March 31

How many of you like coffee cake?

How many of you like lots of crumb topping?

Growing up, we didn’t get coffee cake much. Mom and dad thought that ‘healthy’ was the way to go.  So, coffee cake, pancakes, boxed cereal, Little Debbies, desserts, donuts  and soda pop were few and far between.

It was always the best treat to get a bisquick coffee cake. Sadly, it never had enough crumb topping. Not for me anyway. There is never enough topping, and whenever I make coffee cake, I always end up doubling the topping.

Never again!

I found a recipe called Big Crumb Coffee Cake. The title really caught my attention. I mean, Big and Crumb. Together. In one package. I just had to try it.

It has tons of crumb topping with just a hint of ginger. I didn’t think the ginger would taste good in this, but let me just say that it makes this recipe. This recipe also calls for rhubarb, (coughgagcough) I had the boy use blueberries instead.

You can get a copy of the recipe here .

In case you are wondering where the finished product pictures are, I am embarrassed to say that it didn’t last long enough to take any pictures.

Maybe you can make it, and take pictures of the finished product. Although, I doubt if it lasts long in your house either.

March 30

I took my camera walking with me the other day.

I so desperately wanted to see some signs of spring.

D.e.s.p.e.r.a.t.e.l.y.

Black capped chickadees are kind of spring like, but they have mucked through this monstrous winter with the rest of us. So that just isn’t gonna cut it.

I stood around waiting for a Robin to take a picture of walked a bit further and saw a Robin.

Robins mean spring around here. I have been hearing them for several weeks, so I knew I was getting warmer, but it snowed the other day and we all know that Snow + Robins ≠ Spring.

But this,this is what I have been longing to see.

Hello beautiful!!!

Mud brown, gray sky, and yellow grass will soon be a distant memory.

March 29

Last week, the chips and I went to register the boy for college.

The boy asked me to go along, because he just wasn’t sure what to do, where to go, etc. So I drug the girl along too.

To say that she was less than happy about the situation would be a gross understatement.

The registration process went by very quickly, and my checkbook is considerably lighter. Ca-ching~~Ca-ching!!

Yep…a great time was had by all.

March 28

It’s Friday and I am nosy.

Given the choice, would you live in the city or the country?  and why?

I have lived in Houston, Oklahoma City, a tiny place called Doe Run, way out in the boonies with Amish as neighbors, and towns of all different sizes.

I much prefer the country.   It is quieter.   I don’t have to listen to the neighbors scream at each other, or their kids ride their scooters up and down my street for 3 hours after I have gone to bed, (hellllooooo it is dark outside, where is your mother???)  or have the neighbor’s dogs use my yard for their litter box. (just because your owner hasn’t cleaned the poopables out of your yard doesn’t mean I want some in mine!)

March 25

Bagels. There is just something about a bagel. Chewy, crispy, tangy and oh. so. nonfattening.

A couple weeks ago, the boy and I made some, and we both were totally surprised at just how easy it was.

First you want to make sure you have flour, water, sugar, salt and yeast.

Yep, that is it.

You are going to combine all your ingredients in your mixing bowl and turn it on to ‘knead’ or in our case 2. You can knead this by hand, but we are lazy, and why should the boy not use his wonderful machine?

The boy and I argued over this dough, as the recipe says “The dough will be quite stiff; if you are using a machine the dough will ‘thwap’ the sides of the bowl and hold it’s shape when you stop the mixer.”

I made him add more flour. This still wasn’t stiff enough, and I told him so.

He was a bit put out.

He was so upset with me that he kneaded it by hand too.

Put the dough in a greased bowl, and set aside to rise until noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1-1½ hours.

It was right after putting the dough in the bowl, that the boy left to go hang out with someone he wasn’t frustrated with, and left me to deal with the rest.

I sat down to the computer and set the timer for 60 90 minutes.

Let me just say that this is a whole lot more than ‘puffy and not necessarily doubled in bulk’.

This dough needed to be tons stiffer. To make sure that bagels attain their typically dense, close-grained, chewy texture, you don’t want them rising very much, and a dry (stiff) dough naturally rises much less than a wetter one. oopsie-poopsie!

The dough really needed a whole lot more flour.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, roll them into smooth round balls.

It was at this point in the process that a knock sounded at the door. 2 Mormon missionaries were standing there. I always invite them in and give them some hot chocolate, tell them to forget about trying to evangelize me, and send them on their way. This time, I gave them hot chocolate and made them watch me make bagels.

Cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff slightly, unless your dough needs tons more flour, then they will puff greatly!

While your dough is resting, you need to prepare a water bath.

Get yourself the widest pan you have and put 2 quarts of water in it.

Heat the water, and add sugar

Here in Pothole, Ohio, I couldn’t find non-diastatic malt or barley malt syrup, so I used some brown sugar as a substitute.

Preheat your oven to 425º.

By this time, the Morman’s will have drank all their hot chocolate and be bored stiff, as you have not given them a single reason to try and evangelize you. So go to your resting dough,

stick your finger in the middle and twirl it around your finger till the hole is 2 inches in diameter.

Then 3 or 4 at a time, put them in the simmering water. 2 minutes on the first side, then flip them over for another minute.

They are ugly after bathing.

Bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they’re as deep a brown as you like. The Mormon’s will leave around this time, and you will be glad to see them go, so you don’t have to share.

Even though the dough wasn’t nearly stiff enough, they were wonderfully chewy and perfectly bagely.

Here is the recipe.

Make them yourself. You will be so happy with the result, you will never purchase another bagel again.

March 24**updated for answer**

Oh internet. I just have to share. I found something Saturday walking around Stuffmart that has forever changed my outlook on chocolate.

Forever.

Skittles has finally given in to the chocoholics letter writing campaign, the emails, the phone calls, and the begging and pleading of us all.

Oh, I kid.

They really should have listened to me and made a hot fudge, but alas, you can not win them all.

Thank you MARS. This Chocolatechic is very happy.

Which one do you think is my favorite?

I know that this is going to come as a huge shock to you but the vanilla is my favorite.   They just should have made a hot fudge flavor.

March 23

Wishing each and every one of you a Blessed Easter.

I pray that each and every one of you are rejoicing with me that the tomb is empty.

PS. I also hope that y’all got tons of chocolate. It is essential to celebrating.

March 22

He was such a beautiful little boy, and now he is a beautiful man. I remember holding him in my arms and looking at his small little face and wondering…What will he look like when he is 10, when he is 16, when he is 25. What would he become? Would he give me all sorts of trouble during the ‘terrible 2’s’ (yes), would he fight with his sister like I did? (yes, except he hasn’t bloodied his sisters nose) Would he be smart? ( of course) Would he give me fits during the teen years? (not as much as I feared) Would he love God and want to serve Him? (yippee~~he does) Would he act more like his mother or father? (were not going there)

Those big blue eyes and that blond hair. I just couldn’t even begin to imagine the answers.

Now, I look at that same beautiful face and have a whole new set of questions. What manner of man will he become? Will he marry? Will he finish college? Where will he work? Will he come visit his mama often? Will he have lots and lots and lots of children for me to spoil?

I look into those big blue eyes, and can not even begin to imagine the answers.

Time will tell.

March 21

It is Friday, and I am nosy.

Do you get a new dress for Easter?   A new outfit?  A new something?   Do you get your kiddos new clothes for Easter?   New shoes?

I remember always being excited for Easter as I always got chocolate, and a new dress and new shoes.   I can not tell you which one I was more excited about as a kid.

Today, well, you have to know what I am most excited about…and it isn’t the shoes.

March 20

Internet, I would like you to meet one of the most gracious , kindest, most genteel, graceful and lovely ladies I know.

Aunt K and mom have been BFF, or at least since before I was born and to me, that is forever!

When I was a little girl, we would go over to her house and I would get to drink soda pop, and swim in her pool. She also makes the best chocolate chip cookies, ever. For that alone, she ranks high in my book.

Aunt K, invited all of us over to her home for a meal on Sunday afternoon. Finger food she said. There was a veritable feast!

And even as she begged me not to take her picture,

she was all grace and charm.

Sorry Aunt K, you are to lovely to not photograph.

March 19

Last week, as I made reservations for the Fairfield Inn , the woman on the other end of the phone asked how many people would be staying in the room.

4.

She said that we would need a room with 2 queen beds. Clearly, she was an authority on the subject, and it sounded perfect, because I couldn’t imagine going from my lovely King sized bed, down to a double and sharing it with my egg beater daughter. Nope, no way, no how! I was even willing to throw down some extra cash to make sure that it wasn’t going to happen.

Upon arriving in our room, it was very clear to me that the woman either was not an authority or she needed some serious eye wear, because that bed was not sized right. There was just no way it was a queen size bed. It was more the size of a postage stamp.

Oh, I kid. Maybe 2 postage stamps.

Fairfield Inn also boasts that they are the home of 5 pillows on every bed. This excites me very much because I am a pillow snob. I love me a good pillow, and if one is good, 2 must be better. If 2 are better, then 5 must be supreme indeed! I have found that not only does my daughter do a good imitation of an egg beater in her sleep, she also plays a very good pillow thief. Daughter~~4 pillows, Chocolatechic~~1.

In choosing a hotel to meet our needs, we look for one that has a pool/hot tub, because we are always looking for ways to make our time away from home as pleasant as possible. Read~~ we hardly ever get out, and a pool/hot tub=vacation.

The same woman that sized our beds must have also measured the chlorine in the hot tub, because internet, either that hot tub had some serious fungus happening, or she forgot that eye wear. Reading glasses are always a vital part of chlorine measuring!

Next time, it is a King size bed, or someone sleeps on the floor.

March 18

Internet, I’d like to introduce you to some of the best pastry I have ever had the privilege of tasting. Ever. And I have tasted a lot of pastry.

We all got up bright and early on Monday morning and visited a place that will forever be etched into my memory.

Schulers Donuts. All other pastry is dead to me.

Schulers just doesn’t do donuts, but other pastry, cookies and even an occasional wedding cake or two.

But me? I just go for a humble donut or two.

or maybe more,

because I had to make the supreme sacrifice and take a bite for each and every one of you. Just like I said I would.

March 17

I am away today.

Check back tomorrow for exciting, exhilarating, and wonderful news about chocolate, tomorrow.

PS…ok, I am not quite away.   The hotel has a complemtary computer, so guess what?  Here I am at 6:09 am checking my blog.   I am pathetic!

A picture for your viewing pleasure.

March 16

“I believe I’ve seen hell and it’s white, it’s snow white.”

~~from the movie North and South

That has been my feeling for the entire winter. The other day, I was outside with the boy as he checked his brakes, I saw some hope.

Hyacinth peeking through the snow,

and daffodils fighting for life.

Come spring, come quickly.

March 15

I know that you all are just waiting with baited breath to see how Whiskey is doing.

I know, I know. I held a naming contest.

I know, I know. The people have spoken.

I even called her KitKat for 4 days, but everyone else in this house was calling her Whiskey. Sometimes, ya just gotta join them, cause I was fighting a losing battle. I am sorry internet. I fought hard, but after 4 days I caved.

I am weak. Forgive me.

March 14

I have a whole list, and I will name them in no particular order…

  1. Baileys Billions
  2. Underdog
  3. Mouse Hunt
  4. Cats and Dogs
  5. Kicking and Screaming
  6. Napoleon Dynamite (sorry Tamara)
  7. Nacho Libre

( the first 4 were picked out by Superman~~why does he like talking animals so much?) (the last 3 were picked out by the chips~~why do they like weird, and obscure movies?)

So tell me, what was the last bad movie you watched?

March 13

I just want to thank everyone for all their kindness and prayers for my family going up. We all appreciate it so much.

The funeral will be sometime this weekend in Springfield, Ohio. At that time I will be celebrating my Grams home going, visiting with family that I haven’t seen in quite some time,

and visiting a small building in downtown Springfield, called Schulers Bakery. Because, internet, not even death keeps me away from pastry, and I am not ashamed.