Hobbit Breakfast

Do you enjoy meals that are comprised of oil, salt, and heart disease? I sure do!

Back in Idaho we grew/raised most of the ingredients needed for a vaguely omelette-shaped meal, dubbed the “Hobbit Breakfast” on account of its size. But when I moved to the east coast, I didn’t have the ingredients readily available anymore, so I stopped making it.

Until today!

I thought I’d share how to make it, because the internet is full of quality recipes that are picture-perfect and healthy, but somewhat lacking in ugly creations that equal five McDonald’s meals in calories. Frankenstein food needs representation too.

Your ingredients are:

  • Eggs
  • Milk, I guess, if you aren’t lactose intolerant
  • Some kind of seasoning. Italian, maybe
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Potatoes
  • Ham
  • Grated cheese
  • English muffins with butter, toasted

You’ll note that the amount of each ingredient is not listed. This is because it all varies depending on how much you can eat and it’s all very haphazard to begin with.

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You start with start with two potatoes. It’s usually two. Sometimes in Idaho we’d pull a potato the size of a celebrity’s purse dog from the ground, and then I’d just use one. Sometimes I’d use five if they were the size of a chicken egg. It all depends on how much your body can handle; the goal is to stuff it so you don’t want to eat for another week.

These should be diced to about the size of your thumbnail, because they cook faster and brown more evenly if they’re smaller. Then- this is the key part, really- you pour a lot of olive oil over the top of them. This is no time for moderation. We’re not healthy here.

Finally, you throw a lot of seasoning over the top. The type of seasoning doesn’t really matter; I use “Mrs. Dash” when I have it, but anything vaguely garlicky will work. Add a little salt, set it over mid-low heat, and stir enough that it doesn’t stick to the pan too often.

While that’s cooking, I start with the omelette.

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I recommend living in your rich employers’ house, so that you can use their Wisconsin 10 Year Aged Cheddar in your terrible breakfast food.

Now, you can put whatever you like in your omelette. Some people like onions, and those people are wrong. But it’s a free country, so while I can’t endorse putting in anything other than cheese, ham, and some of those diced potatoes, you can do whatever you feel is right.

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Proportions here vary depending on the size of the individual. I’m a tiny person (much like a hobbit, you see?), so my egg mix is two eggs and a small splash of milk. I toss in some grated cheese to hold it together better. Salt and pepper to mask the fact that everything besides the cheese is poor quality, and maybe a little garlic or onion powder as well.

Then, when the potatoes are done frying, you put them aside on a plate for later, turn down the heat on the stove and pour the egg mix into the pan.

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Yes, the pan that’s all dirty and greasy from the potatoes still. But yes, I also pour out excess oil beforehand. You want flavor, not a massage parlor in your mouth.

Back home our stove lacked finesse. There was high, medium, and low, and that was all we needed. Here, I tried putting my omelette on “low” and discovered that on a nice stove, “low” means “simmer your omelette mix for six hours.” Thus, this part took longer than I expected it to.

While the omelette was slowly doing nothing, I started heating the tea water (of course), pre-buttered some English Muffins, and threw them in the toaster.

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The funny thing about Thomas English Muffins is that they are not even close to the best English Muffins I’ve ever had. They taste like I tried to make English Muffins but forgot to add something like salt or love. And yet, the east coast doesn’t seem to sell any other kind. In Idaho, you often had several options; here, the English Muffin section of the bread aisle is dominated by Thomas and their eighteen different types of bland.

Note: Do not butter your English Muffins ahead of time if you don’t have a toaster oven. I much prefer buttering beforehand so that it melts into the bread as it toasts, but I don’t feel that would work well when your muffins are toasted vertically.

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When your omelette is on the verge of hardening up, drop your omelette contents onto one side so that they start to heat. Then, I recommend getting too impatient with the speed at which your employer’s stove is cooking, so try to flip it prematurely.

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Perfect.

The good news is that this recipe is very forgiving, because the end result is supposed to look bad. Even when you flip one of these omelettes poorly, it’s still all right because I always divide the omelette down the middle, to make it easier to move around and share with others.

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This could be the front cover of the next Martha Stewart book.

At this point, if you’ve timed it right (and I often haven’t), your tea should be done, your muffins should be toasted, and your potatoes are probably cold so heat those up in the microwave real quick. After that, all you have to do is throw everything together on a plate.

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There you are, Hobbit Breakfast.

It may look terrible, but the high salt content makes it very addictive, and once you’ve convinced someone to try it they will never stop badgering you to make it again (hello, sister). Alternatively, you could have a McDonald’s breakfast and delay your impending heart attack by a few years.

Happy eating!

Adventure Is Where the Squabbles Are

My schedule as a nanny is something like that joke sign people hang on small shops that displays the hours.

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It’s funny until it’s about you.

I start my day from somewhere between 6 and 6:30, sometimes have a break midday from either 12:00 to 2:00 or 1:00 to 3:00, often now have nothing to do from 9:30 to 3:30 for school, but when they’re not in school and the parents have an activity they want them to attend I work solidly through the day until 6:00 or 7:00, and when the parents get stuck at work I may end up putting the kids to bed from around 8:00 to 9:00.

I probably work an average of ten hours a day. It’s better because they’re in school now, but I also work one to three weekends a month. Random ones. That I only know a month in advance. Planning vacations in advance? Hah.

It’s really not so bad, but there’s a horrible sense of dread on a free Sunday when you know that you won’t have another day off for 12 days.

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It looks something like this.

This last weekend was a working weekend. They’re generally not so bad if I can run all three to six boys through my “nanny routine”, which is very carefully calculated so that at the end of the day everyone is still alive, nobody is missing any useful body parts, and the house is still where it was in the morning.

But not this weekend, oh no! This weekend, Mrs. Parent was free and decided that we should stuff all the boys into a car and take them to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Motto: You will find hay in odd places for weeks after.

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It’s like home in Idaho, only with more tourists and fewer mountain men.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is not really such a bad place. It has a lot of activities for the children to do (often separately, which is conducive for less arguing), it’s very spacious, and it sells apple cider donuts, of which I too often eat six in one day. But Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is not made for loading three to six very argumentative boys into a very small car and driving two and a half hours in order to reach it.

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Did YOU ever have a dream to spend time on an observation deck, looking at corn? Cherry Crest Adventure Farms!

Fortunately, as mentioned above, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has quite a lot of things for children to do, such as go-carts, wagon rides, bounce areas, large slides, and shuffleboard.

We spent an hour at shuffleboard. I had never played shuffleboard before this, but in my head I always associated it with the game that old people play on cruise ships in their retirement. I can now safely say that it is exactly like that, only that boys under the age of 10 will play it just as obsessively. (Until you start to win, and then it’s the worst game in the world.)

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Arguably the best part of the place are the really nifty trains that go by every hour or so. Look at them. They’re so pretty.

As the sun oozed towards the horizon I thought we might head back home, so that we could perhaps reach home at a time that was not 11:00 at night, but all three to six boys had other plans, and these plans were: Dutch Wonderland.

Dutch Wonderland is, also, not so bad of a place. At least, normally it’s not. It’s a pretty bad place during the Halloween crush when you have to stand in lines that are eight times as long as the duration of the ride, and you have three to six boys who are unpleasantly tired and are finding everything the others say to be fundamentally wrong and stupid.

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Dutch Wonderland’s Halloween special involved shuffling forwards in a very slow line for forty minutes and being rewarded every twenty feet with enough candy to wire a child for a solid three days.

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Easily the best part of the day was seeing the dinosaur eggs Dutch Wonderland had dressed up for Halloween.

By the time we were out of there, around 7:00 at night, all three to six boys were hungry. “Aha!” I said. “I prepared for this!” and from my nanny bag I produced large bags of pretzels, fruit roll-ups, and vanilla milk for each boy. Cue the contented munching for approximately ten minutes.

And then, a small, horribly sad voice from the back: “Mommy, I’m still hungry.”

When you’re a mother, you can’t argue with a voice like that. “Why don’t you let the food in your stomach settle, and we’ll see if you’re still hungry in–” I began, by which point we had already pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru.

At 7:45 I found myself awkwardly crawling around the van, attempting to place small handfuls of food in napkin bowls on little laps. The youngest contentedly watched me spread out the food, and then said matter-of-factly, “Miss Jean, you can wrap it up and put it back in the bag and I will eat it when I get home.”

I knew you weren’t really hungry and just tired, you little gnomes.

7:55 found me finished packing all the food back up. 7:57 found half of the boys sound asleep. Called it.

In the end, it was only 10:45 by the time we got back, and Mr. Parent was home by then, so I helped carry in a sleeping boy and then retreated to my room to grumpily drink tea and stalk around my small living space in nothing but a bathrobe.

I stress-ate most of my “Raven Claw” cashews.