all stocked up

(An alternate title to this blog could read: ‘On why I might make an OK mother after all’)

Andrew and I are flying to DC this weekend to spend the holiday with my family, and we enlisted Abigail to come stay with Hadrian instead of kenneling him.

My first thought was of all the goodies I could have out for our houseguest.  I can’t help it.  It’s the pineapple in me.

(Hadrian is also all stocked up on toys, too.)

However, between all of the Layers being on ‘diets’ (some more strict than others), and my unwillingness to buy what I call ‘crap,’ (gosh, that sounds harsh) you won’t find Combos or Cheetos or anything of that nature lurking around here!

Bananas, apples and oranges, as well as a selection of pseudo-healthy cereal bars and things (just about anything is ‘healthy’ in moderation, I think), and some crunchy things like Quakes and multigrain tortilla chips.

In the fridge Abigail will find celery and baby carrot sticks, as well as strawberry yogurts and 100% juice boxes.

There are even goodies in the freezer!

I walked down the frozen section in search of acceptable popsicles, when I came across all these Skinny Cow treats ON SALE.  I tell you, it was like the White Mint bars were CALLING to me.  And I know one of Abigail’s favorite flavors is cookies and cream, so I had to get both.  Of course.  I threw in some lemon sorbet bars thinking Andrew would like that flavor as well.

And, not to out-do myself or anything, I included a selection of the things I’ve made with the abundance of overripe bananas we’ve had on hand: strawberry-banana muffins, my banana bread with coconut and walnuts turned into muffins, and King Arthur Flour’s Chocolate-Chip Banana Squares.

In making my favorite banana bread into muffins, I decided it needed to be even healthier!  One and a half cups of sugar just seemed WAY. TOO. MUCH–even for two loaves–so I slashed away…again.  Here is my updated page with the recipe.  The muffins baked up nice and high; this is, hands down, the BEST banana bread recipe EVER.

I’ll also be putting out some of Andrew’s butter-flavored microwave popcorn bags, some of my favorite mac and cheese in a box (Annie’s!) and coffee pods.

I’m sure Hadrian will have a ball with Aunt Abigail (she calls him ‘horsey’), and we’re happy to have her come stay and keep the animals company.  I just hope she doesn’t think all my ‘health food’ is too weird…

jeni’s sorbets

I’d been salivating over waiting to use my new Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams cookbook (thanks Susy!) until I was ready to make their classic Salty Caramel as my first foray into the book.  That, or their Ugandan Vanilla Bean, because I love my husband.

But, as you know, in my never-ending quest to empty our teeny-tiny freezer (you’re probably wondering how it keeps getting full again.  All I can say is, I manage to do it…over and over again), I found I had the exact ingredients for not one but TWO different sorbet recipes.

So, Cranberry Royale and Watermelon Lemonade it was!

You make the cranberry sorbet much like you’d make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving…cranberries, water, sugar and maybe some citrus.  Jeni’s recipe calls for grapefruit juice and zest, which you can see in the photo.  Her sorbets also call for light corn syrup.  She goes into detail in the first sections of the book about how to make ice cream “scientifically.”  I tried to follow, but the basic gist of it is the challenge of getting everything to bond with the water molecules.  Unbound water molecules = icy ice cream or sorbet, not creamy.

After making grapefruit/cranberry sauce, you puree the mixture (if you’d like) and set it aside to chill.  She recommends putting it in a ziploc and setting it in ice water; I chose to leave mine in a bowl in the fridge for a couple hours.  Mine got a lot thicker, although I don’t think it hurt the finished product.

Every time we open the freezer, Hadrian thinks he’s getting a treat.  Ice cubes.  He loves them.  I do, too, since they’re free (essentially) and always available.  And free.  And the only mess they leave is a little water here and there.

Here’s the watermelon lemonade sorbet.  A relatively decent shot, if I do say so myself.  Taking into account the poor lighting in the kitchen and the fact that I was holding the camera directly above it and snapping blindly, I DO say so!

A word about the watermelon sorbet:  It didn’t turn out very well.  Very icy.  But it’s my own darn fault.  I used sub-par watermelon (that I’d already frozen–because it was SUB-PAR), and bottled lemon juice.  So, yeah, I knew this one wasn’t going to be spectacular or anything.

Finished cranberry sorbet…in a ball jar.  I’m getting all fancy here with my food styling.  The cranberry is AWESOME. Perfect creamy texture–how did that happen, there isn’t anything creamy in it???  I guess it’s all that water-bonding Jeni was talking about…  And it’s got that back-of-your-tongue bite to it that is reminiscent of cranberry sauce.  In fact, my first bite made me feel like it was Thanksgiving!

I’m a busy girl today with NO BREAKFAST!  Had to fast for a blood-draw this morning for a health-screening appointment (so we can get extra points or something for a discount with Moog’s health insurance…), but I’m packing a Luna bar and a banana to fuel me up so I can hit up Wegmans before a run.  Then I’m computering here at the hotel, meeting a friend (I have a friend!) for coffee, making cookies at Andrew’s parents’ house, then mad packing for our trip to Dayton tomorrow!  Can’t wait 🙂