Posts Tagged "cooking"

The Annual Great Pumpkin Muffin Bake (Yes, They’re That Good)

Dear Kid,

The Annual Great Pumpkin Muffin Bake has begun.

This year, since someone (not mentioning any names, but it’s you) requested 100 muffins to take back to school, there will be More Than The Usual Amount of Baking.

Last night I made 137 muffins (at which point I ran out of ingredients). Then Pi came home and 30 seconds later there were 6 muffins left. That’s why there aren’t any photos. Because there aren’t any muffins to take pix of.

Not to worry. Dad bought more ingredients and there will be more baking this week—and Pi will be given a muffin quota.

She has expressed sadness at the muffin quota.

The Puppy has also expressed sadness at the muffin quota because his quota is zero. Partly because there aren’t any muffins left, but mostly because these pumpkin muffins have raisins which is a huge canine no-no. He suggested (quite clearly) that I was more than welcome to pick out the raisins for him or—better yet—make a batch without raisins.

When I fell down on the floor laughing he licked my chin once, then went to his pillow in a huff. Apparently a nap cures all ill feeling because he’s once again my BFF.

I’m quite sure that he’ll continue supervising during the next batch of baking.

Love, Mom

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10 Things NOT to Do When You’re Cooking

Dear Kid,

Doesn't the smoke detector understand I'm just cooking? DearKidLoveMom.comThings NOT to do when you’re cooking.

  1. Overcook the green beans. Mushy. Keep an eye on those babies.
  2. Cut a whole bunch of onions.  Easy to tear up. Hard to see. Therefore hard to keep an eye on the green beans.
  3. Step on the Puppy. Hoping something drops on the floor. Except onions.
  4. Undercook the green beans. Better than overcooking. But too crunchy.
  5. Cut a whole bunch of yourself. Good for the Band-Aid people. Not so good for anyone else.
  6. Experiment with a new recipe. Generally better to make something once and then go for variations. Except sometimes.
  7. Burn the green beans. Tricky little buggers.
  8. Miss when transferring soup to a container. Makes the Puppy happy. Not so good for anyone else.
  9. Set off the smoke detector. Hard to see through the smoke. Leads to stepping on a barking puppy.
  10. Forget the green beans. Tricky and sneaky little buggers.

Happy cooking.

Love, Mom

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Five (More) Things To Make You a Better Cook

Dear Kid,

I’ve been cooking a lot the last few days. And I’ve been thinking about cooking—especially while I watch shows on the Food Network. There is a tremendous difference between the cooks on the Food Network and cooking at home. In thinking clearly about this, I’ve identified 5 More Things That Will Absolutely Make Me a Better Chef (with only minimal overlap to the original Five Ways to be a Better Cook). You may feel free to provide any of these for your loving mother.

Five (More) Things That Will Instantly Make You a Better Cook

A Set Just for Cooking

Have you noticed that cooking shows are not set in real life? Someone builds a set just for cooking. The ovens are the right size, there are enough burners, there’s enough prep space, the pantry is perfectly stocked, and – most importantly – there are no small humans running through, grabbing a snack, and forgetting they once knew how to clean up.

There are no piles of bills, no papers that need to be attended to, no pots that have to get put away. There are no breakfast dishes, no half-filled glasses of water, no K-cups left 2 feet from the garbage.

I would definitely be a better cook (or at least look like one) if I had my own cooking set.

I would do a lot more great cooking in the kitchen if I had a prep cook. Ad a clean up crew. And a real chef to do the cooking. DearKidLoveMom.comA Prep Cook

Have you noticed that the professionals don’t have to do their own prep work? Someone else washes the green beans, someone else chops the garlic and the onions (and does the onion crying off camera), someone else measures the spices into adorable little dishes.

Not only would this be a huge time saver, it would save me from running around the kitchen screaming, “Someone stir the sauce while I find the cumin!” because the cumin would be right there in its little dish ready to go. I also wouldn’t have to send Pi to the grocery store for an emergency brown sugar run, because we wouldn’t have emergencies like that. Someone would have figured out two days ago that we needed to stock up.

A Real Chef

The main thing that would make me a better cook is if I were a better cook. Or failing that, having a chef as a cooking double. So that rather than doing my own stunts in the kitchen (“Does anyone know where the fire extinguisher is???”), I could have a trained chef step in and manage everything (and by “manage everything” I mean cook). Then I’d have plenty of time to fiddle around doing things that wouldn’t get in the way (“Glass of wine while we watch the pro? Yes, please”). This would greatly improve the quality coming out of the kitchen while simultaneously minimizing the stress I put in the kitchen. Win all around.

A Clean Up Crew

Seems to me the best part of being a TV chef is having a crew come in afterward to clean up the dishes, the stove, the oven, the countertop, the floor, the walls, and anything else that needs fluffing and cleaning.

To be fair, I have the Puppy, but he focuses exclusively on floor level. He’s open to helping clean the higher level areas, but I am not.

I would definitely do more in the kitchen if I had a great clean up team.

Great Friends and Family to Share the Meal

They leave out the best part on some of the TV cooking shows. On some of the shows, there are just two people (or sometimes just the chef) tasting the food.

“Wow, I just made fab food. Let me taste it and tell you how great it is.”

Even I can do that. I can often even keep a straight face while I say something like that.

But really, the part that makes meals fun and fabulous is having great people sitting around sharing stories and food, talking and tippling, asking for seconds and trying something new.

And that part I can manage without professional intervention.

Love, Mom

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Snowball Cookies | Recipe Without Leftovers

Dear Kid,

One of our favorite recipes from the new vegan cookie recipe book is Snowball Cookies. And by “favorite” I mean one of the two recipes we’ve made so far. (The fudge recipe is for tomorrow.)

These are fantastic. You are warned.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put parchment paper on two cookie sheets. Parchment paper may be the best invention modern cooking ever came up with.

Beat ¾ Cup of vegan margarine until it’s fluffy. Margarine fluffy, not Gabriel fluffy. Although if you eat enough of these, you can be both.

Add 1 ½ Cups of flour, half cup of powdered sugar (try not to cough from the powdered sugar cloud that engulfs your kitchen), 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Add 1 Cup of dairy free chocolate chips. Eat a few chips to be sure they are good. Eat a few more to confirm your suspicions that they are quite delicious.

Scoop the dough onto the parchment paper-ed cookie sheets. I used my handy-dandy-ice-cream-scoop-like-cookie-dough-measurer which worked perfectly. You want them to look like little hills of yumminess. Be prepared to fight off people who think eating them pre-baking is a fine idea.

Bake for about 12 minutes. They’ll be a little golden around the edges but you will think they need to bake more. They don’t. They are shortbread-y, so they’ll look uncooked when they are perfect.

Remove from oven and immediately sift powdered sugar over the cookies. Do not make the mistake of forgetting to read the recipe the second time you make them and powdering them before you bake because it really doesn’t work out all that well. Let the cookies cool (again, be prepared to fight off the hordes) and sprinkle with powdered sugar again.


Do not worry about how to package leftovers. Because there won’t be leftovers.

Love, Mom

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Sunday, Sunday…

Dear Kid,

Sunday is an interesting day.

It’s either the first day of the week or the last day of the week depending on how you count these things. For some people it is a day of rest, for some it is a day of work, for some it is a day of football (at least this time of year), and for some it is a day of catching up and cooking.

No century (if you are following the Gregorian calendar) starts on a Sunday. Rosh Hashana never falls on a Sunday.

Today (for me) has turned into a day of grocery shopping (did you know that when you buy $200 worth of groceries you can’t really go through the Express Lane unless the lane you were going to go through is staffed by someone who REALLY wants to go on break?), baking, cooking, soup making, and football watching (although I didn’t turn on the Bengals game in time and missed the safety. Dang!). I am really hoping some elves show up to help clean in the kitchen but so far no sign of them.

You may be wondering where the name Sunday came from. Turns out there are a lot of etymological explanations. Unfortunately, all those explanations involve a LOT of words which I don’t have time to read (what with being the only one home to do any cleaning up in the kitchen).

Who Dey!

Love, Mom



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