Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Am Less Smart Than My Crock Pot

Yesterday, I rallied. 

I marched out front, drank my coffee in three scalding hot swigs and got to work. 

I got the kitchen cleaned up to MY standards, including a good mopping. The dining room was swept and dusted. And above all, I sorted ALL the receipts, went through ALL the Christmas cards and started paying my January bills. I got the white-board calendar for January started and made some index cards.  

It was a very Triple T morning. I am my most productive me between 8 and 10 am.

By lunchtime, I decided that I could really feel good about my day if I got started on dinner. Husband had e-mailed a recipe to me that he had made before and we all liked. It's a Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice dinner. Cheap. Easy. Savory. 

Like me.

(Sorry. That was probably unnecessary.)

So, I fried up the bacon and sauteed some onion and garlic and then I threw all of the ingredients into the Crock Pot and returned to the living room to watch the Dog* marathon with my kids.

About an hour into the marathon, I thought to myself, "Gosh. The house doesn't smell like it did when Husband made this recipe a few weeks ago." 

[Hamster sluggishly move towards rusty wheel]

"Oh," I rationalized inside my head, to myself. "The Murphy's Oil must be overpowering the smell of the recipe."

[Hamster takes a drag off a cigarette before stepping on wheel.]

An hour later, I walked out to the kitchen to get a drink and give the red beans and rice a stir.  I could tell that nothing was happening with the rice (we make a lot of risotto in this house, so I know when my rice is getting ... rice-ier) and I'm confused, because this dish only takes 3.5 hours to cook and it's been in there for two whole hours.

It is both smarter and shinier than me.
[Hamster collapses]

The tricky thing about the Crock Pot, friends, is that you have to turn it on.  I've  been told by a friend that you also have to plug it in.

[Hamster is found tits up and rock hard. Hamster is pronounced dead at approximately 2:15 pm]

Seriously? I mean, seriously???

For my 30th birthday, I took three days off of work and made 15 made-from-scratch cakes, pies and ice creams for a "dessert buffet" for about 40 friends (There's a story here, but that's for another time.  Remind me.).

In my former corporate life, I was responsible for more than a dozen accounts at a time, which included managing a team of 4 or 5 and reporting to at least 3 or 4 higher-ups. Budgets were probably upwards of $50k - $75k/month.  I was quite good at it.

Although I wasn't physically or mentally ready for it, I swam a 1.5 mile open water race and didn't die.

I can turn a fucking heel on a sock.

But turning the dial on the Crock Pot to 'Low' never crossed my mind. Even when I realized that I couldn't smell the food that should have been scenting up my whole apartment.

Is this the whole 'aging' thing? I mean, is this what I should just come to accept as normal?

When I emailed Husband to tell him dinner would be a little later than I had anticipated -- and why -- he responded, "You are precious."

Will he find it precious when I spend hours looking for a pair of readers that are already on my head? 

Or when he gets an hysterical call from me in a parking lot searching for a car (and most likely looking for the car we sold 4 months ago instead of the one we currently own?). 

Or when I'm on the other side of the Edens and can't figure out how to get back on this side of it?

My faith in me is shaky, at best, right now. I need to return to the kitchen and put the Crock Pot back into the cupboard so it can stop gloating and taunting me.  I need to figure out if Martha's 'Baked Ziti' recipe is going to be doable, or if I should just buy a frozen pizza and hope one of the kids can operate the shiny, white hot-box that makes blue fire on the top. I need more coffee. And that appliance hasn't outsmarted me.

Not today, anyway.

* Fuck it. I'm a fan of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I love watching the show. I love marathons of Dog. I'm growing fond of Beth's tits, Baby Lyssa's Simpson-esque overbite and I sometimes have sex dreams about Leland.  There. It's out. I've owned it.


  1. Of course!

    Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

    PointsPlus® value | 6
    Servings | 4
    Preparation Time | 20 min
    Cooking Time | 210 min
    Level of Difficulty | Easy

    main meals | Smoky, hot chipotle sauce gives this dish robust flavor. Substitute tomato sauce and a dash of chile powder, if you prefer.



    1 spray(s) cooking spray, garlic-flavored
    1 small uncooked onion(s), chopped
    1 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced
    1/2 cup(s) uncooked white rice, converted-variety recommended
    1 1/2 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth
    14 1/2 oz canned tomato puree, roasted-variety
    15 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    2 slice(s) reduced-fat cooked crisp bacon, crumbled
    2 Tbsp canned chipotle sauce
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp table salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
    1 Tbsp uncooked scallion(s), chopped (green part only)


    Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to skillet and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

    Meanwhile, place rice, broth, tomato puree, beans, bacon, chipotle sauce, oregano, salt and pepper in a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker; add sautéed vegetables. Cover and cook on low setting for 3 1/2 hours; stir in cilantro and scallion just before serving. Yields about 1 cup per serving.


    Start this dish on a weekend morning and you'll have lunch waiting for you. But don't keep the beans and rice simmering all day, as the consistency will suffer.

    Converted rice is sometimes recommended in slow cooker recipes since the grains do not clump together as much as they do with regular rice. You can, however, use regular white rice if you prefer.