There’s So Much In This World We Can Learn

Today marks eleven years since we lost one of the most loving and inspirational voices of our time: Mr Rogers. I remember watching episode after episode of “Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood” while eating my rice and milk. (rice, milk, and honey was one of my favorite breakfasts.) I loved his lessons about confidence, peace, and love. I was fascinated by his love of books, as it was so similar to my own, and his vast collection of awesome zip-up cardigans.

He truly made you believe you were capable of anything you put your mind to, and he made it fun to learn. He let you know that learning was something to be done everyday, and that it made you better. He even talked about EXERCISE. Way before it was cool. He talked about how important it is to move your body every day. He had breakdancers and ballerinas and gym teachers on his show kids that loving the vessel you’re given is as important as what you do with it! This was back before Cookie Monster ever saw a vegetable! Living by example!!!

mr rogersUnfortunately, we no longer have his genius and love and peaceful personality in our everyday lives. Fortunately, PBS has turned one of his most-beloved characters into a cartoon that shares his spirit of learning and love. “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” My kids are obsessed. My Peanut knows how to find it on Netflix, and always insists on its being played. She likes to watch it while she’s  having her snack. I hoped his love of hoodies would encourage her to maybe not watch it in the nude. So far, no such luck. All snacks and netflixing are still done while naked.

As most of you know, I’m a member of the Netflix Stream Team, wherein I blog about my Netflix experience every month. Every month they give us ideas about what they suggest our theme should be. A recent theme being: “watch while you workout.” Well, I do, occasionally, “Watch While I Workout,” but more likely, my kids are watching while I workout! My daughter is INCREDIBLY shy, and my son has Sensory Perception Disorder, so a lot of the time, the gym childcare just isn’t an option because of crowding, etc..However, if I let them have my tablet in childcare, (in an otterbox because I’m not dumb) they can watch Netflix streaming in a safe environment, while I workout. I just turn on Netflix Kids, and I know they won’t be inadvertently watching “Shaun of the Dead” again. –This happened. I fell asleep on the sofa, and woke to my son watching “Shaun of the Dead” on HBO On-Demand. Parenting Fail. 

As a mother of a child with special needs, I can’t tell you how comforting it is to see my son on the childcare monitor, happily sitting and behaving perfectly in the childcare center. I’m not going to lie, it has made him quite popular in the gym. Also, I should be 100% honest: I may or may not watch “Arrow” streaming on the ‘flix (as none of the cool kids call it) on my phone to get through static exercise, because….

Don’t act like you don’t want to get sweaty with him. Just don’t lie to yourself or me like that. (stream time, around 42 minutes. PERFECT for a run or the elliptical, just don’t slip in a puddle of your own drool, that’d be embarrassing.)

I would bake him cake. He could show me how good his aim really is. ;)

banana peanut butter cup bread banana peanut butter cup bread

 

Banana Peanut Butter Cup Bread

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (1 loaf)

  • 2 over ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (the kind with 2 ingredients)
  • 2 eggs or chia eggs
  • 6 oz plain greek yogurt (or soy yogurt. NOT coconut milk yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup DARK cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9″ loaf pan

with a mixer, beat bananas into a paste

add other wet ingredients (the order makes no nevermind as you’re working with bananas and yogurt)

sift in dry

mix on minute

pour into loaf pan

bake approximately 45 minutes or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

eat the heck out of it.

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While I’m compensated for these posts, they’re entirely truthful, and I do drool for “Arrow.” Then again, who wouldn’t?

I’d Rather Make Out With Sherlock than a Chihuahua

There truly aren’t enough pictures of dogs in wigs on the internet. Granted, there are entire tumblrs dedicated to the coiffeured canines, (I know if you add “ed” to a French word it’s not the past tense. I’m making shit up.) but still.

Back to my point. I also need more babies in wigs pictures. I have no idea why I find them so outrageously hysterical, but I do. I mean, it’s not Elaine Stritch dropping the F bomb on morning television while dressed as a very fancy Yetti disguising itself as Jackie O, but what is?

When I’m that age, I really want to be as cool as she is. She.is.bitchin. Fuck authenticity and “being who you are” posts. I’m tired of them. I’ve written a few myself. Screw me, I want to be that lady. So many blogs are trying to tell me how to be the best version of myself I can be, instead of being really helpful, by teaching me how to be Elaine Stritch.

Moving on: Meditation–do you do it?

Here’s a sentence never ever meant to be on a humor-food-I-workout-or-I-succumb-to-insanity blog:

While I was in my 10th Century Latin Liturgy class, studying the Visigothic Minuscule, I thought of the perfect way to partition my time. (I know, right? Because time management means so much when one is comparing types of script in illuminated manuscripts!)

Here’s my non-class/no auditions or jobs/perfect day off breakdown:

  • 4hrs of reading–scholarly and for pleasure. This is low compared to some of my classmates. I swear, science is easier for my brain, but Comp Lit sings inside me.
  • 4hrs kidskidskidskids (reading to them, playing, cleaning with them, watching them play while I listen to audiobooks and watch Sherlock–kids require a lot of cleansing and even more Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • 1.5hrs workout
  • 1hr food prep/kitchen cleaning
  • at LEAST one hour with just me and ze man. activities not listed here. (backgammon should be involved…and…more exercise.)
  • 2 hours writing
  • 30 minutes personal stuff (shower/makeup/teeth)
  • 30 minutes hair. (I have a mane of unruly curls)
  • 1.5 hr tv (pref with the man, but inevitably some Kathy Lee and Hoda)
  • 8 hours of SLEEP

I like lists. I like time management.  I feel like my particular breed of crazy requires closely-watched time management. I also feel like a rigid schedule goes very against my type-B personality. Fortunately, the man is reasonably type-Aish, and can corral my navel-gazing and shiny things distractions. (though, I’ve told him time and time again..pun intended…that gazing into HIS navel only takes up more of my time, and should be reserved for birthdays and anniversaries) I’m going to hell and my parents are horrified, btw. 

Here’s what my perfect day would look like:

readingkidsupreadingteethbrushingshowersemioptionalifbookisgoodmorekidswafflesgoldengirlsbenedictreadingwritingrunwhileaudiobookingreadweightwhilelisteningtoskrillxorshowtuneswinewritingkidsfoodwinereadteanakedreadbed.

all without spaces. just like my brain. Yes, my brain really does look and feel that disorganized and confused. That’s what ADHD does. Especially at the level from which I suffer. Fortunately, when I can compartmentalize, it’s a bit more manageable. Hence the lists.

My shrink (not to be confused with my psychopharmacologist whom I shall refer to henceforth as “Dr DrugMe”) tells me to meditate. He’s ALWAYS telling me to meditate. He knows I have SEVERE ADHD. He says just the act of trying to meditate will help. I hatehatehate doing things or trying things where I continually fail. It’s not even like I can use the excuse about the definition of insanity, because, HELLO!! Already crazy! Every time I *try* to meditate I hear Yoda in my head:”There is only do, or do not, there is no ‘try.’”

So I wiggle, I bounce, and I cannot focus on a damned thing. Not ANYTHING other than “well this is just about the dumbest ever.” I can focus while running. I can think while in motion. I cannot.cannot.cannot. sit still. I have had a few successful bits of guided meditation, but sometimes feel like I’m being hypnotized. I don’t want to bark like a dog or make out with my hand on-stage. If I wasn’t vulnerable to the power of suggestion, I’d never have started smoking at age 13 (or quit at 21) and I’d probably still be a virgin. At least until I read my first bodice-ripper. Because, duh. Ok, so maybe that’s not the intention of guided meditation, but my overactive imagination is pretty much sure that the spandex-clad yogi wants me to join his cult. We’d all wear white, and be in a heterogenous polygamous house and only eat raw foods and doritos. Our white clothes would have orange patches.

And he tells me to keep trying. I’ve watched the meditation videos from calmest hyper person I know, Bex. And nothing. Still can’t sit still. I tried something unconventional. I’ve taken to listening to her smooth meditations while running. I get it’s not the way she designed it, but as long as I’m on a straightaway or on a treadmill/elliptical, I’m good. The Navajo (my personal zen Buddha) was on the res for a while and I was without his calming influence. I was without someone to center my runs. Not anymore! Though, I wish I could combine Bex’s instructions (no pretending to be a chihuahua that I know of) and the lilting and somber tones of the Navajo’s musical cadence and chanting.

Someone get on that. (I’m looking for a remix, Bex and Navajo!!)

So I told my shrink this, and he says it’s fine! Good, even. I then swore a blue streak and told him thanks for nothing! He laughed at me and told me he’d talk to me again next week. Here’s my tip for all of my fellow crazy mother truckers: sometimes it’s the spirit of the idea more than the letter of its instruction. Finding a balance inside a disordered mind is an art. We just happen to be more Picasso and less Renoir.

Now to the food. Because cooking is meditative if you do it right, and food heals.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower Satay-Style

(thai it, you’ll like it. Unless you’re Jenn. She hates sesame.and puppies.and kittens that play piano.or just sesame.)

whole roasted cauliflower whole roasted cauliflower whole roasted cauliflower

 

 

 

Whole Roasted Cauliflower-Satay Style

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: roast appetizer side snack vegan

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • one large head of cauliflower (I used purple for color)
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • juice of one half of one large lime
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup pb
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce (less or more as desired)
  • 1/2 tsp ground, toasted, sichuan peppercorn (you can do without, but it’s so good)
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F

combine water and peanut butter (all natural is easiest, but not required)

stir

combine all other ingredients, save cauliflower in a bowl

smear cauliflower with a third of the mix

place on cookie sheet

bake 10 minutes, smear another third on

bake 10 more minutes, smear final third on it

bake five more minutes

slice and serve. (even good served cold)

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No External Genitalia Required

I hate Barbie. I come from a long line of Barbie haters. My mom never bought me Barbies. I don’t buy Barbies for the Peanut. I find her/it/they a vapid waste of plastic that does nothing but perpetuate stereotypes, over-sexualize young girls, and re-iterate the notions of generations of women who try to force their bodies into the shape of some unattainable ideal.

The only people I give a by for idolizing Barbie are drag queens whose hair and boobs are faker than the dolls, and whose man-bits are realer than Ken’s. (I used to help my friend get into costume, even tucked up with duct tape and hope, it’s still a real ween…also? duct tape is some impressive stuffs.)

Somehow, Barbie has slipped past some of my best Betty Friedan/Audre Lorde defenses. People have gifted my daughter the blonde wastes of space. She loves them. Every time she screams for Barbie, a little part of my soul burns its bra. She begs for Barbie socks, Barbie parties, Barbie themed adult beverages. (or I do, whatever)

On a whim, the Gaysian and I turned on the “Barbie” cartoon on Netflix, mainly so that we could concentrate on our project and the Peanut would be quiet(er). Yes, I totally gave up all of my ardor in favor of relative peace. SHUT UP THERE WAS A DEADLINE.

Anyway, we were glued to the screen. First of all, Ken is just as effeminate as you’d expect from his appearance. (totally making massive assumptions based on appearance and lack of external genitalia and I don’t care) he shrieks, he squeals, he checks himself out in the mirror more than John Boehner. (all that orange requires frequent re-touching)

That wasn’t even the best part. The BEST part was Ken trying to build the Barbie-mobile, which is much like the Pope mobile, only slightly less-pious, and the conspicuous religiosity was more capital-as-G-d instead of G-d is my Capitol, but I digress. In building this convertible, he fucked up the tailpipe. A tailpipe named “The Golden Schlonpoofa.”

Ken kept yelling “OH NO! THE GOLDEN SCHLONPOOFA!!” “THE GOLDEN SCHLONPOOFA IS MALFUNCTIONING.” Did the writers put this in just as a phallus joke for the adult viewers, or are the gaysian and I just sick in the head? Because, really, it could be either. If anyone had a golden schlonpoofa, it’s Barbie, and it’s not on the end of her car…it’s in her drawer.

I still hate Barbie, but am grateful for the laugh at her expense.

MOVING ON.

I made donuts. They’re supposed to be “grown-up donuts” but it seems Peanuts like them as well.

Baked Bacon Peanut Butter Cup Donuts

Seriously, I’ve given vegan instructions as well, and with the chocolate, the vegan bacon still tastes damn fine. It’s all about the smokey-chewy goodness.

Peanut Baked Bacon Peanut Butter Cup Donuts Baked Bacon Peanut Butter Cup Donuts Baked Bacon Peanut Butter Cup Donuts

Baked Bacon Peanut Butter Cup Donuts

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Keywords: bake bread breakfast dessert side snack vegan

Ingredients (2 dozen donuts)

    for donuts

    • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 6 tbsp liquid egg whites or 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp coconut milk
    • 1 tsp baking powder

    for topping

    • 3/4 cup chopped extra-dark chocolate
    • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
    • 8 (yes, 8) slices bacon, chopped, diced, and fried or 8 slices veggie bacon diced seriously, Trader Joe’s veggie bacon is best for this

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350F

    Grease donut pan well with coconut oil

    cream peanut butter and sugar in a mixer on high

    add eggs and vanilla, mix one minute

    slowly add milk

    sift in flour and baking powder

    pour into donut indentations 3/4 full for a fluffy donut effect

    bake 13 minutes or until just golden at the edges and sexy puffy. (only time puffy is ever sexy)

    toss out onto cooling rack

    melt chocolate and drizzle over cooled donuts

    top with bacon and nuts

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    Potty Humor.

    Let us discuss rewards, shall we? We can call them bribes if you wish, but I prefer rewards. Sounds ever so less scandie, no?

    For MONTHS I have been tirelessly plugging along, trying to potty-train my Peanut. She’s just over 2 and a half, and for the longest, she was completely and unabashedly going to use a pull-up instead of having the indignity that is the public restroom being forced upon her.

    She’d use the potty over and over again at home, but as soon as we’d leave our house, she’d lock that idea down into the same region of her brain where bell peppers and spinach live. (if you can have a jail/hell in your brain, that’s where she sent it…along with the demon peppers and Popeye’s special food.) I’d go with her in the bathroom. I’d explain that this is just a fact of life that everyone need deal with in order to give themselves freedom of movement (no pun intended) in the world.

    She heard NONE of it. I kept talking, and all she heard was “blah blah blah, Mom’s evil and wants to give me a swirly in the Port Authority baño from hell.”

    At the same time, I was WELL AND TRULY struggling with my sugar addiction again. I was dreaming about the fine, white powder. I wanted to “Scarface” Tony-with-a-paper-plate-of-cocaine/sugar-all-up-in-my-face…that stuff. I wasn’t doing well.

    Over the holidays, I think I ate more sugar than I did any other calorie. When I got home, and looked in my cupboards, I was aghast. I’m a HEALTHY person. HEALTHY people do not subsist merely on glucose! I was sluggish, grumpy, my anxiety was OFF THE CHARTS, and I couldn’t even focus long enough to read 100 pages of a book in a sitting, let alone figure out how to weight-train or write or anything.

    It had to go.

    Would I still test recipes and allow my kids treats in moderation? Of course. I simply needed to have a strong hand with everything else I consumed.

    How in the fresh hades was I going to manage this while trying to convince my toddler that the bathroom at Target wasn’t going to eat her, and not want to stab myself in the eye with a dull butter knife? (use a spoon instead? wine cork?)

    One word. Rewards.

    I limit my kids’ screen time, and I’m very choosy on what they can watch, but one truth holds fast: My Peanut thinks the sun rises and sets with Mickey Mouse.

    Netflix to the rescue. Streaming. On my iphone (in a lifeproof case). Playing Mickey Mouse. Everywhere.

    “Wanna watch some Mickey Mouse while Momma shops at Target? Ok! You’ve gotta potty in the store.”

    It FRIGGEN WORKED. I am SOOOOOOOO EFFING HAPPY to announce that my Peanut now finds the idea of EVER WEARING A PULL UP during the day ABHORRENT. Can I get a happy dance? Can I?

    It also worked for me. I have a verysmallokayquitelarge old movie problem. So I do not allow myself to indulge, instead watching entirely too much children’s programming, if I eat too much sugar. I also stream old movies while I’m on the elliptical.

    Note to others: A: singing “West Side Story” while on the elliptical is not easy. B: people stare. C: the trick is not to give a damn.

    I’ve cut out 90% of my sugar intake. (NINETY!!!) By the way….everything has sugar in it. Everything.

    So I made a new recipe. It has white flour, but NO white sugar. (though, they’re super similar.) ROCK.ON.

    Belgian Pretzel Waffles

    (more pictures coming soon, Jenn!…((she gets on me about taking “time” for pictures, she knows damn well I have the patience of a gnat on speed.)

    You read that right. Belgian.Pretzel.Waffles.

    This is one of those recipes that will knock your friends’ socks off. It’s the PERFECT brunch item, and it is as good with gravy or mustard as it is with syrup and butter. Beer cheese. Avocado. Honey butter. ALLLL THE TOPPINGS. all of them.

    photo 2 (3) photo 1 (3) belgian pretzel waffles

    Here is how you make them.

    Make this recipe for dough, only DO NOT ADD THE SECOND SUGAR ADDITION. Also, use honey in place of the 1.5 tbsp of sugar in the entrance of the recipe.

    Also, it says the recipe makes ten waffles. That’s about right.

    when the dough has risen, separate the dough into individual portions, in a ball shape.

    boil a big kettle of water.

    add a good shake of baking soda to the water

    when the water is back at a full boil, flatten each piece individually and boil for 30 seconds

    cook in a waffle iron set to medium

    when done, brush with MOAR BUTTER!!!! and sprinkle with salt. (I go balls to the wall with the salt, because I smother in honey butter.

    There is no substitute for the eggs and butter and milk in this recipe, so just don’t bother to try. (sorry, Amy!! I’ll figure out another pretzel-waffle for you soon!! GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN!) until then….eat this one for you and the architect.

    I am compensated by netflix, inc but all opinions *even bad ones* are my own.

     

    Nose Deep

    It’s National Reading Day. I’m not kidding. This is the superbowl for nerds. It’s making me think all sorts of inappropriate thoughts involving book husbands, wooly socks, coffee, and a night light.

    By the way, reading my blog totally counts.

    Here’s a fun fact: I am a “food blogger.” (ish. I blog recipes, but discuss anything and everything.) My most followed Pinterest board isn’t food related at all, it’s books. I am an obsessive reader. I am most comfortable with the man’s head in my lap, and a book in my hand, and maybe a glass of wine or cup of tea/coffee on the side table.

    I love reading to my kids. I love creating character voices in my head to give life to the heroes and heroines for my bits. I love watching their eyes alight with possibility over what the pages may hold for them. I love the smell of old books, and the feel of the first “crack” of the spine on a new novel.

    I love knowing I’m never alone so long as I have a book. I love that I can turn on my phone or ipad or kindle and have a world of libraries at my fingertips. I love turning on a audiobook and cleaning my house or driving to school or going for a jog.

    I love knowing that I know things. Reading is the quickest route to an educated and perceptive mind and imagination. (for most people)

    I love turning on my computer and diving into blog after blog after post after article. It gives me a sense of community, a feeling of belonging, experiences beyond that of my own.

    I love that even in these digital times, and in times where we’re not given much in the way of social services, we still have LIBRARIES. Wonderful places of learning, and magic, and intrigue.

    I love that you read my blog. I love that you seemingly don’t care if the f word slips in (and out…sorry) from time to time, and that I ramble, and that sometimes I’m in such a dark place, all I can do is write about it in hopes that by expressing my feelings, I can see light again. I love that you comment and email and tweet about how this thing I said, or that thing I made that reminded you of something. Perhaps it reminded you of that crazy old woman at the end of the road whose house always smelled of banana bread, but her muumuu was see through, so you knew that her boobs hovered somewhere around the equator of her body…I don’t care, it made you think. (of equatorial mammaries and banana bread… seriously, where IS your mind?)

    I love when you take my book recommendations and love them too. That is the biggest compliment I can be paid as a reader.

    bookszafronNow? Onto the food.

    Many, many, many people hate green vegetables. No one hates pancakes. These are better than dr praeger’s brand broccoli pancakes, more addictive than a corn cake, and healthier than most. They’re g-free, absurdly delicious, and EASY.

    Broccoli Cakes

    broccoli pancake broccoli pancake broccoli pancake

     

    Broccoli Cakes

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Keywords: fry appetizer entree side gluten-free kosher soy-free sugar-free vegetarian

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    • 2 cups broccoli
    • 1 cup tortilla chips (homemade are best…Brad’s Organic are good as well)
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
    • salt and pepper

    Instructions

    pulse chips and broccoli separately in a food pro until teeeeeny tiny

    combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir, tasting mix for salt.

    heat a skillet on medium high with spray or oil in the bottom

    using a cookie scoop, scoop out 2 tbsp of broccoli mix at a time

    pat into cake form

    fry on each side for 3 minutes

    serve alone or with salsa. (or ranch dressing if you must)

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