Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kernels of Melodramatic Mediocrity

Tonight was a fail.

Earlier today things were pretty good. We were going shopping for a Rocker. I think we found one, but that's not really the story here. We ended up at an adorable store that does handmade children's furniture. Aside from picking out our potential Rocker, we went a little crazy picking up odds and ends - custom ordered wood paintings in our color scheme, adorable children's books, and cute little vintage-style puzzles that baby cannot use until he's probably six but are adorable decorations in the meantime. The best part? B got really excited and involved and ran around the store picking things out. I was so excited to see him picking out "little boy things" that featured monsters and dinosaurs and robots... I myself was looking at elephants and giraffes. It's good that our baby has his Dad to pick out boy-stuff for him.

So we spent a lot of money and I was happy. there something wrong with that sentence?

Fabric for the custom Rocker I think we're going to order...

Then we came home and did our own things for awhile until it was time for dinner. Now, I've had pork loins dethawed in the fridge for days now that I keep getting too lazy to cook and I decided tonight was the night I was going to get off my lazy ass and actually make a real dinner. I mean, I used to cook exciting, unique, balanced meals every night. I can handle this. Tonight's menu was panko-crusted ginger wasabi pork chops with sauteed boy choy and onions over brown rice. Seriously, not a hard dinner to cook.

But, let's stop for a little caveat here. I don't do brown rice. First, because I like white rice so much better. But mostly because I have never been able to cook it successfully. When I get brown rice from a restaurant it is fluffy and flavorful and the perfect consistency. When I cook it? Tastes like eating raw popcorn seeds. So, I googled how to make perfect brown rice. This, apparently, is like going down the rabbit hole of How to Hardboil An Egg (seriously, google it, you will find 3004 widely different answers as to how to boil an egg). Well, I found a recipe on and since I love everything I've made from her website, I decided to trust her. Even though her recipe varied significantly from anything I'd ever done before (it features boiling the rice for 30 minutes and then "steaming it" for 20 more).

Ok, all is going well. I am panko-ing the pork chops and chopping bok choy when B decides that now would be a great time to start decorating the nursery. Now guys, right now I am completely pathetic and anything to do with the nursery is my favorite thing in the world. Sitting in it? Sign me up. Planning it? Of course? Moving things around in there? Definitely. Actually decorating it? HELL YES.

But damnit, he started doing things right when I'm at the crucial cooking moment when everything needs to happen at once and, in my world, everything also starts to go to hell at once. So here I am, wondering why the pork chops are burning, spilling soy sauce and sherry on myself and screaming to B, "What are you hanging and where?!?" As I hear him start up the drill. I am running back and forth between sauteeing and supervising nursery decorating and meanwhile my brown rice is steaming itself and I am imagining fluffy kernels of yumminess.

But...No. B wants to hang things where I don't want them. My pork chops are seriously burning. B is moving furniture around. Didn't we agree that's not where we'd put it?? I don't have any peanut oil, damnit! B drops something and it breaks. I DON'T HAVE ANY WASABI!

And then, finally, dinner is done. My rice...should be done. But, have I checked it yet? Um no. Don't you know you shouldn't check rice when it's cooking or you interrupt some sacred heat-steam ratio? So, I check it. YEP. Dry, hard, popcorn kernels. Not rice. Raw rice. Gritty grains of brownness. Fuck. And the pork chops? Well, they smell good...let me just slice into them and...FUCK. "Browned" (aka almost burnt) panko-encrusted on the outside, raw on the inside. Great it will go wonderfully with the uncooked rice! And what the hell is he moving around in the nursery???

Enter me into nursery. "The pork chops are ruined!! The rice is a disaster!! I am a failure! WHY IS THAT BOOKSHELF IN THAT CORNER??!?"

B blinks at me. "Uh, should we just have pasta for dinner?"

At this point I just wanted to scream. I may have. I can't remember.

Long story short, we were able to salvage the pork chops and had a semi-decent low-carb dinner of sliced crispy pork with sauteed bok choy and onions. It mediocrity. Monte benefited from the rice disaster and had his regular dinner mixed in with crispy brown rice and pork drippings. And the nursery? It's a work in progress.

This is what B was hanging from the ceiling tonight. We may buy 1-2 more in differing sizes.


  1. Oh my gosh. Lol. That is too funny! Chris does stuff like that to me too, and I can relate to less than awesome dinners as as a result. Guys. But I can't wait to see how the nursery turns out! I love what you've shared so far!

  2. I love that fabric you picked out!

    Also, I've found that brown rice isn't that hard to cook. I usually buy the medium grain, dump it into a pot, add water in a ratio of 2:1 water-to-rice, salt, ADD BUTTER, and cover. Bring water to a boil, lower the heat, and cook for 40 minutes (yes, it takes forever). But I am convinced that the key ingredient to soft, fluffy rice (white or brown) is butter. Without it, it's just dry and boring. In my world, butter makes everything better!

  3. I love that hot air balloon -- cute! I guess one of the main benefits of being a single mother by choice is that there's no man to pipe up with all his man-opinions the whole time. Of course, it also means there's nobody hanging around, waiting to do the heavy lifting!

    Whenever I cook rice (white or brown, but it's more important with brown), I always wind up adding extra water during the cooking. I'm sure I would be scolded by rice experts, but I always find the 2:1 ratio ends up with the water being absorbed really quickly, stopping the cooking process. If I make the rice ahead of time, then I can let it air out a little if there's too much moisture left when it's done cooking. Brown rice usually takes around 50 minutes to cook, in my experience.

  4. Oh frustrating disasters in the kitchen happening all at once can be hard.... as in, they have the potential to make me cry.
    We tried brown rice once or twice and have up on it because it was just not good. I can cook white rice to perfection, but brown rice is just a mystery for me.
    I am in love with the hot air balloon!

  5. LOLOL!! I think I would've given up and made it a pizza night! :)
    I love the fabric for the rocker! I can't wait to see the nursery all set up!

  6. I don't have the patience to wait for brown rice to cook. I gt the frozen stuff from Trader Joe's and it's pretty good.
    That hot air balloon is adorable :)

  7. Oh my god, sounds horrific. I'd have cried and phoned in for pizza. One day I shall tell you the story of making chilli jam whilst pregnant. There was hysterical trans-atlantic phone calls and 2nd degree burns... You are not alone!

  8. I have been right where you were. I cried and screamed when she moved the dresser the wrong way. These hormones are crazy and they are def. not one to mess with. I am glad everything went well :)

    Love the rocker fabric!

  9. hahahaha! I always do basmati. I consider myself to be a good cook so now I feel like I need to take on the challenge of brown rice. My arabic friend had us over for dinner a few weeks ago, and instead of rice she cooked bulgur and topped with toasted slivered almonds. It was delicious! I want to try making that too...

    I love the hot air baloon, so perfect for a baby boy's room. Can't wait to see more pictures of what it looks like!

  10. See? Look at how many responses I got about how to make brown rice! You all are lucky I didn't ask about how to hard boil an egg. Seriously, google it. You'll see everything from 3 minutes to 20 minutes.

    1. Ha! My mother was shocked (shocked!) to hear that I bring my eggs + water to a boil, let it boil for five minutes, and then turn the burner off but leave the pan on it for another twenty minutes. I think the eggs I get from my neighbors have much denser yolks than supermarket eggs, because I've never had an egg even close to being over-cooked.

    2. Well this is how my mom does it: Put the eggs in the water, bring it to boil. Time the whole thing for 20 minutes. Turn it off. Run cold water into the pan and sit for 10 more minutes. See the problems here? Not only is it much longer than most recommendations, but it's also highly variable. What if takes 14 minutes for the water to boil as opposed to 4 minutes?? Who knows...


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