Monday, September 12, 2011

How Feeding a Family Prevents Me From Feeding My Family

Preface:  #1:  Baby was in the ER Friday night.  My intention was to blog it today, but instead I am saving that for my book - chapter to be titled Make Sure Your Kids' Panties Are Right Side Out Before Said Kid Ends Up in the ER.  #2:  I don't think I am fully recovered from baby going to the ER and my hands are already shaking from coffee intake in an attempt to fully recover.  SO, you are stuck with the following blog post on cooking (collective - blech).  When my book comes out you can thank me for the ER tips.  And lest you think I am a heartless mother who has no regard for her baby who was in the ER and only thinks of herself (who me?).  Baby is fine.  I think she recovered miraculously when she heard the words "popsicle and stickers if you can do this," and she was actually spotted high-fiving all the ER staff on her way out.

Today's Post

One of my resolutions for 2011 was to cook more things from scratch and not feed my family so much processed food.  I am a professed Non-Cook, so for me this was HUGE.  When I wrote the resolution I did not fully realize just how much actual work, time in the kitchen, and countless hours of research this would entail.

When it comes to cooking I have a few people I look to for inspiration who are clearly way above my skill level.  My good friend over at cyberbones is a crazy good cook.  She makes things like MARSHMALLOWS, and lots of ethnic foods that I have never heard of but am dying to taste.  She blogs about it later and I dream about doing the same.  Cyberbones effortlessly cooks circles around me. 

I also occasionally find myself related to outstanding cooks.  My beautiful niece over at is just one.  Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous she manages to cook all this amazing food that is actually HEALTHY.  Oh, and did I mention - she's in law school.  Yeah, I know.  She blogs about her food AND photographs it WHILE cooking it.  Check these two blogs and you will say, "Standards too high." 

And, lastly I will just mention my hubby who is The Cook In The Family.  He is a born fabulous cook.  Thank God or we would starve.  He has tried to teach me to:  Taste my food while cooking.  Test recipes on our family, not strangers.  Memorize recipes that I make frequently.  Not even use a recipe - to just experiment with food I like.  Etc., etc...............I could be unteachable.

So that brings me to yesterday.  I had decided to try my hand at calzones in 805 easy steps.  I whittled the steps down and in preparation for yesterday this is what I had done.

1.  I researched calzones back to Italy itself by way of, the Food Network, and  Finding a recipe for actual made from scratch calzones is a little difficult since most of the recipes called for "Refrigerated Pizza Dough."  I finally settled on homemade pizza dough and a seemingly yummy recipe for a veggie filled calzone.
2.  Using the recipes, I made a grocery list of what I needed to buy to make Spinach and Cheese Calzones.  Thank you Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray.  When I went to print the recipes, the printer was out of ink.  This resulted in a quick fit from hubby (because the printer has been flashing "almost out of ink - GO BUY INK" for about six months now and I have yet to go to the ink store - across town and with two toddlers - to buy ink), quick fit from the boy-child (who was trying to print his invoices which were overdue - and yes our 9 year old has a paying job - don't judge), quick fit from Girl 2 because I couldn't print out her spelling words, AND (most important to this post) I had to hurriedly WRITE the recipes while three people were throwing fits.  Later this will be critically important.
3.  I thought I had a basic knowledge of how yeast actually works.

So, I set out to make the calzones at 1:30 p.m. in plenty of time for a 5:00 p.m. dinner. 

"What could this possibly go wrong?  Didn't you have a recipe?" you ask?

*Tired pause,* coming from months of experience answering this question when hubby asks it after I angrily shout at him, "SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG.  WE ARE EATING OUT." 

Here's a run-down of what went wrong.

1.  Something went wrong with the yeast.  I don't exactly know what.  I ended up with not "double the amount," but more like (and this is exactly what the boy-child said) "possibly one quarter more than the original amount."
2.  Because I was forced to hand write everything since we had no ink - I ended up totally leaving out several critical ingredients to the recipe.  One of them being the main ingredient - ricotta cheese.
3.  I made a split second change in the recipe (which never turns out good when I do it) in order to accommodate having no ricotta cheese.
4.  When I opened one of the pizza sauce jars that was in the refrigerator (leading me to believe we had two half-used jars that would presumably equal one full jar) it was moldy.
5.  I thought I had more frozen spinach in the deep freeze.  When I actually went out to the deep freeze - we didn't.

At 5:45 dinner was served.  We had one HUGE calzone (about the size of half a pizza).  In it was:  sauteed artichoke, garlic, red, orange and yellow bell peppers, mozzarella cheese and a quarter bottle of pizza sauce.  We also had three smaller calzones with the rest of the pizza sauce, a teeny amount of seasoned spinach, and mozzarella cheese.  AMAZINGLY it tasted pretty good.  It was not at all what I had set out to make which is frustrating and upsetting to me, and I am sure Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray would have been positively mortified.  BUT, the Cook who was there (hubby) said it was, "progress."

This almost year of trying to cook from scratch has led me to this conclusion:  The cooking show I want to see on the Food Network is Cooking Healthy Meals From Scratch With Four Kids in the Kitchen, One Needy Husband, and Lots of Other Important Business to Attend To.

Post Script - On To-Do List for today:  Make peach cobbler.  Bad news:  The peaches were never taken out of the plastic bag from the grocers and properly put away because baby threw a Holy Hell Fit upon returning from said grocers.  Peaches are now moldy.......................................................

Banana cobbler?  Anyone?


Shannon said...

I wondered how the calzones came out. I am glad they worked out in the end.

Banana cobbler sounds.....icky. Bananas Foster sounds good, but I generally leave anything I have to catch on fire ON PURPOSE to the fancy restaurants, preferably restaurants without kids.

monika said...

Calzones sound amazing and too ambitious for me :) love you auntie.

Devon Martinez said...

Or, the best cooking show not found on TV: My drunk kitchen where the host proceeds to cook things whist drinking and nothing ever comes out right. Those calzones sound delicious! You didn't leave out any ingredients, you simply adjusted the recipe to better suit your family's needs.

jamiew said...

I have 2 words for you:
Banana Bread

Monica said...

the calzones were good. "amazing" might be a bit of an overstatement. if i make them again (which i will when i am over the trauma) i will strive for "amazing." ;o) @devon - i was thinking of a reality show where the mom IS getting drunk. ;o) oh, wait. did i say that out loud? @jamie - banana bread delivery tomorrow. :o)