Friday, February 27, 2009

Let them eat cake!

(You know that Marie Antoinette didn't actually say that, right?)

It's 11:18 PM and my first batch of cupcakes has 9 minutes left on the oven timer. I had to wait until now so they would be fresh enough for the party tomorrow but cool enough to frost tomorrow.

I'm making vanilla cupcakes from "Gluten Free Desserts" which I made last month to bring for Amara at Clementine's birthday. They are pretty tasty and I hope that everyone enjoys them. I'm using some of my vanilla paste in the frosting.

Until a few weeks ago I didn't know of vanilla paste. Jacob illuminated the subject for me.

I ordered some vanilla beans for a killer price and was talking with Jacob about them. He asked what I would do with them and I told him that I was thinking of making vanilla sugar (you put the beans in granulated sugar to flavor it). He tells me in his serious voice (if you know him you know the one), "Now, here is what you do. First you soak them in alcohol, like vodka, for a week or more. Then you cut off the ends and squeeze out the vanilla paste. And then you put the empty pods in the sugar."


There are just some people you listen to when they have opinions on certain subjects. When B tells you the best way to grow a tomato you know it's the honest truth, if Chey tells you how to use a mop then you know it's the best and most efficient way, if Gab says that a piece of art is gorgeous you know that it must be, if Darbie tells you where to get a tattoo then you know it's the best place, and so on...some people know their stuff (whilst I know just a little about a lot of things but stand ready to be corrected).

So my bean pods have been soaking for 3 or so weeks now. I finally decided that I would use the bean paste for the frosting on these cupcakes. I made quite a mess of it but my extract is in 2 baby food jars, my paste in the frosting waiting for its cake, and my pods are in the sugar adding some flavor. I made quite a mess and wish I had Jacob's huge man hands to help me do it the right way but I think it's all worked out well. That frosting sure does look delicious with those beautiful tiny flecks of vanilla swirled throughout!

Time for the next batch to go into the oven.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Who am I and what happened to me?

Last night as I drove my three children home from their grandparents home (daddy was still resting up at home from his "procedure") I talked with my mom on the phone. After her divorce she is having a hard time figuring out who she is now. For more than two decades her life has revolved around my step-dad's mental illness. She's not had time for herself or anyone beyond her immediate family. Now she finds herself with only one child left at home who will shortly be leaving for Marine bootcamp. She has more time for herself but isn't sure how to use it. She's not sure who she is. Nearly 49 and she finally has time to reflect upon herself but she has no idea where to start.

I don't want that to be me.

I turned 28 this month and am definitely in a different place than I ever thought I'd be. As a teen I vowed I wouldn't have children. My mom and step-dad had two children that I often was stuck caring for because my step-dad was bipolar and his illness was uncontrolled. I disliked that experience so much that I thought I would never want to have children of my own. Then after high school I met Shawn. I fell for him hard and fast. We both immediately started seeing our future and in his mind that included children. I adopted his vision then starting romanticizing having children with him. Within two years of our marriage our first child was born and they've been coming regular like every three years. Now we have three children and our family is complete.

I've moved from confused teen that grew up in a mentally unhealthy home to married and then child after child. I'm not all that sure who I really am at this point. My philosophies about life have changed, my religious views have changed, my politics have changed. I'm a completely different person than I was 10 years ago. Will I be a completely different person in another 10 years?

I hope I won't be completely different. There are definitely areas I want to work on (most of them would be covered by a bathing suit if I actually wore one) and hope that 10 years from now I'll look back at this as a transitional time with fondness.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cheese is good

(Gab do you still have that bumpersticker?)

I love cheese. Really love it. It's what truly keeps me from being vegan. And Brie? Well that is just awesome. We have a family tradition that Monday is Family Night during which we eat snack foods and play games. I try to incorporate new foods each week. The kids haven't tried brie yet but they will now that Ile de France has a free cheese offer. Check it out and get yourself some brie, goat cheese, or camembert.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I want these

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy birthday to me.

As an early birthday present my husband made me a delicious dinner Saturday night. He prepared lemon pepper chicken with mashed potatoes and peas. He even made gravy from scratch for the first time. It was very tasty! I'm looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow for lunch.

He also gave me my gifts early (we tend to do that a lot).

A beautiful yarn bowl

The yarn in the bowl is for some socks I'm making him.

And this lovely necklace

These are both handmade items purchased from Etsy. I love that he picked such thoughtful gifts and that they are handmade. I really appreciate handmade items as I understand the effort and care that goes into making things yourself.

Thank you, Shawn. It was a lovely day even though my head was congested and my nose was running.