That's what I'm going to call my spin-off blog. The unvarnished truth is that every time I cook from scratch, I remember why I hate to cook. Everything takes me ten times as long as it should, my back is killing me from standing, and chances are at least one of my family members will refuse to try my lovingly (and whinily) prepared meal. My children know two styles of dining: drive-thru and "one where the lady brings your food." And the lady in question is not their mom, just in case that wasn't clear.
However, we are having friends over tomorrow night and we did the picnic from KFC thing last time so real food seemed appropriate. I made Pioneer Woman's lasagna and also her chocolate sheet cake. I'd made the lasagna before and while I don't know whether it really is the Best Lasagna Ever, as PW claims, it is pretty darn good. It has a higher meat and cheese to noodles ratio than most lasagnas (lasagnae?), and I like that about it.
I was trying to be efficient and work on both recipes at the same time, and naturally I discovered I was missing a major ingredient. I had to send Ron to the grocery store for sugar, which he had assured me we had plenty of while we were at the store yesterday. To be fair, we did have a half canister of sugar, but I did not have the time or energy to chisel 2 cups off the solid block it had become. Ron made sure I knew that in colonial times, they would have never washed out that sugar with hot water like I did because it was very valuable. Like gold. Or gasoline.
Anyway, I was melting butter and browning meat and my back was beginning to hurt so I asked Ron to fetch me a stool from the garage so I could sit down to melt and brown. Apparently this handy folding stool was missing the pin that prevents it from folding when one is planning to sit on it, and fortunately I did not grab either the pot of melted butter or the sizzling pan of beef and sausage as the stool and I crashed to the kitchen floor. (How does "Cooking with the Clumsy Whiny Chef" sound?)
I did get the cake and the lasagna finished without further misadventure. I had been pondering on what, exactly, was the difference between "sheet cake" and brownies, so I performed a scientific analysis on the cake. Oh my, definitely not brownies. It is moist and rich and seriously, I don't think I could eat a regular cake-slice sized piece of it without a gallon of milk to wash it down. I should have stopped pondering then and just continued with the moaning, because further thought led to the realization that since the cake contains FOUR sticks of butter--two in the cake and two in the icing--then the one-sixteenth of the pan I ate contained a quarter of a stick of butter. Whatever doesn't get eaten tomorrow night is going home with our guests. That is Satan right there in that pan, with pecans sprinkled on top.
In other news, I went to a baby shower today and was feeling right proud of myself for having two social engagements in one weekend, and then my mom called while I was cooking and whining. She and my dad went to a funeral, a wedding, and a 50th anniversary party today. In my mind, this is a good reason to live five hours from where I grew up, because I would have been unable to escape attending at least two of those events if I didn't have the excuse of distance. Whew.