Spoonlighting: verb. The act of starting a blog in which you would cook your way through The Silver Spoon before the end of high school… and then not actually doing it.

I am finally done with high school, and you know what that means. Not only am I off to college, but I miserably failed the whole “finish The Silver Spoon cookbook before I graduate” thing. But I feel like none of us should really be surprised since I haven’t made anything from it since like forever ago. When I tell my future employers that I’m goal-oriented, should I cross my fingers behind my back?

frozen spinach

I leave for college in two months. Isn’t that insane? Remember the 15 year old blogger who had absolutely no idea what she was doing and used too many smiley faces and zero exclamation points? I’ve eased off the smiley faces, but I still detest exclamation points with a passion. When I read things with exclamation points, it’s like I’m about to audition for a Disney Channel show and I’m reading over the script one last time before I throw my life and sanity away. Since I’m off to college, of course I had to register for classes. HAHAHAHAHA it was horrid.

quiche ingredients

Before I tell you all about my adventures in Class Registration Land, let me first toot my own horn and let you know I was a finalist for a scholarship. I applied for this scholarship months ago and don’t even remember what the prompt was, but I do remember I wrote about my blog. I got a letter from them a few days ago saying that they had too many applicants, but I was still a finalist and I got… a $10 Amazon gift card! An exclamation point was acceptable there because it was fake enthusiasm. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get. If anyone knows about any scholarships for white, middle class girls who aren’t disabled or veterans, whose parents are still together, and who have a hard time writing convincing essays on how much they care about green energy, please forward them to me.

uncooked quiche

I went to the college last week for orientation to register for classes and other fun stuff. I got up at 4am because my college is about 4 hours away and the day dragged on forever. Of course, I got to register for classes at 3pm that afternoon. So picture me: I’d already been awake for almost 12 hours, I was grumpy, and all I wanted to do was go home and watch some movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it. And my college was expecting that model homo sapien to sign up for classes for the first 4 months of her college experience. That plan is almost as good as the time when I had a grass eating competition with my friend. He didn’t end up eating any grass while I went all plague of locust on it. I tell that story all time, so pardon me if you’ve heard it before. I’m just so proud of the fact that I ate disgusting grass. I’m going to be a nurse, and all of the nursing majors were registering for classes at the same time as the biology majors. Aside from an intro to nursing course, guess what the ONE required class for first semester is? No, it’s not Women in Buddhism, although that is one of the classes they offer (Um, what?). It’s biology. AND THE STUPID BIO MAJORS TOOK ALL THE CLASSES. They were opening up the biology classes one seat at a time and basically whoever clicked on the one opening first got the class. It was the most intense clicking I’d ever done. It took me almost an hour just to get a seat, and luckily I ended up with an afternoon class. My psychology class on the other hand is Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8:30am so far from my dorm that it’s basically in another time zone. I actually might walk into the past on my way to get to it.

spinache and cheese quiche

Even though it was an incredibly stressful, long day, I’m glad that I have my classes set for the first semester. I’m really happy with how everything’s turning out for me college-wise. I absolutely love my roommate, I’m in the best dorm on campus, and my suitemate is the RA and seems really nice. Aside from the psychology class on another continent, I think my first semester will go well. So now that it’s summer, I’ve decided to start a bucketlist. So far the only things on it are blog 1-2 times a week, finish at least five books, and watch all 6 seasons of Third Rock From the Sun. What can I say, I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Corrupted Brother – who is 4 years old – ate almost all of this quiche. And I have no idea how I made it because I just sort of threw spinach, eggs, milk, and cheese together. Sorry there’s no recipe… just go look at the pictures again. Or watch Angels in the Outfield. Hey, it could happen.

Spoiler alert: I got into nursing school

Ok kids, it’s story time with Grandma Picco, which is awkward since I’m pretty sure I’m younger than a majority of you. No matter. Here’s a story of how yesterday was one of the best days of my life. I remember it like it was yesterday…

shaved cucumber

Things were going pretty dandily around here. I was home with Sister Celiac and Spiderbaby while my mom was out with the other 4 Italiana children at swimming lessons. I was taking a break from science because my cranium about exploded from writing about the Medulla oblongata. See what I did there? Anyway. I picked up my phone and started looking through my emails. My train of thought went a bit like this: “Hmmm, Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest, Mara… ooo… I haven’t read this post. Ugh, she has such amazing clothes. I’ll come back to that. More Pinterest. Maybe I should set it up so I don’t get emails from them every 30 seconds? Nah, it makes me feel popular. Uhhh, Pinterest. Nursing school from the college that I got accepted into. Wait. Nursing school from the college that I got accepted into? What does this say. Dear Picco… so many words… I GOT ACCEPTED.”

chicken

Yes, folks, I got accepted into nursing school. Can we please take a moment for a quick round of applause? It still hasn’t really sunk in yet. I never really doubted that I wouldn’t get in because, heh heh, I wrote killer essays for both the college and the nursing school, but I was still a bit nervous. I was so relieved yesterday, though. Remember how I reacted when I got into the college? Yeah, multiply that by about a bazillion. After I read the email about 5 times, I ran downstairs and almost totally wiped out because my happy dance was so spastic. Then, I read/shouted the email to Sister Celiac and shoved the phone in her face and made her read it. Her face was similar to that of a squirrel in the middle of the road that just sort of stands there until you get close, and then it runs back the way it came from. Squirrels are scary creatures.

pita bread

Speaking of iPhones (we were talking about them, right?), I’ve been pushing for one lately since the battery of my current phone lasts barely longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage. Basically it dies in 4 hours. I’ve also worked out a nice speech every time I bring up me wanting one. Today I presented it to my mom and said, “So, when I leave, I still want to blog and take pictures. If I get an iPhone, I can take great pictures and you won’t have to buy me a digital camera!” She was unfazed. The problem is that I also need a new laptop since the bottom of mine is currently being attached to the computer by pink Hello Kitty duct tape. Another problem is I’m a die hard Mac lover and need a MacBook. I’m such a loving, hard working daughter who would be eternally grateful if I got a new computer as a graduation present… Was that subtle enough?

shredded chicken

And I shall end with a random story. I’m all about stories today, huh? I requested that we get sushi tonight as a celebratory yay-the-last-14-years-of-schooling-have-not-been-all-for-naught-since-you-got-into-college dinner. I was eating it and I don’t even remember what I was saying because I was focusing too much on how I haven’t had sushi in forever and really loved it, and apparently I just kept talking. At the end of my rambling, Sister Celiac turned to me and bluntly said, “Ergo, shut up.” I would have been annoyed, but how many other 13 year olds can use the word ergo correctly? I come from an awesome family.

chicken gyros

I am absolutely exhausted right now from all the sushi and from reading my acceptance letter too many times (today I got a hard copy in the mail. YAY!). I think I’m going to go read over the list of dorms again even though I submitted the housing application less than an hour after I received it. Can you tell I’m excited? So here’s the recipe. Sorry I’m not typing it up…

Chicken Gyros from Annie’s Eats. I love that woman.

Also, these are 100% gluten free, minus the pita part obviously. Sister Celiac should stop making snarky comments if she wants me to ever make these for her again.

Don’t grow up, kids. It’s a trap.

You know what’s horrible about growing up? It’s no longer socially acceptable to build forts or jump on the living room furniture to avoid landing on the carpet which is unfortunately made of lava. Well, I guess I still could, but people would think there’s something wrong with me. And I’d also probably break the couch and a limb.

a whole lotta chocolate chips

A few days ago I went to the City Museum. For those of you who don’t live in St. Louis and are looking for something to do when you visit (you know you want to), I strongly recommend going to the City Museum. If you’re over the age of 12 you can only go once. Every time after that it just gets boring and depressing. I remember being so scared of it when I was little. There is one dark part called the caves that I was so terrified of, but when I went through them the other day the only thing I was terrified of was throwing up because the whole thing smelled rank. It was really disappointing. My favorite part was the ten story slide, but I had to climb up ten flights of stairs just to get to it, and it wasn’t worth it.

flourless chocolate cake batter

Last night I went to go see Monsters, Inc. with my friend. We were going to go by ourselves until we realized that two 17 year old girls going to see a movie that came out when we were 7 really is a bit lame, so we took Sister Celiac along. Because bringing along a 13 year old definitely makes things better? There were only four other people there, and we were the only ones between the ages of 6 and 30. We all had a lot of fun and I always forget how sad I get at the end of the movie…

making caramel sauce

As if I couldn’t get any older, I opened a checking account yesterday. I had a moment of panic because I was afraid that the woman who helped me with it would have me practice writing a check. All of the sudden I couldn’t remember how to spell forty. I couldn’t remember if there was a u in it or not and I was like OH NO. I’M GOING TO LOOK LIKE A MORON IF SHE ASKS ME TO WRITE A CHECK FOR $40. Luckily she didn’t. I also ordered checks, and no one supported my decision to buy ones with Batman on them. I basically got bullied into getting my second choice which was polka dots. No one appreciates my love of Batman. But the good news is, heh heh, I underestimated the amount of moolah I had in my Ireland Fund. Unfortunately, I think the Ireland Fund is going to turn into the Ramon Noodles Fund. I’ve been thinking about whether or not I want to continue blogging in college, and at first I wasn’t going to since I wouldn’t be able to really cook. But then I looked at my follower count and I’m like hey, I have over 120 followers here that I wouldn’t want to let down. So I’m going to attempt to cook in college… I’m going to spend all of my money on stupid food just to make you guys happy. That’s how much I love you.

homemade caramel sauce

Also, I have two cups of caramel sauce left over. You’re welcome to come over and eat it straight out of the jar with me.

flourless chocolate cake

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

From AllRecipies

1 cup butter, cubed (I accidentally only used one stick and it tastes fine)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I just used regular chocolate chips because I’m not that fancy)
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan, and line with parchment paper. I recently figured out that if you trace the bottom of the pan and then cut it out, you’ll get a nice even circle that fits in the bottom of it. Yeah.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in chocolate, and continue to stir until almost melted. Remove from heat, and stir until melted and smooth. I’m not sure why you have to remove it from the heat before it’s completely melted, but whatever. In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cups sugar and the cocoa powder. Whisk in the eggs until well blended, then whisk in the chocolate and butter. I love being able to whip out my whisk. It’s pretty much my favorite cooking utensil, in case you cared. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for about 45 minutes in the preheated oven. The cake is ready when the edges have nicely puffed and the surface is firm except for a small spot in the center that will jiggle when the pan is gently shaken. Cool cake in the pan over a wire rack. Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then remove the sides of the pan, and invert onto a serving plate. Remove the parchment paper.

4. In a heavy saucepan, stir together 1 1/2 cups of sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook without stirring until the syrup is a deep amber color. For an accurate color check, dip a metal spoon into the syrup and lift it out of the pan to check the color. Once the syrup is amber, remove from the heat. Gradually stir in the cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously and freak you out. At least that’s what happened to me. If lumps form, stir gently over low heat to dissolve them. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter.

5. Cut the cake into wedges while warm, and serve with caramel sauce spooned over it. You can also chill the cake and sauce, then warm again before serving.

5. Mentally thank me for giving you this wonderful recipe.

My uneventful last day on the earth. Thank you, doomsday, for making me seem incredibly boring.

As of right now it’s 10:04pm on Tuesday, December 20, 2012. Although by the time I actually post this it’ll probably be like midnight because I always reread my posts between 1 and 57 times so I can fix the typos. Also because I make myself laugh with my writing. Sorry for tooting my own horn. I’ll counter it by pointing out that I have officially failed the whole December photo challenge. See? Look how humble I am.

chopped onions

So, what did you all do on this fine last day on the planet? Here’s a list of things I accomplished today:

Slept in until almost 10am.

Finished some data entry I was doing for my aunt.

Realized that I never, ever want to be an accountant.

Helped my brother stir the chocolate chip cookie batter he made. So. Exciting.

Played Hay Day on my mom’s iPad. I’m ashamed that I’m addicted to that game, and I’m even more ashamed that Sister Celiac keeps going on it and using up all my money. ALL I WANT TO DO IS SAVE UP TO BUY A STUPID BOAT.

Recreated the food I made with my friend the first time I ever went to her house. It was about 3 years ago and her family completely intimidated me (not sure why…). I was so nervous, but right when I got there my friend was like let’s go to the store and get some broccoli. So she and I made these broccoli cheese meat things wrapped up in crescent rolls. I’m pretty sure it was at that moment that I realized our love of weird food would make us inseparable. Wasn’t that a beautiful story? Anyway, I left out the broccoli part tonight because I was too lazy to see if we had any frozen broccoli in the basement.

mmm...butter...

Rehearsed for midnight mass. The orchestra I’m in at church is pretty lame. There are 3 violinist (two of which are Sister Celiac and I), and two cellists (one of whom is Future Chef). My mom used to play in it too, so it was pretty much the Italiana Family Orchestra. But for the mass, the choir director hired 3 more violinists, a violist, a cellist, a double bass..ist? trumpeter..ists, and there might have been drums. I don’t know. It was so cold in the church that I think my brain froze. It was absolutely beautiful with the whole choir singing and the orchestra playing, and I think I have frostbite.

Also, here are some conversations I’ve had with various siblings lately. I really have nothing to talk about here, but I figured I’d blog one last time before, you know, we all die and stuff.

Brute Sister: haha, JK.
Me: Do you even know what JK stands for?
Brute: Uh, yeah. Joe Kelly. (In case you were wondering, along with Yadier Molina, Joe Kelly is my favorite baseball player. I may or may not have a picture of him as the background for my laptop. And phone. And I wrote him a love letter that I’m going to send. And we wonder why I scare people…)
Me: …uhhh…?
Brute: Speaking of Joe Kelly, what would you do if he came up to you and was like “Hey, you’re gorgeous. Let’s get married.”

And then she walked away. It was the weirdest 15 seconds of my life.

quiche filling

Me: Goodnight, Corrupted Brother.
CB: Goodnight… Hey, Picco?
Me: Yes?
CB: Am I from Canada?
Me: No…
CB: Oooohhhh. That’s weird. Let’s shake hands and I’ll go to sleep.

Ok, I lied. That was the weirdest 15 seconds of my life.

spinache quiche

Hey, it’s only 11:34. I got this done quicker than I thought, and I even got sidetracked looking at pictures of Joe Kelly. But I’d better get to sleep because I’m waking up tomorrow at 5 so I can witness the end of the world at 5:11. I’ll take a picture for you guys of the meteor or Planet X or whatever that’s supposed to crash into earth. Honestly, I’m not worried about the world ending tomorrow. I’ve lived through 28 doomsday predictions so far, and that’s not even counting the zombie apocalypse that was supposed to happen last year. Besides, the world isn’t allowed to end yet. At least not until I watch season 3 of Downton Abbey. Then it has my permission to end. Because not only do I make myself laugh, but I also control the fate of the earth. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with me? Exactly.

crustless spinache mushroom quiche

Gluten-free Crustless Spinach+Bacon Quiche

Adapted from a recipe on AllRecipes

1/2 cup butter (One. Whole. Stick)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound bacon, thawed, cooked, and chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in bacon, spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a pie dish and stir to thoroughly combine the egg mixture with the spinach mixture.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

5. Just kidding. Eat immediately and happily suffer through the 3rd degree burns you’ll get in your mouth, because this recipe is so dang delicious.

I’ve hit blogger’s block.

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel so boring that you’d be genuinely shocked if people told you otherwise? I’ve been having quite a few of those lately. Hence, no blogging. It’s not that I don’t want to blog, it’s more of there’s a whole lot of lack of creativity going on. I wish my creativity was one long, continuous, rippling stream of interesting stories and funny pictures that flowed on forever and glistened in the sun. Instead, my creativity is like a flash flood that lets water leak into your basement and makes the dumpsters behind your house float down the alley. All of that almost made sense to me. I am the Queen of giving examples that are almost intelligent, and honey, you should see me in a crown.

You know that moment right as you’re falling asleep that you either think of all the horrible things you’ve ever done, brilliant ideas, or monsters? That’s when I usually get my bursts of inspiration to cook or blog or basically do anything. For example, the other night I was about to pass out when I thought of the perfect way to break into someone’s house who has a dog: bring a vacuum cleaner and a broom. It doesn’t matter how brave and protective my dog Gemma would feel right as someone was coming in, because the second they turn on that vacuum, she’d probably pee on the floor and run into her crate. And then the bad guys would steal all the bacon we have in the freezer and that’s just not cool. Anyway, the inspirations come and go and by the time I wake up in the morning I’m not thinking, “Wow, I want to go teach myself how to yodel!” I’m thinking, “I. Hate. Mornings.” Not as impressive.

Lately, I’ve been stuck in this rut of blah-ness. I’ve written short stories and all that helped with was figuring out I can’t write short stories. I got 4 or 5 pages into writing one about a grandma who mysteriously doesn’t show up for her weekly bingo game and then reveals that she’s running from the government because she’s a treasonist just to realize that I really can’t write short stories. I went to see a movie, and that didn’t help either. Which movie? Why Lincoln, of course. Only because Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in it. Let me break things down for you: I love that guy. Of course I was going to see a new movie he’s in. So yes, I went into Lincoln not caring at all about the actual movie. I went for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If that isn’t depressing then I don’t know what is. Turns out I loved Lincoln. LOVED. There were no battles (expect for about 20 seconds at the beginning of the movie) and really not much excitement, but it was funny and very King’s Speech-esque. Daniel Day Lewis did an amazing job at being Lincoln and Sally Field did an amazing job at playing psycho Mary Todd Lincoln. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Yeah, he had seriously 3 lines. Maybe 4. And an incredibly cheesy mustache. And he cried. I was borderline unimpressed, but don’t tell him that. It’ll ruin my chances of ever being with a celebrity 14 years older than I am. Shhhh.

I even went running, hoping that I’ll become an athlete who runs every day and feels great because of it. About 20 seconds into the run, my brain went, “You know what you haven’t done for a while? Hurt. Here, let me make your hip kill you to the point of you having to limp home and not being able to move your leg for the next day or 2.” Dear brain, I hate you. Love, Picco.


The short stories didn’t work, the movie didn’t work, the exercise didn’t work. I feel like this is Web MD and I’m trying to find a cure for my lack of creativity. I’m exhausting all the possible treatments for my sickness and still ending up with death. This post is incredibly descriptive, if I may say so. But my attempted dramatic Web MD bit sort of fell flat.

So basically, I’ve been unmotivated to do anything other than watch Fringe. And now that I’ve finished 4 seasons in 3 months, I’ve got nothing to do. I need to join a bookclub or something… or learn how to knit. Or rewatch Fringe. These are all very good options.

Looking back, I realize that this post really has no point other than, outside of doing school, I’m bored and stuck.  Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like? Wait, I’m only 17. I’m going to die when I’m 34? Well. This is just lovely. Luckily, I know some pretty cool people who are willing to do stuff with me like go to the movies or let me help paint their room, and then back me into a freshly-painted wall and make me get paint in my hair, and then decide that we should go to Steak n Shake while I’m covered in paint. Yeah, great friends. So seriously, guys, we should start a bookclub. Or a Fringeclub? Same thing. I’m just trying to make an excuse for my lack of blogging, since I’ve had a few people come up to me lately saying “Uhhh, blog post, please? Reading your posts is like the coolest thing I do each day.” Maybe they don’t say that last part.

Also, molasses smells disgusting.

Gingerbread Men

Adapted from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts

1/4 cup vegetable shortening (we were out, so I had my dad get some from the store and he came back with the entire Crisco factory. We have 3 pounds of it, if anyone wants to share.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup gluten-free flour (today, I used King Arthur’s multi-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt (also known as just a pinch. who the heck has an 1/8 teaspoon?)

1. Beat shortening and sugar in a large bowl of an electric mixer until and creamy. Beat in egg yolk and molasses and mix until smooth. Don’t sniff the molasses. It’s awful. I know first-hand.

2. Add flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Mix until a soft dough forms. Roll dough between two sheets of wax paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate until well chilled (I chilled it for about 2 hours).

3. Preheat oven to 350F. Position rack in center of oven. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray or Crisco. We have plenty, if you need some.

4. Use cookie cutters that may or may not have to do with Christmas to cut out cookies. Hey, we have cool shamrock ones that I wanted to use… Place on cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart. The cookbook said to chill the cutout cookies on the cookie sheet until very cold before baking them, but I skipped that part. Because I live on the edge.

5. Bake 6-8 minutes. Check at 6 because they burn quickly. Not that I know this. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Decorate to your heart’s content.

6. Try not to eat all of them at once.