Lori’s Kitchen Nightmares

Project Meal Prep | Lori's kitchen nightmares
A terribly edited photo of my face superimposed onto Gordon Ramsey’s face

We’ve all had mishaps in the kitchen:

using the wrong ingredient

burning food

burning our fingers

cutting our fingers

Here are some that were particularly memorable for me:

1. Rubbing chili peppers into my face

I didn’t rub actual peppers into my face… it’s more like I was cutting peppers, washed my hands once, and then rubbed my face. It burned so much, I might as well have rubbed the seeds directly onto my face.

Washing your hands once is definitely NOT ENOUGH to get the spice off. Really, I should have been wearing gloves.

This happened to me twice, which shows how much I learned my lesson.

The first and worst time was with a Scotch Bonnet pepper, which is on the 3rd highest level of spice (on the same range as Habanero peppers). The second time was with a Serrano pepper.

I went crazy both times and tried anything to make the pain stop. I found the most relief in submerging my face into a bowl of iced milk and sticking my face under the tap running cold water for like 20 minutes.

Moral of the story: Wear gloves when handling hot peppers.

2. That time my mixer broke

“That mixer” being my Kitchenaid standing mixer, which is a couple of hundred dollars.

I forgot what I was making, but it required me to knead or mix for a while, so I left the mixer on and suddenly it stops. The motor feels hot, and when I try to turn it on again, it just makes a weird noise and doesn’t move.

I called Kitchenaid and they said you aren’t supposed to leave the mixer running for more than 4 minutes or something. I had to buy a new mixer, and was kicking myself about what I did.

Moral of the story: Don’t leave your mixer running for too long.

3. Melting a plastic spatula in the toaster oven

I pre-heated my toaster oven and walked away. Several minutes later, there’s a lot of smoke and a strong chemical smell coming from the kitchen. I had just moved, and for some reason there was a plastic spatula in the toaster oven!

There’s melted plastic inside the oven, and I’m worried I’m going to get cancer from inhaling all the fumes. To add to the chaos, my fire alarm also went off.

Moral of the story: Check if the oven is empty before turning it on.

4. Dropping one layer of a cake

Not too long ago, I had a second attempt at baking a layer cake. I was too impatient to wait for the cake layers to cool completely before frosting, so the frosting was melting a little.

I was carrying the frosted cake across the kitchen, and suddenly the top layer slid off the cake — due to the slickness of the melted frosting — and fell onto the floor.

Baking a layered cake requires quite a lot of time and effort, so I was on the verge of freaking out.

Moral of the story: Just freaking wait for the cake to cool completely before frosting.

5. Eating a rotten watermelon

One time I ordered groceries from a grocery delivery service called Instacart. In the “special instructions”, to make sure I got a good watermelon, I asked the shopper to pick the heaviest one.

Well, she did. It was really heavy. However, when I cut it open, it looked weird. I took a small spoonful of the juice, and it was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted. I could have thrown up. The watermelon was rotten! I had temporary watermelon trauma afterward, where even thinking about watermelon made me feel sick.

Moral of the story: The heaviest watermelon is not always a good one!

6. Butter, butter, everywhere

This happened before I became a vegan. I was making pretzels by hand, because my mixer broke (see nightmare #2).

The recipe for the dough required you to blend a stick of butter with the dry ingredients, using your hands.

For the first few minutes, I was freaking out because there was just butter all over my hands and everywhere, and it seemed like it wasn’t ever going to become incorporated into dough. I told myself to just keep kneading and to believe in the recipe. Eventually, after 10-15 minutes, I actually had a smooth dough.

Moral of the story: Just keep kneading. And sometimes you don’t need a mixer. I mean, what did they do in the olden days, before electricity?

Do you have any particularly memorable kitchen mishaps?

Clean & cool summer snacks

Project Meal Prep | Clean, cool, vegan summer snacks
Photo by robbplusjessie

I’m still in Toronto and there’s been a heat wave warning for this week. Today and tomorrow, we’ll reach a high of 34 C / 93.2 F!

I’ve been seeking relief by staying in my sister’s basement and working from air conditioned coffee shops. However, my boyfriend’s car’s A/C is broken, so sitting in traffic is the worst. The fan and the A/C can’t work at the same time, so you have to turn the A/C on for a few seconds, then switch to the fan so cold air blows out. Then after 3 seconds, there’s no more cold air so you have to start over again.

Anyway…!

If you’re doing a lot of backyard grilling and going to summer BBQs, you might be looking for something a little more interesting, healthy but still vegan to eat. I feel like people usually do grilled veggies (which can get boring), chips & salsa (not so waist-friendly) and non-vegan ice cream (none for me).

Here are some super easy, fruit and veggie-based summer party snacks to mix it up. Each thing takes like 2 seconds of effort to make, which is nice because it’s too hot to deal with anything complicated.

Watermelon slushie

This drink is so refreshing and full of watermelon-y goodness.

  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • maple syrup to taste (optional)
  1. Cut the watermelon into chunks and freeze for 8 hours or overnight
  2. Put the chunks into a blender with as much maple syrup as you like, and blend until smooth
  3. Pour into glasses and drink through a straw

Mango dip

This is a sweet, refreshing, low-carb alternative to the usual chips and guac or chips and salsa.

  • 3 ripe Manila mangos
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  1. Slice each mango into thirds, with the middle section being the seed.
  2. Cut a grid onto the outer thirds, then flip inside out and slice off the cubes that stick out.
  3. Put the mango cubes into a food processor and blend until smooth
  4. Pull the leaves off the Romaine and dip into the pureed mango

Grilled peaches

Millions of peaches, peaches for me!

  • peaches
  • a couple dashes of cinnamon (optional)
  1. Run a knife through the middle of each peach, going around the pit
  2. Pull each half apart and remove the pit
  3. Grill until slightly charred
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon

Grilled pineapple

You could also do this over a fire when camping!

  • 1 pineapple
  • lime juice, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  1. Slice off the outside of the pineapple, then cut into 8 long wedges
  2. Remove the core from each wedge
  3. Grill until slightly charred
  4. Add a little lime juice, salt, and cayenne on each wedge

Coconut water popsicles

These are full of electrolytes and natural sweetness, unlike many store-bought popsicles that are filled with high-fructose corn syrup (!!). Since the frozen coconut water is clear, you can see all the pretty fruits, too.

  • 1 can or bottle of pure coconut water
  • assorted frozen or fresh fruits, such as kiwi, strawberries, mango, pineapple, and blueberries.
  1. Chop the frozen fruit into pieces that will fit into a popsicle mold
  2. Fill the molds with as much fruit as you like. You might have to press some of the fruit onto the sides of the mold so they don’t all clump together at the bottom.
  3. Fill the remaining empty space in the molds with coconut water
  4. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight