Gravel Hands Instead Of Jazz Hands

The trajectory of a runner who trips over a temporary road sign is about 2 feet forward into the air and then flat on the road face-first – hands out embedded with gravel, chest impacting on the tar, knees bruised immediately upon smashing into the road as the runner screams knowing that this impact cannot be stopped. But if a runner screams at 4:45 am on a dark, deserted street does anyone hear?

 

Have you ever done this? This is my fourth time meeting the pavement all out spread-eagle while running forward. The first time I hit my head and was knocked out cold. I woke-up inside a convenience store where someone had carried me. Who the hell was out walking at 5am at that time I have no idea. The next three times I’ve been lucky. Like today. I limped away and eventually started running again but am bruised and sore and still have gravel in my hands.

 

But tomorrow I will run again. Just like I always tell my kids to get back up.

 

My day did not get much better. I forgot it was a holiday – so I was confused when I pulled up in front of the empty post office. But that didn’t stop me from then driving to the bank to find it also closed. Still not convinced, I was mad when the mail never came as I was expecting a package.

 

But then my mom called and she wasn’t at work(she works for the State) and I asked why she wasn’t at work. Oh duh. I’m sorry.

So after the strange morning I decided it was a good day to just bake. So Astrid and I baked cookies, banana bread, pumpkin muffins and homemade bread-sticks. If you give a three year old a big blob of bread-dough it will keep them busy for hours and it smells so much better than play-doh. But then I started kneading the dough and OUCH my gravel hands.

 

So we just decided to play with the dough instead of baking it.

 

Thank goodness for running accidents.

******

Just write.

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The Royal Wedding Had Goats…And Chocolate Chip Scones..

I’ve convinced myself that I am not crazy for getting up at 3am to bake homemade scones and brew chai tea and set the table with our finest, well, finery.

I am also not crazy for waking my kids at 4:30am and ushering them quickly downstairs so we didn’t miss the big dress reveal.

I am perfectly sane for making them done plastic Target diamond studded tiaras that my mother did not give to me on my 18th birthday, over their bed-heads while drinking tea and eating scones.

And we need to remember how lucky they are that I didn’t lay out princess attire for them to wear when bunny pj’s from Target are more than appropriate for our cheap seats in the dark early morning.

And life was beautiful as we looked at the beautiful people in their dresses and hats and birds-nests and such…

But then when the wedding service started, the groans started….

“Mom, I thought your said this is a wedding – this looks like church to me!”

Lots of people get married in churches.

“And you are going to make us sit here the whole time?”

Yes, just like real church.

“Well then this totally isn’t worth getting up early for.”

It will get better, I promise.  Pretty soon there will be more dresses, and horses, and carriages, and flags.

“Why did the old man in the beard just say “Billy Goat?”

He didn’t say Billy Goat – he said Holy Ghost

“Why would there be a ghost at their wedding?”

I don’t know that there is really a ghost at the wedding.

“But are there goats?”

No there are no goats either.

“I find it more believable that there would be a goat at the wedding than to have a ghost.”

Just watch the wedding.

“Mom, when I get married – I don’t want to marry a prince.”

Why not, hon?

“I think it would be better to just marry a regular person so not so many people would come to my wedding. And I would not have to worry about goats or ghosts.”

True.

Chocolate Chip Scones

(adapted from cooks.com)

2.5 Cups flour

3 T sugar

1/4 t salt

2 t baking powder

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 t vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips(I prefer the semi-sweet mini chips)

Mix dry ingredients and cut in soft butter until consistent and crumbly.  Mix in milk, eggs and vanilla and form a dough that holds it’s shape.  Pat out flat on floured surface to about a 7-8″ diameter.  Cut out shapes or choice or into wedges. I did rounded/flower shapes.

Bake on greased cookie sheet at 425 for 18 minutes

Cool and then glaze if desired.

Best Easy Vanilla Glaze:

1/3 Cup butter

2 Cups powdered sugar

1 t vanilla

2-3 T hot water as needed

Melt butter over low heat on stovetop. Add powered sugar and completely blend. Add vanilla and then enough hot water to make a smooth glaze.

Spoon over scones and let cool and harden.

Enjoy.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake…

I have a problem.

A good problem.

I have a child who wants to bake everyday.  And while the thought of baking everyday is fabulous and everything – there are a few issues.

1. It takes having ingredients on hand everyday.  I do not.

2. It takes having energy for the fun, the mess, the clean up and no cranky baby demanding your attention.  I have little of this energy left.

3. It adds pounds to my waistline and jiggle in my butt. Neither of these I want.

So sadly I have had to put baking limits on my middle child.  We cannot bake everyday.

We can bake once per week. Once per week. It must be enough.

So she walks around the house with her cookbooks open pouring over recipes. She opens cabinets and checks ingredients.  She tells me what we are out of.

This lovely, creative child is driving me crazy. I love her.

This week our cupboards where quite sad.  She wanted a cake. I didn’t have much flour or butter.  So we made something up.

A chocolate chip cake with whipped cream and fruit.

Turns out it was a huge hit. And easy. And yummy.  And quick to clean up and quick to bake.

Happy Baker. Happy Mommy.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1t vanilla

1 cup flour

1.5t baking power

1/4t salt

1 cup choc chips

Mix together well and pour into greased and floured round cake pan

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Cool for 30min or so and then flip onto plate

Cool completely before frosting.

You can frost with whipped cream or butter-cream or cream cheese frosting. Homemade or store bought. I am not here to judge.

Top with fruit if desired and pick off afterwards if you are Eloise.

Enjoy.

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Jealous and Still Not Jewish…

It’s Purim this weekend.  Like, my favorite holiday ever.  Esther was born during Purim. Every Purim my Jewish dreams return.

I’m a disgruntled Catholic, in case you couldn’t tell from my accent.  I’ve never felt comfortable in one of their churches though. I sweat and shake and feel all out of place and left out because I cannot take communion, and that it all seems so scripted and I feel like no one gave me the lines.  Turns out high-fives are also not appreciated during the whole “and peace be with you” part. Who knew?  Maybe it was all of those years with my Grandpa putting his hand on my shoulder during Mass and reminding me of that fact that communion was not for me scarred me. Yes, I’ll blame Grandpa.  Not really just Grandpa…there’s more, but it’s not that important. My whole entire family is now shaking their collective heads. Except my Baptist brother.

I fell in love with being Jewish when I was 13 and our youth minister  of our Methodist church(I know, Methodist – after getting kicked out of the Catholic church for the whole  parents divorce thing we got diggy on it and became Methodist. Turns out they don’t discriminate their wafer offerings…we were IN) took the whole confirmation class to a Bar Mitzvah.  The boy was HOT. H.O.T. I totally needed to be Jewish and meet him.

So 20 years later when Eloise was born it was no wonder we joined the Jewish Community Center and signed her up for daycare.(looking for the correlation…) For 4 years I was in heaven on Earth channeling my inner Jew. I read books about Judaism, I ate Challah, I learned the blessings with my 2 year old. I was totally in and pursuing a new path…

But it turns out I am married to a Catholic who wants to stay a Catholic even though he hasn’t been to Mass in like 20 years.   So, we pulled Eloise out of the JCC and put her in a nice Catholic kindergarten. First question she asked her new teacher(who is a nun) is “who is that guy on the wall hanging on the plus sign?”

So we decided a nice public school and sleeping in on the weekends was the best way to go for us.

For now we enjoy Christmas, and a bit of Hanukkah, Easter for the candy, Challah every Friday and of course Purim for the Hamantaschen.

My Hamantaschen recipe:

3 eggs

1 cup regular sugar

1/2 cup veg oil

2 t vanilla

1/2 cup orange juice

5 cups flour

1 T baking power

Filling as desired – fruit jam(we like apricot) or for the fruit adverse(like Eloise) – chocolate chips or even cinnamon/sugar

Preheat over to 350 and grease your sheets

Mix eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and juice. Stir in flour and powder to a rolled dough consistency. I usually refrigerate it for a 1/2 hour or so before rolling.  Flour a surface and roll to 1/4″ thick and cut circles. Place on sheet and put your filling in the middle of each. Pinch the edges to form the 3 corners of the hat.

Bake 15 minutes.

Eat.

Happy Purim!

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Valentine’s Day Heart Cake

One of my favorite bakers and bloggers – Amanda at I am baker and also I am mommy – posted a link to her Rose Cake Tutorial last week on twitter.


I first fell of my chair, then I died, then I tweeted her back something like “OMG that is the most amazing cake EVER and I must make that for my daughter’s 6th birthday” and then I picked myself up off the floor and forwarded the link to her tutorial to everyone I know alive. True story.

Truth be told, I have never made a layered cake before. I grew up in a household of misguided sheet cakes – served in pyrex with canned frosting. (counseling has helped me get over this situation..almost).

I am assuming Amanda knew of my lack of professional baking mentoring, so generously offered to come to my home and make my daughter’s cake.  ANOTHER TRUE STORY.

I then wondered if she was single…

Turns out she is not.  (but I love her anyway) So on Sunday I decided to completely ignore my kids for 2 hours and make a cake for for Valentine’s Day as a practice for Esther’s birthday in 2 weeks.

Esther is having a “hearts theme” birthday, so I thought I could take Amanda’s Cake and make some tweaks for us – make the roses into heart and use a smaller decorating tip so the hearts were more “kid scribble” than glorious roses, and make it a traditional 2 layer cake with one layer pink and one vanilla.

And guess what y’all – I MADE A FREAKIN’ ‘cake!

I may do a slightly larger tip for my hearts next time and also use a fruit filling between the layers for more flavor..but I was so happy with the results.

.and you MUST use Amanda’s Buttercream Frosting recipe.  Best.frosting.ever.

My hips are happy.

What are some of your favorite Valentine’s Sweet Treats?

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Cheerios Marshmallow Treat Flowers..Think Spring!

Cheerio Flowers
As I mentioned yesterday, we spent most of the weekend inside.  It was cold, the snow banks are still up to the windows, and the girls were tired from a long week at school – so our goal for the weekend was to just rest, rejuvenate and spend quality snuggle time together.

We turned the heat up a bit and played dress up in Spring fairy outfits, we drew flowers and we talked about what we would do when the snow melted.  And after a few hours inside though, a request to bake always comes up.  I checked the cupboards for ingredients as I made a promise not to leave the house.

Thankfully, we had what we needed for a Springtime treat.  We used Cheerios, marshmallows and butter to create Cheerios Flower Treats.
Kids making Cheerio flowers
The girls had so much fun making and shaping them into flowers.  And they were delicious besides.  What better than a fun Springtime treat on a cold and blustery day.
Cheerio Flower treats
What you will need:

8 cups original Cheerios

10 oz marshmallows

1/3 c butter

Couple of drops of food coloring of your choice

Melt butter over low heat and add marshmallows until almost melted. I actually did it in 2 separate pans, dividing the butter and marshmallows evenly so we could do 2 colors. You can divide out to as many pans as you need for different colors.  Add 1-2 drops of food coloring, mix well and then add the Cheerios. Stir until coated.
Cheerios Cooking fun
Let sit for a few minutes to cool and harden a bit.

Butter hands and dig in and shape in petals and flower middles and play. Also eat a bit because you cannot help yourself. Let harden and store in a well sealed container.
Forming Cheerio treat petals
Enjoy and THINK SPRING!

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My Friday Favorites – Favorite easy Flat Bread

There was a time I made New Year’s Resolutions. Because I aim low and overachieve high, my biggest resolution was baking more homemade bread this year.  Yes, you heard it here. Big time.  My 2nd resolution was to botox the number 11 out of my forehead. I am assuming that will be my Christmas gift this year.
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So I made progress and I made bread.

But what I found was my family was just kind of “whatever” on the loaf bread, but went crazy when I made flat bread.  Back in February I made an Italian Flat Bread recipe from my favorite cookbook of all time. Thank you Betty Crocker.

This bread is very versatile – you can bake it plain and then top with butter or honey fresh out of the oven.  You can just put a bit of olive oil and garlic.  Or maybe some cheese if you so desire?  You can use it as a tradition thick pizza crust and top away with sauce and vegies or perhaps pepperoni.  My favorite is topping it with olive oil, black olives, sliced tomatoes and bit of mozzarella.

I love how creative you can be with it.  It is so easy to make and you do not have to worry about the consistency like a traditional loaf of bread.

The best part about making homemade bread?  When you are depressed watching the election results come in this week like I was – kneading bread is VERY GOOD therapy. Just saying.
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Here is Betty’s recipe:

2.5-3 cups of all purpose flour

2 t sugar

1/4 t salt

1 pkg dry yeast

1/4 c olive oil

1 c very warm water

Mix 1 c of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Add the oil and the water and beat 3min on medium.  Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is soft and leaves the sides of the bowl.

Turn unto light floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until double.

Turn oven to 425, grease 2 cookie sheets.  Punch down dough and divide in half. Shape each 1/2 into flattened 12in round on cookie sheet. Cover and let rise 20min.

Top as you wish or leave plain, maybe slather in butter or oil? And bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat it all and do not save any for your family.  Unless you want something from them. Like Botox or a MacBook.  Then make it every day for them.

Happy Weekend.

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Pumpkin Muffins…

Homemade Pumpkin Muffins are a Fall staple.  I made them again this weekend and they were devoured in less than 24 hours.
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I am reposting my favorite recipe that I shared last October… for those of you new to my blog this year… I would suggest NOT clicking on that link to my post last year, unless you love breastfed, newborn baby poop of course.

Moist and easy Pumpkin Muffins
1 small can pumpkin(what are they like 15oz?)
1/3c. oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 c white sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cinnamon

Throw it all together and mix it up well

Pour into your greased or cup filled muffin pan

Sprinkle a bit of a cinnamon/sugar mix on top of each muffin.

Bake about 28 minutes in a 350 oven.

Enjoy and happy Fall!

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And Now I Hate Football Even More…

Let it be said that Jed and I started dating because of his hate for all competitive team professional sports. It is a question I have asked every potential suitor my whole life.  If they watched football on Sunday or Monday or even on Thursday evening, I walked away.  If they knew the name of 2 professional basketball players and they can dribble well, I walked away.  If they had never fallen asleep at a baseball game, I first stared in disbelief, and then I walked away.  Hockey – well okay, I can actually tolerate that.  But would never date a season ticket holder.  Hockey is HOT – like totally sweaty men fighting with sticks AND they have good balance.  Barbarically sexy.

******

Esther left me in a puddle of guilt that day she left for school that first full day of Fall. And I had a full schedule of just general shit to do.

But I dropped it all and made cookies. I could not provide a party for her, but I would provide her with Fall themed cookies as an after school treat.  But I did not have a leaf shaped cookie cutter and Kristi ignored my calls as usual.  Baby had a fever – awesome, so shopping was out.
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So I figured I could make hand cut ash tree leaves – simple yes.  And furthermore, I had food coloring to make orange frosting for real Fall colored leaves – creative. Oooh.  Aaah.

And the damn things ended up looking like footballs.  FALL BAKING FAIL.

I understand, football is in fall and a true fall tradition.  BUT NOT IN MY HOUSE.  So now I was just pissed off and had to eat all of the really obvious football cookies and gained like 12 pounds because of FALL and FOOTBALL.
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But there is no way a 5 year old will care or notice.

Esther came home, and said “mom, you made football cookies!”  And I said “those are not football cookies -they are ash tree leaves that are changing color.” (always a bad sign when you have to explain your cookies to a 5 year old…)

And Esther said “no, they look like footballs. I don’t really like football.”
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Next year I am doing NOTHING.

Happy Fall y’all.

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Baking makes for good Readers…

I always wrongly pigeonhole my girls – Eloise is the academic and Esther is the socialite.  Eloise is the quiet, serious one and Esther is the party girl.  School comes easy to Eloise – now reading a level higher than I, with the handwriting of an adult, and doing math almost 2 grade levels above hers.
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Esther has never cared to learn letters or numbers, you sit down to do “a lesson” if you will with her preschool self, and she would cry and say “I don’t want to learn anything, I just want to play and draw pictures.”  She told us she doesn’t want to learn to read and never will. Math is silly.

So I gave her the space she wanted, we didn’t have “lessons” and I told her she can do what she wants in her own time.

Mainly she baked cupcakes.  And cookies. And apple pies. Sometimes just jello.  She got to be good friends with Betty Crocker. They had play-dates all Summer.

Then she started noticing that the recipes were made up of words and numbers. She realized this was important information that she needed.

“How many eggs do we need Mama?”  She would ask.  “It is in the recipe – can you find the word for eggs – the number is in front of it.” I would answer.

“e..g…g..eggs? We need 2 Mama!”

“Esther how much sugar do we need?” I would ask.

“Let’s see – sss..sss…s.u..g..a..r..sugar? Is that the word?  We need 3 slash 4 cups Mama!”

And by June you would find her walking around the house with her nose in her cookbooks – reading recipes and ingredients -doing the math on how many cookies we needed.  Opening the cupboards to see if we had the ingredients and figuring out what was missing and how much we needed at the store. Pouring the flour into a measuring cup for just the right amount.

Seriously, Betty Crocker taught my daughter to read and do math.

She now dog-ears her cookbooks and plans her next project and comes up to me constantly with “we need to make this” and “doesn’t this sound amazing?” and “can we go to the market because we are out of brown sugar and we should make these bars tomorrow?”

..and now…”while I am at school playing with my friends, don’t do anything without me in the kitchen – I picked out what we should make and made you list for grocery shopping…but don’t make it yet – please wait until I get home so we can make it together.”

Of course my Esther dear.  My super amazing reader. I am so proud of you.

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Friday Favorites – Children’s Cookbook

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Esther makes me.

She enters the kitchen, she ties on her apron, pushes her chair up to the counter and yells to me “Hey Mama, I am ready to make something, get in here!”

So, I walk away from my computer or leave the laundry to fold later.  I put on my apron that Esther has already chosen for me and I ask “so what are we making today?”

She carefully opens her favorite cookbook and we decide on what sweet treat to make.

Today we chose hotcakes – the perfect lunch for a Thursday, don’t you think?
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My favorite kids cookbook was given to us by my mother in law. It is For Good Measure – a cookbook for children by Eleanor Evans  The recipes are simple, easy to read and measure, and taste wonderful.  Except for the actual using the oven – the girls can make everything in this book.

It is no longer in print – but you can still grab a used copy for cheap.  I love the vintage feel of this book.

Happy Cooking!

xoxo, t

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Wacky Cake…

I am making sure that I bake with my girls at least once a week this Summer.

We tie on our aprons, thoroughly wash our hands and get to work.

It is math and measuring.  It is reading and comprehending.  It is together time and it is love.

This week we made Wacky Cake.  Possibly the richest and bestest chocolate cake ever.

Said cake was devoured within hours of frosting.
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Wacky Cake

1 1/2 c flour

1 c sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t soda

3 T cocoa

Mix dry ingredients right in an ungreased 8×8 or 9×9 square pan.

Make a well in the center and pour in..

6 T veg oil

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 t vanilla

1 c cold water.

Mix well til smooth

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Cool and frost with this Chocolate Frosting..

3 T Cocoa

1 c Powdered sugar

2 T soft butter

2 T Hot coffee

Mix cocoa and sugar together, add butter then coffee and beat until smooth.

(I suppose if you do not drink coffee(OMG WHY NOT???) you could always substitute milk, but I am not sure I could forgive you.)

The girls then felt it necessary to use sprinkles – and I figured why not, let’s go crazy.

Eat and enjoy.  Like, really really really enjoy.

xoxo,  t and her helpers

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Rhubarb part deux…

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My quest for rhubarb continued this year.
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So much so that I woke my 3 wee ones at 5:45 am on a Saturday and ventured to the Farmer’s Market ALONE.with three kids.including little miss cranky pants.and Astrid.and Esther who is always game for an adventure.
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I promised rhubarb for baking = Happy Esther.

I promised donuts for Eloise = Happy Eloise.

I promised to be quick = Happy Astrid.
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As you can see, we had the place almost to ourselves by arriving 5 minutes before opening.
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And yes, I did make them get dressed in pretty dresses just to go to the market.  As mentioned before, I insist on proper dress and jammies will not do.
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We came home and made rhubarb muffins and rhubarb crisp.  We ate rhubarb raw dipping it in sugar.
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And later on in the day, we all took naps=Happy Mommy.

The end.

xoxo,t

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