Archive from May, 2017
May 31, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on A Rose By Any Other Name…

A Rose By Any Other Name…

It isn’t that Shakespeare wasn’t right about that, mind you.  It’s just that Maple-Bacon Grits Puff seems like kind of a cheesy name for something as delightful as what we had for dinner tonight.  It looked like cornbread (before I cut into it, anyway), and it tasted kind of like a grit-y corn casserole–only with the smoky saltiness of bacon AND the maple-y sweetness of real maple syrup to round it out.

I loved it.

Interestingly, my middles both gave it a thumbs up, my oldest went with thumbs middle, and my youngest gave it a “there are grapes at this meal and how dare you expect me to eat anything else.”  My hubby was not such a fan; I suspect he couldn’t reconcile himself to the texture of the grits.  If, however, you enjoy that texture–and I do!–then this is one of the loveliest brunch casserole recipes you’ll ever taste.  It’s also relatively easy and uses very few ingredients.  What’s not to love?

Bottom line?  You should try it.  Because I’m seriously tempted to sneak the last bit out of the fridge right now and finish it off.

May 29, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I’m Clearly Having Trouble…

I’m Clearly Having Trouble…

I missed another post.  And all I can really offer for an excuse is that it’s felt pretty busy for the last week or so!  (There were a couple of late nights, and that never helps.)  I’m hoping things will slow down now that school’s out.

Anyway.  I’ve been tied up with family a good bit this weekend, AND typing is awkward because I cut my right forefinger today and the bandaid is feeling awfully bulky; therefore, in lieu of an actual recipe, I’m going to share an “I tried doing this and liked it” sort of idea.  Months ago one of my children asked me if you cooked jicama, and when I googled the question (I sure didn’t know!) I discovered that you can bake it like a potato or roast it, if you so desire.  (They are, however, FAR more commonly eaten raw.)  I had some leftover jicama in the fridge last week, and on a whim I put a bit of olive oil in a small frying pan, threw in the jicama strips and tossed them with cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and pan-fried them until they browned on both sides.  I finished them off with some dried parsley from an herb grinder, the quality of which was an impressive step up from regular dried parsley.  And let me tell you what–they were tasty.  Have you ever used ‘super sweet white corn’ in a recipe for Mexican food, giving you that pop of surprising sweetness covered in savory spices?  That’s kind of what this tasted like.  The starchy part of the jicama’s taste had more or less disappeared, and it was crunchy and sweet/savory and weirdly delightful.

I may try roasting it next.

May 25, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Things We Experience Fleetingly

Things We Experience Fleetingly

When I was in latter elementary school–and maybe junior high–my mother went back to school to finish up her degree.  She majored in art teaching, which meant art classes of all different kinds; as the youngest, I sometimes went along with her up to the college, particularly when she had classes that required resources we didn’t have at home.  One of the two classes I remember distinctly involved photography and visits to a dark room; the other involved ceramics and visits to the pottery wheel.  What I really remember about the pottery wheel is that trying to make something on it was HARD; I bailed in short order and spent the time my mother was on the wheel molding a figure out of clay with my hands.  There is also, however, a wisp of a memory of the feeling of the wheel, of the clay moving beneath my hands, and that’s what was on my mind as I read The Mad Potter:  George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius.

I hadn’t heard of George Ohr at all, but I’m in good company–the name didn’t ring any bells for my mother, either.  (I’m not returning the book to the library until she comes to town this weekend and gets the chance to look at it herself.)  He was an art potter in the latter half of the 19th century, working (mostly) out of his hometown of Biloxi.  His trinkets and more utilitarian creations sold, but he loved his artistic pieces while his contemporaries–generally–didn’t.  As a result, he was neither prosperous nor respected during his lifetime; when a great stash of his work was discovered in the 1960s, however, it was (very belatedly) far more appreciated.  Mad Potter tells George’s story in accessible text with an engaging voice; it’s about the length of a text-heavy longer picture book, making it perfect for the mid-elementary reads-non-fiction-independently crowd.  My artist daughter enjoyed it as much as I did, so if you or your child has an interest in art and/or history, this one is totally worth your time.

May 23, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Just Say…

Just Say…

YES to the Firework Oreos.  They’re tasty and they pop in your mouth!  (Mildly.)

MEH to the Strawberry Nut M&Ms.  They’re just weird.  The PB&J limited edition variety from years ago were the same flavor profile, but tasted MUCH better.

MAYBE to the Caramel M&Ms.  As a friend pointed out, they taste kind of like Rolos with a candy shell.  If you like Rolos, then…

May 21, 2017 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Parenting My 7-Year-Old This Weekend

On Saturday, newly-showered, she headed into my bedroom to do her sock chore–she balls up all of the pairs of socks for the family–and donned her newly acquired gardening gloves just before reaching for the first pair of socks.  Me:  You can’t wear those to do your sock chore.  Her:  Why??  Me:  Didn’t you wear those outside earlier?  Her:  Yes!

Today she asked for seconds of grilled chicken at dinner and then declared herself full after eating about 2/3 of it.  Me:  It was a bigger piece–I’ll bet if you asked nicely, Daddy would finish it.  She asked nicely and Daddy agreed; she turned towards me, and with her next breath asked, “Can I have some more bread?”

She also (initially) put her dress on inside-out this morning and then spent the first hour of church (among other things) drawing on her legs.  Good thing she’s so dang lovable!

May 19, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Technical Difficulties

Technical Difficulties

I actually tried to post on Wednesday–I really did!  My computer wanted to update, however, and so my open windows were just thinking and thinking and refusing to go anywhere, and I didn’t have it in me to wait out the updates.  I went to bed.

Unfortunately, I’m even more tired tonight.  It was my older girlies’ dance recital, and my hubby has been out of town (he just got back–wahoo!), and–wow.  I’m not even sure WHY I’m so exhausted.  Here, then, is my abbreviated review of Monday night’s new recipe for Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash:

  1.  If you choose to be overly generous with the potatoes, be prepared to compensate.  There’s barely enough liquid to cook them through as it is, and the recipe more or less warns you of that.
  2. Truely caramelizing the onions takes far longer than it claims, but it definitely adds to the flavor.  Unfortunately, the subsequent cooking in chicken broth wipes out the texture aspect.
  3. I used smoked paprika–and I’d do it again.  I can’t help but wonder, though–are there other Hungarian herbs and spices I don’t know about?  Because recipes that say they’re Hungarian all seem to be pretty heavy on the “Paprika is my main flavor” idea.
  4. Taking the time to make sure the medallions of sausage get a nice sear on each side will pay off.  If you’re too worried about getting kids fed and moving on to other things to be that careful, it’s still fine, but you’ll notice the difference.
  5. Bottom line?  My kids mostly gave it a thumbs middle.  I liked it, but I’m not sure I liked it quite enough to make it again if they don’t love it.  My hubby was getting ready for his trip and not super hungry, though, so I might make it again and see if his vote tips the scales.
May 15, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on To Target, To Target, To Buy–Two Gift Cards

To Target, To Target, To Buy–Two Gift Cards

I really, really hate running to the store after the kids are in bed.

It’s not that it’s not lovely to shop without distraction,  you understand.  It’s just that I’m a morning person at heart–no matter how tired I am in the morning nowadays–and I prefer to get my errands out of the way in the first half of the day.  Nevertheless, off I went tonight, because my 10-year-old’s teacher’s surprise party is tomorrow, and so she really wanted to have her end of year gift ready.  I’ve been doing $10 Target cards for teachers the last year or two, and at the end of the day (this particular day, in fact!), well, it’s DONE.  I don’t have to think about it anymore.

What it means, however, is that I used up all my mental energy on things like deciding the gift cards’ design–I couldn’t quite bring myself to go with “Thank you for being awesome,” because I’m sort of picky about my adjectives, and awesome feels a little strong for both teachers this year–and so I now have two “Target dog in a spaceship” gift cards for my girls to take to school tomorrow and absolutely zero motivation or energy left to review tonight’s new recipe.

Next time, folks.  Next time.

May 13, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Dear Goodreads: Stop Nagging!

Dear Goodreads: Stop Nagging!

Seriously.  Every time I look at my Goodreads account, it reminds me that I’m 2 books behind schedule in my 2017 reading challenge.  Come on!  I have four kids, it’s almost the end of the school year, and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is almost 400 pages!  (I’m loving it, but still.  That review’s going to be a while.)  Today, however, I at least finished my treadmill book, and I have to say–it cracked me up.  My friend Britt loves Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series; it’s less my thing, and so I’ve taken longer to get thoroughly into it, but The Trouble With Demons (Book 3) pretty much kept me riveted.  The action develops quickly and really never stops, the quips and witty rejoinders made me laugh out loud more than once, and Raine is an entertaining character to follow through a story. To be fair, there are flaws; Shearin’s character descriptions can be a bit repetitive, and the “all men adore and are fascinated by Raine except for the ones trying to kill her” gets a bit old (technically, some of the men trying to kill her are still fascinated by her), but it’s such a romp of a book that I really didn’t care.  So what if the plot–in the most general sense–is fairly predictable by the third book in the series?  “House” was quite a bit more predictable, and it ran for 8 seasons on the strength of its mysterious medical conditions and Hugh Laurie’s ability to be both sarcastic and outrageous in a fake accent.  If you want action, a strong female lead, and books chock full of wise-cracking characters, this series is for you.  Start with Magic Lost, Trouble Found–and enjoy!

May 11, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Mmmmm…Waffles…

Mmmmm…Waffles…

Have I mentioned that I love waffles?  Because I really, really do.  The taste, the texture, the flavor-collecting pockets–the perfect combination.  What’s not to love?  And since I have strawberries to spare in my fridge at the moment, I cut up a couple of pounds, set them to macerating, and tried this recipe for Family Favorite Oatmeal Waffles for the first time.

They were tasty.

The chewiness of the oatmeal, the buttery goodness of the Belgian waffle, and the hints of sweetness and spice were all topped off with generous quantities of sugared strawberries and vanilla yogurt (but only because I had no whipped or whipping cream OR whipped topping).  It was a beautiful thing.  I’ll have to 1-and-a-half the recipe to feed all six of us–my hubby wasn’t home–but I can live with that, because WAFFLES.

You should try these.  Just remember to pick up some whipping cream beforehand!

May 9, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Blessed

Blessed

I am officially back from BYU Women’s Conference–as in, back home, back into everyday life, and (finally) back on here!  (That was supposed to happen on Sunday, but…oops.)  I had an exceptionally wonderful time this year, and I have to thank the people who made it possible–my amazing parents who stayed at my house and helped tend my kiddos, my generous introverted hubby who had far more time with people than usual, and my mother- and sister-in-law who are a delight to stay with, play with, and be with.  I am blessed.

Speaking of being a delight, by the way,  you really ought to read Hippopotamister.  It’s a junior graphic novel, and it’s a delightful read.  Since the zoo is rundown and lacking in visitors, Hippo’s friend Red Panda helps him get a job in the outside world.  When the first day doesn’t go quite as planned, they get another job…and another job…and another; ultimately, both animals find work that fits them well.   The illustrations are fabulous (my personal favorite might be the friends’ stint as hair stylists) and the story appealing–don’t miss this one!

Hippopotamister


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