A Beaner’s Life…


Geek vs. Nerd… And then there is the dren…

What is the difference between a geek and a nerd? At an event the other night, this came up on the heels of another heated – ok, not heated, rousing, discussion of Dungeons and Dragons. Who knew D&D could illicit such passion? Well, I suppose one look at the Trekkie documentary could have told me all I needed to know, but still…

I digress. So the difference between a geek and a nerd is that the former CAN get laid. CAN of course, being the important, relative term here. Nerds, on the flip side, drown in despair and lack all hope of EVER seeing the opposite gender’s genitalia.

I see it however, as more of a slippery slope. One weeble wobbles their way through life perched precariously on the fulcrum of the seesaw between nerddom and geekdom. Too much one way, and all is lost in the deep, dark, abyss of sexlessness.

And then there are drens. These reverse nerds have defied any and all expectations and have actually grown up and found a mate. Now, instead of living in their parents’ basement, driving their parents’ cars, etc… Their parents live with THEM, in their basement, driving their cars…

The defiance of logic is enough to fry even the geekiest brains.

This is serious...


I think I dun et too much, again.

Ugh… What is it about the Outback? Why is their food so freaking good? I go and try to plan my meal prior to arrival, then all hell breaks loose and I wind up stuffed out of my gourd, unbuttoning my pants at the table because I can’t breathe. But ohhhhh, the devilishness of it all. Even Bean can’t resist the pull of a good Bloomin’ Onion.


The Bean

We started Mommy and Me this week. It’s at the local Parks and Rec. There are other mothers there and the play time is kind of a free for all. But I’m fine with that. It is really nice to get out and be around other adults. I swore I was beginning to lose my mind! Bean likes hanging around all the other kids. She has a blast.Just don’t try to sit in her chair!dsc038681


Hot Fudge and Bami.

I was thinking about comfort food in my sleep last night. Dreaming of mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Big hunks of Italian bread slathered with butter. Pure butter as my friend, D, calls it. I woke up drooling on my pillow. So I was thinking about what to make for dinner at 7 this morning. You know that means today is going to be a good day.

But the more I thought about it, the more I started thinking about my grandmother’s Hot Fudge sauce. My grandmother was my mother’s mother. I always called her Bami. My grandfather was Bumpa. Yeah – I know. Don’t judge me.

So ANYWAY! My grandmother was funny. She was kind of a crabapple…  Captain pronounces this Kruh – bopp – ul… I always thought those greeting cards with the sweet grandmother making cookies were a hoot. My Bami was whatever the opposite of the sweet, demure, little old lady grandmother image that the world projects.

But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t the world’s most rockin’ grandma! She taught me a lot. Including how to make the most banging hot fudge on the planet.

And seriously, folks, who doesn’t LOVE a nice dish of hot fudge with a little ice cream? Oh. Wait isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

I used to have this recipe written in her handwriting on a little white sheet of notepaper. Years I had this thing, tucked inside my Fannie Farmer cookbook along with a bijillion other handwritten recipes and shopping list remnants of Thanksgivings and Christmas and Easters past. It traveled with me through three moves and countless batches of Hot Fudge. THEN, I had The Bean. And I stopped being so meticulous about returning the little white slip of paper with Bami’s handwriting on it to it’s spot in the Fannie Farmer.

Then one day, it fell between the stove and the fridge. It is now lost in the depths of the crevices of Aunt Tilly’s room. Someday, I hope to recover it and return it to it’s rightful place between the Soubise Sauce and the recipe for Drawn Butter.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to make it for you from memory.

She always used a double boiler.

Weild your weapons wisely, my friends.

Wield your weapons wisely, my friends.

You don’t really need one. You can use a bowl that fits snug into one of your sauce pans. That’s fine, too. But me? I’m a creature of habit.

So you take your double boiler or double boiler “cousin” and you put water in the bottom half. In the top half, you put 4 tablespoons of butter and 4 oz. of unsweetened baking chocolate. Turn the heat on and allow the chocolate and butter to melt.

After all the pieces are melted, add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of sugar. Stir it in, slowly. The mixture will now look grainy. REALLY THICK and grainy. Don’t fret, my pets. We will remedy this situation right quick.

Add 1 14 oz. can of evaporated milk. Now, I like to add it a little bit at a time, slowly stirring it bit by bit… allowing the milk to slowly be absorbed by the chocolate/butter/sugar mixture. I add it bit by bit because I think it helps with eliminating the graininess.

It should look smooth and runny. This is what you want. Nice nice. Now, you can turn the heat down. Your water in the bottom half of the boiler has probably been boiling away. Turn the heat down to about low/medium heat. Depending on your stove, this could even be over medium heat.

Add a dash of vanilla extract and stir. You’ll want to stir this sauce periodically from now on. Now, some of you rabal rouser/non-conformist types might just want to throw some on your ice cream RIGHT NOW. And hey, if you’re impatient and need your Hot Fudge fix right now, feel free! Who am I to stop you? It’s not like I’m in your kitchen yelling at you…

But, I happen to like my fudge sauce thicker than that. So, let the fudge sit over the water on low/med heat for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice just to make sure you get all the edges mixed in and such. But hey, if you have a pesky Bean attached to your leg, too and you don’t get back to it for ohhhhh like, an hour, no worries. So long as there’s water in the bottom of the double boiler!

Fudge!

Once everything is nice and smooth, remove it from the heat and put it in a serving dish or container for storage.

And Voila! Hot Fudge…YuMMMMMMmmmmY!

Hot Fudge Recipe

4 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 can evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Melt butter and chocolate together.

2. Add sugar and salt. The mixture will become very thick and grainy.

3. Slowly add the evaporated milk, stirring continuously.

4. Add vanilla and stir until smooth.

5. Allow to remain over the heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

6. Remove from heat and serve when ready.


Aunt Tilly

My grandmother, my Bami, had lots of funny references. One such example was when one of us was looking for something not in it’s usual place. She’d respond with a quip, “Same place it’s been for the last 45 years!” Another one of her lines was “Aunt Tilly’s room.” Aunt Tilly’s room was the place where good things went when you couldn’t find them. Missing that other sock? Aunt Tilly’s room. Can’t find your keys? Aunt Tilly’s room.

Funny how little phrases and sayings sneak their way into our familial language and become second nature. Aunt Tilly is now a reference I use with my own family. No one outside really knows or understands. But when Captain Lumpkins can’t find his keys, he knows what I mean when I say, “Oh Honey, they’re in Aunt Tilly’s room; same place they’ve been the last 45 years!!”


Nicknames…

So I was writing my “about” page and I was determining what to write, I realized my family would need nicknames. Not that I think you’re all out to get me or something but I was channeling the “Lemon Lymon/ The U.S. Poet Laureate” episode of The West Wing. So anyway… The Bean’s nickname was easy – it has evolved from Peanut to Peanut Butter to Butter Bean to just plain Bean. And The Dog, aka Finn, also a non-issue. But The Husband, well… He was more tricky. I mentioned this to him in passing and he just looked up at me over his notepad with raised eyebrows. He said, “I guess I don’t care so long as it doesn’t border on stupid.”

He actually has a nickname among one circle of our friends. It’s “The Player.” That is most certainly a story for another time when I know you all much better. So upon further discussion, I have decided that this nickname would only be amusing to those who understand the true irony of this reference… As in “the player dance” – he he…Again, for later.

Anyway, last year, my husband was on a local Biggest Loser team at our gym. They had to come up with a team name and he decided the following was the BEST team name ever. Captain Lumpkins and the Biscuit Hockers. So I think instead of “The Player,” he will be dubbed: Captain Lumpkins.

And yes, I threw the bordering on stupid rule right out the window.

And so here we are: Me, The Bean, and Captain Lumpkins…

The Family


Food. Period.

I love to cook. More importantly, I love to make food that people want to eat. Ask my friends… More often than not, they leave the table unbuttoning their pants – and not in a kinky way. I like to be inspired, too. My favorites are Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten and Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Food that makes your mouth sing.

So, what kind of food is that? Something anyone can make with a 15 month old attached to his/her leg, Sesame Street songs stuck in her head (A rousing rendition of Elmo’s World anyone?), and a crazy dog who barks his fool head off whenever he even thinks he sniffs a cat, all the while pleasing the most discerning of palettes. In other words, good stuff.

And with the exceptions of my most infamous flops of vegetarian stuffed peppers and STAR pudding that I promise to share with you some day, it is usually good!

So tomorrow, I’ll try to post a recipe with pictures. Let me know what you think! I would love some constructive criticism. Not really but that’s what you’re supposed to say. I’d probably rather you just tell me how much you love whatever I cook. I am self deprecating enough, thank you very much.


Newbie…

So after falling in love with this other blog, www.thepioneerwoman.com, I thought to myself, I want to try that! My name is Kate and I live in Connecticut. I have a daughter, whose nickname is Bean, who is 15 months old. And she is why I stay home. I used to teach high school English, which provided for an endless stream of hilarious stories. Some of which I will share here. Teaching was my passion; it was my purpose. Now, as a stay-at-home mom, I find my purpose in all things Bean.

The Bean



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