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When Recipes Fail: A Commentary on Sucking in the Kitchen and Stumbling in Life

20130704-134110.jpgOver the past 24 hours, I have sucked in the kitchen! There is no fairy magic here. I have just plain sucked. It started yesterday when I botched a double batch of Trix Crispy Treats. I had to bring a dessert to my daughters’ swim team banquet for 180 people. Clearly, these would be the perfect choice, and it was all well and fine, until 5 minutes before we had to leave, I attempted to pop them out of the pan and slice them in to neat rectangles. I was eager to pile them artfully on my fancy cake plate and present the perfect fairy-style wonder.

Only, it was not very magical. The treats stuck to the pan (which I greased) and the marshmallow never solidified! Not to worry. I figured I’d just pop these suckers in to the fridge and firm them up real quick!

UUUHHH…NO!

They remained gooey, but we had to leave, so I hacked off the presentable parts, wrapped the hopelessly gooey ones up and off we went. Well, the car was very warm; it was EXTREMELY HOT & HUMID outside, so by the time they were placed on the table, even the good ones had morphed into a rainbow glob resembling a pile of unicorn poop!

Excuses were plentiful. This had to be the result of the weather, or the cheap generic brand marshmallows that my husband got “a great deal on”. Or maybe it was the lack of sleep over the past two nights. Night #1 was consumed by an over-excited, sleepless 8 year old who just couldn’t wait for the Taylor Swift concert, and night # 2 was consumed by the concert itself. Add on very early morning swimming championships, and no wonder these were not a huge success.

OK, move on, not a big deal. There is more to life than Trix Treats.

Yup, there’s plenty more to life, like horrible chicken.

Onto failed recipe # 2. This afternoon, I was perusing the handy dandy internet when I stumbled across a recipe for the best barbeque chicken, like…ever. (Sorry, Taylor Swift is still fresh on my mind) The only problem was that the first step involved a dry rub, but the idiot who wrote the guide, egotistically refused to give his rub recipe. No worries. I thought, let’s improvise and make our own, ya know…a little bit of this & a little dash of that… OK?

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NO! Not OK!

My rub recipe was way too strong, resulting in the most beautiful but awful tasting chicken on the planet. Really? Who screws up barbeque chicken? Certainly not the Fabulous Fairy! WRONG! I am shamefully raising my hand and owning my defeat. It was horrible and inedible. We ate green beans and roasted potatoes for dinner followed by a bowl of consolation mint chocolate chip ice cream instead. AWESOME!

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Wow! At this point I accepted defeat, blamed a searing sinus headache and retreated to bed, only to lie there awake. Thoughts just came racing into my head, seemingly out of nowhere, about one of my daughters and some upcoming meetings about her school program next year. The next thing I knew, I was wide awake and in tears. Not wanting to wake up my husband, I crept back down to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and sort things out. After all, I am a teacher in real life. I have a master’s degree in education plus a gazillion credits past that, and I have taught almost every subject. She’s going into middle school. I teach middle school. It should be a no brainer! Right?

Super Awesome! In all of my mental processing, I burnt the frozen waffle that I popped in the toaster. Clearly, my cooking skills have now regressed to those of a 4 year old.

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So here I found myself holding a cup of tea and a burnt waffle, strike # 3, all while shedding tears of frustration over a meeting that is not even firmly scheduled yet. This is where my moment of clarity came.

My kitchen disasters had nothing to do with the weather, cheap marshmallows, egotistical cooks, or sinus headaches. They were a result of my lack of a recipe in life. My thoughts, fears, critical points to be made, test scores, and witty remarks were all mixed around in my mind like a bad meal. I realized that I need a real plan to move forward with my daughter’s meetings and educational needs. Here I am, The Fabulous Fairy, who can pull out a recipe for almost anything (except a barbecue rub), but trying to tip-toe through a touchy situation without a recipe for success and progress when it came to my own child. Whew!

Lesson learned, tears over.

So, here I sit, at the counter in my kitchen, my recipe central, hacking at the pathetic pile of second string unicorn poop, crafting a recipe for my daughter. I am confident that I will find a plan, and eventually some sleep, but I am going to approach my hurdles with a bit more foresight, organization, and personal forgiveness.

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I guess sometimes we have to remember that we need to nourish our hearts and minds as well as we nourish our bodies.

Good night. Here’s to hoping dinner is more successful tomorrow.

~Kelly, “The Not Always Fabulous Fairy”

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Blood Orange Margaritas

1-IMG_2901Over the past year, I’ve developed a passion for blood oranges. I don’t know why, I just think they’re cool.  I’ve tried blood orange infused vodka, blood orange spiked lemonade, blood orange martinis, blood orange balsamic glaze, and yesterday, I struck gold with blood orange margaritas.

It was 4th of July, and my husband took all of the kids to the pool, so I could cook and prepare for an evening picnic.  I cooked, cleaned, and vacuumed the downstairs. The house was clean, empty, and quiet, so I decided that I deserved a cocktail. I chose to make myself a fresh margarita, so I pulled out my little juicer, a big glass, the tequila, and a handful limes, but when rummaging around in the fruit drawer, I found two lonely, forgotten blood oranges. Hmmmm… I wondered if they would work in my margarita.

Oh boy! Did they ever work! These margaritas were spectacular! Even my husband, who is not a fan of margaritas (a huge character flaw, I know, but I love him anyway…) thought they were tasty. They were so good that I debated having one for breakfast this morning. It’s kind of like orange juice, right?

No worries, my better judgment prevailed, and I opted for coffee, but you can bet, if I were on a tropical vacation, without my kids, I’d be having one of these suckers with my breakfast!  But for now, I’m not on vacation, and I have three kids who want to go back to the pool this afternoon, so my margarita indulgence will have to wait for socially appropriate, responsible-parent cocktail consuming hours (tonight, after the kids go to bed). As a consolation, to get them off my mind, and preserved in cyber eternity, I am sharing the recipe with you.

I promise I don’t have a drinking problem. They’re just that good! I implore you to try them.

 

Ingredients:

8-9 limes

2 blood oranges

½ Cup of tequila

2/3 cup of Grand Marnier

1 full batch of Simple Syrup

Crushed ice

 

Preparation:

  1. Juice the limes (about 1 cup of juice)1-IMG_2888
  2. Peel the blood oranges and puree them in a blender, then strain the puree in a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through with a rubber spatula.1-IMG_2884
  3. Mix lime juice, strained orange puree, tequila, Grand Marnier, and simple syrup.1-IMG_2894
  4. Pour into a glass over the crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with a slice of lime and a slice of blood orange.1-IMG_2878

** How to make simple syrup– In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of water & 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Allow it to cool.

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Trix Crispies

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I cannot take credit for this idea, but I just had to share!! I popped onto Pinterest to find a quick and easy dessert for a picnic we were attending, when I stumbled onto this awesome recipe for “Trix Crispies”! They were so easy, very tasty, and adorable. I highly suggest you pop over to this blog and try them.

http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com/2012/04/trix-krispies.html

Check out these pictures of mine:

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Positively Perfect Progressive Dinner Party–Roasted Tomato Caprice in Garlic Bread Bowls

dinner party

As the Fabulous Food Fairy, two of my favorite words are…DINNER PARTY!! I love the idea of gathering with friends, for adult time, where I actually get to do my make-up, dress in a fun outfit, sip “mommy drinks” and have intellectual conversation without coaxing a few more bites, or imploring my dinner companions to sit down, don’t talk with your mouth full, and KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF!!

However, this dinner party is different. It is entirely virtual, so forget the hair and make-up, stay in your yoga pants (or as I call them “buffet pants”) and come to our table to “feast” your eyes on these spectacular recipes for every course, plus tips for pulling it all together!

Here are the rules:

Use the links below, to click “door to door”, visiting various blogs, and experience all that these fabulous women have to offer. If you find something really great, send it to your friends, pin it to your boards, or share it on your Facebook page. Because unlike an actual dinner party, the more the merrier, there’s plenty to go around.

To get the full Progressively Perfect Virtual Dinner Party blog hop experience, click the links below in order:

Appetizers

Salad

Drinks

Entrees

Coffee, Tea & Dessert

Late Night

Decorations, Outfits and Music

Hope you have as much fun reading through the party as we did planning it!

Roasted Tomato Caprice in Garlic Bread Bowls

Have you ever had an idea that you knew, from the moment it popped into your head, that it was brilliance? That is this recipe for me. I was charged with the task of creating an original appetizer recipe and this little goodie came seemingly out of nowhere!

I LOVE roasted tomatoes.

I LOVE basil.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE balsamic vinegar.

I REALLY REALLY LOVE garlic.

And bread…INFATUATED!

In one stroke of creative genus, all of my loves came together into one amazing appetizer that just may cause you to skip dinner.

Wanna peek?

Here it is…

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So, wanna know how to make it?

Ok. Here goes.

Ingredients:

Roasted tomatoes (click here for the recipe)

4 large dinner rolls

3 Tbsp. of melted butter

1 tsp. of garlic season all

1 cup of fresh mozzarella cheese– I used the small beads of mozzarella

3/4 cup of basil leaves

2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar

4 tsp. of parmesan cheese

Balsamic glaze

Preparation:

1. Prepare roasted tomatoes according to the recipe. (this can be done up to a day ahead)

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2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

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3. Use a knife to cut a circular divot out of the center of each roll, leaving the bottom intact, creating a mini bread bowl.

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4. Mix the melted butter and garlic seasoning and brush each bread bowl inside and out with the mixture.

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5. Place the rolls on a baking sheet and bake until crispy with slightly brown edges.

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6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

7. Meanwhile, toss the roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

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8. Once the bread bowls cool a bit (you want them a little bit warm, but not warm enough to melt the cheese) place each one on a small plate.

9. Spoon the caprice salad neatly into each bowl.

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10. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and drizzle with the balsamic glaze in a side to side sweeping motion.

Serve immediately!

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I take no responsibility if your dinner guests scarf down this appetizer, ask for seconds, and don’t have room for the main course 🙂 At least, that’s what happened at my house when I made them for the first time 🙂

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Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Yoga Pants

1-IMG_2668I don’t really love tomatoes raw, but once roasted, I could eat them until I burst. Seriously, I need to wear my yoga pants (aka “buffet pants”) when indulging in any roasted tomatoey goodness. I even went as far as to plant a bazillion cherry tomato plants in various parts of my backyard to satisfy my need for these yummy little savory treasures.

My passion err..obsession for roasted tomatoes started with a recipe that I saw for French bread pizzas. The recipe called for roasted cherry tomato puree as the pizza sauce. Once I made these, it opened all new doors. I now use roasted cherry tomatoes on a weekly basis for a multitude of recipes. They’re simple, easy, and packed with flavor.

Try them, but I take no responsibility for creating a new addiction, or causing you to need stretch pants to accommodate your overstuffed belly.

Ingredients:

2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes

2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil

1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

1.       Wash & dry the tomatoes.

2.       Slice them in half.

3.       Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

4.       Place the tomatoes in a casserole dish or roasting pan so they cover the bottom in a single layer.

5.       Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.

6.       Add thyme, and toss, coating all of the tomatoes.

7.       Roast in the oven on 425 for about 35 minutes, or until they are withered and caramelized at the edges.

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Serving Suggestions:

1.       Allow them to cool and toss with fresh basil, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar.

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2.       Roast 3 cloves of garlic with the tomatoes. Puree with a hand blender, add a sprinkle of sugar if you like the sauce a bit sweet, and top raviolis, or use it as a pizza sauce for French bread pizza.

3.       Toss with mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar, and large croutons for a tasty panzanella.

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