Culinary adventures in my world = Fail AND Win!

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Apologies for going off-topic here…I just wanted to memorialize this someplace!

Well, I had the day off of work and school today, so mostly today I was a lump.  When Boe is depressed, it brings me down too, so that’s kind of a major uphill battle times two to have to trudge back into equilibrium.  We’re down to our last $5 until Thursday and my car is on fumes, so we are pretty limited food-wise to just what we have in the cupboards and what our imaginations can come up with.

I think I’ve mentioned before that Boe hates cake.  HAAAAAAAAATES cake.  Granted, working 9 years as a birthday party clown will do that to a person, so I think it’s perfectly understandable. Anyway, you read the bit about being broke, right?  Believe it or not, Boe actually craved chocolate cake today…yeah, I was stunned too.  But the broke thing made it a bit of a conundrum.  So I looked up a chocolate cake recipe that got a bunch of good reviews on Allrecipes.com and substituted a bunch of stuff.  The major substitution was using 2 grated tablets of Abuelita (so delicious!) in place of cocoa powder (since we didn’t have any cocoa powder).  I also threw an additional 3 tablespoons of cinnamon into the batter, and doubled the amount of vanilla extract.  Then I poured the whole shebang into a pan, put it into the oven, set the timer, and hoped for the best.

The fail occurred when the timer went off and I pulled the oven rack toward me to poke the cake with a toothpick.  The entire middle was still liquid and sank.  Sigh.  So I put it back into he oven, set the timer for another 15 minutes, and promptly burst into tears.  Boe heard me sniveling in the kitchen and came to check on me…he said that if the texture turned out more like brownies, that was okay, since he loves brownies.  I love that man.

So the timer went off again, and the toothpick came out clean, so I pulled the pan out of the oven.  My heart sank.  It looked like there was a 2-inch border of cake surrounding the sunken crackled center of brownie-textured fail.  We cut into it, and Boe popped the first steaming chunk into his mouth.  His eyebrows shot to his hairline, and he mumbled something around the cake in his mouth.

“Hoby schrp, of, iss z OON.”

“Huh?”

He popped a second chunk of cake/brownie fail into my mouth.  Fail?  How could I ever think that this bliss was fail?  It was moist, dense, incredibly rich, with a hefty cocoa flavor as a base note, vanilla smoothness in the middle notes, and the cinnamon really shining through at the top of the nose.  It’s not sticky-sweet, more like a cross between dark chocolate and semi-sweet.  Unlike most chocolate and cocoa based foods, I didn’t desperately want a glass of water to accompany it.

I am SO going to remember this recipe for future use.

Paperwork started

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Well, we downloaded the paperwork to incorporate in our state.  We have it all filled out and waiting in the mailbox.  Next step: waiting on state bureaucracy to send our official paperwork so we can then send paperwork to the IRS for 501(c)3 designation so contributions become tax-deductible.

 

We have most of the stuffed animals through the wash, the next step on the animals is to personalize them…I have fleece scraps that I’ve cut into squares so that some of the bears will have little miniature blankies.  I need to pick up various appliques to apply to a corner of each blankie.  What I have in mind is a bunch (about a third) of gender-neutral appliques like smiley faces, peace signs, fleurs-de-lis, that sort of thing.  Then about a third of them I want to have boy-themed appliques like footballs, soccer balls, and baseballs, and the rest I want in some girly designs like butterflies, hearts, and dragonflies.

 

Other stuffed animals will have bandannas…again, I’d like to make about a third in gender-neutral colors/designs, a third in more masculine themes, and a third of feminine colors.  Some of the bandannas will have appliques, others will have fringe or that pom-pom trim.  Another group of animals will have little vests or hats or shirts/sweaters.  Although in all honesty I’m not sure how many teddy bear sweaters I can realistically knock out — I’m beginning to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, so not damaging my wrists any more than necessary is kind of important.

 

Finally, one group of stuffed animals will have simple ribbons in various colors.  I learned from an online friend that different textures can provide comfort to different children…my sister liked rubbing a corner of fuzzy blanket while sucking her thumb as a little girl, and my online friend used silky ribbons for self-comfort.  It really drove home how important various textures are for a child to find comfort.

Welcome to Stuffed With Love!

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Is there anything more comforting to a child than a soft stuffed animal to snuggle?

This morning, all that I had on my mind was taking our dog to the park, getting a little bit of housework done, and maybe some swimming.  What actually happened today, well, let’s just say that things were a bit unexpected.

My husband and  I have wanted to adopt children from foster care for several years, but life has a way of getting in the way:  First Boe was finishing his teaching certification, then I became unemployed, then I got a job that required evening and weekend work, then Boe became unemployed, and I’m still 2 years away from my degree.  Because you have to show that you can pay all of your bills without depending on outside sources in order to pass a homestudy, we’re stuck waiting until after I graduate before applying to adopt children from the foster care system.  In the meantime, though…

Boe has been at loose ends lately.  He’s not having any luck finding work as a teacher, he’s burnt out on playing Magic:The Gathering, and he’s just pretty much been in a funk.  He’s been having trouble finding his passion in life.  While we’ve been interested in foster care adoption for a while, he’s pretty much let me take the lead on everything adoption-related.  But today, while we were swimming, he kept talking about how much he wanted to make kids smile and how important a teddy bear was when he was briefly in foster care.  Suddenly,  he insisted on going to a thrift store right now to make a start on Stuffed With Love.  While I perused the books at the thrift store, Boe sidled up next to me with a shopping cart spilling over with stuffed animals…mostly bears, but there were also some rabbits, some dogs, a couple of cats, and a bunch of monkeys.  Boe had picked each of the stuffed animals based on softness and squeezability.  We wound up dropping sixty bucks, carted them home, and we currently have about eight bears in the wash.

While I’m at school tomorrow, Boe will be calling our local social services program for abused and negelected children.  Then we’ll really get Stuffed With Love off the ground!