Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dinner Conversation

Setting: I'm in the kitchen loading the dishwasher before cooking dinner. Enter Oldest Child.

Oldest Child, staring at package of ground turkey: "What's for dinner?"
Me: "Worms."
OC: "MOM!"
Me: "What?"
OC: "That's gross! No, really, what's for dinner?"
Me: "Worms."
OC: "Stop it. Tell me, what's for dinner?"
Me: "What do you think?"
OC: "Um, tacos?"
Me: "Tacos, or picadillo. Which do you prefer?"
OC: "Um, picadillo."
Me: "Okay, worms it is!" :::cackle maniacally:::
OC: "Ew, I feel sick now." :::sulks away:::

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No-work, non-dairy all-delish cherry turnovers!

These are so good that my kids licked the plate afterwards! It has been so long since I've had turnovers, and I really miss that flaky, sweet, spicy goodness. Most turnovers are made with butter in the crust, and I haven't yet pulled together the motivation to try to make my own pastry dough with margarine.

But guess what? I discovered that Pillsbury Crescent dough is dairy-free! And guess what else? They have new dough SHEETS. One big roll of crescent dough in an un-perforated sheet! You can use them as pockets, cups, triangles, whatever. And NO BUTTER! :::swoon:::

Of course, I was immediately inspired to make turnovers. I had a bowl of fresh, pitted cherries in the fridge, which were tossed with brown sugar and cinnamon, quickly nestled into little folded triangles of dough and dotted on top with raw sugar, baked for 15 minutes and then devoured!

Nom-nom-nom-nomnomnomnom. Mmmmmm. Smile.

Here's the recipe (it's so easy, can it even be called that?)

Cherry Turnovers

2 cups fresh, pitted cherries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg Pillsbury Crescent Sheets dough
1/4 cup raw sugar

Toss cherries with brown sugar and cinnamon to coat. Unroll dough and cut into squares (I cut them at about four inches each). Stretch each square slightly, then spoon just enough cherries to cover 1/2 the square. Fold one corner across the cherries diagonally to form a triangle and pinch the edges closed. Sprinkle raw sugar over the top. Repeat with remaining squares of dough. Secretly eat the leftover cherry mixture in the bowl before someone else notices. Place the turnovers on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until light brown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Supper in a Dish

Oy, I've been away a long while!

All of a sudden, I'm inspired to return to my blog and share with you some household disasters, or potential disasters if they were to be fulfilled. Let's start with this cookbook, "The Ultimate Cooking with 4 Ingredients" (from which I will not cook, soon you will see why).

At first I thought this book could really have potential in my kitchen. I'm often thwarted from cooking gourmet meals that impress my family and make me the envy of my friends because of my limited pantry space (well, usually I just want to fix something quick and edible).

Instead of feeling inspired, I found myself reliving the horror of the church potluck picnics of my childhood upon flipping through this book. The recipes seem to be compiled from 1970s women's magazines -- odd combinations of cubed ham, seasoning packets, cans of cream soups and an occasional bag of frozen vegetables.

For example:

Smothered Steak: 1 large round steak; 1 can golden mushroom soup; 1 envelope dry onion soup mix; 2/3 cup milk.

or Chicken Broccoli Skillet: 3 cups cubed, cooked chicken; 1 package frozen broccoli florets; 1 package Velveeta cheese, cubed; 2/3 cup mayonnaise.

or Tuna Toast... oh never mind.

I did catch them cheating on the four-ingredient rule:

Curried Red Snapper: 1 1/2 pounds fresh red snapper; 2 medium onions, chopped; 2 celery ribs; chopped; 1 teaspoon curry powder; 1/4 cup milk. A-HA! FIVE ingredients!

There were other cheating recipes, and some real doozy desserts, but I'll spare you the gory details.

Lastly, the recipe that made me throw up a little in my mouth:

Supper in a Dish: 2 bags instant rice in a bag; 1 1/2 cups cubed, cooked ham; 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese; 1 can green peas. Sounds wonderful, super easy and perfect for busy weeknights... NOT!

If you're planning a 70s Throwback-Potluck-Barbeque, this is the perfect cookbook for you! Want it?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Total frickin' awesomeness apple pie

The secret is vanilla.

There. I told you. That's all you get. Because I'm not sharing this pie. It's mine. You may not have a piece. You may just beg and drool and cry and be jealous and hate me because I'm not sharing.

I'm going to eat the whole thing all by myself. In the dark. With a large spoon. Where my family won't find me. Then I'll wash the dish. And dry it and put it away. And they won't know that the whole pie is gone until they find me in a near-coma, belly swollen, little dribble of cinnamon on my chin, babbling "oh. oh. oh. must eat pie. must not tell anyone. need more apples."

And then they will cry and beat their heads with their fists and scream at me and collapse in anguish.

Cuz I ate the rest of the pie.

It's that frickin' good.

And I'm not even going to have a glass of (soy)milk with it. Not even a scoop of vanilla So Delicious soy cream. Not a single thing gets between my lips and that pie.

Mmmmmm.... pie.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Adventures of SteamMop!

My kids love infomercials. Whoever had the idea to place infomercials for household products during kids' programming on Nickelodeon is a genius, because I can't be the only mom that is hounded for stuff like Debbie Myer's Green Bags (got them), the Betty Crocker 100-piece Cake Decorating Kit (got it), and now the Shark Steam Pocket Mop, of which we are now the proud owners.

My middle child is particularly enthralled with the boisterous claims of pitchmen like Billy Mays (may he rest in peace), but I am not so fascinated, having my doubts about the quality or durability of these items. So when one day she hollered at me to come see this mop commercial while I was cooking dinner, I brushed her off. The next morning, she found me changing the baby's diaper -- "Mom! Mom! The Shark Steam Pocket Mop is on TV again! The one I told you about yesterday! It makes smoke! Come see!" I protested, "But I'm changing the baby! Hang on!" She screamed from the other room, "I PAUSED IT!" Ah, this is why we got Tivo, to make sure we don't miss an infomercial?!

Moments later I obliged her desperate pleading and watched the commercial. Oh. My. Gosh. I was instantly hooked. I had heard of steam mops before, even considered buying one last year when we got the Hoover FloorMate Hard Floor Cleaner. But I wasn't convinced then. Now, I was.

The "smoke" was actually steam pushed out of the reversible cleaning head through the microfiber towel that was washable and reusable. The unit looked light and portable, simple and chemical-free. On the other hand, the Hoover FloorMate was big, cumbersome, needed expensive chemical solutions and made A LOT of noise. I had only used the Hoover a handful of times because it was a pain to set up, slow to move around, didn't get the floor that clean, and was gross to take apart and clean out when I was done. The Shark was so easy in comparison.

I was sold.

Within an hour I had located my original receipt for the Hoover and called the store. I told them I had a FloorMate that I didn't like, and the employee simply said, "Then bring it back." I replied that I didn't have the original box, and she said, "Don't need it. Just bring it back." Woohoo for Bed Bath and Beyond's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!

By the afternoon, I exchanged the Hoover for the Shark Steam Pocket Mop (not only was it in stock at BB&B, but it was cheaper than the other machine, so they gave me store credit for the difference!). I assembled it right away and took it to the kitchen. My kids were so excited, they started begging me for a turn to use it. I ran the first pass over my floor. Whoa. I knew my floors needed a good mopping, but we were all amazed at how clean they got (and how gross the pad was.) The next day, my kids were asking to mop the kitchen again. And the next day, we took turns mopping our tiny hall bathroom. By the fourth day, all the tile floors in the house were sparkling and the kids were trying to get the baby to drop food on the floor so they would have an excuse to mop.


Later in the week, we visited our favorite grocery store, where there is a kids' club playarea, supervised by a childcare worker. My kids love Miss Nicole and beg me to shop at this one store so they can play there. I must not have taken long enough with my coupons during the shopping trip, because when I finished checking out and went to pick them up, my middle child threw herself on the floor and refused to leave.

She wailed, "I didn't get enough time to play!"

I told her, "If you don't get up right now, you won't get to mop the bathroom when we get home!"

She bounced up, put on her shoes and proclaimed, "Okay, I'm ready to go!"

Nicole's jaw dropped. She turned to me with a stunned look and asked, "How did you DO that?"

I answered, "It's not me. It's the steam mop."

"Home Workspace Remodel," or "How to Find Things You Didn't Know You Lost," or "Losing 100 Pounds in Just One Day (I Mean Pounds of Junk)"

My "Year of Decluttering:" the year is proceeding at a much faster pace than the decluttering is.

The kitchen was first, and was mostly done by the time January was over. Next was the "pink" room, where I took a bin's worth of stuff out and the girls didn't even notice. In March I tackled the baby's room and in one Sunday afternoon made a huge dent in there, but it didn't really come together until we got the toddler bed in June. April and May were both assigned to the "computer room" because of the massive task it was going to be.

It's now July. Um, it's not done, but I am very proud to do a partial "reveal."

Here is the "Before" picture of our desks/workspace. It was a frustrating mess of paper, it was hard to find anything and depressing to look at. See why it took two extra months to get going on this part of the decluttering?

Here is the "After" picture of our new desks and shelving units, now nicely stocked and no longer intimidating:

The new workspace is clean, organized (what an overused but precise word), inviting and serene. The stuff we want to keep is neatly put away on the shelves, we can find important things like pens, rechargable batteries, notepaper and the pencil sharpener. There is deskspace to be able to actually get some work done--indeed, I have been catching up with some postponed paperwork (and blogging) instead of just surfing the Internet. It feels so much better to be able to overcome a hurdle like this one and throw/recycle/shred away 100 pounds of paper in just one week!

There is still more to be done in the room. Some of the paper in the "Before" picture still has to be dealt with (filing and storing, but much less of it than before) and I would like to reclaim my sewing table from the pile of little projects that need gluing, mending and tying up of loose ends (crochet ends, that is). For now, I am happy to reveal this half of the room and spend the rest of July on the other half.

You may be asking, "What were June and July's project rooms, eh?" Well, June was an "Off" month, a built-in break for vacations, summer activities, and catching up--yes, I anticipated needing the extra time for the previous project rooms. July was designated for the Master Bedroom, and August for the Family Room. The kids will be back in school next month, so I think it will be a two-fer.

Look out August! I am on a roll!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Toddler Guide to Throwing Tantrums

1. Tantrums are useful for getting your point across, especially in public places. Which point? Anything that makes you upset: hunger, thirst, feeling tired, boredom, dropping Mommy's keys in the back of the cart and nobody noticing, not getting that balloon by the greeting card section and it gets farther and farther away.

2. Learn to tantrum as soon as you learn to walk. Wobbliness helps with the dramatic display and brings someone to you very quickly because they don't want you to fall and hurt yourself.

3. A word on falling: do it carefully. Avoid things like tile floors, concrete, stairs, baseboards, toilets, bathtubs, stools, edges of beds or sofas. Those are hard objects and they hurt when you smash into them.

4. Good surfaces for tantrums include carpet floors, piles of dirty laundry, soft bedding and Daddy's tummy.

5. Proper technique is key. Start with a pouty lip and loud cry. Drop your head to the floor (remember to put out your hands or you end up with a goosegg on your forehead), then swing your hips and roll onto the floor, letting your shoulder and your diaper absorb the impact. Close your eyes and wail. Scream out all your air and gasp for breath. Usually by this time someone is trying to pick you up, so let all your muscles go limp and flop backwards. If the item you want is not being wiggled in front of your face, wail again. Repeat until you are bored or an acceptable alternative is offered.

6. Effective complementary techniques at getting what you want: go quiet for a moment and narrow your eyes at the person closest to you, giving them an extreme feeling of guilt; go find a sibling or grandparent to retrieve what you want; remember where the item is and later learn to climb to reach it.

7. Lastly, remember that even though you're the baby, you are still "da boss."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grrrr, I'm an Ogre!

Shrek baby hat:

He looks adorable in it, but he won't model it! He will only keep it on his head if his ears are cold. His real ears, not the Shrek ones.