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Grandma Alexis Strikes Again

Sometimes in my quest to do the right thing for us, I create a monster. It's never intentional. It's just that while I am very much so "do whatever makes you happy," Alexis is very "this is the only way to do this thing." She'll learn eventually, I'm sure. In the meantime, she gets very ... literal about things.

She's very literal about how kids are supposed to behave at the theater or at a movie or whatever. It started way back when I took her to see Sleeping Beauty as a ballet. The right thing for us is to expect that even a 3-year old will sit quietly and watch the show. If she doesn't, we leave. She is very versed on the concept of not disrupting someone else's enjoyment, being respectful of the actors, and blah, blah, blah.

The point is, she sits quietly through pretty much every type of performance or show. It's the only way she knows.

That's not to say it's the only way, though. I'm completely aware that some people think it's impossible for a 3/4/5/whatever year old to sit through any 2 or 3-hour performance. They expect some chatting and wiggling. We could debate all day whether it's appropriate to take a kid who can't sit to one of those performances, but that's not the point. The point is parents handle those types of situations in a wide variety of ways. Nobody is wrong, per se. There's just varying shades of right.

Which is how it came to be that we went to see the new Muppets movie and ended up seated in front of a kid who never once stopped talking through the entire movie. He talked and he talked and he talked, and nobody reminded him to simmer down.

I tuned him out. It was a kids movie and a matinee. I pretty much expect that sort of thing in those circumstances.

Alexis apparently didn't, though. As soon as the credits started rolling, she flung her little self towards me and asked, "MOM. WHY DID HE TALK THE WHOLE TIME?"

"Different parents have different rules," I replied. That's my standard answer to all questions like that. It seems to work. Plus, it really is the only explanation for some things. Like, how some people let their kids climb on the chains while in line at Kennywood. I see "accident waiting to happen" and won't let Alexis, but I guess other people think it's safe. That's cool.

"BUT MOM," Alexis continued. She went on to remind me that it's rude to talk during a movie and blah, blah, blah. She pretty much threw words I haven't said to her in four years in my face and wanted them to be relevant to all humans and immediately.

I don't have that sort of power. Obviously. I told her so as I reminded her that not all parents have the same rules.

"Geesh," she replied. She rolled her eyes as she readied herself to walk out of the theater. "Kids these days. They have no respect."


Puchero Estilo Murcia

There are two people in my twitter feed headed to Spain in the next few weeks, so now I have All Things Spain on the brain.

I need to go back.

Like WOAH.

Living there when I was 17 was fine and all, but I was really dumb then. I missed out on a lot because I just didn't know. For example, churros con chocolate. I should have eaten more of them ... or all of them. Yes, I should have eaten ALL of them.

The thing I did get right is that I returned home with a notebook full of recipes and notes about foods (Thanks for the help on that, Pepita!). I've slowly been digging through those recipes and notes and finding equivalents and all of that stuff.


Puchero Estilo Murcia.

I forgot all about it until a few weeks ago. I didn't have an actual recipe for it, just some notes about what was in it. A little experimenting here and there followed by some twisting from the original concept and I think I've got it. Or at least I've got something we really like. That counts, right? Right.


It most definitely wasn't served over couscous in Spain, but I'm on a couscous kick. So, too bad. It would also be good over a bed of white rice or even quinoa. Heck, it's good in a bowl with a nice crusty bread, which is how it was served when I had it in Spain.

Puchero Estilo Murcia

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup potatoes, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 14-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 clove garlic
1 can garbanzo (or white navy) beans, drained and rinsed
1 handful chopped spinach
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Couscous, rice, quinoa, etc. if desired

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2. Toss in the potatoes, onions, and garlic. Stir and cook until the onions start to turn clear. It takes about 3-5 minutes.

3. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, garbanzo beans, and water. Allow to simmer over medium heat until the liquid thickens and the potatoes are soft. It takes about 12-15 minutes, more or less depending on the size of your potatoes.

4. Add in the spinach. Stir until it wilts completely.

5. Add the paprika, salt, and pepper.