A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a very lazy mom. Could she boast to fighting crime on the streets all day? No. Could she claim to seek justice in the highest courts of the land? No. Could she offer to better humanity with countless selfless hours of teaching our future generations in the classroom? Not that one either.
Nope, this is just one plain ordinary mom whose day encompassed the very glamorous following events:
Drag herself out of bed at the ungodly hour of dark. Curse husband for being gone on yet another business trip.
Prepare separate lunches for two demanding palates (hold the bread for him, extra mayo for her, peel and slice the cukes for him, minuscule cubes of apple for her lest it will get stuck in the braces – and it better be Granny Smith because it’s the only one sour enough for this sour-flavor-lover.)
Imagine husband strolling through the streets of Sofia. Feel blood pressure rising.
Try not to kill Child #1 who pops out of bed just as oh-so-tired-mom shuffles past her room en route to the espresso machine. (Note: espresso has not been consumed yet. Not even smelled it yet. You’d think Child #1 would get it by now: DO NOT ENGAGE WITH AFOREMENTIONED MOTHER PRIOR TO INTRODUCTION OF COFFEE.)
She is a slow learner:
“Mom, where’s my uniform skirt? Mom, do you want me to play you the new Willow Smith song I was talking about yesterday? (For the record, no amount of coffee makes Willow Smith bearable.) Mom, do you think today after school you can get me the tap shoes because my recital is in two weeks and the shoes Ms. Cindy saw me wear are too tight and Ms. Jenny said Ms. Cindy thought Marcia’s shoes were the same brand and Marcia cried to Ms. Jenny because….” And on and on and on.
Wake Child #2 up.
Prepare two completely different and equally demanding breakfasts for aforesaid children because THEY THINK THIS PLACE IS DENNY’S OR SOMETHING…
Child #1: Sunshine Breakfast: two eggs, over-easy, two slices of lightly toasted and buttered bread, sliced in exactly 5 rectangular strips (take crust off) spread around the egg as to portray rays of sunshine. (No joke. Waiting for this to not be cool anymore, but, apparently, at age 12, it still is.) Bacon on the side, semi-raw (any sign of crunch and it is rejected.) Tater tots, mushy, not crunchy, and a bowl of sliced bananas that are consumed with the same dramatic flair as if they were cyanide cookies.
Child #2: So not an egg eater. Oatmeal, cooked to perfection: creamy, not clumpy, with just a smidgen of brown sugar and a light dusting of cinnamon. Otherwise it’s no good. Bacon: extra crunchy, i.e., one notch below burnt. ( Anything less and it is rejected.) Two pounds of fruit. Don’t bother giving Child #2 less than that. He’ll just ask for more. Raspberries & blackberries are top choices, but will always accept any fruit, albeit with a tiny roll of them big butterscotch eyes.
Prepare school snack for Child #2.
Sip, sip, sip, coffee.
Scream at kids about numerous morning-related tasks:
“Don’t forget to brush your teeth, brush your hair, put your shoes on, make your bed. Hey is that what you call brushing your hair?”
Race out the door with children in tow, somehow five minutes late. Curse husband again for not being an active participant of this chaos.
Speed over to bus stop of Child #1. Drop off. Exhale.
Speed over to school of Child #2. Drop off with an extra kiss (it’s the cute eyes.)
Then three hours are gobbled up by The Black Hole of Time And Errands:
Grocery shopping, photocopy making, mailing of important documents in pending preparation for move to foreign country (just a small stress factor), tending to The Phone Call That Never Ends, meeting with school teacher (#2 not listening again), gas up the chauffeur-mobile (again).
And off to Le Alliance Française to try and learn French (pourquoi pas?)
3 hours of brain frying. Utterly exhausting mental workout. Is it because I am forty, or was learning EASIER when I was YOUNGER???
Race back to pick up Child #2 from school.
Harass #2 about doing homework.
Afternoon snack for #2 (cheese tortilla roll, froid), cucumber slices with ranch, sliced apples (peeled).
Drive Child #2 to tutor. Zip back to Bus Stop of Child #1 for pickup. Zoom back to tutor with Child #1. Drop off.
Accept “Don’t be late” as the closest resemblance of affection from a soon-to-be teenager.
Reluctantly head over to gym for body’s sake. Because somehow, somewhere along the way, fifteen pounds crashed this party.
Exercise very unhappily. (And no, it never feels good, not before, during or after, dammit.)
Pick up Child #1 and Child #2 from tutor (late).
Assaulted by numerous complaints on the injustices of their lives.
Appear sympathetic (Note, this is actually impossible to do: cynicism, sarcasm and tactlessness are worn much better.)
Drive home with two zapped and hungry children.
What’s a gal to do?
Sea Bass en Papillote!
It’s simple, tasty, fast and guilt-free!
Plus, perfect chance to savor superherodom, albeit within the small but intense confines of the family. Even Child #1, i.e., Child Who Does Not Eat Vegetables, eats vegetables when this dish is made!
Command children to assist.
“En Papillote” is just French-fancy for parchment paper – a mess-free, healthy method of steaming fish (or whatever protein you choose.)
Cut the parchment paper pieces into hearts (oh the fun!), coat with butter (keep an eye on craft-happy #1) and then pile on the diced veggie love!
A fun, family moment is happening here. (Curse husband for missing fun family moment.)
Seal up packages and pop them in the oven. They’ll cook with their own steam, offering packets brimming with flavor and goodness that is delicious and healthy.
Child #1 & Child #2 are clueless to health scam.
They just think it’s cool, and by default, maybe mom is a bit cool too. That’s as close as I’ll get to saving the world today. And it’s good enough for me.
Sea Bass En Papillote
3 fillets of sea bass (or any white fish)
4 purple potatoes, sliced paper-thin
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 zucchini, sliced paper thin
¼ cup red pepper, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Take a piece of parchment paper, fold in half and cut out a heart shape. Open paper and coat with some butter. Place a row of potatoes on one side of fold. Place fish on top. Add remaining ingredients and top with a little bit of butter. Fold closed (as if making an empanada) and seal paper by folding one corner and working folds all the way around the paper.
Repeat with other fillets.
Place in a preheated 350 oven and bake until done, approximately 10 minutes.
Open packet carefully! Beware of the steam. Enjoy!