Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thirteen and the birthday cake

As you know I have 3 wonderful children. I say wonderful because I love each of them very much and enjoy spending time with them, most of the time.

However, thirteen seems to be the age my children think they need to discover just how much they can push me and argue with me. I am on my third go around with this age and have come to the conclusion that thirteen is an evil age. It is no fun being thirteen, I remember, but must they be so difficult?

Lately, it seems that at some point in our conversations my thirteen year old finds something that he must disagree with about or he must prove me wrong. Then there is the always fun and exciting time he decides to out and out just say "no."

Last night he decided, as he often does, to take his time going to bed. At 10:23 pm I tell him that because he can't seem to be IN bed by 10:00 pm he would have to got to bed at 9:00 pm tonight. Here is the conversation from that point on:

Nathan: No
Mom: Excuse me?
Nathan: No
Mom: Yes. You will be in bed at 9:00 tomorrow night
Nathan: No I won't
Mom: Should we make it 8:00 then?
Nathan: No
Mom: Then you will be in bed at 9:00, and if I have to drag you into the shower, clean you myself, dress you and put you to bed physically I will. Understood?
Nathan: Sigh (rolls eyes and goes to bed)

What is the most common word in my son's vocabulary? "NO"

Don't get me wrong. I love this boy with all my heart. He has the sweetest heart and is very loving. He is creative and talented and extremely smart. And, I know he is just trying to exert some independence, which is what he is supposed to do at this age. But does it really need to go on for so long?

And then there is my lovely daughter Tara. Her best friend (and I am sure BF on some level) had a birthday yesterday. She wanted to make him a vanilla cake with strawberry flavored frosting. She also wanted the top to be a piece sign and to say happy birthday. She played with the canned frosting and tried different colored of food dye to find exactly the colors she wanted. Here is what she came up with:

I think it came out cute (not that I am biased in any way) especially for a first try. Tara disagrees and called it the "ugliest cake ever" but Jackie of course loved it. As you can see she had some of the gel frosting left over and decided to play a little.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

I have been wanting Pineapple upside down cake for several weeks but have just not had the energy/time/inclination to make one, even if I was using a cake mix. Last night I finally got work and made not only dinner but this wonderful cake.

I love making the cake in my 12 inch cast iron skillet. Using my skillet allows me to get nice even baking and allows the sugars to caramelize nicely during baking.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple, reserve juice
10 maraschino cherries
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix

Melt the butter over medium high heat in the iron skillet. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly to cover the butter. Next, arrange pineapple rings around the bottom of the pan, one layer deep. Place a maraschino cherry into the center of each pineapple ring. Prepare the cake mix as directed by the manufacturer, substitute the pineapple juice for some of the liquid (add water if more liquid is needed)in the directions. Pour the batter over the pineapple layer.

Bake as directed by the cake mix directions (I bake it for 50 minutes @ 325 degrees). Cool for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a plate. Do not let the cake cool too much or it will be stuck to the pan.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mixed Berry Rustic Tart

Yes, I actually made dinner last night. I finally settled on chicken soft tacos and the kids, needless to say, were very happy to have something to eat that didn't come straight out of the freezer.

While I was getting things out of the refrigerator for dinner I noticed the kids had not eaten many of the berries I bought on Friday. I decided to make a dessert with a combination of berries. Deciding to make a rustic tart I pulled out the pie crust I had in the freezer to defrost while I made dinner. I used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. This is what I came up with:

Unbaked tart
From Goodies

Baked tart with juices leaking
From Goodies

As you can see from the pictures my pizza stone is well used and seasoned.

I learned a few things. I need to make sure my pastry is a little thicker so that it doesn't tear. Any liquid at the bottom of the bowl after the fruit is placed on the pastry, needs to stay in the bowl. And, next time line the bottom self with foil to catch the dripping juices, should I still have any.

All in all it came out well (although I do need to clean the oven tonight) and the kids said it was very good.

I will post a recipe once I work out the kinks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It is just sad

My kids are beggining to wonder if I will ever get back to making dinner on a regular basis. I have made dinner two times in about two and half weeks and one of those dinners was frozen fish fillets with macaroni and cheese. The saddest part is that the kids were THRILLED about frozen fish.....says alot.

Here is the thing. I have been sick for about six weeks. It seems my body has decided to try all the available viruses to see which one it likes best. And I, just wish it would just stop sampling viruses and get better for a change. Okay I will stop complaining.

So dinner tonight will actually be homemade, or at least semi-homemade. I just wish I knew what it was going to be. This should be interesting.

Hhhhmmm....tacos....... crescent chicken........ pasta...aaahhh if I only had a brain.