There were days in my life that I called myself Ursula.  It was before the days of the character in The Little Mermaid movie, so she had nothing to do with it.  I am not sure why I chose that name, but on days when I thought I would go insane if I heard “Mom” one more time, I would tell my three children, “My name’s not Mom, it’s Ursula.”

“Mom, I’m hungry.” “Mom, he’s picking on me.”  “Mom, I need you to come here.”  “Mom, I don’t know how to do this.”  “Mom, no one will play with me.”  “Mom, can you sew the button back on my coat?”  “Mom, the cat just barfed.”  “Mom, can we bake cookies?”  “Mom, she broke that, I didn’t.”  “Mom, the clothes I want to wear tomorrow need washed.”  “Mom, I can’t find my other shoe.”  “Mom, did you forget I have an orthodontist appointment?”  “Mom, my toe hurts.”   “Mom, he’s making faces at me!”  This list could go on and on, but it establishes why I called myself Ursula.

My children laugh about “Ursula” today.  They all have children of their own; perhaps they understand now why she came to be, although the two oldest would hear, “Daddy” instead of “Mom.”  Ursula happened on the days when I was feeling overwhelmed – it seemed as if things were coming at me from every direction and I needed to be twelve people at once.  I wanted to hide somewhere and soak up peace and quiet, but there were those who depended on me to solve their issues.  Even when their dad was home, Mom was usually the go-to person for needs or complaints.

These days, my house is quiet.  My pets don’t usually tattle on each other.  They do let me know when they are hungry or want to snuggle, but they don’t call me “Mom.”  It seems like forever since I have been Ursula.  My oldest “child” turns 40 on Saturday, the youngest was 36 in September, and my middle son will be 38 in November.  I wouldn’t go back to the days of craziness; however, sometimes I miss the joys that came with them.  Hugs, accompanied by “Mommy, I love you!” never turned me into Ursula.

Harvest and Halloween parties abound this time of year.  Feeling overwhelmed at the idea of what to provide for munchies?  Go crackers!  I love crunching on oyster crackers, so it wasn’t hard for me to decide to find recipes that seasoned them different ways.  The fourth recipe is one I tried several years back and found to be quite tasty.


Seasoned Oyster Crackers

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons olive oil (I used light-tasting)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 (10-ounce) bag oyster crackers

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine butter and remaining ingredients except crackers.  Heat until butter is melted.

Place crackers in a large bowl.  Pour melted butter mixture over crackers.  Toss to combine until crackers are fully coated with butter.

Spread crackers in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Stir gently, returning to a single layer.  Bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Yield: 4-5 cups.


Salted Toffee Oyster Crackers

4 cups oyster crackers

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray foil lightly with cooking spray.

Melt butter in skillet over medium-low heat.  Add brown sugar.  Stir continuously while slowly bringing mixture to a boil.  Turn up heat; boil on medium for 3 minutes or until it becomes lighter in color, stirring continuously.  Turn off heat and gently stir in crackers.

Working quickly, pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading into a single layer if possible.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Place on middle rack in oven; bake 2 minutes.

Remove from oven, stir gently, and spread into single layer.

Return to oven for 3 minutes.

Remove from oven; place baking sheet on cooling rack for 5 minutes.

Pick up edges of foil; bring together so that crackers separate from each other.  Remove from foil; break into individual pieces.  Cool completely.

Store in airtight container.


Dill-Seasoned Oyster Crackers

1 (10-ounce) bag oyster crackers

1/3 cup fresh dill, minced

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/3 cup light olive oil

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Toss until all crackers are fully covered in mixture.  Spread in single layer on baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Turn off oven; allow crackers to sit in oven for additional 20 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Serve warm, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container.  Will keep for 1 month if properly stored.


Caramel Crackers

2 (6.6-ounce bags) Goldfish® Original soup crackers

4 cups pretzel sticks

1 cup dry-roasted peanuts (optional)

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine crackers, pretzels, and nuts in a greased, large shallow baking pan.  In a saucepan, bring butter, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat; add vanilla and soda.  Pour caramel mixture over cracker mixture; stir well.  Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Pour onto waxed paper and break apart; allow to cool.  Store in airtight container.