The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

Honey Sour Cream Waffles

I have come to find out a funny thing.  Something that goes against ALL logic and achieves exactly the opposite of what I thought it would.  I am happier when I make breakfast from scratch for the family in the morning.  I know, right?  I’m not a morning person – I am barely functional before noon.

I found this out quite by accident and due to my poor planning skills.  One night before we went to bed, I realized we were out of milk AND all frozen breakfast pastries.  And bread.  And eggs.  Which meant, “What in the world are the kids going to do for breakfast in the morning?”  I steeled myself to the fact that I would need to make them something . . . which was fueled into an almost panic attack because of my guilt.  And how much I don’t like to get out of bed in the mornings.

I decided I’d let the kids sleep in a little longer than usual (the joys of homeschooling) so I wouldn’t have to get up any earlier in order to quell the guilt.  I made waffles with Krusteaz.  I know, not exactly from scratch, but the only ingredient it called for was water and I hadn’t run out of that.  As I was making breakfast, a strange sensation came over me.  I was happy.  I was excited.  I was loving every minute of being in the kitchen.  What in the world was wrong with me?  I decided to not find out.

That morning I made a deal with the kids.  We do school four days a week so I would make a homemade breakfast two of those four days.  They loved the idea and so did I.

I was at the library and just happened to see the book Waffles From Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan.  The Honey Sour Cream Waffles I’m going to post is an adaptation of her Honey-Yogurt Waffles.

The pictures in this post aren’t the best.  It was a very dark and dreary day.

Honey Sour Cream Waffles

3 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups milk

3/4 cup sour cream (I use fat free)

1/3 cup honey

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat your waffle iron.  If you want to serve the waffles all at once, preheat your oven to 200 degrees and keep the waffles in there until serving time (I use my toaster oven for this).

2.  Melt the butter; reserve.  In a large bowl whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

At this point, I added 2 teaspoons of baking soda.  Luckily I realized my mistake and was able to fish most of it out with my fingers.  Since it only calls for 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon, I thought I’d just “sprinkle” a bit in.  I forgot how big the holes are in the Costco brand cinnamon bottle.  That looks like 1/4 tsp., right?

3.  In another bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, honey eggs and vanilla until very well blended.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Fold in the butter.

4.  Lightly spray the grids of your iron if needed.

5.  Spoon a 1/2 cup of batter onto the grids, spreading the batter evenly.  Close the lid and bake until done.

This recipe really poofs when baking as you can see on my griddle.  Of course, this might have something to do with the fact I added way too much baking soda.

These waffles were an absolute hit!  The batter is a little loose, so the waffles are a tad “floppy” and can be tricky getting off the griddle.  But they’re delicious!!  My son said these are easier to swallow (?) than the Krusteaz waffles I usually make.

That horn in the background?  It’s what I honk out the window when the beagle is barking her fool head off.  She hates that horn.  Hates it!  It gets her attention and she usually shuts up.  I can’t even imagine what the neighbors think.

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The secret to life and one of my trade secrets

It’s no big secret that I love to cook.  I don’t love to bake, so don’t go there.  Baking is so persnickity!  If you think an added ingredient will taste good, you really can’t just throw it in without adjusting everything else or it won’t turn out.  But if you’re cooking?  Just throw it in . . . it all works out.  And I am the queen of throwing things in.

Back to the secret to life.  The secret is two words: browned butter.  I can’t think of a recipe on the face of this earth that wouldn’t benefit from browned butter.  Karly over at Buns in My Oven explains the process of browning butter in her recipe for Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  She has another recipe, Brown Butter Lemon Garlic Pasta, that is probably going to be made tonight in this house.

In her chocolate chip cookie recipe, after the butter is browned she returns it to the refrigerator to let it harden up.  This is the only recipe I’ve ever seen that called for so don’t think you need to re-harden it if you’re using it in other recipes.

Now that I’ve told you the secret to life, I’ll tell you my trade secret.  When making homemade macaroni and cheese, brown the butter.  AND when the butter gets to just a little less brown than you’d like, add garlic salt (replace any salt in your recipe with garlic salt).  The salt will brown with the butter and whoa Nellie!  You’ve got a masterpiece on your hands.

You’re welcome.

**By the way, Karly is also the creator of Hot Bacon Cheese Dip.  I pinned her recipe on Pinterest and it’s been repinned almost 5,000 times.  It is seriously THAT good.**

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Quinoa Quatastrophe

Okee dokee.  The last two days have been two of the most interesting and annoying of my life.  I’ll get to the point and then tell the story.  I had a pretty severe allergic reaction to quinoa.  You heard me right, quinoa.  The wonder food of the universe.  The gluten free answer to prayers.  The key to weight loss!  And I’m allergic to it all.

I have had a few quinoa dishes as it has gained popularity over the last couple of years.  But it has always been at a potluck type of situation.  Since there’s 50 things at a pot luck you want to try, I usually only had a couple of spoonfuls of the quinoa.  Apparently, my system can handle that.  This past Tuesday, I went to Winco and bought some from the bulk food section.  I came home and prepared a Corn and Quinoa Salad.  I highly recommend this recipe . . . different but delicious – I added more than called for red pepper and some celery – yum!  I then proceeded to eat it as if my life depended on it.  Seriously, I had about two cups of it for lunch.  And a bit as a nighttime snack.

About 10:00 that night I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck.  I was falling asleep on the couch!!  I am the quintessential night owl so this was perplexing.  I just wrote it off as not getting much sleep the night before and going at it hard on the treadmill.   I drug myself upstairs and told the kids I was going to bed – they were as shocked as I was.

I woke up at 8:30 the next morning happy that I had gotten so much sleep.  This was going to be a grrrrrrrrrrreat day!  As I was coming to, I realized my skin felt tight.  I have severely dry skin and thought that was the problem.  As I rolled over, I noticed that my chin felt funny.  Like it was moving separately from my face.  I felt it and it felt weird.  I got up, said a hasty good-bye to Tyler, fed the dog and then retreated to the bathroom to get a gander at myself.  *Gulp*  My face was really swollen.  My wrinkles were gone (win) but I looked like I gained 50 pounds overnight (lose).  And my right ear was HUGE.  So gross.  I didn’t know what was going on, but figured whatever it was would benefit from Benadryl.

Wednesday was my Benadryl-knocked-me-on-my-can day, complete with a mid-day 2 hour nap.  Amber and I had an event we had to go to Wednesday night and I knew if I took an evening dose of Benadryl, I couldn’t drive.  Tyler told me to let Austin take us.  Score!!! I took the Benadryl, Austin drove us, I got made fun of by the kids for randomly saying, “That white car,” but we survived the evening.

Earlier that day, I sat on the couch and did some research.  Based on everything I saw, I figured I was having an allergic reaction to the quinoa.  Quinoa has the same acids in it that other foods I have problems with do – namely strawberries and rhubarb.  I also found out that quinoa isn’t actually a grain – technically it’s a type of grass and is more closely related to spinach than a grain.

Then to make my joy complete, I found out it was probably going to get worse before it got better.  And by the next morning (and 11+ hours of sleep), it did.  A website told me to expect “cauliflowering” which is basically your face being covered with whitehead type things.  And to be sure, I woke up with a major case of redness, a face rash and the cauliflowering.  Thankfully, I was able to get right in to my doctor because this HAD TO STOP!  The itchiness was driving me nuts.  Well, that, and I looked like something from a horror flick.

My doctor told me to take Zyrtec twice a day and Zantac twice a day.  Yes, Zantac, the heartburn medicine is also a level 2 histamine blocker!  Who knew?  She also gave me a prescription for a topical steroid cream.  And told me that no family medicine cabinet should be without Zyrtec since it’s a powerful histamine blocker without all the side affects of Benadryl.

I came home and took the meds.  And put on two layers of foundation because just catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror was more than I could handle.  After the Zyrtec/Zantac combo got in my system, I felt immensely better.  And this morning, most of my symptoms are gone.  Once I put on my makeup, no one will be able to tell of the suffering I endured the past two days anything was wrong.

So there you have it.  More information on quinoa than you probably ever wanted.

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That banging sound you hear?

It’s my head against a wall.  Let me back up and explain.

Years and years ago in this homeschooling journey, I found Sonlight Curriculum.  I immediately fell head over heels in love with it.  A literature approach to learning, what else better could there be?  No boring textbooks.  No endless lecturing by teachers (i.e. me).  No busy work workbooks.  Just learning focused around really great stories.

I mean really.  Sarah, Plain and Tall is read during American history.  As is The Red Badge of Courage, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  The entire world is explored in later elementary.  Education via classic literature.  What’s not to love?

When Austin started high school last year, I switched his history over to textbooks.  I got a very good piece of advice from a longtime homeschool mom.  She said that in college, there really isn’t a “literature approach to learning.”  Dangit if she wasn’t right and thus, the switch was made.  I kind of felt bad for Austin when I pulled out a history textbook last year.  He made the switch with no comment.  He still had quite a bit of literature to read, but he was used to it.

Fast forward to this morning.  Austin was starting his history, pointed to his textbook and said to me, “This is the best history I’ve ever read.  For the first time ever I don’t feel like I’m watching paint dry when I read it.”

Well, geeze!  I’m glad I’ve spent all that money over the years trying to broaden your horizons.  I should have just bought a history book and stuck it in front of your face.

I didn’t say that.  I just banged my head on a wall.

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Grocery bag camera flash diffuser

I love Pinterest.  Seriously, seriously love it.  I was perusing the site one day for hours on end and saw a quick pin of a camera with a grocery sack over the flash thus diffusing the light.  I saw it then I forgot about it.

I wanted a new profile picture for Facebook.  I *thought* I would get some cute, artsy pictures if I stood under my porch lights.  They cast a funky shadow.  However, the end result was horrifying.  Those got deleted so fast I think I scared my camera.  The problem was the porch light I was standing under was so bright that you could see my scalp – and I do NOT have thin hair.  Down right harrowing.

Shell shocked, I came back in the house and remembered the diffuser trick.  I grabbed the first grocery bag I saw and did this:

Literally that’s all I did.  I just plopped the bag on the camera and clicked away.

Here is what I looked like without the diffuser.  Both of the following pictures are straight out of the camera (sooc) – no editing at all.

Yes, I look dorky, but at least you can’t see my scalp!  My eyes were closed because by this time I was going blind from the flash.  I also didn’t want to fiddle with the settings to get a good picture without the flash.  I’m lazy like that.

Here is the same-ish shot, same lighting, same everything, sooc, with the grocery sack diffuser.

I love the overall effect.  Makes my fluorescent mayonnaise winter skin look not so, well, fluorescent mayonnaise.  It helps even out skin tone, smooths those little lines and helps get rid of less than flawless skin.  You can get the effect of Photoshop without Photoshop.

Next up is trying the diffuser with a white grocery bag.  The possibilities are endless!!

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Zippy Chicken and Veggies

I made this for dinner last night and it was a hit!!  I didn’t take pictures of all the ingredients because I didn’t even think of posting this until I was getting ready to put it in the oven.  So there’s not many pictures.  Feel free to use your imagination.

Zippy Chicken and Veggies

*Note: This is NOT an exact recipe.  You can make it smaller or larger than I did.  You really can’t mess it up unless you overcook it.*

Italian Dressing (or any oil based dressing of your choice)

4 lbs. chicken legs (one Value Pack)

8 small frozen corn on the cobs

2 zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices

2 tomatoes, cut into one inch slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1.  In a gallon Ziploc-type bag, place the chicken and cover with Italian dressing.

2. In a separate Ziploc-type bag, place the veggies and cover with Italian dressing.  (If you’re making a smaller recipe, it should all fit nicely in one bag.

3. The longer you marinate this recipe the better; you can even make it a few days in advance for an easy week night dinner.  I recommend at the least putting this together in the morning and letting it sit in the fridge all day.

4. Place chicken legs and veggies in a roasting pan (or smaller depending on the size of recipe you make) lined with foil and non stick spray.

I tried to make sure the meaty side of the legs was uncovered and pointed towards the edges of the pan so it would cook better.

5.  I had to bake this for 50 minutes because it was such a large recipe.  About half way through I turned the corn cobs over so they would bake evenly.

The end result:

It was a hit!!!  In the future I will make a lot more zucchini . . . it was delicious.

The next day I cut the corn off a couple of cobs, took the meat off the bone and added it to a salad with fat-free Thousand Island dressing.  YUM!!

This is a quick and delicious way to feed your family or a crowd!

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Eight years ago today

I woke up in a completely unfurnished duplex, sleeping on an air mattress with nothing in our bedroom but suitcases and two seriously freaked out dogs in their travel kennels.  On January 15, 2004, we moved from the place I thought we’d never move from and cautiously landed in Vancouver, Washington.  I know, I know, people move all the time and it isn’t THAT big of a deal.  It was to me because I firmly believed that we would never leave Alaska.  We had no reason to . . . . Tyler had a great career that would provide very nicely for us in our retirement, we were well established socially and in our church, we felt our lives were blessed right where we were so there was no thought of moving.

Until three events sort of intersected and it got me thinking.  First of all, Tyler was working all the time – no joke.  The department he worked for was 93 people short and we hardly ever saw him. And when we did see him, he was exhausted.  Second, I went on vacation to visit my brother and his family in San Diego. We did a lot of things and all I could think was, “Are you kidding me?  All of this is down here?  Why are we still in Alaska?” (I knew the answer to that last question.  Her name was Cheri.) Third, about 5 months after that trip I was sitting on a train with my sister-in-law. We were talking about Washington state and she told me that she would move to the Tri-Cities area because it had grown up so much since she was a kid living there.

So blah, blah, blah, and fast forward to January 16, 2004.  We were really here.  I was seriously only minutes away from a major city.  And Target! (In all fairness, Alaska finally got Target about 4 years ago.)  And Olive Garden (which I now can’t stand)!  It was more happiness and excitement then I could stand and my digestive system was whipped into a frenzy for about 2 months.

Don’t ask.

Eight years later, a lot has changed.  One of the two freaked out dogs has moved on to greener pastures.  The other one is still annoyingly alive.  My 8 and almost 6 year olds are now 16 and almost 14 year olds.  The minivan years – and the minivan – are gone and we have a third driver – and third car – in the house.   The duplex is a distant memory, only living there 6 months and being in our house 7 1/2 years.  And we are fully furnished.  We have grown and changed in ways that can only be explained by a miracle.  Our church and church family has been at the center of most of the change and I am forever thankful.

Some things haven’t changed.  I’m still homeschooling the kids.  Tyler has the same job we moved down here for.  We still have the car we bought from Tyler’s mom that she picked us up from the airport in 8 years ago.  We’re all still together and we still love each other.  Oh, and I am still crazy in love with Portland.

So thank you, God, Vancouver, New Heights Church and all of our crazy friends . . . . we couldn’t have done this without you.

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Happy New Year??

Is it too late to say that?  I stole this from Amanda at Baby Bangs.  She posted this today and if it’s not too late for her, it’s not too late for me.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Got to spend an actual, real holiday with my Kendra!

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A few friends, but no one super close to me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.  Thank God.

5. What countries did you visit?

USA and USA.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

I would like a mandolin slicer, but I won’t die if I don’t get it.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

A Sunday in May when God told me that He really did want me to do something I told him I’d never, ever, in a million years do.

September 12 – the day I did that thing I told God I was never going to do.

October 30 – the day my oldest turned 16.

November 7 – the day my oldest got his driver’s license which greatly impacted my life in a wonderful way.

8. What was your biggest achievement for the year?

September 12

9. What was your biggest failure?

My yard.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Just a couple of colds here and there.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Adidas running shoes, even though all I do is walk.

12. Where did most of your money go?

American Express

13. What did you get really excited about?

Having Kendra move back to Washington state.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

“Enchanted” by Taylor Swift.  Perfectly describes the night I met my husband.  You can read the lyrics here.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
-Happier or sadder?

So. much. happier.

-Thinner or fatter?

The same.  Great.

-Richer or poorer?

Same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Photography.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinate.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

We had Christmas Eve dinner at our house with my dad.  We opened our gifts and went to the Christmas Eve service at church.  Christmas Day we spent the day with some of Tyler’s aunts, uncles and cousins . . . a first for me.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Over all it would have to be Project Runway.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

The Help, Grace for the Good Girl, To Die For (historical fiction revolving around Anne Boleyn.)

21. What was your favorite music this year?

This is the year I discovered Taylor Swift.  My daughter is a bonafide “Swifty” and a small part of me is, too.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The Help, Soul Surfer

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I can’t even remember!!!  I turned 42 in August

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I guess if I was in heaven, but 2011 was pretty great.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Uhhhh, do I HAVE a personal fashion?  I think “comfortable” is high on the list of priorities for me.

26. What kept you sane?

My husband.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

What God calls you to, He equips you for.  And if you obey, there will be unexplainable joy.  Overflowing, freak yourself out joy.

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Back in the saddle again

I’m finally back on my treadmill.  It’s not a New Year’s resolution because I’ve been telling myself to do this for months.  As usual, I decided “this is it” in mid-December only to be struck down with a nasty, nasty cold.  Then with there being no chance of me getting my butt off the couch during Christmas break the busyness of the holidays, the treadmill took a back seat.  Fast forward to the past couple of weeks and I’m being a good girl again.  I’m enjoying it immensely and the back pain I’d been experiencing the past few months is all but gone.

With this new development I promise the following:

  • I will not be posting every time I get on the treadmill on Facebook.  I honestly can’t imagine that anyone would care.  And if you would care?  Maybe it’s time to get off Facebook.
  • I will not become the sudden expert on walking.  Nor will I tell everyone within a 5 mile radius that they need to be doing it, too.
  • I have been walking at least 5K every time I’m on there.  I will probably not be participating in any 5K walks, of which there are many in this area.  I don’t need to pay money to do what I can do in the comfort of my own house for free.
  • I will not suddenly be spouting motivational sayings such as, “Don’t worry how fast you go, you’re still faster than everyone on the couch.”  Although that was a major thing that motivated me to get back in the saddle.

One thing that’s also helping me is music.  I LOVE music and I’m pretty sure it’s one of my love languages.  I recently found a website called Jog.FM.  You input the time it takes you to jog or walk a mile and it recommends songs that keep beat with your desired pace.  It’s so much fun!!  Here’s what’s on my current playlist that’s keepin’ me moving right along.

Rollin’ In the Deep by Adele

If I Die Young by The Band Perry – this one is good for warm up/cool down/ stretching

Viva La Vida by Coldplay

Landslide by Fleetwood Mac – again, good for the beginning and end

Cee Lo Green’s Forget You by the cast of Glee featuring Gwyneth Paltrow

Journey’s Anyway You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Feelin’ by the cast of Glee

Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life/Usher’s Confessions by the cast of Glee

Where the Streets Have No Name by U2

Beautiful Day by U2

The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga and a dance remix of the song

Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T’s – one of my favorite songs of all times

Love You Like a Love Song by Selina Gomez – I know, I know.  I can’t help it, I love the song

Revelation Song by Kari Jobe

 

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