Cooking

Is it really that funny?

Oh my goodness.  So much has changed since I last posted a blog in October.   We have a new president, a new dog, and a new found appreciation for store bought goodies.   I want to apologize to my dear readers as I have been extremely lazy and have not posted.  I have been diligently been trying to finish up my bachelor’s degree while also channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder, but more about that in a minute.

First, let me address the current political climate.  One of the reasons I have not been active on social media is because of the three ring circus that we currently have and have been under since the primaries took place.  I am not going to make this a political blog and have found it difficult to not express my opinions on the situation but the reality is:  it is just my opinion and I have enough family and friends to argue with that I do not feel the need to include my cyber posse as well.  So, that is it for my political statement on this subject.

Secondly, my school work.  These are the last few classes remaining before I am awarded (hopefully) my B.A. in Human Services.  It has been incredibly intensely tedious and boring and takes every bit of concentration I have to just plow through it.  It feels like I have been taking classes for about 10 years and I am completely happy that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  A dim watery light but a light none the less.

Thirdly, Laura Ingalls Wilder (happy belated birthday, Half-Pint!).  So, living in the farmhouse, out in the country, I have learned that you have to be prepared for times when it is not convenient to run to the grocery store or order food.  Which is to say, every day.  I am not the most prepared of people on a good day so you can imagine the things that I have had to do.

I have had to use food that has been in my deep freezer for an indeterminate period of time.  One time I cooked pork chops, turned out to be flattened chicken breasts.  Yum.  I have mastered the art of baking bread.  I can turn out a mean white bread or wheat bread but had a disaster of epic proportions when it came to trying to make a cinnamon-raisin bread.  It does make a nice doorstop, however.  I have never professed to be a baker and each warm, yeasty, loaf that I pull out of the oven makes me appreciate Walmart like never before.  I have made cookies, cakes, and candies when I have a sweet tooth.  I really really need to work on following exact ingredients and cooking times.  I long for the bakery at our store in our old town and have a new found respect for anyone that makes baked goods from scratch.

Introducing Miss Luna Lovedog

Fourth(ly), our new dog.  We had a dog.  He was great.  He died.  We have a new dog.  I love her to pieces.  She is sweet tempered, loving, and cute as a button.  My husband hates her.  She chewed up the cord to my laptop, chewed up the cord to my carpet shampooer (after thoughtfully pissing on said carpet), ate his sunglasses, ate #6’s glasses, and S.O.’s glasses.  She has eaten two pairs of my yard shoes, one face off of a Baby Alive, and may or may not have been responsible for the great toilet paper fiasco of 2017.   She refuses to play with her chew toys, isn’t food driven (uhm, hello?), and only wants to be constantly petted and scratched.  I am open to suggestions before my S.O. decides that my wonderful little Luna Lovedog (such a HP nerd) needs to be in permanent mode as a chicken coop dog.

The cats have grudgingly accepted her, except for our female kitty in residence Phyllis.  She hates her with a passion that equals my distaste for laundry so it’s pretty intense.  The other cats ignore her and look down on her for being a well, a dog.  The chickens do not interest her so we have that going in our favor.

So, fearless reader, it is on that note that I am signing off for the day.  I’ve missed you and hope that you have room in your hearts for a tired, sugar starved, and sleep deprived blogger.   Good night, John Boy.

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family, talk, boundaries, laundry,

I am just as excited!

In my current class we are learning about family dynamics and healthy relationships.  It has made me take a long look at my own family dynamics and relationships.  Notice, I did not say healthy relationships.

Our family dynamic is not unusual.  We are a blended family.  My S.O. is unusual in that he was only 9 years older than #1 and took on the responsibility of knowing that if we were going to be together it was a package deal:  me and my 5 kids.   And he completely not only took on the responsibility but ran with it.   The OG5 embraced this young, silly, loving man and even though it has been trying, it seems to work great for us.

That being said:  there are some definite issues within our family.

Issue #1:  Boundaries.  My children know no boundaries nor does S.O.  They think it’s normal to use the bathroom with the door open.  I long to use the bathroom in peace and quiet.  It’s a running joke that if S.O. has called you he is probably on the bathroom.  At least he’s using his time constructively.   Also, there is no topic off limits.  I wish there were.  I do not need to know that 3 out of 5 boys manscape better than me.  Yet, I do.

Issue #2: Leftovers.  I waste more money on throwing out moldy leftovers than the Senate does on $800 hammers.  Seriously, if the food did not kill you the first time you ate it, why is it taboo the second time? I tried having leftover night.  It did not work and mysteriously the kids would all have somewhere to be on leftover night.  I have given up that leftovers will ever be eaten in this house and have decided to just cook enough food for the night.  It’s a work in progress and if anyone wants 2 pounds of spaghetti please let me know.

Issue #3:  Laundry.  You all know I despise laundry.  What you didn’t know is that in a household of 9 you have to try to have set laundry days.  We tried this.  #1 even made up a schedule and everyone had their own hamper.  Here is how that went:  Sunday night 8 p.m., #3, #4, and #5 all want to wash their clothes at once because they just realized that going to school in pajamas on Monday is not an option.  Also, S.O. has work clothes that he just realized has chemical all over and requires two washings each and a bleach cycle to clean out said washer.  Yep, we are that organized.   I tried enforcing the rule of the laundry schedule but boys are gross and don’t care if their undies are crusty and their shirts have stains.  Parenting fail here.

Issue #4: Private time.  This kind of falls under boundaries but slightly different.  My S.O. and I have maybe 5 minutes out of the day when we can have a conversation not interrupted by children or arguing.  We have resorted to stretching a 5 minute recap of our day into 2 hours of interruptions and squabbling.  I love that the kids all want to talk and share with us but seriously they don’t have to follow me to the kitchen when I am trying to escape to recap how they told their history teacher off color jokes and got extra credit.  I already heard about.  From the history teacher.

Issue #5:  And this is the biggest one, Communication.  We are all talkers in my family.  When we say, long story short, what we mean is “I hope you have 20 minutes for me to revel you with just the introduction to the story, including schematics.”   I cannot tell you how many times I have said to pretty much everyone in my family, I asked for the time, not how to make a watch.   It’s a serious issue.  And I am just as much to blame.  I like to share details, it’s part of why I write.  I share way too many details because I want my audience to experience it like it did.

So, these are the pressing issues in my family right now.  And I have to say that I will take all of these issues gladly.  It’s what makes our family ours.  And don’t get me started on replacing the toilet paper rolls!

Don’t forget to vote for my blog on http://www.topmommyblogs.com/

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bad cook

I love to cook.  I mean, I have to be in the mood, but when I am …watch out!  I however, can’t bake for shit.  I have problems following exact directions (which explains my kids) and the fact that you have to pay attention to bake time also puts me in the limbo of buying a cake is just as good as making one.  I like to try out new recipes and tweak them and have my family give their opinions on whether it should be added to the menu rotation or never made again.  I am going to share a spectacular fail that I made.  Because I realized, I am no Gordon Ramsay.

Cooking can be cathartic.  You gather all your ingredients and everything is nice and tidy for 5 minutes.  I have my trash bowl (thanks to Rachel Ray), my spices, my cutting board and my cooking utensils all laid out and ready to be inspired.  In real life, I am trying to keep #7 from throwing all my pots at #6 while #3 is telling me how he really doesn’t want to eat whatever it is I’m attempting to make.  Kids are just funny like that.

I decided to make Beef Wellington after watching one too many episodes of Hell’s Kitchen.  I found the Gordon Ramsay recipe and set out to buy the ingredients.  Puff pastry?  Check.  Beef tenderloin? Holy cow (pun intended) that stuff is expensive.  Four different types of mushrooms? Okay, my store has two types of mushrooms, portobello and cap.  That will work.  A brandy demi glace?  Uhm… yeah, I don’t have any brandy and after blowing my budget on the beef tenderloin I guess that the bottle of cheap red wine in the fridge will do.

This is what it was supposed to look like

This is what it was supposed to look like

First, you sear the beef tenderloin.  Done.  Next, you unwrap your puff pastry dough and spread it gently onto your parchment paper covered sheet.  Shit, should have thawed it out.  It’s still okay, I can squish the ripped pieces of dough together.  It will be fine.  Dice up your mushrooms and add chopped onion and brown in a pan with butter.  Yep, looks good.  Cook down until it resembles a paste.  What it resembles is what I clean out of #7’s diaper.

Brush your mushroom paste onto the puff pastry dough.  Globbing it on is close enough.  Set your beef tenderloin on top of your mushroom paste.  Easy enough.  Roll up your puff pastry and  cover the tenderloin gently, like swaddling a baby.  I never had any luck swaddling any of my kids so my dough looks like I put the tenderloin in a straight jacket.  Brush on egg white over the top of the pastry.  Fudge, forgot to separate the eggs.  Not so much brushed on as poured over.  This should make it crispier.  Pour brandy (cheap wine) over remains of mushroom paste in pan and let simmer.  I used all the paste and now I have a burnt layer of something in the pan.  Wine makes everything better, this too should work.

Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads … I have to bake this thing for 2 hours?  Okay, I will serve appetizers of goldfish and Cheetos while it cooks.   After two hours, pull the Beef Wellington out of oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes.   The top is very crispy, very browned, two minutes away from burnt.  No matter, the demi glace will cover it and soften it up.  The demi glace looks vaguely edible.  It is chunky and smells like my uncle on Christmas.

You're a f*****g disgrace!

You’re a f*****g disgrace!

I place the Beef Wellington on a platter and call everyone to dinner.  They are trying to look excited.  My husband asks if it is basically a meat pie.  No, no it is not.  Well, I guess it kind of is.  Cut into the Wellington.  Puff pastry disintegrates and the meat is blood red with an outer crust of slightly gray and grainy mushroom paste.  I remember that I had not seasoned the beef tenderloin prior to searing it but the mushrooms and wine gravy should have enough flavor.  Everyone gamely tries a piece.  For a $50 cut of meat, it is flavorless and tough.  Order pizza.  Never to make Beef Wellington again.

I tried.  I failed.  Maybe one day I will order it out if I ever find a nice enough restaurant that actually serves it.  I am no Gordon Ramsay but for tonight, I came close.  Tomorrow, spaghetti.  That I know I can do.

 

 

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