Monday Dare: Apocalypse a’comin’

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Try, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please, feel free to throw them. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: I will learn to cook. Surely, this is a sign of the Apocalypse. Run, bitches, run.


See? I haven’t even started and I’m already in despair. This is probably a bad sign.

You know what else is a bad sign?

When you boil noodles to make spaghetti and you run upstairs to take the curlers out of your hair and your daughter tells you she smells fire. Why do children like to make shit up?

You tell her it’s probably some nefarious vagrants outside burning leaves but then your smoke detector goes off. God, Harv, seriously? Didn’t I ask you to change those batteries?

You unroll your curlers leisurely, ignoring the sound of the alarm and send a nasty stinky-eye outside.

Lordy, can’t those vagrants take their pyrotechic hobby somewhere else? Their little shenanigans are setting off MY smoke alarm.

Then, you remember all your windows are closed. Wait…..

Oh, yeah, maybe it’s time to check on that spaghetti.

Folks, I can’t distinguish a cheese grater from a teapot but trust me when I tell you, break those noodles in half before you slip them into the pot. Noodles hanging out of pot= fire hazard.

Also, if your husband is on a business trip and you text him to make sure you have some sort of home or fire insurance and he only texts back “yes” without even asking what is going on, it means that you’re not fooling anyone with your shitty cooking skills, so it’s time to buck up and learn to cook.


Any ideas for a quick and easy first recipe I can master?

Please don’t list it if it requires a knife (butterfingers), stove (I like hair spray), water (slip and fall hazard), freezer (frostbite), oven (gets hot, y’all), fork (pointy) or oil (splatter-y).

Answer me this: If I’m learning to cook this week and I want to jump off a bridge, are these two things related?

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  • Corrine

    OK…I think I have one even you can manage :).

    Pour milk in a glass, add some chocolate syrup, stir, enjoy!

  • Kristyn

    OK Liz you’re going to have to grow a pair (ewwww balls are gross) and cook with actual heat, water and maybe some oil! I suck at cooking too, so I literally cannot think of any recipe for you off the top of my head. I’ll get back with you shortly…

  • areyoukiddingme

    Rice and Mac & Cheese have microwave directions these days. Also, sandwiches are delicious. You can even put lettuce on them for bonus nutrition!

  • GlamorousArmy
  • TheBabyMammaChronicles

    Haha, you are hillarious. How about a lasagna you cook in the microwave. Here’s a link to a recipe I didn’t make this exact one but I’ve made one in the past and it was pretty simple and turned out pretty well. Good luck! You can do it!

  • Christie

    Try this one…although you’ll have to use an oven; though I suppose a microwave could do the job too. Good news is, you can skip the knife and use a chopper. :)

  • sophieredhead

    Okay–this breaks some of your rules, but I think if you go slowly and carefully, you can manage it. It takes 5 cans and 2 envelopes, a lb of burger, an onion.
    Brown the hamburger meat (in a pot–not a frying pan. Add the onions (these can be purchased in the vegetable section already diced–see, no knife?). Open a can of white corn, a can of diced rotele tomatoes and peppers, a can of kidney beans, a can of pinto beans, and a large can of diced tomatoes (be sure not to buy the italian seasoned ones–this would be wrong). Dump all the cans into the pot. Open an envelope of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix and an envelope of taco seasoning mix. Mix these into the pot. Let it simmer on a very low heat for a while–stirring every 15 minutes or so. Serve with tostito chips and grated chees purchased in a pre-grated state to avoid the grater. This is so freaking easy and it tastes good. I have confidence in you!

  • Theresa

    i just want to hug you. i was really starting to think i was the only mom on the planet who didn’t know how to cook and hated the kitchen.

    i watched my husband (the cook in our house) make a mexican lasagna last night. i’m going to ask him exactly what he did so i can post it, but it really only looked like he took a casserole dish, spread a bunch of stuff layer by layer, then put it in the oven for 20 mins. i’m proud to say i probably could’ve done it myself without burning the house down.

  • joan

    Hi – see if the library has a cookbook oriented to kids Cal’s age, and set about cooking stuff with her. Also, there are some good books oriented towards beginners by some great chefs – see if your library has those. Here is a site that gives pretty good explanations:
    Too bad schools dropped “life skills” for more test-taking…

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Corrine- Excellent. This is what my family will be having for dinner tonight. When they ask what is going on, I will tell them you gave me the brilliant idea. Love!

    Kristyn-Ha! Ok, I will grow some gross balls and make some oily, hot meals.

    areyoukiddingme- did you peak in my kitchen window and see that box of 18 Mac and Cheese Microwave packs? Lettuce? I like the way you think. Extra nutrition with almost no effort.

  • Jennifer Clark

    Dear Elizabeth- OK, you just hit one of my hot buttons. YOU MUST LEARN TO COOK! The healthy and safety of you, your family and the Free World depends on this!!!

    I have two immediate suggestions. First, get a hold of a copy of Mark Bittman’s “How To Cook Everything” This is the best all-purpose cookbook written. Bittman’s isn’t a trained chef, he’s a home cook who is a great writer. Second, get your *ass* up to Mayberry for some cooking lessons! A woman your age unable to feed herself….. OY!

  • Staci

    If you can not cook that must mean you are svelte and fabulous. Over the summer that !@#$ Pioneer Woman made me put back all of the weight I had lost. She is fab but not so fab for my waistline. :-(
    I also agree with Joan. I learned how to cook in high school. Best class I ever took.


    This is why you’re fabulous. Secondly–hot dogs. Lots and lots of Hot Dogs (I believe that Ms. Jennifer Clark may gut me for saying that, though.)

  • Jennifer Clark

    Good lord, ohnoa! I love a good hot dog as much as the next Midwesterner (especially a polish dog with hot mustard and kraut!) but plu-leeze! Do you have *any* idea what’s *in* those things?!!? Foods that give you cancer should be considered an occational treat, not a lifestyle….

  • Ptolemy’s Daughter

    Some of my late-working friends swear by crackers-and-cheese (and wine) for dinner. I believe you can get cheese pre-sliced to avoid using sharp cutty things. Also, crackers are great for dipping in things like hummus, salsa, guacamole etc – no cutting required, HEAPS of different varieties (and thus different vegetables) are available, thus covering all your nutitional bases. If you can’t get really nice cheese pre-sliced, you’ll just have to bite hunks off it, in which case, no-one else will be able to share it with you – what a shame!
    Another thought further to the sensible suggestion of sandwiches – you can do wraps (in tortillas/naan bread) too – which are basically rolled up sandwiches, but the different shape makes them seem like a TOTALLY different thing altogehter. I could never get away with serving sandwiches for dinner, but I’ve gotten away with wraps more times than I can count! Your deli is your friend when it comes to fillings.

  • Unintentional Housewife

    I’m pretty sure my margarita recipe fits the bill. Especially if you go with the jars of lemon and lime juice.

    I feel your pain. I did not used to cook. I strongly recommend America’s Test Kitchen (I can catch episodes on our local PBS affiliate, but I’m not sure where to find it in LA).

    Did I ever mention that I jumped off the side of a cliff once? Not a bridge, but still. I understand that pain as well.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Glamorous- Awww…thanks! On my way to check it out…..

    Babymamma- real food in a microwave. you’re my kind of woman

    Christie- Ok, I can do this! And, BONUS, Cal is going to love it. Did you know you saved my kid from eating yet another bad meal? Give yourself that pat on the back.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Sophie- i heart you. you gave me a recipe, you gave me encouragement and you reminded me that things come presliced at the store. Awesome with a capital A.

    Theresa- see! jeggings and we hate to cook! told you it was meant to be! also, i wanna git me some of that mexican lasagna. throw me the recipe if you get the chance.=)

    Joan- is this where I admit that I was in home economics? And also, is this where I have to tell you that in class, I was trying to pour everyone a glass of juice and it ended up on my face? Thank you for the great idea….yeah, lets focus on those kids books. If a 5 year old can do it, so can I.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Jennifer Clark and Noa Gavin- Please do not have a throwdown on my blog. If you feel like you need to carry this further, please give me advance notice. I would like to pop some popcorn first. Also, I went to and uncovered the shocking fact that y’all are actually sisters, so it’s probably a good idea to be nice to each other.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Jennifer- Im coming over. Send me your address.

    Staci- you just get more and more fascinating. You know how to cook, you teach little kids and you haven’t maimed a single one yet and you’re a crafter extraordinaire. Why do I still like not dislike you?

    Noa- Hot dogs?? Lady, I ain’t that good in the kitchen yet. One step at a time, ho.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Ptolemy’s Daughter- Hola! Glad you are here. Also, how noble of you to come with some handy, EASY tips. People have been suggesting really difficult things like a hot dog, and I’m not really sure if these people think I’m a culinary genius, but they obviously don’t know me that well. =)

    UnintentionalHousewife- Bless you times 1000 for suggesting a margarita. Are you, by chance, a genius?

  • Jennifer Clark

    This afternoon, I made turkey stock, with which I then made turkey & rice soup flavored with organic herbs from my garden. I also made crusty bread. From scratch. Without a bread machine.

    I’m just sayin’…..

  • Rachel

    Liz – though I know how, I don’t typically cook much for myself…however I did buy the “Any Bitch Can Cook” book for my friend who ate a lot of Easy Mac!
    Chips and Salsa are my go to easy dinner!

  • RollerScrapper

    hmm, can’t you just send your daughter to some cooking classes after school? Wouldn’t that count both as personal enrichment and make sure she has assignments to cook dinner for class projects? :)

  • Penelope

    Best of luck…I LOVE cooking now! Start with soups and pasta recipes. Those usually turn out well!

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    jennifer- see, that’s how i know we could be friends. kick a sister when she’s down. =)

    rachel- i will listen to ANY book that has the work “bitch” in the title. thanks for the recommendation. also, chips and salsa can be a great breakfast, brunch, lunch, and snack option, too.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    roller- yep, you’re pretty much ready to be an awesome parent. them are some wise words.

    penelope- soup! yes! i can do that! i already own a can opener. oh wait, do you mean the stuff you make at home. okay, i will try that too.

  • bschooled

    The answer to your question is yes.

    I applaud your effort, Elizabeth. In College, I spent an entire semester eating the exact same frozen dinner every night, because a)I’m picky, and b)The only thing I fear more than clowns and Tom Bergeron jokes are all things kitchen-related.

    I finally learned how to make barely-edible chicken and still crunchy baked potatoes, but it took a long time…

  • Wendy

    the proper way to cook things that doesn’t involve death, dismemberment, copious amounts of blood, or burning the house down is to order it pick up the phone, dial 1-800-Dominos and sit back and wait for the doorbell to chime.

    While you are waiting, it can be fun to throw on something exceptionally inappropriately sexy so that when the pizza guy shows up at the door, you can say something like, “oh! I forgot I ordered pizza! We were just….uh….in the middle of something.”

    Not that I would EVER do anything like that.

    Sometimes, when I am feeling generous and rich, I also order food for the single mom around the corner, pay for it when the pizza guy comes to my house, and then send him around the corner to deliver the extra pizza/soda to her house already paid for. Makes me feel good about myself, seeing as how I am a single mom but I have my shit together a little better than she does.

    PIZZA PHILANTHROPY(tm)(r)(c)(et al)(esq.)(the Third)

  • Kernut the Blond

    One word saved me from starving to death: Toaster Oven (ok, apparently it’s two words).

    Super easy, and the fires are small enough to put out – often before the smoke alarm goes off (it helps if you stay near by, tho.)

    Quesadillas with veggies. Take tortilla, cover with cheese, add zucchini, tomatoes, whatever. Put on small pan or tinfoil, in oven for 8-12 minutes at 350, toast until cheese melts. Dinner is ready.

    This method works for most anything: pizza, toasted sandwiches (grilled cheese is now toasted cheese – just tell Cal there was a name change), baked brie on sourdough, cookies, etc.

    For muffins, or scrambled eggs, use small ramekins or tins. Add mix, or eggs and veggies and cheese, then bake same as above.

    I’ve survived for years like this. It’s totally doable.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    bschooled- that sounds delicious. i would like to come over for dinner. you seem to be an excellent chef.

    wendy- *hand over heart* you are seriously awesome. not only for giving me the number to domino’s but because you are a wonderful person. let’s be friends.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    kernut- whoa, you just condensed a whole little awesome cookbook into one comment. my family thanks you. also, their bellies thank you too.

  • Wendy

    can we spit on our pinky fingers and rub them together and swear to be best friends until we die? and THEN! And THEN!!! can we get necklaces that are split down the middle so we can match them up and be best necklace friends?! AND AND AND!….. sad to say, I might have just made up the number for Dominos. BUT! I just googled it and it turns out I am some kind of pizza phone number idiot savant (Pizza Number Rainman! WOOO!) because yeah, that number works.

    and thanks. I agree. let’s be friends.

  • Amanda

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! My husband replies to my texts with responses like “Please quit texting me with this shit.” and “What is WRONG with you.” As long as I’m laughing I’m happy! The very first time I cooked for my husband and in-laws, I cooked chicken breasts and it promptly got named Chicken Sahara. Any time I cook chicken now, it gets called Chicken Fuckalupagus. With that intro, I’m not going to leave you any chicken recipes. I wouldn’t want your family ending up with salmonella. Good luck on this new adventure!

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Wendy- Wait. I may need some space. It’s obvious that you’re a wonderful person AND you are a phone number psychic AND you are funny AND you’re a philanthropist. I’m not really sure I can be friends with someone who is just THAT much better than me. Tell me you have a third arm or something.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Amanda- psst….could our husbands be reading from the same marriage manual? also, chicken fuckalupagus sounds exquisite. I would really like the recipe for that.

  • RollerScrapper

    Oh and PS I forgot a recipe. I like Sam the Cooking Guy b/c he makes food out of real stuff that you would have in your kitchen, he’s the reason I started cooking more…and I went to a cooking class with him and he taught this…Five Minute Stir Fry Noodles keep in mind when he says packages of ramen he means “cup o noodles”…clearly even he has trouble sometimes ;)
    I made it for a work potluck and everyone was asking for more…and please don’t judge me that I went to a Chinese food cooking lesson from a white dude.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    roller- Ha! That my dear, is really the root of all problems with cooking shows….”wait, I don’t baby broccolini grown in the virgin lands of the Amazon. Damn, I guess I can’t make that recipe either.” Okay, I will check out this dude who only cooks with stuff in a real person’s kitch. Also, I’m a big judger, but I’m going to let your confession slide because I really like you and I’m just kinda hoping you’ll make me this dish when i see you.=)

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    with all of these amazing suggestions and helpful advice, i really feel like this is a good time to ask my husband where the kitchen is.

  • Wendy

    Bad Things About Me To Make Liz Feel Better About Herself:
    1. When something in my house smells funny or disgusting or like there is decomposing happening under my very roof, instead of sniffing the smell out and discarding it, I just light a smelly candle and pretend I never smelled it in the first place.

    2. I do not clean toilets. I have a small boy who can’t pee in the toilet because apparently boy pee can’t get in there? or something? but I don’t clear it. I make him, starting when he was FIVE!, clean his own toilet. I still wipe poop off his sister, I don’t need to be cleaning up his pee. This makes me a bad mom.

    3. when the dog or cat pukes in the floor, I pretend I never saw it. Or walked past it 300 bazillion times. What’s that? when did that happen? So long ago it’s starting to melt into the floor? oh, well then, if I just wait a little longer it’ll disappear completely and I won’t have had to touch it.

    4. I step on baby birds and kill them. Akin to third arms, I’m sure.

    5. When I found out my friend had one inverted nipple, instead of sympathizing with the emotional angst this must cause her, I laughed. and laughed. and laughed. because it just seemed like her boobs might be winking. I’m pretty sure I undid years of therapy.

    6. I have horrible adult acne that I can not get rid of no matter how hard I try. Sometimes I think about cutting off the skin on the bottom half of my face and putting new skin on that was harvest from my butt, because it’s not fair that my butt skin should be so soft and supple (and jiggly! ACK!) and my face should look like that of my friend’s teenage son.

    7. Did I mention I step on defenseless baby birds and KILL THEM MID-CHIRP?

    8. I don’t replace the batteries in my kids’ toys no matter how often they request it because I know when I replace the batteries the toy when then become annoying loud and noisy and I just don’t want to listen to it.

    9. There is more, but I have to go suffer through a wedding now. A wedding I REALLY REALLY don’t want to attend because of the following very important reason: NO FREE ALCOHOL. I have no soul. Clearly.

    (Additional bad things. I wrote this and hit post on SATURDAY and it is now Monday morning and I have sat back down at the computer only to realize that “preview” and “post”? NOT SO MUCH THE SAME THING. duh.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Wendy- Wow, clearly you are a REAL SAINT. I can’t believe you go to the trouble of lighting a candle when you smell something stinky. What is it in you that allows you to make all that effort. Seriously, i can’t even be bothered. I just let it stink. Then I hope someone else will take care of it. I am awesome. Please acknowledge that.

    Geez, I realize that I’ve called you a saint like a fajillion times now but that’s who you are to me now. Every time I see “Wendy” I think “saint.” DID YOU BRAINWASH ME????????

    I can’t believe you just reminded me of the whole bird kill debacle. I was just getting over it and now….well, now, out friendship is rocky all over again.

    Oh and Duh, of course you don’t want to go to a wedding with no free alcohol. That’s not even a real celebration, yo.

    oh, and i love you. bye!

  • Wendy

    YOU ARE AWESOME! (comment acknowledged)

  • littlemissgonnabe

    Seriously. Get a rice cooker. It changed my life.