Posted in Cooking Irresponsibly, Mama, Writer

The Magical, Kid-Proof, Sugar Cookie Cutout Recipe

My kids have always helped me bake. They stir, operate the mixer, measure, and decorate. My daughter especially loves it.

We used to try to do the traditional, Christmas-card, sugar cookie process. The kids were still really small, though, and it was always a mess.

A lot of recipes call for softening butter, so you have to plan for your cookies 3 hours in advance, or do a complicated boil-water-put-it-in-a-glass-for-a-minute-pour-it-out-and-place-it-upside-down-over-a-stick-of-butter-for-a-while-and-hope-for-the-best dance. Neither worked well for me and my kids.

The recipes also want you to chill the dough. How does this sound:

Me: let’s make cookies!

Kids: Yes!!!

(measure and mix. Dough goes into the refrigerator)

Me: Now, we just wait for two hours.

(Sad faced children)

It never worked out anyway. Since those recipes need the dough to stay cold, me and my littles were racing the clock to get everything rolled and cut. I wanted my kids to be included in the process, and little hands need time to get things done.

Then, there’s the fact that you have to flour the board. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem. With kids, though, the stickiness factor quadruples, and, no matter what I do, we end up with cookies that taste like cardboard and look nothing like the cookie cutters.

Too little chilling. Too much rolling. Too much flour.

(If you’re in a similar boat, maybe because your kids are just really little, I suggest cheating. Make rice crispy treats (or buy a sheet of the things), cut with cookie cutters, and use store-bought tubes of icing. You can make memories, and stuff should still end up edible.)

Then, there came the magical recipe that made traditional sugar cookie baking and decorating possible with even my tiny children. I found it on Pinterest many moons ago, and it’s thanks to this recipe that my kids and I have made forest cookies, pumpkins, acorns, candy canes, Christmas trees, hearts, and Easter eggs.

The butter can be just a little softened. No chilling needed. Roll, cut, and add flour, flour, flour, and they still somehow taste like tender, buttery cookies and still look just like the cookie cutter.

I have had no contact with the writer before, and I’m not sure if she knows what a gift this recipe is; she doesn’t even mention baking with children throughout her whole description/instructions. I’m grateful, though.

Here’s to you, Katrina’s Kitchen, and your “Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever.” Because of you we have made wonderful baking memories, and, without you, we would have eaten a whole heck of a lot of rice crispy treats. I look forward to Christmas cookies soon.

Here’s the page (check out her shortening frosting recipe, too): http://www.inkatrinaskitchen.com/best-sugar-cookie-recipe-ever

 

easter 2
When their hands were just strong enough to start trying to use the piping bag- but they also made the cookies. And the cookies are perfect. 
easter
My daughter’s “sprinkle cookies”
chocolate
We substituted some flour for cocoa powder to make some Easter colors really pop.
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Posted in Mama, Writer

Traveling with Kids: Where’s My Teleporter?

Traveling with kids has some challenges. I was thinking today, that if I could design a special car to cover all of the needs of a family with littles, I would end up with an RV.

A house with wheels.

Tuesday, Husband and I packed everything imaginable for our family to travel four hours away and stay a couple of nights at my parents’ house. On the way there, we stopped for fast food.

While munching nuggets, my son confesses he’s actually really sick, but he’s been hiding it. He was scared we would cancel our trip if we knew.

Husband and I had packed the car to the brim- but we were still unprepared for that surprise.

Once we got to my mom’s, my son had deteriorated to the point that, if my mom hadn’t already happened to have a thermometer, I would have had to go get one right away.

My daughter started coughing the next morning.

We were all beyond lucky that our destination was my mom’s house. My parents are accommodating and understanding. They helped us through, and my family is home again today, comfy, albeit sniffly.

I can’t help but feel connected to the parents still in it this weekend. So many people won’t do the travel thing until Saturday or Sunday. So many have further to go. So many have smaller kids.

We need teleporters, y’all. Forget the flying car. I bet our littles would still be carsick in those, anyway. In the future, an “RV” won’t cut it. We literally need home to travel with us. 

Until then, parents, when you’re out there in it, you have all my sympathy.

I see you pulled over letting the sick kid be sick.

I see you pulling out an easy mac as your picky kid sits down to grandma’s 8-course dinner.

I see you trying to put your light sleeper down on a pull-out couch while, downstairs, the party continues at a jolly volume.

I, too, see the line at the gas station restroom, and I, too, pray your kid “makes it.”

Solidarity, parents. If I see you, I’ll share my saltines and wipes.

And don’t forget- there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll be home eventually.  

Posted in Mama, Writer

Turkey Disguise 101: a Life or Death Kindergarten Homework Assignment

                I had other plans for blogs this morning, but my son has left his class project out. One thing led to another, and, long story short, I have been mentoring a helpless, reluctant-to-be-eaten turkey in the art of disguise.

                Here’s Ed’s (the turkey’s) backstory.

Backstory

                So, somebody is after the poor guy. He’s dinner otherwise. Got it.

                After wishing Ed luck, I went about my business. When I got back to the kitchen, I found this:

First Hershey

                “Are you kidding me, Ed? That’s a terrible disguise.”

Then-

second hershey

“Did you just…? Cut it out. I can still see you. And hiding in a layer of chocolates? You might as well be hiding under beef jerky and a stack of Cabela’s catalogues.”

Shaking my head, I went back to cleaning up the kitchen. When I went in the living room, I found this:

sunglasses

“It’s a classic, Ed, but I think you’re going to need something that covers the whole butt of protruding feathers issue. Keep trying, buddy.”

Five minutes later, I checked back in and found:

dead

“Oh, I see- pretending you’re already dead. But, sorry to say this Ed, this kind of dead won’t keep you from getting eaten.”

Ed was horrified. After a round of therapy, I found him in the kitchen again.

waldo

“I see what you did there! Well, it did work for that other guy. I’m just not sure if you really want to risk hiding in plain sight like that. Waldo has a lot of white, human privilege that lets him blend in unharrassed. I’m not sure if that would work for a turkey in a turtleneck.  

I know, I know. This is hard. You’ve got to stop thinking like a turkey, Ed. Get with the human program, and find yourself a safe zone.”

I left Ed feeling discouraged. I made tea and went to start laundry. I found this:

laundry

I could have cried.

Ed had done it. He’d finally found a place that’s a total human turnoff. He was a safe turkey at last.

I wiped away a tear and made a note to call Bojangles and reserve my deep fried Thanksgiving dinner. For Ed’s sake, I prayed they hadn’t already sold out.