It's a big day for me. Why? I'm one step closer to the dream....the caffeine dream. I'm a lover of great coffee. Now let me clarify that I don't love ALL coffee. As in most of my culinary addictions, I'm extremely picky. I'm constantly telling my mother that "life is too short to drink bad coffee." Feel free to quote me on that!
But, I'm getting distracted.... Back to the dream.
As you know, I'm a pharmacist. But what you may not know is my employer/ pharmacy owner, Wendell Workman, is opening a second pharmacy in town, OAK PARK PHARMACY. How in the world does this have anything to do with my caffeine dreams? Oh...I'm feeling giddy just thinking about it!!! The new pharmacy will have a COFFEE BAR!!! It's the coolest thing ever, don't you think?!?!?
Wait! It gets even better. Guess who gets to help with it. Yes, ME!
I'm a researcher, so when this opportunity was presented I instantly accepted...then panicked. That is how I usually approach things...SURE, I WOULD LOVE TO! then I panic...OMG, HOW DO I DO THAT?
After a bit of looking around, I found a great resource in Arlington, Texas. And believe me, I researched barista/coffee schools across the nation. The two top rated were this center in Arlington, and one in Seattle. The facility in Seattle was at least twice the cost, not including travel, so I decided to give this one a double espresso shot at teaching me a thing or two!
So at this moment I am sitting in my car, Miranda, waiting to enter THE TEXAS COFFEE SCHOOL. Have to go now! Class is about to start! Woohoo!!!
I awoke this morning to the aroma of bacon frying. David was still asleep beside me... so, what was going on in my kitchen? I stumbled in to find Jared at the stove with a skillet of bacon.
“That smells so good!” I said, “Is it for me?”
“No.” He replied with a very fake scowl that quickly turned into a smile, “Yes. Happy Mother’s Day.”
“I didn’t know you knew how to fry bacon.” I added as I snatched a piece.
“I’m pretty much winging it.” He said with full teenage confidence, “But looks like it’s working.”
And it was. I was totally impressed by the plate of perfectly fried bacon on his left. It was not too crispy, but thoroughly and evenly cooked—the way, of course, that God intended bacon to be prepared.
“I’m surprised there are so many pieces left!” I added as I snatched my second piece.
He was adding more to the skillet as he replied, “Well, I can’t eat any while I have raw bacon on my hands.”
I totally gushed with pride. I felt quite sure there was not a mother in this world who, at that very moment, could be more pleased with her son.
As moms, we tend to pour all that we are and all that we have into this difficult task of raising our kids. We laugh, we cry, and sometimes we hide in the closet with a cocktail, but we never forget that what we are doing could possibly be the crowning achievement of our contributions in this life.
I have thought so much about what I wanted to accomplish during this interesting stage of parenting. What I want most is to be growing good men… men that would someday make good husbands and good friends…men that could sufficiently care for themselves, cook for themselves, and feel content with themselves. I feel as though I received a glimpse of that today.
It has been a lazy 15th Mother’s Day for me, which is really my favorite kind of day, filled with flowers and cards, and guys trying not to argue. But the greatest gift I received today was the sight of my disheveled 15 year old son standing at the stove in his boxers. Look out ladies….this one is going to be quite a catch some day!
A trip to the grocery store today resulted in an assortment of red, yellow, and orange tomatoes.
It was a perfect excuse to take photographs with my "new" old door I bought from a friend a couple of weeks ago.
I set up my "shoot" on the floor of the garage. The open garage allowed for some decent lighting.
I experimented with a few different angles, but soon I just ended up lying on the floor. I really wish I had swept out the garage first. :) I think the one above is my favorite.
I probably took a gazillion shots of the tomatoes. When I began to hear the mumblings of hungry teenagers, I headed to the kitchen and chopped up a few of my "models", and added them to some mozzarella cheese and a few fresh leaves of basil.
To the tomatoes, cheese, and basil, I added 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup oil, 1 tbsp raw sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt. I let this mixture marinate while I cooked about a pound of pasta. After draining the pasta and allowing it to cool, I tossed it with the tomato mixture.
The multi-colored tomato mixture with mozzarella cheese and basil made a great cold pasta salad, and it made me feel less guilty for playing on the floor of the garage for a couple of hours...
My brain has been running wild lately...darting from this idea to that one....then back again to a different one...and on over to that one over there.... At the age of 44, you would think I would have learned to chase those thoughts down, throw a rope around them, and put them in the barn... But I haven't. What I have learned is that while I am running in the direction of one of those ideas, I then realize I forgot to bring the rope.... On the way back to get the rope, I remember that I forgot where I put the rope. Then I decide to go to the store and buy some new rope... But on the way to the store, another great thought dashes in front of me, and with great excitement I then veer off to follow that one...well, because at the moment is seems much more exciting! Then, I realize it's time to pick the kids up from school....
This past week, all these ideas have been pulling on my brain so vigorously it has reminded me of when the boys were small...and I was trying to talk on the phone. They could be playing happily with some toy, and as soon as I picked up that phone, everything went downhill. They were instantly in need of my attention to the point that they would surely die without it..and, of course, each one thought they needed my attention much more that the other one...and before you knew it, I had two screaming toddlers at my feet, and I'm screaming at the lady from the JCPenney catalog department.... This reminds me of why I did a lot of online shopping....
Now where was I? Oh, the Homemade Laundry Detergent. For a week I have used the homemade laundry detergent that I made last week, and I am so happy to say that I LOVE it! I cannot tell a bit of difference from the Tide that I regularly use. The hardest thing about it is getting used to just using a tablespoonful...I have come to terms with using a heaping tablespoonful...and that is really all you need. And I totally LOVE the fact that it is saving me money, AND keeping me from running to the store to get more detergent. That leaves me much more time to chase those thoughts.... More details here....
Click on the picture for a link to all the details.
Now for the project... Last weekend I had the opportunity to wander through Hobby Lobby for a couple of hours...and I could have stayed longer...while the boys were at the gym. I bought some wooden letters (on sale of course) and some scrapbook paper. I'm covering the letters with scrapbook paper and modge podge.
I'm cutting pieces to fit the letter, then gluing on with modge podge. When the letter is totally covered with the paper, I am brushing on an additional layer of modge podge to seal it.
I'm not finished with this one yet, but so far I am happy with how it's going.
Now you may be saying to yourself...."I thought this was a food blog." This is a true statement...sort of... I did make some great cupcakes this week, so I will leave you with these "Outrageous Orange and Orange Cherry Bomb Cupcakes." I'm still floating from the compliment my son gave me regarding these. "Mom, this may be the best cupcake I have ever eaten." Talk about some major brownie points! ...Or would that be cupcake points?
Gotta run now...I have a few more ideas I have to chase....
One of my teenage boys came to me this afternoon, and asked me if I would show him how to make homemade marshmallows. This rarely happens. Usually its..."Mom, would you make me some of this or that?" I have no idea what came over him, but it was glad it did. Between the football recruiting, baseball games, sports talk shows, basketball games, and other sports statistical conversations, I sometimes feel a bit left out.....so I was very pleased.
Now marshmallows aren't difficult to make, but they are very technical. That is probably not the best description for the process...but let's just say they are quite a process to make...so it could be a positive or a negative experience really.... Here is the recipe I use, and the blog post about how to make the least mess... :) http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/06/springy-fluffy-marshmallows/
Jared has never liked store bought marshmallows, so he was skeptical when I first made them at home.
We were all amazed at how much better the homemade version tasted! Obviously, they left an impression on him, since he actually asked for instruction.
Marshmallow Slab covered in powdered sugar.
We let ours chill in the frig for about 3 hours before cutting.
The powdered sugar calms down the stickiness. :)
It can be a pretty messy project...but they are totally worth it!
Homemade Marshmallows are definitely worth the effort.
He really did a great job, even though he thought he had to stir for "hours."
Who would have ever guessed that homemade marshmallows could make a mom's day? :)
This quote is often misattributed to Charles Darwin, but actually comes from Clarence Darrow, as quoted inImproving the Quality of Life for the Black Elderly: Challenges and Opportunities : Hearing before the Select Committee on Aging, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, first session, September 25, 1987 (1988)" http://wiki.answers.com/Q/It_is_not_the_strongest_of_the_species_that_survive_nor_the_most_intelligent_but_the_one_most_responsive_to_change_What_is_this_mean
I also see on some sites that author is listed as unknown...which may be a smart way of not entering into discussion of two such controversial personalities.
But no matter who said it...anyone who has been on this earth for more than a few moon cycles can attest to it's significance. It is one I am determined to commit to memory.