Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My New Cooking Philosophy

This may seem totally unrelated to my usual topics on this blog, but it was a great quote that really shows my new cooking philosophy.

"Recipes are just road maps, they're not contracts."

--Chef Michael Voltaggio

That is so true...at least after you figure out what you're doing.  For baking, there really is nothing like following a recipe, but I find that with everything else, I use recipes for inspiration, then throw them to the side.  I guess that's when you start to write a food blog!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Thoughts On Tee-Ball

We are officially a few weeks into the tee-ball season, and I'm finding that we're enjoying the whole experience...especially Scott and Andy, of course.  Despite the back surgery pain and fatigue, Andy is faithfully attending games and, being braver than wimpy Mom, is still able to pitch real tee-balls to help Scott practice.  (There's just something about  the image of a  strongly hit tee-ball screaming to the face or pregnant belly that scares me.  Or maybe it's just that I'm a wimp.  Not quite sure.)

Anyway, after analyzing Scott's amazing team in action quite a lot, I've come up to a conclusion about tee-ball. It is not a regular sport.  It is actually a strange hybrid of three sports...baseball, tackle football, and bowling.

The ball is struck first by a grinning boy who is wearing a helmet far too large for his head/body proportion.  This is usually done after a lot of coachly adjusting, many swing attempts, and lots of pro baseball player pre-swing imitations.  The ball flies taps out into the infield full of players, at which point the sport turns into tackle football.  Nearly all of the fielders (seems to be about everyone except Scott who thinks he's an umpire) runs toward the ball.  Instead of catching or stopping the ball, the natural reaction is to manfully tackle it to get it to stop.  Imagine all twelve, er, eleven boys doing this at once, and you can see where the bowling starts.  Despite their self-sacrificing moves of agility, somehow the ball escapes unscathed while the boys drop like bowling pins.  It brings a whole new meaning to the word 'strike'.  Sometimes the game takes on the feeling of dominoes as well, but only with base runners.  They hardly ever ALL remember to run.  They end up being piled up somewhere around third base where they each in turn hit and knock each other over in a pretty orderly and predictable manner.  Curious.

After all these antics, the game reverts back to being like baseball.  The boys just have to slide home and after scoring, they humbly saunter back to the bench, or out to the stands to jump and see how proud Mom and Dad are of them.  I suppose Joey Votto doesn't really do that, but he probably did once upon a time.

All in all it's been a lot of fun so far.  You almost hate to see them improve in their skills, because it's just so much fun to watch them like this!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Little Laundry Maid

I thought it was about time to give an update on Hurricane Allison.  Last I posted about her, I was in a state of severe trauma while I adjusted to her new-found mischief-making prowess.  Don't get me wrong, there is something special about her amazing ability to find trouble, discreetly involve herself in trouble, carry out the trouble in silence, then try not to laugh in your face when you discover the trouble.  This age is always a heavy training time for children in our household.  We tend to have a terrible one's more than a terrible two's around here, but finally the training and the growing is starting to pay off.

What is it about this picture that my Dad loves so much?!?

While she is still an exceptional mischief-maker, there is a real sweetness beginning to develop in her.  She tries her best to help and is so proud of herself!  She's my right-hand girl.  She's not useful in the true sense of the word, but she's always there, always trying to please, always helping as much as she can.  It's such a fun age of discovery.  She's discovered dishes...she can put away pots and pans, as well as cutting boards.  She's discovered the laundry.  Any washing or folding is way too neatly done without her presence, not to mention the fun of watching her parade around with various unmentionables draped around her neck.  (Clean, I hasten to add, lest I lose my readership in disgust.)

It's so exciting to see your baby grow and learn and be a help.  Of course there will be messes and shocks (like her alarming habit of stripping down during naptime and climbing on top of Cara's dresser), but the sweet fellowship has begun to form a new joy of knowing my curly-haired trouble maker.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Now I Know...

I think it's fair to say that I'm officially not just like Cinderella.  I've been wondering about it for some time...the continual mopping and cooking seem strangely familiar, but now I know better.  Every morning when Andy leaves for work, I collapse back into bed and plan on dosing gently back to sleep.  It's so peaceful when the children are sleeping in their rooms!  But alas, the temperate weather has brought the back reality of the morning hours. From our open window, the neighborhood full of birds begin their wake-up routine.  We have no roosters around here; apparently we don't need them.  Sometime between 5:45 and 6:00 am the gentle tweets progress to the unearthly chorus to which we have now become accustomed.  What seems like hundreds of birds litter our ear intake with their barbaric yawping.  Cinderella would never have reacted this way.  No, she sings and laughingly scolds her feathered friends while she brushes her golden hair and dreams of her Handsome Prince.  My Handsome Prince has already left for work, so I either impatiently endure, then finally get up complaining about living next to the nature preserve or I briskly slam the window shut and fade back off into my slumbering bliss.  Sleep is a wish MY heart makes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Good comeback!

Lady Astor to Winston Churchill: ''Winston, if you were my husband I would flavor your coffee with poison.'' 

Churchill: ''Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it.''

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Real Story of Cincinnati Chili, Part 2

In answer to your question...yes, every installment is just this ridiculous...and 
chocolate-centric.  Read on...

To reread Part 1, click here.

Timidly, she greeted him. "Hi, Daddy.  Are you home from Europe?"

"Yes," he replied.  There was a pause.  She nervously wound her graceful fingers 
around a lock of spiraling hair.  

"Have you given any consideration to my proposal?". 

"Yes, Daddy, I have, but I'm sorry to say I can't accept.  I told you before, I 
have to follow my dreams!". 

"Hannistina Adrianna Hershey, I have told you and told you, this makes absolutely 
no sense!  How can you give up a reliable $60,000 a year job in my accounting firm 
to 'follow your dream' as a bon bon designer?  Following dreams takes money, honey,
I don't care what Dr.Phil says." 

She scrambled over to the pantry.  Just a few more Hershey's kisses won't matter.  "I can 
always work out an extra two or three hours tonight," she thought.  She took a deep 
breath...and another kiss...    

"Daddy, I was actually hoping you would help me finance the opening of my  shop.  
I'll give you a sizable percentage of the profits.  I know I can do  it!  You know 
I've always had a way with food..." 

It was at that unfortunate moment that the smoke alarm pealed its way through 
the house.  Smoke billowed from the oven.  Her apple crisp was certainly crisp. 
Laughter filled the receiver of the phone.  

"I see you're up to  your old antics again, Hannistina.  You know you belong with me.  
Let me know when you get this out of your system." 

Hot tears of frustration threatened to spill down Hannistina's face as she listened 
to the empty air on the other end of the phone line.  How like him to get the last 
word, thought Hannistina as she hung up the phone.  She jerked open the oven, grabbed 
the oven mitts and pulled out her spoiled dessert.  

Her shoulders began to shake with laughter as she scraped her mess of apples into 
the garbage disposal.   How ridiculously funny it all was.  She was not much better 
off than that cocky eleven year old that challenged her big sister to an apple crisp 
cook-off! She had been sure that she would beat her obsessive, direction-following 
sister with her "pinch of this and pinch of that" philosophy of cooking.   
Unfortunately, that method worked much better for her grandmother who had forty years 
of cooking experience to back her up.  Her challenge had gone down as a loss, and 
Hannistina ultimately chalked it up to a joint lesson in humility and the importance 
of following directions.  

She looked at the timer, still blinking with the original 35 minutes that she had 
forgotten to start.  Laughter is a good medicine,  but what in the world would she 
do for dessert?  Company would be here in thirty minutes. Her stomach tightened as 
she reflected on the importance of this meal.  His very name thrilled her to her rose 
blush painted toenails. Georgio  Salvadore Ghiradelli--if ever there was a man made 
just for her, she was sure it must be  him.  As she swept her spoon through the 
simmering pot of chili, her mind envisioned her upcoming meeting with the chocolate 
expert.  He would be tall and vital, an obvious result of the disease-fighting 
properties in the succulent chocolates his family produced.  She could see the dark 
sparkle in his eyes,  envision his robust Italian mannerisms, hear his rolled r's, 
and as he drew close to kiss her hand, the faint aura of cocoa perfumed his hair. 
He would be perfect. 

Hannistina sighed heavily; the glitter of silver caught her eye.  The blood 
immediately shot to her cheeks as she saw the pile of kisses wrappers heaped next 
to the chili pot.  How could she have let this happen again?   

"Daydreams and bulk bags of Hershey products don't mix," she fumed while sweeping the 
clutter into the trash can. "Somebody always gets fat".  

She returned to the stove to cover the chili and saw something that made her heart 
sink...melting chocolate in her chili pot. 

"My lovely dinner is ruined! Oh what shall I do?" she screamed.

Sorry to leave you on edge, but, 

To be continued...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our Little Birthday Man

Scott woke up early this morning.  It's a big day today...he's officially five.

He told me he knew he was five today because his toes have gotten even longer.  That's a nice thing to know...next October, I'll start measuring my toes early so I can hit my birthday measurements accurately.

I sure do love this little guy...

Happy Birthday, Scott!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A 'Quick' Photo Shoot

Just so I'll never forget the fun it is to do a group shot with the kids, here is our 'quick' snapshot for the church directory.
Hey...Let's see if we can do a little better...

Don't you love the windswept tie look?

Ruh-roh.  Someone made us giggle.

So close...so close...

Obviously we decided to go with an earlier attempt.  The longer and harder you try, the worse it gets.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Real Story of Cincinnati Chili, Part 1

Before I begin with this mess, I'd better make a disclaimer.  This story is in no way supposed to be good writing.  It was, in fact, a ridiculous game some friends and I started a few years ago to amuse ourselves...a chain story.  That was before I began the ridiculous game of blogging, obviously.  I began the story, left off at a crucial moment and emailed it to a friend to continue.  She continued and emailed back to me or some other victim, uh I mean, friend until it was all done.  All in all, there were four of us who contributed, some of whom (names have been eliminated to protect the guilty parties) are readers of this blog.  As you read along, keep in mind that our whole purpose was to amuse ourselves and shock the next recipient with the next installment.  Please don't critique too harshly!!!  

The slight breeze was almost musical as it fingered its way through the leaves of the trees. 
The setting sun looked like a soggy vanilla wafer in  a  sea  of pumpkin pie filling.  
Hannistina gracefully shielded her face from her whipping, but immaculate hair.  Her thoughtsimmediately flew to the last time she had seen him.  A wave of nostalgia swamped her, as wellas acraving for chocolate.  It was three long weeks ago that the course of her life had  
changed  forever. 

While the urge to reminisce was strong, the desire for chocolate won out.  Hannistina enteredthe back door of her cottage.  The smells of home wrapped their arms around her and welcomed her into her kitchen.  After filling the teapot and setting it on the stove to boil, she hungher wraps over the back of the kitchen chairs.  She peeked in the oven door to check the 
baking apple crisp, and then went to the pantry to retrieve her own special cocoa 

Before she could prepare her "relaxation in a  cup", the phone rang.  It was him.

To be continued... 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strategic Compulsory Visitation or How to Get Your Kids to Come and See You

by my Mom (This is scarily true...Sheesh!)

If, to see your newest grandchild you are wishin',
Send your offspring on a long distance expedition.
We'll share our plan to bring the thing about,
And you'll discover whether you have any clout.
Now this is the truth- It is not perjury-
All you have to do is to schedule a surgery.
If your youngest grandson has you besotted,
Have the doctor roto-rooter your carotid.
If your smiley granddaughter needs to be brung,
Just tell the surgeon to remove your lung.
If your namesake has your birthday baby stolen,
Merely go in the hospital and bisect your colon.
Whether you're aching to see your son or daughter,
Remember that blood is thicker than water!