things I’m grateful for.

December 30, 2010 § 2 Comments

-that our dear friends invited us over for dinner the night we returned from a week with family in san diego. in light of the sadness that comes after the end of cherished time with family,  God gave me a sort of buffer and reminded me that He has provided friends where we are now.

-that i did not get sick until the day after we returned from san diego.

-for my husband, sitting on the floor, with his headphones on listening to a french lesson and pronouncing random words and sentences aloud.

-for my new scarf.

-for the chance to get a massage tomorrow.

Season’s Greetings from the Spastic Housewife

December 16, 2010 § 2 Comments

Well, it’s been some time since I’ve had the misfortune of dropping things, burning things, or generally creating messes in the kitchen.  In the past two weeks, though, I made up for it.  In the past, I’ve thought to myself that increased opportunities for cooking mean I will grow in my experience and expertise as a cook.  While this is hopefully true, I was not prepared to grow by means of failure.

Holiday Baking Endeavor 1 –  Chocolate Chip cookies

Everyday Food had the greatest looking recipe for chocolate chip cookies – classic. I set out to make them and was doing well, with minimal clean-up to do in the kitchen. However, when I went to turn on the mixer to add in the dry ingredients, my hand slipped and I flipped it to high speed with about 3 cups of flour in there.  FLOUR EVERYWHERE. On the floor. On the wall. On me. On our appliances. Behind and under our appliances.

Failed on one count.

Holiday Baking Endeavor 2 – Orangettes

These orangettes (chocolate covered candied orange peel) needed to be boiled in sugar water for 1 hour.  Despite the recipes heeding to check frequently less they burn, I happily bummed around on facebook instead and then leisurely went to check on them after what I thought had been an hour.  SMOKE EVERYWHERE.  To the extent that my eyes started burning, I was coughing, and there was a slight haze throughout our house.  In an attempt to air out the apartment, Alex placed our box fan on our dining room table, level with the windows in that room.  It fell off. Twice (loud noises).  The second time one of the blades broke off.

Failed on two counts?

Holiday Baking Endeavor 3 – Cranberry Upside-down Cake

In preparation for a craft tea a friend and I hosted this Saturday, I decided to make a Cranberry Upside-down cake for the main feature of the food table.  Yum.  This cake is where it’s at — a “topping” of cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, butter.

After you bake the cake, you have to turn it upside down onto a plate or cake platter of your choice.  When I went to do this, I noticed that the center of the cake looked rather…gummy. gooey. totally and completely not finished, with absolutely no way of getting it back into the pan or oven, and a total and complete need to get driving up to Pasadena.  Another friend of mine was driving with me and encouraged me that maybe it would “set” in the car or in the fridge once we arrived.

Friends, it had no chance. 85 degree heat in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour (My, how I love how L.A. brings in the Christmas season), that uncooked cake center broke a hole through the cake’s exterior and began making its way around the plate.

Facing the fact that we would have to throw the cake in the trash, we consoled ourselves by sampling the edge — it was DELICIOUS. Once we arrived, we offered a sample to the other hostess — she agreed.  We couldn’t throw the cake away.  We cut off the edges and served it as “cranberry coffee cake.”

Failed on 3 counts (uncooked cake, heat, traffic). Succeeded on 2 (deliciousness of cake, ability to salvage cooked pieces).

Holiday Baking Endeavor 4 – Buckeyes

Last night, I made buckeyes with my friend Janna.  We mixed the peanut butter center, carefully dipped them in tempered chocolate, and set them on wax paper, layed out on a baking sheet.  After we had finished, I suggested we put them in the fridge to harden the chocolate. I grabbed the baking sheet, walked over to the fridge, and tried pushing in a drawer with my foot so I could open the fridge door. Not so good. The shift in balance caused a slight tilt to the baking sheet. The wax paper slid off. In. slow. motion. all. the. buckeyes. fell. to. the. floor. CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE. PEANUT BUTTER EVERYWHERE. SADNESS, DISAPPOINTMENT EVERYWHERE.

Fortunately, the wax paper saved most of them from touching the floor.

Fortunately, we had more chocolate to re-dip them, as any elegance they had had departed after their 3 foot descent and encounter with the counter, the cupboards, the floor.

Fortunately, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter tastes good enough that looks lose their importance.

Failed on every count except one (the extra chocolate/peanut butter we got to snack on due to this incident).

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Sometimes I do wonder how I got this way.

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