Terror Lake 

You know the dark underbelly of old house ownership? Quirky wiring? Lead paint worries? Quirky…plumbing??

Saturday, The Flyer and I were getting ready for an actual date – dropping Feisty with her grandparents and going to lunch/movie. The Flyer successfully unclogged the bathroom sink, but noticed that the tub wasn’t draining either. With our time crunch, he decided to just shower and we could deal with it when we got home.

Yeah, bad plan. We ended up with a gushing pipe (until I walked in, stoppered the tub and grabbed a bucket for bailing) and a massive lake of potentially subfloor-damaging water EVERYWHERE.

So bad. We mopped up. We almost cancelled our date, but my parents talked us out of that. Sunday morning, my dad came over. He is seriously the freaking house whisperer. My parents have renovated five houses now, and I only recall them hiring a contractor like twice.

So we have a functional tub again. It was minor after all, just a giant clog downstream. Terror Lake is relegated to the hopefully permanent past. And while The Flyer and the father were flushing the gunk out of drain, I made donuts. Never let it be said that I don’t do my part.

I used this recipe, minus the nutmeg, for baked cake donuts. I frosted them with my great great aunt’s recipe for caramel frosting. Normally, this is used to recreate her signature chocolate cake, but thinned down, it was pretty darn delicious as a topping for donuts- caramel iced cake is a favorite donut flavor around here.

Aunt Rene’s Caramel Frosting (donut edition)

Frosts 1 dozen standard size donuts

2 T salted butter

1/2 c brown sugar 

4 T heavy whipping cream 

1/2 t vanilla extract 

1 c confectioners sugar

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to brown. Adjust heat to medium low if necessary. Add cream and sugar, stir until dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat, beat in 1/2 c of confectioners sugar. Cool slightly, add vanilla and remaining sugar. Frosting will be thick – add additional cream or whole milk to spread easily over donuts.

When doubled and with the cream amount dialed back to 3 T, the recipe frosts a 9 x 13 sheet cake. Go chocolate on this one. Make the Hershey’s classic recipe with dark chocolate and oh man… No regrets. Serve French vanilla ice cream over it for the full Aunt Rene experience. Just use all-purpose flour or the icing will decimate your delicate cake.

Cinnamon Muffins

How was everyone’s Super Bowl Sunday? Feisty and I went to my aunt, The Singer’s,  for a party, and I ate ALL. THE. JUNK. FOOD. It was glorious in that sick-feeling, but wings-and-pizza-stuffed way. She also sent us home with five heaping plates of goodness. Carrying that home, plus my purse, gifts for Feisty, toys for Feisty and actual Feisty was no joke, but now I am kinda counting down to today’s junk time.

I was going to start eating healthier or something, but with the five plates of tasties in the fridge and my upcoming birthday, that’s a resolution that’s best tabled for now.

Anyway. We’ve got meals pretty well figured out here, honestly, except lunch. We try, but never manage to get it together. Breakfast, though. I skipped it all through high school and undergrad, some of adulthood, but now actually enjoy it with the help of homemade granola on whole milk plain yogurt and making a batch of muffins to freeze in advance. Today, I adapted this recipe, and the results were good. As written, I found it good, but maybe too pared down without a lot of flavor. I also didn’t have time to make streusel topping because work and baby breakfast.

Cinnamon Whole Wheat Muffins

Makes 12 standard-size muffins.

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2. c. all-purpose flour
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. milk
1 egg
1/4 c. neutral oil
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. + 1T cinnamon sugar, reserved

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 standard muffin cups or line with cupcake papers.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients until well blended. Make a well in the center.

In another bowl, beat egg and add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir into well in center of dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fill greased muffin cups half to 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle 1/2 T. of reserved cinnamon sugar over each muffin.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin, cool for 5 mins, then remove from pan to cooling rack.

When the muffins are fully cooled, I put them on a baking sheet and freeze, then (ideally), when completely frozen, turn then out into a freezer bag. Store in freezer and warm for about 30 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Hibernation 

Normally, I’m all about winter. Fall is my favorite, but I’m down with the -uary months. Hot chocolate, my winter clothes (nicer than my summer ones), soups, stews, gingerbread, toasty batches of granola, snuggling under flannel sheets, snow.


But we’ve barely had any snow this year and have been living in moving chaos and well. Winter is just dragging this year.

For once I’m looking forward to warmer weather, starting my extensive list of plants from seed, getting the yard in order. We try to eat seasonally and are hardcore missing fresh tomatoes right now. Those anemic-looking hydroponic things don’t really cut it.

At least we have citrus season, and I found this recipe for Lemon-Rosemary cookies to try. I wouldn’t have thought of that combo, honestly, but a writer friend made them for dessert after a lunch at her (super awesome Victorian) house a while back, and they were off the charts. 

Now hopefully I can also figure out ways to shake off the winter doldrums that don’t involve eating massive amounts of cookies. The Flyer has started doing those seven-minute interval workouts to cure his, and they look excruciating. Toddler hefting and nursing will probably just remain my cardio.

Hi there

I’ve been meaning to start this blog project for over a week, but the still-packed boxes in the living room, my work schedule, and my child have had other plans. For now, I’m ignoring the couple remaining boxes, have hit a slow spot in the work day, and my child is currently being entertained by her “skellies.” Dancing lifesavers, those skellies.

A little less than a month ago, we closed on our first home, which has been surreal and terrifying. As we settle in here, though, the house has taken hold and made me want to do strange things. Garden, for example, although I’ve killed every house plant I’ve ever owned, and my mom literally couldn’t pay me to weed her flowerbeds growing up. Decorate, but I’ve always been into that. Learn about tools. Unclog drains. Winterize the spa. The last two items are on the agenda for today, so this should be interesting.

Life starts to seem tantalizing-the backyard for Feisty, the gas oven and range for me, the endless DIY learning opportunities for The Flyer, who has been watching This Old House since 1989. I picture every detail of every room during the (many hours of) time it takes Feisty to fall asleep, plan out what I will start from seed, what needs fixing, how to do it.

It’s all kinds of exciting, and I hope to keep chronicling it here.