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I love being able to stay at home with the girls, but some days are trying. Elie is normally very easy-going and happy, but cutting two molars will put anyone in a bad mood.

Audra is always a little bit more challenging. She’s brilliant. She’s strong-willed. She’s spirited. And she’s two. Sometimes this combination leads to beautiful moments and amazing discoveries. Other times it leads to screaming and crying and poop on the walls.

Today we had a mix of both. On the one hand it’s better than having a whole day of destructo-toddler, but it can emotionally be very challenging for mommy. All morning Audra used the potty and shared with her little sister. She ate well at lunch. She said she was sleepy and ready for a nap. Then she smeared poop all over the nursery walls and carpets while I was getting Elie settled down for a nap.

On a day like today, let’s just be honest, Mommy NEEDS chocolate.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Cookies:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer, beat butter. Add sugar and cream together.
Add vanilla and egg. Continue mixing until creamy and smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (tapioca flour, teff flour, sorghum flour, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Whisk together to combine.
Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix. Dough will start out grainy, but will come together to form a dense cookie dough.
Roll the dough into teaspoon-sized balls and put on lined cookie sheet. Place a small piece of parchment paper on top of balls and press to 1/4 inch thick.
Bake cookies 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

Filling:
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream together all ingredients until a fluffy frosting forms.
Smear on top of one cookie and place a second cookie on top to form sandwich.

When my younger daughter was born (about 15 months ago) our
wonderful friends at church brought meals so that I wouldn’t have
to cook. With a toddler running around the house, a c-section
incision to tend, and a newborn to nurse I couldn’t have asked for
a better gift in all the world. People brought lentils and rice,
fruit, bread, pasta dishes, soups, quiche, and other delightful
meals.

Our pastor’s wife brought baked oatmeal. Randall doesn’t
like oatmeal, so I had a whole pan of baked oatmeal to myself,
until Audra found me out. Evey morning I would have a bowl of baked
oatmeal with warm milk. It was perfect and filling but I could eat
and prepare it quickly and get back to the babies demanding my
attention.

The cold weather (and promise of snow) got me thinking
about baked oatmeal again. As we waited for the now to fall, Audra
and I got out all the ingredients for baked oatmeal. I created our
assembly line and she poured and mixed to her little heart’s
content until we got to our ever-important B ingredient. Around
here, B is for blueberries. Audra carefully counted the blueberries
as she added them to the baking dish, then ate one, then fed one to
sister, then added one to the baking dish. As I’m sure you can
imagine, not as many made it into the oatmeal as I had intended.

We had a wonderful time mixing and counting and baking and eating this
simple baked oatmeal based on my pastor’s wife’s recipe. I hope you
enjoy it as much as we did.

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries

1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup agave syrup
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal (gluten free)
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 cup blueberries

Mix ingredients in a lightly greased 8-inch
square pan or 9-inch round pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and
turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I started out the week with great plans. Recipes were selected, ingredients purchased, plans made.

With Monday came the reality that this week was not going to go as planned. Recipes failed, mommy got sick, our younger daughter got sick. It was not a good week at our house.

I also began a new battle with migraines. One of the perks of all the the pregnancy hormones that I’ve had coursing through my body for the last few years has been the disappearance of my migraines. Now that my younger daughter is 15 months old they have made quite a comeback. My husband even made me lavender headache balm for Christmas in a sweet attempt to help. (It should be noted that the headache balm is wonderful, it just can’t stand up to a migraine.)

Everyone at our house seems to be feeling better, so we’ll try this again.

My girls love to “read.” At this point this means that they like to sit in Mommy’s or Daddy’s lap with whatever book they brought for them to read. Occasionally I’ll catch them sitting in the floor “reading” together. This morning while I was getting ready for a relaxing day with the family I turned and saw Eleanor right outside the door. She had found her favourite book  (10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle). With a proud look on her face held it up: “DUCK!” She plopped down on the floor and began reading her book upside down.

The girls also really enjoy reading anything by Dr. Seuss. Audra loves it when her daddy reads Fox in Socks. I refuse to read it. I always get frustrated and tongue tied. At naptime she often demands that I read “ABC Book!” (Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s). It begins “Big A, little a, what begins with a?”

This year we will be going through the alphabet with the girls. Recipes will have key ingredients or methods that start with the appropriate letter of the alphabet. I hope that this will provide a fun media for exploring letters with the girls, though I may kick myself for this commitment as we reach the end of the alphabet and I have to find foods that begin with x, y, and z.

My husband and I are both making a conscious effort to write more often on our blogs. If you’re literate you should check out his blog.

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January 2011
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