Archive for September, 2010

Sep 29 Wednesday

License to Drive

I have had the very best of intentions to update my driver’s license, which may, or may not, have expired after my birthday.

Last January.

Note to You: I do not condone operating a motor vehicle with an expired license. Not one tiny bit.

So this morning, I packed up Sam I Am and some snacks and headed straight for the Department of Motor Vehicles.

When my number was called, I quietly handed over my paperwork and was sent to the official looking gentleman in the corner to have my photograph taken.

“Please look straight ahead at the Post It note and hold still. 3…2…1.”

Click.

“No teeth please ma’am. Just straight ahead in 3…2…1.”

Click.

“Could you please NOT smile ma’am. The camera didn’t like that one. In 3…2…1.”

Click.

“Ma’am PLEASE, just look as if you are walking down the street. No smile. No teeth. Thank you for your cooperation. IN 3…2…1.”

CLICK.

Seriously.

How does one not smile while standing against a wall, in front of 6 rows of people, who have nothing better to do than stare and snicker, while your two year old is chanting “Stupid, poopy tooter butt, stinky toes Mommy, STINKY TOES MOMMY!” in her stroller.

I looked extremely uncomfortable, dead inside. A wee bit tortured. If I saw my photo, I would expect to see the word WANTED below it.

It’s that bad.

At least there is one thing on my license that I do love. My weight. It hasn’t changed (on my license) since I was 18 years old.

CHEESE!

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Sep 29 Wednesday

Granola!

In my humble opinion, granola is among the world’s most perfect foods.

You can nibble it dry, smother it in milk and grab a spoon or sprinkle it on applesauce or yogurt.

It’s super good for your digestive system, as rolled oats provide loads of fiber. The Omega-3 fatty acids in flax seed can help protect you from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Barley and oats contain antioxidants, which can help strengthen your body and prevent disease as well. You can add dried fruits and nuts to boost it’s nutritional properties, or if you are me and want to introduce it to the kids with no hesitation, you can sprinkle in some M & Ms or dark chocolate chips.

Or both!

I made this batch as a quick energy after school snack. I left out nuts because we were sharing with a friend who has a tree nut allergy. I didn’t add any dried fruits because there were none in my pantry. Plus, I wanted the kiddos to gobble it up.

And my how they did.

What you need:

4 Cups rolled oats
Barley, whole flax seeds or wheat germ (optional)
1/2 Cup honey
1/4 Cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (or almond!) extract
1/2 Cup walnuts, almonds or any nut that suits your fancy
1/2 teaspoon salt

Other things to add in 1/4 Cup to 1/2 Cup doses:
Sweetened coconut flakes
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds
Raisins
Dried apricots, cherries, blueberries or cranberries

Food Allergy Note:
If you have a honey allergy in your household, you can use 1/2 Cup maple syrup or a thick syrup made with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2-3 Tablespoons of water instead.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Mix the oats and salt. Stir well. Add any other dry ingredients at this time, except anything chocolate or dried fruit.

Mix the honey, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl. Whisk to mix. Combine with the oat mixture and stir well to evenly coat your oats.  On a boat. With your tote. Until they float. You can vote! Sorry, where was I? Evenly distribute the oats onto two baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and flip or stir the oats. Move the outsides in. Bake for 10 more minutes. Watch it, it is easy to burn! Remove your pans from the oven and spread the granola onto wax paper (or tin foil) on counter-top to cool.

You can stir in dried fruit while the granola is still hot, save any chocolate ingredients until it has cooled a bit more.

Within 30 seconds of my batch coming out of the oven, I had 2 three-footers on my counter-top noshing on the candy coated oats.

I spooned individual sized portions into snack size plastic bags that I picked up last season at the Target $1 aisle. Not only are these super cute, they are portable for easy on-the-go consumption.

You can store your granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, but I bet you a Coke that it doesn’t last that long.

Frugal Mom Note: I made 25 snack bags (1/4 Cup servings) for roughly $4 for the entire batch. Quick math makes that $.16 per serving. That makes me almost as happy as seeing my kids gobble up a nutrition packed snack. Almost.

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Sep 27 Monday

What I Would Say…

There are few things in life as exciting as the anticipation of becoming a parent for the first time. Whether your child grows in your womb, or your heart, the apprehension of the journey is where the transformation to parenthood begins.

My dear friend Rene, who is expecting her first baby, sent me this delightful video. It is made up of seasoned mom’s answering the question What would you tell yourself, before you had your first child?

Rene is one of my soul mates so it’s no surprise that the video was exactly what I needed in the moment. I cried (real crocodile tears) at the simplicity of words. They stirred within me a complex web of emotion.

What I would say:

Listen to their advice, then follow your own instincts.
Let them bring you dinner. And stay to do the dishes.
Babies cry, sometimes for no reason at all. Stay calm and breathe.
Singing  that lullaby will calm you as much as it calms him.
Generic diapers rock.
Cover her face on windy days.
Wine before you resume the deed.
Trust your partner, resign control.

What would You say?

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Sep 24 Friday

Seargent Sprinkles

There has been a lot of talk about balls this week at our house, cake balls of course.

In preparation for a small gathering I hosted, I made a batch of the bite sized doohickeys. Because it was past kiddos bedtime, SuperHub was lucky to be name Seargent Sprinkles.

As you can imagine, he was Thrilled. Capital T.

When SuperHub is forced to do something he doesn’t want to do, his sarcasm kicks up about 4 notches.

Me: “Seargent Sprinkles, you’re up. Hurry hurry, don’t let the chocolate set. You have to be quick with your duties.”

He: “Roger that. By the way, Seargent Sprinkles is getting a Major Woody from your Private Parts.”

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Sep 24 Friday

Dinner on your doorstep

There are few things as comforting as having a meal delivered to your doorstep by a friend. The best kind of meals are prepared with love. And sent in containers that do not need to be returned. Hello practicality!

I cook for our friends and family on a regular basis. It’s who I am. And who my sister is too. A friend of ours jokes that my sister takes people meals “If they have a bad hangnail!”

Hey now, have you ever done dishes with a hangnail? OW.

My favorite dish ensemble to hand over to lucky recipients is the perfectly practical and practically perfect meal; mini cheddar meatloaves and some form of macaroni and cheese. It’s comfort food on steroids.

I usually throw a bag of salad into a some Gladware and top with whatever chopped veggies I have on hand: Carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes or peppers. It’s nice to include a small bottle of salad dressing on the side.

Or just grab a bag of microwave steamer veggies to send along.

No matter what, I always send something sweet to finish the meal. You can make a quick pan of brownies, a loaf of banana bread or some cupcakes. When I am taking dinner to a family celebrating a new addition with older siblings in the house, I try to make dessert fun for the kids.

Last night, I took dinner to some friends who welcomed baby #3 to their family. I happened to have some unused Speed Racer cups in our birthday bin so I whipped up a quick batch of Dirt Pudding for the kiddos (and adults): Homemade whipped cream, chocolate pudding and crushed chocolate cookies mixed up and spooned into the cups.

To make sure there aren’t too many dishes for them to do, I stock up on foil pans at the grocery store, a pack of 3 is around $1.88. This is small price to pay for the peace of mind knowing that no one has to return your favorite Tupperware containers in a timely manner.

If you are too busy to cook, just show up on your friend’s doorstep to drop off a pizza (take and bake is great too!) and a chilled bottle of wine. Or beer. Or their favorite flavor of fountain soda.

How about a sack of drive thru cheeseburgers and fries from the $1 menu?

It’s not the food that is important, it’s the gesture.

Hangnail or not, easing a friend’s burden is among the kindest things you can do for someone.

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Sep 20 Monday

Oink! Oink! Cookies

I have 6 words for you: Chocolate chocolate peanut butter bacon cookies.

If part of you just leaped at the computer screen and did a jig, this is a recipe for you.

If you gagged or made an inaudible ack sound, make these cookies, without the bacon. With whatever kind of chip suits your fancy.

This recipe divided my loyal panel of taste testers into two distinct groups; those who raved as they nibbled and those who prefer to keep their bacon next to their pancakes.

Let me tell you, I was smitten at first bite. In that unusual, immeasurable kind of way. But I love me some bacon. Sweet and salty are among my favorite combinations. Pair most salty snacks with chocolate and dooooood, I’m sold. Let’s be real, if you covered my shoes in chocolate, I would probably give it a go.

Background: I caught whim of this recipe from a teeny tiny, little blond hair, blue eyed beauty named Lindsay that I babysat for 20ish years ago. Only now she is all grown-up. She is still a beautiful blue eyed girl and has added culinary student, wife, and creator of this ah-mazing cookie recipe to her business card. Oh and she lives in Alaska. Alaska!

I talked about these cookies for weeks before actually making them. It was interesting to see people’s reactions as I listed the ingredients. The thought of the peanut butter chips caused me to pause, but in the end, I trusted Lindsay’s culinary genius, grabbed my mixer and went to town making the dough.

And I am ohsoveryvery happy that I did.

My thighs and waistline? Not as happy. Thankfully I had a lot of willing taste testers lined up to gobble down the samples.

You will need:

6 Slices bacon, cooked, cooled and chopped
1 1/2 Cups white sugar
1 Cup butter
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2/3 Cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chunks)
1 Cup peanut butter chips

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat, until evenly browned. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Chop and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut your cold butter into pieces and cream with sugar, in your mixer, on high until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and continue creaming until smooth. Scrape down the sides often.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a mixing bowl, whisking together to combine.

Gradually add the mixed dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined. Add bacon, chocolate and peanut butter chips. Continue mixing on low to med speed until thoroughly combined. Be careful not to over mix.

Scoop out heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Pressing down gently on the dough balls. Bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes. The cookies do not look done, but take them out and let them stand on the hot cookie sheets for about 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Serve with an over sized glass of ice cold milk. And make sure you have hungry friends to share with. These rich cookies are best served in single servings. (So says cardiologists across America.)

Note to you: I used thick (super thick) cut bacon, it added a nice chewy texture but I would probably use a regular width slice the next go round. Also, I omitted the additional salt from the recipe because the bacon itself added enough.

Bacon bacon bacon, bacon, I LOVE BACON!

“Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-… That’s all, folks.”
Porky Pig

Add This 9 Comments Post by Katy
Sep 17 Friday

The Cheat Sheet

I get it.

What I say and what I mean are sometimes two different things. I can’t help it. It’s how (some) women operate. Yes, I am a straight shooter but sometimes the truth is too harsh in the moment. That is why I rely on SuperHub to read between the lines.

It’s no surprise that he isn’t very good at it.

Most men are not.

So here is your cheat sheet boys, study up:

What she says:
You can go out with your friends, again, on Saturday but we have a busy family day on Sunday.

What she means:
This time, don’t drink more than two drinks and be home by 11 pm. You’re getting up with the kids at 6 am on Sunday morning while I sleep in.

What she says:
Are you going to wear that shirt? You could always wear your green polo.

What she means:
It doesn’t gel with the entire look of the family that I had specifically mapped out in my head. You need to wear your green polo.

What she says:
I am not crabby. I am just hormonal/tired/hungry.

What she means:
Tell me I’m pretty, offer to rub my feet and hand me a ham sandwich STAT.

What she says:
Not tonight.

What she means:
Seriously, don’t ask me again. NOT TONIGHT.

What she says:
Look at the new undies I got!

What she means:
TONIGHT. Maybe twice.

What she says:
Have you called your mom back yet? We need to figure out details for this weekend.

What she means:
Call your mom and say hello so she knows you are still alive, then hand me the phone so I can chat with her and properly schedule us for the upcoming family dinner.

What she says:
I need help around the house.

What she means:
I am overwhelmed and on the verge of snapping. Don’t you DARE walk over the laundry pile, pick it up and put it in the wash machine. When it’s done, switch it to the dryer. You could most certainly help with dinner and then choose: Bath duty or dishes? When the kids are in bed, send me to Target (alone) and tell me to buy something for myself.

What she says:
Hi honey, how was your day?

What she means:
Today was a great day around here. You can relax.

What she says:
Oh look, Dad is FINALLY home.

What she means:
Prepare yourself, you are inches away from being blamed for everything that went on here today: Poop on the floor, fights, temper tantrums, toys all over the house, musty laundry discoveries and WE ARE OUT OF CHOCOLATE MILK! Oh and welcome home from work. How was your day?

What she says:
I’ll be back in a bit. I have to run to the store for bread, milk and a bottle of sanity.

What she means:
When I walk back in this house, I would LOVE for it to be cleaner than it is right now.

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Sep 15 Wednesday

Proof that I am a Mom

Upon discovering another edition of my 6 year old’s interpretive artwork, my first thought was “Oh look, he used the apostrophe correctly!”

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Sep 15 Wednesday

Insert Your Card Here

A (guy) friend of ours makes it a point to visit one of the talking ATM machines in town. The sultry, sexy, female voice has a British accent and begs to be talked dirty to.

Note to You: Talking ATMs are fantastic for the visually impaired. And clearly, for a guy who is easily amused.

Someday, I hope to accompany him as he makes a withdrawal on this machine. You know, so I can add some one liners to her lingo and see if I can make him giggle until he pees.

Welcome, please insert your card into the proper slot.
“Not that one, you sicko, the other one. If you continue, your card will be charged $150 an hour.”

Do you wish to make a deposit or a withdrawal?
“HEY OH.”

Your transaction is complete. Please remove your card. Thank you.
“Now pull your pants up and leave. Pervert.”

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Sep 13 Monday

When I grow up

I want to be that couple. The retired pair that sat across from us at a local pizza joint over the weekend.

He and she, sitting cozily close, same side of the table. They shared slices of  pizza pie in unison, sipped beer from short glasses and he occasionally refilled her (and then his) glass from the pitcher.

They were watching a game on the TV and talked to one other, eye contact and all, as the room lived on around them.

My favorite part, was how they were dressed. Clearly, they had been working around the house. They were in their comfy clothes. Hers were on inside out. Tags sticking out of her shirt and center of the butt of her dirt covered sweat pants.

I loved them.

I leaned over and told SuperHub that someday, I want to the two of us to be just like them.

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