What not to do in the kitchen + a PSA

Sorry for my absence yesterday but Sunday turned out to be a bit more exciting than I had planned which left no time for blogging. Don't believe me?

Sunday was not unlike many others before it. In fact, now that football has come to a close, Shaun and I were thrilled to have the day to catch up on food shopping, closet measuring, laundry and other fun adult Sunday things. In fact, I spent the morning planning our meals for the week, followed by food shopping, followed by cooking. I was planning to share all of that with you yesterday, however, when I get to the details of how Sunday went down, you'll understand why my measely meal planning got the bump.

While I was cooking away, Shaun had recently watched Giada at Home, where Giada made some potato chips and decided that he too had a hankering for some homemade chippies. After whipping up Rocco's blue cheese dip (our favorite of yore), Shaun broke out this guy to get his chip on (minus the protective guard). You can probably guess where this story is going.


And if you can't, well...


think about it for a moment...


There it is. I'll spare you the intimate details. Let's just say that there was blood. Some screaming (mostly from me). A lot of orange Gatorade. A lengthy amount of time passing before we made the decision that yes, it was pertinent to get to a hospital stat. It wasn't pretty. In fact, I'm still feeling a bit traumatized by the whole ordeal.

So we left the half sliced potatoes on the kitchen island and hopped in the Prius over to Jersey City Medical (a fine establishment, if you are in need of a hospital, by the by). A little while later, we were home, bandaged, medicated (painkillers for the man and a sedative for me...just kidding...sort of) and relieved that this bloody ordeal (er...pun not intended) was behind us.

Some of us were more relieved than others. At least the latter in this situation got some good painkillers out of it. That made him happy.

The finger in question is just a coincidence. I think. At this point, he did encourage me to tell this story on the blog, though in hindsight, it could have been the meds talking.

So the moral of the story, friends? Don't get a mandolin. We had ours for less than a month before this disastrous incident. While it produced some delectable goodies like this...


...it's probably the most dangerous kitchen tool you could own. And not worth the risk of chopping off the tip of your finger (and fingernail). And so not worth seeing your awesome husband (or awesome self) in so much pain. Take it from me, it's not pretty, it's not pleasant, and it's going to take a heck of a lot longer to heal than a simple bandage.

But if you do own one, or aren't deterred by the bird-flipping man in the photos above, please for the love of Jesus, use the guard it comes with or at least an oven mitt for protection. I'm pretty sure I won't be looking at a mandolin ever again. Of all of our kitchen mishaps, this has by far been the worst one and was a real wake up call to be SO super careful in the kitchen when handling any sort of tool, be it blades, knives, or electrical equipment. It's so easy to make a simple mistake and all it takes is one wrong move. My poor sweet husband has the severed finger to prove it. So please, be super super duper careful when handling this tool.

That will conclude today's PSA.


I'm traumatized.

Jets Party + Green Velvet Cake Fail

On Saturday, Shaun and I had a little party to watching the Jets clinch it over the Colts. Nothing like good friends and good food on a Saturday night!

I love playing host to our friends. I go a little overboard with cooking and baking, but I don’t think they mind!

If you follow me on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook, you may have noticed that I attempted to make a Jets-themed cake to mark the occasion. And since I’m the farthest thing from a cake decorator, I came up with an idea to make a green cake. You know, to chicly say that we are rooting for the Jets, but without hanging football-theme crepe paper all over our apartment (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But this couldn’t be just any green cake. I’m talking bright, rich, deep, bold green that would have all of our guests (and most importantly my husband) ooohing and aaaahing at my creativity and baking prowess. You know, as I’d simply toss my hair over my shoulder and proclaim how it was nothing.

In hindsight, the smart thing to do would have been to simply make a vanilla cake and add a boatload of green food coloring. But because I had to be oh-so-fancy-schmancy, I decided that it was necessary to take it a step further. Plain ol’ vanilla cake wouldn’t do. It had to be green velvet.

Sounds simple enough, right? Take a red velvet cake recipe and substitute the red for green. Oh if only that were the case my friends.

Ingredients are mixed.

It’s bright, vibrant green; Jets green! {I do a happy dance in celebration that I have conquered this seemingly elusive cake}

I even completely ignore the fact that the 1.5 bottles of food coloring revolted and semi-permanently stained my fingers. Both hands. Front and back.

I had bright green cake! Who cares about my fingers?!

Unfortunately, I happy danced too soon. The moment the cakes came out of the oven, I knew that something went awry.

That vibrant green was nowhere to be found. Instead, I was left with a mossy exterior that couldn’t look more unappetizing. I iced it up anyway and served it to my guest with warnings.


Though I hoped that the inside was salvaged, no luck. I served my wonderful guests mossy green cake. Luckily I have great friends and they ate it with a smile. Luckily, the cake still tasted delicious. Even though it looked fairly hideous.

Don't judge this book by its cover. If it wasn't tinted green, I'd think this was a moist, flavorful and overall yumtastic cake. Unfortunately I'm too embarassed to send the leftovers with Shaun to work. I have a rep to protect.

And to further my plight, I still have green food coloring outlining my nail beds, despite a thick coat of nail polish.๏ปฟ

So there you have it. One of my most disappointing kitchen fails to date. So what do you think? Have you ever had a fun idea that turned into a big fail?

When Bad Dishes Happen to Good People: Black Bean Soup

I know. It seems like every recipe in TAA kitchen is a winner. After all, when Snickerdoodle Muffins, Key Lime in the Coconut Cupcakes and Butternut Squash Soup come out of it, I may give off the illusion that things never go awry and that every recipe is pure tasting perfection. The reality is that some recipes are...how do you say...duds. I hate to admit it, and I hate to point fingers, but sometimes for any number of reasons, a recipe just doesn't get 'er done. And let's just not even get into mishaps beyond recipe duds. For today, we'll stick with Black Bean Soup. A recipe that seemingly had all the right moves; red onions, bell peppers, spices. But after a 3 hour bath in the slow cooker, it just tasted...bland. There was nothing to it. Even after continuously adding kosher salt (the cure all to just about everything), it didn't change the flavor...at all. Though this was a couple of weeks ago, I remain baffled to this very day. After all, the early ingredients in the recipe looked like this:
And when it looks this pretty, how could it go so wrong?
I refuse to blame this little baby, which has brought many a mean soup and chili over the last year.
After some restrospective investigation, I realized it could be a number of things:
1. I have never cooked with dried beans before. Typically, I'm a from-the-can kind of girl. Perhaps I did not cook the soup long enough?
2. Perhaps it just needed a serious bump up in the spice department
3. The recipe called for pureeing some of the soup and then mixing it back in. Though the wall got a good splattering of black bean juice, that aside, I thought I had done it as instructed. Perhaps I should have pureed more?
I could go on and on. I'm just still baffled by what went wrong, since the recipe seemed to get glowing reviews and I could swear that I followed it line by line. Has this happened to you before? On any dish in your culinary past? Did you uncover the mystery of what went wrong? Give me some love by sharing your tales of woe...๏ปฟ