I like to highlight guest bloggers who bring delicious food to the table. If they have a different culinary viewpoint than mine, even better. One post, Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese fit both the delicious and different boxes. I am ecstatic to have another great post from Diana who writes at Food N Thought Peddler....
I'm excited to be a guest blogger again, thank you, Pat, for inviting me.
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In honor of Mother’s Day, enjoy these illustrative examples of “the joys of motherhood”. Just because my son could’ve been any and all of those little terrors, plus he came up with his own number of adventures. Other side effects of motherhood may include: heart palpitations, sudden onset of dizziness, insomnia, mood changes, and one intense […]
Some life events tend to create sweet memories, no matter how horrible they may look at the time. Your child’s mischievous happenings are one of them. Since it’s the kid’s birthday week and Mother’s Day on Sunday, I went down a “sweet” memory lane, and here are the most memorable episodes of my son’s childhood, viewed through a prism of many years removed and, thus, sweet rather than horrifying.
This earliest memory of mischief doesn’t involve him to the full extent, but only due to his infancy age, and, therefore, not able to really misbehave yet, but it does involve his father. Early Sunday morning, I awoke to the usual feeding and changing routine, but this time, the ever squirmy baby got himself dirty all over and needed to be bathed and changed into clean clothes. Being that my son showed his “royal” character even in early age (aka “royal pain in *** and according to his Imperial name), he’d only “agree” to be bathed in a kitchen sink, totally submerged into water so only his head would stick out ( you’d have to support his head with one hand and manage to soap and bathe him with the other, and mind you, I became a pro at that ) So, as I tried to clean up his changing table (note the “squirmy” baby mentioned earlier), I woke up the Emperor’s dad and put him on a bathing duty, in the kitchen, where all baby bathing happened in our house. And, please mind you, that the father was a pro of a different character, he was a master in dirty pots clean-up, and was regularly asked to wash all the pots and pans left after cooking. Do you know where this is going? I come into the kitchen to find a sleep-deprived new dad, with his eyes only half-open lathering the baby up with dishwashing soap and having a Brillo pad in his hand getting ready to scrub the “dirtiest” pot he ever had to clean. And, yes, the baby survived, so did the father
The little terror managed to score quite a few “Dennis The Menace” moments once he started crawling (at 6 months) and then walking and running (at 11 months), but his “jewel” of the baby terrors happened at 9 months of age, in the middle of winter. I was home during the afternoon, making dinner for the evening and attempting to chase after my bundle of energy, who, by no means wanted to be confined to a playpen and, therefore, insisted on a free roaming (that came with pretty steep charges as it turned out). The bell rang, and I stepped into the front hallway to open the door for the mailman, forgetting for a second to leave the lock open. Like a lightning strike and just a blur in my peripheral vision, the baby crossed 3 rooms in a military style “rapid descend” and closed the door right behind me. Leaving me locked out in a small cold hallway, wearing just a t-shirt and thin pants in the middle of a snowy February day. And leaving himself locked in a house with a lit oven where dinner was making. It’s hard for me to describe the sheer panic I felt at that moment that lead me to forgetting how to speak English, which didn’t happen even during the most agonizing labor pains (you know how they say that during some terrorizing or painful occasions you might spontaneously revert to your native language), that was my exact moment, I was completely speechless, in any language. It took me a while to find any neighbor who was home during the day and able to open the lock (and he did it masterfully, not even damaging it a bit, and, by the way, we were able to return the favor years later, when his wife got locked out of their house ) Yes, even as a baby, the kid was up to no good.
His toddler and pre-school years went under the premise of the “big fibbing time”, he became a mastermind for pulling the audience into believing something that’d completely contradict any common sense. Not a big sweets eater (still to this time), he loved buying the treats from the ice cream truck, just to get the thrill out of smashing the ice cream cone into the sidewalk, for example. So, at some point, I started getting strange glances from the neighbors on the block, only to find out later that he was going around during his daily strolls with the babysitter and while she’d turn away, he was asking neighbors to give him money because “we had no food in the house, and he even had to go on daily fishing trips with his grandfather just so we’d have some dinner that night”. And even though I’m still stunned at how quickly adults tend to believe some 3 year-old’s stories, my only concern was to avoid having a Children Services worker at our door one day.
The next story happened during one of the hottest day in July, when the mailman rang the bell yet again (I never left the door unattended from that February day on by the way), and I was out in the hallway signing for packages and getting mail. Out comes my master mind manipulator wearing his winter coat, rain boots and trying to blow his nose into a whole roll of paper towels. He opened his mouth and started complaining that “these people keep the house so cold with no working heat that he is constantly sick and has to wear winter clothes and boots even inside”. It must’ve been a REALLY hot day, as the mailman was purely over-heated and not thinking clearly when he started giving the sympathetic eye to the kid and the “evil” glances toward me (actually, it should’ve been the opposite). Yet again, I was praying there won’t be an open ACS case on us.
Thus run the sweetest memories of the years gone. We’ve had a lot more happenings before, after, and in-between, broken table lamps, fingers stuck into door locks, heads put through the next door fence, numerous appearances in the school Principal’s office, but as the stress of having to deal with the terrifying incidents fade, the sweet heart pangs for his earliest memories intensify leaving you even more nostalgic to sink back into the childhood of a boy who is now on a verge of becoming a man.
What’s Cooking This Week
Sweet memories definitely require something sweet and buttery, but with a twist, preferably a twist of liquor, as this is a sure way to cope with any little terrors in a house. Pound cake could fulfill all the requirements on any given day, a cognac addition will make your memories sweetest out of them all.
Not Your Mom’s Pound Cake
1 box of gluten free pound cake mix ( I recommend 1-2-3 Gluten Free) or wheat pound cake mix or regular cake mix (white or yellow)
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cups of cognac
1/2 cup of apple cider
For The Glaze:
1/2 cup of melted chocolate bar or chocolate chips
2 Tbspoons of melted refined coconut oil or canola oil
Pre-heat oven to 325. Start by mixing together cake mix and the shortening, add eggs, one by one, and then incorporate the liquids. Spray a bundt pan with oil spray and pour the batter in, bake for 1-1 hour 15 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Place a plate under the cake and invert the pan leaving the cake upright, let if cool off for a few minutes.
For the glaze, combine melted chocolate and coconut (canola) oil, drizzle or pour it over the cake while it’s still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar. I wouldn’t blame you if you decide to have it with cognac rather than a cup of tea Enjoy!
Fifteen years ago a new man has entered my life.
With a very royal name, and a matching attitude.
Since then, my life has been increasingly complicated
and just so much brighter!
Worshiped by parents, two sets of adoring grandparents and one star-struck great-grandmother.
Otherwise known by his common name as Gus
Born on May 8, 1997 at 2:27 am
6 lbs 13 oz, 19 1/2 inch
A pure bundle of never-ending baby energy and a matching sunny personality
You’re my breath of fresh air, along with aches and pains and teenage mood swings! You’re my hopes and dreams, and more headaches in the future! You’re my morning kisses and sleepless nights, and extra worries to come! You’re my one and only!
I love you baby boy!
What’s Cooking On His Birthday
Speaking of Caesar Augustus, Caesar salad is my son’s favorite, mine was too, back when I was still eating gluten and dairy. So I was very excited when I found a recipe for a homemade Caesar dressing that could satisfy us both. And I’m skipping anchovies this time to substitute them with bacon bits, same saltness, more delight from the birthday boy. Also I’m making my own gluten free croutons, but of course, you can have regular store-bought croutons.
Homemade Caesar Salad (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy Free)
1 cup soy free Vegenaise mayo dressing
1 tbspoon of fresh garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 tspoons Dijon mustard
2 tbspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce (gluten free)
black pepper, sea salt to taste
2 cups of romaine lettuce
1/4 cup bacon bits
2 slices gluten free bread (I used Udi’s whole grain) or regular wheat bread
dry herbs blend
For the dressing, combine all ingredients, add salt and pepper as desired and blend in a food processor (I used Magic Bullet). Cut bread slices into small cubes, spray with oil spray and toss with herbs blend, lay out on a baking sheet and toast till golden brown turning them if necessary to toast evenly.
Break lettuce leaves into smaller pieces, mix in bacon bits and pour the dressing over. Garnish with homemade croutons. Enjoy!
At this time fifteen years ago we were happily anticipating the arrival of a beautiful Italian crib, and even more so, we were ecstatic that the crib will get its new occupant, a much-awaited baby boy.
They both arrived at the same time, in early May, and the occupant took full control and possession of the crib exercising his true rights through drooling, biting, shaking, banging, climbing and using various other crib-torture excercises till the sturdy baby furniture pleaded its case and said “Please save me!”. Since the crib earned its “military stripes”, it went on to house three well-mannered girls, none of each were as brutal as the original owner, till it honorably retired in crib heaven, probably still shuddering from the nightmarish memories of baby boy’s “intense love”
The 3 year-old boy then got his hands on a no less beautiful cream-colored Twin bed and explored some other furniture-testing techniques, such as jumping, throwing, stabbing and mattress surfing. The more mature soul of the twin bed was bravely hanging on till the boy was in grade school and then had to give way to its similar counterpart. Until even that became “intensely loved” and just generally small for the now 6 feet tall 14 year-old.
Thus came the task of finding an appropriate bed to satisfy the standards of both the teen and his mother. We searched high and low (and diagonally too ) The grandparents pitched in with the extra financial “cushion” to give the teen the desired choice of a bedded bliss. The salesmen tried to convince the mother that getting a Queen size is much more “economical” than getting a Full bed, as it’s only 6 inches wider and not much more expensive. But the mother was holding her fort strong thinking that she’d not want to comfortably “accommodate” two in her teen’s bed (not that it’d make or break the decision if such choice becomes on the teen’s horizon), but no queens or even princesses should feel too welcomed in either Queen or Full bed, especially when the mother is not home to screen and monitor what her grown ”jumping on a bed monkey” is up to
Therefore, a Full bed found a home in the teen’s bedroom, complete with a leather headboard and plenty of drawers to hold dirty socks and chewed up gum.
And, no, the mother is not changing the teen’s whole furniture set to leather and dark wood. He can do it himself in his own place with his first salary!
What’s Cooking This Week
Since we’re on a “please the kid” kind of theme this week, let’s indulge him even more by making his favorite dish! There are a few things I keep in a freezer, in case of “food emergencies”, when the ugly teen hormones raise their heads, and there’s nothing else that looks satisfactory to a 14 year-old. Bacon is always at the top of a list and can be consumed in massive quantities unless hidden, like behind a bag of frozen peas. Usually it can stay there fairly unnoticed, but somehow this time, I was totally busted. Another kid’s favorite is tiny Russian dumplings called “pelmeni”.
They are meat-filled dumplings wrapped in a thin layer of dough, my son’s favorite is veal with spices. If you’re ever near any Russian store, they are in a freezer section, give them a try, you might like them! And if you don’t have any, small Chinese dumplings would work too. So, to please the kid, I’m combining “pelmeni” with bacon in a sour cream sauce (what could be more Russian than sour cream?!) and adding some fresh baby spinach just because he still needs to have some other food groups besides fat, meat and dough
Pelmeni In A Creamy Garlic Sauce
6 slices of bacon, cut
1 cup fresh baby spinach
4 tbspoons of sour cream
1 garlic clove
salt, pepper, spices
fresh herbs, chopped
Put a pot with water to boil, add pelmeni once the water is boiling and cook them until just about done (10-15 minutes or sooner if you see that the dough becomes too soft). While they are boiling, cook the bacon bits until half-done. Reserve about 1/4 cup of water from the boiled pelmeni, drain the rest. Add them to the frying pan with bacon and fry them all for a couple of minutes, then add reserved water, a garlic clove pressed through a garlic press, all the spices you want and sour cream. Mix it all well (add more water and/or sour cream if you want more sauce or creamier one), bring it to a boil and add fresh spinach, cook for about 1-2 minutes as not to over-cook the spinach. Garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy! The kid sure did