food · slice of life

An Edible-Medical Nose

I’ve been making my rendition* of Chunky Monkey Oatmeal nearly every morning for the past two weeks. Somehow, it’s fueling me until lunchtime. After consulting the original recipe, I realized I should eat half, not a whole, banana. (I’ve been eating a whole banana since sitting in a baggie for a day isn’t as good.) Yesterday, it occurred to me that Ari would happily take the other half of the banana off of my hands.

Ari has told me what he’d like for breakfast for the past two days. (Shocker, considering how adamant he was to make it himself for the past few weeks!) He ordered, “An English muffin with cream cheese and chocolate milk.”

I began his breakfast while my oatmeal simmered in the pot. Once the English muffins popped up, I spread cream cheese over them. Next, I placed half of a banana on the plate. The English muffin halves looked like eyes, and the banana resembled a frown. I made an accidental foodie face! I decided to make it come to life by adding two chocolate chips out as a Chunky Monkey Oatmeal topping to the eyes to give the face pupils.

Of course, Ari was not thrilled when he discovered the nose was missing again. Unsure of what to add, he grabbed his allergy pill from the plastic container and declared he could use it as a nose.

I don’t think medicine appeared anywhere in Wurtzels’ Foodie Faces book. We’re ridiculous, aren’t we?

*= Here’s my rendition of Chunky Monkey Oatmeal:


1 cup of water (+ pinch of salt)
½ cup rolled oats
1 tbsp maple syrup 
1 tbsp peanut butter, separated
1 tbsp chocolate chips
½ banana, chopped

Follow the package instructions to make the oatmeal. Stir in the maple syrup, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and banana slices.

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · slice of life


Have you ever figured something out — after years of failing — that you wanted to shout your discovery from the rooftops? Because that’s how I’m feeling today. But this is the Slice of Life STORY Challenge, not a cooking show. So, I’ll do my best to make this piece story-like since my children will probably not want to read a piece about a must-have kitchen gadget when they’re in their 40s.

I’ve been trying to make healthier choices in the afternoons. Therefore, I added a 6” piece of fresh ginger to Sunday’s shopping list for smoothie making this week. I had forgotten all about it until 3:45 p.m. Once I remembered that it had been sitting in my fridge since Sunday, I realized I needed to use it this afternoon.

I grabbed baby spinach, kale, ginger, frozen pineapple, and agave nectar. After mixing the greens with the water, it was time to add the pineapple, ginger, and agave nectar.

BUT WAIT, I had to peel the ginger! While this might not be a problem for a TV chef who can peel a piece of ginger with ease using the back of a spoon, I am not a TV chef. I’ve always struggled with peeling ginger, especially when it has nubs. I didn’t have time to meticulously peel a piece of ginger since I had 15 minutes to return to the road to drive Isabelle to an after-school activity.

I thought fast and grabbed my newly-acquired Y-peeler from the drawer. I figured it might work since it had made peeling sweet potatoes easier.

The ginger’s skin came off with ease.

“Oh my Gd! I can’t believe it!” I said aloud.

“What?” Ari asked as he shoved a fig bar in his mouth.

“Remember the y-peeler I bought for sweet potatoes?” He nodded. “Well, it’s making the skin of the ginger come off quickly. Look!”

Ari seemed mildly impressed, though he was more interested in watching me grate the ginger with a Microplane.

Minutes later, my smoothie was made. Ari tried some after I poured it into the only clean cup I could find in the car. (My regular one had water in it.)

“Can I try some?” Ari asked. (He liked the green juice I had with the same ingredients last week and loved it.)

I handed the cup over to him. He swallowed it, but didn’t like the taste. Quite frankly, I didn’t either. I made it too quickly and probably used way more kale than I should’ve since it was bitter. But I drank it since I was delighted that after nearly 14 years of trying to peel ginger properly, I finally had a straightforward method.

So, this wasn’t much of a story, BUT at least you got a great kitchen gadget tip!

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · slice of life

16″ Sandwich

The final day of my kids’ long weekend was bookended with medical appointments, so there wasn’t much time for fun. After the first appointment, the kids and I walked around the trails and enjoyed the playground in Long’s Park. I needed to grab seedless grapes and Lestoil (Thanks, Linda!). The kids were hungry, so we decided to pick up lunch.

Isabelle decided she wanted a turkey sandwich. “You could go with Ari,” Isabelle told me. (He wanted chicken tenders.)

I walked to the next station to order Ari’s chicken tenders. I glanced back at Isabelle, who was standing at the sandwich shop. “Don’t look at me,” she said.

That’s when I got a hint there might be an issue, but I stayed with Ari. A few minutes later, Isabelle glided toward us with a large brown sandwich sleeve.

“What is that?” I asked Isabelle.

“My sandwich,” she said, nonplussed.

“It’s huge! Tell me you weren’t planning to eat that whole thing.”

“I think I will,” she said.

“You’re not a 300-lb. linebacker. You’re a 12-year-old girl!”


“So? Your father sometimes buys turkey sandwiches like this. He eats it over two days. TWO DAYS! You’re not eating all of that for lunch.”

Isabelle shrugged.

“You’ll eat half today and take the other half to school tomorrow.

Isabelle ate half of the sandwich for lunch. Once she finished, she declared, “Maybe I’m a little bit full.”

Well, I could’ve predicted that!

Sandwich Leftovers
This is the right side of Isabelle’s Planetbox. Here’s what’s left the 8″ half of her sandwich that was left over after carving up the leftover sandwich. That’s correct. The leftover sandwich was so large that it didn’t fit in her lunchbox!
Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · raising boys · slice of life

Mom’s Kitchen

BACKGROUND: Isabelle had a medical appointment this afternoon. Unfortunately, Ari had to come along since both kids had an early dismissal. Isabelle and Ari ate snacks on the drive to the appointment.


Ari was bored AND hungry by the time Isabelle’s appointment ended. “Let’s go out to eat!” he said. Ari long-pressed the home button on his iPad and said, “food near me,” to Siri.

Siri returned locations in Lancaster. The thing is, we were a half-hour west of our house. In his hangry state, Ari began yelling commands at Siri, such as “Find me restaurants near me,” “Snack bars by me,” and “Starbucks near me.” Nothing, nothing, and nothing.

“Why don’t we go out for dinner?” Isabelle asked.

“A, it’s a weeknight. B, we’re going to brunch with Lynne and Ralph tomorrow.”

“But we never go out to eat at night!” she complained.

“It’s. A. Weeknight.”

Isabelle must’ve understood she wasn’t going to get me to budge so she stopped complaining.

As we walked out of the office, Ari said, “Where can we go out to eat?”

“I know a place in Lititz where we can have dinner. Tonight is breakfast for dinner night,” I told Ari.

“How long will it take to get there?” Ari inquired.

“About a half hour,” I replied.

“What’s it called?” Ari asked.

“Mom’s Kitchen,” I replied with a straight face.

Isabelle smirked.

“Is it good?” Ari asked.

“Yes, the food is excellent. Mom’s Kitchen has a fully stocked kitchen, a great pantry, and a chef who loves cooking for people,” I answered.

“And we’re going there now?” Ari asked.

“Right now,” I replied.

Somewhere on the highway, as we got closer to home, Ari asked, “How much longer until we get to Mom’s Kitchen?”

I peered down at the GPS. “About 11 minutes.” No, that wasn’t right. I looked again. “Oh, 11 miles, 20 minutes.”

Ari took in the information and compared it with the GPS. “Is Mom’s Kitchen our house?!”

“It is!” Ari said.

“But you said…” Ari groaned. He must’ve realized he was defeated.

“Sorry, dude,” I said. “The good news is that tonight is breakfast for dinner!”

Chocolate Chip Pancakes… Coming Right Up!

Hopefully Ari won’t hold a grudge!

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · slice of life

The Lox Snob

“What would you like for breakfast?” I asked Ari.

No response.

I didn’t have time to play games this morning. (Thanks, Daylight Savings Time.) That’s when I announced, “If you don’t tell me what you’d like to eat, then you’ll either have to make it yourself or be hungry at Hebrew school. It’s your choice.”

A few minutes later, Ari plodded into the kitchen while I was adding six Splendas (Don’t judge.) to my coffee. He opened the fridge, stood on his tippy toes, and attempted to grab the gallon of chocolate milk.

“You can ask for help,” I told him. “It’s hard to reach all of the way back there when you’re a kid.”

“Thanks,” he mumbled as I handed over the gallon to him. Too bad he’s too young for coffee.

“Do you need a plate?” I asked, ignoring his rudeness.

“Yes,” Ari replied.

I retreived a plate from the cabinet. Then, Ari got to work fixing his breakfast.

First, everything seemed to be going along normally. Ari put an English muffin into the toaster. Then he took the cream cheese out of the fridge.

“Do we have any lox left?” Ari asked.

Lox on an English muffin?! Yuck. But he’s making his breakfast, so who am I to judge.

“We have some of the good lox Bubbe and Zayde brought last weekend. Would you like me to get it for you?”

“Yes!” Ari replied brightly.

My desire to not have my counter covered in fish oil comes before the pleasure of watching Ari make his own breakfast. Therefore, I put the package of lox onto a plate before opening it. I placed two slices on the plate. Then I returned the package to the fridge.

Once the English muffin was out of the toaster, Ari began preparing his breakfast.
It took Ari a couple of minutes to prepare his breakfast. Once finished, he put the cream cheese away in the fridge and tossed the knife in the sink.

Ari placed his cup of chocolate milk, plate with the English muffin with lox, and a napkin on his placemat. He sat down and began eating.

I kept my laughter as I pondered: How many six-year-old American kids crave smoked fish for breakfast?!

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
animals · food · slice of life

Extra Eggs

Whisking the wet ingredients.

This morning, I took three eggs out of the carton to get them to room temperature about an hour before we baked.

Ari and I made the dough for our Friday night challah this morning. One of his stuffies, Barkey Tucker, helped us.

Everything was going along fine until it was time for me to clean up. That’s when I noticed three eggs sitting on a spoon rest. Two egg yolks and one egg are used in the challah. How did these eggs get there? How were they still on the counter if I had the cracked shells in my hand?

I had gone down to the basement to grab a challah mix. Perhaps Ari entered the fridge and took out three new ones instead of one additional egg for the egg wash. But when I asked him, this is what transpired:

Where on earth did these new eggs come from?

I felt the eggs on the spoon rest when I put them back in the carton. They were warmer than the eggs in the carton.

After Ari’s (and Barkey Tucker’s) denial, I wondered aloud, “Could it be that there were nine eggs in the carton this morning, I laid out three before we ate breakfast, forgot about them, and added three new eggs from the fridge? Do you think I forgot about the eggs I had placed on the counter?”

“Maybe…” Ari replied.

“And you promise you didn’t put the extra three eggs on the spoon rest?

Ari said, “I promise.”

“I need more coffee,” I replied with a chuckle.

Raisin Challah
Challah is supposed to be braided. Since I make gluten-free challah, I use a silicone mold to shape the dough since it’s sticky. This is our finished raisin challah for Shabbat.
Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · picture books · slice of life

Play with Your Food!

Ari discovered Foodie Faces by Bill and Claire Wurtzel at the library last summer. We checked it in and out several times. We promised each other we’d try to have a foodie face day, but it never happened.

My parents visited last weekend and brought “the good lox” (Ari’s words. He’s a smoked salmon snob!) with them. This evening, as I prepared bagels and lox for supper (since I don’t have time to cook on Wednesdays), I got excited to open up the vacuum-sealed package from Acme Smoked Fish’s retail store. I lovingly placed the lox and cream cheese atop a sesame seed bagel from Modern Bread and Bagel* in Manhattan. Then, I sliced up some tomatoes my parents left behind. I was just about to snap a photo so I could send it to my parents to thank them for the lox delivery when I realized I had made a foodie face!

“Ari, I made a foodie face with my bagel and lox!”

“Show me,” he replied.

I set the plate on my placemat. He started at it quizzically.

“The bagel halves are the eyes, and the tomato slices are the mouth,” I said.

“It needs a nose,” Ari replied.

“You’re right,” I said.

I grabbed a yellow pepper from the platter in the center of the table and stuck it beneath the bagel eyes.

“Better?” I asked.

Ari smiled.

*=If you love bagels, but cannot eat gluten, you’ll want to check out Modern Bread and Bagel. They ship nationwide! Slice and freeze them as soon as they arrive. Thaw them out an hour before you’re ready to eat, and it’ll be almost as good as eating a fresh bagel in their shop.

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · Jewish · slice of life

“Mise en Place” is not a guarantee!

Ready to Go!

It started with 14 ounces of butter that needed to be softened. Once I put it in a bowl, I decided to remove ingredients from the pantry. Then, I retreived kitchen tools (e.g., zester, kitchen scale, measuring cups) from their various storage spaces. Long before the kids returned from Hebrew school I was READY to bake hamantaschen!

I got to work making the batter after lunch. (Ari, who typically helps me, was in a rotten mood so I didn’t ask him to help.) Once the batter was finished, it was wrapped in plastic and placed in the fridge to chill.

While the dough chilled, I sat with Isabelle to do a run-through of her Bat Mitzvah service. I washed dishes. Before I knew it, the hour passed quickly. Once my timer went off, I called Ari over — since he was no longer grouchy — to roll out the dough with me.

I should’ve put the dough back in the fridge to let it chill for a longer period of time since it felt too soft. That was the WRONG MOVE. While gluten-free dough is stickier than gluten-full dough, this was not rolling out well. (I’ll spare you the repeated rollings and the trip some of the dough made to the freezer.)

Thanks to a LOT of patience, Ari and I created 21 dough rounds. We dropped apricot and strawberry preserves into the centers and molded them into triangles. (Ari baked hamantaschen at Hebrew school this morning so he felt confident about his technique, which was good since the too-soft dough made my confidence as a baker waiver.) We placed them in the oven and waited 13 minutes.

We peeked through the oven halfway through the cooking time and discovered several of our cookies opened up! I hoped they’d taste good even if they opened up completely.

In the end, this year’s hamantaschen tasted delicious! And even though they didn’t look stellar, none looked like the ones I made last year, which were poop emoji doppelgangers. 💩🤭🤣

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · slice of life

Smashing Station

The sun is setting on the work week. Dinner is being prepared.

Thin chicken cutlets were purchased for tonight’s dinner, BUT Nature’s Promise’s definition of thin chicken cutlets isn’t the same as ours. The thin chicken cutlets we purchased are on the thick side. They need to be thinned out. Thankfully, I purchased a mallet (of sorts) a few years ago, so I didn’t have to take out a rolling pin like I have done in the past.

“I want to smash the chicken,” Ari said.

“I don’t want my counter smashed,” I replied.

“I want to work at the smashing station!” he replied, referring to the area set up for the flattening.

Seeing that he’s a six-year-old boy who likes to cook, it’s only natural that he’d want to flatten the chicken cutlets, right?

After a brief tutorial, Ari got the hang of it. Thankfully, the mallet only made contact with the cutlet on the cutting board, not our countertops.

Dinner will be a little later than usual. Not only was there a chicken smashing pounding tutorial, but there have been conversations about safe chicken handling procedures.

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
food · siblings · slice of life

“I don’t like my blood type” is not a real complaint!

“I don’t want roast chicken for dinner,” Ari whined. “Why do you have to make roast chicken?”

“Huh?” I asked.

The complaining continued, “Why can’t you make buttermilk brined chicken?”

“I am making buttermilk brined chicken,” I replied.

“But you told Mrs. Paul you were making roast chicken tonight,” Ari retorted.

“Yes, because I am roasting a chicken. I was making small talk while you were getting into our car. Did I really need to get into the kind of chicken I was roasting when there were 30+ cars behind me?”

“I guess not,” Ari muttered.

Photo of a chicken leg/thigh and green beans.

Isabelle is our family’s complainer-in-chief, but Ari is a runner-up. He jumps right in if she’s unable to complain about something.

You can imagine that I had HAD it with complaints once Isabelle opened the fire hydrant on her complaints at dinnertime with, “It’s steaming hot!” about the chicken on her plate.

“That’s it!” I said. I opened a drawer, retrieved a notebook, and declared, “I’m writing down everything you complain about tonight at dinnertime… starting with that!”

Over the next ten minutes, I spent more time scribing than eating. But I was trying to prove a point, so I kept at it, rolling my eyes at Marc occasionally.

“Who’s winning?” Ari asked.

I counted. “You’re tied with Isabelle, five to five.”

Wanting to take the lead, Isabelle said, “I don’t like my blood type!”

“That’s not a real complaint!” I declared. “I refuse to write that down.”

A long list of my children's complaints at dinnertime.
Click to enlarge.

Of course, the kids started complaining about ridiculous things. Leave it to Marc to stop it by saying, “My water could have a little more flavoring in it.” (That was a dig towards Isabelle, who sets the table and gets the drinks at night.)

“Now, it’s five, five, and one,” I replied.

“You’re winning,” Ari told me.

Am I? I wondered. I fight so hard to make sure we eat dinner together virtually every night. This is the thanks I get!

In the end, Isabelle edged Ari out for the most complaints at dinnertime. Ultimately, I guess I won since I found something to write about.

Orange Slice with Slice of Life and Two Writing Teachers URL
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.