Monday, July 15, 2013

Ugga Mugga! (with a side of Peach Kuchen)

Every once in a while, my child presents me with a riddle that sometimes takes months to solve. Matthew has always been a bit of a parrot and usually picks up the most random words and phrases. When he first started talking, he kept referring to "Aum da beara!" He would say it over and over again and seemed very upset that we had no idea what he was talking about. He would say it in the car while pointing out the window or while playing with his construction trucks at home. Paul and I would sit together and wrack our brains trying to think of what he could possibly be trying to say! Finally, one day we picked him up from the YMCA childcare after a Saturday morning workout and he showed us the picture of Bob the Builder he had been coloring: "Aum da beara!" And suddenly a lightbulb went off. He had been saying "Bob the Builder" all along, especially when we were passing a construction sites where the trucks and the men with their yellow hard hats were in plain sight or while playing with his construction trucks at home. We never ever watch Bob the Builder, but Matthew had seen it at the Y while playing and it stuck in his head.

For the last several weeks, Matthew has presented a new mystery for us to solve. Every night as we tuck him into bed, he will give both of us a hug and kiss and then rub his forehead against ours while saying: "Ugga Mugga, Mommy! Ugga Mugga, Daddy! Ugga Mugga, Baby Emma!"

What the heck was this new little bedtime ritual he had established? And where did he learn this "Ugga Mugga" business? We had no idea. But it was kind of cute and unique, so we have just been going with it.

Today, I sat down to watch an episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, a cartoon knock-off of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood that centers around a re-vamped version of Daniel Striped Tiger, a character from the Neighborhood of Make Believe. The show is fun, cute, sweet, and teaches kids basic lessons about sharing and getting along with one another. I think it is extremely well done and Matthew loves it. I was barely paying attention to what was going on (I am currently re-reading David McCullough's John Adams and use every opportunity to knock out a few more chapters) but suddenly I heard the words "ugga mugga." Apparently, that is what Daniel Tiger and his parents say to one another while giving Eskimo kisses. A quick internet search later revealed that on the original Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, in the Neighborhood of Make Believe Daniel Striped Tiger would affectionately rub noses with Lady Aberlin and say "ugga mugga!" This unique little show of affection was carried over into the new cartoon spinoff. Ah-HA! Mystery solved!

Notice how Matthew's shoes are on the wrong feet with the thong shoved between the wrong toes?

I think our family has officially adopted the "ugga mugga" as part of our bedtime routine. It's sweet and cute and I love that Matthew immediately picked that up and chose to make it his own special way of showing love. I'm just so thankful to know that it came from a reputable source and not some of the super lame children's shows he's seen at the YMCA like Bubble Guppies (we have a serious shortage of creativity in this country) or BoohBah (what ARE those things? Mutated marshmallows?!)

I had to give Paul one big Ugga Mugga myself after he made this delicious Peach Kuchen for dinner the other night. Yes. We had dessert for dinner. See, we had planned on grilling a delicious feast but suddenly these super-scary dark clouds rolled in and dumped enough rain on us to send the entire county into a state of emergency due to flash flooding. I was still pretty set on making Paul grill in the rain, but once I noticed gigantic bolts of lightening immediately followed by booming thunder, I figured it probably was not safe having him stand in the little 2-inch deep puddle of water that had collected about his beloved Weber. But Paul still wanted to make dinner - and since he is dieting and craving everything he should not be eating - he made us a Peach Kuchen. And oh my...was it delicious!

This kuchen would most assuredly work well with pears, plums, nectarines, and thinly sliced apples, although I think the peaches are the way to go!

Fresh Peach Kuchen

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk (or cream if you are Paul)
3-4 peaches, blanched/shocked to remove skins and sliced fruit
1/2 cup brown sugar (Paul reduced this by about half)
2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a medium sized bowl cream butter and sugar. Then beat in eggs, followed by the vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture with milk.  Mix well.  Scrape into a greased 9-inch springform pan.

Arrange the fruit on top, gently press into batter.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Place pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until top is browned and toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in pan then run a knife around edge of pan and remove sides. Cool on wire rack. Serve with coffee and/or ice cream.

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