Friday, September 21, 2012

Cranky Old Lady

I usually get it. 

Sometimes I just don't.  Like the following:

1.  Lady Gaga's "outrageousness".  I mean, she's dressing up and wearing weird makeup.

That's not very outrageous.  In fact, it's not even that current.  Have we already forgotten these daring musical ladies?
I guess what I'm saying is, Gaga, yawn.  Been there, done that.  They are The Misfits, their songs are better.  They are the Misfits, The Misfits and they're gonna get her.

2.  Kardashians.  I'm sorry, why am I supposed to care?  Because I really, really don't.  I wish I never knew anything about them but, I spend a lot of time in grocery store lines and I'm surrounded by their vapid, vacant stares.  Why do they have shows?  Why are they famous?  Why is the one sister so much prettier than the small sister and the giant sister?  I don't get it.  I don't.

3.  Wasabi and Wasabi-flavoured food items.  This is nasty.  I don't get it.

4.  Pinterest Fingernails.  Why do they have to be so fancy?  Why is the ring fingers always extra fancy?  Who came up with this and who is actually taking the time to do it?  I don't get it.  At all.

pooh bear  I mean, in all seriousness, I would be one hot freaking mess if I ever tried this.  Hot. Freaking. Mess.

I may just be getting too old and my new old lady status is manifesting itself first as intolerance of "the young people".  Those stupid, youthful, adorable, young young people.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap're mad now?  I know, I know it's been a while.  But don't hate on me.  I still want to be friends.

So, I got myself onto Pinterest and have already lost about 11 hours of my life wishing I could have someone elses life.  Well, maybe just their design skills and their nail polish budget.  I have actually seen a lot of ideas that I am going to try.  Last night, in fact, I made my own laundry soap!  I already feel like a Duggar.  But I'm wearing pants.  And my mother stopped bearing children roughly 30 years ago.   I used the idea found here but switched it up just a bit since some ingredients weren't available in my area.  When I say that, I mean I didn't want to go to another store because that seemed like a lot of work.   I never said I had a lot of initiative.

Anyhoo, this is what I used:

one box of Borax (got mine at the grocery store near the laundry soap)

one large box of Baking Soda (same size as the Borax - found it near the baking supplies.  I used Arm & Hammer)

one box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (I found mine near the Borax - it's close to the same size but larger.  I used only about 3/4 of this box)

One medium container of oxygen cleaning powder (similar to Oxy Clean.  I used one in a pink container which I already threw out so can't be more specific.  Of course)

3 bars of Sunlight pure soap, found also near the laundry detergent.  I don't know if Fels Naptha or Zote soap are available in Canada but I feel pretty good about the Sunlight. These came in a two-pack for about $1.97 per pack.  I just grated this like cheese and it smells awesome.  Like lemony soap.  Which makes sense I suppose.  There is a sad part of this story:  I used my food processor for the first two bars until the tremendous force I put on the soap to be grated broke my blade right off the spindle.  So I used my regular box grater for the last bar.  My advice to you is be less aggressive in shoving the soap into the food processor.  It's doing its best!
Here comes the hard part:  Mix all of this stuff together. 

No really.  That's it. 

I used the scoop from the forgotten OxyClean-esque pink container since it's about 2 tablespoons.  Oh yeah, only use 1-2 tablespoons per load.  When you see how much laundry soap this makes, you'll understand how this can be cost effective.   There's quite a lot of it.   You'll see on the original site that she used a delightful glass jar and a lovely label with which to store her soap.  I used a 5-gallon ice cream bucket I got at our local vegetable stand for $.33 and wrote  "Laundry Soap - Use one Scoop" on it with a black Sharpie.  Different strokes for different folks. 
I've done a few loads of laundry and, you know what?  It's working pretty well and pretty well is enough for me.  I've got 3 filthy kids to clean up after so I set goals I can reach.  I'll let you know, though, this soap will not get sudsy or bubbly in your washer so I guess you'll have to go get another hobby rather than watch your laundry get bubbly and sudsy.   It's probably for the best.

If you try this, let me know how it works!  Also, if you find something works better, I'd be interested to get more tips.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Musings from McDonald's

Tonight after work, we took the kids to McDonald's for supper.  We didn't go to our friendly neighbourhood Mickey D's, we went to the Golden Arches in Yuppieville up the highway for some unknown reason.  Even though it was McDonald's I still felt like I didn't belong there because my hair was not quite "done" enough and my phone was way too old with no texts coming in (lame?).  Luckily, I had a nice filet-o-fish combo sloshing around in my tum-tum (yes,  with a diet coke...I'm watching my weight!), so my care factor was at about a 2/10.

I wanted to take this opportunity to issue this series of open letters:

To the Hipster Dad - We all heard you announce to your daughters that they wouldn't be allowed to play in playland if there were "a hundred" kids in there.  First of all, a hundred kids would never fit in there.  Secondly, It's McDonald's on a Friday night...think about it.  Finally, I saw the vanity plate on your SUV announcing your eye doctorly status and want to point out that you were parked on a precarious angle in the drive thru pick up spot.  Maybe you should schedule your own eye test soon?

To the Blonde girl - I'm sorry my daughter squeezed into the single trampoline you were already using and forced you out.  She was actually pretty rude and you were a lovely child to say nothing.  I know I didn't reprimand her but, you know, I was sitting down and you two were kind of far away. 

To the cute little tween boy who is probably too old to be in playland but gets a pass from me -  Thank you for helping me retrieve my toddler from the highest heights of playland.  You and your little girl friends were very helpful and kind.  I would say you look like a blond Justin Bieber but I think it's just the floppy hair.  I'm not used to that. 

To the unhelpful girl in playland - I know I'm too big to be in there.  Believe me.  You didn't have to tell me but thanks for making that annoying situation even awesomer.

To my youngest child - I saw you go up into playland and thought it was a bad idea.  I'm a generously proportioned woman.  Don't make me climb up there again.  Especially in Yuppieville.

To the Cute Grandmother - No offense but I highly doubt that the movie "Something Borrowed" has some really good life lessons. 

To Filet-o-Fish - Thank you for continuing to be delicious and just uncool enough to make it surprising each time I see you still on the menu board.

With all my heart,
The lady who is too big for playland and loves tartar sauce

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Make Butter

Dudes, I really did it this time.

I made butter. 
No, for realz, I did!

My dear husband mentioned that he saw a video online (of course) which featured a bearded scientist (of course) explaining the process of making butter in great detail (of course) and that he'd like to give that a try (oh, that's actually surprising).  So tonight, as I was making dinner by heading to the deli at Sobey's, he asked what we needed to make butter.  I assumed that we would need the heaviest cream available so we got whipping cream and let it sit on the counter until well after bedtime (about 3 hours).

I split it into two jars and got to work.

I did the first batch and was surprised at how easy this is!  Dickson did the second batch which involves shaking and shaking the cream.  When you stop hearing the cream slosh around, keep shaking.  Not long after that, you will hear sloshing again and see that a big glob (technical term) has formed with some watery-milky stuff (another technical term) around it.  When that happens, keep shaking for about 20 more seconds.

When you open the jar, you can see a yellow ball of butter and the buttermilk around it.  I am saving this buttermilk to make a cake and I thjnk I will make out with the butter later tonight while watching Storage Wars.  That is how I roll.  Possibly in butter.

I put in a few pinches of salt, stirred it up and that was it.  Butter.  Like you get from the store but smoother and creamier.

Seriously.  I made butter.  And I did it without wearing this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Come Dine With Us - Ham Throwdown

I wasn't sure how to write this post.  How can I tell you all that I was the clear winner of the ham challenge based entirely on my ham's glaze-kissed layer of sweet ham fat and the moistest centre of all ham-kind?   How could I rub that in the face of my dear sister-in-law, who made a lovely coca-cola based ham?  I really had an internal struggle of being tactful yet truthful.  Then I read her post.

Oh.  Well, then. 

Truthfully, both hams were really super-de-duper delish.   I boiled mine for 2.5 hours in water then baked in a hot oven for about 20 minutes wearing a sauce-jacket of brown sugar, mustard and marmalade, which turned the outside into a luscious sweet-meat delight.  When sliced, the ham showed that it was a true beauty with a lovely moist centre. 

Su-Li's was good too - I really liked that her cola-based boiling liquid soaked into the meat making it sweet all the way through.  For her first ham, she did a great job.  But I definitely won.  If you were to ask my 2-year-old, she would choose Su-Li's ham.  Specifically, the ham garnish of mini marshmallows.  Girlfriend loves marshmallows. 

My other contributions to the meal were mashed potatoes with a goodly amount of butter, some carrots to keep my kids happy and a corn scallop, which I made according to my grandmother's recipe.  I followed it to the letter.  She added one beaten egg?  So did I.  Crushed crackers?  Check.  Dotted with butter?  You got it. 

She was right.  It was "good".  Even though she wasn't with us (no, not in THAT way...she lives in Freddy!), I think she would have approved.

Su-Li, at my child-like request, made green bean casserole complete with French's fried onions.  Folks, I could take a can of those to the movies for a snack.  They are too good to be true.  She also made a fresh green salad.  I didn't have any room for it on my plate (didn't you hear how much ham we had?) so I can't comment on it except to say salad is what ham eats.

I made a dessert which I'm sure I found the inspiration for online somewhere but, for the life of me, I can't find neither a picture nor proof of that.  So, I will say that the coconut peep cake was entirely my own idea that came to me in a peep-filled dream.  Mmm peeps...  Speaking of peep-filled dreams, while I was working in the kitchen like a whiring dervish, this was happening just down the hall. 

The cake itself was a bit of a flop.  I've made a number of great cakes over the last year and they have all come out really well.  Except for this one.  And possibly 3-4 others.  This time I followed a recipe on I_am_Baker's blog.  When the cakes were in the oven cooking, my dear husband asked me why there was sugar all over the counter.  Oh, well it was the extra 1/4 cup of sugar which was supposed to go in the beaten egg whites which were folded into the batter.  I suspect that omission led to my cake coming out shockingly flat. 

It tasted good though so I figured some coconut-flavoured boiled icing would forgive all manner of sins.  I think it did.  Because the layers were so very thin, the cake looked pretty tiny.  I will definitely try this one again because, well, it was really tasty.  And there were peeps.   They are the best.  But not the rabbits.  Just the chicks. 

We had a nice time at dinner and over the rest of the Easter Weekend.   If you are planning a ham dinner in the near future, I assure you that two hams is plenty to feed 6 adults and 2 tiny kiddies.   I have to admit that having ham for 4 meals in a row sucked all moisture from my body.   On Sunday night, I realized that I'd consumed roughly 75 litres of water with no bathroom break.  Salt does a body bad. 

So that's that.  Ham-off 2011 was fun and ham-tastic.  I don't think this will be an annual thing though.  We prefer to just eat as friends, not competitors.  We are food lovers, not food fighters. 

The verdict is that we like Ham, but we lurve Hamm.

Monday, April 11, 2011

History Repeats Itself Itself

When I was in Grade Two, I wrote a play.  It was a creative reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz.  It, quite possibly, was called "The Wizard of Marysville".  There were not too many plot deviations from the original book/movie - it was pretty much the exact retelling of the story that you would think a child of 8 would have lovingly printed on 8 looseleaf sheets (double sided thank you very much!).  I, as the writer and director of the play, cast my classmates in leading roles based on obvious factors.:  Lion = slightly chubby blonde guy.   Scarecrow:  Tall girl.  Munchkins:  Short girls.  Glinda = Melinda (get it?).  Dorothy was played by yours truly, natch. 

No kidding, my teachers were so amazing that they actually arranged a time for us to put the play on for the older kids, which we did.  We were so awesome.  I do vividly remember dramatically falling down three times, which was one time too many.  I remember thinking that this one Grade 6-er, Marty, would think that was stupid.  I never found out what he really thought. 

Fast forward to present day.  My four-year-old daughter has decided that she wants to put on a play.  (I'm so proud I could bust!)  She's been talking about putting on a "show" for a few weeks now and thinks that doing it outside makes the most sense but, "where could we put the stage?"  Tonight she got more detailed in her planning.  The play shall be Snow White, with Audrey herself in the title role.  I, sadly, have been typecast as the Evil Queen.  When I suggested that I would make an Excellent Sleepy, she looked at me with a surprisingly mature gaze of pity and said, "No, I don't think so.  I think I need little people for those parts".  Darn.  Supposedly, there will be a casting call tomorrow at daycare. 

I still think I would be a great Sleepy.  Or Dopey.  I could definitely be Grumpy...

For the record, I probably wrote these plays as well:

I cast a boy in this pivotal role.
I was so ahead of the times.  Equality FTW!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Come Dine with Us - Healthy Eating

I'm not going to clothes are about 3 sizes larger than they should be.  I have noticed that lately, I'm the chunkiest gal in the room (and I've got a great personality...I'm doomed to be the best friend in movies forever!).  So, to combat that inevitability,  I've started a relatively healthy program and I'm trying my best to stay on it.  Bacon Gravy is doing her thing too.  Mare is already slim (but we like her so we are letting her play too).  Thus, this month's theme - Healthy Eating.

I like to think that I eat relatively healthy.  I am feeding two little children and a tall man so I have to keep their needs at top of mind.  For the most part, the meals I prepare come from real food - you know, food that grew in the ground, needs to be peeled and doesn't stand up well to microwaving.  I think using real, simple food is the best way to start eating healthfully.  Having said that, I'm not the mother who preaches all-natural, organic, nut-free, grass fed, spring born, omega-3 blah blah blah.  In fact, last night, Hamburger Helper was on the menu.  What I am saying is that, when possible, I cook meals from scratch with fresh ingredients.  My people deserve it!

Tonight I had to really think of something that would be interesting.  A salad with hard boiled egg sliced on top isn't interesting.  Delicious, yes, but not interesting.  I also had to make something that my kids and husband would eat.  So, what I decided to make is spice-rubbed roast pork loin with roasted potatoes and mango salsa. 

The pork is pretty easy and we all like it so we eat it often.  The spice rub consists of rosemary (smashed with a mortar and pestle), brown sugar, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic and whatever other spices I find in the spice box on any particular day.  Once I generously rub the pork, I put some apple juice in the pan, wrap it in foil and throw it in the oven.  Today, I preheated the oven to 300, put in the pork and potatoes and went out to Value Village and the Superstore.  An hour and a half later, we came back to a lovely meaty smelling house.
Rub.  It's goood.

So the potatoes...I know, I know, I should avoid potatoes if I'm trying to lose weight.  Here's the thing.  I won't.  I love them and will always love them.  Tonight's were sweet and yellow-fleshed cubed with an onion and tossed with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a nice sprinkling of seasoning salt.  They cooked along with the pork for about 2 hours in a 300 degree oven.

The salsa is a delightfully bright salad/side/sauce that tastes healthy, in the yummiest way possible.  I started out with red onion chopped relatively finely.

Then some mango cubed.  For the record, I hate dealing with mango.  It's so hard to peel and chop.  I think next time I do this, I will use an easier fruit, like pineapple or peach.

Next was the cucumber which is necessary for that yummy crunchiness.

Then one jalapeno pepper seeded and finely diced.  In hindsight,  I would have left the seeds because I could have used some

I'll spare you the rest of the pictures but I then put in some cilantro (sorry Su-Li), some corn kernals and a can of well-rinsed black beans.  Then the juice of a lime or two.

Then my kid was crying and the other kid was pretending I was the teacher and it was her first day at school and could I please show her where her seat is?  So I just had to serve it up to keep my own sanity.  If you follow the other two CDWU bloggers, Su-Li and Mare, you may be thinking to yourself, "why did Melissa not prepare an appetizer or a dessert"?  Good question, faithful reader.  I have two answers that come to mind: 

1.  I didn't have a spare minute.  Last night at 9:15 pm, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing my kitchen floor.  That was, literally, the first time I had to squeeze that in. 

2.  Did you not read the first sentence of this blog?  I eat too much!

This is my din din.  And it was really good. 

I added up the points for the salsa and the entire bowl was 7 WW points. Seven.  I ate maybe 2/7ths of it so that's only like 2 points!  The meat was about 8 points and the potatoes 3 points.  That's a lot of food for 12 points.  Talking about points makes me want to gouge out my own eyes. 

So there you go.  Another day, another delicious healthy meal.  Unless that day was Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.  Because they were filled with pizza.

Check out Su-Li and Mare's takes on March's Come Dine with Us Challenge!