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Sucking in the Kitchen: Episode 2

The question I am most often asked is “How do you do it?”

People marvel at the fact that I am a working mother of three and I cook most nights of the week.

Well people, here is my secret…I SUCK at most things easy in the kitchen. I’m not exaggerating. While I can whip up a creamy corn chowder from scratch, or a melt in your mouth meatloaf, I am incapable of making a simple pot of coffee. In fact, I have been asked at work not to touch the coffee maker, and my awesome teammate, Mike, pre-loads the coffee maker for me if he knows he is not going to be at work the next day. It’s pathetic, and I am so very thankful for my Keurig at home. I burn garlic bread EVERY TIME I put it under the broiler, and no, you can’t just scrape the burnt parts off. Frozen waffles can prove to be a challenge when I am distracted. (You can read Sucking in the Kitchen: Episode 1 here) And finally, tonight’s moment of greatness, I ruined a frozen chicken pot pie. Apparently microwaving a basic frozen entrée is outside of my skill set.

Now, I sincerely hope my doctor is not reading this right now, because frozen chicken pot pie is numero uno on the list of worst foods to never put into your body, and I’m supposed to be eating super healthy, low fat meals, but I had one of those days where the first chance I got to eat my breakfast was on the way home from work this afternoon, compounded with dance carpool, homework, and a paper due for a grad class, frozen pot pie was the only thing I thought I could manage.

I felt guilt as I ripped open the box, read the instructions, and carefully placed it into the microwave, ensuring that the potpie was centered under the little gray crispy plastic film. I should have listened to the little voice inside my head telling me to abort the mission and make a better choice. Well, I shoved that inner voice out of the way and opened the microwave, only to be faced with the reality that I suck at making frozen dinners.

The last minute of cooking sounded like a tornado. Then, when I opened the door, what I found was nothing short of disgusting. It had collapsed in the center, oozed over the sides, sprayed the back wall, and laminated the inside of the cardboard box.

When I extracted the potpie, only half of the crust was baked; the other half was still raw! Then the guts had exploded and run down the sides, burning in the process. It was just plain awful. Who would eat this?

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So, I will settle for a banana and some oatmeal. It’s relatively safe, and it will feed me for the week. I plan to officially retire from frozen entrees and go back to the real cooking which results in dinners that are actually edible.

Until next time, feel free to share with me, your cooking disasters and kitchen downfalls ❤

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14

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”

1

Finding Peace in Waffles

I’ve been yelling ALOT lately. My kids are out of sorts, and some days I feel like I am raising a pack of wild raccoon  They scurry around the house, eating everything, and making large messes.

By Phil Coale, AP

By Phil Coale, AP

When I attempt to correct them, they run off snickering. UGH!! Then the extreme mom frustration sets in. At this point, I usually start with my litany of punishments and rants…threatening to bring out “the big black trash bag”, “time-out”, “no friends today”, “Ollie is watching” (our elf), “Santa’s coming”, “Don’t make me call Daddy!” (the little buggers have learned that Daddy is much nicer than mommy, so this one needs to be retired…)

Usually on a day like this, I grudgingly clean it up, then get distracted with another chore, and sometime around 2:00 in the afternoon, I find my cold coffee next to my soggy breakfast. No wonder I was STARVING and miserable!

Well, I decided to STOP. BACK OFF. RELAX. I came to the realization that I am not Donna Reed. I work full-time. I have a blog. It is Christmas, and I am married to a UPS driver (pretty much out of commission until after the holidays). I stood on the knowledge that I am generally a clean person, my friends and family know this. My children are good kids, who usually listen. This circus is temporary!

Coffee?? Where was my coffee? and my waffle? I made a healthy breakfast for myself, but have yet to eat it. I WILL HAVE MY WAFFLE!

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I grabbed my warm coffee, and my crisp waffle, at 9:00 in the morning, and I settled into my cozy nook in the kitchen. Isn’t that why I bought myself leather chairs with ottomans? I enjoyed my breakfast, smiled at my children, and found my missing inner peace.

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So, here is the recipe for my “Peace Waffles”. Try them. Put your feet up. Let your kids make a mess. Be a happy mom.

I’m glad I did.

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The Steps to Inner Peace Through Waffles…

1. Start with a multi-grain waffle (I like Van’s)

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2. Toast it in the toaster.

3. Spread a layer of peanut butter on top. (any nut butter would work)

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4. Top with a sliced banana.

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5. Sprinkle with pecan halves.

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6. Serve with coffee, or tea.

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7. Eat it in peace!

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Peace Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 multi-grain waffle
  • 1 small banana
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of pecan halves

Preparation:

1. Start with a multi-grain waffle (I like Van’s)

2. Toast it in the toaster.

3. Spread a layer of peanut butter on top. (any nut butter would work)

4. Top with a sliced banana.

5. Sprinkle with pecan halves.

6. Serve with coffee, or tea.

7. Eat it in peace!

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