Monday, June 20, 2011

Spaghettini with Spinach, Garlic, and Lemon: When tempers flare

Son has really been pushing every single one of my buttons these past few months.  He has become one of the most persnickety, picky, anal, difficult people I can imagine and I am NOT good at dealing with his massive swings of hyper spaz-isms.  In recent weeks, he gets completely, unreasonably, outrageously worked up about his....clothes.

Now, if you know me, and those who know me well know this - I do NOT get worked up about clothes.  I do everything I can to not have to think about what I'm wearing, which means I wear my "uniform" and I keep things very very very simple.  I don't want to fuss over my outfit, thinking about what looks hip or even bother with keeping in fashion.  Mostly I just want clothes to make me feel comfortable, cover all the vital parts, and allow me to move in anyway I need to move.  BUT Son is cut of entirely different cloth. (I'll interject right here that he's his father's Son and not mine, and you can draw your own conclusions.)  He has only CERTAIN things he wants to wear, and even with a drawer full of different tshirts and shorts (many many hand-me-down items) he'll search for the one thing that he wore the day before that is currently rotting in the laundry basket.  When he can't find it, he'll throw all of his other clothes from the drawer onto the floor in his quest to find it and it drives me bonkers.

This morning he asked me to help him dress for church and I got pretty excited thinking that he'd wear something I chose for him.  As I casually chatted with him about the schedule for the day, he noticed what I had put on him and he flipped out.  The whines led to cries, which lead to screams and yelling and I just walked out of the room.  I said, "Dress yourself.  I'm not helping a boy who doesn't want my help."  For about 10 minutes he sat and yelped and yelled for MOMMY and I didn't budge.  I had had it  and I was done.  Finally, somehow he managed to dress himself after I started the engine of the car to go to church and he got his act together.

This afternoon was another series of tantrums over his clothes after his swim lesson (which he cried and had a fit at as well - so you can tell I was not in a good mood.)  I brought him home, told him that I didn't want to see him for a while and shut the door of my bedroom and lay down on the bed.  Daughters figured out that Mommy was not in a good place so THEY went into their own room and shut the door and worked on their own project.  (Lovely daughters - their project was cleaning up and organizing their bookshelves which is something I've been asking them to do repeatedly.)  Son meanwhile decided to lie on the floor in front of my bedroom door and cry and wail projecting the sound of his cries into my room.  I could hear every single sniffle, every single wail, every single whine from my spot on the bed, but I just let him go...for a long long while.  Finally he grew quiet and I heard drawers of his room opening and closing.  He quietly knocked on my door and showed up with a smile on his face and the EXACT outfit I had put him in the morning which he had rejected.  I literally had to bite my fist in order to stop screaming in frustration.  

"Hi Mommy. I'm happy now."

"All the crying made you happy?"  I asked.

"I like to cry.  I'm happy now.  See?  I like these clothes.  I'm happy now."  He started giggling and laughing.

I smiled at him and said, "Someone needs to say sorry to Mommy."  

"I'm sorry mommy.  I'm happy."

It sure was a lot of noise to get him to his happy place.  I'm not sure I did it the right way, but it was the best that I could manage given the day I was having.

When I am hit with these hard hard days I don't even feel like cooking.  I feel like leaving the house altogether and seeing what happens.  As I have no wish for CPS to be called on me, I force myself to refocus and try and do something for dinner.  This dish is my simple simple dinner that really doesn't require much and I came up with based on what was left in my fridge.  It was delicious, and the kids gobbled it down, including picky son who managed to smear it all over his favorite tshirt.  He didn't have a fit though because he was too happy eating his noodles.
Spaghettini with Spinach, Garlic and Lemon
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
1 lb spaghettini, angel hair or spaghetti pasta

6 tablespoons olive oil
8 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
10 oz bag of baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Method
In a skillet heat, 6 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Add garlic and cook for 10 to 12 minutes to gently cook the garlic.  Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta well and transfer to a large bowl. Immediately add spinach and garlic lemon oil and toss everything together. Mound the pasta on a large platter and serve.

Printable recipe

Serve with rotisserie chicken.  Ahhh...mommy's happy now too.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ms. Choi - I love your blog and ALL the stories you share with the rest of us. It's nice to see that you are a real person and have everyday stresses like everyone else. Everyone has their own way of "venting" and this is healthy. You're a positive person who strives everyday to be the best for her family and I have so much respect for you. I hope in the future when i'm a mom, I could have as much patience as you!Keep up the good work and remember your blog is titled "Good Cooking For People With Too Much On Their Plate" .. Don't change any part of your blog!!! Thanks

Amy J. and Tiffanie A. said...

This looks AMAZING!!!! I am going to try it for dinner tonight thanks for the recipe!
Just started following you looking forward to more recipes!

http://chickswholovetoeat.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

As an American who struggles with cooking with more Korean flavors for my Korean husband, I have been loving your blog...and as a mom, I love this story! Honest, real, and I find myself nodding and snickering. Love it and keep up the good work! (as a mom, blogger AND cook!!) : )

Husband said...

Dear Anonymous #1, thanks for your comments. It seems to me that you are entirely free to simply scroll down to the wonderful recipes, which are always at the bottom of each post, complete with pictures and step-by-step instructions. You are under no obligation to read what you perceive to be someone's venting or negative comments. Raising young children often is difficult and all-consuming, so if the sharing of such experiences on this blog creates a bad vibe for you, then you are most welcome to simply skip the narrative and consume just the recipes. Does that suit?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your posts! Whenever I cook something new now, my husband says, "Is this from that woman's blog again?" AND i can totally empathize with all that you share about raising little ones...it ain't easy!

One question: i vaguely remember you saying in one of your posts that you always try to think of a protein, vegetable and carbs for every meal. What kind of protein do you include in meals such as this one? And what about an Asian noodle dish, such as the spicy noodles?

Joanne Choi said...

Thanks for all of your comments everyone!

On the question regarding protein for this dish - I did it with rotisserie chicken this night, but it would be great with asian salmon (on the blog) or even just some quickly grilled sausages. The flavors are pretty gentle so not that hard.

The spicy asian noodle salad - grilled chicken is a great pair with that and even a steak tastes good. I've eaten it with some plain salmon on top and it was delicious. As the Asian noodle salad has more pronounced flavors, it might be better to go with something a bit milder in the protein...something with less spice.

Peggy said...

I personally love this - and I love the venting too! Our blogs are our creative outlets, and if we can't vent on our own personal property - where can we? Keep on doing what you're doing!

By the way, this spaghetti looks fabulous, and I might just have to make it for lunch =)

Barefeet In The Kitchen said...

Oh my goodness! This is one of my all time favorite meals and I had forgotten all about it. I am putting it on this week's menu now. Thanks for the reminder!! (Love your blog, btw, I will be back)

Anonymous said...

Do you sauté the spinach? Or put it in with the pasta during the last minute of cooking? Or just add it uncooked?

Joanne Choi said...

you don't need to do anything to the spinach. Residual heat from the other cooking helps wilt it and make it really lovely to eat.

Unknown said...

Wow, just made this. It is delicious and easy to make. Thanks for a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Kind of a fail! Followed it to a T, bland all the way. Added more salt and goat cheese to give it SOMETHING, and then it was okay.

Joanne Choi said...

Sorry it didn't work out for you anonymous. I don't specify salt and pepper amounts so that families can cook it for their preference.

It is a simple dish, with few ingredients, so the quality of the olive oil, pasta, and freshness of lemon do affect over all taste and experience.

Anonymous said...

This was so good! Will definitely make this a regular.

Bubbee B. said...

Oh my goodness! Ran across this recipe (and your blog) on Pinterest. I made this tonight and I am in LOVE with it! Very appropriate for Valentine's Day :) I have never had lemon with spinach or pasta and it was just a taste of heaven! I can't wait to try more of your recipes and to read through your blog. Thanks for making my night!!!

Anonymous said...

Just made this tonight rather than the usual Friday night take-out and it was ABSOLUTELY delicious!!! Paired it with grilled shrimp a nice glass of wine and it was the perfect meal to end a not so perfect week. Will definitely make again AND will definitely follow your blog!

Anonymous said...

Loved it!!! Will be making it a lot!!!!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through Pinterest, and I'll be back! I saw you have an allergy friendly section. As someone who is allergic to trees (and everything that comes from them... aka: nuts, fruits, etc.) I am SO limited with what I can eat. Can't wait to check out your blog some more. Great work!

Jane Carr said...

I am totally making this for lunch!
Though, I am going to use a bag of frozen spinach, as I don't have baby spinach. I'm sure it will come out about the same way! I might add some parmesan cheese to it too!

The Hungry Attorney said...

This looks fantastic! I'm going to make it for dinner tonight and top with grilled shrimp.

www.thehungryattorney,com

LRG said...

This recipe was absolutely awesome! The husband thought it was wonderful also. I did add shredded Parmesan cheese. I think this dish would be great to serve to guest for a fancy dinner party - even though the ingredients are simple. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Your son sounds like an obnoxious brat!

Anonymous said...

Oh lordy...how old is your son? Sounds EXACTLY like my son from about age 5 up to age 12 or 13!!! Now he's 15 and in that "I'm too cool to speak to you" phase. They DO grow out of it!

Anonymous said...

perhaps you should try taking away his activities. if my children ever threw a fit like your son does, all of their extras would be taken away. your spoiled brat seems to run the show. send him to his room and take away his fun, i bet child rearing would be a lot easier if your kiddo knew you were in control.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes kids have tantrums, and you just have to ride it out. You're doin' a good job, mama.

Anonymous said...

Loved this recipe! I used whole wheat pasta instead and added some feta cheese just because I had it laying around. You could use this recipe with just about any meat. I ate it with tortilla crusted tilapia and chicken breast another night. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that people who write really mean things always do it anonymously?

Joanne Choi said...

I get just as many nice comments as mean ones that are anonymous - but the mean ones are almost always anonymous. That's okay. People think that the internet is their "freedom of speech" so that they can criticize, ridicule, and hurt people who put out content. There is a face behind this blog post, there is a person who writes it, and there are emotions and feelings that are personal.

That being said, this blog doesn't represent the whole of who I am, either as a mother, a person, or as a woman. If people have a problem with a single incident of parenting, and let's be realistic, I've chosen to write about the most frustrating one, and they want to judge, so be it. I'm not bothered tremendously. For as many negative comments, I have triple or quadruple the positive comments. For as many negative comments, I get supportive ones too - those who relate, those who have experienced, and those who know that being a mom, on the best of days, is trying. :)

Anonymous said...

Making this tonight. I am not a very good cook I'll let you know how it was. Adding some mushrooms sounds good too . Jackie from NJ

to_csh said...

Wow, sometimes I am amazed at the things people will say. Your son is not a brat, hang in there. This too shall pass. I do think that when you write a blog you do open yourself up for comments, complaints and critics - but also for encouragement, compliments and fans. I love your attitude regarding this. I am really looking forward to trying this recipe - looks yummy!

Leslie said...

I made this tonight and it was delicious! I followed your recipe exactly and loved it. Perfect amount of lemon and garlic. The whole family loved it!! So easy and delicious!! Thanks for the recipe! Found you on Pinterest.

Sally said...

Screw mean, anonymous commenters. I mean...really??? Your response was very classy.
Love this recipe and love your site. Keep up the good work and enjoy your sweet family.

toni chidester said...

I ran across this and it is really good...I used three cheese tortellini instead and I place a pork loin pork chop on top with 5 cheese Italian blend...Soooo good! Will be playing with different proteins for sure!

Beverly Ellis said...

How do I subscribe to your blog? Would like to get it all the time:)

Kinsley @ Home | Styled said...

Hey there! I love this recipe because it's so fresh and light and healthy! I want to invite you to come to my link party to post this for other to see! http://home-styled.blogspot.com/2013/04/link-party-show-your-style-sunday-3_14.html?showComment=1366038325350&m=1#c7138100353209300384

Jane 77 said...

Hello. I did not read all of your post but saw that you went in your bedroom & closed the door when your son was having a tantrum. I don't have kids but have always heard that you ignore a kid when he is having a tantrum. That's exactly what you did. And you made him apologize when he settled down. I am shocked at the nasty comments people make on the internet. I see your blog the way I view my FB page. It is mine & for my pleasure. I post things I enjoy & hope others will, too. If you don't like it, don't come. It really annoys me when people come to my party with all my friends & make a snide remark about a post. I have defriended a couple of people but you can't do that. Thanks for the recipe. It looks so easy & healthy. Will try it soon.

Lynn Corley said...

I am so glad someone else has a kid like my 3 yr old. The temper tantrums over which stockings, dress, shoes...
Her one year old sister is a very picky eater but she will (generally) eat pasta and spinach so I'm definitely going to try this recipe out!

Venae said...

I still remember when my son was that age. I took him to his swimming lesson and he stated, " You can make me come to swimming lessons, but you cannot make me get in. "
He is now grown and can swim quite well, but he was correct at that time. Good luck and try to enjoy the good times :)

The Posh said...

I just made this dish! It is really tasty! I added marinted artichoke, garden fresh spinach and crushed red pepper flakes. Thanks for the recipe.

Nichole said...

Anyone who pretends that they don't experience meltdown moments in their life is full of total crap. Good on you for sharing and keeping it REAL. <3 Love the recipe because it's quick, healthy and full of stuff that I always have on hand.

Julianne Jones said...

I saw this on Pinterest today and made it for dinner. It was delicious! I added chicken, used whole wheat thin spaghetti and added onion (added it when the garlic was just about done). I topped it with grated Parmesan cheese before eating...loved it! Thanks for the great recipe, I definitely will be making this again! :)

JenniBerr said...

Hi! I just read your blog today when I saw the lemon/garlic/spinach surface on Pinterest. I normally go straight for the recipe and don't always read the rest, but I was completely drawn into your blog because my newly-four-year-old sounds JUST like your son and I can't tell you how comforting it was to hear that someone else is/has gone through the same things we go through on a regular basis. We have the same fights (over clothes!!) and he has the exact same response when he's over it, telling us he's happy now. We're trying the spaghetti tonight , but mostly I wanted to tell you THANK YOU for posting about your kid. It made me feel not nearly as alone as I do with my strong willed little one who makes our lives "interesting" :)

Anonymous said...

Yum.Looks delish, definitley trying this one out!

Anonymous said...

My daughter just made this for us for dinner. We all loved it! Everyone except for my picky eater son. I read what you wrote about your day to my husband and daughter while we ate. They both said, "oh wow, that sounds like Logan." Logan has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. High IQ but many sensory issues, clothing that bothers him, food issues, loud noises, smells and light touches. I don't know if this was just one bad day for your son or if he may have mild Asperger's as my son does. He was 7 before we got a diagnosis. Just felt like sharing on the off chance your son may have the same thing.

Patricia Brining said...

Ms Choi- I went through this with my stepson who had 3 favorite outfits! His favorite were all dirty= He said the other clothes made him look fat! He refused to go to school! Remember male beings go through their stages of favorites for everything! You are not a bad Mom =just a human being who had had IT=we all reach that stage! If you have a washer and dryer you can put in a load of everyone's clothes every three days! (In cold water)Have your son help with the laundry so he can appreciate how it gets clean =especially how nice a job he can do at helping to be a good son for a patient Mom. I will share a recipe with you similar to this which is my favorite meatless meal easy prep even the kids can do it! This might be another teaching lesson for Mom's night off from the kitchen! One lb spaghetti cooked + 2 cans meatless chili with beans+ parmesan cheese+saltine crackers (Heat meatless chili in glass dish with lid 5 minutes) Top cooked spaghetti with meatless chili and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and crumble over the top four saltine crackers! Enjoy! My whole family loves this and it can be on the table in 30 minutes! Keep on blogging! We enjoy the company! I am a mom of 7 and grandparent of 14 and I helped raise over 50 children in my day care for 13 yrs + helping my sister with her foster children! Patricia D. Brining

Anonymous said...

This was delicious! I used Coconut oil instead of olive oil, gluten free spaghetti & I added oil cured olives. Great, light, quick, healthy recipe! Thank you!

Tia P said...

Just made it for lunch. Except I seared the chicken breast on both sides for about 5 minutes each, in the olive oil, and finished the chicken on another pan in the preheated oven. Then I let the olive oil cool down, then did the rest of the recipe. Added sliced chicken on top. Sprinkled some Parmesan cheese over and wow. So fresh and so simple with so much flavor! Definitely will use this as a base recipe for other variations!

Anonymous said...

Simple and delicious. I love it!

Anonymous said...

I make this and it's soooo good but my way is very fattening I use butter instead of olive oil and I add fresh Parmesan cheese very yummy but NOT low cal :)

Chas said...

So glad I found this blog on my way to find a recipe to accompany my porkchops. Really struck a chord today.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome. Made for dinner tonight. Deff a keeper

R. Sloan said...

I make this at least once a month! I altered it by adding artichoke hearts and red pepper flakes for a little more texture and flavor. It hits the spot every time. Thank you for your blog! I often use your recipes and have yet to be disappointed.

Tovah11 said...

Oh my gosh, that looks amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm cooking less and less with meat and chicken (after reading the Consumer Reports about chicken)

salsarose said...

this recipe sound so simple and delicious i have a question for you is that dont i have to cook the spinach i was reading instruction and it is not given that the spinach has to be cooked

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not describing my son? He was definitely sent to test me! Pasta sounds delicious :-)

Anonymous said...

I made this, and it was so delicious. Followed the recipe exactly, just added some shrimp and Parmesan cheese at the end. Everyone in my family loved it and will definitely make this again.

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