Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I had my first kiss at the Meade County Fair. Don't tell Chris.

So I just submitted my monthly newspaper column and it was all about how I love to make things by hand.  I expect the hate mail to start about 20 minutes after it publishes.

It's not that I think I'm better because I make my own yogurt.  It's just that I really, really enjoy it.  I enjoy sewing clothes.  I enjoy knitting sweaters.

I'm a bit afraid I came off sounding like I'm awesome and you're not because I bake my own bread.  (Not always!  I swear!)

But really it's not because I think I'm better, it's because I'm 'frugal' and know that I can probably make something for much cheaper than I can buy it in the store.

Oh well.

At the moment I am actively avoiding my children.  Or child.  Sebastian is fine - he's building his new Lego Chima set and is actually a joy to play with.  The younger child, however, is not taking naps anymore - and hasn't been - and is short-tempered and violent and hoo-boy do I ever want to ship her off to someone else's house.  Or daycare.  I really, really miss daycare.

The hardest thing about being home for the past few weeks has been that I don't have any time to myself anymore.  It's back to constant companions and complete exhaustion when said companions are finally in bed.  That's not good for my introverted soul.

I know, I know.  Stop complaining you ungrateful woman.  I fully admit that I am never satisfied.  I missed them when I was at work and I missed being at work when I am at home.  And that my friends, is the circle of the life of a mom.  I'm about halfway done with my time before I have to go back to work.  Chris is taking a few days off next week and we're going to get the kids out of the house.  We'll probably go to the Meade County Fair - which, of course, is the biggest and best fair around.  The kids will love it.

I guess I should get back to parenting and stop actively avoiding my children.  Adele throws the blocks at my head if I don't play with her when she wants me to.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Homemade Friday on a Monday: Spaghetti and Meatballs for the Birthday Boy

So I survived the weekend.  The weekend of turning 33 and frantic cleaning and last-minute preparation for my son's 6th birthday Pokemon party, and Germany in the World Cup Final and Germany winning the World Cup Final and making biscuits and gravy for my son's birthday breakfast yesterday and homemade spaghetti and meatballs for his birthday dinner.  (He had a hot dog and grapes for lunch.  There's really only so much cooking I can do in one day.)


And I even survived my daughter being up from 2-4:30 last night (this morning?).

After party clean-up the house is still relatively clean, so that's refreshing.  I do have tons of laundry to put up that I shoved in a closet before people got here, but other than that I'm in pretty good shape.

I thought I'd share my spaghetti and meatball recipe with you today.  I know it's not Friday, and therefore not time for a Homemade Friday post, but I figured you'd forgive me.


This is not a quick meal, obviously.  The sauce (or 'Sunday Gravy' if you will) needs to cook at least 45 minutes.  As my dad says, you can eat it after 45 minutes, but it's done after 2 hours.

The meatballs take time, too.  The mixture has to be combined, then formed into meatballs.  Those have to be browned in a skillet, then finished in the sauce.

It's an immensely satisfying meal, even if you have to work it during the first half of the World Cup Final, running back and forth from the kitchen to the living room every time you hear your husband yell out.

My spaghetti and meatballs isn't nearly as good as my parents', but really, that's how it goes, right?  The sauce never tastes exactly right, the meatballs aren't as tender, but everyone was satisfied.  And next week for the July birthday celebration at my parents' house we get to have it again - the right way.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti Sauce

olive oil
garlic
onions if you like - but I'm usually too lazy to cut them up
3 quarts of tomato juice (or two large, 46 oz cans)
24 oz tomato paste
italian seasoning
sugar
salt

In a large pot or dutch oven heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add onions if using and saute until soft.  Add a tablespoon or more of garlic and saute until lightly brown - not dark.  If it gets dark it becomes bitter.

Add tomato juice and paste.  I never measure my italian seasoning, which is probably why my sauce never tastes exactly right.  I add a palm full.  And then usually more later.  Add a tablespoon or two of sugar, just to bring out the sauce a bit, then a tablespoon or more of salt.  I usually season it a bit, then let it cook and taste it for seasoning later on in the process.

Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 2 hours with a lid cracked on top.

Meatballs

3 lbs ground beef - lean - 94/6
1 lb italian sausage
oregano, basil, parsley - or italian seasoning
1 diced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
5 slices of bread, or bread crumbs
grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
olive oil to brown

Mix meat, onions, garlic and seasoning (a palm full - or more) together.  If using bread, soak in warm water to soften, then add to mixture.  If using breadcrumbs, mix with meat mixture.

Add egg and parmesan.  Mix all together with your hands and form into meatballs - large meatballs, about the size of a small baseball.  Or between a golf ball and baseball.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Brown meatballs on all sides, a few at a time, turning often so they don't burn.

It's best to brown them all and transfer to a platter.  When all are browned, put them in a pot of spaghetti sauce, already hot, and cook in sauce for 45 minutes.

You can freeze them either before or after cooking in sauce.  I froze half of the meatballs after browning them - mainly because they all wouldn't fit in my pot.  This recipe made about 35 meatballs.

Once sauce is about 30 minutes from being done, start a large pot of water heating on the stove.  Once it boils, add salt - a couple of palm fulls, depending on how much water.  Add the pasta.  I usually let it cook for a few minutes, then taste and add salt as needed.  Cook until it still has a little bite to it.  Don't let it get mushy!  Strain pasta and add back to pot.  To keep the noodles from sticking together, it helps to add a bit of sauce to them and stir them around.


Serve a heaping plate full with at least two meatballs and a mountain of parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Here's my mom's original, handwritten meatball recipe.  The woman has amazing handwriting for a lefty!  Probably because she was taught by nuns:






Thursday, July 10, 2014

No one believes me but I actually really enjoy the beet juice

I've started juicing, which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I turned 33* today and everything to do with the fact that I saw a recipe one day and thought, eh, why not.

That's how I tend to start a new diet plan, or eating plan or whatever you want to call it.  Diet is totes a four-letter word that I normally don't use.  And I'm not on a diet, per se.  I am trying to see exactly how healthily I can eat.  Some days it's awesome and I feel great.  Other days I'm starving all day, no matter what healthy foods I eat and won't be satisfied until I've eaten about 10 of the kids' peanut butter cookies.  On those days I have to remind myself that even though the box says 'all natural' it doesn't mean 'good for you.'

Most of the time when those days happen I know that it's hormone related and therefore out of my control and I give myself a break.  But I do try to eat mindfully and I've started running more.  I run every other day now, even with a jacked up knee and shin splints.  (Am OLD.)  I'm up to 3.1 miles all at the same time so I feel pretty good about it.  I add time on every few weeks, when I feel comfortable with where I am, in the hopes of possibly, one day, maybe, probably not but I'm still sort of planning for it - running a half-marathon.
Honestly I don't really want to PLAN plan for it because I think it's a little overwhelming.  So for now I'm happy doing what I'm doing.  Running.  Drinking juice.  Making smoothies.  Drinking far too much coffee.  Occasionally stealing peanut butter cookies.

And as today is my birthday my husband is taking me out to eat so I will probably eat entirely too many 'unhealthy' things.  And I will most definitely open that bottle of wine that he bought me.  He took the kids out swimming last night and when they got home Sebastian told me they went to my most favorite store to buy my birthday present.  I asked what exactly my favorite store was and the response, that I had to discern through all of the giggles, was 'the beer store!'

My family knows me well.

My mother-in-law took the kids swimming this afternoon and my own mother is picking the kids up this evening so they can stay the night with her because I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with what all needs to be done for Sebastian's birthday party on Saturday.  It's a Pokemon theme, which I know nothing about.  So probably everything will be round with the one design of a pokeball I found online that looked easy enough.  I've already started the pinata.

So I'm going to spend the afternoon trying to clean the house a bit and possibly trying to get a nap in because these last two weeks being a stay-at-home mom again has pretty much destroyed my energy.  And ruined my ability to ever pee in peace.  And made me really, really appreciate my job.

It's been a bit HARD is what I'm saying.  In fact - here is a photo to show you how I left the house this morning to drop Sebastian off at his science camp.  It is a perfect illustration of how my time at home is going:



*I actually had to add up how old I am because I can't seem to keep it in my head.  Probably because I'm old and forgetful.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

That fake butterfly tattoo was amazeballs

It's my last day at work for an entire month, a month that will be filled with children arguing over who gets to play on my (MY) Kindle and who gets to sit in a particular chair at the breakfast table and who gets to annoy Mama the most.  (Don't tell them but I'm kind of looking forward to it.)  

Also I'm coming off a three-day single parenting episode while my husband was out of town and there were horrible bedtime routines and screaming fits and last night I took the kids to Chick-Fi-La for dinner where Adele peed on the floor in the play area and Sebastian smashed his finger in the girls' bathroom door and Adele dropped her milkshake in the car and the cashiers threw away my unsweet iced tea while I was dealing with the wet pants and smashed finger.

Needless to say I am a bit tired.  Of course that could have something to do with the juice fast I'm on.  Okay, that's a lie.  I'm only drinking green juice for breakfast and eating regular food the rest of the day.  But really you're supposed to Break your Fast at that time, and the juice really isn't breaking anything other than my spirit.

(I'm totally exaggerating.  It's actually pretty good and satisfying.  Plus I feel better about myself.)

So let's throw it back again today, all the way to 1998.  What were you doing in 1998?  Probably not possibly getting your upper-ear pierced by a drunken boardwalk carnie while wearing a temporary butterfly tattoo.

8/11/98 10:25 p.m.

Not 1998.  Maybe '96?
I'm trying to get everything caught up in this journal.  Before prom I went to Myrtle Beach for the chorus trip.  It was a lot of fun.  We went to Broadway at the Beach, which was just a outside shopping center & we went to an amusement park.  It was called the Pavilion.  While we were there I got a fake butterfly tattoo.  It was just an outline of it on my shoulder.  It was cool.  I also tried to get the top of my ear pierced.  I went up to this guy was doing it.  I think he was stoned or drunk or something.  I didn't have enough money to get my ear pierced, so he wanted to show me how to make money, like a peddler, by doing tricks.  I said no.  I don't think he'd have been able to pierce the right spot anyway.  We had a lot of fun.  I don't remember what day school got out.  I just remember that I was grateful for it.  I was so stressed, I was seeing black spots.  I remember that we were out of school on a Monday & Tuesday, then came back on Wednesday for a rewards day.  Mom & Dad wouldn't let me skip & go to Kentucky Kingdom with friends.  It doesn't make sense.  We didn't do anything at school anyway & it's not like It would have counted against me.  Oh well.  I got over it.  Over the summer I went to the movies in Corydon with some friends.  We watched Hope Floats.  We were about 1/3 of the way through it when it kept flickering on & off.  It finaly went off all the way.  The electricity went off.  There was a bit storm & they said that a tornado was coming.  Everybody went to the lobby.  We sat on the floor & sang Koom Ba Ya.  We got some strange looks.

I started work at IGA on June 23.  I really like it there.  At first I thought I really sucked at it, but now I'm better.  There's this one guy, I think he's gay, but he always calls me "Smiley." I guess it's because I smile so much!  Whatever.  I was supposed to go to Italy this summer but I didn't have enough money & then I got the job & I didn't want to leave right after I got it.  I'm going for Christmas though.  I can't wait!