Tuesday, July 26, 2016

On Footwear, College, Recipes, and Other Off the Cuff Thoughts

Have I ever told you I am anti-flip-flop. I cannot stand those shoes. Not just because anything between my toes drives me nuts, but they just aren't good for people's feet. I never bought them for my kids. Have you ever seen preschoolers trying to run around a playground in them? It pains me to watch their poor little toes balled up in a death grip around that tiny piece of plastic in order to keep their shoes on their feet. And if it's not the gripping the toe thing, it's the shuffling of the feet. Either way, the person wearing the things is not walking in the proper way a person should walk. And it doesn't have arch support. The only thing they could be good for is taking a shower in a public place or going to the bathroom at a public pool. 

Betty Crocker rules. It is one of two cookbooks that I own and use consistently. Recently, it has been the Blueberry Streusel Muffin recipe. Delicious. Lucky for you, it's also on the all-knowing internet.

Does anyone have a good, easy, quick way to make streusel? That whole mix until it's crumbly bit throws me for a loop. I've used my fingers in the past, but sometimes my hands just warm the butter and it turns into a blob instead of crumble. Lately I've been using the backs of two forks to kind of squeeze and press and get it to crumbly. It works, but it takes forever. Any ideas?

Speaking of recipes I love, I'll share two more. Both I found online when I simply googled what I wanted and found recipes with normal ingredients and instructions I could follow without difficulty. These were my first attempts. We enjoyed them, so I didn't look farther for other recipes.

Chicken Pot Pie minus the peas, of course.

I just had a helping of Black Raspberry Cobbler. My word, that stuff is good, especially when topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. And it could not be easier to make.

We're getting close to crunch time for college planning. Phoenix, Bryan, and I have a meeting with his counselor on Friday. Seeing as how Phoenix is basically putting all of his eggs in one tiny basket and planning to apply to one college, this should be a looooong meeting. Perhaps I should remind Phoenix about that time Turken collected eggs, then put the basket down to feed the dogs, only to find, when he turned around, the dogs licking their lips after eating every single egg...

While we will have 4 kids heading off to college, one each year for the next four years, it seems we'll have a break after that. Turken is currently researching jobs that don't require a college degree. His research began when he saw a sign outside Kentucky Fried Chicken which read, "Now Hiring. Pay starts up to $13/hour". "Mom," he asked, "does a person need to go to college to work there?" Can't wait to see how his counselor handles this in 10 years.

As I type, the dogs are howling outside the door, as they do every. single. time. a train goes by. The tracks are on the other side of a giant cornfield, and a train passes at least 5 times each day. It isn't loud enough to bother us, but apparently it bothers the dogs. As soon as the train gets within half a mile, they start howling. For 11 years, at least 5 times each and every day. I have no idea why.

Lastly, my new-to-me minivan has that bluetooth function in it. I can't seem to understand that it is not necessary to yell in order for the person to whom I'm speaking to hear me. I try not to yell, but with each sentence I get louder and louder.

Just so happens, my mom also got a new car. One day recently I called her from my car. The conversation went like this:

My mom: HELLO?

And we laughed and laughed until we went right back to yelling at each other.

'Cause that's how we roll.

Literally. :)

Have a lovely day!



  1. I've always used a pastry blender to make streusel It's just a real simple tool used for cutting butter in. It works pretty well and is fairly easy.

    1. What?!?! How have I never heard of such a thing!??!

  2. Why do you not own a pastry blender? It's my favorite kitchen tool.

    1. Because I've never heard of one! My family wasn't much into making food from scratch, so my entire adult life is learning things about cooking and baking the hard way. ugh. I'm off to find one...

  3. Wow, you have a lot of kids heading to college. Good for you.

    I'm hungry now. All this talk about food.

    You know we yell with phone conversations in the SUV too. Amazing. Must be how we roll too.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. Yes. Yes we do. I would be thrilled if one or more of them went to vocational school to learn a trade and be helpful to me, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

      The cobbler couldn't be easier. Just sayin'. :)

      Ha! Glad to hear it. I'm in good company.

  4. Both of those recipes look fabulous, especially the cobbler. Thank you so much for sharing. Wow I didn't realize your kids were so close in age and would be headed to college in succession. Hey guess that is better than our situation. We have a junior in college and a junior in high school. Just when we finish paying for one, we have to start all over again.

    1. You're welcome. You really should try it. It should not be as good as it is, being it is so easy to make.

      I don't know if your situation is worse than ours or not. It is really paying off for high school, where there is a multi-kid discount, but college...That ain't gonna happen. The next 8 years are gonna be crazy!

      Does this mean you will have one graduating high school the same time one is graduating college? That could be just a wee bit stressful.

  5. I took Turken's route (kinda) - make him go to the counselling session!


    Glad you're having such a lovely time cooking :)

  6. Here's a recipe a friend of mine gave me... it IS easy (otherwise I wouldn't try it, ya'll!!) At the end, I will also include her "notes" --she mentions that you can use different kind of preserves other than strawberry... ENJOY! Also, consider this recipe even if you don't like nuts in baked goods... you hardly notice they are in there. I do love this recipe!!
    Streusel Strawberry Bars

    1 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    2 cups flour
    3/4 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
    1 - 10-ounce jar strawberry or raspberry preserves
    1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing

    In a medium bowl beat the butter and sugar until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add egg; beat until combined.

    Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. If needed, stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Stir in pecans. Set aside 1 cup of the pecan mixture for topping.

    Press remaining pecan mixture into the bottom of greased 9x9 baking pan. Spread preserves over crust to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Dot with the reserved pecan mixture. Bake at 350* for about 45 minutes or until pecan topping is golden brown.

    Cool in pan on a wire rack. Drizzle with Powdered Sugar Icing.

    Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp milk, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Stir in enough additional milk 1 tsp at a time to make an icing of drizzling consistency.
    Okay, now for my little personal notes. ;) I have always used seedless jam instead of the preserves. It's easier to spread, in my opinion. And I did raspberry jam all along, until this past summer and tried a raspberry/blackberry jam that we all really liked. (I can't remember if that's the kind I used for the one you ate?) You could really use whatever jam flavor your family prefers!

    Also, for the icing (and maybe you already know/do this), I make my icing then put it in a ziplock baggie. Then snip one of the bottom corners off just a bit, then squeeze the icing out like you do a frosting bag. It's sooo much easier (and prettier) than drizzling with a spoon.

    Oh yeah, and I used to cut my pecans by hand myself, until I found you can get the pecan "chips" which are the perfect size. I buy a big bag and keep in it my freezer so I always have that 3/4 cup on hand and ready to go. A nice time saver. :)

    Like I've probably already said, I keep these pecans in my freezer and then a jar or two of the jam in my pantry at all times (usually ;) so if I need a quick dessert at the last minute, I've got everything I need.

  7. Yup....pastry blender all the way!!! J2 also dreamt of working at KFC when he was about Turken's age. :D

  8. Oh my gosh! That conversation with you and your mom is just fantastic! I'm with you that flip-flops are terrible. If your feet are strong enough, I have no issue with the lack of arch support, but the balling up to keep them on completely screws up gait mechanics!


Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!