National Cherry Turnover Day

August 28, 2016

National Cherry Turnover Day

NationalEats365CherryTurnover

This is a dessert that I could eat every single day! I love anything that includes cherry pie filling! You could probably scoop it on top of stroganoff or meatloaf or any of the other foods I thought I hated as a kid and I’d scarf them up. Hand to god – when I left my job in Colorado to move to Florida many years ago, one of my co-workers gave me a can of cherry pie filling as a gift because she knew how much I love it. Crazy, right? (I kind of thought so too…)

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Turnovers are so incredibly simple to make that you’d have to be a complete idiot not to get it right. I know none of my 7 subscribers are complete idiots, so you are all very capable of baking this simple recipe. As long as you’re allowed to use a sharp kitchen knife, you can make these cherry turnovers. Heck, you can even turn them into apple turnovers, like I did last month, or you could get real crazy and make them blueberry turnovers or raspberry turnovers. Oh, the variety…

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Cherry Turnovers (from I Wash You Dry)
1 box Puff Pastry Dough (found in the freezer section), thawed according to package instructions
1 (21oz) can Cherry Pie filling
For the Vanilla Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Unwrap both of the puff pastry doughs and cut into 8 squares (4 from each dough).
Place a heaping tablespoon or two of cherry pie filling in the center of each square. Brush the edges of the squares with the egg white and fold over to enclose the pie filling.
Bake on baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes, or until puff pastry is golden brown.
Let cool on a wire rack.
To make vanilla glaze:
Combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour in a frosting bag or zip close bag then snip off the tip or corner to pipe on the cooled turnovers.

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This morning I met with my writers group, so I had to wait until this afternoon to get these desserts ready. Sure, I could have made them this morning and brought them to my meeting, but then I figured if I did that only like 2 other people would show up. Instead, we had a fairly large group today – 9 people – and we all shared something we’re working on. I brought my outline for my spec episode of Blackish for my UCLA sitcom writing class. Everyone gave me excellent feedback and really boosted my ego with raving about the humor. And now they’ve inspired me to change my ending to something that’s even more funny and outlandish. I can’t wait! I also can’t believe this class is almost over! In two short weeks I’ll be finished and then maybe I’ll take the plunge and actually submit my work for consideration. Not that I know how Hollywood works whatsoever! I don’t think it’s as simple as virtually placing a homework assignment in a wire basket on the teacher’s desk before class begins…

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Tomorrow is National Chop Suey Day and for some reason it always reminds me of my grandma. I don’t know if it’s because she grew up in Chicago and at that time, chop suey was all there was in terms of Chinese food. I can’t really remember what the significance is. Maybe I just need to ask. So tomorrow, I’ll be making my own version of chop suey and I’m sure it will be nothing like it was supposed to be! Oh well! It’s not like I’m saying I’ll make chop suey and then end up with a carrot cake and tacos…

National Pots de Creme Day

August 27, 2016

National Pots de Creme Day

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Five words for you – Salted Caramel Pot de Creme. I almost made the huge, gigantic, massive (but never “ginormous” because newsflash: it’s not a real word friends, stop using it!) mistake of using a recipe for your standard chocolate pot de creme but then I consulted the Pinterest gods and once again, they pointed me in the right direction. Never doubt the power of the Pin. I can’t even say what this salted caramel pot de creme tastes like without getting x-rated, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one. What I can say is OMG.

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That would be my OMG face after taking my first two bites of this stuff!

 

I had little faith in myself when it came to making this recipe. I don’t get nervous about much (wow, I’ve grown up leaps and bounds from the little wallflower I used to be!) but caramelizing sugar makes me a nervous wreck! I almost, sort of, kinda should have let this go just about a minute longer in the pot but I couldn’t commit to it. I was just too nervous to burn it all and start over from scratch. That would have meant wasting about 3 cents worth of sugar and half a cent of water. Come on people, you know how I feel about waste! Want to make this recipe yourself? Who am I kidding? Of course you do! Here it is.

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Salted Caramel Pot de Creme (from The View From Great Island)
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
sea salt for garnish

Set oven to 325F
Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until well blended. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine. Begin heating it and stir just to dissolve the sugar. Turn up the heat and boil the mixture WITHOUT STIRRING. Continue boiling on medium high heat for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, until the sugar syrup starts to brown. The browner the syrup gets, the more flavor you will have in your finished custard, but be extra careful not to let it burn.
When the syrup is nice and brown, whisk in the cream (be careful, it will spurt) and continue to stir while you lower the heat to medium. The caramel with be hardened at first and will dissolve as the cream heats. Stir just until all the bits of caramel are dissolved.
Slowly drizzle the cream mixture into the egg yolks whisking as you drizzle. Continue until all the cream has been incorporated into the eggs and is smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture into 6 small oven safe glasses.
Set the glasses in a baking dish and pour hot water into the dish to come up about an inch or two.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the custards are set on the edges, but still a little wobbly in the center.
Let cool and then refrigerate until chilled.
Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt.

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You know when you assume something that you’re reading and your mind just keeps going along with it? Kind of like when a recipe calls for 6 egg yolks and you read that as 6 egg whites because you’re used to using egg whites in fancy baking recipes but hardly ever egg yolks… Yeah, that happened. Good thing I hadn’t tossed out the yolks or cooked them by the time I started making these Pots de Creme! That would have been a major no-no that required me to run to the store for another dozen eggs since that was my last 6 eggs in the house. Again with the unnecessary waste! Enough is enough! Disaster averted, I’m happy to report.

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Tomorrow is National Cherry Turnover Day and I would be all ready and prepared if I had remembered to bring my coupon for 75 cents off a package of puff pastry to the store a couple days ago. Oops. Now I need to go pick some up because we both know that I left that $5 package at the store. Had it been $3, I might have considered saying, “Screw it, I’ll be able to use the coupon another time.” Let’s give it up for saving (almost) a buck!

National Cherry Popsicle Day

August 26, 2016

National Cherry Popsicle Day

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Sure, I could have celebrated National Cherry Popsicle Day by purchasing a box of regular popsicles and then eating a cherry one, but what would be the fun in that? No, I like to think outside of the box. I like to try new things. I’m a bit of a collector of life experiences. I’ve just realized that about myself and I’m really happy to embrace it! Yesterday at Stroller Strides, I mentioned to some of the girls that I whipped up some homemade popsicles for the following day’s blog food and then we decided they should come over as soon as their kids finished up their naps.

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Life got in the way and that didn’t happen yesterday. But it did happen today. We had a little mini mommy happy hour with me and one other mama in my kitchen and we ate deliciously boozy popsicles! Yeah, that’s how I thought outside of the box today! I went from the popsicle box to the liquor bottle! These cherry popsicles are not child-friendly. I repeat NOT child-friendly. They are very mama-friendly however. Oh, and they’re amazing! We may have eaten one each and then immediately ate another one. It was necessary. Trust me.

NationalEats365CherryPopsicleIngredients

Amaretto Sour Cherry Popsicles (from Mid-Life Croissant)
3 ounces lemon juice
6 1/2 ounces amaretto
zest of one lime
2/3 cup orange juice
2 cups frozen cherries

Add all ingredients, in order, to your blender and blend until smooth
Pour into popsicle molds
Freeze at least 3 to 4 hours

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The most difficult part of this recipe for me was actually finding a set of popsicle molds that I could purchase! First I checked Target and all they had to offer me was a silicone set that I considered a bit overpriced, plus they were in goofy childish shapes and the thought of cleaning them out just didn’t sit well with me. Too many nooks and crannies! Then I went to Walmart, totally expecting that they’d hook me up. Not so much. Apparently the end of August is way too late in the summer to be hunting for popsicle molds. And then I absent-mindedly found myself wandering down the Jell-O aisle!

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That’s where I found this life-saver of a popsicle kit hidden among the Jell-O and pudding boxes. There was also a chocolate and vanilla variety, but how was I supposed to choose that box when the Oreo option was available?! Yeah, not gonna happen! So for just under $5, I got totally hooked up with a 6 popsicle mold and two boxes of Oreo pudding so that I can make Joseph some Oreo pudding pops in the near future. Who am I kidding? I’ll be eating those bad boys too! Perhaps I can add a little splash of Bailey’s irish cream to mine and make them boozy pops… Great idea, Maria!

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Tomorrow is National Pot de Creme Day. Mine are already in the fridge, ready for a sprinkling of sea salt before I devour it tomorrow! I’ll be sharing the recipe too!

National Waffle Day

August 24, 2016

National Waffle Day

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That may look like an ordinary waffle but I assure you it is jam-packed with flavor! I decided to mix things up and take my tastebuds on a savory adventure down what is typically known as the land of sweet, sweet waffles. I have made some pretty amazing Belgian waffles in the past using a recipe from scratch, but this time around, I stumbled upon a fun article on Buzzfeed that showcased some pretty unique recipes worth trying! I opted for the Puff Pastry + Bacon + Cheese + Onion one. Yes, you read that right.

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Puff Pastry + Bacon + Cheese + Onion Waffle (from Buzzfeed)
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar & swiss)
4 slices crispy bacon
1 tablespoon diced onions

Spray both sides of your waffle maker with nonstick cooking spray, then lay a sheet of puff pastry dough down on the bottom half. Sprinkle a layer of cheese in the center of the waffle
Add onions and crumbled bacon
ADD MORE CHEESE
Fold in the edges of your pastry dough and seal the edges (otherwise, the cheese might leak out while it’s cooking)
Close your waffle maker, and cook until the puff pastry is golden brown and ~delicious~. It’ll take about 5 – 7 minutes, depending on your waffle maker

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A few things I’d like to mention, in case you decided to try this recipe out at home. First, I used a flip-style waffle maker and it was quite the struggle to get it to close enough to actually flip. I actually saw that as a benefit however, seeing as I definitely sealed everything in there! Second, the waffle won’t possibly have cheese leak out – it definitely will and the oils from just about every single ingredient in this waffle will most certainly spit and drip all over the place! I guarantee you! I had every inch of this thing folded and ready to go but the oil spitting still happened. It was quite the mess to clean up, but so very worth it!

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These turned out fantastic! It was basically like making a stuffed waffle sandwich. I ate mine for lunch, after finishing up a workout this morning. I’m so glad I didn’t eat this for breakfast and then go workout! That would have been a real struggle! As it was, I only felt good about eating half of this and then saving the other half for later, as in tomorrow or the next day. There’s no way I will continue feeling good about myself if I eat all of this in one day! Everything in moderation!

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The only thing I would have changed about this recipe would be to use sliced green onions in place of the diced onion. And I would have added more onions because I loved that part of the flavor but it wasn’t very strong. This was a fun thing to make today and I’m kind of looking forward to pulling out the waffle maker more than twice a year from now on!

Tomorrow is National Whiskey Sour Day. You don’t have to tell me twice! Off to the store to buy some sour! Or perhaps I need to find out how to make that myself… I’m intrigued. Are you?

National Sponge Cake Day

August 23, 2016

National Sponge Cake Day

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I was totally one of those kids whose favorite thing about doing activities outside of the house was getting to purchase snacks. Going to the zoo? Gotta get some ice cream. Going to the movies? Gotta have popcorn. Going to the pool? Must have Fun Dip and nachos! Today was no different and judging by the reaction Joseph gave me when I told him that I had a special treat for him, he will proudly follow in my footsteps.

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When I held up the package of Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets from across the pool, Joseph shot out of the pool and ran toward me with a delighted smile on his face. When he hears the words “special treat” it’s the same thing that happens to a dog when they’re offered a dog bone. Usually, he acts more like a cat. How so? Well, just try Skyping with the guy. He gives it very little of his attention and he slowly tries to slink his way out of the camera’s view.

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When I realized that National Sponge Cake Day was coming up, I just knew I had to purchase some sort of packaged snack cake. I wasn’t too interested in trying to make it myself. And then it dawned on me that I had a perfectly legitimate excuse to buy a box of Tastykake snacks. I’ve kept from doing that for the past several years. Is that weird or what?! I don’t think it’s been very long that Tastykake has been available in stores nationwide. You see, they used to only be available in the Philadelphia area (I think). I’m full of useless knowledge. I’m who you’d want at game night or trivia night because I can come up with the name of Paris Hilton’s dog like it’s my job. Well, that was a very irrelevant example, obviously, but it also shows just how long I’ve been out of the trivia game! Thanks, Joseph!

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This was him as he happily devoured his special treat at the pool today. He didn’t even want to take his floaties off to eat it. I don’t blame him! Afterwards, he said it gave him the energy to get back in the pool and actually swim. Prior to the special treat, he kept from getting his head wet this afternoon.

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And this was him telling me, “No more pictures.” It looks alarmingly similar to his, “I’ve got an idea!” pose when he points his finger in the air in a proud manner. It’s pretty adorable.

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Tomorrow is National Waffle Day and I’m pretty pumped to try out something new in the waffle maker! Tune in tomorrow to see what I’m up to!

National “Eat a Peach” Day

August 22, 2016

National “Eat a Peach” Day

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First of all, today is a food holiday for two foods. The other option for the day was National Pecan Torte Day. As tempting as that sounded to make, it just didn’t make any sense to bake up another pecan dessert that I had a feeling was going to be pretty darn similar to the one I made just a couple days ago. Plus, peaches are tasty. And easy to celebrate. And require no prep. And it was cheaper and we all know how I feel about saving a buck.

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It turns out that I picked a pretty perfect peach from the Target farmer’s market. I’m just calling it that to feel fancy. It is by no means a real great selection of produce that my Target has in stock. It’s not even a Super Target, so that’s a bit of a bummer…or is it actually more of a money-saver, seeing as I used to frequent the Super Target as my main grocery store back in Denver, but I always managed to walk out with items one doesn’t typically pick up at a normal grocery store – things like t-shirts and home decor and cheap jewelry. Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and place this under the “It’s for the best” column for the win.

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“Why is your peach on a cake stand?” you might be asking yourself. And to that, I simply say, “Why not?” Please don’t ask me any “why” questions. Joseph has finally reached the age where all he asks is “why?” even after I’ve given him what I would consider to be a completely acceptable and detailed response. I’m just going to start making stuff up if this continues. It’s exhausting. It’s like I’m mentally preparing for battle every time he wants to have a conversation with me. I love talking to him at this age, but these “why?” questions gotta go! Mama’s tired! Anyway, in answer to your why question, my peach is on a cake stand because that’s where I keep my fresh produce. I don’t use a mesh hanger or a bowl because I love my cake stands that much and I like to show them off. So, why not, right?

Tomorrow is National Spongecake Day and I’ve had just a long enough break from baked goods to really enjoy eating something I totally shouldn’t be!

National Sweet Tea Day

August 21, 2016

National Sweet Tea Day

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This morning I swapped out my coffee for sweet tea, in honor of this great day in our history. Crazy right? I don’t honestly think it’s a great day in history. Sweet tea instantly makes me think of the years I lived in Jacksonville, FL and that stirs up some mixed emotions.

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Back in the day when I made money and spent it just as fast, I used to spend it on such frivolous things as lunch outings on an almost daily basis. We went out to lunch more days than not and we’d always come back with a styrofoam to-go cup (if we had sweet tea, because if you don’t already know, that’s what sweet tea is served in – everywhere) of whatever we were drinking. I don’t know if we were just young and frugal in our frivolous spending, but it seemed like everyone used to do that in the south.

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When I moved back to Denver and involuntarily did the same thing, I often got strange stares. Servers weren’t as receptive to my request for a cup of my beverage to go. Even my own co-workers thought it was a little odd. But for real, I’m sure they just thought I was a cheapo. And they’re right. I like to stretch my dollar.

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I have never claimed to be a true southerner. I lived in Jacksonville for three years of my life and just barely got by with my “yankee” accent and ears. It didn’t help that I was surrounded by people that were so much younger than me and weren’t even familiar with Dave Matthews Band. Yeah, that’s a thing. Which reminds me, my mom went to see Dave Matthews Band just a few months ago and even she was kind of bored. Confession: I feel somewhat guilty even saying that.

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So in my opinion, the best way to enjoy sweet tea is as half and half tea – half sweet mixed with half regular tea, because sweet tea is ridiculously sweet, kind of like taking 12 sugar packets and emptying them directly in your mouth and then taking a girly sip of regular tea with it. For real. Have I thoroughly confused you as I took you along on his stroll through memory lane? Lets hope so. Sometimes, it’s my job to do that too. You’re welcome.

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Tomorrow is National “Eat a Peach” Day so I was sure to pluck the most succulent looking one possible at Target. Yeah, it’s not the farmer’s market but it will do.

National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

August 20, 2016

National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

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I thought I was almost out of the woods with all these sweet treats this month. No, it turns out that I’ve got til the end of the month until I reach that point. And that’s only because I refuse to look into the September days at this point. Oh boy! Looks like those everyday workouts will be continuing just to offset the sugar and calories I’m taking in from this blog alone. Thanks, blog. Thanks, me.Thanks, great ideas. Sheesh! Good thing I’ve also been eating Healthy Momma meals this past week!

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I was fully prepared for today’s food holiday. I bought all my ingredients ahead of time. I baked the pie the day before, knowing that was necessary. I savored the smell of the melted chocolate and caramelized sugar as I pulled it out of the oven. And then I sliced into it this morning. And it crumbled. I was completely unable to get a pretty slice cut out of the pie. That was somewhat disappointing, but I refused to give in and toss the entire thing into the trash. You know why? Because I’m not perfect. This blog isn’t perfect. I’m very willing to share with my 7 subscribers just how unperfect my daily life is. Perhaps if I had more like 750,000 subscribers I’d consider pretending I’m perfect. But that’s probably still not true. Pretending you’re something you’re not is so much more work!

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I used a recipe by Paula Deen for this chocolate pecan pie because I thought I could trust a Southern girl to do me right. Mmm, jury’s still out, simply because of how it didn’t stay together. The taste was amazing though. I ended up bringing the rest of the pie to a first birthday party this afternoon and my mama friends and their husbands gobbled it up. So I took that as a sign that the taste was on point.

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Chocolate Pecan Pie (recipe by Paula Deen)
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
2 cups pecan halves
3 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon, good-quality
3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°.
Cover bottom of pie crust with pecans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter. Add the corn syrup, sugar, bourbon and the chopped chocolate. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into the pie shell over the pecans and place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes or until pie is set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

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For the past couple pies or quiches I’ve made, I used the flat roll out pie crust. This time around, I used a frozen pie crust that’s already in the pie pan. This crust was so much tastier than the other refrigerated one. Sure, I bet that homemade pie crust would be even better, but then again, I thought that homemade buttermilk biscuits would be amazing too and I was kind of, sort of wrong. I can admit when I’m wrong. Especially when it comes to food disasters. No shame in my game! I’m fairly adamant that if a recipe requires a rolling pin, I just don’t need to make it. The only exception to that rule was on National Sugar Cookie Day! That recipe by Jenny Cookies is worth using a wine bottle as a rolling pin!

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Today I started off the morning fully intending to be a real adult and eat what qualified as a real breakfast, along with my young, impressionable son. And then that boy asked if we were eating pie for breakfast and I thought to myself, “yeah, it’s Saturday, we should totally eat pie for breakfast,” and by “we” I meant “me” and I made him an Eggs Hockstead with a side of berries and a cup of orange juice…while I ate pie…for breakfast. I was just going to skip breakfast altogether once the coffee woke me up enough to remind me we had a birthday party to go to at 11am and I figured I’d just eat my first meal of the day there. And then I was eager to get my food of the day out of the way, so I totally dug in and devoured that pie. We’re all allowed to be a little bad sometimes. This has turned out to be such an interesting year! I’ve learned so much about myself already and it’s only about halfway done! I’ve still got National Coffee Day and National Champagne Day and National Deviled Egg Day to look forward to! Yeah, those are some of my favorites.

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Tomorrow is National Sweet Tea Day. Of course it is. The month of August is against me in every way possible!

National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day

August 19, 2016

National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day

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This week, we fell into a ridiculously fantastic routine. Lucky for me, it’s summertime and I’ve only got one three-year-old who can’t remember that this is not normal practice! Unlucky for me, that same three-year-old has also fallen into the habit of asking me to lay out his next “10 Simple Steps” every time I tell him we’ve got something to do. So being the helpful and encouraging mom I am, I ask him first to tell me what’s going on and then he inevitably asks me to guess so I go on to tell him such mundane things as “get in the car” or “go to the store” or “grab a snack” and often times he interrupts and corrects me that “Knott’s Berry Farm is before the store” or “you forgot the carnival.” No, son, I did not forget the carnival.

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All too often this week, the 10 simple steps also included “eat ice cream,” today included. As I pulled in the parking lot of Dairy Queen in celebration of National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day, the little navigator in the backseat perked up and asked what our steps were. I told him we were getting ice cream and then going to the pool. He corrected me and said that first we had to park the car and then pay for ice cream and then eat ice cream and then wipe off our hands and mouths. Have I told you how much I love this kid?! I ordered him his very first chocolate dipped cone and I went with a chocolate soft serve, because we all know that chocolate is better than vanilla. He requested that we sit outside under the table with the umbrella. We did just that.

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It was unquestionable that DQ was happening today. My first illegitimate job was when I was underage and got paid cash to work at an extended family member’s DQ in Hobart, Indiana. That was a fun summer away from the responsibilities of being the oldest of four kids at home. It was so nice of my mom to offer me those opportunities. She always knew I needed my independence and she never had a problem giving it to me. Thanks mom! That summer was only a precursor to the actual world of work. It was fun and summer was hot. I was surrounded by all sorts of cool, older kids and they all thought I was older than 15. It was like all my dreams of transplanting to California as a teen had come true, only it was Indiana during the summer, so it kind of sucked in comparison but I had no idea at the time.

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That wasn’t the only DQ I worked at. During my senior year of high school, my BFF Meghan got me a job at DQ where all the cool kids worked, including my crush since first grade – Weston. I still hear his name in my head as my brother and uncle and cousins said it just to extremely embarrass me – Weeees-ton! Oh how that boy brought me such pain and agony just pining after him! I couldn’t actually talk to him. No, that was out of the question. I childhood flame that burns for a solid 12 years is not something to toy with. It’s dangerous to play with fire. So I let it blow out after graduating high school and never seeing him again. Easy.

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I actually loved working at DQ. My favorite thing to make was the Peanut Buster Parfait. You grabbed a plastic cup, pumped in a little hot fudge and peanuts, swirled in a little vanilla soft serve, another layer of hot fudge and peanuts, swirled in one more layer of vanilla soft serve, and topped it with hot fudge and peanuts. That might be where my love of simple, repetitive movements came from. I also loved perfecting the DQ Swirl on the top of the cone, especially on hot days when all the soft serve wanted to do was melt all over the place and immediately ruin my hard work. My least favorite task there? Dipping cones when it was that hot! I can’t tell you how many times I lost the ice cream in the vat of warm, melty chocolate and had to start all over!

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Tomorrow is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day and Joseph’s plans for the carnival are sort of coming to fruition as we go to a 1st birthday party with a circus theme. Can’t wait to celebrate with all the mamas, as Joseph calls us Stroller Strides gals.