Category Archives: baking

The Greatest Gift


I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what to get my mom for the holidays, but all I can think about are the wonderful gifts she’s given me over the years. It goes without saying that she and my dad spoil their grandchildren rotten (with full approval from me!) and have helped my husband and I purchase some big ticket items to make our house a home, but as I stand in my kitchen waiting for menorah and star-shaped cookies to cool so the kids can decorate them, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the little things my mom has lovingly (and wisely) given me over the years that I never knew I wanted but have grown to cherish.

An apron. I love to shop, but there are certain items I have a hard time buying for myself, including perfume, makeup, pajamas, and aprons. Why would I buy an apron when I could buy a scarf or a sweater or shoes or a bag? You get the idea. My mom travels with an apron. This is a true story. I don’t remember when she gave me mine because it was that long ago, but she once came for a visit and packed two aprons but only brought one home.

A KitchenAid Mixer. As much as I begged for and drooled over the Vitamix Mike gave me for Christmas a few years ago (it is awesome), it doesn’t get nearly as much use as my KitchenAid Mixer. I enjoy baking, and, interestingly, my picky-eater kids have never met a cookie they didn’t like. I’ve mixed a heck of a lot of cookie dough and brownie and cake batter in my KitchenAid Mixer since becoming a mom, and, frankly, I’d be lost without it.

A cookie scoop. My husband often confuses this ingenious gadget for an ice cream scoop, but it is, in fact, a scoop that allows you to place equally sized and round servings of cookie dough on a baking sheet, which helps avoid cookie-on-cookie “stickage” in the oven.

A high quality, insulated, non-stick cookie sheet. My chocolate chip cookies are delicious in part because they bake evenly and slide seamlessly from the sheet to the cooling racks. Trust me, it makes a difference.

That silicone shield thingy that keeps pie crust edges from burning. A few years ago, I made an apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving. I didn’t have the silicone shield thingy yet, but that was the least of my problems. Peeling all of those flipping apples made me batty, and childbirth was less complicated than making a pie crust from scratch! My valiant effort prompted my mom to purchase the silicone shield thingy. I admit I’ve never used it, but it serves as a reminder that she believes in my bake-a-pie-from-scratch potential, and it’s an inspiration to someday try again. (Maybe.)

A pastry mat. This thing is so cool, especially if you live in a small space. Basically, it’s a large rectangular-shaped silicone mat on which you can kneed or roll dough. It’s perfect for rolling out holiday cookies. It has horizontal and vertical measurements on the edges and outlines for circular pies that range from six to ten inches in diameter (if you’re crazy, er, skilled enough to make pie crust from scratch). Best of all, you can wipe it clean and roll it up for storage. It serves a huge purpose, but takes up zero space.

I still don’t know what to give my mom, but I know a love of baking is one the greatest gifts she’s given to me (and my boys). Maybe I’ll bake something for her. One thing for sure is that it won’t be an apple pie…unless she puts on her apron and helps.

What’s the greatest gift your mom has given to you?


Filed under baking, gifts, holidays, motherhood

A Week Of Lists (Part 2)

Yesterday, I had my colonoscopy, and I’m happy to report that while it wasn’t even remotely pleasant, it wasn’t nearly as hideous as the first one.  That, and it’s over.  The prep wasn’t as cruel this time (Editor’s note: Colonoscopy Mama’s two cents: if you need a colonoscopy, ask for the split-prep), the hospital staff was excellent (and generous with the drugs), my doctor wasn’t running four hours late, and, best of all, my colon was clear.  Actually, compared to the first one, this one was pretty darn great, which is why the title of today’s list is: “Top 12 Reasons Why Colonoscopies Are So Awesome!”

Top 12 Reasons Why Colonoscopies Are So Awesome!

1. Poop talk is medically appropriate and puns are easy to come by.  “I really need to get my shit together.” Ha!  “Holy crap!”  Ha!

2. People are compassionate (or merciless).

Me (to Dylan and Riley):  “Hey guys, I need to tell you something.  I have to have a test done on Tuesday morning, and before I do it, I have to drink some yucky medicine that’s going to make me not feel good and poop a lot.”

Dylan (with his hand covering his mouth):  “Oh my God!  That’s crazy!  I’m never going to take that medicine!  Don’t you ever give me that medicine!  Oh my God!  Oh my God!”

Me (to myself):  Wait ‘til you turn 40, kid.

3. You can eat a big slice of the cake you just baked as a result of pre-colonoscopy anxiety.  You know, the recipe that included four sticks of butter.  And you don’t have to feel an ounce of guilt about it.  It’s going to come out anyway! (See #1.)

4. You can leave a room or end a conversation any time you want.  When you gotta go, you gotta go!  (See #1.)

5. You’ll lose five pounds overnight.  Results guaranteed!

6. You get a night off from parenting, including, but not limited to, pleading with your five-year-old to listen to the directions before plowing through his homework, acting like a short order cook to please everyone’s picky palate at dinner, and negotiating with a terrorist your three-year-old at bedtime to sleep in his own bed.

7. You get drugs!  I asked for and received a healthy dose of Valium as soon as the IV was inserted.

Colonoscopy Mama’s two cents:  If you need a colonoscopy, don’t be shy about asking for something to calm your nerves.  By the time you finish a long night of prep, you’ll be exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, your doctor might run late, and you’ll have nothing but time on your hands to imagine the camera they’re going to stick up you’re ass.  Ask about the hospital’s procedures, and if they don’t offer pre-op happy medicine, find a facility that does.  Just sayin.’

8. After it’s all done, you can spend the rest of the day lounging in bed watching crappy (pun intended) romantic comedies on Netflix while munching on Boom Chicka Pop popcorn.

9. You’ll be a proud Mama when you find out your kids told everyone they encountered throughout the day, including their teachers, friends, fellow Mamas and the receptionist at speech therapy that “Mommy is at home taking yucky medicine that makes her poop.”  Now that’s Awesome with a capital “A”!

10. You get perspective.  After explaining to the boys that they had to wake up early the next morning to take me to the hospital, Dylan said, “The hospital!  Are you going to die?”   Oy.  There’s nothing pleasant about a colonoscopy, but they don’t cause death.   In fact, they save lives.  (Thanks for the reality check, Dylan.)

11. You get a fresh start!  A clean slate!  A second chance!  Like Dr. Kepner’s revirginizing on Grey’s Anatomy, you can redietize!  Yes, I made that word up!  After the procedure, your digestive tract will be completely empty, and you can refill it any way you choose.  How about going vegan or gluten free?  Or, how about a raw food diet or that Paleo diet everyone’s blabbing about?  I had big plans (huge!) to redietize until I got in the car after being released from the hospital and realized how freaking hungry I was after not eating for 36 hours.  I ended up inhaling a bag of orange, processed goldfish crackers that I snagged from the boys’ snack basket in the back seat.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll redietize next time.

12. If you’re fortunate, you’ll experience the relief and satisfaction of knowing your colon is polyp-free and your next colonoscopy is five long years away.  Woop woop!

Seriously, folks.  If your doctor tells you to get a colonoscopy, then get one.  If I can do it, anyone can.


Filed under anxiety, baking, colonoscopy, list