Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pumpkin Bread

I love waking up in the morning and having breakfast all ready to go. One of my go to recipes that I bake the night before which usually lasts two days in this house is pumpkin bread. As with most recipes, I vary it depending on what is in stock. I think variety is good. I think using up all your resources is good. So, here goes:

1 and 2/3 C white sugar
(the original source for this recipe called for 3 cups! Ridiculous... I've cut it down to this amount and it is still sweet and delicious. How low can you go? I also think Raw Sugar or Organic Cane Sugar or whatever variety would work here.)
4 eggs
1/2 t salt
1 C canola oil
2 C pumpkin
(1 can or if you can steam and puree the real thing, even better. But, canned is fine. I've recently used 4 batches of the real thing because after Halloween, a local grocery store was giving away pumpkins! For FREE. I just freezed the already measured amount and was ready to go at the next baking session. I also think butternut squash would work here, but have not tried it yet.)
3 1/3 C Flour
(Mix it up. Half white, half whole wheat or spelt. All or a mix and match would work fine either way)
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
2/3 C water

Using a hand mixer, mix sugar, eggs, salt, oil, and pumpkin. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and water to mix. Bake at 350 for 1 hour in a greased and floured bundt pan.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Marinated Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip

If you've read any of my cooking ideas, most of them are inspired by the ingredients from Aldi. They provide affordable gourmet type cooking ingredients. My latest invention is an artichoke goat cheese dip. Normally, I do not buy the marinated artichokes because we add them to pasta Alfredo sauce and the vinegar doesn't really go with the taste I am striving for. But, for some reason I accidentally bought the marinated ones and have discovered that if you whir that up in the food processor (drain about half or more of the liquid) with a log of plain goat cheese it makes a fantastic dip. It could even be used as a pasta salad topping. I can even see using it as a sandwich spread. Yummy!

I ate this for lunch with Aldi's organic blue corn chips. Delicious!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Spinach Pesto a la Monica Potter

I recently had a friend post a picture on Facebook of her and her daughter with actress Monica Potter at the Cleveland IX Center Christmas Expo. Since then, I have become really intrigued with Mrs. Potter.

Before all of this, I have been indulging in Netflix Parenthood Episodes. I'm almost finished with season 3. She is one of my favorite characters on the show and now is becoming one of my cyber mentors since I have discovered her website. There are great homemade ideas for beauty products, food, gardening and decorating ideas as well as the sale of some handmade products that I understand are produced right here in Cleveland.

The most recent recipe I have tried is Mrs. Potter's spinach pesto. Pesto is one of my most favorite things to make in the summertime. And with the lack of basil in the winter, spinach pesto is a great substitute idea. And, it was yummy! We had it on rice pasta for dinner last night and since I doubled the batch I had some today as a dip with corn chips for lunch. I like it even better as a dip which isn't surprising since I could eat spoonfuls of basil pesto totally plain. I'm going to try it this week as Mrs. Potter suggests for a school lunch sandwich this week for B. We'll see how that goes.

No fancy photography here. I dipped right from the Rubbermaid container. Yummy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Another Life Lesson

Homer Simpson. Tons of this image on the 'net. Can't find the original location.

Remember my post about feeling judged? Well, as usual, I am wrong again and have been taught my lesson. The dad at the Halloween preschool party that I caught staring at me like I was crazy for getting nutty about the twins behavior as I'm constantly putting out fires and am exhausted as it is...Anyhow, guess what? He has two kids, 4 and 2, with twins on the way. Same situation as me. I talked to him at a birthday party and found this out. I don't even think he remembered me from the Halloween party. He certainly didn't act like he remembered that I had twins. At any rate, he was very nice and even asked for my advice. Imagine that! Who knows what was going on his head that day and why he was looking at me that way. I sure don't. I thought I did, but as usual I am wrong and God or the Universe or however you want to look at it, put me in my place. Thank you for that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Single Crochet Winter Hat

I am pretty excited how this one turned out. The variegated yarn, which is my favorite right now, looks like camouflage. I got it for a steal at .97 a skein and ended up getting all four that I could find. So, this hat was a little more than a buck (not including my time). Gotta love a bargain.

This was my first time crocheting in the round and I think I had to start over three times. I started with a tutorial on YouTube. First, I did not have a stitch marker and was too impatient to get one. I realized that I kind of needed one when increasing stitches in the round. There is a lot of concentration involved and interruptions are abundant here, so I really have to wait for quiet times until you get to the point where you just single crochet all the way around. So, I undid all that and started again using a paper clip as my stitch marker. Then, it ended up being too small, so I had to take it out to a point and then make the round bigger and just kind of bushwhacked it from there. It ended up being a little large, so I started to take out stitches, ten in all I think throughout and you know what...You can't even tell. This is how I'm thinking my Omi (grandma) would crochet. Use common sense to a degree and bushwhack. I love to just go with it and bushwhack. Can you tell that I really like that word too: bushwhack. A great word.

I am making a second hat for little brother, who does not want the pom-pom, and again just bushwhacking and it is turning out pretty good so far. I have to write down where I've left off or I'll forget when to increase, but once the round part is set, no need for a stitch marker in my opinion and just single crochet until the desired length is reached.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vent or is it a Rant?

No crafts today, but I am diligently, row by row, crocheting one boy's hat/beanie with a variegated brown/green yarn that is turning out to look like camo, which I am pretty happy about and of course my cotton dish cloths. Row by row, slowly but surely.

So, today I have a rant that I am not going to post on Facebook. Ah, I just don't want to. And, since it seems like maybe the same 11 people might read my blog although I'm not going to share it on Google +, so maybe no one will read it! It's like a secret diary entry...

F had his preschool Halloween party today which was very nice. I took the girls and dressed them up in their dresses: one a cowgirl and one Alice in Wonderland, the only 2T's that I saw at the discount store. I even wore my Halloween t-shirt and all black to be festive for the occasion. After the songs and performance, we were all welcomed to have cookies and juice. I don't give the girls juice, but they don't know the difference as water bottles are their fancy, which I hate because I know amongst other stresses of looking after 3 children at a party, I'm going to have messes to clean up. Oh, and I brought their straw cups which they wanted nothing to do with once they saw the water bottles. So, I gave in and had one water bottle, thankfully small, that little O and little P could share. Well at one point, little P didn't want to share anymore so I started to talk to them about sharing and taking turns but P was having none of it and O was getting upset. As I look up from all of this, across the table, is this dad looking at us with a "why the hell are you having them share a water bottle?" look. I'm not sure if this was his thought, but he definitely had a disapproving, disagreeing look on his face something like this:

And, when he saw me look at him, he actually had to shake his head as if to wake himself up. Apparently, we had captivated him with our 21 month old twin drama. So, because this is me, sensitive me, this has bothered me all day long. This has upset me. A smart person would go on with life and be like "that guy doesn't know what goes on over here...by the way, does he have twins or even 4 kids at all?" Nope he doesn't. He has a four year old and a baby at home, which was with mom at the time. But, me, sensitive me, is hurt by this because I think that someone out there thinks that I am not doing a good job raising my kids BECAUSE I MAKE THEM SHARE A WATER BOTTLE. I tried in the past keeping everything separate for germ sake, but just can't keep up with it. We all get the same germs around here anyhow no matter how hard we try. And, sometimes someone might not. So, I try not to worry about it. Besides, they were in the same womb. How stupid...And, why oh why am I trying to justify this?

There was another incident too from another dad again, maybe dads are just clueless and I should just take that as a clue and move on, but I can't right now. And, I shouldn't be picking on dads. I guess people don't really know how many fires I put out a day or how many messes I have to clean up just to get people to eat food so that they can gain weight and have proper nutrition. It's stressful enough just to feed people in this house. I really don't need others judging me. And, I don't have time to cater to everyone's whims and wants. They need to learn to tough it out at times, like eating certain ways or drinking certain ways when the occasion hits.

Now, don't get me wrong. I used to be clueless before I had kids too and I would think ALL THE TIME what is wrong with all these parents? And, then you, yourself, have kids and issues and behaviors that you never dreamed would happen to you in your life and then you get it. You get it! And, then you empathize as best you can. It's not easy, don't get me wrong. In fact, its super hard! And to empathize with Dad #1 gawking at me disapprovingly, I accidentally stare at people sometimes too. I don't even know I'm doing it, but when they look at me and catch me, instead of looking away, I try to smile. Kind of a sign like I'm not judging you, I don't have any bad thoughts about anything I just saw. I'm empathizing with you. I certainly don't shake my head as if to wake myself up from some sort of stunned state.

So, today I felt like a bad mommy. I forgot to pack B's school clothes today too, so he had to wear gym clothes all day. Last week, we forgot he had library on Wednesday. When there is a holiday on Monday, I usually forget about that too and send him to school prepared for a Monday instead of a Tuesday. I basically wrote his little presentation for him which is due tomorrow, we argued about commas and periods, and book reports and sentences. He's 6! And, then I broke down and cried and after awhile, he stopped arguing and finished his book report, while I tried to make dinner, with 2 kids coloring and dumping crayons and asking to be picked up, while chopping vegetables and cooking.

I guess the moral of the story is try to smile and empathize instead of looking at others like the example provided above. Godspeed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Toddler Poncho

I've been trying my hand at crochet. I find it relaxing and I like that I can do a little bit at a time without getting frustrated when interrupted. This is very irritating when sewing, I suppose for some reason it takes more concentration. Who knows? I made the girls ponchos using the only stitch I know in crochet which is the single crochet (SC). I think they turned out pretty good for my first big project. I'm working on some cotton dishcloths and trying my hand at hats, which is a whole new ballgame working in the round. Now, that takes concentration!

Little Ph asks to wear her "ponch"

They are in the undressing and dressing stage

Easy to take on and off, even for a 21 month old.

Little Miss O won't wear her's for very long, but I've got it on camera now.