Neon Mamo

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Today We are Celebrating Peanuts !?!?!?!

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 |

OK!

I am totally confused, and for those of you that know me beyond this Blog…that may not come as a big surprise, however…I remain confused!  Putting aside my own ability to recognize I too have my moments, I am taking a moment to Celebrate the one thing I honestly cannot stand.  I cannot stand the Texture, the Flavour, the smell…again the texture.  I cannot stand the media hype reflecting on allergies…when in reality while it is fine to protect a small child, once they grow up and venture forth into the arena known as high school…no one will hold their hand anymore…..but I digress!  I said we are Celebrating!  Celebrating….NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER DAY!

Bakers like Paula Deen, Cooks like Gordon Ramsey …mmmmmmmmmmm…Gordon Ramsey…wait!!! I’m digressing yet again….back to task!….are celebrated for their culinary confections, and today is No different!  However, the rest of the World is caught up and we are bombarded with Books, Bake Sales, Photos, Recipes all containing the Celebrated Peanut Butter.  Kitchen everywhere, including my own are alive with the smell of roasted peanuts and choclate confections, appeasing the taste buds of those that love it.  My children crave the stuff (where, oh where did I go wrong?).  Weekly the Grocery list is filled with the request for not only one, not two…but Three different types of peanut butter!  One likes creamy, One prefers Chunky, and one lo and behold prefers Extra Creamy (Thanks Kraft!)…and each week they embrace their little jar of giggles, and smile as they request I make this cookie, or that cookie.  Waiting patiently while my face grimaces at the mere idea of putting my hand, or long spoon into the jar that will present to me as *shuddering* gross.  I’m sorry, I apologize to the wonderful creator of this most nasty treat…lol…but yeah…the whole thing just turns me off.  The Love for my children however overrides my desire to flee, as I spread the divinity on whatever treat they have chosen.  The fact I have to put my hands IN the batter….oh my Lord…Don’t get me started at the howls of laughter as I pledge them all into the nursing home with me!…I have sat and watch as a friends daughter devoured a jar of peanut butter with nothing more than mere spoon…the look of shock on my face as she looked and said “WHAT!?!?!?!”….*shudder *….NO taste buds….they have to be blind right?

 

So….today we will Celebrate Peanut Butter, and I will share a recipe that I got a few years ago from my Cooks Illustrated…and then you too can go out and embrace the inner kid in you and make your treat…but…if that one days comes where you look in the jar, and are suddenly turned off by the mere idea of putting your knife into the oily substance staring back at you….It’s not my fault!

 

ChocPB

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup all-purpose  flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
12 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Mini Peanut Butter Cups, for topping  if desired

To make the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

Place butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second spurts on 50% power, stirring in between, until the butter and chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, you could do this step in a double boiler.) Set the mixture aside to cool until it is warm to the touch.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl to combine, then add the sugar, vanilla and salt and continue whisking until fully incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the bowl and whisk to combine. Sift one-third of the flour mixture into the bowl and whisk gently to combine. Add the Greek yogurt or sour cream and whisk to combine. Finally, sift the the rest of the flour mixture into the bowl and whisk until everything is well combined. The cupcake batter will be thick.

Place a spoonful of cupcake batter on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Place a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on top of the batter. Cover the peanut butter cups with remaining batter, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the peanut butter butter cream frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy. On low speed, add in powdered sugar. Mix until combined and add the heavy cream. Mix until frosting is fluffy. You can play around with the amounts of powdered sugar and heavy cream to get the exact texture and consistency that you want.

Frost cooled cupcakes with the peanut butter frosting and top each cupcake with a mini peanut butter cup, if desired.

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Somewhere, at this very moment a teenager is ‘starving’ …

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 |

I sit here today, pondering the age old question that has plagued mothers and fathers for generations before me.  How many times in a day, a week, a month even, do we as parents listen to the forever grating  “MOM! There is nothing to eat!….I’m starving!”   As you walk into the warmest room in the house – the kitchen. the smells from the pantry over take you as you witness, once again, the child with whom you have bonded, laughed, cried and conversed with countless times at the table, in the car…hanging onto the pantry door, sullen as they stare into the mass amounts of snack foods, nuts, crackers, ramen noodles and baked goods at the ready.  You look the child in the eye and admonish with “Are you serious?”…
My children over the past 25 years have had this discussion with me no less than three times a week…given that I have 5 girls, 52 weeks, 25 years 3 times a week…Good Lord, how terrible am I?… I have allowed my children to ‘starve’ no less than 19,500 times all together.  I am a terrible mother.  Me, the mom who owns a baking company and there is baked goods available almost daily….Myself, who diligently shops each week, counting coupons and savings, and I, who has rose to the occasion yet again to find the pantry not only stocked, but to be met by the sullen dazed look of a teenage girl who is in actuality is  asking me to make her dinner….because after all she is ‘starrrrrving!”
 I chuckle to myself as we begin another old age game of “what would you like dear?”….they growl at me if I say to them “I don’t care…”, yet I am to be attuned to the fact that this child who throughout the day has had breakfast, lunch, two snacks, and countless other grab from friends is ‘starving’.   Please….They haven’t a clue!  Menu planning for the week aside, I inform the latest despondent creature who is sure to shrivel to nothing at any moment, that dinner will be ready momentarily…and please if they could set the table. This is met with an exasperated sigh… occasionally a whine if the vocal party currently happens to be 15 (we seem to have outgrown the ever grating “Oh my gawd mother!”, and just as I picked out her burial suit too!) and dinner miraculously appears from the oven and is ready to be dished and placed on the table.  Never caring if the meal took hours of prep time, or if the items may be fresh or frozen…children dig in with a voraciousness that bemoans the manners previously taught.  Among various choruses of  “Elbows off the table NOW”…”Pass the pepper please”…”don’t saw your meat please”….the child begins to share her adventures of laughter, embarrassment and anguish at the latest elementary drama….which, is then met with even more enticing drama from the high school junior.   Laughter ensues, giggles are shared, and the meal is enjoyed while discussing what we learned that day.  For 45 minutes we come together and laugh at life lessons learned, who hates who, who is this weeks winner of “I can’t believe she said that…” and I as the negligent mother hear out of the mouths of babes….”Thanks Mom, dinner was good.”
My child, who not an hour earlier was sure to perish to nothing is satisfied once more. Well  satisfied for at least for the next 90 minutes, as we will inevitably begin the “Mom, can I have…?” game, and fruit will be sought….lol.  These are my children.  The little me’s who are not afraid to share their day; not afraid to let me know that I have failed them in insuring their immediate needs are met, when they had to wait five minutes for dinner to be put on the table; these creatures of kindness and good who will one day be calling me, and saying “Oh my Lord Mom, I cannot fill this child!”…I will laugh and say “It’s fun, isn’t it?”
Looking for something Quick n Easy for them After school?  This recipe is easy to prepare, easy to Clean up, and crowd pleasing!
Ingredients
1/3 c   Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 c   planko crumbs
1 tbs. Herb & Garlic Seasoning
1-1/2 lb.  chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

HEAT oven to 400°F.

ADD cheese to coating mix in shaker bag. Moisten chicken with water; gently shake off excess. Add 2 or 3 chicken tenders to shaker bag; shake until evenly coated. Place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining chicken. Discard shaker bag and any remaining coating mixture.

BAKE 12 to 14 min. or until chicken is done.

 

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Comfort Food….Ahhh the Memories!

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 |

Everyone has their memories of that one dinner Mom made like no one else…that one meal that she always seemed to make when you were having a bad day, or you just needed that extra hug.  My mom was no exception and to this day if I’m having a bad day, I’ll find myself in the kitchen making this meal.  Trivial in its approach, but filling…if someone were to offer me this I would smile and heartily accept the invitation to dinner!  What is this nirvana of which I speak?  What could possibly bring me out of one of those days?  Simply put…Macaroni and Cheese, served with breakfast sausage, stewed tomatoes (gasp! from a can none the less!) and corn fritters!  Heaven on a plate!  I don’t know why…lol…but I do know that no matter how old I was if I was having a bad day, and I was sitting down to my parents table…dinner always consisted of this simple meal.  It made me believe that my mother was psychic…while she would just laugh and assure me she just had a urge for this for dinner.  I’m sure my siblings each had their own favourite she served…but for me…this bring back great memories, and that feeling of being wrapped in a hug!

The kids know …”oh, mom had one of those days…” when they come in from school and the house smells of baked cheese, mingled in with the smell of grease and cooked pork.  They smile and begin to set the table knowing tonight will erupt in laughter and as we sit together and ask that beloved question ” What did we learn today?”…we all inhale and take in the fragrant aroma of nothing other than pasta smothered in a blend of medium cheddar and my favourite asiago!  Plated along side perfectly browned sausages, seasoned tomatoes and the beloved corn fritters…someone always grabs the maple syrup and we dig in, sharing our tales of the day and memories of yesterday that make us laugh…always improving my mood for sure!

My mom isn’t here anymore to make this glorious dish which some may scoff at…it certainly is not on any weight watching list of approved foods…but sometimes we all need to indulge and treat ourselves.  So if you’re feeling like you too could use a hug…try this…it my become something you look forward to sharing with your family one day!

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

4 c.   Macaroni

3 c.   Shredded Cheese

1 ts.   Butter

Preparation:

Boil as much macaroni as will fill your dish, until quite tender. Drain and sprinkle a little salt over it. Put a layer of macaroni in your baking dish, layer with soem cheese, and on that a few bits of butter, then macaroni, cheese, and butter, until the dish is full, on the top a thin layer of cheese
Bake in a 400° oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (approximately 16 ounces) cream -style corn
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • powdered sugar

Preparation:

Sift together dry ingredients. Mix together the cream-style corn and egg. Add dry ingredients, stirring slowly until blended. Heat oil in large, deep, heavy skillet over medium heat. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Do not crowd. Fry about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper; dust with powdered sugar if desired.
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Life beyond a book…One page at a time

Posted by on May 18, 2012 | 0 comments

Sometimes…I wonder if it may not benefit us, to step back and ask ourselves…what would I do if I was the one who felt they were wronged or being replaced?..Give ourselves an honest answer, understanding we may not like it then move forward from there. Not every mother is out to get someone, out to banish the stepmother into another dimension, or out to make their ex husbands lives a living hell…it does happen yes, it has happened…however I alone   am in control of how I move forward from here.

Understanding that over the past 25 years (OMG), there have been moments of clarity, moments of regret, and moments where I wished the earth would crack and swallow the brats and no I do not mean my children…I also know as I’ve matured and lived this life, that no amount of education, preparation or imagination could have ever prepared me for…nor made me into the the parent or person I am today…parent in the form of step, bio and Court appointed. 
Yes my marriage failed, but it failed because I was a naive young woman who thought I could save the world…not realizing I may have to save myself when the time came. In a divorce there is always another side to the story…the wife, the husband, the child..and the unmitigated truth that lies in between the biases, hurt, anger, loss, grief and selfishness.
What I know to be true as a 45 year old, is far from that of a 20 year old.

Person I am in the form of if i was asked to describe myself…my short answer would be Divorced, Educated,Imaginative, Creatively Sarcastic Mother of Many, Family orientated, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, and Mamo, an Occasional screw up, Selfless yet selfish at the same time, Romantic…did I mention Creatively Sarcastic?

That would be my short description, yet is does not define who I am, or who I have become.  That alone is based on life experiences, events and education along the sometimes crooked path.  Who I am is based upon a variety of life experiences, lessons learned both good and bad, and events that I have had the pleasure of taking advantage of throughout the past 45 years. (If you ask me I will reply with a quick smile that I am 39.95 plus shipping and handling…taxes go up every year and so does shipping and handling!)  I am who I am based on tears, laughter, angst, anger, grief, drama, peer pressure, marriage, child birth and death.  I am not perfect, I am not imperfect…I am a person with feelings, thoughts, emotions, biases and beliefs.  I can be opinionated, I can be hyper, full of joy, and full of sadness sometimes all at the same time…but each time is a lesson learned, a page turned in this book that is my life.

I have wasted time in this life carrying baggage that was both mine and not mine to carry.  I have embraced new experiences, and for the sake of sanity abandoned some…but at no point have I ever stopped and said “I give up”.  I have opened doors to new experiences, and likewise I have closed some on the memories that just lead towards a dark place I chose not to go towards.  My children, all of them…from my stepdaughter right down to my youngest have taught me lessons along the way.  My ex husband in his own way taught me things that I never believed possible…and there are days I will laugh when I find myself caught in the middle of doing something, cursing him and his head full of ‘useless knowledge’.  I kid with my children that the neon sign on my front door saying Drop your child here is seen by everyone but me…yet they shake their head, and trust me when I open that door and offer what help we can.  I find that although it may involve stress, angst and tears…in the end it is one person that needed a hand, and I did what I could.  I have taught my children that buying the homeless man in McDonald’s a meal because he is sitting there looking miserable as they enjoy themselves…is the right thing to do, and they are proud when they share the memories of baking, cooking, wild water fights, sleepovers, tents in the living room even though they know I will be up in the morning cleaning like a fiend.  The pocket change spent as we share a treat from that infernal Ice cream truck (someone tell me WHY he comes at 5 pm?)…sometimes it is OK to have dessert first!  I have taught them that it is OK to talk to one another even if I may not be talking at the time…I have taught them, that no matter what the door will never be closed, the book will never stop turning pages, and the people that touched our lives in a positive or negative way…left an opportunity to teach us one more thing.  I have been adamant in my educating them on not choosing their friends based on sexual, religious, financial or racial differences…ignorance starts at home and grows outside of it.

One day the children will have all moved out, even though they swear they are staying til they are 40…the older one have moved out, moved on and are creating their own footprint.  They will have their own stories to tell, their own events that shape who they are, as previous ones shape who they are right now…and I will sit back, smile and watch as the story unfolds One page at a time, because although my role as their parent will never cease, it will be my joy to share in their adventure.

 

 

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