It's been a while since I shared any stories of my domestic shortfalls and culinary ineptitude. Perhaps you thought that was because the bizarre and uncharacteristic cooking streak I somehow fell into last spring had actually stuck and I was now whipping up souffles and ceviches and other things that I'd actually have to Google in order to define. If you thought that, you would be wrong, my friends. In fact, my fridge has looked much like this for the past month or more. This time, however, I don't even have grapes on hand. The closest thing to fruit in my fridge at the moment is the expired strawberry yogurt hanging out on the bottom shelf. I don't really even remember the last time I ate anything that came from the produce department. I'm back to counting on red wine to ward off scurvy. Hello, Internets. My name is Stefanie, and I am a certified grown-up.
That's why I'm so baffled as to just what got into me yesterday. I needed to make a dish to pass for the girls-night-in bachelorette party I was attending, and rather than rely on any of my simple stand-bys (7-layer bars, box of brownie mix, three-ingredient cherry crisp), I went to the Internet for recipes. The guest of honor is trying to ban wheat from her life, so I Googled "wheat-free dessert recipes" looking for something she might like. I have made brownies from scratch before, so I'm not so shocked that I decided on a no-wheat brownie recipe. What shocks me is that I made that recipe without even going to the grocery store. People, I made from-scratch brownies with things I had on hand! Maybe that's not so out-of-the-ordinary to some of you, but a Pioneer woman I am not. I can't even believe I had eggs in my house, much less unsweetened cocoa powder. The cocoa powder, by the way, I substituted for the carob powder that was actually called for. I also substituted some sugar for the 1/4-cup of honey I was short. Oh, and also, I made my own oat flour. I MADE MY OWN OAT FLOUR!! You don't even have to be impressed by that; I'm astonished enough for the both of us. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that at the bottom of the recipe was a note saying if I didn't have oat flour, I could make it myself by grinding up uncooked oatmeal in a blender or food processor. So that is what I did. I just can't believe it actually worked. Or, rather, that it seemed to have worked. I've never actually seen oat flour before, so I have no idea if mine looked anything like it's supposed to look.
The brownies themselves, actually, might not have looked at all like they're supposed to look. I'm not well-versed in wheat-free ways, and while my wheat-shunning, soon-to-be-married friend Amy said they were delicious and didn't seem put-off by the bizarre bubbly edges and the sunken, gooey middle, my faithful friend Carrie countered with, "I don't know, Stef. They look wheat-free." So the oat flour brownies may not have been as big a hit as the Better Than Sex cake that someone else brought, but I was proud of myself, anyway.
I was also proud of the frugal handiwork I demonstrated in assembling Amy's bag of gifts for the night. As I mentioned on Friday, Carrie and I went to a local sex shoppe (as it's an extra-classy place, it deserves the two-p's-and-an-e spelling) for some fun presents to bring the bachelorette. I almost grabbed a ridiculously overpriced blindfold to go with the feather-on-a-stick toy we had chosen, when Carrie said, "Can't you just make a blindfold?" Why yes. Yes I can, actually. And 47 cents worth of fabric and about a half hour of my time later, I had. I think I'm on a roll, people. What great challenge can I take on next?
Speaking of challenges, my pal Liz recently met one I posed a while ago. Remember my futile attempt to find a tie-on towel for my kitchen? Yesterday, I received this in the mail as a delayed response to that post.
It's a bit less, um, subtle than the one I was looking to replace, but screen-printed cocktails with umbrellas in them always say "Class," don't they? Apparently, Liz agrees.
(Thanks, Liz. I KNEW I told you you rock for a reason! Consider this one more.)