My Kindergarten Heart – Take Two

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So, this happened again today. There will be just two days of The Kindergarten Heart for this mama. The first one was tough and the second even tougher. I almost didn’t make it out of the school before the break down took place. Big tears welled up at the good-bye point with my baby girl. But I had to fight them back with all I had. Because there were people – parents, teachers, and children – everywhere. So, while the gigantic tears welled up, I dared not let them fall. I saved them all for the car ride home.

I don’t write this to make you cry too but I think that every mom who has done the first-day-of-school-ever thing understands. The very first day of kindergarten is so bittersweet. Eva was so excited and did not ask questions or show any doubt. She came down the stairs for breakfast with her grand proclamation, “It’s the first day of school!” Smiles ensued. Excitement was expressed. I made pancakes and poured milk into glasses, all the while feeling a slight out of body experience. Same with the drive in to school. I had the ‘this-can’t-be-happening’ sensation.

Eva is so lucky to have the same kindergarten teacher that Easton had. Therefore, we are all so lucky. We know her. We love her. She set the bar very high for future teachers to instruct my children throughout their education. Ms. B makes the whole transition to school easier. I know Eva is in the very best hands and for that I am so grateful.

I take heart in knowing that I am not alone in this day. I also know that as parents we don’t just have a kindergarten heart, but a first grade, second grade and all the way through school heart. With each passing year, it is amazing to see the changes, the growth, and my own heart adjust. I try to prepare myself months in advance but I’m never quite ready for the big day.

I hope that your first day back was filled with the same wild ride of emotions. Happy tears are the best kind and while sadness is mixed in, knowing that the baby, toddler and pre-school days are officially over for us, I rejoice in the fact that I have healthy, sweet children and I could not ask for any more.

Growth is inevitable and with time {and a few tears} accepted.

May the growth of your children go slowly and may you soak up every inch!

Toad-in-a-Hole

Isn’t it amazing how food can evoke a memory? An emotion? One bite can bring you right back to the place that you first tasted the delectable delight. So, it is for me and the infamous ‘toad-in-a-hole’.   I had my first taste in Australia. The trip of a lifetime with each moment solidly etched in my brain. My dear friend Catherine made them for us one morning at her home in Adelaide.

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We grew up with what we referred to as ‘dunkin’ eggs’. We loved my mom’s basted eggs and loved dunking our toast in the runny yolks even more. At the risk of showing my slightly weird side, I like to eat the surrounding egg white first and then dive into the yolk. When I was little, I would take my fork and push down gently until the yolk squirted out. It was a test in pressure and fun to watch it burst. (Sometimes I still do that!)

I recently introduced my children to the ‘toad-in-a-hole’ and they LOVE it. My daughter asked for ‘toad-in-a-hole’ four nights in a row, for dinner! When asked what her favorite food is…you guessed it!  Toad-in-a-hole.  It is so simple and easy, and healthy too.

 

Here are my very basic steps for Toad-in-a-Hole:

Choose your bread.  You can use any variety you prefer. We have enjoyed with our standard whole wheat but have also delighted in the flavor of sourdough. Generously melt butter in cast iron pan and turn heat to medium-low.  Cut a hole in a slice of your choice of bread with a biscuit cutter or upside down glass.  Lay the bread in the pan.  I put the circle part in the pan too.  Let it toast a bit in the butter and then crack an egg in the hole you created in the slice of bread.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  Give it a good minute or so and then carefully flip so that the other side of the egg has a turn.  You can cook to your liking for the yolk, runny or all the way through or anywhere in between.  I also flip the circle here too so it gets nicely toasted on the other side.  Remove from pan and serve.

Side Note:  I have switched entirely to cast iron but you can use whatever pan you normally use to make eggs.  I swear food TASTES better and I can’t believe I didn’t make the switch sooner.  Old school is the way to go.  ;)

If you are looking for a new take on your egg and haven’t had the pleasure of this simple dish, I invite you to try it.

While names abound, I prefer to call it ‘toad-in-a-hole’ as it was first served to me by my kind and gracious Aussie friend.

Thanks Catherine – for bringing me back Down Under with a simple breakfast dish.  Cheers!

 

 

 

Brown Sugar Cookies

brown sugar cookie stacksI am a firm believer that any recipe that begins with melted butter ought to be good. It’s a law of nature.

I’ve been hoping to make these delectable Brown Sugar Cookies for a while now. That also seems to be a law of nature. Hoping. Waiting. Dreaming.

Alas, it is winter in Minnesota and it is quite possibly The Longest Winter of My Entire Life. We just received a whopping dollop of snow and I heard on the radio today that we can expect more tonight and tomorrow with “unseasonably cold temps with highs of 15-20 degrees” on Saturday.  *dies*

So, you see, cookies seemed to be an inevitable (and albeit DREADFUL) extension of the winter season here in jolly ol’ Minn-e-snow-ta.

Oh, yea…did I mention today is the first day of Spring?  According to the calendar. According to Mother Nature, as detailed above, it is still full-on WINTER. If you sense any anger or frustration in my tone, your senses are spot on. So, you can see why the Brown Sugar Cookies were baked. Oh.  Also because of the melted butter.  And the sugar. If you too are sick of winter, please join me in the unabashed art of Cookie-Monsteresque Cookie Devouring.

Due to our philosophy of “Go Big or Go Home” this is a double recipe.  Because one can never have too many cookies.

Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe

Adapted from Cookies and Cups

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 sticks (28 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350° and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Heat butter in medium skillet over medium heat until melted. When butter melts slowly swirl the pan and continue to cook the butter until it becomes a nice, brown-caramel color. The swirling helps it from burning. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
  • When butter is cooled mix 2 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, and browned butter with electric mixer until no lumps remain, about 1 minute.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one.  Add vanilla and mix until smooth.
  • Slowly add in your flour mixture and mix on medium-low until incorporated.
  • Combine remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl.
  • Roll cookie dough into balls and then roll in sugar mixture.
  • Place on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake approx 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Do not over-bake.
  • Transfer to wire rack to cool.