Really I CAN bake, really

Since graduating from nursing school I’ve had some time on my hands. It’s been weird. I’ve slowly been going back to old hobbies….and watching an obscene amount of Netflix. (On a side note, I just love “The Flash.”)

Image result for the flash cw quotes

That being said, one afternoon I decided to make cookies. I went rummaging through my cupboard to see what I had on hand. I decided to make oatmeal butterscotch cookies from the bag of the butterscotch chip bag. It was a cookie fail. They were crumbly and either undercooked or overcooked. The flavor was good but the cookies just kinda fell apart.

The thing is, I really can bake! I swear! I have photographic and blog proof! There was this cheesecake, these balls, this other cheesecake, and I just made a beautiful fruit tart and scones. Here’s proof!

20170625_151055

I used a Paula Dean recipe for this. It was amazing! Like really amazing- with butter, sugar and fruit how could you go wrong?!

20170624_174216

These were also quite tasty. I just googled an English scone recipe. 

See, I can bake! And usually things turn out. I don’t even know what I messed up with the cookies but now I’m feeling the urge to redeem myself. I sent the lacking oatmeal butterscotch cookies to work with my boyfriend. A bunch of guys will eat almost anything! (and they did taste good, they were just a mess)

Advertisements

A Sweet and Simple Distraction

There’s just over a week until I take the dental admissions test. It’s a big deal and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t stressed about it. I’ve been trying to study but it just doesn’t seem like enough. In fact, I looked at a practice test today which confirmed that there really hasn’t been enough studying yet. Yikes! So what have I been doing about this? Avoiding the issue of course. This time I’ve gone with one of my favorite forms of avoidance, baking. Specifically cookies.

oatrmeal cookies B&A

Before and After 

I have a lot of legitimate things distracting me from spending time prepping for this test but baking is like comfort food to me. I mean, the results of it actually are comfort food but over the years I’ve baked when I’m bored or need to take a break from something or even to cheer myself up.  It’s more than the food that’s comforting to me, it’s the familiar action and the feeling of purpose that comes from feeding people. Because there was a random stockpile of oatmeal in my cupboards, I went with oatmeal cookies this time.

The recipe came straight off the canister of Kroger brand Quick Oats. Of course there were a few modifications; I completely lack the ability to follow directions  a recipe as written. It called for a cup of butter which, one, I did not have and, two, just seemed like a lot of butter. (as if you can ever really have too much butter???) Instead I used most of one stick of butter (1/2 cup) and a visual approximation of a 1/2 cup of coconut oil. I also used gluten free flour (again because I had some that had been sitting around a while) and added butterscotch chips. No one in my family likes raisins and my kids complain about nuts. I wasn’t sure how well the butterscotch and cinnamon would go together so I reduced the amount of cinnamon a little too.

 

mountain o cookies

Mountain O’Cookies. This only exists when no one else is home.

Fresh out of the oven these things were amazing. I may or may not have eaten more than five of them immediately. After a couple hours they were a bit crunchier than is ideal but still delicious. I’m not sure if that’s an oatmeal cookie thing or if I should bake them a little less next time. I’ve only made oatmeal cookies a couple times so there might be some things I don’t know about doing so. While these won’t replace classic chocolate chip cookies as top cookie, they’re definitely something I’d make again. But not until after I spend the next ten days cramming as much biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry content into my head as humanly possible and then topping it off with some math and perceptual ability strategies…

go study

Yes sir!

 

 

Every [Snow] Day a Gift

It’s Monday morning, the first one after the holiday break that my kids are with me. I missed them immensely during the two weeks that they were with their dad so this past weekend was spent reveling in the beauty and comfort of the “boring” day to day of life as a single mom with five kids. Mostly there was catching up on housework (by me), sleepovers with friends (definitely not me), rented movies watched (by everyone), and just basic relaxing and hanging out together. For me the highlight was probably taking my youngest two and a neighbor kid to a (family friendly) bar a few blocks away on Saturday night to see my son’s guitar teacher perform. I brought knitting and had a beer, they got desserts, it was great. (Yes, I spent my Saturday evening knitting at a bar…. with three kids. I’m so cool!)
Yesterday, after missing church due to a flat tire that refused come off without a fight, we finally got around to making our Christmas cookies. A little late, I know. Maybe they should be called New Year’s cookies this year though it’s even late for that. When the kids were smaller we made these cookies a few times a year at various holidays or sometimes just for fun. They’re buttery sugar cookies, the kind you roll out and cut into shapes then frost and cover with sprinkles or sparkly colored sugar. It can be quite a process, especially with a bunch of young kids ,and always a mess. Because we’ve made these same cookies for years, we have the process down to an art if not a science. Everyone can roll out their own dough, maneuver the various shaped cookie cutters, and even the frosting and decorating isn’t half the sprinkle storm it once was. Of course there’s still a giant mess but now I can actually make some cookies too instead of bouncing from kid to kid to help with sticky dough or prevent the consumption of excessive amounts of uncooked cookie.

Some things, things like making cookies, are much easier now that my kids are older but the challenge now is getting them to engage. I wasn’t sure the older two were even going to participate this time. They would be more than helpful when it came to eating the cookies, I’m sure, but after calling them downstairs twice and sending siblings up to fetch them a couple more times it didn’t look like they’d be making the cookies with us this time. When the younger three and I were about half way through rolling and cutting the dough one then the other finally wandered down to join us. With the oldest being sixteen and the next two turning fifteen and thirteen in the next couple months I always wonder if this is going to be the last time. The last time they want to help pick out the Christmas tree, the last time they want to make cookies, the last time they ask me to make them something just because. You never know when it’s the last time until after the fact. With one kid looking at colleges and taking driver’s ed, though, it’s clear some last times are coming. Maybe they’ve already happened. As a parent it’s sad and a little bit scary to think about that, to realize that the time your kids will be under your care and protection is running out. As a divorced parent the fear and sadness of that realization intensified.

When I was married and my kids were smaller I was with them All. The. Time. Literally. The longest I had been apart from my kids was maybe four days. Sure there were some days that all I wanted was an hour or two of peace and quiet but for the most part I loved my life as a mostly stay at home parent. I took pride in being the best parent I could be. But that time with my kids was definitely something I took for granted. I thought I’d always have it. Even as the divorce progressed I never imagined I’d loose half of my time with my kids. Sure, they’d be with their dad some of the time but I had always been the primary care taking parent so why would that change? When the final decision on parenting time was handed down (two years ago at the end of this month) it hit me hard, felt like a sucker punch. Call me short sighted but I totally did not see that coming. It took me a while to adjust to our post divorce parenting time schedule. Suddenly time with my kids was at an all time premium. Because I was missing so much time with them there was this weird hyper-focus when they were with me. Must make the most of this time! Must do all the things!

Sometimes I wonder if this is a regular thing with divorced parents, becoming obsessively focused on their kids and making the most of the time they have with them. I’m sure to some degree it is. How weird must that be as a kid to have your parents so interested in your every move, so eager to spend any and all free time with you doing “family time” stuff? Family movie nights, family game nights, family dinners, family prayer time, family trips, family, family, family… It sounds like too much of a good thing. As a teenager I just wanted my parents to leave me alone and let me do my own thing. I thought I could take care of myself, I had that shit handled so just leave me the fuck alone! I can only imagine how annoyed I would have been if my parents wanted me to spend all weekend with them doing family activities like some perfect happy eighties tv family. Gross! Luckily my kids are much more tolerant teenagers than I was and over the past couple years we’ve established a pretty good balance of family, personal, and social time.

This morning when my alarm went off at six-thirty I struggled to motivate myself out of bed. It quickly became clear that it was going to be one of those mornings, the ones where everyone is dragging and it takes some verbal motivation to even get them all out of bed and moving let alone out the door. (Let’s face it, most school mornings are like that here. We are not morning people!)  Around six forty-five I got a text from another school parent “Snow day!” she said. I felt like someone had given me a gift…the gift of more sleep and, even better still, the gift of  another day of relaxing with my kids. Eventually I’ll still have to drag those teenagers out of bed but now we’ll get to sit around in our pajamas and eat sugar cookies instead of rushing our the door. I couldn’t ask for a better Monday morning than that.

wpid-wp-1418663551941.jpeg

The Ninja cookie, a symbol of Christmas and family traditions.

Nerding Out and Cute Cats – part 2 of the post-Christmas post

I’m starting to have a nerdy kitchen and I love it!!! Check this out!

Doctor Who cookie jar that makes Tardis noises & R2-D2 measuring cups!! I’m mean seriously how fun it that?!?!

That’s right our kitchen is beginning to look awesome. We had a Han Solo in carbonite shower curtain on the way but it got lost in the mail. We got a refund but unfortunately no shower curtain…yet. Also new in our kitchen is a waffle maker. I’ve never had one before and I’ve decided I love it! Homemade waffles are way better than those store bought toaster waffles.

As I’ve been back on the crocheting bandwagon (at least until school starts again) my kitten is stalking my yarn. Clearly this is something I’m going to have to work on but it’s made for some cute pictures.

He wants the yarn…sneaky bastard

Christmas was lovely but I’m kinda glad it’s over. I do miss all the decorations though! Love me a Christmas tree.

Why, yes, those are Star Wars decorations on there. Darth Vader will warn you away from the presents if you get too close!