Category Archive: In the Kitchen

Photographic Evidence

There are moments in a mother’s life that she wishes to preserve for all eternity and today we experienced one. This, my friends, is what went down in my house: my child did the dishes. But wait, there’s more. She heard my brief lecture—something about not being able to play right now because there was junk all over the house and I had to put it all away first—and then responded by washing our dishes and scrubbing the sinks. Seriously. She did that without me asking! It was remarkable and precious and thoughtful and so helpful, so so helpful. While she was doing the dishes, I put toys away, dusted, wiped down surfaces, and took out the trash. Awesome.

**Lest you be tempted to look over at your kid who fought you tooth and nail today when you asked him to merely brush his own teeth, take a deep breath. Don’t compare. I realize that sharing good news invites comparisons. For instance, my awesome sister-in-law reports that my niece, age 5, is tying her shoes. My reaction was this: Am I supposed to teach my child to tie her shoes? Whoops! Today dishes, tomorrow shoes, I suppose. ;)

Hello, Cold Weather

What do you like to eat/drink when it’s cold out? Post favorite recipes for warm drinks, hot soups and filling casseroles in the comment section.

Halloween 2011

We had a really fun day yesterday. Livia has been brandishing her cutlass—“It’s a cutlass, not a rapier,” she explained to me—and donning the pirate earring and eye patch for a few weeks now. She has such a strong imagination that she got lost in her girl pirate role, explaining to someone, I can’t recall who, that she really was Livia and not a pirate. Our friends the Littles hosted a party for some school friends and it was a great time. This is the first year I’ve pulled out my camera to document the celebration! Normally I’m running from place to place, in the dark, with my costumed child.

It was also a fun day because I got to make cupcakes for Livia’s classroom. My inspiration photo shows a spider cupcake with nicely curved black legs. I learned quickly that perfectionists do not good classroom mothers make, and settled on red legs that poked out kinda straight. And then, because my child is a self-proclaimed entomologist, I told the first-graders that spiders have eight legs and the cupcakes have six. Spider mite cupcakes, perhaps?

I hope my friends had Happy Halloweens as well. Now, it’s on to November. November!! Before you know it, Christmas will be here.

Kitchen: Before & After

Before

We moved into the Prairie Box in December of 2001. I’ve always loved the light and space of my kitchen. The large south-facing windows make the kitchen a cheery place to be, which is good since I don’t love to cook. Love to bake, yes. Love to cook, not so much. Renovating the kitchen was on our 15-year plan, so, since we’re selling at year ten, we did a partial renovation to encourage the sale of the house.

After

Gone is the mint green wall color and gone is the horrendous wallpaper border. All surfaces were lightened with a coat of white paint, including the two types of faux brick the previous owner must have found immensely attractive. A brand new countertop and sink made a huge difference in the overall aesthetics of the room. I enlarged one of my apple photos and we hung that over the stove.

I love my new kitchen. I hope the new owner does as well.

Bec & the Sous Chefs

I love having Livia next to me while we bake cookies. She helps crack eggs, samples each ingredient, and then cleans off the Kitchen Aid paddle for me. Plus, with her, baking is an Event and we don aprons. Makes it more fun that way.

Shiloh gets in on the action, too. He cleans up the floor. Today he decided the bare arches of my feet needed cleaning—way ticklish.

We like to make this chocolate chip recipe from my Aunt Ruthie because it makes enough for a crowd. What cookie recipes are your favorites?

Time for Cupcakes

Tomorrow is Livia’s golden birthday—seven on May 7th! We baked, frosted and decorated funfetti cupcakes to deliver to her kindergarten classroom today. Based on the hovering, exclaiming crowd of children surrounding Liv this morning, I’d say the cupcakes will be a success. Oh my goodness, the cuteness I encounter every morning in the kindergarten wing kills me. Those kids are adorable.

Yesterday, amidst a small group discussion about finding contentment in Christ—no matter where you are in life—the topic of blog competition/comparison was brought up. It’s so easy to look at people’s websites and imagine each one tells the entirety of that blogger’s life. You begin to wonder why your life doesn’t seem as wonderful as theirs. Just so you’re never tempted to think that of me, I’ve got evidence of the mess of cupcake-making with my child.

Here’s the end result: a charming cupcake.

Let’s dig a little deeper and imagine what went into making that cupcake. It’s the end of the day and the birthday girl is dead-set on baking with mommy. Mommy wants a drink and a recliner. Alas, the duo whips up a boxed mix, cools the little cakes, then tints a batch of frosting. The tint, notorious for staining *everything* it touches, does that just. Opened by six-year-old fingers, it stains the countertop, her fingers and face, and her clothes. Mommy tries to be cool, takes a few deep breaths and hands her daughter the sprinkles. A few quick swipes of frosting and it’s sprinkle time. Incidentally, sprinkles are the pinnacle of awesomeness to a six-year-old and she proceeds to POUR the little beads all over the counter. Whoops, she says, didn’t know it was open! Replay the last few sentences 24 times and you have a good picture of the final moments of our night.

There might have been more sprinkles on the counter and floor than on the cupcakes.

Jeremy still feels them under his toes this morning.

Finally, the scene of the crime. My kitchen looks just like this right now, 14 hours later. Minus the cupcakes, which are being admired in an elementary school near you.

Carrot Cake

Alternate title: The Day the Food Processor Died

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That there in the background is my [now dead] food processor. I was shredding carrots and marveling at the fact this little machine has been processing away since my wedding 12 years ago when it breathed its last breath. Or shredded its last carrot, more appropriately. Twelve years is good for a small appliance, right?

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Livia and I were making carrot cake for our friends’ wedding. Dylan and Emily asked a bunch of buddies if they’d be interested in making layer cakes for their wedding reception. There were a few moments during the baking process where I wondered why I agreed to help. Namely, when my food processor up and died and when the cake layers came out with sunken centers. But overall, I considered how awesome it was that 20-30 amateur bakers around Lincoln, Nebraska, were, at the same moment probably, making cakes for this awesome young couple. I imagine a lot of us were praying for Dylan and Emily and for their new life together. And in that way, God was using a group of slightly incompetent pseudo chefs to bless this wedding—and in turn, we were also blessed.

As it turns out, love and cream cheese frosting cover a multitude of sins. Sunken centers did not ruin anything.

The Bill’s Big Carrot Cake recipe is posted at Needs More Butter. You can also check out the recipe for a yummy Curried Chicken & Cauliflower Soup I recently made. And, if you feel so led, you can email me any healthy and delicious recipes your family adores. I’d appreciate that!

December 23

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And then we did a little singing, Easy Bake Oven style:

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear Jesus,
Happy birthday to you.

December 11

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Batch number one of the best hot chocolate recipe ever? Done and done!

On the Cob

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Chicken-apple sausage, corn on the cob, green salad and garlic bread. This might just be the perfect dinner to eat in Nebraska in August. Mmmm. We paired it, not with a fine wine, but with Ponyo, which is a totally delightful family film.