Wednesday, March 31, 2010

please go away

Idle Husband pointed this ad out to me last night, and since then, tiny headed woman has been haunting me everywhere I go.

is it just us or is her head entirely disproportionate to her body? creeps.

it works!

oh, you are a miracle food cutter!

I make a lot of sweet potato fries, and it's not particularly hard to cut them into fry shapes with a knife. I'll admit it. It's not that I needed a fry making gadget, I just thought it would be nice to have one.

I started with the Starfrit fry maker. Basically, it's a device where you pop your potato in, then use all of your brute strength to force it through a grate of tiny blades, thereby producing fries. Mom managed to find this on clearance, and I just have to say, no wonder it was on clearance. First I had to cut the sweet potato down to size to fit into the slot, then not even Idle Husband's manly strength could force the darn thing through. After cutting the spud to a completely small and manageable shape, (so small and manageable, I might as well have just cut it into fry shapes, old school) I still had to use my entire body to force it through, only to get it stuck halfway in, which then ended in me popping two of the blades off. I think I could fix it, but it's been sitting in my pantry (unwashed) and broken since then.

Fast forward to last weekend, when mom presented me with another potential fry chopper. The Dial-O-matic. This one she found in a thrift store and thought for the price, we might as well give it a go. It looked all full of potential and so dandy when I first saw it.

look at everything it can do!

The great thing about it is that the only thing that's removeable is the front blade. All the specialty attachments are built right in and all you have to do is turn a dial to change the setting. Oh fancy! The other thing you can do is raise or lower the blade to change the thickness, and again all it takes is a push of a button and it slides out and back in very easily. So far so good.

labels negate the need for a manual. How considerate of them.

We're having chicken tonight and it's not really a meal I'd typically associate with sweet potato fries, but I just couldn't wait any longer to try this machine! I cut the sweet potato in half (fully expecting there to be problems), positioned the safety handle, and thunk. No go. There was no way that hard as rock potato was going through. Nice. Another useless machine. But a last ditch effort, I decided to put the blade over my sharpening stone a couple times to see if that would help. It must have been duller than wood, because afterwards, I had absolutely no trouble getting my sweet potato through! Finally!

check out those beautiful uniform fries!

I was so excited, I julienned a cucumber for our salad.

I'm pretty sure cucumber doesn't typically get julienned.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Texas brownies

This is what I ended up making as my birthday cake. I'd been waivering back and forth on a cake because I didn't really feel like making the cake I had initially craved about 3 months ago. Apparently, I stop craving silly things like cake if I wait 3 months before making it. There's a good factoid to remember for the future (if in the future I'm able to hold off on doing any craving-related baking for a whole 3 months again). Anyhoo,  I just rediscovered this recipe and since I haven't made it in about 10 years and Idle Husband had never tried it, I figured I might as well. I was doing dishes anyway (never before has that been a good reason to make a cake).

Well, it tasted just as fantastic as I remembered, thankfully. Sometimes when I'm making old recipes I tend to screw them up because they're tried and true so I never seem to follow the instructions as closely as I would with a new recipe. I also had the idea of baking and icing and stacking the brownie to resemble a more traditional cake form (as seen in the picture), but I don't think that idea really worked out the way I thought it would. I think it's best to just let it be a traditional cake-like brownie and be done with it. This cake is anything but fussy so it shouldn't be presented in a fussy manner.

Texas Brownies (from an old Great American Recipes card pack I found in a thrift store in the '90s)

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup coffee or water (I usually use water, but I had instant coffee this time)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
Combine flour and sugar in mixing bowl.
In a large saucepan, combine butter/margarine, coffe/water, and cocoa. Whisk to combine and heat to boiling.
Pour boiling mixture over the flour and sugar. Mix a little. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well and combine completely.
Pour into a well buttered 17 1/2 by 11 inch jelly roll pan (back in the '90s I had no idea what that was, so I always used -- and continue to use -- my large casserole pan for this recipe. It's about 9 by 12 inches).
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they test done in the centre.

While the brownies are baking, make the frosting.

1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cups (or less) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan, combine margarine/butter, cocoa, and milk. Whisk occasionally while heating to boiling. Mix in the sugar a little at a time until smooth. Add vanilla.
Pour the warm frosting over the brownies as soon as you take them out of the oven. It'll fill the pan right up, but as the cake cools, the frosting will melt into the cake and settle down so don't be alarmed!
Try to cool it completely and enjoy! (I think it tastes best the next day.)

OH, I also enjoyed these cookies from T. They came presented in the cutest box with a hand-drawn tag. They taste very peanut-buttery, and I like to imagine they're completely healthy because of the oats.

Monday, March 29, 2010

29 things to do in my 29s

It's my birthday today, and I thought that maybe for this last year of my 20s, I'd make a list of some things I'd like to do before I'm 30. I'm still thinking of more, so I'll add them as I come up with them.

1. Eat cereal out of a salad bowl. I realize now I never specified what kind or size of salad bowl!

2. Discover a new clothing style and put an end to the jeans/t-shirt combo I've been rocking since forever.
3. Find a good place to get my hair cut well and make going a part of my tri-monthly routine.
4. Work in a florist shop for at least a month.
5. Make:
  • homemade donuts (or anything fried really, cuz frying freaks me out)
  • macarons NOT macaroons (I'm so snobby about these already, it drives me absolutely wild when I see it spelled incorrectly. Just imagine how hoity-toity I'll be if I can bake the damn things correctly. I've done a lot of research, though, and I'm determined to win at this no matter the cost to my mental health. Why? Who the hell knows. But I do have grand visions of them becoming my signature cookie and everyone just dying to have them for Christmas and their birthdays. It's a vanity thing, clearly.)(At any rate, I already have a fall back plan. Signature cookie B is totally gonna be whoopie pies. We don't have them here and I've made them already and they were bloody fantastic.) (see attempt 1, attempt 2, attempt 3; attempt 4 I'm not blogging about. Same problem as #2 + oven temperature)
  • rolled-out cookies (sugar cookies? whatever you call them. I'm inept at rolling and using cookie cutters) (see attempt 1)
  • wontons (surprisingly easy, just time consuming!)
  • cinnamon buns (I excell at making bread, but these always turn into tasteless, little stones for me. Go figure) (see sticky lemon rolls -- which aren't actually cinnamon buns, but they're exactly the same thing and the recipe could be modified to cinnamon. In fact, I plan to do that the next time I make them)
  • truffles (I've had a chocolate chip cookie dough truffle recipe bookmarked for ages. Mostly I think I just want to attempt tempering chocolate)
  • pâte à choux -- cream puffs! I saw it on tv and it didn't look as difficult as it seems.
  • risotto
6. Read all the books I purchased years ago and never got around to actually reading. Currently reading:
  • The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
7. Learn more Greek. In fact, take a class if I have to.
8. Try to live without bread and sugar for at least a month.
9. Spend less time surfing the interwebs and more time out and about.
10. Actually do at least one of the many crafts I've bookmarked.
11. Learn enough HTML to make a difference. I'm still working on this, but I'm getting better!
12. Excercise more or at least not be so slack about it.
13. Get over my fear of plumbing and electrical.
14. Meet new friends.
15. Buy more flowers in the winter.
16. Accept my body for what it is and what it does for me instead of wishing it were something it's not ever going to be.
17. Prepare responsible adult dinners on the weekends.
18. Take a trip across Canada (aka seeing more than B.C. and Saskatchewan)
19. Accept that I'm an adult. I'm really having a hard time believing I'm just about 30!
20. Grow up my decorating style. Sure it's fun and quirky and make-shifty, but there's no reason why it can't be all those things while also being more real wood pieces instead of IKEA pressed wood pieces.
21. Learn how to say no without having to come up with a million excuses or lies for why I don't want to do something. I'm really tired of other people making me feel guilty because I don't want to or don't feel like hanging out with them.
22. Learn how to express my opinion better. Instead of saying, I guess I like it or Ok if you want to, I should say YES! I love it! I want to!
23. Learn calligraphy. I love writing like this now, and I accomplished my original goal. I did have a look for a chisel tipped pen, and guess what? They've now got Sharpies specifically for calligraphy! Swoon! I'm definitely going to add some more styles now that I have the basics down.
24. Learn how to drive stick or, alternatively, learn how to use ETS (Edmonton's public transit).
25. Buy things online (this seriously freaks me out). Does paying bills count?
26. Take a cake decorating and piping class.(check out the results)
27. Stop being so high strung over little things. I need to learn to relax and just let things come as they are. Taking a wrong turn can seriously wreck my whole day. I decided to take a different way home from South Common the other day and then I took a wrong turn which would have seriously set in a panic attack. But, instead, I was calm, turned around and tried another way (which turned out to be the right way). And then I laughed about it later. That's pretty good!
28. I can, not I can't.
29. Get better at photography. Learn my camera, set up a light box (or permanent area in which to photograph i.e. better lighting, backgrounds, settings), and work on interesting compositions.

om nom

See that? That's Blueberry Cheesecake ice cream. Cheesecake in an ice cream. Oy. Just smear it on my thighs already. And, honestly, that's exactly how it tasted. Rich, creamy and smooth, with satisfying chunks of graham cracker crust and little bursts of fresh blueberry. I made this recipe mostly for Idle Husband as his absolute favourite ice cream to buy is something called Tin Lizzy Cheesecake from Safeway, and since I got my new ice cream maker, I've been thinking about trying to recreate that flavour. So when I stumbled on this recipe, I just had to give it a go.

Anyway, it made so much ice cream that I currently have three containers of it plus a popsicle tray full. What? Yeah, a popsicle tray. Mom brought me one of those old fashioned plastic trays, and as I was pondering the ice cream situation, I pondered whether I could make ice cream pops. Sure enough, if you warm the outside a bit and twist while pulling, they come out perfectly formed, and they stay that way the entire time you're eating them (aka not messy at all).

Ice creamsicle

Naturally, it's also good in bowls.

If you have an ice cream maker and a box of Jello instant cheesecake mix, I suggest making this. It's probably one of the best ice cream recipes I've made yet.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

two favourite things

Make this pie!

Have a rice day. Heh heh -- it gets me every time.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Home & Garden

This is my second trip to the Edmonton Home and Garden Show in the last two years. This year felt a lot bigger than the first year I went and honestly, we were too tired to explore the show completely. There were lots of interesting booths (would you believe my best purchase there was a bra?!) and I got a lot of information having to do with renovating our bathroom and that was really the main point to going. Anyway, here's some pictures of stuff I liked.

I liked the use of the orange as a semi-accent wall. Maybe they did that just because of the way the space was and they wouldn't do it like this in a real home, but I kinda like how the colour doesn't take up the whole 'accent' wall. 

I also liked the silhouette on top of the colour. That would be so easy to duplicate and you can pretty much paint any ol' picture there that makes you happy (my first choice wouldn't be a city scape that's for darn sure).

They did the same thing over in the dining room, but I was mostly loving the simple dining room set. You can get that sort of thing anywhere (note the mismatching chairs and bench -- love the bench) and paint them a unified colour (love the grey) and then you have a really great and unique set that probably didn't look anywhere close to being a set when you first purchased it.
The outside patio for this mock house was pretty great, too. I'm not in love with water features, but I like the patio (I would prefer paving stones or gravel to poured concrete, though) and the stone planters and I just think that having a nice little spot like this to sit is a lot more useful than having a huge lawn where most people don't really do anything on it other than mow it every week (I'm hugely antilawn. What a waste of money, time, energy, resources...don't get me started).

Loved this kitchen! Another thing I'm kinda against is upper cabinets. You wouldn't believe how much more open and bright and spacious a kitchen feels without them. There are a lot of new storage systems now that make the idea of upper cabinets seem like such an old and outdated idea. These cabinets were not only beautiful but they had storage systems in place for dishes and hip-bump opening mechanisms and...oh sigh, they were grand. There was even something for Idle Husband in here. I don't know if you can see, but that very last black tile on the backsplash housed a hidden t.v. I know IH would have been drooling.

Lastly, I really wanted to catch the boys from Home Heist, Colin and Justin. The first half of their presentation was great and it was kinda exciting to see them up close, but then they got into before and afters from their previous shows and how to buy furniture cheap, and that's when I started to lose interest. Boys, cheap's my middle name, I don't need you to tell me about the inside deals they have in the IKEA clearance section. I only go to IKEA to check out the clearance section. Anyway, we left early so we didn't talk to them after, which was ok with me since I'd been standing all day and just the thought of standing through another 30 minutes of presentation wore me out.

Anyway, that was my little stint at the Home Show. I came away with a lot of free goodies (four boxes of parchment paper, hellz yeah!) and some more reuseable bags, plus oodles of reading. Oodles of reading I'll probably never get to...meh. I got to spend a lot of time with mom during this and we haven't had a shopping day together in forever, so really, for that reason alone, I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

soon someone's going to notice that my go-to meal is always a mixture of mushrooms, shrimp, and onions

As per usual, yesterday I had no idea what to make for supper. Stupid vegetarian day. Sometimes I've managed to plan ahead and other times I feel like I'm scrambling around on the interwebs desperately looking for something until the last minute. Last night was one of those nights.

Just in time, though, I remembered I'd bought some puff pastry several weeks ago on a whim (it was on sale with phyllo pastry) and hadn't really planned anything for it. Thankfully it only takes 2 hours to unthaw and it had recipes printed on the inside of the box along with different methods for rolling or cutting. Naturally, I didn't have the ingredients for the recipes on the box (big surprise), so I just faked it and used only their method.

The result was pretty good, actually. I cooked up some onion, garlic, mushrooms, shredded carrot (haha Idle Husband! Didn't know you were eating carrots, did you!), and little shrimps with some spices. I coated the sheet of puff pastry with shredded cheddar cheese, layered on the shrimp mixture and rolled the whole thing up, roulade-like, stuck it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so, until it was chill enough to slice, then sliced off some little medallions. Served with a salad, they were actually pretty tasty.

What I learned: Don't crowd puff pastry! I thought it wasn't that hot an idea at the time, but I wanted to use the toaster oven since the big one had already been on and turned off once. Like the computer, once it's been turned off, it's not allowed to be turned on ever again until the next day. Those are the rules.

I will admit to using a tad too much salt. I'm going to go ahead and blame the shrimp or the cheese also because they contribute salt to a recipe. (Disclaimer: I have no idea whether they do for reals, but in my mind they do.) Whatever. It wasn't like eating a salt lick, they were still good.

Anyway, I'll probably use this method again, maybe with different fillings, maybe for meat days. I just like the idea that you can slop whatever the heck you want together, roll it up, and bake it and it's gonna be great because everyone likes flakey pastries. Plus it looks all fancy and professional which makes me look like cook extraordinaire! Coolio!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

stupid things designed by stupid people

I'm making bread and pizza today. Not pizza to eat, but to freeze. I find it's super handy if I make the dough, roll it out on the pan, and freeze it for some time in the future. I did try pre-topping the pizzas, too, to save extra extra time, but then I realized it's much better to make a pizza with whatever you have on hand at the time you want to eat it. I'm a big fan of the leftover pizza, anyway.

Anyhoo, while both the doughs were rising, I decided to clean out *Hermes' cage. It got me thinking about cage design. It's a nice cage, I do like the look of it and the colour, but there are a couple things that had me bothered right away.

First there's a grate at the bottom seperating the bird from the paper. I thought it was weird when I first saw it, because I don't remember my old bird cage having such a thing. I have no idea the purpose. It's not like Hermes walks around on the bottom all day and we don't want his little bird feet covered in little bird poop -- which brings me to my point. The grate is a poop collector. It sticks right on and piles up. So even when I change the paper, it still looks like a disgusting poop explosion in there.
Here's one of our many intellectual msn conversations

So it's been on my list of to-dos to remove the grate. Which I did with reckless abandon today. Not like this is going to make me clean his cage any less, it's just going to make it easier overall. I don't mind rinsing the bottom off every week. That's not a problem, but scrubbing a pile of shit off a useless grate feels...wrong. At least this way, the poop will be disposed of every second day and it's not going to be this huge shit pile that makes it look like some bird-like relative of an elephant is living in there.

Second thought came about with the paper tray itself. I like to reuse paper for his cage. Oh. First things first, I'm super cheap. I reuse paper until there's no white spaces left on it. I double-side; if I print something that only fits the top half, I'll save that paper for when I need to print something else that'll fit on the other half. Therefore, I'm not about to use fabulously shiny new paper that's never had a drop of ink on it just for poop. I'm going to use the paper that I've printed on both sides already then Hermes can poop on it and then I can throw it out (guilt free!). But here's the irritating thing. The tray just barely accomodates letter sized paper. And by 'just barely' I'm talking the paper fits save for half an inch on one side and the top. Half an inch. Who designed this damn thing? How about you take the dimensions of a piece of paper and design the cage tray around that. Why isn't this an obvious design detail? So what? I have to either squish the paper down, fold it in, or cut it to size. Cut half an inch from the top and bottom of every paper so it fits without bending up or getting caught on the cage bottom as I'm sliding it in. Gah. It seems like such a miniscule issue, but it's just common sense to me and it bothers me when this sort of thing doesn't seem obvious to the rest of the world. Shouldn't there be some social outrage? Are the manufacturers of bird cages not actually using their bird cages? And wouldn't this sort of thing come up when the manufacturers of bird cages were all sitting around a huge table brainstorming new and exciting bird cage designs for their spring/summer bird cage collection?
Lead bird cage manufacturer: Hem hem. It's come to my attention that no paper size in the entire world will fit into our cages without modification. So I had this eureka moment -- let's take the dimensions of a piece of paper and -- wait for it -- build our cages around that!
Other bird cage manufacturers chiming in: *gasps of shock and awe* I can't believe we haven't thought of that before! *clapping* *standing and patting him on the back* What a genius idea! We'll make millions! You just revolutionized bird cage manufacturing!! You just took us out of the dark ages, my man!
(because that's how I imagine bird cage manufacturers are like)

And that's my post about poop and dealing with poop. It was pretty epic, right? So epic, in fact, that I'm having trouble coming up with a nice closer. Poop.

*That's the budgie's name. Well, that's my name for him. Idle Husband doesn't really like it and prefers to call him something else entirely. But I win this one cuz I see Hermes all day long. Mwha. ha.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I hate no-knead bread

There. I said it. Finally. Someone had to say it. Everyone seems to be so enamored with that whole thing and you know what? When I first heard about it, I was, too. I thought it was a fantastic idea. Especially since I had previously never been able to make my own bread (because our house was too cold not because I had an aversion to kneading. But in the early days of finding good bread recipes and having never made bread myself before, this was really appealing). So I tried it. And then I tried a kneading bread recipe and immediately realized the whole no-knead bread thing was super tedious. The hours it had to rise, the difficulty in trying to put it in another pan to bake, the messy dough covered bowl I'd have to wash after, all the dough that was washed off my hands and off the bowl and down the drain completely wasted. No, thank you.

Strangely enough, even after all that, I'd found this other interesting no-knead bread recipe and had it bookmarked to try. Since I'd hurt my finger, it seemed like a perfect time to print it off and make it a priority. 

It was supposed to be more like a breakfast bread. The idea was that it was going to turn into this fancy, oooh look at me I'm like an english muffin only I'm bread! bread. And despite my no-knead reservations, I decided to make it this weekend for our breakfast on Sunday (and yes, I could have made pancakes which would have been far easier, but I had already made this new blender pancakes recipe on Saturday, and it was so terrible that it's seriously turned me off of pancakes indefinitely). Anyway, case in point. Mixing the dough was way harder than it needed to be. The dough hook wasn't cutting it at first, so I used the beater which eventually found the dough climbing up into the mechanism so I had to switch back to the hook halfway through. Then I had to get the dough out of the bowl and divide the dough equally between two loaf pans. Like, seriously. Am I God? Do I look like the high priestess of dividing a wet, sticky, clump of unmanageable dough into two equal pieces? Freak. Otherwise, the rising time was acceptable. It wasn't a stupid 24 hours or whatever the hell crazy time the other popular no-knead recipe called for. The cooking time was also fine and dandy though difficult to gauge as one loaf was noticeably smaller than the other (duh).  I'm not going to say the final result was a disaster and tasted awful, cuz it didn't. It's pretty yum.  It doesn't resemble english muffin bread at all, but it's good toasted with butter and honey. Again, was it worth all the fiddling around and the mess and the dough all up in my sink and dried on the counter? Nope.

I've read all the foodie blogs and how they're all so in love with the no-knead bread concept, but come on, you guys. Kneading's not that much work. No-knead is just stupid. Bread is supposed to be kneaded. That's bread's whole thing. But when the reigning how-to-cook-everything king says it's something awesome and we should all try it, then I guess. Who is anyone to argue? Well, me that's who. I have no room in my recipe box for this bread trend and I'm not going to sit here and pretend it's super cool either. It's like the overalls and jumpsuit trends. Just because all the cool kids are wearing it, doesn't mean you should run out and put that shit on, too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

also I want *Cheryl's hair

Omg I love this shower! This paired with a clawfoot tub is like my dream bathroom! I had no idea they even made such a thing! The only thing I've ever wanted in a home is a perfect bathroom (and kitchen, ok, let's get honest here). Oh sigh. Some day.
(found via GingiberSnap)

Also, the Home & Garden Show is coming up this week! I plan on going Friday which feels so far away but that's only because my level of excitement is super high! Colin & Justin are going to be there! I watch Home Heist every day. I'd give my left arm to have them come and redo my kitchen and bathroom. Anyway, I went to the Home & Garden Show a couple years ago when I didn't have a home and garden but was renting a shitty basement apartment and even then, it was pretty fantastic and swoon-worthy. This year, I can actually look at what they have for kitchen and bathroom renovations and garden stuff without dreaming since it's those renovations that are at the top of my list for our home right now. Eee!

*Cheryl is Colin & Justin's project manager. She's super great, too.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I went to Superstore earlier this morning cuz it's almost like with the spring weather, all the other douchebags have suddenly started getting up earlier and even though leaving at 9 usually puts me in a better traffic situation, I've noticed maneuvering the cart around the store without having to politely smile or say sorry a buncha times is getting fewer and far between.

So I went at 8. As suspected, the traffic wasn't so great, but I had a great store experience. I don't know. I never liked Superstore before because the way they arrange products is just so confusing to me. Am I the only one who's noticed this? Canned vegetables in one aisle, canned tomatoes in another, like fuck. Just put them all in one aisle. They're all canned vegetables. Cheese on one end of the store, specialty cheeses on another. They're all cheese. Lump them together. Why do you make me scour the store for one stupid thing? Maybe I'm the only one, who knows. So for an enjoyable Superstore experience I need to be able to have the time to roam. I've already put it in my head that it's going to take me longer to find items I don't buy every week, so I'm in the mindset that things are going to take a little longer and that's ok. What else have I got on my plate today, anyway?

Pretty much 99% of the time, I get to a till when there's no one else there and the cashier is just waiting around for someone; the other 1%, I get there and someone's just finishing up with their groceries. Paying or bagging. That was today.

I get to a till where the woman is just paying, and I've unloaded all my stuff by the time I realize that her credit card's been declined. So she tries, like, 5 other cards. All declined. I'm totally not kidding, but she seriously says, "Maybe if I sign it better?" Yeah. If you sign your card better, it'll automatically be accepted. Credit cards are smart like that.

Then another woman lines up behind me. Naturally, this is the only till open that's not 12 items or fewer and we're both waiting while the first woman keeps pissing around with stories about how it worked at Walmart and how she doesn't understand why it's not working and how she should check on how her work deposits cheques. Finally, finally she uses her debit card and finishes up.

Ok, so here's the thing, like, if my card were declined and if there were a bunch of people behind me waiting -- hell, even if there weren't a bunch of people waiting on me -- I'd use what I knew would work immediately instead of pissing around with a bunch of other cards that I think might work but I really have no idea. You know, cuz I'm courteous like that. I don't even want to hold up the cashier longer than necessary. I don't want to inconvenience her.

And if that weren't the icing on the cake with this woman, because up until now, I've been relatively fine with this whole thing. I've had the same problem, actually, when we just happened to go over because of plane tickets. It happens. I'm cool with that, but then she got even more ignorant.

As you know if you've ever been to Superstore regularly, there's a certain way to doing things. Hell, when I first started going there, I was crying about the whole bagging my own stuff situation and how it was too stressful until my mom explained the procedure. So. You have your stuff on one of the belts and you start bagging that shit, as soon as you can, before you pay so that by the time you have to pay, you only have a few items left which can quickly be bagged and you can move off the belt for the next person in line.

This woman had one entire belt filled with stuff and about a quarter of the other belt, and had not started bagging during this entire time. Like, who cares if you couldn't pay right away? Half that shit should have been in bags before you even got to that point. Also, who cares about all the stuff on your belt? Clearly the priority for you now is cleaning off my belt so I can get down there and start bagging my stuff. But when she finished bagging her shit on my belt do you think she moved it off my belt? Hell no. She just left it there and continued using my belt as a bagging station. Woman, you're really testing my patience now. I don't care how full your belt is, but obviously, I need this belt for my stuff now. You have a perfectly empty cart. Use that as a bagging station like the rest of us, take your bags off my damn belt, and put them in your damn cart, so I can be damn courteous to this woman behind me because suddenly, I'm feeling like the asshole here for holding her up.

Situations like this just baffle me. They baffle me. I have to analyze and figure out where the hell her brain was and why it wasn't as obvious to her as it should have been. I don't think I'll ever get people. Honestly. I really feel like I'm the only one out there that notices shit like this because it seems like everyone's like this. I just...gah. People! You know?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The green velvet cupcakes turned out more forest green than green-green, but they're still red-velvety delicious. I think I prefer the original french cream icing to the cream cheese frosting. There's nothing wrong with the cream cheese, I just think the french cream goes better with the cake. Also, I wanted to try piping the frosting on all nice and pretty, but I couldn't manage with the whole thumb thing plus my shoddy rigged up piping bag did not pan out the way I thought it would. I might have to bite the bullet and actually buy a piping bag and tips. Which isn't such a bad thing ; ) 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I need a skin graft

Last night, while peeling cucumbers, my grip slipped and I slammed the peeler down into my thumb and sliced off a thick piece of skin. It's kind of a deep gouge, I have to say, and super painful. I managed to slow the bleeding by the time Idle Husband came home and helped me wrap some bandage tape around it.

You know what my first thought was, though? Damn it! I have to make bread today! Annnd I'm making St. Patrick's Day cupcakes today, too. Awesome job. Like it would have been way better to gouge out my thumb sometime tomorrow instead of last night, naturally.

Anyway, I guess I'm going to have to pick up some bandages and neosporin or something today on le walk because my usual liquid bandage is not going to cut it. I had tears in my eyes just rinsing it under plain water. There's no way I'm putting that liquid bandage on cuz it stings like crazy on the tiniest of cuts. Also I'm regretting not putting anything under the bandage tape. At the time, I thought it was actual bandage and then we'd secure it with tape, but after it went on I realized it was tape that looked bandage-y so now I'm scared to pull it off cuz isn't that just going to reopen things? Oh well. Tonight, I'm going to take a deep breath and just do it. Better sooner than later, right?

On a lighter note: the budgie is finally nibbling on the special treats we're giving him! He had a breakthrough yesterday when I gave him a piece of lettuce covered in water, and he decided to lick the water off of it (one of his favourite activities so far) and then decided to try nibbling it! So last night, we gave him an orange piece, but it was too late for him to care. This morning, I squeezed it open a bit more and he decided to taste that, too. I guess the flavour might be too strange for him yet, because he takes a taste then spends a minute to rub his head all over his mirror. Then takes another taste and repeats the process. Wooo! Oranges are tangy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

green velvet

I don't wanna say Bakerella stole this idea from me. It's not like she can magically read my mind or anything. But I did think of this idea a little while ago and thought it perfect for St. Patrick's day. I am kinda glad she posted it first, though, because I was really wondering whether the green would turn out like it did in my mind. Apparently it does, and that takes a load off my shoulders because I plan on making these magnificent things (this time with cream cheese frosting) for Idle Husband's work team the day before St. Patty's.

(FYI: I'm going to use the red velvet cake recipe I used last year for Valentine's Day. And having never had red velvet cake before that point, I just have to say that that recipe is so delicious I ate all the cupcakes myself. Yes, I did. Except for prolly about 4 of them. I'm not proud of it, but that's the truth. Anyway, that recipe came from Design*Sponge.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Oh I was so sick yesterday! I feel much better today, but I'm still terrified to eat anything. So I'll share some pictures I'm really proud of. I'm trying to excercise my photography skills and each week, the results keep getting better and better! (or I'm getting better at photo editing! ha ha)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hey, budgie. How you doin'?

It sounds like the Australian outback in here.

I found a recording of some budgies out in nature and our little guy got so excited! He started chirping and eating and doing all sorts of exciting bird-things (read: he finally woke up out of his coma). So I've had that on a constant loop since I found it. I figure it's better than leaving music on or trying desperately to strike up some sort of (awkward) conversation with him (to which he always responds with a blank stare and then goes back to sleep).


I turned it off for a moment so I could watch a video, and I swear. He looks up from his gravel, looks me right in the eyes and he's like, "chirrup?" like, where the hell did my budgies go, dude?! And I'm like, "I just wanna watch this music video for a second, ok?! Sheesh." (because I feel like I have to justify myself)

Budgies are high maintenance, I'm telling you.

the title makes me think of that youtube video, Chocolate Rain. Just, you know, FYI

We've been glued to this game all weekend. I really love watching gameplay. I don't know if I've ever said that, but I think that all comes from how I grew up only being allowed to watch the boys play Nintendo rather than ever being asked (or considered) to play also. Anyway, any video game that Idle Husband plays that actually has a great story and keeps me interested, I'm all for. So Heavy Rain is just that sort of game but it goes one step further. It's like a movie. No, truly, it is. It's all cinematic and the story isn't really your typical video game plot. Then what you do is all the actions and decisions. Clean a cut, start a car, climb a fence, all which (presumably) effect the eventual result. We've really become emotionally attached to the characters which isn't hard to do the way the game's set up. It's not like other video games where if your character gets hurt or dies you think nothing of it. Oh, I'll come back to life or get more health somewhere. Meh. Whatever. Heavy Rain makes you feel like you have to take care of the character and keep them out of harm's way. So when they get into certain situations (like having to climb through power lines or fight off a home invader) you really get panicky and stressed out trying to push the buttons correctly so the character doesn't get hurt. It's amazing really. Highly recommended.

In other news: I thought it was spring, but this morning it was cold and windy. Today I had planned on starting to refinish this dresser I bought last year, but after my walk I was just too cold. I'm still cold. I put on a sweater, but that doesn't seem to be helping much. Of course, that's just the way as I was planning on doing the dresser, but it's downstairs where it's noticeably colder and the thought of being downstairs has me literally shivering (or cringing, but I'm going to go with shivering because it accentuates my cold excuse better). I should just suck it up and do it already because I've been putting it off for so long, and I might even warm up (doubtful).

Monday, March 8, 2010

The triumphant return of Leash Cat!

Leash up, Leash Cat! Spring has sprung! 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

a tasty saturday morning

Last week, I stumbled on an article detailing the 25 best things to eat in Edmonton, and honestly, I thought, I'll just give this a quick read-through. There's probably not going to be anything of interest for me (like usual).

First find:
Hellas Foods (12407 109 Ave., 780-455-8168)
I started reading this one because I'd never heard of Hellas Foods. It's got the best spanakopita in Edmonton, apparently. But what? What. Wait a minute. At the end of the blurb, it quickly says that they also have tyropita. Someone sells tyropita in Edmonton?! We had NO  idea. This is by far bigger and more exciting news than the stupid spanakopita, people! You can get spanakopita anywhere. Tyropita, on the other hand, seemed to be something we could only get if I decided to make it or if we flew back to Greece.

Ok, so, the entire point of our trip was for the tyropita, but when we got there we found a larger, better selection of Greek foods than we had at the "other" store. We ended up leaving with an armful of goodies along with our tyropitas.

The tyropita

It was...good enough. We were really sad it was cold. They're not normally kept cold, so we had to wait until we got home to heat it up in the toaster oven. Now, remember, I've had tyropita many times in Greece, Idle Husband has eaten it all his life -- we're a little biased. This wasn't exactly a tyropita that we'd rush out to get every weekend. But considering this may be the only place that sells it, we'd definitely go again just to have another taste. A little longer in the toaster oven would solve the mostly temperature-related problem and there wasn't as much feta as we would expect to find (though, I don't mind it being easy on the cheese). That being said, the crust was light and flakey and it made for a yummy breakfast.

Other Greek things to get if you happen to wanna go there: 7 Days croissants, Petite Beurre (cookies), Elite wheat rusks (crackers), Krinos tea in bunches, Papadopoulos biscuits (cookies), Spicy feta dip, roasted red pepper and feta dip, and Greek yogurt. The prices were a little steep, but it was kinda worth it as a treat since we haven't seen most of these anywhere else. We'll probably go back to try their tzatziki dip (we didn't buy any this time cuz I'd already made a fresh batch on Friday), and IH was super excited by the honey so maybe that, too. And by that time, we'd probably be ready for another tyropita.

Second Find:
Duchess Bake Shop (10720 124 St., 780-488-4999)
Amazingly not far from Hellas Foods, is this cute little bake shop. Apparently, they sell the best macarons and you know what? I've never had a macaron. I keep seeing them in all their splendid colours on every blog imaginable, right down to recipes and detailed how-tos. I've been keeping an eye out for them, but I was getting so frustrated at not being able to find them that I was about thisclose to blindly attempting to bake them just so I could taste them (even though they're supposed to be really tricky to make correctly the first time). I had to have them. I've been obsessed. Now, I'd forgotten the name when we walked from Hellas Foods, and we ended up walking right past the store at first. There were a couple people standing beside it, but I honestly didn't think anything of it. I thought maybe there was a bus stop there. Whatever. On our second time by, we'd figured it out and by then, there were about 5 more people milling around waiting for it to open (and about 4 more people coming up the street). This was 5 minutes before opening on a Saturday. This place must get super busy.

First impressions: I loved how quaint the shop was. So cute with little cafe tables. I went to the counter to scope things out and I spotted the lovely macarons all lined up and ready. Except I was not expecting them to be so small. Are they normally small everywhere else? I kinda expected them to be about the size of a regular cookie, but instead they were maybe the size of a toonie. Maybe slightly larger, but not by much. That was kind of a let-down, honestly. Especially for the price. I had discussed it previously, and since neither of us knew what we were getting into, I decided I would buy one of each flavour they had. On hindsight, I wish I would have bought two of each. While I decided to delicately take a little nibble to sample each flavour, I handed the first one over to IH for a delicate nibble, too. Well, "delicate nibble" equates to popping the whole thing in his mouth and with that, the first cookie disappeared. Sadness for me as I'd just had a tiny, barely tasteable bite of the salted caramel (the flavour I've decided was probably my favourite). Anyway. Situation rectified, we tried the rest and they were all very delicious. The only flavour I didn't truly enjoy was lavender. It was good, don't get me wrong, but there's just something about lavender that makes for a soapy taste. It wasn't hugely soapy, but there was that aftertaste. I know it's edible, but it's really hard to seperate it from it's lotion and soap usage. Checking out their website, I see they have more flavours that weren't being offered to us on Saturday. Like strawberry, rose, and cafe. I'll definitely be going back in the future for these tiny treats because I really did love those little cookies. Besides, Idle Husband has promised to buy me more to make up for his huge man-nibbles.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Do you have any other skills?

I bought the second Flight of the Conchords album, "I Told you I was Freaky" for Idle Husband's Valentine's gift. We're both really digging it, especially these songs.



A new arrival!

Last night, Idle Husband surprised me by bringing a friend home for dinner. "Don't worry," he said, "he's bringing his own food. And staying the night." WHAT WHAT?!

And then I found out what all the secrecy and suspense was about!

Our new little friend is the cutest thing! But he's still pretty shy and has spent today napping and staring at me. I don't know if he's even eaten anything yet! Oh well. I'm sure he'll come around. He's just sorting out his drastic life change!

We're still discussing names. We need some good ideas!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

things I've broken so far this week

I never thought I'd see they day when I would have raisin stuck in my teeth

You know what sucks about raisin bran? Well, more specifically, this shitty version of store-brand raisin bran? When I started this bag of cereal, all I got was bran. I would rejoice if I managed to pour out even just one measly raisin. I turned the bag upside down, shook it, tried every crazy idea I could think of just to get a good bran to raisin ratio. Now that I'm at the end of the bag, I'm shovelling raisins in my mouth like I've decided to have raisins and milk for breakfast with a tiny bit of bran for garnish. But guess what? That also sucks. Raisins are not so hot when eaten by the spoonful. 

This can't bode well for the rest of my day.