Monday, May 13, 2013

I scream, you scream, we all scream


All Sunday night and all day Monday, I was worried. Sunday night I tossed and turned, thrashing about like a suffocating fish and ripping the blankets away from the disgruntled beagle. Monday morning I dragged my butt out of the five-foot-long gully in the mattress -- so early, too early, okay 8 am, so not early at all -- and leashed up the (still disgruntled) beagle. Emma and I walked the beagle (Heel. Heel. Heel. Good heel! Heel. Heel...) while Penelope and Dan went jogging.

While the girls worked on their spelling and writing I paced back-and-forth, mixing it up every few minutes with a little to-and-fro. The girls subtracted decimals like the smart consumers they are. Do we have to show our work? We do this in our heads at the store. I distracted myself for two glorious hours by thinking up fake song names about fiber crafting for a Twitter trend. I had no idea what to blog about this week. I was minutes away from hyperventilating, then we baked the ice cream bread.

First off, there are recipes for this stuff all over the place. They are all the same. Everybody raves about it. People make comments like "ZOMG THIS IS DELISHUS!" and "I'AM NEVR EATING OTHER BREAD AGIN EVAR!!!1!" I don't know who these people are, but I suspect they have no taste buds. Or dictionaries.

The basics:
2 cups of ice cream
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
(If you don't have self-rising flour, no need to look for the car keys. Just add 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt to each cup of all-purpose flour and sift together. Boom! You just saved yourself thirty minutes and three dollars.)

Mix it all together until just combined, put it in a greased 4x8 pan, and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.

First, let me just say that I still can't feel my fingers. I typed this with my toes. Because my fingers froze. Because of the ice cream. Even if you let the ice cream get kinda melty, kneading this dough for even one minute is five times worse than kneading a 6-quart bowl full of raw eggs and ground meat. But I mixed the chocolate ice cream together with the flour and what-not until just combined. I squidged it into the baking pan. It didn't looked mixed enough to me; there were patches of flouriness. But hey, the ice cream will melt a little and things will combine, right? Just in case, I baked it for only 40 minutes.

It But then, so do my applesauce muffins, and those are heavy and moist and gone by the end of the day. So I sliced off two pieces and we all had a taste. Emma couldn't wait to get to the trash, so she spit hers right into her hand.

Whaddya think: Instagram?
It's not that it was dry. It's not that it was tasteless. It's that dry white toast from any National Breakfast Restaurant Chain is moister and more flavorful. It's that I wasted two cups of premium, micro-dairy chocolate ice cream and couldn't taste a lick of chocolate. At least, if it tasted like dry, crumbly chocolate, I could have mounded some vanilla ice cream on top of a hunk, drizzled some chocolate syrup over it and shouted, dessert! At least I have something to say, and I didn't even have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday to find it. And I'm going back to the ten-ingredient Holly Hobbie Hey Girls Muffin Maker Chocolate Muffins recipe that Penelope and Emma downloaded when they were five. Say that five times fast and you'll run out of breath. You'll also have twelve bakery-sized chocolate muffins.

Have you ever made ice cream bread? Did I do something wrong or am I a food snob? It's okay if you say "both."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Guess what mom? I've grown up to live in a pig sty!

The past few weeks have been crazy around here. I suspect most people go through periods of frenetic activity every few months. I know mine are annual events that I should be ready for by now, but do I plan ahead? Not so much.

I finally realized this weekend that I don't have to let these events sneak up on me every year. Just like I have a set routine around the holidays, I can create a Recital Season routine and a Soccer Tryouts routine so I don't find myself after two weeks with a fridge bursting with furry produce and grease-laden takeout containers. I'm tired of emerging from Crazy Time to wade through two weeks' worth of clothing on the blaundry room* floor. I've been averting my eyes every time I pass my writing desk, which is buried beneath mounds of leotards, makeup bags, shoe boxes, and fiber-craft reference books. I know it's under there. I can see the corner and almost bumped into it last night, when I added a landscape design book and a stack of clean wool socks to the hodge-podge.

This afternoon, I'm cleaning it all up...again. I've banished the spoiled remains of the last meal I cooked, which was chicken paprikash. Or pulled pork. Or chicken and chickpea chili. It was vaguely orange with tan chunks. In the produce drawer, I found several bell peppers that had morphed into peaches (I think) and a zucchini that resembled Senator Kelly right before he melted all over Storm's shoes. At any rate, I have a freshly sterilized cadre of plastic containers back in the corner cabinet.

As soon as we're done with the last bit of schoolwork for the day, I'm going upstairs. I think I'll put on some music, something cathartic like Lisa Loeb. I'm considering opening the windows. Because tonight, after a normal, cooked-at-home dinner, I'm taking back my writing time. Chapter Five is getting nose-prints all over my laptop screen and the only way to clean them from this side is to get the words out of my head and onto the hard drive.

*blaundry room: the combination laundry and bath room found in many modern homes. I wanted one until I had one. Now I'm not sure what I want.