a farewell to Bisquick

Growing up, and up until now in my adult life–I’ve been a big fan of America’s favorite Pancake Mix. I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t find the bright yellow box nestled in the pantry. But recently…*sigh* Bisquick betrayed me.

My mom gave me her extra box of Bisquick, and then after ruining my chicken n’ dumplings, and 2 batches of pancakes I realized finally that I wasn’t screwing it up. The Bisquick didn’t have any baking soda in this box.

So. Betrayed.

 

But, it forced me to admit that I was using Bisquick as a crutch, not a cheat like when I use cake mixes in a box. I admit that that’s a cheat, but I like to doctor them up and do have good recipes for special occasions. Don’t ever use a box mix for a 3d cake, they’re too soft.

But Bisquick was my crutch for pancakes, waffles, banana bread, dumplings, and biscuits. Everyone else claims to be doing these from scratch, and I’m cheating.

So I pulled out the single most trusted cookbook I’ve ever used. The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Seriously, 90% of my recipes have started from this book. Before I share them with others I change them p here and there, but her recipes and tips always get me to the right spot. That’s because the Betty Crocker Brand love simplicity, and so do I.

So far I’ve made delicious pancakes from scratch, and banana bread that wasn’t as great. I think I’ve got some changes to make to that recipe before I make it as delicious as I like it.

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I’m a Professional!

I’m a professional writer now guys! I’m a freelancer! I started doing freelance work a couple weeks ago and I’m already a full blown workaholic.

I get most of my clients through UpWork.com, I do mostly copy writing and blog writing. It’s really fun learning about all the different things my clients are having me write about. I’ve learned about SEO, and how to write in it…which is something I’m turning out to be awesome at. (If I say so myself).

I’m far from making a living at this, but I’m not slowing down until I do! I’ve got a fairly reasonable goal fo earning $600 a month by the end of June. And this is across the board work, so it counts my photography work as well.

I’m really excited to see where all this goes. it’s a path I’ve only ever considered from a distance–my hesitation was always from “Why would anybody want to hire me?” I’ve been unemployed for over a year, and no luck on finding a combination of babysitter+employer so…my expectations are low. But people did hire me! And they keep doing it! It’s awesome!

The Blacksmith’s Daughter, by Crystal Hubbard

This short book is about the length of a serious short story. It’s 104 pages in large child-friendly print. I don’t think it really qualifies as a novella.

Instead, it’s a delightful fairy tale that I want more of.

Marcelline, the story’s heroine, is a strong willed young woman with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her father has gone blind, and her favorite sister is dying of a wasting disease only impossible magic can cure.

So when a summons from the king arrives, a contest for someone to be his desperately needed bride, and a grand prize of an impossible ish- on top of getting the crown- is an opportunity too much for Marcelline to resist. She could give two hoots about the fame and fortune with marrying the king, but saving her sister would be worth anything.

But her own personality is too strong for her to lie, and so she must earn the king’s love and respect without sacrificing herself. And they both find that he must also earn hers.

Even though it’s altogether too short for my taste, it’s a perfect beginners novel for kids, and one I’m glad to have on my shelf for my family to grow up reading!

Why “The Rugrats” is Terrifying.

Rattled

If you’re like me, chances are you grew up watching shows like Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, Codename! Kids Next Door, ect.

I’ve got a 4-year-old niece, she’s adorable and energetic, and loves Rugrats. So when I babysit her, chances are Rugrats is on the TV.

And I’ve noticed some things.

We’ll come back to the horrifying child neglect/endangerment issues in a few minutes because I want to start with this picture:

That's a g'damned skeleton in a show about babies.

Tommy almost falls down into that. Into a room with a body that has completely decomposed into a skeleton and nobody noticed. And this is the first season of the show. This is from 1990!

Also, when scouring google looking for that picture I came across this one:

And oh dear—what is that? I don’t even remember this and I really don’t think I want to. Ever. Ever.

Ever ever again.

Except I’m a self-destructive pile of stubborn “MUST KNOW…

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Molasses Cookies

Last holiday season I was challenged by my roommate to find the perfect molasses cookie recipe. It was a staple of his childhood, and I am the baker of the house.

It took probably 3 jars of molasses before I was satisfied, (don’t worry, all the cookies got eaten…except maybe two batches that I forgot about and burnt to a crisp)

 

Here it is, the ultimate molasses cookie recipe!

3/4 c melted butter
1 C brown sugar
1/4c molasses
2c all purpose flour
2tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Pie spice to taste
Granulated sugar

Stir the melted butter and sugar together, add in the egg and then the molasses. (Depending on how hot the butter is, I add the molasses first just so I don’t accidentally cook the eggs).

Pour in the flour, baking soda, salt and pie spice, and stir it together until it’s just combined. I don’t even bother with a mixer, just a sturdy spoon or rubber spatula.

Chill for at least an hour

Roll into 1-1&1/2 inch thick balls, and roll those in the granulated sugar. Bake at 375F for about ten minutes, just until the tops are crackled.

Tea Party

Even when i was a little girl I loved tea parties. I remember my first tea set, it was plastic, and the cups changed their color when they got wet. My niece has it now and it’s stained the glittery ink that it turned. By the time I was eight I’d graduated to my very own real china set.

To call it a set though is a misnomer, and probably an insult to expensive tea sets everywhere. Two cups and saucers matched, but that was about it. they all had an antiquey / retro feel, and I thought and still think they’re perfect.

I still don’t care so much for hot tea, but I still love tea parties. So it was no surprise that last November (Yeah, that’s how behind I am in my blogging!) when my grandma said she wanted to have a tea party for some of my younger cousins, I…sorta took it over. Not gonna lie.

She handed me a $20 for “whatever was needed”, and I already had a pretty strong collection of tea party supplies…All designed for adults and not five year olds. So the tea party grew in seriousness every day.

The menu included cucumber sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, chocolate dipped spoons, hot chocolate in place of tea, marshmallows for sugar cubes, pickled beets and hard boiled eggs. The girls just loved it. The two five year olds had a blast, and the older girls were delighted at being treated their age.

I’ve already got a pinterest page for this years, we’re aiming for a springtime garden tea party! I’m thinking I’m going to add “tea party planner” to the services RattledUp enterprises offers. 

The Art and Intimacy

Vine charcoal on crisp white paper. Even the soft scraping of the mineral on the paper sends thrills of anticipation up and down my spine. Some things in life are blatantly intimate. Medical test results, your underwear, a kiss between a woman and her mate. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to put the relationship between an artist and her canvas on this list.

Especially this art. A larger than life portrait of my Noah.

To be blunt, Noah is not usually a photogenic man. He tenses up and his usually relaxed demeanor rarely shows through. His face requires motion to bring it to life. Most photos I take of him are full of scowls or awkwardness. So forget him ever sitting still long enough to draw him from life.

 

 

 

 

 

Behold, my favorite photo of him. I see that look in his eyes at least a dozen times a day. So it’s probably my favorite face too.

But I don’t think the intimacy of the moment between me, the charcoal, and the paper was all due to the face. When I started the drawing it was 10:30PM and everyone else in the house was sleeping soundly, the only lights on were mine, pointed at my easel.

Silence seeped in from everywhere, and the world narrowed to just me and the paper. Blowing away eraser shavings from the paper felt like a kiss.

It had been so long since the last time I’d started a serious drawing, I’d forgotten how much I loved it. And the reference picture with Noah’s eyes and his smirk staring back at me…I felt like I could just overflow.

Perhaps even sharing this with you is exposing too much intimacy, exposing more about my relationship than you need to hear…but I’m not ashamed of it, and I think more people should experience this kind of intimacy, at least once in their lives.