Thursday, March 24, 2016

Breaking rations

I took last week off, which was necessary because with the boys home, I had extra work to do. They don't think they make extra work, but BOY HOWDY! they make extra work. I do love them very much...

But I am really, really tired.

So I went back to the doctor last week to sing the praises of Flovent. All those years, and I could have--well, actually, I haven't really missed anything, and I still wouldn't qualify for certain jobs that I think would be cool to have.

I will never be a soldier of fortune, for instance.

But that's okay, like Bilbo at the beginning of the Hobbit, which I am now reading to the girl, I have brought adventure into my own home. Cooking things in the pressure cooker has become an adventure. Like running to your house and scrabbling for your key in the lock while pretending a murderer is after you, or picking a car and "losing them" as though you were a supercool spy, hubby and I like to treat the giant thing as though it were a bomb. Oh sure, there are fail-safes, but I have to have something to keep me interested in the walls sometimes.

This rarely happens.

So I've also looked to some other things to cook or make for the family. The current, er, flavor of the day is Tiramisu. My local supermarket is--not surprisingly--short on marscapone cheese, but no worries, because it's apparently a beginning cheesemaker's first project, sorta like the programmer's "Hello World!" or the tinkerer's broken clock. I did find it at Walmart, in the fancy cheese section of the deli for $3/8oz. Not a bad price, and since I couldn't actually find heavy cream that was not ultra-pasteurized, I decided to skip this step. I still included it for posterity.

I'm also experimenting with making a coffee free version for the kids and using a "sponge slab" rather than lady fingers which are stupidly expensive and not readily available where I am. So I'll include a recipe for everything, which I call "Super Experimental Coffee, egg, and alcohol-free Sponge Tiramisu." Oh and when I say that it's a "Quick recipe," I mean you'll start the night before you actually want to eat it.

Just chillin'.

And no, this is not even remotely ration friendly. It was invented in the 70s. I'll save those recipes for weeks when I am working on the garden and trying to get the kids (and me) to eat more veggies.

Sponge (sometime the day before, making it in two batches might be best):
6 oz self rising flour (sifted and left on a plate)
6 eggs
8 oz sugar
(2 tsp vanilla, optional)

Put eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat until mixture thickens. Fold flour into mix and pour half the mixture into parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes at , remove from oven and cool while baking second sponge with other half of batter.

Marscapone Cheese (the night before, if you don't buy it):
3 c heavy cream (NOT ultra-pasturized)
1.5 tsp lemon juice

Heat cream over medium high heat until candy thermometer reads 190 deg. Milk should be lightly simmering. Add lemon juice and stir until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Place sieve lined with fine cheesecloth or coffee filters over a bowl and pour mixture in, leaving overnight.

Tiramisu (make in the morning for nighttime enjoyment!):
2 c heavy cream, chilled
16 oz marscapone cheese
1 c confectioners sugar
1 1/2 c coffee (or chocolate milk?)
1/2 tsp vanilla
16 oz lady fingers or sponges from earlier
Cocoa powder for dusting.

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip cream until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, whip marscapone cheese until smooth. Add sugar, 1 c coffee (milk?) and vanilla fold whipped cream in carefully. Do not over mix.

Soak ladyfingers (sponge?) in remaining espresso (or milk?), layer into 13x9" baking dish and cover with half of creamy mix. Layer more lady fingers, then more creamy mix and chill for 4-8 hours. Dust with cocoa before serving. (Note: the sponge is super thirsty. You might want more than this. Honestly, I just poured the coffee over the sponge layer.)

I will try to post pictures later, because it will be eaten.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The fight at home.

So, as reported earlier, I have been working on conquering my house from the post-pregnancy and new infant destruction. This is harder to do when the house seems to actively fight back. Of late, I've gotten my entry clean when a month later it looks like my hours of work were hours playing Candy Crush or Facebook Cross-stitch.

I would rather spend my craft money on crafts.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, I've cleaned the stove enough that it is not only sanitary, but it's nice as well. I even replaced the drip pans with porcelain ones which should wipe clean rather than rust through like the aluminum ones. Of course, like any proper homemaker what I really want is a new stove, possibly one of those beautiful glass top ones.

Or, you know...

But I keep fighting the good fight. Without me, this family would be living like raccoons inside two weeks, and even though sometimes it can be daunting, I have to keep working. Of course, that being said in the course of online political discourse, someone told me that, because I am a housewife, I have no ambition and desire only to mooch off of others. I had to write my response three times before I could stem my anger. I'm not gonna lie, I also called them a Nazi for their xenophobia, so I really can't claim the high road here. Weirdly, though, it wasn't a Godwin, as their "solution" for the country's troubles smacked of someone else who had a "Solution."

Yes, ma'am!

I admit it, he pressed a button I've had for a LONG time. That being said, though I do have plans for the summer. The frustrating part is that Mr. Smith is working on his dissertation over spring break, and when the Boys are home it just means more work for me. I haven't had four hours to myself since the baby was born. I've barely had time for tatting, so I've only worked thirty of the forty medallions, the centers of which I did during doctor appointments and non-stress tests.

I felt like this, only I was tatting.

Of course, now I have a Diva to chase which is why this post has taken two days to write. I had to stop in the middle of the previous sentence because I had to chase her again, this time, she was exploring the toilet, so I wiped her down with baby wipes. I guess I need to get her a water table to play with outside... or inside.

Which ought to keep her occupied for all of five minutes.

Well I guess its time to get more coffee, wash some clothes, and change out the toys again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The best laid plans of moms...

I've tried and failed a couple of times since January to start blogging again. Unfortunately, it's been countered by a few things going on from a sort of general malaise to what might be latent nesting, to just chasing after a now nine month old baby.

I wrote a whole... word...... zzzzzzzzz.......

On top of everything, Mr. Smith's scooter threw a rod, or a bearing, or a camshaft--well, something technical and machine-sounding, so it's not working at the moment. This means that he has to take the truck to work, and that makes my very small world seem a little smaller.

I can see my house from... everywhere.

In other news, the world of "breathing" continues. Twice daily, I breathe in a powdery substance that tastes like dry spaghetti, and it keeps my lungs in the working order they never really were. I may never run a five minute mile, but at least I can walk a 35 minute mile without coughing up a malfunctioning lung.

I blame the groundhog.

And finally the Home Front. As mentioned at the top, I've been doing some latent nesting. I've organized drawers, arranged sweaters in the closet, and even handled a couple of the bills that were once in the flower and now in the filing cabinet. Of course the entryway I spent HOURS organizing is a wreck again, but I'll fix it again, and above all, the kitchen? It's not just clean, it's SANITARY! I mean it may not be spotless, strictly speaking, but it's clean enough to cook out of, most of the dishes are done, and the ants are forced to go for the borax trap rather than food.

You know where this is going.

In addition, my amazing sister and I have been looking at food preservation, solar power, and other things that are becoming associated with "doomsday preppers." I started this blog because I wanted to move my family to a simpler life. So far I've botched that. What I have done is start to cook more, and try to rely less on the modern, imported, brand new, and all that. We only have one television, and no cable. We have game systems, more computers than I can count, and high speed wifi, but we come to the table for a homemade, whole food meal. I still need to get into making after school snacks and after dinner treats. That's a lot of cooking though, so I may need to come up with a different solution, and this different solution might involve the freezer.

It may be clean, but I'd like to leave the kitchen occasionally.

However, I am doing one thing that is not on the ration list, strictly speaking, though without cooking lots of cakes, it might be. You see, in the interests of tradition, Friday has become "Treat Friday," where we go and get a treat to celebrate the end of another week--just an Icee and a candy bar at the Pilot station--and Saturday night has become "Pizza Saturday" where we watch Super Sci-fi Saturday night on MeTV and have pizza and sodas. Friday morning, since the boys were gone ALSO became "Coffee and Doughnut" Friday. Well, a very sneaky Mr. Sm--er, Mr. Santa--brought me a new George Foreman grill with changeable plates. It came with new ceramic grill plates, and the thing I wanted most, WAFFLE plates! I read and actually STUDIED how to make the perfect waffles, adapted a recipe I already had, and so Saturday mornings, I make waffles.

You'd think I'd get tired of waffles on Saturday mornings?

Uncle Sam needs waffles!