Monthly Archives: July 2015

How-To Series: How to Completely Destroy Perfectly Good Broccoli

Okay, so it’s not quite “101 Ways to Destroy Perfectly Good Broccoli”, but here are a few of my best tips for mutilating this powerfully nutritious and potentially delicious cruciferous vegetable. I think you’ll find the tips I’ve included here to be more than enough to get the job done. I’ve even categorized them by various preparation methods for clarity and ease of use. Enjoy! And be sure to let me know how it goes.

Steamed:

Over cook the broccoli. Place broccoli in a steamer basket inside a 2-quart sauce pan with plenty of water under the basket, and place on the stove over medium heat. When it starts to turn bright green and become fork-tender, ignore it and let it cook an additional fifteen minutes. It’s done when it turns a pale greenish-brown color, and sort of resembles the dead plants you dig out of the garden to make room for your new plants each year.

Alternately, you could just start the broccoli on the stove and forget about it for forty minutes or so. This has a name in our house. We call it steamed mush-oli.

If you want to actually burn the broccoli right there in the steamer basket, put just under ½ inch of water in the pan and cook using the second method.

Under cook the broccoli. Place broccoli in your steamer basket and sauce pan with plenty of water and place over medium heat. Allow the broccoli to steam until it just barely starts to turn a beautiful bright green. Do NOT stick a fork in it to check its tenderness. Scoop it right out of the pan and onto individual dinner plates. You usually just put the pan on the table for everyone to help themselves, but today you should randomly decide to serve it up individually, and put the pan directly into the dirty dishwater. This way you can all figure out at the same time that it’s disgusting, and putting it back on the stove to finish cooking is no longer an option.

Roasted:

Toss broccoli in olive oil, sea salt, pepper and minced garlic. Place on a cookie sheet and into oven heated to 350 degrees. Remove from oven when the tops of the florets are black and deformed.

Use the above method, but roast broccoli in a casserole dish with a lid, instead of a cookie sheet. Remove from oven when broccoli looks done and has the same texture as your flip-flops.

Use the first method again, but line cookie sheet with foil, and use at least a tablespoon too much garlic. Fold the foil to close it over the broccoli before cooking. When it’s done, it should have the perfect tender-crisp roasted broccoli texture. It should taste like armpit though, if you did it right.

Without cooking:

Purchase a bulk order of twenty-five bunches of fresh organic broccoli at a price too good to pass up. Set aside one bunch for dinner tonight. Wash and chop the remaining twenty-four bunches and pat dry with every clean towel you can find. Place into several large freezer containers, and freeze for later use. This will save you the trouble of destroying your broccoli when it’s time to cook it. No matter how you prepare it, it will taste like armpit and have the texture of your flip-flops. Broccoli needs to be blanched before freezing. You should have done your research. Learn to love the taste of garlic seasoned armpit flip-flops because twenty-four bunches is a lot of broccoli.

In other dishes:

Add to delicious homemade potato-leek soup. It’s not the same as potato-cheddar soup.

Add to potato-cheddar soup. It’s not the same as broccoli-cheddar soup.

Add to any soup you can find because your broccoli tastes like armpit flip-flops and can’t be consumed separately. Well done, you’ve made armpit flip-flop soup.

 

If your broccoli keeps turning out just perfect (that is possible – I know because it happened once), let me help. I can fix it.

broccoli doesn't like you

-Broccoli Slayer, out.

 

Did I miss anything? Join the conversation in the comments below. We may just find 101 ways to destroy perfectly good broccoli after all!

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Our conversation at dinner last night…

Hailey:  (with an air of pride and confidence) “Ima go on bayou boat when you get 2-0”

Because we’re still working on her articulation, it sounded like she was planning a fishing trip down south for us after we win our next game, but what she really said was:

“I’m gonna bury you both when you get too old”

***bewildered pause***

Then this:

Hannah:  “Mommy, I already know the perfect place to bury you when you die”

(Yay for this one letting us die first)

Elaina: “Oh really? Where’s that”

Hannah:  “Right next to Daddy”

 

Okay, so now I need to figure out how old is too old; because I have big plans for my life, and my preschoolers burying me alive in a box next to Daddy is not one of them.

scared eyes

#scared

 

18 Socially Unacceptable Behaviors I’d Like to Apologize For

Sometimes I see myself doing strange things, but I just can’t seem to stop it. I hope I’m not the only one. I thought I might take a few moments to apologize anyway.

Here are 18 of my socially unacceptable behaviors I’d like to apologize for, but probably won’t stop doing. Thank you for being my friend anyway.

To my husband, Joel:

  1. Finding time to play candy crush saga while two of our kids are in their underwear and one is wearing a t-shirt, a tank top, two pairs of socks, half of a swimsuit, a tutu and my shoes (no pants. never pants).
  1. Forgetting drinks, napkins and silverware at dinnertime – every day.
  1. Dropping the stainless steel mixing bowl on the kitchen floor as soon as you open the kids’ bedroom door to check on them at night.
  1. Putting water in the soap dispenser to get the last few drops of soap out because I don’t feel like refilling it.
  1. Balancing all of my garbage precariously on top of the overflowing garbage can because if I empty the garbage I’ll have to wash my hands again.
  1. Bursting into hysterical laughter while you’re trying to fall asleep, because of what’s going on in my head.

To the rest of society:

  1. Awkwardly standing around at a party watching everyone eat dessert because I’ve admitted that I’m “off sugar” again.
  1. Waiting until everyone’s finished with dessert to decide to be back “on sugar”; then awkwardly standing around the party eating dessert alone, so everyone has to pretend not to notice I’ve hit rock bottom again.
  1. Being too shy to say “My name is Elaina, what’s yours?” when we first meet, and then becoming besties without actually knowing your name.
  1. Army-crawling around the house when the doorbell rings, in case whoever’s at the door might want to ask me a question and expect an immediate answer.
  1. Not answering my phone for the same reason. #introvertspanic
  1. Showing up somewhere with only two of my kids wearing shoes (and one of them, on the wrong feet).
  1. Speaking embarrassingly loud, because I assume everyone else is mildly hard of hearing too. (like speaking with headphones on, only I’m not actually wearing any).
  1. Compulsively telling people the exact number of times I vomited with each of my pregnancies.
  1. Ruining other people’s jokes by responding with “In my house, we call that Tuesday.”
  1. Walking into your house and rudely dodging your dog (and maybe your kid’s runny nose) while blurting “I don’t really like dogs”, because if it bumps into me I’ll have to wash my hands (again)
  1. Making fun of myself, and inadvertently putting people in the position of feeling like a jerk for agreeing, or trying to defend me… against me.

Joel would like me to add:

  1. Sniffing my own armpits every time I think I smell something funky. #TMI

 

pie

(Rock Bottom)

 

If you’ve ever been the recipient of one of these behaviors, I hope you’ll accept my apology for now, for the past, and for all the times I’m going to do these things again in the future; because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

-Social Grace, out

 

 Do you do any of these things? Do you have any social quirks to add to this list? Do you know a good illustrator to save us all from my artwork? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Meditations from the Icebox

As I lay shivering in bed last night in the fetal position, I realized a few things about life and about myself:

One of us has some sort of serious metabolic issue for Joel to be too hot at the same time I’m freezing to death.

I’m not sure which one of us it is.

Cuddling is overrated. I really can’t fall asleep with extra body parts on or under me.

I can’t sleep with some of my own body parts on or under me.

I sleep better if I can’t even tell he’s in the bed with me.

I might lose some toes to frostbite tonight.

I don’t sleep better if I can’t even tell he’s in the bed with me.

I like my toes.

Cuddling might be preferable to losing toes.

Waking Joel to ask him to warm himself up, by warming me up, might not be preferable to losing toes.

I won’t be able to sleep until my body achieves a core temperature it deems safe for sustaining life while at rest.

Joel’s tucked-under-blanket-barrier, meant to keep my body heat away from him, is depriving me of the additional body heat that should be in my bed.

Joel owes me the additional body heat that should be in my bed for having a fan blowing on our faces all night.

My nose is cold.

Joel’s tucked-under-blanket-barrier is coming out of my share of the covers!

Removing Joel’s tucked-under-blanket-barrier doesn’t release enough of his body heat without moving close enough to risk waking him.

I’m starting to panic.

The fetal position isn’t working.

I can’t feel my toes.

I must have sub-par blood circulation

I’m going to have to get out of bed to get my hoodie and some hospital socks to put over the socks I’m already wearing.

I’ll need an additional fifteen minutes of shivering in the fetal position to warm up after I’ve put on my winter gear.

I might need extra blankets too.

Better tuck my pants into my hospital socks.

Joel can’t feel my trembling or hear my teeth chattering, but he can hear me close the dresser drawers.

The dresser drawers woke him up, but he still can’t feel my trembling or hear my teeth chattering.

I should check his pulse.

I think he just said something. “What?”

Maybe not.

I’m going to be really tired tomorrow.

I’m thinking too much.

I should be sleeping.

I think I’m hungry.

Joel is so much better at sleeping than I am.

I need Joel to wake up to warm me up.

I wish Joel was awake so I could sleep.

Joel’s not going to wake up unless I wake him up.

I’m not going to wake him up.

I’m cold.

I gotta go.

If I don’t make it through, tell Joel to marry a woman with good circulation.

 

cold room

 

-Fetal Popsicle, out.

 

What keeps you up at night? What helps you sleep? Join the conversation in the comments below!

Code Name: Halv-El

There’s this little healthy living store in the next county where I’ve purchased some of our health and beauty products in the past, and the owner told me one day that their computer system gives every customer a code name consisting of the first four letters of the last name and the first two letters of the first name.

My secret code name is Halv El.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

Okay, maybe not, so I think it’s obvious that this means I must be closely related to Kal-El. He’s probably my brother. It all makes so much more sense now that I know.

I mean, clearly I must only be half Kryptic (see what I did there?), because Kal definitely got the lion’s share of the super speed and strength and flying stuff, but I’m way better at making breast milk (well, I used to be anyway) and bleeding out for days on end without dying. He may be bulletproof and all, but my joints and ligaments are capable of expanding to allow a human to pass through them – albeit a small one, but still – a human. So there’s that.

I’m definitely better with sarcasm too, which is nice because my full-earth sister got the better share of that between the two of us.

Kryptonite doesn’t seem to have much effect on me, though, unless it’s chocolate. Then it makes me slow and sick and puffy, sometimes for years at a time. It also makes me kind of evil and scary, which is pretty exciting, but no one would believe it since Kal’s the one they’re always making movies about anyway. It’s okay though, because I make like fifty bucks a month on Swagbucks, and I have this blog.

I just wish I’d had the chance to see Krypton before it was destroyed, and all. And I kind of wish they hadn’t cast Russell Crow to play our dad, Jor, but oh well; what are ya’ gonna do.

superman

Halv El, out.

Tell me about your super powers in the comments below. Seriously, I have to know!

Things I believe: Kitchen Edition

Things I believe: Kitchen Edition

I believe that it’s perfectly acceptable for your microwave to be messy, but there’s no excuse for mine.

I believe that the acute ability to follow directions exactly as they are written has nothing to do with being able to cook.

I believe that cleaning an oven is more of a hypothetical situation; not something that people are actually supposed to do.

I believe that appliance manufacturers deliberately make refrigerators with impossible corners and crevices, just in case crawling into the fridge to clean it ever becomes fun.

I believe that my kitchen knives are actually out to get me.

I believe that the day I try to slice a watermelon may be my last.watermelon

I believe that some of us really don’t belong in the kitchen – ever.

 

What do you believe? Join the conversation in the comments below!

How To: Damage Yourself With a Blender You’re Not Using

How-To Series

How to: Damage Yourself With a Blender You’re Not Using

 

Please take note that this procedure may not work as well with certain blender models, so you may have to experiment with other small kitchen appliances until you find the one that really does the trick.

Here’s the step-by-step.

  1. Lift up the base of your juice extractor to wipe off the stray vegetable pulp from the past week of juicing.

Do not set down the juicer, or remove anything else from the counter you are trying to clean.

  1. While scooting juicer around with left hand, use right hand to wipe vigorously behind and all around it in a variety of up and down, side to side, and circular motions. (This step can be modified if you prefer to wipe with your left hand, but bear in mind that blender positioning is crucial in order to make this really work for you. For instance, I am right-handed, so this works best if my blender is kept to the right of the juicer on the counter.)
  1. Continue wiping the counter in random and exotic patterns until you’ve worked up considerable force.

 

Now this next part is tricky, since the space underneath the blender is very short and narrow.

  1. Once you’ve reached sufficient speed and force, allow your pinky finger to slip partially underneath the blender until it bashes into one of the blender’s little “feet”. This should make you want to cry, so you’ll know whether or not you’ve done it right.

 

If you manage to draw blood on your first try, you are a natural!

 

Follow all the steps, and don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit, and you should have one of these in no time!

20150708_143305

(Pardon my ugly nail. I’m not suggesting that my nails look particularly good on other occasions, just that my usual nail care has been hindered since I took a good slice out of one of my fingers while chopping celery last week.)

 

Good luck!!!

 

Have you done this? If you’re a danger in the kitchen too, let me know, and be my friend! Join the conversation in the comments below.

I was never going to start a blog

I was never going to start a blog.

This all started as a joke.

It was a goofy post on facebook and a comment from a friend that I should “start that blog right away.”

Not even a little fazed by the challenge (by “not even a little fazed” I mean I was never going to start a blog) I immediately (seventeen months later) banged out my first blog post and got this beast up and running.

I can’t say there’s necessarily a specific theme or purpose to this blog… so, I think the best introduction to justgetoutofthekitchen.com is the Facebook post that inspired it. Hope that helps.

Oh no, what have I done?

So, I have this friend. She’s kind and generous, talented and outgoing – and gorgeous to boot. She is the friend that is a true and genuine friend to everyone she knows. Someone with all of her good qualities could so easily be the type to think she is better than everyone else, but not my friend. She’s quite the opposite. I have never known anyone so gifted at seeing everything great about everyone else – without feeling threatened, without showing jealousy, and always going to the effort to tell others how great they are.

I want to be more like her when I grow up.

Because she’s a better person than I am, she has this power. I’ve never in my life succumbed to peer pressure. I think I’m too stubborn in what I believe to allow someone to tell me I should do otherwise. That might be why no one has ever actually tried to pressure me to do anything. But she pressures me to do better, whether she realizes it or not. Every life needs more people like that. So she can peer pressure me if she wants to.

She told me I should start a blog, so I’m starting a blog.

I’m never going near a bridge with her, though.

I told her I don’t think I’m interesting enough to have a blog. She told me “no, you are really funny when you write.” Obviously, I took that two ways, because “when you write” was definitely a qualifier. My marginally unhinged brain heard that statement as simultaneously an enormous compliment and a confirmation of something I unfortunately already knew.

I am only funny on paper. If at all. It’s debatable.

But really, if you’ve never met me, don’t meet me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love people and life is all about relationships. It’s just…I’m better on paper. It’s not you, it’s me – really. I’m that self-conscious person who never responds quite right in a playful conversation. And on the occasion I have just the right response to offer- comedic timing is not a thing to be underestimated. I deliver my lines loudly, without confidence, with the wrong emphasis; and work myself up into nervous hysteria, which rears in an unpleasantly loud embarrassed cackle. If you know me, you’re thinking “oh, that’s why she does that!” because I can’t function in conversation, but I can read your mind.

It’s so not cool.

Really, the blog seed was planted by a friend over a year ago when he responded to a facetious Facebook post that I’d missed my second calling as a writer (I’m assuming my first calling is my role as a mom). It was in that post that the name of this blog was born. His comment puffed up my ego enough to cause me to do more writing, and then I stubbed my toe tripping over my big head and remembered that I’m really not that interesting. So I’m scared now and thinking maybe I shouldn’t have done this.

I’m still not sure how I feel about blogs. No offense to all the bloggers out there (I learned from Facebook that I can say whatever I want, as long as I say “no offense” first) but it kinda feels like everyone has a blog. I feel so unoriginal. And just a smidge more hypocritical than I already was. But I’m gonna do it anyway, because she told me to. I don’t know if I can possibly come up with something remotely amusing and clever to write about more than once every quarter, but I’ll try.

Scan0001

I do love to write though. Writing affords me power over my words. It affords me time to think of the right thing to say, and a delete button so I can change it thirty-seven and a half times; and then delete the whole thing when I decide I’m not as clever as I thought I was and re-write it when I think I’m a genius again, which is usually after I’ve eaten. And the reader can’t hear my clumsy delivery or nervous laugh, or my cracking up in my head at what I figure everyone else will find equally hilarious and they usually don’t because no one thinks it’s cute when you can’t make it through your own comedy without laughing yourself to tears.

Win-win.

If nothing else, maybe loose-ing the nonsensical chirpings of my brain into writing will free up some mind-space for other things like not cutting off my fingers when I’m chopping celery, but I doubt it. That’s probably just the semi-involuntary optimism my parents reprogrammed me with as a child (It was for the best). Because really I’m an unintentional danger to society. You’ll see.