A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life

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The Colonel Can Kiss My Ass

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.  Never has that statement been truer than when I tried to make a homemade fried chicken dinner for a friend in need.

My good deed starts out with high hopes.  I signed up via mealTrain to help out a baseball team mom who is battling breast cancer and going through chemotherapy.  mealTrain allows the community to sign up in advance to help out people with challenges — surgery, illness, deployment, new baby, condolences — allowing friends, family and the community to coordinate/schedule support in the way of prepared meals.

I was thinking “a homemade meal is worth at least 3 weeks off that purgatory sentence I keep racking up”.  Oh, but the price I would pay.  I would have to cook.  And we all know how much I love cooking.

I found what sounded like a tasty recipe on the website Just a Pinch.  How can you go wrong with something called Dang Good Southern Fried Chicken?

I purchased all the ingredients to make the chicken rub — all 13 of them.

I know you only count 12, but I couldn’t fit flour in the picture.

My recipe usually calls for three ingredients: 1) drive up to speaker box; 2) order and pay for chicken; and 3) take bucket home for everyone to enjoy.  With 10 additional steps in the process — not including the overnight soak in buttermilk and the frying part — I should have known I was in trouble.

I purchased chicken drumsticks and breasts.  I think the package was mislabeled because what I ended up with was pterodactyl legs and breasts that would fill Pam Anderson’s (pre-reduction) bra.  And then some.

I followed the instructions for the chicken prep.  The 13 spices made me very sad I hadn’t opted for my usual 3 step process.  It was incredibly messy, halfway through I had to stop to make more rub and my kitchen reeked of buttermilk.

The frying was no better.  I used tongs to turn the chicken, but pterodactyl legs are decidedly impossible to move around with only one set of tongs.  And without splashing HOT grease everywhere.  The DDD cup breasts were no better.  Every time I touched them, the amazing rub on the skin would come off and float around in the grease, sending a mocking hiss at me as it over-crisped in the oil.

Once the chicken was done, I attempted a bit of plastic surgery, reattaching the floating skin to the pieces of chicken.  Sort of a frankencluck, if you will.  (I’ll tell you who was frankenclucked, people.  It was this chick and the ones that had been frying).

I believe my only saving grace for this meal was the homemade buttermilk biscuits.  And the corn on the cob cupcakes.

Perhaps I earned a few get-out-of-purgatory-early points after all.

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Is That a Cinnamon Bun in Your Pocket?

I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast today.  As a bit of a tease for my facebook friends, I posted a picture of the rolls just before I was about to put them in the oven to bake to a golden brown.

This was the picture I posted:

Facebook friends commented on how good they looked and asked if they could come over for breakfast at my house.

But once I posted the picture and looked at it again, I saw something different. Something phallic, even.

My spoon holder had become a very small penis. Very small, compared to the enormous — dare I say engorged —  set of balls represented by two circular bake pans full of cinnamon rolls.

Suddenly, cream cheese frosting seemed out of the question.


Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and …. Farts?

This is the third year my son Alex has played on the All Star baseball team. The boys enjoy each other’s company, don’t argue and really help one another out on the field. Probably not at all like they behave with their non-baseball siblings.

Last year when I was laid off, baking for the kids/parents on the team was one way I was able to get a much needed periodic break from my job search. The boys thought they were the luckiest kids on earth to finish up a game and have chocolate chip cookies, gooey butter cookies, brownies, cupcakes or other sugary delights waiting for them. Win or lose the game, they were always winners because treats were part of the post-game ritual. I even brought a bag of Skittles to every game for the kid with the major allergies. Everybody gets a sugar high!

This year, one of the coaches taught the boys the “Beans beans” rhyme. That really cracked the kids up and the coach thought I should make him a commemorative cake with two huge butt cheeks, decorated with a fart sound. I don’t believe Wilton makes a cake pan for that.

I’m baking again this season after another recent layoff. This time, the other baseball moms devised a little treat for me. They got me a gift certificate to my favorite spa for a mani/pedi, which was tucked in this card they had all the boys and the coaches sign:

What the boys and their parents don’t realize is that the real winner in all of this is me. I get to be creative by decorating cupcakes and frosting cookies, try out new recipes and give myself a break from fretting about the job search. And the boys’ faces and smiles at the end of the game as they run up to me to get the treats? Well, that is the icing on the cake. Pun intended.

Upon closer inspection of the signed card, I noticed this:

I have the most amazing baseball family. Farts and all.


A Mother’s (Day) Perspective

On Good Friday this year, I was laid off. Again. It’s why I haven’t been posting as much on my blog recently — I’m in the hurry-up job search mode, and looking to find gainful full time employment while I do some part time contractual work, so that we don’t have to dip into our savings.

So my hysterically funny musings have taken a back seat to resume and cover letter crafting.

I felt a little sorry for myself the first week, but have since pulled my head out and begun the job search in earnest. And I do have some good prospects. Like my husband reassures me: “I’m not worried. You’ll find something, you freakin’ freeloader”.

As the job search heats up, so too, has my kitchen. I’ve been baking my ass off. I find baking and cake/cupcake decorating very relaxing, and it gives me a break from the constant pressure of thinking about and conducting a job search.

The beneficiaries of the baking have been the boys and coaches on my son Alex’s travel baseball team, along with their parents, siblings, grandparents and other friends and family members who attend the games. The big favorites so far are the variety of gooey butter cookies and the best, big, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookies.

To make it interesting, I added some incentives for the boys. Just playing each week, they are rewarded with cookies at the end of the game. So to challenge them, I upped the ante and have begun making home run cakes for those that accomplish such an amazing feat. It’s not every day a 10 year old (some are just 9) crank the baseball far enough to round the bases.

I’ve had to make three cakes so far this Spring:

And last week, one of our kids turned a bases loaded triple play. The ball was hit to him at short stop and he tagged the runner going from 2nd to 3rd, stepped on 2nd base and then fired the ball to first. All that athleticism and he’s only 10. The least I could do was make something to celebrate such an amazing play, in his favorite flavor – chocolate. So I did:

This year, all the moms were able to make the doubleheader the boys were playing on Mother’s Day. Why is this so important, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Because I was able to create these cupcakes, to celebrate the amazing moms who are part of my baseball family:

And then we took this amazing picture with all the moms and their boys:
Alex is the only kid not smiling. Go figure.

Days like this put it all in perspective for me. When it comes down to it, my most important full time job comes with the simple title of mom.

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Things I Learned in 2011

In January, I learned that my sister puts the Jerseylicious animal-clad ladies to shame.

In February, I learned that the next time I host a birthday party for either of my kids, it certainly won’t be at my house.

In March, I learned that my resume was not nearly as updated as it needed to be. And I learned that my soon-to-be-former-professional colleagues offered me an amazing (albeit alcohol fueled) support system.

In April, I learned that by baking chocolate chip cookies, I could guarantee my oldest son a starting position on the travel baseball team. OK, maybe it just seemed like he was riding the pine a lot less. Or maybe he’s just gotten that good and my cookies have nothing to do with it.

In May, I proved I really had learned my lesson when I had my youngest son’s birthday party at the local bowling alley. And I learned that they serve Smirnoff Ice to the adults – win win!

In June, I learned how to explain to my youngest that not everyone makes the All Star baseball team. But that just means more hot dogs to eat as you watch your older brother play. Because he did make the All Star team, and yes, yes, I know, “life is like totally unfair!”

In July, I learned the heartbreak of watching your child lose in the state all star championship baseball game. But I also learned how resilient kids are.

In August, I learned that hard work, perserverance and a positive attitude will eventually pay off. And if that doesn’t work, plaster your resume everywhere and pester your friends for job leads. Or just drink a lot and everything will seem fine.

In September, I learned it is possible — tho highly unadvisable — to operate a football concession stand with hurricane Irene barreling down on the field.

In October, I learned confirmed that I am a total klutz.

In November, I learned that our 13 year old dog has a tumor/growth on her lungs. While she’s still spunky, we have to watch for an inevitable decline in her health. No matter how much we love our pets or will them to, they just won’t live forever. Damn it.

In December, I learned I should never label anything “Master bat” and then invite my friends over for a party where they may have access to a Sharpie.

Here’s to another year of learning, growing, experiencing, feeling, musing — and blogging about it all.


When Did I Become Becky Crocker?

It is no great surprise to anyone that I do not like to cook. My husband knows it. My mother (who makes every frickin’ thing from scratch) knows it. My sisters – one of whom made her own baby food – know it. My kids know it. My facebook and Twitter friends/followers know it. Even the dog knows I can barely bring myself to fill her dish with dog food in the evening.

When you are faced with this type of commentary when you cook…

  • “This doesn’t taste like a Glory Days hotdog” when my kids are presented with boiled Oscar Mayer weiners
  • “Is this supposed to be so runny?”, when my family is presented with my meatloaf
  • “These suck compared to McDonald’s cheeseburgers”, when I attempt to glue the pieces of hamburger together with cheese, to disguise the fact that the damn patty stuck to the grill under my watch

…it’s no wonder I am always looking to redeem myself in the kitchen.

Working my way backward to find out how this all started, I see that I have actually morphed into my friends’ and family’s go-to dessert maker.

There were these recently commissioned (!) cakes, for two of the kids on my son’s little league team:

This Memorial Day cake for a family picnic, along with homemade chocolate candies in red, white and blue:

This was my first commissioned (!) cake and cupcakes for a local girls’ softball team (Go Mystics!):

This Easter cake, made from two round cakes with icing and M&Ms:

This birthday cake for my son Alex, with candy stars made by me:

This birthday cake and cupcakes for our friend Brian Henigin’s Led Zeppelin-themed party (his self-designed birthday logo is there to the left of the cake). The sprinkle cupcake is for his adorable daughter Samantha, who loves it when Miss Becky shows up with goodies:

A sampling of the yummy red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a friend’s 40th birthday bash – hand decorated by yours truly:

This SuperBowl cake – can you figure out who we were rooting for?:

These New Year’s Eve cookies (there were many more – each one decorated differently)

Goodies for various Pittsburgh Steeler watching parties:

A Halloween-themed Pittsburgh Steeler watching party at our friend’s the Henigins:

But I think it all started when I took a Friday off, in celebration of homecoming weekend for our local high school. Our one son was playing on the mini-pony team in town, and they got to be part of the homecoming parade on Friday night. So, I decided to do something special for the kids’ game the next day. I made 60+ helmet cookies, and hand decorated them with icing and their team name (Go Lions!), individual numbers and names. I also made cookies for the coaches and some generic ones for the cheerleaders.

The day after the football game, I received the following e-mail from a dad/coach:
Thank you so much for the time and effort that you put into the cookies you have provided the Coaches and Players. Not only do they look Great but they taste phenomenal !!!!!! Ian appreciated his so much, I couldn’t get him to eat it. He gingerly put his in a tupperware bowl, sealed it with tape, and promptly put it in the freezer upon our arrival home. He did, however, munch on mine (which incidentally didn’t make it out of the parking lot before I had to split it with him). Once again, Thank you for your efforts.

And Becky Crocker was born.