Burn Baby Burn

Burn Baby Burn

July10-2We all have certain talents in life. We all have things we are passionate about.  We all have claims to fame that other people envy.  There is one area of my life where none of this applies – in the kitchen!
I don’t “throw down”.  I don’t have favorite meals that people crave.  I cook simply because I have to eat six times a day.  Everything is very basic.  I admire people like Loretta Sugg, James Bentley and the entire Palmer family women who have made some amazing dishes that made my stomach full of joy!

Four years ago, I needed to eat.  My boyfriend needed to eat.  But we were both lazy.  So, after a trip to the grocery store, the meal of the moment was decided.  It’s not delivery, it’s Digiorno.  A step down from a home cooked meal but a step up from Ramen noodles.

The pizza sat on the lower rack in the oven.   I smelled the frozen ingredients begin to cook and excitedly opened the oven to let the eating begin.  As I reached in to pull it out, I somehow forgot there was a top rack and burned my arm. It was pretty painful and pretty nasty looking.  So, now, four years later I have a mark on my forearm that is a permanent reminder of my cooking skills.

Well, you would have thought I would have learned my lesson then.  I assumed I learned my lesson. Until last week.  I had carefully weighed and cut over 15 chicken breasts weighing between 4-6 ounces.   When in competition prep, I generally cook my food a week at a time so I was happy with the meals that were to come.   The chicken was in the oven with some other protein.  As the timer went off and I took some food off the top rack, I went to move the chicken from the bottom rack up.

I should have known better.  I know that ovens are hot.  I know that oven racks are even more hot.  But that didn’t stop my arm from once again touching  the top oven rack.  I jumped as I felt the pressure.   Exactly one inch below my previous mark, I am now the owner of a new burn mark on my arm.  I think God is trying to tell me that cooking is not my calling in life – and I’m okay with that!  Or maybe he’s just telling me from now on to just cook with one rack in the oven.  Hmmmm……..

M.Y. July 2010

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Time For Change

Time For Change

Mar09-2When you’re an only child that has lost both of your parents, you inherit a lot of things.  One of those things was my childhood home which I moved back into in 2006.  It took me a good amount of time to go through 25 years worth of my parents’ items.  For a long time, I just left everything the way it was.  The furniture stayed the same.  The flowered wallpaper in the kitchen looked at me each and every morning. My father’s 16 foot train set took up its special space in the basement.  The wood paneled walls in the basements didn’t change.   Most people didn’t even know I had a basement because I never went down there.  I always said I wanted to update it away from the 80s look and make it my own.
In 2007, I started getting bids from contractors.  I never followed through.  They would call me to see if I had made a decision, and I would say I wasn’t ready just yet.  As ugly as I thought it was, I wasn’t ready to make that change.
Finally in 2008, I knew the time was right.  I worked with Rateau Construction and we came up with a plan to completely remodel my basement  – ceilings, walls and floors and to update my kitchen.   It was fun to pick out the colors of paint, countertops and appliances.  They started work on the Monday after Thanksgiving and the basement was first.  When I walked downstairs after the first day, the first thing I noticed was that my father’s train set was gone.  Nowhere to be found.  This massive train project had been a beautiful display for over 20 years in my home.  I was sad at first and wondered if I were doing the right thing with making changes.  I then realized that memories are forever and I reminded myself that I can kept a small piece of the train set upstairs so that it will always be a part of me.
One step at a time, I watched the changes being made.  And with each step of the process, I slowly felt my childhood home becoming my modern day adult home.   I am in love with the changes that have been made and now have a completely new sense of home.  I feel like right now I have the best of both worlds.  I can walk into various rooms that still display my family’s art work or my mother’s accomplishments.  I can easily locate childhood momentos.  However, I can  sit comfortably in front of my flat screen tv in the basement and feel that the ‘adult me’ is also leaving my mark of this wonderful home!

Your change my not be physical changes to your house, maybe they are personal changes to your life.  Whatever transition you are going through, don’t let others tell you when the time is right.  Take your time, think things through and when the time right – you’ll know it!

M.Y.  March 2009