Monthly Archives: December 2013

What. The. Squash.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement:

Squash is the worst

Let me clarify… PREPARING Squash is the worst.

I was coming off of my Crockpot Taco Chicken Chili high and was thinking I was invincible. The poo. I could dominate and regulate any recipe I so desired. Because I could cook.

And then I read this recipe for Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna Rolls and I thought this would be the perfect simple dinner for a good after work meal.

Let me just tell you. That was cute. That idea you could just whip up some squash, boil noodles, make the insides and then ‘toss’ it all together. Oh, and did I mention? This is the first time I attempted to make anything lasagna. So yeah, using the word ‘underestimated’ – that’s an understatement. I was out of my league in a big way.

Let me just walk you through what really happened:

  1. I had approximately one hour before The Boy came over for dinner and the roommate would get home. I ran to the grocery store. Got the ingredients. Ran home. Took the squash out of the bag and then went to dice it… and it was hard. And there was a skin. Sigh.
  2. I called my BFF Niki (Young Life Leader, Amazing Person, Knower of ALL THINGS Crafty and Domestic) and asked her what you do with a squash. She laughed after asking if I had not already cooked it to make it tender (no? you have to do that?) and then told me to get a potato peeler out.
  3. I start peeling (potato peeler style) the squash and am also trying to thaw the spinach and grab the other one million ingredients I would need, while starting a LARGE pot full of water to boil on the stove (for the massive noodles).
  4. I throw the noodles in the pot. They don’t fit right (because, why would they). So… I just jam part of them in. While throwing my diced squash (WAIT there’s also seeds inside this squash? Seriously squash?! ::shakes fist::) in another pot to boil until tender (read: for one hundred minutes).
  5. I’m feeling defeated, and we’re on step two of like twenty, so I grab a wine glass, open a bottle, pour myself a glass and snack on some sesame seed sticks.

Which, is exactly how The Boy found me. Shoulders hunched, wine in hand, sheer terror in my eyes.

Luckily, The Boy is not only experienced in all things kitchen, but also has seemingly endless calming capabilities and enough patience to power the world. God bless him.

So, The Boy takes over, I’m running here and there to piece this part and that together… and he’s just moving on forward. He’s laughing through my kitchen storage, trying to find an inch of space on the counter and after he gets everything under control (read: puts me back on the right track), he goes on his merry way organizing all of the misplaced things in the kitchen.

Sigh.

Funny side tangent that has nearly nothing to do with this story but just sets the scene of night in a major way: My house is OLD AND COLD. And the fridge is in this very cold sun room off the kitchen (it’d be too easy to have the fridge in the kitchen). One morning, I had the genius idea to put up a curtain in the door way to stop the artic breeze from rolling in from the sunroom to the rest of the house. Which, I still provide is the smartest thing I’ve thought of this winter. It’s made a HUGE difference. However, somewhere in the midst of all of this scurry in the kitchen, I run into the sunroom for something out of the fridge, trip over the curtain, rip it from the wall and fall basically all the way to the ground tangled in the curtain. Which, should surprise exactly no one that has ever walked anywhere near me, or has had the responsibility of catching me as I fall (I’m looking at you Orlowski). But really surprised The Boy. Who laughed. And compared me to his mother. Which, I’m taking as a compliment. But you know, I would fall and destroy something as I’m also trying to look like a domestic goddess to my suitor and already failing at that miserably. When these moments happen, you know, the ones where things just aren’t going your way… and then you trip and fall. These are the moments I just laugh to myself and feel certain that God has an amazing sense of humor. And good news: The Boy witnesses all of this insanity and mess and disorganization and still thinks I’m great. Thank God.

Anywho, after this long process, the meal finally goes into the oven. I start prepping the salads. I make the garlic bread. And the lasagna rolls come out of the oven as my roommate walks in the door to eat with us. Everything is perfect. It looks incredible on the plate.

Beautiful. JUST like the photo online. Betsy for the win.

Beautiful. JUST like the photo online. Betsy for the win.

And it tastes like nothing. Nada.

It’s just not awesome. Not even close to awesome. Some might not even call it good. Most would call it bland. You’re eating squash with fat free cheese a noodle and some spinach. I wanted to scrape off the squash and cover it with butter and brown sugar. That’s all I could think.

I had photos of every step of the process, I had notes for things you’d need to know when making it… but I didn’t want to share any single one of them with you, because it’s really just not worth your time to make.

How sad is that?

Lessons learned:

  1. Not all recipes are equal.
  2. Squash requires time and effort.
  3. Long noodles for lasagna need a large pan. And guess what, just sticking one end in… that’s not the solution because it means half of your noodles are cooked entirely differently than the other half.
  4. Even with not-so-great meals, The Boy will take two helpings just to make you feel better about your life.
  5. When something’s not great the first time, the leftovers are miserable.
  6. Grocery shop on the weekend. For goodness sake Betsy, aint nobody got time to go to the store and make a two hour meal on a weeknight.
  7. You should never attempt a new cooking endeavor without a bottle of wine nearby. You know, just in case.
  8. There’s always humor in the kitchen. Mistakes will be made, things will go south, you will inevitably have forgotten at least one ingredient… but hey, that’s just funny.

One year later… I’m getting better. I have some great safe meals under my belt that I could pull out at any point… and I’m not afraid to try new things.

And I’m always, always ready to laugh. Thank God for that.

Tagged ,

How to Win Friends and… Nope just Win Friends

Upon opening the Betsy Blog, you’d better believe I laughed (hard and out loud) when I realized my last post was November 15th. Here’s where I insert something generic about good intentions, blah blah blah.

But really?

I’ve been busy.

Yup. I said it. I. Have. Been. Busy.

With real life friends. Outside of the house.

Incredible right?

Not too long ago, I had a dear friend call me out. Hard. It was one of those best friend smack downs that only they can somehow make sound loving, but you know when receiving them that they are 100% correct… and they are telling you because they care enough about you to actually say something.

God bless best friends.

Anywho, while whining about this and that, she just simply told me to fix it. If having free time was killing me, she asked what I was doing to work to fill that time and I just sat silently staring. “Um… nothing.” “Then stop complaining” she says. Bam. Best friend smack down.

And guess what? She was right. I can’t complain about something that I’m not actively trying to fix (which, could be applied to SO many situations amiright?). So what was I going to do to about?

Answer: Put myself out there. Making friends as an adult is awkward. It’s like dating. Only it’s friend dating. And that’s WAY more difficult. Cause those girls really do notice what you’re wearing, you really do need to be prepared for conversation and then there’s that moment where you have to decide, do I ask to set a follow up friend outing or are you going to get dismissed right away? Friend dating = so much potential… to be uncomfortable. (If this paragraph made you say YES! then boy oh boy do I have the book for you here, seriously, go read it.)

So that’s quite honestly what I’ve been doing. Finding things in the town that I’m living in that I enjoy doing and connecting to people while doing those things. Which, has involved having to leave my sweatpants and flannel tops at home and leave the house. Sometimes, I even add a full face of makeup. I know, wild right? This stuff isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s real effort to walk into some random mingle/networking (good Lord I hate that word) event. But, so far, putting in a little effort has made things so much more awesome.

Case in point: Today I had an amazing lunch. With an amazing lady. We chatted. We laughed. We ate good food (thank you baby Jesus for grown up grilled cheese and tomato soup) and we just had an all around good time talking about whatever was on our mind. It didn’t feel like an uncomfortable first friend date. It felt like I was sitting down with a good friend. And that brought my heart joy and happiness. And makes putting yourself out there and asking someone to have lunch with you totally worthwhile.

Granted: I still maintain that organizing things, keeping a decently clean (errrrr um, mildly clean) house, learning to spend time by yourself, making the meal that you’re eating every once and awhile… those are important. But I think I’m reaching a much better equilibrium… because I thrive being connected. I’m better when I’m busy. And taking in all of the adventures that your town has in store for you… that’s crazy important too.

So on my night off tonight, I’m going clean. I’m going to do laundry (which, for the record, I STILL hate), I’m going to finish wrapping Christmas gifts, I’ll answer some emails that need tending to and I’ll write out another blog post or two (seriously, wait until you hear the squash disaster of 2013). But know, I so encourage you to do the thing that you’ve been putting off. Put yourself out there.

It’s just so stinking great.