Nerd Night: Banana Pudding Bars (and bonus mom-ery)

Nerd Night was on hiatus for a few weeks (Easter and other scheduling issues), and lo, there was much sadness across the land. “Why aren’t you baking us delicious sugary things?” lamented my spawn. It was tragic, truly.

Sometimes I get a wild hair about a certain kind of recipe, and other times a recipe just sort… suggests itself to me. Like, two weeks ago, Nilla Wafers were the Penny Item the day I went grocery shopping, so I ended up with a box of those. And then a week ago, Jello Pudding mixes were B1G1. So I figured I’d make a good ol’ southern banana pudding, but of course both of my children actually don’t like banana pudding because “the texture is weird with pudding and chunks all together,” so I found this recipe for banana pudding bars, instead. If you look at their photo, and then look at mine, you’ll see that mine don’t look anything like theirs, for some reason.

banana-pudding-bars

Why? I have no idea. I made the recipe as directed save for three minor changes: 1) I used the entire box of Nilla Wafers (and a little extra butter) for the crust, because what was I going to do with extra Nilla Wafers?, 2) instead of two eggs, I used one egg and one banana (more banana flavor = more betterer), and 3) I added extra white chocolate chips because yum. Also, the recipe says to bake the whole thing for 10-12 minutes (after the crust pre-bake) and that is a DIRTY LYING LIE, because I ended up baking it for… at least 30 minutes. Maybe 35. I think that was just a typo, honestly.

The children report these were “dense and banana-y and delicious.” (They should be, as one pan contains 3+ sticks of butter.) Monkey also added his highest praise of “The texture is very pleasing.”

Now here’s something that has nothing at all to do with baking: (more…)

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It’s all about moderation

I mentioned that I’ve been making bread again, right? The thing about homemade bread is that… then you have a lot of bread lying around. Weird how that works. And my first few batches of homemade sourdough didn’t rise quite as much as I wanted them to, plus they weren’t terribly sour, which means they were excellent for things like toast but not so much for things like sandwiches. You know what else homemade, dense bread like that is great for? Overnight French toast.

If you’ve never made this before, go make this overnight bananas foster French toast immediately. And look, I’m not gonna lie… I made this for my kids for dinner, because my children need more calories shoved down their gullets, but this is not health food. (I made it with homemade wheat bread so I’m okay with it.) Just don’t think about it too hard; it has BANANAS which are HEALTHY.

Me serving my kids French toast for dinner: Questionable parenting. Me trying to help a reader grappling with sensitive teenage identity issues: Hopefully better parenting, but I guess only time will tell. And I feel like balancing some compassion and understanding with carbs has its place, too.

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Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’…

I feel like we are busy all the time and there are a million things happening at once AND YET I am also somehow getting nothing done. This is… probably not good. Some of it is under my control and some of it is genuinely not, but even the stuff I can control is often being replaced by other, perhaps less pressing, things. Because I’m a dumbass.

EXAMPLE 1
Thought: “Oh, I should really work on revising my resume.”
Action: Revising my resume.
Action: Spend a week cultivating my own sourdough starter, commence various baking experiments, throw away a few loaves, eventually produce decent sandwich bread for my family.

EXAMPLE 2
Thought: “Right, we have all those things to schedule this summer. I should get on that.”
Action: Scheduling those things.
Action: Scheduling things for the 300 volunteer committees I am somehow serving on, as well as finally submitting some receipts for reimbursement because a year ago I bought some candy for the concessions stand to sell and I just remembered.

So basically I am about a year behind on… stuff… and in the meantime MAH BAYBEE is graduating in less than two months and MAH OTHER BAYBEE is also doing non-baby things and I am verklempt. So! A few recent snippets: (more…)

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Some things just suck

I’ve been whining about our unfinished bathroom for… several weeks, at least, by now. What a mess! What an inconvenience! A first world problem, to be sure, but ugh. So annoying. And I’ve been trying really, really hard to gain some perspective on this, because it’s not that big of a deal.

The good news is that today we have a mirror! Not that I haven’t ABSOLUTELY LOVED Monkey coming downstairs every day with rumpled hair after his shower—soliloquizing on how maybe no one has noticed, but their bathroom STILL DOESN’T HAVE A MIRROR—to grump his way into my office bathroom and make himself presentable. I thought today the mirror and frame and remaining finish work was going to be completed, but HAHAHA of course not. The vanity needs some final touches that involve something called a “finishing kit” which is on backorder. Still: progress.

The bad news is that, much as you should never pray for patience, you should never sit around telling yourself to get a grip and get some perspective, this isn’t really a huge issue, because then surely life will hand you something harder. Nearly 18 years into this parenting gig, and I still haven’t figured out how to keep my kids’ hearts from being broken. I’m, like, a perpetually unfinished bathroom. SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR.

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Nerd Night: Easter Whoopie Pies

For two weeks in a row, now, there hasn’t been Nerd Night. This would be a Major Crisis, but fortunately yesterday (for Easter) we found ourselves at a gathering that included most of the Nerd Night crew. So: no official game, but at least the kids got to hang out together. Also, I baked, because it seemed like the thing to do.

Specifically, I made two kinds of whoopie pies, because whoopie pies are a pain in the butt, but hey, it was Easter, after all.

whoopie-pies

In case you want to make your own, the lower image is the traditional chocolate version with no changes, and then the top ones are these lime-filled ones, though I added some ground ginger to the batter, too. (I added two teaspoons and it wasn’t enough to be noticeable in the final product. I’d go at least a tablespoon, next time.)

We ate, drank, and were merry. I brought two dozen pies to the party and they all got eaten. It was a good day.

(Did I hide 2 chocolate ones in the back of the fridge and put them in the kids’ lunches today? Maaaaaaaaaybe.)

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So close, and yet so far

Greetings from Day 17 of our 5-day bathroom remodel. HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA. HAAAAAAA. HA. Ahem.

It was the vanity, you see. Not vanity like hubris sort of vanity, but the physical cabinet/counter/sink thingie, and it was backordered, and so we had to wait. I mean, let’s pretend that’s why, and forget about the tiling and retiling and the third time the tile got done, finally. Because the tile looks great! The floor is lovely! The shower is complete! And we even have a working toilet! Let’s ignore the antibacterial soap pump on the edge of the tub because we have no sink. In fact, I’m pretty sure my kids are ignoring it, so why not?

Also let us not speak of the day the painters came and swore it was “all done” and later I found giant swaths of missing paint. “Sometimes when you’re painting a lot you just get tunnel vision,” said our contractor.

“Or complete blindness?” I suggested, looking for a more reasonable explanation. I mean, I do a fair amount of painting for someone who isn’t a painter. (I actually love to paint. It’s the one home improvement task I totally enjoy.) Never in the history of my painting various rooms in various homes have I ever packed up my brushes and rollers with a triumphant, “DONE!” only to discover that I’d missed huge patches of walls. Silly me, I figured if you PAINT FOR A LIVING that’s the sort of thing which… wouldn’t happen. Obviously I do not understand the grueling reality of having to use your eyeballs to survey your professional work.

It’s possible that a wee bit of bitterness is starting to set in. (more…)

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In lieu of Nerd Night goodies…

… all I have for you today is this. (There was no Nerd Night this weekend, alas.)

Monkey began texting me about some injustice in class, but it quickly devolved into the following. And for the record, this went on for quite a while even after this. It’s a good thing I’m fond of that kid.

monkey-fish-puns

(Eventually I told him I had to go. He responded, “Sea you later! I’ll reef you abalone now.” Internet, HOW DO WE TEACH HIM TO USE HIS POWERS FOR GOOD?)

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Blood, sweat, and tears. Mostly blood.

“Hey Mir,” you say, because you think it’s funny by now, “is your bathroom renovation done?”

“Ha!” I reply. “HahahaHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” I howl, and eventually you run in the other direction because I am a little deranged at this point, and frankly, scary.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I find Snapchat useful for staying connected to Chickadee, but there was something immensely satisfying about sending her this snap yesterday, childish though it may have been. (Listen, I was told the drywall guy was coming first thing, then when I inquired around 11 as to what was going on, I was told he’d be coming at 2. I worked out and got into the shower at 1 sharp, and of course my doorbell rang at 1:05. The dogs went ballistic and I answered my door in my robe in the middle of the day like some sort of dilettante.)

So, no, BUT THANKS FOR ASKING, the bathroom isn’t done. We’re closer, though. The tiling is complete (the third time was the charm, it turns out, though the fact that they had to undo/redo some of the tile twice is something I want you to bear in mind if I am murdered any time soon), so we have a floor and a shower and a toilet, and today the painters are coming, which THEORETICALLY means that tomorrow we can actually start using the bathroom again, provided that no one is too bothered by the fact that we don’t yet have a sink. (The vanity was backordered, apparently. Hilarious, because we literally ordered the cheapest possible option and standard everything. Either the whole world is as cheap as we are, or something else is going on. Best not to ponder.)

Bearing in mind that my role in this renovation is limited to shopping—perhaps my favorite sport—and very little actual physical labor, it may be surprising to learn that I am sustaining reno-related injuries, but I’ve always been an over-achiever. (more…)

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I bet my Monday was Monday-er than yours

Yesterday was rife with complaints about the time change and how Monday is so completely awful and now it’s Monday-plus-a-time-change and EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. I was busy bathroom-wrangling, or rather, trying to wrangle what’s happening with the bathroom and the contractors and when oh when might we have a working bathroom up there… does anyone know? Plus there was the usual work stuff and getting the kids back to school stuff and some other stuff and I remember thinking, yesterday afternoon, that it was a pretty terrible day and I would be very glad once it was over.

But then it got worse, which was—oddly enough—also when it got better. Sometimes you just need a reminder about what really matters, I guess. (At least I do.)

You can read more about it over at Alpha Mom, though I’ll go ahead and give you the spoiler: Everyone’s fine. And, as my dad always says: Never a dull moment.

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Nerd Night: Ginger-Lime Banana Cake

Go ahead. ASK ME IF THE BATHROOM IS DONE. Or don’t, if you don’t want to see me weep. (Long story short: The tile guy has been working SO HARD, and he is so nice and so earnest and he WORKED ON SATURDAY and I hate that we had to point out that the floor is uneven and the lines in the shower are not plumb. He is now upstairs grinding out the tile and presumably fantasizing about my untimely death.)

Anyway. The bathroom is a special kind of sadness, right now. So I baked cookies one day and then this cake the next day, because sugar and flour fixes everything, right? I hope so. I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas and then I had a vision of a slightly spicy, tangy, banana-y cake. I ended up with this:

banana-lime-cake-full

My hopes were not entirely realized, which I’ll get to in a minute, but it was cake and people ate it, plus the helpful feedback I received informed the recipe tweaks that hopefully will make it into something closer to what I’d wanted in the first place. And either way, it’s still better than uneven tile in your bathroom, so there’s that. (more…)

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