Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Lesson of the Day: If You’re Going to Put Something In the Oven…

Today’s Lesson: If you’re going to put something in the oven, then you should at least turn it on first.

This was not the first time – nor will it be the last – that I’ve tried to put food in a cold oven. When I was still at my parent’s house, I got used to only having to turn one dial to turn the oven on. I can’t recall if my mother’s oven was permanently set to bake and we changed the temperature or if it was always at 350 and we turned the other dial to bake. Either way, I only turned one. That stuck in my head.

Now that I have my own oven, I know darn well that I have to turn both dials simply because I keep turning both off when I’m done. Yet every now and then, I find myself forgetting and lapsing back to what I grew up with. Today was one of those days. I started out well: I had taken chicken out of the freezer to thaw early in the day and figured I’d have the kids eating at a decent time. I followed up by cleaning the bathroom when I should have been prepping dinner. It was okay though; I was just going to throw s o me stuff in a Ziplock bag, add the chicken, shake and then stuff it in the oven.

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Lesson of the Day: Children and Refrigerators Don’t Mix

Today’s Lesson: Children and refrigerators don’t mix or why breaking your child of the bottle habit is a good idea.

The air balance turned way down

Almost a year ago, Liam got into the habit of opening the fridge just to see what was in there. I learned afterward, that he had also been playing with the temperature control dials. Who the heck places them in an easy to reach place in the first place – I recall many fridges where they were on the side near the back not right up at the front where any almost 3-year-old can touch them. I found it odd that everything in the fridge seemed overly cold so I had been adjusting the fridge temperature up. What I didn’t notice until I went to get something out of the freezer was that he had also increased the freezer temperature up causing all of the ice cream to melt and the frozen vegetables to thaw. I believe there was some meat in there too, which I ended up cooking over the next couple days.

After I fixed the settings for both the fridge and the freezer, I made extra sure to make sure that Liam wasn’t touching anything when he opened the fridge to get something out. I eventually got all of the caramel cleaned out of the freezer but I still haven’t replaced the ice cream…that can wait.

Control instructions

Now, Liam is three and a half. Liam is a huge three who looks like he’s five…but he’s not, he’s still just three. Despite our efforts, he still loves his bottle. We’ve been told for nearly two years now that he should not be using it any longer but we can’t break him of the habit. In fact, in September, when a doctor told us to take it away from him, he stopped drinking altogether and I had to give it back. This bottle is pretty much the bane of my days. Every time I get settled down nursing Callan, Liam wants more milk. I get him tucked into bed and he wants more milk. He refuses to drink milk from a glass because he wants it from his bottle.

Usually, we take his bottle away after he falls asleep (he wasn’t actually drinking from it anyway) and he’s none the wiser. Sometimes, he wakes up and cries because he can’t find it. Then he makes one of us get him a fresh bottle. Last night, I took the bottle away shortly after he fell asleep and put it in the fridge for morning (as opposed to wasting perfectly good milk…heh). I finally got Callan and I settled in bed around two and by that point he hadn’t woken up. This morning, when Ian woke up for work, he found the fridge door open about 6 inches…enough to keep the light on. The bottle was not in the fridge. It was, in fact, on Liam’s bed next to him with the lid still on it.

Our spoiled milk collection

There was a full 4L jug of 2% milk in there, a full 1L carton of 3.25% milk, about half a 2L carton of 1% and another 4L jug of 2% with less than a liter left. How fridge has this strange ability to freeze the items at the back while keeping at the front cool. I figured I’d try that full 4L jug since it had been at the back. If any of the milk was still good, that would be it. Sadly, Aiden informed me that it tasted a little funny (all milk tastes funny to me). So here I am with approximately 7L of sour milk all for the sake of a few ounces.

When he got up this morning, I informed him that he may no longer (not that he was allowed to in the first place) get his bottle out of the fridge during the night. He must get a parent to get it for him.

I hope we’re not in for another round of refrigerator wars. I also hope that Callan won’t cause as many problems with the fridge as Liam has. It’s not even a full day after I declared my intent to make sure that we’re not wasting very much food and now I’ve got to figure out a way to use all that milk so that it doesn’t go to waste.

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Lesson of the Day: If You Put Things Where They Don’t Belong…

Today’s Lesson: If you put things where they don’t belong, then you’ll find them when you least expect it.

Back in July, when Callan was nearing his big 0.5, I dragged out the highchair – or what I could find of it. I spent a few days searching for the liner and straps. I swear I dug through every box that could possibly have it inside and a whole bunch that couldn’t. I looked under the stairs, in every closet, all through the basement storage room. In the end, I gave up. I didn’t even wind up going to the fabric store and picking up new webbing for straps. By the time I reconciled myself to the fact that I wouldn’t find the original straps anytime soon, I had discovered that Callan could stay in the seat perfectly well with the hip straps and the tray holding him in place.

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The 12 to 25 Days of Christmas – Day Eight

On the eighth day, I baked…and iced. I had both of these projects on my mind for a few days now and figured I should get them out of the way – especially since I had already baked the cupcakes on Monday (so I didn’t do all of the baking today. They were meant to be yesterday’s project but Callan had objections). I will fully admit that, once again, I cheated and didn’t make either item from scratch (unless you’re talking about the icing because you can’t top home made icing). That being said, they still taste great.

So what did I bake? First up: chocolate cupcakes with mint chocolate chips in them, iced with vanilla icing and topped with crushed candy canes. There’s something so very satisfying about smashing candy canes with a rolling pin…or maybe that’s just my inner child talking. Second project: chocolate fudge brownies with vanilla icing and Christmas sprinkles. I was tempted to make the icing mint for these but a) I ended up icing them first and b) I wasn’t sure if that would go over well with the boys. I may love mint icing on my brownies but that doesn’t mean everyone does.

I decorated one cupcake early so that Liam could take it to preschool with him. It passed his approval. By that I mean that he ate all the icing and candy can topping and barely ate the cupcake itself but even that was deemed worthy enough to eat more of when we got home and then stick in the fridge for later. The rest of the family (minus Callan – no sugar for him) taste-tested them after dinner and a good dessert was had by all. So far, I’m the only one to try a brownie but that’s because crushed candy cane trumps mini trees made of sugar any day. I’ll be sending a couple to school with Aiden tomorrow.

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The 12 to 25 Days of Christmas – Day Two

I was a little bit slack the other day when it came to writing, so I’ve decided to make this one short and then combine days three and four. I figured I’d get a head start on my daily Christmas-ing and made pancakes for the boys for breakfast. How is that Christmas-y? Simple! Last year, we received a pancake pan that makes pancakes with shapes in them.

I have a feeling that it came in the gift basket from our realtor when we moved into the house. There’s no guarantee on that though, it could just as well come from either of our parents. Anyway, this particular pan makes four different (tiny) pancakes: Santa, a snowman, a gingerbread man, and a tree. Aiden just happens to be a tree hog…at least of his 7 pancakes, I swear that he had 3-4 trees. The boys were thrilled to be getting pancakes in the first place and were impressed with the molded ones. I suppose it’s a good thing that they forgot about the pan over the course of the year, that way I could surprise them again.

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The 12 to 25 Days of Christmas – Day One

So I held off doing anything Christmas-y (aside from gift shopping and making) until the beginning of December. Today was supposed to be my big start but with a sick baby (and the real baby has a cold too), preschool for Liam, and Aiden’s parent-teacher meeting this afternoon, I wound up not having enough time to really get started…that and my living room is a mess so I have to clean it up (and put away the Halloween stuff) before I can truly decorate for Christmas.

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Lesson of the Day: Read Twice…

Today’s lesson: Read twice and measure once.

Everyone knows the saying measure twice and cut once. It’s used in both the building and sewing worlds and rightly so (or sew if you want a pun). I can say I’ve had a few experiences where I made my cut too small and had to go back to get more fabric (and wash it) before I could continue my project. Well today, I propose a new rule of measurement specifically for the kitchen: read twice and measure once.

Just what did I do to give me this idea? Well, it all started back in August when I was grocery shopping. For some reason I was in the baking goods aisle which reminded me that I hadn’t made my fruitcake yet. As we all know, fruitcake tastes better after it’s aged a little…no, not the thirty years that you’ve been playing “pass the fruitcake” with your family, but certainly longer than the couple weeks it would get if you made it in December. Now, last year, I promised myself that I’d make my cakes earlier this year than last year hence why I thought of it and picked up my fruit in August. Now it’s early October and I finally got around to it.

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