The Year of Purple is Coming

Dear Kid,

This is very exciting. It seems 2018 is going to be the year of purple.

Pantone has named Ultra Violet its color of the year for 2018.

A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

More importantly, the Voice of the Movies has spoken. The Vice Admiral (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) has lavender hair. The hedgehogs in Ferdinand are (mostly) purple. Una is purple; Dos is a darker purple; Cuatro is a steel blue but his ears, nose, and eye rings are light violet. And Tres? “We do not speak of Tres,” –Una.

"If you pass by the color purple in a field and don't notice it, God gets real pissed off." - Alice Walker DearKidLoveMom.comI’ve had purple hair for some time now. Which either makes me ahead of the trends (unlikely) or particularly enchanted with the color. (Trust me, if Pantone says next year’s color is peach, I will not be sporting peachy hair.)

2018. The year of purple. I’m pretty excited.

Love, Mom

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Merry Today

Dear Kid,

It’s Christmas.

Which for some people means presents and Yule Logs. For others, it means movies and Chinese food. And for still others, it means working (police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, snow plowers, and all those who keep us safe). And for still others of us it means family and football (watching people work and play).

However you spend today, it’s worth remembering that there is joy and silliness in the world. Here’s my fave new holiday fun.


 

Love, Mom

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The Proof is in the Blog (and the Alcohol)

Dear Kid,

Just for the record, I was right.

Someday, this will cease to surprise people. Since we have not yet reached that day, I will continue to remind people.

I was right.

 Little umbrellas don't change the alcohol content, but they definitely make drinks more fun. DearKidLoveMom.comWhen one talks about alcohol proof one is technically talking about the amount of ethanol (and by “ethanol” we [and by “we” I mean the scientific community] mean alcohol) in a beverage. In the US of A (yes, it’s different in different countries), alcohol proof is twice the percentage of alcohol by volume.

In other words, 100 proof whiskey contains 50% alcohol.

As we all agreed one cannot say “50% proof” unless one is talking about geometry. Which we most certainly were not.

So why the term “proof”? I’m glad you asked.

Turns out that in England back the 16th century, adult beverages were taxed at different rates depending on their alcohol content levels. More alky equals more taxy. Since the tax man (yes, they were all men back then) didn’t have advanced labs to carry around with them, they devised the gunpowder test.

Basically, they soaked a pellet of gunpowder in the liquid being tested. If it could still burn post-soak, it was considered above proof and therefore taxed at a higher rate. Hard to see how that would improve the taste of the alcohol.

In case you randomly find yourself on Jeopardy!, you should be aware that 57.15% alcohol was the level of proof because under that amount, soaked gunpowder wouldn’t burn. So BackInTheDayintheUK, 57.15% was 100 proof.

By the 18th century, there were more complicated tests that don’t interest me very much and didn’t really change the system.

Here in the US, the idea of calculating 57.15% (or even thinking about calculating 57.15%) gave people migraines, so when the proof system was established (1848 in case you were wondering) we skipped all the complex specific gravity stuff and went with 50% alcohol equals 100 proof.

These days, people don’t care about proof very much (unless you’re a college student in which case saying you’re drinking something 60 proof is much cooler than saying you’re drinking something 30% alcohol).

Love, Mom

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Winter Solstice | December 21

Dear Kid,

Today is the Winter Solstice, otherwise known as the shortest day of the year.

IMHO, that is good news.

“What?” you say. “You hate when it gets dark early. This is the worst of all possible times for you!”

Exactly.

And then I will snuggle down into my scarf and mittens and hope tomorrow comes quickly. DearKidLoveMom.comStarting tomorrow, the days start—ever so slowly—getting longer.

We get more sunlight and we have more to look forward to the next day. And the next. And before you know it, it’s light at 5pm.

Other people can whine about how short and dark and cold today is. I am going to grin and think “Yippee! Tomorrow begins the upswing.”

And then I will snuggle down into my scarf and mittens and hope tomorrow comes quickly.

Love, Mom

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The Blue Screen of Random Restarts and Techno Superpowers

Dear Kid,

I am not a techno-geek. In fact, I have the superpower of being able to stop all technology within a five mile radius just by waking up in the morning. Eyes flutter open and all computers instantly slow down, wondering if I will turn my death-ray eyes in their direction. Those spared go back to work. Others give up their ones and zeros until I leave the state.

The Blue Screen of Random Restarts and Techno Superpowers. DearKidLoveMom.comNot only am I the DeathStar of technology, I’m a little excessive when it comes to using my laptop. Which is to say I generally have about 43 files and 287 internet tabs open at any given time.

I get that I set myself up for problems. I get it. Really, I do.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop me from losing my mind every time my computer decides to restart (this instant! No warning! Just “Don’t close your computer or the world will implode” messages.).

I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am. I should take it in stride. But I don’t. I should wait patiently. Instead, I spend my time explaining to the laptop that it would be fine with me if it would just hurry things along and update the minimums—I’ll pass on the premium offer.

Doesn’t matter. I am ignored (as I knew I would be).

I thank my computer for still working hard, and assure it that if it would just update during the day while I’m at work I won’t feel left out. My computer says it likes having me around as it goes through its routine. I give a long explanation about the opportunity to grow and advance. My computer says that’s the definition of restarting and it’s happier when I’m around.

I point out that I’m less productive when it won’t let me work. It points out that it is ones and zeros and I can talk until I’m blue in the face and ain’t nuthin’ gonna change.

I scratch the Puppy’s head while I wait. Silently.

But in my head, I’m hoping it will just hurry up and restart.

Love, Mom

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Baking Gluten-Free Cookies of Fabulousness!

Dear Kid,

Yesterday was Bake Cookies Day. So I did. (I’m so obedient.)

Gluten Free Cookies of Fabulousness! DearKidLoveMom.comSince we have a gluten-free guest, I searched for a gluten-free recipe. This is easier than it sounds because the internet is loaded with gluten-free options. Finding one that sounds good and isn’t made from obscure ingredients is harder than it sounds.

But I did it. And our gluten-free guest declared them fantastic! 

Since I’m sure you want to know what I ended up baking, here you go!

 

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cookies

Makes a whole lot. By which I mean about 3 dozen. Give or take depending on how much raw dough you eat.

  • 1 ½ cups almonds, ground up really fine (I should have ground them up even more than I did)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (allow extra time to clean up the mess)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I didn’t)
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used a cup and a half. And don’t forget the extra for noshing)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped almonds, powdered sugar, cocoa, salt, and mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Set aside. Don’t worry about the amount you spilled—you can clean it up later.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat egg whites until they are white and foamy, but are not stiff peaks. It takes a little longer than you’d think. Fold in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites and gently stir with a spatula until combined. The batter will be thick, like brownie batter.
  5. Use a 2 tablespoon sized cookie scoop* to form cookie dough balls. Place the dough balls about two-inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Depending on 16 or 17 variables, these cookies spread a fair amount.
  6. Bake cookies for 12-13 minutes, until the cookies are puffed, shiny, and cracked. Remove cookies from oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Use a spatula to remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Try to save some for the guests.

*This is one of my favorite baking tools.

Enjoy!

Love, Mom

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Happy Bake Cookies Day!

Dear Kid,

Happy Bake Cookies Day!

Yes, it is the cookie baking time of year and someone decided to celebrate by creating a Day for The Baking of Cookies.

C is for cookie. Happy National Cookie Month. DearKidLoveMom.com

I read somewhere that there is no Eat Cookies Day and the author couldn’t figure out why there was a Bake Cookies Day and not an Eat Cookies Day. I immediately thought “Duh” and “Implied” and “What do you mean there are cookies left over for another day?”

Since we have a gluten-free guest arriving today, I thought it would be good to make gluten-free cookies. So I consulted My Friend the Internet for some ideas about gluten-free cookies.

The conversation went something like this.

Me: I’d like some recipes for gluten-free cookies.
MFtI: No, you wouldn’t.
Me: What? I’m pretty sure I would.
MFtI: You eat regular cookies. You’ll be much happier with those.
Me: We have a gluten-free guest coming. I like to make sure I don’t poison my guests.
MFtI: You’ll regret this.
Me: Show the recipes.
MFtI: Fine. I’m just sayin’. You won’t be happy.
Me (looking at the recipes): Well of course I won’t be happy. These call for all sorts of weird and expensive ingredients.
MFtI: I warned you.
Me: How about some recipes that don’t call for gluten-free flour or coconut sugar?
MFtI: You’re asking a lot this early in the morning.
Me: Show the recipes!
MFtI: Yeah, yeah. What do you think about these?
Me: I’m not sure recipes that talk about how to bake without an aftertaste is an improvement…
MFtI: You should really go old school.
Me: What do you mean?
MFtI: Cookies that never called for flour in the first place.
Me: Like meringues?
MFtI: Exactly. Now can I go back to sleep?

Love, Mom

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