8 Devious (But Well Justified) Food Tricks All Parents Should Know!

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This is pretty cute, Family Magazine– but you don’t need a masters degree in Art to utilize my simple food tricks below!

The following tricks are divided into two categories, both equally indispensable. The first section is to help YOU eat whatever you want left alone in peace, and sans guilt. The second part is to assist you in getting your children to eat healthier fare. Paradoxical? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

FOR YOU:

  1. Bottom’s Up: In private, turn any unfrosted cake, (Bundt, pound or loaf, etc.) onto its side and proceed to ingeniously cut a thin slice from the bottom part for your indulgence. Using dental floss to shave it off is a great help with this feat but buy the unflavored kind unless you like mint with your angel food? Note: You can do this approximately four and a half times before the cake starts getting discernibly shorter and your guests’ brows raise as they begin to refer to it as a pie.
  2. The Latest From Paris: Spooning brownie batter into your mouth is actually more sinfully scrumptious than eating the fully baked confection itself. And virtually undetectable because who has ever seen a tall brownie? You can also just drink batter through a straw like you’re sipping on a luscious thick malt. Betty Crocker would make a fortune if she started packaging brownie mixes that stated, “8 extra spoonfuls included for mom’s sanity” printed under the ingredients.  However if the end result (your baked pan of brownies) drops below an 1/8 of an inch thick, a renaming will be in order. Say confidently at the dining table, “These are NOT brownies. They’re a trendy new dessert craze from France –“Brepes”….a combination of crepes and brownies. Wallah!
  3. Glamorous Goodies: If you’ve already gobbled cookies from a package that you just purchased that very afternoon (i.e. Oreos or Chips Ahoy) and you don’t want to hear “Mom! Who already ate these?” simply arrange the store bought treats on a pretty plate and set it on the table. Bonus points for sliding an elegant doily underneath. To avoid this scenario entirely in the future, buy only bagged cookies so nobody can count up (this isn’t why math is taught!) the vacant plastic slots and calculate how many Nutter Butters are missing.
  4. Caution Signs: Write stern little warnings that say, “Do NOT eat this. I’m saving for tomorrow night’s Bridge Club. Or Mahjong group. Or any other card game that Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz used to play that requires serving impressive refreshments. Warning: At this point you better at least learn about trumping and building walls so you can talk a good game the next evening when you whisk the baked goods off in your car to drive around the corner and luxuriate in solitude.

FOR THEM

  1. Deceptive Desserts:Trying to sneak anything healthy into your children by finely grating it into a sweet batter is so old school. Jerry Seinfeld’s wife did an entire book on this and then languished in Puree Hell. Kids are smart and will suspiciously examine their birthday cake for evidence of carrots or zucchini and give their muffins a watchful eye for applesauce. Anything pulverized will be immediately spat out. So reverse the process. Rather than pureeing the nutritious thing, puree the unhealthy thing and inject it deep inside. Example: Take a carrot, hollow it out and fill with minced or blended Hershey’s chocolate. The child will gleefully delight in avoiding the pureed center of the carrot (thinking that’s the nutritious part you’ve tried to pull one over on him with) and you’ve just scored a kid who won’t be called four-eyes. That is, if you believe old wives’ tales about carrots improving vision.
  2. Freud Who?:Remember Psych 101, Pavlov’s dog, and classical conditioning! Every time the child eats a chocolate chip cookie, ring a bell. The child will soon associate bells with pleasurable taste sensations. But after a while when the child’s guard is down, ring a bell as he eats oatmeal. Then salmon. And why not go for brussel sprouts? “Ring, ring!”  Disclaimer: Future Avon Ladies, playing Ding Dong Ditch, or reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls” may prove traumatizing for him later in life.
  3. What’s In a Name?: Do bizarre things with celery but forget Ants on a Log. That phrase just kills it. Who eats insects? Substitute chocolate chips for those raisins. Then give the kid a further break and swap peanut butter in for the cottage cheese. Relax mom, the original celery is still in the picture. But get a new and improved catchphrase, will ya? How about “Let the Chips Fall Where They May?” or “Chip off the Old Block.” You can do this!
  4. Great Expectations: Refrain from your rehearsed evil “mwahahaha” laugh when utilizing number 4 from the first section above, only with a clever variation. Make a similar sign stating, “Under no circumstances should you eat what’s wrapped in this tin-foil because it’s something very special for the PTA Bake Sale. Attach this sign to your leftover meatloaf, of course. But don’t bother pre-slicing it into cupcake wrappers — they’ll be expecting just that kind of deception.

Good luck and remember that whoever said, “All is fair in love and war” must’ve had to eat too, so he should’ve written a sequel bumper sticker that proclaimed, “All is fair in the Kitchen as well!”

Caught the Pokémon Go craze?  Go HERE to see how I’ve modified it to benefit Jewish (or any!) parents! And watch for my new app being released soon!

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I Am Finally A “Cut Above The Rest!”

photo-232I am every husband’s dream.  I don’t go to salons.  I don’t get pedicures, facials, hand massages, or highlights.  The latter term, at least I know has to do with hair. But I thought Lowlights were desk lamps with dim bulbs.

However, for my upcoming 50th birthday, I recently ventured out to get my hair cut.  It wasn’t just “Snip, Snip, Snap, that’ll be $19 please.”  It was An Event.  That’s because I went to a salon (called “Pellegrino’s” with the little fancy French upside-down accent mark shaped like a hat over the “o”) which I could never afford to patronize, if I hadn’t won a gift-card in a raffle drawing.

Even though I had already Killed My Mean Girl (read here if you don’t know!) and gained new confidence, I was still feeling terribly nervous on the day of my appointment, so I dressed in my most trendy attire.   I even washed/styled my hair and painted my nails with my 11 year old’s polish. A frumpy, over-the-hill housewife would be laughed out the door, so that meant I couldn’t show up as myself.   Believe me when I tell you I went to the salon looking as if I just came from the salon!

(But I also always clean my house before the house-cleaner comes!)

A well-coiffed man with a nametag that read, “Culligan Perrier” opened the door for me.  “Right this way, Miss.” Holy cow, was this a Maitre de or the Water Boy??  “I’d like you to make the acquaintance of Mr. Pellegrino,” he announced.

There was an awkward pause and I felt the need to say it, so I did.  “You mean Thee Pellegrino?” I drawled, “As in Pellegrino’s hair salon with that cute little accent mark over the ‘o’   ?!!” I pointed excitedly to their sign.

A hushed silence followed, as heads nodded solemnly.  He must’ve stopped by the salon on the way to his own wedding, so grooms-like was his tuxedo.  I resisted the urge to ask where he was headed on his honeymoon and let him take me by my arm instead.

“Let me start by showing you our Manicurial Engineering Department in the front. And here we have the Colorist Technicians (oh pleeeease, they just dye hair!) and on your right, you’ll notice our own Custom line of quality hair products.  Make-up artists have their own studio back here.  Artists, Engineers and Technicians stay separate. They never fraternize.  On your left are the skin care analytic machines.  Ladies and Gentlemen facilities in the rear and our linens get laundered over there.”

What the hell?  Was I receiving a haircut or a new employee guided tour?

“Any questions?” Mr. Pellegrino asked.

“Just one.  Should I begin with sweeping the floors or answering the phones?” I watched his lips purse into a straight “you are so very humorless” line.  Some people are just so touchy.

“Let me take you over to Brita who will be handling all your hair needs today.”  Hmmm, Brita was my water filter system back home.  My hair didn’t need handling, it needed cutting.

Brita: (hair stare) Hello.  I didn’t realize it was so terribly windy out there today.  How dreadful.

Me: Huh?  Outside?  Oh, it’s as calm as my ten year old when I double dose him with Benadryl.

Brita: (harder hair stare) Like I said. . .  How dreadful.

Brita then placed me in a waiting chair while she finished blowing her client, (I swear she said this exact wording to me) but first she brought me some water.  Someone must have chopped salad fixings near the water pitcher, because my glass had several cucumbers in it.  She handed me a People Magazine.

This is what I saw.  I swear. Again.

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Then a girl who looked like she jumped off a modeling runway came around and offered me a facial while I waited.  Certainly a salon of this caliber didn’t use kitty litter. I looked around but didn’t see any eager Siamese cats (or Bengal Tigers!) waiting to pounce on my face to scratch wrinkles off.  Still, I wisely declined.  She talked me into a massage instead. As she kneaded, pushed and pulled my skin into a different shape, I realized it’d been forever since I baked bread.

Back in the waiting chair, People Magazine was shoved in my hands again.  I saw this subject title. photo-225

It dawned on me that all this time I thought celebrity women wanted for nothing.  Certainly not for lavish meals at big events. Imagine my surprise when I read these quotes and realized the abuse going on here.

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These poor dear women are being deprived of food.  And in this next case, deprived of oxygen too.

photo-222Or perhaps Busy Phillips was too darn Busy to breathe.  In any case, I made a mental note to start a charity and call it,  “Let’s get our celebrity female role models FED!”

Since it was such a long wait, I figured I would quickly pop into the ladies room and make sure my hair didn’t look like it was in too much need of “handling.” Wow, what a shiny bathroom! However I didn’t realize the sinks were motion activated, but I was able to rescue my purse when it was only half-way submerged.  I glanced at the soggy tampons and drenched makeup brush – – Oh well, this was a “water” themed salon so my purse would fit right in.  Besides, what else would a “fish out of water” carry on her arm?

At long last, the young, flawless Brita came over and purred, “I’m ready for you now.”  Then she stared at my purse so I said, “Oh!  Am I the first one you’ve seen with the new wet patent leather look?”

I walked over to her station with a graceful flourish, noting with satisfaction that I was garnering a lot of attention. No doubt some real “Lock Envy” going on as the other women got a gander at my “strategically windblown, Rat’s Nest, 80’s hairstyle, which looked not quite as classy as the photo below.  Almost, but not quite.

All the women in the salon are thinking, "Who does HER hair?  And wow, why is she even here?!"

All the women in the salon are thinking, “Who does HER hair? And Wow, why is she even here?!”

Brita draped a long, black cloth over my clothes and I could sense she was very sorry to have to obscure my Flashdance glittered, one-shouldered sweatshirt.  We exchanged tips on haircare and Brita seemed fascinated that I used a proprietary product from the Dollar Store simply named, “Hair Shampoo.” I think the elegance of its minimalism impressed her.  That kinda thing is really so very in these days, you know.  I was excited to see her reaction when I told her I was also chic enough to use a little special something called, “Hair Conditioner” before leaving the laundry room sink.

They played lots of modern music while Brita “handled” my hair.  I didn’t recognize any of the songs, but as soon as “Staying Alive” from Saturday Night Fever came on, the receptionist went to change the station.  Probably because she didn’t know how to do the finger pointing hand movement to the disco dance that traditionally accompanied it.  So I showed her.

Next, I happened to overhear the woman sitting in the chair next to me, (whispering to her own stylist named Evian?) if this was still an exclusive salon?

I must say that the entire employee staff was extraordinarily considerate about my busy schedule.  (See “Busy Stephanie” is just as frazzled as Busy Phillips above!) When I first made my appointment, I mentioned to the receptionist that I needed to pick up my son from school directly afterwards.  During my haircut, no less than six people approached me with a reminder, “Shouldn’t you be going now?”  So thoughtful.

On my way out, they handed me a referral card for my next haircut. But it was all written in French.  I waved, smiling shyly to my new dance partner friend and her assistant (maybe named Sparkletts and Aquafina?) behind the counter,  who suddenly both also only spoke French.  Strange.  “Au revoir!  Au revoir!” they happily repeated.

I drove home singing “Frère Jacques,” but quickly realized I had left my Swatch Watch and Leg-Warmers back in the salon when I had my massage.  I called them up from my cell phone,  but upon hearing my name, the gentleman told me in perfect English that Pellegrino’s had moved and left no forwarding address.  Well, that’s okay.  Brita would be thrilled to keep those items since I had forgotten to tip her.

Oh yeah – – so here’s the new hairstyle with some heart-shaped Designer sunglasses the Dollar Store just got in! But do you think I’ll be able to incorporate a Jane Fonda type headband into this new look next time I wanna impress a group of women?photo-231

NOTE:  Only two more days left to win one of two prizes by entering the VERY easy contest inside this post! Click here.  Deadline Friday!

The Quests For Smaller Breasts

photo-185Disclaimer: Contains a lot of silly wordplay concerning breasts while I attempt to make light of a subject that has been truly anguishing.  To read a serious and profoundly potent post on the same subject, please go to this amazing writer’s blog right here.

“Well, HELLO DOLLY!” (You know the tune?)

When I was 15, a boy inquired about going to the junior prom, never once taking his eyes off my enormous bosoms.  I told him, “Oh yes, they’d be delighted to go.” His baby blues widened as I continued, “They’ll be ready by 7 pm, but you need to return them safely back home and attached firmly to my torso by midnight.”  His eyes grew bigger than any saucers my breasts could ever fit into. “Or else….” I hesitated for dramatic effect, “they’ll turn into pumpkins!” I couldn’t resist.  His eyes exploded.

After that incident, boys continued to never look into my eyes while speaking to me, (but rather preferred to fix their stare a good 10 inches below) which prompted me to think about gluing those craft store Googly Eyes onto my blouse in strategic spots.

Hey listen . . . . . . .

“Where’s your wheelbarrow?”

“Your cup runneth over!”

“Are melons in season?”

“Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder!”

There isn’t a boob joke or cat-call I haven’t heard before.  In the past few months, this humor blog has helped me lighten up with heavier issues than my breasts, so I’m going to give it a shot today – –  being that I’ve had a breasted vested interest in the subject matter.

When you’re just 13 years-old and already making Dolly Parton look inadequate, you quickly learn that intelligent people who say, “Your bra size doesn’t matter, only brain size matters,” are just plain . . .  Stupid.  First of all, if you’re big busted, you WILL be perceived as a bimbo, regardless of your IQ.  Don’t believe me?  Try these 10 easy steps:

1.  Fill two plastic bags with granulated sugar, each weighing 5.5 lbs and place them in your shirt  (Yes, that was EACH.  Check it out here .)

2.  Go out tonight.

3.  Oh, but first go bra shopping.

4.  Bypass all the sweet, delicate, lacy little bralettes you see in the front of the store.

5.  March up to a saleswoman and tell her you would like to (use the term “like to” loosely) try on a steel reinforced Chest of Armour in a size 38 Double . . . and then whisper the cup size.

6.  Watch other women in the store turn to “envy” you.  Slap forehead and say, “Darn!  I just knew I shoulda ordered them in a smaller size when I was in that uterus.”

7.  Then try explaining to these other women about a) backaches b) shoulder pain c) not being able to sleep comfortably d) or exercise, e) combating extreme male crudeness f) your fear that someone will set a vase of flowers on your boobs, mistaking them for a fireplace mantle shelf. And g) well, “G” is your cup size.

8.   Be prepared for these other women to shake their heads at your complete ungratefulness and proceed to bemoan the horrors of being a size A cup.

9.   Nod politely and agree that yes, the grass is always greener. Or the bras are always better, on the other chest.

10.  Go home and cry  – – while fantasizing about carving pumpkins.

During high school, while girls on the Itty Bitty Titty Committee (remember that?) were saving up to buy a new set of wheels or a graduation trip to Hawaii, (in an “itty bitty, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot” you know what)  I was squirreling away my allowance for breast reduction surgery.  But it wasn’t looking good.  My very protective father had already declared that, “No doctor was taking a scalpel to his small, little girl.”  Bless his heart with his choice of adjectives.

So I did what any typical female would do when something was “too large” on her body.  I dieted to reduce their size.  And I did lose weight, even though I didn’t really need to.  You can get quite disciplined when your only option of a swimsuit for the beach looks like something your grandmother would have worn.  Circa 1929.

Figure 38 H

Figure 38 H

You can see just how well Weight Watchers worked out for me (with addressing this issue) by referring to Figure 38 H to the left (yes, that’s “H” now!)  Only add more of a frowny face to this diagram.

Now it was time to try the opposite tact.  This time I ate a lot more food to attempt to camouflage them in excess weight.  But they only inflated.  While I was toying with the idea of trying a sharp pinprick,  (would I zoom crazily airborne around the house like a balloon? )  I happened to meet a nice boy.  By this time I was exhausted from trying to change mother nature, (but you know what they always say, “No breast for the weary”) and decided acceptance was my only answer.

Luckily, this boy was soft-spoken and at age 17, helped me cultivate somewhat of a sense of humor about them.  He called me his “Little Treasure Chest.”  Compared to the names I heard walking by a construction site, this was definitely a breast of fresh air!  One afternoon he leaned back comfortably against me, his head cradled between – – well you know – – singing along to that hit Police song, “Every breast you take….every move you make,”  when suddenly he announced that if he installed a couple of stereo speakers in them, he’d have himself a boob tube with Dolby Surround Sound headphones.  That was it.

“You know what?” I asked.  He waited with baited breast breath.  “Give it a breast  rest already!  You and I are done.”  What a jerk, thinking he could just lie back and breast on his laurels.  Ha – – he wasn’t the only one with good breast puns.

My version of a "Spaghetti Strap" dress!  But I couldn't have worn this pretty "Pasta Prom" dress either!  No Siree, Bob!  (ps.  His name wasn't Bob!)

My version of a “Spaghetti Strap” dress! But I couldn’t have worn this pretty “Pasta Prom” dress either! No Siree, Bob! (ps. His name wasn’t Bob!)

Besides, I couldn’t have gone with him to my Senior Prom even if I wanted to. Why?  Because Spaghetti Strap dresses were all the department stores sold.  Could I wear that style ??  Fat chance!  Not even with a dozen spaghetti strands. (as pictured at left!)

Fast forward to age 18 and it was time to implement Plan B (and B was the exact letter I was going for with reduction surgery, by the way!)  so I scheduled the operation. When the fateful morning arrived, I went to the hospital with just a bit of trepidation.   In the operating room, the young, handsome, curly haired Doctor came in and spoke to me, holding my hand while gazing deeply into my eyes, (a preview of what would be when I was finally smaller?)  as he explained the exact procedure.  I suppose he wanted to keep me abreast of everything that would occur.

He then exited out the door and I was alone with my itty bitty thoughts.  When the door opened next, a man walked in wearing surgical scrubs.  I grew suspicious as he opened the front of my hospital gown and took out a black Sharpie pen.

Me:  Wait a sec. Who are YOU?

Surgeon: (drawing circles on my skin)  I’m the same guy who was here before.  Only with a cap and mask. Why, who do you think I am?

Me:  Oh I don’t know.  I thought maybe they were selling tickets out there for strange men to come inside and doodle on my breasts with magic markers.

Surgeon:  Very funny.  Have you considered Nursing in the future?

Me:  Well, I get a little squeamish around blood.  Why?  Do you need an assistant?”

Surgeon:   Breastfeeding.  (pause) And you may not be able to. (brightly)  So how do you feel about C’s?

Me:  I pride myself on being a straight A student, but I’ll settle for a couple of  B’s.

Surgeon:  A or B?  But you’d be completely flat!?

Me:  That’s the idea.  I wanna give people a craving for blueberry Pancakes.

When I woke up on that recovery table, (even though I was in excruciating pain) – – the first thing I did was reach down to feel the results.  Straight through the bandages.  And in that moment,  I knew . . .  I would finally be able to say to my body,  “Breast in Peace.”  Forever.

Footnote:  Somehow I always thought as I approached menopause, the reverse of puberty would occur.  I would lose my cycles and of course my breasts would un-grow.  Okay! Now, would someone PLEASE hand over the “Change Of Life Manual??”  Because my body didn’t seem to get that memo.  “They’re Baaaaaaaaack!”  And no, that’s not a preview for the movie, Poltergeist.

Leave me a comment  – – maybe you have some big boob remark that I’ve never heard before.  But you can breast rest assured, I probably have!