The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and Cooking through My Grief

Taking it one recipe at a time. 2013 will be mainly focused on "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," by Dinah Bucholz, and how doing what I love, cooking, being with my family and reading Harry Potter will help me process my grief associated with loosing my 3 week old daughter, Ruby, on November 18th, 2011.
Join me for a "culinary magical masterpiece" throughout 2013!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Tears

"He will swallow up death in victory;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces...
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him,
and he will save us..."
Isaiah 25:8-9

This last week has been a week of tears for me. For some reason, many tears have flowed. I used to be so embarrassed by my tears. In fact I used to try to hide them as much as possible. Since loosing Ruby I have lost control of my ability to hide my tears. They come when I'm at the grocery store, at the hair salon, or singing a bedtime song to Rose. They especially come when I am in the shower or on my knees praying. I end up sobbing out my prayer and then hope that somehow God understood what I was trying to say.
When you cry this much you realize that tears feel different. Sometimes the tears come thick, and full and heavy, some are cold, and some seem thin and small, and yet after each tear I feel a bit better and just a bit more capable to make it through a few more hours, or the rest of the day, or night. Right after Ruby passed away I would wake up in the morning and the instant my eye's would open I would cry, and it never really seemed to stop. Now, two months later I seem to not be able to fall asleep at night before crying a few tears. The tears aren't so bitter now though. I cry remembering the sweet memories of Ruby, like the first time I saw her adorable chubby little cheeks and her floppy little newborn body. I smile, and I cry. Its a strange phenomenon to me!
I am reading a book called "Healing After Loss." There is a quote in it by Dr. Karl Menninger that says, "Weeping is perhaps the most human and universal of all relief measures." It goes on to say that crying really does make you feel better. "Crying has helpful physiological as well as psychological effects. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that emotional tears (as opposed to those shed from exposure to wind, say , or a cut onion) contain two important chemicals, leucine-enkephalin and prolactin, and that the first of these is thought to be related to one of the body's natural pain-relieving substances. Tears are, they tell us, one of the functions of such processes is to help cleanse the body of substances that accumulate under stress...Often when people can cry, the work of healing can begin."
So for me I will follow the guidance I am given of "No more apologies. No more uneasiness. My tears are for my healing. Perhaps, too, my tears will give others permission to cry when they feel the need."
Some of my most treasured family and friends have wept with me the last two months and no one has been ashamed to cry or apologized and somehow all of us have been strengthened, just by being there for each other. So, the next time you feel like crying don't be afraid, just let it all out! You will feel better when its all done, and anyone who see's you will be compassionate towards you. Like the old school t-shirts used to say, "No Fear," just lest the tears come!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chicken and Mushroom Pies

This is another one of Professor Slughorns "Slug Club," pies. These were very yummy. As you can tell I tried slicing into mine so you could see what the inside looked like, but you still can't really tell. The flavor of this little pie is delicious, both the crust and the filling. Mr. B said that he would love to have it again and gave it a 4.5 rating. I love making these miniature little pies! It is so fun and they are so adorable!
English History: "Medieval pies were filled with all sorts of food thrown together, like a magpie's collection, hence the name pie. Today we try to stick to a theme, so we have "chicken and mushroom pie" and not "chicken and mushroom and apples and whipped cream and oats and raisins and cinnamon and black pepper." ("The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Bucholz, pg. 42.
Grief Help: As I was throwing this meal together tonight Mr. B was giving Rose a bath in her tub upstairs. It was so cute to hear their conversation and my happy little girls voice. Rose has been singing all week and it has been beautiful! I count my blessing that I have these two lovely people in my life, and one lovely spirit in Heaven. Mr. B and I finished reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" last night(Brian's first time reading it) and we enjoyed it so much. Dumbledor say's in this book, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live" (pg. 214). I love that statement. I think I might put it above my head. I have been doing A LOT of "dreaming" since Ruby has passed away. Dreaming of "what if's," and "why's" and sometimes forgetting that today is a blessing. That was a lesson I learned from Ruby, that I seem to forget so easily. If she could have spoken I think her message to me would be, "Mommy, enjoy every day, each day is a blessing and fight for every second you get on earth! This is a great place to be." Something I saw in both of my daughters bright eye's right after they were born was a fascination with life, and it seemed as if they didn't want to sleep so that they wouldn't miss a thing. I especially saw this trait in Ruby. The doctors would try so hard to get her knocked out and still she would manage to wiggle her hands, her feet or keep at least one eye open. I suppose if I knew I only had 24 days to live I would do the same, not want to miss a thing. So for Ruby, I promise to live every day, and be thankful for every day that God gives me. I will try to not overly dream of being with Ruby again someday, and God...

Tea: How to Make a Proper Cuppa

Tea is brought up many times in the Harry Potter books. "The invitation to "come over and have a cuppa" comes from "have a cup o 'tea." ("The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Bucholz, pg. 36.) I am not a tea person, so I wasn't too sure how much I would enjoy this one. I had some Raspberry tea packets and borrowed my Mom's cute tea pot and I attempted to make a "Proper Cuppa." I love the sound of the tea pot whistling when the pot gets hot. It made Rosie nervous and she covered her ears. I poured a cup for my Mom, Mr. B and I. We put a bit of sugar in our cups and gave it a try. It wasn't so bad, but I think I will stick with my Hot Chocolate. I will give this a ranking of 3, just because I am probably not going to make tea again any time soon.
English History: "This most Brisitsh of all drinks arrived in the 1600's from China and quickly replaced ale as the national drink. Tradition credits the Duchess of Bedford (1800's) with starting the tradition of afternoon tea. She got very hungry waiting from her noon dinner to her nine o'clock supper. So at around four in the afternoon, she would sneak some food and tea. Later on she came out in the open and invited some ladies for tea and sweet delicacies and gossip. This caught on quickly among the higher class, who becan to have tea with scones and jam or with pastries and delicate sandwiches, such as the cucumber sandwiches." ("The Unnoficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Bucholz, pg. 36.)
Grief Help: It was nice to sit at my kitchen table and sip on some tea and visit with Mr. B and my Mom. I like how tea slows life down a bit, and makes you stop to just think and breath in the yummy aroma of Raspberry. Since Ruby has passed away I feel that I have allowed myself to slow down. Before I felt I had to constantly be going and doing something or hanging out with someone. My mind frame from High School had not really changed, although I have been graduated from High School for 10 years now. I guess loosing Ruby helped me "graduate" from my need to always be doing something. I now stop at the cemetery to visit Ruby, as the cars rush by me I think, I remember, I cry some and I also smile some. I take time to stop cleaning my home or cooking dinner so that I can read to my little Rose or snuggle her on the couch while we watch a movie. I take time to sit in my comfy chair and just think. I take time to visit with Mr. B and have found a new joy and appreciation for him being in my life, as one of my greatest strengths.
I have thought of the Mary and Martha story in the bible. I suppose I have always been a Martha trying to serve and do everything. From my experience of loosing Ruby I have discovered there are weeks and days and hours when all you can do to make it through is sit at the feet of the Lord, like Mary, and hold on for dear life, praying that you can make it through and receiving strength from Him. I read a quote this week that I wanted to share on here. The author is unknown. It reads: "Pain stayed so long I said to him today, "I will not have you with me any more." I stamped my foot and said, "Be on your way," And paused there, startled at the look he wore. "I, who have been your friend," he said to me, "I, who have been your teacher-all you know of understanding love, of sympathy, And patience, I have taught you. Shall I go?" He spoke the truth, this strange unwelcome guest; I watched him leave, and knew that he was wise. He left a heart grown tender in my breast. He left a far, clear vision in my eyes. I dried my tears, and lifted up a song-Even for one who'd tortured me so long."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake (from Ron)

This cake is one of 4 cakes that were specially delivered to Harry the summer Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Dudley were put on a strict diet. While Dudley starved in the kitchen, Harry was enjoying his delicious Hidden food upstairs. Harry received a birthday cake from Ron, Hermoine, Hagrid and Sirius. This cake happens to be what Bucholz imagined Ron would have sent harry. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ch. 3)
This cake was fun to make. I had my little helper near by to help me throw in the flour, whip up the sugar and butter and to crack the eggs. The batter was delicious and I was very excited to see the final product! This cake was cooked in two 8 inch round cake pans. Then cooled all the way and per the instructions it was only supposed to have raspberry jam spread in the middle layer and have powdered sugar and cool whip on top. Since I love sugar I added a layer of raspberry in the middle and on the top, along with some dabs of cool whip. This was an especially important cake to bake last night because we were having visitors that we could share it with, which is always fun! Dr. McOmber was coming over to give us the final Autopsy report and my parents and Brian's parents were also going to be there. This cake is a dense cake and it says to have it with a cup of tea. Which, is on the menu this week, but because of how many people were coming we just drank it with milk and a few Oreo's on the side...because everyone needs a little chocolate in their life's. Everyone seemed to really enjoy this cake. I have to warn you though that it is not a light, fluffy cake, which is what I love. So rating it is kind of hard for me, but I would probably give this recipe a 4.
English History: "This is the simplest of cakes, yet elegant and delicious. It's called Victoria Sponge because the famous queen of that name used to have a slice with her tea. The name "sponge" is misleading because its actually a dense, rich cake, not an airy, fluffy sponge"(The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, Bucholz, pg. 17).
Grief Help: Autopsy = "We Don't Know." I am still trying to decide whether I am comforted by this diagnosis or not. Its definitely fitting though and we are not surprised by knowing our little Ruby and her amazing way of keeping the doctors stumped, confused and as Dr. Mascio put it so eloquently once, "She's pissing me off!" And we just smiled at that statement because Ruby truly was doing just that to everyone. But, through her ability to "piss us off," she wrapped everyone she knew around her little finger and I believe that no one left her room without falling in love with our little gem. I realized last night after talking with Doctor McOmber and our parents that Ruby isn't just mine and Brian's baby girl, she is everyone's baby girl and she has left a legacy. Dr. McOmber told us that since Ruby he has seen a change in Dr. Mascio. He see's him as a more loving, compassionate doctor with his patients, instead of his surgery's being a routine thing, he see's them each as an individual case that may or may not follow the school books. Ruby of course has Dr. McOmber wrapped around her finger. She is his little girl and he looks forward to seeing her it seems just as much as we do in our next life! He told us that Brian and I have made his working place a little more comfortable and have a little more understanding of who he is and what he believes. He had opportunities to participate more in his and our religion as we asked him to help us as we gave Ruby Priesthood blessings. (We belong to The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.)
Some how Dr. McOmber claims that Brian and I made a positive impact on the doctors and nurses. I guess the night Ruby passed away we handled it better than a lot of parents have in the past. I'm not sure what we did differently but we were appreciative that night for all of the doctors and nurses who put so much time and effort into trying to help heal our baby Ruby.
The reason we did an autopsy on Ruby was so that we could know what exactly took her life, because the night she passed away her heart function seemed to be doing just fine. We also wanted to do it in case the doctors could learn something from Ruby and improve another childs chances at life. Apparently the pathologists and doctors had a hard time agreeing about what was going on. We were told at Ruby's funderal that she passed away from something called an Aspergillus Fungus. And after an intense search and cleansing of the hospital and its vents and a closer look at Ruby's autopsy they decided that Ruby did not have that. After a lot of discussion over Ruby's heart the doctors decided that they did everything right for Ruby. Her heart function was fine, she didn't have any blood clots, there was no bleeding on her brain. The pathologists are saying that Ruby's right lung had dead tissue in it and caused bleeding to come into her lungs. The doctors seems to think that that happened after Ruby passed away though because they did daily x-rays that would have shown that something was going on there.
We all had to chuckle a bit because this sort of analysis on Ruby's passing did not surprise us all too much. That was how every day of our lives with Ruby went, not quite knowing what was going on or what needed to be done. Dr. McOmber said that Ruby has been the most complicated autopsy that he has ever had to work with in his whole career so far. I think it all boils down to the fact that Ruby was sent to earth for a purpose, and she fulfilled that purpose within her 24 days of life and God called her home. In fact I honestly believe that she begged him for just a little more time on earth and her wish was granted, twice.
I guess our wish for doing the autopsy was granted in that the doctors did learn a few things from Ruby, and have been able to use them on a few heart cases. The "Ruby Phenomenon" has not been forgotten.
I miss my baby girl so much my heart just aches, but she is not here, hurting any more and I know that someday I will get to hold her again and I look forward to that very, very much!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A few thoughts on Miracles

Since Ruby passed away I have been contemplating the concept of miracles. In Mark chapter 11 vs. 24 it reads "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." I interpret "them" as being miracles. Of course this verse is not the only verses talk about miracles. There are many, many more. Jesus' life and ministry was one huge miracle after another. Moses and the Red Sea parting was a miracle, just to name a few. My questioning of miracles has come about from more recent experiences of life.
First of all lets talk about Ruby. I know there were thousands and thousands of prayers assaulting heaven for our little girl. So very many people here pleading with Heavenly Father to spare her life, but ultimately 24 full days was what He gave us (which we are very grateful for by the way,just hoped for many more). Then there are the stories of other tiny little babies who were equally ill, or even worse off then Ruby, who have somehow been able to fight through the battles of a sick mortal body and have been blessed with the miracle of living on this earth for a lot longer time frame than some. I can't say that Ruby passed away while someone else's child lived because we didn't have the adequate amount of faith in Ruby living and Heavenly Father granting us the desire of our hearts. Brian and I never really talked about Ruby being taken back to heaven because we felt that by doing that we would be showing Heavenly Father that we didn't have the faith we needed, or the fight we needed to keep her alive.
I read John 14 vs. 27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." I hold on to this scripture in my heart. Somewhere amidst the inner battle of why a miracle for Ruby to live could not occur, I have had peace. I have thought a few times, that in Ruby's case perhaps the "Miracle" is that she died. She would have had many, many health issues throughout her life, not to mention another open heart surgery 4 short months after her first open heart surgery, and possibly never even leaving the hospital since her birth. Ruby had a very, very mature soul and Brian and I could feel it very strongly. So many times while I would hold her tiny hand I felt that my little newborn baby girl was teaching me lessons about life, and love, and patience. "...when though shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not" John 21 vs. 18. I like to think that "another" is God. God carried Ruby, though her body was young, her spirit was old. He carried Brian, He carried me, and we have become "old" from our few short months of greatest joy, and greatest grief. Of course it is still hard to wrap my mind around death as being a "Miracle." The Miracle of death does not bring me much peace and joy, when I have always considered a miracle as being a positive thing, like when Christ raised Lazereth from the dead.
One long/short month after Ruby had passed away, we got a call from one of Rosie's doctors, 2 days before Christmas. He told us that her right ovary was the size of a full grown women's ovary and it looks like she has yet another tumor. This was heart wrenching to us because Rose lost her left ovary last May to a tumor and this Right ovary was our last hopes for future, biological Grandchildren. So, we tried to have the most wonderful Christmas possible, which it was nice, but in the back of our minds was the thought of the upcoming surgery. Many prayers were prayed once again for Rosie this time.The surgery, date and time was set for Wednesday, and as a last minute thought we were sent to the hospital for a CT scan just to get another view of what was going on. And, can you believe it, but her woman sized ovary had shrunk down to the size it was supposed to be, with just a few cysts on it, in 6 short days. What?! Is that a Miracle? Did God give us this miracle because He new I was questioning him and his ways, and He had to just throw it back at me as if to say, "See, I'm in charge. I know what I'm doing!"
So, has this helped clear up my "Miracle" dilemma? No. I still don't know why Rose was blessed to keep her ovary, at least at the moment she is keeping her ovary, and Ruby died...I suppose this is going to be a conversation that I will have with God, as soon as I can be in his presence again. The conversation of what His definition of a miracle is. I found this scripture the other night, in Doctrine and Covenants 88, vs. 41-44 that has given me some peace on my dilemma. These versus are talking about God, and it reads;

41 He acomprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a alaw unto all things, by which they move in their btimes and their seasons;

43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.

44 And they give alight to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years—all these are bone year with God, but not with man.

In conclusion, I would like to thank God for the days we were blessed to spend with Ruby, for the few short years we have spent with Rosie and for the Eternity ahead that I get to spend with my family, and with God! I also have the faith that God truly does comprehend all things. And for now in my life and my limited understanding I trust in His will for me and my family.

p.s. If I get a chance to talk with God about how He goes about his plan of granting miracle's I will let you know what I learn;)

The Menu for the week of 1/22/12

Well, if we don't get blown away by yet another tornado tonight (sheesh, tornado's in January! Not cool!), I have a yummy Harry Potter meal plan:)
Slughorns Chicken and Mushroom Pie, pg. 42 (I promise I will make them this week!)
Rons Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake, pg. 17
Tea: How to Make a Proper Cuppa Tea, pg. 36
Bon Appetit, Y'all!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Old Fashioned Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake

Harry would go to be babysat by Mrs. Figg, when the Dursleys would want him out of the way. "She has too many cats, her house smells like cabbages, and her chocolate cake tastes ancient"("The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, Bucholz, pg. 8, see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Ch. 2 and 3).
The wonderful thing about this cake is that it did not taste ancient! It was actually very moist and delicious to eat especially when it was warmed up in the microwave. The only thing I didn't like about this cake, and my Mom agreed with me is that is needs a yummy ganache frosting, or chocolate frosting, or raspberry drizzle with some ganache on top. But, this is personal preference of ours. My Mother and I are crazy about chocolate, in fact when we go out to eat and order desert we typically ask for extra chocolate syrup in a side cup:) If you are not crazy about chocolate like that then I would say use the powdered sugar on top, just the way the recipe says to do it. I will make this recipe again because it was super moist and yummy, but will use a chocolate topping, in case you didn't get the hint from the previous sentences...:) I give this recipe a 3 1/2.
English History: "Cake""comes from the old Norse word "kaka" (what were the Vikings thinking?). But you can imagine that what the Vikings called kaka and we call cake are vastly different items. Not until the 1700s were eggs and sugar and even icings added to cakes to turn them into something we would recognize" ("The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Bucholz, pg. 8).
Greif Help:Today was a wonderful day! I feel like I got a little more of "me" back, and have totally been taking advantage of it because I don't know how long this feeling is going to last. Mr. B took Rose out for a Daddy/Daughter date and were gone for most of the morning. I took that opportunity to cleanse Rosies room, a very daunting task, yet something that I have been wanting to do since last Summer. I sorted through her toys and split them up between 4 bins-one bin for each week of the month. Then I went through her closet and straightened that up some. I was able to do all of this before Brian got home. So, I decided to go shopping:) I had a bunch of stores I needed to go to to return things and was able to get to them all. I am especially excited for my "Breville" Juicer that I ordered from Bed, Bath and Beyond today. I am hoping I can get it really soon because I am truly addicted to freshly squeezed juice! I also bought some adorable curtains as a finishing touch to Rosies room. Now, on to conquer my pantry, another one of those daunting tasks, but so rewarding when it is finished. I have decided to call my organizing tasks "Operation Organization." It makes it sound a little more exciting and mysterious to me, you never now how it will turn out, but it sure feels amazing when you open the door and everything has a place!
You may be wondering how any of this relates to grieving, so let me explain. For months now I have had a list of things that need to be accomplished, and while having the desire to do them the drive has been very absent. In fact most of my days the last few months have consisted of waking up, watching Rose, nap time, staring off into the void of nothing, and going to bed. I don't have guilt for doing this because doing nothing is a part of grieving (and so is eating a lot of chocolate), and I know that I have many more days ahead of me where "doing nothing" is acceptable, but today I could do a little more than what I have been able to do in a long, long time, and if feels good. (Still Love you Ruby, but it was nice to have a break from the heart break today.)
One of these pictures is of Rose after her date with Daddy, totally wore her out:) She made her own cowboy bed on her bedroom floor. So cute!

Mr. B LOVES his little girls! Hopefully he will get a few more...girls that is:)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Molly's Meatballs with Onion Sauce

This is Mrs. Molly Weasley's recipe. Mr. Weasley bumped into Kingsley Shacklebolt on the morning of Harry's hearing. Mr. Weasley whispers to Shacklebolt that Mrs. Weasley is serving meatballs for dinner if he wants to stop by (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 7). My Mom and I had to make a last minute Harry Potter dinner change. So, instead of making the "Chicken and Mushroom Pie" we opted for "Molly's Meatballs with Onion Sauce," pg. 83. It was delicious! I love meatballs and so of course these were fabulous to me. I added chopped mushrooms and a bit of chopped garlic to the meatballs and the sauce because they sounded good last night. I also added a can of cream of chicken soup to the Onion Sauce and a few mushrooms. When I make this meal again I will probably saute the onions that are in the meatball mixture before putting it in with the meat, just to make sure they aren't still crunchy. I'm giving this recipe a 5 because I do plan on making it again!
English History: "Forcemeat is an old fashioned word for fact you might still find it called this in British cookbooks" ("The Unnofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Bucholz, pg. 83).
Grief Help: It has been one of those weeks where you just feel somewhat empty. I don't know how else to explain the feelings I have had. I keep feeling like I should be cradling Ruby on my shoulder, or snuggling with my Ruby after Rose is down for bed at night. Or she should be up with us watching a late night movie...It has also been hard because along with feeling like I should be holding a baby right now comes the feeling that Ruby never happened. This really is weird to me, and it scares me a bit. I will be explaining to someone that a few of my friends have two or three children and I just have one. Then after saying that, I have little Ruby whisper in my ear that I have two daughters, not one. I guess its hard because her physical body is not here with us, and its not that I'm forgetting her, its just that I don't know how she fits into our family structure right now. I guess her role for us is Guardian Angel. We bought an Angel that we put on top of our Christmas tree this year that is holding Ruby's picture in her hands. I didn't have the heart to pack the Angel away with all of our other Christmas stuff so the "Ruby Angel" is sitting on top of our fireplace mantel, and will probably be there for a long, long time. At least until next Christmas when she will be moved back to the top of our Christmas tree. As far as dealing with the stupor of remembering that I was a good Mother to my little Ruby for her short time on earth, I went back through the pictures of her that I have on my cell phone. I picked out one where I am holding her and smiling, and she is sleeping with her mouth open. Of course she was intubated, but she could have closed her mouth. She slept just like her Mommy, just she didn't slobber all over herself:) Ruby was such a Beautiful baby girl! I wish I could have seen her grow, she would have been just as beautiful as Rose!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Honeydukes Sugar Mice

This is one of the Honeyduke treats that Harry sneaks through the cellar. ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," Ch. 10)The wonderful thing is there are many more treats to be made this year! This is actually a fondant recipe and you can keep it in your fridge for up to two months. I made a mouse with it because that is what they were in Harry Potter, but Rose's birthday is coming up and I think I will be using some fondant on her birthday cake! It actually was really easy to work with and I am excited to use it again. It also tastes like a yummy frosting. Mr. B said that the cuteness of my mouse is a 5. Thanks babe:) I think this could be a really fun recipe to have when I want to try out some fondant on cupcakes etc. I was actually thinking this would be fun for Halloween if you colored the fondant black. It could look somewhat realistic. While I was forming my mouse I kept thinking about how much I hate mice and that I am actually a bit freaked out from my own creation! Thank goodness the mouse recipe is behind me:)
English History: Making fondant animals out of fondant is a popular activity for British children. (I actually might give some to Rose to play with like play dough. I think she would have fun with it, and its edible!)
Grief Help: Today is the two month date of Ruby's passing away. It has been a hard day! We woke up on edge, even Rosie. Rose was saying she missed Ruby all morning and that she wanted to see her. Rose would get mad at me and tell me to not talk, and then within the same breath say she needs a hormonal 2 year old keeps me on my toes! My wonderful friend and photographer sent me some pictures from Ruby's celebration services I wanted to share with you all. They are so beautiful! She is so talented! I have so many beautiful memories with family, friends and Ruby right after she passed away. The bitter memory is that she passed away. I just go back there in my mind, holding her when she left us and there are so many emotions that are attached to that memory!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Menu for 1/15/12-1/21/12

I am going to be cooking the Chicken and Mushroom Pie this week on pg. 42.
Mrs. Figgs Old-Fashioned Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake on pg. 8.
and last but not least Honeydukes treats, Sugar Mice, on pg. 224.
As always, Bon Apetit, this week:)

Professor Slughorns Apple Crumble Pie

Professor Slughorn passes around an assortment of pies during his "Slug Club" party on the Hogwarts Express. ("Harry Potter and the half blood Prince", Ch. 7) This is one of four pie recipes. I will be making another one of the pies this upcoming week. Mr. B gave this a 4 and I give it a 5. I really enjoyed how unique these pies were and the taste was wonderful. You use two types of apples, Braeburn and Granny Smith, so you get a yummy mix of tartness. They are mini pies also, so you make them in cupcake tins, which I have never done before. They were so cute! I am not a fan of apple pies which is why I chose to make this one first, but I really truly enjoyed it! This would be fun to make for any gathering you might have. It was easy and yummy and even the homemade crust turned out delicious!
English History: " During World War II, home cooks simply didn't have enough flour to make a whole pies, so thrifty and resourceful English housewives came up with a way to make do with less." They came up with the "Fruit Crumble, generally called "crisp" in the U.S." This is how the crumble was born. 'This recipe would have been too extravagant during the Second World War, as it calls for both a botto crust and a crumble topping." (The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Bucholz, pg. 46.)
Grief Help:There is something about making a pie that makes me happy. I think it may just be because I have a rolling pin in hand and the anxiousness of any pie maker who is not sure how the pie will turn out, but hoping that is will be amazing! I guess that is how I hope my life to be. Someday when I sit on my front porch in my rocking chair I hope to look back on life on smile. I was reading through some of my previous posts before little Miss Ruby was born and actually felt ashamed of what I had written. I wrote something to the effect that I wish I could go back and undo what had been done, meaning my pregnancy. That was so very, very selfish of me! I can honestly say that though this road has been the most difficult I have ever had to walk down, (actually I think I am being carried down it, because there is no way I could walk this path of life) I would do it all again in a heart beat! As Mr. B and I sat holding our little Ruby a short time after she had passed away I looked at him and told him "I would take a million of these!" So what have I learned from this heart wrenching experience? If I ever find out that I have the opportunity of carrying an infant with any sort of disability I will rejoice instead of cry, because I know that along with the heart ache and grief will come the greatest amount of Love and Joy that any human being can experience! I truly will take a million of those experience's, even though the recovery is long, and hard!

Kreachers "Hot Rolls"

Kreacher served Hot Rolls and Coffee for breakfast to Harry, Ron and Hermoine before they went off to look for horcrux's. It was their last warm meal and I am confident they wished they could of had these every morning, noon and night! "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", Ch. 7. Okay, so I'm just going to start this post out by saying the Mr. B gave these rolls 5.5 million and he wants to eat them again, soon:) I totally agree! Although they are a bit time consuming they are totally worth it! I ended up needing to an extra 1/2 cup of flour to the recipe. I also have a Bosch mixing bowl that I let do all the work instead of me mixing and kneading the dough by hand. I guess I'm a tad bit lazy when it comes to that, but the rolls turned out FABULOUS! Seriously, buy the book, you will want these rolls on for your next Thanksgiving spread!
English History: "Rolls became popular for breakfast because they rise and bake more quickly than whole loaves of bread, but you would still have to get up pretty early to make these for breakfast. If you like your sleep, prepare the rolls the day before and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight. Then all you have to do is pop them in the oven. Otherwise you are going to be very tired." "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Bucholz, pg. 66.
Grief Help: I have really been on an emotional roller coaster this week. One minute I feel fine the next minute I am sobbing. I still cry every night. Once Mr. B is snoring I get some alone time and just let it all out. The hardest game for me to not play right now is the "Why" game. "Why didn't Ruby live?" "Why do other people have miracles in their lives and we couldn't have the Miracle we so desperately pleaded for." The problem with the "Why's" is that it can never be answered. At least not until I am sitting at the Lords feet, and I guess by that point I would be blessed with a deeper vision of my life and understand why. So I guess for now I am re-learning how to count my blessings, which are many. Like yesterday, as I was cooking these rolls I had the thought "I love food, I am so grateful for people who know how to create beautiful recipe's for me to enjoy!"

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Menu for 1/8/12 -1/14/12

I cooked the "Beef Casserole" yesterday and posted about it below. Its on page 67.
I will also be cooking "Hot Rolls," pg. 66 (cooking this Thursday or Friday)
and last but not least one of the "Four Classically British Pies," "Apple Crumble Pies" pg. 46 (cooking this one on Saturday)
Bon Appetit

Beef Casserole

This recipe idea comes from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ch. 16.) Hermoine, Ron, and Harry are sitting around Hagrids Hut in a rain storm excitedly talking about the Triwizard Tournament. They declined Hagrids Beef Casserole after they found a talon in one of their portions...I am scared of big birds and even more scared of their talons so I did not throw any of them in my casserole, but I did throw in some baby carrots and they actually kind of do look like talons...okay maybe not but I tried:) The recipe did not call for carrots, but I like cooked carrots and threw some in. First off I know it doesn't look so great in the picture, but my Mom and I gave this meal a 5!!! Yes, I would take this recipe and add to to my own personal recipe book. Delicious! Mr. B said he gives it a 4...there is always someone who is hard to please. I could best describe it as being a comfort food. I of course had to change up the recipe a bit. In the book you are supposed to put it in the oven to cook for 2 hours and you have to stir it every 1/2 hour in order to make sure it doesn't burn. Lets be honest it would burn in my oven! I also was leaving for church for 3 hours and wanted it ready to eat when I got home. I bought steak that was already cubed to save time. I browned the meat and then threw it into my crock pot. The recipe only calls for salt and pepper and I like seasoning in my food. So I added some garlic salt, parsley flakes and some chili powder. We served it over mashed potatoes and if my new years resolution of not having seconds wouldn't have gotten in my way I would have had more:) Seriously try this one!
English History: "Old-time Brits used to cook a huge roast for Sunday. Then they used the rest of the meat in other dishes with gravy or the like for the rest of the week." "THe unofficial Harry potter Cookbook," By Dinah Bucholz, pg. 67. I did make this recipe yesterday in honor of the Brits. I kept my Roast cooking to Sunday:)
Grieving Help: I started a group last week called "Angels Among Us" with some friends. We had our Opening Social this morning. At the meeting this morning we brought pictures of our lost children and as part of our introduction everyone shared a memory or experience they had with their child. My memory of Ruby is of one of the first times I held her. She had just been born and the nurses and doctors had checked her out and said she was stable enough for me to hold for just a few minutes. Brian carried her to me and when he handed her to me she had her eye's closed. I started to talk to her and the second she heard my voice her eye's popped open and she stared up at me. I instantly felt a bond a great love for her, and felt that she loved me back. I am so grateful for that moment because I have heard stories of NICU Mom's having a hard time bonding with their babies. I guess I was very blessed to have that experience with her. One of the many lessons I learned from Ruby's short life was how to love more fully and deeply! The thing is before Ruby I didn't realize that I was not loving to my full potential and that I had so much more room for growth. It reminds me of the Grinch and how his heart grew "Three sizes" in one day. Perhaps that happened to me, except for my heart has been ripped open, re-stuffed, and will never fully heal. The goal is though that someday I can wake up and just smile because Ruby was here, and then go on with my day, loving everyone that I come in contact with, especially my family:)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Panic Attack

Last night around 1:30 I woke up with my heart pounding, my mind racing and scared. Why? Well, right after we were married Mr. B and I had a guy break into our apartment in the middle of the night and creep around our bed until I woke up and screamed to Mr. B that someone was in our room . Then the creep ran out of our room and jumped through our 2nd bedroom window and disappeared. So, a 30 second moment of extreme panic with the creep breaking into my safe place(home) has given me years, and years of panic attacks. Just add that panic know to loosing my little Gem. My brain understands she is gone, but for some reason my body seems to freak out periodically because it thinks I should still be holding a baby.
We bought our house last spring and have done a ton of remodeling. Mr. B put up new light/fan fixtures in all of the rooms and for some reason, periodically in the middle of the night our front room light turns on. Last night was the 3rd time it has done this throughout the last year. I see the extra light coming underneath my door, freeze in fear, think about waking Mr. B, but then hear him snoring and don't have the heart to wake him. So I walk to the door, put my hand on the handle, freeze in fear again because my heart is about going to pound out of my chest. Then quickly open the door, bravely walk into the front room glance around, to see if anyone is in there, turn off the light and run back to bed. Usually I can fall back asleep, but last night full panic mode struck and trying to calm myself down was almost next to impossible. I feel that I have to keep an eye on my bedroom door to keep us safe, since Mr. B can sleep through the worlds largest earth quake and wake up the next morning explaining what a wonderful nights rest he had...While I am frazzled to bits and still trying to deal with my emotions. Aagh, life...So, do you get panic attacks? What do you do to work through them? How do you calm yourself down when your heart is beating out of your chest and you can't breath?

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Newt Shaped Ginger Cookie"

Harry enters Professor McGonagall's office expecting to be scolded and punished after loosing his temper with Professor Umbridge. Instead he is offered a newt shaped ginger cookie.(see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 12) Bucholz titled this cookie "Chewy Ginger Biscuits" pg. 196. Once again Little Flower helped me make these cookies while her daddy was off getting a massage to help him relax a bit from the past couple months of intense pressure! Little Flower is even wearing one of my aprons, since I don't have any her size. She thought is was a dress and was so excited to put it on! Too Cute!
These cookies were convenient to make since I had all of the ingredients in my cupboard, just waiting to be whipped up into something delicious! I thought these cookies would taste a lot like a ginger snap, but I was wrong. The flavor is not as strong since there is no molasses in this recipe. Also these cookies turned out much softer than a Ginger cookie. My cookie dough was very, very soft so I ended up putting in 1 more cup of flour and also another 1/2 cup of sugar. I probably should have added just a smidgen more of ginger too. Perhaps that is why the ginger flavor isn't very strong. I suggest eating these cookies with a hot cup of cocoa or apple cider as the taste of the cookie is not very strong and reminds me almost of the taste of a shortbread recipe. All things considered I give this recipe a score of 3 1/2. Little Flower enjoyed eating these for breakfast this morning, as she saw the jar before I had a chance to hide it. I also have enjoyed snacking on a few today also.
English History: "The Oxford Companion to Food describes every cookie variety under the entry "cookies." But ginger biscuits are so important, they merit an entry all to themselves-not even chocolate chip cookies are granted that honor...Also called ginger nuts, they are related to gingerbread, which in medieval times was molded into fancy shapes, called "fairings," and sold at fairs." "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," Dinah Bucholz, pg.196
Grieving Help: Today a friend of mine came to visit and in our culture most conversations begin with "How are you doing?" Even if you really don't care too much about how the other person is doing it still is used as a conversation starting sentence. (of course Michaun was sincerely asking how I was doing.) She caught herself right after asking me this and reassured me that she knew I probably wasn't as well as I would like to be. I told her I was doing well, and truly feel that way today. Perhaps its been the time I have spent cooking with my daughter this week, or perhaps its the working out I have been doing. Maybe its just because life goes on with or without you emotionally all the way there. I read a quote this week from a book I look at every day to help me through my grieving it says,
"Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries." -Corita Kent
I think I took that quote to heart and am trying to focus more on the moments I have had with the people I cherish most, and it has made a whole world of difference!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

English Fried Eggs and a Gammon of Bacon

Aunt Petunia darkly warned Harry "Not to burn Breakfast!" (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 2) oops...She would have sent me back to the cupboard under the stairs for the rest of the day. I have a good excuse though, I got distracted while making my freshly squeezed apple juice to go along with breakfast and totally blackened my turkey bacon. Bacon is frustrating to me because it seems to take forever to get crisp. Since it was taking so long I turned my back for a minute and when I turned around again it was too late to save them!
This morning Rose helped me cook the bacon and Eggs. I used Turkey bacon because I am doing a "biggest looser" competition with my family right now and am trying to cut back some on the fat. If you are wondering I looked up what gammon means and according to Google it is a smoked or cured ham. This recipe calls for 2 rashers of bacon and apparently rashers are slices if you are a true English person. I blackened my first 2 rashers of bacon so decided to make 2 more to perfection. I put a bit of butter in the pan for the eggs since I used turkey bacon (I guess I might as well have just used normal bacon since I did that.) I cooked my eggs to over-easy. I like the yoke still runny. I did scrambled eggs for Rose. While we were eating I asked Rose on a scale from 1 to 5 which one she would choose. She told me 5, and said Delicious! with a big smile on her face. We will be using this recipe again, the 2 year old likes it:)Here is the English History on this meal: "Eggs and bacon doesn't sound very posh, but some 400 years ago, it was the "breakfast of Queens." Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort of England and wife of King Charles I, would finish off a fancy breakfast with a simple dish of poached eggs and bacon.""The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook", Dinah Bucholz, pg. 3
How it helped with Grieving:
I was excited of course to throw together another authentic European/Wizarding meal. It was sweet to cook with Rose. She had one spoon in her hand and helped me whip up her scrambled eggs, and she threw the apples in my juicer, which a couple times I didn't have time to put the cover over the top and the apples would fly out of the juicer and onto the floor. Luckily none of them hit us!
I have started to work out every day this week and that has really helped with my built up emotions. I still visited Ruby at the cemetery, twice yesterday, and cried to God while I was praying and cried a bit more while I was trying to sleep. The clock time was close to 12:55 a.m. which is when Ruby went "Home". I have not cried yet today, though I have looked at pictures of me holding my little Ruby, and she melted my heart! I miss those chubby, little, kissable cheeks! I only have a few pictures holding her since she was in such critical care for her 3 weeks of life, so these pictures are very, very cherished moments!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cauldron Cakes

Ok so the recipe's actual title is "Big, Fluffy Pancakes" but to me they did not turn out big and fluffy. They actually ended up being rather flat and I thought of them more as being a crepe than a pancake. Perhaps in Europe and in the wizarding world crepe's are big and fluffy. The recipe was very fun to make though because I was able to pull out my new Juicer I got for Christmas to get the juice out of the Lemon for the recipe. This recipe calls for lemon zest and lemon juice so I was expecting a lemon flavor, but I really couldn't taste the lemon in the cakes. We had some fresh, homemade peach jam in the fridge that one of our friends brought us for Christmas. So we slathered that on the pancakes and sprinkled some powdered sugar on top. We also drank fresh squeezed orange juice, thanks to my juicer! All of these things added together my husband claims that the dinner was a 4 on a scale of 1-5. I'm thinking probably 3, I don't think I would go out of my way to pull out the recipe to make for guests, unless we are just wanting to cook something from the Harry Potter Cookbook.
The cookbook has a little blurb about the history of pancakes that I thought was cute. Basically, Housewives would frantically try to us up all their Butter, milk, and cream by lent. So they would fry up stacks and stacks of pancakes. "One legend has a housewife flipping pancakes while running to church to be shriven (recieve penance for her sins). So Shrove Tuesday became known as Pancake Day, a day when pancake-eating contests are still held. Women in some towns race to church while carrying frying pans filled with pancakes. The prize? A prayer book."
"The unofficial Harry potter cookbook," Dinah Bucholz, pg. 41.
Even though I am posting this on Wednesday I did make sure to cook them last night, in honor of Pancake Day. Maybe I will make Tuesday night dinners be pancakes from here on out. See, first recipe I have cooked from the book and it is already inspiring me:)
Happy Cooking!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Season of Sorrow

Our beautiful Ruby was born on October 24, 2o11 and passed away on November 18, 2011. She lived for 3 beautiful weeks, 3 weeks that we will forever cherish and hold near to our hearts! If you would like to know more about her story please visit: just type in Rubygosnell and you will get to see more of her adorable pictures and more infor about our little Angel. 2011 was a year of hardship and trial for us and we don't feel like there is a end to it in our near future as we are waiting on some blood tests to come back for Rose. She is having issues again.
All this being said I am in full swing of grieving and am finding it hard to make it through the day. I decided that I need to do something I love and can look forward to doing, every week just to distract me from my sorrow for a bit, who knows maybe it will help heal some of this big gaping hole in my heart. So, this is what I came up with. I Love Harry Potter, and I love to eat:) My wonderful Husband has never read Harry Potter and as his Christmas gift to me gave me a box full of all 7 Harry Potter books and a promise to read them all with me throughout this year. Then, my Sister gave me "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook" by Dinah Bucholz, for Christmas. It has 150 recipes in it. So yes, it was a fabulous Christmas. :) Here is My Plan:
1-Read Harry Potter with my husband.
2-Cook 3 recipes from the Harry Potter book a week.
My guidelines: I may have to tweak a few of the recipes or not be able to use them since I don't drink coffee, alcohol, wine, or tea. My sister is going to cook the meals with me and we are going to critic each recipe on a scale of 1-5 as to if we enjoyed it and would ever want to eat it again.
I probably shouldn't print the recipe on here because of copy right, but if you would like the cookbook or to cook along with me you can get it off of Amazon.
This weeks Recipe's:
1-English Fried Eggs and a Gammon of Bacon, a.k.a Eggs and Bacon pg. 3
2-Cauldron Cakes, a.k.a Big Fluffy pancakes pg. 41
3-Newt-shaped ginger cookie, a.k.a. Chewy Ginger Biscuits, pg. 196