Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Soup Confessional

It was a busy day. I had made my cheesey wontons for an afternoon playdate, 3 loaves of my grandmothers banana bread 
(if you ask me nicely I'll give you her recipe),
 and I was prepping the butternut squash and brussels sprouts for the lasagna (I'll get to the recipe),
 but first I must confess: 

I didn't feel like making dinner that night. 

Especially after the following conversation with Gwen regarding her lunch (pronounced: "yunch"):

Here's how it went down:

While pointing her Pinkalicious manicured finger into her palm: 

---side note: why is it that my 2.5 year old has manicured nails while mine look like something out of The Adams Family Reunion?


"Mom, I yike chicken nugget.....mac and cheese, soup....ummm..and crackers--THATS ENOUGH!!!"

Knowing full well she DESPISES anything that remotely resembles a sandwich--of any sorts--
---no PB and J's--no turkey--not even a cheese sandwich for God's sake---

I probe a bit deeper...

              Side note:  Now, Brent would accuse me of "pushing her buttons"..but in the deep confessional that is the crux of this blog, it IS one my strengths and I have to admit, I like the adrenaline rush of button....let's call it... "tapping".

Me to Gwen: "So, let me get this straight, you don't want a sandwich in your lunch on Monday?"

At this point, I see glimpses of the future teenage years and for a moment, I slightly regret the question to which I already knew the answer as her face turns red and she screams:

"I TOLD you.... I do not YIKE sandwiches...I YIKE:
 chicken nugget (notice it's singular).....
 mac and cheese,
 soup...and  (always stumbling on the last one)......and ..
 crackers--THAT'S ENOUGH!!!"

Wow. 2.5 year old tirades can be slightly amusing, but I was too tired to be amused and I freaked.

Inner monologue: "Oh, you like soup, hmmm?? Ok, WELL SOUP YOU'LL GET FOR DINNER THEN---and THAT'S IT....and I know EXACTLY what SOUP YOU'LL GET.."

Back to the confession: Dare I say it? Will you all think differently of me? Do I care? 
Maybe. But here it is:

I opened a CAN (not even the less sodium Healthy Choice)....straight up, Cambell's vegetable noodle soup.

They've never had it before.

Gwen looked the at slightly green peas and perfectly cut cubes of almost potatoes floating in a sea of sodium drenched tomato broth and cried:

"I don't yike this soup"

Grant was intrigued by the letters after he found a "G-R-A-N-T" and took a bite which quickly was spit back into the bowl.

I mean, how could I blame them??? They are used to my homemade soups and here I was, the mean, overworked, overtired, and slighly pissed off mom trying to feed them canned gross-ness.

But I gathered my emotions and sternly said, "Eat it, or you're not eating dinner tonight because I"m not making anything else.

Even when I'm taking a short cut... I REFUSE to be a short order cook. They eat what I give them, or they don't eat.

So, they chose not to eat dinner and I scooted them off to bath and they went to bed.

Now, HOW ON EARTH am I going to convince the to taste the lasagna for Monday night??? 

Butternut Squash Brussel Sprout Lasagna

This recipe was found on a blog of a Santa Barbara mom that I read frequently: Yummy Mummy  

Truth is, I had made 2 "normal" lasganas for Christmas Eve dinner--which required about 3 pots of sauce which took me about a total of 30 hours of simmering...and I am just plain sick of red sauce.. 

I decided to give this recipe a try
I roasted the vegetables and assembled the lasagna on Sunday night and when I came home from work Monday night, I just popped it in the oven

Brussels Sprout and Butternut Squash Lasagna  from Yummy Mummy
and I'm going to show you her photo too:

serves 6  
3 cups quartered Brussels sprouts
3 cups diced butternut squash
1 Tablespoon butter
1 shallot, chopped 
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 egg
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping 
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
7 oz fresh pesto sauce (I used Costco's)
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, drained of water and sliced  
lasagna noodles (Fresh lasagna sheets or cooked. "No boil" does not work well in this recipe)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on a large rimed baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until lightly browned in parts and tender, about 15 minutes. 

Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook shallots and sage until tender. Add to Brussels sprouts and squash, tossing to combine. 

In a medium bowl, stir together egg, ricotta, Parmesan, and nutmeg. 

Spread a thin layer of pesto over bottom of a 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Cover with one layer of noodles. Spoon half the vegetable mixture over pasta. Spread half the ricotta mixture over the vegetables. Cover with 1/2 the mozzarella slices. Top with a second layer of lasagna noodles and spread pesto over. Top with remaining vegetables, ricotta, third layer of noodles, and pesto. Top with remaining mozzarella slices and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until bubbly.

It was out of this world good. Thank you Yummy Mummy
I know you are all wondering:

So? How did the kids like it?  

Gwen, of course, REFUSED to touch it.. I prepared myself for another night of staving my kids by not cooking exactly what they wanted. Pour wine.

Grant, I spoon fed. 
Painful and ridiculous. Pour wine to help ease the reality that i'm spoon feeding my 4.5 year old because I don't want him to starve.

BUT he ate ALL of it...and, by the second bite, he was not complaining and I actually think he liked it.

Fast forward until bed time. I'm holding Gwen and take her into the kitchen 
for her sippy cup of water and I notice she looks at the plate of untouched lasagna.

Me to Gwen:  "Do you want to try it now?"

Gwen to me: "Mmm..hmmm"

So we sit down together and I start by giving her a noodle with the cheese.

Gwen to me: "Can I try the carrot?"

Inner monologue: Call it whatever the hell you want if you eat it

She proceeds to eat EVERY SINGLE cube of the butternut squash and gobbles up the rest of the lasagna.

Lesson learned:

Stand firm with not being a short order cook. If they are hungry enough, they WILL eat it....and...they might even YIKE it. 

Pour wine (and I recommend a nice, crisp, Sauvignon Blanc with the lasagna).


  1. Fabulous Michelle! I love it! I refuse to be the short order cook too. Miss you guys!

  2. You must have gotten lucky! My kids are super stubborn! If they don't like what they see, they won't eat it.
    But on a good note, they are old enough to fix themselves a simple snack (or small meal)at ages 6 & 8. And lucky for me Kacey loves salads, so she's fine with a salad for dinner (which she fixes herself). Ashton requires a bit more "umph" for his meals, he will fix himself some soup- yes "canned, cheap, gotta keep in pantry just in case it's ever needed" soup, and maybe an english muffin.
    Kids are funny! I have found it helps my kids try new things if they help me prepare it in the kitchen. That way they see everything that goes into it.
    I love your blog! Makes me smile everytime I read it. Too bad we don't live closer!