Entertaining Kids in the Summer & Rhubarb (4360-4372)

Summertime and the livin’ ain’t easy …

That’s not true; I’m enjoying having my boys around more. It’s a relief to not to do the early morning race to get everyone up, fed and out the door with the right permission slip signed, lunch, library books and homework. I always end up yelling at someone which makes me feel like a steaming pile of shit.

I have a feeling that the relief from being free of those obligations will soon be outweighed by the cost. But for now we are loving the freedom. Except how the hell am I supposed to write anything? And don’t even ask me about keeping the house clean, it’s impossible. To quote (again) the inimitable Phyllis Diller:

“Cleaning house while the kids are still growing is like shovelling snow while it’s still snowing.” ~ Phyllis Diller

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I work hard to keep the boys from becoming exponentially stupider as every non-educational day passes by. Today we rode bikes, checked out books at the library and while Scrotus got tutored I worked with Testiclese on his reading and writing.

I’ll accept my Mother of the Year Award now, before I go and ruin my perfect record tomorrow.

Outcold

Apparently my efforts weren’t for naught. That’s Scrotus passed out on the floor. No kidding. He’s all the way asleep. I don’t know how he sleeps with his feet up like that but he does it all the time. Testiclese, of course, is wide awake.

I remember doing that when I was a kid, just falling asleep on the floor. I thought about that when my kids were cranky sleep deprived toddlers. They’d get SO PISSED OFF because they were tired, so pissed they couldn’t sleep and I was like, For crying out loud! Don’t get mad, just GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP! Finally, I am in that zone.

The other project today was harvesting our rhubarb. We have a monster plant that Nikki gave us years ago as an act of defiance. She left the duplex she’d been in for years and was pissed off at the landlord so she absconded with the rhubarb. It’s a beast.

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I pulled off at least 50 percent of the ripe stalks and tasked the boys with taking the leaves to the compost pile.

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I hate paying for rhubarb at the grocery store. It grows so abundantly and easily in the early summer, it feels like throwing money after nothing. But it’s the best for baking; you don’t have to peel/seed/stem it. You barely have to wash it. Just chop and go.

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I cooked it up with a mound of sugar and will freeze it for later. I will simmer it with fresh strawberries, raspberries or apples in it for an excellent yogurt topping.

Here are my two favorite rhubarb recipes.

RHUBARB COFFEE CAKE

 1/2 cup butter, softened
 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
 1 egg
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 2 cups flour
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon baking soda
 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
 1 cup milk
 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh rhubarb
 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl with electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar slowly, continuing to beat, until the mixture is well blended and fluffy. Beat the egg and vanilla into the creamed mixture until well-blended.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Combine the lemon juice and milk; add it alternately with the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat after each addition, just enough to blend. Gently fold the chopped rhubarb into the batter; spoon into a greased and floured 9x13x2-inch pan, spreading evenly.

In a small bowl blend together the nuts, granulated sugar, and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the top of the rhubarb cake. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan at least 25 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

I heard this recipe on NPR while in the car a few years back. It sounded so good that I went home and Googled it. I altered it a bit, as the original version was way too sweet.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB FOOL (serves 6)

3 cups trimmed and cut up (1/2-inch pieces) rhubarb (about 1 pound untrimmed stalks)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
6-ounce fat free Greek style yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups capped fresh strawberries, plus 4 to 6 perfect berries for garnish

In a medium-sized, nonreactive saucepan, thoroughly stir together the rhubarb, sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons hot tap water. Let stand, stirring once or twice, until the sugar begins to dissolve. Place over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and has a saucy consistency. Let cool completely before combining with the berries (or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days).

Up to an hour or so before serving time, coarsely puree the 2 1/4 cups berries in a food processor (or finely chop by hand). Fold the pureed berries into the cooled rhubarb. Taste and stir in a little more sugar, if desired. Whip the cream with vanilla just until it holds peaks. Lightly but thoroughly fold the yogurt and a generous half of the rhubarb-berry sauce into the whipped cream. Spoon a third of the cream mixture into 4 to 6 clear glass dessert dishes, brandy snifters, glass goblets, etc., dividing equally among them. Then divide a scant half of the sauce among the dishes. Next, alternate layers using a third more cream mixture, the remaining sauce, then remaining cream. Garnish the fools with the reserved berries (slice if large). Serve immediately or cover lightly with plastic wrap and hold in the refrigerator for up to an hour.

Wow. That was so interesting. Time to cut the crap.

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The boys went to a fundraiser carnival for their old preschool. For $10 they got all-you-can-play games, each coming with a prize, natch. I observed with a sinking stomach the giant bag of loot they accrued. Fortunately someone took their bags and this was all they came away with, or really wanted for that matter. Until they forgot all about it.

I bagged these up a week ago (after seeing them sit in untouched in a pile on the living room floor for a week) and put them in a drawer. No one has seemed to notice. TRASH.

11 thoughts on “Entertaining Kids in the Summer & Rhubarb (4360-4372)

  1. It’s funny how near the end of the school year we can not wait for them to get out of school. But about a month before summer vacation end, we can not wait for them to go back. lol

    • I dunno. We’ll see. They will turn out the way they turn out, all I can do is say that I tried. I’ll kiss the ground if they turn out nearly as wonderful as you.

  2. Thanks for the rhubarb recipes! A couple of years ago I ordered one of those garden-in-a-boxes, and it came with a rhubarb plant, which continues to grow and flourish despite complete and total neglect. I always wonder what to do with it — I will try your coffee cake.

  3. The rhubarb lives! I gave the other half of that plant to my friend, Roo, here in Denver ( really her name) and have been pilfering off of it for early summer pies every year. Then Xcel had to dig up her yard and the rhubarb bit the dust. I like to think your monster plant will live on long after the zombie apocalypse. O man, and I am Soo jealous of that passing out on the floor action!

    • I feel ya on the passing out on the floor thing. It’s great when kids just go to sleep when they are tired, and it seems to take so long for them to get there. Hang in there, Nik.

      We were afraid to report the human jaw fragment to the cops because they would dig up our garden, and the rhubarb. Fortunately it turned out to be a fake. If Roo wants a piece of my (your) plant, let me know.

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