As Matthew recently pointed out, the way these family trips work is that the family goes somewhere fun, and Robbi stays at home working at all hours on some tortured byzantine project while forgetting to eat and sleep. This particular family trip is all about me designing a new website for our new children’s book press (awesome name to be revealed later). We don’t know when it’s actually going to launch, because, well, everything depends on how much I can get done this week (did I mention I’m also trying to illustrate 3 or 4 books at the same time? No? Silly me!). But just so you know, we’re on it. It’s happening!

I am trying out the new Adobe product, Muse (http://muse NULL.adobe, to design the front page, as we want it to do something more complicated than I can figure out in WordPress. Muse is in Beta right now, which means it’s free, but also means that there isn’t a lot of documentation of how to make things work (which is why I love WordPress – excellent forums and tutorials and people who know what they’re doing). So, I’m kind of hacking around blindly, but for those of you who do print design but are afraid of the web, I think it’s a pretty intuitive tool. That said, those of you who are all about web are probably steaming about the way that Muse mangles code and makes what you do look like it’s not important. And that said, whoah lordy am I glad I don’t have to be writing code (so much) this week. Because, you see, I mangle it even more than Muse does.

So, that’s what I’m up to.

Because web stuff really taxes my addled little brain, I really have to focus in order to figure things out. And this is the part where I forget to eat. I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and was told I had actually lost weight since my last check-up. You wouldn’t know this to look at me.

Though I didn’t get a slap on the wrist, I was firmly told that it’s a trend that should not be allowed to continue. Which means that I am on the lookout for quick, easy, calorie-loaded meals that I can eat at my computer. Any suggestions? Yesterday I found a recipe for “Dutch Baby” (thanks, angrychicken (http://angrychicken NULL.typepad NULL.html)!) and decided I’d make the version mentioned in the comments with apples on the bottom. It’s basically a sweet version of Yorkshire Pudding (which we have at Swanson Family Christmases where it has been dubbed “Who Pudding” to go along with the “Roast Beast”) – buttery, fatty, delicious.

It puffs up in the oven like a popover, so you have to eat it right away. I especially like the crispy bits around the edges.

Though I’m sure it’s jam-packed with calories, I have to say it’s not much of a meal. Best served hot, I basically snarfed the whole thing down before even leaving the kitchen, and though it was 1am when I ate it, I found myself peckish again at 3. Sigh. So, any recipe suggestions would be great. And then there’s also the fact that I live next door to a bakery.

For those of you who are interested, the recipe is as follows:

1/2 C flour
1/2 C milk
1/2 C egg (the recipe called for four, but I had enormous ones, so only used two. Someone in the comments had said to use equal parts of all three, so I measured out the eggs first)
2 T butter

Preheat oven to 425. Put butter in cast iron skillet or pyrex baking dish (mine was an 8″ square). Put it in the oven until the butter is melted and hot and the pan is also hot hot hot. If you’re having apples on the bottom, slice them, sprinkle them with sugar, put them in the hot buttered pan and bake until they’re a little tender (5 minutes or so). Add cinnamon or whatever you want to season them. Mix the flour, milk and eggs into a batter. When the pan and butter are back to hot hot hot again, pour the batter into the pan and immediately return it to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes for a softer pudding, or 25 for something a little crispier. Top with sugar and lemon or syrup or jam or whatever.

Yum, yum, yum. And SO easy.

And for those of you who have gotten this far without passing out from boredom, here’s a little sneak peak at a piece of our new identity:

“A two-headed jackass,” you say? “That has got to be you guys!”

Right you are. We wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. Good luck with the work. I have to say, I think you need to work on how the family trip works so that more include you. :)

    what about a crockpot full of food, to peck at through the day?

  2. Jennifer,

    Bite your tongue! If Robbi were included on family trips, we wouldn’t have a web site. Since you seem to enjoy this one, be careful what you wish for. Plus, there’s no way that Robbi would have gotten to eat that entire buttery fluffy apple cinnamon number if the rest of us had been in town. Don’t let Robbi fool you. She is happy to be rid of us! And on a final note, how are the rest of us supposed to fit in the barn considering that belly she’s slinging around?

    The defense rests,


  3. Robbi,
    I have no doubt you’ll master Muse in no time, you brilliant girl you. And you have Iggy with you, don’t you? Put her to work in the kitchen, or send her around to Doug’s for some fabulous sandwiches and pastries!
    Carry on!

  4. Jenifer:

    Clearly you don’t know Iggy. Any sandwiches or pastries she might be sent to fetch would end up as high-priced fertilizer for the small strip of grass outside the barn.


  5. I forget to eat too, Robbi, when I’m working on a big project. Or to be more accurate, my food intake diversity plummets. Right now I’m working on a novel, and my diet goes like this:

    6:00pm Wake up from nap, have string cheese
    6:30pm Eat a Pink Lady apple
    7:00pm String cheese
    8:00pm Pink Lady apple
    9:30pm String cheese
    11:00pm Pink Lady apple
    6:00pm-1:00am Coffee (continuous)

    Good luck :)

  6. Monica – this is very comforting. I believe I am at least a half step ahead of you. I DID put bread in the toaster, yesterday, for example – it seems you are unwilling to even use electricity for your work diet. (I will not reveal that I forgot about my toast and found it later in the day, dessicated, blackened and sad, when I went to toast some more bread.)

    It also reminds me that one of my favorite meals is apples and cheese. In fact, I think I’ll have some right now. Thanks for the tip.

    And good luck on the novel. I hear Pink Lady apples are brain food.

  7. Robbi – peanut butter.

  8. Jenifer – yes. That was what was originally meant to go on the toast. Before I forgot.
    Peanut butter and apples is another good combo.

    Or maybe I just like apples.

  9. Well, in my defense, every morning I mount a tremendous output of emotional and electrical energy by putting yogurt, orange juice and frozen fruit into a blender and pressing the button. It’s all downhill from there.

  10. Make macncheese with several cheeses: gruyere, sharp cheddar, mozzarella, asiago. put some apples and pears in there too. And squash. And coconut oil especially. Cooking with it makes everything taste great and it is super high in fat that is very good for you. Guacamole! Avocados have lots of good fat too. I’m sure you’ll make it through just fine, but I like thinking of food so, there you go. : )

  11. Exciting news! Robbi, I’m sure you’ll be great with Muse–maybe even more so with the addition of Nutella? It makes all sorts of stuff even more nutritious (or, as the jar says, it’s an important part of a balanced breakfast). Bananas, apples, bread, pretzels, pancakes, croissants, waffles…

    Good luck! I’m looking forward to seeing the new venture!

  12. Coming to the party late… All these sound delicious.

    How about grated sharp cheese, like cheddar or gruyere, to the Dutch Baby batter or sprinkled on top as soon as it comes out of the oven.

    AND– Living Next to a Bakery!

    Either survive on the aroma or have them make regularly scheduled deliveries so you eat as you work.