Monday, September 29, 2014

Cornbread, vastly improved

I posted a cornbread recipe a long time ago... and accidentally said a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon. Yuck. Last night, we had friends over. The house was a disaster- mostly due to the shortest person in the house. We stepped over tupperware lids, outgrown shoes- none of which matched, and a random assortment of dollhouse furniture and cheap jewelry.

Husband grew up with half the couple- they were classmates from preschool until senior year of high school before reuniting in medical school. He, his wonderful wife, and two kids came over last night to watch football, eat chili, and let the kids run around the pool. No one fell in, but his daughter thought about "accidentally" hitting the water more than once. She was smart enough to take her shoes off, thus getting caught in the process.

Right-- Cornbread.

I have mentioned my cookbook before and how I adore it. Realizing I need cornbread and wanting to branch out from the old go-to recipe, I went back to The Book and found Heaven.

Okay, that's an exaggeration.  (who knew exaggeration had 2 g's in it? Not me- thankyouverymuch, autocorrect) I made two batches last night- not out of need, rather out of mistake. Why baking powder and baking soda get mixed up so often is beyond me.

Batch one-- with the soda and powder-- was great! It had more crumb than the correct version, but was good- nonetheless. Batch two-- ah-mazing. I bring you Buttery Cornbread, straight from The Book:

Buttery Cornbread

1 1/3 cups coarse stone-ground yellow cornmeal (I didn't have coarse- so I used the regular grain and made it a scant 1 1/3 cup)
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar (before you turn your nose up at the sugar- this is not a sweet cornbread)
2 teaspoons baking powder (and if you need more crumble- toss in 2 tsp of baking soda...)
3/4 tsp coarse salt (I didn't have unsalted butter- so I only added 1/4 tsp salt)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk;  beaten to blend

Butter 9 inch loaf pan. Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add buttermilk, melted butter, and beaten eggs. Stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Let mixture stand 30 minutes to absorb liquid. Preheat oven to 375.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake bread until browned around edges and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. (Mine was ready at 35 minutes) Cool bread in pan 5 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack.

As Dorothy would say, "Do write and speak of your mistakes."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Scary to see

I could leave LMC in front of Mickey Mouse and grab a quick shower.
Not Bennie.

I could put food on LMC's tray and she would eat it. When she was done, she would signal and wait patiently while I cleaned her up.
Not Bennie.

I could let LMC play in the kitchen. She would always go for the tupperware cabinet. She would pull them out, and climb inside to play.
Not Bennie.

Bennie likes to climb on things. And then climb higher. She gets on a chair and bounces up and down before climbing onto the table to stand up while clapping her hands- as if to say, "The man can't keep me down. Or even low to the ground."

Bennie likes to find things. In all the cabinets. And throw them on the ground. Tupperware? Sure. Sippy cups? Why not. But-- behind Door Number 2, there is mom's pyrex. And it's breakable. Let's grab that aaaannnnnnddddd throw it over there! Crash. Break. Snap. Shatter. I come running.

Nice Bennie. Real nice.

I sweep. I clean. I block Door Number 2.

Please, mom. Seriously? You think blocking Door Number 2 is going to stop me? Fool. You blocked Door Number 2 with a chair. And I climb on chairs like it is my job.

LMC calls me to the back for an e-m-e-r-g-e-c-n-c-y. She cannot find her broken bus and has fallen out screaming as if she has slashed her foot open. I run.

Bennie climbs.

Cooling LMC's jets, I head back to the kitchen to stir the chili on the stove. Bennie has the biggest smile on her face with giggles peeling as she runs. In her hands, she wields my four and a half inch blade Santoku knife that I left far out of reach on the cutting board-- far, far away from Door Number 2.

I scream.

She drops the knife and looks at me.

I tell her no.

She pokes her bottom lip out like I just kicked her puppy.

LMC actually has an emergency and I run back to the back to see that she has trapped herself under her bed via a toy ribbon (don't ask). Bennie at my heels, she claps her hands and lowers her head to her tiny feet to see her sister trapped under the bed. Uninterested, she turns and toddles off.

Freeing LMC, Bennie has made her way to the bathroom and is splashing her toothbrush in the toilet.

I scream.

She drops the toothbrush and looks at me.

I tell her no.

She pokes her lip out further and drops her chin to her chest.

Because, what's scarier? Seeing your child wield a knife with ninja expertise or be on the cusp of brushing her teeth with toilet water (because all five year olds are experts at flushing on a regular basis....)?

I have no idea.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quickie

I killed my computer. Again. Dead. Like an overqualified paperweight kind of dead. A trip to the Apple store and $280 later, I am coming to you via a practically brand new computer. God Bless Mr. Jobs and his invention of the Apple. Buying an Apple is expensive and they don't have any clearance tables, but the purchase is not only a very powerful piece of machinery but also some kickin' customer service. My beast if five years old and it is just as cool as the Christmas Husband gave it to me.

Recently, I told an old friend that I am hitting a road block on things to write about. It seems like my days are hair tangles and homework with LMC and dodging thrown food and no-naps Bennie. I spend a lot of time volunteering at Parochial -- which I love -- and taking Bennie to a new Children's Museum in the neighborhood. Oh yeah... and incubating that new baby who met his halfway point of gestation this past Saturday. It's all downhill from here... okay, maybe it's still uphill as I get bigger and crankier and closer to the end, but time-wise- it's all downhill.

Bedtime for this girl has been in the 8 o'clock realm. I lay in bed at the end of the day (as the sun sets) and contemplate a new blog. Recently, the History Channel has a lot of documentaries on about the Vatican, the Pope, and the history of The Catholic Church. They speak more about the last two popes-- Benedict and John Paul then they do about the current Francis I. This new pope, I like his style. He has some panache that I can get behind.

The documentary that comes to mind as I sit here showed the Pope in his private quarters. He is wearing his Pope Pajamas-- a white linen cassock and Pope slippers. It made me wonder if the Pope ever goes out for a beer, or -- being in Italy-- a glass (carafe?) of wine? What does he wear? Does he have a pair of blue jeans? Would he find a pair of chinos comfortable? Why do these things cross my mind?

Further my mind drifts to the Pope and I wonder if I were to run into him over a carafe of wine [and were I not pregnant] what would we talk about? He probably gets asked all the time what it is like to be him. Does he think of himself more as a leader of a church or as a direct link to God? Meh- he would probably be smart enough to speak what we need to hear and not necessarily what he might believe.

Probably, I'd ask him if he eats off of sterling silver every day... and if so, is it Francis I? Or, has he ever ventured into the Gap and bought a pair of blue jeans? Does he wear his jeans while he eats his dinner?

These are the questions I would want answers to.

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Change

We went to the doctor this morning. Bright and early-- Bennie wearing her squeaky shoes, running up and down the halls of the hospital and Husband in his scrubs, the proud father of his growing family. As I sit and type, snacking on my lunch, I am watching men are lay sod in our backyard and Bennie is contemplating throwing her lunch on the ground. Elmo keeps her entertained and occasionally, a bite from her tray makes it to her mouth.

Her.

She.

These words have been in my vocabulary for a very long time. In this moment, nothing has changed- life is moving forward. We are making plans.

After getting a tour of our baby's anatomy, I called my BIL, David. He was as excited as we were to hear our news and said the most important thing I have heard, "Change is good."

And he is so very right-- change is good. It can be fun. Change is not always easy, but change is always an adventure. Change. I am getting good at change-- and loving how Change changes everything.

We will put away our smocked dresses and donate our pink pajamas. All those pink blankets will soon be retired and moved on to a new house. Bennie and New Baby won't be sharing a room. That pink baby potty we bought will have to be painted and we will need to buy new sheets as purple polka dots won't cut it. Rainbows will be flip flops and not a favorite color. Bows will not of interest. We won't be buying any bloomers.

Instead- God looked down on us and smiled. He said that we are being blessed with a third baby. A healthy baby with ten fingers, ten toes, four chambers of the heart and two sides of the brain. New Baby has a perfect spine, functioning kidneys, and is --so far-- perfect. Perfect and so very loved by his two older sisters and already doting parents.

As we pack away the dresses, we will replace them with loafers and john-johns. A sun hat will be the new bonnet and blue will be the preferred color over pink. He will have a lifetime hunting license instead of a debutante dress and learn to lead instead of dancing backwards.

I didn't know what I was going to do when I heard the word "girl" the first time. But, I learned. Twice. I never thought I would know how to raise a girl, but so far-- we have two lovely little ladies. Change is good and it keeps us on our toes. He will join us soon and he will be wonderful addition to our family.

As all my children are, he will be a vital part of this family. He will regale us. He will humble us. He will teach us.

He will grow to become a man.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Today

I don't mean for so much time to pass between blog posts; I wish I could say that the reason for it happening was because so much was happening around the house- but that is not the case. Rather all these little things we are doing with our daily routine are amounting to our days.

We have daily homework that should take about 15 minutes. LMC gets distracted when the wind blows, so it is more like an hour's worth of homework. She is back in ballet and tap- in a new class, making new friends. She also started piano lessons so she can play on that beautiful piano we have in our living room-- and not just pound on the keys, waking up her sister. While her rhythm is a little off, she is trying and, more importantly, loves showing off her new skill.

LMC is loving kindergarten. It seems her that her biggest accomplishment these past few weeks is that she is slowly learning to read. Bennie is in school twice a week and knows no strangers. Husband is studying-- a lot. He has a big test coming up soon and, well, it would be good if he passes it. I am almost 19 weeks pregnant and we go tomorrow for the BIG ultrasound to make sure the growing fruit has all fingers, toes, eyes, ears, etc. We should find out what we are having-- boy or girl.... or puppy, as LMC has asked more than once.

It's not a puppy.

At this exact moment, I am resting on LMC's bed; she is playing on the iPad next to me and Bennie is not napping in her crib. I get tired in the afternoons these days and I feel a little silly being tired-- incubating or not, the girls still need a mom and dinner won't cook itself. Especially since I am going to get a whole lot more pregnant before I am no longer pregnant!

This is short, because Bennie is starting to get a little agitated with her lot in life and Husband should be back any minute.