SAHM Adventures and Mishaps

Keep it Simple

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“This cantaloupe tastes like summer,” said my oldest.

She’s so right.

After many winter months, it’s so refreshing to find melons at the grocery store again. We bring one home and I eye it closely. It looks quite under ripe with a green stem. However, when I rap on the side, it sounds hollow. So, I cut it open and…ahhhh. The amazingly fresh scent. So perfectly juicy. Soft enough to cut off the rind with a butter knife. The lightly sweet taste is one of the best. It really tastes like summer.

One cup of cantaloupe is low in calories and high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium, just to name a few benefits. Cantaloupes have a good amount of fiber and a high water content to help quench thirst and rehydrate, especially helpful on a hot day.

Some people shake a bit of salt on their melon and swear salt enhances sweetness. I think it tastes great alone or in a fruit salad. One of the best summer dinners I’ve ever had was a creamy Gorgonzola cheese sauce tossed with cantaloupe and pasta. So easy, with a bit of sweet and savory in every bite. Ever had a bowl of cubed cantaloupe with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream? Delicious.

Spring is heating up. Summer is right around the corner. Keep it simple and eat lots of yummy cantaloupe.

 

A Good Gargle

I pull back the blanket from the bed. Curled like a snug little bug is my girl.

“Wake up, sleepy head, time for school.” I give her an extra minute.

“Are you awake? Give yourself a long, tall stretch.” She stretches and croaks. Her eyes flutter open.

“My throat hurts.” Hmmm, I think. She says ahhh so I can peak inside. It’s a bit pink, nothing outrageous.

I kiss her forehead to see if it’s hot with fever. Nope. Hmmm. You are the third person in this house to wake up with a scratchy throat and no fever. Given the burst of flowering trees and bushes and the pollen sticking to everything outside, I bet you throat does hurt.

“Well, darling, time to gargle.” I pull clothes out of dress drawers while thinking about the small glass of salt water I have prepared in the kitchen.

“I hate to gargle!”

“Of course you do. No one likes to gargle. Have you ever heard of anyone saying their hobby is gargling?” This gets her giggling, and I tickle her belly for dramatic effect.

“Still, I’m not going to gargle. It’s gross. The salt tastes bad. I don’t know why I have to gargle.”

“Well, considering that I bet you’d like breakfast, I think you’ll want to gargle first thing.”

“Humph.”

“Plus, we gargle to soothe sore throats and help get rid of the yucky stuff like germs. Then we spit those germs down the drain. It’s actual scientific fact, you can look it up if you want. One more thing. We don’t swallow the salt water, right?”

“Right.”

“Let’s go. It’s all ready for you.” Just like that, we are on our way to starting our day.

 

via Daily Prompt: Blanket

Are You Ready for Daylight Saving Time?

Get ready to spring forward those clocks!

Remember when you were little and your parents drove into the church parking lot just as every other car was leaving, because you forgot Daylight Saving Time? No? Just me?

I remember watching the cars stream out, listening to Hotel California on the AM radio, and feeling confused. Everyone was leaving. The sun seemed unusually high. Shadows didn’t match the time on the car’s clock or on my wrist’s watch. The song ended and the deejay announced over the airwaves, “Happy Daylight Saving Time. Did you remember to set your clocks ahead?”

No. No, we had not. I can only imagine that every other family in every other car was struggling to suppress their ungodly feelings of smugness, as they had the good fortune to remember their clocks and watches. While I certainly could read the hands of a clock, it was the first time I remember thinking of time as a truly abstract concept and how interesting (and terrifying) it was to hear that people could change it. Spring forward. Fall back. Switch on. Switch off.

Of course, today your mobile phone will reset itself automatically. However, will you reset just as easily? And, will you be kind to those who forget their morning responsibilities and time management?

So. Prepare yourself. Enjoy your weekend and, before you head for bed on Saturday, set all of the clocks one hour ahead. You’re welcome.

via Daily Prompt: Abstract

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade pretzel, made with love

Homemade pretzel, made with love.

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Brushed with butter and dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

Last night, at my youngest daughter’s request, I searched around for an easy pretzel recipe. I wanted one that would remind me of Mellow Mushroom’s amazing pretzels. These babies are made with their pizza dough, so they are golden crunch-chewy-crusty the outside and pillowy-soft on the inside.They serve them crazy-hot with a side of yellow mustard and, man, these are good. We found ourselves there for lunch today, so we ordered the Butter and Kosher salt pretzels, mustard on the side. This should have satisfied the craving, only it didn’t. It might have made it worse. After a light dinner of veggies and hummus, I decided to tackle the craving with this recipe. http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/12/25/30-minute-whole-wheat-pretzels/

Frankly, I’ve been intimidated to make soft pretzels, but this recipe said it was easy. Sallysbackingaddiction was telling the truth. Thanks, Sally!

There are very few ingredients: fewer than it takes to make cookies. No, you don’t need to let the dough rise. You don’t need a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. You don’t even need a mixer. You can make it with whole wheat flour. Or not. It’s fast and easy. My dear husband wandered over and helped out with a minute or two of kneading, which prompted a few more kiddo helpers to step in and assist. Everyone had fun rolling out the dough and shaping it into pretzels. He dipped the pretzels in the boiling baking soda, which you don’t even have to do. Easy! We used parchment paper-lined baking sheets and kept a watch on the broiling and pulled them out just as they were browning. And, cleaned up. Hot, crusty, chewy, salty, soft pretzel-y deliciousness. Needless to say, the first sheet of pretzels, the salted ones, were gone before we remembered the mustard. The cinnamon-sugar with butter were ridiculously heavenly. There are just a few left. I’m already looking forward to having one with my morning coffee. Smiles!

Many thanks to Sallysbakingaddiction.com for simplifying my evening with this yummy pretzel recipe. Check out her site, it’s very inspiring.

My thought for the day: Sometimes, the simplest pleasures are the greatest.

Baked Donuts: Experiment Concluded

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Experiment: Baked Glazed Donut 

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All tins got aluminum foil canisters. Some of the tins got aluminum foil balls and some got marbles. Marbles work best.

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A goofy sight. One of the canisters fell out completely–the most muffin-y baked donut of all.

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Donut? Muffin? Research concludes yes to both.

Well, the judges have ruled in favor of the baked donut. “Looks like a glazed donut. From the top.” “Tastes and smells like a glazed donut. Feels like a muffin, has the texture of a muffin.” “I like the cinnamon.” (Umm, that would be nutmeg.) “Are there more?” “Hey, where are the donuts?”

So. I think it was worth trying this recipe, even though I didn’t love the recipe or the way it turned out. If I were to make these again, here are some ways to improve it:

– use less dough per donut, as the dough rises to muffin height

– make tiny aluminum canisters and insert marbles or pie weights into them to keep the holes from closing during baking. Foild balls were too light-weight, so half of the foil cans were baked in about halfway

– if holes close (all of these did, to varying degrees), gently cut open with a paring knife

– make more baked donuts. Or, just buy a good bakery donut instead. I think this was mediocre, but I’m glad I tried it.

Thought for the day: Keep on keeping on. 

Thank you for reading. Have other people loved your self-declared cooking fail? I’d love to hear about it. Send me a comment. Thanks!

A two-hour delay, crazy hair, puppy eyes, and what to make with leftover sour cream

A conversation that just happened after today’s breakfast. “There are new toy dolls, Mommy! They are so cute!” Child at computer ready to show me examples of the dolls.

“Mm-mm.” Me at my laptop contemplating baked donuts. How do you make donuts without a donut baking pan or a frying pan full of hot oil? I love donuts. Especially sour cream donuts. We all love donuts. We are out of donuts. Hmmm. I can think of nothing but donuts.

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Improvised muffin tin into donut pan

“We have nothing to do at inside recess, and could I play with these and then put them back in my backpack when I’m done.”

“What’s that.” Maybe sour cream donuts are too ambitious. Maybe sour cream coffee cake would be easier.

“Here they are.” Turns computer to me.

“Those are troll dolls.” There are a dozen crazy-haired, crazy-eyed tiny toys creatures staring from the screen.

“They are so cute. I have money to spend and I can pay for them myself.” Big brown eyes hold mine.

“You must still save some your money.” My muscles loosen to this idea, my brain warms to this small request.

“Even if I buy them, I’ll still have money saved. A lot of money. Could you get this for me today? Please?” Cue the cute puppy eyes and face.

“Perhaps. Now let’s study for your science test. And brush and braid your hair.”

And so we do.

Despite a two-hour school delay and record-breaking temperatures in Ohio, it is sunny skies, light winds. Roads and parking lots are clear. A small request. Perhaps, my girl, I’ll find a troll doll for you.

In the meantime, time for a sweet experiment. I hope it turns out okay….

Dessert Hack: Baked Donuts

No donut pan? Don’t want to mess with hot oil? No worries: Use a muffin tin. In the center of each muffin stand a tiny tube of aluminum foil. Spoon small amount of batter around the tube. Bake as directed and cool for a few minutes before removing the foil. Let cool.

Thought for the day: Be ready to improvise! Try something different, even if it’s a small something, and see what happens.

Dessert Hack: Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Today was a snow day, meaning a house full of girls home from school. Plus, the carpet in the living room and a bedroom was replaced this morning, which meant lots of moving furniture all around the house.

After throwing together the world’s easiest and tastiest slow cooker meal–Italian sausage and a jar of chunky marinara–I got out a loaf of Italian bread. It was stale and about one hour away from growing new life forms. Fortunately, I had a bowl of whipped cream (leftover from strawberries and cream from the night before. The strawberries went first!). Plus, there was half of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and enough sugar and eggs to bake something yummy.

When life hands you stale bread, make bread pudding with chocolate chips. Yum!

When life hands you stale bread, make bread pudding with chocolate chips. Yum!

I decided it was time for an experiment. Warm bread pudding seemed like the perfect dessert, especially after a day of cleaning and rearranging furniture on a cold and snowy day.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

1/2 loaf Italian bread, chopped
3 T butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup prepared whipped cream (I made 16 oz. heavy whipping cream with 1 T sugar)
1 T vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

Optional

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, spread out the chopped bits of bread. Bake 5-10 minutes, until golden and toasted. In an 8″ x 8″ glass baking pan, melt 3 T butter. Swirl it around to coat the pan. Put in the toasted bread and drizzle the milk on top to help the bread absorb liquid. In a medium bowl, whisk prepared whipped cream, vanilla, eggs, and sugar. Pour over the bread, pressing down with the back of a spoon to help absorb liquid. I scattered chocolate chips and brown sugar on top. Bake for 1 hour or until it is puffed and set in the center. Serve warm with ice cream or more whipped cream.

Thought for the day: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. We can make the best of any situation by staying flexible and open to new possibilities.