Tuesday, September 28, 2010

M&C Smack-Down

You may have a hunch that things are amiss in the hood tonight. It's true, the Big Adoption Series typically doesn't open with a photo of garden produce. But rules are meant to be broken and for everything there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and these times, they are a'changin' and most of all... It's not my fault.

But more on that in a moment.

For now, I have something to get off my chest.

Calvin's last words to me tonight, after bedtime prayers, were, "Mommy, but why do girls have those bumps on their chest with a crack in the middle?"

Have mercy.

You send your child off to kindergarten and they come home talking about chest cracks?

I have never had to try so hard not to laugh. I gave my typical, "That's just the way God made ladies" response, to which he replied, "Well, maybe that's where babies come out. Out of those bumps."

Help me.

I thank my lucky stars that we have real-life people in our lives who have had C-sections. It's a perfect, age-appropriate go-to answer, and I don't even have to fib when I say "Sometimes doctors make a cut in the tummy and just pull the baby out." That blasted clock is ticking so ferociously in my ear - it's only a matter of time before he notices my "sometimes" caveat.

So, back to my day. Er, days.

Have you ever had a meeting with a realtor where photos would be taken for the official listing of your house? And in getting ready for that meeting, did you ever commence the mad dash stash? It seems like such a good idea, at the time. Such a time-saver.

Until you hike the heat box up to 450 a few hours later and very nearly burn your house down via Betty Crocker and Tupperware.

Willy and Nilly could hardly stand the excitement and Pilly? Well, he was like a moth to a flame. He couldn't tear himself away from the melted plastic smoke. It kept luring him back. Not good. Not good at all.

Cory got on his maintenancey groove and the crisis was averted in no time flat.

Good thing, because I had thighs to roast for Clear-the-Fridge casserole.

I started this tradition back in our tiny apartment, with a box of Rice-A-Roni and a pair of ice-glazed breasts. Maybe a tomato or two. A sprinkle of pre-shredded cheese. Who can say, really? It was a hot seller, though. It inspired Cory's very first "This could be served in a restaurant", which should be an indication of just how smitten he was.

Since then, I've noticed that one helping of Rice-A-Roni contains half a day's worth of sodium and I know myself well enough to know that I'll take my salt on a Santita, thankyouverymuch. So, brown rice it is. Hot from the cooker. I've also taken to shredding my own cheese (it actually melts!).

I roasted the gams with a slice of lemon and some fresh thyme and rosemary under the skin. They cooked for 25 or 30 minutes while I chopped up the other goodies: zuchinni, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, lemon zest, more herbs. (A fresh grate of parm over the top would have been heaven, but I took a late turn for the lazy and opted out.)

Out of the oven, the chicken skin was removed and the meat was shredded. I cooked up the veggies in 1 T butter and a drizzle of oil, then mixed the rice and chicken in just when it started crying out for company.


An unphotogenic meal shot in poor, energy-efficient lighting, that was darn, danged tasty.

Everyone liked it.

If you don't believe me, ask my rice-crusted floor.

But now, the real reason I'm slacking on my BAS. It seems there's a Macaroni and Cheese Smack-Down burning up the town. It seems Jayme, Jen, Teresa and myself all had a different version on the menu. That's what we call serendipity, folks. Kismet.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, I ponied up. I wasn't called "The Shark" at a prior job for naught. I'm in it to win it.

At least that's what I was thinking until I looked a little closer at what they brought to the table. Crumb topping, they brought. Gooey goodness atop a jadeite saucer atop something that Cath Kidston may or may not have had a hand in creating. Velveeta, for the love of Pete! Who can possibly compete with Velveeta? It has magical powers, after all. It doesn't even need refrigeration!

All these elbows and all this special cheese has me feeling akin to the cheerleader with the bad perm. The sympathy vote on the homecoming court.

My M&C insecurities have climbed to a brand new height.

Nevertheless, I give you - Stovetop Brocc Mac & Cheese.*

The dreamy, creamy sauce is spooned over the cooked pasta and broccoli. It was a crowd pleaser.

So, do I have your vote?

Please say yes. My inner, geeky 15 year old begs you.

If nothing else, vote for me out of spite. It is, after all, their fault that the Big Adoption Series was unceremoniously booted to Wednesday.

*I substituted sour cream for the high-falutin' creme fraiche.


  1. since i've been reading your blog for a couple of months and been to shy to say so, i thought a "hi" would be in order.
    and you have my vote for that Brocc. and cheese. I really dislike any baked mac'n'chs. i think i ate it when i was sick as a child. I love to mix broccli with boxed Kraft and sprinkle bac'nbits on top. my 3 year old snarfs it down and i feel that i'm a genius for getting her to eat broccli. your version looks pretty gourmet-delish to me. i'll try it on a "special" nite.

  2. Creme Fraiche? Wow, Farmgirl. You brought out the big guns. Love me some Creme Fraiche. Looks delightful. Oh, and if you do the company's coming stash behind the shower curtain, it's a bit safer than the oven. Not that I would know from experience or anything.

  3. And the Oscar for best mac and cheese goes to..... Shannan! Ha looks pretty darn good though! I can't tell you how many times I have melted sweet somethings I put in the oven so I wouldn't eat them! I am famous for removing a hot dish from the oven walking away for a few seconds to do something and then returning and removing the lid with my bare hand Yee ouch! I never learn!! I am nursing a burn wound now from making baked steak. Anxiously awaiting the adoption post!

  4. oh my goodness, you had me laughing at every turn with this one... please, we have to meet up someday. only i'm sure you'll find me dreadfully boring. thank you for this. love to you tonight, and the little ones in your 'hood'.

  5. Oh my. Calvin's lines are the funniest thing I've heard all day. granted, I've had a pretty boring day, but still . . . and I would just like one serving of each mac and cheese, k?

  6. Love the rice encrusted floor. Everything you make looks fabulous. I'll be over in ummmm 12 hours:)

  7. Willy and Nilly almost made fall out of the bed laughing! You are too much. Is it wrong that I would like some of that m&c now...after midnight?

  8. Love the questions that kids come up with. Pushing babies out of your breasts is classic. For some reason it made me think of Lady Gaga and those exploding bustiers she wears...hmm...maybe I shouldn't have shared that?

    As for the mac-n-cheese--it looks delish. The funny thing is I was just watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa where she made mac-n-cheese with mushrooms that looked yummy. Only, I don't like mushrooms so my daughter and I said we should make it with broccoli instead and here you have a recipe with broccoli. Kismet indeed!

  9. I have done the super stash for parties before and one year later could not remember how that bowl of toy litter ended up on the top shelf of the linen closet.

    Love the picture of your floor. Really captures the moment perfectly. You need a lab to come and clean it up. Mine is available for rent and gets paid in peanut butter sandwiches.

  10. A crack in the chest? That's a good one.

    About the where-babies-come-from questions? I recommend The Splat Answers. Just spit out the truth, no pre-thinking. "Babies out the chest? Oh my no! They grow in the womb and then they come out through the vagina. It's much less painful than coming out the chest. The chest is where the heart is and the heart pumps the blood to keep you alive." And then you take a deep breath and say, "Hang on a sec, honey. I need to go water the plants. I'll be right back." And then flee to the bathroom so you can splash cold water on your face and slow your breathing.

    You wanna see the kind of questions I've been fielding from a 10-year-old? http://bit.ly/c6TfeP Go ahead and look, though it might set off a panic attack...

  11. Oh goodness! That boy's gonna give you a run for your money! :)

    Your Clear-the-Fridge casserole reminds me of a dish I used to cook up back in the early, teeny tiny apartment days of our marriage. I called it "The Chicken & The Stuff" Yum yum!

  12. I'm a sucker for almost ANY kind of mac & cheese, so here's the deal...ya'll give me a bowl of EACH of your recipes and then I'll give you my vote. ;)

  13. If I'm not careful, my comment may be novel long. First of all - it's SO not fair fancying up the M&C. Law, I done snapped a shot to show people how much I ate, not to make it look good - so not fair - law - another thing - you roasted gams? This alone will keep me smiling all day. Yet, another thing - Please let me be the one that tells Calvin why women have a bumpy cracky chest - please - if you have doubts, I refer you to the night I settled him down. Mmmmhmm. I'd even be willing to be present for the big talk. Just sayin. And now that I know you do indeed roast gams, I may just stay way up into Flock to get some. Amen.

  14. Nice photos. Can't wait to see you and tell you what discussions and new discoveries are going on in our household with a 12-yr old boy. BRACE YOURSELF!!!!!

  15. So much awesomeness in one post! I will pray for you with the bumps and cracks Q&A, cause in my experience...it just keeps coming!

  16. Oh I'm cracking up over Mr. Calvin. We have been having this conversation too with Aubrie. She wants to know how babies get out. My answer "I go to the hospital & work really hard & the doctors and nurses help and we then have a baby" is not working. She then replies, but HOW does it get out? Oh I keep distracting her, but it's only a matter of time. If you come up with a good response fill me in! 4 just seems too young to tell her the truth because let's be honest - that delivery stuff can be scary!

  17. oooh, the clear the fridge casserole is going on my menu! yummo.

  18. goodness gracious chica, I JUST posted about preparing kids for the 'talk' and then mosey over here where Calvin is talking cleavage! Go visit my blog, buy the book I wrote about. Seriously! And I'm glad your house didn't burn down. And you mac and cheese does look yummy!

  19. you know you have my solid vote when i just finished lunch and your photo convinces my taste buds that i'm famished.

    also? i am currently in love with your floor and possibly the legs of your dining chairs, with or without a healthy sprinkling of rice.

  20. try to keep the mac & cheese out of your chest cracks!

  21. Nice! We had chicken and rice ala combo last night. LOVE it! Yours looks REAL good.

    GOOD gracious Kate(Southern-Belle-Simple) you're hilarious! How can I follow that one...
    i got nothin'.

    Love ya fpfarmygirl - The Lady of the House

  22. You make me smile, laugh, and crack-up.
    I miss having a rice encrusted floor...it's just way too clean over here!

  23. You will post a transcript of Jayme the Coop Keeper and Calving having "the talk," right? Hysterical. And all God's people who have ever stashed stuff in the oven say, "Amen!"

  24. Okay, I totally am encouraged that my life is so similar to yours...in so many ways. I was just asked where my "booboo tunnel" went....the other day. I cracked up, I couldn't hold the laughter in, and it didn't help that he was attempting to navigate the "tunnel" with his pudgy little four year old hand while I was trying to answer. He is full of questions, I have had to cover the where babies are from already, where heaven is and can I show him on the map, what penis' are for and why do they change size...etc. Life is always interesting with my very bright four year old. The funny thing, I am always the one to get stuck with those questions....never my husband. I wonder why? Love the floor pics, looks like my house, and your meals look amazing. You have my vote! I am going to try the first recipe for sure! Keeping you and Calvin in my prayers, this is only the beginning friend. : )

  25. Can I just say that the way you write has me captivated. And laughing. So much.

  26. i love calvin's question! it sounds straight from my house:) gotta love those boys and their questions! i'm still trying to divert the 10 yr old.

  27. ALL Righty!! There really is only one way to solve the whole Mac and Cheese debate, and that is for ya'll to come over to my house and bake me up some to taste test!! Probelmo solved!! I, however, have no true M&C skizzles to compete. I keep it simple and order out. This could be why my crack has gotten larger over the last couple of years (N&S).

  28. I had c-sections with both my babies so I have legitimately been able to use that line of how babies get out. Its worked for years, until my daughter saw a program on A&E while I was in the shower and cane running to menasking if babies came out another way. Lots of luck to you with Calvin.

  29. Ok. I guess I'm going to have to try every stinking one of these mac and cheeses. My hips thank you.

  30. My question is "why do only Some women get the bumps and others have to go without?!"

  31. I love Calvin! I had c-sections so was able to use that with my 4 year old for a while, but he did pick up on the 'sometimes' pretty fast. I decided honesty was the best policy and now he asks every woman we know whether their baby came out of their tummy or their 'bagima' - including my horrified mother-in-law! He has now started asking how the babies get in there in the first place and for the life of me I don't know what to say ...