Friday, April 30, 2010

researching 3

I love these historically based colours from California Paints -- even though I wouldn't ever decorate my home to be completely historically accurate or retro for that matter, even if I had a historical house.

Here are my top picks from each palette:

One thing I noticed was how scarily similar the colours were once I picked them out and grouped them!

found here 

strawberry fro yo

Thursday, April 29, 2010


This lasagna was delicious!
Here's roughly how I made it. Some of the amounts aren't listed because I have no idea how much I used. If you're feeding a big crowd or two people, you have to adjust the meat and cheese and portions anyway, no matter what I say. You also should always season to your taste not mine. Therefore, it's my firm belief that dinner recipes aren't to be followed to the letter. Use what you have, make it as large or small as you need, make it taste good to you. Tailor the dinner recipe, follow the baking recipe.

Guidelines (the method for this new lasagna recipe mostly came from Pardon My Crumbs)
mix up a ricotta cheese mixture (I used cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella on account of I didn't have any. I didn't have any fresh basil either so I used dried.) and pop in the fridge until you need it.
I also followed the idea of her onion/mushroom/spinach combo kinda closely except I used a handful of dried shitaki mushrooms instead, revitalized in hot water and roughly chopped, and I added my garlic here instead of with the meat. Remove the veggies and set aside in a bowl
add hamburger and bacon to your pan and cook thoroughly. Strain off fat.
add in this tomato sauce (which I made on Monday) and season if needed with salt & pepper and garlic powder. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
9 lasagna noodles soaked in hot water until just pliable 
after forgetting about the noodles soaking in water (because I was too busy multitasking with other things), I sadly realized they were too water-logged to use and would have ruined everything if I had.
9 more lasagna noodles boiled for 11 minutes (until just about al dente, but not fully cooked), drained, and set aside to cool slightly.
Grate up some cheese (I ended up using an entire block of cheddar cheese -- yikes! At least I always buy the low fat versions of everything)
Have some parmasan cheese handy for sprinkling

Spray an 8" X 14" pan (mostly whatever large pan you have) lightly with nonstick spray
Layer in this order:
  • tomato meat sauce
  • both cheeses
  • 3 noodles
  • ricotta
  • veggies
  • meat sauce
  • cheeses
  • 3 noodles
  • ricotta
  • veggies
  • meat sauce
  • cheeses
  • 3 noodles
  • meat sauce
  • veggies
  • any leftover ricotta
  • make sure to have enough cheese leftover to cover the top pretty completely (you may have to grate some more like I did)
Just make sure you end with meat sauce and cheese so your noodles don't overcook and dry out in the oven. (You don't have to worry about having ricotta for the top, necessarily. It's more of a binder for the layers than anything else. Just don't freak out if you do.) 

Cover with foil and leave in the fridge until you're ready to bake it (I love lasagna cuz you can make it in the morning and get all your dishes done and have a nice relaxful day not worrying about when to start supper or what to make for supper. A pan of uncooked lasagna will probably freeze pretty good, too. I've just never done that cuz I don't have to and I don't have the freezer space for an entire pan anyway).
Or bake it right away! Heat oven to 350. Put lasagna in (still covered with foil) for about 45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking another 10 minutes, just until the top is a little golden and bubbly. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving (doing so makes it easier to cut and serve).  I paired this with a delicious ceasar salad with homemade garlic croutons, but any salad will do (you could also add garlic bread if you've got a crowd and you're not sure one lasagna will feed them all).

We're having this again for supper tonight! Even with the meat paired down for two people, it makes a lot!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

researching 2

I was super inspired by Julianne Moore's decorating style in this issue of Domino.

By mixing expensive with the inexpensive she actually pulls off a really lux look.

I especially love those yellow curtains and the hazy grey-lilac colours

I also love the lines of that sofa. She found it at Crate and Barrel which we don't have in Edmonton (it's in Toronto which figures, they ARE the only good city in Canada, apparently *eye roll*...oh wait...what the deuce?! Calgary, too? You bastards!) eh hem. Nevertheless, I'm still inspired by it's classic, tailored lines (And by every other friggin' sofa on their website. Nerds.)

She also put carpet tiles in the kitchen! I'm interested in that (if only for an area rug that'll stay put) and I love how she used a skinny bookcase as an extra storage and display area. I have that exact bookcase right now (only it's brown). I also know exactly where in the kitchen I could put it if I were to use it there.
In other news, it's been raining all day today. It's so nice, I hope it rains all weekend. I'm definitely a rainy-day gal. Rain makes it feels so right to sit under a blanket and watch movies all day. Unfortunately, I developed a sore throat overnight. I don't know if it's the start of a cold or what, but I'm going to pretend like it is and start taking homeopathic medicine just in case. I swear by this brand, and I use it for everything not just the flu. Forget that stupid Cold FX. That doesn't work at all. Get this instead. The rain also made me nostalgic for comfort food, so I made a lasagna for supper. I strayed from my usual, family tried and true recipe (my mom's famous for her lasagna) and used a mixture of  ricotta, cheese, and spinach instead of bechamel or cottage cheese. Should be interesting (and by interesting, I hope delicious)!

Also, Happy Birthday Mom! You're like a fine wine, you only get better with age! haha Corn-nay! I love you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

wrestler cookies

I had to make bread yesterday so I figured that since the oven was going to be on anyway, I might as well give the ol' rolled cookie dough a go. Mostly, I just wanted to use my new cutters. Having cookies was just a side benefit.

I was going to try some random sugar cookie recipe off the internet, but the cutters had a perfectly fine looking recipe on the back of the package so I thought I'd wing it and go with that. The most appealing part of that recipe? No chilling. Any time I have to chill dough for X number of hours super pisses me off. Rising bread dough for an hour? No problemo. Heck, when I make pitas, that dough has to rise for 3 hours and I friggin' love making pitas! I have no problem with waiting for rising dough at all. So you'd think it would be exactly the same for chilling. But it's not. I hate it. I think the reason I'm cool with having rising time is because it's so satisfying to see how much the dough grows in that time period. Like that dough was working the whole time. Not just sittin' back relaxing, doing shit all. Chilling gives no gratification and when you eventually do take the dough out and get to rolling it, it's nearly impossible because it's too stiff and icy cold which makes it even more unpleasant to work with.

Macho Man

Anyway, this dough recipe was seriously the best I've ever used for rolled out cookies. Which is saying a lot because rolled out cookie dough never produces anything remotely good looking for me. Ever. So the fact that I have tons of cookies that all look perfect like this:

Hulk Hogan

and I only minimally wanted to pull out my hair is saying a lot.

The only lesson I learned when it came to that whole rolling and cutting process was to ensure that I rolled the dough out to a thickness that would create the impression from the cutters. Not too thin and not too thick. I had to scrunch up my first two rolling attempts because of those two problems, but after that, I had it down pat. I think the only other thing that might have made more sense would have been to roll the dough out directly on the cookie sheet. Moving the shapes was very difficult. Using a spatula made it a little better, but it got super frustrating when I'd be just about there and the head would rip off, or even worse, one foot on an otherwise perfect cookie. Patience is something I really have to work on.

So then, while they were cooling, I thought (just for fun -- or extreme torture), I'd give a go at royal icing. Something I've never attempted. I used frozen egg whites that I had to quickly unthaw which ended with me slightly cooking them (I've been trying to use my toaster oven for melting and defrosting lately because I want to see if I can go microwave-less. Apparently it doesn't turn off automatically on toast setting 7. Good to know). So I kind of just strained off the cooked egg white bits and went with that. Amazingly, it still worked, I just didn't need as much icing sugar. I decided to pipe an outline on the back of the WWF logo cookies (since they were essentially a square shape -- E. Z.) and flood the interior with thinned out icing. I thought it would be easier and make more sense to do it on the back of these since the detail is so fine on the front. Even with the proper tools, I think it would have taken an expert piper to get the details in with icing. Naturally, it would have been impossible for me to do it at all with a ziplock baggie. So I didn't have some exorbitantly crazy wigged out piping schemes. I didn't even tint the icing to make it even easier. The only problem was the ziplock baggie. Otherwise, I think it would have worked fantastically and looked totally awesome if I only had the proper tools.

Here's what did happen. I almost immediately sprang a leak in the ziplock bag (since the icing was a little on the thick side) so I had frosting coming out up near my hand the entire time, and I got frosting on the zipping mechanism so it wouldn't close which meant I also had frosting coming out the back, and it was near impossible to get an even line after outlining the first two cookies because of clumpage. There was frosting everywhere. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of all that because I was too frustrated to care anymore and the only good looking one I had, I packaged up for T as soon as it was dry. The rest of the WWF logo ones (completely, although awkwardly and mountainously iced) Idle Husband and I devoured last night.

Just so you know, these cookies are friggin' fantastic! Once in a while IH would bring home a decorated sugar cookie from Second Cup, and I swear to you, these cookies taste exactly like that. So now I'm pretty determined to get them right because I want to send a whole bunch of them to work with IH for his coworkers. I mean, hello? Coolest wife ever award? Yeah, me! That's right!

See that little dab of white on Boss Man's head? I ended up just quickly smearing the leftover icing on the back of all these cookies. It ain't pretty but it tastes good.

Rolled Out Cookie Dough (from Wilton's)

1 cup butter (I used margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together until nice and light.
Add the egg and vanilla, beating to incorporate.
Add in the baking powder, mix.
Add in the flour one cup at a time and thoroughly mix after each addition. You may have to remove the dough from your mixer after 2 cups of flour have been added and knead in the last cup, but my Kitchen Aid handled the 3 cups just fine.
Do not chill (whoop!) Divide the dough into two balls and roll into a 12" diameter circle about 1/8" thick on a well-floured surface. That's super more important than being precise with the inches (or the circle for that matter), so I suggest you use whatever cutters you're going to use as a guide and roll it till it's right for the cutter (who gives a damn if it's in a precise circle). To get the hang of this, I put the cutters beside the dough and kind of set the rolling pin on top so the dough wouldn't roll down past the thickness of the cutter which would make the dough too thin. Then I'd roll a couple times more so it wasn't as thick as the cutter (since that's too thick) and that'd be perfect. I only had to do this about two times before I could eyeball it.
Dip your cutter in flour for every single use (this is very essential when you have a really detailed cutter like mine were. Sometimes doing it once wasn't enough). Feel free to knock off any excess flour just to be sure it doesn't get in the way of pressing in any details (I did).
Bake 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned (they puff up a lot in the oven which is something I wasn't expecting).

I found my royal icing recipe and tips here.

Monday, April 26, 2010


With the knowledge of having more decorating on the horizon (hurrah!), this weekend I decided to pull out my old Domino magazines and start researching. Is anyone else super sad that they folded like I am? What a shame. Especially given what decorating magazines did make it through. Domino was the only one that actually packed itself with vibrant stories and ideas and resources. Anything I've tried since their untimely demise, I find too heavy with advertisements and old fashioned fuddy-duddy thinking.

I really like a lot of the ideas in this particular issue. Especially the prospect of black walls in the bedroom. I don't know if I'd go black, but maybe a dark grey or chocolate. I think darker walls would lend themselves so well in the bedroom, providing an instant cozy, nesty feeling.

It doesn't look dark at all because of the white trim, ceiling, and accents.

Anyway I still have tons more magazines to pour through and I'm kind of considering buying their decorating book. In the meantime, here are some online sources I've found very inspiring.

Friday, April 23, 2010

found: the coolest cookie cutters that ever existed ever

$1.99 buys a lot of happiness, my friends

To her credit, T actually stumbled on them and brought them to my attention as a joke. I don't think she realized I would think that finding this was right up there with discovering gold  in your backyard or a new planet or whatever else you'd discover that would blow your mind away. I don't think she realized I would immediately snatch them away from her and buy them myself. (To be honest, there was a point there where I really didn't know if she intended to buy them at all. We kind of stood there laughing about it then I asked her if she was going to carry them around with her or what, because if she wasn't about to, I totally would because leaving the store without either of us having them wasn't an option. I've since apologized profusely about buying them out from under her nose, and we're totally going to share them.) These have now given me a new purpose. A reason to master the rolled cookie dough that I absolutely hate and have never had any success with ever, and piped icing which I've never even done (I'm sure it's got disaster written all over it); but these cookie cutters can't languish in a drawer, they have to be used and celebrated and enjoyed and laughed about! Next week, I'm making Hulk Hogan and Macho Man cookies come hell or high water!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This is my second attempt at making Greek baklava and I've now confirmed it. This is the easiest thing to make ever. Even when you screw it up royally, it tastes fantastic. This particular recipe was even easier than the first I made as it only required walnuts. While the first one was good, it had walnuts, almonds, and pistachios (which I had to painstakingly shell for 10 minutes to get the right amount). I'm sure you could add almonds or pistachios to this recipe if you wanted to get all fancy, but it's definitely not necessary.

Things I learned:
- I screwed up the layering. I think it was mostly due to the fact that I was feeling pretty rushed by the end of the day yesterday. I shouldn't have even started it, really, but I'd taken out the phyllo to unthaw earlier that morning, so there was really no turning back (there probably was, but I didn't see it that way at the time). Plus I thought the instructions were slightly confusing on the layering part and the amount of nuts to put between each one. Before I knew it, I had too many nuts left over, and I was running out of dough. I think I should look at the number of sheets I have compared to what the recipe is saying. I think brands might differ on this because I kind of recall having the same sort of problem the first time, only I think I was just one or two sheets short. I'm definitely going to find out how many are there and divide it myself accordingly.
- Even though I used a larger pan this time, it still wasn't quite large enough. Next time, I'll have to go with my wider and longer metal pan. It really sucks having to tuck and fold and rip and crimp the phyllo so it'll fit.
- One of these days, I'm going to try making it using melted butter between the layers of dough, but as it is now, I really love using just plain ol' cooking spray (a trick I got from recipe #1). It makes things a lot easier, quicker, and probably a lot less heavy on the calories. This recipe calls for butter, but (remember how rushed I was?) I couldn't be bothered to cut it and melt it (I know. So time consuming).
- I can't cut things into triangles. I started cutting and then instantly realized I had no idea what I was doing, so my pan looks like a Mondrian painting except with triangles. Straight cuts and squares is the way to go for me.
- Make the syrup first! The instructions say that either the baklava has to be piping hot from the oven or the syrup has to be boiling off the stove, but they can't both be hot. So instead of realizing this after assembling and starting the cooking process on the baklava, then starting on the syrup -- which forced me to have to desperately quick cool my syrup by pouring it back and forth into different cups while letting it rest in the fridge -- I suggest making the syrup first. Popping it in the fridge quite leisurely. Taking your time chopping the nuts and assembling the dough. Then you can sit around on the internet for the 40-50 (mine was too brown at 50) minute baking time. Then saunter yourself into the kitchen when your timer buzzes, pull out your now completely cooled syrup, and pour that bad boy on immediately.
- More nuts! Even like 1/2 a cup more would have been nice.

Delicious Greek Baklava

big news, everyone!

Idle Husband and I are building a new house! Can you believe it? I can't believe it. I think I'm still in a bit of shock cuz everything happened so fast and unexpectedly! Literally, one minute we were driving around, just checking out our area, and the next thing I knew, we had picked out a new house! So after stewing on this for almost a month now, we've made concessions and come to agreements and we're now making the final decisions before the house starts being constructed.

Anyway, we had to choose the colour of the exterior and we had to make the decision in, like, a day which wasn't what we expected, so I spent most of yesterday combining colours on the builder's design website.

Black Trim Options
we preferred B and C here

White Trim Options
we didn't mind F and G here
(I couldn't come up with any other white trim combos I particularly liked so decided to try grey trim in H)

The only problem I could see was that the roof colour we were allowed to have seemed a lot browner on the website than I remembered. I thought the real life sample was more black than brown. So with that in mind, we decided we'd go with colours B if the roof was more black and C if the roof was more brown.

Then we drove over to the show home to double check the colours with the roof sample only to find that none of the colours we chose from the website matched any of the samples. In fact, some of the names weren't even there, so essentially all my stewing about colour was for nothing because we had to scrap our choices and pick them all new from the samples available.

The colours we chose are:
  • olive grey siding (light pasty green grey)
  • weathered grey shakes (medium grey tone)
  • black trim
  • tropical blue door (just what you'd expect but seriously the best choice from what was there)
  • driftwood roofing (which was a blacker brown with little specks of green/blue that seem to completely match the siding colour) 
I was trying to find colours similar to those on the website so I could get an idea of the look, but nothing really comes close to the olive grey; and since that's the most dominant colour, it kinda defeats the purpose of making up a pretend picture. I'm kinda nervous about the door colour mostly. When choosing colours on the website things always seemed to look better if the door matched the shakes or if the shakes matched the siding. That doesn't happen at all in this yeah. They look good together as chips but will they look good together as house?

Next decision is the interior colours, but strangely enough, I think we've already got a pretty good handle on those. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I love chasing a post about eating correctly with a gushing review for chips! Most excellent! Well, stupid Superstore sent me an email about their no G.S.T. whatever event this Saturday and Sunday only. Which only mildly pissed me off having just returned from getting groceries Friday morning (and I had to buy meat, too, you bastards). Anyway, I didn't buy chicken because my usual 3 pack of fresh chickens wasn't as cheap as I would have liked, and I sadly lamented not having any chicken in the house to Idle Husband later on when he got home. So even though we don't usually venture into the Superstore on the weekend (danger danger!), he suggested we get some today while still slightly benefiting from the no tax business. Naturally, we were hungry and were eyeing the healthy chips when I remembered I had spotted these Greek flavoured chips a while ago. Approximate reenactment:
Idle Wife: ZOMG! I saw Greek flavoured chips today! I wonder how they'd taste! We have to try them!
Idle Husband: Well. Did you buy them?
Idle Wife: No. Of course not.
Idle Husband: That makes sense.
All right, so I really hope you have a Superstore in your immediate area because you have to go get these chips right now! They were so delicious! I think they might be our new favourite chip and we've always been pretty devoted to Miss Vickie's kettle chips, never ever straying from that choice. We devoured pretty much the whole thing on the way home (ripping open the bag to finish it off as soon as we got in the door). It's nice that this bag comes with an easy open tab and even a ziplock closure but who's actually able to keep some for later? They have a really tangy taste to them. You can taste the olive-y, oregano flavour but it's not super strong, there's just enough of the salty feta vibe, plus there's a creamy, cheesy aftertaste (I'm not even going to mention that it was only $1.49, either). It's very addictive and yummalumma! (I have no idea why I started saying that but now I can't stop. Stupid annoying catch phrase.)

In other news: It's frickin' gorgeous today! (except for the wind wuh wuh) First day of the season without a jacket! Can you believe it? We wore them out, but we were barely in the car 5 minutes when we had to take them off or risk cooking to death. Apparently, it's supposed to rain tomorrow which would be good cuz it's super dry out. Have I mentioned how much I hate the wind? There's nothing quite like the feeling of grit in your teeth after having leftover snow dust blown into your face.

the backyard's pretty cute looking if you use super macro zoom on your camera

I actually spent some time looking out at the backyard today, and as I forced myself to avoid eye-contact with the motorhome, I noticed a ton of these blue flowers had opened! I have no idea what they are (I could probably take 5 minutes and look them up, but meh), but they're super pretty and all around the rock 'garden' a previous owner had attempted. Such a welcome pop of colour. Gasp! I should go cut some for a tiny bouquet!

Happily, the rhubarb T gave me last year (that I unceremoniously plunked in whatever part of the ground I could actually dig into), has survived! There's a big Jehovah's Witness building on the corner that we always have to drive by, and last year I noticed they had used rhubarb as part of their landscaping. I thought that was so clever! Rhubarbs don't have to be relegated to the vegetable garden or the back of the yard away from sight! I wish I had thought of that! Now I don't look at the rhubarb as just an eating plant, but as nice greenery, too. Years down the line, it should be able to grow to a large bush size and provide colour and texture while giving us yummy stalks for crisps and crumbles. Brilliant. (I feel like a PSA for rhubarbs now. "Buy yours today!")

Friday, April 16, 2010

just some quick updates

I read about this weight loss idea (I don't want to call it a program) called, Eat Stop Eat, from this blog a week ago. Basically, the principle is that you take two days per week and fast for 24 hours. I know it sounds kinda crazy and strange, and I thought that, too. But then I started thinking about when I (noticeably for the first time ever) lost a bunch of weight a couple years ago. I pretty much did my own version of this only instead of consciously fasting for 24 hours, I just wouldn't eat if I wasn't sure I was hungry. The idea of that was whenever I felt like I was hungry, I'd get something to drink instead. Almost 95% of the time, I realized I was just really thirsty and not super hungry like I thought. Doing this really helped me listen to my body and listen to what it wanted. I quickly found out that it doesn't need as much food to function as I thought it did, and for the first time in my life I was actually in control. Well, I've since lost that control again and while I gained some weight back, I gained it back differently so while I don't feel or notice it as much, I would really love to regain that control I found before. I decided to give this diet a go, and I started fasting on Tuesday between 8 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday (actually it might have been more like 7:30. I've decided I'm not going to be super strict about it, because I want to eat with Idle Husband when he gets home -- which varies so much I can't really set specific times). Honestly, I wasn't hungry at all until maybe the last hour of the fast, and when I did eat, I didn't even feel like eating as much as I normally would. Thursday was an eat day (I decided) and while there's no rules on what you can or can't eat, I didn't feel like gorging myself just because. I had a reasonable breakfast, I actually had lunch (which I stopped doing before in an effort to lose weight) and a very nice dinner. I felt neither stuffed or deprived. Then I started fast number two at 8 p.m. last night. As strange as it sounds, I already feel better. I think I'm going to continue doing this for at least a month just to see where it takes me.

I've been fiddling around with some ideas for things, but I don't know where I'm going with them yet.

It finally feels like spring might be here to stay, though it's so windy that it's really hard to be outside and actually enjoy yourself. I really hate the wind.

I finished lining the dresser drawers. I used Mod Podge to glue down my antique wallpaper which seemed to work just fine. Only I rushed the job, cuz some of it ended up a little wrinkly. Oh well. I've finally got clothes in them and our other dresser is no longer (literally) bursting at the seams.

I have an idea for moving some curtains around between the bedroom and the office, I don't know if it'll pan out but I'm going to test it today (before I do any major curtain rod moveage). This is all because I'm not really keen on making yet another set of curtains (lazyness abounds).

T's got a charity garage sale going on next weekend, so I've been going through my boxes (again) sorting some of the nicer things out to donate. I'm almost glad I didn't get rid of that stuff. I was going to donate it to charity anyway, but at least now I know exactly where it's going and who it's helping.

Hermes is starting to develop quite the attitude. If he doesn't like something, he squawks incessently until it stops. If he's nervous, he does this little chirping thing. He doesn't flap all around the cage like he does when he freaks out, he just chirps a bit and moves back and forth. He's also getting smarter when it comes to treats. We bought some millet spray (which is basically a bunch of seeds on a long stick) and he completely freaked out when I put it in his cage. Then, a day later, he kinda nibbled it and after that it took him all of two days to completely strip it down to the bare stem. Now I'd really love one of those quick-job hand vacuums as there's tiny, static-clingy seed shells on almost every surface of my house.

Besides all that stuff, I've been feeling kinda unmotivated and uninspired. There's lots of things I should be doing, but I don't want to. I guess it's just been that kind of a week.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

3 posts in one day? wha what!

So cheesed that we found out too late about Conan's (only other Canadian) stop in Edmonton. Why, Conan?! Why did you have to wait until after we put the idea of flying to Vancouver just for you out of our heads and stopped torturing ourselves by looking at your schedule every day to announce it?!

Also super cheesed that he'll be back to his talk show on TBS. A station we don't get because of Peachtree TV. (raising fists in the air) Damn you, Peachtree TV!

well that's quite juvenile and uncalled for

Remember when I said our fence fell down? Well, this is what we've been looking at, minus the caution tape, for the last few weeks. I would go out and try to fix it like I've done in the past, but because of the slope and the elevation of their yard in comparison to our yard, it's nearly impossible for me to do. I'm about 5'5" and the fence is about 8' when I'm standing on the ground beside it. So for me to pull it upwards and back towards our property is like working up a flight of stairs holding something far to high and far too heavy for me above my head. It's a real arm breaker. I stretched my shoulders out way too much the last time I tried and that's when it was only slightly tipped, not fully laying down like it is now. (And don't think I'm wussing out on fixing something. I can fix a fence, damn it. I've built miles of barbed wire fences. That shit don't scare me.)

It's bad enough with the huge motorhome we've been staring at since we moved in and the fact that we get more of an eyefull with the fence down, but now I have to stare at caution tape, too? I came back from my walk this afternoon to find the fence wrapped with it. They have kids and a dog so I kinda feel like it's more their responsibility than it is ours to fix, because they have things in their yard that can escape (and I presume they don't want them to escape). But maybe we should just bite the bullet and fix it already. I think they've made it quite clear that they can't handle themselves as responsible adults anyway.

p.s. Their motorhome is a permanent fixture in their yard. I remember when we first moved in, I thought that it would go out for the May long weekend and it didn't. Then I thought it would go out for the next long weekend and it didn't. It's never gone anywhere ever plus they've added a second one. I don't get why people collect motorhomes they never use. Have you noticed this? Mom has neighbours that have a bunch of campers in their yard, too. What's the reasoning behind it? I don't understand with the price of a motorhome and the price of the gas to fill it up and everything that you'd want to even own a motorhome to use let alone just to keep in your yard. Why wouldn't you rent one if you wanted to take a motorhome holiday? And why would you buy one if you never intended to go on any motorhome vacations in the first place? People. I'll never understand 'em.

If I could crave salads that would be a perfect world, wouldn't it?

Yesterday, I really wanted lemon squares. Just the taste of lemon in something, that's all I wanted. So Idle Husband convinced me to go ahead and make a batch around 9:30 last night. After making the crust, baking it, then making the filling, and popping the whole lot in the oven for another round of 20 minutes, I was too tired to bother with them anymore. So once they were done, they sat out and cooled and neither of us had a bite.

This morning, I thought that since I didn't have anything prepared for breakfast (I usually make some baked oatmeal and eat it all week), I would have a nice lemon square. They looked so lemony and delicious and perfect for breakfast! One square later, and I realized that I didn't want it at all.

I'm having this issue with sweets that I can't put my finger on right now. I crave them, I really do, but once I have them I feel like that's not what I was actually craving, and I'm kinda disgusted at even having made and eaten it in the first place. I don't know what that's all about but I wish it would stop. I think I've realized now that I don't really want sugar ever, so let's just bypass that whole notion and get to what it is I really want.

Anyway, after not satisfying myself with the lemon squares this morning, I promptly cut them into tiny bite sized pieces and packaged them up so they're ready to head to IH's work tomorrow. I don't know if announcing that lemon squares are available for consumption will be as successful as the green velvet cupcakes were, but oh well. I certainly don't want any more, so someone might as well enjoy them.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I don't know why you keep aiming for the window. There's snow out there, stupid.

Hermes got out of his cage today. I say it like it was this grand escape he's been orchestrating for months. Secretly fashioning a shovel using one of the bells on a toy then quietly digging a tunnel slowly through the plastic and out the other side to freedom.

I, actually, have been tying his cage door open lately in an attempt to make him feel more comfortable with us and feel more like he can trust us with his life yadda yadda budgie whisperer nonsense.

Anyway, I was cleaning up the office this morning and dusting with the Swiffer when, in a fit of omg-there's-a-big-fluffy-blue-thing-no-where-near-close-to-me hysteria, he flew right out the door. I don't think it was intentional because all he's done with the open door concept is pretend not to notice it's open even though we can all clearly see he's eyeballing it from his perch.

So he flew out and despite me calling after him (cuz we're definitely at the point where he knows his name and comes to me when I call him -- also good to note that budgies never get to the point where, during flight, they 360 and return to you because you called their name), he flew into the dining room and landed on the floor. We'll say gracefully just to spare him his manly feelings. He then spied a dining room chair and confidently flew up to it and sat there looking around quite proud of himself on top of such a cushy new perch in an even larger cage than what he had before.

Then the phone rang, so he got to sit there for 5 minutes or so, and he got real comfortable and probably super happy cuz who wouldn't be, right? His feet were touching soft fake-suede! How luxurious for him. So when I got back, I said ok well, as much fun as you're probably having right now, I kinda don't want you to poop on my chair, so let's put you back in your cage now -- again I don't know why I feel like I have to explain the whole situation to him. Like making him understand the reasons behind why I was going to commence grabbing him now would make everything better and he'd just go along with it cuz oh yeah, sure! Grab me! You explained I'm going back in my cage. The cage I just escaped from. I'm gonna make this real easy on you.

Obviously, you know what happened next. He flew into the living room window and under the living room table and beside the tv and back into the dining room and into the kitchen -- where he quite neatly landed on the window screen, very impressive -- then back into the dining room, then the living room again, where I finally managed to corner him (in a corner) and grabbed him.

But if you're thinking oh! Animal cruelty! Think again because the moment I grabbed him (using the safe and proper budgie handling technique), he chomped down on my finger and wouldn't let go unless I let go, and as I yelled out in pain, asking him to stop (again, I'm talking to him like he frickin' understands me), I realized he had the leg up here because it's pretty easy to just bite down infinity when you're not in any pain whatsoever (just slightly uncomfortable really). So I released him -- which bugs me because it's like telling him, hey! Budgie! If you wanna get your way, just bite me REAL hard! What a good pet owner I am -- I ended up having to use his blanket to gently trap, lift, and transport him back to his cage.

Once he was back in, he kinda chirped a little bit, drank some water, had some food, and now he's half asleep.

On hindsight, I wish I had gotten the camera. I'm so keen on taking pictures of frickin' everything (whether interesting or not) but the moment something fun and exciting happens, I don't even think to capture it. So

[insert picture of a very smug Hermes happily surveying his new domain atop his fancy-ass chair here]

Thursday, April 8, 2010

and then the storm clouds rolled in

It was so nice this morning, and then almost instantly, the house got dark and the wind picked up. I hope for rain, but it is still April so snow wouldn't be entirely out of the question. It figures because Idle Husband had a headache today and yesterday. We knew something was coming.

Anyway, I'm super craving chocolate so instead of doing what I want to do -- drive over to Walmart and spend $20 on clearance Easter candy -- I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. If the bad stuff's made at home, with real ingredients, it's considered semi-good for you, right? I even ran out of ground oatmeal and was too lazy didn't want to dirty up the food processor, so I used whole wheat flour instead. That evens out the effect of the chocolate, right?

I think my craving for chocolate chip cookies started because of this:

In other news: I finished my dresser! Well...sorta. My plan for lining the drawers didn't quite work out, but I'll try again another day. This project frayed my last nerve and all I've wanted was to see the drawers in the dresser again. Le sigh. I'm really happy with how it turned out, though!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

where's it all coming from?

I decided to start some spring cleaning today which means I'm actually going to clean things a bit better than just wiping it down every so often. (That also means it'll probably snow, too, cuz I put my window screens back in. Forewarning.)

I cleaned the fridge today. Only the fridge part and not the freezer, though, cuz I was trying to make bread and clean the office and do the rest of my laundry all at the same time.

One thing that weirds me out is how much hair gets in the fridge. How does that even happen? The dust is baffling enough, but seeing hair in there is just wrong.

Monday, April 5, 2010

please don't spend your money on those lottery tickets

We found ourselves in more show homes yesterday. This time, we managed to find the million dollar lottery homes, so for fun, we had a walk through them (along with a billion other people).
Never before have I seen such outdated tacky million dollar homes -- of course, I've never been inside any other million dollar homes before, but that's beside the point. I definitely envisioned them as less tacky and outdated than they actually were. Anyway, this was funny:

Idle Husband: (reading aloud)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

and after the sugar must come the salt

We're trying to eat a little healthier after my birthday binge week -- read: we're not eating healthy at all, but we're seriously talking about how terrible we're being and we'd like to make changes, we'll just make them after we're finished the ice cream and nutella. Anyway, I'm the type of person where I need to chase a bunch of sugar with something salty. I don't know why, I just really crave salt after sweet (and vice versa) and having both together? OMG total heaven. Well, last week, I attempted making kale chips. I've never had kale before in my life but (no kidding) every cooking blog ever (that I read) had a post on them. It was getting really hard to resist it. So all week I sat here thinking, I've never had kale before. I have no idea what it tastes like. Everyone says it's the best thing ever. The pictures look sooo yummy. Let me just write kale down on my grocery list. I don't even know if they have it or how much it is, but if they do...I'll just get some...yeah...

I ended up finding it and buying it and then I immediately freaked out because this idea could easily turn out like the 10 recipes I'd tried for brussel sprouts. I am not fond of those. I never have been. But the damn foodie blogs kept using them and taking freaking delicious pictures of them, and I kept seeing them and thinking like I could make them work for us. I don't know why I feel like I have to like brussel sprouts, but I just kept trying desperately to make them taste good! Every time they made an appearance, we were both like, yeah. I don't enjoy brussel sprouts. Still. No matter how you keep jazzing them up, they're not working, so stop already. (Secretly I'm still convinced I can make them work. Maybe I need to buy fresh ones! -- insert massive eye roll here)

Thank goodness the kale didn't turn out like all my brussel sprout recipes. I super love kale chips. Not only is the "recipe" easy -- throwing some oil and salt on kale leaves hardly counts as a recipe -- and super tasty, but they're also good for you. What's best? Idle Husband looked at them, said that they were green, took the tiniest nibble (I don't even know if a person could taste something that small), and snubbed his nose at them. So that means THEY'RE ALL MINE. Mmmmm.

I made some more today along with some sweet potato chips. The first batch of chips turned out not badly burned but just about. Crispy but with that smokey burned taste no one really likes. I don't mind, though. They're nice and crisp and have an underlying sweet potato flavour. The second batch was better, but I was kind of in a hurry to get them done so I didn't put salt or anything on them so they were a little dull.

Also, just for something to do (and because neither of us ever have), Idle Husband and I went around looking at show homes yesterday. One of the homes had a room decked out in a movie director/Hollywood theme, so I guess that would explain these choices in the master bedroom:

The thought of someone actually changing the stock photos in these frames and replacing them with Mike Myers and Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick really boggles my mind. Especially for decoration in the master bedroom...on the bedside tables. Right where you're supposed to be envisioning a peaceful sleep. Like, really. I'm totally boggled.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

oh and our fence fell down. allll the way down. again.

I've eaten entirely too much ice cream today. I woke up with this terrible I-must-eat-ice-cream-now feeling, so I had ice cream for breakfast and then I felt instantly guilty about it. I'm so ashamed! But then, as if that's not bad enough, I made a second batch of ice cream this afternoon to "get rid of that stupid milk and whipping cream" in the fridge. Cuz what else am I gonna do with that junk? And anyway, then I spent some time licking off the beater. Gah.

But I made up my own recipe for birthday cake ice cream, so when we do get around to eating some out of the freezer (prolly tonight, let's be honest), I'll let you know how it turned out. I was searching for recipes online for a while, but I hated how they added more sugar and more cream and only used a cup of cake mix (wtf am I supposed to do with a half box of cake mix, y'all?) and cooked it and cooled it. Damn. I just want to whip it in a bowl and plunk it in my ice cream maker. Jim Belushi already. Anyway, I feel like I should have gone through the trouble of heating it on the stove cuz it tasted a little powdery, but meh. We'll see what happens after a solid freeze.

On top of that, I had this brilliant plan to make some new pancake recipes today that I've been staring at for months. I've been too lazy to actually go through the trouble of making them early in the morning, and by 'early in the morning' I mean like 10 or 11. I don't sleep in much, but damn if I'm going to start cooking straight away when I get up, and by 10 or 11, I feel like we should be thinking about lunch instead...but then I normally don't bother with lunch and dinner's just around the corner, right? Poor starving Idle Husband. So I thought I'd do them ahead of time so I could just pop them in the toaster over the weekend enabling us to have breakfast like normal people at a normal time instead of subsisting on two bags of chips all day (true story. last weekend. we're so grown up).

Here's the results of that debacle. Stupid carrot cake pancakes. They seemed like such a good idea at the time, but in hindsight, my laziness to shred the carrots into itty bitty bits (along with at least four of my fingertips) created massive recipe failure. The other ones worked out just fine but here's my problem. When do you say, now this is the best most fantastic pancake recipe ever and I'm never making another one!! Does that ever happen? I feel like adding it to my recipe box, but then again, I have at least two in there that are perfectly fine and get the pancake job done. I'm starting to think you really can't reinvent the wheel here.

What else? what else? Oh yeah! Happy Easter! Have a great long weekend!