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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wassail Recipe: A Hot Toddy punch that keeps you nice and cozy during the winter months.

My mom’s old coffee percolator. When she offered it to me I knew I needed it for one thing and one thing only: WASSAIL!

OK, so I’m sure you’re thinking, “No, not really, Wendy. I don’t need a coffee percolator. A 12-cup Mr. Coffee (or for you upscale fancy schmancy folks, a Keurig) works just fine, thank you very much.”

I totally get it. I balked at first. I knew the hubs would argue we’d have nowhere to store it (true!) and when we have parties our guests don’t exactly look for a fresh-brewed cup o’ joe because we’re consuming wine, beer or cocktails. But when I explained to him that this was the magic Wassail machine, he quickly did an about face and told me to throw it in the back of the car.

I can’t remember how long ago that was. What I do know is that when it’s cold and rainy and usually Thanksgiving or Christmas time (though not this past year because it was too warm for such Hot Toddy goodness), our good ol’ buddy my mom was so nice enough to pass down to us gets pulled down from the garage rafters (now from the upper cabinets — today was the first time I didn’t have to check for rat poop! but I digress …) and put to use.

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I think one of the most difficult things about parenting is getting homemade, somewhat healthy food into the mouths of my babes. You know, something that’s actually fresh and not thrown into the oven after being removed from the freezer. Not only are you dealing with picky eaters, but when you work full time and don’t get everyone home until after 5 and bedtime is 7 and 7:30 with homework and showers to be had, there isn’t a lot of time to always cook from scratch.

Lately we’ve been cooking a large meal on Sunday to allow for leftovers for at least one or two nights during the week. But I also don’t want to burn the kids out on the same thing three meals in a row. So I’m always keeping my eye out for dishes that are fast, easy and kid-friendly (just as every other parent is probably doing … I know I’m not alone here).

Anyway, my kids are like all other kids on the planet and love chicken fingers (or nuggets, um .. well, you know, the dinosaur-shaped Costco ones). They’re even pretty good about eating the larger, actual-breaded-chicken tenders you get at a restaurant. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterest (from the Mommy? I’m Hungry! blog), I thought it would be perfect because it’s a homemade meal that’s semi-healthy and the kids would love it. Let’s just say that my 20 mo. old ate three large pieces and the girls asked for seconds. That equals success in my book. It’s simple, pretty fast and you don’t need to buy any special ingredients (we always have a large box of Bisquick in the house because the hubs makes pancakes and waffles for the family on the weekends).

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Well, I started 2013 off to a good start. No, that’s not a typo — two thousand THIRTEEN. I created an About page, posted a recipe and even posted a follow up to the recipe. That’s three — count ’em: one, two, THREE posts I made at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, that was a year ago (I could get all technical and say it was 11 months, 23 days, X minutes and X seconds, but I’m a giver, so I’ll say a year).

Now, I must say that in the span of the last year I got pregnant with my fourth child (which started as twins and had us FREAKING OUT for about two weeks), experienced polyhydramnios (that’s extra fluid in the placenta for those of you who want to know) while chasing after my insane energetic son, working full time, carting around my then-kindergarten and pre-k daughters, and fighting the school district to allow my second-oldest to enter into Kindergarten instead of Transitional Kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school year (that ordeal is for another post … hope I can get that done before 2015).

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Hello, large pregnant lady! I still had two months to go until my scheduled C.

I vowed to myself that I’d get something posted during my maternity leave, but then the week after I came home from the hospital we had our kitchen cabinets and island FINALLY being installed. Yes, FINALLY deserves all caps because I didn’t have a kitchen for the past 6.5 years. No, I didn’t have old cabinets that were replaced. I didn’t have ANYTHING. For Christ’s sake, I didn’t have a kitchen sink or an oven/stovetop for the first year we lived here (let alone hot water for the first three months … but I digress and now I’m just sounding like a whiney little bitch). So that was sorta a distraction, given the newborn that needed my attention and all (good thing I don’t breastfeed — GASP! — or I’d have been cooped up in my bedroom for a week, which I guess could have been sorta nice if the pocket door facing the family room where our cabinet installer was entering and exiting actually closed shut for some privacy).

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