The Lessons of an Epic Fail

Have I mentioned I don’t consider myself a cook or chef? I like what I know and I know what I like, and that’s about it. I play around with recipes, I experiment here or there, but my mild dyslexia when reading recipes and my mild ADD which leads to little patience often limits me.

Lately I’ve been feeling more confident. Too confident. Last Thursday I embarked on a meal that may have been a bit…ambitious.

First I made some lentils. When I cook lentils from dry, I usually cook red lentils, that turn all mushy, like a really thick gravy, and always turn out perfectly. On this particular Thursday I used brown lentils, that don’t get mushy, but I didn’t realize that and I cooked them wayyyy too long. I mean, so long they burned. Black char kind of burning.

I can't even show you what they looked like after I was done with them...

Then I started experimenting with the leftover wild rice I had on hand. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” I thought, “if I could magically turn this plain old wild rice into yummy fried rice balls? That would be amazing.” Ah, so many good intentions. I mixed the wild rice with some oats and a flax egg (ground flax and water) and tried to mush it into balls. It didn’t stick very well, so I started adding some arrowroot powder. Then I added some more. Then some more, until finally they stuck together. Then I rolled them in oat flour and fried lightly in some canola oil. You know what they tasted like? Nothing. Kind of like eating plain oats, but maybe even less flavourful than that.  It reminded me of when I used to feed my dolls oats mixed with water, so we’re talking food that I was making when I was 4.

Looks promising?

Finally, I had thrown a squash into the oven at about 7:30pm, thinking it would take about 40 minutes to bake. Apparently, I had just encountered the world’s hardest squash because it did not take 40 minutes to bake. It took 2 hours. At that point, I wasn’t even frustrated anymore, I just left it in the oven, I think The Husband threw it out the next day.

I salvaged some lentils and dressed them with olive oil and vinegar.

The Husband made an omelette.

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to.

All you can do is look at the lessons. Here are mine:

  1. Be more mindful. Did I need to leave the lentils unattended? What was I doing that was more important in the other room? I need to be more present in the tasks I’m doing.
  2. Keep it simple. This seems to be a running theme in my life. What was wrong with the wild rice that I needed to make it more complicated?
  3. There is a time and place for everything. 7:30 at night might not be the right time to start cooking a giant squash. I could’ve steamed broccoli instead, and saved the squash for the weekend. Which leads me to my final point:
  4. Planning. I am not a planner, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to start trying to do some more planning. My schedule is so busy with work and yoga, that I find I have less time than I’m used to. A little planning might not hurt.

I took a little hiatus from cooking this weekend, which culminated in some daiya cheese nachos on Saturday evening, but I’m geared up for this week when I start my December Project (aka: Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!). This week I am hoping to tackle gingerbread cookies.

In the meantime, I am still enjoying my weekly bin from Ottawa Organics, but I have a question: Is local better, or is organic better?! The husband thinks local is better, but I am worried about pesticides and bad growing practices. Is it okay to be eating ginger from Peru and getting hot peppers from California just because they are organic? I am torn. Let me know what you think!

What’s more important?! Local or Organic?

Have a great start to your week!


About Sarah Tombler

I live in Ottawa, Canada with my husband and our twins. I work for the Public Service, and I have been a vegetarian for 18 years. Over the years, I have started to understand that what we eat effects us, through mood, weight and positive thoughts. I am working towards cutting most animal products from my diet, in an attempt to live a life of compassion, and to do what I can to help this small planet of ours. I also love letting people know that the secret to happiness may be as simple as what we put in our bodies. View all posts by Sarah Tombler

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