Friday, January 29, 2010

Food Friday: Lesson Learned

image found here

Have you watched this show yet? It's on Sunday nights on the Food Network, and the premise is that 12 terrible home cooks are taught how to do it right by professional chefs. Each week, two people are eliminated, and in the end, the best of the worst will compete by cooking for food critics, who think the food has been prepared by their mentors. We are hooked on this show (and it makes me miss Mad Men a little less).

I love shows that you entertain and teach, and this is one of them. The first thing the chefs taught was the term and principle of mise en place. Watching this, WBH commented "So, it's french for 'get your crap together.'" Technically it means 'everything in place,' but the sentiments are clearly the same. Getting my crap together has changed the way I'm cooking. It's so much easier for me to clean up, I'm less frantic in the kitchen, multitasking becomes so much easier, and I feel it when I don't do it. With diminished energy and patience, this principle is rocking my socks when it comes to cooking.

Imagine what would happen if I could just apply it to life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It's hard to know what to write right now. I am in the middle of what will probably be a longish time not feeling well. With Stinky, it took me until 18 weeks to feel good again. I'm halfway there today. While I am now on the really good anti-nausea meds, they don't do much for the soreness, fatigue, or the frustration at finding myself already needing my maternity clothes (and finding that many of them don't fit, anyway).

I don't want to complain. I am happy to do this for this child, and I will probably be happy to do it for another (anyone after that, though, we're making WBH's Christmas food baby a real one, though). I'm not unhappy that any of this is happening, but I am discouraged at what it does to my mothering.

We watch too much TV. I cook convenience foods with crappy nutritional value. My patience is shot, and I raise my voice, which I rarely did before I was pregnant. And cleaning? I busted my butt for two hours today, only to feel terrible later, and not really seeing much for the work I did. I struggle to think of the good things I did right at the end of the day, because the things I know I'm doing wrong feel like they're tipping the scales in a big way. So, I repeat the things I can be proud of like a mantra.

I am not a bad mom, I fed him, bathed him, and brushed his teeth. We left the house to ride his trike and chase squirrels at the park. I made dinner AND banana bread. I kissed every owie, real or imagined, and I didn't yell more than.... 3 times, and I only cried once. Today, that has to be enough.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Inspiration: A departure from the norm, but still inspiring.

"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

Conan O'Brian

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Food Friday: Cheesy Broccoli Soup

This is a recipe I tried and modified last weekend in cooler weather. The original is here. I modified it because I thought it was too thick and because we have an onion allergy in our house. It is incredibly filling and just right on a chilly day.

1/2 cup carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups milk
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
3 cups shredded cheese
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, cooked, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste

COOK and stir carrots in butter in 2-qt. saucepan on medium-high heat until carrots soften a little. Stir in flour.

ADD milk and cream cheese; cook on medium heat until cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently.

STIR in remaining ingredients; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

This would be great with some foccacia bread. I sort of wish I had some right now. Topped with saltines and some extra cheese is pretty nice, though. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We Made it Monday: Our Collaboration

Yup, we're having another one.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sunday Inspiration: Miracles

For every mountain, there is a miracle.

Robert H. Schuller

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Little Bit Closer to Super

Someone called me a Supermom the other day. My immediate response was "well, that's laughable." My mind flew to my undone dishes, the shower gone unscrubbed, the floors unvacuumed and the laundry unlaundered. I felt very un-super.

So I tried (really, really hard) to think of the things I do right. It was really, really hard, at first. Then I started to rememeber. I got down on the floor and played with the Hot Wheels when I felt really lousy. I stayed patient when Stinky got off the couch for the 26th time during quiet time. I squeezed him and told him that I loved him a bajillion times a day. I covered 3 different shifts at preschool in the last two months, and I only said one bad word when I fell chasing him through the mud at a park when he ran away. I felt a little bit closer to super, because being a mom isn't only about the dishes, shower, floors, or laundry. My son won't ever know at three years old he had to leave the house with one dirty sock and one clean sock, but I think (I hope) he'll remember that we played with the Trick Tracks until we managed to land one car in the basket- and then did it for another twenty minutes. I hope he'll remember that we laugh, and that we adore his little guts.

It's too easy to see our own faults, to compare our worst to what we perceive as someone else's normal - when it's probably their 'public best'. We're doing both ourselves and that other, seemingly perfect, mother a disservice when we do that. Some nights I lay in bed, reviewing all the mistakes I made during the day. I berate myself for raising my voice, or discovering that the forgotten clothes have been in the washer for a day too long. I tally the time he's spent watching TV while I read blogs, and declare myself the Lex Luthor of all mothers. No wonder I have insomnia!

So, I think from now on, I'll try to think of the things I've done right during the day. Maybe by looking for the good in myself, the way I try to look for it in others, will get that much closer to thinking I could live up to the title of Supermom. I think by believing myself capable of that, I might just achieve it. I can almost see my cape now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Made it Monday: Still Nothing to Show

I really have been working on something, but it's not ready to show just yet. I'm really excited to show you.

Today, though, I'm off for a day of scrapbooking with my adorable sister-in-law. She's started doing it recently, and we have similar tastes in style and supplies. I'll try to post some pictures of recently-done pages tonight. Hope you're having a great day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sunday Inspiration

We don't always know the details of our future. We do not know what lies ahead. We live in a time of uncertainty. We are surrounded by challenges on all sides. Occasionally discouragement may sneak into our day; frustration may invite itself into our thinking; doubt might enter about the value of our work. In these dark moments Satan whispers in our ears that we will never be able to succeed, that the price isn't worth the effort, and that our small part will never make a difference. He, the father of all lies, will try to prevent us from seeing the end from the beginning.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Made it Monday: Nothing

There comes a time after the Christmas rush to make presents, while WBH is still home on vacation, when my hands need to rest and reprioritize. It's something to do with the transition from crafts I'm compelled to make to crafts I can choose to make.

Both WBH and I have a couple of good projects in the works. I'm excited to share more, but later on.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sunday Inspiration- yes, I know it's long.

In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.

Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.

David Bednar

Friday, January 1, 2010

Food Friday: Homemade Moose Munch

Everytime we walk into Costco, the boxes of Moose Munch tease me. The overpriced popcorn in the tiny boxes smirks at me every time I walk past, no kidding. For New Year's Eve, I decided to laugh in the face of temptation- and make my own.

First, you'll want to pop a big bowl of popcorn (yup, I had a picture. It looked weird. You know what a bowl of popcorn looks like).
Second, gather your fixings. I love that word, fixings. Last night, we used cranberry, rice cereal, and almonds. We've also tried a combination of milk chocolate, marshmallows, and pretzels. Whatever sounds good to you is what you should use.
Layer all ingredients on waxed paper, or freezer paper. Look how pretty it is.

Melt one cup of white chocolate chips in the microwave - stir every 30 seconds, and watch so that the bottom doesn't burn. Drizzle it with a spoon over the mixture. I like a scribbly-sideways maneuver, it's fun, but wear an apron.

Use the paper to pour it all into the bowl. Stir a little to evenly spread the chocolate. Pop it into your fridge to set for about 15 minutes.
Try to share nicely, and good luck with that!