What’s Cooking & Other Kitchen Games

emeril1_t290 I’m pitching a reality TV show idea to Hollywood.  This show would feature any number of really excellent cooks (Rachel Ray, Paula Dean, and, ooh la la Emeril (Bam!) to name a few) who would come in to the studio kitchen and attempt to teach me how to cook. I would then attempt (keyword: attempt) to make the dish or the meal, right there on national television.  It’s a bit like Julie & Julia because, of course I would be attempting to imitate a great cook, but it would also combine elements of some other reality TV shows like Survivor.  The audience members getting drawn to sample the finished product (would they be the contestants or the judges?) would be the ones trying to survive, of course.  The name of this new reality TV show?  You guessed it, “How To Screw Up A Really Great Meal”.  I can hear it now.  The studio audience applauding, the cameras swing into action panning the audience, lights go up full, the musical score plays and the announcer’s voice belts out my cue to go onstage, “This is How To Screw Up A Really Great Meal with your host, The Wild Mind!”  The crowd goes wild, because they truly hope that this episode will be the one where I finally pull off an edible attempt.

Sigh.  One can dream.

fantasy cook off Hell’s Kitchen

Truth of the matter is, I’ve never been comfortable in the kitchen until recently.  Growing up in my home, for me, and learning to cook with a dad who was first, an excellent cook himself, and two, anal retentive about leveling off every single cup, tablespoon and teaspoon.  Now, that’s not such a bad thing, but something happened between my father and I in the kitchen every time he tried to teach me a recipe that led to him getting frustrated with me and me in tears about it…or angry.  My memory of the experience is a bit Hell’s Kitchen-esque.  The result?  I gave up trying to cook.  By the time I really needed to cook to feed a family, there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to ever measure up to my, then, husband’s mom’s cooking or my now deceased father’s ability to measure and scoop so succinctly, so again, you guessed it, I gave up and quit trying.  I mean, who really enjoys slaving away for a couple of hours after a long day at work only to be greeted with criticism.  Throw the poor cook a bone and at least affirm the effort. Those of you wonderful family members out there who suffer in silence and still muster the lie, “It was great honey!” and manage to choke it down anyway, are to be commended.  You will soon be dining like kings instead of ordering out take-out. Anyway, enough of my deplorable kitchen issues. 

Cooking isn’t rocket science

One thing my dad did tell me was any fool who can read can learn to cook.  In fact, his attitude was that if you can read you can teach yourself to do anything and by the time I left home for college he’d proven that theory on a number of things in his own life.  It was pretty amazing.  So, while our father-daughter bonding kitchen experiences are less than ideal, my dad set a pretty great example in a bunch of areas. Learning things you have no clue how to do was one of them.

So, with that example, and with the added incentive that my poor children are starving, I’ve decided to, finally in midlife, do something I’ve really always wanted to do, but have never really made a commitment to doing.  I’m finding that cooking is a lot more fun than I expected. 

j0426457Since being single, I’ve found out that there are also many, many men who are not only great handy men, but they are skilled in the kitchen as well.  This leads me to think that gaining some kitchen knowledge might be a lot more fun than I previously thought.  After all, there’s a lot of fun to be had using hot pads, an egg beater and real butter.  Accompanying the meal preparations with a fine bottle of wine is a nice touch.  Later in the evening the adventurous cooking couple can advance to serving each other cocktails such as Sex On The Beach or Screwdrivers.  But for those, who like me, are uncertain of themselves in this new domain, I’d like to suggest these simple steps to enjoying a wonderful culinary experience. This is a combination cooking experience for beginners and a party game.  It is a versatile recipe.  Feel free to experiment with your own combinations and techniques.  As you gain confidence and skill, I’m sure you, too, will be able to develop your own personal culinary style.  If you’re more adept at the culinary arts maybe you could leave a comment and share what variations on this recipe you’ve tried. 

Recipe For Kitchen Success

Ingredients:

2 nicely shaped ripe oranges, one ripe but not over-ripe banana, saucepan, oven with working heat controls, 1 very flavorful Kielbasa, seasonings.

Instructions:

Step One:  Carefully and slowly, peel the oranges

Step Two:  Gently squeeze the oranges

Step Three: Savor the oranges as you simmer over a low heat and season to taste.

Step 4:  Continue savoring and simmering while stirring occasionally.

Step 4:  While simmering the oranges over a gradually increasing heat, peel the banana

Step 5:  When the oranges, banana and oven are fully heated…

Step 6:  Play Hide The Kielbasa

Enjoy!

If Life Were A Supermarket, Where Would I Find You?

Copyright CABrasseur, 2009

Some of you might know that I have another blog titled Welcome To CABsPlace. I’ve kind of let that dangle a bit as I try to clarify really what my own vision is for each of my blogs.  For now, I think I’ve decided to make CABsPlace more of my personal or family blog and have it deal more with parenting, home improvement, and single mommy stuff, while this one will address more adult themes of mid-life singles, divorce, relationships, dating, self-improvement and personal growth, as well as parenting.  To that end, I am going to start moving some of the CABsPlace Posts over here in cases where the content is more suitable for this blog.  This is the first of such posts.  You’ll know the original post content because the font will appear (hopefully) in a different color.  And, yes, I am taking liberties, at times to edit and enhance (this does not mean re-write) the posts when necessary.

I hope you enjoy these.  Some of them are my earlier works and it is interesting to see how much I’ve changed in my thinking and my writing in the last couple of years. Do, please, let me know what you think.  The feedback is incredibly valuable to me.  

The email comment read, “If life were a supermarket, I bet I’d find you in the desserts and treats aisle”. I pondered this statement momentarily, thinking, well that’s a pretty creative way of putting yourself out there.  However, I thought to myself as I gazed at the digital text, I’m not so sure that’s entirely accurate. I mean, desserts and treats?  Fun?  Yes.  Sweet and yummy? I like to think so in the right circumstances with the right kind of guy.  Complete fluff and no real relational nutrition?  Not so much.

I decided to rewrite myself as if my life were a supermarket. Where would one find me? Here’s my start to that creative question. 

Check out the decadent phallic symbols in this picture!

If life were a supermarket, I’d be in the desserts and treats section because I am fun, sweet, yummy, tasty and gooey and, at times, in the appropriate context with a suitable member of the opposite sex, very decadent.  I’d also be in the fine wines section because I am aging well and I deserve to be savored rather than gulped and tossed aside.  You’d find me in the the tri-tip steak section because I am tender, flavorful, tasteful and authentically real unlike the hot dogs or bologna slices you find in the processed lunch meats aisle.  You’ll  find me in the produce aisle especially near the dark green leafy vegetables, the mushrooms and the zucchini because I am really down to earth, health conscious, but not fanatical. You’d find me in the coffee aisle because the smell of fresh brewed coffees is more about ambiance that caffeine and mood is so important to a satisfying relationship.  You’d find me in the cleansers and detergent aisle because while I’m not OCD, I am definitely a bit of a neat freak and I like my home and my things and my children to be clean…as well as myself and my own clothing. Of course, you’d find me in the toiletries aisle, at some point, because like all good moms, I take care of the details and I’m prepared for any emergency. You would not find me in the fast food or chips and dip section, because I have a bit more substance than that. However, even I have been known on occasion to indulge in popcorn or cotton candy and even I, on occasion drink a beer. But I don’t frequent those aisles often and if you caught me there it would be a chance meeting indeed. You might find me in the section with wild jalapeno peppers because I can be hot and spicy.  You’d find me in the International Foods section because I love the world, it’s peoples and hope to travel to meet them someday in their own countries, at their own tables, in their own settings. In short, you’d find me in any aisle with food that authentic food goes well with fine wine, friends, good music, good times and the making of cherished memories…that is…if my life were a supermarket.

Now, if your life were a supermarket, where would I find you???

Have fun with this!  I look forward to your comments.

Home Alone…On A Saturday Night

I’m home alone. No kids.  No dates. Would you think less of me if I told you that the no dates part was not my choice?  It was my choice.  I had invites.  I turned them down.  I wanted to be alone.  I needed to be alone.  Am I sick or what???  The world does not understand those of us who can tolerate solitude and silence indefinitely.  However, I have to admit, while I am solo tonight, I am not silent.

Playing in the 5 CD changer in the living room is a random mixture of Colbie Callat, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Nickel Creek and Cold Play. 

I’ve just finished a dinner of gourmet salad and barbecue steak and excellent Southern Oregon Pinot Noir.

I am pretty much done with the “chores” of the day (like I did so much!) and am going to take the evening and do whatever I want to do…which is blog and read the blogs of my other bloggy friends.

No kids here tonight. Oh, yeah.  I already said that.  Must be the Pinot Noir taking over. This is the weekend for the youngest three to be at their respective dad’s places and Number 1 is out with friends.  I won’t see her till after 1:00 tomorrow a.m. and I’m so not waiting up.  She’s such an awesome kid.  But anybody mess with her and I’ll load my Colt Police Positive so fast it’ll make your head spin.

I love writing.  It is good therapy, and a great outlet for all the crap that spins incessantly through my mind in a given day.  Once I write it…I feel I can finally dump it.  Good therapy.  Just understand that what you read here is the crap I dump and not necessarily the real me sans dumped crap.  *tosses her long auburn lock, winks, smiles and giggles charmingly*

Tonight is the night I’ve been waiting for all winter long.  Tonight we set our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time.  This so totally rocks.  Heck (he he) no!  I do not like invisibly losing an hour of my life but I sooooo love the later light in the evenings. It is summer now…no matter what.   And I begin to live accordingly.  However, since I’m a bit slow in getting after some of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’m glad that according to others it is not really summer.  In any event, I informed Number 1 that she is now going to be walking home from work starting Monday.  She wasn’t so into that. I was really into that.  Means I just gained a regular workout time!  Wahooo!!!  And, she needs the exercise anyway, not because she’s fat…she’s anything but…but fitness and endurance have not been her priority.  Now we start.

Life is looking up.  Not perfect, but definitely up from where I’ve been.  The district is not going to have to cut days out of the school year, I have several opportunities to earn extra income and not take a whole bunch extra time out of my life in the next two months and this is a good thing.  I still have 3 personal days I can use to attach to a weekend so I can get some work done around here.  Nice!  Debt is going down faster with every passing month and income is stable.  Cars are running and the house is not collapsing around me and I am incredibly grateful.  I also have a student teacher starting in my class on Monday.  Life so totally rocks!  I can focus on my other “professional development activities” while she is teaching class.  I’m rolling on the floor thinking how this is such a win-win for both of us.

I so think all of this deserves some solo hot tubbing in the nude!  Oh, wait, I didn’t really say that did I?  *blushes and smiles coyly* Naaa!  I’d never go hot tubbing nude, would I?????? 

You tell me.  Would I?  Should I? Sam I am?

Love at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving morning, 2008.  It’s a foggy, misty morning.  I’m writing early because I might not have time later today, and I might not be inspired. I was planning to write some creative thing about being thankful in reverse…or “Things I’m Thankful I Don’t Have”, but being one of those undiagnosed ADD types, I went wandering around Wordpress instead. In my wanderings, I bumped into a couple of blog posts this morning that I thought were very good.  I thought I’d share them.  I always like it when people tell others about something that I’ve written that they found value in, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to return the favor.

The first is a new blog to me.  She writes about love, a huge, unfathomable topic and she barely scratches the surface as you can expect.  She does make some great thought-provoking points and I like the way she writes.  She also gave me much to think about and possibly blog for myself on the topic.  Her post’s title was fairly creative and I love creative.  You can read this blog post, “Love Shouldn’t Feel Like Getting Run Over By a Train” here. Now that I go back and reread the post, I notice that this particular article was written way back in 2006.  I need to get better at noticing things like that.  Even so, I liked it.  Maybe her comments will spark your thinking about the topic of love and family and your kids, if you have them.  I wonder if she’s still writing or if she’s abandoned her blog?  Hmmmm.  Whatever the case may be with her, I do agree with her title.  Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt.  Wore it out.  That’s why I clicked on her link.

The next post is more recently written by someone who is still writing.  His post’s topic is about doing the things you love and making money (or not) at them.  I’m pointing you to Jim’s blog, because he really is a fabulous writer.  Check out his complete post titled, The Money Will Follow (or Not), here. He also made me think…especially about this writing thing and making money at it.  His points reminded me of one of the reasons, beyond complete fear of rejection, that I haven’t yet published:  if I do what I love for a living, which in this case is writing, am I a.) good enough to make money at it? b.) is there a market for my kind of writing (and I don’t even really know for sure what that is yet, thus this blog) and c.) will it become a duty under deadlines instead of a creative outlet and intellectual passion?  (Jim didn’t so much mention that last point in his blog but the first two points were his.  They made me think of the last one.)

Anyway.  With all the talk about love this almost sounds like it could pass for a Valentine’s Day post.

I hope whatever you are doing today, that it is filled with peace, gratitude, good food, good company and some relaxation.  Anyone out there playing mud football today?