Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lessons Learned from Friends

No... not these Friends.... though I have to admit I love the footwear. Must pick some up before that pole-dancing class.....

A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in converstaion.-Mark Twain

At 9:03 on the morning of Monday, January 17, 2011, Avery wasn't the only person being born: I was being reborn as a mother, though I didn't realize it at the time. Over the next few weeks, my old identity faded away as we went together through the process of learning how to survive in this world. It was tough: we had to take it one day, one hour, one minute, sometimes one second and one colicy scream at a time, but we made it. And now there's a precious little girl rolling around and trying to blow raspberries at my feet.

And once the dust settled, I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize the woman staring back at me. Tax deadlines and fudge recipes no longer held a candle to the new most important things in my life. Poop in the bed isn't a catastrophe - just another load of laundry. As far as Avery is concerned, I'm the best playmate, rocker, changer, bather, and lullaby singer around, and that's all I need.

Or is it?

They say it takes a village to raise a baby, but I believe it also takes a village to raise a mother.

So, without realizing it, I had to enlist the help of my friends to re-figure-out who I was. I started with my veteran friends who had been through this before: my girls who already have a few little ones of their own and still seem to be relatively normal. They reminded me that my life won't forever revolve around feeding times and naps.

From there I unconsciously branched out on a mission to reestablish my identity, and looking back on the past few months, I realize I've learned and gained so much from the girls around me. From not settling for anything than the best, to the fact that skiing is just like riding a bike, to rediscovering the joy of a recipe well-executed, they have unwittingly settled me into a much more well-rounded (pardon the pun) person. And in the process, I remembered who I was before this whirlwind named Avery came along.

Friends to remind us to slow down and stop to smell the roses. And to play dress-up.

Friends to squeal with and help us come up with silly nicknames.

I had to rely on friends who reminded me that I need to take care of myself. After all, if you feel pretty, you look pretty.

Friends who remind me to keep it real and oh-so-stylish with a great sense of humor.

Friends who let Mike and me go out and remember that yes, we are happily husband and wife, not just two sleep-deprived slaves to the littlest Peacock.

Friends who let me be myself and goof around. (Avery is pea-green with envy in this photo.)

..... and reminded me that you have to play in the sunshine once in a while, even if I was wearing a white shirt that was soaked by the fountain.

Friends who will pray with us.

Friends with whom I could share the triumph over a 10-pound bundle of screaming once she finally passed out for that nap.

Friends who reminded me to be true to my roots and to myself and how to laugh loudest of all.

Friends who I know will always be there and who can teach us how to play patty-cake.

Friends to celebrate and with whom we can share the highs and lows of life.

So thank you my dear friends. There are tons more girls whose photos aren't in this post, only because I didn't think to snap a quick photo of you when I had the chance - shame on me. We'll blame that on mommy-brain.

You know who you are, but you'll never know how much you mean to me.

Friends photo courtesy of BolumreBeri.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Elvis Muffins

The original recipe by Sara Foster at Foster's Market is Oatmeal Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips, but she included a note that you can substitute peanut butter chips for the chocolate. Woah! Hello, fried peanut butter and banana sandwich! That combination was entirely too tempting for me to resist. Next time I think I'll also try half & half, peanut butter and semisweet chips. The possibilities are endless.

But they're not fried, you say? Not a problem: add a big pat of butter for a more fried flavor. The King would have loved these.

These chunky moist muffins are one of the favorites at Foster’s Market.Make 1 dozen

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 1/2 cups all- purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Line 12 large muffin cups with paper liners.

3. Place the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and lightly toast. Set aside to cool.

4. Combine the oats, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix.

5. Whisk together the butter, eggs, bananas, buttermilk and oil in a separated bowl and blend well.

6. Combine the two mixtures and stir just until all the dry ingredients are moist. Stir in the chocolate chips.

7. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin with a large ice cream scoop( 1/3 cup scoop).

8. Place in the oven to bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched. remove from the oven and let cool slightly. serve warm.

To Sara and The Foster's Market Cookbook for this recipe and SagHarbor for the Elvis photo, thank you, thank you very much.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This car is obviously hysterical.

Copper Pennies

When a person is accustomed to 138 in the shade, his ideas about cold weather are not valuable....In India, "cold weather" is merely a conventional phrase and has come into use through the necessity of having some way to distinguish between weather which will melt a brass door-knob and weather which will only make it mushy.

- Mark Twain

It is hot here. Incredibly hot. Open the backdoor and feel like you're opening the oven hot. The thermometer on the grill registering 110 degrees hot. Able to cook an egg on the hood of the car hot. My yard and herbs have almost caught on fire hot. The ice maker in the freezer has broken hot!

I don't want to cook with heat hot.

And yet the cat is LOVING it. He spreads out on the back patio, the same concrete that has burned the bottoms of my feet, and sizzles in the afternoons. I try to make him come in, but I just get a hairy eyeball in return. So I leave him bowls of ice in the shade in case he ever comes to his senses.

Even though this dish does require a hot pot of boiling water, once it's done, it provides several meals of lovely, cold side-dish guaranteed to go with almost anything.

And it's good for your eyesight.

2 pounds carrots, peeled & sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup salad oil
¾ cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can of tomato soup
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Salt & pepper

1. Cook carrots in salty water (like pasta) until barely tender.
2. Drain & rinse to cool and stop cooking process.
3. In a clear bowl, alternate layers of vegetables.
4. Mix all other ingredients & pour over vegetables.
5. Chill in refrigerator.
6. Will keep for 3 weeks – great funeral dish.

Photos courtesy of 2-clicks-coins and Recipe.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Best Banana Pudding Ever

So I was stalking around on FaceBook the other day, and one of my friends Lola posted a photo of banana pudding that she had made with Chessmen cookies instead of Nilla Wafers. What?!? That's blasphemy..... ...or is it? I poked around on the Interwebs and presently found this amazing recipe for banana pudding.

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding (I used plain vanilla.)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used Neufschatel.)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream (I used 8 ounces.)

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Banana pudding will never be the same.

This recipe is super rich and creamy, and it makes a VAT of puddin'. Like take it to Wednesday night church vat. But it won't last long - I've made myself sick on it several times already this week. It makes a great breakfast.

Thanks Paula.


Made by Lena