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How I almost broke Christmas

28 Dec

**Please don’t read this if you are under 12.  I don’t want to be responsible for breaking your family’s Christmas too!**

I feel the need to chronicle the past few weeks and how I did my best to fail at Christmas.  Maybe it is a cautionary tale to others, maybe it is so we can look back in future years and laugh about the Christmas Mommy almost had a nervous breakdown.  Maybe it is because it is the stuff you see on sit-coms only it really happened to me.  So hear it is in chronological order.

The week of Thanksgiving– I was on schedule, I had my list of what needed to be done, I had my list of presents for people. The tree was up, the house was decorated- I was looking good!

First week of December-I was feeling the pressure.  My two kids are in that awkward stage of missing teeth and for the past few years Christmas card photos have been a challenge (see last year’s post all about it!).  We couldn’t agree as a family what to do.  Ugh, now I was behind.

Week 2– Okay, after two weeks of very demanding work meetings, I was officially behind on my lists.  Still no Christmas cards.

Week 3-The day that will live in infamy in our house!  The kids found the secret stash!  For the past 6 years we have been hiding the presents in the same spot, thinking we had a kid proof location.  Then my kids “where looking for my son’s homework” in the garage, popped the trunk of the hubs car and found EVERYTHING!  Well that changed the game plan.   Two days later, I was on Amazon trying to do quick orders for new Santa presents. (Still no Christmas cards!)

Christmas Eve– Well, I finally sent out Christmas cards. In hind sight, I should have sent New Year’s cards because I was running so behind.  I was starting to feel good about things again.  The house was ready for guests, the kids got their presents from us and were happy.  We had a nice evening of church and driving around looking at lights.  The kids went to bed and we were ready to put some of the finishing details on Christmas.

This is when the problems started

And then my mixer broke while I was trying to make cupcakes.  This resulted in the butter not creaming appropriately and all the butter leaking out the bottom of the papers. Good think my Aunt was bringing more desserts!

AND THEN, we went to wrap the Santa presents.  I pulled out the video game my son was getting and realized it was for an XBOX 360… we have a Wii.  This was his only gift and I screwed it up.  At 10:30 PM the hubs and I were on the computer searching to see if any stores were still open.  We contemplated running down to the liquor store and buying him a big bag a candy.   Finally we came up with the idea of putting a very similar name on the tag and blaming it on Santa being old, tired, and a bit confused.  Phew!  It worked.  We also told him that Santa has a deal with all the stores and we could exchange the gift.  I think that morning we earned our Ph.D in lying to our kids.

Christmas Day– Thinking that the worst was behind us.  We were on track for our company to arrive.  We felt bad for that poor little boy “Rex” who Santa gave a Wii version of Skylanders.  We were good to go.

This is when the hour of mayhem and destruction started.  First up-making the house smell like a distillery.  I took something out of the refrigerator and it started a chain reaction.  Things started falling.  The next thing I  knew, the pitcher of Manhattans I had made was crashing to the floor.  The bottom broke out of the pitcher, glass was everywhere, I was soaked, and my floor was flooded with Manhattans.

Less than a half hour after the Manhattan incident, I did it again.  This time I was making  punch for the kids.  When I opened the bottle of cranberry ginger ale it EXPLODE-EVERYWHERE!  Once again, I was soaked.  The kitchen was covered in pink liquid.  At this point the hubs said the best thing I could do was go change and then sit down and stop touching things.

Thankfully, the was the climax of the destruction. Everything went off without a hitch.  The rest of the evening was perfect.  It was a very Merry Christmas.

Here is to a wonderful 2014!

PS- If your holiday was a bit on the verge, please feel free to share in the comments.   It might make me feel a bit better 🙂

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The BLS

16 Sep

I am not talking about the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Basic Life Support but instead what you get when you don’t have tomatoes for a BLT.  The “S” is salsa.  Yep, that was my quick kitchen substitute the other day.  When I realized my tomatoes were no longer edible I slathered some salsa on the lettuce and called it a sandwich.  Turns out it was good!  The nice thing is I ALWAYS have salsa.  I don’t always have tomatoes, seeing I am the only person that eats them.  I will have to remember this in the future for other sammies.

A BLS with cheese please!

A BLS with cheese please!

It’s Cutthroat Kitchen Every Night at Our House!

9 Sep

For a family of people who are not foodies, professional chefs, Julia Child’s fanatics, etc we sure do watch a lot of cooking shows.  My son wants to be either Guy Fieri or Bobby Deen when he grows up.  My daughter, who refuses to eat most foods, loves to watch Paula Deen- they agree on the whole butter thing.  I have always been a fan of Alton Brown because he breaks things down to a basic “follow these directions” kind of thing.   Our new TV show addiction is Cutthroat Kitchen.  The Hubs even enjoys the show, he likes the trickery and shenanigans.

We joke that cooking in our house is is very much like this show, like the other day when I tried to make a BLT and half way through realized the tomatoes were no longer desirable.  We frequently are missing ingredients, tools are stolen (or unavailable because smaller household residents have scampered off with them) or have self imposed time challenges or other hurdles like trying to help with homework, load the dishwasher, make dinner, and send a work project via email (Hey Alton- You should add “run a household while cooking” as an auction item).  So yep, we handicap ourselves. The only thing we are missing is the cash.

This leads us to tonight’s fun.  My son has been wanting to make dessert.  I stocked up on the ingredients to make Banana Pudding.  We had been watching an episode so we decided it would be fun to do a banana pudding challenge.  I handicapped the kids by making them use odd utensils, they returned the favor by limiting my time.  Overall it was a fun and messy way to spend the evening.

 Banana pudding smoothie, classic banana pudding & wafers, and something that resembles baby food

Banana pudding smoothie, classic banana pudding & wafers, and something that resembles baby food

The contestants explaining what they made to the judge

The contestants explaining what they made to the judge

The winner was awarded a spoon on his nose.

The winner was awarded a spoon on his nose.

Recipe Success! Upside Down Peach Pie

24 Jul

This weekend while visiting my dad the princess hooligan picked a bunch of peaches.  These peaches are AUH-MAY-ZING!  They have a very tender skin, a mild flavor, and are a nice small size for snacking right off the tree.    Well, we had a long car ride home and by the time we got to the house the kids had pretty much played pinata with the bag of peaches.  They started to bruise.

Aren't they cute?

Aren’t they cute?

What was I to do with all these fresh peaches?  A friend suggested cobbler but I couldn’t seem to make it.  It just wasn’t speaking to me.  What was calling me was the piece of peach pie from the Latif’s.

I had just had a piece a few days before while at the fair.  Latif’s is a small family restaurant  located in Turlock, CA- my home town.  They make the BEST pies.  It is a family tradition (if not a town tradition) to have a slice of Latif’s pie at the county fair… ala mode of course with Foster Farms vanilla ice cream.  Oh and you are supposed to have a linguica while at the fair too, but I digress.

So back to this need to make peach pie.  I bought a pre-made pie crust.  Now before you get all “What, how could you do that to those fresh peaches?”  Remember, the name of the blog site- Home Ec Reject- there was no way I was going to risk ruining those peaches with some kind of messed up crust that I made from scratch.

After doing my best internet sleuthing, I figured out a pie filling.  After peeling the peaches, they kind of smushed in my hands as I did it. I added the smushed up peaches to a pot then added a cup of sugar, a cup of water, a dash of salt, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  I brought it to a boil.  At that point I realized that the smushed pieces were too big.  I pulled out my trusty potato masher and squished away.  I also realized that I might have added too much water.  If make it again, I will reduce the water.

Look! Peach soup.

Look! Peach soup.

Now this is the part where it starts to get weird.  I have a pie pan but I chose not to use it.  Again, I was afraid I was going to mess it up.  The idea of cooking both the top and the bottom pieces of the pie evenly is something I suck at.  The soupy filling was way too liquidy to hold to just a bottom shell, so I settled on just a top.  I poured the peach filling soup stuff into an old (like I bought it in the mid to late nineties) Pryrex bowl.  Put the pie crust on top, sugared it and called it good.

What, the crust is on top!

What, the crust is on top!

After baking it at 425 for about 20 minutes I had an finished product.

The final product

The final product

I figured I would be the only one eating this dessert which meant this would last me all week.  The hubs not only tried it, but liked it so much he ate 1/3rd of it that night.  The hubs actually had really good things to say about it too.  He is not a big peach fan but said it had a nice mild flavor.  I attribute that to the type of peaches.   After the hooligans each had a piece, and I had a piece there was only one piece left over.  I took it to work with my lunch.  I have to say, it was just as good, day old and cold, as it was right out of the oven.

Upside down pie ala mode.

Upside down pie ala mode.

Happy National S’More Day!

8 Aug

August 10th may be the actual National S’More day, but in our family EVERYDAY is S’More Day!  I have talked about our love of S’Mores before the last time we made S’More Sandwiches.  I will be celebrating S’More day with my daughter at “Just the Two of Us” Girl Scout Camp and then again as a whole family once we return.   I kind of find it fitting that we will be at GS camp were we are guaranteed to have S’Mores at one of the campfires and, rumor has it, they were first created by Girl Scouts in 1927.

We take S’Mores very seriously in our family.  Below is a list of some of our top recipes and combinations- in no particular order:

  • S’More Sandwiches– Thank you Drewski’s for creating this amazing dessert
  • The Thanks-A-Lot S’More- Take two Thanks-A-Lot Girl Scout cookies, add a marshmallow, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and voile- instant S’More.  If you can’t wait for the marshmallow to melt use marshmallow creme.
  • S’More Crepes- I know, they sound so fancy.  Especially for someone who sucks at cooking.  I cheat and use Melissa’s Crepes( from the produce section).  We add chocolate chips and mini marshmallows or use marshmallow creme and Nutella.
  • PB Cup S’More- We sometimes use peanut butter cups instead of chocolate bar pieces.  The marshmallow melts the cup and blends well with the peanut butter
  • Chocolate Bars with Either Almonds or Rice Cereal- This adds a little extra crunch!
  • Candy Bar Pie- Okay, this isn’t really a S’More but it has two of the three ingredients.  I melt a chocolate bar, mix in a container of Kool Whip, pour into a graham cracker pie shell, and refrigerate until set and ready to serve.

This is how we celebrate National S’More Day.  What are your favorite S’More versions or do you prefer the classic.  Hope you take some time to give a marshmallow a roast this Friday!

S’more Sandwiches

7 Jun

We LOVE S’mores!

I know who doesn’t love S’mores?  They are crunchy, gooey, and chocolaty goodness all together.  They remind me of the past- camp outs with my family, campfires at summer camp, and backpacking trips with my church youth group.  But our family LOVES S’mores in a if it was a person we would have a restraining order kind of way.

As a family we celebrate National S’more day every year (August 10th in case you were wondering).  We even try different recipes like Hershey with Almonds for an extra crunch and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for extra melty goodness on this day.   Our previous home had a fire pit in the back and we could roast marshmallows to make S’mores and this was BEFORE we had the hooligans.  When we moved into our new house we were excited because of the gas stove.  S’mores year round for us.  One of our favorite gifts was a S’more kit.  We have special marshmallow roasting sticks- one for each member of the family.

About a year ago, I discovered one our our local food trucks had a dessert called the S’moreski.  (I also love food trucks but that is a different story).  I tried it- it was delicious!  Like the kind of delicious that makes you think you are going to get in trouble for being so happy while you eat.  A couple of months later, the food truck was in the area again and I got another one and shared it with the hooligans.  Since that day, if you ask them what they wanted for dessert they would say a Smoreski.

Well, the truck doesn’t seem to frequent the areas around us anymore so we had to take matters into our own hands.

Introducing… The S’more Sandwich

yummmmm!

We buttered Hawaiian sweetbread on one side and then spread marshmallow fluff on the other side of one piece and Nutella on the remaining piece.  We added a graham cracker in the middle and grilled it to perfection ala a grilled cheese sandwich.  (It is a good think I learned how that day when I was babysitting-another story I will have to tell you about).

It was as good as we all remembered, if not a bit better because we had made it ourselves.  This will not be a staple dessert in our house considering the possible effects it could have on one’s waistline but on special occasions we will definitely be making it again.

Not everything I touch is a disaster

13 Apr

I do have some successes, every once in a while.   I actually had one today.  You see, one of my favorite sandwiches is from a bakery about two hours away.  My job requires me to commute to one of our other offices about once or twice a month.  I had to make the trip and fight the Bay Area traffic earlier this week.  I also got a chance to have a PB and Stuff sandwich from Specialty’s.   It is a unique sandwich- chunky peanut butter, bananas, green apples and cranberry sauce on their amazing bread.  I think it makes the commute worthwhile.  Well- not really, but it does take the sting out.

This brings us to today.  I asked the hooligans what they wanted for lunch and got the standard answer of PB&J from both of them.  Just to let you know, they eat PB&J’s just about everyday.  It is a horrible day in our house if we run out of any of the ingredients.  As I was drudging off to the kitchen to make their standard lunch trying to figure out what I was going to eat, it hit me.  I have ALL the ingredients to make a super duper cool PB&J for me to eat!

I proceeded to slice my Granny Smith apple very thinly, slice my nana into long slices, and spread my all natural PB on my gluten-free bread.  I did have to substitute grape jelly for the cranberry sauce.    After putting it together, the ninja hooligan actually requested that I add the apple and banana to his sammy.  The princess hooligan turned her nose up at it and refused to eat at the same table.

I was actually pretty impressed by the results.  It wasn’t exactly the same but it was pretty darn close.  The crunchy tang of the apple and the smoothness of the banana both complement each other and the peanut butter.  I just wished I had good chunky peanut butter, not the weird stuff the hubs grinds up in the natural foods section of the grocery store, and cranberry sauce.

Image

My version of the best sandwich in the world!

I am actually really excited about this success, it means I can have yummy sandwiches on a regular basis not just my long commute days.

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