Recipe failures

3:00 pm | | Comment 1

IMG_1588I love recipe books and reading recipes.  I am not a creative person, but in the kitchen the prospect of creating something new is exciting and I feel creative.  However, today was not my day in the kitchen.  Two simultaneous recipe failures was a little disheartening.   I know that if you cook or bake long enough, you are bound to have some recipes that just do not turn out like the picture that accompanies the recipe which in my mind is a less than optimal result or a fail; however, I try to keep it all in perspective.  What I label a failed recipe is heartily eaten by my husband regardless of whether it turns out like the picture or not.  That said, today I had TWO “less than ideal” results in the kitchen.  One was flat Scuffins, the other was brown potato soup.

My first failed attempt was while baking a Scuffin recipe by Dreena Burton … and I have to say that I was the weak link in this baking relationship.  Dreena’ recipe was written fine, all the reviewers who used it raved about it and true to form, the recipe used one bowl, had simple ingredients and instructions which is why I like her recipes.  Dreena’s Scuffin recipe caught my attention because I love scones and the Scuffin was to be like a cross between a scone and a muffin and based on the picture that accompanied the recipe, it looked a little like a biscuit with berries and no oil, so I was sold.  I let the recipe sit on my desk for several weeks and today I had time and a craving for something sweet so decided to give the recipe a try.  You can find the recipe on Dreena’s website at

So where did I go wrong?  My batter ended up rather wet so I either did not measure my flour correctly which is possible since I had to blend my own oat flour and I did not re-measure after blending it.  Or, my yogurt was more liquidy so I should have used less plant milk as she suggests in her notes.  Or it could have been the extra frozen strawberries I put into the batter.  (As I said, I was the weak link in this relationship).  Even though the batter was softer than optimal, it was delicious.  The benefit of cooking without eggs is you can taste the batter without worrying about getting sick!  Seeing that the batter wasn’t as stiff as it should have been, I should have just added more oat flour in hindsight, but at the time, I pressed forward with my end result being more like a berry, oatmeal (somewhat rubbery) flat cookie, but the flavor was yummy so not all was lost!  They just weren’t scone or Scuffin like.

My second less than optimal result was potato soup.  I purchased a very large bag of Yukon Gold potatoes and after the fact remembered that I’m not feeding a family of six anymore.  So I set to using the potatoes.  We had potatoes with spinach for breakfast and I decided to make a big pot of potato soup.  I browsed some recipes but didn’t settle on any one recipe since I make soup all the time with good results.  How hard could it be?  I’ll just cook up the potatoes in a pot, smooth with my immersion blender and then toss some cooked potatoes in to add chunks at the end.  This seemed like a good plan and would have been if I had stuck to it.  Not thinking about the color, I used vegetable broth to saute my onion and garlic and cook the potatoes which turned everything brown.    But then I decided to use a thickening technique I learned by adding oatmeal which has worked in the past but I forgot that I was going to use the immersion blender to thicken everything so now everything was really thick so I added water and the volume of soup just kept getting bigger.  Then I thought that fresh rosemary might be good in this soup, and maybe some carrots and I saw a recipe that used nutritional yeast.  And as a last ditch effort to make the soup appealing I added mushrooms… my husband loves mushrooms so he would surely eat the soup if it had mushrooms in it.  The result… a brown potato soup that looks a lot like the split pea soup I make.  Next time, I will follow just one recipe.

So, today, I did not bring my “A” game into the kitchen.  My results were less than stellar, yet, I know where I went wrong and despite the results being different than I expected I enjoyed the smell of my flat Scuffins baking, and the scent of fresh rosemary in the kitchen.  Plus I made a dent in that huge bag of potatoes AND I have a big pot of soup for lunches and dinners for the next few days plus probably some to freeze.  I once saw a quote by Oprah Winfrey that said “I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.”  Today I enjoyed the process of mixing, blending, chopping, simmering, tasting and creating a healthy meal.  All is good!

Robin is a second-year Nutritional Science graduate student and soon will be a registered dietitian. She and her family adopted a plant-based lifestyle eight years ago and she wants to share the health benefits with others. She believes whole foods feed the body, soul and mind.


  1. Wendy Wallace says:

    I love your adventurous spirit in “creating” recipes, Robin. I am a recipe follower and don’t feel comfortable venturing away from it at all. I did have an embarrassing mishap with potato soup! It was our first time to join dinner club in our new neighborhood and the theme was German fare. I signed up for the soup course and found a lovely potato soup recipe online. Followed the recipe to a “T” except needed to double or triple it to feed the number of guests. It turned out very thin like a brothy soup and the host (a German fellow) nicely complimented the flavor. But I knew it was not right and joked a little about the texture. I may have become “the new neighbor who brought ‘that’ potato soup”. I joke with him now about my flop at that first meetup. One good thing about aging (and wine) — he said that he doesn’t even remember it!

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