Saturday, January 24, 2015

Existential Crisis Mode

Everything is really stressful right now.  Two grading period (little and big kids) are ending soon; we are doing midterms next week for the middle kids, field trips for the little kids, and normal school for the oldest kids; my big kids have a huge research paper due sometime next week.  I don't know when it's due anymore because I can no longer be physically present the day it's due.  Because of little kid field trips.  And while I like field trips, I'm tired, anxious, and stressed out.  And I don't even have to write or proctor an exam!

So this makes me think several things.

One.  A goat farm is sounding more and more appealing by the day.

Two.  Aside from goat farming, what else could I do in life?  I really don't know anymore.

Three.  Bake.  I shall bake.

This last week, I made lemon bars, more bread, four types of candy (orange-glazed pecans, chocolate covered orange peels, chocolate peanut clusters, and espresso toffee), a triple-layer vanilla buttermilk cake with raspberry preserves in between the layers, blueberry lemon scones, peanut butter, a key lime pie, and blueberry buttermilk pancakes.

I'm concerned my coping mechanism will kill me.  Or my coworkers.  See, if I partially owned and operated a goat farm, I could sell my pastries in our adorable farm cafe.  Obvi.  In the meantime, I'll just keep making things and looking for happiness.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate gravy.  Sounds gross, is delicious.  My family has made it every New Year's Day for breakfast since I can remember.  Those were some special memories.  We would all stay the night at my Aunt Jeanie's house.  We would play games like Taboo, Speed, Scatergories, everything and laugh so, so loud.  At midnight, we would run outside, trying to play my aunt's decorative horn, yelling and screaming, and banging pots and pans.  I would sleep on one of my aunt's pinkish couches and try and keep the dog from licking my face too much.  The next morning, we would make the biggest breakfast feast.  Not just the chocolate gravy, but bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits (on which to put the gravy), and fresh squeezed juice from my aunt and uncle's grapefruit and orange trees (I liked to mix the two -- still do, but only if it's fresh).  Then we would all sit around the table and have the most marvelous of times.

It's harder to get all together these days -- two of my cousins live different states, my husband and I live up in Flagstaff, and we're all so much older.  But I still make the chocolate gravy every New Year's Day, and I think about my family and how much I love them.

In case you, too, want to start a delicious tradition that is sure to damn all your New Year's resolutions,  here is the recipe:

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 (cup?) cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups milk
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients together on medium heat.  Stir in the milk, about one cup at a time, nice and slow.  Bring to a boil and boil for about one minute.  Remove from the heat and immediately add the butter and vanilla.  Serve quickly (it tends to congeal a bit).  BE CAREFUL:  It tends to form a film on the bottom, so constant stirring is a must.  Serve over biscuits and butter.  In conjunction with delicious aforementioned feast.