Friday, February 5, 2010

I am getting old....

My birthday is in a few days, and let's just say the number is starting to creep in the territory I thought was owned by "old" people just a few short years back. It really is sad that youth seems never ending while you are in the midst of it, and so very fleeting once it is behind you. I have spent more than a decade now as a mother, yet having a child in middle school is what it finally took to make me feel like an adult. I have been thinking, though. Men get to have a mid-life crisis, but what do we get? Their freak out in adulthood is considered par for the course, but if you posses a vagina and do the same, you have gone bat shit insane. Since this is woefully unfair, I think I am going to spend the rest of my life having a yearly mid-life crisis, right around my birthday. Just have to come up with a plan. I think it will involve a new wardrobe, a day at the spa, and a general refusal to answer to "mommy" or pick up my cell phone for one solid 24 hour stretch.

Speaking of kids in middle school, Number 1 is home today, with a bruise and swelling on her knee that looks like Tanya Harding had a grudge against her. Apparently, she got into an altercation with her desk at school yesterday, and from the looks of things, the desk won. I have it iced and rubbed some Eucalyptus oil on it, so maybe the swelling will go down and she will stop whining. Until then, I am in need of invisible earplugs. Earplugs to stop the incessant unpleasant sound escaping from her deceptively sweet countenance, and invisible so she won't have yet another thing to whine about. If she can't see them, she can't be full of mock outrage.

I am so incredibly swamped trying to get the store in order, place orders with manufacturers, getting emails translated, and answering customer emails, that I have barely managed to brush my teeth this week. But I have tried a new thing: plain castille soap as toothpaste. I must say, it left my mouth feeling clean, but I am not loving it. It tasted like horribleness, and my good ole Tom's of Maine leaves my mouth feeling just as clean without being devoid of any pleasant flavour.

So I leave you with something that is definitely NOT devoid of pleasant flavour:

Garlic Herb Goat Cheese Spread

3oz chevre
3 oz cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 baguette, cut into 1/4 thick rounds, brushed with olive oil, and toasted

Mix the cheeses, garlic, herbs, and zest together, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the homemade croutons. Delicious.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh, sweet sleep

May you visit me largely uninterrupted tonight, and may you take away when you leave the itch in my throat, the ache in my back, and the stuffiness in my nose.

Otherwise, my new name will be SnotMonster. Which I assure you is every bit as bad as it sounds. But alas, I was able to get my miserable self moving today and accomplish some things. I stripped all of Pudgicus Maximus' diapers, the easy way. I washed them like usual, took them out, and put them on the top rack of the dishwasher. I ran it three times on hot with no soap. It works wonders, and uses no gross blue Dawn, or any phosphates or sudsy stuff for that matter, and far less water than stripping in the washing machine. Plus, I am too lazy to keep getting up and resetting the washer, so it gets bonus points for being slacker friendly.

Afterwards, I dyed more yarn. And let's just say the outcome was less than gorgeous. I will try again tomorrow, but if things don't drastically improve, I may very well have found the Thing I Genuinely Suck At.

One nice plus to dying that yarn is the tons and tons of vinegar in my kitchen. I spilled some vinegar solution on the floor and thought, BONUS! mop water :-) So I got both ugly yarn and really clean counters, cooktop and floor out of the deal. Next time I hope to get pretty yarn out of what essentially turned into a kitchen cleaning expedition, but hey, at least there is some silver lining, right?

After all of that, I dyed some wraps, but they are not finished yet. Pics tomorrow night, scout's honour. And then I made chicken soup, to chase away the germs.

Fuck You, Flu Chicken Soup

2 chicken breasts, with skin and bone
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, sliced thinnish
1/2 a small onion diced
1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme, 1 sage leaf, small sprig of rosemary tied in a bouquet garni
2 quarts chicken stock
8 oz egg noodles

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and roast in oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until just cooked. Meanwhile, simmer chicken stock until reduced by 1/4. Add bouquet garni and vegetables to stock, simmer while removing chicken from bone, discarding skin. Dice roasted chicken and add to soup. Add egg noodles. Simmer til veggies are just soft and egg noodles are just cooked. Remove boquet garni and serve.

(This is a favourite kid food. I also put it in the food mill and feed it to Pudgicus. He loves it. It freezes well if you leave out the noodles, and then add them when you reheat)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today, I smell like vinegar...

So, here I am, one eye nearly useless from the tearing and blinking, throat beginning to ache, and nose stopped up on one side only. (Thanks, Hubs, for the tongue action you insisted on earlier this week between your hacking coughs and uncontrollable sneezes. That was a real act of love.) And I have before me a giant pile of literally hundreds of dollars worth of yarn. Yes, yarn. Bland, plain vanilla yarn, in all sorts of lovely wool varieties, for me to make pretty for one of my favourite mama's Hyena Cart Congo.

My kitchen smells like vinegar, my head hurts, and my microwave is full of yarn that I am not sure is going to turn out the way I had planned. The intended goal was greens and purples with a little brown, and the colourway was supposed to be called African Violet. Instead, it is looking like the colourway might instead be named Jim Morrison's Vomit. Here is to hoping I am wrong, and the wonky eye is screwing up my vision.

The entire time I am dying my little fluffy piles of wool, Hubs keeps saying, as if repeating it will change reality, "Crazy, that stuff is spendy". Not just a couple of times, repeatedly, like a chanting monk, but with inflection. That is, until I sent him to put Things 4 and 5 to bed.

You would think from his reaction that he has never attended to the needs of a small human before. He insists, adamantly, that the needs help. He seems to conveniently forget that I, the woman who loses her keys on a daily basis, who forgets garbage day every single time, and who once forgot to put on a bra before leaving for the grocery store, do this daily by myself with no assistance whatsoever, and accomplish it quickly, with a minimum of whining, and manage to walk away without looking like I have been attacked by a very weak brain damaged orangutan.

Two hours after I asked him to do it, nobody is asleep, only one kid is even in pajamas (if you can call mismatched babylegs, a top gun t-shirt, and a diaper "pajamas"). So I sit here, reveling in my obvious superiority, while he curses under his breath. I think I shall make an "emergency" run to the grocery store for vinegar. I mean, he does not know that I have three unopened gallons in the garage ;-).

In honour of my vinegar-y kitchen, and not so pretty yarn experiment, and my obvious victory over Hubs in the child rearing department, I think we need something to dull the irritation and enhance the celebratory vibes. I give you:

The Best Damned Sangria on Earth

1 bottle good Rioja
1 1/2 cups Grand Marnier
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1 liter club soda
Juice of 2 oranges
Cut up citrus, pineapple, and cherries

Mix everything but the club soda together, sit in fridge overnight. Add club soda and serve. This stuff is deceptively strong, and very, very delicious :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

One balmy January day.....

I woke up with my eye glued shut this morning. Got up, took a shower, got out, finally looked in the mirror, and guess what? I have conjunctivitis. Pink Eye. Good ole Eye-Boogeritis. This makes no logical sense because of the following:

1. I NEVER touch my eyes. I am kind of a freak about that.
2. None of my five kids has it.
3. Four of my kids have had it multiple times in the past, and I have NEVER had it, mostly due to reason number 1.

So I went to the doctor to confirm, and yes, I have Eye-Boogeritis. I get my prescription for this tiny, nondescript, innocent looking little bottle of drops. I take it home, and read the instructions: Apply one drop in eye three times per day. So no biggie, right? Wrong.

That innocent little bottle of drops contains a liquid that burns like acetone on a nicked cuticle. So after applying said Holy Eye Drops of Fire, my eye tears up so much that I am absolutely certain that not one molecule of the medication remains. Instead, my eye is flooding faster than a stopped up toilet at the in laws house, and every tiny bit of the precious Eye-Boogeritis cure is dripping off of my chin.

So I call the doctor. Surely, there must be an alternative. Nope. the advice was "keep trying, because even if only a tiny bit stays in the eye, it is PROBABLY better than nothing". To which I respond, "Ron, I love you and all, but you are not a doctor. You are a sadist."

At least the entire day was not so sucktacular. I was blessed with awesome fluffy mail!
Pudgicus Maximus was very happy to see the pillowy Priority Mail envelope in the mail man's hands. His little squeals of delight at the sight of squishy packages are so incredibly endearing, because it is nice to know that my kid is just as much of an addict as me. I feel somehow less alone in my obsession.

So this is what came to rescue the remainder of my day: Didymos Natty Linen Indio 5, and it kicks ass.

Supportive, cushy on the shoulders, and not nearly as fugly a colour as I anticipated. This one might escape the dye bath after all. Pudgicus Maximus was snug as a bug in a rug back there, and we did our usual 2 mile walk around the neighbourhood in incredible comfort. The wrap was thicker than a lot of linen indios I have had, but still surprisingly cool and very, very nice to my shoulders.

On our walk, sleepy Pudge groaned and made that abso-fucking-lutely adorable balabalabalabalabala noise, rubbing his tongue over and over his teeth, and reveled in his favourite activities: Pull Mommy's hair, and make her think I'm going to erf down her back. All in all, I think he found it a rewarding and fulfilling walk, as he was sound asleep with his sweet little head on my shoulder upon our arrival home.

I have decided that this one is definitely Permastash, and will never be rehomed, unless it is because I wind up with 4 or 5 of them, which I have been known to do with others in the past (silk indio, anyone?)

So, in honour of my Holy Eye Drops of Fire experience, I feel the need for some luscious, sexy, delicious, and seductively spicy hot sauce. Enjoy!

Green Demon Sauce of Hotness

1 lb tomatillos, husked
1 lb jalapeno peppers, stems removed
3 serrano peppers, stems removed
1 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 leaf of iceberg lettuce

Place tomatillos, jalapenos, serranos, and zucchini in a pot, just covered with water. Simmer until all the veggies are tender. Transfer veggies to blender jar. Add just enough of the cooking water to almost cover. Add kosher salt. Blend. Pour canola oil in a slow stream while blending. Sauce will change colour/texture. Add iceberg lettuce leaf while blending. Sauce will magically turn a much lighter green. Serve with chips, or, my favourite way: Over a juicy, dripping, very rare crusty grilled ribeye steak. Mmmmmmm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oh, to sleep, if only....

My youngest offspring, Number Five, heretofore referred to as Pudgicus Maximus, has been teething lately. What does that mean for Mommy? It means that last night, as well as the previous fourteen nights, I have "slept" in my bed, curled around a 31 pound chunk of 8 month old, while he chews on my nipple like a lost hiker with a piece of beef jerky. He claws my face and eyes with his fat little fingers while simultaneously pulling only the very finest hairs at the wee back of my neck, and making a very good attempt at disemboweling me with his pudgy little razor sharp toe nailed feet. All the while he moans, like a zombie from a bad horror flick.

I wear him all day, and this makes him very content and happy. Yet at night, my happy, content good sleeper has decided to morph into every Mommy's nightmare: The Child Who Attempts To Reenter the Womb to Sleep. I swear he is trying to claw his way back in at night. And now I know how torture victims feel right before they break.

Since the dark hours really suck, I deserve a pick me up in the morning. A night like that requires a hearty breakfast. I wish I could afford a chef to cook it for me so I could sleep in, but who am I kidding? Even if I could, I am too cheap. So instead, I will drag my tired self to the kitchen, stand bleary eyed under the fluorescent lights and do it myself, sigh.

Delicious, Scrumptious, Duck Fat Fries for Breakfast. Yes, Breakfast.

2 qts. duck fat, heated to 300 Degrees in heavy deep pot or deep fryer ( you can cheat and use canola oil, but it just is not the same fattening goodness)
Russet potatoes, cut into fries, or diced into home fries, whatever floats your boat
sea salt
freshly cracked pepper
Homemade Herbed Aioli (recipe to follow)

Dry fries well. Add to hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through. Remove from oil, drain, and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, increase the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees (and make the aioli). Add chilled fries and fry until edges are dark brown and the whole fry is golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.

Herbed Aioli

1 Tbls. chopped basil
1 Tbls. chopped chives
1 Tbls. chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 very fresh eggs or pasteurized eggs
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 Tbls. Dijon mustard

Separate the yolks from the eggs. Add the yolks and mustard to the blender jar. Blend until fluffy and emulsified looking. Add lemon juice in a drizzle while blending. Now, while blending, SLOWLY add the oil, in a very thin stream. Stir in the herbs and garlic. Serve with the hot fries.

A little guilty pleasure in the morning goes a long way. A quicky and a bloody mary go further, but I will take what I can get.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tonight's the night....

Well, tonight would be the night if I wasn't so damned lazy today. The plan was to give Hubs a Beej and make a cake. Instead, here I am eating half a can of Redi-Whip atop a slice of 3 day old Banana Cream Pie directly out of the pie pan, drinking bourbon on the rocks out of a sippy cup without the lid, and trying to pretend that I don't have 43 loads of laundry to do tomorrow.

So just in case the rest of you are not as lazy as me, my intended cake recipe:

Screw You Sara Lee, This Cake Kicks Your Cake's Ass Pound Cake

3 cups sugar
8 oz. Ultra Creamy unsalted butter (I like Plugra or KerryGold)
6 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sour cream (full fat, now is not a time to pussy foot around with that low fat stuff)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. GOOD vanilla extract

Cream sugar and butter until fluffy and roughly doubled in volume. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients a little at a time, alternating with sour cream, and ending with sour cream (I usually add about 1/4 of the flour, and 1/4 of the sour cream at a time). Add vanilla and beat well. Batter will be very thick and fluffy. Bake in a greased and floured tube pan at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan until you can comfortably handle barehanded. Invert, serve, and tell Sara Lee to suck it.