Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why You Shouldn't be a Smug Cook

Darlings!  It's been forever since I have posted here and I bet some of you thought I bit the dust or something.  Well, the "something" is really two-fold. One, I am lazy and content to let Evey do everything for me.  Two, I am having a wee bit of trouble managing my time now that summer has rolled around and my crazy horde of children are with me 24/7.  Seriously, these people are like tiny tornadoes...I spend all day following them around picking up stuff.  And don't even get me started on the toilet situation!
So you can imagine how happy I was when last Sunday rolled around and I found myself with a few hours of relative peace. The kids were playing downstairs, Mr. Incredible was roaming about the grounds, and my kitchen was calling to me.  Usually every Sunday I spend some time in the kitchen cooking up all the meat I bought at the grocery store during the week.  I started doing this because I found that I would get all these grand and awesome ideas for dinner and then when I reached in the back of the fridge, the beautiful flank steak I I bought just mere days before had turned into a grey slimy mess. Between that, and the ground beef juices leaking all over the place I decided there had to a better way to go about cooking.  So I instituted my weekly guerilla cooking episodes.  I love to cook, so this is a win-win situation for me.  All the weekly cooking gets done AND I have a great excuse to be left alone for a few hours. (insert evil laugh here)
By now you can probably hear the smugness in my voice.  "Oh goody for you!" you may be saying in a sarcastic tone right now.  Well, let me tell you, I was pretty darn smug. I admit that I thought I was pretty awesome.  However, I am here to tell you that the Almighty Food Gods heard my self-satisfied murmuring and decided to teach me a lesson.  On this perfect Sunday, I had a family size package of chicken breasts, 4 pounds of ground beef, and some fresh salmon to cook up. I decided to have the salmon for dinner, make meatloaf and hamburgers from the ground beef, and use my crockpot for the chicken. I found a new chicken recipe that only used 3 ingredients so, again, I was pretty darn pleased with my self. I was wearing my cutest apron. I had music playing.
After a couple of hours, the kitchen was a complete mess, but everything was humming along.  Or so I thought.  Just as I was serving my family a lovely dinner of broiled salmon with Honey-Soy glaze and a side of sauteed garlic green beans, I decided to peek in the crockpot to see how the chicken was coming along. It looked exactly the same as it had when I put it in two hours before.  I was upset.  WTH?! Then, I realized that I had failed to PLUG IN the crockpot.  So I had just wasted two hours.  Okay, I thought, no worries, I will just cook it on high and it will still be done at the same time.  Cool.
Not cool.
What happens in 3 hours in a house with three kids, a dog, a cat, and a husband?  Chaos, that's what.  It was bathtime, shower time, toy-clean-up time, brush-your-teeth-NOW time, one-more-story time, whining time, song time, prayer time, and hug-and-kiss time.  Then it was wine time.  Then it was Mama-falls-asleep time. 
Fast forward to 7AM.  I awake, refreshed and ready for the day.  Mr. Incredible was being his noisy self in the bathroom and I was lying in bed trying to remember what day it was.  I smelled some general cooking smells from the kitchen.  I started to smile when the awful realization hit me. I. FORGOT. TO. TURN. OFF. THE. CROCKPOT.  I bolted upright in the bed, my heart pounding with dread. I raced down the stairs praying that Mr. Incredible had miraculously read my mind JUST THIS ONCE and turned off the crockpot at the appointed hour.*  Alas, this was not to be. The overcooked chicken breasts looked at me accusingly from the bottom of the white hot pot. I stabbed one cautiously.  Yep, it was dry as a bone. I admit, I thought about weeping. Chicken is expensive, dammit!
The Food Gods mocked me from above.  "That will teach you to be a Smug Cook!" they shouted.
This does have a semi-happy ending.  I found that if you break up the dry chicken and use it in wraps, soups, and chicken salad, you can fool everyone into thinking that you cooked deliciously moist and tender goodies.  But, a family pack of dry chicken goes a LOOOOOONG way, so it's a good thing my children eat like they have been trapped in the Gobi Desert for months.
*As a side note, I originally typed 'crackpot' at this point in the story.  Which would have made the story COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.  And also hilarious.

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