Friday, May 14, 2010

So, Mikey and Mr. T Walk Into a Bar...

I've never been someone who required a lot of sleep. In Kindergarten I would fake a deep slumber during nap time in hopes of procuring a sucker. My exaggerated snores surely fooled Mrs. Beth and Mrs. Maggie. Even after a week of hard core "sallying down the alley," canoeing with/getting stuck in the middle of the lake with Kristi Carter, and enjoying archery to the point that I convinced myself that having my own recurve bow television program might actually be a better career path than truck driver or marine biologist, I returned from 4-H camp bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. In college I could stay out all night [library time was important to me] and be up by 6:30 am raring to go (I made this up to Caroline by 1)inadvertently getting a bowl cut and 2) driving her around Danville in my little blue Ford Ranger blaring NSYNC).

Not much has changed as I near no-longer-in-my-20s years old. Nonetheless, I have been waking up surprisingly early, even for me, over the past few weeks. At first, I attributed this to the obvious: during the spring semester, I had to get up at 4:00 on T/Th in order to make it to UK on time; my body just got accustomed to that schedule. I have decided, however, that perhaps there is more to the story. ...[dramatic pause]

Revised conclusion: I just really love cereal. I have been waking up between 4:45 and 5:15 am for absolutely no rational reason. When I do, however, the happiness that results from the thought of witnessing a calming sunrise (which I do so enjoy) pales in comparison to that inspired by visions of cereal combinations I can put into my favorite deep blue, hand-thrown, ceramic bowl (I reserve the Chilly Willy bowls for ice cream). No joke, I wake up nearly as excited as Leigh and I used to do on Christmas Eve upon hearing the unmistakable sound of reindeer hooves.

I've had a lot on my mind lately and although this sounds silly, I really like the fact that little things like this bring me joy. I hope that you all have things equally unimportant to smile about.:)

So, I choose to spend today honoring neither my mother nor my best friend, but the social good that is Cereal.

Liza's Current Favorites (this changes every so often):
1. Golden Grahams
2. Honey Nut or Multi-Grain Cheerios
3. Ohs
4. Close race - Frosted Flakes or Rice Krispies
5. Trix
6. Quaker Oatmeal Squares

A little impromptu poem:
My eyes brighten when I spot the politically incorrect syrups.
Neither enticingly packaged frozen desserts, nor ripe avocados, can steal my attention.
For the syrup, so stickily alluring, implies breakfast and breakfast implies love,
love in the form of 1/2" X 1/2" squares and circles,
love in completely unnatural colored nuggets,
love promoted by stuttering tigers and impossibly waif rabbits,
love in each of those boxes so magnificently reflected in Aunt Jemima's apron.
Cereal aisle, I am home.

Excerpt from "Breakfast with Gerard Manley Hopkins" by Anthony Brode
Serious over my cereals I broke one breakfast my fast
With something-to-read-searching retinas retrained by print on a packet;
Sprung rhythm sprang, and I found (the mind fact-mining at last)
An influence Father-Hopkins-fathered on the copy-writing racket.

Parenthesis-proud, bracket-bold, happiest with hyphens,
The writers stagger intoxicated by terms, adjective-unsteadied—
Describing in graceless phrases fizzling like soda siphons
All things, crisp, crunchy, malted, tangy, sugared and shredded.

Far too, yes, too early we are urged to be purged, to savour
Salt, malt, and phosphates in English twisted and torn,
As, sparkled and spangled with sugar for a can't-be-resisted flavour,
Come fresh-from-the-oven flakes direct from the heart of the corn.


"Cereal" by Shel Silverstein
Rice Krispies stay crisp, though they now and then lisp
As they whisper their “thnap crackle pop” in your bowl,
And though you pour a tall can
Of milk on your ALL Bran,
It never will turn into glop (so I’m told).

I know Shredded Wheat will stay crumbly and neat
Though you soak it a year in the depths of the ocean,
And from breakfast and lunch
Your Post Toasties will crunch
To show you their love and undying devotion.

Oaties stay oaty, and Wheat Chex stay floaty,
And nothing can take the puff out of Puffed Rice.
But I wish they’d invent a cereal for someone
Who like it

All floppy
And drippy
And droppy
And lumpy
And sloppy
And soggy
And gloopy
And gooey
And mushy

***And, a video tribute to my morning delight***

Despite the fact that I had already had a far-more-than-one-serving-size bowl of a Frosted Flakes/Honey Nut Cheerios concoction, I decided to treat myself (because I had worked so hard watering my tomato plants and feeding my pups) to one of the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins that I in theory made for the Morgans' vacation drive. And, by the way, I love that when Leigh said, "well, we know the drive [to Destin] will take two days; we're just going to head out and drive as far as we can before Isabella gets too upset about being in the carseat," Lisa Perdue followed with, "Oh, a Celina vacation."

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
You may have noticed from previous recipes that I really love treats that remind me of fall (by far my favorite season)- scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin. Regardless of bias, however, I do think these muffins are quite tasty. I also know that they are much easier than the Pumpkin Scones or Gingerbread Biscotti. If only I had something comparable to Lindsey's Avocado Yummy Scale...

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup solid packed, canned pumpkin puree
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used regular sized, but the mini chips might work better)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Then alternately add one-third of the flour mixture and one half of the pumpkin puree, mixing after each addition. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins.
Note: The batter can be baked in a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan. Butter or spray the loaf pan with a non stick vegetable spray. Bake the loaf in a 350 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.


  1. I am making a comment within minutes of your post - can you tell I have nothing to do at work and no one is around?

    And I am feeling an even deeper kinship on account of our mutual love of cereal (I don't know that I ever really knew of this love you felt, nor do I know if you knew of mine). I can remember being excited about a new box of cereal even when I was little, and it is still one of my favorite things to buy. I even bought Golden Grahams the other day, as a tribute to your fb update. I don't think I've bought them...well, ever.

    Some of my favorites, both as a treat, and tried and true daily good ones:

    - Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls (quite cheap at Trader Joe's)
    - Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins (great for dessert, especially if you let it get a little soggy)
    - Blueberry Morning (haven't had it in forever, but I loved it in high school)
    - All Bran (yeah, the more cardboard the better!)

    The Museum of Science and Industry once had an exhibit where you could "make" your own cereal. It was AWESOME.

  2. Oh, I just assumed that a quick reply = really inspiring blog post. :(

    Of course I knew of your love. Despite being preoccupied by the three bowls of pasta and 4 1/2 chocolate chip cookies I would enjoy at dinner time freshman year, I remember how much you enjoyed Cowan's cereal bar. I am glad, however, to now have a specific list of your favorites:)! I really love the way Peanut Butter Puffins sound. I will have to hit up the Marrowbone Trader Joe's tomorrow morning.
    Oh, and Blueberry Morning...another excellent choice.

    Great idea. Maybe I'll set up a cereal museum for my summer job.

    In case you were wondering, by "Honey Nut Cheerios" "golden grahams" etc. I obviously mean the generic versions of those. I am single handedly keeping "Clover Valley" and "Great Value" in business.

    Your comment was one of my favorite of all time.

  3. I am making a comment within minutes of your post - (DELETED)can you tell I have nothing to do at work and no one is around?(DELETED(there is no strikethrough option) CAN YOU TELL THAT YOU BLOG IS ENTIRELY ENGROSSING AND I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU LATEST POST SINCE YESTERDAY?

    And I was thinking about this yesterday - you are one of those very rare, very special people who is able to tell EVERYONE that their words are the funniest, their dance moves the best, their culinary concoctions the tastiest...and this heaping praise makes EVERYONE feel just wonderful because somehow you manage to mean it - or reeeeeally seem like you mean it - every stinkin' time.

    Love you, dearie!

    (and I'm sorry if I somehow completely forgot about your fondness for cereal. I've been trying to keep in mind how you like your eggs and coffee for the next time you visit. I'll stock on on generic cereals and cola, too;) )

  4. Girl who can't spellMay 14, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    apparently my R does not work when I'm trying to make loud comments - youR blog - youR latest post. GEEZ.

  5. I love you so much, Caroline. I don't know how you make everyone else feel, but you sure make me feel wonderful.
    And, your dance moves ARE the best (well, if not the best, at least better than your spelling:))

    Miss you much.

    PS - Kudos on the "DELETED"/strikethrough number