002 004I found this cobalt blue depression glass alphabet plate at an estate sale.  It’s only about 6″ in diameter, and perfect for little folks.  It makes we want to go cut some grapes in half and cube some cheese.

When my kids were younger, most of their plates and dishes were glass ones in a rainbow of colors that I picked up for a few dollars at estate sales.  They preferred these over the melamine ones that are so popular today.  They drank their milk from amethyst-colored glass goblets and ate cereal from carnival glass bowls.  Their favorites were the green glass divided grill plates, much like these ones currently available on ebay:


I remember learning in nursing school that toddlers do not like the items on their plates to touch, that they like to keep everything separate.  For this same reason, toddlers tend to not like casseroles (silly kids).  I’ve seen it as a diet tip, too — TNT, or “things not touching,” although I don’t really see how putting space between your mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese leads to weight loss. In any event, my kids loved these plates and how one whole section could be used just for ketchup.  🙂

Two weeks ago I had oral surgery that requires me to be on a liquid/puree diet for 3 to 4 weeks.  (My husband has informed me that I have milked this for all it’s worth, but he didn’t have surgery, and I must respectfully disagree.)  It’s not hard to manage that at home, but eating out can be challenging.  Last week, for example, my husband and I went to Haven, one of our favorite restaurants, after a long week at work for both of us.  It was one of those nights when the restaurant was packed with happy diners, and the tables were not turning over as quickly as they usually do, so we wound up waiting quite a while, despite having reservations.  It turned out to be our lucky night, though, because we were offered the opportunity to “Dine on the Line,” usually reserved for 6-course tasting menus.  We happily sat there watching the frenzied action in the kitchen and listening to Chef Randy Evans shout out orders:

photoDine on the Line at Haven with Chef Randy Evans

There wasn’t a whole lot on the menu I could eat, but I can’t really complain about what I ended up with — sweet potato soup, cheese grits, and chocolate pie (filling only).  To say this is not a meal I would normally put together, would be an understatement.  But I felt like the biggest, happiest toddler.  It was great fun to “dine on the line,” and we plan to go back for the full 6-course experience in the future.

Back at home, inspired by the cute little child’s plate and my toddler meal, I made cheese grits for the first time.  Cheese grits made with Velveeta are a popular Southern dish, but since I was feeling particularly self-indulgent, I wanted something a little more “gourmet.”  So instead of Velveeta, I used Irish cheddar, and added some roasted Hatch chiles.  The grits were really delicious.  And once again, I dined like the biggest, happiest toddler.

Recipe type: Side Dish
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup corn grits (I used Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits a/k/a Polenta)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces Irish cheddar or sharp white cheddar, cut into ½" cubes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted green chiles (use Hatch chiles, if available)
  1. Place broth and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk in grits, reduce heat, and simmer until grits are tender, approximately 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and add in cheese and butter, stirring until melted and thoroughly combined. Stir in green chiles. Serve hot.


 Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits (also known as Polenta)


 Simmer until grits are tender, stirring frequently



Soft diet bliss!