Friday, November 26, 2010

The cher-pump-my-stomach-ple

The picture says it all...DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EAT MORE THAN ONE PIECE (OR EVEN ONE PIECE AT ALL) IF YOU ARE NOT A PROFESSIONAL EATER! IT WILL RUIN YOUR APPETITE FOR HOURS AND YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTAKE IN THE OTHER DELICIOUS NON-OBNOXIOUS PIES AND CERTAINLY NOT A TURKEY SANDWICH.


This warning has been brought to you by yours truly, who had to wait until the next morning to eat apple pie.



But boy, I was one proud baker! Massive and gluttonous, long live the Cherpumple.
At someone else's house.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diary of a Cherpumple: the assembly!

Admittedly I had my doubts, but after having completed the Cherpumple, I now pretty much glow with pride.
Three glorious layers waited in the freezer for a quick few hour chill so they would be easier to frost. I whipped up the frosting, using a minimum of 2 pounds of powdered sugar (who really counts at this point?) and began the layering process...


I am fully aware that I am a terrible cake baker and even worse at frosting. But I'm thinking when it comes to the cherpumple, beauty is on the inside. The baby sized in at 6 inches tall and 9 inches round. And weighed in at...
...OVER 13 POUNDS!!!! Granted, there's a plate there, but still, it's huge. We read somewhere that there is 1800 calories in one slice of this monstrosity, and I fully believe it. But does it taste as good as it looks? Time will tell.




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Cherpumple

"You've got to remember the number one rule of baking a cherpumple: never fret. Things will be OK."
This coming from my husband who previously asked me if we needed to grease the cake pan...
The evening was not without its difficulty, but in any case, should you want to try this at home, follow along and learn from our experience.

First, bake your pies. I opted for the cheater version because I didn't want to encase the fruit of my labor in cake. Make sure that your pies are a maximum of 8". (This is important, but I can tell you that crust covered in cake batter is a treat all its own.)
Once your pies are baked and cooled, assemble your remaining ingredients. You can see that I included a sample of holiday beverages. These are not for the cherpumple, but for the cherpumple bakers. (And no, no one is getting any of my Christmas Ale.)
Mix your cake batter to box directions. Grease and flour a 9" cake pan. Pour 1 to 1.5 cups of batter in the bottom of the pan and plop in the pie. If you didn't listen and get a small pie, you'll kick yourself and then have to cut the crusts off like we did. (See above note about crust in batter...yum.) Put more batter on the pie and around the pie. Keep in mind that cake batter rises and DO NOT fill it to the top. Chances are it'll bake over, so put it a on a foil-covered sheet unless you're the kind of person who loves to scrub an oven, in which case I have a filthy one that is need of some TLC.
Bake it at 350 for a long time. At least 30 minutes.
...and when you pull it out you'll notice that the top doesn't bake very well. The pie must not transfer heat well or something. Says brilliant husband: stick it under the broiler. And while that did work on layer #2, layer #1 was scorched because I was busy making layer #3. When I started smelling smoke, I ran to the broiler and opened it to find what must be the Cajun version of the Cherpumple. I whisked it outside and there we let it cool down a bit.

From there, we baked two other layers.

Did it work? Check back and find out.









Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The year of the Cherpumple

There’s a new level of gluttony that we’re about to achieve, and I for one cannot wait. As if the holiday season wasn’t hoggish enough with its gigantic turkeys and heaping bowls of mashed potatoes, there’s a new dessert making news that will send us all over the top.
Bulging over the top that is, spilling out the sides, and probably busting zippers and buttons across the nation.
The dessert was first introduced to me by my husband (proud follower of the Turduckhen craze) in a simple email. “Saw this in the paper. We’re making it.” I clicked on the link to find the most outrageous, obnoxious, and fantastic dessert I have ever seen. Enter the “cherpumple.”
Haven’t heard of this thing? Pronounced “chair-pump-pull” it’s the epitome of holiday desserts all rolled into one frosted mass. A slick combination of a cherry pie, a pumpkin pie, and an apple pie, encased in a blanket of cake and slathered with icing, the cherpumple is quickly catching on as the latest and greatest dessert of the year.
And who wouldn’t want to jump on the cherpumple wagon? Any bakery this extraordinary is worth the calories and the extra minutes at the gym, I’m sure.
But it’s more than just a fun thing to say. There’s a science behind the cherpumple and a specific method that I’m sure no one really tested but rather threw together as a collegiate prank at a family meal. It is indeed a three-layer cake with an entire pie baked into each layer. The bottom layer is a completely baked apple pie engulfed in a spice cake. That’s right, an entire, fully baked apple pie, totally cooled and de-tinned. After the spice cake mix is prepared following box directions, a small amount of batter is spread in the bottom of a 9” round cake pan. Then the pie is carefully placed on top of the batter, and then covered over in additional spice cake batter. (The remaining box mix I’m assuming you are supposed to make cupcakes with, although you’ll never have the stomach for eating them after you dance with the mighty cherpumple.)
From there, the cake/pie/cake is baked in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cake has baked and set.
The same procedure is repeated for each of the two remaining layers. The second layer consists of an entirely baked pumpkin pie baked inside a yellow cake, and the third and top layer of the cherpumple is a cherry pie inside of a white cake.
Once all three are baked and cooled well, the directions say to “frost heavily and to not skimp.” Apparently there aren’t enough calories in a slice of cherpumple, we also need to smear frosting between each layer and around the entire mass of sugary goodness.
I tell you, just thinking about it makes me want to throw on a bib and some sweatpants.
Our family is one that cherishes tradition, and Thanksgiving is no stranger to our annual rituals. We wake up every year and watch the parade on TV while finally being allowed to listen to Christmas music. We bake bread and take turns shaking the jar full of cream as we make butter. We prep our plastic containers in anticipation of the leftovers to come, and fight off each other as we try to snitch a piece of the turkey. But this year, we’re going off script and adding something new to our list of to-do’s.
Wish us luck as we venture into the world of food fads and tackle the cherpumple, layer by layer, cake by cake, pound after pound of frosting. Be sure to check back here on my blog for a Cherpumple play-by-play, with photos, stories, and family reviews. Friends are invited to check my fridge for leftovers. Chances are we’ll have a slice or two extra.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Make your own marshmallow shooter!

If ever there was fun to be found in the hardware store, this is surely it.
With just a few pieces of PVC pipe and fittings, you can whip up you're very own marshmallow shooter. And if you shop correctly, your bag of ammo will cost more than the gun itself!

The completed marshmallow shooter:

And now, how to make it!
You'll need:
22 inches of 1/2 inch PVC pipe
2 1/2 inch end caps
2 1/2 inch elbows
2 1/2 inch T's

Either con the nice man at the hardware store to cut up the PVC pipe or use a handy hacksaw to saw that 22" into:
1 7" piece
5 3" pieces

Then, assemble as follows. You don't need any glue-- just push the pieces together.

To shoot, put a mini marshmallow into the long end. Blow a puff of air (with pursed lips) into the mouthpiece in the open elbow. It'll take some practice, but it's great fun!

A word of warning: If you have kids breathing into it too much, it'll get wet and gummy. Disassemble and clean/dry.

A word of education: Have your little engineers rearrange the pieces to come up with other ways to shoot. (Wow, guns make you smart?!?)

Have fun, shoot straight, eat s'mores.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shopping solo is the way to go

It started with garbanzo beans, which is not something that has probably ever been said before. Call them chickpeas or ceci beans if you wish, but they were on my husband’s salad and he scarfed them down.
“You like those things?” I asked, never having seen him eat a legume with such gusto.
“Of course. I always eat them on my salad. You just don’t buy them at home.”
I personally don’t like the garbanzo type, so naturally since I’m the one doing the grocery shopping they don’t end up in my cart. But I started to wonder, just how much is my husband doing without because I have no idea what he likes to eat?
I came up with a brilliant idea. “Dear, I think we should go grocery shopping together. You can help pick things out that you like to eat that maybe I didn’t know you wanted.”
He chuckled and made cracks about the two of us having a romantic date at the grocery store. “Maybe we could sample lunch meat in the deli for a main course and then go to the bakery for a cookie dessert before we get the cart and stroll through the aisles, smelling fresh bread and testing produce for freshness.”
Because, of course, that’s how I always do it.
But sure enough, that evening as I had found an hour gap of time between kid activities and had my list organized, he surprisingly said that he would join me for my weekly shopping trip. With only an hour, I told him it would not be pleasurable at all, and it would be even worse because we would have some of our kids with us and we’d be at the Mega Mart.
He assured me that all was fine and list in hand, off we went.
Although we had an hour, we weren’t five minutes into the venture when I realized that I would never take him shopping again. Shopping is WORK, especially given child and time restraints. It’s not relaxing at all, instead it’s a mad dash from milk to bread to chips to veggies, where all along the way you do your best to keep your kid from chewing on the cart and keep the cart from running over someone else. It’s a constant battle with germs, toys, candy, and a sea of people who obviously don’t organize their lists as well as I do.
I left him in the pharmacy, lolly-gagging around. Five minutes later my cell phone rings and I tell him I’ve moved on to the beverages.
Five minutes later he’s still not there, and I imagine him walking in circles, completely lost, so I send him a text message: In dairy.
Five minutes later he finally shows up, toting along a brand new electric blanket (not on the list) because apparently we needed one. And I know well enough after all of these years of marriage that I need to pick my battles and a fleece electric blanket was not worthy of even an eye roll, especially since I’m the freeze baby of the family.
In the cart it went and I sped off, zooming with great intent through the aisles from destination to destination. Bargain shopping and talking children out of the latest fruit snack craze, keeping close watch of my list and leaving my husband in the dust.
It was produce before he actually caught up.
“Do you always have this much fun shopping? Is it always this hectic? Can’t you just slow down for a minute?”
I would have answered him except that I had to run back to get a forgotten item and left him with a plastic bag, a fruity assignment, and the uncertainty of how a mom’s life really goes because the truth is, it’s not always fun. It’s a challenge to shop, keep on budget, and keep your kids from leaving the store with pink eye. We do it because we have to, not because we like to.
There ain’t no [garbanzo] beans about it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The curse of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

To begin, let me tell you why I love the library so much. For one, it’s full of books and music, two wonderful forms of art that in some way appeal to everyone. They have all of the latest newspapers and magazines, movies, and a dusty set of encyclopedias that apparently you can now actually check out without being thrown in prison. It’s also got nice people, the smell of old paper, and has literally any information you want to read and learn.
And all of it is free. Absolutely free.
Of course we all pay taxes that contribute to the success of our own public libraries, but for the most part when we stand at the check-out counter, the only thing we’re whipping out of our wallet is our library card. In essence, it’s almost as if one of those mega big bookstores with their fancy escalators and people walking around with lanyard nametags and Bluetooth ear pieces decided to trade the cash registers for a nifty bar code system.
In fact, my children often get confused between the book store and library and switch the terms “borrow” and “pay.” They have realized one thing, though. When we leave mega bookstores, they’re lucky to have a single book in their hand. When we leave the library, I sometimes have to enlist the help of others to help tote the gargantuan pile of literature out the door.
I, too, throw multiple books in my bag that I know I’ll never have time to read (case in point: Indian Mythology, October 2010) but somehow it just makes me feel better to have it in my hands.
But seeing as though we are library regulars, our stash of books at home tends to pile up. Because, hey, it’s free. Right?
Wrong. And thus is the curse of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, a lovely little book by Beatrix Potter, made its way into our home a few years ago and unfortunately never made it out. I was aware that I needed to return it to avoid the overdue fines, but with each Tiggy-Winkle-free day, she continued to be in hiding. So I renewed, and searched. And I renewed and searched again, tearing apart every room in the house, every inch of my car, every couch cushion and purse that we owned. But eventually, the day had arrived.
I hung my sorrowful head and walked up to the counter.
“I lost Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle,” I said in hushed tones. “I can’t find her anywhere. She’s MIA, AWOL, gone, astray, utterly vanished into thin air.”
“Tsk tsk,” and I filled out a little card and paid the fee for the entire book, which was more a crush on my soul than my wallet, but still. I had lost a piece of literature that no other child would ever have the pleasure of reading, and everyone deserves a little Tiggy-Winkle, who if you’re wondering, is a sweet little hedgehog who works as a washwoman.
I know about her because the very day after I shelled out my pride and a few bucks, I found her smiling little hairy face poking out from behind my own bed. How the book ended up there I’ll never know, but to this day I can see those beady little washwoman eyes staring me down and saying, “tsk tsk. Always remember to keep tabs on your library books before it’s too late.”
Generally speaking, I can always gauge my state of well-being on my library fines. When I’ve got too much on my plate, it never fails that I’ll get a notification of something overdue. The more on my plate, the higher the fines, and the stronger the reminder that life is cheap, but it’s not always free. It’s my universe’s way of telling me to slow down, organize, and clean behind my bed before Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle shows her fat little face again.
And when she does, she’ll probably also tell me to do the laundry instead of spending so much time at the library.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Super Mom!

Author's note: It's not often I make myself cry, but reading this when it appeared in the paper this morning left my coffee tasting a little salty. I dedicate it to every Super Mom out there!

There’s been a lot of hype lately in the mom world about this so-called “Super Mom” nomenclature. From what I gather, a Super Mom is a mother who goes above and beyond the call of duty which means that she probably bathes her kids on a regular basis, dresses them in matching coordinating outfits, always has a full cookie jar (homemade, of course), and still looks like a million bucks when she wakes up in the morning.
Yep, I kind of want to punch her, too.
But I’ve decided that since that woman is non-existent, I’d come up with my own definition of a Super Mom. Something that is more realistic and attainable for those of us who have dreams of one day owning our own cape.
So show me a mom who has gone through even the easiest of pregnancies and labor, and I’ll show you a Super Mom. Anyone that can endure that amount of swelling and stretching is something special.
Show me a mom who has walked a hallway with a crying infant, or sat up late watching infomercials while the rest of the house slept peacefully, and I’ll show you a Super Mom. (She probably has purchased at least one of those items as well, if not out of curiosity, then out of weary delusion.)
Show me a mom who has potty trained a child, who has sat on the bathroom floor and read a stack of books four feet high and dished out single candies with every success and taken a few for herself, and I’ll show you a Super Mom.
Show me a mom who has walked away from her child’s first day of school with tears welling up in her eyes until the moment she closed the car door and the flood gates opened, and I’ll show you a Super Mom.
Show me a mom who has made an entire meal out of the leftover bites in the bottom of her kids’ lunch bowls of macaroni and cheese, and I’ll show you a Super Mom. (Also not to be outdone by the mom who eats the meal consisting of bologna sandwich crusts, hot dog buns, or apple skins.)
Show me a mom who hasn’t seen her refrigerator door since the day her first kid was old enough to hold a crayon, and I’ll show you a Super Mom. This is probably the same mom who has colored more pictures in her adult life than she ever did as a child.
Show me a mom who saves more than she should—art projects, doodles, tests, crafts, special drawings that say “I lov U mAmA” where the people have no bodies, just heads with arms and legs coming out of them, and I’ll show you a Super Mom with a priceless fire hazard.
Show me a mom who remembers to turn in permission slips most of the time, and I’ll show you a Super Mom. (Show me one that never forgets, and I’ll show you a robot.)
Show me a mom who feeds her kids cereal for dinner because, hey, it’s fortified! And quick to serve! And if you hurry up we can still make it to the meeting/practice/rehearsal/game on time! And I’ll show you a Super Mom.
Show me a mom who can only peacefully rest until all of her children are all safe and sound and tucked into bed, and I’ll show you a mom. Show me a mom who can’t help but watch them sleep for a few seconds when she walks past their rooms, who listens for their soft breaths and re-covers them when they turn sideways and fling covers ten feet away, who kisses them on their foreheads even though she knows the risk of waking them up, and I’ll show you a mom. A real mom. A Super Mom.
She probably just took off her cape before going to bed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to make your own silly bandz

You know, those ridiculous rubber bracelets that you find all over your house? That come in every shape, color, and size so that your kids just HAVE to have them? Fear no more-- I can share with you how to make your very own. It only takes a trip to the hardware store and the guts to tell the assistant there that the reason you're lingering in the glue and sealant aisle is because you're making silly bandz and he looks at you like you are a lunatic.

Because you kinda are, but hey, nothing is cooler than homemade junk.

After one failed attempt, here's what we did:

1. Assemble materials, including waxed paper, plain paper for drawing your design, clipboard is handy dandy, food coloring (if you want colored bands), cake decorator tip and bag, silicone sealant (see below), and ice for your hand because it will shake with pain after making a bunch of these.
The silicone sealant must read 100% Silicone. I took the idiot way out and bought the bottle that actually said "100% Silicone." ALSO MAKE SURE IT IS CLEAR. Our first attempt was not only the wrong stuff (even though the bottle read "silicone sealant" it didn't say "100% silicone") but it was also almond color. Gross. It was thick and nasty and looked like dried up mucus.
2. Draw your design on a piece of paper. Put the paper in a clipboard and then put a piece of waxed paper on top of it so that you can see your design. A tip for making your design: keep it simple. And measure off an old silly band so that you get a handle on what size it should be.
3. Cut the tip off of the silicone and trace your design. If you're going to use color you'll have to put it in a piping bag with a cake decorating tip. I used clear for my ghost so I didn't have to do that. If you want to add color, simply squirt in some food coloring and mix it up with a toothpick.
Tips here are: make it fairly thick. Use the photo below as an example. Also make sure your connections are solid-- if it's a thin piece of silicone the bracelet will just break and your kids will cry and you will feel terrible that you embarrassed yourself at the hardware store for nothing.

4 Let dry for at least 4 hours. 5 is better. Overnight is splendid.

5. Gently, oh so gently, peel them off.

6. Pass them out to your kids' friends.

7. Accept copious hugs and comments such as "you're the coolest mom ever."

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
This page and all its content are copyright 2006-2010 Karrie McAllister.