Thursday, November 11, 2010

Small Successes, vol. 3: Food Flashback, Morning Muffins, and an epic fail

This week I was hit with a most unpleasant stomach bug, and even though it only lasted for 24 hours, it put me behind in chores and errands and such, so my week wasn't as productive as I would have liked. I almost skipped Small Successes for this week, but I figured, hey, I'm sure I can come up with something.

1. As I was browsing through some recent photos on my computer, I came across this one:

For a minute or so I couldn't remember why in the world I took a photo of an ordinary-looking weeknight meal, but then it hit me: This was to be my FIRST Small Successes post, but I didn't get around to it that week and it slipped from my memory.

I had some leftover roasted sweet potatoes and "regular" potatoes in my refrigerator waiting for me to figure out how in the heck we would ever eat all of them. Meanwhile about a week before, I had picked up some of the last fresh green beans of the season at the farmers' market, and if I didn't cook them soon they would be thrown out. I scoured the Internet for ideas, and found an obscure recipe for green beans and sweet potatoes cooked with Canadian bacon, and after looking it over I remembered some local free-range meat I had in my freezer. I honestly couldn't tell you where I got the recipe from, because I didn't save it and I didn't really make that particular dish, but at least it helped me with my dilemma.

I ended up putting some butter and margarine and a teensy bit of milk (not too much, since Moe is allergic) in the potatoes, as well as some cinnamon and honey, and creaming it up with the electric mixer. I fried the Canadian bacon in a skillet, steamed the green beans slightly in the microwave, and sauteed them in the drippings.

Want to know the "Success" part? Moe, my pickiest eater, liked it and even asked me to cook green beans for him on his birthday.

2. Monday was a particularly successful day--after dropping the kids off at school I stopped at Target for some miscellaneous clothing I had been meaning to get for a while, gave the dog a long-overdue bath (a small success in itself), and after doing some light housework and working at the parish preschool, I had a great session with my Religious Education class in which the kids learned about the mysteries of the Rosary. Afterward was one of the last activities that Larry's confirmation team needed to attend before receiving the Sacrament (another success--just some homework and a retreat to the National Shrine in Washington is all that he needs to do),which was a beautiful and moving ecumenical service in the Church full of beautiful singing and prayer.

It was after the service, as everyone was leaving, when the bug hit. On the way back to the car I ended up leaving Father R. a present on the grass in front of the parish hall--epic fail. Talk about a lesson in suffering AND humility.

3. For Veteran's day, the boys' school hosted their annual "Donuts with Dads" party, when fathers come with their children for some morning donuts before the kids start their day. Since Moe is allergic to most donuts, and the only sweet confection we had in the house was Halloween candy (WHY OH WHY did I buy the gi-normous bag of assorted candy from Costco??) I decided to make him some banana muffins. This morning I got up early and resisted the temptation to sit at my computer with my coffee for a half hour like I usually do to make them. I have a wonderful recipe that was given to me years ago by my friend Renee', which I've adapted only slightly:

4 very ripe bananas

1 cup of sugar

1 stick of margarine

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

I mash the banana first, then cream together the margarine, sugar, and "egg." Today just for fun (and because my bananas weren't quite ripe enough) I replaced half the margarine with butter. After I mix all of these ingredients together I add the flour, baking soda, and salt. I fill a dozen or so greased muffin cups about 2/3 full, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

When Renee' first gave me this recipe, we were trying to go gluten-free for Moe because his tests were showing an allergy to wheat. (When his reactions got worse after using various gluten-free flours and products, we gave that up. Turns out he's not allergic to wheat.) The recipe called for Bob's Red Mill gluten free All Purpose Baking Mix, and I tried it; they were surprisingly good even without regular flour. They are much tastier with real flour though; I wonder how amazing they would be using all butter and real egg?

Go on over to Faith & Family Live for Danielle's latest Small Successes post. She hasn't been feeling well either this week; it looks like I'm in good company.

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