Friday, April 22, 2016

Assault with a deadly banana

Yesterday I was making oatmeal for breakfast. The house was all quiet, as the kids hadn't gotten up yet.  I wanted a banana for my oatmeal but didn't have any fresh ones.  Just as I located one in the back of the freezer, I heard the front screen door open and some random scratching around noises. I sneaked across the kitchen with the only weapon I had in my hand: a frozen banana.  I quietly tested it by bonking myself on the head with it.  Yes, I think I could injure an intruder with this.  I peeked around the corner and saw...a bottle of peach lemonade.  And my friend pulling out of the driveway.  I lowered the banana.

The night before had been bananagrams night.  Once a month I play bananagrams with three good friends, affectionately known as the bananagirls.  One of them had brought peach lemonade for everyone.  I had to leave early (and in a rush), so I inadvertently left mine at this friend's house.  After I realized that she was just delivering it to my porch, we exchanged a few texts about how ironic it would have been if I had assaulted one of my bananagirls with, of all things, a frozen banana.  I told the kids the story and read them the texts when they got up, and we all laughed about it.

This morning, Sarah and I are home alone, sitting at the desk doing math.  All is quiet.  We hear a bang in the garage, and Sarah whispers, "Mom!  Grab the frozen banana!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Veggie burger

Did I mention I'm taking a vegan cooking class this month?  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to completely embrace that lifestyle, but I am really enjoying the class, learning about new foods and cooking techniques, and I've gotten one good recipe from each class that I want to remember.  Today I made veggie burgers for lunch.  This is something I never would have made before, but after trying one at class last night, I made my own.  It has a whole bunch of ingredients.  I didn't follow the recipe, but here's how I did mine.
In my handy dandy food processor, I whirred up 1/2 c. oatmeal and 2 T. toasted sesame seeds until it was a powder.  I set that aside to use as thickening/binding later.  
I had made a bean dip last week that had too much cayenne pepper in it, so I decided to use it as the basis for my veggie burger.  It had:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
lime juice
5 garlic cloves
1 onion
2 T. plain Greek yogurt
cayenne pepper

To that, I added: 
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1/2 C. brown rice
soy sauce
curry powder

Looks disgusting. I know this. Just have to get over it.

I mixed the oatmeal/sesame powder in with my hands and formed patties.  I went off the vegan wagon a little bit here, because I didn't have enough dry powder to make them formable.  They were still goopy and gross.  I was too lazy to wash and dry the food processor bowl so I could whir up more oatmeal, so I stared in the pantry for something dry I could use.  I found a package of instant mashed potatoes.  I added some of that, and it was perfect. They were loaded potatoes (with bacon, cheese, sour cream), so the vegans would frown on that, but it worked great for forming patties. 
I baked them at 400 for 15 minutes.  The teacher said to cook them in a skillet, but I had classes to teach and didn't have time to babysit burgers, so baked them instead.  I was afraid they might dry out in the oven, so I covered them with foil.  They started smelling good after 15 minutes, and they looked kind of tan, so I took them out.  (How do you know when a veggie burger is done???)
I assembled them like a real burger, with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, and mustard on a whole wheat sandwich thin.

Noah gobbled it right down and declared it a little squishy, but tasty.  Next time maybe I would make them thinner and cook them in the skillet to make them crispier (or maybe just bake them longer?), but overall I was very pleased with this attempt.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy and healthy

I read an article from a child psychologist that said kids prefer a "squishy" mom over a skinny mom, because they're better for hugging.  Sarah was the first one up this morning, so I asked her if she would rather have me be squishy or skinny.  She said, "I just want you to be healthy."  That is by far the nicest thing she has ever said to me!

Later when Noah woke up, I posed the same question to him.  He said, "Whatever makes you happy."  

My kids are seriously awesome!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Edible Stonehenge

We studied Stonehenge in history today.  Those stones are a fascinating mystery, aren't they? We speculated along with many others over the centuries about what possessed an ancient civilization to schlep huge rocks over long distances and erect them in that place in that way.  We learned the difference between a lentil and and lintel.  Then we made Stonehenge out of rice crispy treats.

 Looks like Noah has some stone fragments on his mouth....
 Noah crumpled a rice crispy treat into a lump and put it far away to represent Silbury Hill, the tallest ancient artificial mound in Europe, almost 30 miles away from Stonehenge.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Experimenting with vegan(ish) muffins

This post won't be interesting to anyone, so save yourself some time and skip it.  I'm only writing it for myself so I remember how to make these, just in case they're good.  I made two kinds of muffins: oatmeal chocolate chip and blueberry.  

Oatmeal chocolate chip:
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl:
1 c. oats
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 T. coconut sugar
2 T. mini chocolate chips
Mix the wet ingredients in a measuring cup:
1/4 c. cashew milk (sweetened, got it at Aldi)
1/4 c. water
1 egg (My apologies to the chickens)
splash of vanilla
Combine wet and dry.  Put in muffin cups.  Bake at 350 for...??  They're in the oven now, so I don't know how long I'm baking them.  Maybe 30 minutes?

Mix in bowl:
1 c. oats 
1/2 t. salt
frozen blueberries
In a measuring cup, combine:
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. cashew milk
splash of vanilla (now that I'm typing this, I think I forgot to add that)
2 T. honey (I apologized to the bees)
Combine wet and dry.  Put in muffin cups.  Bake at 350 for same time as above. I'll try to remember to update with how long they actually baked and how they tasted.

So I'm back with the update. Neither of these were great. The texture was a little weird.  They were certainly edible, and I will eat them all.  30 minutes at 350 seemed to work. I might try 20 minutes next time. 


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Amish vegan

I like the idea of being vegan, but I don't see it ever happening.  I wouldn't miss the meat so much, but I would definitely miss my favorite food group: dairy.  Plus, vegans are a little too radical for me.  For instance, I read that they don't eat honey because they don't want to violate the bees' rights to keep what they produce.  That's a bit over the top for me.  Being a vegan is in the same category for me as being Amish.  I always liked the idea of being Amish, but when the rubber meets the road, I don't think I could actually do it.  I do like having electricity.  Still, I admire both vegans and the Amish. 

Anyway, I'm not above the occasional vegan meal.  Today I made a vegan vegetable wrap for lunch.  I started with a bean/avocado spread that I made by whirring up these ingredients in my food processor:
 I know it's cheaper and better to buy dry beans and cook them yourself.  I have done it, but it's just so much easier to buy the can.  It's worth the 79 cents I paid for it in the time and effort it saved me.  Real vegans are glaring at me for ruining the environment by buying a can.  (I recycled it!)
 Usually I use fresh salsa, but these cans were on sale at Aldi for 39 cents, so I used it instead this time. 
 I also added some fresh cilantro, because I have it.  It turned out to be too cilantro-y so I would definitely use less next time.
 I also added some key lime juice, because I got these little babies on clearance and need to use them before they rot.
Into the food processor with those went an avocado, several cloves of roasted garlic (fresh garlic would be fine too), lots of cumin (because I love cumin), salt, and pepper.

 It looks disgusting, but it's tasty and healthy.
 I spread some of the mixture on a whole wheat tortilla and added some green onion, red pepper, and shredded cabbage & carrots (slaw mix was on sale, so I went the easy route). I bought a cucumber last night to put in my wrap, but I couldn't find it today and didn't remember bringing it in the house last night.  I think it's still rolling around in the trunk of Mike's car, which is with him at work right now. :(

That was a good meal. Took a long time to prepare, and I followed it up with a caramel candy bar and some cookie dough.  I also ate it with the lights on, so I'm not a good vegan or a good Amishwoman.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April Fools

My kids really enjoy April Fool's Day.  They love the idea of a holiday dedicated to pranks.  
 Noah's idea was to wire Sarah's door with explosives.  When she came out of her room in the morning, I heard a bang and smelled smoke.  Sarah was completely unfazed and said, "Huh. Nice try."  She said she knew something was up because her door was closed, and she sleeps with it open.  The cats, however were terrified.  Marty had been shut in Sarah's room, so she was right at ground zero when the explosion occurred.  Shiloh was in the living room, but she immediately puffed into a fluffball and slunk under the chair.
Sarah plotted her revenge before she even ate breakfast. She taped plastic wrap across Noah's doorway so he would smack into it when he came stumbling out in his sleepy morning state.  Sarah and I positioned ourselves outside his door with our cameras rolling, and I called to Noah that it was time to get up and start school.  He mumbled, "Ok, I'm coming."  We heard him shuffling around, getting dressed, pulling up his blinds, etc.  Then all was quiet.  Sarah whispered, "Did he go back to bed?"  Suddenly the door from the garage to the kitchen opened, and Noah called, "Good morning, everyone!"  He had jumped out his window, ran around the house, dug up the spare key, and come in through the garage!  Sarah and I were standing in the smoky hall with our cameras pointed at Noah's door, totally shocked.  Even Sarah gave him a high five for that one. The best prank of the day.

Mike got us all.  I always write our schedule for the day on the white board in the school room, and sometimes Mike will add something to it.  On this day, he had written a ridiculously long list of chores, including vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, mowing, and lots more.  I thought, "How am I going to enforce all that? Plus, it's raining, so how is Noah going to mow?  And the grass doesn't even need mowing..."  Then I saw that he had written in red, "See bulletin board for the rest of the list."  I looked at the bulletin board and saw a piece of paper that said "The list" on it.  I turned it over and saw "April Fool!"  Whew. Sarah was fooled for a second, but then she realized that no human could possibly do everything on that list and figured out it was a prank. When Noah saw it, he was just plain angry.  His voice cracked and went up an octave as he fumed, "What?!  I just mowed two days ago!" and stomped over to the window to look at the short grass.  He laughed when he read the rest of the list on the bulletin board and got the joke.
Other minor pranks included Noah mixing Cheerios in with Mike's precious Lucky Charms and Sarah taping paper over my mouse sensor so my mouse wouldn't work.  I didn't prank anyone.