Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bringing Up Bonaparte

Odd Toddler needs a name change. His tyrannical ways and his sense of entitlement have caused The Carnivore to call him Napolean more than once in the past week. And he seems nonplussed by my pregnancy and the exhaustion I've been laboring under since his 48-hour hospital stay last week. His beautiful and dependable sleep routine has been chunked, and he now insists on being taken from his crib no later than 6:00 am on a daily basis. We are often awakened by his demanding shouts over the monitor as he yells, "MAMA, MAMA, MAMA" in military-precision staccato barks over and over and over and over again until I come stumbling into his room.

Of course, if I take into account that I am going through caffeine withdrawal while I wean myself and The Unborn off of coffee, then maybe I am just reading too much into Odd Toddler's behavior.

This afternoon, Odd Toddler insisted on being held while I made dinner, no easy feat considering I had to stand over the stove and whisk a roux for half an hour while juggling Odd Toddler with one arm. If you believe everything you read, pregnant women are not supposed to lift anything heavier than 30 pounds. Its a good thing he only weighed 29.5 pounds yesterday at his doctor visit.

Last night, feeling fatigued from a few nights of fighting with Odd Toddler over his bedtime, being slightly nauseated from being in my sixth week of pregnancy while at the same time battling pregnant sweet-tooth cravings, and desperately wanting to do something nice for myself and the ever-supportive Carnivore, I stood on the menu desk and started pulling down cookbooks. I hit the jackpot in Betty Crocker's Cookbook where I found the brownie recipe to beat all others. I haven't had the best luck with brownies the last few times I've made them, generally just running into trouble getting the texture right and cooking them for the hair-splittingly perfect amount of time, and I wasn't in the mood for something overly sweet last night to begin with. This recipe was crazy easy to make, not cloyingly sweet, and came out with a nice flaky skin on top while remaining chewy on the inside. And (if only I knew what I did to make it happen), for once the brownies stayed of uniform height across the top, not sinking in the middle as so often happens when they cool. This is a new favorite.

  • 1/4 cup shortening (man, this stuff really grosses me out)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (according to The Carnivore, walnuts are a Yankee thing - whatever- to appease him, I used pecans instead)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I used kosher, of course)
  1. Heat shortening in 1 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat until melted.
  2. Remove pan from heat, and mix in sugar, vanilla and egg.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Spread batter in a greased 8x8x2 square pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Brownies usually last for a week around here. The Unborn was a big fan of these however, and we ended up polishing off half of them last night. This is going to be a long and high-calorie pregnancy.

(photo of adoring parents fawning over their terrible-nearly-two-year-old taken by the handsome, brilliant and talented Josh Brown)

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