(*top picture note-those are the Sweet Potato Biscuits we baked today…can you tell which one my son made all by himself?)
I woke up this morning with a headache bigger than my head. The husband and I went out last night and it seems that The Mommy drank a bit too much wine… Sometimes I forget I’m not 21 anymore. I laid in bed for a good extra hour before I was physically able to get up. I was incredibly fortunate to have such a sweet little boy who just cuddled in there with me and kissed my boo-boo head. He even stayed quiet while (I think) I cat napped for a couple of minutes. (Please understand this is not a regular occurrence in my house, last night was definitely an exception to the normal) But as the day progressed, I was able to successfully rehydrate, sweat and cold-shower my pains away. But not before I locked my son in the car in the YMCA parking lot for 5 minutes before my mom came to the rescue with coat hangers. (Totally not my fault!! My car locks on its own a few seconds after I unlock it, unless I start the engine.) If leaving my 2 year old in charge of the house while I hangover-napped wasn’t enough to make me feel like a goofy failure, then locking him in the hot car definitely was. Trust me.)
When my son woke up from his nap I decided we would make some Sweet Potato Biscuits for my in-laws who are coming to stay with us tomorrow night. It would be the perfect breakfast for a lazy Saturday morning and my son really loves them too. He also loves to cook with me, almost as much as I love having him in there with me. I feel like he’s been cooking with me all his life. In the womb he was the most active when I was in the kitchen- he’d flip and kick like crazy every time I was in there. When he was a baby I’d hold him in the crook of one arm while cooking with the other (sometimes I’d even be nursing him while cooking, which I do not recommend unless you have supervision and please don’t tell your doctor..I can’t even believe I’m telling you right now), and when he was big enough he’d sit in the back carrier and peek around my shoulder to get a better view. Now he’s old enough to actually contribute to the meal and it makes me so happy.
So today I pulled up his little step stool and we began to mix the dry ingredients into the wet. We got down and dirty in the bowl with our hands, a storm of flour misting the kitchen. We turned the dough onto the counter and kneaded it until it was smooth. We took turns rolling it out and cutting it into big circles with a whiskey glass before we baked them in the oven. We had an amazing time. I had an amazing time! By the end of it, the kitchen was a disaster and we were both covered with flour but it was well worth it, (which means a lot coming from a neat-control freak like myself). I can’t stress enough without sounding like a preacher how important it is to get your kids in the kitchen with you, so I won’t even try. After the biscuits were done he looked so proud and knew exactly which one was his. He could barely wait for them to cool before taking a big, happy bite.
Our next job was to make dinner: Steamed Pork Dumplings, well actually I called them Pork Stars because after I folded the opposite sides of the won ton wrappers together at the top, it looked just like his favorite shape. I gave him the pack of won ton wrappers and his job was to hand me one when I was ready. He sat on the counter right next to where I was working and if it wasn’t for him being right there, I would have burned the house down. I had put a piece of parchment paper near the range where the dumplings were steaming and apparently it was a little too close to the flame. All I know is that my son simply said, ‘Uh Oh’ and I looked up to see flames. I extinguished it properly and there were no casualties to report, but now I know better than to cook 24 hours after I drink too much.
*Mom’s Sweet Potato Biscuits
-2 cups cooked, peeled and mashed sweet potatoes
-1 stick of butter, melted
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tsp salt
-3 cups flour
-3 tsp baking powder
-Puree the sweet potatoes and melted butter in your food processor and in a separate bowl, mix all your dry ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and mix with a wooden spoon until almost incorporated and then switch to your hands to completely form into a dough. Turn this onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to about 1 inch thick. Cut into desired size and bake at 400* on un-greased cookie sheets for about 15minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and beautifully risen to the point where you must take a bite right now. (*note-these are reaaalllly good with honey-orange butter. Like, really good.)
-1 lb of ground pork
-1 TB of cornstarch
-2 green onions, minced
-1 carrot, grated
-1 TB of fresh ginger, finely grated
-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or grated
-half the zest of 1 lime
-2-3 splashes of low sodium soy sauce
-Mix all the ingredients together and make a taste-test ball to cook in the microwave. Decide now, rather than after your dumplings are served, if it needs more of anything. Fill a small bowl with water to help you seal the edges of your stars. Take a teaspoon or so of the filling and place in the middle of a won ton wrapper and wet the edges of the wrapper with your finger dipped in water before pinching the opposing sides together until it resembles a star. Place as many as you can fit into your steamer and steam for about 3 minutes. Serve with a simple Dipping Sauce of… soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds.