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Monday
Jul162018

I'm Going to Need a Lot of SQUIRRELS!

Alright, Internet. In case you hadn't noticed, I have been purposely turning inward in this space. There's a whole lot going on in the world, much of which disappoints and infuriates and concerns me, but I need a little happy place, so HERE IT IS.

No matter what is going on, I've been trying to keep this place pleasant. That means I've been avoiding all things political.

But here's the thing. I watched, in real time, as the guy I refer to as Tangerine Mussolini openly committed treason. You don't have to have paid attention in civics class or even have a basic grasp on politics to know that's what happened. It was right there. In plain view. TREASON.

Fortunately, it happened on a day when things are a little crazy with the people who think it's my job to feed them. Even more fortunately, it's cheer nationals week, so things are going to stay a little crazy. And then I'm headed to Thailand for a week, so I've got a solid two weeks before Alexis will have a chance to fully focus on what has been going on and interrogate me. But when she does? OH MY. LOOK OUT. RUN.

The kid is going to have questions. She's going to want to know how it's possible that he's still in the White House. She's going to want to know why the other Republicans keep letting this go on. She's going to want explanations about Russia and explanations about all sorts of things.

WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO SAY?

Because right now I'm still trying to figure out how anybody is left fighting between left and right as if political parties are freaking sports teams. Did you know that you don't keep cheering for your political team even when they're wrong? There's no fair-weather fans crap in this game. Nope, wrong is wrong. So, like, put away the red t-shirt and explain yourself. You can agree with one thing and still know ALL THE REST OF IT IS BAD. ALL OF IT. Stop making excuses for it. Stop looking away at the parts that make you uncomfortable. Treason. He knowingly and willingly committed treason. EXPLAIN HOW YOU'RE ALLOWING THIS TO CONTINUE.

Because I'm going to have to explain you and I'm super not looking forward to it.

Sunday
Jul152018

Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

Miss Alexis has been baking a lot lately. She made cookies for her end of year cheer picnic, for example. So far, all of her baking adventures have started with pulling up a recipe on this website and following the directions. Its pretty great, if I'm being honest.

So, uh, Alexis, LOOK AT THIS RECIPE.

Rhubarb, kid. You need to make me something with rhubarb.

Like these Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars. I have faith that you've graduated to this level of awesomeness.

 

Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter (the "cold" part is important)
1 egg
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced (hint: smaller stalks are easier to cut and less "stringy")
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup white sugar
5 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Grease a 9" x 13" glass pan.

3. In a large bowl, combine the one cup of sugar, baking powder, flour, and salt. Stir with a whisk until well combined.

4. Add the cold butter and egg.

5. Use a fork to cut the butter and egg into the flour mixture. When you get tired to trying to get the fork to do the trick, resort to using your hands. You want a crumbly mixture that doesn't have any large chunks of butter. Just keep squishing and you will win the battle. (I'm sure a food processor would do a great job of this, but I don't like food processors. I'm a rebel like that.)

6. Add the lemon zest. Stir it all up.

7. Smoosh half of the flour mixture into your 9" x 13" pan. If you are math challenged, half is about 2 1/2 cups of it. No need to be exact. Just get close.

8. Get out another large bowl. Put the 1/2 cup white sugar, almond extract, cornstarch, and lemon juice in there. Stir things up.

9. Add the strawberries and rhubarb then stir some more.

10. Spread the strawberry mixture over the crust in your 9" x 13" pan.

11. Add 1/2 cup of your sliced almonds to the remaining flour mixture you have sitting off to the side. Mix it all up.

12. Crumble the remaining flour mixture over top of the strawberries and rhubarb. There should be enough to completely hide the strawberries and their friends.

13. Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the top.

14. Bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the top is very lightly browned.

15. Allow to cool before cutting.

16. Drown yourself in some strawberry rhubarb happiness. You've earned it.

Saturday
Jul142018

Gold Medalist at Awkward Smiles

July18 013