SAHM Adventures and Mishaps

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.

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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.

Chicken Jalapeno Dip

I love Jalapeno Popper Dip.

Love Onion Dip.

Love, love, love Buffalo Chicken Dip.

So, this past weekend, while it was cold and snowy and Valentine’s-y, I wanted to try a new spicy hot dip. I combed the internet and came up with … nothing. It was time to experiment. I combined the tastes and flavors of all three well-loved dips into one. Feeling like I was onto something new and yummy, I took this to dinner with friends. The bowl was practically licked clean. I have to say, it was hard to stop eating this one. Everyone loved it!

Chicken Jalapeno Dip

1 chopped onion
3 seeded and diced jalapeno peppers
1 1/2 cup shredded chicken
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
4 oz. softened cream cheese
Optional: 1 tsp Tastefully Simple All Natural Fiesta Party Dip Mix. Not sure if it added much to the flavors, so I will make this recipe again without this option. I have a feeling this dip can stand on its own without this addition.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, mix all the ingredients well. Bake 35-40 minutes until bubbly. Serve hot along with your favorite chip, cracker, and veggie. Makes enough for eight.

Delicious!

A random thought for the day: This is a process, not an event. Try something new and see what happens!

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

I am so happy there’s a day of the year devoted just to cheesecake. It’s one of my family’s all-time favorite homemade desserts. Since this is the summer that barely was–sunny and a high of 80?–I turned the A/C off, turned the oven on, checked my kitchen and found I had all the makings of a yummy cheesecake with a sour cream Greek yogurt topping. Yes, Greek yogurt! So good and so good for you. We think it makes it extra creamy and rich. Mm-mmm. As my oldest daughter says, “This is just like heaven, and if the greatest song ever was a food, your cheesecake is what it would taste like.”

Cheesecake with Greek Yogurt Topping

Crust 
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (this is pretty much one sleeve from a box of graham crackers and I prefer the cinnamon sugar graham crackers)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar
Mix these together in a bowl and press with back of a spoon into 9″ springform pan.

Cream Cheese Filling
3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temp (I often use a mix of regular, reduced-fat, fat-free or Greek yogurt. It’s all divine.)
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Make sure cream cheese is soft. In large bowl, beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in sugar for one minute. Add one egg at a time, barely beating after each one. With last egg, add vanilla. Pour into crust. Wrap pan bottom and sides in foil and place on baking sheet.
Preheat oven and bake at 300 degrees. Check at 55 minutes and remove when the center is nearly set. It may crack as it puffs up during baking. This is an excellent reason to hide imperfections with…Greek yogurt topping.

Greek Yogurt Topping
3/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Mix in small bowl. Gently spoon over the cheesecake, starting at the edges before spreading toward the center. Bake at 300 degrees for 11 minutes.

Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

Out of this world! Will post pictures soon……..

 

 

Love is a Gift

Love
Is a gift
You can give it away freely
You don’t ask for it back
You don’t expect it to be returned
You can give as much or as little as you have.
It is deep and bottomless
Yet
You can carry it with you.
Love can be a smile, a hug, a kiss
A gentle rub, a smoothing of hair, the gentle brush of two fingers on a cheek
A bouquet of roses, a mud-pie, perhaps a cup of watery lemonade.
Sometimes
A phone call, a text, a letter, and the words I Love You
Never get old.
Though
On tough days, the gift of love is fleeting
Other days, the gift of love is overwhelming.
Save those free-flowing days in your memories
Savor the feeling
Those loving memories will carry you on the dark days.
And
On the darkest of dark days, remember:
Love is a gift.

 

To my newest friend, DB: Thank you for sticking with me and finding my words. I was giving up; but, you stuck with the search, even though it wasn’t your job to find my stuff, even when I was resolved to the loss. Truly, it means more than you know. Thank you!

Words for Today…and Tomorrow

While I was doing a little spring cleaning today, I found a few notes I made for myself. Some recipes, a list of chores my oldest did for me, some helpful tips, like look for electric dryers that have an extra heat setting. No mention of why this is important, but I thought it was at the time. Below the dryer note, I wrote the perfect note for today:

Words to Live By

This is how good I am today. I am better than I was yesterday, and I will be better tomorrow.

I really needed to see that message. I don’t remember writing it, but I can imagine that a few years ago I knew it was a valuable reminder I’d want to see again. Thank you, past dear self, for the reminder.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Yesterday, I got an email from my daughter’s teacher. This is an unusual event. since we have agreed that we are sailing smooth waters, and unless we hear otherwise, things are great at home and at school. This email, however, said that my daughter lethargic, unenthusiastic, off her normal work habits, and simply wasn’t her best self. I thanked the teacher and signed off wanting to know more. So, when my dear daughter got home from school and had her snack, I asked her what was going on at school. She was upset that I received the note from her teacher, and along with a few tears and a bit of confusion, her response was, “but I thought slow and steady wins the race.” Hmmm. I didn’t think anyone would ever claim she was like either of the characters in The Tortoise and The Hare. Usually, she cheerfully and efficiently works to finish her schoolwork. Now she has taken it to heart that she will not be like the hare in the fable, rushing through and not giving her best work or best effort. So we talked that it’s good to be slow and steady. And then we added efficient and confident, especially when we know the work ahead of us. Granted, these are big concepts for kids under the age of ten. Kids (and adults!) are a work in progress.

In real life, there are so many more character choices than the two extremes in the fable. *sigh* I need to reread the story and see how this can apply to her in school and at home. I think I’ve got some homework of my own.

But it leaves me wondering about the dogged tortoise in today’s all-hare-like world: Is slow and steady really best?