Here on the frontier, There are falling leaves, Although my neighbors are all barbarions…And you? You are a thousand miles away. There are always two cups on my table.

Posts tagged ‘Raising children today’

Join Me In Wishing Young Rose Happy Birthday!

One of the highlights of my life which I just don’t get enough of (being caught up as I am with baby boy Hoo and those wheels that need grease around here) is young lady Rose.

Just 20.

Having a birthday soon.

Caught her getting her lunch together this morning.

A nasty toaster biscuit with butter and jam.

A sandwich with a protein patty…okay.

Children don’t get much better then this little gal.

Off to college and then work.

Girl is all right.

Join me in wishing young Rose an early happy birthday.

Love you sweetpea.

Like I used to sing to you when you fit in my lap.

“Sometimes in the morning,

when shadows are deep,

I lie here beside you,

just watching you sleep.

And sometimes I wonder,

What you’re dreaming of,

My cup runneth over with love.”

This is gmom wishing all the Wper’s out there a safe and happy superbowl weekend.

Go Packers!

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Recipe OMG It’s Better Than…

There are some foods that children shouldn’t be allowed to eat.

Now I see you shakin’ your heads but it’s true.

When the “grown ups” are moaning and smooching their spoons now there is something going on that’s not for little mouths.

Take mashed potatoes and gravy for instance.

It looks innocent enough.

But don’t let looks fool you.

The dowdiest of spuds  with a slick of creamy gravy can tickle you up like the first time a boy ever…well you know.

and you never looked back.

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Boil potatoes until they are fork tender.

Run them under cool water and peel.

Mash with a masher, food processor or even the back of a fork.

Like a much-loved mattress a little lumpy is good.

To make gravy:

Take all the pan drippings from your turkey, chicken or meat.

Put them on the stove and heat the pan.

Stir around so all the tasty bits get loosened up.

If your pan is fairly dry add in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of red wine.

In a cup measure out 1/4 cup of corn starch and 1/2 cup of water.

Stir to combine.

Pour this mixture into your pan drippings.

Stir the gravy as it thickens.

Once the thickening (cornstarch + water) is mixed  pour the gravy into a saucepan over a low to medium heat.

Let the gravy cook until it is the consistency you like.

How’s that for easy.

Now pour this yummy delectable bit of naughtiness over the mashed spuds and….

Stand around the kitchen with all the daughters and women and eat the mashed potatoes and gravy out of coffee mugs cause you just can’t wait till dinner…

Just kidding.

(That’s what gmom and the girls did while the boys played some poker and watched football.)

Happy Thanks WP kids.

Hope your day was as yummy as mine was.

I can’t wait for the turkey, stuffing, cranberry and gravy sandwiches tomorrow!

Roasted Garlic Recipe

Cut the top off the garlic head to expose most of the cloves.

There is nothing better to spread on bread then roasted garlic.

Butter is good but garlic is outrageous!

It’s low in calories, is heart healthy and really packs a punch in flavor.

The aroma alone gets everyone’s mouth-watering,

and when your company sees the beautiful golden heads on your table they will be impressed with your culinary skills.

This dish is so impressive but ridiculously easy to make.

My kids eat it on bread, drop it into their soup and put it on vegetables.

Whatever is leftover I squeeze into mayonnaise to make aioli.

Enjoy this simple little treat.

Pour a teaspoon of oil over the top of the garlic and then sprinkle with italian seasoning or pepper. If sodium is not a problem a sprinkle of salt is good. Then wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic tightly. Put it into an oven safe baking dish and roast for 45 minutes.Unwrap when you are ready to serve. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Here is the easy way to make roasted garlic.

You eat it by using your butter knife to slide out the individual pieces (cloves) of garlic.

Simple and Perfect Roast Turkey Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now let’s get to it!

This prep shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

When you put your turkey in the pan put it breast side down.

It’s a continuing argument among cooks about this but I side with those who believe that if it’s cooked this way the juices flow down into the breast.

After your turkey is done be sure to let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving to allow juices to absorb back into the meat.

Parade time!

Pat dry your turkey with paper towels.

Make a dry rub of 3 parts brown sugar, 2 parts paprika, 2 parts salt, 1 part garlic powder and 1 part pepper. The butter infused with herbs will be one:1/2 cup of butter or alternative, 2 teaspoons of thyme, 1 teaspoon of rosemary 1 teaspoon of sage.

Put your butter (or margarine or oil) infused with herbs under the skin of the turkey.

Preheat your oven to 325 F. I have mine at 250 F because I like to slow roast our turkey but if you are short on time or need your oven for other preparations go with 325F.

Rub your dry rub ingredients all over the skin and inside the cavity of the turkey.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and put into the oven at 325 F for 2.5 hours for an 18 pound bird. Uncover for the last 30 minutes to allow skin to brown.

“Hoo is all set to watch the parade!”]

Baked Butternut Squash Recipe(Thanksgiving)

The tools to attack the butternut squash.

The big day is coming and cooking ahead makes life so much easier!

The Chef may or may not be frying the turkey ’cause it looks like rain here in B’more.

I may just slow roast it.

But I love nothing better than to sit with the kids and watch the Macy’s Day parade on TV, and then (I know this is so lame…) the International Dog Show.

I’m probably the only person without a competitor watching.

But me and Cujo we just loves it!

So I don’t want to be in kitchen the whole day.

I want my chocolate spoon in my good Ghiardelli hot cocoa and some french toast.

Maybe some caramel popcorn during the day.

But to get that free time and still have a meal for 15 people come late afternoon I have to cook today (and yesterday).

This side dish of baked butternut squash is another seasonal good one that goes nicely with the traditional foods of Thanksgiving.

Just be careful when you are cutting this hard squash up you don’t cut yourself.

You can soften it first by cooking it in the microwave for a few minutes first then proceeding with the recipe.

If you do that be sure to pierce the squash deeply so if pressure builds inside it doesn’t explode all over the place.

Directions:

Peel the butternut squash and cut it into cubes.

After the squash is peeled cut it into cubes. There will be seeds in a center pocket that you can discard.

Dice up 1/2 cup of an onion.

Put the butternut squash into a baking dish.

Toss with 1/2 cup of oil.

Put the onion over the squash pieces and sprinkle on salt, pepper and a teaspoon of sugar.

The squah and onions seasoned and ready to bake.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Into the oven you go covered snugly with aluminum foil

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Take foil off and continue baking until squash is fork tender, about 15 minutes.

If you are making this dish ahead of time don’t do the last 15 minutes of bake time.

When you reheat the dish on Thursday prior to the meal you will finish off the baking then.

That’s it another yum dish to serve on your Thanksgiving table.

The finished dish after baking uncovered the last 15 minutes will have browned edges and be so yummy.

Enjoy WP friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

From gmom and Hoo and Cujo the dog.

Delicious Cranberry Sauce With or Without Grand Marnier

3 ingredients plus 1 optional. You will need 1 bag of fresh cranberries.(BTW you can buy them in bulk now that they are in season and freeze them with the same cooking results) 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of orange juice and optionally 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier.

Nothing complements a turkey dinner as nicely as cranberry sauce.

The sweet tart combination with a bite of succulent turkey is oh so good!

So here is my favorite way to prepare it.

Easy as pie as usual.

“You will need one cup of orange juice”

Put one cup of orange juice into a pot then add in one cup of sugar.

Bring the orange juice and the sugar to a a boil briefly to dissolve the sugar then add in the cranberries.

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Let Cranberries sugar and orange juice simmer for 10 minutes. You will hear cranberries pop. After 10 minutes you can add in 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier if you like. The sauce will be syrupy but when cool will jell.

This is a much loved recipe for it’s great taste.

Ease of preparation and (wait for it) you can make it ahead by several days and it keeps beautifully in the refrigerater.

Happy Thanksgiving Day WP’s.

Watch for the turkey recipe Thursday.

The bad boy is brining away already.

This is gmom and baby Hoo and Cujo the dog sending out cranberry peace to all the blogger cooks out there.

Peace out.

Chocolate Spoons Make Great Hostess Gifts

Presentation of chocolate spoons. Ready for gift giving!

You’ve seen them in fine chocolate shops for $15 for 5.

Now it’s time to make them yourself.

They are easy and yummy and everyone loves to get them to dip in their coffee or hot chocolate.

Watch out for those sneaky people who nab a spoon to snack on.

Godiva and Williams Sonoma??? Eat your heart out!

What you will need:

1. Plastic spoons

2. chocolate chips melted

3. mini marshmallows

4. little candies that go with coffee, milk or cocoa.

Ingredients for chocolate spoons.

Put chocolate in a pot and put that pot in another larger one filled with hot water. Stir the chocolate as it melts. When the water cools down you may need to replace the hot water to keep your chocolate melted and smooth.

Coat the spoon with the melted chocolate.

After you have coated the spoon in chocolate stick on a couple of mini marshmallows and candies of your choice. I used baby malted balls and white chocolate,and half a chocolate coin.

Let the spoons cool and the chocolate become firm before wrapping. You may need to refrigerate them briefly.

Present the chocolate spoons in a pretty coffee mug. You can stuff a bunch in or put just a few and tuck a couple of envelopes of instant hot cocoa in with them.

Natural Childbirth: Hypnobirthing (Mom 2.0)

At the tail end of middle age,

here I am.

My eldest child, just now expecting her first child.

I am a grandmom twice.

This child having her own will complete a circle that I have waited for quite sometime.

My girl China, who made me into a mother.

Seeing her now take the place as mother to her own,

now that’s something special.

I will attend her at birth as I have with the other daugher and daughter-in-law,

and have done with hundreds of other babies over the past 18 years or so as a doula.

I have attended hypnobirths, Bradley births, c-sections, stillbirths and of course medicated births.

In hospital, at home and at birthing centers.

I have given birth 6 times myself plus one stillbaby born too soon.

All unmedicated births.

The last 3 using hypnotherapy.

I won’t claim to be an authority but I have a bit of experience under my belt,

so to speak.

China, invited me to her hypnobirth class.

I agreed.

A few couples sat in a semi darkened room with a candle lit.

The instructor sat cross-legged on a footstool with a pashmina across her shoulders like a prayer shawl,

and her hair hanging loose to her mid back,

a good look when you are 30.

Not so much at 55.

She proceeded to speak on birth without pain of any kind.

The contractions as “surges” and pushing as “so yesterday”.

Now as I mentioned I am all for Hypnobirthing.

I think it’s extremely helpful in attaining a natural childbirth if that’s the woman’s wish.

I held my tongue as she led the women through the “full dilation” (or pushing stage of labor) breathing.

“Ladies”, she quietly sang, “You gently breathe in, and breathe out,there is no drama of pushing ,or people coaching you to push your baby out, your baby comes out all on its own with no more effort than your gentle breath.”

Okay, I was done holding my tongue.

I can tolerate varying opinions and means to an end in getting babies born, but telling a group of first time expectant mothers that they won’t have to push their babies out, and that the experience will be pain-free is just plain horsepee.

It will be a sad day for these women when their babies descend low into their pelvis towards birth.

The time when the tendons stretch, and tissues, (it doesn’t matter if you massage in a gallon of evening primrose oil) stretch and often tear with the scope of the coming skull.

I’m not talking perineum here I mean the vaginal canal.

Never mind the “Ring of fire” (straight from a hypnobirth training manual to describe when the head emerges from mom’s body).

“Ring of Fire”

Hello!!!

It’s not called that for nothing!

Hypnobirthing can absolutely get a woman through labor and delivery with much “less pain” then just muscling through the contractions.

But pain-free it ain’t.

“Madam”, I said,”I have attended hundreds of births of all kinds and the disservice you are doing to this group of women appalls me.
Never in all my experience has even the most calm,the most ‘in control’ woman who has used hypnobirth didn’t say post-birth that it was the hardest thing she had ever done.”

I felt my daughter’s hand on my arm.

I was embarrassing her in front of her teacher and classmates.

“With all due respect”,I finished.

We left the class into the cold of the Silver Spring night.

I apologized to China who walked arm-in-arm with her husband.

“I couldn’t abide seeing you lied to,” I said,” Having a baby is going to be the greatest day of your life, a day you never forget, I won’t have someone build you up ridiculous expectations that may leave you feeling afterward like your body failed you.
That if you do end up choosing to take an epidural you will have failed at childbirth.
You are going to have 18 years to raise this child.
This is only one day in your life. Whether she comes natural, by epidural or section she is going to be the same baby. ”

“The truth is giving birth hurts.”

There I said it.

The Wedding Dress

Sitting in the back,
of the cedar closet.

I can remember when we bought it.

We couldn’t afford it.

So much money,
for one dress,
for one wearing,
for one day.

But she wanted it.

And she looked like an angel.

Now the photographs of her,
wearing the dress,
are hidden.

The memories of that day,
never mentioned.

The man she had brought to me,
to love as a son…

I don’t even know,
where he is now.
But I still think of him.

And the dress,
now brings only,
sad feelings,
of dreams dashed.

We have such high hopes for all of them,
our children.

We try to be resilient,
in their ever changing lives,
I say to my friends,
“I get them married then take cover.”

Their daddy and I,
We love them,
and break for them,
our “usual suspects”.

What more can we do?
But sell the last unhappy remnant,
the last sad memory,
on Ebay,
or Craigslist,
to some unsuspecting people.
Who just want a bargain,
and whose hopes and dreams
are intact.

That’s life,
I guess,
in the fast lane.

Watch the curves!

And don’t forget,
to pray for those,
who get lost,
along the way.

Of Mice And Men, Women And Children

Don’t let this video scare you the mouse wins!

I have been trying to help Rose with one of her college courses.

Psycho-analytical BS I think it’s called.

She has to read this book, Geo-political Architechture.

Just reading it is a challenge.

Understanding it a puzzle.

Some pompous, ESL meshuganeh definitely wrote it.

Translating English to English pain in the …

So there we are.

Cuddled up in bed, me reading, her looking somewhat dazed,

doodling on a notesheet.

Then we heard it.

Skittering little rodent feet across the ceiling.

OMG, I hate mice.

Nervy fellow kept running back and forth.

Rose said, “Don’t worry Ma it’s just one, we’ll get ’em.”

But you know the old saying, “If you see one there are ten.”

I hope they are mice and not rats…

Next day I’m off to Home Depot and perusing the kill section of the warehouse…nice.

Do I want to go guillotine and snap they little brains out or glue their little mouse feet to a board and watch them slowly die of starvation.

The little houses with poison inside, reminiscent of some Grimm’s Fairytale looks interesting.

“I was trapped in the witch’s house with no escape and nought to eat but a bit of funky smelling peanut butter.

Oh God I hate mice.

I went with a dozen snap traps.

But mice are smart.
Smarter then we humans realize.

I set the traps in groups of 4 along the walls where the small fur devils have been hanging out and although there are new sh#t bits the traps are not sprung.

So you want to play rough huh?

I devise a home-made trap with a bucket of water laced with bait and a dowel for easy access up the side for them to climb and take the fatal dive into the bucket.

Hopefully this will fool the ones who have been around for a while and are well acquainted with aforementioned old-fashioned snap traps.

I can hear them in their homes telling their young, “..and never ever go near those dumb-ass wooden squares you see around… But there is a bucket with food in it that looks like fun kids!”

I hate mice.

So it’s day four of the mouse kill.

No catches yet.

I get up early to start breakfast for the troops.

Let Cujo out to do his business.

Drink a quiet cup of coffee listening to Hoo start to stir in his crib.

Perhaps we and the mice can co-exist peacefully.

They are just mice for goodness sake.

Just wanting a warm place for the winter and some spilled dog food to eat.

As a child I even had a few as pets.

As I sip my coffee before the day officially starts memories of Michael Jackson singing “Ben” come to mind.

“Flowers For Algernon.”

And I realize with a start,

I can’t kill these mice…

Then I hear 2 traps snap shut in quick succession behind the breakfront.

The last swallow of coffee goes down hard.

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