Monday, March 24, 2008

Kitchen Capers

I'm so glad that I'm so easy going and that things don't get to me too often. We planned a pretty casual Easter dinner. Miles and I are not religious and don't celebrate Easter from a religious standpoint, but I really do believe in family traditions and building memories for our kids. One of those is to celebrate spring with the Easter bunny and a good ham and scalloped potato dinner. We didn't celebrate with Cousins, Aunts, Uncles and Grammie and Grampie because we wanted a quieter day at home. I found a recipe for some really yummy looking lemon cupcakes, bought a spiral ham and some potatoes and cheese so I could scallop potatoes.

Right around morning snack time, the boys wanted to help Mommy make the cupcakes. I got out the recipe and got out the ingredients. The recipe called for 4 egg whites. First egg didn't make it, got too much yolk in the pan, so I dumped it out and started over. This should have been my first clue.

We poured all the ingredients into the mixer bowl and mixed up the cake batter. Boys helped lick the beaters (which is the whole point of making a cake, right?) Next we filled the muffin cups. I realized at that point that I only have enough pans to make 12 muffins. So, we get out a round cake pan and pour the rest into that. I guess I should mention that now the boys are spooning out cake batter from the muffins I had just filled.

The oven was ready, so we put our cupcakes and round cake in and set the timer for 21 minutes. I've learned to set our oven timer for a time about 5 minutes less than the low end of the scale that the cake recipe calls for. I can always put it back in if it's underdone, right?

When the timer goes off, I open the oven door, but the oven was off! The cakes were half baked. I'll use Cory and Tyler's favorite quote, "What happened, Mommy?" I think that Miles turned it off while he was wiping down the cabinets and setting up the pot to boil potatoes. But, he doesn't remember turning the oven off and even accused me of never even turning it on. But, the cakes were half baked, so we know it was on at one point. I guess either one of us could have turned it off absentmindedly and not remembered doing it. Three kids somehow does that to your brain. Anyway, I turned the oven back on and kept the cakes in.

About 20 minutes later, I check on the cakes and I guess they're done. They each have a big crater in the middle, but the tops are brown (a little browner than I would like) and the toothpick comes out clean. Out they come.

While the cakes are cooling, I get the ingredients out to make the cream cheese frosting. Yes, my mom did remind me that you can actually buy cream cheese frosting from the store and I could put a little bit of lemon flavoring in it to get the same effect, but I decided that I need to make the frosting. I can't remember the last time I actually made frosting from actual powdered sugar. I already had the cream cheese and butter out so they were soft. Dumped those into the mixer bowl and then measured the powdered sugar. I say measured, but I wasn't exactly sure how to measure the stuff. The recipe called for 16 ounces in weight and I had a 32 ounce bag. I couldn't just put 2 cups in, I don't think that would have been quite right, so I guess at half the bag.

I keep the mixer unplugged while I'm working because the boys like to turn knobs and move levers. It's just really safer that way. So, when I plugged the mixer in, it was already in high speed. I wish I could describe the scene at that very instant. Powdered sugar coated our kitchen (and me) from ceiling to floor and beyond. It was hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing. Dad pitched in right away to clean up the sugar off the floor and countertops so the dogs and kids wouldn't spread it further. At least it was contained to the kitchen, my clothes and my hair.

Now we had to figure out how much more powdered sugar we would need to make the frosting to fill the craters in our cupcakes. We got that figured out and the frosting actually turned out quite good. I taste-tested a cupcake and it wasn't bad, but really not great. Very spongy and dry. Bummer.

After the cupcakes were done and placed neatly on a serving platter, I started the potatoes boiling so that we could get them done and go to the park before dinner. It was getting to be a nice day, even though we had snow and cold on Saturday. The rest of the cooking went without incident and I got the potatoes in the refrigerator so we could just pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes before dinner.

We went to the park.

When we got home to get dinner going, I looked at the directions for cooking the ham. The ham will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook. Bummer. I know that it's pre-cooked, so we really could eat it cold. I also realize that it is a huge ham for the 5 of us, so I really don't need to heat the whole thing. We decide to cut off enough for dinner and heat it in the microwave.

Dinner turned out great!

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