After two and a half years, I’m one step closer. Progress has been made, decisions are being put into action.
I’m Getting Married!!
It’s been three days and it’s all still sinking in. There is this gorgeous shiny piece of metal and diamond on my hand, a sweet, wonderful and handsome man in my life and there isn’t much I can say that will really put a tangible or accurate word or expression to what is swimming in my head right now.
For most of you who may or may not know about me and Ben – here it goes. We’ve been dating for two and half years, all long distance. Go figure, we lived in Pullman for years together, didn’t really know eachother, and didn’t start dating until AFTER I left back for the west-side. But it has been nothing short of wonderful.
Bless this man for his patience. Bless this man for his bi-weekly 600 mile roundtrip drive to see me. (Don’t worry we switched of driving duties – I drove plenty too!) Bless this man for his patience in dealing with me!! Whether it’s my impatience, my neurosis, my endless hours in the kitchen, baking projects, picture taking, bad jokes, freak outs, crying sessions, or me falling asleep on the phone after long exhausting days. Bless him.
I just couldn’t be more giddy, thrilled and jumpy over this. We agreed a long time ago that we weren’t going to do a holiday-proposal. No Christmas, New Years, or Valentine’s Day confession of love…just not our style – we deemed it to cliche. But really, when your man is getting down on one knee, it just happens, dates or holidays be darned. And Christmas was when it happened.
So, remember when I said Bless him for his patience with me? Well, apparently I made him crack. I freaked him out. He had a bit of a panic attack. A shut down, little mini freak out session. It wasn’t intentional, but after sitting under the Christmas tree in my (now our) apartment, and opening our gifts he said he had forgotten one part of my gift back in Pullman.
Okay, no big deal. Really! Not a worry on my little furry head.
After posing the question of “when do you want to go back to Pullman?”, it happened…he quieted down, and kinda imploded. What is a girl to do when her hunny just clams up?
I tried to help, get him to talk to me. But oh dear. He promptly got up, stated “I have another gift for you in the pick-up. I didn’t want to give it to you today, but let me go get it.”
Well….it didn’t dawn on me that he was planning anything. We agreed – no proposals on Christmas. So to me, I was in the clear.
So he hurried outside, to presumably get my “other” gift out of the pickup. (Only to find out later, he was texting my Bestie Beka freaking out and needing some reassurance and calming down – she didn’t answer) I got on with my business in the apartment, put in a movie and hunkered down with the pupper until Ben came back inside.
Are you as mad at me now as I should have been with myself for not realizing what was happening?
Once he came back in, he dashed into my room to “wrap” my other gift he didn’t intend to give me. So there I sat, still unknowingly waiting for my fate.
Finally Ben emerged with a bag in hand, handing it over to me and sitting beside me. Gingerly removing the tissue from the bag I whipped out a bottle of blue liquid, jewlery cleaner. Apparently this was something I would be needing?
And then with a look of “confuzzlement”, I stared at him as he got down on one knee, pulled the ACTUAL gift out of his pocket and professed his love. Kinda. It came out more as “I’m sick of the 600 miles of driving just to see you, and I love you so very much I just want to be near you. Megan, will you marry me?”
The further he got into it, the quicker and more “word-vomity” it got.
But hey – now that I had caught up with what was going on, I blurted out “YES” and promptly burst into tears hugging him and blubbering like a fool.
Despite it all going so catastrophically “not according to plan” – it went perfectly.
It may not have been his original plan (going to Pullman to recreate our first date – a picnic in the park), and it might have been on a holiday (something we agreed we’d never do) – it still turned out perfectly for us, full of love and a complete comedy of errors. It’s a calamitous cluster that will make us laugh for years and years to come.
Chaos is all around us, thanks to the overwhelming nature of the holiday season. We rejoice in this holiday, relax during those precious days off, and open gifts and be merry with all of our friends and family. But in the days before – chaos is what we are handed.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited about the holiday. Ben is spending it with my crazy-loveable families, and in preparation there has been endless time spent in the kitchen, making last second store runs to get what I had forgotten or run out of and a dog dutifully laying at the edge of the kitchen prepped and ready to pounce on any crumb that fell to the ground.
On any given workday I rise well before the sun comes up and graces God’s green earth with it’s warmth and light…4:20 to be precise. And although I had today off, my mental alarm clock woke me up and refused to relent and let me fall back asleep. An hour later, I gave up, got up and got ready for the day. By 6 am the oven was on, the mixer was working it’s little motor out and I was creating disasters…
My cashew crusted eggnog cheesecake turned to soup in the pan, because the hot water bath it was supposed to sit in was not as water tight as it should have been. The red velvet cakes are hard on the edges, the mousse for the red velvet cakes is not smooth, the icing is too thin, and I”m not currently as we speak baking the second eggnog cheesecake in hopes that ONE thing today will go right…
I don’t ask for much this Christmas season, good will towards men, blessings for everyone and for my Baking to turn out properly!! Give me serenity, Please?! Or, a really strong drink.
I really sounds like I’m knocking a bunch of ginger kids right now, but my reference is actually to Gingerbread men/women/persons/etc. Now it has actually taken me quite a while to get to this post, seeing as the actual event happened about two weeks ago… oh well life happens.
There was plenty of good junk food to thrown up on those ginger-houses. Between every kind of candy made in red and green, there were six tubs of frosting, three boxes of graham crackers, spice drops, spatulas, boards and decorating tools. We were ready to get down and dirty!
Beka and Kandace had the brilliant idea of using waffle cones as trees. Brilliant I say! Of course I followed suit and did a couple myself too.
In between the decorating Ms. K whipped up the most delicious batch of homemade mac and cheese. I’m pretty sure I went back for a third spoonful. There may be some covert planning in my future to hijack this recipe… Or I have Ms. Ree’s in my cupboard cookbook, it’ll hold me over for now.
But while she was making said mac and cheese, and attempting to let her poor graham cracker two story house dry, it toppled like a house on a SoCal fault line.
Luckily enough all the houses stayed put after some heavy reinforcement that is. This is a time when I’m glad that I work construction. These were a feat of enginerd marvel. Yup, I said engi-nerd.
This was the final result. Sugar and frosting everywhere, but one beautimus house in the end.
Not a bad way to wave in the holiday season and a wicked twitchy sugar high…with a side of Type 2 diabetes.
Okay, well it’s not me doing the giveaway this time – it’s PW, HP and the BlogHer Network!
Head over to The Pioneer Woman’s website (I do frequently throughout the day) and take a gander around. Today you’ll find several fantastical (yup, it’s a word – look it up. On second thought don’t do that…) giveaways, for Kitchen Aid’s, HP Printers and a Wusthoff knife set on Tasty Kitchen.
Gah, talk about having a major case of the SPS – Self Purchase Syndrome. Or I guess this could be modified to GTS- Gimme That Stuff syndrome. Both of which I’m entirely sure exist.
So to complete my entry, I’m shouting out right here on Wanna Be A Country Cleaver, my baking for the holidays will include an Eggnog Cheesecake with Cashew crust and a Peppermint Red Velvet Cake. Oi Vie, I need my fat pants – STAT!!
Every year, as is tradition – I get a new ornament. Long ago my mom go us started by adventuring out to the local drug stores to pick up a new ornament to put on the tree. It was always an exciting time, without fail getting my sister and I into the Christmas spirit. With each new ornament, it reflected on the year we had finished and what we had accomplished or so cherished.
Each one has a story and a memory attached. Christmas would not be the same without this tradition, and for my mom’s neurosis I am eternally grateful.
Classic Tigger – There was a Pooh and Friends revival back in my middle schools days. And although my nickname from my Dad is Pooh Bear, I wanted Tigger and stood firm. Dang those teenage hormones…
This one is my frog prince. I’d had relationship rough patches that year and needed a beacon of hope that my prince would come. I got this little guy in 2007. Magically enough – I met Ben the very next year. This little dude is my lucky charm, no doubt about it.
This is Bowe the camel. During my four years working in the large animal facility at WSU’s Vet Teaching Hospital I got attached to all the animals, especially this one. Bowe was a squishy, softy, and affectionate camel who adored being hugged and would give you “Something About Mary” hair when she drooled all over your head. I’d sit with her during my class breaks and when you’d leave – she’d cry. Well, HONK is more like it – loudly enough to be heard through the entirety of the facility. But she was what I took away from that year, kindness, love, compassion and lots of slobbered on hair.
Of all the ornaments I have, the Precious Moments ones are the ones I treasure the most. I wanted a goose to waddle after me, my own little farm and each time this little ornament comes out of a box I’m reminded of those little dreams I had and still have, even now.
Hey, each family has a TV show of choice. It just so happens that our “quality family programing” was The Simpsons. Each family is dysfunctional in their own silly and lovable way, maybe this is why we identified with them…or cause we’re just plain nuts.
What doggie-mom would I be if Huck didn’t get an ornament just like I did. Fine, it was more for me – just cause I’m an emotional mom- even if it is to a dog.
But this year, I got two ornaments. These writings, musings, follies and debacles of my life in the kitchen and home were chronicled here. I’ve baked up a storm, ruined pans, burned, under cooked, and taken pictures of these adventures all along the way. Cupcakes are my salvation and happy place.
And so is my mixer. Between these cupcakes and mixers, I stay sane.
This is the best of traditions. Now that I’m out on my own, I’ve taken each of these ornaments and dutifully hung them leaving me with a full tree. My life, accomplishments and memories lay on those branches and I am eternally grateful for everything I have and everything I have been given this holiday season.
All of the best to you and yours. May the reason for this season bring you joy and comfort now and well into the new year. ~Megan
After reading all about the endless cookie making everyone is doing this time of year, I felt compelled to jump on the bandwagon, and drag along Ben with me. He’s such a good sport.
For the sugar cookies themselves, I whipped up Haley’s (at The Girly Girl Cooks) recipe. She’s such a doll, and as a prize for winning her first giveaway, I got a ton of great cookie making swag. Her recipe was delish, the cookie cutters were adorable, and the gingerbread men measuring spoons – Hello, splendid!
All the cookies cutters got splayed out along the counter. Haley’s are the precious brown gingerbread man, the ever so green evergreen tree and the sparkly white snowflake cutter. I added in an ornament, a snowman, and a star to the mix. It worked out for a well balanced Christmas scene.
And as my dough was cut and baking, I whipped up some royal frosting. I’m always hesitant to make royal frosting, not because of the egg – I use meringue powder – but because if it’s overly whipped it’s crusty, and with all of the air that can get added in, it dries out even faster. Best trick is the wrap your mixer with very damp paper towels or hand towels. It’ll help stop the air-incorporation and excess drying.
Now, Wilton colors are not AmeriColor tints – but for this they do the trick. After the Firehouse Cake and the disgusting red disaster, I’ll be switching colorings when I work through these.
Ben helped me prep my flood icing whipping in some lightly tinted colors, trying to avoid that weird artificial taste. Blagh! The red didn’t turn out so red, and I wasn’t about to have him add more color to the frosting and leave it bitter. It turned out more pink than anything, but it’s the spirit that counts, right?
We got to decorating and having some wintery Seattle fun. Now with my nervousness about icings, they did still turn out a little too stiff. And I was too nervous to water them down too much to create a proper flood icing. Either way – it worked…
Ben created some psychedelic snowmen, and after that I couldn’t help but join in on the fun with a couple crazy stars and an ornament that looks more like the Pepsi symbol than anything else… (see below).
Either way it was fun, messy and good quality time for me and my hunny. Man am I glad he humors me with all of this cute couple-y crap. He’s a keeper.
Happy Christmas and lots and lots of cookies to you and yours!
It was our mid-week date with the girls and we were feeling the need to get fat and happy by porking out on cookies and the delicious raw dough. The first rounds of cookies were Spritz cookies, where Beka got to break out the wedding swag!
I like when my friends get married, they get cool stuff, I get to use it and I don’t have to store it at my place. And when they get new sets of dishes, there are free sets abound. I got a rockin’ set of glasses earlier this year when Beka got hitched. Free is for Me!
But, back to my original story. There were the spritz cookies, but there were also these soon-to-be doughy beauties. Paula Deen has her Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies made with chocolate cake mix and cream cheese. If you’ve never tried these, you really really should. They are fluffy, gooey, and chocolately heaven. Do yourself a favor – just make them.
After making these for the last couple of years, Beka ventured out and created her own. Instead of the Paula Deen-way she swapped yellow butter cake for the chocolate and instead of the required vanilla flavoring she switched it for almond extract. They are light and squishy, perfection.
They required us to let them sit for and hour in the fridge, and in the mean time baked all the necessary spritz cookies.
While Beka was busy, I got a hold of the beater. It wasn’t long until it was licked clean…don’t judge me!
See, spritz cookies. Considering I have five non-stick cookie pans in my apartment we had to resort to the old pizza pan with no stick on it so those little things would actually stay on the pan properly. Go figure.
I knew there was a reason I never throw out any of my baking stuff.
After that horrifically LONG hour of waiting for the butter cookies in the fridge, we broke them out and got on with rolling them in powdered sugar and plopping them on one of my nice non-stick cookie pans.
But only about half of the dough made it on the pan…the other half might have gone straight to Beka, Kandace’s and my stomachs…
I was in a baking mood on Sunday. It was raining, dreary and I was trying to waste some time before going to Ms. Kandace’s to make gingerbread houses with her and Beka. Huck had been lacking in his treat dish, so I figured while I had an hour to kill – I could make him some treats.
So if you have a pupper in your life, feel free to make them a few of these. They won’t be able to turn them down.
For Your Grocery List:
~ 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
~ 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
~ 1 Tablespoon Veggie Oil
~ 1 c. oatmeal (1 plain and one Banana Bread)
~ 1 cup water.
Mix you water, oil and peanut butter together to make a gross looking brown sludge.
You want to make sure that all of these are properly mixed so that they are evenly distributed in the tough dough.
Slowly add flour, one cup at a time – mixing throughly in between the additions. This will start to get really tough to mix by hand, but stick with it.
When all the flour is mixed, knead in the oatmeal.
If you don’t have banana oatmeal, don’t fret. Mash up 1/2 cup of banana and add in.
When all of the oats are mixed in and not falling out of the dough, you’re ready to roll and cut it out to bake.
Roll out until they are about 1/4-1/3″ thick. Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes. Since every oven is different, just make sure you check them and don’t completely burn ‘em.
Let them cool and toss one your pupper’s way. They will thank you.
Okay, well there is the Count of Monte Cristo – and this is my attempt at a Monte Cristo Breakfast Sammie.
This last weekend in Seattle, it rained. Big surprise, right? Well, this was no ordinary rain. It was torrential, Hollywood-esque rain. I practically had a water amusement park outside my porch.
See, I really wasn’t kidding. Eeep!!
But I had no fear. With all that rain coming down, I knew that the one solution I had was to stay inside all day to cook and bake my little heart out.
For this grocery list you will need:
~Loaf of French Bread
~2 eggs, one for an egg-wash and one for the sammie
~ Cheese of choice
~ Pork Sausage
~Maple Syrup if you’re into that kinda thing…
Since I frequently am just cooking for one, these are just guesstimate measurements. But for the wash, crack and whip up one egg. Put two decent size “dashes” of cinnamon into the mix, one “dash” of nutmeg, and a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of vanilla into the mix. Whisk up and set aside for your slices of bread momentarily.
After you slice two thick (do yourself a favor and take a good slab) slices of bread and dip them in the wash. Toss in a heated and sprayed pan to cook.
Where the “monte cristo” part of this sandwich goes off the rails is that the pork sausage has to be cooked separately, not allowing you to dip the entirety of the sammie into the egg without cooking the inner parts first. With a Monte, at least cold cuts and pre-cured meats are used, so you can dip it all in at once and consider it good. This is a bit different, but the spirit remains the same. Stick with me here!
Like I said, in your seperate pan, cook up a patty of pork sausage. Season as you like. I’m not much of a pepper person, so I just kept it plain and simple. Look at that beautifully crisp baby.
When the sausage is done cooking, retain the pan and wipe clean of the majority of the grease. It’s great to fry up and egg with a little grease left in. How could you not. Your arteries might not like you so much, but they’ll get over it.
So when all pieces are cooked up, lay in sammie form, french toast, pork, cheese and scrambled egg on top.
The other part that this has in common with a Monte…Raspberry Jam. Do it, you won’t regret it.
But if you’re into Syrup, it’ll do ya just fine too.
This is wonderful served up with some of the Healthy Waldorff-ish Salad – help balance out the “badness” of the sausage breakfast sammie. I’m trying to help ya here, promise!!
For the 100 Facebook fan giveaway, I wanted to bribe everyone into liking the page with the enticement of a little Le Creuset.
So for each entry, I made a spreadsheet (Yes, I’m a nerd I like spreadsheets) to keep accurate tabs on all of you and make sure each person counted. (Yes, you all count to me. Awww.)
Thanks to the plethora of free random number generators on the internet, I typed in my number of entries and it spit out a number, which corresponded to a name. See, I’m trying to keep this legit here!
And as luck would have it Holly won!
I met Holly and her mother earlier this year with Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, was in Seattle signing her cookbook. The three of us gabbed for hours about cooking, life, and the general hilarity that seeps into our seemingly ordinary but slightly dysfunctional everyday lives. Hey, if there isn’t any dysfunction in your life, you’re just not livin’ it right!
Those two are wonderful women, and I was very lucky to meet them that day and keep in touch with them still.
Holly, I hope you like your Le Creuset and it brings some Caribbean sunshine (Cause the Le Creuset color is Carribean, get it?) to your wet and sloppy Seattle Winter.
Thank you everyone for your entries, this is has been so much fun – I can’t wait until the next giveaway!
Happy Holidays all! ~Megan aka Wanna Be A Country Cleaver