Chocolate Zucchini Yogurt Bread

When I get stressed out, I tend to bake. Something about the organization of a recipe gives me comfort. Like this is something that I have control over. When my whole life has taken a bit of a twisty turn and I am feeling the pressure I can just step into the kitchen and busy myself with baking and know that I am being constructive with my nervous energy instead of destructive.

So, when Wonderful Husband let me know that he will be out for another month instead of getting some time at home, I was tripping over myself to get to the kitchen and disappear into some new recipes until I could get my emotions under control. Being that I had the baseball bat zucchini still sitting on the counter I decided it would be best to do some zucchini recipes. I wanted to make some yummy stuff and put it in the freezer so I can enjoy zucchini year round instead of burning myself out on it within three weeks of summer. I had already made the zucchini cookies which were an amazing success so when I stumbled across this chocolate zucchini yogurt bread I just knew it had to be good!

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 and ½ cups flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
  • 3 cups grated and squeezed zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, ¼ of it for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease 2 loaf pans (8 ½ x4 ½ inches) and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Add in olive oil and yogurt and mix well.
  3. Add in cocoa and mix with a spatula.
  4. Mix flour, salt, vanilla powder and baking powder in a bowl and sift into the egg wet mixture. Stir until smooth, but don’t overdo it.
  5. Add in grated zucchini and stir just until it is coated with the batter.
  6. Put ¼ cup of chocolate chips aside. Sprinkle a little flour over the rest of it and fold in the batter. Don’t overmix it.
  7. Share the batter into the pans. Top each with the chocolate chips and bake for 65 minutes.
  8. Let it cool completely before slicing and serving.

Lets start with what I did differently: I used Stevia instead of sugar, I used coconut oil instead of olive oil, and I used vanilla extract because I have effing clue with vanilla powder is. This was a fail in my opinion. I followed the recipe, mixed it up, and put it in the oven. I only have one load pan so I had to do one loaf at a time, I only cut into the first loaf, but it was way more than moist. The original poster had said this bread is like brownies in loaf form. No, this bread is like raw bread dough with bits of zucchini stuck in it.  It wasn’t as delicious as I was hoping, and looked absolutely nothing like the pictures on the original blog. I wrapped up both loaves and stuffed them in the freezer, I think when I defrost them in the future I will stick them in the oven for another half hour or so to try and make it a little less “moist”

Zucchini Cookies

I picked a zucchini out of my garden that was the size of a baseball bat. I am not kidding.

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It is like an alien zucchini. I check the garden almost every day, it grew over night! I decided I better do something to get rid of some of them because I had several others already sitting in the fridge. I already made upwards of 8 loaves of zucchini bread already, and I have eaten enough fried zucchini to be kind of sick of it so I turned to pinterest as always.

I came across Little Dairy on the Prairie and her zucchini cookie recipe. It seemed relatively easy and called for a decent amount of zucchini. I mean really, how can you say no to a cookie that has veggies in it!!

Ingredients
  • 1 heaping cup zucchini, finely grated
  • ⅓ c. oil coconut oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅓ c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ c. quick oats, divided oatmeal
  • 1 cup wheat flour plain flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ c. chopped walnuts, optional slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. If desired, blend one cup of oats and make oat flour. This isn’t necessary, I like it better though.
  3. Mix together egg, oil and vanilla. Add brown sugar and mix again.
  4. Add blended and non blended quick oats, flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to a mixing bowl. Mix together.
  5. Add flour mixture to egg mixture. Mix together until combined.
  6. Add chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix.
  7. Add zucchini and gently mix together.
  8. Drop 1½ inch cookie balls on parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 13-14 minutes.

I followed her recipe pretty spot on except for the changes I noted above and I only swapped for healthier ingredients or what I happened to have on hand. I did not blend up any of the oatmeal.

At first when I was mixing it all together I thought I had done something wrong because it was sooooo dry. Like crumbling, gross dryness. But as the zucchini soaked in it got better.

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They turned out really well! They are not really sweet like a cookie is, but the original recipe is for a breakfast cookie and is not meant to be sweet. They are perfect for me. With the almonds, zucchini, and coconut oil I can feel good about having a decently healthy breakfast or snack. I doubled the recipe and got about 30 cookies. I will definitely be indulging in these over the next few days and I put a few in the freezer so when Wonderful Husband heads out for work again he can take a healthy snack with him.

Now I just have to figure out what I am going to do with the rest of the zucchini..

Pet Sitter Stepford

I really enjoy being a stay at home mom and being able to help my friends out. I love knowing that if a friend or family member needs something I can help them because I don’t have a set schedule and can normally rearrange my day to accommodate whatever they need. I enjoy helping people and like having the opportunity now that I don’t work full time.

A friend of mine was going to the beach for vacation (whoooooo vacation!) and needed someone to watch her dog. Normally her parents watch her dogs, but they are really busy this year and one of her dogs recently passed away so she wanted to make sure that wherever her other dog went she wouldn’t be alone and would be loved like family- enter the stepford family! I, of course, agreed to watch her pup. Her dog, Kimber, is a two year old beagle.

My friend dropped Kimber off on Tuesday before they left. She brought her some treats and a bag of food and gave me the run down on what Kimber likes and doesn’t like. No problem. I love dogs! Piece of cake. On Wednesday, I had a dinner date and had to leave Kimber at home. Since my friend had warned me that sometimes Kimber likes to go on eating sprees I didn’t really want to test it so I tied her out back. I tied her out an hour before I left so I could make sure she wouldn’t bark or dig or anything. Pixie will bark until the cows come home (or until I come home is more like it) and annoys all the neighbors, so she never gets left outside. Kimber was great. She quietly paced the area around the dog house where I had her tied up. I felt really comfortable and headed off for my day.

When I got home that night, the back gate next to the dog house was hanging open and Kimber was chewing on a piece of fence she had ripped off. I was in shock. This tiny, 20 lb dog had single handedly (pawdedly?) pushed hard enough on my gate to break the wire so it swung open and then she had chewed on the gate until a piece of wood fell off. I was more impressed than anything. My In-laws bring their two golden retrievers down quite often and they (along with Pixie) have spent years pushing on that back gate so they probably loosened up the wires and Kimber was just the last straw. That was what I told myself anyway. I let Kimber in and we all went to bed.

The rest of the week was wonderful. Kimber is a cuddly bed mate, she is polite, and well behaved, and all around adorable. She is really needy and does weird things like try to get into the shower with me, sleep on my face, and sit on my feet while I wash dishes but those are just fun quirks. I was really enjoying having a second dog again. What a little cutie!

Then came Sunday. I had already had a bad weekend. I had had to take the truck to the mechanic, Little Darling was sick, and I was sleep deprived. Kimber was probably sleep deprived too, and wondering when (if ever) her mommy was coming back to get her. We got up in the morning and I went to let the dogs out. Kimber is weird and won’t go out on her own, I had been having to carry her out to get her to go pee. Well this morning, I was tired and wasn’t having any of it. So I yelled- KIMBER GET OUTSIDE! She peed on the floor. Thankfully it was was on the tile and a super fast clean up. I grabbed her and carried her out and plopped her on the back porch.

She spent the next ten minutes running down my back sidewalk and launching herself at the back door like a tiny furry cannonball. When I still refused to let her in, she proceeded to rip the trim off the back door and chew it to pieces on the back porch. I got mad, and tied her to the dog house. She waddled up the porch and pooped on the concrete. This little dog had me at my wits end. I gave up and let her back in- I called her mom to negotiate a pick up. I was supposed to drop her off on Tuesday, but with LD being sick and me not having a working vehicle I felt bad keeping her longer so her mom agreed to come get her on Monday.

Once she was in the house, she was back to being a little sweetheart. She curled up on my lap and napped. She ate her breakfast nice and quiet and played with Pixie. Then at around 2 I caught her splashing the water dish all over the kitchen, and then she tried to eat one of Little Darling’s toys. When I told her NO! she cowered and looked at me like she had no idea why I was yelling. And, of course, after getting in trouble she would become a little angel again and be all sweet and adorable.

On Monday morning, I put both dogs outside thinking I could just stave off bad behavior before Kimber’s mom showed up to pick her up. I was busily tidying house and getting ready to go drop the truck off at the mechanic (again!) and go shopping with my mom. After about twenty minutes, I went to go check the dogs and make sure they were behaving. The side gate was hanging open. The dogs were gone. Great, half an hour before her mother gets here and I have lost her.

I spent the next ten minutes running around like an idiot in my front yard chasing dogs and screaming. I was sweaty and I was mad. The dogs were having a great time! Their tongues hanging out as they merrily trotted around, winning this sad game of tag. I finally got a hold of Pixie and dragged her back to the yard, Kimber followed right behind. I was more mad at Pixie than anything because she lives here and she knows the rules and knows that dogs are absolutely not allowed out of the back yard. Kimber is new and doesn’t know the rules.

In the end, her mom and dad got here and Kimber was safely handed back off to them. She was so happy to see them! Pixie and I were actually kind of sad to see her go. It was fun to have a house guest, even if she was furry and slightly ill behaved.

Stepford and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day(s)

It is rare that I have a bad day. Normally even a day that starts off wrong can be saved, and sometimes if you have a great morning it can deteriorate by bed time. Most bad times are not bad days and when a day starts off wrong, you still have a hope to save it.

Today was not one of those days.

It all started when I tried to take the truck the the mechanic. Long story short, the truck was just there to get aligned last week and when I tried to drive it on Wednesday it pulls dramatically to the right. It is like worse than a republican (ba dun dun). Obviously, they didn’t do their job correctly when they aligned it or it wouldn’t be pulling like that.

I got down to the mechanic about 20 minutes after they opened. I took in my little receipt from last Friday and pathetically explained what was happening. They gave me “the look”, you know, the one that all wives get from their husbands on a regular basis, the -this bitch cray- look. But I remained steadfast and they agreed to look at it. I sat in the waiting area for over 45 minutes before I finally saw a guy get into the truck to drive it. When he pulled back into the parking lot he came in and told me that the vehicle is pulling to the right. No shit. He then said he would swap the front tires and check it again and let me know. So another 45 minutes later, he came out and told me that it is pulling just as hard as before. Helpful.

He then goes on to explain to me that the truck needs to be aligned. I am not sure, but I think my head may have started spinning in circles. I calmly explained that I was just here last Friday to GET THE TRUCK ALIGNED. Then he starts blabbering nonsense and showing me the receipt and something- something- casters- 4.2- something- blah blah blah.  I think he is trying to tell me he did something wrong?  I just stare blankly at him. He tells me to make an appointment. I bite my tongue off trying not to lose my shit. So I finally smile politely and say that yes, I will make an appointment.

At this point, I begin to walk toward to receptionist to make the appointment. The mechanic turns to me and scoffs. HE SCOFFS and tells me he parked the truck out front. Little Darling is almost dislodged from my hip when I spin my body so fast to explain to the mechanic that I will be going over to the receptionist to make my appointment so they can fix what they effed up last week. He scoffs again and stomps off. I make my appointment for Monday, making sure the receptionist makes note that this alignment will be free since they can’t get their act together enough to do work correctly.

Thinking this will be the worst of my day I head for home.

I am 3 houses from my home (3 EFFING HOUSES) when I am cut off by a mass of people. Now let me be clear, I try to keep my prejudices to myself. I don’t like to force my outdated and rude opinions on other people. But I do live in a crack town, with lots of ghettos and stereotypes run rampant down here. So lets all just envision for a moment, little white girl with her young white daughter in a small back alley with a group of about 60 “african american” people blocking her way and not letting her through. I break out in a sweat that has nothing to do with the weather, and hit the lock button on my doors. I begin to wonder if the zombie movies are correct and I can really run people over with my truck, that IS why we have a large vehicle right? Panic settles in my chest and grips my lungs.

I slowly inch forward while the crowd shows no sign of moving. When I finally come to my senses, I notice that all the gangstas are wearing their Sunday best and there is a hearse sticking out of the back yard. Am I interrupting a funeral?? After about 10 minutes of no one even realizing that I am sitting in the middle of the road trying to get through, a little black grandma toddles out and starts waving everyone out of the way. Thank god for grandmas. They slowly meander towards the side of the road and press themselves against the cars lining the pavement. Well, that leaves about a 3 foot opening for my 7 foot wide vehicle to pass through… after another 5 minutes they grudgingly move off the road and glare at me as I pass by. I wave apologetically (I really didn’t mean to interrupt a funeral! Maybe they should have had a sign or something! I could have taken a different road!) while simultaneously hating that I have to constantly apologize for being white in my own neighborhood (this is where I live, why do they get to act like they own the whole place? I live 3 houses down! Why should I have to do a 10 minute detour to go down different roads just because they are too rude to get out of the middle of the street!) When I finally get home, Little Darling is asleep and cries when I wake her up to take her in the house.

She refuses to go down for a nap and spends the next 5 hours trying to convince me she isn’t tired. When she finally goes down at 2pm I enjoy a well deserved nap for an hour. When she wakes up. Something is amiss. She is unusually snotty and is sneezing and coughing. Weird. After lunch, things only continue to go downhill. She is crying and has a bright pink nose. I continuously use the snot sucker to rip adult size boogers out of her head and begin to remember my Great Uncle mentioning on Wednesday that he had a cold while we were at dinner. Darn it.

So progressed the long night of neither me nor Little Darling getting any sleep and certainly no rest. She would wake up crying and crawl desperately around her crib trying to figure out why she couldn’t breathe right. Even when she would drift off into a fitful sleep I couldn’t rest knowing that she wasn’t comfortable. Many hours were spent in the rocking chair with her sad little whimpers and me singing The Beatles to keep her calm. Morning came and with the sunrise Little Darling got a new rush of energy. I turned on the coffee pot and hoped for the best.

When she was awake, she was in good spirits and seemed content to crawl around the living room and down the hallway and play. I was in that weird insomnia fog where I wasn’t actually awake and hadn’t gotten to sleep. She barely napped, and we were expecting a visit from Mimi that afternoon. Thankfully, Mimi brought pizza so I didn’t have to cook, and she played and fed and changed Little Darling so I could remain stationary on the couch and pretend that I had my wits about me. When she left, I got LD a bath and a dose of Tylenol and off to bed at a decent hour.

Now, lets hope that mommy can sleep off these last couple days.

Microwave Eggs

I know, I know, who dedicates an entire post to microwaving eggs?

This girl. Right here.

It’s really not my fault, up until a few weeks ago I had no idea that eggs were even a microwavable food. In my defense, I am not really an egg eater. Eggs taste like solid vomit, they have a yucky, acidic, bleggh taste to them. I really do like the yolk out of hard boiled eggs, but hard boiled egg whites will make me barf on contact. Don’t get me wrong, I really want to like eggs. They are SO good for you and very versatile. I just don’t like them. They are gross.

I try to eat eggs at least a couple times a week. Normally when Wonderful Husband is home on weekends we will sleep in on Sunday (til about 8am, you know “sleeping in” for parents), then get up and make a huge breakfast with bacon and eggs and pancakes. Sometimes I will make egg sandwiches with cheese and toast, or I will scramble them and layer ketchup and cheese with them. Anything to cover up the taste, which by taking away the taste I am also taking away from the healthy-ness of them. At a play date a few weeks ago we were all laughing because a friend of mine stated that she really liked eggs and then proceeded to list all the the condiments she puts on them… “I love eggs! Just gotta add a little hot sauce, and some cheese, and toss on some ketchup, and make some toast, and throw on some salt and pepper…” Our fitness freak friend was like- so you don’t really like eggs then. Which is a true statement of my life. I eat eggs, but I really don’t like them.

Besides the disgusting taste of eggs, I hate the clean up of eggs. You have to get the skillet out and put in oil or butter and let it heat and then crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them and then pour it into the skillet and use a spatula to flip and flop and stir them. Then you have to put the eggs on a plate and use a fork. You are making a huge mess to prepare a meal that you aren’t even going to enjoy! It’s just wrong.

About a month ago, I was spending my morning playing with Little Darling, watching some Mickey and drinking my coffee, when I got a text from my SIL. She sent a picture of a bowl of scrambled eggs with the text “Morning work out done! Eggs fresh out of the microwave and its only 8am!” My first thought was- What a show off! My next thought was- waaaitttt! did she just say eggs out of the microwave?

Its a group text that we keep with my husbands family. His sister, mom, and dad, along with the two of us have an almost constant conversation going. It is really nice to have that open line of communication to his family, one of our biggest support systems, on a daily basis. Although, it does tend to turn embarrassing quick, like when I responded back to SIL’s text asking if eggs were actually microwavable. The rest of the family descended on me, asking how is it that I am Suzie Homemaker and don’t know how to microwave eggs?! Probably because I hate eggs…

Well, it didn’t take long for my savvy SIL to explain that yes eggs are microwavable. You just crack the eggs into a bowl, whisk them up, add a little milk or water, and stick them in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. This seemed WAY too good to be true. But my SIL is big into eating right and being healthy, so surely she should be a trusted source of making eggs, the all time food of healthy eaters everywhere. I decided that even though I love her and trust her, I needed to test this theory. It could be life changing…

I took one egg out of the fridge. Cracked it into a bowl. Stirred it with a fork and splashed some milk on it. I stuffed it in the microwave for 45 seconds. The result? A light, fluffy, surprisingly yummy scrambled egg.

I know! I hate eggs! But this egg was yummy! It was moist and eggy, but not overly eggy. It tasted healthy and satisfying. I was in shock. I started texting everyone I know- DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN MICROWAVE EGGS?? The general consensus was that, yes, mostly everyone knows that you can microwave eggs. Apparently, I am just a dumbass. Oh well, I will accept this title if it means that from now on I can use two items instead of 12 to make my breakfast and it is going to taste delicious instead of gag worthy.

Not only do I enjoy microwaved eggs, but Little Darling enjoys microwave eggs too. Many mornings after my coffee and her bottle, I will whip up a couple eggs in the microwave and we will sit in the kitchen sharing a bowl and and a fork for a healthy, protein packed breakfast (Yes I know the Pediatrician recommends no eggs until after 1 year, no I don’t care. She isn’t allergic, leave me alone). I can feel good about what we are eating, with minimal clean up and it even tastes good!

Thank God for my SIL or I may never have learned this amazing trick.

What other kitchen hacks do people use that I have never heard of?

Stolen Memories

When Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Dementia, he wrote one last song. A song that embodies everything that is this cruel disease…

I’m still here, but yet I’m gone
I don’t play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am
The man that loves you ’til the end

You’re the last person I will love
You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you
Not gonna miss you

I’m never gonna hold you like I did
Or say I love you to the kids
You’re never gonna see it in my eyes
It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry

I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains

I’m not gonna miss you

When I was growing up, we spent a lot of time at my grandparents house. My mom was a stay at home mom and was pretty close with her parents. They had a big house, with lots of land to play on. There was a stream in the back, and a long rock wall to jump off, my grandfather had two storage buildings packed full of cool things we could play with, and there was even a path mowed into the woods so we could walk up and play with the salt block my grandfather had out for the deer (no idea why this was awesome, but it was, and we did it almost every time we went out).

I have some amazing memories at my grandparents house. Like the time my grandma let me eat mac and cheese until I was full (we all know exactly how much pasta and cheese I can eat in one sitting) and then I threw up in bed in the middle of the night without even waking up. She had no clue until the next morning when she was trying to brush my hair and kept finding noodles. Or the time I got a splinter on the old wooden bridge out back and my mom had to hold me down while my grandpa pulled it out.

We would spend hours sitting at the dining room table playing solitaire with grandma. Her cigarette would be smoldering in the ashtray, her coffee would be cold. After dinner she would send one of us down to the garden to throw out the compost, and then we would eat ice cream with chocolate syrup as a nighttime snack. They kept a basement fridge for soda, and many a time I was caught sneaking down those rickety wooden steps to steal a coke or a root beer after mom had specifically said no more. The basement door also doubled as a growth chart for every kid in the family. We would delight in having PapPap measure us against the door and then laugh at how short we were compared to our older cousins.

Christmas was always a big deal too. On Christmas Eve we would all cram into grandmas dining room where there would be a giant spread of ham, cheese balls, dips, peanut butter candy, and moms gingerbread cookies. There were too many of us to even attempt a table so we would just wander the house with our plates and eat where we could find a place to perch. It was loud and it was hot, and it was fun. We would all open presents, and us kids would squeal with delight at all our new goodies. The whole family would show up, cousins we hadn’t seen all year, and aunts and uncles who showed up well after midnight mass. We would all laugh and talk and visit. It was a true family Christmas.

As time went on, we got older, our visits became less frequent. Once we all moved away, it became harder and harder to get together. We would still make time for Christmas Eve, but it wasn’t as crowded as it once was because the cousins and other family were getting married and going to the in-laws or staying home to celebrate with their kids. There were no more long foggy mornings with cigarettes and coffee. The stream out back dried up, and the garden no longer got planted. Grandma seemed to be getting confused more often as well.

It started small, she would forget to turn off the stove, or set her wallet down at the store. No one seemed to even notice, she had always been a dependent, forgetful type woman. It used to drive my mom crazy that my grandma was so dependent on my grandfather. I mean, I don’t even remember a time that my grandma drove anywhere by herself, or drove at all. My grandpa was just always the man of the house and took care of things. I doubt she ever mowed a yard, or cleaned a gutter. They are just traditional like that. So it took a few years for us to figure out that her forgetfulness was a bit more than just her being oblivious.

She would call us the wrong names, understandable since there are lots of girls in the family and we all share similar traits, its only natural you get the name wrong once in a while. But then she started to forget who we were, and how long it had been since we had last visited. She would ask me if I knew who my own parents were, and when I said yes she would then go on to tell me about how they had gotten a divorce. She wrapped everyone’s Christmas presents in Hanukkah paper, and couldn’t remember how to make her famous cheese balls. We started to get worried.

When she got sick with a UTI and ended up in the hospital we all started to get really worried. It was a fast track downhill from there. She couldn’t remember where she was and she would get irate towards my grandfather when he had to leave for the night. The doctors explained that sometimes something as small as a bladder infection can set off Dementia.

It was the first time we really came face to face with the disease that had been creeping up for years. There was no denying it. Within weeks she was in the nursing home, she couldn’t remember the storyline of an hour long tv show from start to finish. She couldn’t read a book, or carry on a conversation. Every time we would visit she would tell us that no one came to visit, but we all knew that everyone was going in shifts. She didn’t stay long, they released her within a few weeks to go home under my grandfathers care. Within a month he had hired an at home nurse to come 6 days a week and help him care for her.

It’s been almost two years since then.

The family still takes turns going to visit, but instead of solitaire and ice cream we spend our time reminding grandma who we are, and how we are related. Some days are good, she will laugh and smile and be tickled that we have taken time out of our day to spend time with her. Some days are bad and she doesn’t recognize her own husband. The dining room that once hosted grand family gatherings now hosts grandmas bed because she can no longer go up and down the steps. The doors that were once welcoming and open are now constantly locked to keep grandma from escaping outside.

I have struggled to write this post and put my thoughts and emotions into words. It is a difficult thing to deal with, especially being a new wife and mother, I am empathetic towards my grandfather who has to watch every day while his wife of 50+ years forgets their lives together. I can’t imagine. It is the opposite of when someone dies before their time. Instead of a young person having their life stolen away, my grandmother has lived a good life and is now having her memories stolen. While she doesn’t miss us, and doesn’t remember what is happening from one moment to the next, we are left with the struggle and pain of watching someone who means so much to us slowly forget that we ever meant anything to her.

I will continue to go down, and take Little Darling to spend time with her Great Grandmother. I will continue to remember the good times and the memories that have been so cruelly stripped from my grandmas mind. I will pray that she has more good days than bad, and that my grandfather can stay strong while caring for his ailing wife.

For more information on the disease Dementia, please visit: http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp

If you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms, I strongly urge you to see a doctor immediately. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or Dementia, there are treatment options.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Several months ago I saw some friends online posting about how they were making their own whipped cream. Healthier, tastier, and all around better than the store bought stuff. It seemed interesting and easy, I wanted to try it!

Fast forward to the 4th of July, and I was going to make a fruit salad with homemade whipped cream to go on the side, but then life happened and pretty soon the cook out was over, everyone was leaving, and my carton of whipping cream was sitting untouched in the fridge. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I had to find something else to make that would call for whipped cream.

I decided on my new found strawberry shortcake recipe that I have fallen in love with this summer. I made the shortcakes and cut up the strawberries and then started working on the whipped cream.

Most of the recipes I had found called for a stand mixer, which I don’t have, so I started looking for one that used a hand mixer or something easier. Well, I found this one that called for nothing but a mason jar! It seemed too good to be true, but then if it was true then I totally wanted in on it!

The basic concept was really easy and you can change it up to flavor the cream, vary the sweetness, or even make butter!

Recipe:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake the shit out of it.

Results:

The original recipe poster said she only shook it for about 60 seconds and had light, fluffy whipped cream. I was not so successful, Wonderful Husband and I took turns shaking the mason jar for about 7 minutes and ended up with delicious, liquidy whipped cream. Like Cool Whip that has been stirred for too long. I put it in the fridge for about an hour while I got Little Darling bathed and into bed. Then I started plating the shortcakes, when I took it out it was much fluffier and solid than when I first made it, but within minutes of being out of the fridge it was going liquid again.

It was still amazing and made the shortcakes even better than the first time I made them.

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Later, I realized that I had regular whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream, I am not sure if that is what made it so liquidy. I will definitely be trying this in the future, it was much tastier than Cool Whip and I felt really good knowing exactly what was in it compared to the weird preservatives in store bought stuff.

I will also being trying to make butter too, apparently, if you just shake the jar long enough you end up with butter. Can’t wait to try that!