Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our Starving Child

Lately, I have been paranoid that people may begin to suspect that I do not feed my child.  These fears are not unfounded.  With the way Matthew has been acting in public lately, I would not be surprised if I did receive a critical stare or two from passing strangers.  Most of the time, Matthew is an excellent companion when it comes to running errands.  As we move from store to store, he is perfectly content to be at my side, chatting away as usual about puppies, rabbits, or any of his other current favorite topics of conversation.  However, lately that has all changed.  When we are at the grocery store, Matthew will oftentimes start whining nonstop:  “Hungry!  Hungry!  Huuuuuunnnnnnngrrrry!”  We will pass the produce section where there are piles and piles of different varieties of apples, which are Matthew’s favorite fruit, and he will start listing to one side of the cart, his arm outstretched in a desperate attempt to snatch a piece of the fruit:  “Please?  Please?  Hungry!  Apple! Apple!” I do appreciate his love for fresh produce, but seriously.

Paul and Matthew hammering away at our kitchen chairs during the move.
Paul and I took Matthew to a furniture store the other day to choose a new bookcase for the office.  As we were consulting with the salesman, I noticed that Matthew was missing.  I immediately went searching for him and found him sitting on one of the chairs in a display dining room.  In his hand was a plastic piece of fruit that had been on display in a silver bowl in the center of the table.  He had taken a bite out of it and was chewing away with a rather disconcerted look on his face that said: “Why does this apple taste so funny?”  I noticed that the apple was not the only thing Matthew had sampled.  There was also a fake bread loaf, a banana, and a pear with little tiny bite marks on them scattered on the table.  And people were definitely staring at him, feeling sorry for my poor son who was so hungry that he had to resort to eating fake fruit to settle his stomach.  A lady who had been watching him nearby approached me and suggested that I might take him to the doctor as the paint on the plastic fruit was probably toxic.  Maybe I’m a horrible parent, but I just shrugged off this suggestion.  It’s been a little over a week and Matthew is still alive and kicking.  No harm done.

Despite what appearances may suggest, we do feed Matthew.  And Matthew does eat.  A lot.  In fact, last Sunday Paul and I had planned on making scrambled eggs for breakfast.  However, we had failed to check how many eggs we had left in our refrigerator and discovered a little too late that only four remained.  We scrambled them up and divided them evenly between Matthew and ourselves.  Matthew gobbled his down instantaneously and asked for more.  So, Paul and I scraped our portions of the eggs onto his plate and let him eat the rest.  We had to settle for English muffins and jam for breakfast.  

Speaking of breakfast, as I have mentioned before Matthew adores baked oatmeal.  Recently, Paul has declared this Banana-Nut Oatmeal his favorite.  Unlike the other versions of baked oatmeal I have made in the past, this recipe incorporates very little liquid and some oil which makes the final product emulate the taste and texture of a granola.  This recipe feeds a crowd.  I normally bake a big batch of it on Sunday night for us to have for breakfast all week long.  With the price of breakfast cereal continuing to rise, this is a much more economical option for us!

Banana-Nut Baked Oatmeal
adapted from Allrecipes

1/2 cup canola oil (you may substitute half with applesauce)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
3 bananas, chopped finely
1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar.  Whisk in the egg and milk.  Add the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and stir vigorously to combine.  Add in banana and give the whole thing another good stir.  Add in the oats and walnuts and stir well to combine.  

Pour into a 8x8 pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is no longer jiggly and is browned on top.  Serve immediately or let cool completely on a wire rack before covering and refrigerating.

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