Archive for July, 2009

Life’s the pits

July 20th, 2009

31jq38HECaL._SL160_Jeff poo-poo’ed the cherry pitter when I bought it, but he was the one who looked for it today when I wasn’t home and Carter wanted cherries. I’m telling you: it’s just easier with a four-year-old.

Cooling bliss

July 19th, 2009

Having milk delivered to our house every week is a good thing. Having a milkman who delivers Eskimo Pies even better.

Back at school

July 18th, 2009

Recovering from a week of school all day and working until the wee morning hours. Want to bake but can’t seem to squeeze it in. Might have been easier if I’d foregone the marathon at the Nordstrom anniversary sale.

Mickey D’s

July 17th, 2009

“What’s the holdup? It’s McDonald’s! The menu doesn’t change.” Jeff hates it when someone “gums up the works” having a conversation when ordering at the drive-through. I am that person.

I next-to-never go to McDonald’s, but Carter made a rare special request. There was a false start or two.

“What’s the fewest number of chicken nuggets I can order?”


But wait. The actual answer turns out to be “four”—when ordered with small fries and a drink. Best of all, the drink can be a kid’s shake. Who knew? Not me without asking. (I didn’t mention the second ”kid’s” shake was for me.)

Play-doh to the rescue

July 16th, 2009

Play-do cookie cutters on displayBecause of my cookie-baking phobia, the only cookie cutters in my kitchen cabinet are a set of heart-shaped ones, which I bought to make Jeff Valentine’s treats way, way back when during early dating years. Fortunately, on a party favor-buying  sojourn to Target awhile back, I picked up a Play-doh baking set, complete with colorful plastic “cookie cutters.” The kit’s star cookie cutter saw live action when we made (day-after) Fourth of July cookies with Cousin Elyse. Today, when Carter and I made the second batch of dough, the flower, butterfly, and fluted circle made their kitchen debut.

Let’s pretend

July 13th, 2009

Tinker toy cookies and cakeCarter turned down the opportunity to make banana bread or bake the rest of the sugar-cookie dough in favor “baking” a Tinker Toy cake and cookies with me. He held up a piece of paper and told me that it was the recipe, which had “a half cup of sugar and some flour and vanilla” in it.

The results are why I didn’t buy him the Dave and Melissa’s “decorate a cake” toy. It just seems far better to me to have Carter seek out and turn over a plastic container that usually holds his balls, drape his blanket over it with the white side up for icing, and decorate it with Tinker Toy joints, with which he wanted to spell out” Happy Mothers’ Day, From Carter.” (This involved a few too many letters to approximate.) We settled for a big “M”—and purple sprinkles, Carter’s second favorite color.

The tray next to the cake holds “cookies” for Daddy. Wouldn’t want him to feel left out. In fact, in the end, Daddy got to blow out candles on the cake. cake for daddy

Get your slurp-ade here

July 12th, 2009

Carter went to see “Up!” with Jeff while I was at Day 1 of the Stanford Proefessional Publishing Course. Carter apparently chose lemonade before realizing a blueberry Slurpee was an option. So Jeff assured Carter that he could have a Slurpee next time, and they both informed me of this plan. (Keep in mind that when Jeff promises Carter something. No matter how trivial it might seem, It is Very Serious—never to be taken lightly, altered, or forgotten. So it’s best that I, too, know)

Slurp-ade, that’s what Carter termed the concoction we could make at home, during an extended bedtime Mommy-check. In fact, he decided, the slushy base could alternatively be cherry, raspberry, strawberry, or grapefruit. He picked a specific flavor Surpade he would make for every neighbor he knows by name (quite an honor). All would have a shot of lemonade on top. “And best of all, guess what, Mommy?”

“Sprinkles on top.” Who could ask for anything more?

Cookie phobia

July 5th, 2009

Elyse suggested making star cookies with Carter for the Fourth of July. We just did it a day late and combined it with a photo shoot for Baking with Carter. Guess which Carter liked better?

I took advantage of having Cousin Elyse here to get a blog photo, which isn’t an easy feat with a four-year-old. But she did it.

I confess, for all the baking I do, it’s highly unusual for me to make cookies. The reluctance dates back decades to less-than-successful tries as a child. (Yes, my mom let us loose in the kitchen at a young age.) There were the ginger snaps ran, the Tollhouse attempts burned, and the stiff dough was just too hard to mix by hand. Besides, ginger snaps were my great Aunt Frances’s specialty, and chocolate-chip cookies were my sister Margaret’s.

Fast forward to today. I realize how silly my fear of cookies has been—now that I have a KitchenAid stand mixer (wedding present from some dear siblings). It does all the hard work! Combine it with an Alton Brown recipe, a star cookie cutter from the PlayDoh set, and red sprinkles. We were so set.

Sugar Cookies
Recipe by Alton Brown
Show: Good EatsEpisode: The Cookie Clause

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.