New parents and new pet owners fall into two camps:
Annoyingly Saccahrine Because Their Sweetums Are Just the Most Perfect Little Sweeties or ...
Never mind. There is only one camp. Scientific research points to a loss of density in the frontal lobe responsible for the ability to form cohesive sentences and hold thoughts for anything other than their new precious bundles, no matter if the offspring have two or fou...LOOK AT MY PUPPY! He's so smarty smart, aren't you, baby?
We regrow our frontal lobes once our pups have mastered ringing the bell to ask to go outside and they're no longer teething on the coffee table legs. Kids take much much longer to outgrow those traits. And in some cases still insist on barging in during the night when parents are doing things no child under 16 should even know exists and which will probably result in extensive therapy once they reach the adult years.
Statistically, pets are far superior to children. But don't take my word for it, look at the evidence.
In the beginning there are babies and sweet smelling snuggles and the post adoption/birth hormonal high and all is right with the world.
The cute is almost more than we can bear and we're hard pressed to choose whether we ooh and ahh more over fingers up the orifices or claw marks on our legs.
But soon we notice a trend; while the furbabies sleep everywhere, anytime...
The human babies are all WHAT IS SLEEP ANYWAY?
To give babies their due, they have other redeeming qualities. For instance, they can be taught to do tricks.
Unfortunately, pets show their superiority here too...
As new, or even more experienced parents, sometimes we just want tender moments with our young. That doesn't always go according to plan.
Dogs on the other hand, understand hugs.
Forget personal space in bed or ever sleeping without one ass cheek hanging over the side of the mattress once the baby is born.
Of course pets are no better when it comes to the (now) communal bed. Equal points deducted for both kinds of kids.
Admittedly, certain pets drool a lot. Choose wisely when adding to your family.
Babies aren't immune to the drool problem and parents know it's impossible to leave the house without at least one shoulder being soaked. (Okay, points to Babies for this one.)
It's frowned upon to leave dirty children outside or to hose them off.
It's recommended with dogs.
Animals poop and pee outside.
Babies do not.
There you have it. Maybe it's not the conclusion I was going for but it's irrefutable proof that resistance is futile to any kind of baby.
Some of the buzz words floating around the food industry this year are bugs as meal options and "drynuary," but that's just crazy talk and we're going to pretend we didn't read that. Along with those ideas we'll also be seeing carbs make a comeback, natural sweeteners, craft beverages, and pulses. "What are pulses," you ask? Apparently they're not a 90s dance craze enjoying a resurgence, which is too bad because I was quite good at the Elaine Dance.
The United Nations declared 2016 International Year of Pulses, and this translates into more chickpeas, lentils, beans, and peas in recipes and at restaurants. All the things we loved to hate when we were small and sticking things up our nose, but which we've since realized form the basis for some amazing recipes. Hummus, anyone?
In order to up the health factor of a favourite comfort meal, I added chickpeas and 100% of the locals loved it. The chickpeas add a nice texture, along with the carrots, so that this Shepherd's Pie satisfies the taste buds and a desire for something crunchy.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet on the stove, over medium heat and add onions. Once onions are softened add meat and break apart.
*** While beef is cooking, place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium to high heat until soft. Drain water, keeping back approximately 1/3 cup of potato water for flavour. Mash potatoes and add butter, milk, and salt. Stir until all the ingredients are well-blended.
Once the meat is almost cooked through add thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and cumin and stir.
Add in chickpeas, peas, carrots, garlic, and beef stock and stir. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and top with mashed potatoes, drawing fork across to make marks that will brown. Place the skillet in oven on the middle rack and cook for 30 minutes.
Change oven setting to broil and leave in another minute to lightly brown the top of the Shepherd's Pie.
Serves 4 to 6.