Life and a new pet.

It’s been a while. Work has been exceptionally busy at times. There was a stretch for a few weeks where I wasn’t getting home until well after 6pm. The busy pace is good but when it slows down it seems to really slow down. Like, snail’s pace slow. So slow that I’ve gone out for mid-day runs during the week.

My running comeback has been slow. I still struggle at times with shin splints and am pretty convinced it’s shoe related but just haven’t found the time to get new shoes. I’ve been wearing an older pair which is much better than my current new-ish pair but it’s not ideal. Unfortunately the old shoe isn’t made anymore, I don’t think, so I will have to spend some time trying on new brands and well, there just isn’t enough time right now.

Remember that sourdough starter? Well it’s still going! I’ve made several loaves of bread and have figured out what works and what doesn’t but making just bread all the time is getting boring.  Husband found me a recipe for saltine crackers.

  
They were so good, they rocked!! 😉

Yesterday I tried the Joy of Cooking’s recipe for pretzels. A little bit time consuming and laborious but well worth the final product.


We also have a new pet.

A mouse.

IMG_1909

Have I mentioned we also have a snake? He’s a ball python. We’ve had him for about 10 years now. My husband rescued him from his nephew.  He eats live mice.  Daughter is coming to the age where she understands that the snake eats and what he eats is live mice. Well one day over a month ago, she was particularly smitten with one particular mouse. She begged her daddy not to feed him to the snake.

When I got home from work that night, it was late and the kids were already in bed.  I was surprised to see that there was a mouse still alive.  Husband told me that daughter wanted to keep it, so if she woke up the next morning and still asked about the mouse, he would let her keep it.  First thing the next morning, she woke up and asked him if he saved the mouse.  How could he refuse her? Late that day, the $2.99 mouse was living in a swanky one bedroom apartment worth $75.00.  Almost two months later, he is alive and well and thriving.  Daughter takes excellent care of him.  She cleans out his cage every 2 weeks when the stink gets bad, she is responsible for feeding him and making sure he has enough water.  She has turned into a wonderful mouse mother.

IMG_1895IMG_1898IMG_1915

This mother couldn’t be more proud.

The mouse’s name is Speck.  Even the cat is tolerating him.

A Breadmaker?

Further to my post earlier this week, that first batch of dough I tried to rise in the refrigerator did absolutely nothing. 

Nada. 

No rising. 

I believe it had something to do with my starter. While there were loads of bubbles that I thought were yeast, the mixture wasn’t doubling. So I fed it some more and the next day magic happened. My starter doubled in size and I tried again. 

This time though I didn’t rise the dough in the refrigerator. I instead left it in the oven all day and husband looked in on it. By the time I got home from work, the dough had risen to double and I made some bread. 

 
Apart from it being slightly under-salted and having an extra crispy crust, it was damn fine bread!! 

From Scratch

I couldn’t let the day pass without writing.

It’s February 29!

Happy Leap Day/Year everyone!

There has been so much I wanted to write about but getting my thoughts down has been hard.  It’s been very busy at work and by the time I get home and see my kids, eat dinner and relax, it is time for bed.  I’ve been running about once a week which isn’t nearly enough and that has been hard to deal with as well. I just haven’t been motivated to run lately and it hasn’t helped that I’ve been on-again off-again having issues with my calf.  Coming home late from work also means there’s no time to run.  The kids barely see me during the week as it is, so it’s not like I can arrive home and immediately turn around and leave for a run. Needless to say, mommy guilt is at an all-time high. 

I have also been preoccupied lately with being an assessor for medical school admissions.  After doing a file review of 30 applicants, I also took part in the in-person interview. I’m not sure who was more nervous, me or the applicant!  Thinking back to my own medical school interview, it was an hour long while I sat across from four very important looking people. Daunting indeed. It was interesting being on the other side of the table. It was more a privilege than anything else. I felt like I was a member of a very important club and it felt good to be able to play a small role in choosing our future physicians. 

Husband and I have been watching a lot of Netflix recently.  We just watched a documentary called “Cooked” and it was a fascinating look at how we as humans approach food.  One of the episodes was called “Air” and it was a look at the art (and science) behind bread.  Did you know that if you mixed water and flour and left it to the air that something magical would happen?  You can make your own yeast sourdough starter!  You don’t need anything else but time and patience.  There are yeast spores in the flour and in the air, all ready to start doing their thing.  Ever the scientist, I decided to give it a try.

Day 1. A boring paste of flour and water. IMG_1336
Day 2. Something is happening. Those bubbles are CO2 being formed by yeast. After adding more flour and water to feed the fledgling yeast 

Day 3.  More feeding of flour and water. More magic. Now it’s starting to smell a bit funky, which I hear is a good thing.

  

Day 4 – today. Sour and pungent smell. It is almost ready. 

 
When I got home tonight I decided it was time to try out some bread making. Now the dough is rising for the next 12 hours (sourdough) and for the record had I known this would take this long to make one loaf of bread I would have just gone out to the bakery and bought one. 

😉

Messages

With Valentine’s Day coming up, the older two kids have been working on their cards for their classmates.  Daughter got it in her head that I have to make heart-shaped cookies for her entire class.  She has reminded me every day this week.  This morning I received another reminder in the form of a note. She wrote it so I wouldn’t forget to go to the local Bulk Barn and look for a cookie cutter in the shape of a heart.

photo 1(1)Her brother then decided he had to write me a note as well (keep in mind this all went down while I was struggling to get their coats and boots on as we were running late, again!).  He will be 4 years old in April and has only been drawing consistently for a few months.
photo 2(5)

This is only the second smiley face he’s drawn and I am completely in love with it.

So now I must do my duty and get everything I need to make vanilla cookies tonight.

 

Confessions.

Day 13. National Blog Posting Month.

I love cake. I just had two pieces of my mother’s birthday cake.  I could easily eat more. It looked pretty much exactly like this but with pink frosting along the edges.

I love chocolate. A few nights ago, I raided my kids’ Hallowe’en stash and consumed 6 mini chocolate bars (Crispy Crunch, Wunderbar, and Caramilk) in about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

I love coffee.  I make a coffee first thing in the morning, often before I kiss the kids “Good Morning”.  I am particularly in love with the new Tim Horton’s K-cups.  Oh-My-God.  Tastes just like it came from the shop!!

I spend entirely too much time browsing message boards.  I post sometimes, more often than I should, usually out of sheer boredom and for entertainment. I’d be far better off reading a damn book!

I’ve been streaming episodes of Alias on Netflix recently.  I’ll watch two, maybe three episodes at a time and I wonder why my Internet bandwidth is increasing?  I also have a crush on its star – Jennifer Garner.

In the middle of the night, when the baby starts to wake up, I put the soother back in his mouth hoping he’ll sleep for another cycle (ie 45 minutes).  Most of the time, it works, and I get an extra hour.

Part of the reason why I am blogging every day this month is to get to 100 followers.  ‘Cuz, you know, it’s kind of cool knowing that people are reading (and presumably) liking what I have to say.  It makes it easier to come back to it everyday.

So there you have it, a few confessions today.  Care to share some of yours?

Dr. Mom – Baker!

Baking: a food cooking method using prolonged dry heat acting by convection, rather than by thermal radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones.

I have found a new hobby.  Unfortunately, it’s not going to be good for my figure.

I love to bake.  Muffins and cookies mostly.

I suddenly got the urge just after the New Year to make some muffins.  It was morning, the kids were fed, husband was still in bed sleeping off a hangover and I was bored.  A quick look in the cupboard and there were supplies for muffins – oatmeal muffins.  A healthy choice for the kids, right?

So, with the rugrats secured in the living room playing with their new Christmas toys, I went to work.  One hour later, muffins come out of the oven and children come running into the kitchen smelling the wonderful-ness.  “Mu-mum-mums,” says the toddler.  “Muffins?????”, says the 4-year-old.

Ten minutes later, each kiddo had eaten 2 and I myself had 4.

Success?  I think so!

The only critique of that first batch of oatmeal muffins is that they were a bit dry.  Of course, the kids didn’t care, but I did.

So, a week later, I looked around for another recipe and found one that included applesauce.  Jackpot!!! No more dry muffins. Divine!!

Then I decided to get fancy.  While browsing on Pinterest, I found a recipe for chocolate chip peanut butter muffins.  Seriously?  O-M-G!!!  Of course I had to make them.  They were amazing!  And the kids loved the chocolate chips, of course!

Dare I say I suddenly have a sweet tooth??  Baking is so much fun!!  The kids love it.  The sit on the bar stools in the kitchen and watch me make them.  Daughter insists on licking the spatula.  I used to do the same with my mom.  It’s a wonderful little tradition we are building.

A couple of weeks ago, I made chocolate chip cookies.  They were soooo moist and chewy right out of the oven, but once they cooled they got hard and crumbly.  Still, delicious of course, and the kids loved them.   But I wondered how to make them stay chewy??

Then this past weekend, husband was playing with his new toy, a modular analog synthesizer that I bought him (early 40th birthday present), so it was just me and the kids at 4pm playing upstairs.  We had just had our “tea” and “cookie”, and I was bored.  I asked them if they wanted to make muffins?  Dumb question.  I found some very ripe bananas and decided to make banana chocolate chip muffins.  Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to take a picture.  The kids loved them, even husband was impressed. He came upstairs to the lovely smell of muffins baking in the oven and cheesy alphagetti pasta being made.  I felt like super-mom.  Not only had I occupied the children for two solid hours, I also made them muffins and dinner and had them fed before 6:30pm!

Boo!  Ya!

Have you got any great recipes for muffins and cookies??  Share them, please!!