Happy Birthday Dad….and my most ridiculous day ever in the kitchen!

November 12, 2012

My daughter called from college a couple of weeks to say…..

“Mom, cooking is a learning experience, right?”

She was making a Pinterest recipe that required her to roll out biscuit dough. She had no roller. She used a liquor bottle. I love that kid.

I spent Sunday messing things up, adding things that didn’t belong, running to the store to replace my goofs, throwing out perfectly tasty things that looked horrendous, and thoroughly enjoying preparing for a houseful of family on a cold Sunday night.

It was nice to spend the dreary morning in the kitchen baking and cooking. It was my dads birthday, and he picked the menu! (well, I gave him a couple of options to pick from that I thought I could possibly handle.)

Spaghetti, Caesar Salad, Crusty Bread, Red Velvet Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream.

I wanted to have everything ready when all the family came over so we could all chat, and I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen catching bits and pieces of the conversations going on.

I set the mood for the day while I had my first cup of coffee. Candles were lit, music was playing and the fireplace was all a glow…….

I had decided to bake the cake from scratch (and really, I didn’t think you could buy a boxed cake mix for Red Velvet). I baked my first cake from scratch in September for my moms birthday, and decided my dad should get the same treatment! I found a recipe and even watched a video on how to make this Red Velvet Cake come out perfect! While shopping on Saturday for all my groceries, Mike called to see if I wanted to go to a Movie and Dinner? I’m thinking to myself…..well, I had planned on cooking my sauce Saturday night so all those yummy flavors could spend the night together, and I was going to bake my cake from scratch that night as well. So, I was torn. Movie and Dinner Date Night? A Saturday evening in the kitchen? As I was pondering my decision, a boxed cake mix for Red Velvet literally jumped off the shelf at me! Yay! Then I decided if I got up super early and started the sauce, it would have plenty of time for all the flavors to fall in love with each other through out the day. At least with the sauce, I wouldn’t be totally be cheating dad out of a home cooked meal.

I bought the mix, went to dinner and a movie with the hubby. We saw the new Denzel Washington movie, Flight. Denzel does NOT make a bad movie! Loved it!

While having my first cup of coffee Sunday morning, I got the sauce going, ( I always buy Ragu, so making the sauce was kind of a big deal), then I started on the cake. I have only done two round cakes and iced them once before, and I remember it did not go well, but I honestly don’t remember what it looked like, or if it even was eaten? I wanted the birthday dinner to be special, so I was going to make this cake look as good as I could.

I can never remember what round cake goes upside down or right side up! The cakes came out of the round pans beautifully!

Step one? Success.

I put the first round cake on the cake plate, upside down, and iced away (with my store bought cream cheese icing). Then I put round cake number two on top of it, also upside down. I was puzzled by all of the space between the two, and decided to fill it up with icing, the whole time thinking, this isn’t going to look very pretty when we cut into it???? What am I doing wrong? Then……I RAN OUT OF ICING! I made a mad dash to the store in whatever clothes and hat I saw first. When I got home, I realized I had more eye makeup under my eyes than anywhere else. Nice. While driving to the store, it hit me that the second round cake should have been put on right side up. So as soon as I got home, I grabbed the biggest spatula I could find, and wedged it in between both cakes, and flipped it over!

I think this isn’t going to work……….

It really never dawned on my to slice the rounded top off of the bottom layer for a flat surface. Now I know better.

“Mom, cooking is a learning experience, right?”

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Step two? Fail!

Then I threw it in the sink. (not without taking a bite first, you know, to make sure this boxed thing tasted decent)

While at the store buying the extra icing, I anticipated things at home going awry, so I bought three containers of icing and one more boxed cake mix. Just in case. The grocery clerk was judging me, I just know it!

Ta da!!

I felt so proud…….at least dessert looks pretty.


The Sauce.

I found several simple recipes for Marinara Sauce. The one I picked called for 1/2 Cup of “good Chianti”. I had Two Buck Chuck Cab. Same thing, right? At this point, I was certain Julia Childs was shaking her head. I know. She was a French Cook, not Italian, but I felt her presence, and she wasn’t pleased with me. All I could taste in this wonderful sauce, was the wine. The Two Dollar Wine! Even after it had simmered for several hours, it just wasn’t going to do. So then I started adding things……Cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg……just a dash of each. This comes from an old Spaghetti and Meatball recipe I have that I had always liked. Then I added a little sugar, then some tomato sauce, then more time……to simmer……not the spice. Would you believe after simmering all day, and adding the Italian Sausage, it ended up tasting delicious??

Unfortunately, I will never be able to make this sauce again, because I really have no idea how much of what I put in it, or exactly WHAT I put in it. My family says I do this all the time, make something great by accident, and they never get it again. It’s true.

I spent so much time playing around in the kitchen, I forgot to eat after breakfast, and that NEVER happens! Good thing though. I didn’t really make anything for the birthday dinner that was WW Friendly. I drink water ALL day long though.

Breakfast
Yogurt, banana
2 PPV

The evening ended up just perfect! Dad sliced up the cake for everyone. The house was warm and cozy, and we sat around the table chatting for the rest of the evening…….

I think my entire meal was….including wine and dessert…..
38 PPV (I am probably over estimating here, but I want to play it safe)

The cousins…….

The gang……..

Refresh…I can eat 26 points a day.
I can earn Activity Points by doing exercise.
I have an allowance of 49 points that I can dip into if I chose.
I should drink a minimum of 6 (8 oz) glasses of water each day.

The food I ate today and it’s PPV.

Breakfast = 2
Dinner = 38

Total = 40

Activity Points Earned Today = 0
Remaining points from my 49 Points Allowance = 11
How many glasses of water I drank today = 12

Monday’s focus is exercise and Power Foods.


“love the life you live, live the life you love”

julesfarm@yahoo.com

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