Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

The festivities started at Andy and Sam's school parties yesterday afternoon.

Here in Andy's classroom we were carving jack-o-lanterns.

Checking out the finished products.

Snack time!

Then I ran down to Sam's class for a while to see what was going on. Here he was getting instructions on how to make a spider web.

Then it was on to the decorate-your-own-cupcake station. His head was getting hot, so the top part of the costume was off and on the whole afternoon.

Then I ran down to Andy's class again to see them with their costumes on before heading to the Parade of Costumes in the gym. Andy is the purple wizard in the middle. He had a beard, but wouldn't wear it because it was "too scratchy". I made a few changes to it so that it wasn't so scratchy, but apparently not enough.

And a few shots at the Parade of Costumes:

Then it was back to their rooms. Sam's class rallied for a few more songs on the carpet. Here's the bear betwixt Snow White, a police officer, and two Spidermen.

We will now pause for a random quiet moment last night before bedtime, with Andy and his guitar. I think he was playing Ode to Joy, the only song he has memorized so far.

Tonight was a little cold and drizzly, but that didn't stop the boys from going out and getting some loot. I convinced Andy to put the beard on for at least a picture. We embellished Andy's costume with a tinker-toy magic wand, and Sam's with his Cubs claw.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back to Baking

The weather has been a bit chilly the past couple weeks. (After one super-hot day; like Texas-hot.) And there was rash of me volunteering to make snacks for one thing or another. So, the oven has been on!

But before we get to that, how about some nice blueberry banana buttermilk pancakes?

With warm homemade raspberry syrup to go on top? Are there too many flavors going on here? They tasted good to me!

Or maybe some crepes filled with Nutella and bananas? Or mango jam?

Sam's shot:

Andy's shot:

We like weekend breakfast!! And here's a random picture of the ever-talented Samarama.

So on to the bolillos that Sam and I made a couple weeks ago. I read about them here, thinking I'd actually make the molletes, but didn't get that far. We just used them as jummy rolls for sandwiches.

Kneading the dough.

Making the individual rolls after letting the dough rise.

The finished product.

Sam and I also made some zaletti, an Italian cookie with cornmeal and rummy raisins that I read about in Canadian Living. The batter was very yellow, not only due to the cornmeal, but LOTS of butter, and several egg yolks.

Sam helped put the batter together, but while I baked them up, he drew a picture.

I think he added a few things after I snapped this; like ARMS! He said it was a rainbow party. I think he also added some balloons.

And the latest baking endeavor was the
pumpkin-stout-gingerbread that the boys and I made a couple nights ago.

To make this, I bought a few bottles of Guinness. When I poured most of the contents into the measuring cup and motioned to set the bottle on the counter, I heard a "thunk". What the?! I tried looking in but couldn't see anything. I poured was was left into another glass and got the flashlight for a better look. There was a white plastic thingy in there. Now, I've had a few bottles of beer in my day, but I've never seen a plastic thingy. (However, I've never had a bottle of Guinness either - maybe once on tap). So I started thinking that this plastic thing was a contaminant and that I should pour the whole thing out. I probably would have figured it out by the second bottle, but a call down to Illinois saved the day when Kacee let me know that the thingy was indeed supposed to be in there.

Once I got passed the Guinness incident, molasses was another hurdle. I have a new appreciation for the phrase "slow as molasses". As cold as it's been, and as much as I was in a hurry trying to quickly get the cake in the oven so that I could get dinner for the boys (Otto was out of town), this molasses seemed to take for FREAKIN' EVER. AND it was the last bit left in the bottle. I tried warming it up in hot water bath, and that helped a little. I ended up taking a serrated knife and cutting the plastic bottle in half to get the stuff out faster. All turned out well in the end; it was a VERY tasty gingerbread cake.

When Otto opened the fridge yesterday evening, he sounded pleased with a, "Hey, Guinness!" So I nonchalantly paid attention while he poured the beer into a glass and set it back down on the counter with a "thunk." Nothing. Not even a raised eyebrow. I ask, "What was that sound? Didya' hear that? Is there something in that bottle?!" "Oh yeah, Guinness puts those things in their bottles. It has something to do with the effervescence..." yada, yada, yada. Am I the ONLY one that didn't know about this?!