Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Weight Loss

Oh boy. Srsly? Yes. It has to be. I have to do it. For me, of course. There seems to be a long process to getting started. Many days of thinking and thinking and thinking. I've been wallowing for too long. It's time. Summer is coming. I have some money to spend on clothes that's burning a hole - not just in my pocket - but in my side. Ouch!

I hope that I don't get to ranting too much. I apologize in advance if I do. This is an emotionally charged topic, after all.

Let's start with food. I llllluuuuuurrrrvvvvvvvvvvvv food. I remember when I was about 15 or 16, my mom had made something for dinner that was fantastic and I was on my second or third helping. Just in love with the whole process of burying myself in the food. When my Dad interrupted my stupor by pointing out that there are a lot of people in our family who love to eat and I should be careful. I was cute then. Little backend, flat stomach. Cute. Are you kidding, I thought? I can eat whatever I want. And, yes. Then I could. You see, somehow food makes me feel REALLY good. I love the texture, the action of chewing, the flavors. I get a lot of satisfaction (that's an understatement) out of making or getting my hands on something I rate as a favorite and eating it. Like my beloved Costa Vida Sweet Pork Salad. Or, my chocolate chip cookies. My point is that these things are far too connected to my emotional well-being. They hold me together when I'm feeling a little (or a lot) fractured. Wow. That's a little profound, isn't it?

I stayed pretty cute until I was about 19. I put on a little extra weight that year and it surprised me. Through some very unhealthy means, I lost a ton of weight the next year. I was thinner at 20 and 21 then I'd ever been - or have been since. 130 pounds of skinny. Almost a size 8. But see, even as a near-skeleton I'm still a size 8. I just have those bones.

Anyway, I got married at 22 and between that and some serious emotional things I was working through, I found myself wearing a size 16. Holy cow. I know.

With the first baby, I gained 50 lbs. After he was born, I'd only lost about 13. I'd been told that nursing would eek off a ton of weight. Whatever. I was just as hungry nursing as I had been pregnant and I didn't lose weight. In fact, it started going up again.

With the second baby, I gained 55 lbs. I tried really hard. I'd actually lost 8 in the first couple of months because I felt so gross and I was excited to be ahead of the game. By the time I'd made it to 20 weeks, I'd only gained that 8 back and was still even! But then, in the last 20 weeks I gained all of that 55 pounds. It was amazing. After baby number 2, I experienced a very serious bout of post-pardom that didn't really get bad until 6-8 months after he was born. Once I got medicated enough to start functioning again, I began walking. Then going to the gym. Then it just naturally began to affect my appetite and over the course of a year, I lost 75 lbs. I had muscle tone. I looked fantastic. Honey wouldn't leave me alone. I remember being really annoyed that a group of our friends absolutely never (not once) made a single comment or reference to the fact that I had lost a whopping 75 lbs. It wasn't a subtle change. The bastards.

Anyway.....here's a before and after.

Is that really my belly?


Brian was constantly taking pictures of me after the weight came off. Duh. Of course he was.

This is me with all of my sisters and my mom. Oh boy - I MISS you guys. In order, left to right; Gretchen, Me, Martha, Mom, Jacque, Sara and Jessica. This was an awesome girls reunion in Red Lodge, MT over the 4th of July.

So....looking those over was fun.

We moved to a new house, new neighborhood, new ward. I tried to keep up with my gym routine. I lulled myself into believing that I'd made it and didn't have to work at it anymore. Then I got lazy. Then I went into complete denial and it was all downhill from there. The closer we got to getting pregnant with baby number 3, the more I allowed myself to be lazy and just figured I would take care of it after she was born.

This is right before the c-section (three of those, you know. That has a lot to do with the inability to acquire a flat stomach now - and that's not denial. That's fact). Uh...why did I let him take this picture?

Christmas morning. Sassy was 2-3 wks old.

I decided to join a group of friends and train to run my first half marathon. That's 13.1 miles, in case you were wondering. It was also 16 weeks of training. Running. Running. Running. Gradually working up to 10 miles a couple of weeks before the race and then pulling the 13.1 on the day. It was supposed to help me get jump-started. Supposed to help me lose some weight. Gize, I didn't lose a single pound. Here's me at the finish line.

I wasn't last. Close to last. I think there were 5 or 6 people who finished behind me. My dad asked me jokingly if I'd beat the blind guy with the one leg. I told him that guy passed me.

I went on to train for a second race and did the half in Moab about 6 months later. I'd shaved off 16 lbs by then and spent the entire 13.1 miles of that race visualizing 16 boxes of butter laying on the side of the road. I cut 15 minutes off my time. It was so great! I can't even tell you how good I felt after that race. Extremely sore, but SO good!

So a couple of weeks after, I started pushing myself. I wanted to increase my pace. I ran intervals of sprinting and jogging to get my body used to the faster time. I paid $500 for a 12 week endurance training class at the gym. That worked out to $14 per session (unbelievable cost for being able to work with a personal trainer). Halfway through the course, I had shin pain that I couldn't ignore any longer. After a few weeks of going to the doctor, physical therapy, x-rays and MRI's, I found out that I had Plantar Fasciitis. A problem with the bottom of my feet. Not only that, I had torn my fascia in my right foot. This can lead to foot and ankle pain, shin pain, problems clear up into your back. It's not fun. I had to stop running. I'd just been selected in the lottery for the St. George Marathon. I was seriously going to run 26.2. I was gonna do it. I had to quit. I couldn't. So, I quit. And I rested. And I waited. Then, it came time to start up again so I could do Moab again. I had to go really slow. My feet were still tender and I had to be careful. Then, (isn't this great?) I hurt my back. I picked up my 72 lb son and screwed it up. I was in serious pain for quite a while and it took over three weeks for it to finally subside. I couldn't do Moab either. That spawned an internal tantrum that I think I'm still having. That also led into an emotional down-spiral. I'm having trouble getting pulled out of that one and - of course - I'm using food to make myself feel better. I haven't packed back on all of those boxes of butter, but I'm getting there. And the worse it gets, the more unhappy I become. What a nasty snowball effect that is.

Here I am with Sassy, enjoying some of Honey's wonderful waffles.
Looking chubby. Ge'ez!

You do realize that I'm sharing pictures with you that I don't love. I'm showing you things that I wish didn't exist. I'm standing up and announcing, "My name is _______ and I'm a compulsive weight-packer-onner." Not enough to be on Biggest Loser. But enough that I'm entirely uncomfortable in my clothes and painfully aware of it all at the same time.

You can see how this has led me to this post. Sorry folks. It has to be done. I'm trying to kick my own back end into returning to that post-baby-#2-size. I wasn't only thin, but I was strong and in good shape. Biceps even.

Can I just vent my tantrum tho? Why do I have to work so *(&$#@ hard? The minute I take my eye off the ball - even just for a minute - all weight loss entirely halts and if I drop the ball completely? I gain back everything in a fraction of the time it took to take it off. I'm not exaggerating. I don't know how to reconcile that.

I've been blessed with that genetic gold mine - the big butt gold mine. I was talking with one of my sisters on the phone Sunday while she was getting dressed for church and she said, talking out loud to herself, "Holy big butt!" I laughed and laughed. Holy big butt is right. I couldn't have been more amused by that. Thanks Sis! No offense to my grandmothers, but they were big girls. Most of my aunts are big girls. It's in the blood people and I can't escape. I can run, but I know I won't be able to hide.

So here's my dilemma. I don't enjoy being fat. I don't enjoy gaining weight. I don't enjoy feeling it on myself all the time. It makes me anti-social and grouchy. It makes me eat more. At the same time, I don't enjoy how hard it is to take it off, or how vigilant I have to be to keep it off. It's exhausting. It's ridiculous. Am I really going to spend the rest of my life fighting the genetic code that makes me a big girl? Only to find that someday I'm gonna be a big girl anyway? A round, soft, plumpy grandma.

Ok...who doesn't love a round, soft, plumpy grandma? They give the best hugs.

My point is, when I finally get to be that grandma, am I going to wonder why I spent so much energy and time in trying to avoid the inevitable?

Oh heck. I'm only 34. I can't give up yet. Or I'll be that much rounder when I'm a grandma. How come I find myself wishing I could get the thyroid thing my mom has that makes her thin? How come I wish I had the will power to starve myself? How unhealthy is that? My plan is to see what I can do on my own. If it isn't working, I may just enroll myself into one of those boot camp things at the gym and beg for that scary yelling guy to get me back into shape.

My friend posted a list of questions she'd asked her kids. Question #15 was 'What makes you proud of your mom?' One of her kids answered,

"That you're not fat like a lot of moms."

(pause for effect)

That right there is motivation enough to decide that I'm not going to accept my genetic big butt gold mine. It won't be easy, at all. It's just sitting there in the back of my mind, waiting for it's turn to take over, and it's way too distracting.

Maybe I'll put it up for sale on Craig's List.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I watched Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice last week. Hmmmmmmm. I think I'm losing it. I mean, I think they've lost me. I'm so annoyed by so much of it now that it's hard to find it entertaining. I'm relieved that Izzie finally had her surgery, people know, blah blah blah. But Currev (how do you spell that anyway?) donating his 'boys' without her permission is WEIRD! I'm annoyed that Derek tried to propose to Meridith and she just said no - not right now. What? But, it bugged that he was just handing her the ring and saying, so here it is. Dumb. Thank heavens he finally did something romantic and unexpected and sweet and proposed like he should and she finally said yes. I'm annoyed that Christina is trying to be so understanding of mister went to Iraq and is mentally destroyed. He's hurt her too much now and I'm glad that she dumped him. But they sealed the deal first -and they showed SO much of it on TV. Why? Anyway - I'm kinda over it. Sorry Grey's. Too much garbage. Too many completely obvious gimmicks to keep people hooked.

Private Practice is just trash. I knew it was trash when they started it, I know it every time I watch an episode and I knew it when I quit in the middle of the last one and deleted it from my DVR. :::gag:::

Heroes. I like Heroes. I am a little tired of Claire. I'm tired of never knowing which side Noah is on. I can't stand the new bad guy who's hunting up all of the heroes. Hiro is getting annoying. I don't know. I'm not ready to pull the plug on this one yet...but I'm close.

LOST. Now I have a special affection for LOST. Honey's not as excited as he used to be, but I still love it.

AI. My favorite thing about American Idol is talking to my friends about it. I hate the people who stay on and have no business being there and the people who get voted off and shouldn't have. And there were decisions the judges made before voting was in the mix that I didn't understand either. PLEEEEEASE let them phase Paula out. Pleeeeease someone get her in rehab. Yikes.

So, I guess that's all. I'm such a brat, huh?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


New Blog!!!

Come see the new Recipe Blog my sister and I just started! Who doesn't want new ideas, right?


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Singing In Church

So...this is the first time in years that I've been able to record myself singing in church. Honey has this neat little app on his iPhone, click the button, taa daaaaaa! The sound is pretty good. He fiddled with it in GarageBand for a little while to bring the volume up. I hope you enjoy it. I'm singing Come Thou Fount and my friend Nancy is playing the piano. (Oh yeah -- I forgot...at the beginning, you can hear my Sassy singing along. SO cute!!!) (She had to listen to me practice all week long. She was bound to pick some of it up)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Link is Playing Inline Hockey

Today was Link’s first official inline hockey game. Here is one perspective:

The Optimist Mom

Link started Inline Hockey this week. We are SO super duper excited that he gets to play. He looks so cool in his gear, and we were even more grateful to get most of it used from a friend. He was so excited about his game this morning, I only caught a glimpse of him leaving after I came downstairs. We showed up at the game fully prepared, hot chocolates, mini vanilla bean scones, blanket to sit on, jackets, sunglasses (for mom anyway), and Sassy even brought her baby. Honey was already there, of course, being such an awesome supportive dad. He was hanging out behind the players with the camera. William got to go into the game several times and did his best. He only fell down a couple of times. We cheered and enjoyed the gorgeous sunshine. What a great opportunity for him! We’re so excited for the game next week.

Kay, I’m not really like that. I know moms who are. I do not mix well with organized sports. Let me take you back, shall I?
Rec center basketball. My sister and I got on a team together (the sister who always had a clean room, straight a’s, popular friends, always did the right thing, good at sports…that sister). I’d never played basketball like that before – maybe not before at all. I felt very insecure and unsure of myself. I didn’t know the rules or how to do anything. But, I tried. At the one and only game I remember, I was following everyone down the court, just trying to keep up and from behind me, the basketball came down out the air and hit me square in the head. I could have died! Bad enough, right? Oh no. One of the big jerk dads in town from the bleachers yelled (very loudly so everyone could hear) “Way to go, Paris!!!” I left that court hating basketball. I don’t remember if I cried, but I’m pretty sure I wanted to cry. I tried lots of sports. Even basketball again in middle school. It was a vicious game. Girls were SO mean! Knocking each other down, fingernails, nasty attitudes about each other. It was more than I could handle. The coach never put me in because I wasn’t any good. I’d sit at the end of the bench and feel like an idiot because he didn’t pay any attention to me. One game, my cousin and a friend came to watch and I was chitty-chatting with them during the game. I knew the coach didn’t care whether I played or not. But I definitely got into trouble for chitty chatting. The big jerk. Volleyball was better. Less physical contact. I was a really good server. I could ace it really well. Over the net and square into the ground before anyone on the other team could move. Buuuuut, I couldn’t do anything else. Which means I sat on the bench until it was our turn to serve and then I got sent in. When I didn’t make the traveling team my freshman year of high school, and I’d already squared up the other girls to see what my competition was, I quit the team and that was the end of my volleyball days. I was on the golf team, in the marching band, a cheerleader. Always just below average and the coaches were always just a bit annoyed with me.
So, here we were this morning at Link’s game. Some of the other boys on his team look pretty big. That’s good for the team, but makes me worry about Link. Link can skate, but needs a lot of practice. He’s not good with handling the stick yet and his reaction time to the puck is pretty slow. He even kept trying to hit it toward the wrong side of the court. Oh come ooooon…I’m not criticizing my own child and I’m not hopeless for him either. I’m worried about his self-esteem and worried that he’s going to get hurt. I’m hopeful that he will get better and I’m hoping that he can get a lot of practice time with his dad. It will make a huge difference. It was hard to watch him on the bench, and each time the coach would send people in, he’d get up and ask if he could go in and the coach would say, “No Link, not yet…” and Link would sit back down. In the meantime, Sassy held her cup of hot chocolate for about 2 minutes and gave it back. I put it back in the cup holder. George quite enjoyed every last drop of his. Sassy then slid off the bench (blanket underneath, cup holder on the blanket next to her) pulling the blanket with her and her completely full cup of hot chocolate landed upside down on the ground. Hooray! I was thinking. Then George started complaining that he wanted to go home. Then Sassy needed to go potty, so we headed over to go potty. As I was shifting myself around, taking off my jacket, etc., Sassy started opening the door to leave. “Hold on..” Nice voice. Still opening the door. “Hold on please…” Still nice voice. Still opening the door. “HOLD ON!” Firm, but not mean…eye contact…aaaaand finishing up.. Did she stop? Of course not. And within seconds, she was crying because she’s shut her fingers in the door. Why don’t children listen to me? Back at the court, we sit down and Honey gets a phone call from work. Link finally gets sent in to play and after two runs down the court, he gets pulled out again. George is stretched over the bleachers because he wants to go home. Sassy wants to go home too and starts whining and laying all over me. Honey’s on the phone and irritated because he’s gotten a call about some problem and I hear the word, ‘ridiculous,’ come out of his mouth before he ends the call and hangs up.

I know it takes a better attitude for me to be the Optimist Mom and I’m going to try. Really, I am. In the meantime, enjoy some photos from the game and I’ll let you know how it goes next weekend.

In the game.

On the bench. "Can I go in, Coach?"


Help with a drink from Dad. Aaaaaaand, on the bench.

Two spectators, George and Sassy. This lasted for about 5 minutes.

The spilled hot chocolate.

Sassy wants to go home.

Pinched fingers, Daddy to the rescue. (Mom wasn't very sympathetic)

Phone call from work.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sorry. Had to try something else.

I tried to line up the shoreline, but it didn't work. What can ya do, right? All the things to consider now when trying to take pictures.....shheeeesh!

Books Books Books

Just picked these three books up today. I can't decide where to start. Starting the Twilight series last year really woke up reading for me. I LOVE getting lost in a good book. Reminds me how I used to love to write.

I Can Learn New Things

So, see that banner up above? Uh huh. We downloaded a 30 day free trial of Photoshop and I've been trying desperately to create something that had a picture of all the kids on it. These are pictures of Link, Curious George and Sassy - all when they were 2 years old. I just thought it would be fun to see what they all looked like at that age at the same time. I want baby pictures of the three, but we have to scan in all of Link's pictures, since the digital camera didn't come into play until George was born.

Anyway, so it's still a little sketchy. It looks very beginner-erish. Gotta start somewhere right?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One of my Favorite YouTube Videos

Srsly? Why is it that I can watch this video over and over and it never gets old? I find myself watching his leg, imagining that his brain is divided in half. One controlling the leg, the other controlling the growling and defensiveness over the bone. So strange! The dog must realize it's his own foot. It's gotta hurt when he bites it. So then is he doing it for fun? Cause that's a whole nother thing. Although, my girls (that's what I call my dogs) play with their toys and it's gotta take some level of imagination for them to get so excited over a piece of stuffed fluff that looks like a giraffe. hmmmmmmmmmm. I really do have better things to do with my time, rather than philosophically analyzing this utoob video.

More Kitchen Gadgets - Part 3

Can there be more? Oh yes, there can. I suppose my kitchen is to me as any man's garage and toolbox is to him.

These are miscellaneous kitchen items from which I get a lot of satisfaction. (Hey! I didn't end that sentence in a preposition. I'm trying!)

Here you see some lovely strainers. Nice strainers are just so...nice. I have the large and the medium. I'd love the small one. Happy-ness is rinsing my rice in this strainer.

Since I mentioned rice -- here is a picture of my rice cooker. It's a Zojirushi and I'm in love with it. It even plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when the rice is done, you gize. No more boiling over on my stove. No more kind of done or over done. Set it, listen for the little song. It will keep it warm. You can set it to start at a certain time during the day. Although I haven't tried that yet. Might just have to, just so I can say I tried.

Now, Landee - I truly didn't mean any disrespect when I was making fun of your little old pizza cutter. It was cute. This really is my own obsession and I will try not to shove it on you. I'm proud of you for getting a new one tho. Here's a picture of one I've never seen. Clear? Hmmmmmm. Right now I'm using a pizza cutter we bought at the Papa Murphy's store. I love it more than my Pampered Chef one. Sorry, but I do.

Kitchen Shears are a beautiful thing. They separate into two pieces for easy cleaning. I can cut meat, the plastic off the package of bacon, twine, paper, fingers... Ok just kidding. However, they are quite sharp.

I can't tell you how many years I went with some dinky little potato peeler that was flimsy and dull and I HATED peeling potatoes (cause instant mashed are ew). Then, I got mad one day and decided it was time to upgrade. I just love peeling things now. It's all about the tools, girls.

Doesn't that look lovely? I couldn't find a picture of just the ladle I got at Walmart. It's small. Perfect for gravy or sauces. I can't STAND big huge utensils that completely overwhelm the bowl your food is in. Another Walmart purchase. Inexpensive and yet so satisfying.

Santa loves me, you gize. When I graduated from high school, my parents gave me a toaster and a hand mixer from Walmart. Super cheap ones. Yes that was my graduation gift. I don't know why. I thought it was lame too. About 4-5 years ago, 'Santa' got me a new hand mixer. It's powerful, has nine speeds and can whip fresh cream into frothy heaven. Nice, nice, nice.

The hand blender. My favorite use is for mixing eggs before I scramble them. I also enjoy drizzling butter into the eggs while their whipping (that's called an emulsion, btw). The melted butter into the raw eggs before scrambling keeps your scrambled eggs moist.

Don't you hate it when you have to cut into the chicken or the steak on the grill because you don't know if it's done yet? Nevermore. We use this fabulous temp fork, see the temp and know it's exactly where we want it to be. I'm not the griller at our house, of course. Honey gets that job. We grill all year long, but in the summer - we grill A LOT!

I just love the feel of those taught little wires slicing through a fresh hard-boiled egg. I like the little sound they make when I open the egg cutter. The one Santa gave me is really heavy and really nice. It has two cutters. One for slicing and one for wedges.

This is purely superfluous. I know it is. I have a hand mixer, stand mixer, blender and then this. Why? You can turn large amounts of onion into teeny dices very easily. It's great for grating cheese. In fact, I'm getting the itch to make my super from scratch homemade lasagna which takes all day long and I have to use my food processor to grate all of that cheese or my arm would fall off. I don't care if you can buy it pre-grated. It has that weird powdery stuff on it. Can't be good. Do we know what that's made of? Is it really necessary that each and every piece of grated cheese not stick to another one? Ew. Anyway, I've seen cooking shows where they use these to make peanut butter, complicated emulsions with fresh herbs and olive oil or pulverizing croutons into bread crumbs to be mixed into a meatloaf.

Can't say that I'll be doing another kitchen gadget post. You're prollie relieved. I'll let you know when 'Santa' brings me something else. I do think we're due for another recipe tho. If you have any requests for a certain kind, i.e. a main dish, something with flank steak, a super good dessert, homemade syrup...let me know. I'll see what I can dig up. Keep your eyes peeled and I'll get a recipe out there for ya in a few days.

And I will eat instant mashed potatoes. But I choose not to.

Monday, March 16, 2009


You can visit Kitchen Gadgets Part 1 at thethreemclaughlins.blogspot.com

My lovely sister has detailed some fabulous items, most of which I have as well. I also own a spice grater. I will never use pre-grated nutmeg again. It is truly a beautiful thing. I even try to come up with excuses to use nutmeg. Hmmmm......could I put some in this recipe? Try it.

Mini spatulas are fabulous and at least two are necessary. I almost always need one while the other one is in the dishwasher. This is also true for my tongs. I have some basic OXO tongs that I bought at Walmart. Initially just one set, but I was constantly needing to rinse them off and reuse them and pulling them out of the dishwasher. So now I have two.

The Microplane zester is just as beautiful as the spice grater. There is nothing quite like the smell of a freshly zested orange, lemon or lime. I don't have that little citrus zester/peeler, Martha. It is on my must-have list.

I used to hate those scoops. The ones with the handle you squeeze? They reminded me of the grouchy lunch lady in elementary school and the instant mashed potatoes they used to serve us all the time. However, I recently acquired two, a larger one and a smaller one (need the middle) and I get so much pleasure out of knowing that each and every cookie is the exact same size.


So, I went through my kitchen and picked out the things I love and can't live without the most. It's a longer list than I expected. So I need to divide it up. I have two lists. Baking and Other. Today I will post the baking items. Enjoy!!!

First and most important for me when I am baking is my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. This was a wedding gift from my Honey's boss - nearly 12 years ago - and it still works like new. I don't know how I would otherwise get the butter and sugar whipped so light and fluffy. I don't do all with it that it is capable of. Grinding meat, etc. is a little intimidating still. But if you wait long enough, you can be sure that I will give it a try.

This spatula came with my food processor. I Luuuuuuuuuuvvvv it! I use it for everything. I would love to get my hands on another one. It's great for mixing up brownies, scraping the bowl, mixing just about anything, really. I'm not a wooden or bamboo spoon fan, but I can't live without this plastic masterpiece.

My measuring spoons and cups are very dear to my heart. They are stainless and heavy and shiny and stack so nicely... I have the regular sizes and the odd sizes. That means for spoons I have: 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 2 tsp, 1 T, 1 1/2 T, and 2 T. For cups: 1/4 c, 1/3 c, 1/2 c, 2/3 c, 3/4 c, 1 c, 1 1/2 c, and 2 c. Fifteen pieces of Pure. Baking. Happiness.

These mixing bowls are the best. They were also a wedding gift. Don't you ever love to measure out all of the ingredients and have them spread out on the counter before you begin? It looks lovely, it feels great and I know the food tastes better when I enjoy the process that much. Plus, the little tiny bowls are SO cute! The teeniest one is just adorable when it has a tsp or two of vanilla in it. Or some freshly grated nutmeg.

A good whisk is essential. I have balloon whisks like this one, but they're not my favorite. My favorites are the cheap ones from the grocery store.

Pastry cutters are fun. I don't know why I get so much pleasure out of cutting shortening or butter into flour, but I do. Almost giddy.

This is a silicone mat Santa Claus gave me a couple of years ago. It's for rolling out dough, etc. on the counter. The best use I've found for it is rolling out fondant. Didn't have to use a single sprinkle of cornstarch or powdered sugar, which therefore did not alter the consistency or compromise the integrity of the fondant.

If we could have a brief moment of silence please, for the rolling pin
(if only so gasps and awe are more audible)

This rolling pin. It's stainless steel. Rolls on ball bearings. Red silicone. Heavy. Big. If you were here, I would let you hold it. (I know you have now decided that I am a complete LUNATIC!)

Good food coloring is important, I think. The liquid compromises your recipes. The gel is much better. Much more concentrated. My ultimate wish is for powdered food coloring.

My pampered chef stone is the only thing I will bake on. I've tried the cookie sheets with air in them, I've tried the DeMarle silpat on the little perforated baking pan. Everything cooks so much better on my stone. Of course, mine does not look like that picture. It's all dark and seasoned. Also a wedding gift. I have one rectangle and one large circle. I would like at least one more rectangle. I get a lot of joy out of two pans going at once. Especially one in each oven. Ahhhhhhhhh..........

This is my silpat. A silicone baking mat. Items do not stick to this. I don't use it always, but often. Especially for my favorite cookies. Like the little delicate Swedish Cream Wafers I make for Christmas. They deserve the silpat (on top of the stone, of course).

A good cooling rack is a wonderful thing. These are Pampered Chef racks. They stack. They have these lovely soft feet on them. The legs fold closed for easy storage. I use my cooling racks alot!

I could wander through the kitchen gadget sections of Walmart, Target, Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, etc. for the longest time. Looking, touching, mentally cataloging... I am seriously a kitchen gadget snob. Not because I demand the best or most expensive version. (My favorite whisks come from King Soopers.) Simply because I get so much pleasure out of using them and having them in my drawer. Stay tuned for the next installment of Kitchen Gadgets. Martha, it's your go if you have more to share (I know you do).