Thursday, August 23, 2012

Food Friday

Hang on to your seats for a ridiculously long, drawn out Food Friday.  I have much catching up to do.  I’m kind of at a crossroads with my blog…do I continue?  Do I stop because life is so busy?  Do I post as infrequently or frequently as I want to and can make time for and try not to feel guilty about?  Such a conundrum.  P.S.  I love that word.  But then I sit down to blog and realize there’s no way I could stop doing it because when I sit down to blog I usually have to stop myself from writing 3000 word posts, so clearly it’s not something I want to give up.  So for now and probably all eternity I’m going to excuse myself from all pressure to blog and just do it when I have time and willpower.  Food Fridays are easy for me to write because I love to cook and I love to eat so those basically write themselves so look for those in to appear with somewhat regular frequency.  As for the rest, well……

Now for what I’ve been up to because I’m sure you’re just dying to know…or not, but I’m going to tell you anyway. 

*Taking my niece Chloe out for a little girl’s night out with Dakota and I to celebrate her 9th birthday.  We shopped, we dined, we went to the movie Brave, and we ate dessert at Orange Leaf.  Things of note about this:  1) she is so much like me when she shops it’s not even funny.  Easily distracted by pink, sparkly, shoes, clothes, etc.  Also, this came out of her mouth and made me love her even more, “Oh I don’t know about these shoes, I don’t think the heels are high enough.”  Yes, my 9 year old niece prefers shoes with heels on them.  Love.  2) I had low expectations for the movie “Brave”  but it was excellent, probably my favorite kids movie of the summer and believe me we’ve seen and loved them all.  3) Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt.  Are you familiar?  I hope you have one near you because it is a beautiful thing.  And it’s in dangerously close proximity to my Wal Mart, as in right in front of it, so I have to exercise self control on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.  Not my strong suit.  We thought it fitting to cap off Chloe’s birthday celebration by introducing her to the greatness that is Orange Leaf.  Get you some. 

*Becoming the mom of a 4th grader, a 5th grader, and a *gulp* 7th grader.  Umm, excuse me whaaaaa?  I seriously had to pull over on the side of the road last week because I nearly hyperventilated when it dawned on me that we only have 2 more years of elementary school until we’re done forever and into the dark, seedy world of junior high and high school.  Then it occurred to me that Dakota will get her driving permit in 14 months and I passed out.  And then it occurred to me that I only have 9 MORE YEARS until they’re all 3 graduated and possibly moved out of our house.  That’s it, put a fork in me, I’m done.  I know it’s cliché but Dear Time, SERIOUSLY SLOW IT DOWN.

*The only thing silver lining about this whole “they’re growing up” thing was brought to light this week when football started.  Both boys, 2 separate teams, 2 separate practice times, 3 nights a week.  Which means I’m putting a lot of miles on my Smells-like-a-locker-room Suburban and logging a lot less time sitting on the couch eating bon if.  So yeah, when they get a little older and can drive themselves to practice allowing me time to get back to my bon bon eating, it may not be all bad.  Although let’s be honest given how much they are eating these days and I’m sure will continue to eat as they grow and play football, there won’t be any bon bons for me to eat.  Holy cow, that was definitely NOT in the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Book”.  It should read:  If you think your baby boy eats a lot now because he’s waking up every 3 hours to eat, give it a few years.  Beware:  the more they grow and the active they are the more they eat.  You have no idea. 

*Why does buying paper towels in bulk at Costco give me such a feeling of security and well being?  Because it does.  I think this means I’m officially a desperate housewife.  But at least I’m a desperate housewife who will never be unprepared for a spill or mess. 

*Harevesting goods from the garden.  The garden which I meant to blog about but never did.  Our sweet corn did amazing, in fact we got together with GI Joe’s parents one evening, donned bonnets, and prepared 126 cups of fresh sweet corn for the freezer.  It was very Little House on the Prairie like and well worth it when in February I’ll be eating delicious, fresh from the garden sweet corn.  Yum.  Our green beans also did outstanding and I think my children were glad when they went dormant because having “picking beans” on their chore list every day in the 100+ degree heat was not the highlight of their summer.  For the most part the garden is done except for the melons.  Check out my melons!

And I know what you’re thinking and yes, they’re real.   Don't hate.

*Eating our way through the State Fair, a family tradition.  It was amazing as always and unlike always, it was not a million degrees but actually so chilly in the morning I had to wear a SWEATSHIRT.  IN AUGUST.  AT THE IOWA STATE FAIR.  The end of the world is nigh folks.  But as long as there are deep fried pickle dawgs and crab fritters in heaven I’m ready.  I had a really cute picture to put here of Dakota and Blade gnawing on some giant turkey legs but can't get it to upload.  Just imagine it. 

*Celebrating Ryder’s birthday week + one day.  No idea how he squeeze in the + one day but he did.  My baby is 9.  I’m in denial, please leave me there.  I just love him.  And I love that even at the ripe old age of 9 he still holds my hand and calls me Mommy and goes with me to the grocery store, willingly.  Fine, so he knows if he goes with me I always buy him a special treat but it’s money (and time) well spent. 

*Chasing free range emus back into the barnyard.  You know, just keeping it classy as usual. 

*Getting completely blindsided w/ sadness today because it was my mom’s birthday.  It’s been 13 years and most years her birthday comes and goes and doesn’t really phase me, as in it’s just another day I don’t have my mom, but today?  Today was rough.  My sisters and I were talking about how it just still hurts so bad and seems so unfair.  I found myself insanely jealous of those who either still have their moms or whose moms passed away at an older age with some warning aka disease or sickness instead of suddenly and tragically like we lost ours.  Which is completely ludicris and selfish of me but I’m just being honest.  The good news, I guess, is that my mom hated aging.  I distinctly remember when she turned 35 and 40 in particular, and got completely depressed about getting older.  I of course, ever being the ray of sunshine, would say uplifting things like, “Just think Mom in 10 years you’ll be 50!” which made her do the whole laugh/cry thing while simultaneously throwing things at me.  :) So I’m thinking turning 58 today would’ve made her lose her mind, I mean, 58?!?  I totally get it now and I have a feeling I’m going to be the same way next year on my birthday so feel free to remind me how close I am to 50, I deserve it.  Although, I’m sure her oldest daughter turning 35 would’ve sent her into a small fit of depression as well because that means that not only am I getting older but so is she!  But at least we could’ve sulked and done retail & Mexican food therapy together to cope.  Sigh.

On a happy note, we went on vacation back in July!  And it was amazeballs!  

How’s that for a mood lightening segway?!?  Also, amazeballs?  Someone wrote that on a questionnaire at work (seriously) and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since and it needs to get out of my head badly but it is pretty accurate in describing our vacation.  It was so much fun and someday maybe I'll blog about it. 

Anyway, one of the highlights of our trip was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  While I’ve read several of the books and watched the movies I’m not near the HP fan as my husband and children.  I can’t count the number of times they’ve watched the movies and Dakota has read and reread the books a hundred times so this was a big deal to them.  It did not disappoint.  It was just unbelievable.  It really felt like you were at Hogwarts and that you’d see Harry Potter and friends walking around at any moment, oh and you did!  We were awestruck.  And the rides?  The rides were mindblowing.  One of the things we looked forward to the most when planning our trip was trying the famous Butterbeer, Harry’s favorite drink.  We quickly learned why it was Harry Potter’s favorite drink, it was DELICIOUS!   It was kind of like a cream soda with a butterscotch/rum twist and a creamy “foam” on top that we couldn’t decide if it was marshmallow fluff or whipped cream or what.  As we sipped we vowed to figure out how to make it as soon as we got home.   This was not something we were willing to relinguish to the closet of vacation memories never to be done or drank again. 
Happy to be here...really.

 Cheers to butterbeer!
A butterbeer break

 "If you can figure out how to make this stuff at home I will never again have a preteen attitude, roll my eyes, or sigh in exasperation when you ask me to do something." Yeah right, it's not THAT magical.  :)

And I did it!  And it was exactly like at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  And it won me a Mother of the Year award because the kids thought it was that awesome.  YES!

I can’t take the credit, this smart girl with an adorable blog over at did all the work in figuring out the magic and for that I will forever be grateful. 


6 12-ounce bottles chilled cream soda (I used a 2 liter of A&W Cream Soda)

3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) imitation butter flavor, (you can find this in the spice aisle by the vanilla and other flavorings)
OPTIONAL – 1 ounce light rum, per serving, for adults only (Obviously I didn't do that but I did use a little teeny bit of rum extract also found in the spice aisle)
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar, or splenda for sugar free version
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons imitation butter

To make the butterbeer: Set out 6 16-ounce glasses. Place 1/2 teaspoon of imitation butter (or 1 teaspoon clarified butter) in each glass. Pour 12 ounces of cream soda into each glass, over the butter. Lightly stir, if necessary.
To make the foam: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and continue whipping until very soft peaks begin to form, another 3-4 minutes (if you need to whip more or less, then be sure to do so, the times can vary quite a bit based on environment). Stir in the vanilla and imitation butter (or clarified butter), then whip for another 30 seconds or so, until soft peaks form.

Spoon a generous portion of foam on top of each glass of butterbeer, mixing gently, if desired (or spoon the foam into the bottom of the glass and pour the butterbeer over the top). Serve immediately.

So good.  Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan and have no idea what Butterbeer is you should try this.  It’s magical.  Oh yeah, I went there. 

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

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