Friday, April 29, 2011

Today--In Numbers

2 new bikes
1 bump on the head...oops
0 naps
1 clean garage
1 zillion pine needles sweep/scooped up
58 pounds of sawdust vacuumed up
12 logs transferred from a lump to a pile
2 feet with awkward flip flop tan lines
1 pair of sensible flip flops broken in
1 watch band line
12ish piles of "land mines" picked got me?
852 lifts into and off of swings
3057 swing pushes
41 lifts to the top of the slide
1 slide down
3 walks
1 box of cereal accidentally dumped on the floor
4 cuss words mumbled under the noise of the vacuum cleaner during cleaning up of said spill
52 views of Princess Kate's dress by my obsessed daughter
3 tired girls
2 fish fry meals because this chick was not cooking on such a beautiful day
1 very happy family that got to spend an entire day outside instead of IN!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

These Pancakes are Da Bomb

We eat a lot of pancakes in this joint. I mean, it's not like I am making a confession or anything. We would pretty much eat breakfast food all day, every day if we could. We like breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for lunch, and really like breakfast for dinner. We throw in some French toast or waffles every once in a while. But we don't take a walk on the wild side very often and tend to stick to pancakes.

Sometimes our pancakes are regular shaped and wonderfully circular.

But what fun is that?

Sometimes the circles are teeny tiny.

Sometimes they are in fun shapes for holidays. Sorry for the blur.

Sometimes they are crazy big monkeys that require a lot of technical skill to flip.

Sometimes they spell words.

Most of the time, they are butterflies.

But one thing that never changes is how the pancakes are made. The best thing about the recipe for these pancakes is you only need 2 bowls, one big and one small, a teaspoon, and a one cup measuring cup. Clean up is a breeze.

These pancakes are light and fluffy. But best of all, they are way tasty.

Buttermilk Pancakes


1 cup flour
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter

Make the Batter

In the small bowl, melt the butter and set aside to cool a little.

Remember how I said you only needed a one cup measuring cup and a teaspoon? For real, it's all you need. When measuring the milk, just guesstimate 1/3 cup. It doesn't have to be perfect. When you measure the baking soda and salt, only fill the teaspoon half way or a quarter full, respectively. No need to dirty 3 separate spoons. Just remember, they are only pancakes. We aren't making an angel food cake or anything.

Just throw everything in the large bowl, add the butter and stir until the ingredients are just combined. There will be lumps. Lumps are good. In fact, lumps are great. If you over mix, your batter will be tough and chewy instead of light and fluffy.

Cook your pancakes on a hot griddle. They are ready to be flipped when the tops of the cakes get nice and bubbly. When you flip it over, you will see the cake rise up a little. It's glorious. And magical. These cakes are so good.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Potato Salad

Remember before Rachael Ray had a talk show, a magazine, pots, pans, dog food, and more than one cooking show? I sure do. When we first got the Food Network out here in the boonies, I was hooked. Her 30 Minute Meal show was the bomb. I started watching cooking shows when I was little with my Dad on PBS and I loved them, but Rachael Ray was making food that I would actually eat.

This potato salad is her recipe. It was one of the first recipes I actually made when I got all growed up and started cooking. It is simple. It is tasty. It doesn't have mayo. It is, well, da

We have eaten it with steaks, like a traditional baked potato would be consumed. We have eaten this salad with brats. We have eaten it with baby back ribs. It is very versatile.

So this is all you have to do:

First you need to bake some taters. The size of your potatoes will determine how many you need. I made four but only needed three since they were big. So if your potatoes are large, use three. If they are medium, use four. Bake those puppies up and cool 'em off. Peel them and cut them into pieces.

Cube some bacon.

Fry the bacon up until it's nice and brown and crispy. Drain it on some paper towel and cool.


Chop up some scallions, if you like that sort of thing. If I am making this for people other than just my fam, I tend to keep them out and serve them on the side. A lot of folks don't dig the oniony goodness. I don't get it or understand but I respect it.

There's that bacon. Don't eat it all before you put it in your salad.

In a small bowl, mix together some sour cream, melted butter, salt, and lots 'o pepper.

There isn't a picture of it, but this salad, that is already amazing, also contains some shredded cheese.

Steamy potatoes all ready to mingle.

Stir all the ingredients into the potatoes. They are all happy and mingling now. Serve it immediately. It is best served warmish or at room temperature, at least. So, if you must refrigerate, remove the salad about 30 minutes before you want to eat it to bring it to room temperature.

Wasn't that super-de-duper simple?

Try this in the summer with your grilled goodness for something a little different.

Loaded Baked Potato Potato Salad


3-4 potatoes, baked
1/2 lb. bacon, diced
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

The Steps to Greatness

1. Clean and stab the potatoes. Drizzle some olive oil over them. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-45 minutes, depending on their size. Cool. Peel. Cube.

2. Fry the bacon. Drain. Set aside.

3. Cut up the scallions.

4. Combine sour cream, butter, salt and pepper in a bowl.

5. Add all the ingredients to the potatoes. Don't forget about the cheese. Toss it all up. Serve warm.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chirp Chirp, Tweet Tweet

Adventures of a "Mean" Mommy has joined Twitter!

You want to follow my tweets, you say? Well you can!

Follow me @TheMeanMommy.

Hope to see you there!


Rainboots with a tutu while blowing bubbles? Heck yes.

Rainboots with tights and carrot golfing? Sure thing!

Here Comes Peter Cottontail...Hoppin' Down the Bunny Trail!

What a better way to kick off Easter weekend than with brinner Friday night?!? You want an answer. The answer is NOTHING! Brinner is always a winner, remember?! French toast was requested. So, I jazzed it up a bit. Using a bunny cookie cutter, I created a Brinner Bunny. His eyes are chocolate chips. His whisker and mouth are thin apple slices. He seemed like he needed a little something, so a quick dash of powdered sugar sweetened him up. And what's a bunny without a fluffy tail? It's nothing is what it is. That's just a little squeeze of whipped cream. Yummy in our tummies. Seriously though, what is it about fun shaped food that makes kids just devour it? I guess I really don't care what the answer to that question is as long as they are eating!

Hunting for eggs Saturday morning for Easter round 1.

With the loot.

Easter round 2 was here. Look! The Easter Bunny came. We had planned to leave out a snack for him. We had decided that bunnies liked celery, pickles, and Skittles. But that didn't happen. All I will say is, bed time came very quickly due to some sassy behavior so snacks weren't left out. Don't fret though. The Easter Bunny made himself at home and went right into the fridge to get his own snack!

And in doing so, he left a little treat behind for a cute little girl to find!

Basket of goodies.

A little confused but loving it all nonetheless!

Easter morning breakfast was bunny pancakes with a side of carrot shaped pancakes.

All dressed up for Easter round 3. Totally cute. Like, totally. I love the Easter dress part of Easter.

Girlfriend just couldn't handle all of the excitement. Good thing her awesome uncle was there to cuddle her.

We finished up the day with Easter round 4. By the end of the day, a lot of foods were consumed by all parties. We came home, put our jammies on, and watched Disney Earth. If you haven't watched that or Disney Ocean I highly recommend them. They are so good. All four of us were glued. The best part of Earth was when the wood duck babies "fly" out of their nest for the first time. And by fly, I mean, fall out of the tree into a pile of leaves. We laughed and laughed!  Then there are the baby elephants, the baby polar bears, and the baby whales.

Anyway. I hope everyone had a glorious weekend full of family and food. Spring has officially been kicked off. Time for warmer days!

Strawberry Cream Pie

Happy Easter...two days late! What a busy weekend. A busy but fantastic weekend. Massive amounts of food were consumed. It was fabulous.

One of the food devoured was this strawberry cream pie. It was marvelous. It was sweet but not too sweet. It was creamy and smooth. But best of all, it was super easy to make.

First you need the crust. A good graham cracker crust. It's super easy to make. All you have to do is crush up some grahams, mix them with some melted butter and sugar, and press the mixture into a pie pan. You bake it for a few minutes, cool it, and fill it. Easy peasy.

While your crust is cooling, you can whip up some heavy cream, mix it with some cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Holy moly guacamole. It's that simple.

Spread your cream cheese mixture over the graham cracker crust. Yumz. Cover this and stick it in the fridge for a little bit.

Dice up some strawberries. Throw them into a pot with water, sugar, and cornstarch. Boil it, stir it, and wait for it to thicken up and become clear.

Put the strawberry mixture into a blender and smooth it all out. Cool it completely. Make sure you cover it though, otherwise it will form a film on the top.

Once your strawberry glaze is completely cool, pool it over the cream cheese layer. Store the pie in the refrigerator. I mean,  I doubt there will be much to store but if you must, that's what ya need to do.

This would be amazing with some whole strawberries on the top covered in the glaze. And if strawberries aren't your thang, just swap them out for whatever fruit you may like. Any berry would work. Use whatever is freshest.

One of my favorite aspects of this pie was it was not as rich as a full cheesecake since the whipped cream was added. It was light and refreshing.

Here's how to do it:

Strawberry Cream Pie



1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers (this is equivalent to one sleeve of envelope? well, you know what I mean!)
1/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, melted

Cream Cheese Layer

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Strawberry Glaze

1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cups water
1 cup strawberries, diced

Now, Make It

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Make the crust:  Combine all the ingredients and press into a pie pan. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until the crust starts to turn light brown.  Cool completely.

Make the filling:  Blend the cream cheese and sugar. Stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spread the entire mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust. Refrigerate.

Make the glaze:  Add all of the ingredients to a sauce pan. Cook over medium head until the sauce is thickened and clear. Puree in a blender and cool completely.  Pool the glaze over the prepared pie. Refrigerate.

Friday, April 22, 2011

White Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

Yesterday afternoon, Gma and Gpa came and got the girls for an impromptu overnight adventure.

 Yesterday afternoon, the turkeys were gobbling and Eric went to hunt them.

At 5:30, I found myself in an empty house with three softened sticks of butter sitting on my counter.

There were five, originally, but my dog ate two of them, wrapper and all. He ate another one this morning. He has eaten three sticks of butter in a twenty-four hour period. He better get his cholesterol checked.

So, anywho. At 5:30, I looked at those three sticks of softened butter and thought about my options.

I chose sugar cookies and white cupcakes.

Here are the cupcakes. But they are a little naked. They are probably cold. They need to be dressed. What better to dress them in but frosting? But not just any frosting will do. No. For these cupcakes, we need a special frosting. How about vanilla bean buttercream frosting? Well, alriiight. Let's go!

Put a stick of softened butter in a bowl. Whip it up a bit. Now whip it. Into shape. Shape it up. Get straight. Go forward. Move ahead. Try to detect it. It's not too late, to whip...whip it good.

Yup, I just did that. Sorry. The urge came over me and I had to do it. Devo told me to.

Set the bowl of whipped butter aside.


Grab a vanilla bean. If you don't have a vanilla bean or don't want to buy a vanilla bean or can't find a vanilla bean, you can totally use vanilla extract. You need the seeds of one bean or 1 teaspoon of extract.

To get the seeds out, take a very sharp paring knife and slice the bean straight down the middle. Peel the bean open, trying to lay it flat. It's not going to lay flat, but try to pry it open so you can get in there.

Using the back of the paring knife, drag along the bean to collect the seeds.

Toss the seeds in a bowl with powdered sugar and milk. At first, mix it by hand to start incorporating the powdered sugar into the wet ingredients. Then, use a hand mixer to get everything all smooth and delicious.

Look at that. That looks good enough to eat.

It smells divine. Those vanilla beans not only taste amazing, they also smell amazeballs.

Frost your cupcakes and decorate in which ever way you'd like. Mine are for Easter, if they last that long. I delivered some this morning to Gma and Gpa. That leaves us with 8. Avery placed a claim on one for later today. That means Kendall will want one too. And if they are having one, I want one too. So that leaves us with 5. It seems as if the numbers are working against us here. We will see if we can make 5 cupcakes last 2 days. It doesn't look good but we will try our best.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

This recipe will produce enough frosting for 12 cupcakes


1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
the seeds of one vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cups whole milk

The Process

In a medium bowl, whip the butter. Cut open the vanilla bean and extract the seeds. Add vanilla bean seeds, powdered sugar, and milk. Mix by hand to incorporate the powdered sugar, then beat to smooth out the frosting. Frost cupcakes.

White Cupcakes

This recipe will make 12 cupcakes


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Make 'em

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, beat the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugar. Beat for 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the yolks, one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla. Beat until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and milk to the butter mixture until combined.

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, frost, decorate and devour.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Eggs

Here are our Easter eggs! Avery picked out the colors. I was not surprised when she asked for pink, purple, and teal.

When our eggs were still warmish, we took crayons and colored on them, then dunked them in the dye. It was pretty sweet. This is Koda's egg.

We also took circle stickers and put them on the eggs before we dunked them. Fun!

Daddy's egg. What an artist.

One of Avery's masterpieces.

Kendall didn't like that the eggs were warm, so took the sheet of stickers and had a blast. She put them on the table and on her shirt.

A Conversation About the Easter Bunny

Avery: (carrying her picture from visiting the Easter Bunny) "I don't think this is the real Easter Bunny. I think it's just a really big man inside a costume."

Me: (in shock, not knowing what to say) "Why do you think that?"

Avery: "Well, look at his hands. The Easter Bunny doesn't have hands."

Really, Avery? Must we be so observant?

Me: "The Easter Bunny is special and he needs hands to carry all of those baskets to kids."

Avery: "Oh riiiight. But last year the Easter Bunny was all white and this year he is white and brown."

Me: "Well, he has to change colors every year so no one figures out who he is."

Totally grasping at straws here, people.

Avery: "OK. So he just puts different colors on every day like I change my clothes?"

Me: "Yup. That's EXACTLY what he does."

It's too soon. Way too soon for her to be questioning the real-ness of the Easter Bunny. Geesh. I am not prepared to answer these huge questions!!

But I think we smoothed this one over. She carried on like nothing ever happened.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Caramel Candy Corn

What would you do if you were perusing the Internets and you came across this picture on your journey?


Hopefully you said you would start drooling. That's what I did. Then I read how easy it was to make it AND realized we had every single thing needed to make our own version of Caramel Candy Popcorn, so we did. It seemed like the perfect snack during a blizzardy day in April.


First, you need popcorn. That's obvious. But the type of popcorn you use is up to you. The original recipe calls for fresh popped popcorn. The only popcorn seeds we have are baby rice and I didn't think those little delightful morsels could stand up to the thick caramel sauce. I opted to use microwave popcorn. I buy the mini bags of unbuttered, boring, plain popcorn. It took two mini bags to get the 8ish cups needed. You use whatever your little heart desires. It is your caramel corn after all.

Line a big roasting pan with a sheet of parchment and dump your popcorn onto it.

To start, add some butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup into a large pot. You do not want to use a pot that is too small. Caramel gets all bubbly and is really hot and sticky, so you want to make sure there is ample room for movement.

While you are waiting for your butter to melt and start mingling with the brown sugar and corn syrup, mix some vanilla, salt, and baking soda in a little dish.  Just set that little guy aside for a second.


Hi, there. My name is Stacy. Nice to meet you caramel. Aren't you a good looking bubbly pot of sticky happiness? Come here often?

Sorry. We will get a room.

Alright. So once your caramel sauce starts doing this, remove it form the heat. Add your vanilla mixture and stir it up really well.

Then pour it over you popcorn. Carefully stir it all around, making sure you cover all those kernels. If you wanted, this could be your caramel corn. You could just cook it as directed and have a simply delicious clump of caramel corn. If nuts are your thing, you could stir some peanuts in at this point. It's yours. All yours. So you can do whatever you like with it.

I plan on adding some Easter M&M's and mini peanut butter cups to the top of my caramel corn. I'm kind of a bad ass like that. Hey, they can say that on T.V. so I figure I can throw it in, just this one time. That's how bad ass I am. Sorry, that was twice.

OK. So, we are going to cook this at 250 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes and it needs to be stirred every 10 minutes.

After your 40 minutes have passed, dump it out onto a sheet of parchment paper. I loosely formed my glob into a rectangle just so it would be easier to top.

At this point, I melted some white chocolate chips. To do that, put them in a microwave safe bowl. Zap 'em for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Put it back in for 30 more seconds. Take it out and stir again. Stir, stir, stir. Mine only took two 30 seconds zaps. It doesn't seem like it at first, but the heat in the chips with melt them without burning them. Do not over microwave. If they start to clump, start over. They are past the point of no return.

Sprinkle your candies on top. Then, using a regular old spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the top. If you really want to go the extra mile, you could add some sprinkles. I did. But that's because I am bad ass.

Let it all sit for a little bit for the caramel to cool down and set a bit before you start breaking off chunks. I should say, try to let it sit for a bit. I did not. I dove right in. It was chewy but oh so good.


Oops. There's a glob of white chocolate. I call that piece.


Melted mini peanut butter cups, almost melted M&M's, drizzled white chocolate, and sprinkles on top of a bed of caramel corn. Holla.

Alright. Just like I was saying earlier, you could change this to fit your own caramel corn dreams. You can put whatever kind of candy you wish on the top. Chunks of toffee? Sure. Reese's Pieces? Do it. Mini chocolate chips? Yes, please. I mean, really. You can add nothing or anything.

I really doubt you can resist this one. I really did not know it was so easy to make caramel corn. For realz. I thought it was a big deal. This wasn't even close to a big deal. I know you want to so here are the numbers for you:

Caramel Candy Corn


8-10 cups of popped popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

1 cup M&M’s
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Line a roasting pan with a sheet of parchment. Spread your popcorn in it and set aside.

In a big pot, melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. While you are waiting, mix vanilla, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl. Once your caramel mixture is bubbling, remove it from the heat and add the vanilla mixture. Stir.

Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir until all the kernels of popcorn are covered.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Dump the caramel corn onto a fresh sheet of parchment. Sprinkle with M&M's and other candies. Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Add sprinkles.

If you want to check out where I got the recipe from, check it out at: