my adventures

There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, she was very good indeed, but when she was bad, she was horrid.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Apple Crisp

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."   ~George Bernard Shaw

I'm a huge fan of any kind of crisp or anything with a crumb or streusel topping.  Since I'm also a big fan of desserts that I can make from items I have on hand all the time, I end up making Apple Crisp a lot.  Here is the recipe I use.  It's an adaption of several I found online but with enough changes that I'm comfortable calling it "mine" now.

Apple Crisp

Apple Mixture

6 McIntosh or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced (approx 1/2")
Juice from 1/2 lemon - approx 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the kind that comes in a bottle
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 T sugar


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound (1 cup) cold butter, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.  Pour apple mixture into a greased 9x12 baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, oatmeal and cold butter in a bowl using the tines of a fork and/or your fingers, working until even, small crumbles form and butter is the size of peas.  Scatter evenly over the apples.

Bake 40 minutes until apples are just tender and topping is golden brown.

And for you visual learners (this is my 1st attempt at food photography - I'll get better):

Here is the apple mixture in the pan.  I took this picture for those of you who, like me, wonder if you're cutting the apples to an okay size:

Here's a picture of the topping mixture.  You can see that I use a very loose interpretation of "butter the size of peas":

Here's a picture of the topping sprinkled over the apple mixture with a cute kid in the background:

Here's another picture of that cute kid, entertaining his brother while Mommy cooks:

And here's a picture of the bowl you fix yourself as a reward when both kids go down for their naps.  Ice cream or whipped cream would have been a nice addition but I didn't have any:

Let me know if you have any questions.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three things to cheer about

"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted."  ~John Lennon

I was going to write a blog post about soup but then got sucked into watching videos that make me smile.  Here are three things to cheer about:


Period Montages

Craziness onboard the USS Enterprise

Have a great day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grammatical musings

"Yes," she said. "'I Been Working on the Railroad.'There's just two things I'm worried about with that: the grammar and the use of slave labor."   ~Lorrie Moore (A Gate at the Stairs)
Recent irritation with a crossword puzzle that used the word "elks" as the answer for the clue "Caribou's cousin", had me doing grammatical research online.  Apparently "elks" is perfectly acceptable as the plural of elk, although "elk" can be considered both plural and singular and is my personal preference.  You can say either:

Cara shot the biggest elk of all the elks in the forest.
Cara shot the biggest elk of all the elk in the forest.

I guess as long as Cara is able to fill her tag and it gets the right Boone and Crockett score, the grammar isn't a big deal where elk or elks are concerned.  Still, "elks" sounds a little dumb, right?

I did also learn the following interesting tidbits:

"Platypi" and "platypodes", though both technically incorrect, are colloquial plurals for "platypus."  However you would never say "On a recent sojourn to Australia, I was charged by a herd of platypodes" because, apparently, they don't travel in herds.  And it's probably a good thing they don't, because male platypi have a spur on their hind feet that can deliver a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans.  Who knew?  Thus says Wikipedia.

"Weed-ate", "weed-eated", and "Weed Eatered" are all acceptable past tense forms of the verb "to weed eat" when used in casual converation.  Although, since Weed Eater is a brand name, it's better to say "trimmed" when speaking or writing formally.  Which leaves me wondering how much formal writing is done about Weed Eaters. 

Finally, the word "Defenestration" means "a throwing of a person or a thing out of a window; or a usually swift expulsion or dismissal."  This was a new one to me - it appeals to my sesquipedalian (also a new word) tendencies. 

Extra points to anyone who uses the word "platypodes" in casual conversation this week...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things I've actually said...and am a little horrified by

"Some people have a way with words....some people....not have way."   ~Steve Martin (Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life)

1.  I don't want you to hand me your boogers.
2.  I'm sorry your bottom hurts but, no, I will not kiss it.  Will it feel better if I kiss your face?
3.  Stop touching doggy's penis.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Those who fail to plan…aren’t me

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch." ~Orson Welles

In the past, I’ve been very bad about planning meals.  (I say it this way because I hope I’m changing.)  When I was working outside the home, my husband would call me every day on my way home from work to ask “What do you have in mind for dinner?”  Even though I knew this call came every day, I was never prepared for it.  And now, as a stay-at-home Mom, I still find myself casting about at dinner time for something resembling a well-balanced meal.

The other day when I was struggling with the “what’s for dinner” question, instead of just cooking something, I did what any normal 30-something would do and googled “meal planning help”.  (I like to think of myself as normal.  Please don’t burst my bubble if that’s not actually the case.)  I read advice from several websites, sent my husband to pick up take-out (I promised myself it would be the last time for this month) and created a plan.  Admittedly, I would almost always rather plan something that actually do it.  And my plans tend to quickly become overly complicated and cumbersome.  But here’s what I did and, so far (I’m on day 2 of the plan), it seems to be working:

  1. I made a list of the main dishes I fix for dinner.  I made separate lists of the side dishes and veggies that I fix.
  2. I categorized the main dishes.  These are the categories I used:
    1. Meals that are good for left-overs
    2. Meals that I only fix when we have certain, special ingredients – like steaks or ribs when they’re on sale
    3. Meals that require little or no pre-prep time and don’t require anything be unthawed from the freezer
    4. Meals that take 2 or more hours to cook
  3. I figured out what days of the week work well for what categories of meals.  For instance, my husband works Monday through Thursday so I tried to focus meals that are good for left-overs around those days so he can use the left-overs for his lunches.
  4. I came up with 7 themes for meals.  These are the themes:
    1. Chicken
    2. Soup
    3. Chinese Food
    4. Italian Food
    5. Mexican Food
    6. Long Cooking Time Meals
    7. Sandwiches
  5. I created a calendar and started writing in meals.  I assigned 1 meal from each theme to each day of the week, keeping in mind the meal categories so that the meals I picked fit with our schedule. 
  6. I picked side dishes and veggies to go with each main dish and wrote them on the calendar as well.
  7. I figured out how long each meal would take to prepare and cook and wrote down the time I had to start cooking for that meal to be ready at 6:00.
  8. At the bottom of the calendar, I listed alternate meals.  These are meals that require no defrosting and that I can make at any time from items I always have in my pantry.  This is my contingency in case our schedule goes crazy or I forget to take something out of the freezer in time to thaw.
  9. I made a grocery list of the main items I need for the meals for the rest of the month.  I may have to make more than 1 trip to the grocery to get fresh veggies and other perishables but I should be able to do most of the shopping for July in one trip (a miracle it seems to someone who is used to going 2-3 times per week).
So I have meals planned for the rest of July and I’m very proud of myself for doing this.  Yesterday I fixed beef stroganoff with broccoli and homemade bread.  Stroganoff was a new recipe for me.  My husband actually liked it (a miracle as he tends to resist new foods) and I know what small modifications I will make the next time I fix it to make it even better.  (More on this later.)  Today we’re having Mexican casserole and tomorrow it’s chicken soup with butter rolls.  I love having a plan.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Funny things are everywhere

"When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles...they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle."   (Fox in Socks)
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells." ~Dr. Seuss
I like Dr. Seuss better than a lot of the other children's books out there.  While there's the real possibility you'll end up tongue-tied, he's funny, interesting and clever.  My issue with his books is this - I still don't have an answer when asked, "Mommy, what's that?":

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sometimes it's okay to be naked

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."  ~Mark Twain

These are my children:

My older son Alex will be 3 next month.  He is mostly naked in this picture because he elected to remove all of his clothes, save his diaper, just prior to his nap and, now that he's up from his nap, he doesn't want to put his clothing back on.  Clothing removal is a recently acquired skill for him.  This morning I left him unattended for less than 5 minutes.  He was watching TV when I left but the sounds emanating from the basement soon made it clear that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was failing to hold his interest.  I returned quickly to find him, standing in the bathroom, completely naked and soapy.  I was, admittedly, a little impressed because I didn't realize he was able to take off all his clothing and diaper without assistance.  When I inquired about what he was doing, he replied with every parent's favorite response to this question: "I don't know."

My younger son Mark will be 2 months old in a few days.  He is mostly naked in this picture because I had just finished bathing him when I heard Alex saying "Mommy, I need help."  After rendering assistance in the form of fast-forwarding Tom & Jerry, I decided to take their picture.  No, Mark doesn't look that way because he is scared that his big brother is holding him.  In fact, he looks startled or concerned most of the time.  You probably would too if I were your parent.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Getting Started

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~C.S. Lewis

I’ve been reluctant to start a blog.  It seems a little like hubris to think that anyone would want to read what I write and I probably should be paying closer attention to the mountain of laundry that is threatening to avalanche down on my household instead of writing.  But, I have things I’d like to record and, it’s possible, one of my little adventures will resonate with someone else. 

I’m a very good planner, organizer, and goal-setter.  What I’m not really good at is implementation, follow-through and finishing.  My plan is to have a good blog with interesting, informative and funny posts.  My goal is to post regularly and not fizzle out after a few weeks.  We’ll see how it goes.  Thanks for joining me on this adventure.