Monday, August 30, 2010

Guest Blogger Testimonial: Mary Connealy

From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers here at The Bitch Stopped Cooking. Today's guest blogger is Mary Connealy, an author (romantic comedy cowboy tales!) who stopped cooking after 27 years. Check out her story below. If you're interested in being a guest on our blog (or having us as a guest on yours), please let us know!

Any pictures, opinions, views, formatting and all content in our guest blog posts belong solely to the guest blogger. If you are interested in borrowing anything, using a picture or quoting them, please contact the guest blogger directly. Contact information for Mary follows her post.

Read on!

I was a stay-at-home mom for 27 years. I had a very traditional marriage.
I raised four daughters while my husband worked his backside off. He came home at night tired and hungry. He’d shower and I tried very hard to be right there, putting the food on, when he collapsed at the table.
Our last daughter was a bit of a straggler. Five years between her and her next older sister. So all the older girls were grown and out of the house and the ‘baby’ (she hates being called that) was in high school when we decided he could either quit or lose his mind.
I believe my exact words were, “What’s your mental health worth, because you seem to be going crazy.” (well, my exact words were probably not quite so sassy. But I’m trying to make this more interesting than the truth. Yes, some fanatics might call that lying, but still. . .)
So he couldn’t really afford to quit his second job but we decided he just had to and we had to take our chances at surviving with less money. So, one day, I got this strange phone call offering me a job.
I had never applied for it. I’d never heard of this job. I had no training for it.
These were, as it turned out, not impediments.
It was to teach GED.
And I was no teacher.
I told the man all the reasons I wasn’t right for the job and he said, “So, do you want it or not?”
And it was a good job. Federal, full time, benefits. I suddenly had a freakin’ 401k.
My husband quit his second job.
And here came these checks.
It’s call a salary. I know this sounds naïve but I just hadn’t ever seriously considered earning money. I was a stay-at-home mom. It was how I defined myself. Except I was just a stay-at-home WIFE at this point, because my last ‘MOM’ project was pretty much grown.
So my husband started cooking. (you knew I had to get to the cooking part eventually)
He was just so delighted with his much increased free time and the money coming in from such an unexpected source (me!) that he said he was going to pitch in.
He’s a very simple cook. He broils meat and boils vegetables. That’s pretty much it. But you know what? It’s a really healthy way to eat. No more cheesy casseroles. No more dessert. No more fried zucchini or gravy or potato salad.
I miss that stuff. But there is NOTHING more wonderful than stepping into a house and smelling food and knowing I can now just collapse at the table and have a meal laid before me. What a beautiful thing!
I really recommend to every woman, stay at home for a while. Hopefully when/if you go to work he’ll appreciate it enough to step in at home. And if he doesn’t, then he’s really kind of a jerk.
I’ll add here that all those years I was at home I was also writing. Trying to get a book published. And two years after my first lovely, full-time paycheck started rolling in, I did it.
I got a contract for my first romance novel. I write romantic comedy with cowboys.
Since then I’ve gotten fifteen more books published, with contracts for ten more stretching out four years, with hopes for much, much more. And I continue to work teaching GED. (I can multiply fractions like nobody’s business. So, if you’ve got any questions please contact me directly.)
My husband, I think because he was so completely comfortable in our traditional marriage was really acutely aware of the change, which is why he stepped up so willingly.
He now mows the lawn. Cleans the house. Does the laundry. And cooks, I’d say 90% of the meals. And as I write this, I realize that I now work at two jobs. But no heavy lifting, so I’m good with it.
I help with some of it, but you know—it’s really not my job.

“If they’re sassing each other and falling in love while running for their lives, then I’m happy.”

Mary Connealy writes books that bring humor to the Wild West. Her most recent release is Doctor in Petticoats, book one of a three book series.

Mary is married to a rancher and has four beautiful daughters and one stunningly beautiful granddaughter.

Find me online at:
Petticoats & Pistols
My Blog
My Website

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Elusive 400 - and a new poll question!

Hey faithful blog readers! As you probably know, we're running a contest on Facebook. Once we reach 400 fans, we will give one lucky fan a choice a The Bitch Stopped Cooking apron or dishtowel! All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment here or on our Facebook page! So, refer your friends! We only need a few more!

We've got a new poll question. Check it out over there!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Squash Sloppy Joes

This is the first post I'm writing to participate in the "Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts" blogathon. If you're just joining us now, the blogathon is being sponsored by In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens, with a little help from the Massachusetts Department of
Agricultural Resources and Mass Farmers Markets. It's being held during Massachusetts Farmers' Market Week. If you are in the position to donate money, please consider giving to Mass Farmers Markets by clicking here.

Tonight I made Summer Squash Sloppy Joes using a recipe I found on What I love about recipes on, besides the huge variety, is that people leave comments. These can be useful in helping me decide if I want to make a dish. I know that if a recipe has the following comment: "Even my picky boyfriend who won't eat anything liked this dish", I know it's probably pretty bland and I should double the spices. Being married to an aspiring Master Spicer, I have to spice my dinners up pretty well in order for them to be enjoyed by anyone around here. Once I've decided to make a dish, I look for recurring themes in the comments, i.e. "too sweet! halve the sugar" or "add ketchup" or "leave out the anchovies because they're absolutely the most disgusting thing probably ever to be added to any dish ever in the whole world". Okay, the last one was just my personal thoughts about anchovies, but you get what I mean. Here's my experience with Summer Squash Sloppy Joes. The original recipe is found here and I'll post my version here on our blog. The vegetables, except for the onion, were grown locally either in my garden (pepper), my neighbor's garden (carrot) or by my CSA farm, Surrey Farms in Brewster, MA (squash).

Summer Squash Sloppy Joes
  • 1 pound ground lean beef or turkey
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cubanelle pepper (or green or red, whatever you have)
  • 1 1/2 cups summer squash, diced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar (ughhh! too sweet! halve the sugar when you make it!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash of Worcestershire (that's wus-ta-shee-yah in case you're wondering) Sauce
  • dash of Liquid Smoke
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 hamburger buns

1. Don't do what the original recipe says and preheat the broiler now. If you calculate how many minutes it will take to cook this dish before you put it in the broiler, you would waste at least 22 minutes of gas/electricity while your broiler sits there waiting for you to use it. Wait till the end to preheat it. Don't worry, I'll cue you. Anyway, so in a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef or turkey (I used turkey) until browned, about 7 minutes. I added salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning to the turkey. Add the onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrot and pepper and sauté 2 minutes. Add the squash and sauté 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, ketchup, chicken broth and water, stirring until the paste has dissolved. Add the brown sugar, garlic, chili powders, paprika, oregano, Wus-ta-shee-yah Sauce, Liquid Smoke and season with the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Okay, folks - here you go: PREHEAT THE BROILER! While everything is happily boiling away in the skillet, spread the cheese evenly over the bottom halves of the hamburger buns. Transfer both halves of the buns to the broiler, open-faced, and toast until the cheese has melted and the top buns are toasted. Don't do what I did and forget they were in there.

4. Remove the buns from the broiler and fill each sandwich with the squash-and-meat mixture. This term was coined by the original recipe writer. I don't know what I would have written if it were mine, but "squash-and-meat mixture" just about makes me want to barf and not eat the dish at all. Serve and eat immediately. The buns get soggy if you wait. We ate ours with a salad, but you can eat it with whatever you want. Our salad had cukes from our CSA and tomatoes from our neighbor!

P.S. My husband loved it and said he'd definitely eat it again. Even with the vegetables.

P.P.S. Leave out the Liquid Smoke if you want. It's not necessary, but does add a nice touch.

The third manterview

Thanks to everyone who has "liked" us on facebook; only 15 more fans to go until we hold our drawing for a free apron or dishtowel! If you're not already a fan of us on facebook, become one here! Post a comment, and you'll be entered into the drawing automatically!

Here's our third manterview:

Q: Do you like to cook?
Once in a while I like to get creative when the mood strikes and make something delicious because it’s fun and will be delicious, like the bacon explosion [men, we will have a post about this once we come to terms with the fact that such a thing exists], but most of the time cooking is just an unfortunate prerequisite to eating. It sucks that you have to cook before you can eat.

Q: What about cooking do you like?
I like the fact that you can throw in whatever you want and try to anticipate what it’s going to taste like. I guess the thing I like most about cooking is knowing what I like to eat, and working towards that, and being able to make exactly what I like to eat.

Q: What about cooking do you dislike?
The worst part is that you usually do it when you’re really hungry, so everything seems really difficult and it takes a long time. I hate touching gross things like chicken and I hate the fact that anything that goes into the oven takes over an hour and always takes longer than it says it will. I don’t like cleaning up afterwards, which is why I rarely do.

Q: What advice would you give to men who are just starting in the kitchen?
I think most men really like to eat delicious, awesome food, and if you’re cooking you can make whatever you want, like the bacon explosion. So rather than just having boring, chicken-rice-broccoli stuff, you can actually make spare ribs or chicken parm, or the craziest sandwich ever, whenever you want. Also, you don’t have to make everything from scratch; Trader Joe’s has a lot of meals or sides that you can just heat up.

Q: What is your favorite thing that I make?
I like it when you use the slow cooker, most of the time. I like when you make sausage, peppers, and onion sandwiches on the grill.

Q: What is your favorite thing to make?
I like to make sandwiches, especially sandwiches that involve leftovers in some capacity. Sandwiches are awesome because they always taste good and you can put in EVERYTHING. And sandwiches are quick, there’s usually no cooking involved. Or cleanup.

Q: What other ingredients do you like to put in sandwiches?
Hot sauce, chicken products, sliced animals, cheeses, gravies, peppers and onions, bacon, oil and vinegar. Cole slaw is surprisingly good on sandwiches, mashed potatoes and stuffing. This might be a long interview. Eggs are good on sandwiches.

Q: Want me to come back to this question if you think of more things as we go on?
I’m not done yet. I like spreads, like pesto or chipotle things. I guess barbecue sauce too. Sliced jalapeños! Burritos.

Q: Burritos on sandwiches?
Burritos are a form of sandwich. Burrito is Mexican for sandwich. So I guess rice and beans and salsa, too. Sliced apples?! Paninis. And…sausages. Also, burnt fried cheese scrapings.

Q: Do you think women belong in the kitchen?
You know the right answer, just put that down.

Q: Do you think I can handle the grill?
Better than I can. Yeah. I don’t think it’s anything special. It runs on gas, not testosterone.

Q: Is there anything else you want to talk about?
Yes. I wonder if macaroni and cheese is good on a sandwich. Also, spinach is good on them. Spinach and brie, and caramelized onions, and pizzas are great. Pizzas with EVERYTHING, like chili. And pineapples.

Q: Will you make me a margarita?
No? I don’t want you throwing up all over the place.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts

Since two of the three of us bitches live in Massachusetts, we decided to participate in a blogathon called "Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts". The blogathon starts today, August 22 and goes through Saturday, August 28. It is timed to celebrate Massachusetts Farmers Market Week. The blogathon is being hosted by In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens, with a little help from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Mass Farmers Markets. If you are a blogger in Massachusetts and you want to participate, check out the Loving Local blog or Facebook page.

I (Hannah) will be writing a post later this week to submit to the blogathon. We got an amazing selection of tomatoes and squashes from our CSA this week, so I'll be making a couple dishes with those. I'll share my recipes and some pictures with you all. My ideas so far - blogger Helen Rennie's chilled tomato yogurt soup, bruschetta with goat cheese, tomatoes and arugula from Fresh Food Fast and summer squash sloppy joes. As you read in my interview with my husband, Eric, he's not a fan of vegetables unless they're straight outta the garden and not just in there so you can say you had vegetables. These are definitely in there so you can say you had vegetables, but they're also straight out of the garden, so we'll see what he has to say about them. I think he secretly likes veggies, so he's probably going to LOVE it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies That Get Your Manly Hands Dirty

This is an age-old family recipe that I am about to share with you, so get excited. Before I share it with you I want to remind you that we are giving away one of our super awesome aprons. As soon as we get 400 fans on facebook (25 more to go!) we are going to select a random facebook fan commenter and they are going to take home an original canvas The Bitch Stopped Cooking Apron. Visit our facebook page and become a fan and leave a comment today!

Are you done?

I'll wait.

Okay. The recipe.

Just kidding about the age-old family recipe thing. I invented it tonight with ingredients I had in my cupboard. It's a night-old recipe.

Here's what I used:

1 cup butter
1 cup raw turbinado sugar (regular sugar would be fine)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp water (I might substitute milk next time)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour (regular flour would be fine)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (regular salt would be fine. I like using kosher salt because I like the sweet/salty experience and I feel that kosher salt stays a little crunchy.)
2 1/2 cups oats
a bag o' chocolate chips (12oz/2 cups)

Feel free to use matching sticks of butter.
This is just what I had on hand.
Also feel free to not buy ghetto baking soda.

Here's what to do:

Get a big blue bowl. Fine, get any color big bowl. Cream together the butter and the two kinds of sugars together. As you may have read from our Baking for Sophie post, Hannah and I (Maria. Julia is too busy on a bison hunting safari in the wild hills of Montidaho to make oatmeal cookies) learned that the only thing you can do wrong when creaming butter and sugar is to not do it long enough. OR you can fail to lock in the bowl and the mixer head and explode 3 cups of sugar all over your parents' kitchen. Anyways, cream the sugarbutter.

now picture me gradually cracking two eggs into the creamed sugarbutter.
it was ugly.
from a weird angle.
and you could see my batting cages blisters.
picture beautiful hands cracking beautiful eggs.

add the vanilla extract.
try not to huff the fumes from the entire bottle.

add the water.
you could also use milk.
if you're one of those weird families that keeps milk in their fridge that is not 36 days past its expiration date.

In another blue bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add this dry mixture to the other big blue bowl where you have the sugar and butter creamed with the eggs and vanilla.
Beat it until it is just mixed together.
Senseless is not the desired outcome of this beating.

Go preheat the oven.
Also get a baking sheet and grease it if you want.
Now tell Mother Nature you love her and boast about how proud she should be of you for not wasting energy by preheating the oven when you started the recipe.

Next you are going to add the chips and the oats separately and deliberately.

Stir in the oats and chocolate chips by hand.Yup, by hand.

Like this.
Make manly dinosaur noises while you do it.

Now put balls of the mixture on the cookie sheet. I made mine about the size of golf balls that dinosaurs stepped on and put them about an inch apart. Or two inches. I don't know. They'll be fine.

Cook them for 10-13 minutes. When you take them out, hang on a hot second so you can slide them off without them falling apart. In this case, a hot second equals one to two minutes. When you slide them off, put them on a wire cooling rack.

You have a wire cooling rack, right?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baking for Sophie: The Yard Sale

If you're just joining us now, let me catch you up on what happened. In July, our dear cousin, Sophie was walking with her sisters and a friend and was struck and killed by a car. A couple of angels named Caroline and Shayne held a yard sale on a hot, sunny day in early August to benefit Sophie's two beautiful children, Gabe and Fiona. Maria volunteered our time and love of baking to run the bake sale table. The day before the sale, we baked our little (Montague girls are NOT known for having much junk in their trunks) tushies off. Actually, we kept our tushies, as little as they are, quite stuck on because of all the butter-disguised-as-baked-goodies we consumed while baking. Maria notes this in her post about our baking day. If you haven't read that post, check it out - it's chock full of fabulous recipes and luscious pictures. My post today will report on the sale itself. If you weren't there, you missed an incredible day. If you were there, you know how great it was.

Maria and our mother (the original bitch) hopped out of bed and went to the sale at the ungodly hour of 6:00am. Even though I wanted to be there early, I got to sleep in a bit more because my little one was still snoozing away with her teddy bear. We followed later and arrived at 8:00am. Upon driving into the parking lot of the Chatham Coffee Company where the sale would be held, I saw at least 50 people (I'm not kidding) busy setting up items on tables. I could not believe it - there were so many volunteers and so much STUFF for the sale.

And this was just one small section of the entire sale!

I burst into tears. I saw my mother and pulled over. I couldn't get out of the car fast enough. We hugged, cried and exclaimed how much this meant and how we just couldn't believe it. It was truly moving.

After the initial shock wore off, I shuttled the baked goodies over to the sale table. We went to park and I put the little one in the Ergo carrier, where she would hang out for much of the day.

We returned to the yard sale and moved our table into the shade. Note to anyone who might run a bake sale table - being in the shade is key. No melted goodies, no sunburned bakers. We set up the goodies and put Maria's awesome handmade signs up so everyone would know what they were getting themselves into.

The sale started at 9:00am after shooing away some early birds ( or were they vultures?). Business at our table was slow at first, but then it really took off. Word must have gotten around about how awesome it all tasted. We had some incredibly generous folks, like my neighbors Milt and Kathy, who bought one chocolate chip cookie for $20 and the guy who wrote a check for $100 in exchange for five of Liz's uh-maze-ing vegan cupcakes.

Yeah, they were that good.

It was hard not to break into tears every time an exchange like this happened - and it happened a lot. There were a few, shall we say, frugal folks, who must have forgotten this was a benefit sale. One guy gave me ten bucks for at least 15 pieces of coffee cake. Thankfully, this was not the norm and the generous folks more than made up for the frugal guys. We think we made about $1,000 just at the bake sale table.

It was this busy all day.

We spent the day meeting some amazing people, sharing some good times, crying together, hugging everyone we knew, seeing old and new friends. The Parkington Sisters played some beautiful music. If you ever get a chance to see them perform, you will be a very lucky person. Our family friend, Melissa sang a song that she wrote about Sophie. It was a day I will never, ever forget. In the end, we raised a HUGE amount of money, but it was bittersweet. All the money in the world won't bring back our Sophie. But, at least it will make sure Fiona gets to continue playing hockey, Gabe will still play football, they'll both suffer through braces and best of all, they'll get to fly back here from their home out west and visit with their east coast family.

Sophie, we love you and miss you every day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Manterview

Another impromtu manterview. This time between Hannah and her husband, Eric.

Hannah: Do you like to cook?

Eric: Yes. Especially if it’s foods that are delicious to my tastebuds, but I don’t like to cook when it’s just for me because then I’d rather just eat something to not be hungry anymore. But, I like to cook foods as a way of showing that I care for people. And also, a little bit of my ego wants them to be impressed by my girthy culinary skills.

H: What about cooking do you like?

E: Who says I like cooking?

H: Um, you do.

E: I like tinkering and trying to add different spices. Because at this point, my culinary skills are just about spicing things. But, if I were better at cooking, I would be more interested in blending textures and contrasting flavors. Spices are like the kindergarten of cooking because all you gotta do is add more spices. There’s not much refined technique you have to learn to open up a spice jar and dump it in. Some people might be offended by that if they think they’re Master Spicers…

H: What about cooking do you hate?

E: What? Who said I hate cooking? Hate is a really strong four letter word.

H: Okay, just answer the question.

E: Oh man, the cleaning up. That’s the worst. It sucks.

H: But, if you cook, I clean.

E: Yeah, but the fact that you have to clean bums me out. On cooking shows, all they do is cook. They don’t cook and clean. I also hate overcooking things. I’d rather undercook chicken and give everyone salmonella instead of serving everyone a chicken brick.

H: What is your favorite thing that I make?

E: Mmmmm….wow….oh, your garlic beets, chicken pot pie – oh yeah, that’s awesome, but you use too many vegetables. I think you put in at least four types of vegetables and you’re only supposed to use two or three types.

H: How do you feel about vegetables?

E: Oh man, well, if they're so delicious, like out of the garden, then I could eat them just by themselves, maybe with a little salt, BUT! If they are in a dish, just for the sake of being there so you can say you had vegetables, then I'm totally against them.

H: What is your favorite thing to make?

E: Spaghetti sauce because I like chopping and if you wanna be a Master Spicer, you can go crazy in a spaghetti sauce.

H: Do you think women belong in the kitchen?

E: Yeah! What kind of question is that? That’s so ridiculous.

H: But you share the kitchen with me.

E: That’s true. Cuz it’s fun! Especially if I can tell you what to do. I say, “Chop that!” “Add some more spices!”

H: Do you think I can handle the grill?

E: No! (bursts out laughing) That is so funny! You don’t like to touch raw meat! And also, I just picture you with like, three foot tongs, going like this (holds his arm over his face and eyes, looking scared and squinting). And you would totally overcook the chicken.

H: Thanks, I’m glad you have so much faith in me. Will you make me a margarita?

E: Of course, if I knew how to make one. I think it involves tequila.

Happy Facebook Friday! Our First Giveaway!

Hi readers!

A happy, happy Friday to you.

The Bitch Stopped Cooking is happy to announce we are having...

...our very first giveaway!!

We're giving away one of our awesome aprons or dishtowels (your choice) to one lucky person when we reach 400 facebook fans!

Click this link to go to our facebook page. Then become a fan of us. A huge fan of us.

Then all you have to do is leave a comment on our status.

Tell us your favorite food.

Tell us why men should do the cooking.

Or why they shouldn't.

Tell us how you order your steak.

Tell us how you order your tofu.

Or just say hi.

Once we have 400 fans, we'll randomly pick a winner from the comments.

If you're already our facebook friend, as 344 of you are, you can enter the giveaway too! Just recommend a friend or two (the facebook elves are watching you) and leave a comment.

Good luck and happy weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ten-Question Impromptu Manterview

This is an interview that took place in the living room of one of the bitches tonight, as an attempt to gather information on modern views of men and women in the kitchen.

Maria: Do you like to cook?

Dan: I don’t mind it. It’s kind of fun.

M: What about cooking do you like?

D: Eating it. And…. Um…. Flipping everything at the right time.

M: What about cooking do you hate?

D: Having to wait to eat.

M: Don’t you have to wait to eat when I cook?

D: It’s different. When you’re not doing it you’re not paying attention to how long it takes.

M: Because you're busy doing something else?

D: Yeah. Like right now. I'm busy doing something else.

M: What is your favorite thing that I make?

D: Mustard-crusted chicken. (He's totally right. Check it out here. No, I won't come make it for you.)

M: What is your favorite thing to make?

D: Frozen pizza

M: Do you think women belong in the kitchen?

D: No, they belong in the bedroom. No! Don’t write that! Your parents read this.

M: Do you think I can handle the grill?

D: No. (laughs). You’re too scared of the heat. And you don’t like anything done quickly. Your hands would get too hot.

M: Will you make me a margarita?

D: That would involve me going into the kitchen.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Baking for Sophie: Recipes and the Baking Experience. Our 50th Post!

This is a long post. But read it. Because there's a really cute picture at the end. It will totally be worth your while.

Sophie's Sale was amazing. The amount of support and love and grief was palpable. And it raised an obscene amount of money. I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you, but I will tell you there are five numbers in there. And no decimal points. And two amazing kids that will benefit hugely from the efforts. It was unbelievable. Hannah is going to tell you more about that. I am going to tell you about how baked we got the day before. Wait, no, how much we baked the day before.

Our bake sale was awesome, as you might expect, since we're pretty awesome. Our also-awesome cousin (and in-house vegan expert), Liz, whipped up three huge batches of vegan cupcakes the night before. She brought two of them. What happened to the Margarita Cupcakes will forever be a mystery. Actually, they're in the compost bin at her parents' house giving some raccoons a pret-ty good time on a Friday night. But anyways, Liz's cupcakes were AWESOME. You couldn't even tell they were vegan. And I mean that from the bottom of my animal-product-loving gut. Now that I'm writing this I am realizing I don't actually have the recipes to post on here. Whoops. Let me go track those down. I'm gonna stop at the compost bin for a quick pick-me-up first.

So, the day before the bake/yard sale, Hannah and I (Julia couldn't be there because she's too busy castrating bulls and saving lives from the spread of epidemiolitis on a farm in Colorado) baked our tushies off. Actually, we kept our tushies right there because we sampled everything. We were snacking on butter, folks. We got up at 9. Okay, SHE got up at 9 and started cooking. Of the many, many things we learned on this baking extravaganza, the first thing we (she) learned was that if the recipe is more than one page, you have to read both pages. Pssht. Lame. Who reads both pages? It wasn't devastating, really just a minor mistake. Muffins that were supposed to look like this:

Ended up looking like this:You guessed it, the crumble's on the second page. Anyways, I picked her right up off the kitchen floor and we made another batch. With crumble. And ay carumble, they were good. Here is the recipe for these delicious crumbly cups of blueberry goodness. Don't forget to tell your sister to read both pages.

So then we were right on to learning another lesson. We were making reverse whoopie pies and we had to cream sugar and butter together. I went out and consulted my mother (the original bitch, you know) because Hannah was making me nervous about creaming the sugar and butter. I came back to tell Hannah what I had learned. Just as I was saying, "...other than not doing it long enough, you can't really do anything wrong" I switched on the mixer and chaos ensued.

There was sugar. There was baking powder. There was butter. There was even vanilla extract.


I hadn't locked the bowl into the bottom of the mixer and I hadn't locked the mixer head in the down position. Turns out, when you're creaming butter and sugar, you really can do it wrong. We laughed belly laughs and exclaimed shouts of disbelief for about five minutes until we got ourselves together and realized what we needed to do.THAT, my friends, is why you have a dog. Okay, this job involved a vacuum too, but Rosie did a great job. She now has diabetes.

Other than being really funny, this mixer experience taught me to a. learn how to use the tool before you turn it on, and b. always put butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in iced coffee. It was delicious. The reverse whoopie pies turned out awesome. They totally looked like hamburgers. They totally tasted like heavenburgers. That may or may not be due to the mass quantities of chocolate, butter, and heavy cream inside.

We actually learned one addition piece of important information during the whoopie pie construction. I made the insides and waited for it to cool, put it in the fridge just like they said, and even put it in the freezer but it just wasn't getting fluffy. If we put that inside of the whoopie pie, it would melt all over the place. It would be like putting a burger-sized amount of barbecue sauce on a hamburger bun. See, they make you think of hamburgers! Anyways, the recipe said to cool it and then whip it. Duh. We finally whipped it and there you have it, perfect hamburgers. Uh, I mean reverse whoopie pies. Here's the recipe. Don't forget to whip it after you cool it.

We made some pretty awesome toffee chocolate chip cookies. It's a secret recipe. I made it up about two years ago. It's my secret. I'm never gonna tell you. Ever. But I will give you a hint. Buy a bag of Toll House chocolate chips. Read the back. Also buy a bag of crushed up Heath Bar (in the chocolate chip aisle). Then hide the other half of the bag of chocolate chips and the other half of the bag of Heath Bar because your boyfriend WILL find them and he WILL eat them.

Don't think you're ever getting this recipe out of me.

Dude, stop licking your computer screen. That's gross.

Next we whipped up some gluten-free chocolate nut bars. Another lesson learned. Read the ingredients of every recipe before going to the grocery store. We had one thing on the list. So I went to the store and got the other eight thousand ingredients and put it all together. These were gooood. They were like candy bars. They went like hot cakes at the bake sale. Check out the recipe and make it for someone you love. As long as they don't have a nut allergy.

Speaking of bars, check out the lemon bars we made. There are a LOT of eggs in this recipe. It's nagev. Backwards vegan. nagev. Get it? The lemon bar making process was pretty uneventful. Hannah didn't think it was puddingey enough. I did. That was about all that happened.

See? Totally puddingey enough.

Then I decided I didn't want to bake anymore. I wanted to sit down and play Puerto Rico. I wanted to watch Project Runway reruns. I wanted to go swimming. I didn't want to bake. But I did.

Next we made the best coffee cake ever. I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman's Blog. It was so delicious. I am a little uneasy that I just told you that because I am afraid you are going to leave us for the Pioneer Woman. Yes, she is awesome. But don't forget about us, okay? I feel like a smokin' hot supermodel just flirted with my boyfriend. Agh.

Anyways, it's the best coffee cake ever. It is so good. Hannah was getting really good at reading recipes at this point because she saw that the eggs needed to be beaten to stiff peaks. I had beaten them senseless, just short of stiff peaks. Here's the recipe. Hey, stop reading her blog. You can read it once you're done with this one.

So it was about 10pm at this point and we were done, except for the fact that Hannah had to make some zucchini bread. So while she did that I wept in the dining room about not wanting to put price stickers on my grandmother's kitchen utensils.

Hannah will be letting you know all about her zucchini bread, our cute bake sale table signs, and how much fun we had at the sale as soon as she is done globetrotting with her gorgeous family.

Here's the picture you've all been waiting for.