Monday, February 21, 2011

Sweet Potato "Chips" & The Terrible Twos.

A healthy snack: Sweet Potato Chips
Roman is almost two?!   It's strange how that sounds like news to me.  How is it possible that it was almost 3 years ago that I was pregnant with him?  How is it possible that in less than a year he'll be a big brother?  I still get excited when he says "hello" to me, like he's always understood the meaning, always understood the norms of being a real, complete human being.  Yes, the whole business of growing up is amazing to go through yourself, but I have to say it's significantly more amazing to watch. And I also have to concur with the millions who have said it before me: children change you.  And they definitely do teach you too - patience, love beyond any original concept you ever had of it, more patience, and childlike wonder and joy.  It's part of life's plan, I think, for humans to have children, because it keeps us fresh, young, and excited about the things that make life worth cookies, and ice cream and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Oh, and McDonald's salty, delicious French fries.  

Wait, no, that's just a list of the only things my nearly-two-year-old seems interested in consuming.  And not that he has any of them very often.  He just cherishes their memory as if their culinary fingerprint were permanently imprinted on his budding palate.  And if he doesn't get them when requested, he has no qualms about throwing terrible little tantrums that come and go at the drop of a hat, no matter where and with whom we are.  This from the child whose favorite food used to be broccoli and cherry tomatoes and apple sauce?!  

I'm putting it down to a phase, and one that I will not give into.  But nevertheless, I've had to come to some serious realizations: like the fact that time-out works most of the time but in certain situations so does a swift smack on the butt, like the fact that talking honestly and frankly to your children is usually the single best preventative measure on every level (even with a 2 year old), and like the fact that no matter how bratty, I can't help but laugh and love some of the mischievous and misguided things my son does.  But the most important of these realizations of late is one that I had refused to admit to myself, even before I had kids, which is that: It's true, the terrible twos are....pretty terrible.

I'm convinced that even the most "perfect" and "angelic" of children, the most "obedient," the most "helpful," reach a point of mental transformation right around the time of their 2nd birthdays, or shortly before it (in my case several months).  The desire to be independent oscillates between being terrifying and entirely necessary to them.  They don't know why but they suddenly have impulses, agendas, and ideas they don't know how to measure, control or properly carry out - and yet they do.  They can't put their shoes on, but they HAVE to try.  They can't be outside by themselves, but they WON'T hold your hand.  They want THAT car RIGHT now, and if they don't get it, hell breaks loose (until they are distracted by the truck next to them).  And worst of all, things like getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and, wth Roman especially, eating, become battle grounds.  Although I will say he's pretty good about looking both ways when crossing the street. :)
No, he won't wear the blue shirt today.  He wants his red Lightening McQueen one.  And he doesn't seem to care that the brown leather Osh Kosh shoes go better.  He MUST wear his wellies, at all times, every day.  Just in case there's puddles somewhere in this desert home of ours.  I literally have to restrain him to brush his teeth (sorry but I'm not letting this one go).  And dinner is like a game of go fish at a National Park - every single bite is scrutinized for size, maturity, and appeal - and he throws back most of them.  No, this one has zucchini, screw that.  This one doesn't have enough noodles - what're you nuts?!  No, he wants BROTH, not soup with vegetables!  Man, what is this?!?  I'm going nuts.  Where's my sweet, quiet, docile, eating-machine child?!

In desperation I've been harassing all my mom friends about healthy but fun foods they feed their children.  I've gotten some responses that got me to thinking and trying new things.  Today's recipe, Sweet Potato "Chips" is one that my best friend, Monica, gave me.  She's keeping her daughter vegetarian for now, so I like hearing the stuff she feeds Julia because it is usually really different from what I feed Roman, given that it doesn't involve meat. *gleam of the fangs*

These chips are delicious.  I don't know how well they would keep so you really have to make them the day of and use up or they'll lose their warm crunchiness.  But otherwise, they're a great way of fooling little two-year-old tyrants into eating some healthy stuff when the going gets tough.

* * *

Sweet Potato "Chips"
Serves 1-2 children

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 450F or 225C.  

2. Mix all the ingredients except sweet potato in a small bowl.  Then, lay the sweet potato rounds on a baking sheet in rows.  You should have about 25-30 rounds total.

3. Using a pastry brush, brush a light coating of the butter-oil mixture onto the rounds, on both sides.  Do not be too generous as the chips will get soggy if they have too much oil on them.

4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until brown in spots and nicely roasted.  The chips should feel dry on the outside but still be a little soft on the inside.  If they are soggy, keep baking.

5. Allow to cool briefly and serve to little ones who will think they are having a decadent snack on your watch. :)

* * *

Roman Lately.

Floating in the Persian Gulf: Abu Dhabi, Corniche Beach
February 2011

Al Ain Zoo, Al Ain, UAE
February 2011

Making Daddy's Valentine
February 2011

Meeting a Camel
Banyan Tree Resort, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
January 2011

Playing with his Truck
January 2011

Connecticut, USA
December 2010

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  1. Lawd! How much I've missed by not visiting for so long - Roman's growing and about to be a big brother? Congratulations! I've got quite a few years on him but I can throw a fair tantrum when my snack-time is delayed. Love these sweet potato chips!

  2. Whoa! Wait, a big brother, I like the way you just casually throw that out there. Congratulations! What an amazing event.

    Now those sweet potato chips look amazing and I'd be a bit grumpy myself if I felt I was deprived.