Finding the Me in Mommy


I do my very worst sleeping and my very best thinking around three o’clock in the morning.   This morning, I bolted up from a sound sleep because I remembered that I had a half container of fresh blackberries in the refrigerator, and if I didn’t use them, I would have to throw them away.  Good reason to wake up, right?  I know, but I’ve made a personal goal to not throw away any of my Bountiful Baskets produce, and apparently it was weighing on my mind.

I consoled myself with the thought that I would make blackberry pancakes for breakfast, and eventually fell back asleep.

Morning arrived (far too soon, I might add), and my three year old was disgusted by the sheer thought of blackberries in his pancakes.  I truly don’t know why because he loves blackberries and he loves pancakes, but you know, he’s three.

I decided that muffins were my best bet.  I have a wonderful blueberry muffin recipe and I figured I would just substitute the blackberries.

When I started pulling the ingredients out of my fridge, I spied a partial bar of cream cheese and a jar of blackberry jam, so I decided that those things had to go in the muffins too.  The recipe that resulted has very little similarity to the original blueberry muffins, but if anything, these are better!

Better than Blueberry Blackberry Muffins

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 3 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract (use vanilla if you don’t have almond)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 2 TB blackberry jam
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries, sliced

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate large bowl, mix butter and cream cheese with a mixer.  Add sugar, mix until fluffy. Add egg and almond extract, mix well.  Add half of flour, mix, add milk, mix, add remaining flour, mix, add jam and mix again.  Fold in fresh blackberries.  Batter will be thick.  Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.  Divide batter evenly and fill muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  This recipe makes 12 muffins. Serve warm with butter.  Because seriously, why eat a muffin if you’re not going to butter it?

Helpful tip:  Fill the muffin cups higher than you would  a cupcake and it makes a more impressive muffin top, which is lovely on muffins and not so fabulous on new moms.

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Praying for answers

I am filled with sadness about the tragic death of Sidney math teacher Sherry Arnold.  I have been following much of the media coverage, which is very unusual for me.  After working in the court system for several years and observing trials in criminal cases, I now typically avoid the ugly news.  Maybe I’m an ostrich with my head in the sand, but I’m much happier enjoying my happy days with my kids if I just don’t listen to the negativity happening outside of my home.

But this case gets to me.  Maybe it’s because of the lack of actual information, but for some reason I can’t quit speculating about what really happened.  I’ve spent a good portion of the last few days mulling over my experiences in criminal court and trying to come up with a theory about this case.  Confirmed dead, but no body found?  Charged with kidnapping, not homicide?  And who in the world are these two men from Colorado and why on earth did they target a Sidney math teacher?

It occurred to me tonight that amidst all my theorizing, I have neglected the most important thing.  What about her poor family?  They need answers so much more than I, an absolute stranger who just happens to have an interest in criminal law.

So, I’m going to try really hard to quit speculating.  I will use that wasted time to say many, many prayers for everyone harmed by this heinous crime.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Mrs. Arnold.   I pray that they will find the answers they need.  And if there are no answers, I pray that one day, the memories of their loved one will outweigh the tragic circumstances of their loss.

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Playing Chopped: Mommy style

I love to cook.  I really do.  But nights like tonight, I wish I could be content with ordering a pizza. I’m a Food Network junkie and I always watch the new Chopped on Tuesday nights.  Watching Food Network while eating takeout just fills me with Catholic schoolgirl guilt.

So, I needed a meal idea that was fast, easy and for which I had every single ingredient.  I meandered through my refrigerator and pantry, playing Chopped: Mommy style.  I found some ingredients that pretty much went together and tried to find one last drop of creativity within my tired, congested head.  I ended up cheating.  I googled some ingredients, and VOILA!  An idea!  Beef Stroganoff Bisquick Pie.  I started with the base recipe that I found on Yummly, but added and subtracted because I just can’t help myself.

The end result was delicious, filling, and oh, so, easy.  I highly recommend this recipe for nights when cooking seems like an impossible task.  And, at least for me, the ingredients are all staples that I always have on hand.

Here’s the recipe:

Beef Stroganoff Bisquick Pie

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms, drained if you use canned
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/8 tsp basil
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c bisquick
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • dash each, salt and pepper
  • parsley, optional for garnish

Brown ground beef on stovetop, add onion, mushrooms and all seasonings while cooking.  Pour meat mixture into greased pie dish.  In a small bowl, combine Bisquick, milk, sour cream, eggs, salt and pepper and whisk until blended.  Pour over meat mixture.  Sprinkle parsley on top of Bisquick mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in middle of dish comes out clean.  Makes about 8 servings, unless your husband eats like a hungry teenager like mine does.  If so, or you do feed a hungry teenager, this will probably serve 4.

Oh, and don’t be as tough as the Chopped judges, please!

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It’s a sick, sick, sick day around here

So, just yuck.  Somehow we got the cold germ in our house, and passed it around.  Except my husband, we’re all sick.  Even my poor sweet baby.  I mean, it could be worse.  We could have the stomach bug….yuck.  Or it could be my husband who was sick since he’s the most difficult patient.  But still, there’s nothing like feeling like Helpless Mommy when your kids are coughing and sneezing and whining because they feel miserable.  Oh, and then there’s the fact that I feel miserable myself.  And did I mention that somehow, my husband is not sick?

And just so you know, we’re not sick just because the Packers lost.  But I must admit to a stomach ache over a few of those dropped passes.

On the bright side, today is the day I order this week’s Bountiful Basket.  I realize it’s a very small thing, but I get ridiculously excited to see what wonderful fruits and vegetables we’re going to get.  Now that I’m making baby food, I can’t wait to see what is in the basket that the baby can have.  Today, avocados, tomorrow, the world!  Or peas, maybe.

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It’s 2012, right?

So, I did it.  I’m now officially part of the current century.  I have a blog!  Hopefully, someone will read it…

Today is my lazy Sunday.  I should be thinking about dinner and cleaning my house before the Packers game starts in an hour.  Instead, I’m typing away at my computer.  See, there’s already an advantage to being a blogger!

So join me in the adventures of being a mom to my two amazing little boys, finding and trying new recipes (because I hate cooking something I’ve cooked before)  and my quest to find great new books and the perfect pair of shoes.  And, well, anything else I feel like talking about, really.


My 3 1/2 year old knows who scores the touchdowns!