28 September 2009

momentary lapse

I had to take a little break from blogging.

The problem was I had to write a personal essay for my English class. We had to write about an incident in our lives that changed us. And we had to carry on for 3 to 5 pages about it.

We were supposed to choose an incident that we still had unresolved questions about. So we could use the paper as an avenue to more thoroughly explore our feelings...

And I could not for the life of me come up with a topic! I was all like yeah, I love to write ... would love to be a writer ... blah blah blah ... me me me ... and then when it came time to really wow the professor with my first assigned essay, I drew a complete blank. Give me a topic, and I can write about it. Pick a genre even. No problem.

But I have this blog, see. And I kind of use it to work out my feelings about any and every incident in my life. So I really don't have any issues that are looming in my mind with burning questions attached. I've blogged about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Seriously. Married to Man I Love. Check. Feelings about Being a Mother. Check. My Miscarriage. Check. Even The Day My Dog Died has been all typed up for the world to read.

So I took a little sabbatical from blogging. I studied for another Anatomy exam. And I did a lot of free-writing, trying to brainstorm. The paper is due tomorrow and I cranked out three pages of something so we'll see... sigh

Newsweek had a very interesting article in the last issue about the ethics of mommy-bloggers. It was very interesting. All about the decision a parent makes (the power they wield) to air all their children's dirty laundry. On the internet. For the whole world to read. Until the end of time.

As a mommy blogger, I kind of heaved a gigantic sigh of relief after reading it. I don't feel I have ever written anything that could be considered a betrayal of my children's trust. Because I write little anecdotes about my kids so I can look back on them later. So I will never forget the silly little things they say and do. And so my mom and my mother-in-law know about all the adorable things the grandkids are up to. But also, and most importantly, I write about my children so they have my words, in my voice, for the rest of their lives. If I get hit by a truck tomorrow, they will always have this blog to read and they will know how deeply I adore them.

16 September 2009

Science Girl

So I found out the score on my first Anatomy exam. I was very nervous about this test because it was supposed to be a review of all of the basic Biology and Chemistry stuff we should have learned in Biology, with some basic Anatomy terms and regions thrown in. And, as you may recall, I haven't taken basic Biology. I crammed some basic Bio into my head this summer with a Biology Cliff Notes book and managed to pass the science placement test. So now I had to go back over all of that information more thoroughly to pass this exam and catch up to my classmates.

It was very overwhelming, because I made like a billion notecards and wasn't really sure if I was studying the right information. And then, of course, the exam was only like 40 questions. So I walked out feeling pretty good, but not sure if it was a false confidence.

My score? I got a 99!

Jonathan, the Wonder Husband, was so proud of me. I came home from class, where I had texted him my grade, and the house was squeaky clean, and he had run out and gotten a pizza for me. There was also a lovely card -- and a delicious lemon shortcake for dessert! How adorable is he? I am so lucky.

You know, it's funny. Somewhere along the way I had gotten the idea that I was bad at math and science. That I am more right-brained than left-brained. I think this is something that many girls, for one reason or another, come to believe. But I was the office supervisor at Borders a few years ago and was in charge of the safe and all of the deposits, payroll, and reconciling the corporate accounts. And I found out that I love math!

And now this exam has proven to me that I can also do science! I feel so confident. I get it! Just don't ask me to explain the Krebs cycle.

14 September 2009

Patrick Swayze

I can't believe he is gone.

I still remember going to see this movie at the Spotsylvania Mall with my mom and Christina. Christina and I were probably about 12 years old. Right after seeing the movie we tried one of those little machines in the mall that measures your sex drive for a quarter. It was called The Love Meter or something like that. Basically it measured your heartrate. Well, Christina and I were so worked up from watching Patrick Swayze in that movie! Our hearts were racing. I still remember that stupid machine told both of us "Whoa! Take a cold shower!"

tomato wild rice soup

I make this soup about a billion times every fall and winter. It is thick and hearty and just so freakin' delicious! It is starting to get a bit cooler outside and so I made a huge batch last week. The plan was to freeze some so that on nights when I have class, Jonathan could heat some up for dinner, but we both love the soup so much we ate every last drop!

This recipe is from The Complete Book of Soups and Stews by Bernard Clayton. One of the best cookbooks I ever bought.

Tomato and Wild Rice Soup

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, sliced

1 stalk celery, sliced

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can chicken broth

1/2 cup wild rice



pinch of sugar

1/2 teaspoon basil (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh)

1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter with olive oil in a soup pot. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Add tomatoes, chicken broth and rice and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and the basil and a pinch of sugar. Boil gently, covered, for 1 hour until rice opens and fluffs. Stir frequently. Add water if it boils down too much (I don't because I like thick soup).

Add the cream and heat through.

I usually use 2 or 3 carrots and stalks of celery and a lot more rice. Probably three times as much rice as the recipe calls for! But I prefer this almost like a stew instead of a soup. And of course you have to eat it with some crusty, buttery bread from Target!

04 September 2009

tomato soup cake

I found this recipe card years ago while raiding my grandmother's recipe box for tomato soup cake. So of course I snagged it. It just sounded too bizarre, although apparently my grandfather loves it. I never made it.

So this week, feeling the approach of Fall and being in a baking mood, I decided to finally, finally make the cake. So of course I cannot find the recipe card. After looking around a bit (it is here somewhere, I just know it) I found a recipe online. The recipes are probably basically identical. I think the idea was from Campbell's so Grandma probably copied it off of one of their cans or out of a magazine!

Anyway, the idea is that the cake is a frugal, simple dessert choice during the depression (or even today's recession) because it has relatively few ingredients and they are items you usually have on hand. Except, having decided to make this cake at last, I realized, for the first time in my entire life probably, that I had no tomato soup in my pantry.

So I threw the kids in the car and drove to Wal-Mart for a can of tomato soup.

Anyway, the cake. The. Cake. The cake was fantastic. Possibly a new favorite for me. If you like carrot cake or spice cake, or even if you just like cream cheese frosting, then you must throw this beauty together. It is a gorgeous orangey-brown color, just a little more orange than a carrot cake, and you would never know there is tomato soup in it! It made my whole house smell like Autumn.

Warning: this cake is very dense and heavy so I recommend making it when you have company over. Because although it is delicious, I think I have gained five pounds since making it!

Our cake looks very sloppy because I was in such a hurry to eat it! I cut off two big pieces for the kids and gave them each a bowl of frosting so they could frost their own cake before eating it. Then I used my rubber spatula to literally just dump the rest of the frosting on the cake and quickly smear it around. But it was so freakin' delicious I don't care if it looks like a hot mess!

Tomato Soup Cake

3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 (10.75 ounce) can tomato soup
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt or tube pan.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine tomato soup, water and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Stir in the raisins and nuts.

Pour batter into pan. Bake 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.