Monday, March 30, 2009

Brownies, Part 1

So, I've been increasingly dissatisfied with the recipe on the back of the tollhouse cocoa. It's leaps and bounds better than the box mix, but a little flat and not quite right. I like the idea of coffee in my brownies, but alas, my 5 year old best boy isn't quite so sophisticated yet, much as he may be interested in the top things.

So, I headed over to smittenkitchen.com thinking that lady must know brownies. And she does. There's lots to pick from.

Now there are many things in life that I know, however it seems that I have yet to learn that when baking with chocolate you shouldn't mess around. If they called for unsweetened chocolate and you don't have it, go buy it. Don't try and use the mildly sweet that you have and just cut back the sugar. Also, when they tell you to line the pan with foil, don't try and save a tree, just line the pan with foil.

So, we'll try this again on Wednesday night in prep for the birthday treat. With the right chocolate. And the foil. And without the walnuts, since Myles is allergic.

Here we are again...

And suddenly it's almost April. Here's a few of the things we've been up to lately:
  1. Completing Harry's kindgergarten paperwork (and having a long discussion with the principal about our Sound Book and the difference between deck and dock and how they are both used for boats which doesn't start with D but looks like a backwards D. Do you think the kindergarten teacher will hate me?)

  2. Planning Harry's 5th birthday party. If you haven't been to Organ Piper Pizza, get thee there soon. (And somehow I need to figure out how to make a Hot Wheels cake that is actually a brownie and a cookie. Really. Honestly. Doesn't he know I have a job? And haven't I taught him the merits of cake as related to cookies and brownies? )

  3. Scheduling 6 month well baby and 5 year well child doctor appointments. Yes, there will be stabbing. Yes, there will be presents for having endured the stabbing.

  4. Spending a week with Mimi and Jacob while in town on Spring Break. The Zoo and a Pampered Chef party complete with shots of White Zinfandel. (Which, while we're being honest, is the only way to drink that stuff, not that I'm a wine snob or anything.)

  5. Waiting for, willing and wanting the winter to be over and spring to take hold. Bikes, slides, strollers and other such things that do not clutter my living room and a hiatus from searching for Lego pieces are long overdue. And corn on the cob and good tomatoes. I can hardly wait!
But, until we get all those things, you'll have to make due with these:





Saturday, March 21, 2009

Top things

We're starting to get concerned around here. Take for example, the following:

Scene: Friday night, Cindy sitting on couch getting Suzy ready to go. Harry, tearing about with the camera.

Harry in monologue, to Cindy:

'Hold still.' Pats back reassuringly.
'Don't be afraid.' Aims camera
'Now, open up your shirt. I want to take a picture of those top things.'

I'm open to responses on this one.

Instead, I'll just think about this, which was 3 years ago this month:



Friday, March 13, 2009

While we're being honest

I am really sick of being puked on.

Then again, the girl rolls over, eats apples, holds her head up, sleeps most nights, loves me best (ask Pete about last night - or really, maybe night) and gazes in wide wonder at Harry.

Meanwhile, I made it through the wilderness (oops, I'm still not Madonna) I mean the tonsillitis and tonight we will have friends over for burgers on the grill and other summer sounding food in hopes of it serving as an offering to the weather gods.

Because, while I'm really sick of being puked on, I cannot stand the thought of being cold anymore.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stating the obvious

Harry, Suzy, just want you to know that the hours of 330-500 am are reserved for sleeping. While we love you very much, we prefer that you sleep during these hours.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My list

Yesterday I finished most of the laundry, went to the grocery store and made a meatloaf (with one in the freezer for a later date) and some yummy scones. Today I went to the MD for bad sore throat (tonsillitis) and then took the kids to have lunch with their Dad and to the Big Backyard in New Berlin. Harry loved it and ran around like a maniac for an hour. I politely resisted conversation with a few of the moms there, which I felt a little guilty about at the time, but I really just wanted Harry to have a good time while Suzy stared and talked to me when she felt like it.

Tomorrow I'll make pigs in blankets and try and clean the bedrooms. That seems like enough to try to accomplish in one day.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me that Wikipedia is the new Cliff's Notes. And this prompted 2 more thoughts -- what are the Cliff's Notes people doing now and should library catalogs link to Wikipedia book summaries?

And, I just looked at Suzy, who was lying in the middle of her jungle gym on the floor. Now, she's off the gym on the rug and I'm wondering how she got all the way over there????

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How well read am I, or an annoying list of books people keep tagging me with on Facebook

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

How well read are you?
Cheers!!

Instructions:
Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible - X (The children's illustrated edition)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell x
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens x
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller x
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot x
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchel X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams x
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X (hands down, my favorite book, along with through the the looking glass)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen x
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell x
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X (so! poorly! written!)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins x (this is one of my favorites)
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X (all!)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen x
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens x (so boring.)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov x
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville x (except i skipped the parts about whales.)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens x
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker x
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett x
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante x
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell x
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro x
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert x
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom x
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle x
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery x
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo x

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's a big day!

Our boy got himself a library card!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

John's wife

As I prepare for my week off next week (mandatory unpaid leave of absence, but hey, at least I have a job), I'm doing some mental meal planning. It is my goal that we eat at home, 3 meals at day for 9 days. That's only 27 meals.

I keep finding and losing this best ever scone recipe, and I know 2 people who have either never had it or lost it, so I'm going to do us all a service and type it in here. I will also do me a service and make them next week.

Apricot-Orange Cream Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
3 T granulated sugar
3 t baking powder
2 t grated orange peel
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 c white vanilla baking chips (I can never find these in the store)
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
1 c powdered sugar
2 - 3 T orange juice

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. In large bowl, mix flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, orange peel and salt until well blended. Stir in apricots and baking chips. Add whipping cream all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Over mixing will make your scones tough.)

2. On lightly floured surface, knead dough 6-7 times until smooth. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into 6 inch round; cut each into 6 wedges. Place 2 inches apart on prepared sheet.

3. Bake 10-13 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and enough orange juice for desired frizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over warm scones.

The recipe suggesting the following variations:

Cranberry-Pecan Scones:
Substitute dried sweetened cranberries for the apricots and add 1/2 c chopped pecans.

Double Chocolate-Almond Scones
Omit orange peel and apricots. Stir in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips with the white baking chips. Add 1/4 t almond extract with the whipping cream. For the icing, subsitute water for the orange juice and stir in 1/4 t almond extract. Sprinkle tops of iced scones with 2 T sliced almonds.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A discovery

We seem to be talking a lot about feet lately. Well, I seem to be talking about feet. Lots of shoes for the girl (ha! I almost typed 'too many', well all know when it comes to shoes those words just don't EVER apply), higher and faster for the boy and so on. But, an important discovery was made last week: Suzy found her feet. Back in the day when Harry did this, he laid on his back for 2 days and held onto his feet. All I could think is how much his butt must have hurt. Since it's colder out now than when Harry discovered his feet, Suzy is spending her foot discovery time mostly pulling her socks off.

Meanwhile, last week Harry came down with a case of pink eye and after much bleach, laundry, scrubbing, washing, drying and hand washing, we thought we were in the clear. Until 126 this morning when Suzy awoke with an eye crusted shut.

Oh the love. Oh the Clorox Clean Up. Oh the Tide Free...