Writing My Life

Now and Then


what I ruined today

Today I slept in until 9:00 A.M. I cannot tell you how blissful that felt. It would have been the most perfect of sleep-ins IF G.E. hadn’t started his day at 7:00 A.M. As I wafted in and out of consciousness, I felt guilty about snuggling under the comforter while he headed for Home Depot.

Once he was out the door, however, all guilt disappeared. But then there were the wack-o morning dreams. I experienced my most frequent re-occurring nightmare – teeth falling out of my mouth! At least this time I was in a dentist’s office.

Once I drug myself out of bed and checked to see that all 32 teeth (counting fake one in the bridge) were still secure, I started my day: washing the clothes, stripping the bed, cleaning up me, etc.

The anxiety set in while I perused my cookbooks for a brownie recipe. My Saturday chores included making brownies for a church social I couldn’t attend. But the dessert was needed, so I volunteered to make some.

After dashing to Walmart for the ingredients for a simple but yummy-sounding recipe, I quickly (for me) whipped up “Grandma’s Caramel Brownies” from one of several church-ladies’ cookbooks that I own. I followed the directions VERY carefully, even catching mistakes BEFORE I made them.

I pulled them from the oven after exactly 23 minutes – as instructed, but I didn’t toothpick test them because that just doesn’t work for brownies, especially when they are warm. The pick will NOT, canNOT come out clean – so why bother?

While they cooled I readied myself for the play G.E. and I were taking Mom to – the reason I wasn’t attending the social. What happened next was one more nightmare in a long list of attempts to cook, bake, or prepare something edible for a church social. The brownies were BEYOND gooey. I tried to dish them up onto the large, clear glass plate I bought just for those confections, but the glops just plopped like chunky mounds of dough or frosting or grosser things that I won’t mention.

Almost time to go, I decided to call the social’s organizer and explain my dilemma – she didn’t answer her phone and she expected me to deliver the goodies within minutes. What to do!?!

I scooped up the messies and threw them back into the 13X9 pan, covered it with plastic wrap, washed the platter and delivered them ANYWAY! As I handed them to her, I suggested she try REbaking them! Then I apologized AGAIN and rushed out the door, feeling some satisfaction that she knew I TRIED to follow through.

Now I can add brownies to the list of failed pot luck dishes, along with the burned chili made with unsoaked, crunchy beans and peach cobbler that was as gooey as the brownies. I know there are more examples, but it’s late and I’m tired.

The play – The 3 Musketeers – was mediocre, but we had a good dinner and lots of laughs at McGraff’s. Mom was tired and happy when we dropped her off at home, and I was thrilled I didn’t have to spend an evening at a church social apologizing for the gloppy brownies!

Nighty night.


… so you think I can cook …

If you have read any food-related posts of mine, such as Bean Soup for the ????, Yammy YumsT-Giving: The Prep and The Review, or  Christmas 09 – the food,  you know that I don’t consider myself much of a cook at all. I am  all right with that because I’d much rather expend my creative juices writing than trashing  my kitchen and burning fingers, hands, and arms. (I don’t know whether it is  cooking or curling irons that inflict more blisters upon my person.)

Because of the messes I create, G.E. thinks every meal involves the same effort required of a  Thanksgiving-Feast. “Thanks for the Thanksgiving soup/sandwich/oatmeal,” he remarks as he searches the counter top for an empty spot to stack his dirty dishes. Another cooking issue  is that I move at turtle speed in the kitchen! If the recipe lists 10 minutes preparation time, I’ll take 30. That’s two reasons I don’t cook from Julia’s or Martha’s books: We’d never eat and I’d dirty EVERY dish, pot, pan, and utensil in the house.

Traditional Italian New Year’s Day Dinner

In spite of all this, I do want to be a better cook. I am tired of eating out, and I want to eat healthier – remember my New Year’s resolutions.  Because of the aforementioned problems,  I may cook out of cans, but I leave Hamburger Helper on the shelves. I’m sort of a quasi-from-scratch cook, you might say.

Anyway, back on Martin Luther King’s holiday, I cooked up 3 dinners to eat throughout the week. That was my “cooking from Costco” experiment as I tried some of the recipes from the free Costco cookbook I received on Black Friday.  I fixed several recipes from that book, but the Italian Sausage and Lentils was the most interesting. I couldn’t find the Puy lentils that are grown in the volcanic ash soil in France. So I had to settle for plain old lentils found at Smiths. Must say, I’m not a big fan. The texture actually reminded me of black-eyed peas, traditional Southern New Year’s Day side dish, and I don’t care for those either. Maybe it’s an acquired taste.

Last Monday, on Presidents Day, I cooked up a couple of heart-healthy recipes I found in February’s Woman’s Day. I’m often drawn to recipes found in women’s magazines because they are quick and simple, but I wondered if these would be tasty. One ingredient that jazzes up flavor but isn’t heart-friendly is SALT, and these dishes included VERY little of the seasoning.

Roast Rosemary Chicken on a small plate for portion control!!!

The first recipe I “whipped up” was Roast Rosemary Chicken and Vegetables  – DELICIOUS – and I even had to substitute a couple of mediocre ingredients for the preferred choices! I LOVE  roast vegetables, and the rosemary and garlic made me forget about salt! (And yes, I used fresh rosemary, a first for me!) While G.E. isn’t a big fan of garlic, he did enjoy this dish. Although, he was a bit nervous when he smelled the garlic’s pungent odor permeate our entire house.  He did not care for the Kalamata olives, however, but I thought their flavor added a fun zip and combined well with the veggies and the herbs.

Roast Rosemary Chicken and Vegetables

  • 8 small chicken drumsticks(about 1 3/4 lb)
  • 4 large red potatoes, each cut in 8 wedges, wedges halved (I didn’t have any, so I used boring old bakers – not as sweet and not as colorful)
  • 2 large peppers, cut in 3/4-in. wedges (Because orange peppers were in my fridge’s crisper,  they stood in for the lively red ones.)
  • 1 large red onion, cut in 1/2-in.-thick slices (Again, I resorted to slicing the blah yellow onion in the bin, BUT it was a sweet one!)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half (I could only find these bottled in an oil and wine marinade, but I toweled them off, threw them in!)
  • Serve with: balsamic vinegar to drizzle over chicken and vegetables – HEY! I didn’t notice this suggestion in the magazine’s version! Double YUM!


1. Position racks to divide oven in thirds. Heat oven to 500°F. You’ll need 2 rimmed baking sheets lined with nonstick foil.2. Distribute drumsticks, potatoes, peppers and onion evenly between pans. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper, and toss to turn and coat.3. Roast 30 minutes, stirring mixtures after 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.4. Arrange on platter; add olives.


I’ll definitely make this dish again, but I’ll double up the vegtables!