A very COVID Christmas

Halloween day – I dressed up for the sake of dressing up and to take a slutty selfie, but stayed home because it was the responsible thing to do… and because I had COVID

Can you believe I started writing this blog a month ago and never finished? I sure as hell can. It’s been forever (what’s new?). This year is almost over, and the sad reality of a COVID Christmas season is upon us. I know I thought I had corona virus back in March, but I guess I was mistaken, because I actually tested positive for Corona last month, in October. Cheers fam. I survived unscathed… apart from the fact that four weeks later, I can still barely taste or smell. But if that’s the small price to pay for not being critically ill, well by God I’ll take it! So yeah, if you follow me on Instagram and wonder why I haven’t been cooking as much, it’s because for the last few weeks I haven’t been able to taste or smell ANYTHING. You could have held dog shit or the world’s most expensive perfume under my nose a couple of weeks ago, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference because I wouldn’t have smelled either. As far as taste, that is also coming back. Two weeks ago I could only taste extreme salt or sugar. I couldn’t taste spicy though or sour. I could eat chocolate or Nutella and it would just taste sweet, but not chocolaty. I still can’t really smell or taste coffee. Thankfully, my sense of smell of taste and smell are slowly coming back… SLOWLY.

Leading up to my positive diagnoses, I had a slightly elevated temperature and felt a bit “off” for about a week prior, but I thought it was the change of seasons. Honestly, a common cold would normally include worse symptoms than what I experienced. My throat didn’t hurt, but felt a little “tight.” Kind of like when you first turn the A.C. on when summer hits. I had no body aches, no cough, no real fever (my temp was like 100 degrees one day, but I thought it was because I was hungover). I knew that I needed to go get tested though, when I lost my sense of smell and taste one night… since normally I have the sensory capabilities of a bloodhound (I can usually smell if someone had one drink 6 hours ago and what the neighbor two floors down is cooking). I went to a walk in clinic knowing I was going to test positive, and sure enough I did.

Needless to say, I wasn’t very hungry for the first couple of weeks that I couldn’t smell or taste, and much to my entertainment, I lost a few pounds. This was the only upside. Sadly, after I tested negative, I went home to watch my sister’s kids for five days (like all day and overnight… not just “babysitting”), on top of also working from home. The stress of this arrangement caused me to senselessly binge eat for five days straight and gain back all the weight I’d lost plus some. I can never win. I am honestly just thankful that I didn’t pass the virus onto my sister or to my niece and nephew, because they are the only people that I hung out with (other than my live-in boyfriend) for the week leading up to my diagnosis. I am also thankful that I lost my sense of smell and taste, otherwise I might have never gotten tested and unknowingly passed it onto my parents.

SIDE NOTE (after watching kids and basically being a single mom for 5 days):

If you are reading this and you are a mom, I applaud you. Legit props to any mothers out there, especially working moms. I don’t know how you do it, because I was ready to off myself numerous times throughout each day that I watched two kids, and I was so damn tired each night that it was honestly all I could do just to scroll through Instagram after the kids were finally asleep. Kids and motherhood are a beautiful thing for some people, but I’ve decided I am NOT cut out for that life. Furthermore, we all know that moms do like 90+ percent of the work when it comes to child-rearing and keeping the house clean and running functionally, so like, extra extra props to all of you.

Anyhow, despite this last month that is both a total blur and a total shit-show, I’ve still been cooking (just not regularly posting what I cook). Because I have been cooking for so long now, I know how much of and which seasonings and ingredients to add, regardless of whether or not I can actually taste/enjoy the finished meal. It’s a true gift…. possibly the only thing I was gifted with in this life, besides my twisted sense of humor.

A mushroom carbonara I made – literally the same way I would make a classic carbonara, but I used shitaake mushrooms in place of pig
A vegetarian borscht I made, because I fucking love beets and soup
A delicious Puttanesca I made while the BF and I were upstate this week. My niece made me watch so many episodes of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ while I watched her, that I kept thinking about how when the movie first came out, I had such a craving for Puttanesca (if you haven’t seen it… don’t ask; if you have seen the movie, you’ll get it). My boyfriend said it was a “10” and coming from a born and raised Italian, that is the highest compliment I can get. It tasted pretty fucking good to me, even if my taste isn’t 100% restored
I bought some really high quality anchovies from my favorite local Italian store – Tavola 35. You only need a few to make Puttanesca sauce – like 3-4.
My new favorite brand of pasta – also from Tavola 35. They really come through for me. They’re even carrying nero di seppia now (a.k.a squid ink)! They legit have all of the nice ingredients I can’t find anywhere else
Sorry (not sorry) for all of the food porn spam. I mean, that is what this blog WAS supposed to be about when I started it. I got this awesome mozzarella di bufala from (yep, you guessed it…) Tavola 35. It was so good. I used it on a really big salad while we were upstate.

I don’t think that we are going home for Thanksgiving this year do to COVID cases picking back up and my boyfriend’s work schedule (and mine). It’s honestly not that tragic for me. Having worked a few years of retail in the past, I’ve missed a couple of Thanksgivings in my life, and I can honestly say that there are some upsides. I won’t have to dodge questions about why I don’t have any turkey on my plate. I also won’t end up binge eating for 4-days straight, which is usually what happens on any given weekend spent home (the stress of being with family, coupled with the availability of my favorite snacks, paired with the boredom of being in a rural town always sends me into a tailspin…). Honestly, missing Christmas is much more tragic… I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.

Also, my sister and her family will be overseas, so that really takes away from the joy and excitement (kids really do make holidays better…my mom wasn’t lying). I think I’ll do a vegetarian or pescatarian Thanksgiving for just me and my boyfriend here in the city. I will plan to make all of the sides (mashed potatoes, *mushroom* gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, etc.) and then do either a fo-turkey, or lobster or scallops as the main dish. I mean, you can’t pour mushroom gravy over seafood, but l’ll improvise and adjust all the dishes once I know for sure what the game plan is. My favorite Thanksgiving dishes were always stuffing and green bean casserole – both of which I have perfected in the art of making vegan, so that’s a done deal.

As the pandemic drags on into the 10th month, and winter is fully upon us, the outlook seems bleak. The days are shorter, and we have complete night by 4:30pm each day. The impending doom of another shutdown/lock-down is also making anxiety and stress levels go up across the world. With everything being so dismal, it is important to take time out (when we can) and take care of ourselves (to the extent we can). I mean, if I was really taking care of myself, I’d probably need to see a therapist weekly, start hitting the gym, and stop drinking wine. But, alas… since these things aren’t possible in the time being, I resort to long baths and painting my nails. One of the worst things about the entire last ten months has been the fact that none of us (most of us) don’t really have anything to look forward to (or so it seems).

It’s hard finding motivation to take care of yourself when you aren’t regularly seeing people or socializing. I find myself asking “what is the point?” more often than not. I miss being able to have future plans that I looked forward to – concerts, travel, parties, etc.. I know that these will come back one day (hopefully sooner than later), but in the meantime, I honestly don’t know what to look forward to, because even weekends kind of suck now.

I did a self-tan recently and felt like a new woman. Painting my nails has also reminded me I am still a woman and worthy of my own attention and ‘self-care’ (such an overused term these days – I know). Literally, my “self care” when I was watching my niece and nephew was to get the coffee maker ready so that all I had to do was hit a button the next morning … LOL. Honestly though, with all the shit going on in the world and in our lives, it is important to do little things to make ourselves feel happier and more at peace with ourselves. Whether that is a fake tan that’s going to rub off on everything, or setting the coffee maker for the next morning, after a 16 hour day of rearing children and working.
If you know me, you know I have a deep love of skorts (so I can get up to hijinks whilst remaining *semi* respectable) and of fuzzy/feathered texture sweaters and coats (it’s the raver in me…what can I say??)

Anyhow. The way things are going, I am prepared for a very emo holiday season. Christmas is normally my favorite time of the year. This year is not looking so bright or merry with cases picking up all over the globe and everything shutting down again. Things were so promising for a few months – why the fuck couldn’t we keep it that way?! I’ll tell you why – because we got careless and sloppy and now we are all paying the price (myself included in this demographic).

I am scared about getting laid-off if things haven’t improved by early next year. I am also scared about another shutdown of restaurants/bars here in NYC, since my boyfriend and most of my friends are working in the hospitality industry, and have either been out of work for months, or will be out of work again. Scary fucking times ‘yo. But honestly, what can we do? I guess all we can do is take it day by day and to appreciate the little things in this life. Or, rather, appreciate the important things.

If you have a roof over your head (even if you’re scared of losing it in a couple of months), food in your fridge and in your belly, a small network of friends or a family who you know will help you out when times are tough, and if you are healthy, you are doing better than most of the world. Be thankful for all of these things that you might regularly take for granted. The worse this world gets, and the more uncertain my future is, the more thankful I am for even the things I used to take for granted (my health, my *sometimes dysfunctional* family, the people who love me unconditionally, having food to eat, etc.).

Tips for Surviving A Recession

***DISCLAIMER***

I started writing this post like two or three months ago (I want to say right around Thanksgiving), before Australia had totally burned to the ground and before Trump decided to provoke Iran, thus destroying any chance we have at all for a future.  Let’s be honest here, I don’t think humanity is going to make it another five years.

Since this post was initially written, the holidays have come and gone, the New Year has arrived, and I have decided to stop buying fast fashion, or any new clothes at all… yes, I will continue wearing the same damn shoes until I receive warnings from HR about how my foot odor is offending people at work.

I have also decided to become a vegan (not sure how long I can last without cheese or eggs, but I will try), and give up alcohol and other illegal substances.  I am also going to try to be more consistent with this blog.  Cheers, kids.

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Daydreaming about Robbie Williams….

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TIPS FOR SURVIVING A RECESSION (Blog entry from November, 2019):

I wanted to write this blog a few months ago when I started reading about another oncoming recession all over the news.  I figured I have some viable tips for those of you who were too young to really experience the recession of 2008 firsthand, or those of you who weren’t affected the first time around (consider yourselves very lucky).  I survived the great recession of 2008 – just barely though:  I haven’t touched my student loan debt, I don’t own a house nor can I afford to, I work just to pay bills, I throw money to the wind each month, renting an apartment I will never own, and at this rate (and given a number of other extraneous factors such as global warming, imminent nuclear war / terrorist attacks at the hands of Iran, and societal collapse on the horizon…) I doubt I will ever have children.  C’est la vie…. at least I’ve got my cats.

Anyhow, I’m currently sitting here browsing slutty clothes and 7-inch platform boots on DollsKill.com.  Hey – life is short, and no matter what, I’m not going to be able to afford a house or kids, so I might as well purchase some cheap thrills while I’m still semi-young (not that I’m young) and decent looking (not that I am that either).  I can honestly say I never spend money on lunch or coffee… I don’t even eat lunch. I think I deserve some frivolous party shoes once or twice a year to compensate. The press is always bitching about Millennials wasting money on Starbucks and avocado toast, but when you’re $50K in the hole with no future in sight, you kind of have to live in the moment and treat yourself to the tiny luxuries that you CAN afford. If we never went out for a night of drinks once every month, or bought a new winter coat we desperately need, our quality of life would be even more miserable than it already is, just trying to save and pay our bills.

I digress though.  I graduated in 2011 when the recession was at its’ worst and the unemployment rate at its highest.  The times were basically rock bottom in terms of available jobs/work.  I have two worthless degrees in fashion merchandising and theatre.  I still sometimes hate myself for not swallowing my pride and my passions, and just going to school for engineering or to become a doctor.  At least then I would have a lucrative career.  JK…. I would never.  I’d rather continue to struggle and live paycheck to paycheck with enough time to still pursue some of my passions on the side (i.e. this blog,  a social life, cooking, my cats, etc.).

When I graduated, and I’m speaking generally here, one was lucky to even find a part-time RETAIL job.  I’m being serious.  This isn’t a lie or exaggeration, kids. Even jobs that required no degree and minimal experience were extremely scarce and hard to come by.  And finding a job in your own home town (if you came from a small, rural town)???? FORGET ABOUT IT.  I started working at the Shiseido makeup counter at Macy’s, which was a 30 minute drive from my parent’s house where I lived after graduating.  I got “lucky” (I use this term very loosely here… ) to have a friend who worked for Abercombie & Fitch as a manager and hooked me up with an interview there after I’d spent the summer of 2011 playing with makeup.  I thought I’d scored big-time, because at least the job with Abercrombie required a 4-year degree, had benefits like a 401K and insurance, and paid time off.  Little did I know, I was in for a real ride….

One day, when life affords me the luxury of no longer having to work a 9-5 day job, you can read all about my days with Abercrombie/Hollister on my old blog, which is currently incognito on the inter-webs.  I had to make the blog private for the purposes of my current, corporate job…. since I didn’t hold back in terms what I wrote about or discussed online back then. I could write a book about my time with A&F/HCo., and one day I truly hope to do so…

Enough about that though.  I eventually saved up a decent chunk of money and moved to NYC with no job lined up in the fall of 2012.  This is where the struggle truly began, and how I learned to thrive (or just barley scrape by, rather) in the midst of the economy’s worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1920’s.

It took me three whole months to find a “job,” and then, the job I had was working only part-time at a night club/concert venue as a cocktail waitress and weekend hostess.  I never knew if I’d be working 5 seated-shows a week (the most lucrative type since people would order food and drinks), or only 2 standing-room-only shows with an audience of underage kids (the least lucrative shows… obviously).  My paychecks ranged from $120 on a terrible week (i.e. 4 dark days and 2 nights of hostessing) to $480 on a decent week, working 4-5 seated shows.  Of course there were take-home cash tips, but those were usually spent going out for after-work drinks at the Irish dive bars on 14th street with my fellow co-workers, where we would commiserate over how little we’d made that night, how awful the crowd was, and how depressed and poor we were working at this shitty venue when the lot of us aspired to so much more in life (i.e. artistic endeavors, full-time employment… sugar daddies…).

My rent was only $650 when I first moved to NYC (don’t ask… I literally had the most baller apartment for what is the BEST DEAL ever heard of).  My rent quickly increased to $800 after a couple of months, and then to $1,000 after a year.  My fickle work as a server wasn’t allowing me to even make rent, so I swallowed my pride and went back to HCo. on fifth ave, working as a manager, where at least I had a consistent paycheck and health insurance.

Between 2012 and 2016 when I finally landed a decent job, were the toughest four years of my life, financially speaking.  This is when I really honed in on my skills as a chef, learning how to survive on one bag of frozen peas a week and a handful of uncooked rice.  I learned how to scrape together just enough money to pay rent doing whatever it took – whether it meant counting spare change, taking on babysitting jobs in the morning before working closing shifts at Hollister, or forgoing what most people consider household essentials, like coffee creamer, paper towels, and well…. food in general.

Given the current state of the economy, and the fact that things have been slow as hell for me at work in the last month or so, I’m growing nervous that it’s true that another recession is on the way.  This time, I’ll be prepared though…. bring it on baby.  Nothing can hurt me now. You know what actually makes me feel even more carefree these days?  The fact that we’re probably all going to die in a nuclear war or from complete global destruction due to climate change before I ever even begin to pay back my student debt….

MY TIPS FOR SURVIVING A RECESSION

  1. There is no such thing as job security.  Never get too comfortable – it can be taken away from you at any time through no fault of your own.  Never take your job for granted either, even though you hate it (we all do).  You need money to pay rent and bills and to purchase enough food to survive and/or enough alcohol and drugs to make you occasionally forget how fucking shitty and pointless your life is.  No job is permanent and any job can be taken away in the blink of an eye (usually when you least expect it to).  You could be laid off if the economy tanks and your company can no longer afford your position.  This happened in the last recession… workers who’d been with the same company for 25 years and were only 3 years away from retiring lost their jobs and their 401Ks.  Pretty shitty, right?  This is why I wake up each day with the fear of God in my heart.  It’s better to be scared about losing your job then it is to be too confident that it can’t happen to you.  It can happen to you, and living life with anxiety over job security simply prepares you for the worst. It happened to me once and it wasn’t even the recession.  The start up company I worked for in 2016 tanked after five months and couldn’t afford to pay me. No notice… no nothing.
  2.  Girl, you better WORK.  One does what one must to make rent and put food on the table.  Even if this means selling yourself short of your credentials/qualifications/education/desired salary, or, in some cases, literally selling yourself (I’ve never done it, but I know girls who basically have sex with someone they’re not really into, in return for having their rent paid or fancy dinners here and there or like, a Mysterland ticket and nice hotel).  I’m not saying this is noble or respectable, but sometimes desperate means call for desperate measures.  If you’re young and attractive and don’t have a family to hurt, stripping is always an option too.  In a major city it will definitely be much more lucrative than elsewhere, and people less likely to find out if you’re trying to keep it on the down-low.  If you’re attractive and young, in fact, I highly suggest capitalizing on it while it lasts – because it doesn’t last forever.  You might as well make a decent living off of what your mama (or your plastic surgeon) gave you.  There are always ads out for bottle servers, hostesses, bartenders, etc., and in this city at the right venue, you could make a SHIT TON of money doing any of those service jobs.  You don’t really need experience if you’re young and hot and/or know the right person.  It’s also good to be flexible in tough economic times, and willing to do shitty work.  I mean, if your standards are too high and the economy crashes, you’re not really going to survive if you’re not willing to do some less-than-savory jobs to make ends meet.  For example, I cleaned houses and a church on a weekly basis at one point in college, because it was impossible to even find a part-time retail job.  I’m not making this up.  In 2008-2009, I cleaned a church rectory on a weekly basis, and then a few older ladies at church inquired about me cleaning their personal residences, and I did.  It honestly wasn’t a bad job – kind of gross to clean someone else’s toilet and bathtub, but the money was decent and not taxed, and old people are generally very sweet and lovely to talk to.  I would do it again.  Hell, I would probably do it now, if someone asked me if I had availability to do so.  Could always use some extra spending money…
  3. Learning to live on a bare-bones diet.  Have you ever cried because you’re so hungry and all you have in your house is some white rice and mustard? I have.  Have you ever had to choose between buying paper towels to clean your counter tops, or some coffee creamer so you didn’t have to keep drinking your coffee black?  I have.  It’s all about priorities – and sometimes we think that we can forgo food, or at least eat minimally to save money, especially when we also prioritize thinness.  Well, when your parents already put some extra money in your bank account but you used it to pay rent and then foolishly bought a couple of $5 vodka sodas at McKenna’s (because you don’t know how to tell your friends that you’re broke), and now you don’t even have $6 to buy a box of pasta and some Prego at the local grocery store, shit really hits home.  You’re going to have to learn how to get creative with some frozen white bread and a couple of teaspoons of Parmesan or how to make a meal out of lentils, curry powder, and some frozen corn last you three days.  On the plus side, you won’t have to worry about the next time that you can afford to get drunk and order a pizza at 2am, since you’ll likely be malnourished as fuck.
  4. Interviewing: It’s not you, it’s THEM. Just because there isn’t a real availability of viable, living-wage paying jobs, doesn’t mean there won’t be hundreds of listed positions and interviews which you’ll desperately go, on trying to make something work.  You’ll probably apply for jobs you have no interest in whatsoever, just because you need a paycheck:  part-time retail positions at a shoe store that sells ugly clogs, a dog-walking position, a nannying position, even though you hate kids…. the list goes on. If you’re like I was (and still am), you’ll apply for and go on hundreds of interviews and you won’t get offered any of the positions, even though you are mostly likely A) qualified, B) experienced, or C) could easily do whatever is asked of you.  I started to think it was me and beat myself up.  I decided I wasn’t getting hired because I was too old, too ugly, too short, too fat, too nice, etc., etc..  I honestly probably wasn’t getting hired, because they were saving the position for the assistant manager’s brother-in-law who just graduated and wanted the job.  Jobs go to those with the personal/family connections when there aren’t many jobs to be had.  Don’t take it too personally or it will really wear away at your self-confidence.

The World is on Fire and I’m Focused on Risotto

I haven’t written a blog in a couple of weeks because I’m feeling lazy and uninspired, yet also simultaneously busy (working, maintaining the household, maintaining a very high-maintenance cat, watching my niece and nephew after work here and there, basically maintaining everything but myself it seems…), and I’ve also been trying to take advantage of the warmer weather by walking more. The increased exercise doesn’t seem to helping my body much, unless I’m gaining serious muscle and am too blind to see it because I have body dysmorphia… but I’m pretty sure the scale doesn’t lie.

Can you tell I’m in a bad mood?  Because I really am.

I feel like I only work and live to pay bills sometimes (all the time, actually), and only eat healthy and work out for my body to stay exactly the same and fluctuate wildly depending on that time of the month.  Have I mentioned how awful it has been since going off birth control?  I mean, we’re in the midst of the 6th mass extinction of flora and fauna and it’s caused entirely by humans, Notre Dame Cathedral burned down on Monday, there are starving children in Yemen, abused and abandoned animals wandering the streets, and dead whales washing up everywhere with plastic bags in their stomachs, but yeah…. I am still bitter about my insurance not covering Natazia (on top of all of the aforementioned issues… the Natazia is just the straw breaking this camel’s back, so to speak).

Like who the fuck gains weight when they go OFF birth control?  Don’t most people gain when they go on it?  Also, who knew that in addition to PMS bloating, you can also bloat during ovulation… so basically, I only look skinny about 3 days of the month now – and that’s the week my skin flares up with hormonal acne.  I never really feel good about myself 100 percent anymore. I’m either bloated or broken out and both make me feel self-conscious and not like myself.  By the time my cystic zits go back down, and are just red, flaky marks on my face, a whole month has gone by and then the cysts come right back again along with some added water retention.

It’s OK though… we’re all going to be dead someday, and probably sooner than later at the rate of global warming, pollution, and general discord among the nations…. so why should worry about my thigh gap and a couple of zits on my chin? I’ll tell you why – because it takes away from my worry about microplastics infiltrating the food chain and never being able to afford to have children thanks to astronomical rent prices and student loans… that’s why. I need to focus my anxieties and stress into something I can control… which is precisely why I’ve started carrying a tote bag to the grocery store to haul my groceries home so as to avoid plastic bags…

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The one day out of thirty I looked and felt good about my body, so I thought I’d memorialize it in a half-naked selfie.  This way I can remember when my ovary is dropping an egg each month, and my body decides to hold onto 6 lbs. of water weight, that I’m not as fat as I feel…. being a woman is such a beautiful thing.

I was going to make chicken piccata tonight for my boyfriend, because at some point today I had more energy and felt like cooking something fancy, but after working all day, commuting, doing groceries on the way home, taking a bath, giving my cat a bath, and picking up the house, and now writing this blog, I am absolutely fucking exhausted, and ordered Chinese food instead.

It’s one of those days, and I seem to be having a lot of those days lately, despite trying to stay positive and take a pro-active approach to my life and wellness and happiness.

I have been trying to take it easier on the weekends (i.e. going to bed before 2am, not binge drinking, not making poor financial decisions when I’m binge drinking), which leaves me feeling slightly more mentally stable.  I picked up my new glasses last week (fucking finally) and have knocked out all of my annual doctor’s visits, bi-annual dental cleaning, so at least I’m up to date as far as my health is concerned. I also started a new painting and made good progress for the few hours I’ve put into it so far:

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Obviously far from finished…

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My new glasses! I’ve needed new glasses for about 5 years now.  I last got new glasses/frames in the year 2008 – they were Juicy Couture and are now so incredibly used and abused I couldn’t even donate them… I haven’t worn my glasses in public since maybe 2011 because the frames are so busted… literally and figuratively.

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My old glasses: Pretty gross right?  The lenses are scratched up, the frame is loose around the joints, and the frame shape is hideous.

In other news, while the world falls apart and I futilely attempt to lose the weight I’ve gained since January, I made the best meatballs I ever made (beef and mortadella), and also the best risotto I’ve ever made and that my boyfriend has ever eaten (his words, not mine).

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Beef and motadella is the winning combination – the peas in the sauce somehow make the dish much more savory and comfort-food like, especially served over polenta.

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The best risotto I ever made and ever ate… not to toot my own horn, but at least I can do one thing right in this world.

I want to write out the recipe and ingredients but it’s going to have to wait because I’m physically, mentally and emotionally spent for today.

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I’ll try to update this tomorrow to include a recipe… I’m falling asleep now.

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Happier times – the cheese plate we shared on Sunday after driving to Asbury Park, NJ for a cat convention

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Kitchen Accidents and Wasted Cake

I’m a clumsy person by nature, I always have been and I always will be – drunk, sober, in-between… it doesn’t matter.  At any given time, I have at least three (usually more) bruises on my body from running into shit or hitting myself on some object.  My hands are usually covered in a splendid assortment of cat scratches, or burns from cooking.  Spending so much time cooking, I’ve had several incidents involving knives to fingers, burns from the oven and boiling water, etc., but this week’s accident really took the cake.  I was making an artichoke pasta using fresh artichokes, which are evidently hard AF, when I attempted to quarter them with a large knife.  The knife slipped off the artichoke and came down on my fingernail – one of the worst pains I have ever felt.  I was honestly scared to look as I thought I’d cut through to the bone.  This is the second time I’ve ever had an injury involving a nail/toenail, and let me tell you – I totally know why they torture Prisoners of War by ripping their nails off now….

The pain doesn’t go away – my finger was THROBBING all night to the point that the pain kept waking me up out of my sleep, and the next day at work, it hurt to type at the keyboard.  Naturally I was slammed with work that day and therefore wanted to die. My finger still hurts, although it isn’t pulsating now.  The nail is basically cracked 3/4 of the way through from a horizontal angle starting at the cuticle… sexy, I know.  What can I say? I’m not a kept woman or lady who lunches, and therefore I will never have the unblemished, manicured hands of my dreams. Unless someone wants to make me a kept woman or afford me the life of a lady who lunches… but even then, I am so clumsy and like cooking/doing crafts etc., so my hands would never actually be nice.

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Fresh artichokes, although delicious, are such a pain in the ass to prepare – almost not worth it.  Also, as I found out this week, dangerous as hell given their tough exterior… use caution.

My clumsy streak continued when I stubbed my toes so hard a couple of nights later, that I thought I broke a toe.  Luckily nothing was broken, I just chipped the nail polish and now have a bruise covering the top half of my foot  #blessed

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This week’s injuries – check that bruise out! I haven’t bothered repainting my toenails, what’s the point?  I’ll just run into more shit and chip them again.

In my last blog post, I was ranting about Dolly Parton not calling herself a feminist and how much it disappointed me – looks like I’m not the only one she disappointed: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/03/dolly-parton-sister-ashamed-stars-silence-metoo-protest  Dolly’s own sister is pretty peeved at her as well.  Just thought I’d share – this is always a topic near and dear to my heart as a woman.

Anyhow, I feel like I’ve cooked such a random assortment of things over the last couple of weeks that I’ve neglected to share.  Work was insane this past week, and I worked late three out of five nights, so my cooking was kept to a minimum until this weekend.  I made these really awesome shrimp tostadas the week before last:

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I cooked the shrimp in some minced garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, splash of hot sauce, and a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice. I also used purple (red) cabbage, which I now have a weird obsession with for some reason – it’s so much heartier and tastier than lettuce in salads, and so good for you vitamin wise.  I made a sauce that I both tossed the chopped cabbage in and then put a dollop of over the shrimp once plated.

For the sauce, I used a dollop of sour cream, about 2 Tbs. of mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, smoked paprika, and a generous squirt of sriracha sauce (hey – I never said these were authentic Mexican tostadas…).

I made fresh guacamole to top it off (smashed avocados, diced cherry tomatoes, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper, fresh lime juice, and chopped cilantro), and then fried the corn tortillas in hot vegetable oil.  Voila!  A relatively fast meal to prepare, yet very impressive when plated, semi-healthy, and insanely delicious.

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Sometimes I just want to bake – I don’t even like baked goods or sweets that much, but I think of baking as an artistic endeavor.  I think I just like frosting things for the aesthetics of it.

I had some free time on my hands the week before last, and got the urge to bake a cake on a random week night.  Since I am avoiding do my taxes for now, among some other things I should really sit down and make myself do, I decided it seemed like a great idea to follow through with my desire to bake a cake.  Big mistake – it took so long start to finish (this is why I hate baking).

I usually only bake when I have to (Christmas, special occasions, etc.), but I really don’t like the process of baking.  Not only is it time consuming (batch in – batch out of cookies over the course of hours, waiting for shit to cool before frosting it, etc.), but the precision required is painful for me.  I guess I don’t really like to follow instructions or something, but in baking you HAVE to follow directions to a fault, otherwise it goes horribly awry.  Cooking is great, because as long as you know the basics (how to make a sauce, how long to cook things, what combinations of food and seasonings go together), you can improvise.  There really isn’t much improvisation to be had in baking.  Anyhow, I think I enjoy the decorative part of baking.  Sometimes I just want to see pretty, pink-frosted cupcakes, or in this case, frost and decorate a cake.  I decided to make a red velvet cake, and it turned out alright – nothing to write home about.  The recipe I used called for buttermilk and red food dye.  I have heard the best recipes call for mayonnaise (sounds gross, but keeps cake moist) and beet juice to dye the cake (but ain’t nobody got time for that on a Wednesday night). Next time, I guess I’ll go all out with the beet juice dye.

Enough about my failed cake though, onto the pasta recipe that was out-of-this world delicious and nearly cost me a finger:

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The finished pasta – rigatoni with artichokes, white wine, lemon, and Pecorino Romano – a really impressive pasta for the artichoke junkie in your life.

I’m a real junkie for artichokes – fried artichokes, artichoke dip, artichokes on salad, pizza – anything artichoke. *** A WORD OF ADVICE*** fresh artichokes are a real bitch to clean, whittle down to the edible parts, and also take FOREVER to cook.  You’ve been warned.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large, fresh artichoke heads
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 cloves of finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • Box of pasta – rigatoni or penne
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Peel the tough, outer leaves off of the artichokes and then trim the ends. You’ll basically end up with an artichoke that is 1/3 of the size of what you initially started with.
  • Using a small knife, shave/whittle the base of the artichoke (the point where the leaves were attached), so you see the white, tender part of the base.
  • Cut the artichokes into quarters – be careful… they’re hard to cut! :p
  • Place the artichokes in a pot of enough water that they are fully submerged, salt the water, and squeeze in the juice from a whole lemon
  • Bring the water to a low boil.

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  • While the artichokes are boiling, put on a pot of heavily salted water for the pasta and bring to a high boil.
  • While you wait for the pasta water to come to a boil, heat the oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat.
  • Add in the minced onion and cook about 6 minutes or until tender and translucent.
  • Add in the minced garlic and cook for another 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Once the artichokes have been cooking for about 15 minutes in the hot water, drain them and add them into the saucepan with the garlic and onion.
  • Add in about half of the butter (1 and 1/2 Tbs) to the saucepan and increase the heat to medium, stirring the artichokes so they’re coated with the butter/oil and cooking evenly.
  • Salt and pepper the artichokes, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and then add the white wine – the heat should be high enough at this point that the wine makes a sizzling sound and steam comes off the pan when you add it in. Stir the artichokes frequently.

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  • Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook according to time listed on pasta box.
  • You’ll want to occasional taste-test the artichokes, to make sure they’ve become tender, and also see that you’ve seasoned appropriately (add more salt, pepper, or lemon as necessary – do keep in mind that Pecorino is a very salty cheese though, and will add a substantial amount of salty once added to the pasta).

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  • Remove the artichoke saucepan from heat once they’re cooked through and tender.
  • Grate about 1 cup of the Pecorino Romano into a separate bowl

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Don’t make the mistake I always make when grating cheese and accidentally grate your finger – it hurts like hell

  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and add the pasta into the artichoke saucepan, or add the contents of the artichoke saucepan into the pasta pot with the pasta (whichever pan/pot is more accommodating)
  • Add in the rest of the butter (another 1-2 Tbs.), the Pecorino cheese, and juice from another lemon
  • Stir everything together until the pasta is coated and all ingredients are evenly dispersed.
  • Serve hot and accompany with a glass of white wine… or two 😉

I’m so happy it is Sunday – I just wish every day was Sunday.  The only day of the week geared specifically towards taking it easy, lounging around and consuming food in excess.  Maybe I’ll get around to filing my taxes tonight – I know the outcome is going to be depressing, which is why I’ve been putting it off as long as possible.  I wanted to attempt a food vlog this weekend, or at least set up a Twitch account – I’ll look into that later. I’m not the best at technology and have no video editing skills of which to speak, so I’ll see what I can do.