Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Featured community question with accompanying wacky antics

Today’s featured question from the community comes from user aslapintheface:

Which is the perfect segue into what happened over the weekend, starting on Friday afternoon when Jon announced that I would be making gingerbread cookies with Leta the following day, didn’t I know? Hadn’t I heard? Because that’s all she talked about on the ride home from school: gonna bake homemade gingerbread cookies with Mom! HUH? WHAAA? I would have been less surprised if she had said, “I cannot wait until Daddy teaches me about tampons!”

Don’t know if I have ever talked about it here, but I don’t cook or bake or whatever it is you do in the kitchen. I mean, I can boil water, and occasionally I can manage to pull a bag of popcorn out of the microwave without it being attached to three-foot flames, but other than that Jon does all the cooking. In return I do all the, well, the… I can’t really talk about what I do in return because this is a family-friendly website read every morning by my father. So let’s just say that my husband is well compensated.

So who put it in my child’s brain that I could ever bake a cookie? One that you don’t take out of a package and put directly into your mouth? Hello Oreos! The whole snack aisle at the grocery store exists so that you don’t ever have to use an oven, am I right? No? You like to cook? That’s awesome! I’ve got a huge kitchen you can use, and at least three times a day I like to eat. COME OVER.

But who’s not up for a challenge?! At least, that’s what the two cups of coffee told me Saturday morning, and after putting Marlo down for a nap I headed out to gather all the ingredients we’d need for a recipe I found online. And UUGHHHH: THE BAKING AISLE. Do you know how hard I try to avoid that Dark Corridor of Horror whenever I go grocery shopping? All those tiny bottles of spices and powder and self-rising… whatever it is that self-rises. Jesus? Didn’t he self-rise? Is that blasphemous? I’M SORRY. FORGIVE ME, THE GROUND CORIANDER MADE ME DO IT.

And oh my God, I guess I wasn’t paying attention, but do you have any idea how much a bottle of spice goes for these days? Like, TWELVE DOLLARS. TWELVE. DOLLARS. Why go through all the trouble of making meth in your basement when you could be out peddling nutmeg? Are kids snorting cinnamon these days? Because some cinnamon drug lord in Sri Lanka is making A KILLING.

So. All ingredients assembled:

Doesn’t look like that much, right? I am not even joking, it took me two hours to locate all this stuff in that aisle, and even then I almost got baking soda mixed up with baking powder, AND WHAT A FOOL I WOULD HAVE BEEN THEN.

Marlo is all, fool? THAT DOESN’T EVEN COME CLOSE.

And then the first step calls for sifting together the flour and the spices, and I was all sifting? You mean just throwing them in there all together? And Jon, The Cooker, goes, Heather, please tell me you know what sifting means. And I was all, Jon, I graduated valedictorian in high school. CUT ME SOME SLACK. But as a matter of fact, no, I have never sifted anything, that wasn’t on my final English exam.

Turns out we don’t have a sifter (THAT IS AN ACTUAL OBJECT, A SIFTER), so we improvised:

Also, I guess a tablespoon and a teaspoon are very different things. And so I had to apologize to everyone involved for sticking my hands into that mix to dig out the whole tablespoon of ground cloves I had so casually tossed into the bowl, STOP SHAKING YOUR HEAD, JON.

Or as Leta would say, IT’S NOT FUNNY!

And would you look at Leta? The saddest little helper in the world. You know she’s thinking, dude, this sucks. And I’m all, I KNOW.

Although, grinding pepper is a total fucking party:

And then BUTTER BUTTER BUTTER!

And a half a cup of molasses. Which I suggest you keep very far away from your hair. Don’t ask me how I know, ask the scissors I used to CUT IT OUT.

Also, I think I may have put an egg in there. I don’t remember, I was busy cutting molasses out of my hair.

And then the fun part, or I guess it was fun, if pouring sifted flour into a bowl is your idea of fun. My idea looks more like a huge shot of tequila on the beach, someone rubbing my feet, maybe Johnny Depp brushing my hair.

So then we mixed all that stuff for a bit, and then we got to the part in the recipe where it says “let dough chill overnight.” And I’m all WHAAAA? And Jon goes, HEATHER, did you not read the recipe first? And I was all, why would I read it all the way through? Wouldn’t that spoil the ending? Seriously, shouldn’t that have been at the top of the recipe, or couldn’t they have given me a warning? HEY STUPID! THIS RECIPE TAKES TWO DAYS.

Instead we just chilled the dough in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. And during those two hours we searched for a rolling pin that we did not own. Oops. Hello, cylindrical glass vase. God, I am good at this.

So I’ll just let the pictures tell the rest of the story…

At least until this part:

SPRINKLES! Not very different than SHINGLES! Except maybe a little less painful. And get this. GET THIS. Turns out that this whole “baking with mom” thing was just a gateway to the SPRINKLES! That’s all she wanted to do. She wanted to sprinkle some SPRINKLES! Because she did not eat the cookies, oh no. Not a bite. Why would she? They are not French fries or chicken nuggets.

Had I known about the SPRINKLES! part I would have just thrown down a bowl and gone, GO TO TOWN KID! Shake that bottle! SPRINKLE THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

So now we have a dozen uneaten gingerbread cookies sitting in a container on our countertop. I may or may not have sneaked a bite to Marlo.

  • bekala

    I don’t own a sifter, either–just throw the dry ingredients into a tupperware container, make sure it’s closed, and shake. it’s something else Leta can shake the shit out of, too.

    P.S. my rolling pin? an empty wine bottle, label removed.

  • shewhobakes

    So I’m 2 dozen kinds of cookies into this holiday season, and not even close to done. Every year, 17 and counting, can’t even begin to explain why. OCD?

    During which time, at least for my kiddos, I’ve proven it’s NOT all about the sprinkles; the frosting sometimes gets licked clean, too. Cookies, scmookies. Swear to god, if asparagus and broccoli could sport sprinkles, they’d be gobbled up nightly.

    Molly

  • Chriss

    Ah the oven. Otherwise known as (in my house at least) THE DOG’s MIRROR. Funny, I don’t own a dog.

  • rhea

    There is no undo button in baking, that’s why all of my baking is *unique*.

  • faq

    I’m right there with you on the baking thing. But surely I’m just twisted in that I’m really just scanning the comments for the freak who’s going to grief for putting the bumbo on the countertop a la “DO YOU KNOW HOW DANGEROUS THAT IS?!?” 😉

  • CreatureofHabit

    Lol.

    I love that as the photo story unfolds, you slowly disappear from the photos, only to be replaced by Jon. Too funny!

  • lumannie

    Definitely one of the funniest posts I’ve read in a while, though all of your posts are funny of course. I love that pic of you grinding pepper HAHA and the last one of Marlo 🙂
    anyway the gingerbread cookies turned out pretty damn good aye they look really yummy

  • zola

    Laughed so hard my sides ache! Read to my kids (slightly edited) and they laughed just as hard. Recently bought an old fashion sifter at an antique store just because – have baked for years without just fine.

  • kwhitlock

    Dude, as a general rule for myself any cookie recipe that requires a rolling pin, chilling overnight, or pepper is one to abstain from, especially when working with a five-year-old. I realize sprinkles are “the tits” for kids, but you know what esle rocks? CHOCOLATE CHIPS! You can even buy white chocolate chips which would qualify under Leta’s “Nothing except for beige foods” rule. Chocolate chip cookies will always get eaten, and you literally just drop globs of cookie dough on a cookie sheet. The best part is that the recipe is on the bag of chocolate chips. Did I mention chocolate chips?

  • vent

    “Why go through all the trouble of making meth in your basement when you could be out peddling nutmeg?”

    Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    OMG…that was hysterical!!!

    FUNNY post, Heather.

    The cookies look yummy! And remember…it’s not how you get there, it’s the end result that counts!

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  • ceecee

    TWELVE BUCKS? No, no, no. Rookie mistake. Instead of buying the fancy big bottles, just head to the bulk store for spices. I’m not sure what the American equivalent might be called but up here in Canada it’s Bulk Barn; every spice, candy and baking ingredient known to man.

    Also, if the dough is supposed to be refrigerated overnight, just put it in the freezer for 15 mins or so.

  • Mugswife

    Funny story. But now you have done it. You don’t ever have to do it again. My Mom told me, we always baked cookies at Christmas. Funny I don’t remember it. But there are pictures from one year. Flour everywhere…..trashed kitchen. I don’t think any pics of actual cookies baked. Now her secret is out….she took the pics the ONE TIME WE BAKED and I fell for her baking christmas cookies stories for 40 years.

    Boy, is she gonna be pissed that I figured it out because of this post.

  • krystyna81

    If you ever want to make non-edible versions that you can hang on your tree, I just made some cinnnamon ornaments with my kids and they are a lot of fun! Leeta can decorate and not have to eat them 🙂

    http://krystyna81.blogspot.com/2009/12/cinnamon-christmas-ornaments-easy-to.html

  • mochajavalatte

    You had me ’til the ground pepper.

  • jamil

    fyi… a wine bottle makes a wonderful rolling pin. you know, the one shaped like a cylinder. then you can drink it! that’s what we use, cuz i have never thought to actually buy a rolling pin.

  • Jangogh

    Using cookie cutters are fun. But discovered that it is easier to roll out dough into a large rectangle and cut into squares. Then use cake decorating tools to draw on frosting. Rerolling the dough ends up making a tougher cookie —- but hey, as long as they have enough frosting, I guess being tough doesnt matter.

  • Favorite

    Fun! I agree, for someone who does not cook, you certainly have all the best kitchen tools. I’m jealous!

    We made Christmas cookies this weekend too – gingerbread and sugar – and I will tell you the Sugar were WAY easier and got just as many sprinkles.

    My daughter is just a few weeks younger than Marlo, so she wasn’t much help!

  • evesix

    Amazing. I’m pretty sure this is my favourite recipe blog post of ALL TIME.

  • adventuregirl77

    Wow, we are definitely on the same page. I am totally with you with the cooking, although I do try and bake about once a month just so I feel like I can say I still do something in the kitchen. I need an excuse to still buy things when I go to a Pampered Chef party.

    My daughter is a few weeks older than Marlo and is ALL ABOUT getting anything into her mouth she possibly can. It is incredible.

    Happy Holidays from Boise!

  • elizabethm

    Love it.

    Is Leta givin’ the finger in one of those photos, or does her hand happen to be positioned just so?

  • Dean M

    You’ve made a compelling argument for store-bought cookies or a visit to a local bakery! Who needs the home-baked headaches? I’m sure you’ll also have the opportunity to buy Girl Scout cookies at some point soon. I hear the ingredients in those tasty treats keep them edible for about 75 years!

  • DeeBee6

    It seems as if you are as good a cook/baker as I am 🙂
    I am totally impressed with your very professional mixer. I don’t even have one of those…. I think I might have a sifter though…buried somewhere.
    Thank you, yet again, for an entertaining story and Thank God there exists half-baked, mixes and store-bought cookies too 🙂

  • shelbysea

    speaking of SHINGLES, I was shopping for ingredients today and the store had their “get your SHINGLES shot” announcement on and my hands immediately started doing the jazz hands (or we could now call it the SHINGLES hands) and I was mouthing in slow motion S H I N G L E S…
    Hmm…

  • foodnerd

    $12 for crappy supermarket spices is crazy bananas. Dollar and bulk is OK but those big jars will all go stale if they aren’t already. Better to buy from Penzey’s Spices online — everything is super fresh, really high quality, and friggin’ cheap. $4.75 for that same size jar of nutmeg, or they sell a SMALLER JAR, those wacky kids. And they seem to be really nice folks. http://www.penzeys.com

    And I own a sifter and am much too lazy to ever use it. The whisk does the job just fine.

  • Pinkporches

    My mom wasn’t a baker either. Now I own 7 sifters and at least 14 rolling pins. Really.

    Do you think I am overcompensating?

    And Oh how I wish we could hear what Marlo is thinking. Too precious.

    Smiles,
    Lisa

  • ana1968

    Just delurking to say your girls are adorable! Love your blog, thanks for always making me laugh 🙂

  • liefie

    first of all, i distinctly remember a post where you talked about baking cookies for leta’s class and how you take them out of the oven a bit early because i totally wanted to try it, so i’m sure you do just fine in the kitchen
    also, this is how i bake too! For sifting I use the colander that I strain pasta in, and as a rolling pin I tend to use glasses (which is probably less effective than a cylindrical vase as they are not a uniform width. glad i’m not the only one!

  • beads in the belfry

    that was hilarious. thank you. lol.

  • InkedGirl76

    I wish you would adopt me so I can come live in Wackadoo land. The girls are so gorgeous. I love seeing the new pics of Marlo as she grows!!

  • MustangSally

    Next time just skip all the cooking bullshit and just buy a roll of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and the frosting and sprinkles.

    I do like to cook/bake – but hate doing dishes. Besides when the cost of buying all the ingredients ends up a lot more that what I can get buying something already prepared (and fabulous) at Costco or the grocery deli my enjoyment fizzles. I’d much rather save the tornado from hitting my own kitchen and pay a couple of local deli/bakery workers to do it for me. It’s a community service when you think about it. They get paid well, good benefits and everything. It’s selfish to cook everything from scratch.

  • Kaff627

    Forget the scissors, use peanut butter to get anything sticky out of your hair…I wasn’t allowed gum for a number of years so I can confirm that peanut butter works quite well!!

  • mommaruthsays

    Do you think there’s any way you can talk Leta into doing a SPRINKLES! dance comparable to your SHINGLES! dance? You know, just ’cause it’d be awesome like that.

  • The Prima Momma

    Heather!!! You put PEPPER in your gingerbread cookies?

    You may enjoy my recipe area:
    http://theprimamomma.com/?p=1306

    I think it captures exactly how you feel while baking. (And the recipe is awesome)

    **Not for the easily offended.

  • Keri

    “Jesus? Didn’t he self-rise?”

    That totally made my day!

  • tigerlily.

    Hahaha I decided that I would make pie crust from scratch this past summer, and planned it all SO WELL until it came time to roll out the dough. I, too, was sans rolling pin. And lazy. And poor. So I didn’t want to go buy one. Helloooooo wine bottle!!!

  • momdot

    WTF is a “sifter”? To make flour SMALLER then it is?
    Does it remove calories?

    I think I would rather it cost 10cents more to come pre-sifted.

    You have more patience than I do. Anything I bake comes out two ways: Black and Blacker.

    Trisha

  • Jen

    Marlo’s big blue eyes make me squeal with delight. I loved this story 🙂

  • amyruthanne

    A) I’m so hungry for gingerbread cookies right now.
    B) I’ve never heard of using pepper in a gingerbread recipe. Will you post it?
    C) Next time maybe just buy premade gingerbread dough?
    D) I don’t know why I’m lettering my comments.
    E) Perhaps because I can.

  • IngridS

    Please don’t ever use a glass vase or any other kind of glass cylinder as a rolling pin again! I keep picturing your palms, or your daughter’s palms, sliced to ribbons.

    A full seltzer bottle or a full pickle jar next time? Please? Full = solid mass that won’t crack or smash and cut your hands to ribbons.

    Oh! My captcha words are xo aquavit! Aquavit is very good to drink, icy cold, with Christmas foods. xo.

  • Daily Dealia

    Love reading your updates of ‘life’! Ah yes, Mommy’s helper…great to get a good laugh. I’m just impressed you made the cookies, not all Moms will take on that one.

  • DooceFan4Eva

    OMG! I almost spit water all over my monitor when you said, “grinding pepper is a total fucking party”.

    And the uninterested urchin? I had one of those once. He grew out of it thank goodness!

  • Jenni

    Dude. Is Leta giving me the finger?

    How cool is she?

  • fifi

    A Sieve, (what you call a sifter), is a really useful thing to have around.Even if you don’t bake! If you have potpourri, or a collection of any small objects that need vacuuming to remove dust, place a sieve over the top of the pot-pourri, and vacuum the dust through the sieve..or use the sieve for washing small things under the tap,without losing the objects down the drain..incidentally the oldfashioned glass milk bottles used to double up as rolling pins in the UK..Necessity, Invention , Mother,etc.

  • kait

    When I was single, when I changed apartments, all I had to do was dust my stove, never clean it. Now, I’m kind of just your opposite. I can’t cook much at all (enough to keep my poor non-picky auntie alive), but baking, baking I can do. Once in a while I even enjoy it. But for my kids, when they were little, like you, I’d try most anything, even more than once. I was lucky, they usually knew what they were doing. Plus, I went to HS in WV and was REQUIRED to take home ec., so I had a jump on you, knowing what a sifter was and all.

    Cheers,
    kait

  • fidget

    I can not be the only person who wanted to barf when you started adding pepper to the cookies. Gingerbread tastes kind of assy to begin with- it just DOES but then adding black pepper?

    next time try sugar cookies, Leta MIGHT possibly maybe eat those and if she wants then to look like gingerbread, mix in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder

    Better yet, send her over. We are making sugar cookies tomorrow

    and for god sakes never again put pepper in a cookie

  • H to the Izzo

    I laughed so hard at this. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t cook. I am cracking up over the vase as rolling pin-that’s just terrible and perfect!

    Thank you for the Jesus self-rising mental picture. You make my day 🙂

  • Jayceekay

    Ahhh…no one can make me laugh like you, Heather!

    Have you found out who the culprit was who told Leta you guys would make cookies? I did wonder when you chose gingerbread since Leta has such tempermental taste buds.

    $12!!!!?? Cloves are a high end spice $-wise (as in 5 bucks, not 12!! Where the hell do you shop?!!) but most of the others you can get for a buck or so at any Target, Walmart, CVS, Rite-aid, etc. They work just as well as the name brands. (I actually DO bake!!)

    Also, you guys are all so funny! A fork?? Okay, I’m sure someone has already written it but the purpose of the sifter is to make sure all the dry ingredients are un-clumped and fine. As in finely sifted. Not necessary for a lot of chunkier or dropped cookies but for rolled cookies…well, it just makes for a nicer, smoother cookie or cake.

    One more thing, Marlo is so freakin’ adorable I want to bite my computer screen when you post her picture! And boy does she look like Leta!

  • John Duke

    That sure looked like a process. Pepper in cookies? Unfortunately my attention span couldn’t take me to the end.

  • Annie T

    *You* made those cookies?
    When did your arms go all hairy?

  • Cheshire Kate

    Yep learned that lesson about sprinkles too. Now we just buy the sugar cookies in a roll in the refrigerated aisle and the big jars of sprinkles (there is an especially nice one that has 5 yes 5 different kinds with a dial) and let our daughter decorate her heart out. She tells people she baked cookies with mommy and I figure I have done my job. We have even let her and a friend do it so they both tell people they have baked cookies. All the appearance of a homemaker with much less work.