Saturday, December 10, 2011

K is for Keeping Up with the...

I have been searching for tips on how to handle two little monkeys, and one of the sites had a very good piece of advice:  Don't compare yourself to other moms.  This is SOOOO hard to do, but such good advice.  I'm lucky to be surrounded by such amazing moms, many of whom now have two kiddoes.  They all seem to be handling it so well, they keep their cool, they find time to do all these things while I haven't bathed in a week.  All things being equal, it's great to learn from and look up to your peers, but things are not equal.

First of all, not all parents are the same.  Maybe some moms can handle lots of loud noise/big messes/etc with just a sigh, but not all of us can.  Loud noises bother my husband much more than me, so I see it in my own home where I am able to keep my cool much longer with noisy play than he does.  It's not that he's more short-tempered than I am, it's that he's more sensitive to noises.  Each parent has their own stuff that pushes our buttons, and each kid makes their own kind of mischeif.  Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn't.

Second, not all kids are the same.  I was in denial for the first two years that Violet is a "spirited" child, but now I realize that she is more energetic, kinesthetic, and needy than many children.  When other moms watch her they return her to me with wide eyes and ask how I do it...  So the fact that I can get through the day is pretty good, right?

Third, unless you are going to actually ask for advice on how to improve your own parenting, making comparisons based on what you see doesn't really help you, it just makes you feel bad about yourself.

Finally, it's important to remember that what you see of other people's parenting is usually them at their best, and  yet we usually compare that to ourselves at our worst.

I've been really struggling this week, feeling like PPD is swallowing me up, and feeling lost and alone.  I just keep reminding myself that this too shall pass, and nothing needs to be perfect, it needs to be the best I can do.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

J is for Jackfruit: Fruit Made Savory

The first time I heard about this jackfruit thing was when I was watching the second season of The Great Food Truck Race because I heard there was a vegan food truck participating.  The Seabirds truck was known for it's "jackfruit tacos" and they kept talking about them.

I looked up recipes and found two basic ideas:

1. Jackfruit "pulled pork" made by slow cooking jackfruit in BBQ sauce.
2.  Jackfruit "carnitas" made by cooking jackfruit with onion, garlic, and spices.

I went right out and got three cans of jackfruit.  As soon as I got home, I looked at the recipes closer, and saw that I needed GREEN jackfruit, not the ripe jackfruit I had purchased.  Of course.  I went back to the store and there was no green jackfruit, just the ripe kind.  The store I was at is largely Asian goods, so I was worried I wouldn't find it anywhere.  Everything I read said to look in Asian groceries though, so I tried another shop and found some.  I got two cans to try each method.

First I made the "pulled pork."  I sautteed the jackfruit with some garlic and got it a bit browned, then put it in the crock pot with a generous covering of my favorite BBQ sauce.  Straight out of the can, the jackfruit has a mild flavor that reminds me of a lychee, but not nearly as sweet.  The floral flavor still reads as sweet though, and I felt like with my sweet BBQ sauce it was just not right.  The texture was good though.  With the right sauce, it would probably be good.

Next, I made the "carnitas."  I had a "carne asada" spice pack that I had been wanting to use.  It was a late night snack, because my hubs wanted some nachos.  He heated up some black beans and cheddar daiya, while I made the jackfruit.  I rinsed the jackfruit and sauteed it with some oil and garlic.  Once it started to get browned, I mashed it up with a potato masher.  It's almost unsettling how the texture looks like shredded meat.  I then added the spices and continued to cook it until it got nice browned bits, and is mostly crispy.  I put these crispy, spicy, tender bits on top of the nacho dip and it added great texture and flavor.  The sweetness didn't come through for me, so it was perfect.  No, it's not meat, and frankly I don't really want something too much like meat anymore.

I liked it so much that I sent my darling husband to get some more jackfruit for me... A lot more.  The thing is, with two little ones, it's impossible to go into a small Asian grocery store.  So I texted Gordon while he was out running errands and said, "Could you get 10 or more cans of jackfruit?"

Apparently, a white guy buying 10 cans of jackfruit in a tiny Asian grocery store isn't odd enough to even warrant asking what he was using it for or why he liked it so much.  I wish I could read the cashier's mind and know what she thought of this purchase.

Sorry I don't have pictures, but I will try to update with some next time I make this.

For specialty stuff like this, Amazon is great!  Here's my affiliate link for the brand I buy.