Monday, March 25, 2013

Top Chef Vacation

I'm on vacation right now. Actually, nix that: my sitter is on vacation; I'm on obli-stay-cation. Which actually makes me very happy, except when people ask me what I'm doing on my "vacation". This is a lot like asking me what I'm doing on my weekend - the answer invariably sounds half-assed and makes me feel embarrassed about just how closely my life orbits the washing machine. Quit rubbing it in already.

I could lie, I suppose. (I once told a random hotel clerk that I was going to Croatia for Christmas simply because I was sick of telling people I was going to Saskatchewan.) But then there would be a web of lies for me to uphold and, frankly, ain't nobody got time for that. Plus if I was going to bother with webs of lies I would hopefully choose to do something that would be fun for more than one week, like have an affair or something, but since I can barely manage to keep track of which of my office shoes DH knows I own it's probably beyond me to remember which foreign country and/or fellow I have/not been frequenting. (Whew - I got tired and confused just writing that.) (For the record, this is the sort of thing that I think DH should find reassuring but that he probably won't. Men are so difficult to understand sometimes.)

Instead of buying more shoes - or whatever the hell I was talking about before I got confused - I have decided to do something that I can be proud of. Something I can really sink my teeth into. Something I, uh, had to do anyway. And that something is cook meals for the family unit.

But really tasty meals. (Which I actually can't help but do. I'm like Midas in an apron, I tell ya.) And then I'm going to tell you folks about it so you can know that I have indeed spent my obli-stay-cation doing something worthwhile. That is not laundry. Note that all selections are à la carte, aka "take it or go hungry" - my specialty. Here goes:

Day 1
Er, I can't remember what I made for breakfast yesterday morning, other than coffee. Carry on.

Toasted Turkey and Avocado Sandwich. Thinly sliced turkey breast, smoked Canadian Gouda cheese, avocado, lettuce and tomato on lightly toasted, whole grain bread, with a light, lemony aioli. Gluten-free option available.
Mango-Raspberry Smoothie. Silky mango and tart raspberries blended with fresh ginger, almond milk and honey.

Spring Vegetable Mini Quiche. Earthy asparagus tips, mushrooms and leeks in a fluffy, Parmesan cheese and egg base. Gluten-free.
Smoked Salmon Mini Quiche. Smoked salmon, tangy chèvre and shallots in a chive and dill-infused egg base. Gluten-free.
Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette. Baby spinach leaves, toasted walnuts, chèvre, dried cranberries and vine-ripened tomatoes in a delicate raspberry dressing.
Fermented Grape Beverage. Y.E.S. 

Day 2
Vegetable Panini. Tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, avocado and a caramelized shallot and basil mayonnaise layered on a chewy ciabatta bun and topped with chèvre and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Gluten-free option available, although it isn't as tasty and the bread will fall apart.
Tomato Soup. Organic tomatoes, onions and vegetable stock blended to silky perfection and shipped to your local Co-op in a handy Tetra Pak. Gluten-free.

Unrolled Cabbage Rolls. Some say lazy, I say efficient. Everyone says 'delicious'. Also, 'it sure smells like cabbage in here'.
Perogies. Potato and cheddar perogies, pan-fried and served fully dressed with sautéed onions, shredded old Canadian cheddar and sour cream. Gluten-free, and I have to confess store-bought because working with gluten free dough makes me want to shoot someone.
Garlicky Sausage. Served with a dollop of sauerkraut.
Fermented Grain Beverage. Gluten-free option available.

Day 3
Egg McMomWiches. Homemade turkey sausage patties, delicately seasoned and laced with maple syrup, topped with a scrambled, farm fresh egg and sharp cheddar and served on a toasted English muffin. Gluten-free option available.
Strawberry-Papaya Smoothie. Strawberries, papaya and orange juice blended with yogurt, fresh ginger and honey.
Coffee. Organic and shade grown for a happy planet, direct fair trade for happy farmers, and plenty of it for a happy Mom.

Day ?
I haven't updated this in a couple of days and I mostly forget what I've been doing. I'll just jot down a mashup of items I can recall in no particular order and we'll move on with our lives.

Breakfasts and Brunches
Egg McMomWiches.
Fruit, Yogurt and Granola Parfaits.
Fruit Smoothies.
Spiced Pumpkin, Walnut and Cranberry Breakfast Bars.

Lunches and Suppers
Roasted Herbed Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms.
Spaghetti (Squash) and Meatballs.
International Waffle Day (March 25) Special: waffles, bacon, whipped cream, strawberries and maple syrup.
Quinoa Pizza Bites.

All items gluten-free and made and/or purchased with love - yup, not even resentment this week. Bon appétit!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


'Twas noontime and the hungry tum
Did gyre and gimble in the chest.
Enticing were the nutriments
And the pizza pie, the best!

"Beware the LunchySlop, my love!
The lips that drool, the jaws that miss,
Beware the crumb-filled lap and shun
The ruinous splatter-sauce!"
He took his box of lunch in hand,
Long time a table clear he sought,
So rested he in the cafeter-ee,
And sat awhile in thought.
And as with lunching thoughts he sat,
The LunchySlop, intending dirt, 
Revealed itself and aimed to stain
Our hero's nice clean shirt!
One two! One two! And 'round his head,
His hands as quick as doodle-bop,
A bib applied in the nick of time
To stop that LunchySlop!
"And hast thou foiled the LunchySlop?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day, no Stain-A-Way!"
She chortled in her joy.
'Twas noontime and the hungry tum
Did gyre and gimble in the chest
Enticing were the nutriments
And the pizza pie, the best!

To DH, who often has a little something on his shirt. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sushi Frenzy!

Y'know what I don't like? Sushi. People are ape about sushi and I just. don't. get it. It's fishy, mushy, cold and sour - seriously, could you pick four worse things to put all together into a single type of food? Probably the only thing you could do to make it worse would be to add in some "uncooked" - oh wait! Already done! Welp, that settles it. Sushi is hands-down the worst food I can think of.

Problem is, everyone else on the planet loves sushi, so I've been forced to live a lie all these years: "Oh, yeah, m'm, sushi sounds great buuuuuuuut I just had sushi for breakfast and lunch so, hey, let's go try that burger place for supper instead! Yay burgers!" But it's time for me to come out of the closet: I'm not actually washing my hair on your birthday, [insert names of endless string of friends whose birthday dinners I have brushed off], I just hate sushi. Any hair washing on your birthday or any other sushi-based special event is purely coincidental.

During one of those ill-advised conversations that couples should never have, DH told me that the one major thing he would look for in a future girlfriend if we ever broke up would be someone who likes sushi. Even my children love sushi, the little traitors. So while my kids are all "Bring us more morsels of uncooked weirdness like our future prospective new mom likes!" I'm not ashamed to say that I order off the kids' menu.

Okay, so I'm a little ashamed. I make DH order for the whole family so it's not immediately apparent that I'm the one eating only teriyaki and tempura. 

It doesn't help that they send all the regular sushi on cute little round plates, while my white people sushi comes on square plates. Yeah, I'm picking up on your little underhanded jab there: I don't like real sushi, so I'm not cool. Future Prospective New Mom, however, I'll bet she gets all the round plates. Bitch.

So back to that conversation: okay, so it's a leetle bit my fault for asking, but it's way more DH's fault for answering. Like, 90:10. Everyone knows you never actually answer those relationship trolling questions, you fake answer like your life depends on it. He completely deserves hearing about it again every time "we" have sushi, eight years (and counting) later.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Maybe She's Born With It...

Small Fry just turned five. Do you know what that means? It means I haven't slept in five years. Actually, a little longer than that because I couldn't sleep for those final few months of pregnancy either. (Care for a nap? No thanks, I gestate.) To be clear, he got a party and a cake and more Lego than you can shake a stick at, so stop feeling sorry for him that his mother is whining about his birthday and start feeling sorry for me instead. That's the real point here.

But anyway, the other thing one's youngest child's birthday means is... it's Pap test time! Yayyy! I was on time for my doctor's appointment, but - thanks to a Pineapple Express that had rolled into town the night before - my doctor was not. So I sat on the examination table wearing naught but a pale yellow flannel bib on my top half and a pale purple flannel blankie on my lower half for the better part of an hour, waiting for the doctor to arrive and chatting with the doctor's intern, who, as luck would have it, was on time. And who was not only fully and impeccably dressed, but tall, dark and fricking gorgeous as well.


"I like your socks," I said blithely, waving my enormous cup of double-double at his ankles. "They really match my blanket." (To be fair, they really did.)

Eventually my sparkling banter died a humiliating death and the talk turned to my health. I had been batting around the idea of going the pharmaceutical route for my insomnia for a while, but somehow having an uninterrupted hour of nearly-naked time with a captive medical professional audience and a giant cup of coffee really kick-started the process for me.

At one point during my hyper-caffeinated rant the intern interrupted me. "Have you ever tried drinking chamomile tea?" he asked.

I affixed him with my most withering of Mom stares. "Five. Years. Of insomnia," I said.

I walked out of the clinic with a prescription for an antidepressant medication that has such handy off-label applications as treating insomnia. Praise be.

But not without a little interweb sleuthing first.

Turns out, in addition to treating insomnia, the medication can be used to treat anxiety, OCD, itching (?), headaches, nausea, poor appetite (whatever that is), and anorexic cats. Not even kidding about that last one. Compared to not sleeping for the rest of my life, this stuff sounded not too bad. The idea of having my appetite further "improved" certainly gave me pause - I checked my closet to see where I was currently falling along the gradient of available fat clothes - but was swiftly offset by the possible (albeit unlikely) side effect of... spontaneous orgasms.

And Sold! to the bidder with the most compelling side effect.

No wonder it cheers you up and helps you sleep. I wondered how that worked.

So the next time you're appreciating the way my giant grin, glowing complexion and not-baggy eyes really complement my matronly figure and wondering what my secret is, you can think to yourself:

Maybe She's Born With It... Maybe It's Mirtazapine.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

MWF $eek$ Weekly - w4??? - 35 (NW Calgary)

Hi there! I can't believe I'm actually trying this, but after so many failed attempts at doing this the old-fashioned way I'm still lacking that special someone in my life, so here goes nothing.

I'll start by saying that I have a very clear idea of what I'm looking for in this relationship. I'm certainly not inflexible and I don't want to frighten you off by being blunt, but I am particular about certain things. Because I'm on the rebound from a string of unsuccessful previous relationships of this nature and I don't want to have to deal with that sort of thing again, I think it's only fair to be completely up front about my needs to ensure we're both on the same page:

Kitchen - Wash pretty much everything that faces out as well as a few things that face in (microwave interior; the gross cupboard under the sink where the trash and compost live). Empty trash, wash floor, dust ceiling fan. The windows, blinds, fridge and oven are their own jobs that should be discussed separately, and if you don't look at the tops of the cupboards then I won't either. (See? Totally flexible.)

Living Room - Dust everything that holds still long enough to acquire a layer; vacuum upholstery - yes, underneath the cushions too; sweep/vacuum floor, including sliding furnishings out of the way to get behind the items. The living room floor gets dusty but not dirty like the kitchen floor does so I don't think it needs to be washed every week (flexibler and flexibler) but I'd appreciate if you kept an eye out for occasions where a spot clean or damp mop would be in order.

Bathrooms - Full clean and sanitize; empty trash. The bathrooms were really my breaking point with my previous cleaner: hairballs in the corners, scummy soap dishes, streaky toilet bowls, etc. To be totally blunt, if I wanted someone to do a half-assed job I'd just nag the husband and kids to "help", for free. As it is I work a lot, I'm tired, and I want my weekends to involve more than just scrubbing toilets and nagging. Here's my gold standard for bathrooms: Someone could fall seriously ill at any moment. The bathroom should be a sanitary and welcoming place to spend the day writhing in agony.

Bedrooms - Dust; vacuum. Take these directions with a grain of salt, as one child is a Lego fiend and the other a slobby pre-teen; I fully realize that all surfaces may not be reasonably available for cleaning at all times.

Basement/Laundry Area - Lost cause. Don't bother.

Stairwell, Halls, Entryway, etc. - Vacuum, dust, etc. as necessary. Sanitize all light switches and spot clean hand prints and booger stashes wherever you may find them, but be very careful with my baseboards: if you disturb even the smallest area the chic grey tones I've decorated in will be revealed for the uniform patina of accumulated dust that they truly are. My house has about seventeen kilometres of baseboards; you will be expected to wash all them. Consider yourself warned.

I'm interested in a weekly arrangement. If you can fulfill my needs as described above, you can name your price. Age, sex and appearance couldn't matter less to me so don't worry about sending a photo.