Saturday, July 31, 2010

Introducing, the one, the only, the latest dessert craze: the CAKE BALL!

My step by step guide to the art of balling.  Making balls.  Getting ballsy.  Balling out.  Juggling balls.  You get the idea....

Last month I chatted with a lady who kept talking about her latest discovery, the cake ball.  She went on and on about how delicious they were, how I wouldn't believe it, etc.  And lo and behold, she was right.  I started to tinker around with the idea of various flavors and came up with one that just works for me..the margarita cake ball...pause to drool a little bit....ok, here's what you need to do:

First, assemble your ingredients.  Instead of water in the recipe, use margarita mix.  Add some lime zest and throw in a tablespoon of margarita salt.  Start to feel a little Martha Stewart-y because you are kind of making up your own recipe by adding the salt, which you tell yourself is bordering on genius.

Beat it...dump it.

Bake it and wait....
Watch as daughter wheels around corner with a rabid look in her eye, zeroing in on the beaters...listen to her beg to lick beaters.  Give in.

Watch as son gets wind of your consent to let youngest ingest raw egg cake batter...observe him start to lick batter bowl in a way that tells you he knows you will come to your senses soon, so he needs to squish his entire face in glass bowl.  Hope children don't get salmonella. 

While cake is baking, feel stomach growl.  Scrounge up leftover hamburger patty from last night.  Heat in microwave with some cheese.  Realize you are out of buns or any member of the bread family.  Decide to start Atkins.  Visualize losing 40 pounds before summer is over.  Start to think about all the steak and salad you are going to eat.  Realize those damn chickens might be helpful to your new low carb way of life, what with those eggs you are STILL waiting on...wonder what kind of outfit you will wear when you send in your 'after' shot to the Atkins website.  Spend the next 40 minutes debating with yourself about whether it should be a dress or skinny jeans.....

Once cake is done, dump it into a large bowl and crumble.  Fancy it up by grating some lime zest into it.

Zest like a maniac.  Break zester. Realize with  your shitty memory you will probably never have another one because who would ever remember "oh, I need to pick up a zester" while out shopping.


Make lime butter cream.  Start to think you are onto something and that cake balls just might be your ticket to financial freedom.  Start to brainstorm what your cute little ball store will be called.  Decide Cake Balls of Fire is the name for you.  Envision a cake ball sign that looks like a comet.  Start to get excited because you are old and this?  Is a killer idea.  Feel like you have finally struck it rich, minus the actual money part, because you have come up with a BRILLIANT idea.  Cake balls for everyone. 

Decide this whole Atkins thing is just too unhealthy and that moderation is the key.  Remember everything you've heard about low carb diets causing kidney failure...decide this is a nightmare you don't need, especially if you are going to be a guest on Oprah's Millionaire Moms show talking about your cake ball dynasty.  Make out with rubber spatula containing lime butter cream goodness.

Add butter cream to crumbled cake.  Now the magic really starts....

Squish it......

Ball it....then pop it in the freezer.

Roll your frozen margarita balls in melted white chocolate.  While they are still sticky, sprinkle with lime zest and margarita salt.  Imagine telling Oprah about how it's all about tenacity and creativity.  Wonder if she and Gayle will invite you along when they do another Route 66 show.  Decide you would probably say no because you don't need to be horning in on their friendship and third-wheeling around the country with them when she would probably rather just have you visit her at her house in Hawaii.  Decide your dog and her dogs would also be good friends since they all have a large portion of yellow lab in them.  Wonder if there is a small chance you know way too much about Oprah.  Decide that isn't the case and your vast knowledge of all things Oprah  will only help you get to know your new BFF better and not make you look stalker-y. 

Admire these lovely little bite sized confections of awesomeness.  Eat several.  Realize your eyebrows have been raised for a long time because you have an insane sugar high.  Force them down.  Race upstairs to begin your research on cake balls, because you must verify this is your brain child.

Whimper.  Have enormous sugar crash that does not bode well with the waves of disappointment washing over you.  Kiss your Oprah dreams good-bye.  Realize you keep squeezing your eyes shut and clucking your tongue because of the pure amount of solid sugar coursing through your veins.  Decide that you must have given yourself diabetes by inhaling a dozen cake balls so you REALLY need to cut back on sugar.  And carbs.  Revisit and re-commit to your original Atkins plan because as good as these are, you're pretty sure you have just given yourself 11 cavities from these balls of sugar and won't be able to eat anything remotely sweet ever again.  Until tomorrow.  There's always tomorrow....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How to Survive the Traveling Carnival

Today is Sunday, which in our family, occasionally means we may go on a family outing.  Today's adventure took us to a traveling carnival and all I can say is I'm glad we made it out alive....because I may need this for future therapy sessions, I am documenting my experience.........

Guide to the Traveling Carnival

First, you want a memento of the occasion.  Spot photo booth that sells giant photo buttons for $8.  Decide this is a bargain and force family to sit in uncomfortable position while Carney #1 takes digital photo.  Remember  but don't mention you have digital camera in purse and could have asked anyone to snap your photo because this will just piss your husband off.  Realize  you've been staring at Carney #1's teeth for too long because you have a thing about teeth and can't get past wondering how she can eat that giant elephant ear with teeth that look like they've been scribbled with burnt sienna crayons...wouldn't it hurt??  Realize you are staring and awkwardly avert eyes to canvas ceiling.  Pretend her mouth is a solar eclipse that is dangerous to look at because you don't want to offend her by staring anymore and you know if your eyes wander anywhere close to the proximity of her head, you will not be able to pull them away from the train wreck that is her pie hole. 

Next, spend $16 so whole family can "race" the cars assigned to skee ball type game.  Win stuffed animal that looks like a cross between a lizard and a fish that undoubtedly cost two cents to make.  Wonder what the animal is supposed to be because daughter thinks it's a ladybug.

Head toward ticket booth.  Notice older lady dragging oxygen tank behind. Decide that if you ever get stuck on oxygen, you are going to put that tank in a stroller because what if you were dragging it and didn't notice it got unplugged? Then you needed mouth to mouth and the only person who could help you had fucked up teeth and then you'd give yourself a stroke seeing that come at you so you figure better safe than sorry. Also, strollers have cup holders and storage underneath so you could have somewhere to put your giant photo button.

Divvy up tickets.  Send first born and husband on a ride you overhear Carney # 2 say has "been actin' up lately". Wonder how you will catch 90 pound child if he is hurled through space because there are a lot of cords circling the ride and if you trip, then you're both S.O.L.

Take daughter to giant pink slide.  Hope Carney #3 who is helping her at the top of the slide doesn't  have prison record.  Wonder how much these carnivals make because surely they make enough to fix signs that make them look incompetent?? 

Yes, the last line reads: "Childern must not be carried".  Childern.  Not children, but childern.  Feel confidence soar in the folks running this gig.  Decide you're committed and head to Ferris wheel.  Totally kill daughters fun because she wants to rock it to and fro and it says "Danger, Do Not Rock Seat" everywhere you look.  Point this out to her.  Listen to her talk about how fun it would be if we fell out because then we could get casts on our broken legs and people could write on them.  Start to panic a little because you are so squished in this thing you start to wonder if Carney #4 (another fella who could REALLY use a dentist) is going to be able to unhook the metal trap that is cutting off the circulation in your thighs....and she keeps rocking this fucking thing just enough to freak you out but not enough for it to be obvious, so if you lose it and get mad, she can deny she's trying to rock it.  But you KNOW she is.

Survive.  Meet up with husband and son.  Send daughter and husband to bumper cars.  Take son to BB gun game where he attempts to shoot out the little red star on the tiny piece of paper.  Carney #5 is  very muscular, blond, good looking and friendly. Flirt a little.  Watch son whiz through the 2 tries you paid for.  Watch as Carney #5 insists on giving son a million extra bb's as well as pointers. Flirt a little more.    He has recognized son is left handed and  is very encouraging.  Get an odd feeling when you realize several other potential customers have wandered by and he hasn't even attempted to carnival bark them into his lair.  Start to wonder if he is a member of some white power group sent to this rural carnival under the guise of "BB gun carney guy"to recruit new members because he is zoning in on your blond headed, blue eyed boy like he's the prize winning trout at a fishing derby.  Stop flirting, say thank you and leave.  Notice he has all of his teeth and they are white.  Nod to yourself because this is proof your suspicions were RIGHT ON THE MONEY.

As you head out, see a food booth selling deep fried Snickers bars.  Decide the carnival life is for you.  Minus the bad spelling and klan member because that?  would KILL your sugar buzz.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Adventure to the Land of the Lost aka The Laundromat

Having a zillion animals and children who seem to think the "no eating ice cream bars in my bed" only applies to other people, I found myself in the sigh worthy position of having to face the fact my down comforter needed to be cleaned.  So I shoved it in my washing machine, dumped in a ton of laundry soap and let 'er rip.  Go to pull it out and it weighs about 300 pounds because once soaked with water, it was simply too heavy to spin....I had a feeling this might happen so decided to run the washer retrospect, I get that adding water to something I wanted to have less water in was not one of my most brilliant ideas, but at the time, I panicked.  My plan? Failed.  Now, a water logged, king sized down comforter is difficult to get out.  Especially when it has gone through two heavy load cycles. I put on my obstetrician hat and, using my arms as forceps and a lot of comforting encouragement to the washing machine, we got that sucker out.  Then I had to flop the dripping mess into the bathtub while I tried to figure out what to do.  Aha!  I'll stomp the water out!  Didn't work.  Not a bad theory if our bathtub was vertical but alas, it is not.  Henry comes in and asks if he can help.  Sure!  Watch him hop in with black feet because he has been playing in the backyard for hours barefooted  and in his boy brain, didn't think stepping on a recently washed and bleached WHITE comforter was a terrible idea.  It was.  So now I've got a muddy 600 pound ball of feathers...begin to panic because I know there is only one road this baby is taking me and I dread here it is, my advise on how to get through your next visit to the laundromat. 

First, get contractor sized garbage bag.  Work with children to maneuver comforter into bag.  Drag it down the stairs, use momentum to hurl it into van.  Wipe brow because this is similar to weight lifting.  Pull up to laundry.  Promise kids giant Slurpee if they just cooperate with you for the next hour.  Admonish self for using food as an incentive.  Decide fuck it, people have been bribing other people for years and if buying them a Slurpee is going to get you in and out of this hell hole with the least amount of stress, you will take it. 
Drag your black garbage bag inside...literally.  Realize it appears as though you and your children are hauling in a dead body.    Go to nearest giant machine.  Fight with the muddy beast to get it out of the bag and into the machine.  Wipe brow again.  This is exhausting. Dump $5 of quarters in.  Realize you have forgotten laundry soap.  Again, decide to fuck it.  The dust covered little boxes of Cheer that are behind the counter look like they have been there for years and you're pretty sure if you open it it would just be a giant laundry soap cake bar thing and then you would have used your extra quarters on the Cheer and gotten no cheer...laugh to yourself for  your little pun.  Decide not to share it with kids because they won't get it and YOU ARE STRESSED AND EXPLAINING YOUR FUNNY JOKE OVER AND OVER AGAIN WILL NOT BE WORTH IT.  Point out old pop machine to kids.  Watch them soak in the nostalgia....realize you may have possibly stepped into some sort of weird time vortex because all of a sudden, it feels like 1975 in this joint. This pop machine sells no water and you swear, the owner is drinking a Tab, which you didn't even think they made anymore after it killed all those rats. 
As you take in this beauty, you eyes wander and you realize little boxes of Cheer aren't all that's on the menu...they have a LAUNDRY BAR.  Realize you ARE in 1975 because NO ONE puts brown in rainbows anymore.  Check cell phone to ensure it is still operational, what with the recent time travel it has undertaken.

Watch what you are sure is a serial killer compulsively fold and refold his shirts. Decide you will have to take a different route home just in case he has any ideas about killing you.  Let eyes wander to older couple eating picnic style out of Tupperware.  Realize that you and serial killer dude are the only ones with operating machines and wonder what the hell this couple is doing sitting on the floor eating their lunch.  Start to itch because this?  Is not within the range of your comfort zone.  At all. 

Decide you are being far too judgemental and attempt to lose yourself in the silk flower basket arrangements hung willy nilly on the wall and the artwork:
During your art walk, come upon a Family Guy pinball machine and what appears to be some random arcade game.... that has CENTIPEDE AND SPACE INVADERS AND ASTEROIDS!!! Realize this place just might redeem itself yet.  Do the side purse jiggle to get game quarters.  Teach children how to play the games and during each lesson with each child, push them out of the way to take over because you can't take it...they so obviously did NOT  inherit your wicked Centipede skills.

Transfer blanket to dryer.  Serial Killer Dude takes this opportunity to give son a handful of quarters.  Wish you had bought that Cheer to use as a weapon if necessary.   Watch him pull away in an EL CAMINO.    Wonder when Doc is going to burst through a dryer in his Delorean and take you back to the future.

Dryer is done.  Fold and follow Picnic Joe and his wife out the door.  Realize they HAVE NO LAUNDRY WITH THEM as they hop in their car.  Fight the urge to ask why they wouldn't go to a park for their picnic instead of the floor of a laundry but decide against it.    Drive to 7 Eleven and get yourself a big ass Slurpee, too,  because this experience requires ice cold sugar. Later that night, watch as cat pukes up giant hairball on comforter...and start to wonder if you could get the high score on the Centipede game because you are going back.  Only this time, you're prepared. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bathtub Theater and the Importance of a Locked Bathroom Door

Since it's July and obviously freezing, it made perfect sense to take a nice hot soak in the tub to cure the chattering teeth and goosebumps.  I picked up a few magazines, filled up my water bottle and told both tv watching children I would be upstairs if they needed me.  I learned lllloooonnnngggg ago NOT to announce I was going to take a bath because a) our tub was clearly designed for midgets and b)  inevitably, I'd have company. In the form of a little girl who would rush in, peel off her clothes the minute she saw what was happening and jump in.  But I learned.  I stopped announcing and started locking the door.  This is key.  I can't stress this simple act enough....Lock. The. Door.  Because it is much easier to dodge a wanna be fellow bather who is pounding and whining on the other side of the door  than one who is standing a foot away looking at the tub like it's some spectacular hot springs and you're just a mean mom who won't share the awesomeness.  So imagine my surprise when, in the midst of soaking with my eyes shut,  in wanders the little miss because I forgot to lock the door.  Eyes lit up.  Pants came down.  Shirt gets  thrown in the air. And just like that, we were two gals in a tub....

Hi Mommy...I want to play mama dolphin and baby dolphin.  I know you're trying to relax but this will be SOOOO much better!  You can even "blog" about it.

 Good bye Us Magazine.  So long peace and serenity.  The time has come...for Bathtub Theater.

Our story begins as two dolphins, a mommy and baby, swim around the lagoon:

Twirly: "Mommy, why are we pink and glittery?"

Pearly: "We are clearly a biological genetic experiment gone awry."

As Pearly and Twirly swim around in the lagoon, they come upon the mean orca (this role will be played by a light blue dolphin because we are IMPROVISING)

Pearly: "Oh, shit.  It's that mean ass orca who's always trying to kill us.  Quick, follow me...we'll get help"

Pearly: "Burley, Hurley!  We need your help!  that awful orca is trying to get us!"

B & H: "No problem...why don't you get out of the water for awhile and we'll see if we can find him"

Twirly: "I'm feeling a little dry and not in a good way..."
Pearly: "Don't worry.  I'm sure those bozos won't keep us on this turtle raft forever...."

B & H: "Never fear ladies, we have captured him and have sentenced him to hard time on shampoo bottle island. You are free to roam the seas again"

Pearly: "That's great, because we need to practice our backwards tail walking thing if we ever HOPE to have the people from SeaWorld look our way.... we need to NAIL this move..."

Pearly: "It doesn't matter that it says Soap Box on it and smells like almond.  I'm sure those assholes from BP are behind THIS oil spill, too!"

The End.

Join us for the next episode of Bathtub Theater when the mermaid gets attacked by the Jellyfish Poufy:

And that? 
Is why it is so important to lock the bathroom door.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to Survive Your Baby's First Sleepover with Help from Creme Brulee

The Helicopter Mom's Guide to Surviving Her Youngest Child's Sleepover While Hounding her Oldest Child and Ending Up with Creme Brulee

First, get woken up at the crack of dawn by 6 year old bouncing off the walls.  Send her packing to buy yourself a few more moments of sleep...start to drift off when she comes bouncing in your room, ready to go.  At 6:14am....she's not scheduled to be picked up until 11:30.  Realize you are in for a LONG morning..

Reiterate a dozen times how it's ok to feel homesick, that her friends mommy has your number and all she has to do is just say she wants to call her mom and BAM!  You will be there within 10 minutes to pick her up.  Watch her roll her eyes at you because she is a big six year old girl, NOT A BABY.  Tell her she will always be YOUR baby and watch as this exclamation does NOT bring on the love, just more eye rolls. 

Watch her wait.....

Watch her start to get bugged because you are maniacally taking photographs of her.....

Watch her have enough of your antics and dismiss your attention with a flippant hand wave and exclaim you "have taken enough pictures already, ugh!!"

Watch her jump up and down with joy as her little friend comes, watch as she runs to the car with a quick kiss and a "bye, mama".  Feel your heart break, just a little.  Pat self of the back that you have an independent child but be comforted by the fact that before the nights end, you'll probably get a phone call because she misses you SOOOO much and wants you to come pick her up. 

 In the mean time, focus on older child.  Sit on couch and grumble about how stupid Hannah Montana is and how you really can't stand the London character on Suite Life on Deck and that back when you were a kid the shows were just better, these are just dumb. Keep hugging and kissing child, and repeatedly talk about cute things he did when he was a baby.   Watch son get up and turn off tv because you? are killing his no-sister-around-I'm-gonna-get-to-watch-whatever-I-want- buzz.  Offer to go for walk because you are beginning to realize there is some form of sugar and cream in your future and a nice walk will help you justify what you are sure is going to be seriously fattening, emotional eating later.

Take a 30 minute walk.  Check your pockets for your cell phone because you are ridiculously out of shape and if you should happen to have a heart attack, it's good to know dialing 9-1-1 is an option. 

Come home.  Watch as son heads to chicken coop.  Know that is NOT an option for you because those damn chickens belong on a styrofoam tray covered in saran wrap at the grocery store, not wandering around your backyard.  But anyway.....

Get call from daughter.  Feel a bit smug.  You knew she'd call.  Feel smugness evaporate upon realizing other mom encouraged phone call and that she's been having a blast and hasn't missed you.  At all.  Awaken to the reality that you won't be getting a "please come get me, I'm homesick" phone call.  Decide this calls for the heavy hitter.  The emotional eaters valium.  The head honcho of fattening globs of gooeyness. 
Queen Creme Brulee

Assemble ingredients and pull out kitchenaid mixer:

Next, get crackin'....
you need 1 whole egg and 4 egg yolks.

Call son in to kitchen.  Before he arrives, scoop up some egg whites and fake a sneeze.  Show him hands.  Laugh because you are damn funny.  

Contemplate walking toward the chicken coop with cracked eggs to taunt them....decide against it because they could still peck your eyes out.

Warm up, don't boil 3 cups of heavy cream.  NOT half and half.  If you're going to do this, COMMIT TO THE FAT. 

Add sugar and vanilla to your eggs....mix and watch as the magic starts....

...scoop out moth corpse and what you are sure is one of his legs.  Get disgusted and dump it all out and start over.  Blame this on the chickens.

Once your new batch of cream has warmed up, SSSLLLLOOOOWWWWLLLY add it to the eggs that are still spinning around. 

Pour into ramekins, bake for 35 minutes at 300 degrees.  Do your dishes during this time.  Channel Foreigner and sing Jukebox Hero as loud as you can.  As you are standing at the sink, realize your face is getting wet...look around and finally realize husband is outside watering the plants and has been spraying you with a hose through the screen because he does NOT appreciate the impromptu sink-side concert.  Regret throwing away moth corpse because you could have tucked that into his creme brulee and laughed to yourself about how he should be more appreciative of all of your talents, including your awesome singing voice.

Chill, top with a combination of white sugar and turbinado sugar.  Broil then pop back in fridge.

Use plastic fork because all the spoons are in dishwasher and you can't wait.

Wake up in the morning, pray the house your daughter slept in last night wasn't the target of some kind of alien abduction or hit by that gross airplane toilet ice stuff.  Pick her up and listen to her excitedly talk about her next sleepover.  Decide either you need to get a handle on the reality there will be more sleepovers or that you are going to end up weighing 500 pounds.  Listen to kids fight within 2 minutes...and it sounds even better than your singing.  Imagine that.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Lazy Lady's Hot Summer Sesame Noodles

It's hot and I'm hungry...which mean sesame noodles are just what I need....this is my friend Adina's recipe...doesn't she have groovy handwriting?  Notice how thrashed paper is...I've made this A LOT but can't retain anything....

First, use opportunity to show off recently organized cupboard.  Gaze at it for a few minutes, knowing before the weeks end it will look nothing like this...pat self on back for stocking up on gigantic vegetable soup and potato flakes in preparation for avian flu epidemic.  Beam at clear containers holding various pastas.  Start to freak out because you are a bit of an imbecile and need the idiot proof box the pastas came in to tell you how much 16 oz. are and how long you should cook it.  Grab handful and hope for the best....

Start the sauce...amaze yourself with your ability to balance sesame oil on ridge of measuring cup.

Add your peanut butter and soy at attempts to make soy sauce balance like sesame oil did and end up splashing it all over yourself because you couldn't quit with one pony trick, you had to go for two.

Eye the head of garlic.  Debate.  Think about how much you despise those little garlic skins and how stinky your fingers are when done mincing garlic.  Debate some more. 

Put him back with his friends......

and go the super lazy, no garlic skin, no stinky finger route....

Time for lime......debate.................decide Mr. Lime would much prefer to be hacked up and take a swim in a Corona and again, go the lazy route.....

Chop up serrano pepper.  Make a big point of telling kids to NEVER touch their eyes after screwing with a hot pepper cause it hurts like hell.  Two seconds later, rub right eye. Try to finish dish with one good eye and one that feels as if it's been squirted with battery acid. 

Toast up some sesame seeds, chop some cilantro, dump in your sauce and toss away!  As you are tossing, realize you have WAY too much sauce for the amount of noodles you cooked, because again, you didn't have the idiot proof box to just dump in, you relied on your own noodle cooking know how.  Roll your one good eye at yourself.  Sample.  Decide it's delicious and you don't want to share it, especially with your offspring who just ate the last ice cream bar that you had hidden behind the bag of frozen corn. 

Hide in cream cheese tub and marvel at the camouflage. Be proud of red neck roots that make re-using old food containers as wanna- be Tupperware because they will NEVER look in here.  Watch son approach, rip off lid and eat directly from container.  Start mentally grasping at straws because you didn't make enough and you are really hungry..announce to peanut butter hating child in a sing-songy voice that there is a ton of peanut butter in noodle sauce.  Feel defeated when he announces he can't even taste the peanut butter.  Watch your small pile of noodles disappear.  

  Go swimming then hit Taco Bell.  Vow to make sesame noodles again but decide clear pasta containers should really just be for looks  and that you can admit you need the box.