My favorite thing about this summer is swimming. Partly because my pregnant body floats as if weightless but mostly because I’ve realized that swimming is the best way to zap the seemingly endless supply of energy that kids have. In all those books about sleep issues and sleep training why doesn’t a single one include a chapter called Take Your Kid Swimming. An hour or two in the pool in the afternoon and I tell you what, that kid is going to zonk out.
As much as we all adore our children and love the time we spend with them, am I right when I say that the moment you know they’re finally asleep for the night is a moment of absolute happiness? I can’t really think of anything pre-children that brought on that exact same type of relief.
The other night after I had peeked in on O and covered her with a light summer blanket and gently closed her door, I collapsed my pregnant self onto the couch and tried watching Frances Ha, a movie I’ve been wanting to see since it came out a year or so ago. I lasted about 20 minutes before I just had to turn it off. Maybe it’s because I’m nearing 40 and can no longer relate to today’s generation of young women or maybe it’s because I’ll soon be raising two girls and I’m horrified by the thought of them acting like Frances or like any of the characters on the very similar TV show Girls, but I’m finding any story line that has to do with young women hanging out in a place like Brooklyn to be completely unwatchable.
The way these “adult” characters act and the way my 3 year old acts on occasion are just way too similar. As O says so often lately with great frustration, “why can’t you just give me what I want?!” The girls in these shows seem to constantly be saying the same thing. “Why can’t I just work in a cool coffee shop a few days a week and spend the rest of the time hanging out and thinking about creative things and still afford an apartment in Brooklyn and have an amazing boyfriend even though I’m a complete drip?”
Yes, I used the word drip. Which really makes me seem like an old fogy. But that’s what these girls are: dull, unattractive, boring people who seem to think the world owes them an amazing experience. Just because.
Please, let my daughters not grow up to be these girls.
Will it be possible to raise two girls and for the next 16 years or so completely shield them from the Hannah Horvaths and Miley Cyruses and Kim Kardashians of the world? Can I keep them in an Anne Shirley bubble?
There’s no easy segue from the dearth of female role models for young women to ponzu sauce, so let’s just get into it – if you need a bright, kicky sauce this summer, then ponzu is it. The flavor will make you blink a few times at first. But the salty, tart sauce quickly turns addictive.
These are a few things I’ve drenched in ponzu lately for quick lunches and dinners:
- Grilled salmon & salad greens
- Cold angel hair pasta, snap peas and leftover salmon
- Seaweed salad (Seasnax dehydrated salad mix), Trader Joe’s quick-cooking farro, cucumber, lots of avocado
- Grated cabbage and carrot slaw and halibut
- Brown rice bowl with salmon, cucumber, avocado and grilled Swiss chard
Grilled Swiss chard is sort of my thing this summer. That, and grilled broccoli. Both have been such a revelation. Why has it taken me this long to throw them on the grill? Coat in olive oil and salt, throw right on the grill for about 12 minutes, or a bit less for the Swiss chard, and you have the perfect summer side.
As for the ponzu, everyone makes their homemade ponzu a little differently. It’s basically soy sauce mixed with citrus and sweetened just a little. Use lemon or lime, add some unseasoned rice wine vinegar if you like, and sweeten with mirin, simple syrup or plain sugar. Here’s my quick blend to give you a starting point:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
Ponzu is too tart and bold for little O, but with meals like this it’s easy for us to all make our own plate. Some fresh veggies, some grilled veggies, some fish and a grain. It’s the perfect summer meal.