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Posts Tagged ‘Stepmothering’

French Bread, Whole Wheat

Somewhere a while back (I can’t remember where) I read that the Sunday after Mother’s day was when many families celebrated Stepmoms. Makes sense, really, considering the sheer number of Stepmoms out there, that some families would want to celebrate a Stepmom in their life.

I find it the strangest thing that the word ‘Stepmom’ still has such negative connotation in our society given just how many blended families there are in this society.

My soapbox:
I’m sorry – we’re not all evil. Not to mention – most of us have no desire to ‘be the mom’ or steel the mom’s thunder. Most of us just want peace and a happy lifestyle. Yes, we take care of kids we didn’t birth. Yes, we want to live our life to our own design without another woman trying to dictate unrealistic boundaries simply because we’re the second wife. If you’re a teacher or parent of another child who’s friends with mine, and you find out I’m the Stepmom, don’t look down on me. Don’t look down on my stepchild. Don’t concern yourself with the state of my stepchild’s family life and get a look on your face that places some sort of stigma on us. It’s adults who make children uncomfortable with stepparents or split family life. It’s the reaction they see on others’ faces, such as their teachers, they respond to. If my stepchild asks to make two Mother’s Day projects because she has two women who take care of her every week and she wants to honor both, say okay without a blink. The moment you pause or scoff at her request is the moment you put doubt in her mind. Yes, everyone’s situations are different and some Mom/Stepmom relationships will always be riddled with negativity. I simply urge every split family to pause, breathe deep, drop the drama, and break bread for one day. Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat…
Soapbox over.

I’m lucky. After a few years’ time, my Hubby’s ex and I work together to parent the children. She’s the mom, and I help where needed. In my opinion, a good Stepmom is one who helps when needed and steps back when not needed (the “steps back” part being of ultimate importance!). It’s delicate, but the good relationships that develop over time are priceless. Only one teacher in my stepchildrens’ lives reacted negatively to the stepparent situation. Thank you to all the others who haven’t.

My way of celebrating is to honor my own Stepmom for everything she’s given me and done for me since I was 16. She’s an unflappable woman without whom I wouldn’t be who I am today – something I am very proud of. Today, I made a feast to share with her, my father, my Hubby, and my stepdaughters. I spent all day in the kitchen, and loved every minute my hands were in the dough or grasping the kitchen shears to snip herbs. I hope to share a recipe each day this week from our wonderful Italian feast.

Tonight, let’s break bread and make peace with the Moms and Stepmoms in our lives.

This French bread is wholesome, good for the body and for the soul, especially when shared.

WHOLE WHEAT FRENCH BREAD
from this amazing recipe from Safely Gathered In

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 1/4 cup hot water, 3 Tablespoons oil (I used olive oil), 1/4 cup honey or sugar (I used light agave honey), and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Add 2 cups whole wheat flour and mix together.
  • Add another 3 cups whole wheat flour and 1 Tablespoon instant yeast.
  • Mix together until it all comes together.
  • Let rest 15 minutes, then knead for just a few seconds, adding flour as needed each time.
  • Repeat the resting/kneading process two more times.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding flour as needed.
  • Divide dough into two halves.
  • Roll each into 1/2 inch thick rectangles.
  • Roll dough diagonally (roll tightly), and fold ends under to form smooth ends.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Brush lightly with water, make slashes diagonally along the tops, and let double in size.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Once doubled, bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Once removed from the oven, brush tops and sides of bread with butter or margarine to lightly coat.
  • Remove to wire racks and let cool.

French Bread, Whole Wheat

We dipped chunks of this in a high quality extra virgin olive oil seasoned with dried Mediterranean basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and a dash of salt. My oldest stepdaughter, E, had 3 huge slices along with her meal, and then asked if she could have more with her lunch the next day. Needless to say, she loved it! Even the younger B had seconds of the bread. The remaining slices of the first loaf are currently soaking in an orange/egg mixture for tomorrow morning’s French toast.

This bread would make an excellent gift; take it to your next dinner party wrapped in a sweet kitchen towel tucked in a basket to give to the hostess. Or simply take a loaf to your neighbor, and enjoy thick buttered slices while laughing over tea or coffee. Bread begs to be shared, and this recipe is worth sharing. Thank you, Safely Gathered In, for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Chocolate Espresso Cupcake with Frosting

Here’s to all the moms who can take a mini vacation by enjoying 30 seconds sipping espresso between breaking up sibling fights while doing laundry and getting dinner on the table. Cheers to all of you. And thank you to my mom and stepmom for making me who I am today.

I dove headfirst into being a stepmom without looking back and it’s been one crazy special adventure. After 4 years, the girls’ mom and I have developed our own friendship. Each year, I bake something to give her for Mother’s Day. This year, I made chocolate espresso cupcakes.

CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO CUPCAKES
Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes (downloadable PDF)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • Mix 1 cup unsweetened plain soy milk with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and set aside.
  • Mix 2 Tablespoons flax meal with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda and 3 Tablespoons water. Mix well and set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix 1/3 cup apple sauce with 1/2 cup Turbinado sugar (or other granulated sugar) and stir to combine.
  • Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, the milk/vinegar mixture, and the flax meal – stir to combine until foamy.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.
  • Scoop into 12 cupcake liners and bake 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool thoroughly on wire rack.
  • While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting:
  • Beat 1/4 cup butter flavored vegan shortening until creamy.
  • Add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar and mix well.
  • Add a splash of cold coffee, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder and beat until smooth.
  • Add more espresso powder to taste.
  • Frost cooled cupcakes with 1 Tablespoon or so of frosting and serve.

This makes a really dark, decadent cupcake. And I love the espresso powder in the frosting.

Chocolate Espresso Cupcake with Frosting

Happy Mother’s Day!! I hope you get a mini espresso-filled vacation moment on top of being spoiled by your family.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Gala Apples

Today at lunch, I made the girls apple pie smoothies.

I had 5 Gala apples that needed to be used today, a girl who’s been sick to her stomach for days who needed nutrients, and another who deserved something sweet just because. Heck, I needed something sweet just because.

APPLE PIE SMOOTHIE
Apple Pie Smoothie (downloadable PDF)

  • Core and chop 5 small Gala apples into large chunks, leaving the skin on if desired.
  • Place apples in blender, add about 1 – 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain soy milk.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt.
  • Blend again until smooth, adjusting cinnamon and honey to taste.

Sliced Apple

I must admit, this was really, really yummy. So yummy, we devoured it without taking any pictures of it. Tasted like apple pie in smoothie form. That sweet little girl who deserved something sweet just because? She loved it. And she loved it so much that she was inspired to make her own snack later, with some supervision 😉

She mixed Greek yogurt with honey, cinnamon, juice of one lime, and 4 sliced strawberries. Love it! I may not get Mother’s Day since I’m not their mom, but I did get them today. And today I fed them sweet, wholesome, good-for-them food that elicited some pretty sweet smiles from two sweet girls.

Gala Apples

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Rainy Day Love

Well, it’s still raining here, constantly.  We had nearly 12 inches by 5 am so I opted for a non-120-mile-driving kind of day.  It was stressful enough yesterday before the 12 inches.

Precipiation
Map from News 8 Austin

While the rain was not the optimal way to start my day, a sweet unexpected email was.

It said simply:  “hi i love you!” from the sweetest 8-yr-old stepdaughter anyone could ask for.

When I told hubby, he checked his email and didn’t get one from her.  She sent it to just me!  His comment?  Well of course she does – look at all you cooked for her over the long weekend.

It was really the first time I had been in the kitchen and made a lot of meals and desserts since before my surgery – first time all summer, really.

One thing he and I noticed long ago – the more yummy and healthy food I cook for them, the sweeter and happier the kids are, and the chattier they are while they eat dinner with us.  There really is something special about sitting down to a hot meal that comforts the kids and makes it easier for them to open up and talk about their lives at school and what they like and what they don’t like.  It’s magical, really.  Never ceases to amaze me.  Maybe I notice it more since we only have them a few days a week, or maybe because they’re not my own kids.  But I see it, and it’s beautiful.

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