One Woman's Quest to Achieve Domestic Goddess Status While Retaining a Sense of Humour

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stupid Free Blueberries

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and I spent so much money that I qualified for the special promotion... free blueberries. A lot of free blueberries.

So I get back to the car and I realize that the blueberry boxes have leaked all over my pants. So I rush home and start a load of laundry. Total cost of blueberries so far: $1.00 to do the wash; 15 minutes of my time.

Now I have to store the blueberries. However, about 2 months ago my cleaning lady “reorganized” my fridge for me when she cleaned it. Since then, I have never been able to find anything and I can’t seem to make anything new fit into it. So I decide this is as good a time as any to resolve this outstanding issue and I re-re-organize my fridge to the way I like it. This leads me to cleaning the fridge. At this point I am committed to organizing my kitchen, so I rearrange all my cupboards (why do I have so many kinds of flour and where did all these stray packets of hot chocolate come from anyway?). Total cost of blueberries so far: $1.00 for the laundry and $50 of unused curious food items thrown away during cleaning spree ; 15 minutes of laundry and 1.5 hours of kitchen reorganizing.

But then I realize that I have so many blueberries, that I should take precautions in storing them since I don’t want them to spoil. The logic of these confuses me for a second BECAUSE THEY WERE FREE SO WHO CARES IF THEY SPOIL! But I am a waste not want not kind of gal, so I crank up the laptop to surf the ‘net to see how best to store blueberries (in a glass bowl with saran cover, do not wash first). But who goes surfing and stops at one thing. So I get side-tracked updating myself on news of the world (and by news of the world I mean what is going on in the Big Brother house), reading some emails, seeing if there are any new sales at J.Crew, looking for blueberry recipes, checking the price of my favourite hotels, and playing sudoku. Total cost of blueberries so far: $51 for the laundry and wasted food; 1.75 hours of laundry and kitchen reorganizing and 2 hours on the ‘net.

Today I woke up and started checking out my collection of cook books and cooking mags to see what I should make with all my “free” blueberries. My collection of books and mags is no joke. I have a lot of them. So browsing them takes an inordinate amount of time. I realize that there should be a better way to organize them. So I implement a new recipe cataloguing system which involves going through each magazine and entering the recipes into a newly created database on my laptop. I get through 2 years (24 issues) of one magazine, before I realize that I have passed the “making something out of blueberries for breakfast” time of day and have entered into the “making something out of blueberries for lunch” time of day. But I have the start of a really good database. Total cost of blueberries so far: $51 for the laundry and old food; 3.75 hours of laundry, kitchen purging, and surfing plus 3 hours of data entry.

Oh crap, the recipes. Right. So I hit the ‘net to go to cooksillustrated.com to find recipes. Then I realize that THEY database their recipes, so I don’t have to. AARGH. But anyway I find a dozen good blueberry recipes. Of course, I don’t have any of the right ingredients (what normal person keeps buttermilk in their fridge in 2009, plus I threw out all my flour yesterday). So I have to go off to the grocery store to buy more stuff. Total cost of blueberries so far: $51 for the laundry and old food plus $40 for the new food; 6.75 hours of cleaning, surfing and useless data entry plus 1 hour to find recipes and go to store.

First recipe... Blueberry Buckle from Cook’s Illustrated. Uses up 4 whole cups of blueberries Fantastic. Delicious. Not quick. Total cost of blueberries so far: $91 for the cleaning and purging and groceries; 9 hours for the cleaning, surfing, stupid data entry, shopping and baking.

Oh, and I have only used up about 1/8th of the blueberries.

More baking tomorrow.

I wish they never gave me the damn things.

But they were FREE.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clearly, I must be an extraordinarily busy person. Judging from the date of my last post I haven’t had a free minute in just over three years.

Your mind must boggle with all the things I have achieved in that time. How many desserts must I have baked? How many newly knit sweaters are nestled into my closet? How many bespoke suits is my husband wearing? What did I make out of all the fabulous wool and fabric I have collected on my travels?

Well, I could tell you, but I am clearly too busy to count all these things.

Here is what I DID accomplish in the last three years.

1. I watched every episode of almost every reality show aired in the last three years (inlcuding, I am very sorry to say "Daisy of Love" [guilty pleasure] and "The Fashion Show" [worst. show. ever]).

2. I wore a curve into the comfy couch while reading trash.

3. I managed to cut my solve time for the Evil sudoku to only 7 minutes on websudoku.com - which only takes about 4 hours a day of playing.

4. I simply had to spend alot of time playing with my new XBox that my sweet husband bought me when I had dental surgery. If I didn't he would be hurt. I think.

5. I watched every episode of every season of Star Trek Original, The Next Generation, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise; Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis; Buffy and Angel; MI-5 (or Spooks to my British readers); The Closer; and Inspector Lynley.

6. I went to the gym. Five times.

See... the last three years were so not a waste.

Geez, no wonder I haven't had time to post.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Two More Sleeps 'Til Vacation Time!!

Today is the last day of our Canadian three day weeked celebrating Canada Day (our 4th of July). Typically this is the busiest weekend of the year at our restaurant and this year we broke all sorts of sales records. Our staff were all absolute superstars. God damn but these kids worked hard. I want to thank each and everyone of them for a job well done. Bravo.

More importantly, the end of Canada Day means the start of our summer vacation. We are off on Wednesday. Hittin' the highway for parts south. South Carolina, Georgia and Florida here we come. I plan on gorging myself on pork BBQ, Heineken, trashy books and outlet shopping.

But before we leave there is a mountain of work to do, laundry to fold, bags to pack, books to buy, a fridge to clean out and bills to pay. Why is always so easy to do a week of work in 2 days when there is a glorious vacation at the end of the road?

But no work tonight. Tonight we celebrate our successful weekend by breaking out the Haagen Dazs, flopping on the sleepy couch, and watching crap tv. By the way, Haagen Dazs Cookies and Creamsicles dunked into Baily's Irish Cream is really yummy.

Burfica at Don't Eat the Tomatoes posted this quiz on her blog and it looked kinda fun.

#1. The book nearest me, page 18 line 4: "I'm the hotel manager," the man said. "Is there something I can do?" "Do you have a giant net?" I asked him. (Janet Evanovich "Twelve Sharp").

#2. Stretch out left arm, what do you touch: knitting pattern, stitch counter and my little piggy lighter.

#3. Last thing watched on Television: Canadian Idol

#4. Without looking, what time is it: 10:10 p.m.

#5. What actual time is it: 10:23

#6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear: t.v. (Gordon Ramsey swearing), rain on window, Husband's cell phone.

#7. When did you last step outside: 15 minutes ago to walk my friends to their car and to look at a pretty spider web.

#8. Before this survey what did you look at: the blister on the sole of my foot.

#9. What are you wearing: white wife beater and pink pj bottoms

#10. Did you dream last night: I think I was too tired to even dream.

#11. When did you last laugh: tonight watching Canadian Idol with friends.

#12. What is on the walls in the room: um, paint?

#13. Seen anything weird lately: I own a restaurant. All I ever see is weird. Like the lady today who complained that our home fries tasted like babies?!?

#14. What do you think of this quiz: It seemed like a better idea 10 minutes ago.

#15. What is the last film you saw: 'A Good Woman' with Helen Hunt.

#16. If you became a multi millionaire what would you buy: A condo in Chicago, a cottage in Nevis and a classic red VW Bug convertable.

#17. Tell me something we don't know: I'm scared to drive across bridges.

#18. If you could change one thing about the world what would you do: I'd make sure that every kid in the world had someone to love them.

#19. Do you like to dance: yup, in my kitchen when I'm alone.

#20. George Bush: As a Canadian I shall reserve comment.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Up until 10 minutes ago thought I would grow up and marry Anthony Bourdain. Then I watched the latest "No Reservations".

He seemed perfect in every way. He cooks. He eats. He smokes. He drinks. He is irreverent, funny, godless, cynical and weird. He also hates Las Vegas.

Look, I agree with him that the strip is a garish nightmare of soulless capitalism. But for those of us who do not have the pleasure of living in a foodie town (of which there are only maybe 5 in all of North America) Las Vegas is the place where we can go and eat the best of the best without having to get on a plane to fly to a different city every night.

Thomas Keller (Bouchon in the Venetian), Tom Colicchio (craftsteak in MGM Grand), Takashi Yagihashi (Okada at Wynn), Daniel Boulud (Daniel Bouloud Brasserie also at Wynn), Charlie Palmer (Charlie Palmer Steakhouse at the Four Seasons), Commander's Palace, Krispy Kreme, Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse, Pink's Hot Dogs and deep fried Twinkies.

Fabulous spas, beautiful swimming pools, discount shopping, high end retail therapy (look but don't buy), luxurious hotel suites at low prices, "O" (the only Cirque du Soleil worth seeing), people watching, cheap booze, and you can smoke almost anywhere.

I'm sorry Tony. I thought we had a future.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hell's Kitchen Confidential

I LURV Gordon Ramsey. I really do. Oh how I wish I could be his friend.

Having worked in the restaurant business for about 1000 years, I cannot for the life of me figure out what the hell is wrong with the "cooks" on Hell's Kitchen. How could it possibly take a working chef 2 hours to put out quail and beef Wellington? If I got the call from the Executive Chef, went and got changed out of chef whites, walked to a nearby grocery store to buy the ingredients, walked back to the kitchen, put my whites back on and cooked the damn thing from scratch, it wouldn't take 2 hours to put out a main course item.

On a related note, tomorrow brings another dinner party. Since it is too hot to cook it's gonna be rib steaks and baked potato on the charcoal barbeque, cold asparagus with dijon vinaigrette and my trademark summer dessert of gingersnap ice cream pie with roasted pineapple. This dessert is just too easy. If anybody wants to have a go, here is the (sort of) recipe:

Grind up ginger snap cookies in a food processor. Add enough butter to make it moldable, and toss in a little white sugar. Take half the mixture and line a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Line it with foil and fill it with pie weights (or the cheaper uncooked rice) and bake about 10 minutes or until golden. Chill. Take the other half and break it up into gravel size its and toss in onto a cookie sheet and bake at around 350 for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Soften up some high quality vanilla ice cream (I use Haagen Dazs French Vanilla) and mix the cooked cookie gravel into it and spread it into the pie shell. Stuff it back into the freezer until about 10 minutes before you want to eat it. Remove the sides of the tart pan and serve with fresh pineapple rounds that you have grilled on the warm barbeque.

This dessert always gets rave reviews and it couldn't be easier.

Now if somebody out there would like to make it for me and bring it over at around 7 pm tomorrow, that would be great.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where the Hell is Matt?

I found this video on YouTube. I have no idea who Matt is, but I think he is just an amazing person. Thank you Matt for making this available. We should all enjoy life as much as you do.

If anyone wants more info on Matt and his journey, see www.wherethehellismatt.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dreading Weddings

Ah, the sounds of summer. The splashes of kids in swimming pools. The crack of a baseball off a bat. Lawnmowers in the early evenings. The dull thud of wedding invitations landing in the mailbox.

This summer my sister-in-law is getting married. After that we are done. Husband and I have made a pledge. No more weddings for us. We will send lovely gifts and best wishes. But we won’t be going to your wedding. Sorry.

It’s not that we don’t enjoy the commercial sentimentality, the family in-fighting, the huge inconvenience, exorbitant out-of-town expenses, drunk Uncle Charlie, dancing to "Celebrate Good Times C’mon", expensive cash bars, watered down free bars, rubber chicken, and Baked Alaska. I mean who doesn’t?

We don’t mind having to rearrange the schedules of all our key staff at the restaurant to ensure continued operation while we take time off during the busiest days of our week. (Weekends are when we in the restaurant business make our money - how come nobody gets married on Mondays anyway?)

It’s just that I have this strange theory about weddings. Once we attend a wedding, within one year, we never see the couple again. Really. It’s true.

Sometimes it’s because they have kids. Once that happens they’re gone. Oh, you know, we all make an effort at first. But eventually we go our separate ways. They don’t understand why we haven’t chosen to experience the miracle of life. And we aren’t all that interested in hearing about their kids’ bowel movements. They start to get judgmental about us spending our money on travel and food, instead of making the ultimate sacrifice. And we can’t figure out what these parent creatures have done with our formerly fun devil-may-care chums.

Oftentimes, we lose touch because we were never really good friends to begin with. It seems to me that people often become more friendly and social in the year leading up to their nuptials. I have been to many weddings of people I only met in the year prior. Are they subconsciously expanding their circle of friends to boost their gift haul? Sort of a repulsive notion, I agree. But I do know that within six months of their wedding they stop calling.

It works both ways too. I rarely talk to anybody who was at my first wedding. Admittedly my ex got custody of some of these friends, but even those guests who were my friends to begin with seem to have vanished. Charlotte? Christine?

So if I am to have any friends left, I must stop going to weddings.

We recently attended the wedding of two good friends (new friends, but since they specifically requested no gifts, I don’t think they fall into that previously mentioned group). I told them we didn’t want to go because we both really like them. They didn’t believe my theory. So now I am just waiting to see what happens. We might still be friends. It’s hard to tell though. You see, we haven’t actually gone out with them since the wedding.

Reading: Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein