22 February 2011

Today's secret ingredient is...

I think it goes without saying that I have the most amazing people in my life. I feel like I got a great big bloggy hug (as well as a very nice talking to from the mister), and I'm mind-hugging you all in return. I never doubted your support for a minute; just doubted myself a little. Still unsure about that whole me thing (who isn't, right?), but for now, I'm trying to settle into the fact that I can be an ok cook, a moderately (un?)motivated housewife, and that's fine. Perhaps for now I should focus on my unwavering ability to stay up late like a champ and sleep in like nobody's business. :)

And Liz, that I've turned you on to the amazing world of tuna noddle casserole? That is the best compliment a girl could get. Love it, and love that you are loving it. The world of tuna noodle... the options are just endless. I could eat tuna noodle every day. And I do sometimes. Last time I made it I ate it three days in a row.

Anyway, back to that secret ingredient business... On Saturday, a fellow book club co-hort and I were lucky enough to be guest judges for the library's first Teen Iron Chef competition, and I have to say, this is one of the coolest things I've done in a long time. It was just like the show - same rules, same judging categories. And the secret ingredient was SUGAR COOKIES.

My fellow judge, I think Rowan made a few little teen hearts melt that day...

The girls hard at work.

While the contestants didn't bake the cookies, they created some pretty interesting entries with a multitude of ingredients... marshmallows, bananas, chocolate syrup, baby food, licorice, lemons, chocolate syrup, nuts, frosting, did I mention chocolate syrup? Maybe I happened to mention that I loved cherries and maybe one of the girls immediately went and grabbed the can of cherries and maybe I gave her an extra point because I'm a sucker for kissing up.

I've been second guessing my scores since Saturday. The girls were so sweet and tried so hard (and who doesn't love high school kids that care about food and watch cooking shows and have the balls to squirt lemon and lime on top of a licorice-covered cookie) and I took my duty very seriously. The cookie above was my favorite cookie of them all - chocolate frosting, peanut butter, pretzels, and small chunks of chocolate mint. It was delicious. But her other cookie, I kind of hated. And they looked a little messy (presentation presentation!). I wish I had that cookie in front of me right now. I hated that she came in second to last. Hated that anyone had to lose, actually. But I'm also all about winning, so I'm glad for the girls that did get to win.

Hats off for total concentration.

Did I mention chocolate syrup?

The coolest kids in St. Joe.

Props to the two awesomest librarians I know for spearheading something so fun and great for the local kiddos.

Handing out the prizes. Cookies, AND prizes!

Postscript to this little sugar cookie event.... It made me SO SICK. And I hardly even ate many cookies, just nibbles. But between the chocolate syrup, the marshmallows (which I shouldn't even be admitting to eating - pig hooves and all), the frosting, let's just say I felt a little like this:

Then a little like this:

I was definitely down for the count for the night. (Which was ok... got a ton of knitting done!) And it was totally worth it.

PS. This is what the beach looked like two weeks ago:

PSS. This is what the beach looked like last week:

And..... Now it's snowing again.

I love witnessing all these crazy changes. I hope it continues to amaze and inspire me year after year.

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