And For My Next Trick....

Vegetable Lasagna.
Prep time: 35 minutes.
Cook time: 40 minutes.


I was at home today--daycare was on vacation. Shortly after breakfast I decided to bake. I've missed my oven all summer. As the primary cook in our household, I can manage with stovetop, no-cook, and grill when things get hot and humid indoors, but I am definitely an oven person. I just run out of ideas when I don't use the oven. (Note to husband: let's move forward on getting central air by next summer...or prepare to be have been warned.)

So, around 8:30 this morning, I began to assemble homemade vegetable lasagna. Thank goodness that was when I started, because despite the cheerful 35-minute prep time listed AND despite the fact that I had already pre-cut my three bell peppers, the lasagna made it into the oven not a minute sooner than 10:45. Sure, I had figured it would take me a bit longer with two small people underfoot (an hour maybe?)...I grossly underestimated.

I'm thinking maybe there should be a built-in formula for figuring cooking/baking prep times with children, a'la high-altitude instructions:
One Child? Please add 30 minutes.
Two Children? Please add 1.5 hours.
Three Children? Just order take-out.
Four Children? Really? You don't have a live-in cook?

Well, in the end, the lasagna was ready in time for lunch, which was the original plan.

This is something like how the morning went:

Begin food prep. Stop to diffuse building argument in living room. Continue food prep. Stop and tell 3-yr-old where the stool is so he can see onto the counter. Pick up spoon. Put down spoon to go get the other stool from the bathroom, so 18-mo-old can see onto the counter. Push baking materials out of reach of small hands. Re-read instructions. Shut silverware drawer that has just been discovered by 18-mo-old. Tell 3-yr-old that yes, he can play with his Special Tractor at the table (it's a die-cast model with VERY small pieces), which, while standing at the counter, he discovered was on the island.

Resume mixing cheeses. Stop and compare the model tractor to several models in his new John Deere book (a repurposed 2008 calendar...thanks Grandma Holly!) and agree that the closest is the Model G, but that the front wheel base is too wide. Begin heating water to boil noodles. Stop and get play-doh out for 3-year-old at the table. Resume cooking. Stop 14 times to extricate little brother from big brother's chair and successfully re-direct him about 3 times. Begin layering the lasagna. Help clean up play-doh. Have the following conversation went with our three-year-old:
"Mommy, what are you making?"
(Looking at the pan.) "I don't like lasagna."
"Yes you do. You've had it before. We called it Noodle Cake." (This is a true story.)
"I don't like it."
"Well, I guess you're going to be a hungry boy."
Decide sometime after hitting Hour Two of food preparation that this is going to be a blog post. Finally get food into the oven and only-semi-guiltily default to an episode of Clifford for the half-ish hour that it's supposed to cook for. Begin clean-up, bringing 1,573 separate dishes and utinsels to the sink:

Take lasagna out of oven--ON TIME! Mission accomplished. Let lasagna cool for 10 minutes. Serve lunch. And now for my next great feat: convincing a 3-yr-old that he does indeed like Vegetable Lasagna. At least one of two children doesn't usually need convincing. Yet....

Here's how THAT went:

("I don't like this.")
("Yes you do. There are peppers and broccoli in there. Can you find them?")

(Hold your breath, everybody....)

(Release breath.)
("Oh my goodness, you DO like it! Wow! How wonderful! Let's take a picture showing that you like it!")

Not a bad half-day's work.



  1. Lord have mercy! I'm exhausted, but I'm laughing because--oh, how true it all is. My favorite part, "I guess you're going to be a hungry boy." Cece did not eat her pizza tonight (except for the required--one bite). So, she was done eating; I let her down. Her "consequence" is that she doesn't get to eat anything else. My "consequence" is that she'll probably wake up early because she's a hungry girl. I think you and I deserve some stuffed potato wedges for all this hard work!


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