The Slow-Cooked Sentence

A morality tale

Rachael Conlin Levy
Ivan pumpkin
Ivan, curious. All photos by Dance in the Kitchen.

Update: I’ve discovered Steady Mom written by Jaime Martin, who challenged mama bloggers to write a post in 30 minutes or less. Since I find myself spending more time in front of the computer than I’d like, I decided to participate. Check out how other mothers write with children underfoot. I particularly liked “New Orleans Misadventure,” “Sorta Teaching 911” and “Worms, Worms, Worms.” -Rachael

Oh, what a difference a year (and three older siblings) makes. Here’s my small son peeking into last year’s “spider pumpkin” carved by an older brother. And here’s today’s boy guarding the chocolate chips inside his muffin.

Ivan pumpkin2
Ivan, dangerous.

Ivan recently walked up to me, kicked me in the shin and then stomped on my foot. As I suppressed a smile and hauled him off to the bedroom to cool off, I could think of no one else to blame for his behavior than a pirate, a dead girl and a cockroach.

Sam halloweenChaja halloweenMax halloween

When the three arrived home from school, I bared the bruise on my ankle and explained how the punches and kicks they inflict on each other were setting a poor example. They looked a bit sheepish, apologized and promised to be better citizens.

Harmony prevailed. The pirate poured cider and offered it to the dead girl; the cockroach requested help with his robot costume and received it; the dead girl shared a favorite book. Five minutes later the timer went off, pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins were pulled from the oven, and peace fled from the house. The cockroach and the dead girl began to fight over who had the biggest muffin; cider spilled on homework and a chase ensued. Meanwhile, the pirate raided the unattended muffins for chocolate chips.

Pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet, November 2006

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or 1/8 teaspoon each of cloves, ginger and nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, spices, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until golden brown and wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. About 25-30 minutes.

Alternative: Omit chocolate chips. Mix 1 teaspoon cinnamon with 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle on top of batter. Then bake.

8 responses to “A morality tale”

  1. Hee-hee! Love today's post- I'm very impressed by your patience and humour and I might just try the muffin recipe next week.

  2. All of your kids are adorable!

  3. Rachael Levy says:

    Thanks Audrey and Kyndale. But it's not good parenting you're reading, just good editing. I conveniently omit my role — barking at them to grab a rag to mop up cider, collaring them to stop the fight, and demanding that the stolen chocolate chips be turned over. (I eat them later, in secret.)

  4. chelsey says:

    I love the pictures of their costumes!

  5. Oh how those Monkeys do what those Monkeys see! It's amazing how that works. And it's also amazing when peace and harmony sweep in and rearrange the furniture.

    LOVE the recipe – sounds delish!

  6. Hi Rachael,
    Thanks so much for the link! The muffins sound wonderful. I'll have to give them a try.

    When my boys were young, I'd buy cans of pureed pumpkin, separate it into little tubs, the serve as baby food. Cheap. Healthy. Easy to freeze.

  7. Anyway I could subscribe via email or as a Blogger Follower?

  8. Rachael Levy says:

    Hi Caroline! Thanks for your interest in the blog. To subscribe via email, try If you have a Blogger account, you should be able to add The Slow-Cooked Sentence from your Dashboard.

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