Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adventures in D'oh!

Mommy Musings
I am an alright cook. I'm not awesome; no one's asking me to star in my own show or anything, but I typically get good responses to what I do. I'm alright. One thing (among many) that I am not good at is baking. My success in baking pretty much begins and ends with Toll House break-away cookie squares - and sometimes I mess those up, too. I have thus decided to begin a journey. I plan to teach myself to bake and will chronicle this journey in posts entitled "Adventures in D'oh!" (Get it? Dough and Homer Simpson's expletive "D'oh"? Anyway . . .)

I begin this adventure, in keeping with my habit of being ever overly ambitious, by choosing a recipe I saw in a post by fudge ripple for homemade Ding-Dongs. This recipe calls for making devil's food cake, a fluffy filling and a chocolate ganache. Yes, that is 3 separate recipes - all from scratch. Formidable, right? Oh wait, there's more. I decided to make all of this for the Small Group from church that meets at my house on Wednesday nights. No time for a trial run. All done in one day while juggling a 4 month old and allowing time for clean-up, oh, and to make a double batch of chili, all before ppl start showing up around 6:15pm. Yes, I am an idiot.

#1 Lesson Learned: Use appropriate equipment.
I tried to skate buy by using a smaller sheet pan than suggested which made the cake have to cook twice as long as the recipe called for and also made the cake twice as thick as I needed it - which led to a deluge of issues. *sigh*
I also did not have access to a cookie cutter (though I went both to Wal-mart and to my grocery store, neither of which had a simple cookie cutter. Is it really that difficult, people?) As my friend, Kasey suggested, I could have used a glass to cut the pieces out, but I wanted more bite-sized confections that would be easy for people to just pop into their mouths. I therefore decided to use a plastic toothpick container, which cracked and broke after I used it a few times. *sigh*

#2 Lesson Learned: Adjust the mixer speed when adding ingredients.
At one point I was supposed to alternate adding dry and liquid ingredients to my mixer. I added the dry ingredients and got a cloud of cocoa powder, sugar, flour, etc. coating me and everything else within a 3' radius. I added the liquid ingredients and thus added a mixture of milk and chocolate/coffee splatters to the same surfaces. How about turning down the speed of the mixer when adding ingredients, huh? Slow down, speedy! I would like to say I learned my lesson after the first time I added the ingredients. No, it took me a few times before I figured out the solution to my problem. I know you're shaking your head at me. Its justified.

#3 Lesson Learned: Clean as you go . . .
or get a bigger kitchen with triplicates of all utensils and appliances . . . or hire a dish-washer. I was constantly needing the very measuring cup or bowl that I had just submerged in chocolaty water.

What a mess! It was all over the kitchen, it was all over me, it was all over Juniper. (No, mom. I did not feed my baby chocolate. I apparently had ganache on my shirt that I hadn't licked cleaned off before I picked her up from her nap.)

Now, if Juniper were old enough to eat chocolate, right about here I would add adorable pictures of her licking chocolate off of a spoon. But seeing as she is still to young, you will have to settle for adorable pictures of me:

Since chocolate was EVERYWHERE, I did have to lick clean the camera off after taking this picture.

Here is what fudge ripple's Ding-Dongs looked like:

And here are my messy results *sigh*:

Ganache is hard to handle, dang it! I guess this could lead to my #4 Lesson Learned: Follow the suggestions in the recipe.
She told me to use a spatula heated over a flame to smooth the ganache. I used a cold knife and my fingers. D'oh!

And finally . . .
#5 Lesson Learned: Presentation is everything.
If I had just left them looking like little turds on a plate, no one would have eaten them. However, wrap them in foil - no matter how poorly wrapped - and they become little presents with a surprise inside. Added bonus, I can then blame the poor ganache job on the foil mucking it up.

The verdict: They LOVED it! See?

They ate them all!

Moment of pure embarrassment: 
I did make 2 bigger ones after my "genius" toothpick container/cookie cutter broke. At the end of the night, I found myself announcing to the entire church group, "I've got 2 large Ding-Dongs here if anybody wants 'em!" My face turned red. They all laughed. I love them. :)
*Side note: Folks even took the extra Ding-Dongs home to share with family and friends. Yes, they liked them that much! I am SO GLAD all that hard work actually produced something, not only edible, but good and well received!

Now, what do I do with the mutilated, left-over cake?

I hear you asking, "What was Juniper doing while you were whipping up a confectional flurry in the kitchen?"
Well, part of the time she was ENTHRALLED in Blue's Clues, of all things. She actually watched 2 episodes and squealed and giggled at the characters the whole time! The only time she got fussy was when the first episode ended and she needed me to start the next one.
I always feel really guilty whenever I depend on TV to babysit. At least it was educational, right?

Now, it is your turn! I am so interested to hear your baking successes/failures. Am I alone in the world of D'oh, or do others of you have the same struggles? Let me know!
If you post about it, grab the button! Yes, it is huge. I don't know how to make it smaller.
Mommy Musings

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I am a Jungle Gym

I am a jungle gym.
I am a rock wall.
My nose, ears and eye sockets are hand-holds.
My legs, bulging belly and boobs are foot-holds.
My hair is ropes from which to swing.
I am a human jungle gym.

This is what I feel like with a rambunctious infant squirming all over me. Poor girl. She can not yet move herself to all the places she constantly and so desperately wants to be! She wants everything and is discontented by it once she has finally attained it. Restless, fickle girl. But, don't I so often feel the same way?

Rashes, rashes, rashes all over my baby's body. What are they? I am currently trying to rule-out foods by switching her back to just breast milk for a while. By comparing it to pictures on-line I do not believe it is eczema. Could it be just dryness from running a heater all winter? She has been cranky lately and my mother suggested she could be itchy - which makes sense. I guess we will be making a doctor appt. tomorrow. Arg.
Last time I took her in before her scheduled check-up bc I feared she had acid reflux I felt that they were all treating me like the overreacting mother that brings her baby in after every sneeze. But maybe it was just in my head - how they were treating me, not the acid reflux (though that may have been all in my head, as well.)

Last night I composed an entire post while lying in bed. I remember it was funny . . . but that is all I remember of it. However, I did have a dream that an ex-boyfriend of mine gained 400lbs and was crying bc he had moobs. I was trying to console him by saying that I had gained a lot of weight, too and we can find a way for us to lose weight. I think it was my subconscious's way of making me feel better about my weight-gain. It worked. But it's not true. He hasn't gained much weight . . . dang it.

And now for a little levity:
Here is Juniper having fun in her new highchair . . . and then deciding she is so over it.

I don't know why the video uploaded so pixelly. I'll figure it out next time. This time it took me over an hour to just figure out how (through trial and error) to post a video on here. I finally broke down and uploaded my very first video to YouTube. I'm one of the cool kids, now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Wanna Read It!

I was made aware of a recent book called Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein. How interesting, right? It discusses many things from ridiculous medieval tactics to the source of some of our modern day practices to the varying and sometimes polar opposite views of "feminists" concerning the rights of the mother through the ages. This has now moved to the top of my "To Read" list - a depressingly long list. I recommend checking out a review by Jade Keller and then listening to or reading the NPR interview with Epstein. I would love to have others join me in reading it. Any takers?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Delicious Demise

So, I'll give you a guess as to what my husband gave me for Valentine's Day. Go on, guess (see previous post for a hint) . . .

If you said Thin Mints, then DING DING DING you're correct! Give yourself a pat on the back. There, now don't you feel good?

Good, because I don't. Oh, he knows me well, but not well enough to keep those things away from me! I do SO LOVE them. Which is why I cannot have them. The fact that I can eat an entire box myself while watching a single episode of The Office is a source for self-loathing.

Oh, Thin Mints. My delicious demise.

And yes, Kat, they (or what is left of them due to some serious self-control) are residing in my freezer. Is there any other way? :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear So and So . . .

Dear So and So...

Dear Sleeping Baby,

I am conflicted. I am always so relieved that you are sleeping and I have a few moments to myself. But at the same time I miss you and want to give you hugs. I check on you every few minutes because I love you and want to make sure you are safe and I have to fight the urge to pick you up and smother you with kisses.
I know that your naps make you a much happier baby. I am so proud of you for going to sleep even when you are not yet falling asleep in my arms and also for soothing yourself back to sleep when those unnecessarily loud pick-up trucks and motorcycles go by our house. I am considering going outside and throwing rocks at them the next time.
I love you. Keep breathing.

- Mommy of a Rested Baby
Dear "."

 Well, hello again. I did not miss you during your 13 month hiatus and I am not happy to see that you have returned - with a vengeance! The headaches, soar tummy, achy muscles, lethargy and need for chocolate that you bring are not welcome. I guess I do appreciate the fact that you are a part of a functioning reproductive system that produced my precious baby. Whatever.

- Crabby Cramper
Dear Girl Scouts,

Yes, if propositioned I will buy several boxes of Thin Mints. No, I do not need them nor do I really have the money to waste on those delicious boxes of cellulite that I will no doubt consume on my own. I am in a vulnerable state (see above letter.) Please stay away.

- Weak-Willed Woman
Dear Stretch Marks,

You will no longer be labeled as "Stretch Marks." From now on you will be known as "Tiger Stripes." RAWRRR!!!

- A Mommy Re-Purposing Her Skin as Fashionable Body-Art

Dear Winter Weather,

How I wished for you while growing up in Daytona Beach, FL. As I child I would have loved to frolic in your snow, make snow men, snow ball fights, ice skating, suck on icicles, catch your flakes on my tongue, sled, stick my tongue on a metal pole, avoid yellow snow, etc. That was back when days were empty of responsibility and filled with whimsy.
Now, a body's got places to be - things to achieve. I do not mean to sound like a grump. I did so enjoy you during your first visit . . . and some on your second. You were so pretty and such a wonder at our mountain home. I love dawning my winter coats and hand-made scarves and hats. But you are becoming down-right inconvenient and dangerous. You ice our drive-way and the mountain road on which we live. You cancel activities I have been looking forward to and you make the grocery store a mad-house. My heating bills are ridiculous as a Florida girl is not used to these temperatures. And I have a serious case of cabin fever.
You have been pretty, but it is time to go away.

- A Serious Humbug
Dear Husband,

I am so happy that 3 years ago I let you marry me - and you let me marry you back. I knew you would be a great husband and father, but to experience that daily is truly a blessing. You are patient and forgiving, hard-working and devoted, loving and understanding and I LOVE you!
I thought I would be disappointed if our baby began looking more like you than me, but I have to say, you make one beautiful baby! (Let's make more.)
Happy Valentine's Day!!!

- Your Lucky Wife
Dear Readers,

Thank you for taking an interest! Check out Kat's website for more "Dear So and So"s.

- Linzi

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Round of Applause!!!

I would like to commend my daughter, Juniper on a very successful day!
Today she:
  • ate and loved rice cereal mixed with peas. I told my doctor that she shows an interest in eating food, but doesn't seem to like the taste of the rice cereal. I believed that she likely found it bland after the various flavors she discovered through breast milk. He recommended mixing in a little bit of pureed veggies with the rice cereal. So, I put together her new high chair (hurray!), and placed Juniper in it while I fixed her cereal. She had so much fun smearing her hands across the tray and watching me from a decent height. I think she also really enjoyed sitting up (I've tried to put her in one of those Bumbo chairs several times but she hates it!) I mixed some cereal with breast milk and peas, bibbed the baby and sat down to try it out. She was not immediately accepting to the spoon. I guess she has recalled being scorned by it's previous bland food. But, when I got a little into her mouth, she of course made that baby "Ick! This is a new flavor!" face, but then began grabbing for the spoon making "Mmmm" noises. Hey, Mikey! She likes it! She ate like a pro - big spoonfuls! When I would let her play with the spoon she knew exactly what to do with it. The rubber end goes in the mouth. Smart girl! She was tired and began sucking her thumb, but would then remove it in order to receive more spoonfuls. I cannot believe she ate so well! My baby is a genius. When her head began to droop onto the tray, I wiped her up and put her to bed . . . which brings me to the next great thing she has been doing today.
  • She has been going to sleep so well once I lay her down! Sometimes I have been laying her down when I am more ready for her to go to sleep than she is, but she just conks out. I turn on her fan and a CD and place her in her bed. She fusses a little while she can still see me, but as soon as I am out of sight her thumb goes in her mouth. Even if she doesn't go straight to sleep she at least gets quiet and she is asleep within 3-5minutes. I know that babies' sleeping habits go through many changes. I feel like Juniper is a different sleeper every 2 weeks or so. Therefore, I am cherishing this phase for every blissful second of peace it is worth!
  • She has been much more content to play on her own. She enjoys her play mat or play saucer for 15-20minutes at a time. Today I even flipped on a kid's educational show (similar to Baby Einsteins) and she had a blast watching it. She was flailing her arms in response to the characters and talking back to them. As much as my sanity would love to just plop her down in front of a video several times a day, my conscience won't let me. It is just good to know that when I am at my wit's end it is an option. 
This is not a very well structured or thought through post, but I just wanted to get a few of these milestones down while I have a moment to myself. The purpose of this blog began as an electronic baby book as I am terrible at filling in the precious one that is collecting dust on my night stand. I would hate to ever lose these memories. I figure one good fire could destroy her baby book but the internet will likely last forever, ever, ever, ever (echo effect.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

This Constitutes a "Not Me Monday"

The other day I made some roasted butternut squash for a recipe. Yummy, right? I roasted twice as much squash as the recipe called for and so had the brilliant idea to use it to make some homemade baby food! I'm so trendy. The blender was not really cutting it, so at this point I would never use a rubber spatula to help feed the squash into the blade. Because if I did, the blade would cut up the spatula into tiny bits and then incorporate those rubber bits into the mushed squash rendering it inedible. Who would be so stupid as to do that? Not Me!

While doing a little cleaning-out of my car I discovered a dirty diaper on the dash behind the back seat. It must have been there for over a month - maybe two. Now who would have put a dirty diaper there and then left it? Not Me!

Who is neglecting a fussing baby while writing this blog? Not Me!


Blog Template by
Sponsored by Free Web Space

Web Analytics