Thursday Afternoon Talkin’

Ok, so I just about t itl

ed this post, Thursday Afternoon Drinks. Then I was like, Um, Mel…no. Not a good title.

I finally figured out the Diet Coke thing…which may change our “coffee” date slightly some weeks.

On Thursdays after Bible study I usually go with friends to either McD’s or BK so their kids can play and we can chat.

And I always have Diet Coke.

Always. (Yum…I love Diet Coke.

Do you know that about me yet? Well, now you do!)

Hence the reason I’m always drinking it on Thursdays! Today I’d rather have coffee, though, so after I finish it, I’m there. I found dark chocolate creamer last week that is so, so GOOD. Mmmmm.

So it’s been kind of a blah week in the Schroeder house. We’re all good…just lacking energy to do much. It would help if we could have a warm, sunny day…all day. (Not just part of it!) We’re still waiting on the house (and getting slightly impatient) and to top it off, the shower went crazy on us a couple days ago.


I’m trying not to be completely annoyed. But is it so much to ask to just be able to take a hot shower whenever I want?

And I have to say here that I just need to suck it up and be thankful and remember all the cold showers I took in Indonesia due to various water issues.

This. Is. Not. That. Bad.

Thanks to those of you who prayed for Don, the man I posted about a couple of days ago. He passed away early this morning. Please pray for his family and those who were close to him. He will be missed. I am always so sad for the people who are left behind to cry and grieve and hurt. He got the better end of the deal, and I know the choir in Heaven is already sounding sweeter with his tenor voice adding to it.

I’ve really struggled with his situation/death this week. It’s very sobering to see someone and, literally, be standing a few feet away from them and praising God together…then a few hours later they’re gone. From what I know of him, I think it’s incredible that he “went out” doing what he was so very gifted at and what blessed so many people. But that doesn’t make it easy for those who loved him.

Next Tuesday is a big day for me…for me. Not really for anyone else, but that’s ok. :) I’ll be the guest blogger here, and I’m scared. Those thoughts that I so easily splashed onto my computer are now going to be published for a lot of people to see. It’s cool. And scary. And my stomach turns thinking about it. I’ve never been published before so it’s kind of a dream that’s finally happening. Cool cool. πŸ˜€

So if you actually were joining me for an afternoon drink…ahem, talk…I’d be pulling out the runny oatmeal cream pies and grayish-purple scones.

It’s just been that kind of week in the kitchen of Mel. I found a recipe on Monday for Oatmeal Cream Pies that looked UH-MAZ-ING. I had to try them.

The recipe even looked more whoopie pie-ish, so I decided to give it a go. And here’s the thing…you should always read the reviews that people post because…um, these people have actually TRIED the recipe. I did read some of them.

:) Several said that the cookie parts were too crunchy so I baked them for a lot less time and they turned out ok. But the buttercream in

the middle? I even borrowed my awesome neighbor’ s mixer

so I could actually make the recipe the RIGHT way and whipped the SNOT out of that butter! (Ok, figuratively…that’s kind of a gross choice of words, isn’t it? :P)

It still ran everywhere.


I put them in the fridge after I slapped them together, and that salvaged the batch for the most part…as long as we eat them cold.

Enter cooking venture #2. I made these scones over the weekend for my in-laws but substituted strawberries for raspberries. They were slightly messy to make but not really that bad. And if they were good with strawberries, I figured they’d be even better with raspberries! (Oh, and they were to take to Bible study…aka: people outside of my house were going to eat them.)

I don’t know what went wrong.

First, the dough was so sticky that I ended up adding about two extra cups of flour just to get it to a point where I could work with it. (And it was still sticky!)

Then, the juice from the raspberries ended up turning the scones this grayish-purple color. I can’t say I was a fan of the color, but whatever. Color is secondary to taste and texture.

And while they tasted fine, the texture was slightly rubbery.

I was oh-so-very-frustrated by the end of the scone-baking drama yesterday that I vowed I will never bake again.

If this is true, you can guarantee that my hubby and I will both lose weight! And…ahem…that my kitchen will be a lot cleaner. Really, some people should just not be allowed in a kitchen, and I think I might be one of them.

But enough about my cooking skills…or lack of them.

Do you have any plans for Mother’s Day?

So this is kinda my first. I mean, I was…um…really pregnant last year.

But with Tob still in Indo and me in the States, there wasn’t really a celebration. And I was kind of expecting this year to be a big deal which I realized is pretty selfish. So I’m gonna bare my soul for a minute. This is a coffee date, after all…usually there’s a lot of soul-b

aring going on!

Expectations have gotten me into trouble in the past, and I can see where they’re taking me this weekend, too. It isn’t good.

Sunday is Mother’s Day.

You know, that day I’ve looked forward to for almost 33 years.

In my narrow, self-centered, bratty way, I expected it to be about me. And I realized today that I need to stop that. I mean, we all have our bratty moments, but I think I have more than the average person.

Bear with me…I promise I’m getting there.

As I was driving home from McD’s today, I was reminded (for about the millionth time!) that I have the most beautiful daughter. She blesses me every single day…every single hour…every single minute…and second, too. I love her so much.

And she is someone I celebrate being mommy to every day, not just one day out of the year.

So, hon, if you read this. (And you better cause supposedly you keep up on the blog… ;)) Don’t go out of your way to make Sunday a crazy, all-about-Mel day. Instead, let’s just spend the day together…the three of us. And be happy that we get to be the three of us.

That’s what I want for Mother’s Day.

And with that, I think I’ll close…cause I topped 1,000 words a few paragraphs back.

Happy Thursday to you all! And Feliz Cinco de Mayo, tambien!


Pisang Goreng

Today I finally made some Indonesian food.

After being back in the States almost eleven months…took me long enough. πŸ˜‰

Pisang goreng (fried banana) is my favorite Indonesian food. It could be one of my favorite foods ever. In Indo, it’s usually served with brown sugar and shredded cheese, which I love. But I’ve also had it with ice cream, which I almost love as much.

Next week I’m going to talk about Indonesia at Bible study, and I thought it would be fun to make pisang goreng. I’m usually a procrastinator and don’t try out recipes ahead of time, but instead, trust the judgment of the reviews online.

I know,

I know. Not smart.

And with my lack of cooking skills, there was no way I

was going to do that this time.

They turned out really yummy. I’m going to have to make another batch tomorrow because the recipe needs to be tweaked. (I’ll tell you what I’m planning to change on the recipe below.) Check it out and give it a try.

Mmmmmm. πŸ˜€

Pisang Goreng

1 1/4 c. flour
2 T sugar (I’m going to double the sugar next time…they needed to be sweeter.

That might be because the bananas were green, though.)
1/4 T vanilla powder

(I skipped this because we didn’t have it.)
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
2 T butter, melted
1 tsp rum flavoring

(I substituted vanilla because I don’t like rum flavoring.

4 ripe bananas, sliced (I prefer them greener, and I only used two. I think three is about right.)
oil for fying

In a bowl, mix flour, sug

ar, and vanilla powder. Add milk, egg, butter, and rum (vanilla), and mix well. Add sliced bananas.

The original recipe says to use a deep fryer…I just fried them in shallow oil in a regular frying pan and cooked them a few minutes on each side.

Top with brown sugar and cheese, vanilla ice cream, or whatever you want.


I was missing Indo this weekend…it was kind of nice to have a little piece of it today. :)


Grasshopper Brownies

Before you start reading, grasshopper = mint…right? (Did anyone else know this? I didn’t…)

I had another culinary success today.

This does not happen often, mostly because a) I rarely follow a recipe;

and b) I have a slight inability (?) to follow a recipe. So, considering the fact tha

t this is a rare occurrence, it is definitely worth blogging. And who doesn’t love brownies

? Seriously, if you just answered, “me!”, then I think maybe you need to leave now.

We will not get along very well. πŸ˜‰

Ok…I really love my friend, Londa’s blog. She’s so sweet and funny, AND she has Fat Fridays.

(Which are making me gain weight causing me to exercise huge amounts of self control.)

Last Friday she posted the recipe for these brownies. The original recipe called for cookie mix, but she made them with a brownie mix, and I have to agree that brownies are the way to go.

(How can you go wrong with chocolate?!)

And I have to say, The. World. Will. Never. Be. The. Same.

I was oh-so-practically-drooling when I mixed up the frosting.

And I scraped every single little drop out of that bowl with a spatula so I could lick it! πŸ˜€

I didn’t even connect until AFTER I made them that Thursday is St.

Patty’ s Day, too.

And since I have the ingredients for another pan of them, I’m thinking that maybe some lucky neighbors will be the recipients of some really, really yummy brownies.

I love brownies. Did I mention that


Now WHY are you still reading

? Go bake!


Whoopie Pies

Seriously, I can’t even type that title without laughing outloud.

Who the heck named these things?

Makes me think of a fart or something.

Sorry if that’s TMI. πŸ˜€

So we had some friends over for dinner tonight, and I speculated…based on some things I’d seen on Facebook…that they had a slight (or not so slight?) obsession with whoo pie


So I decided to make them.

I went with the Red Velvet recipe that my blogging friend posted on her site a few weeks ago.

Holy cow, were they good.

For my first attempt, they turned out ok. (Meaning how they looked.) I made the cookie parts Way.

Too. Big. But that’s ok. :) And the cream filling would have been better (and probably thicker) if I’d had a mixer… but we are mixer-less in the Schroeder house.

So it kind of ran everywhere, but

it tasted good anyway.

And there was some left over…hello me + spoon when no one is looking!


It will probably take a few more attempts before I can get it right.

But here ya go…a whoopie pie. (HaHaHaHaHa!!!!!)

Big laughs.


Friday Coffee: Cafe Firefly

So a couple weeks ago I said that some friends and I were going to try out different coffee shops and let you know what we find.

I realize this is (pretty much) useless information for anyone who doesn’t live in the Chicago area…but maybe you’ll be passing through someday. (And if you do, please let me know so I can meet you for coffee!)

And if you are from the area, consider it your own personal guide on where to find the best java by someone who loves the stuff.


So I need to set some criteria, otherwise my coffee house reviews will have no rhyme or reason…although I do tend to have a random brain, so maybe I should just fly by the seat of my pants on these reviews.

We’ll see.

So a little background before I get going on my first “official” coffee house review.

Every other Friday afternoon Maelie and I go to coffee with our friends Alison and Kirsten.

It’s more just social time than anything, but I always come away from our time feeling encouraged in some way, so it’s definitely good for us. And Maelie really likes coffee dates, even if she’s too young to k now it right

now. Haha :)

A couple weeks ago, Kirsten mentioned something about me blogging about the different places we have coffee…and I figured, hmmm…that could be fun. So let’s give it a try! I mean, I live in (or close to) the suburbs of Chicago…we definitely aren’t going to run out of places to have coffee!

So here we go… (and I apologize for not having pictures with this one…next time I will take my camera!)

Today was Cafe Firefly in Algonquin, which is just about a ten minute drive from my house in Carpentersville.

Atmosphere: We fell in love with the atmosphere of the place immediately.

It’s small…but cozy, and we were lucky enough to grab the two big couches in the back.

Coffee: I’d give it a 9 out of 10…and I’m a coffee snob, so that says something. I had a Mexican Mocha (made with spicy chocolate), decaf (of course…I want my daughter to sleep!), skim. I left the whip on it because it’s Friday. I don’t usually let myself have it, though, because so much of the bad-for-you fat comes from the whip.

It was really, really good…I think I will have a hard time going back to Cafe Firefly and NOT ordering that drink.

Food: I don’t always order food when we go for our Friday coffee, but I hadn’t had lunch today, so I had the chicken salad, and my two friends had the tuna. I think if I order food there again, I would go with

the tuna. It was good… but the drinks were better.

(But that IS why it’s a coffee shop. :))

Prices: About average for a coffee shop. For a sandwich and coffee I paid around $10, which is not extremely cheap, but not on the outrageous side, either. Since I have a (pretty) strict coffee budget, I probably won’t be eating lunch very often when we go for our Friday coffee, but it was okay today.

Extras: The owner is really friendly. I love small coffee shops for that reason…it’s more like a f

amily atmosphere. They have a lot of board games if you like that kind

of thing. Tonight they also had Open Mic…which was really tempting–I’ m hoping they have it again.

Now I just need a friend to go with me… :)

Recommended: Definitely. I’ll go back for the Mexican Mocha if

for nothing else. And if they have another Open Mic night

? I’m totally there.

So for our first “official” Friday Coffee, Cafe Firefly was a good choice.

Give it a try if you’re ever in the area!


How to Save $20 on Dinner…

I had a moment of genius tonight.

(Pardon me while I dislocate my shoulder patting myself on the back.) :)

I had been craving deep dish Chicago pizza for a few days… it’s amazing stuff.

We’ve eaten it several times since moving here, but it’s a) expensive and b) terrible for you.

Sorry to be blunt.

But despite the expensive-ness and terrible-ness, it is still one of my favorite things to eat.

But this afternoon, I started thinking… hmmm, I bet I could make it.

Pizza crust mix? yep, there was actually some in the cupboard.

Cheese? Check.

Pepperoni? Wow, we really do have everything we need.

Sauce? There’s always some in the cupboard.

So I got to work… and came up with this.

Take note that 1) it actually looked like Chicago deep dish pizza; and, more importantly, 2) it actually tasted like it, too.

Yep, I’m feeling like a genius tonight. And yep, I’ m taking orders.