Thanksgiving is upon us! If you remember the teeny-tiny little mishap from last year (“My soup pie“), you can understand that the pressure’s on to make sure that this year produces some of my best. Hey, what could go wrong this time? Heh, heh.
     Nothing. Nothing is going to go wrong. Everything is going to go right. The cup is half FULL. Keep the thinking positive. Half full. Half full.  . .

Mother’s day . . Surprise??

       Aww, Mother’s day. The day to show your mommies how much you really care and love and appreciate what they’ve done to make you into the great person you believe you are. Think about how truly messed up you would’ve been if your mom never stepped in to help gently shove you onto the path of greater society. Yes, you owe her. And the best way to show your thanks? A breakfast fit for a queen. Obviously.

       So! My mom had found a recipe somewhere on how to make a sort of egg-toast thing. Basically, it was a sunny side up egg in the middle of a slice of bread (where the center had been cut out to make a circle for the egg.) And that was the extent of my knowledge. Oh, no. I also knew that the bread was toasted-looking and that she put salt and pepper on it. Now, that was the extent of my knowledge. But it seemed simple enough, right?

       I started off using a circle cookie cutter to make the hole (that looked a little big to begin with. Oh well.) then I tried to spread butter on the rest of the bread. The bread fell apart. That was a bust. I tried again. This time, buttering it first and then cutting the whole out of it. Better.
         Feeling somewhat proud of myself for fixing a problem so quickly, I plopped the holy bread in the pan and poured egg in the center. The darn egg leaked out from underneath the bread. What’s up with that?! I could almost hear the egg whites laughing at me; “nah, nah, nah-nah, nahh.”
         The second time, I pressed the bread down for a little while to contain the rebellious egg. That worked, but then the egg wasn’t cooking all the way and the bread was beginning to burn. I didn’t know what else to do, so I flipped the whole thing, which I was trying to avoid. It isn’t as pretty when you flip the egg as opposed to having the egg cook perfectly in the center. But burned toast and perfectly cooked egg aren’t exactly harmonically balanced.
         I experimented a couple times (with each of my family’s egg-toast things), and finally, I think I got the hang of it. You butter the pan, not the toast, and don’t wait for the bread to crisp before adding the egg. As to making the egg cook faster . . . I never really figured that out. Just about all the toasts were burned.
         To top it off, my older brother, who had been making bacon this entire time, had made them “chewy” (which no one likes) because he thought my mom liked them that way. . Yeah, she doesn’t. She likes them crispy. So, in a rushed attempt to make some crispy before she came out, he burned about four of them.
         My fruit salad was bound to redeem us, right? I chopped a couple apples, washed some grapes, cut strawberries, and added bananas. As a bonus, I even put strawberry yogurt in it. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Well, “I” thought so.
         The first thing my mom did when she saw the bowl was to use a spoon to poke around in the pink mixture. Her face was kind of a combination of confusion and disgust. “Um, who was the one who thought of putting yogurt in the fruit salad?” Heh, not me. .

         Happy Mother’s day, mama.

Christmas Baskets

         How would you like to wake up one morning to find that you’re supposed to make gift baskets for a handful of your Dad’s coworkers? These have to be the darn best yummiest treats you ever made and the most adorable looking treats too. Oh, and did I mention that you’re supposed to have these baskets finished and perfect so he can take them to work the next day? Yeah, that too.
         So here I was one Monday evening, trying to put together magic baskets before midnight. There wasn’t room for mistakes. Or time for that matter. Or patience on my part. So I took the easy route and made everything from mix. In the pantry, we had brownie mix, oatmeal cookie mix, lemon cake mix, and Pillsbury funfetti cake mix. So this was what I figured: I’d make oatmeal and funfetti cookies, lemon muffins, and brownies. That seemed good enough. I set to work.

         Brownies first. They always come first. (After God and family, of course.) I mixed the delicious chocolaty gunk, greased my square pan, and poured the mess in. It looked great. But it was missing something. A-ha! A brilliant idea. I could sprinkle some mint chips on top of the brownie. The green chips would add to the festivities, and it would look cool to have a mint coating over the top. They’d look so professional. I was proud of myself already. Now, onto the next dessert.
         Lemon muffins second. If you remember my “Marshmallow Puffs“, I didn’t have a muffin tin then. Well, I still didn’t. But it wasn’t like my dad’s coworkers were going to figure out that I lied to them about the muffins being cupcakes. One thing I did have in my favor was a mini ladle. I know this is a complete girl statement, but that spoon is the cutest little thing! I was loving on it the second I began using it. See, generally, I avoid making muffins or cupcakes or anything that requires me pouring batter into small cups because I’m not graceful, and I spill everywhere. It isn’t nice, nor am I when I’m stuck cleaning up the mess. But because of my amazing little ladle, there was no mess. I’d simply hold the little cupcake paper in my palm, pour the lemon mix in it with my handy dandy ladle, and plop it back into the cupcake tin. No mess, no stress. (Even though it sounds like it, I don’t think I stole that line from an infomercial.)
         Funfetti cookies third. I love these. They’re super easy and mouthwatering. All you do is under cook them a smidge so they’re nice and chewy, and mmm-mm! When the magic ladle was found, I also found another treasure. A little ice cream scooper. It was like Christmas came early this year. I happily used this wonderful tool to scoop my cookie dough into perfect little circles. It’s funny how wonderful little tools can help your life go a lot easier.

They actually turned out . . .well!

         Last, but not least, the oatmeal cookies. I didn’t really look forward to making these because I have to mix the oats with butter that’s supposed to be “softened”. Who seriously knows how to “soften” butter? I always end up melting it. It’s stinkin’ frustrating. I guess the Betty Crocker company has gotten complaints, or I’m just blind, but under where it says the ingredients needed are butter and such, in little red letters, it also says how many seconds you need to heat it in the microwave. The secret code to perfection!

         Surprisingly, everything went well without any massive screw-ups. The only one that happened was that the mint chips I sprinkled on my brownies sank in instead of melting across the top like I had planned. But other than that, it was all good! Now I only had to make them presentable.
         Like I said, my dad bought baskets. I’m used to plates. Baskets were new. But oh well, no use crying about that now. On to the basket problem. It was a little deep, so I had to crumple up wax paper to lift it. That was, until my mom scolded me for wasting our wax paper, then, I switched to crumpling the wrapping paper. It took me a couple minutes of arranging and rearranging desserts and paper and desserts until, finally, I got it to perfection.