Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Recipes I've made - no photos

I am always on the lookout for new pancake recipes and this one was a real winner. Light and fluffy and a hit with the kids. I froze the leftovers and they reheated quite nicely. Pete's Scratch Pancakes

I made these ham quiche cups for a Sunday dinner and they were easy and tasty.  The leftovers were delicious for breakfast.

Another Sunday dinner was this very very delicious slow cooker creamy beef stroganoff which was amazing!  Of course the kids didn't like it, but the adults did.

For dessert one night I made these peanut butter and jelly bars which were good but very very rich.  But good.

I have made this Asian peanut butter pork three times since finding the recipe.  Delicious tender pork with a killer sauce.

My end result looked nothing like the photo in the recipe- I either over cooked  my squash or over mixed it, so it lost the  individual strands, but the flavor of this yakisoba spaghetti squash was really great.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Book Club - Calm by Dr. Arlene K. Unger

"We cannot be calm if we are always rushing from one thing to the next."

"Keeping our surroundings free from clutter can help us to stay calm."

"Holding a grudge is like being a prisoner to your anger."


I picked this up at the bookstore from the clearance table, 
Those last 2 above - love them, and so accurate for me.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Update on the yellow room

We finally got the touch up painting done in The Girl's room.
With the insomnia I was having at the time my mom was passing, it was easy to get it done early in the mornings  before the kids were up to "help".

Lordy, it's a yellow room.  You will probably be able to see it from space on a sunny summer day.
I like it though.
Both kids have a little window seat in their room, and my mom had made a cushion for The Boy's seat when he was about 3.  I planned on making one for The Girl, but I sort of like it without for now.
That brown stuffy in the middle is a handmade Kanga, from Winnie the Pooh, that an extended family member made me when I was little. It's old.

The picture is a pastel that The Mister's Grandmother did years ago. She was a very talented artist. We have at least 5 more pieces of her work up around the house.
The lamp is sitting on an old wooden laundry hamper I bought years ago at a thrift shop.
I bought some pink spray paint for it; just need some good weather so it can sit outside to dry.

There is a lot of wall in this room- we definitely need some more decorations.  But what?  I was thinking maybe some wall  decals.  Or posters? 

We still haven't started on the prep for painting The Boy's room yet.  He doesn't seem to mind, and I'm relieved because his room is going to be more work - some hole filling and patching and priming to do, not to mention hauling 11,000 pounds of lego out before we can start....

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bread Baking Babes 10th Anniversary - Royal Crown Tortano

From 2008 to 2012 I baked with a group of superstars called The Bread Baking Babes and it was super crazy that they included me  - this group was and is full of very talented bread wizards who make the most beautiful doughy creations.

I learned about shaping and fermenting and slashing.  Hydration and fillings and toppings and flours.

I had some interesting experiences and some flops, but I always had fun. I made breads and tried techniques that I know I never would have tried otherwise.

Dan's Garlic Bread was one of my favorites, and the Brunkans Langa is amazing.  The Injera was so much fun to make and eat.  This Challah made me very proud of myself.  And our first bread, Royal Crown Tortano, was so exciting for me.  That really cool looking bread?  I made that!

The group has been baking monthly breads for 10 years now, and Tanna very graciously invited me to bake with the group to celebrate.  The Babes chose to revisit the first bread, the Royal Crown Tortano.

This dough takes a long time - there is a preferment that you have to start the night before, and then the next day there is kneading and rising and turning and folding and on and on.  You need some time, I'm telling you.

But it is worth it.  So worth it.  The Tortano is huge and gorgeous and filled with air pockets and flavor.  

My slashing didn't turn out at all, and I missed the step about turning the dough, so my top isn't floured, but no cares here.  This bread is wonderful.

 A big, floury THANK YOU to the Bread Baking Babes for letting me join in celebrating the 10th (10!) Anniversary of the BBB.  Happy baking.  May your yeast always be fresh and your dough always rise.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Princess cake

Both kids have birthdays at the end of the year - November and December, about a month apart - and once The Girl got to help decorate her brother's birthday cake for his party, she became quite interested in her own upcoming cake.

"A BIG cake!  A THOMAS cake!"  She announced, and struck fear into my soul because I am in no way artistic or creative please see pretty much any of the posts here if you don't believe me.

Now, she doesn't even really like Thomas much anymore, so I think it was just the first thing that popped into her head.  I panicked, and replied with the first thing that popped into my head - wouldn't you rather have a princess cake?  YES!  She replied enthusiastically,  and then talked non stop about it for the next month. 

Now, before anyone rolls their eyes at me, trust me that this was not a sexist Girl can't have a Thomas cake thing.  It was a I remember my Boo (aka BFF) made a princess cake for one of her daughters a few years back and she said it was so easy that even I could do it thing.

The Big Day came, and my Boo came over to get me started.

The night before I had made the cakes- 2 - one in round pans, and one in a large measuring cup my Boo had lent me.

I wrapped the dolls legs in plastic wrap and we hacked one of the round cakes up to make a bottom and a top to go around the measuring cup cake.
I used this buttercream frosting and we dyed it pink.

My Boo got the decorating started, and then turned the reins over to me.  The kitchen and the icing got warmer, the kids were all amped up, and my little frosting blobs were not turning out as neat as hers. But hey, 3 year olds don't have super high standards.

I was starting to get fatigued by the time I got to the lower part of the dress, so I added some purple food coloring to the pink frosting and tried my hand at a big swirly design to hurry it along.  
If you stand back and squint a lot, it doesn't look too bad.

What matters most is the The Girl loved it - a lot - so that made my day.
And I'm in the clear on kids birthday cakes for 9 more months!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Book Club - The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

"The wind whispers through the grass.  A shadow flits between the trees. And up speaks the little voice that goes, Shhhhh.  It's close now.  Close."

"Cruelty isn't a personality trait.  Cruelty is a habit."


Back into Book Club too. I have done a lot of reading instead of sleeping the past while, so I've got a bunch.  I'm also going to add why I chose the book, or where it came from.

This one came from a book swap at work, and when I started it I realized that I tried to read this a few years ago, but never finished it. This time I did, then took it back and swapped it for something else.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

My Mom's Tetrazzini

I don't know how to start here after my last post, so talking about one of my mom's recipes feels like the thing to do.
My mom's tetrazzini has always been a favorite of mine - I used to think it was so classy
Noodles and cream of mushroom soup!  What could be better?
Some days, not much.

I made this one not long after she passed away, with some leftover rotisserie chicken. It felt good to make this meal for the kids, even though both are so picky - The Girl will eat some of the noodles, but not the chicken, and The Boy will scrape off the cheese and eat the chicken but isn't so much a fan of pasta.  I like it all.
I am thinking about going through my posts and starting a new label, maybe family recipes?  to note all the good stuff my mom shared with us.  There's a lot.  Also check out my Sunday Dinner label - most of the Sunday dinners I cooked for my mom and dad are posted too.  And I also have a family label, for  memories.  I am slowly searching key words on the blog to look for untagged posts that I want to add to the categories.  The Sunday Dinner label will return - we are back to having Sunday dinners with my Dad, and as soon as I get organized (ha!) the posts will start again.
Sadly, some of my older posts won't update with new labels, so I will have to start remaking some of this delicious stuff and posting so it can be labelled.  The things I must do....

Friday, February 02, 2018


In the elevators of the hospital here, they have posters explaining that if you see a butterfly on the door of a room in the hospital, it means that a patient is close to passing, or has already passed, so that those entering the room are aware of the circumstances.
When I got to my moms hospital room on the morning of December 21, there was a blue butterfly on her door. 
The meaning of the butterfly wasn't a shock - my Dad and I had received the devastating news the afternoon before; but it still slammed me in the heart.  This was really happening.

In November I read over and over again a few posts and Instagrams of Tracy at Shutterbean.  Her mom passed away suddenly right before American Thanksgiving.   I was beginning to wonder if the same was  going to happen to us.

My Mom had been in the hospital for a  while.  She endured countless cycles  of improvements and setbacks.  She fought as hard as she could.  She suffered.

A handful of days later.  A different door. A different butterfly. My Mom is gone.

Of her son, Tracy wrote 
"He doesn’t understand it. He doesn’t understand how this will change him.

It makes me feel so lucky that I had my grandparents for as long as I did.

He doesn’t understand how this will change me."

My Mom loved her grandkids a lot.  One of my biggest regrets is that they will move forward without her in their lives.  It was too soon. 

It's been more than a month since we lost her now. Some days are good.  Some are pretty bad.  
We are moving forward and trying to figure out this new life without her.
It will come.

Photos from our 2016 family trip to Vancouver Island, one of our last trips.

"...the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take."
J.R.R. Tolkien