Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Four Most Powerful Words In My Arsenal.

Hi.  I’m Cheri, and I have two cell phones.

No need for eye rolling.  I’m a stay-at-home mom, and being employer-free, I need only one phone. The other is – you guessed it – not mine.

I do pay for it, though.  It belongs to my teenaged son.  And I pay and I pay and I pay.

Sigh.  The days of enforced timeouts and early bedtimes and withheld cinnamon Teddy Grahams have long passed.  The most punitive words I can utter nowadays are “Hand me your phone.”

Hence, the overburdened electrical outlet in my room.  Son’s not been on top of his work – either at school or at home – so I’m charging for two.

Now, everyone who knows me, knows that I'm not afraid of being named, The Worst Mom Ever.  But this time, as deprived as Son feels, I may feel even more so.  I’ve become accustomed to being able to track him down at any time.  I’ll call when he’s visiting friends.  When random thoughts hit, I'll drop him a text, “Don’t forget you’ve got Scouts tonight!  Love, Mom.”  (More than once, the response has been, “U don’t have 2 sign ur name.  I no who u r.”)

I’ve even texted (although not necessarily proudly), “Dinner’s ready.  Come downstairs.”  Truth be known, that’s probably what I text the most.

But what else to do?  Although I’m enamored of the word, I’m not about to start flogging him.  Caning's out of the question, too.  Son's bigger than me.  And funnier.  The best leverage I’ve got is the phone.  So for now, it’s mine.  Unless, of course, I change my mind.

This past weekend, for example, Son needed a phone while babysitting.  Like so many households, the folks he was sitting for don't have a landline.  Son needed a phone, so I handed his over.

That night, after he returned home and had dutifully returned the phone to me, I received a surprising text on my phone, from the folks for whom Son had been babysitting.

“You have a wonderful son.  I hope my son grows up to be like him.”

I know.  My Son?  The kid whose phone I'm holding captive?  It would be like me to say something snarky.  But the truth is, that unexpected and touching text was almost powerful enough for me to forget Son's homework transgressions and return the beloved phone.  Almost.  'Cause he really is a good kid.  So.  No.  I think I'll keep cluttering my electrical outlet for a while -- at least until the school's progress reports come out.

In the meantime, though, maybe I can cut Son some slack.  Some.  And make one of his favorite meals.

Waffles of Insane Greatness are always a favorite.  Who doesn't adore breakfast for dinner?  Or perhaps, Pork Fried Rice.

Hands down, the favored food group Chez Wiles is pork.  (I shudder to think of the number of pork roast, sausage, bacon, prosciutto, pancetta recipes already included in Feminine Wiles!)  This crowd-pleaser comes together very quickly when you’ve got leftover pork.  Which we often do.  Along with a spare cell phone.  Or sometimes, two.

Pork Fried Brown Rice With Broccoli
Note that this recipe requires the rice to be cooked in advance and cooled.  I usually do it the night before.

1 cup raw brown rice, cooked in 2 ¼ cups chicken broth, and cooled

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 eggs, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups (approximately) broccoli flowerettes
2 tablespoons water

2 cups (about) leftover pork, cut in bitesize pieces
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce (or more to taste)
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

In a large skillet (with a fitted lid) over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until hot and rippling.  Pour beaten eggs into skillet, and cook (without stirring) until firm.  Remove cooked eggs to a plate or cutting board, and cut into bitesize strips.  Set aside.  Heat one tablespoon of oil in skillet and quickly sauté broccoli, garlic and red pepper flakes, stir frying  3-4 minutes, or until very fragrant.  Stir in water and cook (lidded), until broccoli is tender-crisp and bright green.  Remove vegetables, which will be stirred in later.  Now sauté pork with remaining vegetable oil and sesame oil in same skillet over medium high heat, until slightly browned on the edges.  Stir in rice and continue sautéing another 3-5 minutes.  Gently toss in soy sauce and return vegetables and egg to pan, stirring carefully.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, or additional soy sauce.  Serve hot.
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