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I have a sourdough starter in my refrigerator. It’s been there for months.  When I first made the starter, I had grand visions of delicious sourdough bread.  However, life happens and before too long it was placed into the back of the fridge on the shelf of forgottenness.  Back when I started the starter (heh!) I named it Goob, after the adorable character from Disney‘s “Meet the Robinson’s.”  If you’ve seen the movie, the rest of this post will make sense to you. If you (by random chance) haven’t seen it, drop everything and go watch it.  Seriously. It’s amazing.

So at any rate: Goob was good to me, and then I abandoned him, and now he stinks.

I opened the fridge today to put away some pizza, and there sat Goob.  My failure out front, in the open, for all to see.  I turned to my husband and sighed.

“I’ve got to take care of poor Goob. I’ll try to look it up tomorrow and see if there’s anything I can do to save him.”

My husband immediately pops up with: “Go back in time, don’t neglect him so much.”

I love my husband.

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Two quick toddler quotes for you, although one is dialogue so you can get the context of the ridiculous.

“I can’t go potty, I’m crying!”

 

“Benjamin, what do you want for dinner? Do you want some chili?”
“Yeah! I want CHILI!”
“Ok buddy, I will make it in a few minutes.”
In the meantime, he proceeds to repeatedly ask for chili.  I go to the kitchen and heat up the chili.
I set the hot bowl on the counter (out of his reach).
He reaches for the hot bowl, saying “Chili!”
“Benjamin, don’t touch that, it’s hot! Mommy is going to get you your own bowl.”
I get him his own bowl, dump half of the heated up chili in to it, and turn to him, bowl in hand.
“Benjamin, do you want cheese on your chili?”
“NO!”
He then proceeds to start crying. I was like, do whaaaa??
“Ok. Well, then here’s your chili buddy!”
He looks in the bowl.
“That’s not chili!!!”
I’m like, do whaaa?
“Yes, it is.”
“No, it’s not chili!!”
“Benjamin, yes, that is chili, just like we ate two days ago!”
“No, it’s not chili!” He is adamant.
“Well, then, son, what do you think it is? What is this?” I point to the chili.
“It’s Rock ‘n Roll!”

He never did admit that chili was chili, and he eventually had soup for dinner.  Ahh, two year olds are awesome.

Do you ever have the BEST of intentions, and then something happens so that it JUST. DOESN’T. WORK. OUT.

Yeah, me too.  But luckily (and by luckily I mean my husband saved the day), this story has a happy ending.

I love to bake, but I don’t love to gain weight from eating things I bake… so I generally try to experiment when giving away food.  Luckily I’m a Baptist now so there’s plenty of opportunities for me to bake.  I have been eyeing a Key Lime Pound Cake recipe for some time and thought that the spring BBQ at my church was a perfect chance to try it out.

How I found the recipe is kind of weird – and once you hear the story – ironic.  I was looking at reviews of my bundt pan and someone mentioned how they had made a key lime pound cake in it.  The reviewer talked about how nice it was and how tasty and pretty it was.  My baking senses started tingling and I printed out the recipe.  What I failed to do was note that the reviewer put straight up butter into the pan to get it to come out.  What I also failed to do was take into consideration the 10-cup capacity and the 12-cup recipe.

Oops.

So. After the extra two cups billowed out and snuck down the side of the pan, I thought, hey, I bet I can still save this.  No one will look at the bottom of the cake once I invert it onto a beautiful cake stand! 

The title of this post is “Key Lime Cakeballs” – you can see where this is going, right?

I couldn’t get the cake out of the pan. It wouldn’t even budge.  I started to worry and Justin (my amazing husband) said: Hey, why not just make cake balls? You can do that, right?  Except I had never successfully been able to coat the cakeballs.  No time like the present to learn!  So he looked into the correct way to do the coating (I had not been adding shortening to my melted chocolate chips) and I figured out a way to make the balls.  Somehow the cumulation of everyone in the family working together – me to bake, my father-in-law to buy chocolate chips, and my husband to think outside of the box – we ended up with some of the tastiest cake balls I’ve ever had.  And since they’re picky and strange and I’ve never seen anything like it… I decided to post the recipe for you.  Enjoy!

Key lime cake balls with blue-green sprinkles!

Key Lime Cakeballs
(adapted from this recipe)

Cake:
1 cup softened salted butter
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon key lime zest
1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice

Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp lime zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
water, as needed

Candy coating:
2 packages Nestle white chocolate chips
5 tbsp shortening

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Mix butter and shortening in large bowl until creamy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, until just blended.
  5. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/3 of the milk, and repeat until both are fully incorporated into the butter mixture.
  6. Stir in vanilla, key lime zest and key lime juice.
  7. Stick your finger in and take a taste because mmm, mmm, mmm!
  8. Bake at 325 until a toothpick comes out clean.  If you bake it in a tube pan (which might be easiest) it will take around 1.5 hours… start testing it at around the 1 hour mark.
  9. Let cool about 15 minutes in pan, then dump it out and crumble it up so it will cool faster. I just put it in a huge bowl and took a sharp knife to the chunks that I had scooped out.
  10. While the cake is cooling prepare the frosting.  Mix powdered sugar, lime juice and vanilla extract, adding water very slowly until you get sort of a runny glaze.
  11. Mix the glaze in with the chopped/crumbled cake until well combined.
  12. Create balls! I used gloves.  I got a lot. Probably around 5 dozen, just depends on what size you use.  Put them on parchment paper or some sort of baking mat so they don’t stick to stuff.
  13. Put balls in the freezer to let them firm up a bit.
  14. While balls are freezing, grab your double broiler (or your glass bowl over a saucepan with water in it) and dump in the chips and shortening.  Mix on medium heat until everything is good and melty.  Do not boil!! Once it’s melted, it’s good enough. If it starts to get firm, heat it back up until it’s thin.  Trust me.  Turn off the heat, but keep the pan on the hot burner if you can do so easily.  I did, and I think it helped keep the chocolate coating warm.
  15. Take balls out of the freezer. Make sure that you have a place to put them once they are coated.  Think parchment paper or baking mat.  Don’t think mouth – that will only work the first dozen times, then it gets more difficult.
  16. Drop the balls one at a time into the warm candy coating.  Here you really need to do what works for you personally… here is what I did: Drop ball in candy coating. Use spoon to cover the ball with candy coating, then pick up the ball out of the candy coating with the spoon and roll the ball onto the edge of a fork.  Shake the fork twice to get excess off. Wipe the bottom of the fork off with the spoon, then set the spoon upside down on the edge of the bowl so it can drip.  Carry the fork over to the parchment paper, setting the fork down on the parchment paper. Take a toothpick and slide it between the fork and the cakeball so it will gently roll the ball onto the parchment paper.  This was the only way I could get the cakeball not to have one side all goopy and gross looking.
  17. If desired, sprinkle a touch of green sprinkles on top of the cake ball.
  18. Eat at least 3 and enjoy.

What do you guys think? Does it sound good? It sure tasted good!

A few months ago I started walking to work. It’s a little under 2 miles, so if I leave my house at 4:30 AM I can make it to work with plenty of time to shower and even stretch in the gym. It’s been a good setup – if I follow through with it. But it seems like something always comes up.

First I was sick. Then I slept in. Then I got a weird cyst thing on my right foot. Then I got a blister on my right foot. All of which are things that prevented me – at least a day or two each – of begging out of the jog so my hubby would drive me. A few weeks ago I went to get a mani/pedi with my cousin. Well, the lady took a chunk out of my right heel (literally – a chunk of skin – it’s going to scar). So that prevented me from walking for a few days while I gave it time to heal. Then I was too tired because of the overtime I’m getting at work. Then I get a ride so I can take my work clothes and food in to work with the intention of walking the next day.

It’s always something.

Last night Benjamin, still re-adjusting to being home after a weekend in Houston with family, did not go to bed until almost 10pm. Then he was up at 2am with a fever – so of course, so was I. To be blunt, four hours of sleep is not fun, and I didn’t get him back down to sleep until the tylenol kicked in at 4am. I’m supposed to wake up to walk to work at 4am. Do you think that happened last night? Oh, no. I went back to sleep for an hour and got what sleep I could!!

It’s always something.

I was doing really good eating healthy and going to the gym. One busy weekend where I didn’t make it a priority, and I haven’t been back since. Add to that a bad day and cake readily available at work…

It’s always something.

I find more and more in my life that the things that are important to me NEED to be my priority. When I list the things off the top of my head that are “important” to me I get this list: Faith, family, fitness, friends, finances and my “fun” stuff. Side note: I initially had “health” instead of fitness, but my OCD wanted it all to match.

After I thought about what I just wrote for a few minutes I added my career and my home to the list. Because even though I wouldn’t consider them “major priorities” they are things that are important to me – my career gives me great joy, satisfaction, and helps pay for everything I do. My home is the place I live and I want it to be a happy, relaxing place to build memories.

How in the world am I supposed to fit a reasonable amount of time for each of those things into my life without scheduling myself to death? How can I balance the “fun” stuff like playing video games with taking the time to do a bible study, or pull some weeds or do the dishes without putting myself on a schedule? How do I stop myself from letting those pesky “somethings” distract me from what is really important?

I know this is not a new problem for anyone, and I’m not the first or the last who will ask these questions. Everyone is going to have a their own way of balancing their life, just like everyone has their own priorities. I think the best I can do for now is to identify areas I need to improve on and focus on them a bit more. At the end of each day (or week, or month) I want to sit down and ask myself, “did I spend enough time with friends? Did I read my bible enough? Did I keep up with my chores and do fun things with my family?” And if any of those was lacking, I’ll make that my focus the next month.

Review, tweak, ad infinitum. Such is life.

800px-Guinness_Storehouse_St._Patrick%27s_Day_sign.jpg

My husband and his brothers are Irish. Every year since I’ve known them we have celebrated St. Patrick’s day in some form or another. It is always a great day filled with much fun. We can usually expect some good Irish music, corned beef and cabbage, drinking, laughing, joking, story telling and a usually a little bit of fighting. They’re the kind of Irish that are proud to be Irish for various different reasons – and it shows. They’re tough, independent, fierce individuals who care deeply and are passionate about the things important to them.

So today’s Miscellaneous Monday is in honor of Brian, who will give you the shirt off your back and work tirelessly alongside you if you need him to. And Cory, who is passionate about integrity and honor and strength of character. And Justin, who is my favorite of them all (after all, he IS my husband) who consistently shows me a dedication to the things that are important to him and integrity when it counts – when (he thinks) no one else notices.

Today is about all things Irish in preparation of March 17th. Enjoy!

Traditions!
Beauty and Bedlam – St. Patricks day tradition ideas – Some cute ideas, LOVE the penny idea. We’ll be doing that as soon as Benjamin is old enough to know not to eat them 😉

Food!
Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage – A basic idea of dinner in our house on St. Patrick’s day.
Soda Bread – If you know me, you probably know how much I adore a good bread. Here you can learn way more than you ever wanted to about soda bread. And for the record, I lean towards the pure soda bread without any fruits or sweeteners.

Drink!
Tullamore Dew Irish Wiskey – If you’re drinking, this is a good choice.

Music!
– Great Big Sea! A live version, so I apologize in advance, but this is pretty much a classic Irish song. Period.
– by a band called Gaelic Storm. This song makes me giggle every time I hear it.
– This song makes me tear up and I loves it.
– My favorite Dropkick Murphy’s song, period.

I could do this for hours, so let me just name off a few more: Rocky Road to Dublin by Gaelic Storm, Star of the County Down by Mackeel, Fields of Anthenry by Dropkick Murphys, Mountain Dew by The Clancy Brothers… ok. That’s enough to get you started. Enjoy!!

Source for picture: Wikipedia

Me, in the kitchen, tasting one of the biscottis I just took out of the oven. Its delicious almond crunch is delicious.

Justin, in the game room, playing with Benjamin, the too-adorable-almost-8-month-old.

Justin: Hey, whatcha doing in there Mommy?
Me: Enjoying the fruit of my labor *crunch crunch*
Justin: oh, hey, me too.

It took me a second to get it. I love my husband!

The hour is quiet. It’s just a hare past midnight on my Friday. Yes, I know it’s Sunday night (aka Monday morning) but today is the last day of my long work week. I love working Sundays because even though I’m at work, it’s still kind of a day of rest. Criminals don’t do a lot on Sundays – and if they do, they get caught pretty quickly, which is nice. The world is quiet in calm preparation for the week ahead.

At work I have a rotating schedule every two weeks. One week I work a WHOLE LOT Monday through Sunday (64 hours) and then the next week I work Wednesday and part of Thursday (16 hours) and am off the rest of the time. While this setup leads to one exhausted Jennettiee for the long week, it also leads to a very happy Jennettiee during the short week. I love having that many days off – days I can spend up and awake with Benjamin and we can make up for the lack of time together the previous week. Days I can have lunch with my friend Leslie and watch a movie with my husband. Ahh, sweet serenity.

So today is my Friday. I have lots of plans for next week! Starting at 9:30 tomorrow morning we go back out in search of a home to raise our family in. We’ve been searching since Octoberish, and haven’t found the perfect house yet. We found several that were perfect – but for whatever reason they weren’t perfect for us. And that’s OK. It’s easy to get frustrated or feel like we have to find something now now now ! But we’re in the luxurious position of not having a time table. Sure, we’d like to find a house before the interest rates climb into the sixes, but if that’s how long it takes then we’ll be OK with that. We’re more interested in finding a good home we can love and build and grow in. A home that preferably has room for us, Justin’s brother, his parents, the dogs, the pool table, and maybe a little nook for me to have some space to myself. Maybe.

I’m also planning on baking some bread! I’m a test baker for Peter Reinhart’s new cookbook – Gluten Free, Carb Free breads. I’ve received the first few recipes and I am SO excited! This is a huge deal to me for several reasons. One, I’m a HUUUGGEEE Peter Reinhart fan. Two, I haven’t been able to eat bread lately since I’m low-carbing my way to my target weight. Three, because I haven’t been eating bread, I haven’t been baking bread. I’ve missed it a lot… bread baking makes me incredibly happy, so I’m eager to get back into it. For those of you who care, he’s ataining GF/CF by utilizing many techniques that people have already used, almond flour, flaxseed, xantham gum, etc… he’s just (hopefully, probably) doing it better and more awesomely. One of the things I really respect about him is his passion for bread, and I can’t wait to see how that translates into these healthier breads. It’s a good week to be low-carbing it at my house!

Anyways. Also planning on going to the doctor. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I’ve essentially gotten to the point that I have to get something to fight the ridiculous infection in my head. I’m pretty sure it’s sinus related, but it’s been progressively getting worse and now my ears are starting to ache too. So, after much fighting it, to the doctor I go. I’m hoping they’ll be able to suggest a solution other than antibiotics, but I’m not very hopeful.

So there are some of my plans. Ahh, to have them written down! Speak of plans, I find it funny the way our minds work. Justin can’t stand plans. If he gets a day off work, he doesn’t want to make any plans. He wants no commitments, no schedules, nothing to stress him out. I’m the opposite. I want to maximize my time to relax, so I’ll plan my relaxation around the duties and must-dos. I like to have order. That drives him crazy sometimes, but luckily I don’t force my plans on him too often. I wonder, times like this, when I’m busy planning away, which side will Benjamin take to? Will he be like his Daddy, impulsive and carefree? Or will he be like his Mommy, obsessive and detail-oriented? Time will tell. In an ideal world, just like Justin and I balance each other out, Benjamin will be a good balance of the two of us.

Anyways. I keep reading all these amazing blogs from these people who make a living doing this. Can you imagine?! I think if I was going to do that I’d have to have more focus. And be a better writer. And blog more. And since I don’t see any of those things happening anytime soon, I guess I’m just going to have to be happy writing mediocre to a few readers, knowing that in the end, the blog is more for my sake than anyone elses.

Nyah!

Last night Benjamin screamed for HOURS. NOTHING helped. It was the first time I really grieved for being unable to help him – nothing I was doing was helping, I could just hold him while he screamed. It was some crazy gas issues. I tried to martyr myself for having a cup of coffee with girlfriends yesterday evening, but everything I’ve read online says that babies sometimes just have gas issues, regardless of what Mom eats. Nevertheless, that was NOT an experience I’d like to repeat…ever. So we were up till 5 or so, finally fell asleep in the chair in the living room just in time to get woken up at 8 by contractors coming to work on the ceiling in the dining room / pool room. They’re scheduled to be here all week, and it’s a darn good thing the owners offered us half off on rent for the inconvenience because WOW WHAT AN INCONVENIENCE. Pounding and banging and power tools, oh my. AND of course they were loudest that they’ve been so far this morning, starting at 8:30 until 11. Thanks, guys. Because I totally got a good night of rest last night. Yeah.

I am thankful that we’ve been conditioning Benjamin to hear noises when he’s sleeping…. even though I could hardly sleep he was able to stay asleep through most of it. And now, at 3:30, they’re back at it! But I’ve got him napping on my legs and even though they’re 10 feet away he’s still sleeping. Thank you Jesus. Of course I’m sure part of that is just sheer exhaustion, he’s got to be tuckered out still from all that screaming. I need to be sleeping with him in case tonight is the same as last night but I still haven’t eaten today and I’ve got laundry to do. Tomorrow is our 6 week appointment with the midwife to clear me for normal life and check up on Benjamin… so if tonight is a repeat you KNOW I’ll be saying something. If I can speak coherently by that point.

Sorry I’m complaining. Other than that life is great and Benjamin is smiling and laughing a little each day (usually). It’s pretty cool.

I know that there are a billion ways to make rice krispie treats, and a billion recipes online.  However, none of them were exactly like my Mom’s recipe so I recreated it by memory.  I think I’ve achieved pretty close to the perfect rice krispie.  It’s not Kraft, it’s not from the back of the cereal box, but it is a combination and then some. So for those of you who like these types of unhealthy food (and really, who doesn’t?) then read on!

Rice Krispie Treats
1 stick of butter
1 bag of large marshmallows
1 7 oz. jar of marshmallow creme
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (or vanilla powder)
12 cups of rice krispies

Melt the butter SLOWLY in a large pot.  I recommend using a large, nonstick spoon for the stirring. While this is going on, go ahead and measure your 12 cups of rice krispies into a bowl.  Trust me, you won’t want to do this at the end!

Add the large marshmallows when the butter is almost all the way melted.  Stir often.

With the spoon that is coated in butter and marshmallow, scoop out the marshmallow creme out of the jar and into the melting concoction of yummy.

Add vanilla just before the marshmallow is all melted together.

As the last tiny marshmallow melts away, take the pan off the heat and dump the 12 cups of rice krispies into the pan.  Stir until all the rice krispies are coated.

Spread evenly into a well-greased 9x13x2 pan (or similar size).  Now when I was a child, Mom used to coat my hands with butter so I could smash down and even out the rice krispies.  Now I just give my hands a spritz with non-stick spray and pat the rice krispies down.  Either way works, and one has less calories added in.  If you don’t coat your hands with some sort of non-stick substance then you’ll end up with marshmallow all over your hands and you’ll be wearing most of your rice krispies.

I like to let it cool down outside of the fridge and then cut them while still somewhat malleable.  Enjoy!

Everyone’s a little crazy. I thought I’d share my crazy with you!

One of my coworkers brought some Easter candy to work and since I’m not diabetic (yay!) and am pregnant (yay!) I decided I could probably manage to have a little snack pack of skittles. So I open it up and here are the contents:

6 purple skittles
4 yellow skittles
3 orange skittles
1 red skittle
1 green skittle

So! First I eat 2 purple skittles. I then have:

4 purple skittles
4 yellow skittles
3 orange skittles
1 red skittle
1 green skittle

So then I eat 1 purple skittle and 1 yellow skittle. I then have:

3 purple skittles
3 yellow skittles
3 orange skittles
1 red skittle
1 green skittle

So then I eat 2 sets of the following: 1 purple skittle, 1 yellow skittle, 1 orange skittle. I then have:

1 purple skittle
1 yellow skittle
1 orange skittle
1 red skittle
1 green skittle

Then I eat all 5 of the remaining skittles all at one time.

Ahh….. order out of chaos.