I Donut Know What to Eat

With summer officially underway, I am attempting the delicate balance of fun and work.  My two girls are now home everyday, and wanting to enjoy it.

For Big One, at twelve years old, she would be perfectly content to sit in her room, writing on her computer, reading, or watching anime all day.   Engaging her in human interaction is more related to pulling teeth than a day at the carnival.

My Little One however, wants to be entertained.  All day.  It seems to be a combination of never wanting to be alone, and the frustration that comes from not wanting to do the exact same thing all the time.  She might love her tea set, but there is a limited number of tea parties she is willing to have with her stuffed toys.

Our current attempt at compromise involves eactivity that is special for the day, and 2-3 hours of quiet play while Mommy writes.  It is a new system, so we’ll see how it goes.

Yesterday was day one of our trial.  It started off well enough, with my waking just a little before the girls, and having enough time to drink some coffee and take care of my dog before I was on Mom duty.

As soon as Little One was up,  I walked away from my work for her time.  We had already agreed, Monday was library day, Tuesday we would make breakfast together.  On a whim, I had bought a donut maker the week before when we were in a toy store and Little One was ready to try it out.

Five years after learning I am unable to eat gluten, I miss donuts.  I never cared about them too much when I could have them, they were just something I would eat occasionally.  For a while, when it was just Big One and I during the day, we would have a weekly breakfast date to walk to the Dunkin Donuts down the road.  I would order an egg, sausage and English muffin sandwich, choke down horrible coffee, (never been a fan of Dunkin coffee) and Big One would order one donut.  She always really wanted two, but she would insist she only wanted one at first.  We both knew the end game was to be able to walk up to the counter later and buy herself a second donut while I waited at the table, but it was a part of the day, so I never let on I knew.  It was very rare that I would choose to eat a donut myself.  It’s hard to decide what made me miss them, but I do miss them terribly now.  After seeing post after post after post of homemade donuts recently, I had begun to dream about donuts.  I had determined I was going to order a donut pan online, but when I saw the waffle maker type contraption, I decided to go for the easy option that let me have my sugary goodness right away.

photo 1

My Little One helped as much as she could, but as she is currently a one handed little thing again (her bright red cast is shockingly not visible in this picture) she couldn’t do everything she wanted to do. After a quick mix of batter, we put it into the heated donut maker.

photo 2

We overfilled the little donut holes, opting for full donuts instead of perfectly formed with actual openings in the holes.  When it came time to top them, we had to face a harsh reality. I had not planned to make donuts when I was shopping recently.  We had no powdered sugar to make frosting or glaze, and as we were both in our pajamas, we were not up for going down to the store in order to try to figure out which box covered in Dutch writing would get us what we wanted.  Instead, we decided to make do.

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We sprinkled some with regular sugar, though that did not stick well.

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Others we drizzled with chocolate and caramel syrup.  These ones were much messier, and tended to drip all over the place, but were still quite delicious.  It made a yummy, sugar filled breakfast that even managed to bring Big One downstairs without complaint.

Now, for anyone desperate for the recipe, it was actually pretty simple and boring.  I hit pintrest the night before, and started looking at recipes.  There are a lot out there, many of them trying to make donuts something fancy and gourmet, which might be fine if you are not cooking with and feeding excitable children.  Since I was looking gluten free, I had to wade through even more weird recipes posted by people who eat gluten free for trendy health reasons instead of necessary health reasons.  At least that was my guess, who really knows?  Those were the recipes that called for a bunch of organic, process free, low sugar, health ingredients.  I wanted my sugary crap pure, so I skipped those today.  Some I might come back to later, but we’ll see.

I finally picked a regular recipe (not gluten free) and adapted it.  I have always preferred the light and fluffy donuts over cake donuts (unless we are talking apple fritters, which is a whole different issue of yumminess).  I knew using a donut maker to bake batter instead of a yeast risen recipe would likely give a denser donut.  These seemed to walk the line between fluffy and cakey quite well.  I may have to try a yeast recipe one day, just to get closer to the complete unhealthy donut eating experience of my pre-gluten free days.  However, for the ease of making them, these were perfect.

If you are in a desperate mood to bake your own donuts with you Little or Big Ones, (or even for yourself) here is the basic recipe I used.  I think I will keep it around, because it seems like it might be easy to adapt.

 

Gluten Free Donuts

2 Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp salt

ground cinnamon

3/4 C milk

2 eggs

Vanilla extract

2 Tbsp coconut oil

 

Measure wet ingredients into a bowl.  Add dry ingredients on top.  To measure cinnamon, hand the shaker to your child, and let them shake it until it looks like it might be enough.  I like a lot, but it can also be easily left out or replaced with another yummy seasoning.

Blend all ingredients until you have something about the consistency of muffin mix or pancake batter.  Fill the cups in your donut maker according to the machine instructions.  Cook until they are golden brown and smell amazing.  Remove the donuts carefully, avoiding burning your fingers.  Top with whatever yumminess you prefer.  Eat.  Enjoy. 

 

I know my instructions are not fancy, but I am not a fancy chef.  I throw things in a bowl and hope for the best.  If you are not a gluten free person, you can use regular flour instead of gluten free, just leave out the xanthan gum as well.  You can also switch out butter for the coconut oil; I just happen to think coconut oil gives a better taste with gluten free food than butter does.  As a final adaptation offer, if you do not have a donut maker, you can scoop these into donut pans or mini muffin tins and bake them in the oven at 325 degrees (obviously Fahrenheit, f you attempt them at 325 Celsius, I am not responsible for your burned donuts).

Well, it is a new day, and it is time to work on both having and writing a new adventure.  We’re thinking of maybe throwing water balloons out of the second story windows and calling it science.

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How to Plan a Summer at Home For Children

Normally when I decide to write a how to post, I have a good idea of what I am talking about.

Not today.

Today my title should probably have a question mark at the end, or a ‘PLEASE tell me,” at the beginning.  Because I really want to know, how do I plan my summer with my children to balance their needs and wants with my needs and wants?  In three and a half hours, my no longer a kindergartener will be home, excited to have her first official summer vacation away from school.  I’m almost out of time to figure this out, and I still don’t know what we are going to do.

Lets be honest.  I spend a lot of my time alone right now.  We are a one car family and that car always goes to the person who has the most need for it on that day.  Today that happens to be me, but most days, the farthest I will go from the house will be a mile and a half down the road on my morning run, something I absolutely do not need a car to do.  I go to school online, and I write, two activities that keep me in front of the computer for more time than is probably healthy.  Beyond all of this, I am introverted enough that I have honestly considered a life as a hermit after my children grow up.  As long as I can have Netflix and download new books to my ipad, I’m not sure I would miss other humans that much.

I like the large blocks of time when my children are in school, because I can get my stuff done, mostly without interruption.  Best of all, I can get things done without guilt.  I don’t have to feel bad about the time I spent completing a chapter, or the episodes of The Daily Show I watched while putting away laundry.  I can do things on my schedule, as long as I am done with certain things by 3:30 when the bus pulls up outside of my house.

I love my children, just as I am sure the rest of the stay at home or work at home parents do.  I don’t judge the dread they feel as summer vacation starts because I feel it to.  There is a loss of self coming here; my time is not going to be my own anymore and I’m not ready to give up everything I enjoyed while they were in school this last year.

But of course I have to, at least a little.  Kids are demanding, wanting entertainment and nourishment on a regular basis.  I mean, seriously.  These kids expect me to feed them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  More than once  And they don’t stand for that whole, I feed the dog twice a day, that should be good enough for you also.

More than just food and beverages, they demand attention and love.  They want the one thing that is hardest to dole out, time.  Because I want to give them all my time, but I also want to keep it all for myself.

So, please.  Tell me.  How do I balance this?  Am I allowed to tell them to leave me alone for a few hours everyday so I can still write?  Can that time be separate from my homework time?  Is there a quality activity I have to commit to in order to pay the guilt price?  Please, tell me someone has figured it out, that they know the secret to being a good mother and a full and complete person as well.  More than that, please say they will share their knowledge with me.  How can I do it all?  Will my attempts to do it all only push my kids away?  Am I setting them up for hours of therapy where they discuss how their problems are all their mothers fault?  Is good enough REALLY good enough? 

The clock is ticking, counting down until my babies are home for the summer, and I can’t slow time down.  I can’t make things easier, or find the magical answers.  Now, all I can do is hope that I can be the mother they need for two months.  Wish me luck people.  I’m diving in, and hoping I learn to swim.