Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
“Oh, what a day,” Henry sighed as he sank into his easy chair. He laid his head back and closed his eyes. “Just a few minutes…” The silence felt wonderful.
It didn’t last long. Jimmy banged down the stairs and into the room. He slowed his step. “Dad?” Jimmy hesitated, noting the closed eyes. “Dad?” The eyes remained closed, but the corners of Henry’s mouth lowered into a slight grimace. Jimmy’s anxiety grew, but he plunged in anyway. “Dad, can I borrow the car tonight?”
Henry’s eyes were open now. “My car?”
Henry looked at his son incredulously. The car was brand new. Henry had finally admitted that the old Subaru had out lived its design life. Just yesterday, he’d signed the papers for a new sedan. The thought of turning it over to his 17 year-old son for the night didn’t sit well. “What for?”
“I have a date with Sarah tonight,” Jimmy looked at his watch. “I told her I’d pick her up at 7. It’s 10 to and Mom’s gone with the other car.” Jimmy hoped his Dad hadn’t heard Mom say she’d be back in a few minutes. If Mom came home too soon, everything would be ruined.
Jimmy dreaded that, “I told you so” look from Sarah, which he knew he’d get if he showed up in the van. Just that afternoon, Jimmy had bragged that he could take the new car anytime he wanted. Sarah hadn’t bought it.
Jimmy peeped into the room. “Good, he’s watching football,” he thought. “Maybe he’ll give in, just to get me out of the way.” Jimmy took a deep breath; his whole reputation was riding on this moment. He put on his game face and strode into the room.
“Hi, Dad!” he said cheerily as he stepped in front of the TV. “Are they winning?”
Dad looked a bit annoyed.
“Better hurry,” Jimmy thought. He didn’t wait for an answer. “I have a date with Sarah tonight. I’m supposed to pick her up in a few minutes. Can I take the new car?” He said it in his best, most amiable, good-son voice.
Dad stopped trying to look at the TV and gave Jimmy his full attention.
“Uh oh,” inwardly, Jimmy gulped, but he forced a bright smile. “I’ll be home by 10.”
“Nice try.” Dad said. And, that was that.
“Shouldn’t have bragged about the car…,” I thought as a I trudged down the stairs. If Dad wouldn’t let me borrow it, I’d look like a fool. Just what I needed. Sarah’s friends already thought she was slumming. If I showed up in the mini van, they’d really think I was dumb.
Dad was looking through the Costco ad when I walked into the room. He was always looking for deals. He didn’t look up, so I mumbled, “Um, Dad?”
“Yeah?” He had found a coupon for toothpaste: 10 tubes for $15, and was carefully tearing it out.
“Can I borrow the new car tonight?” The direct approach was always best with Dad. “I have a date with Sarah. I'm supposed to pick her and some friends up in a few minutes.”
I hated Dad’s “Hmms” He could say so much without saying anything. This “hmm” definitely meant, “Not on your life.”
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
I have no idea how these compare nutritionally to the store-bought tortillas, but they taste WAY better. I HATE whole wheat tortillas from the store, and I'm not fond of the whole wheat version at popular build-it-in-front-of-you mexican grills, either. You can use all-purpose flour for these and they come out very similar to the Costa Vida tortillas. Cafe Rio tortillas, I've noticed, are yummier, and I'm quite certain it's because they contain more fat. If that's the taste you're going for, your could add more fat and cut back on the water. But I think that one of the myriad advantages to cooking at home is that you can control how much bad-for-you stuff goes into your food.
Whole Wheat Tortillas
3 cups whole white wheat flour
1/3 cup margarine
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
Approximately 1 cup warm water
Yes, I said margarine. I do use butter in practically everything, but honestly, I haven't ever tried butter in these. The margarine works well and it costs a lot less.
In a medium bowl, cut together first four ingredients until they resemble plain flour. Add most of the water and continue to cut together with pastry blender. Once all of the flour is wet, decide whether you need more water or not. It should be a soft dough, but not too sticky. Knead about 10 times. Roll dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, cover and let rest about 15 minutes.
Heat your griddle or frying pan. I use my pan, since I don't have a griddle, but I can only cook one tortilla at a time that way. On my stove, I find that the number 7 heat setting is perfect. That's about halfway between medium and medium high. If your surface is too hot, the tortillas will burn before they get completely done. If it's too cool, they get hard before they brown.
Sprinkle flour on a smooth surface and roll your tortillas one ball at a time, cooking one (or the number your surface will fit) while you roll the next. Roll to your desired thickness. I like them around 10 inches in diameter, but they are quite easily torn when they're that thin. Tortillas will bubble up while cooking. That's usually a sign that it's time to flip them. Turn the tortillas over and cook for about the same amount of time on the other side. You should have a few lightly brown spots, especially on the bubbles. Enjoy warm.
If there are leftovers, store them in the fridge inside a ziplock bag with a paper towel under the stack. We've never had them last for longer than two days, so I don't know how well they store, but I sincerely doubt that they last anywhere near as long as commercial ones.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Most of it wasn't really out of the ordinary. He did come to me after we had finished making cookies and the first sheetful was in the oven, baking.
With a huge smile on his face, he said, "Make mess." He grabbed my arm and led me into the kitchen to show me the accomplishment he was so proud of. I had forgotten to put the flour bin away and he had taken advantage of my absentmindedness. As far as messes go, however, that one was not much to be proud of. A bit of flour on the floor and on his face only took a few minutes to clean up.
Later, one of his sisters decided to wear her Halloween costume from last year. She also felt the need to have her hair ratted and a scar drawn with makeup on her face. Ratted hair and fake scars are pre-requisite to being a zombie.
While she was drawing her scars, Bear was drawing his own, with my mascara. He proudly came to show me his makeup and he was so excited about it that I let him keep it on.
Another sister was downstairs, dancing along with Angelina Ballerina and Bear went to join her while I made dinner. They were happily dancing when I went down there a few minutes before dinner was ready.
Just as I was unplugging the rice cooker, he came upstairs with a strange but familiar smell on his breath and a weird pink substance all around his mouth. I do not own pink makeup, so I knew he hadn't done another makeover. He asked me for a drink of water, which I gave him and then I took him back downstairs to see just what he had been eating.
I found that our big metal cabinet which holds most of the stuff, including medicines, that we don't want our kids getting into was not locked. There was an assortment of bright pink and white pills scattered all over the floor. There was also a beautiful finger painting done in selenium sulfate topical solution--the source of the strange smell.
Needless to say, I made a frantic call to Poison Control, which I have programmed into my phone and have used on several occasions, mostly because of Bear. They told me they'd call the ER and tell them we were on our way. Most reassuring.
I shooed all four kids out the door in various states of disarray and we drove quickly to the ER, where they said that Poison Control had indeed called and they were waiting for us. Bear was hooked up to a heart-rate monitor, which, from that moment, I was constantly reattaching to his finger.
I could see the doubt in the nurse's eyes as I told him that my two-year-old had opened not one, but three childproof medicine bottles. I told him that I thought he had probably just pulled really hard on the lids, as that is his strategy for opening all other things, including the mascara earlier that day.
"So....what?" he asked, "Does he have super-human strength?" I can almost hear the DCFS knocking on my door.
When the doctor came in, she said that we would need to stay for four to six hours so they could observe him. Thank goodness my husband was supposed to be off work in just over an hour and he came to get the girls when he got done. Entertaining four kids in an ER room isn't terribly easy.
We spent a long three and a half hours in the ER. But at that point, the doctor decided that there was no point in doing any more observing. He was obviously not having any symptoms of overdose. The only behaviors he was exhibiting were annoyance with having to be attached to a machine and curiosity about all of the other machines.
They never did tell me what they would have done if he did have symptoms of overdose. I'm glad I didn't have to find out.
When we got home, I started cleaning up the mess and decided to see just how hard it is to open the childproof caps without pressing and turning. I put the lid back on one of the bottles and pulled on it as hard as I could. It didn't budge. Then I gave the bottle to Bear. He took the bottle and twisted the cap slightly. It popped right off.
So, does he have super-human strength? No. He's just a little too smart for his mom. At least now I know who to call when I can't open the stupid things.