How to Cook Bacon.

Step ONE: Grooming. As soon as your toddlers begin to toddle, groom them to develop an aversion to the kitchen. Whenever they are in the vicinity of the kitchen, ask them to do something: take out trash, wash dishes, fill up your wine glass, sweep & mop the floor, clean the fridge, organize the pantry. I think you get the point. This method also works on husbands, roommates & house guests. Once you have established your clear domain in the kitchen, you are ready for Step TWO.

SIDE NOTE: If you are worried that grooming will cause tantrums when it is actual chore time in the kitchen, simply ransom cellphones, laptops, beer bottle openers and the remote control on Football Sunday, until the chore is complete. DO NOT GIVE IN until the chore is properly done. It will be tough the first 2 or 3 times, but they will soon learn that you are the Queen of the house and are NOT to be challenged.

Step TWO: Purchase your bacon. Buy however many packs you need for your meal. My family requires only 1 pack of bacon. Now that you have decided the number of pack(s) of bacon you need, purchase 1 more pack. Before you put the extra pack of bacon in your cart, will anyone notice? I’m blessed that my children have no frickin’ clue what I put in the grocery cart because they know it will be something they don’t like: kale, spinach, quinoa, leeks, shoe polish. You too can obtain this level of oblivion. Refer to Step ONE. However, if you are shopping with your significant other or children who may need distraction from what you toss in the cart, you can divert their attention by asking them to pick out their favorite cereal or pudding pops or beer.  This allows you the opportunity to sneak this extra pack of bacon into the cart without their knowledge.

Step THREE: Now it’s time to cook the bacon. Make sure all other humans are not in the kitchen. Open all of the packs of bacon. I cook 4 strips of bacon at a time but you should cook however many strips will fit in your pan. Once they are cooked, place them on a plate covered in 2 paper towels to catch the grease. The next 4 strips go into the pan. Once the 1st set of 4 strips have cooled, I eat one. No one saw it, therefore, it did not happen. I know no one saw it because my children are properly groomed by Step ONE. However, if someone should happen in the kitchen to fix themselves some chocolate milk, bark at them to take out recycle because its too full and you can’t believe that you have to constantly harp on them to take out recycle! I mean, you have eyes! Why can’t you see it for yourself? Why do you insist on making me ask you to do it?!? Just do it! They quickly scuttle away and you’re left alone with your bacon. Continue to cook your bacon, several strips at a time. As each set of strips cools, eat one or 2 pieces of bacon. Once all of the bacon is cooked, you should end up with enough strips of cooked bacon that would have been in the original pack IF you maintained the proper cooking-cooling-eating ratio.

Step FOUR: Now it’s time to sit down and eat as a family. Everyone fights for bacon, so it’s up to you to evenly dole out the bacon. Don’t forget to plate some bacon for yourself. Everyone must get his/her equal share.

Step FIVE: Sit back and enjoy your bacon. You brought the bacon home after all.

Yum. Bacon.

SoCal Burrito and Fit Mama Eats.

I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE food and right now, I am seriously fighting the munchies. Bacon, does anybody have any bacon?

I don’t buy junk food (or sodas) which makes me a horrible mother, I know. My children sneak candybars, jelly beans and M&Ms and hoard them in their rooms. Mini-Me is at work and The Weez just left for the Pumpkin Patch. Maybe I’ll raid their rooms. I can be stealth so they’ll never know.  Besides, I can always blame the dogs. They won’t be home for hours. I can totally get away with this. I’m just that desperate. The problem is that I allowed The Weez to convince me to order Chinese food last night. Sweet & Sour Chicken, Sesame Chicken, Fu Man Chu (wait, that’s a mustache) might as well be crack. My body does not do well with fast-prep, MSG laden fake fuel and now it’s rebelling. I’m seriously jonesing for some for junk food. Please, oh please, someone give me sour cream & onion chips!

I know exactly what will satisfy my craving and put me back onto the path of enlightenment – Thai Peanut Chicken Burritos. Yep, that is the cure-all. In 2005, I stumbled upon a little southern-Cali-Mex restaurant tucked away in a converted gas station (which was the last full-service gas station in my little town). The restaurant was called SoCal Burritos. I very quickly became addicted to their Thai Peanut Chicken Burritos. It got to the point that I would go every single day for lunch. I’d call ahead and say in my shady, back-alley voice, “hey, its me” and then hung up. Within minutes, my burrito was ready and I was well on my way to having an afternoon delight.

Sadly, SoCal lasted about 18 mos. They were always packed, got great reviews, but one day, SoCal closed. Forever. Such a mystery. My heart broke. I quickly sank into a depression. A month or so into my mourning, I noticed a “For Sale” sign on the property. I had to find out what happened to my beloved SoCal. Maybe I could even figure out a way to get the recipe. I called the realtor and pretended to be an interested buyer. “Yes, hello. I’m calling about SoCal Burritos.” “Oh hi. Would you like to come by and see the property?,” he said. “Not necessary,” I said. “I was a loyal customer and am looking into re-opening the restaurant.” After a good 30 minutes into the conversation, I learned that the owners left the restaurant in the incapable hands of the manager. The restaurant would not survive the financial drain of his mismanagement. I was not able to obtain the recipe. My depression deepened.

I went on a mission; this depression must come to an end. Only a Thai Peanut Chicken Burrito can fix this. Six years. Six  l l l l o o o o o n n n n n g g g g  years, I searched and tested recipes. I manipulated and tweaked but failed at every turn. Then, one blessed April day in 2012, I stumbled upon FitMamaEats.squarespace.com. The heavens parted and the angelic choir sang, “HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hall-e-lu-jah!”

Just a few tweaks here and there and OH MY GOSH!!! I found the recipe! “Girls! Girls!” I called. “Girls, we will never go hungry again. God is my witness, we will never go hungry again!” They stared at me blankly and then returned to the glow of their laptop screens. Have I mentioned that they are little snots?

OK y’all. Time for me to go. I’m starving and about to flit away in the breeze. I need some serious calories. Good fuel. Fuel that won’t send my body into shock. If you want some good fuel too, then go to FitMamaEats and get the recipe.  **I substitute the broccoli and carrots for cucumbers and black beans.

Thai Peanut Chicken Burrito

The Case of the Missing Crockpot Lid.

You know it happens to you.  It happens to everyone.  Er, everyone, except me.  I am never cursed to find that proverbial, lone sock in the dryer.  Nope, not once.  That poor, single sock that shall not find its mate and is now doomed to be a cleaning cloth or worse – find itself comingled with the trash.  Pathetic, lonely sock.  Yet, every single sock of mine is perfectly matched to its twin.  I guess my socks are very blessed in this way.  Tragically, my expensive cookery is not afforded such blessings.

I love to cook and have invested in very nice cookware.  Do you think my children covet my crockery as I do?  No!  Do you think they appreciate the sacrifice I made by investing in such quality cookery in which to heat up their Chef-Boyardee?  Hardly!

These ingrates are tasked with doing the daily dishes.  One would think that this is a reasonable and pretty easy chore and is WWWAAAAYYYY better than cleaning bathrooms or trimming the dogs’ nails.  But no.  They act like doing the dishes is abusive and I must be violating some child labor law.  “Watch your back, Mom.  Child Services might come.”  In what I assume is passive-aggressiveness from having to load/unload the dishwasher, they’ve chipped my Le Creuset which is enamel-coated cast iron cookware!  Enamel-coated CAST IRON!  How the flip do they do that?!?!  They put stock pots with the Tupperware, sauce pans with baking dishes, and the matching lids in the glass cupboard. MADNESS, I tell you!  MADNESS!

Uh-oh.  UH-OH!  I can’t control it.  It’s happening, ah yyyeeaaahhhh, baby.  Here it comes.  “I, I can’t get these memories out of my mind.  And some kind of madness has started to evolve.  Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma… Madness.”  I’m doin’ it and ain’t nobody gonna stop me.  I’m doin’ the sexy dance.  WAHOO!  It’s compulsory.  I don’t care if Mini-me and The Weez are mortified.  Who cares that they have friends over?!  Not me!  Come on everybody, join me!!

WHEW!  What an amazing moment.  Isn’t that the sexiest song, like EVER?!  Whenever anything reminds me of this song, I MUST stop (collaborate and listen) and sing and dance and enjoy it.  I will literally die if I don’t.

What was I saying?  Oh yeah!  Ungrateful kids, expensive cookware and missing socks.  Actually I’m past the socks now.  The point is that due to my lovely darlings’ aversion to dish washing, I never know where I will find pots and pans and the like to prepare our meals.

The other day, a friend posted a really cool recipe on her blog and I wanted to make it last night.

SIDE NOTE: Technically, I haven’t met Jenelle, my “friend”.  My BFF is friends with her.  When The Boy joined the Air Force, he was stationed to South Korea.  It turns out that Jenelle was in the Army and also stationed in South Korea at the same time.  I call it Fate.  So the BFF suggested Jenelle and I become friends on Facebook which we promptly did.  Although we never met, I Facebook stalk her and read her blog and try to look half as cool as she does.  SIDE, SIDE NOTE:  The Boy never contacted her because, “Mom, I’m a man and can handle myself”.  Whatever.

Back to the recipe… The recipe uses a slow-cooker and I have one!  Of course, where do I find the slow-cooker (or crockpot as Southerners are known to say)?  My precious angels thoughtfully buried it behind the 20lb bamboo cutting board, turkey pan, and 14 million muffin tins.  Gosh, I love my kids.  Really.  After putting everything back and then wiping the sweat from my upper lip, I realize that I don’t have the lid to the crockpot.  OH COME ON!  I’m pretty sure that it is not in the cabinet in which I found the crockpot.  I look in the pots & pans cabinet.  Nope.  Then I look in the baking dish cabinet and again, not there.  Ok, Tupperware cabinet?  Not there either.  I’m at the last cabinet so it has to be there.  I slowly open the measuring cup and mixing bowl cabinet.  DARN IT ALL TO HECK!  It’s not there either.  I resort to the bowl & plate cabinet, the glassware cabinet, the koozie & alcoholic beverage cabinet (a/k/a the things-that-make-mommy-happy cabinet), the pantry, the laundry room, the bathrooms, under beds, the trunk of my car.  The lid is NOWHERE to be found.  N.O.W.H.E.R.E.  How can this be?  How does a crockpot lid go missing?  I genuinely would love an answer.  Of course I blame my kids.  I know they are at fault.  I threw a rather large hissy-fit in my search for the lid hoping they would fess up to hiding it or at least help me look.  No such luck.

So, now I have this recipe that I really want to make, but no lid for my crockpot.  Everyone knows that the lid is a very crucial element to the crockpot.  I was not to be stopped.  I made the recipe despite having no lid.  I double foiled the top of the crockpot and then put my wok lid over it for added heat & steam retention.  The foil-wok-lid concoction worked magnificently.  I’m a genius.  I just can’t help it.  Brilliance oozes out of my brain.

Last night’s crockpot lid drama was not the first time something has gone missing from the kitchen.  My favorite colander went on sabbatical or something because I couldn’t find it for nearly 2 months.  It just reappeared one day.  It has yet to tell me where it went.  My favorite Pampered Chef can opener also disappeared but eventually came back too.  Hmmm, did the colander give the sabbatical idea to the can opener?  Now that I think about it, my garlic press, which I use for fresh ginger and not garlic, also left and came back.  Did the crockpot lid overhear the colander, can opener and garlic/ginger press talking about their excursions and is now off seeing what that fuss is about?

OR, could it be that I have kitchen gremlins?

Great, that’ll be a huge mess to clean.