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Another Excuse For Coffee? Biscotti!

College has started back up, and with hard work comes caffeine addiction. Or Coke. But I mean I don’t have the money for coke and I’m not looking to ruin my life so…COFFEE IT IS!

So while  procrastinating cramming on day ONE of classes, I realized two cups of coffee in and I was craving a sweet treat. Something to hit the spot that didn’t make me feel like I downed an entire package of Oreo’s, kind of thing. Something crunchy and still light.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Biscotti.

HOMG. I ended up making four batches. Well, to be fair the first one was going great until I forgot about it in the oven on the last round. Kids woke up, coffee cup three needed to be made, I’m pretty sure I was still in my pajamas and knew we had an appointment in 30 minutes…

The next two rounds (which, being said the first round didn’t stop anyone under the age of 6 from devouring it off the plate, despite my eldest proclaiming that he doesn’t like the brown sides-even thought EVERY SIDE WAS BROWN) were true to form biscotti. Crunchy, sweet, coffee dipping, perfectionist-divulging biscotti. Quick, easy, and worth every misguided attempt prior to this.

The last round was just for the kids. They wanted “the hard cookies but not so hard, mom.” Those I took out after the first one and let them cool and set overnight, but you can pretty much dive in whenever on those.

Four batches, and the best picture I have for you guys is burnt ones because out of all four batches I don’t think they made it long enough for pictures!

biscotti

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Biscotti

3/4c. Sugar

2 Eggs

Splash vanilla extract

1c. AP Flour

3/4c. Whole Wheat Flour

1t. Baking soda

1/2 t. Salt

3/4-1c. Kraft Caramel Bits

3-4-1c. Semi Sweet or Dark Chips (I used SS because I didn’t have dark)

Good  pinch of procrastinating on the first three labs you have

The fear of not having a degree after 10 years

The cat hair of the 13 cats you’ll have in the future, when you’re alone.

Optional: Sea Salt for sprinkling

Optional: Drizzle in melted chocolate

 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cream sugar, eggs and vanilla. It’s going to look weird from lack of butter but do not be alarmed. It’s all still okay. THE EARTH IS NOT CRASHING DESPITE MY GRADE IN GEOLOGY RIGHT NOW I CAN ASSURE YOU. Keep the mixer on low-medium speed and add flours, salt, and soda. Don’t get too crazy on the speed or it’s going to blow up like my student loan debt. Scrape sides and gently mix in chips/bits/hopes/dreams. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or use parchment paper and lay the dough into two logs. Or ten. But I mean, two is easier. Slightly round the rectangle logs along the edges so that there is a nice curve, much like the days of No Child Left Behind. Optional: Sprinkle Sea Salt across the tops if you would like.  Place in the oven and bake for around 30 Minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for ten (or twenty…I mean, you get to it when you get to it. Or when Thing One stops biting Thing Two in the Living room and OH MY GOD YOU DON’T HAVE TO WATCH PAW PATROL WE HAVE TWO TV’S JUST GOOOO!) minutes. Carefully slice into 3/4″ slices and turn on their sides all in the pan. Place pan in oven for ten minutes. Remove pan after ten and flip all pieces. Place in the oven again to bake for the final ten minutes. HERE IS THE IMPORTANT KICKER, FOLKS; do NOT forget they are in the oven!

Remove and let cool. If wanted, drizzle with melted chocolate. Dip in Coffee and the tears of realizing you have another 14 weeks of the semester. It’s not that bad. Wipe the blood off your Psychology text book and remember; wine is not acceptable all hours of the day, but coffee is forever.

 

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When

When your mouth fails to say what your mind can not comprehend; when the only emotion left is the unexplainable romanticism of what despair has crept in; and when your only form of convalescence is in the power of your soul-

Write.

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Bubble Shells

Upon hitting up a great deal on boxed pasta last week at my Tops Market, I am no realizing…I didn’t need 10 boxes. I’m glad I didn’t buy 20, honestly. So I have been spending the last week trying to create various meals where my children will eat it without gagging. Their metabolisms are young, they can handle it. I meanwhile, can only eat a bowl a week as my cheat meal and wanted something I could enjoy as an adult.

Meet our compromise; Bubble Shells.

Rainman has an odd fascination with the fish tank clam shells that bubble when you turn them on. I don’t dare ruin his naive enjoyment by telling him it’s just an air tube. His little four year old wonderment will some day die when he joins the rest of the world, I’m sure. He can’t go more than one mention of clams without getting spastic about the fish tank decoration. When I asked him if he wanted linguine with clams for dinner, I never got an answer because I got an interrogation on why we didn’t have a fish tank with a clam shell aerator.

Anyways, my children (and anyone’s kids under the age of 10) have issues with linguine. I mean it’s basically just for play from point A of the strainer to point B of the plate. My kids can’t twirl the fork, it turns into an angry game of stabbing the table, Mommy needs wine. So to update it for the boys, we used small shells. I assume you can use any pasta, but this is what worked for us.

My picture is terrible; I had to fight the kids for the last 1/2 cup and quickly poor it all into my bowl to have a chance at some!

 


image2

  • 1 Large Elephant Garlic Clove
  • Can Minced Clams in Juice, DO NOT DRAIN
  • Sea salt, Italian Seasoning, Pepper
  • Splash Lemon Juice
  • 2 OZ Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • Box 1lb. Pasta, cooked al dente and drained

Saute Garlic in small non stick pan with oil until fragrant(I used Garlic oil but not mandatory.) Stir and toss in can of clams and juice. Cook on medium high heat 2-4 minutes. Add a sprinkle each of sea salt, black ground pepper, and Italian seasoning; stir. Add cream cheese and carefully stir with nonstick spatula to disburse and keep from burning. When combined and low rolling boil, add splash of lemon juice and stir. Turn down to simmer and let reduce slightly. Turn off and spoon over cooked pasta-just enough to toss and lightly coat noodles-not as much as in my picture unless you want Clam Soup.

 

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The Internet Court

We as society want everything quickly, efficiently, and profound enough that we can only spend as minute a time as possible to judge, assess, and react to a situation. Everything these days is about the convenience of speed-and it is making us shitty people.

The one thing I really dislike about how social media controls us is that everyone is given the option to become a juror and judge, and in turn feel the need to hold others accountable despite not having all the evidence. Media is meant to get ratings and what better way than click bait? But a vast number of social media users will see multiple stories with the same gripping title, do little to no research, and then quickly determine a course of action. While in the best intentions for social justice-this does not mean that course of action is correct.

Ruining someone’s life, getting them fired from their job, claiming racial injustices or police brutality before knowing the facts-all things happening daily. Boycotting companies over one story someone read-

While some of these things DO happen and we SHOULD feel the need to become activists, We as a whole need to learn to do research before condemning innocent people.

For example-right now the news story is that police in FL watched three teenage girls drown and did nothing. This is spreading like wildfire. However, there is much to the story not told in click bait. If people did research before spreading the stories on Facebook, they might have a more informed, changed opinion.

This is not to say that some of these cases need not be brought to light. They should. Without social media an oblivious bubble would still be hovering over many needed justifications. Police brutality has been reformed, breastfeeding advocacy. Racial issues are begging for our attention-and yes they deserve it.

But when was the last time you got the whole, unbiased story on Facebook? Innocent people have been fired, lost their homes and families because the internet took things TOO FAR. Just because someone claims police brutality does not make it so. Not every issue is a race fueled injustice. Do these things happen? YES. I will not deny that. But people-not EVERYTHING is black and white. And not everything can be determined from a 30 second video clip and someone across the country’s opinion on the matter as a caption.

Facebook does not give you the right to be a juror nor does it give you the right to be a judge. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and everyone will gossip and talk about these stories. It has been this way for centuries. But when did the ease and speed of social media give us the power to take things one step further and control the situation?

Not everything you read online, despite even being from Reliable News Sources is correct. In a pressurized haste to get the story out before everyone else, mistakes can be and are made.

Sandy Hook was a shit storm. Everyone was so in a rush with their information that the story did not come out until some time later-ending up creating conspiracy theories, angry families, and people taking things into their own hands-all because we as society couldn’t wait to hear the news as it came.

The local story of Baby Maddox-the missing baby murdered by her father-came out with information in spurts. While time sensitive material can be of the utmost focus for the people actively searching for the missing baby at the time, it did not help when pressured police and news were giving out incorrect or misleading information. Was this done intentionally? No, of course not. But it didn’t stop from confusion and frustration by all parties.

We as society need to slow our roll. Will that happen? I highly doubt that. Impatience and technology’s increase in capacity has brought us to the point where we are going to destroy ourselves. There is a fine line between improving lives and impeding them. Where are we going to draw that line?

Why don’t we start with using common sense. Take the moral high road. Next time you read a new trending outrageous story, take a look at everything. Remind yourself it is better to be unbiased than blinded.

And for God’s Sake, people; stop playing every character of Law and Order online-there is a reason a court consists of many people and not one single person. Keep that in mind.

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My Almost Irish Twins.

My eldest, now four, spent the night an hour away at his Aunt’s place with her last night. The first sleepover they had left me weary, anxious; car keys next to the bed waiting for that “Come get me!” call that never came. It was harder on me than anyone.

That is not to say his two year old brother did not have questions. Non-verbal yet intuitive, he had fallen asleep before we dropped off his brother only to wake up in our driveway with his brother no longer in the car. Many whines and pointed fingers to his brother’s car seat trying to urgently express to me that I must have indeed, forgotten his other half somewhere.

Two years ago when I brought Bad Baby home (referred to from here on out at BB;) his brother was just under two. A very angry almost two year old was very upset I left for three days and came home with a loud loaf of bread, occupying all of my new time. And in time he learned BB was not going anywhere, and we grew into normalcy. As normal as having two babies in the house could be. I was worried about having them so close together. I was worried about jealousy and them both not understanding the sharing of my time. I was worried love was not measured in a knowing glance with them, but the time spent individually.

It’s been two years. BB refuses to go to bed without Rainman (my four year old) sleeping next to him. They were in their own rooms and it became such a guess in the middle of the night as to where one of my toddlers were that I finally put both beds in one room. It’s been about 8 months and they now sleep together in the same bed. I’ve tried to separate them to no avail. They are the size of 4 and 7 year olds, in a small twin bed, and they find comfort in each other enough to sleep at opposite ends of the bed, feet touching.

So when Rainman leaves, I’m not the only one who is on edge.

BB enjoys the company this morning waking up to my smiling face, and I his. He enjoys the extra effort he gets in the bath; letting him play until all the bubbles are gone. Mommy is more carefree, easy going. Cuddles on the couch to Doc McStuffins. Constant kissing and hugging all around.

But it’s not without a silent understanding that something is missing here. BB did go to the front door and try to unlock it. When I asked him where he was going he handed me his brother’s shirt and ran back to the door, whining and pointing. Almost to say “let’s go get Brother.” We’ve settled down, but it’s not without the glances to the door every time there is a noise outside. And I think it’s about more than that missing face.

It is eerily quiet. The sound of Doc and my squirming cuddly baby who can not get comfortable on the couch, the coffee maker whining in the background, the keys clacking as I type; all audible and present. But the room still feels empty. BB has caused enough trouble in one hour for the two children combined in a day; and it still is calm beyond reason. There are no puzzle pieces strewn about. There is no toilet paper coming from under the bathroom door in a trail. The couch seems longer than ever before with space.

I am trying to remind myself Rainman needs this time away from home. My BB needs some independent time with me before Baby Unnamed gets here next month. I am fighting the urge to get BB dressed immediately and put him in the car and drive the hour in the snow to get his brother. I am fighting it because I know this is bittersweet time that I should cherish. Only one kid in a household of three? A single mom with full custody of three boys and I want them HERE?!?! Am I insane?

No. The truth is this is all I know. People used to tell me how hard it was with multiple children. And in the beginning-it was rough. But it was never in my mind unfathomable. Once I held BB I never again questioned what “punishment” I was inflicting on my then almost toddler by having to share that time and love. It was a learning process but it was one I accepted with little personal conflict. And people now give me their unsolicited opinion on having the third baby where I can confidently say, “What is one more loved child?”

My children don’t know struggle in this household. They don’t know selfish. They have no concept of loneliness. They are familiar with jealousy; but only in the sense of the last gummy; the difference in TV time. They do not know boredom or resentment at their friends who always have a playmate.

They know companionship. They know friendship. They know sharing. They know love.

They know that I will never love any of them more than the other. A different but equal devotion of my time, energy, resources, and patience. They know family.

I know that they love each other more than they could love another person. And while Baby Unnamed will bring some challenges; his bond with the two older boys will not be the same-I know that my Almost Irish Twins will find comfort in each other during the upcoming time of adjustment. They will find solace in the thought of their dependent brother being there to turn to.

And I will find relief in knowing that I could not live my life any other way than having a full home with three loud, messy, screaming, LOVING boys.

So we will wait another hour or two, and we will scramble in the car to go get my independent four year old. And while they will bicker in the car over the different toys from their happy meals, I will glance in the rear view mirror with a knowing smile on my face. This is how it should be.

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10 Reasons You Need Coconut Oil In Your Life

I like to think I’m pretty thrifty. I also know that’s a nice way of saying cheap. I’m a bit of a crunchy mom ever since my kids appeared to be allergic to everything-which resulted in me searching for home remedies for nearly everything. After being bombarded on Pinterest with over 100 pins of over 100 ways to use coconut oil, I felt it deserved a little of my attention. I mean, people have claimed it’s the greatest thing since Bradley Cooper shirtless.

Okay, I claimed that. But it is.

First off, let me start by saying I have the worst variety of half stocked grocery stores deemed to mankind. If I want to stay within a 15 minute drive there is a Walmart Supercenter (which clearly should have been named ‘Half-Stocked Not-So-Super Walmart’) a Price Chopper, a Tops, and an Aldi. You want Trader Joes? Not here, friend. Whole Foods? Go screw yourself. You will get overpriced groceries or you will go to the back alley Walmart like everyone else in this town.

So I looked high and low for it at these stores, deeming it after 6 separate searches that I needed to follow a unicorn through the organic section into some hidden room behind the gluten free muffin mixes or something. Turns out, if you go to Walmart you can get it in the vitamin section, go figure. ( Now, you don’t have to buy the Spring Valley kind for $10. A pro tip-if you go to the cooking oils section, there is various brands right there for cheaper. Just make sure you get UNREFINED ORGANIC. Spectrum is a good kind, and under $8 a pound.)

Coconut Oil

If the coconut oil you bought doesn’t smell like a Tahitian Holiday and you don’t have the strong desire to stick a spoon in it and eat it like the last pint of Chunky Monkey ever made, you didn’t get the right stuff. Save this over processed nonsense for cooking, or…waxing your car or something-it’s no good to use otherwise. If you open your jar up and hear angels singing, it’s time to get into why you will keep tubs of this stuff on hand.

10) Your Hair Needs Help-Like, Yesterday.

You know the drill-Winter makes it dull, Summer makes you look like you live in a sauna with all of that humidity frizz. Time to condition with it. I have shoulder length hair and typically 1/2 a tablespoon will do. Use your best eyeballing skills here. You know, the ones you use at the gym to check out that hottie’s 6 pack 4 elliptical machines away. Now if my hair is particularly sad, between split ends, dullness and general straw-like texture, I melt it with my fingers and run my hands through my hair, focusing on my ends. Slap that shit into a messy bun and go to bed. In the morning, wash your hair like the filthy hot mess that it is. You should have conditioned, soft, shiny hair. Be warned-Too much oil in your hair and it’s going to take DAYS to get out. My first mistake was trying a handful and slathering it on my head, roots and all. For frizz, when your hair is dry and you’re ready to go out, massage a tiny bit between your fingers and pat down fly away hairs.

9) Chapstick For The Severely Cracked Lips

Can’t find your Chapstick/Carmex/EOS? Well good news. Unlike most balms that contain salicylic acid (the same stuff in your acne medication to dry out zits) Coconut oil is just a finger swab away! Scoop a little in an old lip balm container, or melt it and pour it into an old tube of your chapstick and let it harden. Just remember if it’s in your pocket it’s going to melt!

8) Substitute It For Buttah

Ever want to make cookies and have no butter? Now is the time to use that oil. Substitute 1:1 ratio. Adds a light sweetness without an overpowering coconut flavor. Plus, switching to coconut oil in place of butter has helped contribute to the 70 pounds I’ve lost recently. Sorry, Paula Deen.

7) Bye Bye Blackheads

I recommended this to the Best Friend and she now swears she’ll never wash her face any other way! Rub coconut oil generously on your face. You don’t want it dripping-this isn’t a fraternity ‘Girl’s Wrestling’ match, but more than a tiny amount helps. Wet a washcloth with warm-lightly hot water and place it right over your oily face. Leave it on for a good 10 seconds. Or, if you’re me, 30 because you forgot to count to 10. Now rinse the washcloth and then begin taking the oil off of your face, without scrubbing terribly hard. Ladies, if you want to see what sits on your face everyday I recommend a white washcloth. I also recommend that you set it on fire after because I’m pretty sure you’ll want to never relive that memory again. Use a new piece of washcloth for each section-Forehead, Cheeks, Nose, Chin. Finish off by rubbing a very light amount of coconut oil back on after to moisturize if you’re like me and prone to dry skin/combination skin. Not only does this clear up acne but it gets my make up off after a long day better than ANY cleanser I’ve ever used. If you use it on your eyes to remove eye make up, it makes your lashes grow, too!

6)Cheap Neosporin/Mederma

Gnarly wound from that killer bear you took on to save a village this morning? Or the massive paper cut from signing permission slips your kids forgot to give you until the last minute-which you CLEARLY told them to STOP PUTTING OFF UNTIL 5 MINUTES BEFORE THE BUS COMES!! Coconut oil is anti-microbial and the cat’s pajamas at helping wounds heal. I put it on old unsightly scars regularly and they’ve faded so much people have asked what I’m using. I haven’t seen a HUGE improvement with stretch marks, but I’ve only been putting it on them for a couple of weeks.

5) Baby Wipes And Diaper Rash Cream

This is my favorite and I’ve saved HUNDREDS of bucks. Also, my kids with their lovely allergies, can only use these to keep the rashes at bay. Look for my specific tutorial on wipes under the DIY section later this week. As far as cream, just slather it on after each change and bye-bye red rump, hello daycare calls about the ‘child who smells like a walking Pina Colada’.

4)Cradle Cap, Lotion, Nose Bleeds, Oh My!

There is nothing I hate more than Cradle Cap. Okay, not true. I hate snakes. And poopy diapers where the scent lingers LONG after you’ve disposed of them. And Rachael Ray. No I don’t want to talk about it; just know I have an undying passion for hating her. Cradle Cap, unlike Ms. Ray, can be treated with a good massage into the scalp and a nice combing Twice a day. Feet, Elbows, general skin dryness? Rub yourself in coconut oil like it’s money and you’re Richy Rich. I put it on twice before bed with thick socks and first thing in the morning for super-soft soles. You can even prevent nosebleeds by rubbing a bit inside each nostril!

3) Make Your Shower Hide All Of Your Dirty Secrets-Like Your ‘Acoustic’ Singing.

Tired of fighting and scrubbing and contemplating using your shower for something other than cleaning? Because, you know, you hate scrubbing your gross build up off of it? No, just me? Okay. ANYWAYS. Douse yourself a cleaning rag with the Oil of Awesomeness and swipe it around. Watch that filth go right down the drain. Now if only your singing could be better…

2)Soothe Sunburn

Use just like lotion, but apply gently. It won’t help you look like less of a lobster, but you won’t feel like a cooked lobster.

1) We Didn’t Start The Fire-Coconut Oil Did!

Safer than lighter fluid (looking at you, Uncle NoBrows), Soak cotton balls in coconut oil and add them to the kindling for a good light. Bonus? Pack some extra and wipe down your skin as insect repellant!

 

 

Obviously, this isn’t every use. I’m not the know all. That’s why we have Pinterest Accounts, duh. But hopefully if you haven’t joined the cult maybe now you understand why everyone’s bragging about the Kool Aid. Tell me in a comment your favorite way to use it!

 

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Excuses, Excuses…

I know! I’ve been terrible keeping up with this blog. I really have no excuse for you all other than I am lazy and between working full time and two kids, online work, and the entire House series on Netflix…okay, I haven’t gotten much done lately at all. I vow to change. I will be adding a portion to this little hole-in-the-wall blog of mine for all things not necessarily food related. I mean, everyone loves food porn, but there comes a time where I’m going to want to get away from it a bit.

I’m done rambling. I just wanted to clear my guilty conscience and without further adieu, post something awesome.