Monday, December 31, 2012

Worst Chinese food we've had in ages.

   Brandon got a commission bonus from his work, on a prepaid debit card. We're doing so well, and we weren't expecting the extra money, so we decided to splurge since it wouldn't hurt the budget. We ordered Chinese in, which we used to do every other week or so when we lived in Boise. We had tried almost every restaurant in town, and had a couple we really liked and always ordered from.
   Chinese is one of those few foods you don't mess with. When you find a good place, you stick with it, because odds are you won't find another you like as well. That said, when we moved here to Nampa, we were really upset about having to leave our favorite places a town away, and being outside of their delivery zone. There is a place a couple blocks from our house, but looking at their menu made me cringe, so we avoided it. A few people recommended it, so finally last night we gave it a shot. It was a mistake. It was so overpriced it was ridiculous. The portions were tiny. The fried rice was over cooked, the mandarin sauce was cloyingly sweet with an acrid, bitter after taste. The chicken was soggy. The chow mein was basically celery in a thick white sauce with a couple shreds of pork on top. No noodles. It was just bad. Never again will we order from Hong Kong restaurant. It was dismal.
   I'm excited to move out of this town. I want to go back to Boise until I'm done with school. We're working on having the funds to move this summer, but in case we can't, we're moving next summer at the latest. I'm worried about a new baby in this house though. We don't have a bath tub, air conditioning, or much room. We'll make do, I'm sure, but it's not something I'm looking forward to living through if need be. Hopefully after buying a car and all the baby stuff we need, we'll have enough to move into an actual house, with a fenced yard, where we can stay for the 4 or so years until I'm done with school. I want to be able to get Cooper a puppy in a few years. And I am desperate for a dishwasher. Well, one that's not named Amber, anyway.
   Brandon wants to move, but he's already so stressed about the baby that he's trying not to add any more to his plate, so we're not really discussing it seriously yet. He has said he would like to live closer to his work in Boise, and we've casually looked at houses with our wishlist and gotten an average price. We're looking at  $850 a month on average plus utilities. Once we have a car we can start working out the budget to see when we can move. I can't wait to be back in my old neighborhoods with my old delivery places. Don't get me wrong, I love trying new food joints, but some things you just don't mess with. One of them is Chinese delivery.
   I'm 12 weeks, 2 nearly 3 days pregnant today. Ironically my due date is Brandon's birthday. He didn't believe me at first, but the midwife verified. That means I'll have 2 red babies. A ruby like Brandon and a garnet. Funny how that works out. Life is funny in general.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Planning and budgeting and planning some more.

   So much to do. Always so  much to do. My house was spotless on the 23rd, but it's chaos again after Christmas, and I still haven't caught up. Between the dinner we had here for Inez and Charlie, then the dinner here on Christmas for our friends, virtually every dish in our home was dirtied, and must be washed and dried by hand. Most of them need a good soaking first. I'm getting through them slowly, but it seems like an avalanche of dirty dishes and it gets sort of overwhelming to do 3 loads in a row and not see a dent in the endless stacks. I need to step back and adjust my perspective sometimes and remind myself that progress seems slow now, but by the end of today my kitchen will be clean again. Not just the dishes, but the counter, the stove, the floors... I'll get everything done because it's really not as bad as it looks. Break everything down into smaller, easy to do tasks and suddenly the overwhelming becomes totally doable.
   After that it's time to clean the living room. Cooper has toys tossed about every which way. Silly airhead Brandon often forgets to carry his dishes to the sink after snacking late at night and eating breakfast in the morning, so I have a few more dishes to add to the pile. Friends dropping by leaving coke cans on every horizontal surface because they seem to forget we have a trash can. It's all good though. Easy to remedy with a trash bag and an extra couple minutes. Cooper likes to help clean anyway, as long as I'm not asking for help cleaning up his toys. He likes them out, or something, because he just won't do it.
   I'm going to get 3 loads of laundry minimum done today unless the neighbors decide they need to do theirs. Technically it's not my day, but we have come to the agreement that when one of us needs it, just use it, and if the other needs it as well, take turns. It's a great arrangement. I really like the upstairs neighbors.
   The mom forum I'm part of, CafeMom, has been really entertaining, and from time to time, helpful. Still, sometimes I read things and it makes me so sad. The way people treat each other is not ok sometimes.
   Lately I've been working on the budget. Brandon hates making a budget, and I happen to be good at it. We've learned a lot about money management and financial responsibility over the last few years, and we're applying it, and it feels good. We're getting everything caught up and we're making plans. It's lovely. I've made my baby registry, since everything we had for Cooper we gave to other families that needed it as he outgrew it, but we have a budget that will allow us to get everything on it even if we don't have a baby shower and no one buys us anything. I felt scummy having a baby shower with Cooper, opening gifts and such. I don't really like receiving gifts. So unless someone is dead set on throwing us a shower this time, I'm just going to skip it. I feel like having a second one is just being greedy, since we SHOULD have most of what we need from having Cooper. The fact that we don't is entirely my fault as I am the one that gave everything away, and a practical person would have kept it.
   My Cooper is awake!!! He's growing, so he's been sleeping a lot. I'm so excited he's up! Time to go play!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We'll be doing it differently next time.

   Yesterday was CRAZY. First of all, I'm going to chew my neighbor out if he ever comes by my house again. Christmas Eve Cooper was getting over being sick, and we finally got him to sleep next to me on the couch. The neighbor comes over at 9:30 (Cooper's bed time) and pounds on the door, making the dog go nuts. Brandon cracks open the door and whispers, because Cooper is on the couch a few feet away, telling Neighbor that Cooper is asleep on the couch and has been feeling icky, so we're not inviting anyone in tonight so he can sleep. He tells him we have plans first thing in the morning and the last thing we need is to have a cranky, sleep deprived baby. Neighbor listens to the whole thing, and then pushes past Brandon anyway and walks into our house trying to talk to me about his new Aryan memorabilia. He knows I disagree with the Aryan philosophy and his whole lifestyle. He just doesn't care. He continues talking, bitching about his family on Christmas, about all the extra housework, about not being able to smoke in his house because of the company.
   Every time he pauses I tell him we're trying to let our sick baby sleep, so he should probably go. He ignores me. Cooper is waking up. I'm clearly getting angry at this point. Eventually I just stop responding to him and stare at the door until he FINALLY takes the hint and leaves. The damage is done though. Cooper is awake. He ended up staying awake until 4am. I was literally so angry I wanted to go next door and punch Neighbor in his loud mouth and tell him to learn social etiquette. Then at 8am Christmas day we were woken up to a semi honking across the street. HAPPY CHRISTMAS! Great way to start the day.
   I ended up not getting to spend the day with Brandon. I missed part of the afternoon with Cooper. Cooper got to see two sets of grandparents, so that was great for him, but I think next year we're going to do the thing with the grandparents on Christmas eve day, and spend Christmas at home. I just didn't get to enjoy the day like I had hoped. We woke up at 8 and didn't stop running until we went to bed. We took Cooper to Morgan's, then I took him to my dad's for 2 hours, then Brandon took him to his mom's for 2 hours, then we drove home and set up all the new toys and put everything together, then I got to work cooking our Christmas dinner for our friends. We ate and it was time to get Cooper ready for bed.
   Brandon came in to get Cooper from my dad's, and said hello, but beyond that didn't have to spend time with them on Christmas, and I did the same with his family, which was nice. I like that we can be nice in the same room but that there are no expectations for us to have to foster relationships with each other's families. Sometimes I miss Brandon's family, but then I remember how toxic it always turns out to be for everyone involved, and this is so much healthier, and it doesn't put Cooper and Brandon in the position of being caught in the middle. Same with Brandon and my family. I guess some people just don't mesh even when they try their best.
   Brandon and I have been talking lately about telling everyone some stuff earlier than we planned, but I'm not sure yet. I'm trying to give him a chance to be comfortable talking about it and tell his family so they don't hear anything from someone else and get their feelings hurt. Last night he pretty much told me to be as open about it as I want and that he would talk to them when they asked about it, so I'm going to just talk about it, even if it's only here. I kind of use this blog to vent and stuff anyway, since I'm alone a lot. I'm going to start telling people about baby number 2. I was going to wait until after Cooper's birthday, when I was in the second trimester and the risk of miscarriage was much lower, but I NEED to talk about it. At first I was really worried, but we're back on track and everything is looking up, so I'm getting excited. We've picked a girl name already. I've been working on the baby registry. I have an appointment on the 3rd. Brandon is still stressed about it, but he stresses about everything he doesn't have a lot of control over, so he's trying to get himself under control and be happy instead of worried.
   I think we're still going to wait until after Cooper's birthday to tell everyone, but it's nice to be able to just talk about it here. Brandon's a great dad, and I love being a mother, so while this was kind of a shock and at first we weren't happy in the least, we're starting to see it as a happy accident, just like Cooper.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Blarg! Finally! Things are happening.

   First, after being wretchedly sick all week, I'm finally able to move about without needing my inhaler and coughing up a lung. There were a few days there where I honestly thought that Cooper was going to rip the house down board by board simply because I couldn't keep up. I still have the remnants of a cough, and a slightly sore throat, but my sinuses have cleared up and the coughing fits are gone, just a little *ahck ahck* here and there. I hate getting sick with colds and things because while puking sucks, anything having to do with a sore throat or cough makes my asthma go nuts. Suddenly I'm burning through my inhaler and trying not to have nightmares about suffocating in my sleep because I don't wake up in time to puff up.
   Brandon's fighting it off now, and Cooper has started coughing a bit and has a terrible runny nose. Brandon's sucking down Emergen-C and I'm pumping both of them with fluids and making sure they spend a lot of time in bed or on the couch under the covers, resting and eating healthy foods. Tonight we're having our Christmas with Inez and Charlie, so I'm going to make veggie tacos and clean the house up before they get here. Brandon was supposed to help, but I figure, I'm getting better while he's just starting to feel sick. Maybe if I just let him sit and relax, he won't get so sick.
   Speaking of Brandon, he and I had a conversation yesterday. I guess I was invited to his family's Christmas dinner, which I totally don't understand. I respectfully declined, though. I don't dislike these people, or want to hurt them. I am just beyond the point where I'll ever be able to act as if we're family or will ever be friendly. Respectful, courteous, yes. Do I love them, you bet I do. I just have distanced myself and it has been a really positive thing for me. It allows me to support Brandon and Cooper's relationship with them without getting torn up and worrying all the time about when I'm going to say something or do something and not be wanted anymore. This way I can view their relationship as a positive and nurture it.
   We've had our phone hooked up for a couple weeks now, and it made me sad that Cooper got to talk to all of his other grandparents at least once a week, but he hadn't talked to Brandon's mom and dad or his brothers yet. Part of our conversation was about having Brandon give them our number or calling them so Cooper could talk to them more often. They get to see him the least of all of his grandparents by far, because we live so far away and it's hard for them to get him, and we don't have a car. Jo and my dad see him every other week or more, my mom sees him about the same, as with Inez. Brandon's family sees him maybe every few months, and that's sad, because Cooper loves them. Brandon caved and called them last night, but Cooper was tired and feeling icky, so he wasn't up for talking long. Still, he talked about Blake for the rest of the night. Haha. We're still hoping we can figure out a way to have Blake over sometime. He's a cool kid.
   I think next time they'll have to talk in the morning when Cooper is at his most chipper. He's a morning person just like me. This morning he got out of bed and sat next to me as I was typing and just started rambling about milk and Santa and Raymond and his bed and showers. It was awesome. Every now and then he'd pause and make his quizzical face and ask me a question, very seriously. He's talking so much now. It's astounding how fast he learns words and how much he picks up when we speak. We have to really watch what we say.
   I'm pretty excited for Christmas dinner! It's going to be so yummy, and so far Aric, OB, and Morgan and Allison are coming. We decided against going out on Christmas eve with Cooper getting sick. We want him to be in tip top shape to enjoy Christmas day with us, and taking him out in the cold the night before is not good for him.
   Time to start deep cleaning for company over the next few days!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday foods!

   It's nearly Christmas, which we celebrate here in my house. I'm really excited. I already got a chance to flex my baking muscles last week when I made some three-bite banana blueberry eclairs for Brandon's training class at work. They were apparently a pretty big hit. Last night I made chocolate chip cookies with my Cooper. We sat up watching Doctor Who and dipping them in the last of the milk, which I have to get more of today so we can eat more cookies. Meanwhile Brandon ate the dough with a spoon. Tonight I'm making caramel corn for the neighbor, since it's a long time coming. He's been waiting ever so patiently. He can't get enough of my salted caramel corn. At some point I also have to make cookies for the LoL contest going on right now. Brandon said he would help me do this one, and we're planning the timeline and thinking of decoration ideas right now. The goal is to have a concrete plan by the end of the week, and start buying supplies. I want to have our entry submitted a couple days after Christmas, well before the deadline, that way if something happens and we're a little behind we won't be too late.
   Along with this cookie contest I'm doing, I'll be making Christmas dinner for my friends that don't have family in the area, and my little family. I'm sure Morgan will stop by, and we're going to have a stocking with gifts for her and Allison all ready for them. OB might come, and Aric. I'm not planning anything huge since we're doing all the family stuff well before dinner. We're still trying to sort out the logistics of it all, but we're having a day with Inez on the 23rd. Then the 24th we're going to my family Christmas party, which we attend every year, and it's the one family function Brandon actually goes to and doesn't mind because my mom's family has a pretty healthy relationship with him and treats him with respect. He knows he doesn't have to go, and I don't make him go to any family functions anymore, but he always comes along anyway, and has a good time, so I'm excited.
   Christmas day we're still trying to figure out. I want to take Cooper to breakfast at my dad's so he has some time with them, and then let Brandon take him to lunch at his mom's so he gets to see all of his family, and we can be home in time for dinner. It's just hard figuring out rides since we can't go to either place together (well, Brandon COULD come to my dad's, but I don't want him to since they just make him miserable), and we have to figure out where the other person would go for a few hours. On Christmas day. That's not such an easy task. Sometimes I wish everyone just got along. My mom's family is easy since they don't want to do the family thing on Christmas day, they want to sit at home with their own kids and watch movies in jammies and eat tons of food, so we just plan on going Christmas eve and there's no issue with figuring out how to juggle everyone. But if everyone could just get along, I'd just have my dad's family and Brandon's family over every year on holidays for dinner here. Never. Gonna. Happen. I've always had to juggle families, between my mom and dad, and my dad and Inez, there was always someone that had to be fit in somewhere else. Now I have another set of people to add to the list. Sigh. It's really too bad for them. I make a mean holiday dinner.
   This year we're having ham with brown sugar and clove glaze, mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing, deviled eggs, cheese and bacon Brussels sprouts, corn, and carrots. For dessert we're having 3 kinds of cookies, mixed berry, peach, and apple pies with vanilla ice cream, and Brandon's empanadas. I'm also setting out snack trays with pickles, olives, veggies and dip, bread and spinach dip, spicy roasted chick peas, and lefsa. It's a lot of food, but Brandon and Aric are both big eaters, and Cooper will munch on everything. Every year I use the leftovers to make soups and stews, which I freeze in small batches so we can eat it all year. We eat leftovers for a few days with our meals, and everything is right with the world. :D
   Side note, my son just got out of the shower and fell, and landed right on top of one of his little toy Woody figures. He just came running up to me saying, "Mom, it hurts! Kiss it!" So I asked him what hurt so I could kiss it better, and he says, "My peepee. It hurts. Fell on boot guy guy. Kiss it." I didn't. I just kissed his hand and put it right above his junk and said, "There you go! All better!" He grinned and ran off to play. My son cracks me up. Every day there is some funny thing he does or says. He's getting so big.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The joys of motherhood.

   Well, I'm healthy. I have to go get blood work done on the 3rd to be sure, but so far, so good. I'm gaining weight a little too fast, but I was below the healthy weight recommendations for my height anyway, so I'm just going to slow down my eating and remember that for every toaster streudel and milkshake I shove in my gob, I could be eating a tomato sandwich on five seed bread with a glass of orange juice ran through blender with frozen berries and a side of soup (I love clam chowder!). I was told I need to eat more protein rich foods, so I'm also going to find more ways to squeeze that in. I'm not a big meat eater. I'm content with a little bit, one meal a day. I get pretty anemic sometimes and I forget how important getting enough iron is. It would help explain the headaches and drowsiness lately. I get so caught up in other things I forget to take really good care of myself, starting with what I put in my mouth.

   I'm pretty careful about making sure Cooper eats balanced meals, but I rarely eat with him as I use the time to accomplish other stuff, like a load of dishes or taking a shower while I have a spare minute. I tend to get his meals or snacks ready, and pop something fast in the toaster or microwave for myself that I can eat one handed in a couple of bites. I think I'm going to start eating what and when Cooper eats. That should help me get back on a healthy track. I realized yesterday that the only MEAL I eat during the week is dinner. I spend so much time cooking and preparing food, and I don't eat. It's not ok anymore. It's a bad example for Coop and I need to be healthy. I can find that extra 20 minutes to get stuff done elsewhere.

   Speaking of eating, I'm hungry. I think it's time for lunch. Cooper and I are going to sit down and have lunch together today. I'm going to make roast beef and swiss sandwiches with tomato and avocado on tasty five seed bread, and parmesean pasta. Ooh, and milk. We drink a lot of milk around here. Probably too much. We drink about a gallon a day total.

   Dinner tonight will be chicken tortellini caesar salad, left over pasta, and smoothies. My son deserves the best, so that's what he's getting. I'm going to be healthier so I can stick around for a long time, and he's going to grow up in a home where eating right and taking care of oneself is a priority, because I want him around for a long time, too.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Raymond is back!

   We picked our dog up from the pound yesterday. It felt good. He's home now, and we're keeping a very watchful eye on him so he doesn't take off again. I don't know what it is about this little guy, but he loves to wander. He loves to stray from home. We've been accused of being a bad home for him because otherwise he wouldn't leave, but he's escaped from other places as well. My dad's, Brandon's family's house, Morgan's... he's just a wanderer. I could take him on the longest walks and he'd still try to get out and walk himself. The biggest problem with that is he's trusting and friendly and could get hurt or taken by a stranger that may not be a good home for him. He could get hit by a car or beat up by another dog. He also doesn't come home. I don't know if he gets lost, or what, but he doesn't come back.
   My mom had a dog named Jack. He was a minpin chihuahua mix, and he used to pull the same stunts as Ray any time someone took their eyes off of him. He was an awesome dog, but the little guy wanted adventures, I guess. Dogs are weird. Too big for their bodies and too willing to go forth and explore the world, but that's a good thing. People should be more like that, I think.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I am so worried.

   Our little dog, Raymond, likes to wander. And when people come over that fail to shut the door behind him when they go out to smoke, he tends to escape the second he feels we're not paying enough attention. Usually we catch him sneaking out the door, and occasionally we have to make a trek to the park a couple blocks down to collect him. Yesterday afternoon he escaped, and we couldn't find him. He's still not home. I am FREAKING OUT. He's been in our family for four years now. Our son adores him, sleeps with him at night, feeds him in the morning, plays with him during the day, and walks him when we go on our outings. Needless to say, Cooper's been a mess since Ray took off. He looks for him constantly, and won't leave my side or let me put him down most of the time.

   I'm so worried about my little dog. He's such a friendly little thing, very trusting, and I am scared he's going to be picked up by some other family that will take him home and we'll never see him again. I've put ads on Craigslist and called animal control, all the local shelters, and every found ad I come across describing a black dog, and still have no leads. A couple times I thought I was close, and being the emotional, hormonal wreck that I am, I found myself crying just for a moment every time I hung up the phone to a dead end. The Canyon County animal shelter has the most ridiculous policy that they won't take or give descriptions over the phone of dogs that arrive at the shelter, and I have no way of getting there, so I'm hoping a friend of mine can take me or go see if our puppers is there. We're all missing him pretty badly, and it's awful cold outside for such a spoiled little dog. He sleeps on the bed and gets scraps off of our plates between his dog food. It's hard to imagine him out there in the cold sleeping under a dumpster or something, with no food. It worries me a lot.

   Brandon keeps assuring me we'll find him, but I know he's worried too. He loves Ray, even though he's not overtly affectionate like Cooper and I are. Raymond slept at his feet or next to him on the couch all the time. Brandon bathed him and gave him scraps as he cooked when he thought I wasn't looking. I miss my dog. We all do. I so hope we get him back as soon as possible. I know that for some people, it's "just a dog" and all that, but he's part of our little family. An important part. We love him very much. Positive thoughts, people. Positive thoughts.

   We made it through Wednesday, and the weekend will be here sooner than later. That's good. I'm getting so wound up lately, it will be nice to have Brandon home for a couple days to help me refocus and get centered. He's making doughnut holes right this second for his potluck tomorrow. I'm also going to try to bake some stuff and get it out there to him, but in case I can't, I'll be taking his class tasty baked goods on Monday after my appointment. My mom is taking me, and we're getting Morgan and Allison and going to lunch. It feels good to have a positive relationship with my mom. I love her with all my heart, and we're figuring stuff out. I'm trying to include her in all the stuff she wasn't involved in last time, even though we're keeping it all pretty quiet this time until mid-January when the big risk passes and I feel a little safer. I tend to keep things to myself anyway, most of the time, since I've found that including people in what I think and feel tends to bother them or make them wary of me. I'm kind of a weirdy. Everything I do I do with a certain level of reactive intensity. When I'm sad, I'm heartbroken, even if it's just for a second. When I'm happy, I'm ecstatic, even over something tiny. I've found that people either love that quality, or push it away. Sad but true reality. I'm sure I'm not any better, so it is what it is and I'm ok with it at this point. I'm in a good place in my life and with myself. :)

   Brandon should never be in charge of baking or making sweets. He came out of the kitchen giggling, hands covered in dough, talking about how stupid he was. Next he brought me a doughnut hole to try out, and it was raw on the inside, at which point I told him his oil was too hot. Not so yummy, just sayin'. Then he brought in what looked like a long poop. It was very dark. Turns out he tried to pipe the dough like a funnel cake, but having not taken my advice to turn the oil heat down, the outside burned almost instantly, with the inside oozing out of tiny steam-created holes. My house smells like burned things. I need my inhaler for all the smoke. This is why I do the desserts here. Brandon is a great cook, but a terrible baker. He doesn't understand sweet things or how finicky desserts can be. I knew this was going to be an "adventure" when he said he was replacing 3/8 cups of milk in the recipe with 1/3 and called it close enough. In some things that works. Not in these. Silly man. I'm proud of him for trying though. And I did get 2 good ones out of the whole batch of dough. lol.

   I decorated the tree today. It looks alright. I can't wait to start adding family ornaments on. That's going to make it look better and better every year.

   Tomorrow we should have our phone turned on. It was supposed to be on yesterday, but that didn't happen. Joy. The tech guy never showed up today, so that sucked, but tomorrow I have hope. Tomorrow I'm also hoping we get our fuzzy little dog back, and I can go grocery shopping so I can get some quality baking time in. I get a little restless when I can't flex my baking muscles.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bah! I'm seconds away from lighting the tree on fire!

   We got our Christmas tree yesterday. Inez took us with my little brother Charlie, and it was really fun. We went to lunch and she even helped us get the tree up and in the base before she left. It's only a 6', but it's really full and fat, with no holes or anything. It's freaking heavy. Last night Brandon got the base on, but the tree was really crooked. This morning Cooper decided to run past it, pushing against it for momentum as he bolted past, and just then it finally decided to topple and almost crush my little boy. He was terrified. My floor was covered in pine-scented sugar water, a couple branches broke revealing gaps through which you can now see the trunk, and I could barely lift the damn thing back up, and readjust the base to make it more balanced.

   When Cooper felled the mighty tree, destroying some of our very small number of ornaments, the water shorted out the brand new Christmas lights we got yesterday, which I had painstakingly swapped the bulbs out of for alternating colors of green and gold, tearing up my fingers in the process. Half of each strand now doesn't work, even after replacing all the dead bulbs. On top of the lights dying out, I can't seem to get Cooper to leave the ornaments alone. Thankfully they are shatterproof. Unfortunately some of them are pretty small, and over half of the ornaments have disappeared since last night. I am on the verge of scrapping the whole tree, drawing a big paper one to hang on the wall, and calling it good.

   I might just light the damn thing on fire. For all the money we're going to spend to replace the broken lights and ornaments, we may was well buy a pre-lit fake tree. I'll just desperately miss that pine smell and fullness of the real branches.

   I know it seems silly to care so much about a tree. Christmas isn't about the tree or decorations or gifts or even the food. Still, it's our first Christmas with Cooper in our own home, the first he can actively participate in, and his last as an only child. I so desperately want to make it special and perfect for him, so we have those memories forever. I also know he's too small to remember, but we're going to take pictures and have keepsakes and basically I'm going crazy, hormone induced emotional, sentimental momma.

   I think what needs to happen now, is we need to wait for Brandon to get home, figure out what we're going to do about the lights, and run to the store for laundry detergent so I can wash clothes tonight. I need to leave the tree alone for a while, take a deep breath, and try my best to forget about how frustrated I am and focus on the good things about the day. My baby is awesome, our bills are almost caught up, I'm getting ready to go back to school, and we have Netflix again, so we can watch the Doctor before bed every night. My life is pretty kick ass.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Falling so far behind!

Lately I've been dealing with some crud and it's sapped a lot of my energy. Couple that with Cooper skipping naps all week, and I'm burnt. I'm falling so far behind, and desperately need to get caught up. My house is a wreck right now. I'm getting really sick, so Cooper and I have spent the last two days on the couch, eating English muffins with jelly and watching movies. I did some laundry yesterday, and made a big pot of soup for dinner, but I feel like I could sleep for the next 2 days and still be tired.

I wish I still lived close to Morgan. I used to help her clean her house and drop in to fix dinner from time to time, and eat with their family. It was good for Cooper to get that kind of interaction, and we didn't mind helping out. And when I was overwhelmed or sick, she would do the same. I'm closer to her than any of my sisters, and it's hard living so far away from her without a vehicle. Her car was totaled over a year ago, so she has to rely on using her dad or brother's car to come over, and they aren't available often. I guess I'm just missing having a support system living here.

I am literally embarrassed to have people in my house right now. Cooper's toys are everywhere, and the counter is cluttered with dirty dishes. I can't wait for Brandon to get home so I can take a long shower and do a few loads of dishes. We're going to clean this weekend. Deep clean. Brandon is going to hate it, but I need some help these days. It's only for a little while, and then I'll be back to myself.

I've got dinner on the stove now. I took a break from writing to do a load of dishes and start cooking. Tomorrow is payday, so I'm hoping we can order some pizza or get some burgers or something. I'm craving red meat so badly right now. Burgers would be perfect. Ooh... and fries. I want the largest fry I can get. I want to dip them in a chocolate shake.

It's been a long time since we've had a little wiggle room with our money, and I don't want to do anything drastic, as far as splurging goes, but I would like to have fast food or pizza for dinner one night. Something we don't get often. I'm a big foodie, and between Brandon and I, we always eat great food, and most of our friends eat at our house every chance they get, but sometimes a girl needs something greasy and gross and deep fried.

Cooper has been eating peach oatmeal for snacks, and we've gone through 5 dozen eggs in a month. I love eggs. I can't wait to get groceries so I can make devilled eggs. SOOOO yummy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let's look into how we can make this the best holiday season ever!

   It already started off on a positive. Thanksgiving was awesome. We went to my mom's, and this is the first year since I was pregnant with Cooper that no one was uncomfortable. When we go to my dad's, Brandon has never really felt welcome, so he doesn't go over there anymore. He and my dad and stepmother just don't see eye to eye. It's the same with Brandon's family and I. We have a pretty intense history. I'm pretty content with where we're at right now. I have no contact with them, and then no one is uncomfortable. They see Cooper when Brandon is in town, and that's a good thing, because even though I don't want to immerse myself in their lives anymore, they are really good to Cooper, and I'm glad Brandon didn't write them off and walk away from them just because I have differences with them that have proven to be irreconcilable.
   I feel like my family is in a really good place right now in general. Brandon has been working really hard, and found a job he enjoys and is good at. He doesn't love it every day, but most days he comes home in a good mood and tells me about all the stuff he enjoyed about his day and things that made him laugh. It's hard for him to be away from Cooper after being the stay-at-home parent since Cooper was 3 months old, but he feels good finally being able to provide financially. I'm proud of him. As for being a stay-at-home mom, it's an adjustment, but Cooper and I are doing awesome together during the day. I love being the parent at home. It's hard work, harder than any job I've had, but it's the best.
   Every morning around 8 my baby climbs into bed with me and wakes me up with cuddles, asking for breakfast. I make oatmeal or eggs and bacon and English muffins, and we eat breakfast together and play with his cars. Then I do some dishes while Cooper plays with Raymond and his toys. We get dressed and go for a walk or if it's yucky out we play hide and seek, then home for a snack and more playing and coloring. We have lunch around 1, and nap time is at 2. Usually he sleeps for at least an hour and a half, so I can do more dishes and clean up his disaster in the living room from playing all morning and stringing out EVERY TOY HE OWNS. Then I get a little bit of mommy time, which I feel is pretty important for maintaining my sanity. I usually read a little bit or get on the mom forum I just joined, CafeMom. When Coop gets up we eat again and I get out what I'll need to make dinner so Brandon can sit and eat and relax when he gets home. Usually after his nap, Cooper wants to watch a movie or just sit and color. He's a morning baby, and even after his nap, he's burnt out. Until daddy gets home. Then he's so excited to see his FAVORITE PERSON EVER that he's bouncing off the walls again. We all eat dinner together, and play for a while, and watch a movie until Cooper goes to bed around 10. That gives Brandon and I about 2 hours for grown up time before we go to bed. It's a pretty boss schedule.
   Cooper loves to cook and bake with me. Which is awesome because it gives me the opportunity to do those things without having to keep him entertained or worry about him getting into stuff. He likes to pour what I measure, stir things together, taste everything, everything, and run around with potholders on his hands screaming "CRAB CLAW" and getting me.
   I'm lucky Cooper is such a happy, easygoing baby. I'm lucky Brandon is such an incredible dad, and I'm glad I can be the best mom I know how and have the most exceptional child I could hope for. This isn't even just proud momma talk. My son says please and thank you, he is affectionate, he is brave, he's thoughtful of other's feelings, he loves animals and cooking and counting and drawing and music... I could not ask for a better child, and I could not be prouder of my little boy. I'm so excited to see who he grows up to be.
   We're almost caught up, and then by February we'll be ahead. By a lot. I'm a pretty lucky lady. I'm glad we'll be ahead, because we're going to need it around Brandon's birthday, and for all the stuff we have planned for the summer. It's stressful, but all worth it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'll tell you why: Because I'm a bit of a masochist.

I feel I should preface this by letting everyone know that I am allergic to cats. Itchy skin, congested sinuses, swollen eyes, mild asthma attacks, misery allergic. Growing up we always had cats anyway, and I just made sure to take my allergy meds and asthma meds and not to pet the animals unless I had doubled up on my allergy pill. Since being with Brandon, we've had one cat. We had her for a little over 2 years before we had to move and couldn't take her with us, and so we had to give her up, which is a bitter and sad story because I loved that cat, and up until the day of the move had been told we could keep her with us. I guess minds just change all of a sudden like that...

Anyway, once LeeLou was gone, I didn't have to have an excessive amount of pills in my cupboard or chemicals in my body, which was nice even though I missed what I considered to be a little member of my family. We decided to never get another cat. Oh, sure. I helped a stray, but we didn't KEEP Toe, for the very reason we decided cats were out of the question. And I was happy with that decision.

Cooper started hanging out at my mom's house, and suddenly became VERY aware of kitties. He wanted every one he came across. He loved them. He'd ask, "Please, mom? Please kitty?" And I, being the sucker of a parent I am, decided to bring it up to Brandon. "Just one little kitten for Cooper. It's smaller than the puppy we were going to get him next year, and easier to take care of, and clean up after." So he said ok. We should both be punch firmly in the head and told to use our brains.

Last night we brought home a few things from my mother's. Cooper got a new toddler bed, so we can get rid of the old twin sized bed he has been sleeping on, that is wretchedly uncomfortable and ugly. He now has an Elmo bed, and he's very excited about it. We also brought home some food for Brandon, who was extremely cranky when Cooper and I got home. Joy. Most importantly, we brought home Cooper's new kitten, Milo.

This morning I am an allergic wreck. I have no meds to help cut the symptoms, other than my handy inhaler, which I needed twice last night. Milo is cute, and very sweet, but I already dislike him for something he has zero control over. Cooper, however, adores him and is supremely happy. Momma's going to have to go buy some allergy pills. Sigh.

Other than being a complete idiot about my health for the sake of my child's happiness, I think I'm doing ok as a mom. I just need to get better at saying no to things that he doesn't need that make mommy feel like poop. I could have gotten him a stuffed cat and I'm sure he would have been happy with that too. Hindsight.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The roaming gnome is lucky he doesn't have to deal with travel companions.

   I'm finally home. After a week away. I missed it. The trip I just went on did NOT go well, and I can honestly say I never want to find myself so far from home and my boys again. Unfortunately, Brandon starts his new job in Boise. Meaning he's spending the week days with his mother until we can get his car fixed. He's also spending week nights there. Cooper and I are alone for the week. So after a week away from my man meat, I still have to go to bed by myself for the next work week. NOT PLEASED.
   When I got home, I was welcomed to fresh brownies and an almost clean house, and I got to give my son all the love he missed out on while I was gone, all at once to catch up. I think I've been driving him a little mad. I don't know what I would do without him. Brandon gave me catch up love, too, but not enough to get me through the week. I'm craving some physical connection to remind me I'm human. Still, I suppose there's not much to be done but to trudge on and look forward to him coming home for the weekend and hopefully more. I'm rather frustrated by my life tonight, but I think it's simply the exhaustion talking. I have not gotten enough sleep. I keep finding myself nodding off.
   After eating nothing but fast food for a week, and what Denny's calls red velvet cheesecake bites (more on those in a bit), I was craving salad. So that's just what I made Coops and I for dinner tonight. It was delicious. Full of veggies, as any good garden salad ought to be, topping with croutons and ranch dressing... it was perfect. We watched Cars 2 while we ate and I thought about some things to sort out and to let go of. I sometimes need a reminder to let go, and a deep breath and a bowl of salad after a week of hellacious travel seemed to be just the trick.
   As for Denny's... they have utterly failed in making red velvet that came close to red, rich, or chocolaty. It was basically white cake batter dyed pink with food dye, then deep fried. This is unacceptable. The white chocolate chips and terrible attempt at icing only added to my disappointment. Denny's: Come on, guys. You're better than this. WE'RE better than this. I think I need some space.
   Anyway, I'm off to bed, I think. I feel like a little old lady as it's only just before 8:30, but I'm tired and ridiculously lonely, so off to bed I hop. Except I can't sleep in my huge bed all by myself, so more like, off to couch I hop.
   Goodnight, internet.

P.S. I suppose I DO make a nice squirrel scarf after all. rofl.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Brandon has been doing all the cooking and baking lately.

   So lately I've been really depressed. I'm generally a really happy person, but I've been in such a funk for a while now. After having my son, Cooper I got really depressed and started having panic attacks really bad, and depression is pretty common in my family. My mother, grandmother, and aunt are all medicated for it, and I'm fairly certain my little brother has clinical depression too, but he'd NEVER talk about it or get help for it. Instead when he gets down he does reckless, stupid things or hurtful things and hooks up with women with too much drama that just end up cheating on him or ripping him off. As for me, when I get in a funk, which isn't horrendously often, but it does happen, I tend to become really overwhelmed. I tend to feel like I'm all alone and like no one gives a damn. Which frankly, is complete bullshit. Still, the reason I think it's actual, treatable depression is that no matter how much evidence I have that I'm not alone and the people in my life do care, and that life is worth waking up happy to every day no matter what's going on, I just can't manage to feel happy or care about things I'm normally passionate about, and that scares the bejeezus out of me.

   That all being said, I feel like I'm never going to have my food truck. See, we've had issues paying our bills the last couple months, and we're still behind on everything. Brandon found a really great job, but he doesn't start working until mid-November, when the next training class starts. By then we'll be so far behind it's going to take months of devoting every penny of every paycheck just to pay the rent and power bill. We won't be caught up enough to spend anything extra until the end of February, well after Christmas and Cooper's birthday, which bums me out, because he's old enough to participate and find magic in all of it this year. Thankfully we have a fantastic landlord that is working with us and paying our power bill until we have reliable income, but I feel smothered in debt. We're better off than a lot of people this winter, and I feel for everyone that doesn't know if they'll have a home for their families on Christmas morning, or the people that are where we were just a month and a half ago, that don't know where their next meal is coming from. At least I have a plan, and I have hope, and I have my fantastic family. Now to just get rid of this weighty lingering sadness.

   I was going to use this blog, back when our bills were being paid and I was in school, to write about the progress of owning my food truck, and to post recipes for things I planned on selling in it. Since that's being postponed for a while, I'm going to stick with just the progress in our life in general, and still post recipes, but of anything and everything I feel like. Lately, Brandon's been doing the majority of cooking and baking, so I've got nothing. The stuff he makes is so vastly different from the stuff I make. I make cupcakes, he makes empanadas. I make quiche, he makes flautas. I make chicken noodle soup, he makes pork calabacita. He's basically the wealth of spice to my (extremely pale) white (seriously, I pretty much glow under a black light) granulated sugar.

   Brandon made pineapple and pumpkin empanadas the other day that makes me wish pumpkins were sold year round in Idaho. Only getting to eat these delicious little things one month out of the year is depressing and wrong. He said he would start using canned pumpkin, but I think he was just saying that as I sobbed over the crumb covered plate of what moments before were 2 dozen warm, 3-bite empanadas that I inhaled. I left 2 for Brandon. I'm generous that way.I think he just wanted me to stop lamenting about the fact that once they're gone, I get no more, and they were gone. We still have pumpkins to carve though, so it's going to be alright until at least the first week of November.

   These things are seriously delicious. I helped make the crust, because I'm incredible at making flaky, delicious crusts, if I do say so myself. Brandon has a tendency of overworking it to death. So he let me do that. I also got to sneak filling off the stove top with a spoon every time his back was turned. He was not amused. I didn't care. I despise pumpkin. I don't even really like pumpkin pie. I always think I do, and try to eat some on Thanksgiving, but I don't. I never finish the piece. I usually just eat the back crust and let someone else finish my slice. Pumpkin is not ok. Unless it's in my Aunt Ellie's pumpkin ice cream pie, or pumpkin pie milkshakes from Jack in the Box. Both of those are good. These empanadas are like magic. Just trust me. I'll get and post the recipe tomorrow. I have pants to put on now, and a house to tidy while my son is at his grandparents.

   Cooper's over there because we were out late last night doing the local zombie walk, which was lame this year, and getting pizza, and playing practical jokes on Morgan's little brothers, and bugging one of them until he was laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. It was a good night. Morgan wanted me to do pinup zombie, so I got to dress up scary and sexy. I love that combo. Now, on to dishes!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My man made me cupcakes.

   I don't have a recipe to post today. Because I didn't bake. My love, however, my love made me some of the best cupcakes I've ever eaten. He made them completely from scratch today. This is a big deal for a few reasons:

  1. No one has ever made me cupcakes before. I even made the desserts for my own baby shower, and birthdays usually involved store bought cake or at best a boxed mix. That's not to say I'm not grateful for what I got, it's just a big deal for me to have someone make me something from scratch just for me.
  2. He made them for no reason. Just because. For me. To make me feel good. He hates sweets, especially cupcakes, but he made them anyway.
  3. He DOESN'T bake. Ever. The few times he's tried he's failed so hard he's avoided the oven like I avoid needles. With an avid fear apparent to most in the room. It's funny, because he can cook like no one else. He makes some of my favorite foods. None of them are baked. He's SCARED of baking because the result is so rarely good. Once he did make me cookies while I was pregnant. They weren't bad. I ate a few on purpose.
  4. They were easily the best cupcakes I've ever had. I can't tell him that, because he will think I'm just telling him to boost his ego, but they are unequivocally the best cupcakes I've eaten, and I'm a girl that loves a good cupcake.
   I may have had to give him a few pointers. He doesn't bake, after all, so some things were new to him. Also, he wrote part of the recipe wrong, so I had to tell him before he put 3-4 Tablespoons of salt in the batter instead of 3/4 teaspoon. Still, he made them, and he did an excellent job.

   These little cakes and I may have to run away together. It's going to suck when I eat them all and find myself alone, having left Brandon for baked goods, but they are that special kind of delicious that inspires art. Or poorly lit pictures of me pointing at cupcakes while grinning like a fool in my jammies because I don't get dressed or brush my hair on days I don't have to. I also don't cook real meals beyond quesadillas, or eat anything beyond junk food unless Brandon yells at me about being healthy. Cooper is gone this weekend, so this is one of those weekends. I'm a grown up, I promise.

   Let me describe these for you before I post the photo that is going up below. These are the fluffiest, moistest, softest little white cupcakes. They are lightly sweet and have a mellow vanilla flavor. I had him add extra vanilla because... well... vanilla is yummy. I can't get enough. They are filled with raspberry and white nectarine compote, which isn't overbearingly sweet. It's tart enough to stand up to the frosting, but it doesn't overpower the delicate little cake. It's pretty darn good. Then he topped them with a dollop of extra, EXTRA, EXTRA vanilla butter cream frosting. It's perfectly smooth and soft and whipped up so it's like a little pillow of creamy sweetness. Then he dropped on the rest of the compote. This is more than a crush. This is true love. I may have to dedicate a side of the bed to these little babies. They are that good. Just no one tell Brandon. He may decide he likes baking, and I swear, if he keeps baking better than me, I'm going to be upset because I like having that.

This is me being thrilled to death with my cupcake. I didn't actually die, but almost.

This is Brandon enjoying the last bite of his.


Saturday, September 22, 2012


   I have a few secrets that aren't really very secret. I am going to share them with you all, as well as these cookies I made, because I'm awesome. Ready? GO!

  1. I like to hump things. For instance, while Brandon is playing Pokemon on the emulator on his computer, I like to hump his arm. I have had to quell this urge since having Cooper, as I realize that it is not appropriate to teach your toddlers to hump random people and objects, but when he is gone, I get my dry-hump on full force.
  2. I have been to a couple bars, but I do not drink. This has led to some interesting discussion, and I once ordered a root beer float. Sadly, bars do not generally carry ice cream or root beer. I mean, I have a glass of wine at home, or a fruity mixed drink when I'm out, but nothing more than that.
  3. Every time I go to my best friend's house, I inexplicably start craving Chinese food. Not even good, authentic Chinese food, but the cheap mandarin chicken and pork fried rice at the greasy looking place in the Fred Meyer's parking lot. I crave it so bad everything else just tastes sub par, which is funny, because they have some good freaking food for meals at their house. I guess Morgan does too, because the evening after she had her daughter, that was all she wanted.
  4. I play WAY too much League of Legends. It might be a problem.
  5. Sometimes I like to bake things using ridiculous other things just to see what I can make. That is the case with these cookies. They are delicious.
  6. After I've made a few batches of cookies, I usually give up and use the remaining dough to make one GIANT cookie that no normal person should ever attempt to eat all by themselves, especially after eating an entire boxed dinner alone because Brandon made mac 'n' cheese for himself. Still, I am brave enough to make that attempt.
   So these cookies... These cookies are what happens when your neighbor asks you to bake cookies using whatever ingredients you can find between your two pantries, while you're already hungry, and on the mutual understanding that you are a sugar addict. We have been calling them Crackhead Cookies, because they are both highly addictive and a lot out there. There are some things I wanted to add that we didn't have, so I'm going to include them in the recipe, and if you don't like it, well, shut up and put this cookie in your mouth.

Crackhead Cookies
  1. 1 cup room temperature butter, or do what I do because normally I'm too forgetful to take it out and get it to room temperature, and throw it in the mixer on med. speed until it's soft. Remember, these cookies are to be thrown together willy nilly. It's not about perfection. And I need an excuse to not pull out the butter like a good baker would.
  2. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar.
  3. 1/4 light brown sugar
  4. 1/4 white sugar
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 2 cups flour
  7. 1 cup ground super crisp gingersnaps. I used the cheapest tub of them. You know, the ones you can buy in the big plastic barrel at Walmart? Those are great. Throw them in the food processor. I didn't even actually measure the exact amount. I estimated how many would make a cup of powdered gingersnap and threw them in with the flour and other dry ingredients and let the processor run until I had a nice even texture of flour and slightly courser gingersnap evenly mixed. Also, please note I am replacing flour for my cookies with ground up cookies. This is either sick, or awesome. I haven't decided.
  8. 1/2 t baking soda
  9. 1/2 t baking powder
  10. 1 T salt. I know it looks like a lot. Trust me. It's good.
  11. 1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
  12. 1 cup bittersweet mini chocolate chips
  13. 1 cup mini marshmallows, cut in half
  14. 3 graham crackers, broken into pretty small chunks, like dime size-ish. It's not supposed to be consistent, so if some are smaller and some are bigger, it's cool. I used a knife and my cutting board and tried chopping them. It was fun and effective, but it looked a little silly.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until extremely light and fluffy. More than you've creamed butter and sugar for cookies before in your whole life. I have a stand mixer, so this was easy. I set my Kitchenaid to medium speed and let it run while I did the rest of the things.
  • Mix flour, powdered gingersnaps, baking soda and powder, and the salt. I did this in my food processor. I basically set it to grind and let it run while the butter and sugars creamed and I did other things.
  • Chop the toasted walnuts after they cool. I always burn my fingers trying to do it right after I pull them off the heat. This is a mistake.
  • Add eggs to the butter and beat well. They should be fully incorporated and everything should be evenly mixed. Scrape that bowl, baby!
  • TURN MIXER TO LOW (unless you're like me and love having flour exploded at you and coating your whole kitchen, because I ALWAYS forget to turn the speed down) and add flour. I'd say add it slowly or in parts, but I'm not going to lie, I did not. The cookies were great. It's not important this time. Make sure the mixture is even. 
  • Mix in walnuts, chocolate chips, marshmallows and graham crackers.
  • Let chill for a minimum of 3 hours, or the marshmallows will make a mess all over the cookie sheet when you bake them. Trust me on this. It needs to chill. NEEDS. If you get too impatient, just eat the dough. It's yummy. I'm not telling you to eat raw eggs, but I'm saying I did. I do not regret it.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease the cookie sheet or use something non-stick for the marshmallows. Non-stick aluminum is fantastic in this capacity, but alas, I was out.
  • Make doughballs, roughly 2 T, though to be honest I just eyeball it based on how big I want my cookies. Sometimes bigger is better. Do yourself a favor though, and any marshmallow sticking through the dough? Yeah. Cover it with dough. Space cookies 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart and bake for 9 minutes.
   I think next time I make these I might incorporate some toffee or something in them as well. Anyone reading this with a favorite random recipe that you came up with in a moment of sugar-craving-induced desperation, please share it. I love that stuff.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This is not dessert.

   Today I was hungry. And I was also feeling like it was a fall sort of day. Every fall it somehow becomes imperative to make comfort foods. So what if it's still too warm for soup? Last week I made alphabet soup which we ate for days. This afternoon I realized I had everything I needed to make some of my awesome chili, except beef. Usually I would use steak or even ground beef, but it's so expensive here that we don't buy it often anymore. We live on chicken. Meaning the only meat I had handy was, well... chicken.
   Still! You can't keep a good woman down! I pulled out some dried beans and got them soaking, and boiled them for a good 3 hours. Gotta get them puppies tender before you add the stuff to the chili, because the beans take at least eight times as long to cook if there's anything in the water other than salt.
   Towards the end I made a mighty error in judgement. I am a pussy. I apologize for the language, but when it comes to spicy food, I'm easily the biggest baby. There is a reason for this, but no one seems to gather that maybe I'm not just a girl about hot food. It literally burns me. So when it came time to chop things for the chili, I had the dilemma of how hot to make it. I figured one jalapeno in the pot would be good enough, and without thinking, I started chopping it and removing the pips. I cut it up nice and small in about 30 seconds flat, and then moved onto the garlic and onions. Halfway through the onion I started to feel the burn. I looked down, and my fingers were ON. FIRE.
   They were bright red, the skin was peeling away, they were swollen and glossy and they hurt so bad I wanted to cry! They still burn, hours later. I did everything I could think of to stop the burn, but even after the capsaicin was off my hands, the nerves were still fried. It feels a lot like a bad steam burn now, and the raw skin from where the top peeled away is hyper-sensitive.
   The whole time I was cooking, any time I got near heat my fingers screamed at me. I'm a complete dolt.
   Anyway, when I say this chili is good enough to suffer minor chemical burns for, I mean it. It's that kind of comfort food. I'm not saying be an idiot and hurt yourself, but I AM saying that next time I'll have Brandon chop the jalapenos, and that this time, it was worth it because this chili is damn good, and super good for us. It's going to be tasty on chili dogs for Cooper's playdate Friday. This recipe was made in my mini crockpot, which serves 4-6 hearty bowls.

Burning Love Chili

1 1/2 cup dried beans, soaked for at least 2 hours, I used pinto, but really, use what you want or have on hand. Chili isn't picky.
6 cups water
3 Tablespoons salt
1 whole yellow onion
1 or 2 jalapenos for desired heat
4 cloves garlic
2 small chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
powdered chipotle
smoked paprika
lemon pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 cup frozen corn

Cook the beans on high in the crockpot for about 3 hours with the 6 cups water and 3 T salt. They should be boiling the majority of the time.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and get out a small baking dish for the chicken. Coat the chicken heavily in chipotle, paprika, salt, and lemon pepper, and roast for 15-20 minutes. Let cool and dice or shred.

Chop onion, remove pips and mince jalapeno and garlic, and cook all in small amount of oil over med-low heat with a pinch of salt until soft and onions are caramelized.

Once beans are done, mix the tomato sauce and corn starch in a mug, and then pour mixture into beans and remaining water. Add cumin, oregano, black pepper, onion mixture, chicken, corn, and chopped cilantro to taste. Let cook for an hour on high until nice and thick.

The chili will thicken substantially as it cools and any leftovers will thicken even more over night. I actually like chili better the second day.

Serve with cornbread, rice, crispy tortillas, nachos, or over cheesy hot dogs. Really just do what you want with it. Chili is magic because it's good with so many things.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Shameful confession time.

   Our internet has been back on for a while now. While it was off we were going crazy from boredom. See, it wasn't just our internet, but also our TV and phone. For over 2 weeks. The only movies we had were Cars and Finding Nemo, which Cooper wanted to watch CONSTANTLY. I'm still hearing them in my sleep.

   All that aside, I haven't posted a single thing since our life was reconnected. I know, I know. All that gumption was gone just like that and I'm a little ashamed. I ended up having things to do. Like take my son to the park and make a new friend, and bake cookies just for fun, and go on a LoL binge for the last 3 days while Cooper was with his grandparents, and watch some awesome movies and some not-so-awesome ones which were still worth watching at least once. Any parents out there know that What to Expect When You're Expecting was AWESOME, but to any non-parents out there I can imagine it was cute but not great. It made me cry.

   That being said, I'll try to update with more recipes. Brandon and I both got some exciting news about jobs, and we've been crazy busy, but I'll do my best. Cooper comes home tomorrow, but maybe I'll post something easy, like MEGA SOFT SNICKERDOODLES. Seriously. Brandon says they are so soft it's like eating clouds of cinnamon-sugar flavored nothing. They are really fluffy and good. Right now, however, I owe my man some snuggle time while we eat the papas he fried up and watch a movie.

   Side note, after watching the movie, Brandon and I had a serious talk about the future. Now that I'm making progress with school, even if it is temporarily put on hold while my financial aid gets untangled, and we both have jobs, we're thinking we want a year or two of not just financial stability, but an opportunity to save, and then we want to have more babies. We don't want Cooper to be too much older than baby number 2 (we're hoping it'll be a Penelope, since we can't agree on another boy name and Brandon wants a girl soooo bad) but we definitely want to be done with diapers for Cooper and be able to support everyone more comfortable than we are now. We decided that if we're ready around the time Coops is 3, we'll give it a shot, and if not, we'll get Cooper a puppy for his birthday. I don't want to be training a puppy while pregnant or taking care of a newborn. But as much as I love Ray, I think we need a big dog. Maybe a giant schnauzer.

   Night world!

Monday, August 27, 2012


   We've been having some technical issues for the last few weeks. We've been without a phone and internet, and our mail has been disappearing from the box, so we aren't getting our bills. I'll try to update with a recipe as soon as I can. For now, I only have limited connectivity, so no major post.
   Please forgive the inconvenience!
   Also, I was attacked by an earwig last night, and I need to let everyone who cares, I'm STILL having nightmares every time I try to sleep. If we ever end up meeting, internets, please don't bring your pet earwigs. I will literally have a coronary.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A wedding post, which is also recipe #4.

   My Brandon and I are getting married. We're not sure when. We've been engaged since January and just haven't been able to afford to get married yet. We were hoping for this summer, but I'm not sure if it's going down. I just know I want it to be warm. Maybe a weekend in early September? We could go camping or something. I hope so. I love my boys and I want to have the same last name as my son. It seems silly to a lot of people, but that matters a lot to me. I've had a couple last names over the course of my life, and I want my forever name. Oh, by the way, my names changed due to parents getting married or divorced, not because I've been married. I've never been married and I'm only going to do it once.
   We don't really need to set a serious date for various reasons. There are only a very small handful of people that we are having at our wedding. I don't have a relationship with my father or Brandon's parents, so they are not invited. If they want to make an effort to be involved in some way, I'm going to let them figure it out. I'm including parts of my family by letting them throw us a reception after the fact, that way they can be part of the celebration, but we can have the ceremony the way we want it without excluding anyone from sharing our happiness.
   Now, I'm sure everyone is sick to death about hearing about our wedding, but I like to talk about it, so I'm going to talk about it here too. We've been refining our wedding plans the last few months, and I'm really excited. We are really non-traditional people, and I really think our ideal wedding, which is also extremely budget friendly, is a representation of who we are as a family. It's awesome.
   Of course, there will be food. So much food. Delicious, once-on-the-lips-forever-on-the-hips comfort food that is going to require a week of cardio to burn off. Unless you're like me, and you revel in having curves. I'm super petite, and I have a fast metabolism, so I am one of those lucky people that can eat and eat and eat and it all goes perfectly to my butt and chest. I get to indulge without having to work it off. It's kind of a blessing and a curse, because when I have always wanted to be a chubby, jolly old woman when I have grand kids. Hopefully my metabolism slows down. I don't want to be unhealthy or fat, but the pudgy old grandmother that makes the best turkey noodle soup and makes blue jello filled with red Swedish fish every time the grandbabies come over.
   Anyway, we went through a lot of discussion and thought about what food we'd be serving, and we FINALLY completely agreed on all of it. We jumped back and forth a lot. Fried chicken? Pulled pork? Barbecue? Salad? Corn? Cole slaw? Potatoes? Veggie skewers? Watermelon? Strawberries? The list was vast. It just keeps going from there.
   Of course, the most important discussion was the cake. We discussed just buying a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake, and making one from a recipe I found that incorporated the flavors we agreed on. We discussed having actual cake, cupcakes and cookies. Still, none of it was quite right. Until I thought about Brandon.
   My Brandon loves brownies. He doesn't like chocolate or sweets, but he LOVES chewy, fudgy, dense brownies. The kind with the crackly top. He adores them. He will eat an entire pan by himself before I have time to cut myself one. He's not a huge fan of cake or anything with frosting, or ice cream, but that man can eat brownies for days.
   I happen to be a mint fanatic. I love peppermint, winter-mint, spearmint... it is easily my favorite flavor of all time. And let's face it, people, chocolate and mint belong together. They are lovers. They have a beautiful relationship where they compliment each other and love one another and my mouth. Cooper loves mint as much as I do, and in fact mint chocolates are the ONLY food EVER that he outright refuses to share. So we have to add mint to the brownies. Since Brandon doesn't like frosting, I'm thinking we need a mousse or a fluffy pie filling that will hold it's shape. The original cake I wanted to make had mint white chocolate mousse as a filling. I've made white chocolate mousse before, and the recipe I wanted to use just doesn't have the punch of mint to hold up against the intense chocolate brownies. So instead of making a traditional mousse I'm going to top it with an easier version. Let's cut out some of the work and bump up that minty flavor.
   Of course I'll be serving these from my truck, because mint brownies are just too amazing not to share. Traditional wedding cakes cost so much and just aren't as pretty or as tasty as I want them to be, and they are so stuffy and formal. So here is the recipe for our wedding dessert:
Grasshopper brownies
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter
  2. 12 ounces very dark chocolate, though I wouldn't suggest unsweetened, chopped or in chips
  3. 1/2 T instant espresso
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 1 cup brown sugar
  6. 1 T vanilla
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 2 cups flour
  9. 1 1/2 t salt
  10. 1/2 t baking powder
  11. 1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  12. 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and be lazy like me and coat a 9x13 pan with Pam for baking. Greasing and flouring is too much work on my wedding day. Just saying.

Over low heat melt chocolate, butter and espresso, mixing until well blended and completely melted. Then move it to a mixing bowl and mix in the sugars and vanilla until mixed in with no lumps, the batter will be gritty and that's good.

Add eggs and mix in really well.

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to chocolate mixture until just combined, and then fold in the nuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 25-35 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted, it should come out not quite clean. And the sides of the brownies will have that edge that's a different texture and pull slightly from the pan.

Let cool and top with minty goodness.

Mint and white chocolate grasshopper topping:
  1. 1 13 ounce jar of Jet-Puffed
  2. 1/2 cup half and half
  3. 3 T creme de menthe (more if you're like me and want to be kicked in the face with mint, I just add it to taste, not gonna lie.)
  4. 2 T creme de cacao
  5. 1 cup heavy cream
  6. 6 ounces white chocolate
  7. few drops of green food coloring
Melt marshmallow fluff and white chocolate into half and half over low heat. Once totally melted and mixed, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the two cremes and mix in completely.

Whisk the heavy cream to stiff peaks with food coloring and fold into the marshmallow mixture until totally incorporated, but be sure to do it gently so it stays fluffy.

Pour and spread on top of brownies and chill for a few hours to set up. Meanwhile get all pretty and prepared to be married! 

   I don't think I can stress enough how much I love food texture, and while the walnuts in the brownies add a nice crunch, I want something really crisp on top that is also chocolaty and delicious... if there is any advise out there, let me know. I'll probably top these with dollops of whipped cream, as well.
   It occurs to me that this is my second post in a row that involves booze. We're not lushes here, I promise. These flavors are just undeniable. Trust me when I say, you want to eat these if you like chocolate and brownies.
   My best friend will be attending the wedding and she HATES mint. So my next post will be about the dessert I'll be making for just for her for the wedding: a personal rainbow chip cake. That one will be on the truck to, just to represent my sister from another mister. Wow. I just said that. How lame am I? Ha.
   Anyway, I'm off to procrastinate doing dishes. I'm so sick of doing dishes.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Recipe #3: Mini banana cream pies. Oh yeah, and I got a job and stuff.

   That's right. I got a job. I'm excited. Because I'm awesome. The job is at my school book store, so I don't have to worry about travelling to get to work. I go in before and after class and call it cool. I can ride the bus. It's just a generally good thing. I start next week.
   Brandon is pretty stoked too, because he can call off the job hunt now that I have one. The deal was, whoever got one first would work and the other would take care of Cooper. Daycare is just WAY too expensive. He's also happy because now that I'm working I can get us back on some assistance. We're sick to death of going hungry so Cooper can eat, and that happens all to frequently. Now I know we don't have to worry about making that awful, edge of our seat stretch at the end of every school cycle when financial aid isn't coming in.
   I think we're going to need to celebrate. Sadly, Brandon doesn't like sweets much. I secretly think he's not really human. What type of person likes whole raw onions, I mean nasty yellow onions, not the green ones that are awesome in food, but that I STILL wouldn't eat by themselves, better than cupcakes? Apparently my love, and now also my son. They sit on the couch happy as clams dipping slices of whole onion in Caesar dressing the same way normal people eat apples and caramel. It's disturbing.
   Thankfully there are a few desserts that both of my boys love, that I can certainly support having in the house. For my boys, it's anything banana. Brandon loves cinnamon eclaires with whipped banana pudding in the middle and dark chocolate ganache. Cooper just loves bananas. Side note, writing bananas this much, I've noticed I simply can't spell the word bananas without quoting in my head the lyrics to a certain Gwen Stefani song from years back. Before the song I could, but now it's weaseled into my brain and I always have to spell bananas using that song. Weird.
   My Brandon LOVES banana cream pie. Every time we have it he runs around dramatically shouting, "One banana cream pie!" My Brandon also loves old Bugs Bunny cartoons, so that reference happens with such frequency that for a while I actually avoided buying or making banana cream pie so I wouldn't hear it 50 times over 2 days. It's ridiculous. But I suppose it's part of why I love my funny man.
   I get so sick of vanilla pudding with banana bits mixed in being called banana cream pie. It just doesn't seem right. Banana should be THE focus of the pie. Vanilla is great, but for heaven's sake, the dessert is called BANANA cream pie, not hint-of-banana cream pie. I want to be punched in the face with banana deliciousness. That said, here is MY idea of perfect banana cream pie. It requires a little more work than whipping up a Nilla wafer crust and mixing some bananas into vanilla instant pudding, and for that, I'm sorry. Trust me though, like everything else I've posted, it's WORTH IT.
Mini Banana Cream Pies
  1. 2 large, very ripe bananas
  2. 2 T butter
  3. 2 T brown sugar
  4. 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  5. 3/4 cup sour cream
  6. 2 beaten eggs combined with 1 T cornstarch
  7. 3/4 cup sugar
  8. 1 vanilla bean
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare mini tart pans with butter crust recipe of choice. Set in fridge to chill.

Heat a skillet or pan and add butter. The pan is hot enough when the butter foams and sizzles. Thinly slice the bananas and place slices in a single layer on the pan along with brown sugar. Cook on each side until deep golden caramel color, with a sweet, smooth syrup. Separate syrup from bananas and set aside to cool.

Scrape the vanilla bean and add seeds and pulp to the cream, sour cream, eggs and sugar in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until sugar in incorporated, and then add the bananas, mixing until creamy, with the bananas broken down into very small pieces.

Pour into prepared butter pie crusts and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and slightly jiggly. Then chill for a couple of hours. This stuff is no good hot.

Top with rum whipped cream and drizzle with the banana syrup.

Rum whipped cream
  1. 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  2. 5 T sugar
  3. 1 T dark rum
  4. 2 t vanilla or half a vanilla bean, scraped
Whip cream until fluffy, then add sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Add rum and vanilla and whip to stiff peaks.

   If you're worried about the rum, don't put it in the whipped cream. I like to booze up my desserts from time to time. It adds a nice flavor that balances out the banana. These are slightly reminiscent of Brandon's favorite flavor, bananas foster. I've had to translate that to cake, cheesecake, eclairs... he asks for it all the time. Also, sometimes I add toasted sliced almonds to the top. I like the crunch. Texture is the magic that makes for superb food, rather than good.
   That's it for this post. I was a day late, but I think it was worth the wait. Enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recipe #2: Sweet potato cupcakes. Oh, and did I mention I am a weird-y?

   I am SUCH a picky eater, in the worst way. I know, I know, I claim to love food, but then I say I'm a picky eater, and when I say picky, I mean the list of foods I don't like is longer than I really like to think about. One of the things I dislike greatly are sweet potatoes. I hate them. I hate them in every form, from fries to pies to puree. They disgust me and remind me of the worst things about store-bought baby food, which my son really only ate when other people bought it, except the fruity dessert flavors. Instead we pureed whatever we were eating. For the longest time my little man hated sweet potatoes as well, and then he tried them covered in melted, toasty marshmallows, brown sugar, candied nuts and in a graham cracker crust. At that point, much to my dismay, they became one of his favorite things and I suddenly needed a way to prepare them that didn't offend every one of my senses.
   I found it. I made these for Thanksgiving, and even ate one without vomiting in my mouth, meaning I did it right. What's funny is that it's pretty much sweet potato pie in cupcake form. It tastes very distinctly of sweet potato, but the light, moist texture of the cake really lends itself to my ability to eat it. Not only that, but everyone loved them so much, I've been asked to make them for things other than Thanksgiving, which seems INSANE to me. Why eat nasty sweet potatoes for any reason other than tradition? I can't figure it out. On the plus side, we also eat brussel sprouts pan fried in bacon grease and topped with asiago on Thanksgiving, AND I'm not expected to eat any sort of breakfast food all day. Pretty sure that's the best kind of holiday.
   So, without further babbling or useless rambling, here is my recipe for sweet potato cupcakes. Keep in mind I use home-made graham crackers for the crust, but that recipe will come another day, and store bought grahams will work just as will, I assure you.
Sweet Potato Pie Cupcakes  Makes 2 dozen
  1. 1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
  2. 6 T. melted butter
  3. 1 T. Sugar
Mix cracker crumbs and sugar, then ad butter and toss with fingertips until moist and well blended. Don't over mix to the point of soggy though. Divide into lined cupcake cups and press against the bottom of the cup until fairly well packed.

  1. 2 large eggs
  2. 2 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  3. (1) 15 ounce can of sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
  4. 1 cup melted butter, I use salted because I like the way the cupcakes taste better, but you can use either salted or unsalted
  5. 2 T. vanilla extract
  6. 2 T. orange zest
  7. 1/2 cup applesauce
  8. 2 1/2 cups ap flour
  9. 1 T baking soda
  10. couple pinches of salt
  11. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (easy on those!) to taste
  12. 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line the muffin pan, then do the crusts.
Beat eggs and sugar on low, or just whisk by hand, until fully incorporated and no lumps are present. Color should be an even, dark brown. Mix in sweet potatoes, applesauce, vanilla, orange zest and butter.
Sift together dry ingredients including spices, then mix into the batter until smooth. I like to add it in 3rds to avoid annoying lumps. Mix in buttermilk completely.
Fill muffin pans 3/4 full, as this batter doesn't rise significantly. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until cupcakes are springy and don't jiggle. Allow to cool before filling and frosting. If filling, core cupcakes once cool.

Salt caramel filling:
  1. 1/4 cup water
  2. 4 cups sugar
  3. 2 cups heavy cream
  4. 1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  5. 1 1/2 t. course sea salt
In a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine water, sugar and corn syrup. Cook without mixing until dark AMBER (that's my name! :D), so for about 13-15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and slowly, carefully mix in the heavy cream until smooth. Be sure to work slowly or the mixture will splat up at you, and melted sugar burns are the absolute most painful burns I've ever experienced. You don't want that. I promise.
Return to heat and cook to soft ball stage, or for those of you that AREN'T too ghetto for a candy thermometer, between 235-240 degrees. Try to shoot for somewhere in the middle. It should only take a couple minutes.
Remove from heat and pour caramel into a bowl that can handle the heat of ten thousand suns, so that the caramel stops cooking. Tupperwear? Yeah, not such a good idea for this. I learned THAT one when I was about 10 and was too excited to stop and use common sense.
Mix in your salt and mix in the butter one Tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.
Allow to cool, and then fill your glorious cupcakes. This is the recipe I use for almost all of my salt-caramel fillings because it doesn't soak into the cake. It stays where you put it.
Save a little to drizzle on the cupcakes after they are frosted and bruleed, so the pecans have something to stick to.

Marshmallow frosting:
  1. 8 large egg whites at room temperature
  2. 1/2 t. cream of tartar
  3. 2 cups sugar
  4. 1 T. vanilla extract, OR if you're really cool, 2 vanilla beans, scraped
Use a double boiler with simmering water to cook the egg whites, sugar and tartar until the sugar is dissolved completely.
Pour into a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment and beat until stiff peaks form. The frosting should be glossy. Add the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, retaining those peaks, people!
Frost your cooled, filled cupcakes. I like to then toast the frosting, but I don't have a blowtorch presently, so that's not an option for me. Trust me though, if you CAN, you SHOULD. It will make the flavor that much more incredible. Then drizzle the cupcakes with left over caramel that you hopefully didn't eat while finishing the components to these complex cupcakes.

Candied pecans:
  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 T. water
  3. 1/2 lb chopped pecans
  4. 1/2 cup sugar
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1/2 t. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, slightly greased.
Whisk egg white and water until frothy. Separately mix sugar, salt and cinnamon.
Drop pecans in egg white mixture and toss to coat evenly, then remove and toss them in the sugar mixture until evenly coated.
Spread onto baking sheet and bake for an hour, stirring, shaking and tossing every 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool and use to top some delicious cupcake.

   I know these were a bit time consuming and complex. They had a lot of components to them. Don't let that scare you away though. They are magical. I was able to choke down one of my least favorite foods, so not to toot my own horn or anything, but they are pretty freaking tasty. The buttery crust lends itself perfectly to the smooth, spiced cake, which in turn meshes perfectly with the salty, gooey caramel, which contrasts perfectly with the sweet, fluffy frosting with it's toasty top, which the heightens the nutty crunch of the candied pecans, which bring us full circle by making the buttery crust stand out even more.
   Basically, eat these. They will bring you happiness.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recipe 1: Saffron cardamom muffins.

   These are some tasty muffins. They are the type of muffin that make the people that may not use a lot of spices in their food feel extra cool for making them. Saffron and cardamom are both excellent in desserts, and yet, at least here in Idaho anyway, they are so often overlooked in place of more familiar flavors like cinnamon and vanilla. I am sick to death of that nonsense.
   These muffins are inspired by the flavors of Kuwait, and I absolutely adore them. I know, I know... muffins. On a dessert truck. I'm not going to lie, if I went to someone's house and they offered me muffins for dessert, I would be a little upset. I mean, I wouldn't say anything, but inside I'd be all dejected and dissatisfied as I ate my breakfast for dessert. That being said, I promise, these are not boring, run of the mill muffins. The only reason I would classify them as muffins at all is that they are slightly denser than my ideal cake, and they aren't frosted or sprinkled, which I feel is absolutely necessary for cupcakes. They are moist and almost cake-y, loaded with flavor and texture, and topped in a citrus and rose honey glaze. They are still pretty healthy, but they are so delicious you won't remember, I promise.
   Now, there are a couple issues with me posting these recipes online:
     1. I can't afford to make them right now, so pictures aren't going to happen for a while. I promise that when I can, I will get photos added to the recipes, and I'll post that they have been updated with photos so the recipes are easier to follow for any visual learners that need them.
     2. I'm a little bit concerned that if I post these recipes, no one will purchase the food from my truck because they can make them at home. I'm hoping that everyone out there is pretty lazy and will spend the money.
   A final note before I write this sucker, I've been looking more into Kickstarter, and I'm thinking it might be a good idea once I get everything together. If it ends up being a bad idea and I don't get fully funded, no one will lose anything. I have a few people locally that are extremely supportive and that's made me a little bit more secure in my idea. I feel like there is hope that this truck could happen before I am old enough to retire. Yay!

Saffron Cardamom Muffins
3 cups whole wheat all purpose flour
1 teaspoon saffron strands soaked in 2 Tablespoons warm milk for about 20 minutes
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1  1/2 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup date paste
2 eggs, separated and brought to room temperature
2 cups buttermilk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons orange oil
2  1/2 cup chopped, shelled, roasted pistachios

To make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan in muffin cups, or grease with butter and lightly flour.
  2. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, then very gently fold in cardamom, turmeric, honey, 1 cup of the pistachios, the dates and date paste, being careful not to lose all the volume in the egg whites.
  3. Beat the egg yolks with the saffron infused milk, buttermilk, and the citrus oil.
  4. Sift together flour and baking powder.
  5. Alternately fold flour mixture and egg yolk mixture into the egg white concoction until fully incorporated.
  6. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 of the way with batter, saving the remaining nuts to sprinkle on top after glazing, and baking for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown on top. Careful not to over bake!
  7. Allow to cool and then dip the tops in glaze, recipe below.
  1. 1/2 cup orange blossom honey
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 3 Tablespoons hot rose water
Blend honey, sugar, and water together until completely mixed. Dip cooled muffin tops into glaze, or brush on for more control. Sprinkle with remaining pistachios.

   These muffins require a little bit more work than the average muffin or quick bread, but they are so worth it. The technique and ingredients lend themselves to a lighter, more cake-like consistency, and the glaze keeps them really moist. They are healthy, as far as even muffins go, as the only processed sugar is in the glaze. The sweetness in the muffin comes from the honey and the dates. On a side note, I buy orange blossom honey in bulk at my local WinCo. I know it's carried other places as well. It's one of my favorites and I use it a lot. The citrus with the spices and the dates is lovely. The dates add a fruity, chewy texture while the pistachios bring a salty crunch to balance everything.
   Be brave, and give these muffins a try. And when you do, try your best not to eat them all in one sitting. You're going to want to share them with at least one person as evidence that they existed.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

So many details!

   Starting a business involves so many little details I never would have thought of had I just jumped in without doing research. I can't imagine not spending a HUGE chunk of my time learning about all the laws, permits, qualifications, and details that I need to immerse myself in to do this correctly.
   So far I have a notebook of information all nice and neat, bookmarks to legal resources, contact pages for small business assistance, tax and accounting forms, permit forms from health and welfare, the FDA, and various other government sources. I know what it's going to take as far as paperwork now, and while it is a lot, I am not daunted. I am in fact more driven to accomplish this.
   I'm working on initial start-up costs right now, including permit costs, rough estimate of raw ingredients, insurance, commercial kitchen usage, a truck or trailer... so far the cost is adding up really fast. We have very little in terms of money, so I'm looking into various avenues of funding. I was thinking about starting a Kickstarter, but I'm not sure if my dream is really worth backing to anyone.
   My end goal is to have a dessert truck. I want to make the goods in a commercial kitchen, so my truck doesn't need to be a mobile kitchen, just a catering truck, but I love the big, boxy trucks with the window and everything on display. I have a specific aesthetic. I love girly, sexy things. I want the truck to be bright pink with a dark-haired pin up girl wearing an apron holding a strawberry tart on the side next to the window. I want it to have my business name, Dirty Little Tarts, in teal. For the menu I want to use chalkboard paint to paint big circles in bright colors in the free space to write the menu on every day.
   I've been thinking about all the recipes I need to write down in order to figure out what the best ones are and what I'll be selling. I'm tempted to put all the recipes on this blog. I feel like if I write more often I update my progress, I'll be more motivate to succeed. I'm thinking I'll put up a recipe or two a week, when I have time.
   We have to make it to September, and then we'll be financially stable again. I'm waiting on a call back about a job I had a phone interview for yesterday. They are closed until Monday, so I'm holding out. If they don't call by 1pm I'm going to call and check in. Once we're on solid ground I'll be able to start investing in this business. That should give me time to get a handful of recipes on here.
   I don't have time to add one now. I'm getting ready to go on a girl's night out with my best friend. In fact, I'm running late now. I just said I was going to write every Saturday and I'm sticking to it. Tomorrow I'll add at least one recipe. I'm thinking saffron cardamom muffins with honey-pistachio topping. Yummy. Then again, maybe I'll post something a little more... sinful than muffins.