Our congregation shares the building with two other congregations. Our services of a Sunday are generally three hours long. In a spirit of mutual toleration and love, we share the building by overlapping the meetings a tad, and rotating the start times so no one is stuck with “the bad slot” forever.
Now, if you ask me, every single rotation spot is both good and bad. Nine-ay-em church means we’re up and at them a bit before normal, so Zombie is a standard personality option for my Minions, but we’re also done at noon, which means even if we gab for awhile after choir practice, we’re still home and having lunch at one, and crashed for naps at one oh seven.
Eleven o’clock church sounds divine at first, and it can be, too… sleep in, breakfast in a leisurely fashion, laze about in various stages of Sunday Best, and roll along merrily. However, 10:00 is too late for breakfast, too early for lunch, and the Main Event of receiving the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will inevitably fall right in the middle of the toddler’s nap, and she will not be happy about that.
The third rotation is even a bit worse: start at one, out three hours later. That leaves you reluctant to get up and get going in the morning, because everyone will have to switch gears (and clothes) right after lunch anyhow, and by the time you’re home, it’s dinner time, and no time left for a respectable Sunday snooze with a small person drooling into your neck.
For 2011, we’re back to the first rotation. In order to make that happen, and no one show up to church entirely naked, or lacking key wardrobe items like underpants or shoes, or sporting well-buttered hair (because, really, it’s just not the same as pomade), there’s a goodly bit of pre-planning that must be in place. I’m not known for high levels of functionality early in the day. My Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal fellow is capable of functionality early in the day, and some days, he does haul out and assist pouring all his zombie offspring into their church clothes, but he is also very slightly wicked, and sometimes just sits there snickering into his pillow listening to me in Pretending To Be Awake mode. His reasoning? “You’re the one who insists they not be raised as heathens.”
Coordinating five to six people, two of whom insist on things like mirrors to assist in the donning of Eyelashes for the Lord (the spouse and father of whom is pretty sure we’re going to be Darned to Heck for espousing such philosophies), means cooking real breakfast is out. And feeding the small kids bran flakes right before church seems a little… impetuous. Good bowel health is not something we want to experience right in the middle of church. So a quick breakfast is in, one I don’t have to be too involved in. Oatmeal? Yep. That’s pretty frequent. If I’m feeling really spiffy, I’ll do scrambled eggs in tortillas (with salsa for me, because YUM). (Lefty won’t eat those, because she generally doesn’t eat bread products, weird kid.) But rotating those two items gets… boring.
So this Saturday night, at 11:30pm, I decided I’d better make good on my promise of blueberry muffin cake, or the Minions would revolt.
(Why is it blueberry muffin cake? Remember the Slacker Mom thing? That falls over into the preparation of muffins. Greasing those tins is time consuming, and I’d rather be watching BBC costume dramas on Netflix. So I plop the whole mass into a 9×13 cake pan, and cut it up like cake in the morning. They’re happy, I’m happy… what’s not to love?)
Grabbing my trusty 1969 Betty Crocker (which makes me nostalgic… it’s the year my parents got married, four years before I was even a glint in my father’s eye), I flipped to page 55: Favorite Coffee Cake, and read the ingredients.
And here’s where the Slacker Baking comes in.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (got that. Unbleached!)
- 1.5 cups sugar (oh. Um. That bin is way over across the kitchen. But sweet is sweet, right? Brown sugar it is!)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder (check! In a cute found jar with a pasted on label, no less! The labels are only semi-Slacker!)
- 1.5 teaspoons salt (righty oh… heck. I think Spicy and Lefty have made off with my measuring spoons again. Maybe in the bathtub? Well, my cupped palm is about one teaspoon. And too much salt isn’t good for you, anyhow. Let’s wing it.)
- 1/2 cup shortening (sigh. That’s on a shelf too high to reach without Minion #1, and she’s been in bed for an hour. The Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal one is snoring, and will not appreciate being disturbed for Reaching Things, even though that was in his marriage vows. Maybe use butter? Nope… didn’t go shopping today, and we’re down to a smidgen that I’d rather use in a glaze for the top. But… I have this half-cup of cream cheese that has been lurking in the fridge for the better part of a week. And it’s full fat. And people make pastry with cream cheese in the dough all the time. And then there’s the classic Danish. So let’s cut in the cream cheese instead. Wing, wing, wing!)
- 1.5 cups milk (drat. See the Shortening Issue, Butter. None canned, either, and the dry milk canister is empty. Note to self: go shopping this week, okay? But in the meantime: I do have sour cream. So, one half-cup of sour cream, one cup water. Voila! Tangy Milk-Substitute!)
- 2 eggs (righteous eggs from lovely hens. No slacking on the egg front around here!)
And, since a few more interesting flavors are always welcome, I also added:
- several generous sprinkles of vanilla extract
- a good teaspoon or so of cinnamon
- about a cup of blueberries from the freezer (breakfast isn’t complete without purple gunk, right?)
- and the squoze-up bits of half an orange that’s been in the fridge for two days. Waste not, want not.
I stirred it all up, mooshed it into a greased pan (I can reach the lard), and popped it into the oven just before midnight, so technically? Still Sabbath Prep, not Sabbath Slacker Labor.
When it comes out, I plan to use the dregs of the butter, a bit of orange juice concentrate from the freezer, and some powdered sugar (which is on the second shelf, so I can reach it!), and drizzle over a buttery, orangey glaze, and call it breakfast.
Starve the Minions overnight, and they’ll eat just about anything. I do hope it tastes as good as it’s smelling. That abiding hope is, after all, why I’ve blogged my Slacker Baking Substitutions Process, so there’s some chance of recreating it in the future.