The Joys of Cooking

The day before each pay day, I plan out two weeks worth of meals and write down everything I need and go buy it the next day.

I was extra excited for this grocery trip because I had pinned some amazing recipes that I was dying to try.

We went to the store bright and early and purchased everything (except the wine I need to make the Cheesecake Factory's Pasta Da Vinci, I'll literally have to go to the liquor store and I don't even know where one is...I'm slightly freaked out) and came home. I spent the whole morning cleaning my house, paying special attention to the kitchen and our master bathroom. The kitchen was so clean I was considering having the kids I babysit eat on the deck tomorrow just to keep it clean. I had cleaned counters, the stove, swept, mopped, etc.

So lunchtime came around and I decided to try a quinoa salad recipe that looked amazing. It was. Other than bawling my eyes out from cutting the onion, it was really easy and I had the kitchen back to normal immediately after. I sat down and enjoyed my lunch feeling domestic and proud.

For dinner I wanted to try making Zupa's mushroom bisque soup which is seriously phenomenal. You've gotta have some bread with soup, so why not try making the Olive Garden breadsticks recipe as well? I'm Wonder Woman, right?

At 3:45 I started the bread dough. I don't have a fancy mixer so I just used my handheld one. I never knew you shouldn't do that. I do now. After burning up the motor and getting dough in all kinds of electrical crevices, the dough was made, I made a note to buy a new mixer, and I started cleaning up again.

I cleaned up just in time to start the soup. It requires a lot of small diced things, things that like to find their way to the floor really fast. It also requires a boat-load of bowls and utensils. My sink was full of dishes before I was halfway through.

Then it was time to roll and cut the dough. Flour and sticky dough everywhere. EVERYWHERE PEOPLE! Also, I can't make a breadstick shape to save my life. It seemed easy enough when I made playdough worms as a child but real dough is quite different. I made two sheets of breadsticks. One had the reject or "retarded" looking breadsticks that no one would ever grab at any party no matter how good they smelled because it looks like a monkey pooped them out, and I had my sheet of slightly better ones that weren't so deformed after I had tried my hand at rolling them.

The recipe calls for you to "brush" the breadsticks with butter and salt. I don't own a cooking brush. I own plenty of crafting brushes. Surely one of those would work! I grabbed the smallest brush I had and started generously painting the breadsticks with buttery goodness.

It wasn't until after the fourth or fifth stick that I noticed the warm butter was not being kind to the brush and there were tiny paint brush bristles all over the sticks I had done and in the butter. Small hair-like objects on anything, much less food, is not ideal. It's not even tolerable.

Take two on brushing the breadsticks was done with a sponge brush. Much more affective. The breadsticks were ready for oven transport.

Meanwhile, the soup needed my attention. It had been "simmering" on step two of the recipe and needed to progress. The next step was to put 3/4 of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth and return to the pot. So I did just that. I put the hot soup in my blender, put the lid on, held it down like I normally do, and pushed the fun little "blend" button.

The soup did not stay in the blender. In fact, almost no soup stayed in the blender. The lid flew off and my entire kitchen became the splash zone for this mushroom bisque show. Believe me when I say my entire kitchen- My kitchen that was so clean I was going to make little children eat outside like a crotchety 90 year old woman. Walls, cupboards, furniture, floors, me... All covered in soup.

You can also take my word for it that I'll be repenting for the words I shouted when that happened.

I'd been cooking for over two hours at this point and the soup I was supposed to be eating was now all over my house, and I still didn't have any breadsticks to eat. I yelled an offensive form of "I can't cook!" and started crying. Not only did I still have to keep cooking but now I got to clean my whole kitchen again.

I cried for a minute and tried to gain composure. Somehow people do this every day and it's never this dramatic. I could get through it.

And I did. 2 hours and 45 minutes, one phone call to my mom for help, 800 times wiping the kitchen down, 3 sink full's of dishes, 2 stove cleans, and one time of just throwing things I didn't want to clean away, I had finally finished our dinner.

And dang it, it was good!

The soup is good but didn't thicken up and needs more salt next time. It also needs to be blended but I wasn't about to try that again.

The breadsticks look ridiculous but taste exactly like Olive Garden's. They're so good!!

Cory had better not complain that we're having soup for dinner when he gets home or else he may lose his head.

Funny how making lunch was so fun and successful and dinner was so not. At least I'm trying, and that's the important part. Also, as a bonus, the breadsticks look so weird no one will want them which means I get them all to myself.

There's still soup on my ceiling, and it may be there until the day we move out.


Running Woes

I have to share today's experience because it's too funny not to.

My friend and I went for a "training run" this morning at 6:00 a.m. down one of the local canyons. We took quite the beating.

The fun started at the top of the canyon when we both had to relieve ourselves and there wasn't a bathroom in site. I'm not sure the "locals" are going to like what we left for them in the their backyards.
I wish I was kidding.

A couple miles in I finally faced one of my fears and ended up tripping and slid across the asphalt. My knee and palm were pretty ripped up and started bleeding right away. I picked myself up and we kept going. A couple miles later I noticed my elbow also took a hit and that my water bottle that straps to my hand had giant gashes in it. Had I not been holding that, my hand would have been in bad shape. No biggie though. I let the blood drip down my leg as we kept going. Did I mention it was my bad knee? I also couldn't stop laughing at myself.

My friend also has a bad knee, worse than mine, and towards the end the pain was pretty fierce. But we kept going. No pain no gain.

We ended up going farther than planned because of my poor mapping skills. Oops! By the time I reached the car, the yard we had parked in front of had sprinklers on and I just sat in the middle of their yard and let myself get soaked. I'm sure I looked perfectly sane.

When we finally got home the damage was pretty visible. I had asphalt in my knee that needed scrubbing out and I also developed a gigantic blister on my poor pinky toe. Ouch! My friend went home and took off her shoes only to discover that seven of her toes had been bleeding for a big chunk of the run and ruined her socks. Holy cow!

That sure is a lot of blood and pain for a simple training run. But we have a pretty good story to tell now.

Believe it or not, we actually enjoyed ourselves and plan on doing it all again next week.

Bring it on!!



I've become obsessed with ecards lately. Some of them are really, really funny. Although this isn't my favorite one, I think it's right on the nose.


The Ranch

We spent the past couple days at Cory's families ranch in Idaho. It was a lot of fun! We went up there primarily so Cory could help repair the roof, so that is why he is absent in many of these photo's. We played while he worked :( But we had a great time!
Kennedy enjoyed the car ride up
 Our first stop was:
 Where we stopped to see Cory's Grandma Joyce.

 Then we made it to the ranch and spent some time with Braden and Hailey. First we got the XBOX working...
 Then we played a quick game of crochet. It was quick because I lost patience and yelled, "First one to hit their ball to the end wins!" Of course it was Cory. And Braden carried his which was against the rules :)

 Then we took the kids for a long ride on the four-wheelers. It was super smokey but a ton of fun. And the smoke actually made things look kind of pretty. Strange, I know.

 Kennedy absolutely loves dogs! She has started to say "doggie" now and she barks whenever she see's or hears one. So she was on cloud nine when she actually got to play with Blazer and Sitka. They would lick her face and hands and she's squeal and laugh and back up then go back for more.

 It was the cutest thing! Also, I think farm country is actually kind of pretty. It's really quiet and peaceful.
 Kennedy slept like a rock that night. She was so tired!! We found her like this the next morning:
 Isn't that adorable? She sure loves her Elmo. Then I decided to take Kennedy for her first four-wheeler ride. She loved it! She would only get upset when I'd slow down. It's so funny to see someone so small on something so big.

 While Cory and his dad were working hard in the sun, we drove 30 minutes to Bear Lake and swam in the water. It was a perfect day for it! Again, Kennedy loved it! She was more fascinated with the sand than anything else, but she had a great time. She even chased seagulls while squealing with joy. I was too preoccupied with getting pictures of Kennedy on her first beach trip that I forgot to get some of Braden, Hailey, and Shirleen. They had tons of fun out in the deep water.

 The problem with being there for a roofing project was there was hammering... lots and lots of hammering... which meant no nap time unless I drove Kennedy around. We did  A LOT of driving. One such drive we headed over to Afton, Wyoming which was about 40 minutes away. I accidentally woke Kennedy up while getting gas so we got some french fries and headed to a park and played in the beautiful Afton weather and she got to swing for the first time. OH MY HECK!! I wish I would have had my camera ready for this. She was in heaven. I've never heard so many squeals of glee come from her. She screamed in excitement and had a smile on her face the entire time. It didn't matter how high I pushed her, she loved every second of it. Yes, I posted 12 pictures of her swinging. I know that's overkill but they're for family mostly. 

We really had so much fun and Kennedy really loved it! The only bad things were all the driving I had to do and my allergies were INSANE. Other than that it was so great to hang out with family. Kennedy got to spend lots of time with her cousins and grandma and loved every second of it. We're excited to go back again.