Five Star FLOP

“Pride cometh before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” 

 Well, I was so stinking proud of myself, I should have seen it coming.  I had planned out a VERY budget friendly menu for the week.  I had done a “perfect” shopping trip: I actually got everything I needed for the week, without missing anything.  I stuck to the list, without the optional “write-in.”  I used coupons.  I hit sales.  I was AMAZ-O-MOM!!!!  I. I. I.  It was all about ME. Saturday meal: perfect.  Sunday: perfect.  Monday: flawless. Tuesday: wonderful.  Wednesday: uh….

I had put myself pretty high up on the pedestal for about half of the week.  Wednesday’s scheduled meal was supposed to be slow cooked roast beef with brown gravy, onions, carrots, potatoes, buttermilk muffins, and a tossed salad.  Sounds great.  Especially considering I had high hopes for the leftovers to become Thursday’s meal.

So….about noon I decided it was time to put the roast in the crockpot so it wouldn’t be overdone by dinnertime.  I went to the fridge and much to my surprise, there was NO roast.  I know I bought one.  I stood in the aisle for 10 minutes deciding on which one to get. (The smaller more expensive one or the HUGE cheaper one that was also marked down because it was close to date?)  I found my receipt.  Yup.  I was right.  I bought the roast.  BUT where is it???  I looked in every nook and cranny of the crazy fridge.  NOT there. period.  By now, I was frustrated.  I’ve already lost my keys today.  and my purse.  and the phone.  and…. and… and.  Then. it. hit. me.  I bought the cheaper one.  I had been sooooo proud of myself for that buy.  I stuck it in the freezer to make sure it didn’t go bad.  Well, now, isn’t this a pretty pickle? It was SOLID.  It certainly won’t be overcooked.

I needed a plan B.  In most cases, that would have been Thursday dinner.  Whoops!  Thursday is based on Wednesday’s leftovers!!!  argh!  Friday’s dinner, you ask?  No can do.  Fridays are special.  We always have homemade pizza on Fridays.  Saturday?  No plan yet.  I plan for Saturday to Friday.  Sooooo….  Quick check of the pantry and fridge. Here’s what I came up with.  Pigs in a blanket. carrots.  left-over-from-four-days-ago hot dogs with mac & cheese.  grapes.

So that’s what I did.  I whipped it together.  And went into dinner feeling defeated.  No one likes steamed carrots.  I didn’t even use butter.  I learned my lesson.  I will not be so prideful about menus again.

It turned out that after I learned my lesson, I got the good news.  Buddy asked for thirds (and fourths, but we were out).  Ben gave the carrots 5 stars (if you know him, that’s hard to do; loaded mocha brownies only got 4).  The whole family commented that it was GREAT!!

Thankfully, God had been working on me enough to keep that pride from rising back up in me.  I’m still humbled, however, I’m also thankful that I discovered a way to make “5-star” (according to Ben) carrots.

That said, here’s what I did.

Put 1/2 pound baby carrots (or regular carrots cut to about that size) into a pan that has a lid with about a 1/8″ water.  Heat covered until the fire alarm goes off. (Not really, but mine did.)  The goal here is to get the carrots soft.  If and when the pan goes dry, add about a 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4-1/2 t. rosemary, and 1/2 t. garlic powder.  Continue to cook covered until they are soft enough to easily bite through.  Serve hot.

Be still

I love the evening.  Especially after it begins to warm up following a cold winter (or snap in the case of this year).  I sit on the bench on my front porch with a cup of steamy hot tea and just take it in.  Experiencing the night with all five senses.  The air is damp and just cool enough to wat a sweater.  I pull on my favorite zip front sweater.  It’s warm enough I don’t have to pull it tight or close it around me.  I let the cozy wool block the chill.  A breeze ever so slightly wafts past.  It’s almost too indistinct to tell from whence it came or to where it is blowing.  The moist air opens my sinuses.  I can smell earth.  The musty smell of mulch.  The warm, sweet smell of cattle.  I love the smell of cows.  And then, onion.  I open my mouth to breathe more deeply.  I can taste the onion.  It’s been growing near the porch step for at least 5 years now.  It’s potent; rich.

The low humming of the frogs echo near the river.  I hear the “Jurassic Park” call of a sandhill crane.  drip. a droplet of water falls onto the rooftop from one of the branches.  I hear the droning of a mosquito.  I let it bite me so as to not interrupt the quietude.  Just down the street, a dog barks.  Bark…bark, bark……BARK!  The cat stalks slyly across the road.  Tom.  Silly cat, he ignores the dog completely.  I see the buckwheat sway as he sneaks through it, but I don’t hear him.  He’s a good hunter.  It’s so quiet I can hear my own steady breathing, but I can hear so much.

It’s late, but the sky isn’t black.  I can see the outline of the dark hills against the gray sky.  It’s supposed to storm tonight, the cloud cover is thick.  I suppose that’s part of why the sky is so light just above the hills.  The lights from town must be bouncing off the clouds.  The stars are hiding tonight.  The street lights’ pale green casts strange shadows of the naked trees, still bare from winter.

It amazes me that God, the creator would make us so intricately to be able to pick up on the smallest pleasures of a still evening.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Friday again already!!!

I can’t believe it’s Friday again!  This week has just FLOWN by.  Perhaps it’s because the weather has been sooooo absolutely wonderful, and it’s been Ben’s spring break from seminary.  (That cut down on a lot of stress.)  Pair those two together and it’s been a FINE week indeed.

Here are some pictures I snapped this week while the warm of Spring was blanketing our home.

a Sticky Situation.

To those of you who may have a special diet:

This is most likely not for you.  It’s not: low-cal, low-fat, low-carb, or low……-anything.  The only thing it might be low on is will-power.

Sooo, I’m doing another food post today.

There is this recipe out there for the world’s most amazing cinnamon rolls.  You may have heard of them, they’re by Pioneer Woman.  But the recipe makes an extraordinary amount of them.  I decided to 1/4 the recipe so it would only make a dozen (a 9×13″ pan).

Scald milk, oil, and sugar.

Scald?….scald?…..What in the world does scald mean in cooking?  I know if you put a kid in the tub with the water too hot, he will be scalded.  So, I ran to the sink turned the water on as HOT as I coud and threw the pan in.  BIG MESS.  I don’t think that what I was going for.  Google it.  heat until just before boiling.  got it! (author’s note:  I didn’t really throw the pan in the sink.  The sink bit was just to funny of a thought to leave out.  I just googled it.  And then looked it up in a cook book.)  Cook book says “stirring constantly.”  Whoops!  Didn’t notice that until it was all said and done.  Let’s hope it’s still ok.  That would stink to ruin the whole batch just because I didn’t stir constantly.  By the way, after scalding, it should be frothy like in the picture.

Then set a timer and let it sit there.  and cool.  to lukewarm.   (about 1/2 hour to an hour).  I did a load of dishes.  Add yeast.  let it foam.  Then add some flour cover and let it sit again.  One full hour.  This is soooo time-consuming.  Not labor intensive, just time-consuming.  It’s a waiting game.  I wrote a blog post and got a spot cleared off for rolling these out!  Oh yeah, and I cooked a pound of bacon, but you’ll hear more about that in a minute.

Then add more flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Roll out on work-surface into a rectangle.  Here’s where I started to diverge.

Rub a half stick of butter on the dough. Pour sugar on top. Add cinnamon (more than you wouldthink necessary)

Now for the AMAZING part:

You remember that pound of bacon I mentioned earlier?  Yup!  cut it up and distribute evenly over the whole thing.  Then roll it up.  Slice with dental floss.

Put ’em in a greased pan and stick it in the fridge.  (Because who really wants to make cinnamon rolls at midnight?  and who really wants to eat cold cinnamon rolls in the morning?  NOT me.)

Next morning:  Pull the pan out of the fridge as soon as you wake up.  Do whatever you have to do to wait out the next 30-45 minutes including preheating the oven to 450.  Rolls MUST rise, or they won’t be wonderful.

FINALLY, you can put them in the oven for 18-20 minutes.  That’s all the longer you have to wait for your decadent breakfast.

BUT first, you must make the icing.

-2 c. powdered sugar

-enough instant coffee for a large mug mixed into 1/8 c. hot coffee (wow! that’s some strong beverage!! I used Starbuck’s Via because it is micro-ground and dissolves better.)

-2 t. maple flavoring

-1/8 c. milk

-1/3 stick melted butter

-1/8 t salt (or more, depending if you’re in the mood for salty-sweet)

Mix all that together.  Ding!  They’re done…..But Not quite.  See those are naked cinnamon rolls.

 Now smear the icing on top and enjoy warmmmmm……  yumm. It looks like a LOT of frosting, but really it’s just right.

Personally, I could just eat the icing alone.  It was more wonderful than anything I’ve ever put in my mouth.  Ben liked it too!  In photo 3 he’s trying to catch the icing dripping off his lips.

Hopefully this one goes over well what with all the “bacon-hype” lately.  (yeah, I saw the bacon bouquet on Valentine’s Day!)

Sneak preview

I don’t typically give sneak previews, but this time I am.  PhotoOp Friday will be an entire post.   Not just a photo.  AND it’s food.  Here are the first reactions to eating it that I got from my family and some friends:

“Will you marry me?” -Ben  (“sorry dear, I’m already married.”)

“MO!” -Belle (Buddy and Puddy couldn’t finish theirs, so Belle snuck into the dining room climbed the table and made off with both of their leftovers.)

“McDonald’s and Hardee’s, Eat your heart out!”  -Armin

“Mmmmmm. Darn. Mmmhmm. Mmmhmm. oh wow!  yeah, that was good.” -Rebecca

So, there you have it.  The trailer.  Sneak preview. Whatever you want to call it.  It’s sweet.  It’s savory.  It’s waiting for…..FRIDAY!!!!

First Haircut

So, for this week’s PhotoOp, I decided to let you all in on one of our “first haircuts.  Here’s the leftovers.

That’s a lot of hair to lose, right? 

See this face?  Yeah, I don’t think he had that much hair to lose, but I couldn’t resist posting that sad little face….  Usually he’s quite happy, but I think he was wanting to play and the photographer (a.k.a. Auntie) was taking pictures instead of playing.  It’s ok.  She picked him up and he smiled IMMEDIATELY.Of course, Belle was blamed initially.  Then Puddi told me that she cut her hair because she wanted to be “like a boy” because “they can fight each other.”  OOF!  That girl.  She cut up toward the back on BOTH sides of her hair.  I  cut off part of the back so it wouldn’t be so ‘mullet-like.’  Then I attempted to make it into layers.  We’ll just have to wait and see on this one.

After seeing herself in the mirror, she became very sobered.  It hit her: “Boys aren’t PRETTY!!!!”    I assured her that she was still a girl and therefore could still be pretty.  I think she learned a lesson.  Let’s just hope it sticks.

Family Photo

Since I have a new camera and because we haven’t taken a family picture since Belle was about 4 or 5 months old (meaning Tyker isn’t in it and he’s 8 months old!!!) we decided to take a nice family photo.  I borrowed a tripod and set the whole thing up with the timer and this cool function that will snap 10 consecutive pictures so you can choose the best.  That’s what we did.  Only…..the kids didn’t exactly cooperate.  After 5 times of photo fun, we gave up and had to choose the best out of 50.  You’d think that with 50 shots there would be at least one with everyone smiling, no hitting, no crying, no goofy faces, etc.  But alas, this is it: 

 And as a bonus, Belle decided to paint her toenails with permanent blue marker (and the carpet too!).

Pretty much missed her nails, but it was a good effort.  yah?

Birthday week

I look forward to this week every year.  It starts off with my birthday (!) and then there is another birthday 3 days later and wraps up with yet another birthday on the 7th day.  Whew! Check out the math on that! 

3 birthdays * 1 week = HUGE sugar intake!!

Yup, I make a separate cake for each child.  [Mostly because I felt short-changed about having a birthday only 2 days apart from my brother and having to share parties and cakes.]  This year I even decided to forego my own cake (gasp* unheard of, I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  If it makes you feel any better, we DID have ice cream.)  So, we are currently trying to bring the kids down off of their sugar highs and hide the remainder of the cake so that they don’t dive into it for breakfast. (like last year)  Anyway, enough about that…..here’s what you’re here for:

PhotoOp Friday.