Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Anything SHE can do...

I don't try to hide the fact that I get to feeling a wee bit inadequate around here sometimes. As a mom, as a wife, as a woman who has extremely messy drawers in both the kitchen and the bathroom and whose children barely ever throw away their own trash. I digress...

The other day, a friend on facebook (whom I am sure I'd slap squarely on the right cheek if given the chance today) posted a recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Mind you, I do not make the website of said Pioneer Woman a regular visit on my bloggy travels. Think back to the whole inadequacy thing. But the cookies looked divine. And if she can home school a bazillion kids, cook fantastic meals, post beautiful pictures along with step by step instructions of how to do it at your house, and write the brilliant love story of how she met and created her perfectly adequate life with her infamous Marlboro Man, well then I can bake a batch of freaking cookies.

Of course, I don't have real butter at my house. I went through a real butter phase several years ago, but I quickly got over it. I grew up on margarine, and I find that the only time I enjoy real butter is when I am at a restaurant and there's hot, fresh bread or fluffy rolls to go along with it. So I subbed in two sticks of Blue Bonnet. No biggie - do this all the time. After all, the package insists that it cooks like real butter... I also didn't have Kosher salt. Heck, I don't have Kosher anything around here. But note to all: I now firmly believe that when using regular salt in place of Kosher salt, you should probably reduce the amount. Just sayin'. The cookie dough contained all the things that I find fantastic, including brown and white sugar, flour, oats, Rice Crispies, M&Ms, chocolate chips. I was so stoked about the cookies. So stoked.

Let me start by saying that I had already decided to cook dinner last night. Hamburger steak and gravy with mashed potatoes and field peas. I was in a comfort food sort of mood, I guess with the cooler weather (and the raging monthly hormones, but that's another post). I pattied up the burger-steaks, got out all the pantry ingredients for my homemade cookies, and peeled the potatoes to carry outside while the kids played for a few minutes before time to go in and prepare dinner. David had been home not feeling well, and I had agreed to let him play for 45 minutes or so to let off some steam. I figured I could cut up the potatoes while sitting outside.

I was in the garage about to pull out a chair to sit in the driveway and work on the potatoes, and I kept hearing this scratching noise. Weird little scratching coming from the large plastic bin that I store Buddy's food in. I started to totally freak out, and if you don't believe me, you can ask my mom - I was on the phone with her when I heard the noise. I quickly discerned it was a little mouse trapped in the bin; he had found his way into the heavenly abyss of dog food but couldn't jump quite high enough to get out. So I backed my car out of the garage, pushed the bin out into the driveway, and dumped it over on its side to release the unwelcome visitor. All of this activity with a ton of high pitched, alarming squeals, I'll admit. Little mouse quickly ran away, and I was so relieved that it had been as easy a disposal as that. So I looked down into the bin before pushing it back into the garage only to see another little head tuck away in fear...

Scaredy-mouse wasn't quite as easy as the first... I beat the heck out of the side of the bin trying to scare it out. No such luck. And the old pair of soccer cleats that were resting innocently on the top of the bin spilled into the dog food. I pushed the bin completely over on its side hoping it would just run out. Nope. So I took my big stick I was using and pulled the pair of cleats out. With that movement, the little mouse who had hidden himself in the safety of one of the cleats, scurried out and BACK INTO MY GARAGE. Dear me...

All of this excitement, and I still had dinner to prepare and homemade cookies to bake. I can totally do that...

I rallied the kids back in, omitting my battle with the two mice figuring Madalyn may never enter the home again if she knew she might be sharing a space with a mouse. We started the end-of-the-day routines, and I began cooking my fantastic meal and desert. I decided to use my stand mixer which was a gift from my grandmother and I had never used. I mean, that's what the Pioneer Woman uses, so why shouldn't I? Well, I can tell you why I shouldn't have... because mine is a Sunbeam, whereas the PW's is a Cuisinart, no doubt. And mine didn't work worth a toot for creaming the sugar, Blue Bonnet, and eggs as I had to continuously scrape the sides of the bowl which stopped the bowl from spinning. I finally decided to get out my hand-held mixer who has yet to let me down.

Between the mixer and the measuring of ingredients, I totally forgot to put my frozen field peas on the stove top. And by the time I noticed it, it was too late to start them. But in my mind, that was okay - I'd have the rest of the dinner and these fantastic cookies for desert.

I finally finished the dough and spooned it onto my cookies sheets, minus the fancy Silpat liners the Pioneer Woman uses. I watched them closely and realized my cookies wouldn't look anything like hers as they were all melting together and creating one big freaking cookie. Must need to add more oats and Rice Crispies...

By the time it was all complete, my tiny kitchen was a gigantic mess, I had no vegetables with dinner, and the cookies were awful.

The Pioneer Woman I am NOT. But I can still cook a fantastic hamburger steak with paper-packet gravy and real mashed potatoes. And I can also buy a brownie mix or one of those pre-portioned refrigerated cookie doughs and bake either one of them like no body's business. As for the homeschooling a bazillion kids... well, I only have two, and they both go to public school (Thank the Lord!). So I think I will stick to what I know... Hamburger Helper, frozen pizza, and the occasional home-cooked meal. I mean, there's nothing wrong with that, right?

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that...

3 comments:

Erika said...

I too wanted to make those cookies, they looked delish, but I didn't even go past wanting too, so kudos to you for trying. It was just way too many ingredients! I am going to make my own detergent though! That's only 4 ingredients. ha ha

Rebecca said...

I don't even attempt her recipies that have a bunch of ingredients in them. They always look so delicious, but I always wonder if they are worth the hassle of buying all 17 ingredients.
Now I am trying to decide what to make for supper. UGH!

Sylvia said...

I make cookies a lot (haven't done those on PW's blog yet.) The only margarine I have found that will work is Land O'Lakes. All the rest make your cookies spread out. It's something about the oil content. I, like you, was raised on margaine (oleo!) I have tried to transition to butter but have not done it completely. I still bake with margarine.
Good luck with the race tomorrow. I will continue to pray for your mom and for you. Love the balloon post.
Sylvia