I tend to think of myself as a creative person -- I write this here blog anyway, and was an art major for two years in college -- but I don't know...maybe its the execution I tend to fail at. (See photo of blue spray painted hand in that afore-linked-to post.) I think my flaws really lie in my wanting to cut corners and not spend all the money necessary to make something work. I see a can of spray adhesive at Wal-Mart marked at $7.89 and think, "Why spend eight bucks on something I'll probably only use ONCE when I have perfectly good glue sticks at home?!?"
I should really know by now that the $8 can of spray adhesive is worth oh so much more when it means I won't be going crazy chasing down the paper doilies that are blowing away in the breeze instead of sticking to the damn canvases I spent $22 on and with which I intend to make this "super cute and easy craft!"
My need to create ebbs and flows, sort of like my inspiration to post something here. My motivation to cook something using a real recipe works much the same way. So I knew it would only be a matter of time before I found myself in the clearance aisle at Michael's again, trying to determine if I could get away with that frame that's marked down to $4.99 but that's a wee bit too small for what I need.
You should also know that I set the default home pages of my Web browser at work to open up blogs or Web sites that are inspirational or that have pretty pictures on them. I change them up every so often, but they help to start my day off well. Even if I don't get to read anything on any of those blogs for the day, the images and positive words in the headlines make me feel good. This past winter, I added the Pioneer Woman's blog to my rotation.
I kind of equate reading Pioneer Woman with watching Oprah. If you want to have a successful blog, you should read the blogs of other successful writers. If you want to live a successful life, you watch Oprah.
So PW is known for her recipes. (She does have her own cooking show, you know...) So when I found myself with a pork loin in my freezer, I decided to search her blog for a recipe for it that might be just slightly more creative than my norm but still be within my comfort zone. I found one she calls Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Preserves.
The recipe was easy - you season your pork loin with Herbs de Provence and roast it. While its in the oven, you make a sauce on the stove using some sort of fruit preserves. In her posted recipe, PW used fig, but mentioned you could use peach or plum or just about anything you like. That week I had done my grocery shopping at Target, and their choices for preserves were a little limited. I ended up finding blackberry preserves that sounded really tasty.
Now, you should know that I have one son that will eat just about anything. Nick likes spicy foods, and listed sushi as one of his favorite things on his second grade class assignment. When we go to Panera he regularly orders a bread bowl filled with french onion soup, and stopped ordering most meals off the kids' menu around age four. Will, on the other hand, is my picky eater. I have to bargain with him to get him to eat his veggies, and he declares just about any kind of potatoes to be "disgusting". He once wouldn't eat his pop tart because the frosting had turned a bit brown. It'll do that, you know, IF YOU TOAST IT.
Anyway...so this meal. I figured it would win out because A) its meat, and even the picky eater will eat meat, and B) the sauce is fruity - what kid doesn't like fruity? and C) why the heck wouldn't it?
Only...when you scoop blackberry preserves out of a small glass jar and add vinegar as the recipe indicates, it starts to thin out. And you see that its not really purple as it is...a really dark reddish...pink.
So when I cut my nicely seasoned, perfectly roasted pork loin that I was oh so proud of because it turned out just the way the recipe said it should (finally) into picturesque "on the diagonal" slices and drizzled the fruity sauce over the top and proudly served it to my family, the last thing I expected to hear from The Good Eater was,
"OH MY GOD MOM, IS THAT BLOOD?!?"
Both of their eyes were bugging out of their heads.
"EEEWW EEEWW EEEWW! I AM NOT EATING BLOODY MEAT!"
Unsure of what to do, I set the plates down in front of them anyway.
"DAD NEVER MAKES US EAT BLOODY MEAT, MOM."
Followed by a
"I'M GONNA PUKE IF YOU MAKE ME EAT BLOOD."
It was too late. Any argument I made that it was, in fact, NOT blood was met by fake gagging and choruses of "I'm gonna throw up!" I finally won (a little) by getting them each new plates and serving them pork that didn't have any sauce on it, but for the most part, kid-wise, the recipe was a bust. (I will note that it was absolutely delicious and if your kids are even slightly sane or if you have no heathens at all that I highly recommend it. Or, you know, you could just use a type of preserves that isn't RED.)
And then, after they went to bed that night? I went one step further into crazyland.
I crafted something.