Force Quit

I remember a point in my life when I believed that everything was a sign.

Yes, I believed I shared my soda straw with the universe and saw daily events, large or small, as my personal GPS for life, things like a surprise after-school faculty meeting turned into see? I knew it was a bad day to to go the Y. 

Maybe it’s because I’ve suffered from sleep deprivation for going on two-and-a-half years now, but I’ve shelved the notion of signs right there with my old college analysis papers and cards from every birthday:  there, in sight, relatively untouched.

Until today.

In addition to staying home to raise my two so-adorable-you-wish-your-kids-were-as-cute-as-mine boys, I work as a professional freelance writer and editor.  It’s the perfect job for me right now, since I work from our parlor (yes, we have a parlor) and I basically work around my babies’ and my husband’s schedules, which may not be the most convenient or consistent way of doing things, but it works. Generally, that is.

There’s always one hell week each month where, either by chance or love for personal punishment, multiple deadlines for multiple projects of serious multitude (was that too much?) fall on the same week or sometimes even the same day.

That’s this week.

The beast of them is the project that reminds me of my love-hate relationship with teaching English, and why I’m happy that I’m not renewing my teaching license. And yes, I’m still not finished with it, in spite of hours upon hours of sitting in said parlor, Tervis cup upon Tervis cup of KoolAid (my little one absolutely adores mixing KoolAid), and in spite of the contact lenses that want to peel themselves from my eyeballs and in spite of the sore tailbone that wishes for extraction (injured in both pregnancies and broken during a delivery).

So why I am awake at midnight writing blog posts instwrestles wrestling with said beast of a project? Because I slurped a new sign out of that shared soda straw tonight, my friends–a Force Quit.

That’s right, old Mac and I here were continuing our efforts when everything turned Ice Age and froze. No amount of digital defrosting worked, so Force Quit it was.

This has occurred far too frequently as of late and while I’m taking it as a sign to find a new computer, I’m also seeing the bigger aspect of this sign.

Force Quit happens when you ovedo it and muddy the system to a point where your program seizes, unyielding in its resolve to stand still and go no further.

It’s much too easy to just gogogogogo, especially as a stay-at-home-work-from home mom–like Inspector Gadget.  From wakeups to laundry to making sure everyone’s been fed and what are we going to eat next and when do I need to go grocery shopping next and deadlines piano lessons bills thank you notes I was supposed to send a year ago—when do I stop?

When do you stop?

Well-meaning friends give the “you’ve got to make time for you” speech, and then your Word program goes on strike.

I imagine that as I click on my hypothetical Force Quit in the days to come that the universe will carry on, continuing to drink from that soda straw, even sharing a sip as its shares more signs.

Daylight Savings Time & Children

A Mother’s Perspective On Saving Time:

We’re about to finish our first week of “spring forward,” also known as Daylight Savings Time, better known as The Week Parents Dread Every Spring.

Since our children are notoriously bad sleepers, I spent more time than I should have psyching myself out over this time change—after all, one kiddo going off schedule is hard enough on weary parents, but two? Add more bottom teeth cutting through on the wee little fella and all I could see was disaster in the nights to come.  Thankfully—and for the first time ever—both of our little guys slept past 7 a.m every single day, all week long.  (If you haven’t believed in miracles from the Lord before, I suggest you take this evidence as your starting place.)

So with the time change and all, I started thinking about the idea of daylight savings, replaying the words backwards (but not in a creepy play-the-Beatles-record-backward kind of way).  Daylight savings, saving daylight–and on it went in my head, like a soundbyte on repeat.

I like the sound of that. Saving daylight.

Saving daylight is precisely what I want to be doing more of—don’t you?

On sunny days, there happens to be the most glorious warm, orange glow pouring through our windows. The front of the house (the parlor) gets the quiet, still morning light while the dining room reaps the rays in the afternoon.  My favorite moments happen when I see my babies in these places:  their chubby cheeks, wide smiles, and perfectly smooth skin radiating in a sun shining almost as much as their gleeful joy.

Saving daylight.

How I wish that I could freeze-frame these moments and hop into them, Mary-Poppins-sidewalk-chalk-drawing style, for the rest of my life.

When I consider that in just three short years (or less) my oldest boy will enter kindergarten, it shocks my heart. I thought I had more time—I thought he had more time.  He and his brother will only be home a little while longer for days of endless Play-Doh, magical caves, dance parties in the kitchen, and snack time on the play mat. Block towers, hiding under the dining room table—all of these sweet early scenes will be over and soon it will be Act II.

Now that Daylight Savings has happened, it seems that the warm afternoon sun wanders into  the kitchen much too early and before I know it we are find our evening rituals of dinnertime and bedtime and bath time and where did this day go?

One of my brothers offered this wisdom shortly after I gave birth to my first:  they will never be this little again.

They will never be this little again.

I can’t imagine how anyone would want to miss it.

Perhaps it’s because I imagine the long summer days of my childhood, but I always thought these years must have gone by so slowly.Now, from a parent’s stance, it’s the total opposite of my memory.

Now, instead of wishing that the baby would sleep later, I’m happy to get him from his crib and bring him downstairs for mommy and baby cuddle time, amazed at how my grumpiness disappears the instant  I’m greeted with a mostly-toothless wonder grinning from ear to ear and saying my name, standing up so proudly in his crib.

And instead of longing for the days of no more diapers or temper tantrums, I tell myself that he’s only this little once, and relish the sound of the fifteenth round of the alphabet song and the idea that my kisses can cure a hurt finger and that “Mommy, hold me” is a cry for comfort that I may not hear in the quite the same way one day.

This week, I’m thankful for more than easy mornings; I’m thankful for the longer daylight that the calendar has afforded us: it is the only true way to stretch our time.

Saving daylight.

Saving daylight. Oh, how I wish I could.

The New Feeding Farley

When I started this blog a few years ago, I was a newlywed with loads of spare time to devote cooking for my superhubbahubba hubby.

While I still love to try out new recipes and even keep track of it all (in a polka-dotted notebook, of course), I don’t have those loads of spare time anymore, and I’m not cooking for just the two of us.

Nope, didn’t open up a trendy tea shop or anything like that.  I had a baby! And love him to pieces, he’s the reason Feeding Farley went on a short demise–what can I say? Morning sickness that lasts for five months sure is a !@#^&  and doesn’t leave one inclined toward spending time in the kitchen.

Just when things started to settle down a bit (meaning our beloved boy started sleeping through the night….a little…at nine months old), we found out that I was having baby boy Farley #2.

Ten months have passed since that little fella’s arrival and in the meantime this stay-at-home/work-at-home momma has been freelance writing for clients all over the world. You’ve probably even read some of my work and didn’t even know it (since I take on ghostwriting projects. Boo!).

No matter how much I enjoy being able to use freelance writing as meaningful way to contribute to my family’s income, there’s nothing like writing for yourself, hence the rebirth of Feeding Farley.

The new Feeding Farley will continue to post the occasional recipe and let you know if it’s a yay or nay, but it will more frequently share stories, insights, and moments that come naturally from nurturing and nourishing a family.

Stay tuned and welcome back, dear readers.

(warning: this is not a recipe)

This is NOT a recipe,

 

but this IS a warning.

I would never steer my readers wrong.

Hubs and I have put forth vigilant efforts to detox our bodies post-Christmas-over-indulgment-of-fattening-deliciousness.

Hence, I have been spending more time at the gym and less time writing, for which I apologize and plan to remedy soon.

(NOT that I will be spending less time at the gym and more time writing, but rather will find a way to balance things out and bring you more daily deliciousness at Feeding Farley).

We have learned a valuable lesson in these passing days:  never try to lighten up French Onion Soup.

Seriously.

Hubs was having a hankering for the golden onions and rich, cheesey goodness, and wifey over here remembered a Weight Watchers recipe developed to lighten up our beloved  soup.  It also called for less time than our favorite Julia Child rendition.  So WW it was last evening.

Did we ever choose wrongly!

Here are all things wrong with the recipe, which we followed exactly:

1.  Except for 1/8 tsp. black pepper, it calls for no flavorings in the ways of herbs, spices….salt….

2. We stared into a steamy pot of what resembled leftover dirty-dish water.

3.  If you inhaled a deep breath to savor the aroma from said pot, you would be confronted with the scent of a church basement fellowship hall:  stale coffee.  (Why in God’s name an onion soup smelled like stale church coffee, I know not, but hubs took a whiff and said that strangely enough, my hound-like nostrils proved right again.)

4.  Since taste and smell are so closely related, it is difficult to swallow any soup that reminds you of church pot-luck coffee.  Even if your pot-luck coffeee ladies are secret Starbucks baristas on the side.

 

I didn’t want to throw it down the drain, so I added garlic powder, more black pepper, and freshly grated sea salt to the soup.  That, along with the addition of healthy-toast croutons and skim cheeses, seemed to salvage our diet-conscious dinner efforts last night….although I am sure it is a recipe that will never see the light of my kitchen again.

 

Hopefully, you feel sufficiently warned!

 

Feeding Farley will be returning this weekend with fab recipes and photos that you will actually WANT to make and might even be a little bit good for you, so in the meantime, happy eating!

cake doctor or pantry raid, part dos?

When it is cold and grey-skied and refuses to snow, I decide to bake!

Why not, you know.

Hubs was gone all day judging brass players in a music district competition, and both sets of my plans cancelled due to illness and unexpected babysitting, so it was, of course, a much better plan to bake than, say, tidy up the house, you know.

But what to make?

I didn’t want to make even MORE of a mess, and I didn’t feel like making something overly-holidayish, since I am recovering from the holiday diet (read:  cookies, sweets, and cheesey baked appetizers).

In the afternoons this week, I went  to my favorite pastime, reading cookbooks.  My mom found an ancient cookbook of my grandmother’s—well, it’s not really ancient, but it’s from the early seventies–and this adorable little fundraiser cookbook contained a recipe for a cake I’d never heard of before, but hubs claimed to have eaten once (in Minnesota, in fact) and loved:  pistachio cake.

I wasn’t sold right away on this–I’ve been wanting to make an upside-down cake–but alas, I discovered this morning that I had all of the ingredients for the pistachio cake right in my pantry and/or freezer, and well, if it can save me time, a grocery trip, and a few dollars, I’m in.   I mean, I am in it to win it!

Currently I am inhaling the baking scent of this cake, and it is altogether marvelous.  I chose correctly.

(and to be quite honest)–why couldn’t this become a new sort of holiday tradition?  It’s a lovely shade of green–(I suppose it could fit for spring:  St. Patty’s Day, Easter, Earthday) and I daresay that at Christmas, nobody else will come trotting up your doorstep with a pistachio cake in hand.  Your tastebuds will welcome a change in the constant flavor of cranberries, chocolate, coconut, and butter that surrounds the palate come dessert-time.

Ooh! And the most exciting part of this whole Saturday adventure was that I finally broke in my Kitchen-Aid mixer, the one I registered for, longed for, and received upon our July nuptials! Yes!!!!   Here she is, folks:

And now presenting:

PISTACHIO DOUBLE CAKE

1–Break open a box of yellow cake mix (white works, too, if that’s what you have).  Pour it into a a large mixing bowl, and add 1 4 oz. box of pistachio pudding mix. (I know, the intense labor of it all….)

2–Add to this 3 eggs, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil.

3–Also add in 1/2 tsp. of almond extract.  You can leave the vanilla alone; it’s the nutty flavor we want to enhance today!

4–If you wanna, you can also add about 1/2 cup nuts, crushed. Obviously, pistachios would be ideal, but I didn’t have pistachios, so I used almonds instead.  Yep. Leftover from my granola and trail-mix escapades.  I took what I had in leftover slivered almonds, and crushed them with a meat mallet.

NOTE:  Crushing up the nuts with a hammer or meat mallet is a great way to release stress, tension, aggravation, anger, and basically any other pent-up emotion you need to release in a semi-healthy manner.

 

5–Now, turn on your mixer (electric or hand-held) and mix for about 2 minutes on medium speed.

6–Pour into 2 9-inch round cake pans (that you have greased/Pammed and floured, of course) and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

NOTE:  I baked mine for exactly 32 and they were perfecto!

 

Let these suckers cool and then frost them with the following:  1 small tub of Cool Whip that you have mixed with 1 small box pistachio pudding mix–beat for several minutes, until thick, peaked, and well, frosting-like.   I was tempted to throw in confectioner’s sugar, but since this was the first time to ever try this recipe, I played it safe.

Now, I may not be a good froster/cake decorator (if you have any handy tips, comment and post!)…but!

This is a fantastic cake that is slightly sweet and VERY moist, but you wont’ get sick on it,  need to see the dentist, or refuse another slice.

In fact, you may even have room left over for all the fudges, cookies, and “typical” holiday treats :-)

 

Enjoy!

it’s beginning to taste a lot like christmas

This past Saturday, my little Main-Street-USA town hosted its annual Christmas parade.  I look forward to this event each year, as it marks the introduction of the holiday season.  Hubs was up and at’em early, since he had to gather his band together to march, and I had a few hours in between the parade and my mom and my mother-in-law both joining me for the festivities.

my town juxtaposed: the red hat ladies and the hunters, oh my.



how's this for a float, macys?

don't fall out of the sleigh, Santa!

So of course, I decided to bake! And since this was a day to share with both my mother and my mother-in-law, I decided to bake one of my mother-in-law’s famous dishes:  orange poppyseed bread.

It is the most delectable.

Last winter, she and I spent some time in the kitchen and she taught me in the way of the most delicious–and hubs, Mama Jill, and I spent the afternoon decorating her Christmas trees and munching on this bread.  Now,  I taste this bread and am instantly brought back to that wintry afternoon, but you can definitely make this bread any time of year.

So this loaf was made on Saturday, and by Sunday evening it was all gone.
How’s that for proof of good, eh?

MAMA JILL’S ORANGE POPPY SEED BREAD

1–Preheat oven to 350 and go ahead and butter/flour two 9 x 5 loaf pans, or six mini-loaf pans.

2–In a separate bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. poppy seeds, and 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder.

3–Add to the dry mixture the following:  3 eggs slightly beaten, 1 1/8 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 c. milk,  and 1 1/2 tsp EACH of almond extract, vanilla extract, and butter flavoring. Combine until JUST wet.

action shot!

**NOTE–butter flavoring can be found by all of the other extracts and flavorings.  I had no idea until I made this recipe, since I have never used it in anything else.  In case you are like me and weren’t sure, now you know—you’re welcome!

4–Mix (with a handheld or electric mixer) for 2 minutes only! No more, no less.

5–Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick test shows clean.

it's really ok if it oozes a bit, really. it's ok.

6–While your delicious bread bakes, make the glaze:  whisk up 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1/2 tsp. EACH of the flavorings used above. (I used TROPICANA orange juice, because that’s the only kind I buy.  Seriously.  I ought to buy stock in Tropicana.  I can’t start my day without it.  You know how some people have to have their coffee in the mornings?  That’s how I am with o.j.  If there’s no Tropicana in the house, I flip out.  Anyhoo, you get the idea and I digresss…)

7–While your bread is still hot, pour the glaze over it.  Yes, right on top.  Make sure not to get any on your counter or it might dry into superglue-like substance.  While this is not true for how it dries on bread, it is true for how it dries on countertops.  Or so I have been told by Mama Jill.  I heed her warnings, and you should, too.

8–Let bread cool completely before removing from loaf pan……..or act like Farley and myself, whose bread never wholey leaves the pan since we eat it straight out.

Mmmmmmm……..citrusy and Christmasy………

 

Be on the lookout for more holiday cooking from Feeding Farley!
And enjoy!


putting some spice back into the wintry nights

There is nothing like curry to bring some spice back into your wintry nights.  After a slew of traditional flavorings on ye olde tastebuds and a sky that’s been filled with the promise of snow, it’s been time to warm things up a bit in the kitchen.

With Thanksgiving gone and holiday baking a week or more away, along with the fact that hubs and I are working to create our little, less-than-seven-hundred-square-feet home into a tastefully decorated Christmas wonderland, who wants to spend even more time in the kitchen–well, other than me, apparently, being the author of a food blog, and my other foodie compadres–??

Lucky for all of us, the meal I’m about to share with you rivals the timing of the good ole thirty-minute-meal goddess herself.

This is a perfect dish for a cold night:  the curry and horseradish bring heat to the dish, but less than you would imagine (which is good for the heat-pansies out there, myself included) and the citrus is just plain seasonal.   And it’s only a few ingredients, and cooks up quickly.  Marvelous.

**please forgive the photos; there aren’t the best shots in the world, but they do provide a guide for you visual learners out there**

These ain’t no shake-and-bake:

PORK CHOPS WITH CURRIED ORANGE SAUCE

(The original Cooking Light recipe can be found here)

1–In a small bowl, mix us 1/4 tsp. curry powder, 1/4 tsp. paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Sprinkle it all over your pork chops.

2–Heat a non-stick pan over medium (or a stainless steel pan with a little bit of olive oil sprinkled and smeared around, which is what I went with) and put your pork  chops in there.  Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until no longer pink.

NOTE:  If your chops are thicker than 1/2 inch thick, be prepared to cook’em a bit longer.  I cooked mine about 5-6 minutes per side and made sure there wasn’t any pink left.  Luckily, they didn’t wind up dry at all, but just be careful!

3–While your chops are a-cooking, mix up 1/3 cup orange marmalade, 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1 1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish, 1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper.  (Go ahead and mix it in the same bowl you mixed the spices in–why not? Save a bowl, fix a porkchop).

4–When the chops are done, remove them from the pan and set aside. Pour in your marmalade mixture and cook for 15 seconds, scraping up all the good pork chop brown bits from the bottom.   Pour on top of your chops and voila!

Served with Steamfresh Broccoli and jasmine rice (we did the jasmine rice with olive oil, chopped garlic, and white wine….mmmmmm! If you want THAT recipe, holla at your girl over here and leave a comment.)

Stay warm and enjoy!