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The Working Mom - Mom’s Guilty Little Pleasures

By Tammy Danielson

Fri, Jun 7th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

As a kid, I remember looking in the fridge and being totally grossed out when seeing a jar of pickled herring staring back at me. It got worse when I searched the freezer for chocolate chip ice cream and found, instead, the grownup flavors of maple nut or cherry nut. Yuck. What were my parents thinking?! My taste buds were pretty well stuck in a pizza and chicken nuggets mode back then and many foods that my parents liked fell into my food dictionary as “old people food.”

So either I am getting older or food options are getting better. I will go for the latter. Considering that I had never tried an avocado until I was thirty, it is shocking to me that they hold their own on the top of my guilty pleasures list. My family will not eat them so I can leave them on the counter all week without the risk of them being eaten. Of course, the same cannot be said for chocolate or cookies. So, what is in your food dictionary? Do you stick to the same things that make you happy or do you venture out to see if you can add another item to your list? While I am exploring and trying new foods, I have been quite a curmudgeon when it came to my favorite drink. There was no substitute or new flavor that could sway me away---just go home Mello Yellow.

For over 25 years, my guilty pleasure has been Diet Dew. Oh how I love that bubbly fruit flavored drink. And, since I do not drink coffee, soda has been my morning beverage of choice. I justified my addiction by noting that I do not have other vices so what was wrong with a little pop? After all, I was not spending my time out boozing, cheating, or gambling so a little Diet Dew was O.K….right?

My habit was to drink around three to four cans of pop a day until a friend mentioned to me that carbonation is not good for you and actually expands your stomach. Well, there it was…cue music and the heavens open! The answer to those extra pounds and the larger stomach I was carrying around! So, much to my disbelief, I said goodbye to my favorite beverage this past April and replaced it with water. It has been a boring and uneventful change to say the least. The fruit flavored waters give me heartburn, so those are out. And, yes, I said heartburn…gosh, I am getting old. Plain, noncarbonated, and unflavored water and I have started a not so exciting love-hate relationship and cheating has crossed my mind. The pounds have not dropped off like everyone says they will so my next big step will be adding exercise back into my life. However, I am less hungry all of the time, and the caffeine that I thought kept me going each day actually made me groggy and, I have more energy without it.

Do I still crave pop? Yes. My morning ritual of stopping at the convenience store in Chatfield to pick up my drink and a snack is just as pleasurable as it used to be. Expecting another uneventful experience, I trudged in for a bottled water from their cooler and what do I see? Someone had put a can of Diet Dew in that slot instead! Was it fate? Were we meant to be together again? Oh the temptation! But, I quickly banished those thoughts and reached around it and grabbed water. After all, a few more weeks and I will be out of the rhubarb and on my way to more challenges. Hey, speaking of rhubarb...try this one. A little more work but well worth it.


Rhubarb Dessert


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup margarine or butter


1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup margarine or butter



In a medium bowl, combine the flour and the powdered sugar. Using a pastry blender, or a fork, cut in the margarine or butter, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into bottom of an ungreased, 9” x 9” baking dish. Bake at 350° F for 10 minutes. Note: Crust will be only partially done.


In a medium bowl, combine the filling ingredients and blend well using a fork. Pour over the partially baked crust.


In another medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar and the cinnamon. Use a pastry blender, or a fork, and cut in the margarine or butter, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the filling. Bake at 350° F for an additional 55 - 60 minutes, or until the topping is light golden brown and the rhubarb is tender. Cut dessert into squares and serve warm with yogurt or whipped cream.

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