Category Archives: Tasty

“From Scratch” Ain’t Always Worth It

I know.  It’s a stunner.  I’m a total DIY girl, but I have realized today that somethings are just not worth DIY-ing.  Is that a word?  (Dang you, Pinterest, for nourishing my fevered desire to do it myself.)  Certainly, there are things that I don’t really want to do myself…like, folding socks, for example.  I don’t mind it when they all match, but they never do.  It’s disheartening.  That said, I undertook 3 mini research projects with DIY potential this morning, which may or may not have been fueled by weird pregnancy cravings.

I love crispy puffed rice cereal, sourdough bread, and yogurt.  Not so much together, but individually, they’re awesome.  Kind of like caramel corn and broccoli with cheese sauce.

Last night, the combination of watching my hubs make popcorn in our hot air popper and realizing that the only cereal we have in the house is Cheerios (which are great, but I’m just not feeling them right now), made me wonder if said air popper had more than one application.  Corn is a grain…rice is a grain…you see where I was going with this, right?  It won’t work, unless you happen to have rice that still has its outer husky shell thing attached in your pantry.  I do not.  I found some recipes that swore that you could fry cooked sushi rice and it would be kind of like the real thing, but it ain’t worth it.  I don’t fry things for a couple of reasons.

  1. I like my eyebrows where they are, thanks.
  2. My tummy doesn’t like fried or greasy things.  Not even doughnuts.  It’s sad, but what are you gonna do?

I have come to the sad conclusion that it ain’t worth puffing rice from scratch.  Which means that a trip to the grocery store is likely in order, unless I start craving Cream of Wheat sometime soon.

My hubs brought a loaf of sourdough bread home for our little date night on Monday.  I never remember how much I like sourdough bread until it’s been a year since I’ve had any.  Even though I can’t puff rice, bread is totally within my realm of capability.  I make it quite often.  This lead me to check out exactly how to start a, well, starter.  I have found about 30,000 conflicting recipes and techniques and I’ve only just begun to sift through them.  I called my grandma this morning to ask her how, and completely forgot when we started chatting.  It was awesome, but I remembered an hour later that I completely missed that proverbial boat and I’m going to have to call her back later.  My sister did that Amish friendship bread thing for awhile when we were kids, and that used a starter, so I can probably ask her, too.  The thing that I have come to realize is that a starter is like a pet.  For real.  You have to feed it every day, keep it in an ideal climate, and possibly talk to it to make sure it isn’t lonely.  Do I really want to undertake the responsibility of caring for a colony of wild yeast bacteria?  I’m still on the fence about this one.  I do love kitchen science, so maybe it’ll be a go.

My last “I really want” was yogurt.  Yogurt has turned out to be the only foolproof way of getting Toddler to consistently do dairy.  He doesn’t believe in drinking milk unless it has been flavored by Cheerios and is drunk by the spoonful.  It is a time-consuming and messy process, particularly now that he’s also into DIY.  With Momma.  One of the things I’ve come to discover about maintaining my blood sugar levels is that I can’t do dairy.  Well, I can do cheese, butter and small (1/4 cup) amounts of carb-smart ice cream, but that’s it.  I’ve switched to almond milk for the rest of my milky needs, but I can’t find almond milk yogurt anywhere.  I know it exists…just not where I can get it without paying an arm, a leg, and possibly a bit of my soul into the bargain.  It just isn’t worth it.  And then I got an e-mail about a DIY yogurt machine on sale.  (Dang you, Amazon, for nourishing my fevered desire to do it myself.)  I read reviews, recipes, researched (you guessed it) yogurt starters, different ways to make it with almonds, etectera ad nauseum.  I’ve gotta say…it’s tempting.  Like, a lot.  My kiddies go through a metric butt-ton of the stuff, so it’d by nice to be able to control what goes into it.  (I have issues.)  And if I could make my non-dairy non-soy (allergies…what are you gonna do?) version into the bargain, that’d be great, too.  Right?  I can take care of two bacteria colonies!  What are a few billion more mouths to feed?

Or, perhaps, I should just buy a loaf of sourdough bread when the itch is really strong and continue to live without yogurt in my life.  Need is a vacuous concept, after all.

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Laundry…the Never-Ending Story

My Never-Ending Story

When I was a kid daydreaming about fighting battles, they usually took place in Narnia.  And I won.  A lot.  The battle I wage today (and every day of my adult life) is against laundry.  Unlike fighting against the White Witch, or against Uncle Miraz, this battle is completely futile.  I’m pretty sure I’m never going to win, and I’m (mostly) okay with that.

I just wish I could exterminate my Creepy Crawly Sock Monster once and for all.  Because of his insatiable and varied appetite, I currently have thirteen widowed socks living in my dryer.  Seriously.  I’m thinking of starting a Lonely Socks Club.  Our motto could be “Clean, single, and looking for a mate.”  Are you a grey sock with chartreuse stars sized 12-24 months?  We may have someone just for you!

I did nine loads of laundry this weekend.  I wasn’t particularly behind or anything when I started that evolution, but yesterday was Sheets Day, which always takes longer than I think that it’s going to take…for a couple of reasons.

In the first place, Oldest sleeps with about six blankets and at least five large stuffed animals, along with his sheets, pillowcase and pillow.  When I do the whole kit and kaboodle, his bed usually adds up to a little more than two loads all by itself. The rest of his third load was comprised of the sheets and pillowcases from my bed.  Yesterday was also Down Day, where my comforter and pillows each got their own respective loads…and because they are delicate creatures, the drying process is massively extended.  Like a lot.  When I finished those five (?!!) loads, I took one look at the growing pile of laundry and decided to wait on the babies’ bedclothes until I was able to carve a sizable dent in Mount Washmore.  And then I looked at the clock and realized with mounting dread that Mound Washmore wasn’t getting carved anymore that day.

Have I mentioned that typically I do at least one load of laundry every day of the week?  Because in my house, if you miss a day of laundry, you’re suddenly a week behind.  Anyway.

When I started back up this afternoon, the prospect wasn’t too grim.  And then I realized that sorting had to happen.  I had a load that contained nothing but two jersey maternity dresses and a maxi skirt, because apparently, they are the only clothes I have in those colors and with that particular set of fabric care instructions.  I had a load of mostly reds and another of mostly whites or whitish garments.  Normally, they’d have gone in together and I’d have used one of those cool little color catcher sheet thingies, but these reds were mostly new and I didn’t want to risk turning the whites pink.  I keep telling my husband that pink is just light red, but he doesn’t buy it.  The ninth load was the normal accumulation of clothing for Saturday, plus the green-tinged clothes from Grass Day.

I got everything folded/hung and put away after dinner and was about to indulge in a happy dance…when I looked in the corner by the washing machine and found a towel that somehow missed its load.

And then discovered a trail of tiny shorts and T-shirts leading to the bathroom, where two happy babies splashed in the tub.

And then found a heap of dirties in Oldest’s room after he got ready for bed.

And then I treated a stain or two on my husband’s shirt and mine.  (Newest Baby always gets spots in the same place…whether I’m wearing an apron to protect us or not.  Poor guy.  Poor Momma.)

Missed it by that much.  At least the first load for tomorrow is pretty much ready to go.

And I totally earned the No-Bake Lime Cheesecake from Nikki at Chef in Training that I made as a reward for myself tonight.  You should really check it out.  I saw her post yesterday on Facebook, and the picture alone was scrumptious enough to have me dreaming about it throughout my entire epic laundry adventure.  It’s light and fluffy instead of thick and, well, cheesy.  It’s not sickeningly sweet, either, which is my normal gripe with cheesecake.  The lime gives it a teensie push into the tart zone that is crazy awesome.  My cute little family loved it, too.  Baby cried when his bites were gone, and Hubs and Oldest brainstormed about other flavors that I should try the next time.  Like orange, cherry, raspberry, lemon and grape.  You got it, guys.

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Sweet Dreams are Made of…Bread

I need carbs.  There.  I said it.

There was a brief moment in time about eight hundred years ago where, for some misbegotten reason, I agreed to do Atkins with a friend to help keep her motivated.  For two weeks of my life, I couldn’t think.  I became a mental zombie.  When you rely on your brain as much as I do, this is a huge problem.  These days, I try to keep my carb intake higher on the complex side and pretty low on the simple side.  (What can I say?  Christmas cookies happen…)  Voilà!  My body and my brain are both happy.

Fast-forward eight hundred years.

I may have mentioned once or twice (or twenty) times that I have gestational diabetes again with New Baby.  I may have also mentioned that I’m taking one of my last upper level classes.  These two things don’t mix so well.  My carb intake is so low that it may as well be nonexistent.  My brain is back in zombie mode.  In the past month, my fruit intake has consisted of one banana and half of an apple because of the alarmingly impressive heights my blood sugar levels reach after I ate them.  I miss fruit.  I miss bread.  And carrots.  And milk.  And my brain.

I’m writing an average of two big papers a week.  Normally, this isn’t a problem.  I may be introverted, but I have never had an issue expressing myself through pencil and paper.  (Well…Microsoft Word and my keyboard.)  However, this non-carb thing is throwing off my groove.  What should be a simple task of knocking these papers out…especially since I’m not exactly a newbie to the overall topics under discussion…is proving to be excruciatingly difficult.

Today’s writing session went something like this:

  1. Sit at desk.
  2. Scribble outline of thoughts.
  3. Erase the random “muffin” that appeared under the heading “OSI Model.”
  4. Can’t remember catchy acronym for the seven layers learned in C school, so look it up.
  5. Apparently, it’s “Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away.”
  6. Mmmmm…pizza.  Six more weeks until I can have pizza.
  7. And cake.  Because Donkey reminded Shrek that cakes have layers, too…not just the OSI model.
  8. Look!  Shiny!!
  9. Rinse and repeat.

I’m at the halfway mark for this class already.  So far, I have an A.  Here’s hoping that I can keep it that way.  And here’s hoping that the dancing PB&J sandwiches have the decency to stay out of my dreams tonight ’cause that was just plain mean.

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Writing in Circles

So, my big writing project today was (supposed to be) completing this week’s discussion board post.  I wanted to submit that as early as possible so I could spend maximum time writing my paper.

I should have done the paper.

The assignment sounds simple.  Normally, I’d be all about explaining the “why” of something.  But, the way the assignment was phrased, it is so vague that I have been writing for at least 6 hours total and have no idea what I’m saying at this point.  So, during my insulin shot tonight, I decided that it was time to put the brakes on this project and e-mail my professor for clarification.  A girl only has so many hours anyway, and I feel like I’ve totally wasted the ones I’ve put in so far.

Speaking of insulin, it seems to be helping quite a bit.  *Knock on coconut.*  I had some weird numbers today, but my doctor is happy overall with the way they’ve looked since we started shots.  Yay!  The bad news is that I’m really craving my Grammy’s lemon meringue pie with ice-cold milk…and the closest I’m going to get to that is sugar-free lemon instant pudding a couple of tablespoons a couple of bites at a time unless I can figure out how to make it with almond milk.  Do you think lemons and almonds go together?  I’m on the fence about it.  I can’t tell if it sounds good because I’m pregnant or not.  It could be worse…I could be craving chocolate cake with ketchup or broccoli and cheese with caramel corn.

New Baby is already performing above average.  His estimated weight at this point of the game puts him in the 87th percentile.  Seriously, he weighs nearly as much at this point as I did when I was born.  We still have a little way to go, so…ouch.

I think it’s time to go lie down and read a book until I fall asleep so I don’t keep obsessively checking my e-mail every five minutes to see if my professor has responded yet.

I couldn’t help myself.  I just checked.  He hasn’t.

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Monday Musings

  1. Pounding out chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer (a.k.a. “The Persuader” à la Chef Anne Burrell) is amazingly therapeutic.  Watch out for your fingers, though.  Just saying…
  2. Making your own granola bars is awesome.  Perhaps next time though, either the (sugar-free) honey content should be increased or the baking time reduced, because they are a wee bit fragile.  Still delicious, but fragile.
  3. Making your own (sugar-and-fat-free) frozen yogurt is also awesome.  I made the base last night and froze it up this morning.  This rendition is blueberry.  It has the perfect balance of tang and sweetness.  Plus, you burn extra calories trying to chisel it out of the container if you forget to thaw it during dinner like I did.  Watch out for your fingers.  Just saying…
  4. I have had to journal my usage of telecommunications systems today.  Holy bandwidth.  It doesn’t feel like much, but it takes up a lot of space on paper.
  5. I can still think in binary.  After a little review, my fluency in hexadecimal returned, as did octal. Thank goodness, because that made tonight’s homework assignment much easier.  (I still prefer decimal, but binary is fun!  As is Binary Coded Decimal, a.k.a. “BCD.”)
  6. There are certain artists I tend to migrate towards when I need a mood bounce.  Rascal Flatts is hitting the spot tonight.  They may be a boy band, but dude.  I heart their harmony and sheer rockingness so much.  Did I mention their harmony makes me happy?  Their rendition of “Life is a Highway” makes me bounce wherever I happen to be, which is a pretty incredible achievement considering my dwindling penchant for bouncing these pregnant days.
  7. Baby has his fifteen-month appointment tomorrow.  My fingers are crossed that he doesn’t need to get any shots.  Metaphorically crossed.  It’s really hard to type that way…
  8. I really want to go to the thrift store.  There are a couple of maternity refashions that I’m dying to try to do, but I don’t want to do it on anything that I currently have in my house.
  9. Baby loves being pushed around while sitting in his Duplos box while he makes car engine revving noises.  It is utterly adorable, as is the fact that he has learned to give kisses and hugs for real now.
  10. Oldest has discovered the awesomeness of long division.  Suffice it to say that he’s not a fan.  That’s okay…neither is Daddy.

P.S.  New Baby is dancing on my ribs.  He seems to like Rascal Flatts, too!

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“We’ll be back after these messages…”

I haven’t posted since Wednesday.  I feel kinda bad about this because I’ve been doing a fairly good job about the daily post since just before the New Year.  However, I’m giving myself a hall pass for this gap in postage.

  1. Thursday: 28-week glucose test (for gestational diabetes).  In case you don’t know what this test entails, you have to drink twelve ounces of straight orange sugary-syrup nastiness.  Remember those little barrel drinks from when we were kids?  The ones in really bright colors containing enough sugar to kid-power a small village?  Try multiplying the intensity of one of those bad boys by twelve.  It’s bad.  My symptoms ran from talking really fast to being completely unable to remain motionless to nausea.  And then when the sugar high wore off, I was left with the shakes and the queasies for the rest of the day.  Plus, I got my TDAP vaccine and they took blood from me four times.  I was completely incoherent most of the day…ergo, no post.
  2. Friday: Found out I have gestational diabetes again.  (Yay…)  Apparently, my body can’t make insulin and a baby at the same time.  I’ve never been terribly good at multitasking, so this makes a little sense.  So, I’m back to a very strict diet, testing my blood sugar four times a day (owie!) and I’m on medication.  The good thing about this is that it will (knock on coconut) go away as soon as I have my baby.  It did last time…and I’ve had no issues when I’m unpregnant.  I also had my blood drawn twice and got my RhoGAM shot to keep my Rh-negative self from developing antibodies against my potentially Rh-positive New Baby.  I was really crabby most of the day…ergo, no post.
  3. Saturday:  Bright spot of the past three days…I made almond milk ice cream tonight.  It turned out much better than I thought it would, and that makes me really happy.  I want to try a tofu-based ice cream and frozen yogurt as well…maybe I’ll whip up those bases tomorrow.  I learned that my blood sugar tends to spike a lot when I eat or drink milk products when I was pregnant with Baby, so I’m trying to stay away from dairy as much as possible from the get-go with New Baby.

Tomorrow, we should be back to your regularly scheduled programming.  In theory.

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Identity Crisis

Apparently, I’m not Wonder Woman.

I learned that much yesterday.  Oh, sure…I got a lot done.

  1. Third-trimester workout.  I heart Lindsay Brin.  I must say that squats are not particularly easy when you have a baby bump throwing off your center of gravity.  Note to self: find the first trimester DVD, which is currently MIA from my four-DVD set.
  2. Laundry.  And I even got a set-in grease stain out of one of my husband’s favorite polo shirts.  Score!  (If you’re wondering, I sprayed the spot with a little bit of Zout and then rubbed white chalk into it before running it through with the rest of a load of clothes.  Who knew, right?  Pinterest rocks!  If only I’d known about this before throwing so many clothes afflicted with melted Chapstick away…)
  3. Cleaned out the refrigerator.  I just did this the Friday before Christmas, but with a few holiday odds and ends still lingering, it needed doing again.
  4. Washed the dishes resulting from item 2.
  5. Reorganized three and a half kitchen cabinets.  The good news is that I don’t need to buy Jello for awhile.  I also got a real-life step-aerobics workout in during this evolution.  Step up, step down.
  6. Got the lids off of three McCormick spice grinders.  This was harder than it sounds…  Once I figured out a system, it went pretty quickly.  I do have a battle wound on my left palm from tweaker slippage, but it’s worth it to be able to reuse my sea salt grinder.  (For the non-techie, a tweaker is a mini screwdriver.  Mine happened to be a flat-head.  Nice and sharp.)
  7. Made my chocolate ice cream base.  I tried freezing it last night while I was making dinner, but I stopped the churn for a minute to pour the rest of the base into the bowl.  Yeah.  Won’t be doing that again.  The base went back into the fridge and the bowl went back into the freezer overnight.  However, I successfully froze it this morning.  Holy chocolatey goodness.  That’s a keeper, lemme tell you.  I need to tweak the recipe a smidge because it seems to freeze rock-solid pretty quickly…just at the bottom and sides of the bowl, which I’ve never had an issue with before.  Granted, this is only the third recipe I’ve tried, so I don’t have much in the way of reference to go by in setting a baseline for “normal” ice cream behavior.  No biggie.  It has an amazingly smooth texture and tastes like a Wendy’s original Frosty.  Except mine has crushed (low fat) Oreos to bump it up a level of awesome.  Hopefully, it’ll be a big hit after dinner tonight.
  8. Cycled Baby’s clothes from the 12-18 month size range to the 18-24/2T size range…and reminded myself that it was only temporary.  Those cute little clothes will be out again before too much longer.
  9. Made dinner.  This is a huge accomplishment because by the time dinner rolled around, I was seriously considering a fast-food run just so I’d be able to sit on the heated seats in my truck for a few minutes.

Productive day, right?  The only things I didn’t get done were shaving my legs (which is really overrated at this point in time) and writing yesterday’s blog post.  *hangs head*  In my defense, it probably would have been only a few words long and not terribly coherent.  See example below:

“Nitwit, oddment, blubber, tweak.  Thank you.”

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

(I heart Professor Dumbledore, too.)  I did learn yesterday that although one might have the mental energy to tackle a bunch of projects all at once, one should not attempt it when one is in the third trimester because one will feel like one has been hit by a semi and then dragged five rocky miles by a tractor for good measure unless one is Wonder Woman.  Which I am not.

I’m not tall enough, for one thing.

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