Wednesday, October 27, 2010


  • Rule Number 1: Do not buy Halloween candy that you want to eat.
  • Rule Number 2: After Halloween candy has been purchased, DO NOT OPEN. Especially if you broke Rule Number 1.
  • Rule Number 3: Enlist someone to hide the candy. This Rule is critical if you first, broke Rule Number 1 and then broke Rule Number 2.
I curse you mini Twix. CURSE you!!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Break

Fall break is crap. At this time last week, I thought I was going to love it. Sleeping in a little. No arguments over packing lunches or doing homework. No running around or being busy. Nope. Not so much.

Sleeping in is something I wish for, but rarely get to do. My children have this really awesome way of stomping around on the floor in the kitchen right below my bedroom when they wake up at 6 am. I have asked them a million times to stay on the carpet and quietly watch TV. They are entirely incapable. It's like sleep wipes out their brains and they forget everything I said the night before. The same way they still don't know what they're supposed to do every morning. ::envision the open mouth and the look of utter surprise:: "What? You want me to brush my teeth?"

Sure, over fall break we don't argue about packing lunches or doing homework. Just about how they have to cooperate with the things I have to get done. Which leads me to the 'no running around or being busy' thing.

The boys may be on fall break, but Sassy is not. She still has to be chauffeured to school and dance and gymnastics. I was going to keep her home for a few days this upcoming week so we could ALL be on fall break together. I may still be crazy enough to do one or two days. But after tonight, I feel like they all need to be quarantined to their own sections of the house and denied any access to each other. It's like this fast moving bipolar thing they have going on. One minute they're playing outside together like their the best of friends, laughing their heads off. The next minute, they're fighting and crying and insisting they just can't take 'so and so' anymore. Sassy tried to tattle on the boys by telling me that they were fighting. Apparently Link was saying really mean things to George. I asked her what things and she just shook her head and said she would tell me later (all accompanied with a little grin). I asked her why she started telling me then, and she said she just didn't want me to know. Which again led to the 'why are you talking to me about this if you're not really going to tell me anything?' Of course the little scamp is making stuff up. I think she just wanted to get me off my bed and away from my book. Besides, at that moment the boys were still getting along. It was 10 minutes later that everything suddenly escalated into a big argument, Wii controllers flying across the room, 10 yr old stomping off down the stairs and Honey saying, 'What's going on up there??'

Fine. I'll quit trying to read and be the referee. Now, I'm just sitting here dreading another week of fall break that really isn't a break. It's just.....the same old stuff. And that makes me wonder why I'm always running to catch something I can't ever catch. It's gonna cycle around again, right? When my kids are all in college or on missions or married? Maybe letting those things go is like letting go of a helium balloon. You never really want to, but there is some relief in watching it disappear into the sky. Except maybe I'll actually get it back. Doesn't seem very likely.

My Kitchen's Gonna Be Busy

I have some stuff coming up. A special dessert for a family this Wednesday. Four small white fondant cakes due this weekend. A Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake for a friend's birthday that I want to drop off next Sunday. Thirty-six or fourty-something cakeball cones for my nephew's baptism in two weeks. Maybe something fun for Halloween. At least thirty-six cupcakes for my son's football team end-of-the season get-together. And, ready for this one? One hundred cupcakes for our YW in Excellence on November 16. Somewhere along the way, I need to get one or two more nice cupcake pans/tins...what do you call them? Not to mention the things I may want to bake for Thanksgiving. We will be in NJ this year, but I know my husband will also want to have something here at home. He likes to have those leftovers in the fridge.

Moving on....I don't know if it's the fall weather. I don't know if it's my self-imposed cutting out of sugar, processed foods, soda and the like - for 30 days. But I want to bake. I want to cook. I want to buy food and make food and give food away because I don't want to eat it. Of course I WANT to eat it. But I don't want to, because my rear end doesn't need it. Nor does my middle section. (I've recently come to the conclusion that I gain weight in my stomach like my paternal grandmother AND my hips like my maternal grandmother. Double whammy!)

Do you want some food? Do you want me to make you a dessert and just drop it off on a random day? I would LOVE to! These are the things I have written down to try sometime in the near future. These are only the things I saw this morning on The Pioneer Woman.

  • Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta
  • The Bread
  • Tres Leches Cake
  • Cinnamon Bread
  • Bacon Onion Cheddar Biscuits
  • PW Dinner Rolls
  • The Pie That'll Make You Cry
  • Strawberry Shortcake Cake
This really is a short list. Notice the number of bread items? I have an unnatural fear of making bread. It makes me nervous. It freaks me out. And I can go years between attempts before I feel the urge to dig in and try again. The Bread is simple. It doesn't require me to actually make the bread. It's simply instructions on what to do with an already made loaf of french bread. Easy. Biscuits are easy. Mix and drop. No biggie. But homemade cinnamon bread and dinner rolls? I can already feel that knot in my stomach forming. Landee can make some tasty rolls. She ties them in a knot even. I've heard (only heard) about her orange rolls. This makes me feel like I might just have a chance. Maybe it's possible. Maybe I should beg her to teach me. Maybe I should just beg her to make them for me instead. Rest assured, my blogging readers (however few you may be) I will post my attempts and the results, regardless of how they turn out. Disasters teach us all a lesson, right?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Public Rudity

When I have to go to the grocery store at night, I just want to quietly get the few things I need and get out. Self-checkouts are perfect for that. Tonight, I was surprised by the witchiness of the woman using the check-out next to me. She had to get some help from the lady and simultaneously asked her for a can of Skoal. Actually, the way she asked for it was complicated, like how people order their coffee. I guess chew isn't that simple anymore. Anyway, the checkout lady, just doing her job, asked her who she was buying it for. She said it was for her husband. Then very abruptly said, "Why?" The lady explained to her they just have to ask incase people are buying it for minors. The customer lady says, "I would never do that to my kids! I am just not the kind of person who would DO that!"

Here's what I would like to ask Miss Rude: Is this the first time you've ever bought chew for your totally hawt husband (with black things in his teeth, nasty breath and probably at high risk for throat cancer)? If it's not the first time, why are you being so nasty to the poor sales lady who's just doing what the law says she has to do? So annoying. Maybe she was grouchy because the fact that she's buying that nastiness for her hubby makes her really mad. Amen to that sister. Gross with a capital G. Gross.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Will I Ever Learn?

I'm a few days into another stint of getting off sugar, unnecessary fat, processed foods and soda. I've done this several times now. Every time it's the same. I get a massive headache that lasts for 4 or 5 days, I feel like I have no energy, and I get grouchy. Why do those nasty foods do that to me? What are these food people doing to us? It amazes me that just cutting out that nastiness can make me feel so crappy. If I sit really still and concentrate on the pain in my head, it's almost like I can see the little ripples and waves all over the surface of my brain. Although last night and today, it's permeating my eyes too. I could hardly stand to watch TV last night. This morning my son wanted me to look at the clouds outside and I couldn't stand to lift my eyes to all of that light. As it is, I'm squinting here at the computer.

But srsly, am I ever going to learn? How do I manage to conveniently 'forget' after a detox? Is it my fault that some of that darn food tastes so yummy? And Diet Coke with lime is like heaven at 2:00 in the afternoon.

On the flipside, the rest of my body seems to be breathing a sigh of relief. Fresh veggies and fruit and lean proteins are making my system much happier. While giving up sugar for a while always feels like I lost my best friend, I know my body appreciates it. I can't stand to store up any of that stuff anymore anyway.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I love the sound of my wind chimes. They hang right outside my back door off the kitchen. It's a rare day here that there isn't at least a little breeze blowing. I'd love to have one of those chimes that's like 4 ft long. You know, the ones that have deeper tones? I love the sound of birds too. The Goldfinches are one of my favorites. I also love the sound of chickadees, robins, blue jays, flickers and hawks. Now that the kids are back in school and there are a few moments here and there when they are all gone, I rather enjoy the sound of my house entirely empty and quiet. No television or anything. Just the chimes outside, the clock ticking and the sound of my dog snoring in her big cushiony dog bed. Sometimes I just sit on the couch and listen to the nothing. Speaking of my snoring She's like an old man, the noises she makes sometimes. I don't know how such snoring can come out of a 15 lb dog, but it's rather amusing at times. I can say that I don't ever find it annoying. Even if I hear her in the middle of the night. I don't know why. It just never bugs me.

A good strong belly laugh from any of my kids is one of my favorite sounds too. George's is my favorite. I know I shouldn't pick favorites, but his true laugh is just a super joyful sound. There isn't another word for it. Link used to make him laugh when he was a little squirt and he'd lay his head back and just laugh and laugh. I also love to hear my daughter singing. She sings and sings and sings. Sometimes nonsense. Sometimes primary/school songs blended into each other. The pretending she does with her dolls or toys 'talking' to each other is pretty nice too.

"Can you come over to play?" "I'll have to ask my mom...hold on." "Mom!!! Can I go to my friend's house to play?" That sort of stuff.

I know there are a million other things I love to hear. One of my besties has a pretty awesome laugh. My husband was laughing himself to tears last night and that was cool. An entirely different sound than when he's just chuckling over something. The ding-ding of a text on my phone? Love that. The sound of me picking up the phone on a 1-800 call and immediately hanging up. Necessary and very satisfying. What sorts of things do you like listening to?

Right now, I have to leave the quiet of my peaceful house and head off to help someone with a cake.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coconut Cake

Today's cake adventure began a couple of weeks ago. I sat down with Honey to watch some tv after the kids had gone to bed and one of my favorite Food Network guys was on. He was doing a whole show on coconut and coconut cake. I loved it! So, I decided this weekend to dig in and give it a try.

Part One:
The Coconut. I have spent the better part of my day piercing, draining, baking, cracking, peeling, grating, boiling, soaking, and more draining two whole coconuts to create; a pile of freshly grated coconut, a 1/2 cup each of homemade coconut cream and coconut milk and a liquid measuring cup full of coconut water (the liquid I drained from the inside of the coconut to begin with). Apparently you can also soak some of this coconut in vodka for 5-7 days to create your own extract, but I cheated on that one element and bought some at the store. After completing all of that, I began the cake. Fluffy unsalted butter, sugar, the homemade coconut milk and cream, cake flour, etc. mixed accordingly and then folded in with some stiff egg whites. It is now in the oven in the pans that I oiled and lined with parchment. Which I then oiled again and dusted with flour. My sink is over flowing with mixing bowls, whisks, spatulas, measuring spoons and measuring cups. My counter and mixer are dusted with flour. My arm is tired from hand grating coconut and whisking egg whites. This better be the best darn coconut cake on the planet. And despite his aversion to the texture of coconut, Honey better have a bite or two. I already know of a couple of people who will be hand delivered a large piece. You know it's for my own good that I can't keep the entire cake in my own house. I will most certainly be without sufficient self-control to avoid eating. it. all.

Part Two:
The Cake. With nervousness and anticipation, I check on the cakes with 5 minutes left on the timer. This is important, you gize. Sometimes they're done sooner and I know that my ovens usually bake things a little faster. And my top and bottom ovens don't bake the same as each other. Homemade from scratch cakes are a lot harder to create and the results are hard to predict. I've tried things before that didn't work out, I think because of my elevation. Anyway, after checking, the cakes are done 5 minutes early. They aren't perfect and smooth on top like a box mix. The one from the bottom oven has sunk down a little bit in the middle. But I'm reserving judgment. Once each layer is split and stacked with frosting and stuff, it won't really matter what it looked like when it came out of the oven. Right? Right. The cakes, after cooling, are dense and sort of heavy. The recipe says to cut each layer in half, then giving your finished cake 4 thin layers, but I am too afraid to try. So I just sliced off the crisp top of each layer and brushed them with coconut water. The pieces I've removed taste AWESOME.

Part Three:
The Frosting. Egg whites, sugar, coconut water, a stainless bowl, sitting on top of a pot of simmering water, with an extension cord attached to my hand mixer so it will reach my cooktop. After 7 minutes of beating and an addition of coconut and vanilla extracts, I have a beautiful bowl of marshmallowy, white and fluffy fantastic frosting. Oh. my. gosh. I never thought in a million years I'd be able to make a successful batch of 7 min Frosting.

Part Four:
Assembly. Since I'm wimping out and refusing to try a 4 layer cake, assembly was easy. The cake layers are moist. A blob of frosting on the cake plate, first layer down. Frosted and lightly sprinkled with my fresh coconut. Second layer on, the entire thing frosted and sprinkled with more coconut. This made a huge mess because I was tossing it, but the cake looks fantastic. Now it has to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick..........

Part Five:
The Final Test - Eating. As I mentioned above, the cake is pretty dense. With all of the frosting and coconut and coconut flavor, it's also quite rich. I rather enjoyed it. Honey did have a couple of bites and thought it tasted very good. My neighbor said it was too good. My kids didn't like it. Why would I do that much work for one cake? Well, why not? Why not try the hard recipe, go to all of the effort once to do it just like the recipe and see what happens? I learned how to disassemble a coconut. I learned how to make successful 7 min frosting. I learned that if I make this cake again, it won't be for a long time and it will only be for grown ups. This is not a kid cake. I offer a huge thank you to Alton Brown for this fantastic cake adventure today. Now, I'm tired. And full.