What kind of cook are you?

February 1st, 2012

Are you the kind of cook that follows a recipe exactly for everything? Do you cook loosely based off of a recipe? Or are you the kind that throws this and that together and see what happens?

It’s been almost 18 years since my husband bought me a monthly subscription to one of those Recipe Card Collections and I started to learn how to cook and bake. I could make a few dishes, but most of my experience cooking involved opening up a can and heating it up. Some of my first attempts were, interesting to say the least. Thankfully, my husband was supportive of my attempts and the questionable meals I sometimes produced. Each success giving me confidence to keep trying. In time my skills improved and I enjoyed having friends and family over and making meals for them.

At first I followed my recipes to the letter. Hesitant to stray from the recipe in the least bit lest I ruin the meal.  We’ve gone from low fat, to freezer meals (When I had a young  infant/child and not a lot of time.), to Atkins, to Biggest Loser, to a selection of our favorites with new recipes mixed in for variety.

As I became comfortable in each cooking style I started to loosely base my meals off of a recipe. I still needed a recipe, or two or three, to give me ideas and work from there. I started to create things that weren’t quite following a recipe, but weren’t totally my original recipe either.

It’s only recently that I’ve been daring enough to just throw a few things together and see what happens. I’ve known several “natural” cooks that were able to do this with great results. Seeming to instinctively know what flavors and textures will blend well. I don’t think I’ll ever quite get there. Mine is more having enough experience with similar dishes to know what we liked and didn’t like. I’m still hesitant when I’m not following at least an idea of something, but I’m not afraid to wander outside of the cookbook anymore either.

I still follow recipes to the letter for new techniques and for baking where it is a matter of ratios. I haven’t quite learned the knack of all of the ratios for baking. I’m getting better at altering bread recipes and such. For the first time trying a new food I am likely to follow a recipe pretty closely. But, I am enjoying this new aspect of cooking for me. Of throwing this and that together and seeing where it takes me. It’s been 18 years of cooking and I’m still learning new things.

Keep on cooking!

A Store Bought Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2011

Between my broken upper oven, slowly dieing lower oven, current aversion to raw meat, and just not feeling up to the back breaking labor of putting out the full Thanksgiving Spread this year I gave in. For the first time in the 17 Thanksgivings we’ve been together I bought everything pre-made.

When we first got married we lived near family and we spread the work out among the family members and meals moved from one sibling’s house to another’s. We haven’t bought a can of Cranberry Relish in twelve years since I first made it fresh. It’s been at least seven years since we moved and I starting making the whole spread myself. Usually taking two days of on my feet prep, cooking, and baking.

This year’s spread was pretty good.  Curtesy of Sam’s Club and Walmart. The only work I had to do was open boxes and move pans in and out of the oven. Thankfully while my lower oven doesn’t work well for baking/cooking it works well enough for heating things up. I spent yesterday with my family playing games, watching TV, and otherwise just resting and taking it easy. Today my family helped in the kitchen, we’re playing more games, we plan on watching the Football game together, and otherwise just hanging out and taking it easy.

Jewelry online: gold and silver earrings.

It has been a very memorable Thanksgiving and sometimes store bought and not from scratch isn’t a bad thing. This year with so much to be thankful for it hit home that it’s not about the food, but about the memories we make around the table. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


October 11th, 2011
Courageous came out this weekend and many in the infertile world won’t be going to see it because they aren’t parents and it doesn’t apply to them. Saying that “Courageous” is only about Fatherhood is like saying “Facing the Giants” is only about Football. Or that “Faith like Potatoes” is only about growing Potatoes.  Fatherhood is simply the basis they use to weave a story of faith, grief, loss, loving God even when you don’t understand your circumstances, relationships, doing the right thing, being an example, making right the wrongs you have done, forgiveness, fathering the fatherless, and being a good husband and father.
Another thing that spoke to me from an infertilty view was the counseling scene while dealing with grief and the loss of of a child. The counselor spoke words that apply to the infertile, or those that have lost a child at any stage, not just a grieving father.
To me the movie wasn’t just about stepping up as a father, but as a man. There is so much more to glean from this movie than just a call to be “Courageous” Fathers, but to be men of God. Anyone watching this could identify with moments in it. Be it trusting God in financial dificulties or making peace with family or a past.  Or doing the right thing even when it’s a hard choice to make.
To dismiss this movie as something not to watch because you aren’t a parent is to miss out on so many of the aspects in the movie that aren’t only about fatherhood. Yes, these things are woven in and out of the lives of the fathers in the movie, but it goes so far beyond just Fatherhood and integretes these things into daily life. It’s calling men to be courageous not just in the aspect of thier lives that is fatherhood, but in ALL aspects of thier lives. To show Courage as men of God. It’s not just about Fatherhood.

Random Thoughts at a Water Park

August 13th, 2011

As part of my twelve year old’s summer wishes we went to a water park. These are a few of the thoughts I had while there…

  • Sunblock!
  • Why am I up here and what do I do with my slippers now?
  • Once I push off there is no going back.
  • Must. Sit. Up. Can’t.
  • Hold on to my slippers. Hold on to my slippers…
  • Your mother lets you dress (or undress) like that?
  • So hungry.
  • What were you thinking when you got THAT tattooed on you?
  • Floating.
  • Wow, that’s a teen pregnancy waiting to happen.
  • Floating.
  • Must not smash the little brat that just hit me in the face with his tube.
  • Floating.
  • An actual Swim DRESS. Cool. Kudos to you!
  • Floating.
  • I wonder what that tattoo was before pregnancy and weight gain took it for a ride?
  • Sunblock!
  • Okay, I’ll slide again. This time I’ll sit up. Can’t stay sitting up!
  • Seriously? Six shooters tattooed on your shoulder blades?
  • So hungry.
  • Hot feet. Hot feet!
  • Ice Cream!
  • Melting.
  • And that boys and girls is what happens when you push people out of the way and run up the stairs…
  • When did body piercings become the majority of young females AND males?
  • Thirsty, hot, and hungry again.
  • Ow. I’m getting too old for this kind of thing.

To Shake or Not to Shake?

July 17th, 2011

I am not a fan of the, “Turn around and Greet your Neighbors.” portion of Sunday Morning Services. You sing a few songs and then you go around shaking as many hands as you can during one verse. If you’re really fast you can make 10-12 “five-second friendships” before the next verse starts and everyone returns to their seats.


I don’t understand what this round of furious handshaking is suppose to accomplish. There isn’t enough time for more than a simple short sentence and a couple of pumps up and down before moving on to the next person. You don’t get to know the person and I don’t feel they get to know anything about me. It feels perfunctory and obligatory.


For someone with Arthritis the handshaking can be painful. For someone with a weakened immune system this ensures they get the best possible exposure to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time so they can be sure to catch the latest cold/flu making the rounds in the church. For those who have social anxiety issues it’s the quickest route to insuring they feel “over-welcomed” and don’t want to come back.


Until a few decades ago the rules of etiquette dictated that it was considered impolite (and forward) for a man to hold out his hand to a woman to shake it.  If the woman did not hold out her hand, he was just to speak to her and not attempt to shake hands. As a lady if you ever shake the hand of a southern born and raised church going gentleman in his 70s and you’ll see this in action.


Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against the shaking of hands. I shake hands. I even hug my friends that I am close to that are huggers. I do these things when *I* want to and the body language of the other person seems to say they find it acceptable. I am against the initiation of physical contact when I am forced to return the action or come off as rude and unfriendly. I am uncomfortable with people intruding into my personal space uninvited.


As I am unlikely to change the normal social greeting of what seems to be every church in our area these are my choices:

  • I can give in and just shake the hands I can’t avoid
  • I can insist upon my personal boundaries being respected
  • I can simply ignore the hands being thrust at me
  • I can wear my wrist brace in the hopes that others won’t attempt to shake my hand
  • I can carry my Bible or another object in my hand showing they are too occupied to shake hands and hope people understand the message I’m trying to get across
  • I can hide out in the restroom until it is safe to return to my seat

Large amounts of sanitizer might help with the other issues involved with shaking hands in Church…


Interesting link on some cultural differences including shaking hands: Cultural Gestures.