Monday, February 28, 2011

The Ten Commandments of Parents

Every afternoon when CJ gets home from school we have the best talks. He just sits on the potty for like thirty minutes and we discuss all kinds of issues. This kid just likes a potty pal. Some days it is me, others he accepts the kindness of a canine potty pal.

Without revealing more than anyone needs to know about his bathroom habits, the kid sits on the throne and takes his time. He often reads, plugs his nose, and calls me in to the bathroom for stimulating conversations. I am not sure if his poop schedule is by slow by choice, but I do not care.

Today, CJ was in religious mode. He was yammering on and on about Shushan, Kings, Purim and Prayers. He wanted to know the answers to some very specific questions. I consulted Aaryn via text messages, placed a few fake cell phone calls to the rabbi and I pretended to understand all the Hebrew language lessons he was spewing.

CJ was conflicted about the prayers before meals and snacks. At a birthday celebration in the kindergarten class, he was given a gluten free, cinnamon sugar donut. He did not know whether this warranted a hamotzi or a mizonot for the blessing. I hadn't a clue, so when I texted Aaryn she confirmed that when eating a donut the bracha is in fact mizonot. Thanks Aaryn, you are a lifesaver!

At age five, this child is a sponge. He does not miss a beat. If it can be learned, retained, and repeated, CJ can do it regardless of the topic.

As we finished up the bathroom session CJ asked me if I like wiping tushies? I went on a little rant about how no one really enjoys wiping tushies, but as a parent, you have to do it. He nodded and took in my pain. I could tell he was processing our conversation. Then CJ asked me, "Do all Mommies and Daddies have to wipe their kids tushies?" Again, I nodded and said, "Yeah, it is like a parent rule, when you have children it is pretty much something you have to do, like it or not, Mommies and Daddies have to do it!"

CJ said, "So maybe wiping tushies part of the parents' ten commandments....thou shall wipe thy child's tushie!"

I honestly can not make this shit up. Literally. So I guess he nailed it. It got me thinking, what are the other nine parents' commandments?

To be continued...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gluten Free Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies

When I first saw this recipe I did a double take. Could it be true? Is this for real? If there is one conventional cookie I crave and miss, it is the Girl Scout Thin Mint.
This is the ultimate childhood throw back cookie.

This is the one cookie that satisfies all the groups of pleasure: Chocolate, Sweet, Crunchy, Minty, Smooth, Nostalgic and Pretty. Keep these on hand for possible revenge/break up eating, or a sleep over with your best buds. The thin mint is old school.

Since the Girl Scouts sell a shit load of these suckers at this time of year, I thought it timely to post this "how to" with the gluten free recipe. I used the Nearly Normal Flour as the base, and I seriously am in L-O-V-E!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of butter (softened)
1/4 tsp of salt
1 cup of white sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 tsp of mint extract
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 squares of semisweet chocolate (chopped)
1/4 cup of butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the sugar and softened butter until combined, beat in the egg, and add the mint extract. In a separate bowl mix together the gluten-free flour, cocoa, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

This is when it becomes difficult if you don't have a automatic mixer. The dough will be very dense (like the cookies themselves).

Put the dough in the fridge - you can use it after forty minutes or so, or let it go longer if your schedule permits. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of wax paper and use a shot glass to form the cookies. Believe it or not, I could not find a shot glass so I used a good seasons dressing cruet dusted with a little cocoa to prevent sticking. Once done they'll be the perfect thin mint size.



Transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Put them in the oven for 11-12 minutes and let them cool once they're done.

While cooling melt the 1/4 cup of butter together with the chocolate in the microwave or on the stove. To make the cookie more legit add another splash of mint extra to the chocolate mixture.

Run your fingers across the edges of each cookie to knock off any rough edges or loose crumbs.


Dip the cookies into the chocolate mixture, shaking off the excess and wiping the edges clean & smooth, and set them on a fresh sheet of wax paper on a flat surface to dry. I am in a hurry to do these in batches, so I put the tray of wet dipped cookies in the freezerto harden them up faster. Once they are dry, stack them in ziploc bags and keep in the freezer.

This recipe makes between two and four dozen cookies. Next time I will be smarter and I will quadruple the quantity for freezing. I love these cookies crushed up in ice cream and as a base for a cookie crumb crust with gluten free cheesecake.

These are a bit time consuming to make but you can prep the dough, store it in discs in the freezer, then roll them out to cut and bake the cookies. All of the steps are a bit labor intensive, especially if you have a single oven and can only bake one tray at a time. I totally dreamed about the luxury of my sister's oven and I reflected on the oven envy. Regardless, you could bake the cookies off and dip them later if you needed to maximize your effort and save time.

Much like the original girl scout version, these are addictive. If someone gifts these cookies to you already baked, dipped and ready to eat, you are one lucky bastard. In the future, this will be a project for the sister wives.

Do not attempt to calculate nutritional value and or calories. When it comes to girl scout cookies, too much is not enough***. You have been warned!


*** an original quote by Beverly Feldman.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Does the Tooth Fairy work on Shabbat?

I had a gluten free recipe ready to post today. Sometimes, I get good material in addition to my original concept. Last night was no exception.

I prepared a winner of a chicken on Thursday evening. It was kind of an experiment of sorts. I found this sauce to use as a base. Despite being store bought at Big Lots, this Panda Express sauce does not contain MSG, HFCS or any gluten ingredients or colors. It is made to be a bright color from Paprika, not dye. I decided to doctor it up, and add some serious nutrition and wing it.

I had grilled about 15 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
in three shifts on the indoor grill, earlier in the day. I used the cut up, cooked chicken in this meal. You could use any kind of chicken you desire, but this made my concoction quick and easy.

I have an addiction to my zesting tool. This little gadget

zests citrus with thin shards of zest, it is perfection of this meal. For a few bucks I highly advise adding one to your kitchen. After I zested the entire orange in about 25 seconds, I cut the fruit in half and hand squeezed the juice right into the pot. Easy peasy. The zest and juice combo is what packs in all the really bright and fresh taste to this dish.

I basically threw all the ingredients into the crock pot (in layers) to cook through

and heat while I ran errands. In the future I will do it exactly the same because it just worked so well. Prep time of 7 minutes, cooking on low for an hour, and serving immediately.

Ingredients:



8 grilled chicken breast cut into medium bite size pieces
1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound fresh asparagus cut into pieces
zest and juice of one large orange
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 bottle Sweet Chili sauce (panda express)

After the crock pot stewed all the flavors, cooked the veggies and allowed the orange zest/juice to really pop, the meal was finished. I served the chicken over steamed brown riceand garnished it with fresh orange wedges.

My four gourmands demanded we use chopsticks. They even paid me what I believe to be a sincere compliment. I was told that this chicken was as good as Pei Wei. How is that for wow-ing them?

We had planned to have leftovers of this exact meal for Shabbat, since I made enough to reheat or freeze. CJ however, requested mashed potatoes for our Friday night meal. Since he lost yet another bottom tooth,I honored his humble request. It wasn't until he squirted the potatoes through the now massive gaping front cave that I realized why he spoke up to ask for a substitute entree.

Who said the Shabbos table is boring? Clearly no one at our house, that is for sure!

With all the table talk about losing teeth, a question was posed by Rabbi Eli. "Does the tooth fairy work on Shabbat?" I had to stop and think about how I wanted to answer it. Given that the tooth fairy (moi) is Jewish, but is not shomer Shabbos, technically, yes, she could come on Shabbat. But realistically, I am not hoarding any gift cards to use for such an event. I answered honestly, and said, "Wow, that is an important question! Let's wait and see. We will put the tooth under the pillow, and if there is a gift in the morning, our question will be answered. If there is not a gift under the pillow, let's wait for Sunday morning and check back. Either way guys, we will get our answer!"

With that brilliant rationale, the kids went to bed right on time. Enjoy the weekend!

With Love,
xoxoxo-
The Gluten Free, Non religious but still Jewish, Tooth Fairy

Friday, February 25, 2011

La Leche Dulce de Leche from Baby Gaga

My favorite dessert treat has always been ice cream. I have never met a flavor I did not enjoy. Rum Raisin, Chocolate Almond, Dulce de Leche, and anything from Jeni's work for me. Some might even suggest that ice cream is like sex, even the bad kind is still good.

Maybe not.

I just read the following article about a new ice cream made from breast milk. I have included the link here, but since no one ever clicks through, I have cut and pasted the story too.

A restaurant in London is selling ice cream made with breast milk donated by a British mom to make the "totally natural" treat.
The Icecreamists parlor is pricing the new flavor, which is named "Baby Gaga", at 14 pounds ($23). The new recipe blends the breast milk with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest, which is then freshly churned into ice cream.

Victoria Hiley, 35, a mother-of-one from Leeds donated a liter of her breast milk to Icecreamists, after seeing an advertisement on parenting Web site Mumsnet.
"What's the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash?," British newspaper Metro quoted Hiley as saying. "There’s nothing more natural than fresh mother’s milk". Victoria works with women who have problems breast feeding their babies.
The parlor pays 15 pounds for every 10 ounces of milk. Already 15 mothers have volunteered to donate their breast milk. To maintain the highest standards, health checks for each lactating woman were the same used by the UK's National Health Service to screen blood donors.

Icecreamists founder Matt O'Connor, 44, is confident his new ice cream will go down well with customers.



"No-one's done anything interesting with ice cream in the last hundred years," O'Connor said. "Some people will hear about it and go, 'yuck,' but actually it's pure, organic, free-range and totally natural."

"We want to change the way people think about ice cream," he adds.


I am so not even joking here!

While it would not be gluten free, unless the donor milk belonged to a gluten free mom, I still won't be trying it anytime soon. Maybe my Vegan readers can chime in, but I suspect that this will be a taboo tasting.

At first I read the "Baby Gaga" ice cream title and thought it was an ice cream made for infants. After further research I discovered that in fact, the dessert product is designed and sold to all consumers, of all ages. Ummmmm, Yeah, No thanks, aside from the fact that Southwest does not fly to London, I won't be trying this anytime soon.

For now, I will keep my friends Jeni, Ben and Jerry and Graeter's close at hand. The La Leche league can customize any flavors they want, and I will still fall back on my old stand-bys. I say no to La Leche League Dulce de Leche, that is how I roll!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fueling the Blog by Flying

I used to love flying. My preferred mode of transportation has always been airplanes. In the past, flying was civilized, fast, fun and glamorous. IN THE PAST, I said.

Fast forward to modern air travel. There are hassles, bogus security measures, and rarely are there not delays. I still love to fly, and now I get great blog material just for showing up for my flight.

Yesterday, I confessed about my new found voucher on Southwest. This will afford me future trips to exotic lands and destinations where sleeping, dining, shopping and seeing friends will further my blog posts. It is the circle of life in my neck of the woods. Flying off fuels the blog.

I finished my Vegas Mommie-cation, and made it to the airport just a day later than initially planned. Once at 30,000 feet I was happy to learn that our return flight had wi-fi internet access too. I caught up on all the latest and greatest, blogged, uploaded photos to facebook, and felt accomplished during the three hours I was wedged next to a stranger.

Imagine my shock and horror, when I glanced up from my own laptop and saw a man two aisles ahead of me on his laptop, watching PORN. He was viewing a downloaded movie on his 16" screen. There was no shame in his game as he stared at the naked ladies doing all kinds of nasty. I knew no one would believe me, so of course, I whipped out my i-phone and took a photo of him and his fetish film. Ewwwwww.

Much like the women of Savers drama, I had to share this experience with 988 of my closest facebook friends. My status update included this photo and a brief description to capture the moment. I wrote, "OMG ! The guy in front of me on the aisle is watching porn at 36,000 feet. Gotta love wi-fi on southwest."

The comments flowed freely throughout the remainder of my travel.

Here are some of the highlights and reactions to this unique situation:

"I can't quite make out the picture on the screen . . . next time focus better Helene."

"This happens on Northwest flights all the time. Although in fairness, it's just the pilots."

"Thats why I prefer to read! (JUGGs) LOL!"

"This gives new meaning to the term "Mile High Club"

"After all, it is the LUV airline!"

The whole time I was reporting my thoughts on facebook, I was chronicling the situation for this blog post. I am sorry, but initially, I started this whole blog journal as a way to capture all the funny and precious stories, material and photos of my kids. Now, we have morphed into my live reports from all over the globe, including my fellow passengers at 30,000 feet.

With my credit for future flights, one thing is certain. I am just fueling the blog by flying.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Women(?) of Savers

Nothing makes me high like the thrill of a bargain. I spent the day canvasing the thrift stores with my semi-fake internet friend, Michele. I was in Vegas for an extra day, she was in search of athletic soccer gear, we hit the streets together, and the rest is history.

Our first stop was Savers. This is a version of my beloved Chez G.W. (goodwill) and is a happening spot in Las Vegas. We found an FAO Schwarz dog, brand new with the tags for $3.99, so I made Michele buy it. I told her to switch the ribbon around the neck and save it for Easter. OMG, what would she do without me to corrupt her?

Her bonus baby was along for the adventure and I felt the need to spoil him, much like I do when Charlotte and I get one on one time. I spied a child's keyboard toy for $3.99 and handed it to Austin.
The blue stickers were 50% off so technically the keyboard was $2, or the same price as a bottle of wine at Trader Joe's. I am so generous. I know he will remember me as the crazy friend of his mother, the one that let him pay for a keyboard at Savers. Kids catalogue this stuff permanently you know.

We stood in line behind a gender confused guy/gal, and his momma. Michele and I fought over who would get the blogging rights to this story and photo.
I had an image on facebook within seconds and poor Michele was stuck standing in line holding the FAO dog. The comments continued to roll in long after my status update. Uggs, denim skirts and ruffled tops just speak volumes.

Jodi had me rolling with this comment, "Would someone please tell that "woman" that Uggs are not gender specific enough while going through the transformation. Perhaps a nice kitten heel next time."

I have some funny facebook friends that just get me. My humor is heard round the internet.

Move on over PEOPLE of WALMART, we are the women(?) of Savers.

After ditching Austin at Kindergarten, we burned up the road. Lunch, followed by more thrifting
and children's consignment shops filled our afternoon. We had to make a pit stop to feed her chickens and visit with her insane neighbors Jerry and Bob. I am sure there will be follow up posts about this on Michele's blog. Bringing a braless, G cup friend in the presence of these horn dogs is sure to warrant a post, don't you think? If you read both of our blogs, everything Michele reports about these clowns is true. In fact, she may be toning it down a little. Form a line ladies, form a line.

It is days like this that make me wish we lived in the same city. Oh the trouble we could cause. Blogging does not do our antics justice. You have to be there to believe it.

Mission accomplished! Michele got her kids their cleats and shin guards, and I spent the day in a leisure mode after profiting from the oversold flight on Southwest. I came home with more money and a credit for $458 in future flights, which in Vegas is a miracle. In so many ways, we are indeed, the women of savers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Lady Luck

Lady luck has been on my side during this trip. I have won a few bucks, made some new friends, and spent some quality time with the fam damily.

We scheduled ourselves for massage this morning, and started the day getting our pampering on. Forget brunch and shopping to start the day….massage is where it is at people. When I finally get my dream compound, I will have brother husbands, and sister wives to lessen my load. I can guaran-fucking-tee you that one of my additional spouses will be a professional massage therapist. I could get used to this.

Rachelle, Susan and I met my parents and their friends for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi on the strip. (I could ruin my luck by doing an honest and negative restaurant review, but I will save all that drama for another time) Mom and Dad took over the condo for the rest of the week, so it was bye-bye Eichenwald women, hello Eichenwald parentals. We totally tag teamed the time share so our timing was perfect. No wasted condo time and Dad paid for lunch. Win-Win.

I got to my gate and checked in for my scheduled return flight. Since Lady Luck was with me, I was able to volunteer my seat for the over sold departure. I got Mitchell to cover my shift on Wednesday, so that Jeff would not be inconvenienced by my delayed return to Columnus. I explained the situation to Mitchell this way: If you pick up the kids after school and do the duties I would be doing if I were home, you can redeem the Southwest airline voucher to go somewhere for spring break. That made us both happy. Mitchell can now travel during his senior year spring break, and I can extend my Mommie-cation for just one more day.

With this kind of luck, maybe I should buy a lottery ticket? Come on, Momma needs a new pair of shoes, or at least some private school tuition.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hakuna Matata

edited to add photos:

Brunch and Shopping: The perfect way to start the day, especially on a Mommie-cation. It does not get any better than the world’s best brunch buffet at the Bellagio. Following this feast with bargain shopping in Primm is just adding icing to an already delicious birthday cake.

Before we headed to the Bellagio for brunch, I got my hairs did. Rachelle worked a little magic
with the flat iron, and I was transformed into a straight haired woman. Ladies who brunch and lunch have perfect hair you know.

We waited in what we thought was a ridiculously long line to be seated. Fortunately for us, the Bellagio does this brunch every weekend, and they have the crowd control under control. The line moved quickly and our wait was minimal. I was a little surprised to see the linego more than 500 people deep, given that we are in a recession. Clearly, our economy crisis excludes tourists from Europe and Asia, hung over convention goers, and the over 40 crowd looking to escape the husband and kids back home.

Our meal was extraordinary. I am not usually a fan of buffets because they scare me. I do not like standing in line to slop food on my plate. In all honesty, my elitest attitude prevents me from the trough mentality. Let it be publicly known that the Bellagio is different.

Cattle and Swine do not indulge on sushi, shrimp cocktail, and filet mignon.

We rolled out of there after our bucket list brunch. The only way to walk off our calories, was to do some touristy sight seeing within the botanical garden

in the lobby. Happy Chinese New Year to everyone!

Foilage was followed by shopping cardio at the outlet mall in Primm. 45 minutes later, we arrived in the middle of no where Nevada, to visit my friends, Neiman Marcus, Mr. Tod, Mr. Bally, and Ms. St.John. I immediately ditched the other girls to maximize my work out. Even with the President’s Day sales, I did not find too much that was ebay worthy, or budget friendly. I scored a pair of Carlisle trousers (originally $315) for $9.95 and grabbed some tacky t-shirts for the kids to wear to summer camp. I raced around the mall and felt less stuffed to the gills for the drive back to the city.

While Rachelle and her friends saw the Lion King at the Mandalay Bay, I played some black jack. The cards were kind and I was able to win enough to pay for my brunch, shopping purchases and I even had enough left over to schedule a spa day for later in the trip.

After the show, we met up with my dear friend Thom Sesma, who plays Scar. He graciously gave us a little backstage tour and sneak peek at the set.
I had done this before, but it never gets old, and It was great to introduce Thom to my pride. We are a wild bunch of hyenas.

Say it with me folks., Hakuna Matata. That means no worries, for the rest of my days. Well, for the next two days anyway.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

VIVA VIVA VIVA, Las Vegas!

edited to add photos:

Viva Viva Viva Las Vegas! We arrived in Vegas with plans for a relaxing, fun, and celebratory weekend. It was all that and more. The weather made our adventure absolutely perfect as it is officially spring time in Nevada.

The festivities began with a trip to Trader Joe’s for snackage, drinkage and chocolate. Once we stocked the condo, we were ready to get the party started. Five women, wine, beer, margaritas and vodka tonics were on hand at all times.

To honor Rachelle and Susan’s 40th birthdays we had dinner at Roy’s Hawaiian Restaurant. They customized a special menu just for the guest of honor.

Our table was decorated with candles and orchids for the occasion. I was so glad to see the gluten free menu,which featured a pre-fixe dinner choice including an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert. We were wow-ed by the food,

each course was greater than the one before it and we even posedfor a group photo to mark our little evening celebration. Ladies, strike a pose, VOGUE!

Take a look at these sweet endings. The gluten free chocolate lava center cake with vanilla bean ice cream was the gluten free one,



but these other tasty treats were not too shabby either. If you think they look good, you should have tasted them. Nothing ends a girls night out like chocolate and cocktails.

The evening concluded with more of the above mentioned cocktails in the comfort of home. We laughed, we cried, we kissed our families good-bye. This was the start to our amazing getaway.

Forty sure looks fabulous!

Viva Viva Viva, Las Vegas!

Blog Archive

The older crowd

The older crowd
Amanda and Mitchell

A blast from the past...makes it all so real now

counter