PinItToWinItOK, everyone, now that you have a sense for what we’re doing over here in Challenge land, it’s time for you to step up your game.  The challenge is serious business, it’s not all about salt and mustaches.  No idea what I’m talking about?  Clearly you’re missing some critical blog posts that have the ability to change your life. Until your kids go to college, at which point, I’m of no use to you anymore.

I still get emails from you that you (aghast) still have picky eaters at home and can’t get them to eat dinner.  You’re still making multiple meals.  And you’re still scared to try new foods with your little rascals (I mean angels).  Nonsense.  We’re nixing the bad habits and we’re going to work on this together.  

It’s time for you to join me on the challenge.  You heard me right – the 52-week challenge is now opening its doors for you to participate and tell the rest of the world how fantastically amazing your kids are.  Before you know it, they’ll be even better eaters than you are.  They’ll be ripping open sea urchin shells with their bare hands, and slurping the contents raw while banging their plastic Princess/Buzz Lightyear utensils on the table wanting “more mommy more!” 

OK, we’re getting carried away here.  But I think we’d all be happy if they ate some melon and asked for seconds.  And don’t you want to have a place to brag about it?

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RadishesI don’t know, maybe the kids were misbehaving or something.  Because radishes are kind of like punishment for a kid, not a fun vegetable to try together.  Maybe I was thinking that I’d find out that all of my kids really like spicy food and I could start making them blazing hot Thai curries for dinner rather than the plainer meals I tend to make.  However, it did end up being one of our more engaging mystery food challenges, until it wrapped up quickly at the end.

ME: “What does it look like?”

LAUREN: “I think it looks like…”

SAM: “A tomato.”

LAUREN: “A little tomato.”

SAM: “It looks like a small and smaller potato.”

ME: “What does it feel like?”

LAUREN: “Well it’s kind of smooth.”

ME: “What do you think like Sam?”

SAM: “Ya ya ya ya.”

ME: “Emma, what do you think?”

EMMA: “Mooth (smooth).”

ME: “What does it smell like?”

SAM: “Yuck.”

LAUREN: “I think it smells a little bit like apples.”

ME: “Cool.  Do you want me to cut into it so that I can show you the inside?”

LAUREN: “Not mine.”

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I’m thinking of pitching the networks about a Top Chef moms’ edition.  Where untrained home cooks come together to battle each other in a series of challenges, one of which would be an arm wrestle followed by a beer chug.  If you want to try this with a group of neighborhood moms, the Executive Gift Shoppe sells 32-ounce mugs for the bargain basement price of $35 each.  

The Executive Gift Shoppe being THE place to shop for the executive in your life, should you wish to buy him or her a gigantic beer mug, laser pointer, or something from the “Executive games” category.  Which disappointingly turned out to be nothing more than rosewood chess and card sets.  Although the Business & Pleasure Stationery Box is available for the naughtier executive in your life.

Another challenge would be the cook-out-of-the fridge battle where we’d scrounge around shelves filled with old yogurts, shriveled cucumbers and a pack of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate.  Trying to make something so tasty Tom Colicchio would smack his lips and sing “Hallellujah!”

Which is what I do just about every Sunday (cook out of a naked fridge, not the Tom thing, but that would be very cool too).  So heads up fellow moms – if we ever do battle on Top Chef, I may have a pretty unfair advantage here.


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I just learned that I’ve been pronouncing jicama the wrong way my whole life.  It’s not a short “i”, like “hit”, but a more pronounced “ee”.  And now I can’t stop thinking about the Ricola ads with someone yelling from a mountaintop “Hee-ca-maaaa”.  But cough drops aside, jicama has high kid appeal.  I have no idea why we don’t use it more, except for the fact that it can be a little challenging to track down.  It’s sweeter than most vegetables, with a subtle apple-like flavor.  You can cut it up, put it into baggies and it won’t brown on you like other root veggies (e.g. potatoes).  Not that you’d want to feed your kids raw potatoes. My kids have already accused me of doing that.  But try it out and see how it goes, you just may have found another item to add to the short list of vegetables your kids will actually eat.

LAUREN: “I think it looks like an onion.  And a coconut.”

ME: “OK, why?”

LAUREN: “Because it’s white on the inside.”

ME: “And what about the size?”

LAUREN: “It’s kind of medium.”

ME: “Not big?”

LAUREN: “Not that big.”

SAM: “Yes it is.”

ME: “Sam thinks it’s big, do you disagree?”

LAUREN: “Yeah.  I think watermelon is bigger than jicama.  Cause watermelon WEIGHS more than jicama.  And it looks more bigger than jicama.”

SAM: “But the size of this [points to a lemon] is so small.”

ME: “What does it smell like?”

LAUREN: “Like a fresh morning of spring.  Flowers and a garden.”

SAM: “It smells like a mustache.”

LAUREN: “Well, if you put it under your nose it smells like one.”

SAM: “It smells like a big, big onion.”

ME: “What does it feel like?”

LAUREN: “A little rough like dirt.”

ME: “What about you Sam?”

SAM: “It looks beautiful if I scratch it.”

ME: “What does it taste like?”

LAUREN: “I think it tastes really really sweet.  Like apples.”

EMMA: (Running over from the sidelines) “Wahn smeow it.” (Want to smell it)


EggsOnSaladI’ve stopped counting the number of eggs I eat in a day.  It’s grotesque.  But you just can’t beat them for their portability and nutritional punch.  I keep them in my fridge, hard-boiled and wrapped in their protective shell, ready and waiting for those times when my stomach gets a little bitchy and starts growling at me to get her some grub or else….Well, I don’t know what the “or else” would be, but she has the ability to throw off my whole program if I go too long without feeding her.

Strangely enough, Tim Ferriss of the 4-Hour Workweek fame, seems to have a similar affinity for eggs, which I’ve learned from his incessant promotion of his latest book, the 4-Hour Chef.  Who knew the guy could cook.  I guess if he’s spending the other 164 hours of his week practicing Tango in Bolivia, body-building on Venice Beach and learning his 19th language, cooking ought to factor somewhere.  If you want to know more about Tim Ferriss and his eggs, you can check out his YouTube videos where he does odd things to them, like using baking soda to blow hard-boilers out of their shells. From the cheery confines of his dimly-lit kitchen where he may or may not be storing roadkill in his cabinets, you can catch a glimpse of Tim doing what he does best: smugly rocking your world.  Seriously, I have to try the hard-boiled egg trick.  It may be game-changing.

However, the goal of this post is not to talk about Tim Ferriss, but rather, my lunch.  I’ve made this meal a few times now, and each time I’m surprised by how good it is.  I’ve searched around online, and it seems that my idea is hardly novel: to top a puckeringly-bright green salad with scrambled eggs.  But somehow it feels original, even in its simplicity.

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