Secret Fat Kid

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I am a secret fat kid. One of my earliest childhood memories is of the “five year old me” coming across a squished “gusher” during recess. I remember meticulously picking the gravel off the gusher… and that it was red..and deliciously gooey. Unfortunately, I also remember thinking that it was a good idea to eat it.

While I like to think that I have matured since that incident, I’m not entirely sure. My boyfriend, once commented that I had the eating habits of an overweight fourteen year old boy. I’m starting to think that his assessment may be somewhat valid. Just last week I ate a piece of candy out of the kitchen trash can.

I have problems, I know.

Last night, to indulge my childlike desires I made Oreo Brownies and they were delicious! If you are a chocolate lover and hold the belief that regular brownies don’t always do the job, I recommend these. They are definitely not for the faint of heart though. They are extremely chocolaty. I had to pawn them off on my coworkers to prevent myself from overdosing on chocolate. Enjoy!

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Pork Chops Shouldn’t Make You Cry

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When you cry over the reality that the breaded pork chops you just made suck, you know your day isn’t going so well.

These past few weeks I feel like I’ve been pulled in a thousand different directions: work, party planning, moving, looking into graduate schools, starting a new job, trying to save money, trying to eat healthy, trying to drag my ass to the gym more often, trying to be the perfect girlfriend, seeing my friends, etc. Most days I can manage my stress pretty well. However, these past few weeks the smallest things have been setting me off. Last night, it was the pork chops that did it.

After a long day at  the office I rushed home to make dinner for my boyfriend and I. I’ve been trying to force us to eat healthier lately and thought I’d give a recipe for healthy breaded pork chops a go. I knew that Mark wasn’t really a fan of pork chops (steak, steak, and more steak is his meat of choice), but in my imagination I envisioned creating such a delicious meal that it would surely even win over his somewhat picky palette. Anyway, the recipe I used had over four and half stars and the reviews promised good results. The directions were super easy to follow and it took me no time at all to toss the chops into the oven for 30 minutes.

After setting the table Mark and I were ready to taste my creation. I knew, the second I tried cutting into the pork chop, that they were not going to be good. Pork, in general can be dry and tough. However, if prepared correctly can be delicious. These weren’t horrible, but they were far from delicious. I had to use some serious bicep power to cut into the chops. Probably in an attempt to cheer me up, my boyfriend tried to make small talk and started listing off the few times he’d had pork in his life and how once he became seriously ill from eating a piece of pork. I know this intentions were good, but for some reason in my dejected state, I viewed his stories as hurtful. I started crying over my mediocre pork chops.

Lately, I feel like my life has been like those pork chops. Mediocre. Things have been so hectic lately that I feel like I’ve been “halfass-ing” a number of things. Cooking is usually my forte so when my pork chops fell short of the mark, I took the failure very personally. I’ve always had a competitive streak. I like “winning.” I like being successful. It’s always been hard for me to accept that things can’t always be perfect.

There’s no perfect or right way to “do life.” As stated by my loving boyfriend, “it’s a journey.”

I’m trying to take this advice to heart. My life is great. It’s not perfect, it could use some tweaks here and there, but all in all, I’m very fortunate.

Later that night I made a batch of peanut butter chocolate cookies and all was well again in the world :).

My Cookie Dilemma

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When grocery shopping I try to actively avoid setting foot in the “carb sections.” You all know what I’m talking about – the areas of the grocery store where the bakery bread, freshly made cakes, buttery “Club House Crackers,” and the oh so tempting Pepridge Farm “Soft Baked” cookies reside. I know for a fact that, if I were Super Woman, my Kryptonite would definitely be Entenmann’s “Cinnamon Pop’Ems.” Regardless of where you do your shopping, all stores have these specific areas which are, in my opinion, designed to torture every health conscious or dieting person in America.

Although I rarely allow myself to set foot in the “carb sections” I do, on occasion, inevitably find myself sneaking a box or two of cookies into my grocery basket. When this happens, I am usually wracked with guilt for the days to follow. Interestingly though, I have discovered that when I make my own cookies, I NEVER guilty. So, as you can imagine, I use any and every friend’s birthday, holiday party, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Friday of the Month for an excuse to bake cookies. I try to rationalize the situation with “They’re not for me” or “I’m making them for OTHER people to eat” or “What a productive use for that half eaten bag of chocolate chips” statements.”

This past week my girl friend Jessi turned 26. To celebrate a group of us went bowling. You can’t have a birthday without some sort of desert now can you? I decided to make festive “Reeses Pieces” topped brownies for the occasion. While assembling the necessary ingredients on the kitchen counter I realized that I was without baking chocolate. Well this small dilemma didn’t stop me from baking. I decided to improvise and make “Peeses Pieces” Peanut Butter Cookies instead. They were a huge success all around. We all were able to celebrate Jessi’s birthday and I was able to stuff my face with cookies “guilt-free.” A win all around. Everyone ate cookies and everyone was happy.

The Pioneer Woman’s Roast Chicken

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While I absolutely love cooking, some days I just don’t want to do it. After a hard day’s work, the thought of spending any amount of time slaving away at the stove or even taking 10 minutes to toss a frozen pizza in the oven can just be too much for me to handle. On days like these I want something effortless and delicious. As I child, I remember what my mother would do on nights like these. After shepherding my sister and I to and from school and then to and from violin, piano, choir, and dance lessons, she usually picked up a loaf of  Safeway’s “French Bread” and an “100% Natural Rotisserie Chicken.” While I’m not sure of what “100% Natural” exactly means, as a small child, in my mind, it was “100% delicious.” Now, as a 20 something working professional, my go-to dinner on “I just can’t handle moving off the couch days” typically involves bingeing on left overs, rummaging through the kitchen cabinet for stale chocolate, or commandeering my boyfriend’s “CheeszIts.”  Given that that my local Safeway is a 15 minute walk up an enormous hill (it’s actually more like 10 and really not all that steep), as you can understand, Safeway’s Rotisserie chicken is simply not an option.

While perusing cyber space and drooling over various Pinterest recipes this past weekend, I came across Ree Drummond’s AKA The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for “Roast Chicken.” Discovering her recipe was a happy find and her culinary take on “Roast Chicken” immediately reminded me of all the wonderful times I shared with my parents, sister, and fluffy beast (i.e. Elliott the dog) at the dinner table while eating a simple, effortless, pre-made, $7 chicken.

Today I decided to give Ree’s recipe a go and it didn’t disappoint. My boyfriend decimated the chicken in little time and couldn’t help himself from “nom, nom, noming” in ecstasy.

While I wouldn’t make Ree’s recipe on a “lazy” night, it was definitely worth the effort and is already on the  agenda for my weekly “girl’s night in.”

Happy cooking!