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CrankyCakes


Archive for the ‘parenting’


Snow Day Popcorn for Grownups 0

Posted on December 11, 2010 by crankycheryl

Ever since Danielle and I were kids playing in the snow tunnels outside her apartment building, snow days have meant popcorn and hot chocolate.   It’s a tradition I’ve been happy to continue with E. & Z., who have come to expect it as a birthright if they have even the briefest contact with cold and snow.

“Mommy, I walked from the car to the house.  I’m ready for my popcorn and hot chocolate now.”

This week, it must be said, they earned their winter warm-up.  They spent hours outside on those two inches of snow, sledding and flopping around and rolling up and down hills.  And when I made the popcorn, I put a couple of cups aside for a spicy and satisfying winter snack for the grownups too.


Maybe you know that pepitas pop and toast beautifully and they make a great combination with the corn, adding a little nutty flavored protein to the mix.  Next time, I’ll probably throw in some dried blueberries or cherries and call it a meal.

I used this particular mix of spices because of the rustic, coarse texture and mild heat of Aleppo pepper, plus the smokiness of smoked paprika.  You can approximate this with sweet paprika, ground chipotle powder, and a sprinkle of crushed pepper flakes if that’s what you’ve got around.

Spicy Popcorn & Pepitas

1.  In a large skillet, war over medium heat just until fragrant:

  • 2 T. butter or olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves chopped garlic

2.  Add and stir:

  • 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds (pepitas).   You can use the green ones that have had the hulls removed, or the ones you’ve scooped out of your own pumpkin or squash.  If you choose the latter, just dry and toast them first.’
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 (or to taste) Aleppo pepper

Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir and repeat to coat and toast the seeds.

3.  Add:

  • 2-3 cups popped popcorn.

Stir well and serve.

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The Viking Hordes 1

Posted on November 21, 2010 by crankycheryl

I’m hiding from my children as I write this.  I find that the procrastination that’s let me put off writing this post for a week has been run flat over by my need to avoid any more yelling and conflict today.  It’s half an hour past bedtime, and I have no idea what they’re doing up there.  But for right now it’s quiet, and that’s good enough for me.

So let me tell you about E.’s birthday.

Maybe it has something to do with an obsession with the exploits of Asterix, and maybe it’s just some good clean love of marauding.  Whatever the reason, this year it was a Viking party for E.’s 8th birthday.

“Mommy,”  he said, “I want a Viking ship cake.  And can you please do a good job with it?”

This was a clear reference to last year’s gorilla-face cake incident.  Oh dear.  I told him I would try.

So I went researching Viking ideas, and found that there aren’t a ton of them out there.  Pirates and racecars galore, but Vikings seem off the radar.  I found directions for duct tape helmets (and learned that horns weren’t actually that common).

Greg took pity on me and made them.  Aren’t they awesome?!

And then I was talking to another mom at school, who gave me the idea for a catapult.  “Catapults?  Vikings didn’t have catapults!” Greg exasperatedly told me.  “Not enough wood!”  In spite of this, his awesome friend Loren delivered one to us the day before the party.

They were a huge hit.

And while everyone else was doing this excellent stuff, I found this idea for the cake. I hit up my usual source for fondant, made two loaves of chocolate pound cake (by the way – kids don’t like pound cake), cut them into a boat shape by cutting one end into a wedge by making two even diagonal cuts, then slice off the top towards the other end.  Then did the same to the second loaf so that they were the same height in the middle.

I used fondant dyed brown with icky food coloring gel.  (More on fondant later.)  This part I don’t have pictures of as I was up to my elbows in the goo, but I made the cake by:

  • Rolling out a big hunk of dyed fondant to about 1/4″ thick between two sheets of parchment.
  • Draping the thin layer of fondant over the two cut loaves, placed with flat sides together.
  • Tucking the fondant around, then using a sharp knife to cut to fit.
  • Rolling pieces of fondant into thin long ropes for the rail of the boat.
  • Coloring some small bits red, yellow and black and rolling them into discs and other shapes for the shields on the side of the boat.
  • Painted a square piece of paper with red stripes, cutting two small holes in it and poking a green chopstick through it for the sail and mast.
  • Treating a couple of hunks of brown fondant like play-do and shaping a dragon’s head, spines, and tail.
  • Putting two candy-coated sunflower seeds on the dragon’s head for eyes, and a snipped triangle of dried mango for the fire it was breathing.
  • (The green sparkles obviously didn’t adhere well and could have been skipped.)
  • Dyeing some more fondant blue, rolling and stretching it into a flat long rope, and then pinching it into waves.

Fondant just doesn’t taste that good.  Next time, I’d use good homemade frosting, and only use fondant for the details (in this case, the dragon and shields).

But it sure looked good, and got this overtired mom some extremely gratifying admiration … at least until they tasted it.

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Raspberry Rewards 3

Posted on November 06, 2010 by crankycheryl

One hesitates to mention alcohol consumption in consecutive posts.

But the last of the fall raspberries are around, and maybe you too are having days like the one I had this week.  It was a beaut that included such gems as knocking the brother to the floor, the stealing and breaking of beloved toys to the point of tears, the delightful dinner comment, “What are these carrots made of – garbage?” and a sniffling, sobbing, “Well I can tell you don’t want me any more,”  after spilling purple latex paint all over the floor and I found myself sputtering strange syllables.

Friends, by the time bedtime came I was ready for a drink.

And there on the counter were the berries I had found still clinging to the vines when I had gone out to start putting the garden to bed.  Maybe you’ve got some still hanging around too, and here’s a nice little gift you can give yourself at the end of a rough day.

CrankyCheryl’s Raspberry Rewards
Yield:  4

1.  Place in a bowl and press firmly but gently with the back of a wooden spoon:

  • 1 c. fresh raspberries (organic)

2.  Add:

  • 1/4 c. vodka
  • 2 T. whiskey or bourbon
  • 3 T. maple syrup

Stir well and let sit for 30 min. – 1 hour.

3.  Put 2 ounces in the bottom of a small glass with ice cubes, top with seltzer, spoon in some berries, and serve.

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Pumpkin-Cinnamon Swirl Bread 1

Posted on October 14, 2010 by crankycheryl

We’re blessed with a whole flock of new babies in our lives, and that means baking for the new parents. There’s a simple rule I follow in providing food for new parents of second and third children:

Give them delicious and healthy food their older children will eat without whining.

This way, the parents can feed their firstborn, and snitch a bite or two and receive just enough nutrients to survive another round of round-the-clock babycare.

E.  & Z. & I had a lovely version of this when we popped in at Great Harvest recently.  It’s near where we’ve started martial arts classes, and it takes all the bribery and threats I can muster to get my #1 son there.  I definitely credit Great Harvest’s sugary offerings and riding toy collection with my being able to bamboozle him to the dojo last week.   And the bread was so good that even in my traumatized state I was inspired to go home and make some of our own, which we then gifted to some of the new parents in our lives.  It’s like a cinnamon roll in loaf form, and reasonably healthy-ish as far as these things go.

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Bread adapted from Joy of Cooking
Filling adapted from The Weekend Baker
Makes one loaf

1.  Stir together in a large bowl:

  • 1 c. bread flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 package (2 1/4 t.) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 t. salt

Add and stir very well:

  • 1 c. very warm water
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. pureed pumpkin, acorn, or butternut squash

2.  Add 1/4 c. at a time, mixing by hand, or a hand-held blender:

  • 3/4 – 1 c. bread flour

Add flour until the dough is moist but not sticky.

3.  Turn your oven to 350 degrees for exactly one minute and then turn it off.

4.  Knead for 10 minutes, either by hand or in some fancy machine with a dough hook, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  But set the timer and don’t cheat your dough, even if it seems nice and elastic before you’ve kneaded for the whole time.  Then coat a large bowl with oil, place the dough in it, turn it over once to coat it, then cover with a damp tea towel.  Let rise in the oven (make sure you’ve turned it off!) for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

5.  While the dough is rising, prepare the cinnamon filling.  Beat together in a large bowl with a handheld mixer on medium speed until very thoroughly combined into a thick paste:

  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar*
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar*
  • 1/3 c. unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. (4 T.) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c. applesauce or apple butter

6. Preheat oven to 450.   Grease a standard (6-cup) loaf pan.  Punch down the dough, then stretch it out into an oblong about the width of the loaf pan and about 12″ long.  Leave a 1″ border on one short end, then spread the cinnamon filling to about 2″ from the other end, going to about 1″ from the sides of the dough.  (You can freeze any leftover filling or put it on your oatmeal or mix it into cookies.)

7.  Roll up the dough as tightly as you can, beginning on the short end with the filling that comes closest to the edge.  Tuck and push as you roll to get the neatest loaf possible.  Place in the loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 and bake for 30 more, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove loaf to a rack and let cool completely.  Eat within three days, or freeze for up to two months.

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Best Freaking Apple Pie Ever 4

Posted on September 24, 2010 by crankycheryl

First: if you’re here in northern Vermont too and are after apples, you must go to the UVM Hort Farm.  If you have even an iota of apple love or food geekiness, you will fall in love with the shed and its many, changing varieties of apples and how folks from all walks of life come through for their $1/lb. apples.  And not just any apples, but many that you can’t get in stores, from the organic and IPM orchards in which UVM grows different varieties to test for various traits.

I went a little crazy, which I’m sure you’ll find hard to believe, and found myself leaving with 18 pounds of fruit, with a sample of each posed here.

Starting from the red spotty one and going clockwise, that’s Speckles (NY-75414-1), Arlet, Silken, Gala, Jubilee Fuji, NY-74828,  and in the middle must be CQR 12-t-50.

And then it was sometime around then that we got an invite to an Apple Pie Fest for a friend’s birthday.  A contest, even, with prizes for all who entered.  E. isn’t terribly into cooking these days, but I grabbed him long enough to get his votes: sweet or savory crust?  Double or single crust?  I got out all sorts of aromatic spices and let the boys choose which we’d use, and after a lot of sniffing we settled on cinnamon.  So traditional it was.

We got out the excellent Cooking with Shelburne Farms and gave their recipe a whirl.  It was the best pie I’ve ever made.  Maybe it’s because I was in teaching mode and explaining why this thing is cold and why we pulse in the liquid just so as the crust is coming together and so I was actually following directions.  The directions are a bit long, but just follow them and you too will be in for a fall treat.

Apple Pie
Adapted with permission from Cooking with Shelburne Farms

Makes one 10-inch pie (I doubled and made two, which was perfect for both our weekend parties)

Crust:

1.  Place in the freezer to chill:

  • 1/2 c. milk

2.  In a food processor, pulse together:

  • 3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (we used 2 cups white and 1 cup whole wheat pastry)
  • 2 T. white sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt

3.  Cut into small pieces and then work into the flour with six short pulses:

  • 6 T. cold vegetable shortening (we used the non-hydrogenated palm oil kind)

Repeat with:

  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter

Pulse a few additional times, until the mixture is pebbly with small bits of the butter still visible.

4.  Pour:

  • 1/4 c. chilled milk

through the food processor tube, and pulse three or four times.  Add the rest of the milk one tablespoon at a time, with short pulses, just until the dough starts to come together (it won’t do so like bread dough does, and it’s better to under-work your crust than overwork it so err on the side of under-mixing it if you’re unsure).

Get out two plastic bags or two large squares of plastic wrap.  Turn the dough out into a large bowl and gather it together in two equal balls.  Flatten them slightly into round disks, place in bags or wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450.

The Filling

5.  Peel, core and slice:

  • 3 lbs. (6 – 8 large) apples

Given our Hort Farm adventure, we used a mix of Arlet, Speckles and Galas.  Pie apples are a matter of much debate, with very strong preferences given for particular varieties.  Use what you like.

Toss them with:

  • 3/4 – 1 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 2-3 T. unbleached flour (add 2 T. and then see if you seem to have extra-juicy fruit and add the additional T. if necessary)
  • 1/4 t. salt

6.  Unwrap one chilled ball of dough and place it on a large, lightly floured surface.  With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the ball from the center out until the dough is in a circle about 1/3″ thick and about 13″ in diameter.  If there are cracks and tears as you roll, go ahead and patch and pinch together to repair.

Use a thin metal spatula to nudge the dough around the rolling pin, and lift it to the pan, patching it as necessary.  Fill it with the apples, mounding them in the center.  Top with:

  • 2 T. slices of butter

6.  Roll out the second ball of dough in the same way as the first.  If you like, you can create a vent in the crust by using your favorite cookie cutter to remove a small shape from the center.  Brush the edges of the bottom crust with water, and then lay the top crust on top the same way the bottom one was moved.  Leave a 1/4″ overhang all around, trim the excess with a sharp knife as necessary and crimp the edges.

7.  Brush the top lightly with milk, cut vents if you decided not to remove the cookie shape in step 6, and sprinkle all over with sugar.  Set on a rack in the lower third of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

8.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 and move the pie to the lowest setting in the oven.  If the edge of the crust is browning too fast, use a long thin piece of foil to protect only the edge.  Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the top crust is golden-brown and the apples are soft when pierced.

Remove from oven and let cool.  Then you can bring it to a party, where it can join a stellar line-up of pies, and maybe it too will win the “Tastiest Pie” medal.

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Children of the Corn 4

Posted on August 25, 2010 by crankycheryl

Is it just me?

Wouldn’t you expect that your children and their two friends could stay at the petting zoo and playground for two minutes while you ran to get them a bottle of water since the poor little darlings were thirsty?

And if they had to run wild in the minutes you were gone, surely you’d think they could continue on with the petting zoo animals, or climbing the wooden tractor, or running across the wide, safe, open field.  What child of reading age would cross an acre, pass the “CLOSED” signs, and enter the corn maze?

This place, by the way, is a big old actual maze with paths that swirl around in traditionally confusing and re-doubling ways.  It wasn’t terrifying at 3:00 p.m., but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be there after sundown.   I’ve seen the horror movies and I know what goes on.

Still, you and your younger child yourselves entered the forbidden rows, yelling for the trespassers and were at last reunited, after telling the offending three children that they were in TROUBLE and had ONE MINUTE to find their way to where you were (because if you tell people to do something impossible while YELLING, the laws of physics will change to accommodate your wishes), and then the farmer showed up to yell at them too.

So there we were with glaring adults and big-eyed children.  I was waiting for the finger-pointing and the meltdown and I was ready to dish out some Very Serious Consequences.  But that was when E. said, “Listen.  It’s my fault.  I went in and they came in to get me out.  I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed.”  The farmer looked at me and I think realized they were in much more trouble on the homefront than they were with the farm.  He asked, “So now you know you did something wrong?  And if I had a cable across that row you wouldn’t have gone in?  We want to make sure you’re safe, you know.”

I don’t know what you would have done but for me it was to give the children a hug.  And then we shared our first cider donuts of the season sitting around a picnic table talking about how to decide what’s allowed and what’s safe, about how smart it was to stay together and keep each other okay.

In the end it was one of those golden moments when our children show us the beautiful people they’re becoming, even if there’s plenty of crazy along the way.

And then we went home to make a dinner of our first 2010 local apples, some good Cabot cheddar, and a pile of crackers, since I had no energy left for cooking.  On the way, E. said, “Mommy, you know it’s not really my fault.  They should have signs showing how to get out of that place!  Can you believe there was only one picture of the whole thing?!”

Indeed.

And now that we’ve recovered I want to share with you this pure summer harvest celebration of a recipe that we enjoyed last week after a much less adventurous visit to our CSA farm.  It was Z.’s idea to mix, “corn … and cheese … and broccoli and water … and I’ll stir it all up!”  I’m sure he was thinking something more mudpie-ish, but to me it sounded like chowder, and that’s what we made.

Cheesy Corn Potato Chowder
About 6 servings

1.  Remove the kernels from:

  • 3 ears fresh corn

and set aside.

2.  Heat until rippling in a large sauce pan:

  • 2 T. butter or olive oil

3.  Adjust heat to medium-low, and add:

  • 2 cups diced potatoes, with peels unless you really hate them
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until carrots are softened, and onions are starting to brown gently.

4.  Stir in and mix very well:

  • 1/2 t. salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour (substitute your usual thickener if you’re going for gluten-free)

Then pour in, 1/2 cup at a time, and bring to a simmer while stirring.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water

5.  Stir in and cook at a low simmer just until broccoli turns bright green, about 3 minutes:

  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I use Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar)
  • 1 cup finely chopped broccoli (or substitute spinach or chopped chard)
  • the reserved corn

Heat through, and serve.

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Charlotte Berry Farm 6

Posted on July 31, 2010 by crankycheryl

Ah, blueberries.

My friend Robin tipped me off that she had heard that Charlotte Berry Farm was worth a try.  “$2 a pound and nearly organic,” went the rumor.  I packed up the boys and we went to check it out.

We arrived on a recent perfect summer day to just a few cars in the parking lot, a sign that said, “We’re glad you’re here,”  and a purple and rainbow boat that sure looked like it was there for kids to play in.

Things were looking pretty good.

Then we went inside, where I confirmed Robin’s information: pick-your-own blueberries cost $2/pound, and they’re grown using Integrated Pest Management practices.  The boys’ eyes got huge when they saw the corner of the farm building that was set up with books and toys, including an enormous box of Legos.  They settled in there, which the lovely person staffing the counter said was okay, and I got a flat and went out into the field.

The berries were so abundant that it took just about an hour to pick 10 pounds (all Bluejays).  And it was a pleasure doing so among the tall bushes that screened the sun from beating down on me.  While I was there, a big group from a local camp wandered through; shouting, “Jackpot!” when they found a big branch of berries.  E. & Z. wandered out to find me, and then went back to play.  I followed them a little while later, and treated them to a creemee.  What you need to know about this treat is that the farm juices the berries that are in season and flavors their ice cream with it, which is how I got this:

And then we went home, where I made a big old batch of jam, froze two batches of pre-measured-for-pie fruit, and ate berries all afternoon.  And given the reaction everyone around here is having to the jam, I think we’re going back next week to do it all again.

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The Chickens, Part 2 8

Posted on July 25, 2010 by crankycheryl

There are no pictures or descriptions of animals actually being killed in this post.  But I’ll tell you the rest of what happened when we brought the chickens from Paula’s Williston farm to the slaughterhouse in Morrisville.

The boys and I got an early morning start, but arrived at Paula’s a little late, and the round-up was underway.  Paula’s daughter and her friend were shooing the chickens towards the adults, who were putting them 2 or 3 to a box and the boxes in the cars.

I was not good at herding chickens, but did show a quick aptitude for finding stinging nettles while trying to coax the birds in the right direction.  The boys were hanging out with Ventura the turkey (his day had not yet come), and the beautiful egg-laying birds, but kind of got into the spirit of laughing and getting these flappy big monsters into boxes.   The birds were 8 or 10 weeks old (the two batches were in their pasture together), and enormous, looking too heavy for their legs and kind of thumping from side to side as they ran.   As I was tucking them into their boxes all I could picture was me on the interstate with huge angry roosters flapping around my head, boys crying and trying to escape.

At last we were packed and off we went.  The birds occasionally made some inquisitive noises.  Z. said, “Don’t worry – nothing bad is going to happen little birdie,” to which E. replied, “They’re on their way to BE KILLED!  Something VERY bad is going to happen!”  His brother shushed him and told him not to say that because it would scare the birds and that wasn’t nice.

We arrived at Morrisville’s Winding Brook Farm, which I’d always been curious about as I see their meat on lots of local menus.   We pulled in to the small parking lot in front of their barn, and spotted the Ag. Dept.’s mobile slaughterhouse, a regulation-looking white trailer with the door open and a guy with a long rubber apron moving around inside.    The plan had been to drop off the birds, but instead we stayed to help, and before I knew it Paula was handing the birds in one at a time.

E. & Z. found a place they could bounce on a big piece of wood, and visited the guinea fowl and calves.  There was another family there, who we started talking to.  They were waiting for a goat they had purchased to be processed, and the little girl who was with them joined our group’s kids.  The girls gathered around Paula and petted and kissed each chicken as it was handed over.

While we were there, all sorts of people were coming and going.  Men in button-down shirts stopped in to talk for a minute; I assumed they were managers or buyers for local restaurant accounts.  Then another family came in, three men and a young-ish girl, speaking an Eastern European language.  One of the men pulled out a whetstone and long knife and started sharpening it.  I asked if they did their own butchering, maybe for halal meat, which they said that they did.  The knife-sharpener said they were there for a lamb, and asked if I could help by holding its legs since his friends refused to.   (I pondered whether I could, decided I probably would so as not to be a hypocrite of a meat-eater, but we left before it was an option.)

After the last bird had been handed in, we followed the kids around on a tour of the farm, cooing at goats and piglets and peacocks and all sorts of farm critters.


We left for a few hours, visiting some of my favorite Lamoille County food spots – Bee’s Knees, Applecheek Farm, and Elmore Roots Nursery (which was closed, but I spotted several things of interest, including native ginger).

Then it was back to the farm to pick up our processed birds.  The butchers gave Paula a big vacuum pack of necks, one of hearts, and then started handing us the vacu-packed chickens.  It cost $172 for butchering 35 birds, including extra ice to chill them to a safe temperature.  (They told us that the price goes up when the weather’s hot.)

And now here are 10 of them in the freezer.  I’ll let you know what I end up doing with them.

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The Chickens 4

Posted on July 23, 2010 by crankycheryl

I’ve been meaning to take a minute to write about the chickens.

It’s just that I don’t exactly know what to say.

In the winter, my amazing friend Paula wondered if we might want to invest in a small flock of meat-birds she was preparing to raise on her family’s farm.  The plan was that we’d come out and help with some of the care and feeding, and then eventually help with the slaughter.   We wanted in.  Of course I was nervous about the slaughter part.

So then spring came and her little peeps arrived.  She moved them out to her barn, and Z. & I went out to visit.  We met the meat-birds, who Paula got me in the habit of calling “lummoxes” as they’re bred for quick growth, big size, and not especially for smarts.  (You chicken-knowers may detect some ornamentals in the bunch.  Don’t worry – they’re being raised to show at the fair this year, not for meat.)

We helped fill their water and mix in the oyster shell with grain, helped shoo the layers where they were supposed to go.

And then I went out one more time and did some more of the same; of course Paula’s been going out every day.  And now all of a sudden tomorrow is chicken slaughter day.  We’re not doing it ourselves, but are instead packing up the birds and caravaning to Morrisville where there’s a butcher who will slaughter, dress and pack the birds for us.  We go back a few hours later and pick them up, all ready to go into the freezer.

I’ve talked to the boys extensively about this venture, about how animals should be treated well even if they’re going to be eaten.  How we as a family try to make sure that the animals we eat had good lives and were treated well, and that getting to know our food is part of that.

I would have thought that Z., who is younger and so very sweet, would have been especially traumatized.  But it’s his brother who’s taking it hard, refusing to go along for the trip.  And who has announced that he won’t even look at the birds if he has to be in the car with them.  I think Z. is okay because he knows we’ll be going to Applecheek Farm and Bee’s Knees and he probably suspects there will be juice boxes and treats involved.  He’s definitely right.

I’m looking at that picture of the bird in the grass, thinking about how right now as I’m listening to the crickets chirp it’s having its last night as a living being.  If I’m going to keep eating animals, I have to be okay with that.  Am I?  It’s hard to say for sure.  I’d like to be able to smugly congratulate myself, knowing that my freezer’s about to be filled with animals who lived a good and dignified life, and weren’t treated horribly and then stuck in a warehouse freezer.  I know this is better.  And I know that this ambiguity is appropriate.

And now I just hope we get through tomorrow.

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Massive Cookies & Extreme Library Gratitude 4

Posted on June 30, 2010 by crankycheryl

I don’t know if our librarians could possibly know how much the summer reading program saves our sanity.

How positively alluring and magnetic we find that weekly day at the library, amidst the chaos of the disrupted schedule, the dinners with friends that stretch on into the night while mommies sip wine and can’t bear to call children in before sunset, the watergun fights and overtired, mosquito-bitten warriors on endless quests.

Library day.  So we gather whatever books we can find to return, bring in the boys’ reading lists from the past week and we toodle down the hill.  They perch on chairs and gesticulate wildly while they describe the horrible things their favorite characters have done on that week’s pages.

While there this week, E. excitedly found a past favorite, “Wild Boars Cook.” Oh, the boars (Horace, Morris, Boris & Doris) are horrible creatures, beautifully drawn and full of badness.  While in this sequel book they are neither bathing in toilets nor breaking toys nor farting, they are in the kitchen making a “massive pudding,” with ingredients I’ll leave you to discover.  Plus the book ends with a recipe for a massive cookie, and we made our version of it.

Massive Cookie
Adapted from “Wild Boars Cook”
Makes 1 cookie, about 12 servings

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together until very well blended in a medium bowl:

  • 1/2 stick (4 T.) butter
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 3/4 c. sugar

Sift over the top of the butter mixture:

  • 1/2 c. white flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda

Stir thoroughly.  Then mix in:

  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Grease a cookie sheet, then form dough into shape of a large cookie.

Bake for 15 minutes, then have one of your little boarlets carefully sprinkle over the top while you stand there nervously with potholders between your child and the pan.  Or maybe just do it yourself:

  • 1/2 c. m&m type candies
  • 1/2 c. gum drops or jelly beans

Bake for 15 minutes more, or until golden brown.

Cool, cut into wedges or whatever shape you like.

Have any great kids books with recipes you love?  I’d love to hear about them since, ahhhhh, our next library day is coming soon.

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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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