Taste-test Tuesday – Banana Oatmeal Muffins, er cups. Bars. Something.

Oatmeal is a nursing mother’s BFF.  ‘Tis true.  But, I’ve been doing crockpot oatmeal for WEEKS and, honestly, I’m a little sick of it.  I spent some time this weekend researching some breakfast recipes involving oatmeal and found one for a banana oatmeal loaf … which I’ve not lost the link to.  Awesome.  Anyway, it had a lot of sugar.  And it was in loaf form, which kinda weirds me out.  So, I decided to substitute some Agave Nectar for the sugar and try it in muffin form.  It doesn’t actually RISE like muffins, so I’m not sure whether these are bars or what, but they’re pretty damn good & easy.

Ingredients:

3cups of oats (not steel cut, not quick cook, not Hall &, just regular ol’ oats)

1/2 cup Agave Nectar

1 egg

2 bananas (smooshed)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325deg.  Smoosh bananas in a bowl.  Add egg and mix thoroughly.  Add Agave Nectar.  Keep mixin’.  Add oats.  Mix some more.  Spoon into a muffin pan and bake for 25min.  Ta-da!

That’s really it.  The consistency is moist but not chewy and they’re certainly bananalicious.  This recipe made exactly a dozen so I had two to test out Sunday night and 2 for breakfast each day this week.  Woot woot!

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Taste-test Tuesday

Today wasn’t one of those crap days where I let my kid eat cartoon character soup from a can, but it was a little trying.  A simple & easy dinner was a must.  My meal plan dictated a broccoli quiche … but I really wasn’t feeling it.  After a dig through the cupboards I had a new plan.  And a good plan it turned out to be.  I don’t have a clever name for this so we’ll just call it Bean & Tomato Polenta.  Ooooh snazzy!

I started with this very basic polenta recipe.  Beyond that I used – a can of Northern Beans (Kroger brand organic 10/$10 – hey!) and a can of basil oregano diced tomatoes (so not organic, but don’t hate on my canned tomatoes).  Polenta was made as described above.  While making, I preheated the oven to 350.  Once the polenta was done I poured it into a casserole dish and baked for 10min.  Took it out of the oven and topped with tomatoes and beans, put it back in and cooked another 5min, then turned to broil and cooked another 5min.  That’s it.

I know I’m the worst recipe writer ever y’all but this was delicious.  And very filling.  2 out of 3 members currently in the TBFKAOP household gave RAVE reviews … and the 3rd doesn’t eat table food, so her opinion doesn’t count (stop skewing the stats, Lilith!)  I also really should have done pics before we polished off half the meal but, you know what?  I was hungry.

 

I also added a pic of the toilet conversion in the post below.  From polenta to toilets.  Man, I’m appetizing.

Modes

Being a mom is tough.  This probably isn’t news to anyone here.  Being a mom to two is exponentially harder.  You’d think having that first would give you enough experience, some sort of wisdom … and then you have the second who is, naturally, the polar opposite to the first.  And then the first’s needs/likes/schedule/etc. don’t jive with the second’s needs/likes/schedule.  And either the first is happy, or the second is happy, but either way mama is frustrated and second guessing herself (and her sanity).  And no one really knows what the hell they’re doing anymore.  God bless you if you have more than two.  You have my utmost admiration.  There is probably a reason why (high maintenance, spazzy, and determined) me is an only child.

Don’t get me wrong – being a mom to more than one is phenomenal.  I am blessed beyond belief to have both of my girls and my days are more smile filled than not.   Yet, I’m often left standing in the middle of my child-led chaos and wondering, “WTF is going on here?”

You see, toddlers and infants are very different breeds (duh, right?).  With Sabine, I went through this natural progression of newborn hood to infant hood to toddler hood.  I knew what to expect.  With each phase, I felt myself become a little more savvy and I KNEW what she needed.  What she wanted.  What she liked and what made her utterly insane.  Then … WHAM.  There’s a baby in the mix.  And Sabine was a baby so long ago (3 years is a REALLY long time.  Trust me.) that I don’t remember what to expect and what to expect with Lilith is so different from what I expected with Sabine (then and now).  Which may make you feel even more lost than being a first time mom because you start to think, “A-HA!  I remember this!” but you really don’t.  You think you have all the answers but you have none.  In short – you are stoopid.  Having children makes you stupid.  I’m sure there’s a study on that somewhere.

The source of my confusions stems from operating constantly in two modes – I can be in “doting mama to baby” mode or “fun time mama to toddler” mode … but I’ve yet to figure out how to successfully operate in both modes simultaneously.  How can it be possible?  How can I both soothe the baby to sleep and play a game of Candyland with the toddler at the same time?  How can I navigate through 3 year old drama queen meltdowns without scaring the poor infant so much she yearns to learn to crawl early in order to escape our madness?  How do I even remember which child is which and keep from calling them the wrong flippin’ names (Sometimes even my husband’s name.   Or the dogs’.  Are ALL of us moms doomed to this?)!?

My preliminary answer is – you can’t.  Or at least I can’t.  If you, yourself, have figured out how to please, by all means, tell me.  Let me in on this secret.  Or do yourself a favor and package it in a book which you can sell to all the frazzled moms like me and then you’ll be able to retire early on your fortune.

In all honestly, the chaos that ensues from not having the answers isn’t that bad … it’s the admitting to myself that I can’t be the perfect mother than affects me the most.  I’m a good mom.  A damn good mom.  But somewhere along the line I got it into my head that I could be the perfect mom.  And I can’t.

The flip side of this is that sometimes admitting the “I had a crap day and let my kid eat cartoon character themed soup from a can for dinner!” is sort of freeing.  90% of the time I’m a rockstar.  10% of the time I’m just scraping by.  Those odds aren’t bad, right?  90% means I still get an A on my mom report card (or an A-, and on some grading scales it’s a B, but still, it’s toward the top end of the bell curve) and I’m probably the only one counting anyway.  As my 3 year old told me before bed last night, “Mommy.  You’re my best friend.  My very favorite” and that has to count for some bonus points somewhere.

I should have been a plumber.

Since Brandon has been gone I’ve been tackling home projects a bit at a time.  He’s generally the home guru … but he does that man thing.  You know, plans a big project, heads to Lowe’s, buys things for 531905180 other projects but not the one we’re currently working on, and then nothing gets accomplished.  I, on the other hand, am a list maker and list crosser offer.  This works well for both of us because A) stuff gets done and B) Brandon doesn’t have to spend his weekends starting projects that won’t be finished.

I have always enjoyed plumbing projects, which is probably a little weird, but whatever.  The first home project I tackled was to replace the sink sprayer in our kitchen.  It had been broken since, well, not long after we moved in.  $5 and 10min gave me a functional sprayer and we both were thrilled.

Next up was replacing the stopper in the bathroom tub.  It was one of those where you pull the handle on the wall of the tub to trigger the tub to stop … but it was stuck somewhere between open and closed so the water wouldn’t stay filled for a bath but also drained slowly in the shower.  Changed it out.  Showers & baths are now groovy again.

Then I replaced a toilet donut.  This sucked.  I’m not even going to get into it, but it’s done now.

My most recent project was to convert our old, run of the mill, water wasting toilet into a dual flush eco-friendly one.  After reading some reviews and consulting my beloved EFFers, I settled on the HydroRight.  I couldn’t find it locally, so I ordered from Amazon, and two days later I had my kit.  I found it perched on my doorstep when I went home for my lunch break.  I was SO excited to tackle this project that I immediately tore through the box, read the directions, decided it was tackleable in <1hr and went to work … except I couldn’t find the flipping channel locks.  So it had to wait.

Hours later, armed with a set of channel locks on loan from my FIL (and the reassurance that, if I did indeed destroy my toilet, he would come fix it for me) I went to work.  The project took me about 20 minutes.  15 of that was taking the old flush lever off because it was so corroded and stuck.  Honestly – five minutes was all it took to drop the converter in and hook up the flush button.  I tested both buttons – they worked!  I made Sabine test both buttons – they still worked!  We had success.  And four wasted flushes, but who’s counting.

Three days later I’m still slightly obsessed with my toilet.  So obsessed that I’m blogging about it.  I really should have gone into plumbing.  It’s fun, I don’t suck at it, and damn they charge a lot so that could be good for me, financially.  I guess I’ll stick that somewhere on my dream job list … make-up editor for the now defunct Jane Magazine, record store owner, pirate, golf caddy and plumber.

I’ll follow-up with pics of the retrofit.  It’s gorgeous.  Or as gorgeous as a toilet gets, anyway.

**whoooooooooh toilet pic!!!**