Friday, February 04, 2011

Finally, Cooking

My Dogs, Awaiting Any Crumbs I Will Drop

This has been a tough winter. I have a new puppy (he's on the right, a Scottie) and training hasn't been easy. Since my last dog came here eight years ago, I had forgotten all that comes with a new puppy--chewing, accidents, confining schedule, not getting along with the older-I-don't-want-to-play-or-share-Dog, chewing, chewing, oh, yeah, and chewing!

Then, there's been the snow and ice. We were blessed with good weather and a houseful of relatives for the annual Small Family New Year's Eve Euchre Party started by our dear and blessed Aunt Lola (and some claim it goes back to Grandpa and Grandma Small.) When Lola was in her last months of her cancer, she asked me if we could have the euchre party on New Year's Eve and I couldn't say no. She had been there for me for so many tough times that I'd had, that all I could say was, "Ok. How do you make coffee in that big ol' Grandma Halcie coffee pot??"

This year was especially special--the guys had left to take extra cars to another location so our guests had plenty of places to park and I was down to the wire, baking my last item in the oven--meatballs. I ran upstairs to freshen up, planning on coming back down just in time to take the meatballs out, put them into the crockpot with my sauce (a Lola special--a jar of Welch's Grape Jelly with a jar of chili sauce--yum.) I came down to check, and the oven wouldn't open. It was locked. Seriously. And the temperature was rising and smoke was coming out. Not good. I had set the oven for 350 degrees. I'd been making various items in the oven all day, but never over 350. It was locked down like it was cleaning.

I punched every button to get it to stop. My last resort was to run to the basement to flip the breaker switch. Only unknown to me, the electricians who wired our house had mislabeled the switch for that area. I'd flip a switch, run upstairs, see it wasn't it, run back downstairs. I was just getting ready to flip the whole house breaker, when my guys walked in the door. In all my frantic running, I had called one of their cell phones to let them know what was going on. My husband went down and flipped switches until I yelled, "That's it!" By this time there was a lot of smoke in my house--a house where guests would be there in half an hour. I opened windows to bitter cold to air out, sprayed Febreeze all over, and finally, the oven cooled and released so I could throw out my burned pans and charcoaled meatballs. Ruined.

Since my oven is also in a unit with my microwave in the wall, I couldn't use my microwave, either. Our family pitches in dishes, and sometimes they need to warm up whatever they've brought. This year no one needed my oven, but they did need a microwave. My sister-in-law sent hers over with my nephew and brother-in-law. Saved the party! We had a great time that evening, and a few were entertained by seeing what was wrong with the oven. (Once it turned on again, it went into lockdown mode again.)

When Chopper, my appliance man, came to inspect it, it was obvious to both of us that this oven could no longer be trusted. So, I had to pick out a new oven/microwave combo that fit the dimensions of my old oven. Turns out, my new oven is way better than the old one. But. I had to wait a full month before getting the new one installed. That meant creative cooking for a month--with no oven or microwave. Wow. I use my crockpot a lot, anyway, so that helped. We bought a free-standing microwave and I also had my stovetop. If we wanted any baked item, I had to get it at bakery about 20 miles away. We cut down on bakery items.

So, at last I got my new oven. Back in December I'd won a new Kitchen Aid mixer and I finally got to use that to mix up some goodies. Here it is pictured with tempura shrimp from the oven along with my book that I won, also, from Thomas Nelson and author Rachel Hauck. My cooking adventures aren't far off from Joy, the heroine in Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck. Alas. I would rather read about it than be always in dilemmas.

The new mixer and book from Rachel Hauck and Thomas Nelson

New Yellow Pepper Mixer and New Oven/Microwave

My Beloved Cornbread Fresh From My New Oven ( Priorly Mixed Gently by My New Kitchen Aid)

Now I'm cooking. As long as our electricity stays on....


Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous!!!!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Crystal -

Ooo, nice! The adventure may not have been fun, but I sure enjoyed reading about it.

Susan :)

Rachel Hauck said...

I love it! Yellow is a fab color! And I love your new stove! Congrats, friend.

What kind of dog is the white one. She/he's beautiful.


Crystal Laine said...

LOL, Tina. I had a really hard time picking a color but I LOVE the color in my kitchen. It is so nice. And you need to read Rachel Hauck's book.

Susan, if I have time to write, I will tell more tales. My life is an adventure every day, it seems. I would rather read about it in a book.

My new puppy is trying to tear my boot off as I type. I will get back here later....

Crystal Laine said...

Rachel, I've gotten so many compliments about the mixer. And of course, I have to tell the story. LOL. Thanks so much!

The white one is Lizzie, My West Highland Terror--er--Terrier. She's going on 9 years. The new puppy is Bear, a Scottish Terrier. He outweighs Lizzie by quite a lot and he's only 9 months. He's 33 lbs and she's 11 lbs. LOL. She is definitely the boss. She has a lot of heart.

Rachel Hauck said...

Oh, I love Westies. I'd love one. We have a mini schnauzer that we adore, but we think this is our last pet. Looks like she and our nearly 19 year old cat will go about the same time.

We love this cat but are starting to call him the cat that never dies.

He's out lived 3 dogs and we pretend he tells our dog now he's going out live her too!

Thanks for spreading the love about Dining with Joy and the mixer!