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Red-hot Romance | Keli Gwyn
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Keli Gwyn
Red-hot Romance

Got your attention with that title, didn’t I?

I got Gwynly’s attention recently, too, but not in the way I’d intended.

Earlier this month I embarked on a new adventure. I’ve been a member of Curves for over a year, but I was unaware of the diet plan they offer until they promoted it as a New Year’s special.

Some of you know I’ve often referred to myself as a lousy cook. When I heard about Curves Complete, a bell went off. OK, so it sounded more like a kitchen timer, but that’s appropriate given the fact that I decided to sign up for the plan, necessitating that I spend more time in a room I used to avoid.


Those of you who’ve met me might wonder why I was interested in a diet plan. What you don’t know is that when I turned forty, I packed on the weight. Yup. Middle-age spread had claimed another victim. I spent two l-o-n-g years taking those pesky pounds off. Not fun.

This time around, it’s not about the weight loss, although I have lost three pounds of that hard-to-combat belly fat in three weeks. Not too shabby, huh?

My goal is learning to eat right. I’d been exercising, but I knew all that junk I was putting in my body wasn’t good for me. I finally admitted I wasn’t so much a lousy cook as I was a lazy cook. I’d used my flimsy excuse as a way to avoid learning how to prepare nutritious, delicious meals.

No more.

Getting exercise was the first step I took in combating my osteoporosis, but I need to build strong muscles in order to support my little, brittle bones. That means putting the right kind of food in my body.

Each week I create a meal plan suited to my needs. The recipes are awesome. I’ve fixed so many great meals the past three weeks that Gwynly is grinning.

But back to my story. . .

Red Pepper and Pasta

One night, I set out to prepare chicken with lemon-garlic pasta. I was surprised to see that the recipe called for red pepper flakes to be added to the pasta dish. Since I really didn’t know much about cooking, I’ve been faithfully following the recipes. In went the red pepper.

Gwynly and I sat down to eat, both anticipating another delicious meal. He started in on the chicken, but I went right for the pasta. Why? Because I love pasta as much as Garfield loves his lasagne.

Was I ever in for a surprise.

The pasta was hot. Spicy hot. And how. As a long-time Taco Bell addict, I’m a fan of food with zing, but this dish set my mouth on fire. It was grab-the-glass-of-water-quick time.

I mentioned to Gwynly that I wasn’t sure he’d like the pasta dish, since it was on the hot side. Being the supportive husband he is, he said he was game.

Since I’m committed to following the diet to the letter, I ate my full portion. Let me tell you, my taste buds were seriously singed.

Afterward, I consulted the recipe. The others I’d used had resulted in awesome meals, so I found this fiery fiasco surprising.

Um, well, the mistake wasn’t in the recipe. It was the cook’s. I’d read the recipe wrong and mistakenly added one teaspoon of red pepper flakes per serving instead of the one-eighth teaspoon it called for. Eight times as much.


Now Gwynly isn’t a fan of spicy food. I’ve spent twenty-five years trying to convince him how great Taco Bell’s fare is, but he’s not buying it. He’ll eat the tacos I fix, but the amount of mild sauce he puts on them wouldn’t begin to satisfy me.

But what did my guy do when facing that plate of pasta? He ate it. An entire portion. I told him he didn’t have to, but in his effort to encourage me, he choked it down.

I was reminded of a newlywed husband eager to please his clueless-in-the-kitchen bride. Gwynly and I are by no means newlyweds, having celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary this past December. But the romance is still alive. And sometimes it’s red-hot!


Do you enjoy cooking?

What is one of your most memorable meal fails?

How does your special someone deal with your culinary catastrophes?




Keli Gwyn


  • That’s so sweet that he ate it anyway!! 🙂

    One time I seriously burned dumplings and Mike choked them down when even I wouldn’t! That was our first year of marriage.

  • Oh Keli–I’m ready to gulp down some water just from thinking about how SPICY HOT that pasta was! But Gwynly was a good sport to eat a portion anyway. 😉 I do enjoy cooking IF I don’t have a zillion other things I need to be doing, and I really enjoy baking (especially cookies!). 🙂

  • Anne Payne says:

    Your husband is definitely admirable to have choked it down in support of you! I haven’t had too many epic fails in the kitchen but when I do, it’s B.A.D. and has to go in the trash 🙂

  • I have made that same mistake with Red Pepper. Let me tell you it only happend once. I had blisters on my lips. And i like spicy stuff but not that spicy. Happy cooking. 🙂

  • Carl Gwyn says:

    The dinner was quite tasty and I really appreciate all of the work Keli is doing in learning how to fix new meals. My taste buds were a teeny bit singed but they recovered just fine.:)

  • Melissa Tagg says:

    Hehehe, this made me laugh because I’m notorious for mixing up teaspoons and tablespoons in my family…ONE time I put several tablespoons of salt in cookie dough rather than the teaspoons it called for. ONE time, and nobody can let me forget it. Haha!

  • Ohhh, but I tried not to giggle, Keli! Kudos to you for trying new things and hats off to Gwnly for supporting you. Isn’t love grand?!

    I enjoy cooking, but with time limitations now, I find that I don’t have enough hours in the day to cook the way I used to. And speaking of mix-ups, who HASN’T substituted chili powder for cinnamon?…And more than once, I might add! ;))

  • I love to cook! I’ve never messed up anything too much, but we made a curry dish that wasn’t that great. We laughed and ordered pizza!

    I love your story and your discipline! Way to go!

  • Hi Keli,

    So great that you’re still amped up and committed to your health. I love hearing about your journey.

    I love to cook now…in my 40’s. Which means, eating comes so much easier now. Which means, so does the middle-age-spread. Why is it that when we finally learn to get it right, we get “punished” for it??? Ha!

    But I’ve always been a little daring in the kitchen – throw things together, see what we get. Doesn’t always work – usually at the worst time. I’ve gotten better at it, but the very first breakfast I cooked for hubby – I decided to make cheesy hashbrowns from scratch. Um. No. Gooey, sticky, clumps of yuck that attached themselves to the skillet. Terrible. Kevin tried…I cried…then we cooked breakfast together.

    Fun post, Keli. You’ve got a great guy!

  • Loree Huebner says:

    I have a red pepper flake story. My husband was putting some on his pizza, and I’ll never quite understand how it happened, but one flipped up and got into his eye. Ugh! He was in such distress. I had hold his eye open, find it, and remove it – like one would do a contact lens. We took him to the ER for an eye flush. He is very careful now when he sprinkles the red pepper flakes.

    Loved your post, Keli!

  • Beth K. Vogt says:

    Brava, Keli, for embarking on a new adventure — I love your attitude toward life.
    Your story reminded me of a newlywed fiasco where my attempt at Polynesian Pork Chops failed so miserably I could hardly get the sauce-covered chops out of the dish. The sauce was more like super-glue than savory. But my husband ate ’em, oh yes, he did.

  • That is a very funny story. Bless your hubby for eating it anyway. A friend of mine accidently used chilli instead of cinnamon in a cake she baked for guests!

  • Keli, that was hilarious. As an Italian I know about “red hot” and spices and wondered if that’s where all of this was heading 🙂

    Funny failures in the kitchen? I started cooking and baking at a young age and my failures … from the first to the last … were gobbled up dutifully by all. My dad knew it was the only way to reinforce my passion for making things.

  • Julie Nilson says:

    I did something similar, shortly after my husband and I got married. I made some dish that included chopped jalapenos, and I didn’t know that (like with most peppers), when you chop jalapenos, you’re supposed to get rid of the seeds! The seeds, we learned, are the hottest part of the pepper. I couldn’t even eat the meal, but my husband managed to eat it–he didn’t think it was *good*, but he’s better at handling spicy food.