Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Two-Year Old, the Sugar Addict

 I can only blame myself, really.  I mean, with my first pregnancy, I was so careful.  I followed my "What to Eat When You're Expecting" book to the letter, shunning all sugar and white flour, concocting incredibly healthy and incredibly foul-tasting cauliflower soups, and eating muffins made with enough wheat germ to make them taste like tree bark. 

But with my second it all went out the window. 

I bought boxes of chocolates and virtually inhaled all the ones I liked, then nibbled the chocolate off the outsides of the ones I didn't (honestly, who decided lemon cream was okay to put inside a chocolate?)

The arrival of each new holiday signalled a new adventure in my sugar indulgence -- at Halloween, it was candy corns; Christmas, those foil-wrapped crispy chocolate bells;  and Valentines, conversation hearts.  The rest of the time, it was basically just chocolate: chocolate bars, chocolate frosting, and chocolate chips dumped into the peanut butter jar and scooped out with a spoon.  I know, I know -- the "What to Eat" folks would be appalled.  But really, who wants wheat bran/carob chip brownies when you can have a pint of chocolate chip ice cream? Especially when your belly's huge and your ankles are swollen and you feel like some sort of mutant hippo?

So I shouldn't be surprised that my now-two-year-old has some kind of sixth sense when it comes to candy.  All it takes is the faintest rustle of a plastic wrapper and his little face lights up: "I want some!"

Case in point:  a couple of weeks ago, I sneaked a bag of those Whopper's Robin's Eggs into the shopping cart at Wal-Mart (obviously, my diet's not much better with this pregnancy!).  They made it into the cart under the radar, and they even made it through the cashier and into the grocery sack without incident.   As we drove home, I turned up the radio and at a stop light gently pried the bag open.  I carefully slid my hand inside and pulled out an egg.  I turned my head to the side so Jack wouldn't see me putting it in my mouth.  Crunch.

"I want a Whopper!"

He's like the little "Sixth Sense" kid that sees dead people, except he sees candy -- through cupboard doors, in my purse, in the top drawer of my dresser -- he's always managing to find my secret stashes (of which I have quite a few, I must admit).  One day I walked into the kitchen and found him sitting on the counter, one hand up to his wrist in my sugar bin, the other shoving a handful of the stuff into his mouth.  "I yike sugar!" he cheered, delighted with his discovery.

I imagined my dental bill climbing into the thousands.

I can't even buy cereal with any sugar in it -- he eats the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms, the frosting off of the Frosted Mini-Wheats, and even digs out the sugar-coated raisins from the Raisin Bran.  I've created a monster.  And it's all my fault -- it's like he was fed a direct line of corn syrup in utero.

But then again, who needs the guilt?  So, next time I find him reaching into a bag of chocolate chips, I'll probably just grab the peanut butter jar and a couple of spoons and join in.

Pumpkin Soup

An easy soup that my kids love to help me make.  They can help with everything except heating it on the stove.

1 tsp. onion powder
3 T. butter (melted)
1 can unsweetened pumpkin
1 can chicken broth
1 C. half-and-half
1 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 T. brown sugar or honey
1/4 t. yellow curry (if you like curry)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot but not boiling.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

This is a Russian recipe that usually uses "Tvorog" or farmer's cheese.  I can't find any in my area so I just use cottage cheese, and it works fine (though it doesn't taste exactly authentic).  My kids help me mix them up, and I fry them up.

1 C. cottage cheese
2 eggs
3 T. sugar (Jack's favorite part!)
3/4 cup flour
dash of salt

Combine ingredients and drop by spoonfuls into a frying pan coated with oil or cooking spray.  Brown on both sides and serve with butter, jam, or even sour cream on top.

Easy Peach Dessert

Another fun recipe to make with kids -- just toss in ingredients, mix, and stick it in the oven.  

1 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
1 can peach slices
1/4 C. brown sugar

In a baking dish, combine flour, sugar, egg, soda, vanilla, and salt.  Mix in peaches.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes.  Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.