Thursday, March 21, 2013

What I Feel Is the Most Epic How Bourgeois Post Ever.

Today, when I went out to bring in the empty trash can and the recycling bin, low and behold, what did I find!?

No. Not another filth ridden circle of fire.

No. Not Oscar the grouch. Although, that would be AMAZING.

He'd jump out and be all......................BOOYAH! 

No, there were not any Muppets with antisocial, oppositional defiant, nor anger disorders in my trash can.

But what WAS there, was ANOTHER LATEX GLOVE lying on my driveway! Can you imagine!? WHO does that!?
(Probably me. When I use them to change the bird feeders every three or four days.)

And sadly, without much pomp and circumstance, I grabbed two sticks and picked that thing up and threw it into the trash can with nary a thought of prostate exams, blood, IV drug use or penises.

To be honesty, it was quite boring, I'm very upset.


Garbage is dirty, let's talk about something clean. Since I know that you need more things to worry about in your life, how about this.... many of the more "organic" and "eco" cleansers that you and I have been buying and spending extra money on..... they're actually not as natural as you think. At least not some of them. One, small example: I was using a well known brand of dye free, fragrance free detergent that's touted it's self as being more natural. I was surprised to see it was not so! 
Hello, can we say 1,4 -DIOXINE! 

And if you really want to be like: OMG! Google dryer sheets and toxins. I had no idea! Darn! Nothing smells better than that warm dryer sheet air coming out from the side of your house.

You can debate the research , you can accept what you want and forget about the rest. It's up to you.  What I've realized is that it's no use for me to get all bent out of shape and to dwell on past use of any of these products, instead I just thought about the things that I could do moving forward. 

It was the perfect storm. 
Around the same time that I began to learn about not-so-eco, eco products, and really reading ingredients on the back of the bottles, Pinterest came along. I know that a lot of people call this visual bulletin board site a "time waster" and a "Black hole", but I've found it to be chock-full of helpful tips for everyday life! One super-trend on Pinterest has been the making or your own Health & Beauty Products and.....your own Home & Cleaning Products.

For me, it started with a search for homemade laundry detergent, but soon it turned into much more. What I found, from just one, simple project, was that not only does making your own products cut out a lot of needless chemicals, but it's cheap, FUN, and gives you a sense of real self-sufficiency and accomplishment!
I think that I'm hooked. What followed the first round of laundry detergent was a super-effective shower and tub cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner, a reusable cleaning towel system, and now, a liquid laundry detergent.

I found the following liquid laundry detergent,  this recipe, where I find most of my DIY cleaning recipes, on the always interesting website: One Good Thing - by Jillee.

It was the easiest thing in the world to make, and costs pennies a load. I already had the Borax and the Washing Soda from the time I made powdered laundry detergent. This was actually easier! The instructions also call for 1/2c. of liquid Dawn Dish washing soap. That sounds a little crazy-town to me too.  But, I went with it. Sort of. Instead of Dawn, I opted for a little less chemical-ish version in Lavender scent with J.R. Watkins' dish washing soap. At least I figured, most of it was naturally derived, and the fragrance was from essential oils. The Dawn, with it's "grease fighting" action, might potentially work better, but so far, I have no complaints!

And all you do is measure and throw into a container with some hot water. And shake. I found this perfect jug for under $5 in the Tupperware section. And if you REALLY want to be a god damn hippie, you purchase a glass container!


After satisfying my neurotic tendencies for being both cleanly and cheap, it was time to cook.
I would just like to point out my lucky apron. So far, everything has been able to be put out without the use of baking soda or a fireman. That is all.

This day, I made Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from the Tastespotting blog.
Don't let all the healthy greenness scare you away. The anchovies will already do that.

So, really really easy! You make a green herb pesto from scratch, which is essentially processing shallot, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, KALE, chives, salt & pepper, and .....anchovies.

I'm going to shamefully admit that I worried for an entire day and a half, that I would gag and then vomit when opening the tin of anchovy fillets. That I would throw up and not be able to go forward with the recipe and fail.

 I know it sounds completely asinine, but I really did worry about that. I've been a vegetarian for years, and only very rarely eat seafood, when I'm feeling completely run-down and epically protein deprived. Or iron deprived or whatever. Like I am this week. That's when I cave and then shed a tear for the poor little salmon's or scallops life and proceed into a game of self-flagellation. The guilt I tell you, with every bite.

But, instead of vomiting, I took out a pair of chopsticks, tied a cloth napkin around my face and screamed. Maybe more like I squealed. Noah just ignored me. He's used to this kind of thing. It was completely and utterly gross to see so many little anchovies laying in an oil bath, and I felt just terrible for them, but I went through it.

Then I turned around and three cats were staring at me.

So you make the pesto and now it's time to assemble and toast! Bread, spread some pesto on each piece. Thinly sliced fresh Mozzarella, a bit of Chèvre, 1/4 an avocado, baby spinach and you're good to go! They toasted up quickly and nicely in just a bit of olive oil. Serve with a side of fries if you would like to single-handedly counter-act the health benefits of the green.

Before all of this, make your mind-numbingly picky eater of a son a GIGANTIC plate of dinner. Cod, peas, rice. Then he will eat five bites. Call it a night.

My god. I called my child a "picky eater", when I just got done talking about not eating meat for years.  That must have sounded horribly hypocritical!

For clarity's sake, I think there needs to be made a distinction here. I am not a PICKY eater, I am a GUILT-RIDDEN eater. I remember meat to be both delicious and satisfying, as long as it didn't include any stringy bits, or gelatinous fat, bones in it, dark meat, an irony smell, unidentifiable parts, a casing,  or peanut butter. Or lentils.

Speaking of picky eaters........
I was in the pet shop the other day to buy the cats some dry food and kitty litter.
Every time I go in an have to ask a hunky, young pet shop boy for help carrying the 40lbs. kitty litter bag out to my car, West End Girls immediately starts playing in my head. I strut my West End stuff out to the car with that pet shop boy.

The East End boys, and West End girls..... the West End giiiiiirls.......................
Yeah, me, the West End of NOTHING! And then I snap out of it.

This time, I thanked the pet shop boy and said: "Hey! Aren't you the guy on Premier Pets' Facebook page, who ate TWELVE Paczki on Fat Tuesday!?"
He seemed very happy to be recognized for that roughly 8,400 calorie  accomplishment.
I said: "Wow, that's epic. Did you feel sick afterwards?"
To which he replied: "No! I even had an extra one in the car on the way home."
Oh those pet shops boyz..............

Because I save all of that money on making homemade cleaning products, it's only natural that I should seek out ways to spend my savings on gourmet cat food.

The real reason that I decided to try out two pouches of this stuff, is because we have a dearly loved, elderly cat, Priya. She's very thin and eats little, and is being treated for hyperthyroidism which does not help. I'll buy anything, ANYTHING that will get her to eat. (She'll eat some wet food, sometimes rotisserie chicken, a little tuna, turkey... she'll be ok.)

This new type of food was being featured with a big sign: FOR FINICKY EATERS!  And since you could buy a trial pack, instead of the large bag, I thought, why not!

Here is a mound of dehydrated "Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner." Add three tablespoons of warm water, and you get a mound of mushy "Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner".

Did it go well? Perhaps Willow the food-motivated cat,  dramatically jamming her face into the wall instead of eating was an omen.

You can see for yourself from this text to Jon, if the new food was a success - but I warn you, NSFW! I use ACTUALLY used the "F" word. Me! I know!  I couldn't help myself.

Willow, zoned out in disbelief and scarred for life. Three hungry cats. I promptly removed the gourmet food.

That night, Jon went to a concert downtown with some old friends. I stayed home with Noah, which was totally fine because it meant that I would get to put on my pajamas at 6:00 and paint my nails while Noah played Wii.

Also that meant that I would get in bed promptly at 8:00 when Noah went to sleep, only to get up ten minutes later for a little "late night snack". I've started practicing this thing called "Intuitive Eating", where you mostly only eat when you're hungry, and you "honor your hunger" by eating every time you feel hungry, even after dinner. This way, you don't ever end up ravenously hungry and over-doing it. At dinners, or anytime for that matter, the key is, only eat until you are just full, so I find that I am eating way less at each sitting, but a bit more often.

The problem was...... was that I had just painted my nails. The whole shebang, base coat, two coats of color, and a shiny top coat.  You should have smelled those chemicals. (Hypocrite! Me.) And I was just SURE that I had gotten some of that super pungent, super I'm sure horrible top coat on my finger, -beyond my nails and onto the underside of my fingers. It kind of feels like when superglue dries on your skin.

So anyway, who the hell would eat chips and salsa with super glue on their fingers, right!? But I had to have the chips and salsa because they were low-fat baked organic chips, and healthy, fruity salsa, instead of something worse, like ice cream.

I had to come up with a way not to touch the chips, so I ended up eating chips and salsa like this:

Fusion cuisine, I call it Japamexically. ごちそうさまでした Ole' !

The next night............

You might remember me recently writing about Esther Walker and her wonderful blog that I love, Recipe Rifle. It makes me laugh out loud, appreciate her honesty about life as a wife and mother, AND I've learned about some great dishes.  Last week I tried a dessert that she posted called Lamingtons. They were just delicious, and so much fun to make! Esther's new book, "The Bad Cook", is coming out next week for Kindle, from Amazon UK. I wonder if I can download Kindle books from the UK? I'd love to have more of her recipes!

This night I wanted to do something nice for Jon, and I know how much he loves scallops. And, I've been knows to indulge in a scallop or two myself before. The Breaded Scallops recipe from Recipe Rifle looked delicious, and Esther's post was great too.

It sounds like this recipe is meant to be a starter, but I decided to tweak it just a bit for a little more sauce to toss with some pasta. We laid the scallops on top and served with a side of asparagus and voila'! A meal. A delicious meal!

Again, really quite easy, and fresh, fresh, fresh. I found some lovely, small and sweet scallops at my local Whole Paycheck. I really like aromatics of the fresh parsley and the garlic, mixed with lemon zest.
The only thing that I did to the recipe was use gluten-free bread crumbs so I could eat it too, and I also used an additional amount of butter, and added in lemon juice to make a pasta sauce. (We used GF pasta.)

It's really such a lovely sauce that you make to sprinkle on top of the scallops, and in our case also the pasta. Yum! For the asparagus, I simply roasted it in the oven with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper. You can also toast it up under the broiler if you're careful. After it came out, I sprinkled the asparagus with lemon zest and nutmeg. Perfect!

This was one meal that I decided my "picky eat" really should try, and would probably like!
I thought he had eaten a scallop before and liked it. And I mean, it IS pasta so.............
But alas,  it was  mostly a no-go. He's coming down with a cold, so I let it slide.

And he spent most of the meal doing this:

Playing with a blue slap-band bracelet that he BURSTED out from the school building with in pure excitement and joy to tell me that it was found on the ground by an older boy, and given to him. Apparently, advertising for the school book fair back in December.

Here he gestured and screamed:  UNI-BROW!!!!!!!!!!!

Who needs scallops when  you have slap-bands.

And this is Jon after dinner,  with his new green and white tie. As right now, as we speak, he is playing an extended lunch-time hooky from work to attend the NCAA March Madness Tournament to see our Alma mater Michigan State play. Go State!

Oh! And in one more, but EXCITING, (for me) bit of news......................!

It's ok if you go ahead and call me a Media Darling from now on.  
I was contacted yesterday, by an editor at a yet to be disclosed to you home magazine.  She was very nice, and had been through our house on the charity house tour that we were part of last September. This editor remembered my wallpaper and would like to interview me and take my picture for a piece on wallpaper!!!! I think it's so much fun, and funny, and of course I said:"Yes"! I hear there will be three interviewed for this piece. I can't wait to see the other papers!

Also, perhaps even more exciting, she said that she would like to do a feature on the house for the magazine down the road! WOW! Last year, I was communicating with another editor for something similar, but it petered out because the yard was not completed. I hope that it all comes together this year. My fingers are crossed! 

And one, last related-ish thing: I am excited to finally be able to announce that our builder, Carlysle & Lloyd Homes, with our house, won an award for best historic renovation 2013 from Detroit Home Magazine! Go Carlysle & Lloyd!!!!!!!!! Also, I have been told through the grapevine, but have yet to confirm, that we might have won third place for best reno. overall? Still not sure. 
I hear that we will be in the next edition of Detroit Home Magazine, so if you're in the area, please check it out f you'd like!

I'd like to think, or at least wish and hope, that a tiny bit of the winning was due to my interior design in the interior shots, and some of my other small design ideas on the outside. One can only dream . :)



JAB said...

You make some seriously amazing food, Jon and Noah are so lucky to live with you!
And your cats are hilarious, that face--

JAB said...

You make some seriously amazing food. Jon and Noah are sooo lucky!
Omg the cat's face, totally peed. said...

So exciting about the house! You are on your way, friend! Definitely an epic post.

Poupette said...

Epic post indeed :) but awesomely so! So glad I found your blog :D

Loulou said...

Yup hilarious, once again. The cat head to the wall scenario was so well told! Funny, we just bought some scallops for the first time in our 13 year marriage. I must check out that recipe (although I won't be the one cooking them). Actually, I lie, I bought them one time before to make some seafood pasta for Nick's birthday. And now I am hungry. Lying here in bed with my iPad at the way-too-early hour of 5:15, waiting to fall back asleep ... And I am hungry. But, unlike you, I shall not give in to it. There will be no salsa and chips eaten with chopsticks going on over here. Although it is very tempting.

Lauren said...

Awww you guys, thanks so much. I appreciate you stopping by, and on such a long and rambling post! <3

Hope you like the scallops Loulou.

Have a great day everyone!!!!
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo :)

Anonymous said...

So it that leave-in spray all you use to blow dry your hair straight?


Lauren said...

Hi Rebecca!

Yes, it is the only product that I use to blow dry my hair, but honestly, I really should use some kind of heat-protectant. Finding one that doesn't yellow my hair is next on my list.

Once dried, if I have a lot of frizz or fly aways, I sometimes use Garnier Fructis's Pure Clean finishing paste. It's not super natural, but paraben, dye and silicon free. It's also very affordable and easy to find. I bought mine at Target. They also make a 24 hour frizz control cream, also under their "Pure Clean", more natural line. I just remembered that sometimes I put this on my damp hair, after the conditioner.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any products that you enjoy. Thanks!!!!


Anonymous said...

I now realize I posted to the wrong post... I scrolled down too far. I'm sorry. Thanks for answering my question anyway!

I'm just amazed that one spray leave-in product does the job. You must have the softest hair ever? It's certainly gorgeous. Lucky you!

Not sure I could get away with a spray only?