!). Where is that?

The granola is great... And the chocolate one sounds yummy, too. Except that I have to wear a satin dress a month from yesterday. This granola is actually super healthy and filling because of how it's composed. But I still want to go find that chocolate recipe ;)

House of Jules April 4, 2008 at 7:00 PM  

Here's the direct link to the chocolate granola recipe on Molly's fantastic blog, Orangette; which after you read all about it you'll mark your calendar to make it one month from TOMORROW, after satin-dressville is over with!

You'll have to scroll down a little bit to get to the actual recipe... she has a story for everything on that blog!

French Chocolate Granola

The fug girls ( are funny but I'm a MichaelK girl ( all the way. He's the king of snarky pop culture and never fails to make me laugh out loud.
House of Jules

Mary April 4, 2008 at 8:15 PM  

Yum, that really sounds good! (sans coconut) I love granola but have never even thought of making my own.

My little one doesn't want to help cook yet, she just wants to eat. Actually, my big girls are exactly in that same mode. You cook it mom, I'll just eat.

You'd think I must be a good cook or something. Nope.

Michelle April 4, 2008 at 8:44 PM  

You'll laugh. I actually don't like coconut, but in the granola, it gets toasted and mixed with other ingredients. The texture and slightly sweet flavor actually add a lot. It was one of the ingredients I added to the recipe late in the game, and it made a big difference (yes, I'm a geek; this is one of the recipes I made up).

And I hate to disagree with you, but of course you're a good cook! *Every* mom is a good cook in their own kids'eyes -- just ask my husband (regarding his mom, of course)!

Michelle April 4, 2008 at 9:22 PM  

Jules -- you'll laugh. I'm just so proud of myself for getting "fug" right. After all, it was two friends talking about it last weekend, so that's lots of time for it to slip through the cracks in my brain.

I did take a look at the recipe, and yum! I even have the Trader Joe's chocolate in my pantry already... but definitely something to put on hold until after the wedding ;) The best part though was seeing that I'm not the only extremely long winded blogger out there!

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