It's been a while. And I am not even sure where I have been or what I have been doing. No, that's not entirely true. I have been spending a lot of time immersing myself in the world of clean eating and trying to understand what is or is not permissible in this way of life. See? I didn't say diet, I said way of life. Cause it kind of needs to be. And yet, it's so so so so hard.
So far, I have been clean eating for several weeks now and have lost a measly pound. One pound. Pathetic. But I will say that I feel clearheaded and awake and alive - something that I have not felt in a very long time. I don't wake up with a headache anymore, I go through my day without that fuzzy feeling. It's been weeks since I have fallen asleep while putting the baby down for a nap or while getting the kids to bed at night. I used to fall asleep like that all the time. As in Every. Single. Day. And now, now I'm having my smoothie for breakfast, eating fruits, vegetables, quinoa, greek yogurt, almonds, salmon and other things like that all day long. And drinking tons of water. And still, it's just so darn hard.
I really wanted to have some chocolate ice cream last night. So I had some. Only a spoonfull, but I was still so mad at myself afterwards. It almost feels like you can't win.
But - I do have one skirt that fits now that did not fit at the end of April. So maybe it's not about the pounds per se, maybe it's just that smaller clothes fit, so something must be going right - even if the scale just won't budge at all.
Anyway, I did have a point here. It's coming up on a year since my grandmother passed away and a couple of my super-creative cousins have rallied the rest of us lazy relatives, and now we (they :) are putting together a book of recollections about my grandmother. Everyone was supposed to have had their submissions in by May 20th. I wrote mine, just forgot to send it in. No really. I did. It's been in my gmail drafts for ages.
It's about a nut cake (food. what else?) that my grandmother was famous for. I used to make it often years ago, but now that clean eating has swept through this house, I am thinking that anything with 3 sticks of margarine is no longer welcome here. So I won't be making this and taking pictures. But I also wouldn't refuse a piece should someone perhaps bake it and stop by with a piece. Just saying.
Here's the recipe, along with my (late) submission:
Food makes powerful memories.
This past Mother's Day, while driving, it hit me, probably for the first time, that I had no grandmothers left to call that day. This was it. A chapter of my life was over, a chapter that was still open last Mother's Day.
Last Mother's Day, I was lucky, I had it made. My mother, my aunt and my grandmother came to my house for brunch. I didn't go the regular route with lasagna or baked ziti. I made some weird stuff - focacia bread pizza, mushroom fritattas and pretend lemonade margaritas - and true to Bobby's Judy's style, she tasted everything without hesitation - because everything I always did was golden. I could do no wrong and whatever I decided to wear or cook or bake or make was amazing and exactly the right choice*.
I am having trouble remembering even one time that Bobby Judy came to visit without bringing food.
Especially tuna fish, which she apparently used her magic wand to make because I have never before and never since tasted such good tuna fish.
Bobby Judy did not leave me many recipes; she liked to cook from recipes in her head and really stopped experimenting or even making her usual for the last many years because she felt that steamed vegetables, cottage cheese and rice cakes were the way to go, just like the Start Fresh lady said. And if the Start Fresh lady said it, then well, you know, that was it.
To this day, I cannot steam cauliflower without feeling like I am back in her apartment.
But there is one recipe that I do have - one that we made together when I was young and one that I have made countless times since, anytime I need a fancy cake. It's easy, it's quick and it tastes like Bobby Judy's house and smells like her housecoats. What more can you ask for?
Bobby Judy's Nut Cake:
5 cups flour
2 egg yolks
2 ounces of yeast
5 tablespoons sugar
3 sticks of margarine
4 egg whites
1/2 pound of ground nuts
juice of one lemon
1 cup sugar
1 grated lemon peel
For the dough: Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low until all the ingredients come together to form a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
For the filling: Beat the four egg whites until they make a snow. Fold in the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Allow the dough to come to room temperature.
On a flour covered counter top, roll out the dough into a large rectangle.
Lay the dough on a clean dish towel.
Spread the filling on top of the dough.
Use the dish towel to roll up the dough and filling, jelly roll style.
Transfer to a parchment lined rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Allow the cake to cool and wrap it in foil to keep it fresh.
Best if stored in a Ziploc bag.
Does not need to be refrigerated.
*Except once. Early on in my marriage, I showed up at her house wearing a beret and she said, "yoy, that's an unattractive hat, it doesn't show off your beautiful face?" Was I insulted? Maybe a little. But she immediately ushered me out the door to a fancy hat store on "the avenue" so who was I to complain?
To my fellow sisters-in-mommying,
Happy Mother's Day!
May your day be filled with
hugs, kisses and crumbs - homemade or otherwise!
Hard to believe it's been a whole year
since I wrote this letter last Mother's Day.
Time really does fly - treasure every moment and every smile.
Have a wonderful day!
This was really a post for this past Friday but somehow the time slipped away and it never got done.
I haven't posted anything this past week. I have been spending a lot of time sitting and thinking about Ayelet Galena, a"h and have been debating whether adding one more voice to the many blog postings about Ayelet was something that I wanted to do and whether I thought I could truly add something helpful or whether it would be for my own sanity. I am still not sure of that answer, but I do think it is something that I need to do, but I can't do it yet. I feel the need to sit and think about her alone, by myself, before I can put into words how following her story, dailyhas impacted me as a person, a wife and mostly, as a mother. And as much as I want to do that right now, I have to do it late at night, when the kids are sleeping and not needing me at that moment.
But at this moment, my almost two year old asked for chocolate cupcakes for a Shabbos dessert and I looked at her sweet face and even though I haven't yet cooked for Shabbos and I need to be in school today at 12:30pm, I had to bake these cupcakes. I needed to. How could I not? It's such a simple request from a little child.
So we made these cupcakes this morning, in honor of this coming Shabbos, which is called Shabbos Shira. Shira, in Hebrew, means sing. And what makes me feel more like singing than chocolate cupcakes? Not much.
I have never really enjoyed any of the recipes that I have for plain chocolate cupcakes or cake. Two google seconds later I have my recipe from a blog called MealMakeoverMoms.Their tag line, Cooking Up Healthy Meals With Kid Appeal, sounded good to me so I went for it. These moms have a recipe for Berry Good Chocolate Cupcakes. Great, I'm in. Except I didn't have any blueberries in the house and apparently a major part of this recipe is the blueberries. But blueberries are fruit and so is apple(sauce), so I felt like I could make the substitute and all would be okay. And it was. These cupcakes came out very nice, and without any appley-taste as a giveaway. A little Duncan Hines frosting on top and we were golden.
Here is my recipe, adapted a little (subbing in the applesauce, a little more flour and some extra cocoa and chocolate chips, because you can't really go wrong with extra chocolate.)
Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes. Yum.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine the sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, soymilk and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and combine until just mixed. Divide the batter evenly into a 12 cup cupcake tin. Bake for 20 minutes and check with a toothpick to be sure they are done. The toothpick does not need to come out clean, sticky crumbs are okay.
Go for the store bought, it's Friday afternoon. I did.
Store in an airtight container and serve for dessert on Shabbos.
Watch as everyone smiles.
To my Sisters-in-Mommying,
I usually get two kinds of comments from other mommies about this blog -
"I made your project with my kids, we had so much fun!"
"You make me feel like an inadequate mother".
The first comment can make my week.
The second, makes me weep.
The last thing in the world I would ever want to do is to make another mother feel like she is not all that. Because she is all that - and more.
"Trust me, a crafty mommy blogger does not a perfect mommy make."
Recently, several people have asked me how I have time for everything - cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, arts and crafts and everything else that goes along with being the CFO of a family.
And this is what I tell them: I don't. I don't time have for it all, ever. I don't even think it's possible.
For example, my kids think dressers are there for climbing on because their clothes are never in the drawers. We live out of laundry baskets and my children think it's normal to go down to the laundry room to get a clean pair of underwear in the morning.
Everyone has to prioritize - and because I have been blessed with a very generous and understanding husband, I am able to make time for mod-podging mailboxes and baking from scratch and things that should be on the bottom of my to-do list instead of at the top.
The chores will get done - eventually. But the kids are only small once, and that is something I try to remember everyday.
"...you are the only one who knows what kind of shirt makes their necks scratchy..."
My prime motivation for blogging is to amuse myself. I don't have a lot of downtime, but pre-baby, I was once a paid writer and editor and I like to think that I can still, to borrow a phrase from an old work friend, bang something out. And my kids like the blog too, they like to look back and see all the fun things we did, and they especially like looking at the things we bake. They're always hungry.
Listen, some mommies go to work, and some stay home.
Some mommies bake cookies and some buy them.
Some mommies vacuum by themselves and some have help.
And some mommies grow tomatoes and some like to open a can.
But ultimately it makes no difference because YOU are the only one who knows how to kiss those kids goodnight, and you are the only one who knows what kind of shirt makes their necks scratchy and the only one who knows how to scramble their eggs and mix their drinks. (Ahh, a mixed drink. Don't you wish someone would bring you a mixed drink right about now? I do. With a little umbrella.)
My point is this: Whether or not you do projects from scratch, you plop your kids down with a bucket of paper, scissors and glue and leave them to their own devices, or if you don't know which end of the gluestick is up, you are a fantastic, dedicated mommy - and the perfect fit for your family.
And if by keeping myself sane by writing, I can inspire another mommy, in even the tiniest way, to break out the finger paints or maybe even just the crayons on a day when she would rather not, then I feel I have accomplished my mission of helping a fellow mommy for the day. And that's what it's all about in the end - being the mommy your kids need, and being the friend that the harried mom next door needs, because who knows, tomorrow you might (probably) be the harried mom next door.
Wishing you a Mother's Day filled with love, cards made from crayons and stickers and of course, crumbs in your bed.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)