The Half-Baked Eruption

So, I baked a cake the other day…

For the love of God, people!

Surely, the alarms in your head must be going off by now!

I am The Undomestic Goddess, after all.

(If you’re not familiar with the circumstances that earned me this title, my Culinary Mayhem post is a must-read in order to fully appreciate the implication here.)

Anyway, turns out baking a birthday cake first thing on a Monday morning with my eyes half-closed, before even eating breakfast…

Not such a hot idea.

With a potent combination of dazzling creativity mixed with equal part nonexistent domestic ability, my good intentions were bound to go right down the toilet.

Don’t get me wrong. I do bake cakes twice a year, every year for my boys’ birthdays.

And they usually come out decently enough (read: cute and edible).

But this time around was different.

Somehow, the cake had come out oddly misshapen.

It resembled a volcano-shaped monstrosity, actually.

And the icing was a tad bit too thin, spewing off the top and down the sides of the volcano-cake like white lava.

So I made yet another, thicker batch of sugary icing and heaped it on top of the volcanic mess.

Then I lovingly slapped eight adorable little Despicable Me gummy Minions onto the fifty layers of icing in a visually appealing pattern.

But then disaster struck.

The Minions immediately started sinking into the volcanic ashes icing.

Seriously, they were going under faster than an octopus in a straightjacket.

I had to rescue them!

Left with little choice, I quickly grasped and yanked them up and away from impending doom before it was too late.

Sadly, I must’ve accidentally pinched off a few of their smiling faces during my rescue mission.

How fitting.

A tiny little Minion leg had been lost along the way, too.

I frantically glanced around the kitchen for anything- and I mean anything– to help remedy this disaster.

Plastic forks, chewable vitamin c wafers, gum wrappers…

Eventually, I saved their lives by propping them up with mini flotation devices made out of chocolate wafers, broken into Minion-sized bits and pieces.

And just like that, the cake was salvaged.

Well, mostly.

Yeah, okay. So the frosting tasted like the equivalent of six bags of sugar, and the cake was a wee bit lopsided.

Not the end of the world.

Oh, and I also ended up having to draw faces back on a couple of the Minions.

But ultimately, the cake (and the house) did not blow up.

And people willingly ate it.

Hell, some even came back for seconds.

Go figure.

All in all, the funky cake still managed to look (marginally) better than the aftermath of our Minion piñata beat down.

And that certainly has to count for something.

It’s probably hard to tell, but this mangled mess of Minion is the piñata we beat the crap out of, not the disastrous cake I had made.

It’s probably hard to tell, but this mangled mess of Minion is the piñata we beat the crap out of, not the disastrous cake I had made.

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Culinary Chaos- The Coffee Crisis

That’s right. The madness continues. And you thought I was done last week after that whole whirlwind of culinary mayhem?

Well, so did I.

But the food-related issues continue to plague me. My whole kitchen (a.k.a. The Enemy) has evidently banded together to take me out.

It’s getting more cunning and more dangerous every time, too.

Yesterday, we reached a new low.

My coffee machine quit working, out of the blue. No warning signs, no sputters, nothing to indicate it’s about to have the last laugh.

On a hectic school morning at that, when I need all the help I can possibly get.

Well, that’s just fabulous. What am I supposed to do?

Eat the ground coffee?

Oh yeah, I can see it now. I could grab a spoon and start shoveling it down my throat like the caffeine-deprived gluttonous junkie that I’ve apparently become.

No. I am not that desperate. Yet.

Or am I?

More importantly, is this the example I really want to set for my kids?

Still fuming over the injustice of a caffeine-free morning, I open the freezer to grab a package of frozen blueberry waffles.

Before I could even reach the box, a glacier comes down hard on my right foot.

It’s not any random frozen object that attacked me. It’s a full quart of ice cream.

Its name is Coffee Bean Blast.

Coffee? Seriously?

Such irony.

How cruel to taunt me like that.

And Blast? As in blasting like a malfunctioning rocket out of the freezer and on to my unsuspecting appendages?

Tally:

coffee: 0, injuries: 2

(1 physical, 1 psychological)

Not a good start.

My son suggests I use the ice cream to make a Starbucks-style iced coffee drink.

Great idea!

Oh, right. The blender blew up two weeks ago.

Never mind.

Besides, it’s a rather stormy morning. What about that sounds like a good idea? Electrocution, anyone?

Guess that would eliminate my need for caffeine, at the very least.

Maybe it’s just as well the blender had kicked the bucket.

This is almost as bad as that time I ran out of milk and had to drink my coffee black.

No. Actually, this is worse. Much worse.

If I want to go caffeine-free for a day, that really ought to be my choice. Not the spitefully possessed coffee machine’s decision.

I do stupid things when I’m not properly fueled.

Like call my boys by the wrong names, feed the same kid breakfast twice while the other one gets none, and then proceed to drive in the complete opposite direction of their school while those two sit there all oblivious, listening to their Ipods.

Oh well. These things happen.

Coffee is sometimes the only motivation for even getting up in the morning. Especially around the holidays, when I can buy my favorite Gingerbread coffee.

I end up settling for Perfect Energy tea. Except that nothing about it is perfect.

I’m disgruntled, it’s sorely lacking in caffeine, and it simply isn’t hitting the spot on a crazed morning, as I struggle to wrestle a groggy heap of teenager out of bed.

Somehow, I still need to drive the kids to school. With no caffeine in my system. Well, that, and a swollen foot.

The very foot used to operate the gas pedal. So it may or may not willingly retreat from the gas pedal.

It takes forever to even work up the motivation to shower after I finally manage to shuttle everybody out the door to their proper locations. By the time I do, it’s already time to pick them up from school.

I didn’t even make it back out of the house after dropping them off in the morning to go look for a new coffee machine?!? Where did the time go?

Did I fall asleep?

Did I seriously just waste the whole day away, drowning in a caffeine-less pity party?

I suppose it’s a good thing I didn’t reach for alcohol instead.

Truth be told, I’ve been getting injured around my own kitchen more so than any other way.

So for all of you out there who think dirt biking is dangerous, let me tell you something. The kitchen is a much, much more dangerous place than any trail out there.

Anyone want to explain to me why this cup is empty?

Anyone want to explain to me why this cup is empty?

Culinary Mayhem

“If you can read, you can cook!”

I read that somewhere a while back, and I could’ve died laughing.

I can read well enough, thank you very much. But cooking? Now that’s a different story.

As it turns out, that line is actually the title of a cookbook. I’ve never read that particular cookbook.

But I’m way beyond the point of help, anyway.

As far as I’m concerned, the need to “refuel” is not only a major inconvenience, but an unfortunate human inefficiency as well.

It’s a necessary evil, at best.

And how utterly ironic that I am always hungry, yet I don’t want to be troubled by stepping into the kitchen to prepare anything that might take longer than 30 seconds.

Every time I open the fridge, I secretly wish that my next meal will magically materialize before my eyes.

I can bake decently. From a box. I’m usually able to follow those directions well enough.

Unless I don’t have all the ingredients and end up having to do a little experimental substituting. Who needs a stick of butter anyway when you’ve got a whole tub of rice pudding?

Right?

I have no business being in the kitchen. If I had a personal chef, I could probably get out once and for all- before somebody really gets hurt.

Case in point: I’ve almost been knocked out by the freezer door on several occasions. And I’m convinced the ice maker on the fridge is also trying to kill me, as it spastically fires off sharp-edged ice cubes at random angles across the kitchen.

There’s also The Oven Fire Incident, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.

Onions aren’t the only things that can bring tears to my eyes.

For the record, I can tell you from experience that if you accidentally rub your eyes after handling an onion, you’re in for a world of burning inferno waterworks.

Kitchen gadgets terrify me. I occasionally wander into those kitchen stores at the mall out of morbid curiosity. I can’t figure out what most of that stuff is, let alone what purpose they could possibly serve.

Cookie cutters are fairly self-explanatory, but all of that other stuff? Not so much. Some of these bizarre looking items look like they belong in a science lab.

Butter churners look downright dangerous. Nutmeg mill, anyone? Banana slicer? Butter curler? Wow, there’s something for everyone.

And yet, it’s all so useless to me.

I can slice and dice things just fine. Oh, and I do excel at making mixed drinks. I’m a natural at that! Surely, that’s got to count for something.

Speaking of drinks, Baileys is the ultimate utility player in the kitchen. I’ve used it to transform random ingredients into a work of… well, a real piece of work. Baileys is a delightful addition to cereal, yogurt, and strawberries. Voilà! Instant meal, with a little added bonus.

In my house, we tend to plan our meals based on what’s about to expire. Oh, the eggs are at their sell by date, the twisty tie for the loaf of bread mysteriously disappeared, and the plums are starting to shrivel? Guess we just solved the dinner dilemma.

If the produce is getting too soft and the yogurt is a couple of days past the sell by date, it’s definitely smoothie time. It is the ultimate saving grace, the fabulous Waste Not approach.

Smoothies are easy, sometimes delicious, occasionally nutritious, and most importantly, a great way to use up all those bananas, blueberries, avocados, and brussel sprouts that are a mere 6 hours away from turning into moldy mush because they’ve been hiding in the ghastly shadows of gallons of milk and apple juice for the past two weeks.

Perhaps the best part about smoothies is that if you’re feeling lazy and think chewing might take more effort than it is worth, all you have to do is gulp it down.

Which may be especially beneficial, depending on the alarming mixture of foods you just dumped into that blender. On the plus side, you can drink it out of a cocktail cup to make it feel like an extra special treat.

A few more perfectly valid reasons why the kitchen and its gang of appliance and gadget buddies are not my friends:

-I once forgot to put the coffee pot under the machine before flipping the switch and wandering out of the room. I returned a few minutes later to the sight of coffee spewing out of the machine, across the counter, and forming a muddy lake that snaked all the way across the floor.

-There was also that time I reached over to unplug the toaster. It was still hot, and it burned my arm. Yes, I actually got beat up by a toaster about a year ago.

-I’d forgotten to coat a pan with canola oil before pouring the brownie mix in, and ended up eating the brownies all by myself right out of the pan with a fork because it just wouldn’t come out otherwise, and I hate wasting perfectly good food.

-The blender literally blew up on me while making a smoothie a few weeks ago. In my defense, it was pretty old.

And my greatest failure in the kitchen (to date) that has clearly set me up for a lifetime of culinary success:

-When I was in junior high, I attempted to turn pita bread into pita chips by tossing it into the oven for a few minutes. When I reached in to grab it, it was hotter than hell. The next thing I knew, the oven mitt went flying into the oven.

It came out engulfed in flames

Seriously, if that doesn’t’ make my point for needing to stay out of the kitchen, I don’t know what will.

Needless to say, the smoke alarm and I are old buddies.

Take that, Martha Stewart

Take that, Martha Stewart!