San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Cooking with Hannah

I don’t have people over for dinner a lot. Not because I don’t like people. Or dinner. I like both of those things very much.

The problem is I lack confidence in my cooking skills. When I do have people over, I usually feed them tacos or spaghetti. Pretty much anyone who has eaten at my house can attest to this.

But last night, some of the people I was having over had already had tacos and spaghetti at my house, so I decided to branch out. I mean, not fancy or anything, but it had more than 3 ingredients.

And when it came time to shred the chicken, I retrieved a latent memory from one of my 5 times on Pinterest (I avoid Pinterest, because it makes me feel guilty) where they assured me I could shred chicken with a hand mixer. I did it. And it worked like a charm. I felt like a Pinterest Queen!

So I assembled my dish, popped it into the oven and sat back to rest on my accomplishment laurels.

And then I saw it. The pot of rice on the stove top. The rice that was SUPPOSED to be in the dish that was already in the oven.

We had a staring contest for a couple minutes, me and that rice pot. I even opened the oven and stared-down the dish in there a little, trying to decide if there was any way to still get that rice inside of it. My conclusion was… no.

I do stuff like this a lot, so I’m pretty good at coming up with solutions.

Last nights’ solution was to eat the dish over rice. Which was fine. No one died of food poisoning (yet). Granted, Isaiah didn’t like it much, but he never likes anything I make. Overall, I feel like it was a non-fail.

And so what if I’m not a Pinterest Queen? Or Martha Stewart? At least I make other cooks feel good about themselves. Everyone has to do their part.

By the way, I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a week. Should I be worried?

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San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Baking Disasters and Lessons Learned Therefrom

I’m not worth much in the kitchen. I mean, I’ve gotten better over the years. But I still have some basic flaws that cause me problems.

  • I don’t make sure I have all the ingredients before I start making something.
  • I don’t read the whole recipe through prior to throwing things in the bowl.
  • I substitute ingredients with an alarming disregard to the recipe.
  • And I count wrong.

But I have learned some things. Recently.

When your mom (or my Mom, to be specific) says that boxed cake mixes taste better than making one from scratch, you may be wise to listen. Being that I’m a path-of-least-resistance kind of girl, I would never try to argue this one.

But when there’s been a snow storm, and the only working car is with your husband at work, and you can’t get to the store… you start to think maybe your mom didn’t know what she was talking about. Maybe she didn’t have your panache in the kitchen (ha!).

Turns out, mom’s DO know what they’re talking about. Cakes made from scratch are solid. Solid as a brick.  At least mine was. After trying it, my friend told me, “I don’t even like cake, but I really liked this!” Um, that’s because it’s unlike any cake you’ve ever had before!

I’ve also learned that you can make frosting without using powdered sugar. I’m not saying you’d want to, but when you’ve baked a cake for an event that evening and then check to see if you have powdered sugar… you probably won’t. At that point, other methods of making frosting seem pretty appealing. And if you sprinkle colored sugar on top to “decorate” people probably won’t notice that your frosting is kind of crunchy. Or at least they won’t say anything.

Another thing I’ve been surprised to discover is that more is not always better. When all the cheesecake recipes you read call for 2 packages of cream cheese and then you find one that calls for 3 packages, the cheesecake won’t be richer. No. Actually, it will fail to fit in your store-bought graham cracker crust.

BUT… the extra cream cheese can be poured in a pan, baked, and stored in the fridge for scooping with a spoon whenever one desires.

So I guess not every baking disaster has to end badly.

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