It's one of those unavoidable annoyances of life, like death and overly chatty hairdressers.
A close friend of mine, who literally grinds her own wheat to make bread and can whip up a homemade Thai feast on a day's notice, has done her best to help me over the years. She started by giving me a Five Ingredients or Less cookbook. Next came Four Ingredients or Less. Then Open A Can And Add This, Stupid*. Then an "easy" crockpot introductory cookbook, so I could "leave it and go!" All to no avail. I undercook the chicken, burn the casseroles, and lose interest within five minutes of starting.
*Ok, I made that one up - but it should exist.
Like I said: I can't cook.
It's especially embarrassing when you consider how many times I've been invited to speak at food blogger conferences. Cake Wrecks is always lumped in with the serious food blogs, so being invited as a guest of honor to their events makes me feel like I'd be an impostor on two levels. (Although, admittedly, I can sort of bake a little. You know, if you count box mixes.)
John can cook, and makes the best omelets and crepes you'll ever taste - but he'd rather watch Gordon Ramsey yell at people cooking than actually cook anything himself.
So, we get by on take-out and going out and leftovers from both. Also protein bars. And sandwiches and cereal.
It's not quite as bad as it sounds; we supplement with lots of fruit and some not-so-horrible snacks here at home. I call these my two-ingredient-treats:
- Apple slices and peanut butter
Specifically Gala apples with Jiff low-fat creamy peanut butter (not because it's healthier, but because it tastes better - a little more salty.) Makes a great breakfast. And if you have one of those handy-dandy apple slicers, no chopping required!
- Celery sticks and cream cheese
This was my favorite last summer, when it was over a hundred degrees almost every day here in Florida. I think celery is one of the more under-appreciated vegetables, don't you? It's so...green. In a good way.
- Baby carrots and guacamole
It probably won't shock any of you to learn that I really love carbs, but if I find an equally tasty low-carb substitute - like mashed cauliflower for potatoes or carrots for tortilla chips - I take it. Besides, unlike John (who claims they taste like dirt), I like baby carrots.
Chipotle's guacamole is great, but if you want to splurge, Cheesecake Factory's is surprisingly stellar.
- And, since a girl's gotta have her chocolate, here's one that actually requires a little effort, but is totally worth it:
Start with these:
Let cool in the fridge, and, BAM!
Enough chocolate almond clusters to last me about two weeks! One or two of these babies with some milk, and I'm in chocolate heaven. (The extra salt makes all the difference. Sooooo good.)
Hey, look, I just shared my first recipe, you guys!
HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW, FOODIES?!
Getting back to healthier options: I once tried spinach smoothies for a week or so, and I remember liking the pear-cucumber-apple juice combo really well. I stopped from laziness and boredom, though - and ditto with juicing, which is a HUGE amount of work with very little payoff. If I could just have someone do all the work for me, and then clean up afterward, that'd be PERFECT. (Any volunteers? I'll pay you with, uh, smashed penny bracelets. Or resin Portal cubes. Or, ok - I'll lease out John for a weekend project, but that's my FINAL OFFER. [And no kinky stuff, either - 'cuz I know you were thinking it, you people who know who you are.])
Well, since I don't think I'll get a free personal chef anytime soon, help me out, fellow non-cooks: what do you eat at home? Any ridiculously easy tips or recipes or take-out recommendations you'd care to share? And don't just send me to other food blogs, please; believe me when I say I am not exaggerating about my laziness/inabilities here.
In fact, I'm going to show you the only cookbook I've ever used with any regularity. Meaning more than five times. Are you ready? You know, to laugh in pity? Ok. Here it is:
If I ever master this thing I'll have all the skills I could ever need.
(And I just found it on Amazon for less than $6, if you want your own. It's actually pretty helpful, and quite funny in places. Then again, the only thing I've made with it is banana bread, so maybe I'm not the best judge on these matters...)
K, I've laid my soul bare before you, my friends. Now, please, TELL ME HOW TO MAKE DINNER. Or at least a new place to buy dinner; I'm really getting tired of burrito bowls and pad thai.