On the way down the shore Saturday afternoon, Madeline slept nearly the whole way. Nick did not. From the third row of my SUV, he volleyed off questions faster than I could answer them. He spoke so low that every time he had a question, I had to lower the radio. I may or may not have done so with an exasperated sigh. It could have had something to do with the timing his questions had with songs I really liked. Or the fact that by the time we reached salty water and sea air, we had covered Daddy’s girlfriend and her clothing, if cancer is contagious, if we can get another dog and the differences between dating and having a boyfriend. And everything in between. Being a parent is mentally exhausting sometimes all the time.
The topic of dating someone versus them being a boyfriend or a girlfriend has come up a few times over the past week. I’ve explained the difference. For those approaching these fun topics with their own children, I went with “dating” is when you see different people and a “boyfriend or a girlfriend” is when you have decided to be exclusive. That works, right? It does here.
I didn’t think Madeline was really paying attention, and honestly, doubted the topic interested her.
I was wrong.
Last night over dinner, she pipes up with “Mom, can I ask you a question?”
“Is it ok if I date?”
Um. I don’t know. Who?
“Justin.” (This is her, ahem, boyfriend at school)
You want to date Justin? (This is known as Stalling 101)
Well, what would you do on your dates?
“Go to the movies and stuff.”
It is really the “stuff” I am most curious about. But I don’t think I want to know the specifics so didn’t press.
I guess it would be ok, but we should probably ask him and his mom.
Luckily, she decided that seemed reasonable. I’m hoping she doesn’t think I’m serious. About it being ok to date. Or checking with his mom. There are many moments that I look at her and scream silently inside my head, WHO ARE YOU? This would have been one of those moments.
Nick, listening to the whole conversation, was in near hysterics on the floor.
For the record, Madeline’s grandmother said no to dating.
Now how ’bout some food? There is no graceful segueway from our dating trials and tribulations to an awesome artichoke dip, so I’m not even going to try. Hot artichoke dip is one of those things that I love but rarely eat. Mostly because I don’t know enough people that like it to help me eat the whole dish. And because I like it enough that if I can’t share it, I’d polish it off myself, clean eating or not. What’s a girl to do?
Come up with a healthier version that offers up less guilt but doesn’t skimp on flavor. I first made this Friday night for dinner with The Neighbors. I brought the leftovers down the shore and we polished it off before it even made it to the table. The original version I made used half Greek yogurt and half low-fat mayo. Loved it. I tried a second batch with all Greek yogurt and we ended up throwing it away after just a few bites. So don’t go trying to make it even healthier. We’ve done the research for you already. As written below, it’s delicious, slightly tangy and hard to step away from. Find some friends to help you do damage control. You can thank me later. I happen to like flowers.
Mostly Guiltless Hot Artichoke Dip
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley
1 cup 2% fat Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
1 cup low-fat or Canola mayo (I use Hellmann’s)
1 14.5 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
whole wheat bread crumbs
Drain the artichoke hearts and chop in bite size pieces. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, mayo, artichoke hearts and Parmesan cheese until well blended. Put in small casserole dish (mine was a little smaller than 8×8) and top with thin layer of whole wheat bread crumbs. Bake at 375 until the top is golden brown (about 30 minutes). Serve with bagel chips or crackers.