Monday, August 31, 2009

My little boy! Sniff, Sniff......

Nick has his first loose tooth.

He and Cameron were wrestling the other day and Nick got knocked in the mouth which made the tooth dangerously loose. So I decided today to take a picture before he went to school just in case he lost it at lunch or something. His permanent tooth is lurking way back behind in a rather disconcerting spot. A position that makes me hope Dr. Gee isn't going to retire anytime soon.....

Well, he got excited about the thought of his tooth coming out today, so I told him I would try to pull it after school. This is not my area of expertise. When I wiggle a little kids tooth, I feel the different sensations down to my bones. The unsettling crackling noise the ripping skin makes, the sometimes grinding of old tooth against new tooth....(shudder). But, I decided to give it a go. Besides, I happen to know my regular tooth puller is busy making a baby quilt...(teehee!) and therefore is unavailable. So we took one last picture and went to work!

I knew that Kellie's 'twist-and-pull' with toilet paper was 99.6% successful in most cases where the tooth was hanging by a thread. Of flesh. Ew.

Nick was pretty brave. And I was pretty squeamish. I didn't have it in me to just grab the tooth & rip so I probably made it a little more painful than it had to be....

See what I mean?

Just when he was to the point of changing his mind.......I managed to get a good grip & twist in just the right direction.....

Hey! Lookie there!

It's so tiny!! (I'm always amazed at how little baby teeth are....)

Forever changed!! Aww....sniff, sniff! Sometimes these milestones just kill me!

(Thanks to Sid for capturing all the awesome shots!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

I don't know wether to be offended, or impressed!

My hands-down, least favorite chore of my whole motherhood career so far is, indisputably, figuring out what to have for dinner. I would rather scrub toilets & walls, wash, dry, & fold 25 loads of laundry a week, de-mineralize windows & shower get the picture.

It is apparent to me that if I were to organize and streamline this operation, it would probably not even be an issue, but if you think this knowledge solves the problem, you must not know me very well. **cough, defeated perfectionist, cough**

So I continue to let it be my bane, though I have thousands of recipes to choose from and an actual like for cooking, and even time at home to plan a menu. Ah well.

When the planets do align, and I end up making a nice meal, nothing irks me more than watching my family inhale the food in less than five minutes, totally disregarding the amount of effort and angst that was exerted in its creation. Sometimes they even up and leave the table without lifting a finger to clean up after themselves--the final degradation. (At this point I usually begin shrieking like a banshee about how I do so much on their behalf and this is how they show their appreciation???)

So the other night I made this:

It's called a Maple Sausage Apple Braid. Mmmmmm

The recipe makes two braids and really is pretty simple. It smelled heavenly. I called my family to dinner as I sliced a few bits to quickly take pictures of. I set the remainder on the table for Jason to slice and pass around and ran outside for some decent lighting. I hadn't even finished taking pictures before three kids came out asking if there was any more. Any More??!? What the freak??!? It was GONE!! All that remained were the pieces on my plate! Of which I only got ONE!

So I'm torn between being indignant that once again, the fruits of my toil were ravished before I could even sit down, or impressed that they loved it so much that they could not contain their gastronomic gusto! Seriously, I heard about it for several days afterward!

I think I'll go with impressed. That way I can have something to be proud of in the dinner preparation department. If only I could get away with making this several times a week, my problem really would be solved!

Maple Sausage Apple Braid

1 pkg. Maple flavored sausage
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3 apples--peeled, cored & pretty finely chopped
1 1/2 cups dry herb stuffing mix
17 1/4 oz. package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
2 T. sesame seeds (optional)

Take pastry out of freezer and let thaw. This takes about 30 minutes, so plan accordingly. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine uncooked sausage, syrup, 2 eggs- beaten, onion, apples & stuffing. Set aside. Roll out each pastry sheet to an 11X14 inch rectangle. Divide sausage in half and spoon mixture down center third of each pastry. Lightly beat remaining egg with 2 teaspoons water. Brush exposed pastry on each side with egg mix. Use knife to make 45 degree diagonal cuts in sides of pastry. Cuts should stop about 1 inch from filling. Fold strips over filling, alternating sides until filling is enclosed. Brush pastry surface with remaining egg mixture, sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Place on baking sheet; bake 40 minutes or until braids are golden brown and filling reaches 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- Show quoted text -

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The one that got away.........

This is an heirloom tomato from my garden. It's huge. And kind of on the pink side of red. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds of plants that have never been hybridized. They don't grow perfectly round like more commercial tomatoes. In fact, some are very squanchy looking. But they come in amazing colors like chocolate brown & purple! It's kind of cool to think that somebody, somewhere saved the seeds so a variety would not die out. This one is called 'Brandywine' It was so big & beautiful that I couldn't bear to skin it & bottle it.

This golden heirloom called 'Old German' was not so lucky.....

I love growing stuff.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Holy Jalapeno!!

If any of you are put off by the thought of jelly made out of jalapenos, I just pity you. If you have never had a cream cheese stuffed, deep-fried jalapeno dipped in this wonderful stuff, you haven't really lived!

It is the sad reality that my garden does not produce all it's peppers and tomatoes at the same time, making it easier for me to make salsa! (which is almost the whole reason I planted the garden.....) First come the peppers all at once. So many that I can't handle it!! Then, when I finally get a good amount of ripe tomatoes, all the peppers are gone.....It's a good thing they're cheap! But I'm still left with a plethora of peppers. So I put up some jalapeno jelly to keep me warm in the wintertime! If it lasts that long......Spencer has been begging me for three days to bust open a jar. When I explained what I was making, he was so not convinced. It wasn't until I special made him a cracker with cream cheese and a little jelly that he changed his mind. He quite loved it.

So don't knock it until you try it:

Jalapeno Jelly

1 cup jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, finely diced
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red or orange pepper--can be bell or combination of other peppers (I used Santa Fe peppers)
6 cups sugar
2 envelopes liquid pectin, 3 oz. each
1/2 tsp. unsalted butter

Prepare canning jars and lids as directed by manufacturers directions. This recipe makes 6 8-oz. pint have 8 jars ready, just in case.
Do not use seeds in the jelly. If you want a hotter product, put the seeds into a piece of cheesecloth or muslin and put it into the sugar mixture, but REMOVE it BEFORE you put the pectin in. In a large stainless-steel pan combine the vinegar, peppers, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. (Add the unsalted butter here if you want to use it--it helps to keep the foam down to a minimum.)
Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a full boil, at this point, stir constantly. Once a rolling boil is reached, pour in the liquid pectin. Return to a full boil and stir constantly for 1 full minute. Remove from heat.

Immediately ladle the jelly into your hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims off and screw on bands.

4 to 8 oz. jars need to be processed 10 minutes at sea level. pint jars, 15 minutes. ADJUST TIME FOR ALTITUDE!!!

In Utah County, an additional 10 minutes needs to be added to the bath process.

Remove from canner and place on towel to cool. Wait about 15 minutes and then carefully tilt and twist jars to distribute the pepper pieces throughout the jelly while cooling. Cool at least 12 hours before storing.

Thanks to sleepycathollow for the recipe! I thought it turned out great! I will try the pepper seeds in a cheesecloth idea when I make it next--just to add a little more heat.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The end of a struggle.

Last night the husband of my friend from another lifetime posted this.

As I read his posts from the past few weeks, it was obvious that things were escalating to a rapid end. I spent a lot of time contemplating what that would be like, both for him as her partner and best friend, and for her, knowing you were leaving your young family behind. How does one prepare for that? Especially in the midst of all the other more practical stuff like trying to stay alive as long as you can.

I know that Susan and Elden's religious beliefs mirror my own. And that they know that struggles are a part of life and learning and that separations like this are temporary. That they will be together forever as a family if that is their choice. But in this life, I can't imagine watching my best friend suffer and then letting them go.

I pay silent tribute to those involved with Susan's illness and passing. It required tremendous strength and faith and love. I'd like to think that I could give the same. That being said, I hope I never have to prove it in that particular way.

I can see though, that her tenacity can be applied to anything. The stakes might not be as serious, but the effort is not wasted if everyone would FIGHT LIKE SUSAN.

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