Friday, February 22, 2013

Poor Ol' Wormy...

There are many things as a parent I never thought I'd say, including, but not limited to:
  • “Don't use your pant leg to clean up the pee on the floor!”
  • "Did you really just barf in your boot?!"
  • “Eek! There's a rat in my laundry!” (It was a toy the boys put in there as a “surprise” for Mommy...)
  • “AUGH! What th--?! Don't pee on the toilet lid!!” (OK, so that was my husband, but I think it's fair to say he never planned on needing to say that either.)
  • “Thank you so much for making me breakfast in bed, honey but I'm just not quite ready to eat peanut butter filled pretzels at 5 am, m'kay?”
     But yesterday I had a discussion with my son I can pretty fairly say very few other families have had. Yesterday, we buried a friend. He was a good friend. If you were to ask my son about him right now, he would probably forlornly tell you his sad tale and maybe shed a tear. And he would mean it. He is mourning his loss as you would a beloved pet. The difference being, of course, that Wormy is a balloon. That we had for 24 hours. He was steadfast until the end. He started out as a sword named “Sword”, became a hamster (apparently, if you looked at him just right) named “Hamsty”, and then, finally, tragically, he became a worm named “Wormy”. That's right. My son lost his balloon sword. We buried him in the yard. There were tears. And then, my son asked me something I never thought I'd have to explain about a former balloon sword. “Mom, will Wormy go to heaven?”

     Now, my son's grief is real. This is not a kid who is crying because he's angry his balloon popped. He sobbed because he lost a friend. For nearly a day, he cried. Granted, he probably could have used a nap in there somewhere, but the sadness is real. I cannot tell him it's silly to be so sad over “just a balloon” it's Wormy. It's “the best balloon [he's] ever had.” His friend gave it to him and now it's gone forever. On the other hand, how can I tell him that balloons go to heaven? I don't believe in lying. Even in comfort. I can't even say I handled it with some magical all-encompassing answer that will follow him throughout his life and be Pinterested and Facebooked for eternity by virtue of its profundity. Mostly, I said maybe God has lots of balloons in heaven to which he assured me that none of the balloons in heaven would be as good as Wormy. Talk about deflated!

     I can say though, that I held my boy when he cried. And I didn't laugh. We buried him because he couldn't bare the thought of his wilty orange carcass going into the trash. And we will have, for a while at least, a small chunk of concrete in the back yard marking the place where ol' Wormy was laid to rest. Kids have real feelings whether we feel like they “should” or not. It's important to recognize and respond to them appropriately. Even if we don't always use the right words. Sometimes a hug is the best response.  Unless they are wiping pee off the floor with clothing.

    And maybe a tiny bit of comfort food never hurt, either. This also happened to be convenience food for Mama since I had fruit spoiling. Also, I put cream in it. I know what you're thinking. He was in mourning, people.

Goodbye, Wormy Shake
Yields: 3-4 Servings
4 C fresh pineapple chunks
2 tangerines
8 oz cream (or coconut milk)
1 tsp Agave nectar (opt)
(optional ingredients: banana, dates, coconut flakes)

Put all the ingredients into a blender and combine until the cream is frothy and the fruit has disintegrated.

If you are adding the banana or dates, you could omit the agave. Or if your pineapple is super sweet. Ours wasn't really.

  This was served with a side of sorrow* and a splash of salty tears*, but those are entirely optional ingredients. In fact, I suggest you try it when you're at your happiest moment and see if it doesn't taste even better.

(*Not really, he was totally fine by the time we drank these, but it sounded poetic didn't it?)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Boy, A Girl and Banana Pudding...

Once upon a time in computer class, there was this boy.  He had long hair and acid wash jeans and leather boots.  He was really smart and popular and he played the electric guitar like nobody's business.  And there was this girl in that class.  She had long hair, and thin thighs, and big brown eyes.  And she was smart and a good typist and two years younger than him.  And they smiled at each other a lot and looked at each other a lot and that was about it.  He graduated that year and went off to live a glamorous life installing sheet rock and folding shirts in a tee-shirt factory.  She worked on finishing high school and got an equally glamorous job at McDonald's.  One day, the boy wised up and decided folding shirts wasn't quite the lucrative, stimulating job he'd been hoping for and decided to go on off to college to get some a that book lernin' he'd heard so much about.  And the girl worked her way up to her Senior year manning the front register all the while.

One day the boy walked in.  And he saw her in her greasy, uniformed finery.  And he asked her out on a date.  So they went.  And after they graduated from college, they got married.  They got a cat.  And six years later they got a baby.  And two years later another one.  And the boy got short hair, and gave up the acid wash jeans, and he played the guitar like nobody's business.  The girl got short hair, and thicker thighs, and typed like nobody's business.  And the whole time, one of the boy's favorite desserts was banana pudding.

This year for Valentine's Day, the girl got all fancy and decided to make her boy:

Deconstructed Banana Pudding

The Vanilla Wafer recipe came from Ezra Poundcake.
The only difference was I used salted butter and omitted the salt in the recipe and they nearly all cooked in 12 minutes (excpet for the ones on a thicker cookie sheet).  I took them off the sheet immediately, without the 5 minute cooling time, since the little tips were pretty well browned.  Also, instead of shaping dough logs and letting them cool in the fridge, I just put the dough directly into a cookie press.  It worked beautifully.

Basic Vanilla Pudding
Serves: 5
2 C milk
1/2 C sugar
3 T corn starch
1/4 t salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 T butter
Dissolve dry ingredients in wet ones (except vanilla and butter). Cook,stirring continuously,  until mixture covers back of spoon.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat, add vanilla, and butter.  Pour into serving dishes and chill.
(This is absolutely delicious warm, btw)

Rum Glazed Bananas
(Slightly modified from this recipe at Astray Recipes)
1 Tbs Butter
1 teaspoon Orange juice
 2 tablespoons Maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dark rum* opt.
⅛ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
4 Firm ripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Melt the butter. Combine with the OJ, maple syrup, rum, and cinnamon.
3. Peel the bananas and slice. Put them in a shallow baking dish. Pour the buttered-rum mixture over the bananas.
4. Bake bananas until they are soft, about 8 minutes.
5. Remove the bananas from the oven and preheat the broiler. Place the bananas under the broiler until they brown slightly and the sauce turns into a glaze, 2-4 minutes.

Whipped Cream
1/2 Pint Whipped Cream
2 Tbs sugar

Whip together with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until whipped cream forms.

If  you want to arrange it all fancy-like, put the pudding on the bottom, top with bananas, whipped cream and serve with a cookie or three.  You can also arrange this as you would a regular banana pudding once everything cools off.

And they lived happily ever after...
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