Fire away

In keeping with my temporary time warp, I’d like to announce that this is [my post for] Friday, November 2. Got it? Good.

It has been a long, long week. We were out of town last weekend, and a certain baby I know, who usually goes to sleep by 10:30 and sleeps for 12 hours, was awake until 1 a.m. last Saturday night and up by 8:30 Sunday morning. Add several wrong number calls during the night and a really noisy heat/AC unit, and you have one really groggy Mommy. I am only now starting to recover. Needless to say, I am really glad it’s Friday. (See there, how I can just pretend with such ease that it’s a full 24 hours ago?)

It has been a tense few weeks here at Pod HS*. Last week we had a fire in one of our buildings. It was set intentionally, discovered and contained quickly, and arrests have been made, but it caused a great deal of chaos and anxiety considering its proximity to the anniversary of that other fire. We’ve come a long way in a year. Every morning I watch the large expanse of earth where the school used to stand look more and more like the foundation of something permanent. A year ago today I sat in shocked silence and watched the footage of the inferno on television. Today I watched our students on the news at 6 a.m. where they did the electric slide and cheered on our football team at a pep rally hosted by a local news station. A year ago I dreaded going to work because of Principal. New-and-Improved Principal is a welcome change. I won’t lie to you: we still have our problems. Those kids I bitched about all last year? They are still with us, and our administration, while much improved, is still often at a loss where flogging and torturebehavioral prevention and maintenance are concerned. At least Principal is elsewhere, bringing down the status quo of some other high school, spreading her own brand of crazy over some other area of the state.

As for me, I try keeping my eyes focused on the bright side. Being in the library has been, and continues to be, an adjustment for me, but I am grateful for the change (read: glad I don’t have to spend all day with 14-year-olds). I have made some new friends at work, something I find very hard to do (Look! It’s 7th grade!). The new school that’s currently a flat piece of red dirt is going to be a beautiful, state-of-the-art structure, and maybe they won’t cut my position so I can work there when it’s finished.

But enough about work.

I have been searching the internet and reading all the books I own about The Baby and How it Works, but I have some unanswered questions about food (or should I say, questions I can’t seem to get a straight answer to), and I’d like some input from you Mommy people.

  1. About eggs. According to my ped, “they” are moving the egg green light to 18-24 months. I get that: no straight up eggs for the kid. But what about things cooked with eggs? Does this mean no taste of my nonfat muffin from the coffee shop? Does this mean no pancakes? Does this mean any product that contains eggs PERIOD is off limits?
  2. When did you give your kid fish? Not shellfish, just regular, run-of-the mill white fish? There is much conflicting information on this topic.
  3. For those of you who eat tofu, can you give me some recipes? I want to try it, but I don’t know what to do with it.
  4. I feel like Mia’s menu is a bit of a bore. I know, I know, she’s only 10 months old, but really, how many servings of pears, bananas, carrots, and sweet potatoes can one girl eat? What did your 10-month-old like to eat?

Fire away, girls.

*I have no idea if I’ve described our temporary school here or not. It’s made up of 10 modular buildings called “pods,” which are way nicer than they sound, and the source of myriad jokes about the “pod people” who inhabit them.

10 thoughts on “Fire away

  1. you know, I hate to give bad advice, but the eggs? wha?

    Except for nuts, Julia ate what we ate. We didn’t give her honey because of the botchulism spores, but other than that we did the whole child -led feeding and fed her off our plates. So fish? I don’t remember, but early, because we eat a lot of fish. And eggs? She didn’t like eggs until about a year, but then we went ahead and let her have them.

    The things we were careful with were nuts, because there’s a high chance she’s allergic to them. So we’re cautious there. And maybe we should have been more cautious about milk, since we discovered that she has an honest to god allergy to it, but still, we actually followed the guidelines on milk and she still ended up with an allergy.

    So, my advice, is: if you have good reason to believe she might have a problem with a kind of food (family members with allergies, for example) then be paranoid. Other than that just use your common sense about what she’s capable of handling fine-motor-skills-wise, and keep your eyes open for possible allergies and problems.

    If you don’t want to do that, then I think baking in things denatures the eggs enough not to be a problem, but I could be wrong on that…

  2. I know what you mean about pod people. We had two pods out back for our ELL classes until we finally got a new wing and remodeled the locker rooms into classrooms for specialists. The pods leaked, a wild cat lived underneath, and we’re glad they’re gone. Now, in their place, is a prairie garden. Wild rabbits live in it.

  3. Yeah, more or less what Chicory said. My mom keeps saying to me, “It’s so stressful to be a parent today. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.” I wouldn’t give up the parenting part, of course, but the culture of fear is utterly wearing.

    We definitely did some eggs before 12 mo, and eggs IN things we didn’t worry about at all. After 12 mo. eggs were fair game. We also stayed away from honey and nuts other than peanuts until 12 mo. She hasn’t had peanuts yet though she’s had a few raisins that had been in trail mix with them, so she’s probably ok on the peanut front but we’re still going to wait until she’s 2 for full-on peanuts. But that was the extent of our precautions. Limiting other stuff seemed really stressful and unnecessary. Of course, letting her eat the foods we weren’t “supposed to” was also stress-inducing. I hope I don’t regret it someday in the future but I think we’ll be ok.

  4. Oh, I love tofu!!!!! Except I can’t give you any recipes because I haven’t cooked anything with it yet. I just go to places and eat with it. Like Pei Wei has fantastic tofu!! And Spiral Diner, except they’re only here in Fort Worth, and soon to be opening one in Dallas. But if you ever meander down this way, I’ll take you there.

    Check out Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz; she’s got some recipes that look good. Well, all her recipes look good, but there were a few with tofu. That’s what I meant, of course. And I saw a recipe in another vegetarian cookbook for teens that looked fantastic–melt a bag of chocolate chips and whip that up with a block of soft silken tofu and chill to make a delicious chocolate mousse that even non-vegetarians would drool over (and tofu-haters would eat and swoon for).

  5. We use tofu pretty frequently – Wes is vegan. I make his pizzas with a tofu topping instead of cheese, but that’s not a toddler recipe. How about cream of broccoli soup made with tofu instead of cream – that is a highly yummy and nutritious meal. We mostly cook with seitan any more because we like it more and it avoids estrogen scares, but for recipes of all this see all the Moosewodd books or Vegan Planet.

  6. hey wait a minute… cream of broccoli soup made with tofu instead of cream??? does it taste all tofu-ey? This could rock my world as I am currently at a loss about what to do with Milk-allergic Sassa crashing with my love of creamy soups for winter. So far I’ve been pureeing half the veggies to make my soups seem creamier than they really are…

  7. Oh…tofu! So many choices! My favorite, honestly, is just good ol’ asian marinated and grilled skewers or slices of tofu, but we recently got a great cookbook you should check out called “This Can’t Be Tofu” by Deborah Madison. Check it out!

  8. Baby eats: As aware as I try to be about what my kids eat, I absentmidedly stuck my 2yr old’s PB&J sandwich in my 8 month old’s mouth while I was talking to another adult (!) and there was no face or throat swelling, so I was relieved. And rest in the knowledge that it is likely that a grandparent somewhere has stuffed something “horribly wonderful” into your kid’s mouth while you weren’t looking (like ice cream) so don’t get too insane about the food. A lot of little ones eat Doritoes and pizza and fries these days (which happens to drive me crazy but what can you do?) so know that your efforts are getting you a good grade.

    Tofu: Cookbooks are a good idea, but I like to do mine: Extra firm tofu. Squeeze the whole block with a paper towel and cut into thin rectangles (about 1/4 inch wide). Heat a pan of veg oil on high (not enough oil to deep fry but more than a few tablespoons.) Lay the tofu out in a single layer in the oil (don’t get splashed–it’s wet) and cook it about 10 minutes on one side until it’s golden and crispy, and flip it. After it’s fried, I break one egg over top of it and mix it up. Then I add brocolli, soy sauce, pine nuts, etc. stir fry stuff, whatever. It takes a little practice to get it just right, so don’t give up if it doesn’t work right away.

  9. My tofu trick: I take a block of extra firm tofu and cut it into cubes. I then put the cubes on a cookie sheet and put the whole cookie sheet into the freezer. The next day I take the cookie sheet out, flex it, and all the little frozen cubes pop off. I then put them in a plastic bag. For dinners, I pull out as many cubes as I like and put them in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute just to thaw them. I sqeeze out the extra moisture and them stir fry them or just stir them into pasta sauce instead of meat.

    The freezing changes the texture, make it a little spongy and helps it hold its shape better when stir frying. I do this because Klove doesn’t eat tofu, so I make my own tofu chunks when we’re having something that has chunks of chicken for her. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s a great soft finger food.

  10. I just saw a great tofu recipe in Vegan Planet. So here, in all its glory, just for you:

    BAKED TOFU – 4 servings

    1 16-ounce package firm tofu, drained
    1/3 cup tamari or other soy sauce
    ¼ cup water
    2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1. Blot the tofu to remove excess liquid, then cut it into 1/2 –inch-thick slices. Place the tofu slices on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and place another baking sheet on top. Weight it down with some canned goods and let sit for 20 minutes.
    2. In a small bowl, combine the tamari, water, oil, and lemon juice. Blend well.
    3. Place the tofu slices in a glass baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, turning the tofu once.
    4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the tofu from the marinade and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake until the tofu is well browned and very firm, turning once about halfway through, about 1 hour total. Serve hot or allow to cool. You may store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.

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