Monday, March 10, 2008

On being June Cleaver...

Here's a few things you should know before reading any further:
  1. Each week, a parent is responsible for supplying afternoon snacks for the children in my son's preschool class. This is my week.
  2. I asked for and received The Sneaky Chef for Christmas but have barely cracked it open.
  3. I really, really, really, really, REALLY stink when it comes to baking cookies. Just ask any one in my graduating class. They weren't called hockey pucks because they were round.
  4. I planned to make Cinnamon Rattlers, Breakfast Cookies, PB&J Muffins, Grilled Cheese Muffins and something else I can't remember at the moment.
  5. I love my son dearly and you're about to hear about the depths of that love.

Two days ago, I attempted to make Cinnamon Rattlers, a recipe from The Sneaky Chef. It was a pretty simple recipe - chick peas, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt; cook until they are dry and crispy. How hard can it be? Considering that I have ruined my second batch, you can deduce that I do not have the requisite level of skill to successfully bake the heck out of some measly little chick peas!

I feel like Goldilocks -- the first batch wasn't done enough and the second was over done (translation: burnt). Even the non-burnt chick peas of the 2nd batch weren't completely dried out so it might as well have been a third failure.

Well, while the Cinnamon Rattlers II were on their way to being destroyed tonight, I was also trying to make the Breakfast Cookies. Little M helped me mash up the Total cereal. He poured in the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, etc. He was so proud of himself and we talked about telling all his friends at school about the cookies tomorrow.

Yes, we had high hopes. And I was so very clever! I was able to fit more than half of the cookie dough onto the first cookie sheet! Speedy baking at its best except for one small detail: I followed the instructions and cooked them for 18 minutes without checking on them.

Yep, that first batch was black. Big M said they were edible and good. Little M proudly ate one and didn't even choke on the char.

I made slightly smaller serving sizes and stuck the next batch into the oven. They came out perfect! Then I counted. I needed at least two cookies per child (quick! do the math! 2 cookies being crammed into 7 little pie holes!) and I always try to give the teachers a little something so I needed at least 16 cookies. Remember, most of the dough was burnt on that overzealously overstuffed first cookie sheet.

I had 11 good, edible, non-caustic cookies. I needed 5 more. I further reduced the serving sizes and was able to eek out five more cookies. As they cooled on the cookie sheet on top of the oven, I put the 11 good cookies into a container.

Fast forward about 15 minutes. Big M comes downstairs and goes into the kitchen. He comes out of the kitchen and starts to go up the stairs. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a cookie in his hand! "NO!!!!!", I shouted, "I NEED THOSE COOKIES! I have just enough."

-- insert deer-in-the-headlights-look --

"You already ate one, didn't you?"

-- deer-in-the-headlights-look remains unphased --

"I had just enough! I had JUST enough! I had just enough....."

Okay. Um. Plan C? PB&J muffins or Grilled Cheese Muffins, right? Yes, well, here's the thing.

Sneaky Chef relies on you making "make ahead" purees that you use as the base for many of your recipes. These two recipes required the Orange Puree which is made from cooked-until-they-give-up-and-limply-beg-for-pity yams and carrots. I had not yet made this Orange Puree because I wasn't planning on making these recipes until Monday night.

Are you starting to feel my panic?

Well, I'll spare you the additional painful details for the most part. While my Orange Puree ingredients boiled away on the stove top, I grabbed a box of cake mix, added a stick of melted butter and an egg, mixed and formed it into little balls, plopped them on the cookie sheets and made some cake mix cookies.

So much for healthy. So much for my June Cleaver Mom Of The Year award. So much for feeling so superior for providing such healthy alternatives to the junk the kids normally get. And so much for my complaining to the teachers about the unhealthy snacks.

1 comment:

CristyLynn said...

So funny! Thanks for the entertainment, dear cousin. I love you!
I'm sure that it will be better next time.
Enjoyed talking to you today!