Monday, August 30, 2010

Edits and auctions

Okay, so I wrote some crazy confusing stuff earlier on and now I'm trying to make amends.  Please, read on....

I have a new idea about how to make money.  I've been thinking for months about ideas to make a little extra income.  You know, help pay for hospital bills, trips to visit family, etc.  I got a great idea today: auction off days with Elijah.  No, seriously!  Here's how I'd advertise....

"Need a confidence boost?  Need someone to tell you what they notice about you without judging or dismissing you??  Do you need things said to you with a smile and a chuckle?  Well, I have just what you need!  Just moments with this tender and loving hearted personality and you'll come back for more.  You'll walk with a bounce in your step and head held high.  Don't underestimate the worth of this package!!*"

*Comments such as "I like your shirt" are likely and the repetition of this phrase does not devalue the package.  The verbalizing of such a comment even when addressee has no shirt does not mean that the addresser meant it in jest.  While smiling and laughing is probable, buyer must be aware that crying and frustration is not unlikely as well.  You will need to "come back for more" without option, as the package may not be left alone unattended.   Buyer will most likely walk with a bounce in step due to landing on misplaced toys or other child play things.  It is suggested that the buyer hold head high so as not to be the receiver of any blows to head by blunt object thrown by child.  Do not underestimate the extreme cost of such a small package in regards to meals, clothing, diapering, catastrophic messes, and any other unforeseen cost not mentioned above.

Friday, August 27, 2010

pound cake tiramisu :)

My amazing friend Leann had a free Everyday Food (Martha Stewart) magazine subscription to share with someone and she chose me....(!!!)  Yes; I am just that lucky.  We're having a few couples over for dinner tonight and my favorite part of having company over for dinner is making the dessert.  Okay, let's be honest, I like the "wow" factor. (the term "wow" factor is a little side reference to Howie Mandel for anyone watching America's Got Talent... :-P  )

I saw in the FE magazine a recipe for a pound-cake tiramisu.  I loved the idea, but I wanted to make it from scratch, where the magazine called for a store-bought pound cake.  My mom gave me a cream cheese pound cake recipe months ago and it's gotten great reviews from neighbors and family alike.  So, now we will see how people like my cream cheese pound cake tiramisu. :-)  (As it is only 3:30 and the company is coming at 5:30, I don't know what it tastes like yet.  But, if if tastes as good as it looks, I think we're in for a real treat!)

Here's what I did:

First made the pound cake last night.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 5/8c. flour
2 tsp. vanilla

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

-cream butter, cheese, sugar and eggs one at a time; gradually add flour and vanilla.  beat well, at least 10 minutes.

-put 5 cups of batter in a greased and sugared (instead of flour--yum!) bundt pan.*

-mix 2 squares melted chocolate with remaining batter; pour on top of batter and swirl

-put in cold oven (not preheated) at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes

*because of my decision to make it into tiramisu, I put it in two cake pans instead and then baked about 50 minutes

(I was distracted during the final stages of making mine by a troublemaking toddler and so forgot to take out 2c. of batter.  I swirled my chocolate into the rest of the batter, but it won't look or taste as good that way.)

I let them cool last night and then wrapped them in saran wrap overnight.

This morning I cut each of them in half, since I needed to have the sponge part of the cake open, not the crust. (In hindsight, I could have just cut the very top of them off and saved some work later, so take note! If you want to use fewer ingredients and make a shorter cake, just cut a thin layer off the top of each to make two cake layers overall.)

To prepare layers,

1)mix in small bowl:
1/2 c. strong coffee (can use espresso)
2 TBS dark rum or brandy (I used 1 TBS rum exract)

2)Cream together (separate from coffee mixture)*:
1 c. heavy cream
4 oz. bar cream cheese
3 TBS confectioner's sugar
*double this if you make four layers instead of two

3)Shave 1/4c. (or 1/2c. if you're making four layers) semisweet chocolate

Starting with one cake, brush coffee/rum mixture onto sponge side of cake. (Try to use all of coffee mixture; I wasn't paying attention enough with mine and threw about half away afterwards. :(  Don't make my mistake!)  Then add a layer of cream mixture.  Then add a layer of shaved chocolate.

Repeat until you're done!! :)

* place covered in the refrigerator four at least 4 hours (and up to one week!!) before serving.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

pizza pockets

Someone gave me an interesting kitchen device months ago that sat around because I was too lazy to find a use for it.  I can't seem to remember the name of it, but it's one of these things that will make a little pocket for you--pushes down the edges to close it.  I was making pizza tonight, as I do once a week or so on nights when I just want to do something easy that I can do without thinking.  To make it more exciting for Elijah (my almost 3 year old), I decided to make "pizza pockets."  Kill two birds with one stone, right??  That way I could engage him, AND use that nifty tool I got! :)

First I made some dough:

quick dough

3 cups flour (I used half enriched white, half whole wheat)
2 tsp. yeast
2 TBS oil
1 cup warm (110 degrees) water
1 tsp. salt

combine all ingredients until mixed (simple as that!)

Then I rolled out the dough and made a little circle where I would be cutting.  Using that as a guide, I put sauce, cheese, and then pepperoni/chicken on top.

I then put another piece of dough over this and used my nifty cutting/closing tool--tada! Cute little pizza pockets. 

Some of them I poked holes into the top, some of them I greased on the top.  It didn't seem to  make a difference really in the taste or browning.

I think they were in between 10 and 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

After I made them, I looked up online to see what other people had done.  I found out that I can do the same thing but FREEZE the creation, pre-baking, and then take them out when I want to eat them.  For frozen pockets, bake for 30 minutes, for thawed pockets, 20 minutes (still 400 degree oven).  The website I saw suggested first freezing them separately on a cookie sheet for 1 hour.  After that, you can just take them off the sheet and put them into a freezer bag until you want to use them.

So fun!

Elijah thought they were really fun, and was motivated to actually eat them because of how neat they were.  I hope you have good luck with them too! :D

Sunday, August 22, 2010

baby love

making sense of buying our food

I'll be honest that I'm pretty passionate about people using their minds to make decisions.  I've often come across people who are extremely zealous for a cause, but don't actually know the facts.  It's fine to back up your point of view--if at least you've put some time into finding out what there is to know on the matter....

So, as this blog is really just a spring board for me saying whatever it is I'd like to say, I'm going to point out that I think a lot of people could use more information on issues of food distribution and sales--more precisely, on matters of buying organic vs. nonorganic, local vs. nonlocal.  The New York Times just ran an article that I think would benefit anyone who gave the time to read it.  Here's one especially good and summarizing section:

Eating locally grown produce is a fine thing in many ways. But it is not an end in itself, nor is it a virtue in itself. The relative pittance of our energy budget that we spend on modern farming is one of the wisest energy investments we can make, when we honestly look at what it returns to our land, our economy, our environment and our well-being.

Here's the entire article and I really would recommend anyone and everyone looking at it to get a real idea of what's going on in this area of popular culture.
Math Lessons for Locavores

Friday, August 20, 2010

vaseline, diaper rash cream, lansinoh, and parental education

And when I say, "parental education," I mean those things which you're taught by being a parent that no other course or program can really teach.  For instance, when you learn to be understanding of other children's untempered aggression after you see your very own, *gentle and loving,* toddler plowing another child to the floor as if it was the the final game of the super bowl.  That's the kind of education you get when you're a parent.  Recently, my son has been trying desperately to teach me organization and responsibility.  Sadly, I have been a very poor student to date.  As the consequences of my failure to learn have been severe, I have great motivation to change my ways.  Let's hope I am starting to learn from my mistakes.

It was probably two months ago that Elijah started to fight his naps.  He had taken to pulling all the clothes out of his dresser and throwing them all over the floor.  When that became too boring, he moved on to do the same in his closet.  At one point, I took all the clothes out of his dresser, and had organized the closet in such a way that I was sure he would be unable to make a mess of it.  Of course, I was wrong.  I came in that day to see a four foot tall avalanche of clothes and boxes (I truly have no idea how he did it) tumbling out of his closet. (Also, let me note here that when he makes these messes with clothes, he loves to take out his favorite ones--those with pictures of either trains or Bob the Builder--and scream loudly of his joy at owning such an amazing wardrobe.)

One day after hearing Elijah's bubbling excitement from downstairs, I ran up to his room fully expecting to see clothes once again strewn across his room.  Instead, I found him jumping on his bed with vaseline all over his body.  It was on his shirt, on his shorts, on his hands and face, and in his hair.  He had found the 12 ounce container (almost full) in one of the drawers he didn't usually search when tearing apart the room (it only had boring socks in it otherwise).  When drawing my eyes away from just his own person to the entire room, I had the opportunity to see not only vaseline on the walls, bed, floor, toys and books surrounding him, but also a  small trail of poop close to the wipes container on the other side of the room.  I suppose he had decided that he would take it upon himself to change his poopy diaper and was attempting to do so--though, found it difficult to open the container with vaseline covered hands.

If you didn't already know this, vaseline is extremely difficult to get out of clothing, sheets, and hair.  About five detergent and oxy clean-filled loads later, his clothes still had oil residues on them.  His wall, also, has a discolored patch just above his bed.

Of course, I would like to say I learned from my mistakes, but, as I said before, I have not been learning well what Elijah has been trying to teach me about organization and responsibility.  So, a week or so later, he found the diaper rash cream in that same drawer  and repeated his adventure for a second time.  Now, let me just take a second to lay out my own excuse which is this: as it is summertime and sandal weather, I do not generally open the sock drawer.  So, I at least would like it noted that I did not consciously  leave it there for the taking.  I was merely foolish enough not to remember it was there and take it out...

At this point, you would think I would scour his room and closet for all things oil based and move them to a secure location.  But, you are smart readers and have already noticed the subject line of the message mentions "lansinoh," so, as you suspected, I did not do what a wise mother would do.  Instead, I merely spent the next week, again, cleaning what I could with oxy clean and dish soap--wishing my son didn't have such an interest in oily textures.

Now, since my second was born five months ago, I have been wondering where my lansinoh was.  I had bought one of the largest tubes they sell when Elijah was born but had probably used less than 1/4 of it.  I didn't want to buy more when Abby (my second) was born, since I knew I already had some.  Yet, I looked in all the places I thought it would be and couldn't find it.  And at this point, I had given up my search since there wasn't much need for it anymore.  Turns out, it was in Elijah's room.  In that other drawer, you know, the only one left that he hadn't emptied out.  Lucky for me Elijah's good at finding things.....

So, for the third time, I found my son and his things covered in grease.  I must say that of the three products, lansinoh is by far the most difficult to get off of things.  If you've ever touched it, you've realized why it's such a good nursing product.  It "protects" like nothing else.  The problem is when it's "protecting" the carpet, the dresser, the wall, the sheets and the clothes.  Not only was lansinoh more difficult to clean, Elijah had also decided to make this third adventure a more exciting one by covering even more of his room.  We now have a bag hanging on the inside of his closet that is filled with toys that are covered with either vaseline, diaper rash cream or lansinoh.  Not to mention, the carpet at this point is more like a canvas than anything else.  As we walk from one soiled area to the next, we draw new lines of lansinoh where there were none before.

My husband has often pointed out that I am quick to appoint blame.  In this case, I would love to point out that Elijah has obviously been a lousy teacher since I made the mistake three times....  But of course, I can't really blame an almost 3 year old for my folly.  Oh how I wish I could!  For all the hours of cleaning I did, it just doesn't seem right that it was all my own fault.  Let's just hope I don't need a fourth lesson to get the point....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


There is little that I actually know about physics, though I do try hard to listen when my DH (darling husband) tries to explain things to me.  For the most part, I do really want to know what he's talking about. There's something sad about being married to someone whose daily work consists of things you don't hardly comprehend.  Sometimes I wonder if it's much like having a spy for a spouse or something.... They go to work and come home, and your dinner conversation is almost never about the particulars of the work day.  (or at least, that's how they show it in the movies, right??)  But, alas, I digress.... this post is about something different entirely.

DH has been working this summer on something called an SRT (small radio telescope).  I'm working on a display for him to put in the science building at the college so that the average passerby can get an idea of what that thing-on-top-of-the-building-that-looks-like-a-tv-satellite actually does.  While taking some pictures for the display, I got a glimpse of what I thought might be a great picture.  I couldn't actually look at what I was photographing because the light was far too strong, but I think the final image was pretty exciting.  But I'll let you decide if you agree!

Monday, August 16, 2010

ode to my daughter

your giggles are so fun to hear
they make me smile wide.
but not as much at 2 AM.
(you could sleep, if you just tried.)

spit up spit up everywhere
and yet you grow so big.
you have such hair upon your head
as if you wore a wig.

we are so glad to have you
in our family;
now there is another name
on our family tree

Sunday, August 15, 2010

eureka! he's too smart!

Being married to a theoretical physicist has its problems for sure.  One major difficulty is the fact that he can spot ridiculous scientific jargon a mile away.  We've watched a couple of episodes of a show called "Eureka," and I think,sadly, that we won't be able to watch any more.  Instead of having a peanut gallery at my side, it's more like a scientific judge.  Now, don't get me wrong--I'm intelligent enough to know that a lot of what these actors are saying is complete nonsense.  But my husband on the other hand, he actually knows the much deeper falsehood--that fact that some of these thoughts go further than not making sense, they actually are at their core untrue ideas.  I do feel sorry for him at times.   Poor man can't even watch a geeky show without tearing it to pieces based on its inaccuracies.  Such a shame.  I suppose, though, it's mostly a loss for me--since now we're once again left to find a new show to watch on hulu....

my first blog

Well, this is it.  I have started a blog.  And, I have officially decided that coming up with a name for a blog is the hardest part about having a blog.  Other than the blog name, all of the information was perfectly rote: name, email address, posting template (though that can be more complicated later on), etc. etc.  But the blog name!  Now that, that takes some thought.  And, as you can see, I probably didn't spend as much time in thought about it as I should have.  I imagine that my darling husband will come home and say, "what?! you chose THAT?!  Of all the creative and masterful names out there..... you decided not to choose one."

But, now that the decision is behind me, I shall press onward. To the blogging!  Oh the things I could say (and probably will)!  I imagine I won't have much of a following.  Yet, my purpose in blogging is not to gain a fan club.  Though, now that I think of it, I'm not sure exactly what my purpose in blogging is...