Childhood Is Rough

This post got me thinking. Go there first and read the first couple paragraphs (at least), then come back. (Wow, that sounded bossy.)

I really am not one of those people that think childhood is so idyllic. Innocent, yes. Idyllic? Do you remember your childhood? Not just the highlights, do you actually remember how it felt to be 5, 8, 11 years old? Take a minute if you must.

Don't you remember being confused by certain "grown-up" things? Don't you remember desperately longing to be just one year older? Don't you remember being so frustrated when grown-ups would tell you "You'll understand later," or "Because I said so," or various other phrases used when you don't know how to explain the world to someone with no experience? Don't you remember how much work it was just to figure out how the world works?

I think most individuals have forgotten exactly how it felt to be a child by the time they have children themselves, which isn't anyone's fault. You don't have the same brain that you did back then. However, I think that it is very important to try to remember how difficult growing up is when you are raising your own children; it brings a dimension of empathy to the process. It makes it a little easier to be patient and kind and understanding when you remember your own frustrations and fears and joys as a child. Rather than thinking, "You don't know how easy you have it, you don't have any stress or anything to worry about," take a minute and remember your own silly (now they seem silly) fears and anxieties as a child. Life is never easy. Not even when you are two years old.


Choco-Pom Oatmeal Cookies

All it took to get me experimenting was a mention about a remembered cookie from Trader Joe's by a friend. The mythical cookies were chocolate-covered pomegranate oatmeal cookies. Considering I had a pomegranate and dark chocolate chips in the pantry.... They are delicious.

I was just reflecting that over the past two months my cooking has improved remarkably. Which isn't to say that I was a bad cook previously, I was just inconsistent. My husband would come home, see what was for dinner, and say "Ex-peeer-iment!" (Proper pronunciation requires a falsetto/vibratto on "-peeer-")

Hint: that was never a compliment.

So what changed? I haven't stopped experimenting and trying new recipes. My problem previously was a focus on an end product, without concentrating on the intervening steps. When you just want something done, but you aren't focusing or enjoying the process, you aren't going enjoy the result, either. That is your deep thought for the day.

So, do you want to know how to make your own fabulous Choco-Pom Oatmeal Cookies?


Choco-Pom Oatmeal Cookies

makes 40 cookies

1 pomegranate
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups old fashioned oats

Separate the seeds of your pomegranate. Melt the chocolate, and stir the pomegranate seeds into the chocolate, coating each seed. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let the chocolate set. This works best if you spread the chocolate coated seeds as thin as possible. Once the chocolate is set, break into the smallest clusters possible.
Heat the oven to 350F.
Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Add eggs and almond extract and beat well. 
Combine flour, soda and salt; add to the egg mixture and mix well.
Stir in the oats, followed by the choco-pomegranate seeds and the pecans.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of batter onto a baking sheet. Bake for 12(ish) minutes until the cookies are a nice golden brown.


Macaron Madness!

I have never bought and consumed a macaron, but they are everywhere on the internet (or were 6 months ago, whatev) and I decided I needed to know if they tasted good or if they were just cute. Especially after BraveTart convinced me that anyone could make a macaron. Well, my first try a few months ago tasted great, but definitely weren't the cute, fussy confection everyone takes pictures of. "Ah well," I thought to myself, "I guess I'm just not the fussy baker type." And then I read "Macarons are for eating."

This is the clarion call to all bakers afraid of fussiness. I got so worked up and inspired reading this that:

Yep. I made macarons this morning. And just to show to any doubters that you too can successfully make macarons (maybe they won't be perfect the first time, but hey...) I would like to show you that I added two more degrees of difficulty to the whole process by 1) not using a stand mixer (I'm actually not sure that I get points for this, since I don't have a stand mixer, and didn't even have a choice in the matter) and 2) allowing my 18-month-old son to "help." Evidence? Sure:

This time, the macarons are a success on all counts. Just moments after taking my artful phone camera photo of the results, I had an incident with a poacher:

Lesson? Go for it. And if it doesn't work, do it again. 


NY Protest

I've been away for so long, and now I actually have something to make me trendy on the interwebs. Maybe.

My 1 1/2 day trip to NYC included a trek to the Brooklyn bridge, where I got stuck for 10 minutes while protesters swept past. So I have breaking news. Except there is no news since I have no idea what's going on. Although I'm sitting a block away in a Starbucks and just watched 6 motorcycle cops and a couple police trucks speed past, so I guess I'll read about it later.

Oh, and this is the first time I'm phone blogging. Enjoy some protest signs!