Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Favorite Things: Spaghetti Sauce

just a quick entry - which I guess is better than no entries. I have a week off work next week (Yay for fall break!) and am planning a variety of decorating projects - so hopefully I'll have enough material for a few weeks of regular posts.

I have tried I don't know how many types of spaghetti sauce. Homemade sauces. Canned sauces. Organic sauces. Restaurant sauces.

I finally found my favorite: Bertolli Vineyard - Fire Roasted Tomato with Cabernet Sauvignon. MMMM. Good.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

I call these cookies the "first thing I did as a teacher that inspired students". During the early days of my student teaching I made the cookies as a reward for the students one day and I had them all begging me for the recipe and they went home and made more cookies.

I made them this morning for Sunday School since we were doing a mini-wedding shower for a couple in our class. They were quite a hit there as well.

So, I have decided to lay out for you the very intricate process of The Great Peanut Butter Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Mix together: 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, and 1 tsp vanilla
  3. Sprinkle Sugar on a large dinner plate.
  4. Roll peanut butter mixture into 1/2"- 1" size balls, then coat the balls lightly in sugar.
  5. Place peanut butter balls on cookie sheet 1/2"-1" apart.
  6. Using a fork press dough balls down lightly in a criss-cross pattern.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly brown.
  8. Allow to cool for one minute - gently flip cookies with spatula and allow to continue to cool (about 10 minutes) until firm enough to handle.

Do be sure to flip the cookie - - it really helps with the texture. I recommend serving with a glass of cold milk.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Things About Which I Worry

Here is a list, in no particular order, of things that I have some worry over concerning this whole single parent international adoption.

1. Absence of a father. I've read the research that says that children in stable single-parent adoptive families are mentally healthier than single-parent broken families - - as in my case there is no "baby daddy" drama to worry about. But, still. There's a mom and a dad for a reason. Coupled with this worry is my lifelong lack of significant male friends. My brothers live in other states. I'm hoping a number of my friends get married in the next few years and I'll just draft their significant others into my "support system". My friends can say something like, "Yes, I'll marry you. If you promise to hang out with Nicole's adopted kids from time to time." I'm sure it won't be a problem.

2. Cultural issues. Culture is HUGE to me. I love knowing my family history and how people lived and the differences in cultures. I don't want my child to lose that connection to his or her biological roots. I'm thankful that most adoptions will require me to be in the birth country for a number of weeks - so that I'll have time to kind of get some "local color" in between signing papers and meeting my child. I want to make sure that I buy some local toys, fabrics, whatever it is they sell. I can also spend a lot of time researching the country during that looooong waiting process after the paperwork is submitted. My plan is to celebrate global holidays (like Christmas) in a way that incorporates the traditions of the child's home country - - as well as to mark the day of any really special national holidays in that country. A lot of websites have discussed using those elementary school "show and tell" days as a chance to talk about the child's birth country. So - there are lots of good ideas - and it's really important to me - so I think it will be ok - - but I'm kind of worried I'll get caught up in the stress of single parenting and go "We're in America. Deal."

2b. Cultural Issues. The "Why do we look so different, mommy?" question and the odd stares from strangers who will wonder if I am my son's/daughter's nanny.

3. Attachment issues. Have you heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder? (RAD) - - - if not, spare yourself. It's scary. But what if this child will NOT attach (form a bond with/trust me)? I don't know.... I don't know if I could deal with that kind of health issue. This is where I rest in God's faithfulness - knowing He will fully equip.

4. Will they resent that they got stuck with me and lost their chance at a mom AND dad? Am I taking away a child's chance at a normal family? In my heart - I know that one parent is better than no parent - - but, still.

5. That I'm going to fall head-over-heels in love with being a mother and adopt like 10 and be crazy broke and we're all going to eat PB&J EVERY DAY. (or - the not so worrisome sides: that I'll adopt ten and we'll all live happily in my little Inn where the older kids help out and the children run happily around while I'm able to "work from home" and be with them and life is just perfect ;-) )

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes. Yet another southern delicacy that I've never had the pleasure of enjoying before. A scene of the movie of the same name was even filmed in my home town (not that I've seen the movie either...) The scene had something to do with a fender bender in a grocery store parking lot or something. Anywho.

I got a green tomato in my CSA box the other week and figured I'd try the frying thing. They turned out pretty good - in the future I'd add more spices to the flour mixture and slice the tomatoes thinner.

Here's what I did:

You need three bowls. In one - mix 1/2 cup flour, salt, and peeper. In the second beat one egg. In the third crush half a pack of saltine crackers.

Heat a couple tablespoons each of olive oil and butter in a skillet.

Slice a green tomato.

Dip the tomato in the egg, then flour, then egg, then crackers. Repeat with each slice.

Fry the tomato in the oil/butter mixture until golden brown on each side - about five minutes.

Serve hot!