LIFE IS A SPECTRUM

I've established the fact that I can't cook. And that when I do cook, I frequently take short cuts. So when I saw the pre-cut Nestle Toll House orange jack o' lantern cookies, I thought, “Score!” Just pop 'em out, lay them on a cookie sheet, stick 'em in the oven, cook for 10 minutes. Done.

PumpkinPals

Pumpkin Pals! So happy to be eaten!

I had volunteered to provide two dozen cookies to Willow's Fall Festival party, and I thought the little orange sugar cookies would be the perfect complement to an 18-month-old's celebration of Halloween. I imagined myself impressing all the other parents by being that mom who freshly bakes cookies for the school party. (Maybe they wouldn't have noticed the 6-foot-high Nestle display in the Publix refrigerated section.)

My mistake came when I looked at the package and saw the jolly picture on the package of the jack o' lanterns with colored eyes and mouths. According to the package, you can use decorator gels to fill in the cut-outs and then your cookies will emerge from the oven practically laughing with Halloween happiness.

Well, I don't know what decorator gels are. I did, however, have some food coloring left over from Easter. How different could it be? It says it's for coloring food.

S_yuckycookies

I'll eat YOU, little girl!

I got out the food coloring and some of the kids paint brushes and started painting away. I painted some with green eyes and smiles for the boys and some for pink eyes and mouths for the girls. I missed the part on the instructions where it said, “Do not over-fill.”

10 minutes later, my cookies emerged from the oven looking like something from the horror movie Pumpkinhead. The pink-eyed jack o'lanterns appeared to be bleeding from the eyes and mouth, and the black-mouthed (because the dark green came out black) boys' cookies looked like a warning against tooth decay. Some of them looked like they had grown mold.

Billy pointed at one girl cookie and summed it up: “That pumpkin has a hurchy eye.” Indeed.

So “hurchy,” in fact, that when presented with one of these horror cookies at the Fall Festival, an 18-month-old girl started to cry.

From now on, I'm going to be that mom that impresses everyone with how efficiently she orders from the bakery.

Thanks to The SITS Girls for sponsoring our 3-day “Boo!” blog challenge, just one of the fun reasons that I love being a member of this active blogging community.

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Hey Gurl-fren!

Well, how happy am I to find you on the interwebz? I, too, am the parent of a child with autism and a neurotypical child. I write about them in my other blog "The Adventures of Auti and Tippy". I love that you say there is so much more going on in your world than autism...so true!!! Can't wait to read more.

Welcome to my world :)

Sooooo glad to discover your blog, i love your take on life - especially about life on the spectrum - a topic close to my heart since about a year ago.

Spring Chickens are the best. Congrats on your SITS day!

Tears of laughter!

You have got me crying with laughter! You are so funny! Your mom & dad are sitting in the lving room with me howling with laughter too. I just love how you tell on yourself. Love ya Big Sis!

That made me laugh so hard. I love your ingenuity though! That comment "If you baking skills make babies cry, you're doing something right." is hysterical.

Oh em geee...this post had me laughing so hard...not at you, but WITH you!! I recently attempted to make cupcakes for my son's birthday to share with his friends at school. Nothing fancy, just Duncan Hines with icing from a tub....no big deal, right?! Apparently it WAS! NONE of them turned out well! I ended up making a detour by Kroger on the way to his party! :)

HA! I love the "hurchy" eyes! I probably would have made the same mistake or heck I would have not colored them at all because I wouldn't realize that I needed the extra stuff until too late. Ooops :)

Got an email about decorator gel...

Turns out, this is a kind of food coloring in gel form that helps prevent "hurchy eyes" on cookies by staying where it's supposed to be and not seeping out in creepy ways all over your baked jack o'lanterns. Now I know!

Total 13 comments

louiselove2

I'm still after Thelma and Louise -- specifically, Louise (I think - she's the dryer, right?).

It's Day 2 of the SITS Girls Back2Blogging challenge and today we're supposed to post something we wish more people had read and explain why. I should probably have picked a subject deeper than my love of the crock pot, but it definitely qualifies in the category of "I don't think many people read it." Back when I started my blog, I didn't know how to work the Twitter machine and I still thought social media was some show on E! about celebrities dating.

Also, I want to show people that even though autism advocacy is super-important to me, I do write about other things. "Parent" is definitely my most important role right now, but there are other things that I ... am particularly not particularly good at.

So today feel free to make fun of ...

bad-cook

... My Cooking Skills
(originally posted 2/10/2010)

I cannot cook. My father always said that if you can read, you can cook, and it is true that I can follow directions, but that, to me, is not really cooking. Cooking skill is that magical sense -- at least it seems like magic to me -- that tells you to add a little more of this or that to make food taste better. If one ingredient is missing from a recipe, I am at a loss. I have no idea whether 1/2 teaspoon of paprika is essential or is one of those things you can leave out. I have no more idea what to substitute in its place than I would know how to change an oil filter (do oil filters get changed?).

Before I had children, it never occurred to me to want to learn to cook. When I lived on my own, it seemed like a whole lot of effort for very little reward. After all, if I cooked it, then I would end up eating it, and no one knew better than me how inedible my cooking was. Once when I lived in California, we had a minor earthquake, and some man -- I can't remember if he was with the gas company or the stove company (is there a stove company?) -- came to check that there was no leaking gas after the quake.

Horrified that I might be breathing invisible gas, I rushed him inside my apartment and in the direction of the kitchen. After a very brief inspection, he said, "OK, two things. First of all, your stove is electric, so I'm pretty sure you're OK. Secondly, it's still wrapped in the plastic it was delivered in ... so you haven't turned it on with that wrapped around it .... have you?" I had been in that apartment for 8 months at that point.

Once I got married, there was still no reason to develop an affinity or skill for cooking. I happen to marry an excellent cook who loved to spend time in the kitchen. I loved to hang out there with him, chopping things under his instruction, sipping a glass of wine and talking. David can cook anything with barely a glance to a recipe, but no matter what it is -- turkey sandwich or Christmas dinner -- it takes two hours. I'm not kidding. If he invests less than 120 minutes in the process, he doesn't feel like he's done it right. His culinary skills are truly awesome, but if you're really hungry, he's not your go-to guy.

Our schedules have gotten so busy with both kids, his full-time job, Billy's therapy appointments and life in general that we're usually not able to actually think about eating an adult meal until well after 8 p.m. On the Chef Dave clock, that means that if he's going to cook dinner, we're going to be eating after 10 o'clock.

Enter my new favorite kitchen device: the Crock Pot. Despite its hilarious (to me) name, it has been a lifesaver for our family. My mom bought me a cookbook of crockpot recipes, and I discovered that anyone -- ANYONE -- can cook with a Crock Pot. And it cooks on low all day and is ready for the adults to eat as soon as the little demons start snoring in the evening.

crockpots

I'm not saying I never heard of a Crock Pot. I'm a Southern woman; of course I know what a Crock Pot is. They were lined up across long tables at every church pot luck, family dinner or company picnic throughout my life. But I thought they were difficult to use, and I thought you could only cook delicious, fattening Southern food in them ... because the people I knew who had them were really good cooks who always cooked delicious, fattening Southern food.

To my surprise, I found that even I could operate a Crock Pot. The directions: Plug in. Turn to "low." Come back in seven hours. Awesome. It's like cooking with a curling iron.

And I found all kinds of recipes in my new cookbook and online. I've made Chinese Beef and Broccoli (from my cookbook - see above), Chicken Tikka Masala, and a healthy Butternut Squash Soup. A couple of my favorite sites are A-crock-cook.com and Slowandsimple.com (which describes more than my Crock Pot).

Dave was dubious about the Crock Pot at first; he's suspicious of simple cooking. I don't know whether it was the tastiness of the final results that won him over, or the fact that I shared with him that it took seven hours to cook. But he's a believer now.

I still don't know how to cook. But I can fool people. And at the next family get-together, I'll have a Crock Pot of my own to add to the line. Watch out!

---------------------------

Thanks to SITS Girls, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances for sponsoring this opportunity to make fun of my cooking!

Reader Comments

Your cooking post

I love this post with intensity! Unlike you, I adore cooking and trying to mix and match this with that. When it comes to the crock pot, which I also adore, my hubs goes weird on me. It's because of the smell. It does get incredibly strong, how to you deal with that? I don't mind it one bit. My house would constantly smell like onions, garlic and bacon for all I care but the hubs stocks up on the Febreze!

Great Crockpot Post!

I love to cook, but have a long daily commute, a plethora of activities, and roommates who always take over the kitchen. I rarely have the time or space to do much cooking. I own a crockpot (for small servings even!) but rarely use it. Thank you for the encouragement. I'm pulling it out today!

cooking

I could have TOTALLY written this post!! What hooked me was when you said cooking when you don't have family is a lot of effort for little reward. BINGO! My thoughts exactly. Great minds think alike! :)

I Love Crockpots!

I am a decent cook but I LOVE crock pots too! They are amazing! There isn't anything better than throwing some meat, vegetables, salt, pepper and a little water in a crockpt and coming back later to a delicious home cooked meal!!

Stopping by from SITS!

Crock Pot Love!

So glad to see so much crock pot love spread around :-) I'm actually getting ready to upgrade to a fancy, larger one with MORE THAN 2 SETTINGS! Stay tuned ...

By the way, I love getting to visit all your blogs. One thing I've discovered that mine needs is a way for you to leave your websites when you comment, so that I can add you to my blog stops! In the meantime, if you get a chance, would you mind sticking your URL just in the body of your posts? Thanks so much for stopping by; I want to return the love :-)

Damn You!

You HAD to pay my blog a visit, so I HAD to pay you a visit. DAMN YOU! I love this blog! It's great! Now I have yet another blog I have to read everyday!

I cannot keep up!

Seriously, thanks for finding me! Your blog rocks!

Cooking

This could have been written by me...except I'm so lame I still haven't figured out the crock pot. My husband does all the cooking and fancies himself quite the gourmand, so he looks down his nose at crock pots. But he travels alot and I've always meant to try it on my own. We do own one. I will check out slowandsimple because that sounds about right...

Total 7 comments

I cannot cook. My father always said that if you can read, you can cook, and it is true that I can follow directions, but that, to me, is not really cooking. Cooking skill is that magical sense -- at least it seems like magic to me -- that tells you to add a little more of this or that to make food taste better. If one ingredient is missing from a recipe, I am at a loss. I have no idea whether 1/2 teaspoon of paprika is essential or is one of those things you can leave out. I have no more idea what to substitute in its place than I would know how to change an oil filter (do oil filters get changed?).

Before I had children, it never occurred to me to want to learn to cook. When I lived on my own, it seemed like a whole lot of effort for very little reward. After all, if I cooked it, then I would end up eating it, and no one knew better than me how inedible my cooking was. Once when I lived in California, we had a minor earthquake, and some man -- I can't remember if he was with the gas company or the stove company (is there a stove company?) -- came to check that there was no leaking gas after the quake.

Horrified that I might be breathing invisible gas, I rushed him inside my apartment and in the direction of the kitchen. After a very brief inspection, he said, "OK, two things. First of all, your stove is electric, so I'm pretty sure you're OK. Secondly, it's still wrapped in the plastic it was delivered in ... so you haven't turned it on with that wrapped around it .... have you?" I had been in that apartment for 8 months at that point.

Once I got married, there was still no reason to develop an affinity or skill for cooking. I happen to marry an excellent cook who loved to spend time in the kitchen. I loved to hang out there with him, chopping things under his instruction, sipping a glass of wine and talking. David can cook anything with barely a glance to a recipe, but no matter what it is -- turkey sandwich or Christmas dinner -- it takes two hours. I'm not kidding. If he invests less than 120 minutes in the process, he doesn't feel like he's done it right. His culinary skills are truly awesome, but if you're really hungry, he's not your go-to guy.

Our schedules have gotten so busy with both kids, his full-time job, Billy's therapy appointments and life in general that we're usually not able to actually think about eating an adult meal until well after 8 p.m. On the Chef Dave clock, that means that if he's going to cook dinner, we're going to be eating after 10 o'clock.

Enter my new favorite kitchen device: the Crock Pot. Despite its hilarious (to me) name, it has been a lifesaver for our family. My mom bought me a cookbook of crockpot recipes, and I discovered that anyone -- ANYONE -- can cook with a Crock Pot. And it cooks on low all day and is ready for the adults to eat as soon as the little demons start snoring in the evening.

I'm not saying I never heard of a Crock Pot. I'm a Southern woman; of course I know what a Crock Pot is. They were lined up across long tables at every church pot luck, family dinner or company picnic throughout my life. But I thought they were difficult to use, and I thought you could only cook delicious, fattening Southern food in them ... because the people I knew who had them were really good cooks who always cooked delicious, fattening Southern food.

To my surprise, I found that even I could operate a Crock Pot. The directions: Plug in. Turn to "low." Come back in seven hours. Awesome. It's like cooking with a curling iron.

And I found all kinds of recipes in my new cookbook and online. I've made Chinese Beef and Broccoli (from my cookbook - see above), Chicken Tikka Masala, and a healthy Butternut Squash Soup. A couple of my favorite sites are A-crock-cook.com and Slowandsimple.com (which describes more than my Crock Pot).

Dave was dubious about the Crock Pot at first; he's suspicious of simple cooking. I don't know whether it was the tastiness of the final results that won him over, or the fact that I shared with him that it took seven hours to cook. But he's a believer now.

I still don't know how to cook. But I can fool people. And at the next family get-together, I'll have a Crock Pot of my own to add to the line. Watch out!

Reader Comments

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