A Tale of Two Breakfast Cookie Recipes

As mentioned previously, I’ve been on the lookout for grab-n-go breakfasts since I started working mornings.

Yesterday I tried out the Pecan Maple Breakfast Cookies from 100 Days of Real Food. They sounded great; I wanted them to be great. In the end, though, mine were just okay. Using “real” maple syrup probably makes a difference; I only had “fake,” so I used that plus a tablespoon of honey. My husband agreed that they were bland. They’ll probably all get eaten, but not made again.

Today, then, I tried the Cranberry Coconut Breakfast Cookies from The Happy Housewife. The major ingredients advertised are, obviously, dried cranberries and coconut, and also almonds. Verdict: Yum. Proof: Husband went back to the stove for a second after I gave him his tester cookie.

As usual, there was some improvisation — I only had a third of the cranberries called for, so I made a third of a batch. Generally that was fine, except when it came to splitting two eggs in three — I just used a whole egg. Also, I was out of molasses, so I used extra brown sugar. My batter seemed too wet, so I added more oats — that may have been due in part to the extra egg. Also added a few pecans in. I think the salt called for could be cut down quite a bit (for taste, not just health), as could the butter.  Overall, I have no doubt they’ll get eaten up, and there will be a next time!



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Recipe Success: Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Once again, there were many improvisations. But the Creamy Chicken Taquitos from Stephanie Cooks were still a success!

Proof: Says husband, “These should go in our regular rotation.”

They’re pretty simple — mix together chicken, cheese, some other spices, and bake them in tortillas. Of course, I hadn’t gotten to the store yet, so I subbed Italian cheese and gruyere-cheddar for the cheddar cheese; subbed light cream cheese; red salsa for salsa verde; went easy on the hot spices; and only had two tortillas to work with in the end. I was only making a half batch, so I cut my two big tortillas in half and ended up with four half-taquitos and some filling baked over the top of them.

I feel like they could have been creamier yet, but I was eyeballing the measurements and halving the recipe, so it’s too soon to judge. But still, they were good the way they were!

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Working Motherhood, Day 3

The first day of dropping off baby was the easiest so far — in part, because it was later in the morning!

Day two was the first morning at our new regular time. After getting up for baby’s early feeding, I pretty much had to stay up for the rest of the day in order to get myself bathed, bottles ready, bags packed, breakfast and lunch made. Kind of a rude shock after our living at baby’s whim for four months!

What I didn’t account for: Babysitting isn’t just from the minute I start work to the minute I get off. There’s easily another 20 minutes each day to pay for between when I drop her off and when I arrive at work, and then the same at the end of a shift.

Baby is breastfed. Estimating how many ounces she’ll need while we’re apart  + getting it bottled = challenge. Baby was hungry on Day 2 and had to have her first two ounces of formula (which she took without batting an eye). I felt guilty.

Apparently she is crankier for the sitter than she is at home. I felt guilty.

When we get home, we snuggle in our chair, and she falls asleep pretty quick. Naps quite a bit now in the afternoons, because her cousins tire her out!

Bedtime comes, and she tries to buck sleep. I think about keeping her up, too — once she goes to sleep, then our relaxed time together is over until the next afternoon. I let her cry herself to sleep tonight and was a little disappointed when it worked!

I got coffee this morning without having to drag the baby with me. I felt guilty.

So far, it seems like a lot of “working” motherhood is about feeling guilty.

(On the plus side, my job is going well.)


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Now I Am A Working Mother

Today I sent my child to daycare.

Okay, it isn’t exactly daycare — it’s her auntie, who lives six minutes away, and her two little cousins. And it wasn’t even all day. It was four hours.

But it was the first four hours of me becoming a part-time working mom. I explained to baby, as she sucked away on her pacifier in the back seat of the car, that this will be a regular thing now. She’ll go see her auntie — or once in a while her other auntie, or maybe her uncle — four mornings a week and play and have a fun time while Mommy goes to work. Mommy will come back for her after lunch.

She’s four months old. She’s still figuring out that I’m Mommy and that this big place with ceiling fans and mirrors is Earth. So I know it is far more difficult for me than it is, if at all, for her. See the previous post on this subject.

Mommy has gone back to her old job for a while, cataloging and scanning at a museum, so it’s nice that the learning curve is minimal. What I wasn’t expecting was the challenge to working that part of my brain again. It felt a little intense at first!

Another thing I didn’t expect was the awkwardness of the transition between being work-me and being Mommy-me. As I walk in the door at work, I turn off my Mommy thoughts and turn on my museum thoughts. Then, at the designated time, I turn off the one and turn on the other again. And ne’er the twain shall meet. Like I’m two totally separate people.

Maybe that’s a good thing, though. Wherever I am, I want to be all there.

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Recipe Review: Pizza-Topped Meatloaf

(Yes, I feel that “meatloaf” is one word. Just as the loaf is one, solid unit.)

Meatloaf is not a favorite of mine. Generally, I find it, well, loaf-y and boring. But pizza-topped meatloaf sounded like it at least couldn’t be worse than plain meatloaf.

And it wasn’t! (Worse, that is.) It was good enough to make again. Good enough to even remember to take a picture of it.  And really pretty easy, too, though I felt like I had a fair number of dishes dirtied. Probably my own fault. Thanks to the wife of The Ranting Chef for the recipe.

I was feeling cheap so I skipped the sausage and just used a whole pound of hamburger, and went a little easier on the milk. Also, I found mine needed to cook a little longer than the recipe called for. That might have to do with my adjustments.

Otherwise, the real test: What happens to the leftovers. My husband had seconds before he went to bed, and the rest of it will likely become lunch today.

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I Made A Whole Chicken!

Me! I did! I made a whole chicken!

And it was easy. Check out this simple slow-cooker recipe at 100 Days of Real Food. Throw in the chicken, rub it with some spices, cook. Mine went exactly four hours, and while the meat wasn’t actually falling off the bone, it was really tender. I think I’ll try adjusting the spices a little differently next time — a little more salt, for instance. But there will be a next time. There was enough from the 3.5 pound bird for a chicken dinner, quesadillas the second day, and enough to put in the freezer for something like more quesadillas.

The blog also follows up with simple directions for using your leftover carcass to make your own chicken stock. I now have 12 cups of it in my refrigerator! Now, where to put it…


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Adventures in Gardening

While baby tries to wail herself to sleep, Mom finished planting her little patio garden.

I have no green thumb, or any green fingers at all. Not even blue or yellow. This is a true adventure. My one houseplant is extremely forgiving and puts up with being watered every two weeks or less — whenever it looks completely dead, I give it a drink, and within a couple of days it’s thriving again.

But a little part of me has always found gardening very romantic. I think one of my original 100 life goals was to have a true English garden a la “Secret Garden.” And gardening lines up with the key demographic of many of my other hobbies: knitting, cooking, reading old mysteries, quilting, genealogy…

Last year I had one plant on my front steps. I think it survived a while. And there was another deck planter, which I realized too late didn’t have drainage holes.

This year the operation’s been ramped up.

A total of three planters are on the porch railing. The first contains five herbs: chives, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and cilantro. (Had to keep their little markers — not smart enough to remember what a couple of them are!)

Second pot contains six marigolds. They might be too close together, according to the package instructions … I thought they looked too far apart. I always love marigolds and tulips because they were the first two flowers I can remember my mom planting. Marigolds also make me think of earthworms, though — I was scared to death of worms when I was five, and my mom made me hold one next to the marigold bed. It pooped in my hand.

The third pot is seedlings: four spinach seeds and four mesculin salad lettuce seeds. The basil seed packet went AWOL.

On the front steps is a pot of geraniums. (Surrounded by some weeds.) Apparently the bush in the background is dead. More about the bushes another day.

I’d still like to try to do a tomato plant. Anyone have success with a container-garden tomato plant? Do you remember what variety you bought?

Finally, a question.

What should I do with this dead patch? Our townhome association tries to plant grass in it every fall. This is my front yard, with a driveway just outside of view at the bottom.

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