Thursday, September 30, 2010

And the next time I end up with six other people in a two-man tent, I'm leaving my Nanette Lepore heels in the limo.

So this weekend we went on a scavenger hunt. It was to raise money for House of Refuge, a program that provides transitional housing for homeless families out at the old Williams AFB (now ASU East). It is a great program, and Jake is on the board, so we showed up.

I'm so glad we did.
It was seriously fun.

First we met Mike. He was our driver, and had been on a few of these things before. Plus he knew his way around Tempe. This was very helpful. Especially since the tint on the back windows, which keeps the deadly carcinogenic rays of our desert sun (and the paparazzi) out of the smooth, unblemished faces of the rich and famous during the day, makes it nearly impossible to see out at night.

There we are. The brain trust. The beau monde. Just another Mensa field trip with our good friends Susette and Brent (center), and Susette's brother Elijah and his new bride, Hilaree.

Right out of the gate, Hilaree wins us like 10 points for molesting this crustacean inside a Fry's grocery.
Back in the car, I used my wide, but also deep, knowledge of everything there is to know, to answer trivia questions. (Special thanks to google, and my trusty ipad.)

What? Haven't you ever seen 6 swanky-lookin' Mormons and their limo driver in a two-man tent inside an REI before?

We bought this cute ASU student some dessert and sang to him on his 'birthday'. Since it was Thai food, he had some sort of rice pudding, instead of cake.

Found some ASU fans on their way out of the big game. (5 points). And by big game, I mean, I don't have any idea who they were playing. (Was it UofA? Go Wildcats!)

And then we had to sing with a piano player at a piano (15 points), and since we don't know nearly as much as we should about the inside of bars in Tempe, we headed over to the Institute building. Where we found a nice girl to play us some Billy Joel. But wait, Jake didn't get her in the photo!
Well, he got her, but not us.
Brent flipped some burgers over to the Chuckbox on University. If you know the Chuckbox, you will not be surprised that they let random people into the kitchen to play with the food. Tasty burgers, though.
The chief let us take some photos on the fire truck, for another 10 points.
And the lady at the front desk at the ER at St. Luke's was kind enough to outfit us with gowns, masks, and gloves for another 15.
Finally, there there was some more dress-up at the Circle K at University and Rural...
Where this photo was taken by a tranny with vitiligo. I'm not lying to you.

Well, we didn't win. I'm not sure how this is possible, with the dream team we'd assembled. But we did get like 6 different kinds of chocolate dessert, which is prize enough for me.

Maybe we'll win the trip next year.

Who's in?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stop being a wuss, and eat your butter.

Did you see the time Kelly (of Regis and Kelly) dressed up as Paula Deen for Halloween? You probly didn't, because Regis and Kelly can be very annoying, and you might have turned them off, say, ten years ago. But maybe it was Kathie Lee who was around ten years ago? Well, never mind, cause she was even more annoying. (But now she's back on TV, and every time I flip past, she and Hoda are drinking wine or talking about drinking wine, at 10 o'clock in the morning, and chatting about not eating or not getting plastic surgery. Is a good argument for getting cable TV.)

Which reminds me, I almost called the cable company this week and begged them to hook me up because I just couldn't face the fall season with no CBS, but then Jake went into the attic and fiddled with the antenna, so now I'm back in the game, watching inappropriate shows that waste my life. (At least I'm self-aware).

(I really liked Running Wilde last night.)

But somehow I've gone off-topic before I even got on topic. My topic is butter.

So, it was Halloween, and the Kelly Ripa/Paula was faking a southern accent and saying something like I love me some butter kebabs. (She's waving around a cube of butter impaled on a skewer.) I like to wash down my butter kebabs with a nice cup of warm oil, or put the butter kebab between two doughnuts for a tasty treat. I'd show you the clip, but it's full of Regis cussing it up as Gordon Ramsay. And just because I watch inappropriate TV doesn't mean you do, too.

So on Sunday, when I made this cake, I was channeling Kelly-as-Paula. And as we all know, Paula makes delicious food (I don't fully trust the dishes made by skinny little Giada, who obviously spends more time on the treadmill and buying supportive cleavage-enhancing under-fashions than browning her butter.

No, that's not a figure of speech.

I asked my Mom what sort of birthday cake she wanted, and she told me coconut or chocolate with brown butter frosting. So I made a little of both. In one 9x13 pan. And if I do say so myself, the results were quite good.

Kelly's Coconut Pecan Brown Butter Cake with Brown Butter Frosting.



2 1/2 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter (unsalted), browned and cooled to nearly solid in freezer of refrigerator.
1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk (or add 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice 1 cup plus 1 tbsp milk and let stand for 10 minutes)
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups chopped pecans
1.5 cups sweetened flaked coconut


1 stick unsalted butter, browned and cooled
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3-5 tbsp milk or cream
pinch salt


Melt butter (I used two separate small saucepans, one with two sticks of butter for the cake, one with one stick, for the frosting) over low to medium heat, stirring nearly constantly. The butter will foam up, and become clear, then start to turn color. Once it starts to turn (about 5 minutes, depending on heat), watch it very carefully, because it will burn quickly. When it is a light to medium brown, take it off the heat and put it in the freezer or the refrigerator to re-solidify.

After the butter is cooled, mix all cake ingredients (better if they are at room temperature) in mixer bowl (except coconut and pecans) with paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Then beat on high until well mixed. Add coconut and pecans.

Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. Check the center with a toothpick. The cake is done when the toothpick comes out almost clean. The center will continue to cook as it cools. Don't over-bake or it will be dry!

To make frosting, beat cooled brown butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add milk or cream a little at a time, until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

Frost cooled cake! Eat it!

It is even better than a butter kebab and doughnut sandwich!

Now, go make it for yourself.
I will not listen to you whine about your lactose intolerance or your vegan ways.
Butter is delicious!

Oh. And Joey is six months old today!

(He gets no cake.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


On Tuesday morning, Tom came out dressed for his third day of preschool in only his Spiderman briefs and his backpack. So I asked him: are you ready for school?

To which he replied:

No. I forgot my gun.

He has lately taken to tantrum-throwing. He was, as recently as last week, a very charming and easy-going child, but things can take a quick turn around here. Too bad my reflexes aren't what they used to be. (Plus I twisted my knee in step class. And yes, I know step class is for old people. I am old people. I recently bought eye cream, because I am 37 now, and for some reason 37 is way, way older than 36, and in my mind 37-year-olds need eye cream. Did anyone know eye cream was so expensive? Do they charge so much because they figure old people have lots of discretionary income?)

Anyhow, after he got over a real doozy of a fit this afternoon, I put my arm around him and asked:

Me: Hey, remember that kid who didn't throw tantrums?

Tom: I didn't throw anything. Well, I threw my night light yesterday. Now the bulb doesn't work.

Me: No, that's just what you say. Throw. But you don't have to actually throw anything for it to be a fit. It's just an idiom.

Tom: Pauses while he looks at me like I'm nuts.

Me: No really, do you remember him? I would ask that kid to pick up the Lincoln Logs and he wouldn't throw himself headlong onto the tile while screaming for justice and kicking the wall?

Tom: Sheepishly grins. Yeah.

Me: What happened to him? Can he come back?

I give him the strict-eye, and the serious-nod, plus a quick tight-grin, and then continue:

Do you know who that kid is, Tom? He's YOU!

Tom: Oh.

He ruminates on this for a moment. Finally, he asks:

Does that kid have a go-cart?

Me: Yes.

Tom: Does that kid wear my pants?

Well, I thought, someone ought. Cuz you don't.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homeschool fantasies, pantlessness, and Brandon Flowers

Where have I been?


Beginning of school stuff is always stressful. Someone always refuses to do any work in school, so there are lots of long talks and weeping (mine) and I have to spend lots of time remembering who is banned from the wii, and cajoling people into doing their homework. I also have to remember what time is karate (4:30), and what time is contemporary dance (7). Plus scouts and activity day and chorus. And orchestra. Most of that is Jane's. It feels like that episode of the Brady Bunch where Marcia signs up for every club in high school and ends up covered in goo from Peter's volcano. We haven't started piano yet, so I bought some Coldplay sheet music. Maybe Chris Martin can be their music teacher? (Hey, Ross, you can't ride your go-cart until I hear Clocks ten times.)

We ended up back in the pediatric neuropsychologist's office again last week, only with boy #2 this time (only 2 to go?). This time we only got the WISC, but we might go back for executive functions! If anyone wants to talk about what to do with crazy smart boys with attention issues, email me. I'm nearly out of answers. Right now I'm fantasizing about homeschool, where the teacher won't send me any more discipline notes.

I finally decided that at some time in the future I will need to wear pants, so I stopped eating cookies. Well, not all the cookies, of course. Just most of them. So I lost a few pounds, which is great, but sometimes I get very hungry and eat an entire order of Little Caesar's cheesy bread (last night, por ejemplo), but that's just to be expected. This dearth of cookies makes me grouchy. (Sleep deprivation might also be a contributing factor.) Alas, it is necessary. Don't try to talk me out of it. (But if you want to bring me cookies, I'll eat them. Is only polite behavior!)

I'm sitting here listening to new Brandon Flowers solo album, Flamingo. Only on track 10, but so far I like Jilted lovers & Broken Hearts, Magdalena and Crossfire.

Whatcha think?

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones