If you are ever in need of an emotional pick-me-up in the middle of the day, play hide-and-seek with a three-year-old. Emma has been on a huge hide-and-seek kick over the past couple of weeks and she is such a hoot to play with because she is so incredibly terrible at the game. For one, when hiding she makes so much dang noise as she tries to wedge herself into a corner, behind a door, or in a closet. Then, when the seeker (me) begins to get closer to her hiding spot, she begins to giggle and cackle loudly, sometimes even whispering to herself (loudly): “She’s never going to find me!”
A lot of times when I’m playing the part of the seeker, I will be really theatrical while looking for the kids. I count super loud and make a ton of noise as I look for them throughout the house, such as opening the bathroom door dramatically and saying in a goofy voice: “Are they in here!? Not in the shower! Where could they be hiding?!” I always know I’m close to Emma’s hiding spot, because normally she will answer my rhetorical questions (“I’m not in the bathroom, Mommy!”). It’s pretty hilarious.
|I need to get this girl some new pajamas. Ones that cover her belly.|
On the flip side, Emma is the worst seeker. If she can’t find me in the first three spots she looks, she begins to panic. As in, she thinks I left the house or something. Basically, if I don’t hide in the middle of the living room, she never finds me unless I start guiding her to my location by banging on the wall or yelling. Once, I hid behind our laundry room door and did not give her any hints. I listened to the sound of her footsteps running up and down the length of the house, passing my hiding spot no less than ten times before I heard her tell Lucy: “Little Lucy, I have terrible news. I lost our Mom!” The funny thing was that Peyton had followed me to my hiding spot and was obviously sitting in the hallway staring at me through the crack in the door. I eventually began knocking on the door and she found me about 10 minutes later and from the celebratory dance she did when she did, you would have thought she had found me immediately without difficulty: “HAHA! I found you! I found your hiding spot! You tried to hide but I FOUND YOU!”
Like I said, if you’re looking for a good time on a dreary, snowy afternoon, play a little hide-and-seek.
However, if you want to fill yourself with anxiety and tension, try feeding dinner to a three-year-old going through a major picky-eater phase. I dread dinnertime simply because I hate serving Lucy and Emma dinner. Neither one of those girls are great at that time of night. They’re both tired and whiny and both are super pick about food right now. Something they loved the day before suddenly is disdainful to them today. Emma will almost always declare her hatred of whatever I’m making before she even lays eyes on it. Matthew, on the other hand, has had a wonderful appetite as of late and eats almost anything I set in front of him. A refreshing change from the previous four years. Of course once he left that phase, his sisters entered it.
Anyway, that’s where these veggie bowls come in. They were despised by shunned by the girls, but loved and savored by Matthew, Paul, and me. So easy to prepare and so filling, hearty, and healthy, this meal was a welcome change from the convenience food and crockpot meals we have been eating during our remodel. First, warm jasmine rice is ladled into deep bowls and topped with warm, seasoned black beans. For convenience, I just used a can of Bush’s seasoned black beans but you could most certainly make your own recipe for seasoned black beans or just use plain beans. Then comes the Yum Yum Sauce…
This fantastic sauce that can almost be described as a Mexican-style hummus that adds an ethereal, creamy element to the dish. It’s the one component that sets this veggie bowl apart from every other burrito bowl out there. I actually made this recipe almost immediately after reading Mel’s rave review of it on her website. Her comments intrigued me and I made it. Of course, I couldn’t resist tweaking it a bit but even with my changes I think it’s a pretty delicious sauce. I have been dipping carrots and broccoli into it for a snack. It’s so good.
After the Yum Yum sauce, everything is topped with a generous portion of tomatoes, olives, peppers, cheese, avocados, cilantro, and sour cream or salsa of your choice. You will not walk away from the table hungry after eating a big bowl of this! Those picky eaters missed out on a truly wonderful meal.
Veggie Burrito Bowls with Yum Yum Sauce
adapted from rockstar blogger Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
For the Veggie Bowls
Jasmine rice, cooked in chicken broth and still hot
Canned black beans, warmed (I like Bush’s prepared and seasoned black beans)
Chopped black olives
Chopped red, green, yellow or orange peppers
Chopped or shredded Monterey Jack or Feta Cheese
Chopped, fresh cilantro
Salsa (Hatch Chile salsa, if you can find it, is the BEST)
For the Yum Yum Sauce:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup canned Great Northern or Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 large lemons)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of Cayenne (or more to taste)
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
For the Yum Yum sauce, add the oil, almonds, beans and water to a blender. Process until very smooth, about 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the container if necessary.
Add the sour cream, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, cayenne, cilantro and nutritional yeast. Process again until creamy and smooth. Add additional water to thin out the sauce, if needed. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat. The flavor will improve and develop as the sauce as time to sit!
To assemble the veggie bowls, layer rice in the bottom of a deep bowl. Add black beans and a healthy dollop of Yum Yum sauce. Add a generous amount of all the other vegetables and toppings, finishing with a healthy sprinkling of cheese. Enjoy!