28 February 2009

weekend recipes: this is why you're fat edition

So have you all seen the website This Is Why You're Fat? It's simply a collection of photos of some of the most unhealthy foods known to humankind, most of which have been deep-fried. It's equal parts fascinating and revolting.

It inspired a weekend recipes post, though, in which I'm going to share a few of the reasons why I'll never be a size six again: foods that are terrifically fattening and unhealthy, but, to me, deliciously irresistible. If you know me at all you'll be unsurprised to learn that they're all chocolaty.

The first is my current obsession, homemade chocolate peanut butter cups. They're pretty easy to make, and incredibly difficult not to eat all in one sitting. Way, way better than Reese's. Oh, but a word of advice: if you think this will be a fun project to do with the kiddos, you're wrong, unless you think chocolate messes and sticky hands are fun.

Next up, homemade peppermint patties, which I made for Christmas gifts this year. Not as easy as the peanut butter cups (figuring out how to coat the patties in chocolate without making a mess was a little tough) but very tasty anyway.

Next we have chocolate truffles, which are very easy to make, fun to decorate, and actually not a bad candy project for kids. I think I've done these for Christmas presents as well. And do I need to mention how delicious they are? I'm sure you can imagine.

Lastly, another recipe that's become a favorite around our house: the best chocolate pudding. I will never make chocolate pudding from a box again. I first made this as the filling for a chocolate cream pie over Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit. Since then I've made it a few times just to eat plain, and it's remained good despite various improvisations on my part (using skim milk, part soy milk, cocoa powder instead of bar chocolate, brown instead of white sugar). I've never used a double boiler to make it, and I've never strained it, and it's still one of the finest desserts I've made.

So there you have it, some of my favoritest unhealthy foods. What are yours?

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27 February 2009

friday photos: january edition

It's been a while since I posted any Friday photos. I mentioned before that our camera had been broken for a while, and it also has some crazy issues with the image quality, so I don't actually have very many photos from the last few months that are both in focus and in realistic colors all at once. So there are not many photos here representing January, but at least there are a few good ones.

I made a hat for Evan. It's supposed to be a crab, but he wouldn't let me round out the top, so it's a square crab. Or, alternately, just some kind of square red monster with beady eyes and claws.


We've done a lot of sledding this winter; the weather has been just perfect for it. Greg and James at one of our favorite sledding hills:

James' birthday occurred during my not-posting phase, and while I did manage to write the annual birthday post, I didn't post many photos. So here are a few extra birthday moments.

First, James putting together the Lego ship he got from Grandma Kathy and Papa. (SO! EXCITING!)


With the finished craft (for a moment there I was almost disappointed with myself for not remembering the name, until I remembered that I don't really care), which he put together all by himself:


One of the treats we had instead of a real birthday cake was a birthday sundae. Candlelight is really not adequate to illuminate the staggering amounts of sugar on top of the ice cream in that bowl. It was truly impressive. And naturally he ate every bite.


The photos don't show it well enough, but it was a pretty good month.

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25 February 2009

catching up

Looking back through my recent posts, I realized that I haven't written much about our lives in a while, so I thought I'd write a brief (though probably not very brief) post about what we've been doing over the last couple of months.

I'll start with Christmas. I wrote about our ridiculous holiday travel experiences, but then completely neglected to write about our actual vacation. We were at Greg's parents' house for about ten days, and it was wonderful to spend so much time with his family after a full year without seeing most of them. We did all the usual holiday stuff -- played games, watched movies, lazed around, ate a LOT -- but probably the most remarkable thing about the vacation was snow. Snow! In the Pacific Northwest! As someone born and bred in upstate New York, spending seven Christmases in green, snow-free Washington state never felt quite like Christmas. But the Pacific Northwest got hit with some unusual weather this winter (luckily, not affecting our travel on that end at all), and we were able to play in the snow, to build snowmen and have snowball fights and go sledding in a place with real hills.

It's always hard to say goodbye to Greg's family, knowing we won't see them again for a long time, but this year we're hoping to visit again in the summer, for the first time in three years, thanks to the travel vouchers and frequent flier miles the airline gave us after all the trouble we had. I didn't realize how long it had been since we'd been to Washington in the summer until the boys and I were watching an episode of Blue Planet about tidal areas, and James, when asked, told me he can't remember exploring tide pools in Washington. I had to stop and think that the last time we were there, he was four, so he probably wouldn't remember much about it. Hopefully that will change this summer.

I say hopefully, because the biggest thing going on with us lately is that Greg is in the final stages of writing his dissertation, really pushing to finish it within a month or two, so by the time summer rolls around, hopefully Dr. Schmidt will be employed. And hopefully whoever employs him will be willing to give him a little vacation time over the summer. We could all use a vacation -- with Greg trying to finish, he's working ridiculously long hours, and we don't see him nearly enough. I've been feeling lonely and overworked on the domestic front, and the boys are even losing out on weekend playtime since Greg is going in to work most Sundays. To give you an idea of how things are, today is Wednesday and James hasn't seen Greg since Sunday. We'll all be glad when graduate school is over and done with.

James is still enjoying first grade, as much as he can enjoy doing a bunch of work that's too easy for him. He brought home another perfect report card a couple of weeks ago. Evan and I are going to more community classes for preschoolers, and we're looking into real preschool for the fall. Last week was winter break, in which the boys and I spent waaaay too much quality time together, which made me incredibly grateful for public schools and birth control.

There's not much else to tell -- we're all healthy (most of the time), we're all content. Pretty boring sometimes, but nothing to complain about.

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24 February 2009

oh, right, i have a blog.

Hello, blog readers. You may not have noticed, but I haven't blogged in a while. I don't really have a good reason or even a decent excuse for not blogging. When I tried to pull the "my camera is broken" excuse on my sister, she was quick to point out that words can actually be posted on a blog without accompanying photos. And now that Greg has fixed the camera, I can't even use that weak excuse anymore.

So I guess it's back to blogging, if I can remember how to do this. I'll ease back into it by posting a video. Evan has been composing adorable zombie songs all morning, so I'll share the best one I managed to catch on video.

video

That's all for now, but I'm hoping to return to regular blogging, so I'll be back soon!

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