Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 27, 2009

Foodie with Family: Special foods for Ty


All of my boys are unique individuals. Ty, my third born, is undoubtedly my quietest child.

Ty behaves like an angel in public. He eats politely at restaurants and doesn't wiggle in his seat. He is slightly built, blonde-haired, porcelain-skinned, blue-eyed and soft-spoken; and he's totally, 100 percent wacky.

You see, his quiet presence is really just a ruse. It's a facade to hide the silliest, goofiest, most off-the-wall little human being ever. But the catch is that you have to know to watch and wait for it.

Ty is a master of the behind-your-back variety of silliness. I took the four youngest boys to the big-box construction store to pick up more paint while my husband was redoing the kitchen. Ty smiled his sweet, semi-toothless grin at the paint counter clerk who promptly complimented him on his cuteness and flawless behavior. As she turned around to mix our paint, Ty dropped onto the floor on all fours and rubbed against Aidan's legs like a cat. Aidan yelped with laughter; but before the clerk could turn around to see what had set him off, Ty was back up on his feet smiling at her with his hands folded at his middle.

Ty doesn't think like other folks. He has invented his own form of logic. We refer to it as "talking Ty."

One day last week, Ty was spinning around and around like a dervish. He was beginning to make me feel green around the gills just watching him so I suggested he stop. I grabbed his arms to keep him from falling over and helped him to sit down on the floor. He looked at me -- or at least he tried to look at me; his eyes were still spinning a mile a minute -- and said, "Whew! Thanks, Mom. Boy am I glad I didn't eat cheese before I did that." Then he popped up and ran off to play with his brothers, leaving me to wonder whether he considered eating cheese before twirling like a top.

Another night, while checking on the boys before I went to bed, I saw Ty sitting just barely perched on the side of his mattress. He was clinging to the edge to keep from falling and the cat, Milo, was sprawled in the center of the bed. "Ty!" I said. "What in the world are you doing?" Ty looked at me, sleepily, and said quite matter-of-factly, "Milo needed to clean herself. I'm just giving her some space and a little privacy."

Ty doesn't dance or sing in public. He just doesn't. So whenever he does either of those things, you'd be well advised to stop what you're doing and watch him. Two days ago, we were watching "So You Think You Can Dance." Ty said, "You now what, Mom? I think I'd like this show a lot better if someone did a robot dance. Robot dancing is my favorite kind." Then he slowly left the room doing "The Robot."

So there you go. It wasn't that he wouldn't dance in front of people, it's that no one did his kind of dancing: robot dancing.

As final proof of my third-born's goofiness, I present the following example: Recently, Ty approached me in what can only be described as rapturous joy. His china-blue eyes were even welling up with tears of happiness. He took my arm (another thing that boy just doesn't do as a rule) and gushed, "Mom! It really is possible! I'm so happy!"

I asked him what was making him so excited. He proudly proclaimed, "This!" and proceeded to put his little pink hand behind his skinny little knee and pump his leg vigorously thereby producing the most offensive sounding hand-behind-the-knee version of the hand-under-the-armpit trick I've ever heard. And there stood my angel boy in raptures.

I love my little goofball. In honor of all the wackiness and sparkling humor hiding behind the cherubic little round face, I'm presenting Ty's favorite recipes today. These are the ones that make my little Ty-tron, the robot dancer extraordinaire, hoot for joy. These foods make him hug me. And when Ty hugs you? Well, you earned it.

Orange Creamsicle Smoothies

3 ozs. frozen orange juice concentrate

1/2 c. milk or half and half

1/2 c. water

2 T. sugar (or vanilla sugar)

1 t. vanilla extract

1/2 banana, optional

6 regular-sized ice cubes (or until desired consistency)

Blend together orange juice concentrate, milk, water, sugar, vanilla and banana (if using) for 1 minute.

Add ice cubes to blender, a little at a time, blending after each one until smooth. This smoothie should really be a smoothie! Try to ensure there are no chunks of ice remaining.

Pork Fried Rice

11/2 T. plus 2 t. canola oil, divided

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 carrot, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks or small cubes

1/2 onion, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces (or 1 t. onion powder)

6-8 c. day-old cooked rice, chilled completely

2 c. leftover cooked pork, cubed in 1/2-inch pieces or shredded

1 c. frozen peas

2 T. soy sauce

1 T. Chinkiang vinegar (you can substitute an equal amount of rice wine vinegar)

1/4 c. water

2 t. minced garlic (or 3/4 t. garlic powder)

1 t. toasted sesame oil

Optional for serving, hot sauce

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or wok over medium heat. When pan is hot, add 2 teaspoons of canola oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add eggs and cook, while stirring, until they are almost set. Remove underdone eggs to a bowl and cover lightly. Set aside.

Return the pan to the burner and increase heat to medium-high. Add the remaining canola oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the carrots and onions (if using) and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, taking care not to allow them to burn or turn brown.

Use your hands to break apart the cold rice into the pan and stir to evenly distribute the carrots and onions. Increase the heat to high. Stir the rice constantly to keep it from burning. When it smells toasty and some of the rice starts taking on a light golden color, add remaining ingredients (including the cooked eggs) and stir to make sure everything is evenly combined. Continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with a bottle of hot sauce.

You can read more of Rebecca's recipes, kitchen tips and parenting adventures at For more of Rebecca's Food With Family, log on to