You’ve Been Chopped!

I am OBSESSED with the show **Chopped on Food Network.  Seriously obsessed. Not in a weird, I record every episode and fan stalk the judges on the show waiting for the moment I can meet Scott Conant in person and see if he smells like fresh basil and oregano like I think he does.  No, not like that at all.

Okay, maybe that is a little over the top, but I don’t watch THAT much television.  I have a full time job that demands a lot of my attention, two children who are in school and have extra curricular activities, and a smokin hot husband that I like to do the no pants dance with as often as I can, so yea, not a ton of time for television.  I consider myself a fan of Chopped because every time I am flipping through the channels and I see that show is on I have to watch it. I can not turn it off. Even if it is a rerun, I am re-examining all of the chefs’ choices and wonder what I would have done differently, if given the chance.  

Why this obsession with the show?

My life is a non stop recurring episode of chopped, complete with my own Narrator commenting on my progress, or sometimes lack thereof, throughout the day.  Did I just lose you? Hear me out, you may see you have your own crazy basket of ingredients you are dealing with also!

Appetizer round starts for me every morning. I wake up and I head downstairs.  I usually love this time to myself. I have a solid 15 minutes of solitude, and it may look like I squander this time to an outside viewer.  I will read my book, or watch a recorded beginning episode of Grey’s Anatomy (now I can really sense you judging my television choices and I need you to know this has to be a safe space for us, free of judgement.  I mean, the book I referenced could have been some super intellectual biography of a historical figure. It wasn’t, but it could have been.) and overall just enjoy the silence. This is just like the beginning of the episode, which is quiet and kind of boring introducing each of the chefs.  Getting up from the couch to walk upstairs to wake up my children is like myself slowly opening my basket and anxiously peering inside to see how I can make a gourmet plate out of rocky mountain oysters (don’t worry about googling that, I will just tell you, its bull testicles, that right, BULL TESTICLES.  It was on an episode, watch it.)

I wake up my sleeping cherubs and they unload on me what is ahead of me for the day; today’s basket ingredients are:

-Sore throat

-Forgotten homework

-Necessary snuggle time on the couch 

-Refusal to pick out own clothes

-Elaborate hairdo that requires several viewings of youtube


And your time starts NOW!

What am I going to do with this basket!  My inner Ted is telling me I have quite a hard basket in front of me, and is wondering where I will begin.

I need to deal with the sore throat first, does Ricky look really sick or did he just sleep with his mouth open?  I DO NOT have time for the doctor today, please don’t be sick! Ugh I’m horrible, I can’t worry about my day if he is sick, oh PLEASE don’t be sick.  Baby let me feel your forehead, okay doesn’t feel warm, I think we are good. I have an idea, let’s go downstairs, and get a drink of water. I will also write a note and send you with some cough drops to school.  Yes, I will make sure to send you with a note to your teacher. Yes, the cough drops are the cherry ones and not the gross ones.

Next is snuggle time, because selfishly this is my easiest ingredient.  Okay baby, we can sit on the couch together before we have to get going.  We sit on the couch, under the covers with blankies and lovies and are just blissed out.  I am just going to close my eyes and enjoy this for a moment…….SHIT what time is it! Ugh!  Inner Ted is mocking me and telling me, “Terrible use of the clock!” I can’t believe how fast the time is going.  Okay guys get up, we need to get ready. I will make you a deal, we can do family game night this Friday if you guys are ready by the time the timer on my phone goes off.  

Set the clock at 10 minutes, Ready? Set? Go!  

We race upstairs and I get ready in my room when I hear my son melt down about his clothes.  He can’t pick out his outfit he needs me to do it. No he won’t wear those pants, or those, finally he will wear the black ones!  Okay, you run downstairs and make sure your backpack is ready and I will get your sister’s hair done. Ummm you want me to do what with your hair?  Okay, find the video while I am getting your lunches packed.

I just get their lunches put together when I hear sobbing, that’s right sobbing,  I, sniff sniff, forgot, sniff sniff, to do, sniff sniff, my homework! Ricky!!!

Okay, regroup.  Now I have hair to do, teeth to brush, and homework to do.  I must do this!

Ricky, run upstairs and brush your teeth.  Leave your worksheet on the table. Brooke, come sit down and prop up your youtube video so I can see how to do your hair.  Quick video, pretty easy instructions, phew! While I’m doing Brooke’s hair, I’m side glancing Ricky’s homework. Not too bad.  Okay, hair done, Brooke, go brush your teeth and Ricky lets do your homework.

We get through his homework, and I only gave him one answer.  Okay, maybe two, but I’m racing the clock here!

The clock is just about done, 5 get your shoes on, 4 coats on, 3 you need hats and gloves today, 2 make sure the door is closed tight, 1 seat belts on? Times up!


Now for the internal judging.  Typically there are 4 chefs in front of the judges, but for me it’s the versions of myself I had hoped/planned for the day.

There was clean freak Colleen, who was going to do a load of laundry, and make sure the beds were made, and the toothpaste was cleaned out of the sink.  She also unloaded the clean dishes from the dishwasher from dinner the night before, and put them away.  On really freaky days, she even steam mops the floors!

Next up, master chef colleen; she was going to have a delicious crock pot dinner chopped and put together.  Also, was going to make perfect lunches with the crusts cut off, and a cute little snack for my husband with a note that is cheesy and he jokes with me about it, but has confessed it has been the only bright spot in his day.

Third Colleen is a beauty queen that is able to get a shower in AND blow out her hair, uses some special face wash, lotion, and eye cream before the kids are up.  When the kids get up, she puts on her makeup while they are getting ready. Also, takes the time to pick a perfectly put together and flattering outfit complete with accessories.

Last up is hot mess Colleen.  She snuggles into the couch and watches Grey’s Anatomy to have one goddamned quiet moment to herself.  She doesn’t realize she didn’t time the episode out right, so now she is waking up the kids late and playing catch up the rest of the morning.  She usually also forgets to put on deodorant and keeps a back up at her desk.


First Colleen to get cut?  Beauty queen, that bitch never stood a chance!  

I was able to get a load of laundry in before watching Grey’s Anatomy first thing in the morning.  I also threw chicken in the crockpot, cut the crusts off the sammies, and put a note in my husband’s coat pocket.  I can’t take away his bright spot. But I walk out the door with dry shampoo in my hair, hoping no one will notice I ran out of time to shower this morning, no makeup, and skinny jeans and a company t shirt.  Very chic.


Ready for the next round?  Well, you will need to read my post next Friday to see how I handle my main course; the office and what gets thrown at me during my work day!  Each round is a new hustle! Hustle Mom, Hustle!


**For those of you that have not watched this epiphany inducing magical show, also known as Chopped, let me give you a quick run down.  The show starts with 4 chefs. There a table of three judges that are watching the chefs cook, and tasting the food at the end of each round.  The other person on the show is Ted, the Host. He explains the rules at the beginning of each show, and the narrates the play by play as the chefs are cooking.  The chefs each have their own work station with the same black basket on each of their stations. The basket is what makes this show so amazing. Each of these talented chefs have no idea what is going to be in that basket, and it is always a random mix of ingredients.  Typically one ingredient is really weird/gross/impossible. The rounds are timed, and there are three; the appetizer course, main dish, and it ends with dessert. When the time is up at the end of each round the chefs bring their dishes to present to the judges, where their dishes are inspected to make sure each of the ingredients are used, criticized and praised for the plate they put forth.  The chefs go to a side room while the judges are deliberating and criticizing a little more harshly. The chefs re-emerge and present themselves in front of the judges. Ted then steps in again to reveal to the chefs which one had the worst dish of the round, and has therefore been “Chopped”. Riveting, right?


Colleen Lieberstein

Colleen Lieberstein, Executive Administrative Assistant, is the heartbeat at two award winning and fastest growing companies in the Chicagoland area. She lives in New Lenox with her two energetic kids, and her supportive husband. Colleen loves to read, play with her children, and go on adventures with her family. Exploring new places and eating new foods is the best.