The resident 8 year-old possesses some truly phenomenal problem-solving skills. It's the thing that comes up at every parent teacher conference. Teachers are impressed. I am, too, except that the whole thing is quite the shiny double-edged sword.
You know how you something try to shut down your kids with an excuse that may or may not be rational? Like, if your kid asks to make Rice Krispies treats, you just say there aren't any marshmallows. It's a valid excuse, except not. Alexis will tell you that you can run to the store and buy some. If you reply to that saying there isn't enough time left in the day for a trip to the store, she'll figure out a perfectly reasonable way that someone else could go to the store and save you some time. Oh, and she will finish emptying the dishwasher to give you a few more seconds in your day, all the while giving you ten more reasons a trip to the grocery store would be a very good idea.
Those problem-solving skills were why I didn't feel bad about my answer to a question that she asked on the way home from dance class. "Mom, how much money do you start out with when you're a grown-up?" Alexis inquired.
And I laughed.
Heck, I'm still laughing. Did I become a pawn in a giant invisible game of Monopoly when I wasn't paying attention? If so, I want a do over because I started out life as a grown-up broker than broke. Actually, I had negative money because of a car loan, student loans, and blah, blah, blah.
Life as a grown-up doesn't start out all that fun, frankly.
I explained that Alexis. We talked about how even something simple like putting gas in your car can cost $50 or more. By the you are done paying for the things you "need," there's not really anything left for what you "want."
Alexis the Problem Solver had the best answer ever for that bit of bad news. "I know how I can save a lot of money. I'm just going to stay a kid because when you're a kid you don't have to pay for gas or a car. You don't have to pay for food. Basically you only have to pay for things you want to pay for."
If that isn't the most perfect description of the joy of childhood, I don't know what is.
When I say we've fallen off the Real Food bandwagon and have launched straight into Whatever is Easy, I'm not kidding. You guys, I've been trolling the frozen food aisles in search of one minute meals recently.
Don't even try to shame me over it, by the way. The challenge has a name. It is Mila and worth it. Eventaully I'll get back to cooking healthy meals more often. In the meantime, ahoy with the frozen stuff!
Except that sometimes I buy a frozen burrito and realize it would be SO much better if it was made with fresher ingredients and such. That's how this happened.
It's a burrito with lime potatoes, black beans, and corn and OMG IT IS SO GOOD. I made a ridiculous quantity the second time I made them and Alexis and I have been managing to dine on them over and over again.
Because I froze some.
And THAT is how you take the shame out of frozen food!
Lime Potato, Corn, and Black Bean Burrito
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium white potatoes, diced
1/4 cup lime juice
1 small white onion, diced
2 tablespoons sugar
Cilantro to taste (I like A LOT of cilantro. It's cool if you don't.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn
1. We're going to precook the potatoes because all the cool kids are doing it. Throw the diced potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the potatoes and onion and cook until the onion is soft, stirring ocassionally to prevent burning. It takes somewhere around 7 minutes. You don't want the potatoes browned, by the way. Just soft.
3. Add in the lime juice and sugar (the sugar is there to cut out some of the bitter from the lime). You're adding liquid to oil, so be careful because it will spatter a bit.
4. Add the cilantro. Have I mentioned that I super love cilantro? While you're at it, add the salt as well. Salt is also on my besties list.
5. Add the corn and black beans. Cook for just 1-2 minutes or until the corn is warm.
6. Toss a few spoonfuls in a burrito shell along with some Havarti.
7. You should probably also have some chips and salsa. It's the right thing to do.