That’s it. I demand a hunger strike. Except I might get hungry…

This is what I’m paying thousands of dollars a year to eat.

sketchy chicken and dumplings

If I didn’t tell you it was chicken and dumplings, would you have been able to tell? Granted, it isn’t awful tasting but this whole meal is whiter than Justin Bieber. They had carrots seasoned with cayenne pepper that I passed on. It’s like the people who make up the menu have no taste buds. If you listen quietly, you can hear Julia Child weeping from heaven.

dessert

This was the dessert that they served on white food day. I got a cupcake and a blondie because I knew – chances are – one of them was going to be disgusting. I was right. The cupcake was so dry that I couldn’t even pretend to enjoy it, but the blondie had toffee and coconut in it and I was tempted to go up for a second one.

salad and nachos

I can only eat so much salad, but I made myself eat this yesterday because there was only tilapia with rice, enchilada filling minus the tortilla part, and stir fry that I eat all the time. All of it sounded sketchy especially the tilapia. Raise your hand if you trust yourself to eat fish served in the midwest (far from either coast where, you know, fish are typically caught) made by a crappy catering company. No one? That’s what I thought. The nachos sauce is made with real American cheese slices too!

chicken bowl

Chicken bowls are always the best part of everyone’s day. I think they’re served every other week and they’re basically KFC in a bowl. Mashed potatoes, chicken, gravy, corn, and cheese. Oh, and the water machine has been broken for over a week now. So our options are soda, lemonade, or chocolate or 2% milk with every meal. I’m pretty sure they’re trying to fatten us up for slaughter. That’s the only logical conclusion I can come to.

Last night after eating cereal for dinner yet again I went to my room and bought 24 cans of V8 on Amazon in hopes that I can get more vitamins that way. I give up.

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.

I’m trying to make money by not making money. Genius.

It’s only day 2 of Easter break and everyone’s already bored out of their skulls. Yesterday, Corrupted Brother was walking in circles in the kitchen, licking a Triscuit, and humming Fur Elise for a good five minutes. Yeah, it’s that bad.

sour cream coffee cake batter

I’m not taking a break this week because I’m a bit behind in school and I just need to finish. I’m so unmotivated to do school, so I’ve decided to plan things to look forward to this summer. Brilliant plan, no? I work well for incentives. Mainly Rolos. My siblings got a bunch of those for Easter and I’ve been living off of them. I’m pretending that they’re fruits and vegetables so I actually have a balanced diet. And starches. And meats. Hey, I have a weakness for candy. Don’t be a hater.

brown sugar and cinnamon

This summer is going to be insane, though. All I want to do is make money so I actually have money to spend on food in college. So far, I’m only volunteering. Logic at its finest. Earlier today, I filled out an application so I can volunteer at a local children’s hospital. I’m hoping to volunteer a few days a week this summer so that I can get a feel for the pediatric hospital environment, since that’s where I’m thinking of working after I graduate from nursing school. Anyway, it’s volunteer, so no payment there. I’m also hoping to volunteer in a lab where a friend of my grandpa’s works. I guess I’ll continue teaching piano, but that only pays so much. Basically I’m just going to have a humungous graduation party where you’ll all shower me with gifts and money because I’m broke.

sour cream coffee cake batter and topping

I had a productive day applying for stuff that will make me absolutely no money. Know what else I did today? I looked at the return policy for a pair of running shoes I bought last week. They’re the barefoot trail shoes, which I was hoping would help me not be so incredibly sore when I run. But guess what? I opened the box yesterday to try on the shoes, AND MY DANG FEET ARE TOO WIDE. I think God sort of fell asleep at the wheel when he was designing me. He accidentally gave me bricks for feet. So I’m returning them. Speaking of running, I’m running a 5K on Saturday! And guess what! I totally hurt my knee yesterday! I’m pretty much an invalid right now. I feel like Crutchy from Newsies, minus the fact that I’m not a dude with a bad fake Brooklyn accent. That movie is so horrible, it’s good. I’m hoping whatever I did to my knee heals up before Saturday. I AM running/walking/limping the race. I dropped 40 bucks on this race, and last time I checked, I was still a poor, struggling student.

sour cream coffee cake

But you know what fixes all of life’s ills? Sour cream coffee cake. This stuff is the bomb… and I didn’t even get to eat it. We gave it to my mom’s friend who just had a baby. I absolutely hate giving away food I made. Not only do I not get to eat it, but I’m never sure if it’s cooked all the way through or it tastes good. First world chef problems for real, but I hate it. Anyway, here’s the coffee cake that I didn’t actually get to enjoy. It’s one of my favorite foods, so I’d strongly recommend making it. Or you can just go lick a Triscuit. That’s what all the cool kids do.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Cake:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

1 cup sour cream

Topping:

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Beat the butter and granulated sugar together. Beat in two eggs, mixing thoroughly after each one. Add vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl (you gotta keep it separated…), combine the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, stirring until combined. Wallop in the sour cream. Is wallop a word? I know dollop is. I’m too lazy to look it up and there isn’t a red squiggly line under it, so it must be a word. Duh.

4. In yet another separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Um, that’s it.

5. Grease a bundt ban (well, it’s actually more of a pan used for angel food cake, but I’m not sure what to call it), and layer 1/2 of the batter in it. Sprinkle 2/3 of the topping (didn’t think you’d have a math lesson, huh?), then the rest of the batter, and the rest of the topping. Let’s review: batter, topping, batter, topping. Right then.

6. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.

7. Yum.

Pie and my brothers. Right there you can tell it’s going to be a great blog post.

I don’t like pie. I won’t restrain myself from eating an entire pie if it was placed in front of me, but I won’t go out of my way to make/eat one. Since we had a pie crust in the fridge that was best by Tuesday, I figured I had to make a pie. And make one I did.

peach pie

I’m not sure about you, but I live in the Midwest. (Silently in your head) Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure we don’t grow any fruit here. Ok, I know we do, but we don’t have oranges like Florida or…uhhh… basically, I have no idea what I’m talking about here. The point of all of this is we had 2 bananas and 3 apples in our fruit basket and you can’t make a pie with those. Side note: I refuse to eat bananas because their edible shelf life is like 30 seconds. You get them and they’re like GREENGREENGREENGREENGREENyellowBROWNBROWNBROWN. They’re mean and therefore I boycott them. So I used canned peaches. I wrote an entire paragraph about I don’t even know what just to say that I used canned peaches to make a pie. And the best part is that I’m not going to rewrite it because I’m lazy.

pie crust

This pie was hit and miss among my siblings. I ate two slices with Moose Tracks ice cream and it was quite delicious. There’s still half a pie left so I guess I’m going to have to eat that too. I know it would be much better with fresh peaches and not 3 cans of Costco peaches.

peaches and cinnamon

That’s really all I’ve got on the subject of pie. Because I have nothing else to say, here’s a story from the Italiana household.

My brothers were playing Monopoly earlier today and Future Chef Brother got a hotel. Evil Scientist Brother got really mad and said, “Fine. Now you have to go kiss a hobo.” Future Chef said, “But I don’t want to!” and Evil Scientist responded, “Oh, I see. You want to wait until AFTER you’re married to kiss him.”

peach pie filling

There’s never a dull moment in this house. Also, I just hit 350 Pinterest followers. I love being loved by people I’ll never actually meet.

Peach pie

From I’mastinkingliar.com

1 8-inch pie plate

1 unbaked pie crust
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (Or not. Legumes don’t belong in pies, unless we’re talking about pecan pie, in which I approve.)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 white sugar plus 1 tsp. reserved
3 cans of sliced peaches in light syrup, drained
6 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. organic butter, chilled (I left in the organic part from the original recipe because it made me laugh. We’re a family of 9. There’s no way we’re spending the extra money to buy organic butter.)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine the chopped walnuts, brown and white sugars, and flour in a small bowl. Set aside for the topping.

3. Place the pie crust into your pie pan and crimp the edges as beautifully as I crimped mine. Oof. Sprinkle the bottom of the crust with 1 tsp. of reserved white sugar.

4. Pour the canned peaches into a colander, rinse with fresh water, drain and gently pat dry.

5. Combine the peaches, cinnamon, nutmeg and 6 tsp. of sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Mix gently with your hands or a wooden spoon to blend. I recommend a spoon because that just sounds nasty.

6. Put half of the sliced peaches into the pie crust. Sprinkle half of the walnut (I can’t be friends with you if you added walnuts), flour and sugar topping over the peaches and top with the remaining fruit.

7. Sprinkle the second half of the topping over the peaches and dot with pea-sized crumbles of the organic butter. Stir to combine because I had flour on top of mine that didn’t soak in while it was baking. Mmm, nothing like the taste of dry flour with your canned peaches.

8. Bake the pie on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

9. Om nom nom.

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.