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Caramelized nuts

I’m a hypocrite.

We had a mini movie-night tonight and the plate above is our movie snacks. 
The Cat in the Hat + cucumbers and apples seems like a lovely way to calm down before bed.

And then the kiddos did just that- went to bed.

And I was by myself (Matty B is on a class trip.) 


Alone with Mr. Tillamook himself and I remembered these awesome caramelized nuts I made last weekend.


I used dibs and dabs of nuts that I had in the pantry: walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds and peanuts.


Mix your nuts with a simple syrup of water, sugar and honey. Then bake for 10 minutes or until they smell amazing.

   Fast forward to tonight with quality ice cream, delicious caramelized nuts and this chocolate.

What do you have? The ultimate peanut buster parfait.

And it was good.

Sidenote: I don’t need an excuse to enjoy ice cream, but I will say that at my last dental checkup I had zero cavities and at the kid’s last checkups, they each had 1+.

Therefore, ice cream for me. Apples and cucumbers for them.

Do as I say, not as I do.

What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast: rolled oats, banana, raspberries and almonds
Eaten while listening to J Man and Miss Rae sing this really obnoxious Cat in the Hat song over and over and over…

Lunch: yummy stir-fry from the cafe with tofu, pea pods, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and bell pepper

Eaten while trolling Facebook to make sure people weren’t saying bad things about the university. This is, unfortunately, a daily task.

Dinner: delicious pizza from Olive with morels, bleu cheese, garlic and arugula- I had 3 amazing pieces.


Eaten while simultaneously coloring with the kids and eavesdropping on the table of college girls next to us. Was I this lame at 19?

Dessert #1: two licks of J Man’s mint chocolate chip cone 

Eaten while quietly explaining to Miss Rae that just because some boys like to have long hair, that doesn’t make them girls after she loudly inquired of the customer next to us.

Dessert #2: this chocolate chip cookie from Starbucks. My absolute weakness.


Eaten because I was crazy stressed to discover that Miss Rae’s preschool graduation and J Man’s violin recital are same day, same time. Also when, coincidentally enough, Matty B’s 8th grade graduation is. 

Thank goodness for family.

Thank goodness for friends.

And while we’re at it, thank goodness for chocolate chip cookies.



It’s a perfect storm, really. My parenting, that is.

1. I was in elementary classrooms for 10 years and I saw how hard it is to be a kid.

2. Now I work in higher education and I see how hard it is to be a young adult.

3. And according to my small ones, it’s very hard being 4 and 6. J Man informed me today that he’s moving to grandma and papa’s ASAP because my rules are just unacceptable. For reference, the rule under scrutiny is that anything left on the kitchen floor by bedtime will be picked up by mom and confiscated. That’s it. That’s the rule that’s invoking wailing and gnashing of teeth.

So, it’s hard being a kid. I get it. But FYI, parenting isn’t always a walk in the park.

I worry that they don’t have friends. I worry that they have the wrong friends. I worry that they have too many friends.

I worry that they spend too much time inside. I worry that it’s dangerous outside. 

I worry if they cough or sneeze or randomly have a white tongue. (Sidenote: it’s a good thing Matty B is part of this parenting duo. Otherwise, I’d basically be camped out in the pediatrician’s parking lot.)

Lately, I have a new worry. Technology  is infiltrating our lives. And now my kids have learned about the selfie.

This is one of 1047. And I read too much online, so I see all kinds of things about how narcissistic our children are these days and that probably leads to suicide and I’m freaking out!

But then I read this article and it talks about self confidence and relationship building and I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then we went to Klicker’s for ice cream.

And we took a selfie. 

P.S. I’m going to try and chill out.


Matty B won’t eat mushrooms.

If you’ve been reading Versatile Vegan for any amount of time, you aren’t surprised by this statement. He actually refers to them as the “devil’s food.” Something about anything that grows off of dead things must be from the devil. I don’t really think that the person who binges on soda stream concentrate (high fructose corn syrup anyone?) has any room to talk about the devil, but whatever.

We were up at the cabin a few weeks ago and Matty B disappeared for 20 minutes. When he returned, he came bearing these beauties. Morel mushrooms!

Have you seen morels in the wild? They look like pine cones, but once you see what they look like, they just pop out at you.

And they were everywhere! Also, baseball mitts are good for many uses. So we went on a mushroom hunt and had probably two pounds (is that right, Matty B?) when I saw this most glorious sight.


Look at this puppy! He’s huge! I literally carried him around for 30 minutes because I loved him so much. Also, I was absolutely unwilling to share with anyone who “accidentally” got the giant mixed up in his bag/baseball mitt.

Before you eat wild morels, you’re supposed to soak them in salt water. Aunt Terrie says over night. Google says 2 hours. I was confused, so I soaked mine for 4 hours and called it good.

Then I sautéed them in butter with garlic, salt and pepper. Will you judge me if I tell you I ate 1.5 lbs of mushrooms by myself? 

They’re so good. I mean, so. Good. If you haven’t had a morel before, the best adjective I can think of to describe the flavor is meaty. Keep in mind, however, that I haven’t had meat since October 5, 2011 when I had a chicken burrito from the taco truck with my friend Glenda, so I might not be the best judge of meaty.

Other than straight out of the frying pan with a fork, my favorite way to eat these mushrooms was over scrambled eggs. Decadent.

If mushrooms truly come from the devil, then call me a sinner. 

It’s been a week…

It’s been a week of dental appointments.  


It’s been a week of fevers and sick days.

(This was post-fever, but before he was allowed back at school. It’s been a loooong 48 hours…)

And a week of “I’m too busy bribing my children with jelly beans in some feeble attempt to get them to willingly swallow amoxicillin” that I’m not planning meals at all so I ate edamame and coffee for lunch.

But luckily, it’s also been a week of Aunt B.

And a week of Patisserie dates:

And J Man just interrupted this blog to come in and tell me that his tongue feels funny and upon further inspection, I think he has thrush.

Make. It. Staaaahp!


“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” – Meryl Streep
Today, my essentials were these two and ice cream. 

Couldn’t ask for anything more. 

5 on Friday

1. I made these  Chocolate cinnamon babka muffins and they were just ok.

I mean, they were delicious, but for the amount of time put into them, they were just ok. Matty B ate one and liked it but then also said, “I like your Almond Poppyseed Scones better.” 

People, the babka took three hours. The scones take 20 minutes. I think you know what I’m making tomorrow.

2. Smoothies are back.

After a long-term relationship with oatmeal, I’m craving something else and smoothies are the ticket. I need some new recipes, though. I have two “go-to” recipes:

1. Peanut butter and banana

2. Berries and banana

Original, huh? Do you have a good smoothie recipe?

3. Still feeling guilty about my lack of motherly intuition with J Man and his ear infections. 

Yet not feeling so guilty that I can’t enjoy this photo of the only nap he’s taken in two years. Man, I miss naps.

4. This:

  Especially #4. And #5. And #7.

5. I followed #7 tonight.

  Backyard sunshine baseball hotdogs climbing fences iced tea running through sprinklers friends babies smores AND strawberry shortcake.

Absolutely a reason to smile! 


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