So, I failed my driving test

Spoiler alert: The title of this post is somewhat misleading. I passed my driving test yesterday,  but the terrifying story of me failing the first time I took it will haunt me forever… ever… ever…

orange-raisin scones

Driving scares me. No, terrifies. Like on a scale of 1 to Amy Winehouse’s teeth, me operating a car ranks pretty high up there. That poor woman was such a mess. An off-duty cop named Glen has been giving me driving lessons. I feel much more comfortable driving with him, and every time I look at the huge scar on his arm from when he was knifed when arresting someone I silently thank my mom for not letting me be a cop. But then I get sad again because I’ve always wanted to go on a high speed chase and taze someone. Okay so maybe those aren’t the best reasons for wanting to be a cop.

orange zest

I’ve done about 10 hours of driving with Glen and not only have we become best friends when he’s not yelling brake brake brake SLAM ON THE BRAKES, but I’ve gotten to the point where I felt ready to take the test. The other day we were driving and without telling me, he lead me to the DMV. Yeah, thanks Glen. I practiced parallel parking a few times (aced it every time), and then walked into one of the most depressing places on the planet. Are all DMV’s required to have off-white walls and floors and smell like sadness? I got assigned the grumpiest lady I’d encountered in a while and she told me to show her to my car. I gave Glen a quick thumbs up and got ready to get my license. We got in the car and I successfully operated my hazards and windshield wipers. Check. We were merrily rolling along and I pulled over to the right side of the road and backed up too without a hitch. And then I met my now arch-nemesis Evil Dr. T-Intersection.

scone dough

I came to the stop sign and sadly didn’t read the sign beneath it that said “cross traffic doesn’t stop.” There were train tracks that crossed the intersecting road and there was a car driving up to the tracks, so I just decided to go ahead since they still had to cross the tracks. Apparently that wasn’t a good idea. Commence freak out from the angry government worker. She flipped out at me and yelled for me to stop the car… in the middle of the intersection. I didn’t and just kept driving since the car was now crossing the tracks and would have hit me. I knew right then I failed because I could feel her burning a hole in my soul and I wasn’t even looking at her. We drove back to the DMV and she hardly waited for me to stop the car before getting out. I walked into the DMV behind her and not only did she not hold the door for me, but she actually pulled it closed. But I vowed I would not eat, I would not rest for a moment until I passed my test. And then I ate and rested a lot and tried taking the test again a few days later. The good news is that I put on my lucky shirt yesterday and passed with an 83. The bad news is that my lucky shirt is a Jonas Brothers shirt. I’m pretty sure I’m the only 17 year old who still wears one of those.

unbaked scones

Not only did I pass my driving test yesterday, but I also shadowed a nurse at a pediatric hospital. Was it awesome? Yes. Was it what I was expecting? No. The actual nursing part of it (putting medicine in IVs, taking blood pressure, checking incisions) was so cool, but I don’t always look my age and everyone asked me what high school I was going to and then was shocked that I was going to college. I was babied by the nurses which was aggravating, but I enjoyed the day for the most part. It’s not something I’ll do again, but I’m excited for nursing school. Thank goodness I still want to go because one of the nurses told me how much she hated it and how horrible it was. Um, what? Aren’t you supposed to be fostering my love of nursing here? Guess not. Thank goodness you didn’t annoy me too much or else I’d have to resort to RUNNING YOU OVER WITH MY CAR. Except I don’t actually have a car yet. And I don’t have my license yet either… but I passed the test, so that’s all that matters.

Oh, and the disembodied hand up there belongs to Future Chef. He made almost all of this by himself, which I think is pretty impressive for a 5th grader. He made the scones, I took the pictures, and I also ate 3 scones. He and I make a great team.

scones with jelly

Orange-Raisin Scones

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 orange, unpeeled
1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have a stock of buttermilk in your fridge like most normal humans, you can make it yourself using milk and lemon juice. Google exactly how to do it, but that’s usually what I do and none of my food has yet to spontaneously combust)
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 raisins
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons sugar

1 Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, measure 1 3/4 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and mix until combined. Set aside.

3. Melt the butter and place in a medium bowl.

4. Wash the orange to get off all of the pesticides so you don’t die. Using a grater, grate about 1/2 teaspoon of zest off the orange and place into the bowl with the butter. Add the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and raisins. Stir until combined.

5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture, stirring constantly until mixture gathers into a bowl (about 30 seconds).

6. Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of flour on a cutting board. Knead the dough on the cutting board about 8 times. For some reason whenever I knead dough I think of that scene in Cinderella when she’s scrubbing the floor. True story. Shape the dough into a ball and roll out into an 8-9″ circle.

7. Place the kneaded dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar on top of the dough.

8. With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Slightly separate the dough wedges so they don’t spread out during cooking and form one delicious blob of scone. If that happens, lick it after it’s cooked and call dibs. That’s what you have to do around here since there are 7 of us kids. We take our food very seriously.

9. Bake scones for about 15 minutes and cool on wire rack.

10. Enjoy with your afternoon tea. Why don’t Americans have tea time? That’s messed up.

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.

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.

Just an introvert girl living in a loud world.

You know what’s wrong with the world? People don’t think before they speak.

The other day Sister Celiac was talking to a girl about my new brother. The girl asked, “So, how’s your baby brother?” When my sister said that he’s great, the girl said, “Oh cool. Is there anything wrong with him?”

I’m sorry, what? What if he was born with three arms and we were going to have one surgically removed but didn’t want anyone to know about it? My sister isn’t even KIND OF friends with this girl, so why should she tell her, “Well, we’re not really telling anyone, but he’s actually a monkey.” Oh great, now you guys know our secret. This is awkward.

I know quite a few people that I simply can’t have a normal conversation with. Now granted, most of them are teenagers, but I’m not sure how good of an excuse that is. A good conversation consists of asking questions and telling stories, right? If I’m ever talking to one of those people, the conversation is just them talking over me and bragging or making stupid comments. They always feel the need to one-up me in everything. I once had a guy ask me how long I’ve played violin. When I told him 14 years, he immediately told me how he’s played for 6 years and had already learned Mozart’s hardest concerto. Dear Child Prodigy, as my dad always says, “If you have to tell me how great you are, you’re not.” Also, I heard you play and I’m not going to comment on it because I have nothing nice to say.

Better yet is when people don’t just say rude things, but actually do rude things. I can ignore the girl who told me my legs were so big she had no idea how I could fit them into my skinny jeans (When I’m around that girl I have to use every nice molecule in my body to restrain myself from kicking her in the shins. I’ve been successful so far…), but when you forcefully take a drink out of my hand telling me how bad it is for me, then we have a problem.

I’ll admit that I’m very quiet. I’m not as shy as I used to be, but I’m definitely an introvert, and apparently there’s something wrong with that. There’s nothing I hate more than being told I’m quiet. Ok, maybe I hate it second to running my hip into the corner of a table. You do not know pain until you do that. When people tell me I’m quiet I just want to be like, “NO. WAY. I seriously had no idea. Thank you so much for enlightening me,” but I don’t because, hello, introvert. Don’t really talk much. I actually used to get really upset over it. Sometimes to the point of tears. I’m not sure exactly what made (and still sort of makes) me so upset. What I’ve sort of figured out is that since our world is so loud and no one can sit still, I’m the outcast because I’m not dominating a conversation or wanting to party every Friday night or constantly flirting with guys. Because, you know, as if I don’t have a hard enough time fitting in as is. One of the many pros of being introverted is that I think before I speak. Actually, I over-think and run through what I’m going to say 5 times in my head and by the time I’m comfortable to say it, the topic has already changed. Oh well. Better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt, right?

Not to go all psychology on you guys, but what do you think causes people to feel like they can say whatever they want? Is it a lack of manners? Class? Or just insecurity? Or maybe the world just needs more introverts. I’d be totally chill with that.

Also, I used to collect those white pieces of paper at the bottom of Reece’s peanut butter cups. I was a weird kid.

Halloween Candy Cookies

(This recipe is from the back of the box. More or less. I added the candy bit because we have so much Halloween candy left over.)

1 package King Arthur gluten free cookie mix

1/2 cup soft butter

1 large egg

2 tablespoons water

8 frozen Reece’s peanut butter cups, chopped

1/2 cup M&Ms

1.Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Put about half the cookie mix in a bowl, and beat in the butter. It’s especially fun to beat the butter with the arm you got a flu shot in. Yeah.

3. Beat in the remaining cookie mix, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the Reece’s peanut butter cups and M&Ms.

4. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet, leaving about 2″ between cookies. Gently squish cookies 1/2″ thick. Ok, it said flatten on the box, but I definitely squished the cookies.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

6. Devour. Om nom nom.

This post is in no way sponsored by King Arthur, but I wish it was. Please. I’m not asking for much. Maybe just a few boxes of your cookie mixes or some money. I’d definitely enjoy money.