Friday, April 20, 2012

In the kitchen for a REAL treat!

Homemade doughnuts!!  Well, sort of.  These are actually made from canned biscuit dough.  I know!  I've never bought it before, but remember my Mom making them when I was a kid a lot.  In any case, I normally make my own bread dough, but decided to give this "recipe" a go as I was told they are super easy and totally delish.  Well, let me tell you, they are all that and more.  You simply cut out your doughnut shapes, fry in oil heated to 350 F until golden ( a minute or less a side), set on a cooling rack to cool just slightly then dip in a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze or in cinnamon sugar.  I think they really need to be eaten right away.  Once they cool they lose a bit of their texture, but when warm they taste pretty much exactly like a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut.  Seriously!


I know, Easter was a couple of weeks ago now, but things have been busy, and I wanted to post some pics as we had a really wonderful weekend.  My sister and her family came down, as did Poppa and Grandma, and we saw Joe's family too.  A weekend full of family, and it just happened it occurred on a weekend when I was celebrating a milestone birthday, so I couldn't have been happier.

My birthday was celebrated quietly, with family, just the way I like it.  It was a milestone birthday as I mentioned, and I had mixed feelings about it, as we often do as we get older.  My sweetheart certainly did his part to make it a special day though.  He gave me two dozen of these:

Along with those beauties, he gave me a special little something sparkly.  Thanks honey!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Starting fresh.

I've been quiet here lately just because it has been so busy in our lives.  The past couple of weeks have flown by in a haze of warm (even hot!) days, filled with the usual volunteering at school, ferrying the kids here and there after school, doing some spring cleaning, oh... and going on my first job interview in probably more than ten years.  Yup, I started job hunting in earnest in the new year, and let me tell you, there is not much out there, at least not in my field.  I did apply for a part time position at the hospital I used to work at way back in another lifetime, and was hopeful.  Nothing.  I didn't hear anything for a month, and then out of the blue was called a couple of weeks ago for an interview.  Thank goodness I had a weekend to prepare myself, but ask my family and they'll tell you how much fun I was that weekend.  Not much.
So, two weeks ago I went for the interview.  I actually thought it went really well, especially given how long it has been since I had a job interview.  I left hopeful.  Then heard nothing.  As the days passed, thankfully at least filled with plenty of things to do and therefore plenty of distractions, my confidence started to fail me.  Then yesterday I finally got the call I was waiting for and they offered me the position.  WOOHOO!  As I have been home for nearly seven years now, I am truly starting over.  Between now and when I officially start sometime after Easter I will be attending the hospital orientation day, completing my medical and immunization updates, and such.  The last time I attended that orientation day I was twenty-five years old.  I am starting anew in every sense.  I have had all these years at home loving being a full time Mom, but I tell you, I am excited to go back to work!  I wanted to wait until the kids were all settled in school full time which they are this year, I wanted something very part time, and hoped to be returning to work before a certain milestone birthday in a couple of weeks and it looks like I am doing all of that.  I could not be happier!  Oh yes, I am starting fresh indeed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Flour frosting... really!!

I have seen recipes for cooked flour frosting floating around the web for a while and while dubious, really wanted to give it a go.  After all, this is no new recipe; it has been around since the Depression, when butter and sugar were scarce, and it uses, comparatively speaking, much less of both than the usual buttercream recipe would do.
It's method is simple, heat a cup of milk, adding 5 tablespoons of flour; whisking constantly until it is THICK... like a pudding.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla and let it cool to room temp.  You must let it cool to room temperature before adding it to the butter mixture or you'll melt the butter.  While it is cooling, cream together one cup of butter and one cup of granulated white sugar for several minutes until much of the sugar has dissolved.  *Note that I reduced the butter to 3/4 cup and while I did not reduce the sugar, next time I would also try that at 3/4 cup.  Don't worry; the rest of the sugar will dissolve next when you add  the cool flour mixture.  Beat it like heck, and it may look like it is separating... just keep beating until it comes together again.  The finished product looks like this:

Like whipped cream.  It tastes like sweetened whipped cream, and feels like it in your mouth, all silky smooth.  I made these this afternoon, and the whole family loves them.  The rest have gone into the refrigerator, but I would think this is better at room temperature.  We'll test them out again after dinner to see.   In the meantime, cast aside your suspicions that flour could ever make a good frosting and give it a go.   Go on, you know you want too.


Monday, February 27, 2012

A sleepover party.

I have done my share of sleepover parties for the girls over the years now.  Hannah has had one every year since she turned nine, and Abby had her first last year too.  They are pretty easy, especially now the girls are getting older.  We don't do big huge ones for Hannah since her tenth birthday (remember, her tenth birthday trip?  The rule in our house is a child's tenth birthday get a trip with them, Mom, and Dad, no siblings, but also no more big parties after that).  So, Hannah has had one friend for a weekend, or this past weekend, three friends for a night.  Like any party, do as much as you can ahead of time.  Here's the sweet treats; cake, chocolate covered marshmallow pops, and cake batter chocolate bark.

I really like these smaller scale parties for a few reasons.  They are not stressful in the least for me to organize; fewer kids means the ones that are here are CLOSE friends, so there is no unknowns, no surprise arguments, etc.  Plus, you can do more stuff!  Hannah's sleepover was Friday, night, which I highly recommend, since they get little sleep, but then have the weekend to "recover".  We headed out to the bowling alley first, then came home for pizza and birthday cake.  I always try to provide some healthy stuff, so we had a huge veggie platter too, and some of them actually ate it.  Then it was birthday cake:

Seriously; LOOK at that flame.  These were super thin birthday candles, and the kids were so impatient to get to the cake they told us not to put them all over the cake, but just stick them all right in the middle so they could be lit all at once.  Um.... why Joe listened to them I'll never know, but rest assured, while this looks like we needed to call the fire department ten seconds after I snapped this pic, all was well.  Not that I'd let him do it again, mind, as Hannah seemed to think it was hilarious and leisurely made her wish while I silently prayed and the kids shrieked with laughter.  But she blew it out easily, and the cake was enjoyed by all.  Next came gifts:

Then the girls settled down in the playroom where we had a projector set up for Wii playing and movie watching.  The girls all slept downstairs in the basement guest room, which I also would definitely do again as that meant they could giggle long into the night with bothering us, plus Joe and I were able to stay up and get caught up on Grey's Anatomy while keeping an ear open for them to be sure all was well.
In the past, I always had several activities planned to keep the kids busy, but I have found as they get older they can amuse themselves.  We did have the bowling of course, which was lots of fun, and in the morning after a breakfast of sprinkle pancakes, bacon, and fruit, the girls did a second activity; making bubblegum!

Hannah got a Bubblegum making kit over the Christmas holidays, and we pulled it out for this activity.  It took about an hour all told, for the girls to mix the ingredients into the flavoured gum of their choice.  I had to be there to help as the ingredients are hard to work together and we had to frequently heat them up to soften the gum while they kneaded it like a little piece of dough.  They finished the gum by cutting it into bite sized pieces and rolling it in powdered sugar.  We bagged them up and included the gum with the girls loot bags which were filled with the homemade chocolate bark and marshmallow pops.  This was such a fun party.  Hopefully this gives folks some ideas for their next sleepover:)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Hannah is now twelve.  Twelve.  I'm not sure how this happened, since I am sure she was just born yesterday!  I looked at her this morning and had to blink back tears thinking of all the moments in her life that she has brought us such joy, and made us nearly burst with pride, made us cry with laughter and a few times out of frustration!  How lucky were we the day she came into our lives and made us a family?  Thank you sweet girl.  Have a very Happy Birthday!  My wish for you today is the same as my wish for you everyday; that you be always be this brave, this strong, this bright, and this beautiful... and that you reach for the stars my Darling, because you deserve them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, well, well.  Valentine's day is here.  I am the sentimental sort, so while Valentine's day is way down on my list of day's to celebrate, I do like to mark it by doing something a little special.  And, yes, usually with heart shaped food of some sort, at least for the kids.  Past Valentine's menus have included things like heart shaped pizza, meatloaf, pasta, cake, and cookies.  See for yourself:

Today I am making chocolate covered strawberries with some surprisingly nice looking imported berries.  It must be done; to my children it is not Valentine's Day without these.   Tonight the kids will dine on heart shaped pasta courtesy of Costco.  Joe and I will have take out as part of a little date night package I put together for the two of us.  I found the idea over on the blog EatDrinkChic,  here.  What a great idea she had so make a date night in feel fun and special:)

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!