Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Super Soy Sushi Bowl

If a genie appeared from a bottle and offer me three wishes, one of them would likely be to somehow get unlimited, on-demand sushi for the rest of my life.  Sushi is my fave, and I truly could eat it most nights of the week if we won the lottery.  I love the clean flavors, fresh proteins, and light satiety it provides, not to mention the fact that it is one of the few great indulgences in life that is actually good for you.  Since I haven't run into too many genies or winning lottery tickets lately, I'm looking for creative ways to bring Japanese food into our cooking rotation.  We have tatami mats and everything else you'd need to make home sushi, but that is way too much of a production for a weeknight, and better saved for a fun theme party with friends and a variety of cold sakes. For homemade Japanese on a Monday, I'm looking for streamlined recipes with lots of nutrient bang for the buck, and minimal prep work.  A tall order, to be sure, but I was recently inspired by ValSoCal's recipe for a California Roll in a Bowl.
Photo from ValSoCal
Look how pretty!  This would a perfect recipe for company, with big bowls of edamame to start, Kirin Ichiban with dinner, and mochi ice cream to finish.  But since our Monday menu did not include fresh crab (and imitation crab kind of gives me the willies) and I was out of sesame seeds and forgot to get them at the store on Saturday, I made my own little SMJ version.
Ladies and Gents, I give you...
SMJ's Super Soy Sushi Bowl
Serves 4
Like so many great weeknight recipes, this one is component-based.  You can add and subtract based on your mood and the contents of your fridge and pantry.  Consider this recipe a jumping off point...
2 cups sushi or short grain rice
2 cups water, plus more for rinsing rice
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 avocado, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
2 scallions, finely chopped
8 slices Baked Tofu (either use my recipe here, or for an even quicker weeknight fix, buy prepared baked tofu at your local health food store -- there are so many fantastic flavors available, you really can't go wrong)
Sesame seeds for garnish (Val also suggests sliced nori sheets, which would be yummy, we just didn't happen to have these in house either)

1) Rinse and prepare the rice according to package instructions in a rice cooker or saucepan.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Thoroughly mix in the vinegar, sugar and salt.
2) Assemble your bowls!  I created a buffet so that we could each take as much as we wanted of each ingredient.  Each person should get a good base of rice in their bowl, as well as a good handful of each veggie and 2 slices of tofu.  Done.

This was such a fresh and delicious dinner, I can't wait to use the concept as a base for more sushi bowl recipes.  Chopped nori and sesame seeds would really take it to the next level, and I plan to grab those on my next grocery run.  Seared tuna, lightly grilled salmon, or shredded teriyaki chicken or beef would all make great protein components, and shelled edamame and pickled ginger would be great additions as well.  The only limit is your imagination...
Have a happy, healthy Tuesday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Catch Up

Hello there. 
I'm sorry to have gone AWOL on you there for a moment.  Last week kicked me in the backside just a tiny bit.  The husband had work travel that backed right up to a work trip of my own.  This left me flying solo in the busy days leading up to my trip which required an extreme amount of juggling, patience and creative problem solving, which then blurred into a lovely but rather packed couple of days in Vermont.  I arrived home late on Thursday feeling mildly dazed and quite relieved that this long-anticipated and highly-choreographed week was finally in the rear view mirror.  It was the perfect time for one of the more unscheduled weekends we've had lately, and we all enjoyed a bit of hard-earned downtime.  I spent it...
Wandering through the Copley Square Farmers Market...
 Baking The Barefoot Contessa's Tri-Berry Muffins (throwing in the sugar at the end instead of mixing it with the rest of the dry ingredients gives these muffins an amazing crunchy top... they were a huge hit!).
Finally trying our new local brewpub (thanks for the fun treat P&G!).  I have but five words: truffled blue cheese tater tots.  And two more: dirty martini (the only appropriate way to end such a week).
We made pizza.
We ate fro yo.
We rode bikes and crossed things off lists and took turns sleeping in.  I drank iced coffee and went grocery shopping solo and talked to my sisters for the first time in way too long.  We were generally normal, sane people (a rarity in this house) it was so, so good. 
Now I'm ready for a fresh, new week filled with recipes and musings to share.  Stay tuned!
How was your weekend?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Arugula Almond Pesto

There are problems with going to the grocery store after an excruciatingly challenging, ninety-minute-long hot yoga class.   For one, you're a little light-headed, and apt to forget staple things you really need, like butter (oops).  For another, you're in this wonderfully light, virtuous, yogini state where you think to yourself, "I really shouldn't need anything other than a large bin of arugula and a couple kombuchas to survive this week.  Who needs meat or cheese?"  Um, I do! Flash forward to me last night, long after the fade of the yogini afterglow, wishing desperately that I had not passed up some really phenomenal looking black-and-white cookies and had perhaps scored a nice chunk of gouda while I was at it.

You see, it's a cupboards week around here.  The husband and I both have work travel planned between now and Friday, and with one or the other of us dining alone all week, we didn't need a big grocery haul.  My post-yoga shop was meant to just cover some basics to see us through, plus gather the little man's weekly necessities.  Well, he got his drinkable yogurts, Cheerios and blueberries, but in my yogic state, I really under-shopped for myself, and really, really got way too much arugula.  Why? I still couldn't tell you.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

When I'm dining alone for several nights, I need something more exciting than a series of arugula salads, so I did what any desperate/creative person would do and made pesto; but this was cupboards pesto, as I had no basil, no pine nuts, and very little parmesan.  I'm so happy with the result that I had to post the recipe.  This pesto is a nutritional powerhouse, so spicy and tasty, and proof positive that necessity is the mother of invention.  I could have planned to make pesto and bought a boatload of basil, and it wouldn't have come close to what I created using just what we had on hand.  Instead of a boring salad, I plan to dine this evening on a tangle of beautiful angel hair pesto with roasted tomatoes.  Maybe my inner yogini knew what she was doing all along.  My inner gourmand thanks her kindly.  Namaste.
Arugula Almond Pesto
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 oz. arugula (or about 1 medium bag)
3/4 cup whole, roasted, salted almonds
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1) In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, first mince the garlic.  Then, add the arugula and process well.  
2) Next add the almonds and process until smooth, and repeat with the parmesan.
3) Add the olive oil slowly, drizzling through the tube while the food processor is on, until the pesto reaches your desired thickness.
4) Add the sugar, salt and pepper to taste, pulsing between additions to blend thoroughly.

This recipe yields about 12 ounces of pesto, or enough to cover about 2 lbs of pasta (or less if you prefer a really concentrated pesto punch... taste as you go!).  Generally speaking, pesto will store well in the refrigerator for about a week to 10 days and freezes beautifully.  Don't be afraid to think outside the (pasta) box and use the pesto for everything from a sandwich spread to a salad dressing base to a scrambled egg topper.  The possibilities are endless...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Indian Feast

Ever since doing a report on the Taj Mahal in the third grade, I've been captivated, inspired, and intrigued by the colors, flavors, and style of India.

I love these photos from Emersonmade's travel blog, and they make me long to be wearing a caftan, turban, and outsized turquoise ring while smoking a bidi and wearing some serious kohl eyeshadow somewhere near Jaipur.  For now, I'll have to settle for cheffing up an Indian feast on a warm June evening in Boston (little man probably wouldn't appreciate the bidi smoke anyway). 

I've talked about our quickie Indian dinners a lot, and tofu tikka masala is pretty much always on our weekly menu.  I saute tofu and petite peas, add greens and a Seeds of Change tikka masala sauce, toast some naan, and call it dinner.  We always enjoy these Indian meals so much that I decided I am ready to delve into a bit of scratch Indian cooking as well.   I stocked up on cumin seeds, garam masala and curry on my last grocery run, and was ready to get started.   So, last night, along with the usual tofu tikka, I made baingan bartha from scratch, based on a recipe from Eat Live Run.
Don't you feel healthier just looking at this ingredient pile?  All veggies and spices... delish.
Massive pile of cilantro on deck next to tofu tikka prep.
This meal was nourishing, energizing, and light.  The flavors from the Indian spices are so robust, they really wake up your taste buds and your whole body.  The baingan bartha is vegan and made simply from roasted eggplant, fresh ginger, jalapeno, tomatoes and onions, but you'd swear there is a cup of cream hiding in there based on the creamy and smooth final product.  Admittedly, it was a bit ambitious for me to try cooking this for the first time at the end of a busy Thursday... if you're new to Indian food, I'd recommend saving this experiment for a Saturday.  Nonetheless, I was glad to have put in the effort.  This was a special dinner and we savored it slowly, dipping pieces of warm garlic naan into the spicy sauces, and chatting until the sky was dark.
I need a new camera.  And better kitchen lighting. But, you get the gist... colorful and tasty!
Yesterday was the kind of day where calling for a pizza would have been so much more sane than preparing this meal, but sometimes following your inspiration and diving into the things that make you feel alive (travel daydreams, vibrant colors, and spicy, healthy, vegetarian cuisine) is the sanest choice of all. 
Happy Friday!
Here's to an adventurous weekend of trying new things...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Things I'm Loving about Summer (so far)

There's nothing like a little cold snap to make you really appreciate the arrival of summer.  After temps dipped into the 50s for the last two days, today's sunshine and 75 degree weather has me singing the praises of my favorite season.  Here is what I am loving the most so far...

Alba Botanica Sunscreen
I have very sensitive skin, and their block provides great coverage without being oily, greasy or at all irritating.  I survived a day on the water wearing just one coating of Alba 15, and came away with a nice brown glow and nary a sunburn to be seen.  Made with all natural ingredients and no gross sunscreen smell, I can't say enough good things about this find.

Skinnygirl Margaritas 
Don't laugh.  I daresay that the Skinnygirl 'Rita is my official cocktail of summer 2011.  I bought them because margaritas have always been a favorite summer beverage of mine, and because I love my Bethenny; I wasn't expecting much, but I should have known better!  They are affordable ($12/bottle at our local store, whereas stocking the bar to make a proper 'rita from scratch would cost maybe four times that), easy (pour over ice), so drinkable (perhaps too drinkable... buyer beware... despite the girly packaging these are LEGIT cocktails and should be treated as such), and best of all, only 37 calories a glass.  Cheers, Bethenny!  And thank you.

J Crew 5"Chino shorts
I love these comfortable, durable, flattering, everyday shorts.  They are short enough to feel a bit saucy, but long enough to not attract the stinkeye from other moms at the playground.  They come in every color possible, don't ride up, and are basically my go-to summer mom uniform for things like playground missions and early morning coffee runs.   I'm still rocking mine from last summer, so they were well worth the investment.

Grilled Salads
Every Sunday, the husband grills up a storm.  And every Sunday, I load him up with huge plates of veggies that have nothing to do with our dinner, and he grills them to perfection.  I let them cool, put them in tupperwares, and every weekday I make myself a phenomenal salad for lunch, filled with things like grilled zucchini, grilled corn, and even grilled leeks.  With some mixed greens, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of feta or perhaps some chopped baked tofu, these salads fill me up and energize me for the rest of the busy day.  A salad for lunch is nothing special, but tasty grilled ingredients elevate these to gourmet status.  Try it!

A gray pedi
Glamour.com photo
I'm not one to follow nail trends.  I usually go with something classic and red or sweet and pale on my toes during the summer months (fingers are trimmed, bare and buffed, always), but I'm loving this gray thing that is going on right now.  Sleek and sophisticated, it is a fun change from the usual.  I love the OPI pale grays (which, by the way, are pthalate-free, thanks for asking).  For the record, the feet above aren't mine, as my current polish job is over a month old, and you don't need to see that (note to self: give feet love ASAP).

Other things I love...
spending whole mornings outside at the playground with the little man, grilling three nights a week, waking up to sunshine, magical iced coffee (haven't tried it yet???  do it now!  this stuff is the elixir of the gods), thunderstorms, and J.P. Licks Oreo low-fat frozen yogurt.
What are you loving this summer?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thought to Ponder

A friend recently made this quote her Facebook status: 
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."~ Lao Tzu
This really resonated with me.  So often we're striving for what's next: the last five pounds, the last debt payed, the next thing on the list to cross off and attain.  I often operate a few hours or even days (okay, years) ahead of myself, anticipating what's to be, thinking that in a certain span of time, I'll be satisfied.  I think the key to true happiness is in the quote above... so simple, but so true.  Be content with what you have.  The rest will flow from there.
Byron Bay, Australia... one of my true happy places.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Gratitude

As the week draws to a close, I'm feeling exhausted, but filled with gratitude.
This week I am grateful for...
... a spirit-lifting, just-because, wonderful bit of fun mail from my lovely mother-in-law.
... an impromptu picnic in the park with my sister-in-law with the little man and his buddy playing at our feet.
... being at the cool (both in temperature and content) Boston Children's Museum during the peak of the east coast heat wave yesterday morning.
Driving a "real" bulldozer!  I thought he might keel over from excitement!
... friends who saved me last night from a muggy, solo evening eating leftover noodles on the couch, by inviting little J and me for an amazing dinner in their delightful air conditioning while the hubs worked late.
... (and on that note I'll add) a hard-working husband with a great sense of humor.
... the opportunity to work for my caterer-friend, both for the singular experience of taking part in her spectacular events (live music! fireworks over the harbor with the city lights in the background! incredible!) and the chance to take home goodies like this gorgeous centerpiece which I LOVE...
... my new phone!!! And its cute green cover!  It is so fast and so functional... iPhone 4, you complete me.
... that tomorrow morning when the little guy wakes up, two of his favorite people will be here to surprise him.  Love that.
... that my house is clean, my work is done, and in about an hour, I'm going to crack this baby open...
...and toast with the husband to a well-deserved weekend of rest.*
*to be clear, in case any of his friends are reading, the hubs will NOT be drinking Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Margarita... he will be drinking a very masculine beer, while I enjoy this low-calorie and intriguing beverage... this is my first time sipping Skinnygirl, and I will report back on Monday.
What are you grateful for this Friday?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Selby Slow Morning

Yesterday I helped a caterer-friend with a beautiful party on Boston's Harbor Islands.  It was a hard day of very physical work in searing June heat, but any day that ends gliding through the harbor on a lobster boat, watching shooting stars and city lights, is okay by me.  Today, my feet hurt and my skin is feeling a bit leather-y, so I treated myself to a super-slow morning.  

The little guy listened to music and looked at books.
And I sipped a lovely iced coffee, rubbed my feet with arnica-peppermint oil, caught up on work e-mail, and perused one of my favorite blogs, The Selby is in Your Place

Selby recently did a short series in Auckland, New Zealand and I loved the quirky spaces he captured there.  Auckland is hometown to a good friend of mine, and I've always been intrigued by her photos and stories from there; now I'm officially enamored of what looks like a charming city. 
I love EVERYTHING about stylist Charlotte Rust's kitchen: the sleek stainless steel contrasting the organic wooden ladder and cutting board, the tiny shelves to showcase favorite pottery mugs, and the spare bed/meditation space.  LOVE.

How great is artist Gidon Bing's in-studio boat launch?  What better way to commute?
The treehouse-like quality of this stairway in designer Tulia Wilson's home is enchanting.
I am enamored with Selby's unique ability to capture the quirks and beauty of creative people in their home space.  If you haven't checked out his photography, I urge you to for inspiration and relaxation.  Enjoy it with the icy beverage of your choice, and let me know which space is your fave...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Baked Tofu with Peanut Noodles

I once heard from a wise mama friend that "sleep begets sleep" in little ones (advice being: don't fear that a baby taking a long nap won't sleep well that night, on the contrary, they actually tend to sleep better when well-napped...go figure).  With me, health begets health.  If I've been on the couch, in a funk, and not moving, I'm prone to reach for the nearest bag of chocolate chips at the end of the day.  But if I'm running, walking, spending time outside and doing plenty of yoga and moving, that energy carries itself to the kitchen, and I tend to do some of my healthiest cooking and eating to perpetuate that glow.

I've been on a real running tear lately (for me, there is just nothing like it for stress management), and that and the rising temperatures have me craving light, simple, nourishing meals.  This week, I also have an additional inspiration to add to my meal plan: we're having an unusual work week that has us especially slammed, working some grueling long days and only home for dinner at the same time on a couple evenings.  Today my day was relatively light and home-based, so I wanted to create a dinner that was not only healthy and satisfying, but also made from components that would become great leftovers for us to pack for long days of work, or grab for solo dinners at home as our week gets crazy.  I'm looking forward to putting our feet up together for a pizza night on Friday, but until then we need fast, we need easy, and we need healthy.

Enter: Baked Tofu with Peanut Noodles, now officially a favorite summer go-to meal.  The baked tofu is criminally easy to make and keeps well;  it will be great for adding quick, light protein to salads or eating in sandwiches this week.  Peanut noodles are one of the husband's faves and make a great cold lunch or nice side for a quickly grilled protein, or topper for a spinach salad.  I have huge bins of cleaned baby greens and spinach in the fridge at the ready, and those will be key to our success as well.  Because of the kind of week we're having, I took a page from everyone's favorite freakshow, Sandra Lee, and went semi-homemade on the noodles, utilizing a great Organic Soy Ginger sauce from Whole Foods' 365 line instead of making a sauce totally from scratch.  Sometimes it is worth having these little shortcuts on hand when life gets really busy.
Baked Tofu
1 block of organic, extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce (we use the low sodium kind)
Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 400F.  Drain your tofu.  Side note:  ALWAYS drain your tofu!  It makes all of the difference in any recipe.  You need 15 extra minutes, a plate, a bunch of paper towels or a clean tea towel, and something heavy like a stack of books or, my personal choice, a cast iron skillet with three cans of beans on top.  Line the the plate with the towels, place the tofu on top, more towels, and your weight.  In 15 minutes, the tofu will lose about 2 ounces of water. You won't believe how much easier the resulting block of tofu is to work with, and how much more delicious your final product will be!
2) Slice your drained block of tofu into eight thin slices.  Whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl and brush both sides of the tofu slices with the mixture, then sprinkle with spices.
3) Place tofu on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (we use veggie oil in a mister), and bake for 30 minutes, flipping half-way through.
Did I not say criminally easy?

Peanut Noodles
1 lb pasta - I recommend spaghetti, soba or udon noodles, but we happened to have angel hair on hand tonight and it worked wonderfully in this recipe
1/2 bottle of Soy Ginger sauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
sesame seeds, salt and pepper to taste

1) Boil pasta according to package instructions.  Reserve ~1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
2) Drain pasta and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Adjust seasonings to taste and add additional pasta cooking liquid if the mix gets too gummy.

I didn't have time to do a vegetable side this evening, so I finely chopped a bunch of lacinato kale and threw it in to cook with the pasta.  We had a complete dish for this evening, and should have plenty of great lunch and dinner options in the days to come.  And with that, friends, I'm hitting the sack to rest up for a long day tomorrow.  Good night!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Good Friday

Today started off on the wrong foot.  The doorbell rang at 5am, sending the dog into a barking frenzy and waking up a peacefully slumbering toddler.  The upstairs neighbors had called a cab, and the cabbie rang our bell instead of theirs... awesome.  Then, before 7am, I realized I had developed a cold sore overnight and stuck myself with a rose thorn.  I was about to crawl back in bed for good when the espresso machine exploded all over, making a huge mess and producing only the most bitter of liquids instead of my badly-needed latte (note to self: thoroughly clean espresso machine this weekend).

Then the husband turned my day around by grabbing me a delicious iced coffee from my favorite shop, and watching SportsCenter with the little guy so that I could reset my morning with searing-hot, leg-shaving shower.  Much better.   We spent the rest of the morning enjoying the refreshingly crisp weather at the playground, and I think it is going to be a peaceful and lovely end to the week after all.

Making this Friday good:
 Yellow roses cut from the front yard.
Great supermarket scores:
Yogi Granola Crisps are like tiny, healthy cookies to sprinkle over Greek yogurt (my summer obsession).
Back to Nature Crackers are my favorite, and these Sunflower Basil ones have incredible flavor.
Casal Garcia Vinho Verde is my go-to summer white: crisp with tiny bubbles, and very easy on the wallet.
This guy has been eating like a champ!  Here he's stealing my salad at lunch today (you're welcome to it, little man).  Things he's downed in the last 24 hours include: a grilled cheese sandwich, carrot sticks and red pepper slices, and a large slice of spiced raisin-walnut bread.  Perhaps there is hope for us yet?  Also check out his bike helmet, which he has mostly refused to take off since his dad got it for him last weekend.  They're hitting the bike paths together, and that's a beautiful thing.
I've logged about fifteen miles this week in runs around the pond, and feel so much the better for it.
Here's to a weekend of good food, good rest, and good health for all of us.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Look

I'm toying a bit with my blog layout, and would love any feedback you'd like to offer.  I've been wanting to overhaul the site for awhile, and this is just the first step in a summer makeover.  The photo in the new header is from the beach where my parents live in Maine (although they've just about moved from the house at the beach into a fabulous place in town, that will always be "our beach").  When one of her daughters is going through something difficult or some kind of life transition, my mom often takes a walk to this beach and "puts her hands out to the universe" to ask for the right outcome.  I've stood at the edge of that water with her many times asking for something, and more often than not, things turn out the way they should.  I've felt a bit adrift lately, so I thought that putting that image at the top of the page would be a good reminder to keep asking for what is possible and expecting a positive outcome.  Also, for me, this blog is something akin to that spot on the beach... a tiny corner personal to me, yet frequented by many, where I can put out my wishes, my hopes, my self and feel at home. 

And the new font is called "Philosopher" :).
More to come...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pull Up Your Socks

Do you ever have one of those days that just doesn't feel quite right?  My sister and I usually refer to it as having bumps in your socks.  You know when you have a bad pair of socks on that fall down into your shoes and make little bumps and drive you crazy all day?  These days are often accompanied by an uncomfortable bra, dry facial skin, and a persistent feeling that you have left the oven on.  I am in the midst of a small series of those days, so do bear with me.

Things that are making me feel off:
1) I shattered the face of my iPhone and now I feel lost.  I get tiny glass splinters when I try to slide and unlock it, and have more or less lost my ability to text.  I will have to wait a week to replace it.  I am adrift.

2) I have mosquito bites all over both of my feet.  Itchy feet are not attractive + make me feel like I am going to lose my mind.

3) Our schedule needs a tweak, and something is feeling off until we problem-solve it.

Usually the husband gets home around 6, at which point both of us have been working very hard all day long and need a break.  I need a break to wrap up work that is unfinished, make or finish making dinner, and just deal after being on-call for the little man solo all day.  The hubs is fresh off an almost always slammed and break-less work day and a smelly train ride and could use a few to himself as well just to shake off the day and take care of himself.   Little J usually eats dinner from 6 to 6:30 (as mentioned before, this is almost always a somewhat frustrating process), then goes into a bath-books-bed combo that ends around 7:30, at which point we shove food in our gullets, try to finish taking care of business (professional, life-related, and otherwise), and attempt to relax.
Maniacal evening-time toddler on the loose.  Adorable? Yes. Relaxing? No.
I don't think this schedule is really serving us, but am not sure how to tweak it.  Earlier din for the little man?  That doesn't jive well with our goal to push his bedtime (and more importantly his wake-up time) a bit later.   We'd both like to take evening walks now that the good weather is here, and generally enjoy each others' company more in the evenings.  Right now there is a lot of stress and exhaustion involved in our nighttime routine.  I know this is par for the course in early parenting, and most nights we're able to make light of it and enjoy our evening for the most part, I just know we could do better.

I always get wonderful advice from my readers, so I'm hoping to hear more about your evenings, and how you combine the need to work and accomplish things with the need to unwind.  Especially to those of you with young children, how do you keep the crazies at bay and get everyone to fed and to bed while still having some semblance of a calm evening?  Is this even possible?  All insight gratefully accepted.

In the meantime, I'm off to drink a Kombucha and pull up my socks.