Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tropical Snow Day!!!

Hethyr:  We had a heads-up that a big snow was coming our way yesterday, so after running errands in the morning, I decided to swing by Jon's school to switch cars in case the roads were bad on his way home.  I got all of my stuff out of the Subaru and ready to load into the Piece of Shit - oops, I mean Jetta - when I realized the front passenger-side tire was flat - again.  Oh, goody!  With Jon needing to get back inside to pick up his kids from lunch, I offered to take care of the car myself.  He, of course, insisted that I just drive the Subaru and said he'd deal with the flat after school, but being (way too) well-trained by my resourceful Dad in the art of changing tires, I told him I'd do it. 

I call this one "Jetta on a Donut in the Snow."
Pure beauty.  Um, yeah.

Mind you, I have probably changed upward of thirty tires in the twenty years I have been driving.  Yes, I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but in college, I had a sweet little Nissan Sentra with pimped-out rims and when it would get cold (keep in mind that I lived in central Illinois at the time), I would inevitably get a flat tire.  It was something about the metal expanding and contracting with the weather.  Anyway, I have pretty much become a pro at changing flats.  Once when I still worked in an office, a good friend walked out of work to a flat so she called her boyfriend and came back inside to wait for him.  After she told me, I offered to at least take a look to see if I could help.  By the time her boyfriend got there, I had the tire changed and we were just standing in the parking lot waiting for him.  They were both pretty impressed.  Although I'm sure my Dad knew he was teaching me a useful skill when he taught me to change a tire, I wonder if he had any idea of how indispensable this skill would become!  :)

Needless to say, I changed the Jetta's tire without too many issues and left the Outback with Jon.  I felt like I deserved a gold star or something for being wife-of-the-day, but instead I got a hot shower to get all of the grease off of me when I got home...

Oh, and I got rewarded with an honest-to-goodness SNOW DAY today... and so did Jon!  Since both of us were home for the day, we slept in late (hey, 8am is late for us!) and decided on a tropical muffin breakfast against a blustery external backdrop.  Happy snow day!!!

Coco-Maca-'Nana-Nut Muffins (Gluten-, Dairy-, and Refined Sugar-Free)

Makes 21-ish muffins
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (1 1/4 teaspoons for high altitude)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted (divided use)
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 extra-large eggs (I used turkey eggs)
1 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing pans
1/4 cup macadamia nut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup alternative milk (I used macadamia nut milk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1.  Preheat oven to 425F; grease muffin pans with a bit of melted vegan butter.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together GF flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, macadamia nuts, and 1/4 cup shredded coconut.

3.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and bananas together.  Add maple syrup, melted vegan butter, macadamia nut butter, and vanilla extract.

4.  In a small bowl, mix the alternative milk with the apple cider vinegar; set aside.

5.  To dry mixture, add about 1/3 of the banana mixture and stir until combined.  Add about 1/3 of the alternative milk mixture and stir until combined.  Repeat until all ingredients are well mixed.

6.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full (if any cups are left empty, fill about halfway with water), then top with remaining toasted coconut.

7.  Bake for 19-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Of course, we couldn't keep our hands off, so we ate about 1/3 of ours while they were still warm.  :)
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Jon:  I fondly remember the joy of the snow day as a child.  Sleeping in late, eating a titanic breakfast, then playing twelve straight hours of Zelda on my Nintendo.  As an older kid, when my interest in video games had withered away, I simply replaced my video game time with cable TV.  A day that I thought was destined for applying brainpower to academics fortuitously became a teeny-tiny vacation destined for sedation and ignorance.  It was a little slice of heaven.

I always imagined that the simple and unexpected solace of a snow day as a kid would never be matched.  But I was mistaken, because I have discovered something even better.  Much better.  A snow day as a teacher.

Teaching first grade is way more exhausting than just participating.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job.  But I get paid?  And I don't have to take a sub day?  And I don't have to work at all?  What?  Hell yeah, snow!  Admittedly, it is tempting to do schoolwork at home all day since I always have a hundred things to catch up on.  But not today.  Today I am destined to return to my roots...  sleep in late, eat a titanic breakfast, and watch seven consecutive movies (with a bearded-brothers theme in loving memory of JR and Garr).

Here's to delicious snow-day muffins, a grease-monkey wife, Wes Anderson, Adam McKay, Garr, and JR.

JR and Garr - Bearded BFFs

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