Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

This morning after CCD, it was easy for me to tell when my husband got home with the girls.  I was sipping my coffee in the living room and the front window was open.  I heard a car pull up, but wasn’t sure at first if it was a neighbor.  Then I heard screeching and shouting and unintelligible insults.  I heard The Mister grunt in pain.  One of the girls lashed out at him.

Princess Number One snuggled on the couch, put her earphones on, and escaped into some music.

Princesses Two and Three continued screeching and I could hear their echoes throughout the neighborhood.  They came pounding up the stairs into the house with The Mister ordering one of them to their room.  I think it was Number Three.  It was confusing.  I just know one of them kicked him.

It was determined that there was much brattiness from the time they got in the car to be picked up and the rest is history.   Gracie apparently wanted a pony.  My Little Pain In The Freaking Ass Pony, of course.  She wouldn’t accept that “not until your birthday” was the response.  I decided that the arguing over it was done, and explained to her that she got her answer and if she wasn’t happy with it that was all right but her behavior and language were not.  She became more disrespectful to The Mister and it was her turn to sit on the stairs for a time out since Number Three was already in their room.

Yeah, she locked herself in the bathroom.  We just waited her out.

She ended up in her room on her own, and I could hear the two of them plotting against me.  When their time out was over, I just let them stay there to bond since most of their fighting earlier was with each other.  When Gracie came downstairs repeatedly to insult me, I explained that her words were hurtful and that’s why she was put in time out in the first place.  After an hour, I told her that she had hurt my feelings and if she felt badly she needed to think about the words she had been using, think the words she planned to use before they came out of her mouth, and change her attitude.  I wouldn’t be letting her treat me badly or get rewarded for it.  She put herself back upstairs, grumbling the whole time about how mean I was to say such terrible things to her.

When it came lunch time, I kicked the three of the girls out of the house to get fresh air.  Gracie came back in after a while because the sun was too bright.  She kept finding things to talk to me about and inform me about.  I took that as reaching out, since earlier her communication was mainly shouting and screeching and insults.  I let her help me make dinner… pasta with homemade sauce.  I let her help me make dessert too… apple crisp.

And then something completely unexpected happened.  I was in the kitchen stirring the pasta in the pot, and I heard Gracie on the stairs calling to me.

“I am sorry.  I am sorry for the words I said.  I was unkind.  I said hurtful things.  I am sorry for hurting your feelings.  I love you.  Please forgive me.”

I didn’t script one word of that for her, and no one else did either.  She wouldn’t let me hug her, but she let me come to her and kiss her hand.

“Thank you, sweetheart, for the most beautiful apology I ever heard.  I am so very proud of you.  Will you come taste test the pasta?”

And so she did.  I let her have the first serving of pasta and later the first serving of apple crisp.

Aw, man… I’m crying again.   I’m crying because she gets it.


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I heard about these in passing, and then yesterday at my mother’s house one of my brothers mentioned that his mother-in-law makes them all the time for her grandchildren (did you get all of that?).  Word on the street is that the children love them, and they can be made in countless flavors.  They can be made using boxed cake or from scratch.  They can be served with whipped cream or ice cream or topped with chocolate chips.

In my research I’ve seen them referred to as “breakfast.”

I found this recipe and decided to try it because it’s from scratch, I can make it lactose-free, it’s chocolate, and it’s easy.  It also seems to get rave reviews wherever I’ve found it being referred to online.  Other blogs go so far as to try to make copycats of this recipe.

2 Stews: 1-2-3 Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake.

So here it goes.  Sweet Girl was skeptical, so of course she’s going to be my little guinea pig.

Okay, I made it and here’s the verdict.  Sweet Girl claimed she likes it but when I asked if she wanted more than a bite she said,

“I brushed my teeth.”

It needs a pinch of salt and some leavening.  It just… does.  It’s tasty but flat, so it definitely needs the salt.  And it needs leavening to help it rise better and not feel like paste in the mouth.  With those additions I’m thinking it would be fabulous. Or, you know, I’ll find a new recipe. Pinterest, here I come.

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A steamed tail-on shrimp.

A steamed tail-on shrimp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here it is, New Year’s Eve, and I’m home with my family.  We’re just relaxing and ticking down time until the ball drops.  Well, the girls are.  The Mister is napping and one girl is starting a bath.  Another is watching a movie on a mini DVD player while the eldest girl makes something with colored duct tape.  Who knew that was a thing? There’s even an after school cluster that teaches middle schoolers how to make usable things out of colored duct tape.  That’s a Pinterest category I hadn’t seen yet, so I’ll have to search for it.  She’d love that.  She had a lot of fun using the duct tape to make a pyramid for a class earlier today.  She’s making bricks out of purple duct tape and applying it to the box she’s supposed to use… but the tape is also being used for practical uses to help hold the thing together too.  I think.  She has little clay canopic jars she made that she has to put apple seeds into, and an apple slice that she mummified in salt last week.

We had a nice dinner, poor man’s version of shrimp scampi ha ha.  It was simple and the shrimp was mini frozen shrimp from WalMart.  I had to use powdered garlic since it’s not a Super WalMart yet and they didn’t have fresh garlic.  🙂  It was filling and pretty good.  Gracie didn’t say a single word during dinner because her mouth was stuffed the entire time.  That’s the biggest compliment on a meal, let me tell you.  The girl who won’t eat anything sitting with a stuffed mouth saying nothing, but humming while she eats and not even caring if butter drips on her chin? Best compliment on a meal.  Truly.  When she finished, she said that her tummy hurt and asked what that meant.  I told her it meant her tummy was full of food and she over-ate.  She scrunched her eyebrows and said, “Hmmm.  Oh.”  That tells you how often she stuffs herself.  🙂

I completely forgot to put out salad.  I even bought banana pepper rings and olives, which Anna now wants to simply eat in a bowl next to chips and salsa.

Me… I’m ready for some Advil Cold & Sinus, green tea, a book, and bed.  Maybe some chips and salsa first.  Or maybe green tea and ice cream.  After all of the snow these past several days, I’m achy and still dealing with a headache with the remnants of the laryngitis.  My body still feels all beat up.   Sleep will be welcome.

Oh, don’t pity me for being home on New Year‘s Eve.  You’re home too.  🙂  But if you go out tonight, please be safe.  Don’t drink and drive.  If you’re buzzed, then you’re drunk.  So don’t drive buzzed.

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Since starting my new job, the time just flies by.  The mythical “they” say that time flies when you have children and that children grow up too quickly and right before your eyes.  The real truth of the matter is that when you’re doing on-the-job training at a job that you enjoy in a company you love, that’s when time flies.

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  We’re visiting both sides of the family, as usual, which means I don’t have to worry about dinner preparations.  I’ll be making mashed potatoes for my mom but I don’t remember if I’m bringing anything else.  Mom? Are you reading this? I’m making my chocolate chip cheesecake to bring to my sister-in-law’s house by special request.  I also have to bring something to celebrate Gracie’s birthday since she’s turning 10 years old a few days later.  And of course my favorite person that’s named Isabel, who happens to be my niece, has a birthday two days after Gracie and is turning 15 years old.  So two desserts.  Gracie wants caramel cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing.  I’ll have to dig up my brown sugar cake recipe and use that.

This is my first Thanksgiving being totally vegetarian.  Well, if we’re being nitpicky, pescatarian.  So I’m debating if I should bring some salmon for myself or some, uh, Smart Turkey aka to-furky.  If I’m completely honest, it’s the SKIN and the stuffing I’ll miss most.  I also usually make my own turkey the week or two after Thanksgiving with a turkey that The Mister’s employer hands out to all of their employees.  Of course that’s not happening this year because, well, they let him go in March and now that he’s working for the state I’m pretty certain that the State of CT doesn’t pass out turkeys to state employees.  🙂

Sorry for trailing off there.  I didn’t sleep well last night thanks to an increasingly bad pain flare-up.  It woke me up at 5:00.  I drifted a little, then was reawakened at 5:30 by Daisy and her heavy elephant paws.  At 5:45, I was forced to open my eyes to find her staring at me in my sleep, her pink little nose half an inch from my own.  Sleep was ruined at that point.

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I’ve been successfully vegetarian since the beginning of August.  Except for “test periods” or falling off the meat wagon on three occasions which, I have to say, if they were coincidences they were pretty timely coincidences, I’ve been able to keep up with vegetarianism without any problems or complaints.  It’s not easy when you attend a barbecue, because no matter how bad hot dogs are for you they’re so good.  I just have to get back into my old mindset that hot dogs are nasty.  I went through a really long phase for years where I wouldn’t touch hot dogs.  Time to go back in time.

I was saying something about coincidences and I was talking about flare-ups.  I’ve definitely noticed that when I’ve eaten meat, my pain flare-ups are worse.  I swell more, and I have more widespread pain as opposed to localized pains.  I also get more dehydrated.  I had hoped that chicken wouldn’t be a problem, but it seems to be included as something to avoid.

It’s all right, so far I haven’t had any cravings and I’m getting all of my protein and vitamins from my veggie intake.  There are also some great meat alternatives out there.

I’ve also managed to cut out the majority of my lactose (milk sugar) intake and that seems to be helping.  It’s definitely helping gastric upset.  I would hate to give up cheese and yogurt and ice cream… so here’s hoping that keeping it minimal will be enough.  I’m hoping that I don’t have to go the route of eliminating gluten since I’m already eliminating most dairy, high fructose corn syrup and red 40 (just like for Gracie but for different reasons).

The pain was bad enough today that I felt that fog, and it was frustrating because I’m finishing a work assessment.  Luckily the woman who was “coaching” or observing me today was still impressed with my skills and functions even though she could tell I was in a lot of pain.  I kept kicking myself for having that small piece of chicken and the hot dog yesterday.  My fingers.  My wrists.  The back, shoulders, the crackling neck.  The thick tongue and clicky jaw.  Not worth it for the barbecue.  Next time, I’ll bring salad with the cupcakes.

Sleep.  Early sleep and a hot shower, some green tea, a birthday cupcake with my birthday girl, and all will be great.   I’ll dig up the hot water bottle and float off to a heated sleep.


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This is my go-to Chocolate Chip Cheesecake recipe.  It’s easy and inexpensive but it’s delicious.  I always get requests for it.  It originally came out of my Best Chocolate Recipes Cookbook from Favorite Brand Names something like 18 years ago.  I change it up occasionally because it’s pretty versatile, and it’s easy to remember without having to refer to the written recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake:
2 (8oz) bricks of cream cheese (Philly really does work best)
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 ready 9″ graham pie crust (I like to use the Keebler 2 extra servings crust, it’s perfect for this recipe)

1. Mix cream cheese, sugar & vanilla until creamy at med speed with electric mixer.
2. Add eggs, but incorporate one at a time.
3. Mix until well-blended.
4. Stir in 3/4 cup of chips.
5. Pour into crust & sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup chips.
6. Bake at 350* for 40 minutes or just until center is almost set. If you are using FAT FREE CREAMCHEESE add 10 minutes to bake time.
7. Cool.
8. Refrigerate 3 hr. or overnight.

To make this into Peanut Butter Cheesecake:
Beat 1/3 cup peanut butter in w/ cream cheese. Follow rest of directions as they are.

To make this into Banana Cheesecake:
Beat ½ cup mashed ripe banana in with cream cheese.

To make this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake:
Stir in chunks from 3/4 cup chocolate chip cookie dough; 1/2 cup into the batter, 1/4 cup sprinkled on top before baking.

To make this Cookies & Cream Cheesecake:
Omit cookie dough and use crushed/chopped Oreo or Hydrox cookies

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There are always things to complain about, but there are also always things to be grateful for.  I’m not talking about things like, “I’m in a lot of pain but it could be worse” or “I get migraines but at least they’re not tumors.”  I mean things that I can count as things to be grateful for without discounting something else I’m experiencing.  It may seem like semantics, but I think it’s an important distinction.  But that’s another post.

Today, I’m grateful for a lot of things.  I’m grateful for/that:

  1. My children.
  2. My husband.
  3. My home.
  4. My brother and his wife being blessed by their beautiful, sweet, perfect new baby girl.
  5. My parents, friends, and family.
  6. A great PCP.
  7. Having had a decent and relatively drama-free past week.
  8. Internet.
  9. Yet another great Anne Rice book: Of Love And Evil
  10. Chocolate.
  11. Coffee.  I’m always grateful for coffee.  Are you really surprised?
  12. Smush them together and… Mocha!!!!
  13. Mushy soap operas.  I’m sorry, I can’t help it.  Don’t judge.  :-p
  14. Fuzzy slippers.
  15. Deliciously sweet peaches.
  16. Tons of recipes for those peaches.
  17. Body brushing for Gracie.
  18. Kitchen appliances.
  19. Roses.
  20. The power of prayer.
  21. My sweet cats.
  22. Nail clippers, if I could ever find them when I actually need them.
  23. Cute little frying pans made just for eggs.  Need a sandwich? Need a sunny side up? Whip out your tiny frying pan!
  24. A working car.
  25. When the kids clean their rooms just because I asked!

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