The Fully Clothed Chef

As opposed to The Naked Chef.

Because I think I should start a blog about Kitchen Nightmares. Only, minus Gordon Ramsey. The last thing I need is someone yelling at me in the kitchen. Geesh.

Like. Seriously.

Ok. I'm a huge fan of what the Internet has done for home cooking, don't get me wrong. I don't have to buy recipe books (Although, I still love to get them. I can't help it, but there is something about reading a recipe book that makes me so happy! I have read Julia Child's like three times and it's three hundred pages. I don't remember everything, so that's why I have to keep going back. Did you know you are supposed to peel broccoli and cauliflower stems to get rid of the bitterness? Me either. Until one rainy Saturday Afternoon....). Ok. And I don't have to keep a large recipe collection to thumb through, keeping a stock pile of my favorites and rotating recipes depending on the day of the week or week of the month.


I can look in our often barren cupboards, find the three ingredients I still have, open my trusty laptop and type in that glorious IP Address that makes my heart sing and the answers to all of my questions in life become.... well.... answered.


And then. From there I can pick. Am I going to go with an ever delicious and never complicated recipe? Or maybe try to class it up a little and follow some million-step-million-ingredient recipe from Or am I really going to go out on a limb here and find an exact ethnic/culinary style website that only specializes in one kind of cuisine and is more than likely very authentic, like I did last week with this African potato stew thing that we all loved.

Or my recent fave has been the good old Pioneer Woman.

Sister can cook.

And she makes it easy.

Because more than not, all of these food blogs come with step by step pictures and detailed instructions.

Although, I have learned something about myself through this process of online cooking. I used to think I was a very visual learner.

I'm not.

In truth I find the pictures, very, very, very annoying and I just want to skip through them to find the list of ingredients and read out my detailed step by step of instructions.

That's what I need.

I need a visual of step by step instructions.

Don't leave anything out. It could get ugly.

Ok. So that's how I do most of my cooking. I really, really do my best to at least plan a weekly menu. A lot of times I can plan a two week menu, but it seems like I'm always back at the store during the second week anyways because produce or meat doesn't keep that long or life got in the way of my Monday-Sunday schedule and so the second week's days are all over the place.

Besides, I really try to cook according to sales, and you get the most variety by following the weekly sales.

Also. In that respect. My menus usually go Thursday thru Thursday.


The Natural Kitchen Disasters blog is because of this.

While I both appreciate and love the ability the Internet gives me to explore my unrealized dream of being an amazing Cooker. (Not. Chef. Nobody on God's Green Earth would ever. EVER. Call me a chef.) It is at times not only daunting but kind of irritating how good everybody else is at cooking.

Ok. So this is one of those times when I regress into the mind of a nine year old and the use of "Everybody Else" is probably exaggerated, but I'm making a point here people.

Seriously. It's like congratulations for having the prettiest pictures of food. Of course I want to make that.

But then. I do. I make it.

And mine doesn't exactly look like the picture.

And I usually find myself convincing my family to eat it.

Something like, "Ok. I know that it looks burnt, and mushy and.... probably exactly like what its going to come out later looking like... But it will taste good, I promise!"

Maybe it's just me. I'm not exactly the most detail-oriented person alive. And usually if I have to make something for somebody, I call Kylee to come over and make it pretty.

What I'm really good at is making like Potato Salad because that you just throw everything together and its supposed to look like... well, like that.

Most of my kitchen experiments come out bizarre and flat. Actually flat. Like flatter than they are supposed to.

It's not the fault of the internet. I do understand that. But when the bar is set awfully high for presentation points, what I usually present is more of a disappointment at first and than a surprising taste good adventure.

Rarely does my husband come home and say, "Wow, this looks amazing."

Usually, it's more of a joint collaboration between him and the kids with something like, "Mommy, what is this?" And from Zach, "Well, this looks.... interesting."

And then, with threat of no dessert or straight to bed for everyone, yes, even Zach, I finally get them brave enough to go for it and THEN I get the, "This is yummy." Or. "Wow, hun, this is really good."


And even that doesn't happen as often as I serve dinner....

I think part of the problem too is that for whatever reason I have a really hard time sticking to the guidelines of the recipe.

As much as a direction follower as I am. And that is serious. You give me a set of directions. I promise I will not divert from them.

It's kind of a sickness.

I do take free reign with dinner though.

Part of the problem is that I often don't have very good foresight and so when I sit down or more accurately stand up, to make a recipe I am missing at least three of the main ingredients and need to substitute since I rarely, if ever, have set enough time aside to run back into town before my kids melt down from starvation and my hubby comes stumbling deliriously through the door, knife and fork already in hand.

Although last night, dinner was definitely not served until 7:15. And what a dinner it was.

But the ingredient thing. Is out of control. During one adventure in Apple Dumplings, the recipe called for a can of Mountain Dew, which I could have sworn was in the outside refrigerator, but upon finding the empty can in the outside trash can I was up a creek.

So. I thought to myself, what exactly is Mountain Dew and how can I replicate the effect from home?

I'll tell you how.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda.

Oh that's right. Same concept right?


It was delicious.


However, I had no idea how to calculate the right measurements of baking soda, nor did I have the background to understand what would happen if I, in essence, over Baking Soda-ed.

So. There was also an explosion inside of the oven.

And. The tops of the dumplings were Carmelized to the Extreme.

In case you think Carmelized is a good thing.

It's not.

It's just a fancy word for burnt.

But like I said, delicious.

And then there was last night.

I'm not even sure what happened.

I actually planned ahead for this meal. Like, it is for sure on my weekly schedule under Tuesday. And I had gone through the recipe ahead of time, price-matched all that I could and shopped specifically for the meal, Saturday Morning at Wal-Mart.

Still. There was the recipe.

And there was, what I did.

I made Creamy Caprese Pasta. Sound yummy? It was.

My first mistake wandering from protocol came when I defrosted and then cut up, spiced and cooked chicken and onion. The recipe neither called for or used either of those ingredients.

When I picked the recipe I remember specifically thinking this family needs a little more vegetarian in their life.

But I was four minutes into a fantastic smelling aroma and three Tbsp. of minced garlic before I even realized what I was doing.

I then went back to to recipe doing my best to find both the chicken and the onion (And the garlic for that matter....) that surely had to be hidden in there somewhere. Maybe the fine print?


Already off topic.

Ok. And then the recipe asked me to use half of the sauce and four times the cheese.

Well. In our quest to eat better I made an executive decision to double the sauce and shrink the cheese by half. Even though the Tomato Sauce called for heavy cream, so I don't know if doubling the sauce really cut that many calories.

Although, I did use half and half instead of heavy whipping cream....

See? See what I disaster I am.

But I'm not even finished yet.

I cut the grape tomatoes as well, because two pints is just too much. You want people to search for little nuggets of goodness, not push them to the side for fear of heart burn later.

And then there was the issue that the recipe wanted me to both cook on the stove and THEN bake it all together in the oven for another 25 minutes.


It was 7 PM.

My kids were off the wall and starving.

My husband had come home late from work, expecting to heat up left overs.

I had things to do.

I didn't have another 25 minutes.

So. Everything went into the same pot, including the cheese and Voila.

Creamy Chicken Caprese One Pot Pasta Ala Rachel.

It was good though.... Don't you believe me?

And then what about Memorial Day?

I have pictures of this one.

The goal was a fantastic dessert that looked both Appetizing AND Patriotic. (My plan was to add strawberries for the whole red, white and blue thing.)

This is a picture from the website.

Doesn't it look amazing? Delicious? Like seriously, where is the fork, I want to dig in now????

This is what came out of my kitchen.

Don't mind the fact that it's half eaten.

Because it is delicious.

But Presentation Points fall into more of "Gloppy" category than... "Appetizing."


My blog idea is for all of those out there like myself that more often than not, get the job done, but would in fact never show their pictures to the online culinary world for fear of being laughed right back into their beat up Betty Crocker cook book with lots of markings, spills and notes, but with much less variety and/or depth.

Lets stick it to the man.

Let them know they can shove their pretty pictures, fancy ideas and spring form pans (I know. What the heck is a spring form pan????)right back into their camera because this is how we make it.

It's not pretty.

It's questionably edible.

But it's what's for dinner dang it. So dish up.

This is just me?

Ok. Good to know.

On a separate note. Strykey Mikey is sick. :(

Poor guy. We were up all night with a dang cold. Which he has had for probably five days, but it got bad last night and the poor guy couldn't sleep. So the whole night was spent cuddled in my arms, coughing up phlegm and fighting the nose sucker-outer. (That's the educated technical term for it.)

I feel so bad for him. He hates getting his nose cleaned out.

Although, I have to say, and this might be gross and a little too much information, but from someone who suffers from sinus headaches, I think it sounds A-mazing! I would love to get an adult version of one of those things, maybe one that works around ginormous nose rings?

So, we were all up by 6 this morning. Stryker was awake thanks to his cold. I was awake thanks to Stryker, Zach was awake because of me, or work, or me, we weren't exactly sure. Scarlett was awake thanks to Zach. (She has a Daddy Radar that lets her know the exact moment he is out of bed.... Or maybe he just doesn't have the creeping ever so quietly routine moms seem to do better than dads so none of the kids wake up and they can have 15 minutes to themselves....) And then fifteen minutes later Stella was awake thanks to the rest of us laughing in the kitchen.

Who am I? Laughing at 6:20 in the morning????

Thank God for steroids.

But Stella is just angry at the world now because she really shouldn't even be awake for another thirty minutes. Stryker is still miserable from the cold. Why can't they make a SAFE decongestant for a four month old??? And Scarlett.


Scarlett is just being Scarlett.

I am going to post the Scarlett progression now. I took these pictures yesterday. And this is just typical Scar Baby.

This is Scarlett happy and playing! Doesn't she look like she's having a good time?

This is when we decided to go down the slide. First of all. I know this slide is sweet. So. That's that.

There were bugs.

We don't like bugs.

So this is what proceeded to happen.

She was mad. And scared.

Oh. No. What is she going to do????

There is absolutely only one thing you can do in a situation like this.

Only. One.

Rip your hair out and look like a crazy person.

Hey. It's what we do around here I guess.


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1 comment:

  1. Lol... so funny!!! But on a separate note, you have GOT to STOP with the great food!!!! Seriously!!! I'm on a food strike... only eating fruit and spinach... and then you talk about those apple dumplings that I've wanted to make for so long!?!? What is wrong with you???? :) I think you're a GREAT cook!!!