>I live with a die-hard Philadelphia Phillies fan. For those who have seen the movie ‘Fever Pitch’ starring Jimmy Fallon, you know who I mean. Case in point – my youngest son shares the same name as one of the Phillies’ starting pitchers. Now admittedly, I have always liked his name, but I can’t say for sure that my husband would have so readily agreed if say, The Yankees, had someone on their team with the same name. If fact, 3 of our top 4 names for my son happened to be names of starting Phillies…coincidence?

My wedding anniversary was this past weekend. My husband had a ticket to the first game of Phillies play-off series for that night. Had our friend not had an extra ticket, we would have spent the night apart. Would I have been disappointed? Yes. Would I have been surprised? No. My husband has had the same Phillies season ticket package with the same group of people long before I ever came into the picture, and post season games are serious business! The night also happened to be my husband’s birthday (I won’t say how old, but it is a milestone year). So, I did what any good wife would do – I threw on my Phillies sweatshirt and baseball cap and headed off to the ballpark for a romantic evening with 45,000 other people.

Sadly, the Phillies did not win.

The next day, a few of our friends who were also at the game came over to our house to analyze the game.

The reasons The Phillies lost were numerous:

-one guy who always ate salted pistachios at every winning game, had switched to unsalted – or was it the other way around?

-another friend of ours who claims that every time she watches the game on TV they lose, had inadvertently turned on the TV.

-my husband blamed it on his Hamels jersey – apparently, wearing it keeps the Phils from winning.

-somebody even implied that the Phillies had won every game until I had attended!

The only thing that didn’t come up, was that maybe the Phillies didn’t play at their best… yeah I said it. However, if my husband feels that shaving off his ‘play-off’ beard will help, I’m all for it!

All in all, the weekend was still great, I got to spend my anniversary with my husband, we have a fun get together on Sunday and the Phillies wound up winning their second game….must have been my Pesto Chicken – – Go Phils!

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I have the world’s pickiest eater. While many parents around the world hold claim to this notion, I can honestly say, my son wins the prize. I know most picky toddlers turn their nose up to broccoli, spinach and most anything else green and healthy. But how about turning away pizza, cookies, candy, cake and juice? No, I’m not complaining, it’s just I cannot believe sometimes that this child and I carry the same DNA.

My son is on what I refer to as “The White Diet.” He will eat bread, bread with cheese, macaroni, macaroni with cheese, crackers, crackers with cheese … do you see where I am going? I did get smart and try cauliflower with cheese, but it appears my child is a genius.

There are other “white foods” I can get him to eat occasionally: chicken nuggets, fries, scrambled eggs (with cheese of course), waffles, light colored yogurt and cheerios. Bananas were on the list for a while, but have sadly dropped off. Hummus was good, but the subsequent rash took that food item right off the list as well. Daddy’s pancakes, of course, are a favorite. I wonder how many ‘secret’ ingredients we can hide in the pancakes until my son catches on.

Over the past six months, there was a glimmer of hope as my son welcomed a few of “the reds” into his diet, namely ketchup, hotdogs and watermelon. I tried to pawn off some of my cherry tomato stash on him, but that was a complete failure.

Do I worry? Not really. I would rather my son eat something he likes than nothing at all, and miraculously, he does like his daily vitamin. I get plenty of unsolicited advice about my son’s diet including the ever popular “Just give him what the rest of the family is eating for that meal and when he gets hungry enough he will eat it.” Not true, but, I politely smile and act as if I never thought of that one myself.

Yes, I am one of those parents who fixes a separate meal for my child. I go even farther than that – I ask my child what he wants to eat for his meal. Why do I do this? Well, my almost thirteen year old just hit 6’2” tall. You can imagine what my food bills look like. I really do not want to waste food these days.

Of course, there are days, when even asking does no good. This morning was a perfect example, and the inspiration for this blog post:

Me: “What do you want for breakfast?”
C: (with a definite tone in his voice) “Bagel & cream cheese!” followed by “I don’t think I like this anymore,” after I present ½ a bagel to him on his favorite Scooby Doo plate. He looks at me sweetly and asks, “How about a blueberry waffle?”

Having had only two sips of my coffee, I realize I am not up for a debate and pop a waffle into the toaster. Seconds later I hear his little voice say, “Wait a minute, I do like bagel and cream cheese.” Sigh.

In the end, he ate both the waffle and the bagel, and I was able to finish my coffee in peace.

>Attack of the Tomatoes!

August 25, 2010

>I blame the blizzard. Make that blizzards. I believe there were three this past winter, but I lost track somewhere along the way. We had over 70 inches of snow in total, the year before there was less than 15 inches. In addition to the snow, there were the incredible howling winds. Trees and power lines snapped at a rapid pace. Sadly, we lost two large trees. Several others were badly damaged and had to be removed as well.

In the spirit of re-growth, I decided to take advantage of my no longer shady backyard and do something I have wanted to do for years: have a vegetable garden! I have always enjoyed gardening and had a decent track record with growing a variety of flowers, shrubs, herbs and other various plants. However, when it came to vegetables, I seemed to have a brown thumb.

Every year, I would buy one or two tomato plants. Since the only semi-sunny spot in the backyard had been at the edge of the patio, I planted these vegetables in pots. Friends of mine had a lot of success with their potted gardens, so it seemed like the perfect solution. Every summer, it was the same story. The plants would get to what I considered a decent size, produce a couple of yellow flowers and then wither away without a single tomato.

This year however, I had a sunny backyard and a small patch of land itching to be tilled. I went to my local garden store without any knowledge of how to actually grow a vegetable garden. I decided I would try three tomato plants. Why three? I have no idea, other than I thought that 10 feet across would be plenty of room to plant three tiny plants. I chose three different varieties: heirloom, roma, and cherry. I planted each carefully, watered diligently and went out daily (sometimes multiple times during the day) to see if there were any signs of tomatoes.

After a few weeks, I was thrilled to see little green tomatoes sprouting on both the cherry and roma plants. I was even more thrilled when some of them turned red. I picked them all proudly and kept them on display on a plate in my kitchen.


My harvest continued. about once a week, I would walk outside and fill a small bowl with a handful of cherry tomatoes. Occasionally a Roma would get thrown in. The heirlooms, were also starting to grow, but staying green.

And then… the tomato Gods must have decided I was a worthy farmer. It started with one or two heirloom and/or Romas every few days with a bowlful of cherry tomatoes thrown in. My cucumbers and basil were doing pretty well also. A lovely cucumber-tomato salad was becoming a nightly staple, with no complaints from my husband. I even had a few left over to give to our neighbor. We were in tomato bliss.

But then, as if in the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where the candy factory conveyor belt starts moving in overdrive, the tomatoes went crazy. Every day, my husband and I both went out with bowls, picking red fruit off of plants that had grown as tall as us. We tried to give some away to anyone who showed any interest in taking them off our hands.

We ate tomato salads, tomato slices, and cherry tomatoes by the handfuls as if there were grapes. Not a dinner went by where tomatoes were not incorporated into the meal somehow or another. Canning was just too much work for me and out of the question. I finally went on Facebook looking for ideas. Salsa – of course! My friend Heather posted an awesome and easy (which was the key) recipe which I am happy to share if anyone is interested.

So today, I grabbed some peppers, onions and of course, TOMATOES and made my very first salsa – topped with cilantro from my garden.

Pass the chips!!