Archive for the Industrious Category

The Frankenstein Chef

Posted in Industrious on April 14, 2011 by charleecat

The Frankenstein Chef Makes Banana Bread

I am your average cook.  I make enough to feed my family.  The food is usually ok, occasionally quite good.  But my family is happy.  I enjoy the process of cooking rarely.  Most of the time I dread it… minus baking.  I do enjoy baking.  But overall, in the realm of household duties, I’d rather clean than cook.

But when I do cook, my M.O. usually follows this sequence:

  1. Find a recipe that meets either what I have on hand, or what I feel like having.
  2. See if the recipe looks good and seems to have ingredients I have.  (Notice here, the word “seems”.)
  3. Get started.
  4. Realize I don’t have an ingredient it called for.
  5. Substitute.
  6. Keep going.
  7. Realize I don’t have two other ingredients it calls for.
  8. Substitute.
  9. Add an ingredient at the wrong time.
  10. Here I have two options.  If I’m cooking, I usually don’t sweat it; if I’m baking, I may try to get that precocious ingredient out.  On the other hand, some ingredients can’t be retrieved… like eggs, or applesauce.
  11. Keep going.
  12. On it goes until I’m done.

You get the idea.  And I frequently only end up using half or less of the original ingredients the recipe called for.  The funny thing is, it usually works.

So tonight I made banana bread and as I was describing how I made it to my husband, he laughed at me in disbelief (sort of… he’s pretty used to it by now) and said if I had a cooking show it would be called “The Frankenstein Chef”!  My brain started rolling and I thought of all the laughs I would get if I had someone videotaping me cooking and I actually said all the things I think as I go.

Cut to taped cooking sequence….

While making the banana bread (that I didn’t have enough bananas for), I realized I didn’t have enough white sugar.  So I used some brown sugar.  But I didn’t have enough of that either.  So I used some applesauce.  Well, that was ok, because really I wanted to use applesauce in my banana bread anyway.  I just hadn’t found a recipe that I liked that included applesauce.  And besides, I didn’t have enough bananas, so the applesauce would also serve to add more wet ingredient.  I’ll need to adjust the amount of sour cream so it’s not too wet.  Since I was adding the applesauce in as a sweetener substitute, I put it in with the rest of the sugar.


I was supposed to cream the butter with the sugar.  There’s no way you can cream the butter with applesauce.

But I’ll try it anyway!

I was right!  It didn’t work.  But that’s ok because it’s not like I’m baking cookies or even a cake that needs a very specific consistency to have a good texture or form.  It’s just bread.  It’ll just melt in the oven and cook in with the batter.  It should be fine!

One of the reasons I picked this recipe was because it included sour cream.  It sounded like a good addition.


I opened the refrigerator to discover I didn’t have any sour cream.  But, hey!  I have Greek Yogurt.  Perfect substitute.

Everyone loved the banana bread.  So who’s to complain?

By the way, my husband also reminded me of probably one of my most classic crazy substitutions.  Flavored coffee creamer instead of milk in homemade macaroni and cheese (that had a total of 11 ingredients, and I only used 2 that were exactly what the recipe called for).  Well, I asked, was it good?  It was pretty tasty, he admits.  So what’s the problem?! 😉


My Husband Cooked ALL Weekend!

Posted in Industrious on March 31, 2010 by charleecat

This past weekend, my husband blessed me in a way I think only a full-time stay at home and homeschooling mom, with the top “love language” of Acts of Service, can fully appreciate.

Friday night, after some friends left our house, I asked Mike to do breakfast in the morning so I could sleep in.  This is not something unheard of, but admittedly infrequent in my house.  My throat was starting to hurt, and I wanted to do what I could to ward off sickness by getting some extra sleep.  Though I was unable to sleep in (I guess my body is too used to getting up early), Mike still  let me lie in bed while he took care of breakfast.  Later, he offered to make lunch before we hustled our children up to my parent’s house for a sleepover (YAY!).  I wasn’t about to pass up on that offer.

We came back home after dropping our children off and… fell asleep on the couch!  So much for going and doing as we usually take such opportunities to do!  But while I continued to doze on the couch, coming in and out of consciousness, I realized my sweet husband was getting stuff ready for dinner.  And not just any dinner of heated up chicken nuggets (which I would have appreciated nonetheless) but he remembered I had suggested us working together to cook a semi-gourmet dinner at home – and he decided to give it a shot on his own!  He is NOT a regular cook, mind you, and typically gets flustered by some of the most basic meals when it falls to his responsibility.  So I was exceptionally blessed and feeling loved when he went to all that effort to make a fabulous meal!

Needless to say, he was scoring points big time that day, and reaped the benefits of my adoration! 🙂

The next day, he continued his pattern and made a special breakfast for the two of us.  Lunch was leftovers, and dinner was served at my mom’s house.  A solid of weekend of not cooking!

And not only did he MAKE the meals; he CLEANED the kitchen spotlessly afterwards! (With one exception of the evening meal… he got his mom to clean up after that one!)

This was one of the best weekends of my YEAR!  On par with our getaway to Santa Cruz in January.

You are such a blessing in my life, Mike!  I love you!

Coffee Shop Talk

Posted in Industrious with tags , , , , on May 28, 2009 by charleecat

I had a new idea for a coffee shop the other day.  I know, who needs yet another coffee shop?  Especially one that will be facing the giant franchise of Starbucks?  I can’t help it.  Since my husband and I first got together (started dating, began courting… I never know what to term it), I have LOVED coffee shops.  I had enjoyed coffee shops before I got to know Mike, but since falling in love with him, coffee shops seem to embody more than just good drinks.  They are romantic pastimes, a place to stop before a trip (long or short), the definition of a date, and the general fallback for where to meet someone.  They also are a beacon for me-time; a way to pamper myself and make anytime feel especially special.

So while I was driving home the other day, I started thinking about a coffee shop that I would love to start.  My thoughts were coming in such a rush of fabulous ideas that I actually began thinking maybe this idea would work… as long as I could find a suitable location for it.  My husband and mother-in-law seemed to think the idea was a great one, too, and Mike -always looking for a way to take the next step in the WWW- discovered the web address was available for the name I wanted to give my coffee shop.  So he purchased it.

Will this dream ever become reality?  I don’t know… it will take a lot of work.  And a LOT of capital.  But I may find myself just determined enough to actually start putting together a business plan and figuring out how much it would cost to get it going.  My grandfather gave me the impression long ago that he would love to see me start my own business, and I’ve never gotten that bug out of my head.  Perhaps this would be the business worth investing in!

If I can really get a plan going, I’m going to present it to my Poppa to see what his thoughts are….