Monday, December 01, 2008

The chaos came afterwards.

This is my late Thanksgiving post. I have been very tired. And I also took home the wrong camera on Thanksgiving night. I took home my friend's brand new Canon DSLR. I have the older model, which was a good mistake on my end, but not so much for her. :-) I had to wait until she stopped by my place to switch the cameras back, so I could upload my photos.

Since my last post, Melody was a perfect angel and went back to her regular schedule. She went to bed every night with no problems for 3 nights. I started prepping and baking on Wednesday night while DH looked after her. I'll talk about the baking afterwards. So, we showed up at my friend's parents house in Brooklyn for Thanksgiving. Melody had lots of fun. We basically let her roam around freely. Lots of people were there to watch her and hold her.

She even had a little friend to play with, Evie, my friend's daughter. Evie is 2 months younger than her, but she is much bigger than her. Her parents kept saying how light Melody was compared to their child. Even though Evie seemed fascinated by Melody, she was not interested in Evie and preferred to crawl around and pull herself up on the furniture.

Evie can't crawl, so it made it easy for Melody, who is very mobile, to snatch things away from Evie. They are playing with a pair of silicone pot holders which they loved more than toys.

Starting Thanksgiving night, she started waking up in the middle of the night screaming and crying very hard. We thought maybe she had too much stimulation at the Thanksgiving party. Plus, we got home past her bed time. I noticed that any time we go out and she gets off of her schedule, she would wake up at night. But nope, that's not it. We are on our 4th night of her waking up screaming and crying. I usually find her in her room, standing in her crib, clutching the railing and screaming. The thing that has been working to calm her down is to put her in the exersaucer and she watches tv with DH or watches DH play video games. After maybe an hour or two, we give her another bottle and then put her to bed. She will start crying as soon as she sees her room and crib, but I put her down kicking and screaming. I leave the room and she will cry and scream for a bit. But will soon settle down and fall asleep because she is exhausted.

DH thinks she may be teething again because he noticed her chewing on her blanket. Not sure what it is, but I have no hopes of her sleeping through the night tonight. She always goes to sleep fine, but then will wake up a few hours later. I am wondering if it could be night terrors. My neighbor's 2 yr old has that.

Let's talk about the Thanksgiving Desserts!

The first the thing I worked on was John's Pear and Almond-Cream Tart from Everyday Food. Disaster struck with this dessert. I broke my mini-food processor making the almond-cream filling. It handled the grinding of the almonds and sugar fine, but it couldn't handle the cold butter and the rest of the ingredients. What I thought were wisps of powder sugar coming from the machine was actually smoke! I burned out the motor. I thought that if I let the machine cool down it would work again. Nope, it's dead. I finally gave up and rummaged around to find my Cuisinart Food Processor. I hardly ever use it since I don't have any kitchen counter space. After finding the base, I had to find the parts which were stored somewhere else. DH could hear me grumbling the whole time from the living room.The full sized food processor made the almond-cream filling in two seconds. Oh well, live and learn. I broke a small appliance for the sake of convenience. Now, I need a new mini one so I can make Melody's food without hauling out that big thing.

It turned out so well. Everyone really loved this tart. So, it was worth the trouble, I guess. I thought it might be a bad omen for the rest of the baking that night, but everything turned out fine.The next thing to go into the oven was the Mini-Pumpkin Cheesecakes. I can't leave cheesecakes out of the dessert line up because there are people at Thanksgiving that are big fans of my cheesecakes. I usually do a big cheesecake, but this year I made mini ones since the ones I made this Summer were so well received.

Here is the recipe:
-2 (8 oz) pkgs of cream cheese
-1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
-1/2 cup of sugar
-1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
-a pinch of ground cloves and nutmeg
-2 large eggs
-Any 9 inch crust you want. I used vanilla wafers in cupcakes liners in a muffin pan, so I got 12 mini cheesecakes.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I set mine for 325 since I use a convection oven.
2. Mix all of the ingredients together (EXCEPT THE EGGS) with an electric mixer until well blended.
3. Then add the eggs until blended.
4. Bake for 40 min if using a graham cracker crust. I baked the mini ones for about 30-35 min. I tested them at 25 min with a toothpick. Let cool and then refrigerate, preferably overnight, but 4 hours will work, too.

I wanted a stabilized whipped cream topping, so I bloomed 1/2 teaspoon of gelatin in 1 tablespoon of warm water. I took one cup of heavy cream and whipped it halfway with sugar to taste. Then I added the the gelatin water and whipped it until firm. I piped it onto the cheesecakes with a piping bag and tip, but you can just spoon it on top. I did this about 45 min before I had to leave the house and it held up fine.The 3rd dessert was an Apple Tart. This Apple Tart was really big. I only had one 9 inch tart pan (which was being used for the Pear Tart), and the rest were too small, so I used a 11 inch for this tart. This is always a crowd pleaser and easy to make.On Thanksgiving Day, I decided to whip out one more dessert, Cranberry Apple Cake, during the afternoon. I couldn't take a picture before we left because it was dark out already, so all I have to show is a crappy picture in the fluorescent lighting after it was cut into many times. Everyone raved about this one also. Saying how light it was. Yeah, butter and heavy cream will make a dessert very light tasting.

The recipe is actually a Pear and Blueberry Cake. I used the recipe before to make a Apple Cake, using apples in the batter and on top. This time, I used cranberries in the batter and apples on top. Maybe someday, I will make the real version of the recipe. The only trouble I ran into was the baking time. Even after 50 min, the center was gooey. I have a convection oven which usually speeds up the baking time, but it was not so with this cake. I tented it with some aluminum foil so the top wouldn't brown any further, and baked it for another 30-40 min. Because it took longer to bake, I was running out of the house with this cake and into the car.

I hope everyone in the US had a nice Holiday. The day after, DH, had to work. While I was feeding Melody lunch, I heard trickling water. We have a half bath right off the kitchen and the sink was overflowing with water. The water was not coming from my place. In our condo, a lot of the apartment's pipes are connected and there must be a blockage, so when someone in the upper level took a shower, the water had no where to go but up my sink and all over the bathroom. My apartment is on the street level. I think I wanted to cry at that point, but I came to my senses and ran to get a bowl to scoop the water into the toilet as it was coming. I stopped halfway and the rest of the water drained.

The rest of the afternoon was spent talking to the condo management and waiting for plumbers. This was while tending to a cranky baby. She wanted to sleep, but couldn't because the plumbers were making a ton of noise. I kept her busy with toys while they worked. Then my neighbor rang my doorbell to tell me that the plumbers broke through to her bathroom sink. Our bathrooms are back to back, so the snake they used went up her sink. They had to repair her side before finishing up my bathroom. It was a Horrible Friday!!

If any of you actually read this whole thing, I commend you. You all deserve a prize. I will be having a Giveaway soon, so be sure to stay tuned and enter.


hetty said...

Of course I read all the way through your blog! I always do. I love hearing about all of your experiences - both good and bad! That bathroom things sounded really bad! As did the mini food processor! I don't know how you were able to bake all those goodies along with all the other things you do! Everything looked so good! Melody is adorable, as always. I am sure she will get back into her night time routine as soon as all this holiday stuff is over. But then it will be Christmas and you will probably have to start all over again! Oh, well.

Rima said...

Yummy yummy desserts. Suketu and I cooked for 50 people at his parents' home on was very exciting, but I thought it would never end :) Glad you had a good time.

Reading your plumbing issues also reminded me that the sink and dishwasher at Suketu's parents' home stopped working half way during the party. It was clogged...fortunately a plumber came by in 45 mins.

Micki said...

Those desserts are making me forget about my pumpkin pie coma. Yum!

Nettie said...

OH! That was quite the weekend! I bet you're glad it's monday for a change. Melody is likely teething. It really sucks and that's all to it. I think my oldest son has night terrors. He wakes up fairly often crying in his sleep and he's 3.

All of your deserts look great! You've inspired me to bake, it is quite the accomplishment :D
I made mini cheesecakes Thursday. They were OK but I think I'll try to make them sweeter next time.

I hope to see you Wednesday!

rohanknitter said...

Oh you poor thing! You sure had your share of struggles, altho it sure looks like the dessert came out beautifully. I was feeling kind of grumbly because my husband worked quite a bit this weekend, but at least no one was screaming at night and no plumbing acted up!!

Julie said...

Gosh, I'm worn out just reading your post. Here's hoping you get some sleep!

The desserts look amazing as always. I have to admit, I loathe pulling out the big food processor because it's so darn heavy but boy does it make a difference.

flanthrower said...

Oh goodness! You deserve an award for being able to do it all! I don't know how you do it? These days I can barely get myself fed and to bed. I can't imagine trying to care for a baby too and baking loads of beautiful desserts. And they're all beautifully photographed!

Sharon themadknitter said...

I'm sad to hear about the night terrors. Little ones do need their schedules which are hard for parents to keep. She will settle down and sleep again all night, it's hard when you are tried and she is tried.

Thank you for the pumpkin recipes. Everything looks delious. Keep the pictures coming.

JL said...

O Evie and Melody are so adorable. It is such a pleasure watching them playing. Thanks for the photos.

Your pies makes me wanted to bake for the to the supermarket to get the ingrendients......jackie

P/S. so sorry to hear about the water pipes. hope everything is fine now.

Jelly Wares said...

woweee, this sure is one super post!!! Your little girl is growing into a real little independent spirit, I hope the sleeping problems clear up for you soon. All of the baking looks absolutely delicious!!!! You could go into catering with the quality of your goods... I can't wait give the whipped cream a try with gelatine...

Take CAre
Jodie :)

caitlyn said...

Wow, you had a hectic weekend! Melody and Evie look so adorable together. I hope she will sleep through the night soon.
Your desserts are amazing! Excuse me while I go wipe the drool off my keyboard...

Sarah said...

Yum! All of your desserts look gorgeous. Funny, I had the same idea about the pear cake, although I didn't get around to it. (Although with leftover pears and cranberries in the house, I think I really ought to, don't you?)

Agnes said...

First of all, sorry about the mini-processor and the bathroom problem. I had a bad dream during the holiday ... in my dream, all the water pipes in my apartment erupted and the whole place was under water. I am just so sorry to read that my bad dream was partly your reality!
All your desserts look great ... made me drool actually. We also had apple tart on Thanksgiving night ... but my own lazy version. :)
I hope everything is okay now.

Jennie said...

Yummy looking desserts =)
Hope your plumbling problem was fixed.

LaBean said...

Where to start. Tarts. Yummy!! Hmm I wish I could figure out why the last cake took so long.. Annoying, huh? Very strange.

Melody. It could very well be teething or night terrors. But by my third child I just chalked it up to, 'parenting a child this age is just mind-bending'. We never figured out what it was and no new teeth on the horizon.

Plumbing. Ugh.. I had a neighbor with back-to-back plumbing(and I do now, too) and it was always a disaster when one of our sinks got clogged. I'm sorry you had to go through all that. At least your plumber showed up the same day, though. ;)

And Evie and Melody just look so sweet playing together. :)

Tina said...

What a week you have had, in every possible way!

The desserts look fantastic. I may have to make the cheesecakes in muffin tins for my party this Saturday. So far I only have cookies planned for the sweets so that it's all finger foods but these would be perfect! I even have the little mini muffin tin... hmmmm....

Poor baby. Although I just can't see her crying and screaming from that cute photo of her playing with a friend. Hope you all get a good night's sleep tonight.

What a plumbing mess. We haven't had hot water for the past 6 hours and I thought that was bad. You are giving a new meaning to the day Black Friday!

Hannah said...

Really beautiful tart! I'm sure that would make for a perfect ending to a Thanksgiving feast.

I hope you get a chance to relax soon... That all sounds crazy!

YayaOrchid said...

I too have read the entire post. I love to hear about Melody!
You are such an accomplished knitter, but you are also tops in baking desserts. I want to try the mini cheesecakes.

Sorry to hear about your plumbing woes. They always happen when you least need them!

CynCyn said...

Please send all leftovers to:


Does Melody have the frozen teethers? keys and disks that you put in the freezer so she can num num num on them and numb her gums?

Kirsten said...

Sounds like some good and some not so good at all. Those desserts look wonderful, I love desserts, especially fruit ones. So sorry about Melody's night waking, that can be so frustrating when it comes out of left field. Hopefully it will resolve itself soon!

Saira said...

Hope you are getting some sleep now. The baking looks fantastic, my mouth is watering.

Kristy said...

Last year, when I had to call a plumber after returning home from Thanksgiving, I learned that the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers! Congrats, you just became part of that statistic :)

Rebekah said...

what a bummer about the sleeping and bathroom crises. I hope things get back to normal for you soon. Those desserts look delicious!

My Best Friend Calls Me Martha said...

Mmmmm!!! Those mini cheesecakes look DELISH!!!

Corrie said...

well I read the whole post...what adorable babies (love melody's sweater as you'd call it), what delicious sweets ...oh you bake well, teething is not good but you're doing all the right things and what a nightmare with the water...I don't think I could react so quickly to putting water in the toilet so well done and just another good reason to be at home...imagine the damage if you weren't!

*karen said...

Can you come to my house and bake for me? Please, please, please??

Jeanne said...

Melody is such a cutie! I'm sorry that she is having such a hard time at night - hopefully it will pass and you can get some sleep! The desserts look amazing - wow.

Muddling Through said...

Good grief! I thought I had done well with three pies, but you have put me to shame. :(

Everything looks wonderful, and I"ll have to try those pumpkin cheesecakes. Yum.....