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Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011’

Can you believe I made this?

So, those of you who know me well know that I am a foodie, but not necessarily a great cook or baker.  Since I am a mediocre cook/baker I often do crazy things that refined cooks know not to do.  Like….try out brand spankin’ new (often complicated and far above my skill level) dishes I have never cooked before at parties.  (Hubby loves it when I do that).  Something you should also know about me is that when I cook I must follow a recipe to a tee (Even if this means that my oven is hotter than the oven of the cook who wrote the recipe and I burn the entire dinner or dessert.  And, yes, hubby loves that, too). 

Now, that being said, I will take you back to last Saturday when it was…oldest girl child’s First Communion dinner/lunch.  I was pretty sure I could manage her request of lasagna with salad for “linner”, but her dessert request was a little more tricky.  She requested lemon cake.  Huh?  Lemon cake?  After thoroughly questioning her:  Lemon?  The tiny, yellow things?  Are you sure you like them?  They smell like floor cleaner?  They are typically used in lemonade?  What about chocolate?  I thought you liked chocolate?  It was clear she did indeed want lemon cake.  So, being the great mom that I am <insert sarcasm> I frantically started to google “lemon cake” the night before her party at around 9:00 p.m. 

Now, I’ve already said that I am no baker, but seriously?  I don’t need Google to tell me how to make LEMON CAKE FROM A BOX.  I was looking for an actual real lemon cake from actual ingredients that don’t come in boxes and that I could find in my kitchen.  And, here’s what I came up with:  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lemon-Cake-with-Lemon-Filling-and-Lemon-Butter-Frosting/Detail.aspx?prop31=4

With recipe in hand, I began my Making of the Lemon First Communion Cake.  It’s titled like a novel because that’s kind of what it turned into in terms of time, research, trial runs, do-overs, running it by various “experts,” etc.  I can trace my downfall back to my desire to modify the original recipe by putting it into a 9 x 13 pan rather than two round 8 inch cake pans.  Bakers of my skill level should never stray from the original recipe.  That’s how (at about 9:40 p.m.) I came out with a cake that smelled like……bleach and was about one inch high.

9:42 p.m. – I was starting to panic.  So, I did what I always do when I am panicking – I googled lemon cake……..again.  I was really worried about the size of the cake and the smell of the cake.  After much indecisiveness and turmoil I decided to bake the exact same cake again with less lemon (to cut the bleach smell).  That’s how I ended up with two one inch 9 x 13 decisively lemony cakes.

Now, I’m no dummy and therefore while I was baking the second cake I realized I would need a way to put the two thin cakes together.  So, back to google where I found this delightful blog and cake recipe with a delicious looking filling.  http://calminthekitchen.blogspot.com/2009/02/lemon-cake-with-berry-filling-and-lemon.html  I could tell by the picture alone that this cake was WAY above my skill level.  But, I thought I could manage the filling.  Problem:  I only had strawberries.  So, I used fresh strawberries for the filling. 

I managed to “turn my cakes out” and put the filling in the middle.  THEN I managed to make a yummy glaze for the top by modifying the recipe for glaze above with milk instead of butter and a little less lemon.

Now, my hubby is a fantastic cook and fairly great baker, too.  He is my polar opposite when it comes to cooking, so I consulted him many times during this process (mostly he just kept saying, “Are you STILL making the cake?  How many are you making?  You do know the party is tomorrow, right?”).  When the finished product was sitting on the table (round about midnight), he reminded me that good cooks always taste their food before serving it.  Which leads me to a question I am still not sure I have a good answer to:  How do you do that with a CAKE?  Serve a cake at the party with a piece taken out of it?  That just doesn’t seem polite.

So, I served the cake the next day.  Untasted.  I had no idea whether it would be a huge hit or an utter disaster.  Ironically I was confident in the fact that I am familiar with utter disasters!  BUT, to my pleasant surprise it was a HUGE hit.  It was lemony, rich, had a texture of tres leches cake, everyone (especially my sweet baby girl) loved it, and the fruit in the middle was a lovely touch.  I even took a picture of it so everyone would believe that I actually made it.  And the fact that photographing food to actually look edible?  Yeah, that’s another post.

If you are lucky, I will make it again for you someday on your special day.

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And the time that I have spent away from you melts away like snow in hot sun when I hear your first words on the phone.  As I chatter incessantly and you “uh-huh,” and “yeah,” and reminisce to pacify my irrational need for this – I am somehow calmed and soothed and lulled into an “I’m okay,” which is propelled forward by the ebb and flow of conversation. 

It is the time after we hang up that is the most difficult.  It is the time that I am in my own house and you are somewhere in your own house that it is hard for me.  It is then that I realize that the “I’m okay,” is only resting water and that at any moment it can be disturbed by any feeling that falls into it.  It is then that my mind wanders to what could have been.  I wonder what you will think about us when you are a grown man.  I wonder what you already think of us.  I wonder if you know who we are.  Do we know you?  I wonder if you pity us.  I wonder if we pity you.

So, I allow myself a few moments of thinking about how different things could have been.  I fantasize about a life so different from my own that it is difficult to recognize myself or you.  Then I stop.

I go into my kids’ rooms and kiss them in their beds as they sleep.  I ground myself with the life that I have. 

Time heals all wounds.  But then I am not sure.  How much time?  How deep the wounds?

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“And after your death, when most of you for the first time realize what life here is all about you will begin to see that your life here is almost nothing but the sum total of every choice you have made during every moment of your life.  Your thoughts, which you are responsible for, are as real as your deeds.  You will begin to realize that every word and every deed affects your life and has also touched thousands of lives.”  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

And when I read this it makes me think of you.

“She has been with me all day.”

“And by this you mean?”

“I mean I have conjured her up and she has been here.  I have closed by eyes and seen her on the insides of my lids.  It’s been so vivid that it has brought me to tears.”

“Hmm.  Tell me more.”

“I was in church and trying to focus on…………church…………and suddenly I had this feeling that she was there….here.  I mean, it’s been odd.  I have been away from prayer and away from my “normal self” for………….a while.  And, I decided to get back to my “old self.”  I asked her for her help with this.  Y’know?  One night I just broke down sobbing and I said out loud, “Mom, please help me.”  And, I meant, please help me with this, this…………..going back to my “old self.”

“Um-hmm.  And what did she tell you about that?  About this “going back to your old self?”

“Well, nothing really.  Nothing at first.  Then, things started to happen.  Just weird things that didn’t mean much when they happened.  I ran across some things she’d sent me when she was alive.  I happened to glance at the computer more than a few times to see her picture staring back at me.  The kids started reminding me of times when we were all together.  I watched this terribly sad movie for the second time.  I hate watching movies for the second time.  I cried…………again.  Which I hate.  I ran across some quotes that really spoke to me.  And you know when you are just flipping channels or turning the radio dial and suddenly you land on something that you really need to hear?”

“Mm.”

“It’s been like that lately.  Uncanny.  And a few other things have happened that I just really don’t want to get into right now.”

“Your dime.”

“Yeah.  Remember when I told you about the woman who told me, ‘Ask for what you need?’

“Yes.  And then I told you that I wished I would have told you that?  Or, actually I think I did tell you that?”

“Well, I have asked for things from people and they have given them.  It’s just so strange to me.  I have felt my mom’s hand in things.  In really everything.  Then today in church she was there.  She was telling me that I was back.  See, so much has happened lately that I truly long to tell her.  Things I need her help with and then things that I just know she’d get a kick out of.  I’ve been so weepy about it.  Which I hate.  But today I thought about telling her one of these things and then I had this clear thought, “She already knows.”  It was so settling.  It was like………..peace.”

“Um-hmm.”

I wait for you to say something further.  You don’t.  Somewhere deep inside of me I hear a voice and the voice says, “It is done.  You are back.”

I speak back to this voice and I say, “Thank you.”

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And there is a story that a good friend told me that I think of quite frequently.  It goes like this:  There was a poor man in Mexico who attended mass daily.  Before mass several people would approach the altar to “pray.”  This man would do the same.  When he approached the altar he would simply say, “Soy yo, Dios.  Juan Manuel.”  It is I, God, Juan Manuel.  For a long time he did this and for a long time the other people would stare at him for this seemingly strange behavior.  Finally one woman asked him, “Why do you approach the altar where we are supposed to be praying and call out to God and just say your name?”  And he responded, “Because only God knows what I need.  I simply need to tell Him who I am and He will give me what I need.”

When I think of this story, I think of you…………………………………………..

 

Waiting.

“I had a dream about my father last night.”  I pause and wait for some response.  There is none.  Only silence.

“We were watching or hearing something painful.  It had to do with a child.  I don’t think it was my child.  I think it was someone else’s child.  The child had been sick or injured or sad, but was now better.  I was sitting to my father’s left on a bench.  When I glanced up at him, his eyes were moist with tears.  He made that guttural sound that he makes when he is about to cry.  That sound makes me feel awful.”

“Why does it make you feel awful?”

“I’m not sure.  I think it’s because it is too overwhelmingly painful for me to see him like that…in pain.  Anyway.  I wanted so much to tell him something.”

“What?  What did you want to tell him?”

“Well, that’s just it.  I can’t remember what I wanted to tell him – but it was urgent.  It was urgent, but I knew that he wouldn’t be able to hear me.  When I thought this – in my dream – he reached for me.  Like in a sideways embrace.  He held me.  And I do remember what he said.”

“And what was that?  What did he say?”

“He said, ‘You see?  They have gone through it.  They have gone through pain and they are on the other side.  Do you see?  Do you see how that feels?  How joyous?'”

“What did you say?”

“I can’t remember.  But, I pulled back from him so that I could see his face.  It was wet.  Or my face was wet.  He was crying.  Or I was crying.  I pulled him back to me.  Close.  Then I woke up.”

“Then what?”

“Then I just had this amazing feeling.  It was like I was still in that embrace with my dad.  I could even feel the warmth of his face next to my face.  It was weird.  It was so vivid.  And the feeling I had…it was like a feeling of – my dad is so smart.  It doesn’t matter that he can’t hear me.  He doesn’t need to hear me.  He already knows.  He already knows what he needs to know.  There is nothing that I could tell him that would make it any different.”

I finish saying this and I wait for him to say something.  I wait for him to tell me what all of this means.  He is quiet.  Then after I have listened quietly – so quiet that I can hear my own heart beating – and he has said nothing – he says simply and with a definite air of finality, “Your time is up.  I think you’ve made progress.”

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http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/08/church-approves-confession-app-iphone/?test=latestnews.  My sister sent this little gem to me today.  Thank you, sissy for always looking out for me.  I must say it was a shock and awe moment.  And yes, among my first thoughts, “Has the Pope himself been reading my blog???” 

The Catholic church approves Confession App for the iphone??? 

BUT wait (before you get too excited), it will not replace confession to a priest (well, thank GAWD).  It is still necessary for Catholics to confess their sins to a priest to receive absolution (aw, hell.  who needs absolution anyway?).  It is just meant to guide Catholics through an examination of conscience for confession (because God knows we Catholics need a guide to confess properly). 

The article claims it brought one person back to the sacrament after 20 years!  Wow!  So, that’s scary.  There’s a Catholic out there who hadn’t been to confession in 20 years, but then when that person saw and downloaded the CONFESSION APP that person suddenly said, “I want to confess now.”  Is that scary to you???  Makes me SOOOO want to hear his/her confession.

Wait until the Catholics get a hold of a prayer app.  Think of all the peeps we’ll be bringing back to the church then.  (Yes, I know prayer is not a sacrament.)  I can’t wait!  Let’s get started!  One more reason for me to get a smart phone!  AND the best part?  If you buy now it’s only $1.99.

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So, Christina Aguilera screwed up the National Anthem.  But, she actually pulled it off nicely.  I missed half time because I was putting three grouchy girls to bed.  Bubby told me all about it, and I can’t say I am unhappy I missed it.  My favorite commercial – Darth Vadar’s Passat.  So cute.  I couldn’t resist liking it.

So, what about the food???  Well, the potato nachos were not a hit.  I thought they would taste like Potato skins from TGIFriday’s, but they tasted more like…potatoes.  Apparently TGIFriday’s potato skins are mostly preservatives, salt, and lots of calories because these potato nachos not only tasted like potatos (go figure?), but they tasted almost healthy.  So, again, not a hit.  Not a miss necessarily, but decidedly not a hit.

The Brown Betty on the other hand was a HUGE success.  The kids and I LOVED it.  And we loved it with large scoops of Breyer’s white bean vanilla ice cream on top.  Oh my!  Can you say, “heaven?”

The pepperoni bites were also a huge hit.  We all loved them and I just happened to have homemade marinara sauce for dipping.  Mmm.  Turns out the chicken wings we had in the freezer were from before we stopped eating meat (well, not literally, you know the story…) so, in order to avoid a salmonella outbreak in our home we opted for bought wings.  Of course, Wing Stop’s wait was until Tuesday, so we had to get them from KFC (remember it used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken until that wasn’t PC?).  So, they were not too yummy. 

But, we had so much food that we didn’t even get to the yummy chili and cornbread, so dinner tonight is cooked!  BONUS!

All in all – a hit.  I hope your Superbowl was great and we will wait until our next opportunity to eat BIG.  :o)

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So, if you know me you know that I abhor professional sports of any kind.  My least favorite sport is football.  I can’t stand looking at all the HUGE butts in that spandexy fabric, the knocking of helmets and body parts that I know will result in brain damage later, the plays that I would never be able to comprehend with all the ‘X’s” and “O’s,” the FANS who act so obnoxious and drunk, the cheerleaders who provide such a great example to my girls, etc., etc.  What I DO love about the grandaddy of all football – the SUPERBOWL – is that it is a fine excuse to eat new and yummy food.

So, let’s see what everyone is eating today!  On my menu:

Potato Nachos http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2010/07/30/potatonachos/

Pepperoni Bites http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/dinner/super-bowl-food-recipes-party-appetizers/?page=16

Chicken Wings – E.’s recipe and he makes it different every time so I cannot post it.

My chili

Brown Betty – Cold Weather Food comments section of this blog – THANK YOU S.!!!

I’ll let you know how it comes out.  Happy Superbowl!  :o)

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