Good Food

3 Hello Fresh Collage

Still Hello Fresh-ing over here in Quarantine Land, we are.  And thank goodness, too, because preparing these meals – and then devouring them – is pretty well the most exciting thing in my life these days (save hacking down the overgrown foliage in my backyard, a newfound skill that has not yet revealed itself as either beneficial to the plants, or wildly destructive.)

We enjoyed these vegetarian entrees quite a few weeks back, just as COVID-19 kicked open the door to the world.  I remember sitting down to one of them, the Beyond BBQ ranch burger, and thinking to myself, “In disaster movies, everyone’s always hunkered around humanity’s last can of beans.  The world CAN’T be going to shit if I’m still here eating my bourgeoisie plant burgers, can it?”

Turns out it really can, plant protein be damned!  And no surprise here, but the remainder of that week’s entrees – dishes featuring parmesan-dusted croutons, mandolin’d zucchini slices and artfully-torn bocconcini – also failed to make a dent in the progression of the world’s going-down-the-toilet-ness.  It all felt very silly, and more than a little pretentious.

But dang if it wasn’t delicious – a far superior alternative to humanity’s last can of beans.  Also entertaining, and a necessary, welcome distraction from, at that time, the lunatic spiel of bad and badder news emanating from every part of the globe.

That’s food’s power, though, isn’t it?  Speaking as someone who has struggled to control her weight her entire life, a love of good (and bad) food CAN absolutely backfire on you.  But it’s such a comfort.  It’s warmth and love and fulfillment, and I feel so very fortunate – now, during the pandemic, but always – to be well fed, and to not have to worry too much about where my next meal is coming from, whether it’s a little pick-me-up from the kitchen, or a trendy plant protein burger from a meal kit delivery service.

And now let’s take a look at this latest roundup of Hello Fresh yumminess.

Coconut Dal with Spinach and Warm Naan Bread

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Yup, okay, I’ll be the first to admit that lentils NEVER look particularly appetizing.  It’s just a fact of cooked lentils.  But cripes, are they weirdly delicious, particularly when simmered in garlicky, ginger-infused coconut milk, making this rich, filling Indian dish 100 percent tasty, and also 100 percent vegan.  I really loved the dusting of unsweetened coconut on top, too – such an unexpectedly fun little garnish.

BBQ Ranch Beyond Meat Burger with Crispy Shallots and Fries

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Ah yes, the Beginning-of-the-End Burger.  Kidding, kidding!  But this was the Beyond Burger that had me contemplating my rather privileged position in the midst of this pandemic.  Socio-political considerations aside, it was delicious, the burger thickly layered with tangy BBQ sauce, crispy fried shallots and a tart, chive-y dressing (though I jettisoned my dill pickle slices; never been much for pickles on a burger, or indeed, pickles at all!)  There was a ton of the mayonnaise-based dressing left over, so I tossed a bit of it with the provided spring greens, and then used the rest as a dipping sauce for the oven fries, because what are fries without mayonnaise anyways?  Less yummy, that’s what.

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Warm Mexican Bean Bowl with Tangy Guacamole

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A bowl-type dish served on a plate – what even IS this madness?!  Here we’ve got another trendy dish, the burrito bowl (again, the kind of thing about which my grandmother would have remarked, “Well, that’s a hell of a jollop.”)  Here we’ve got onions, red bell peppers and black beans sauteed in a Mexican seasoning blend, on a bed of cilantro rice, topped with sour cream and tart guacamole.  It was great!  Zero complaints with this new classic.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – just eat it (sorry, Nanny!) 🙂

Rigatoni in a Blush Tomato Sauce with Basil Oil and Torn Bocconcini

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This is my favourite Hello Fresh recipe.  Gosh, I love this incredible pasta dish!  This is one of Hello Fresh’s fussier recipes, involving boiling, sauteeing, blanching and broiling, but the results – plump pasta in a creamy tomato sauce, topped with bracingly bitter basil, broil-burst tomatoes and torn bocconcini cheese – are so worth it.  As always with Hello Fresh’s pasta recipes, I think there is an uneven ratio of pasta to sauce, so I always add an extra cup of pasta to the mix.  I also just want more surface area on which to drape that amazing sauce!  Here I used farfalle, because I always have those on hand.

Za’atar and Feta Tart with Spinach Salad and Sliced Almonds

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Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made up of savoury herbs like marjoram, coriander, oregano and dried sumac, as well as lots of salt and, often, toasted sesame seeds.  It’s crunchy, salty and herby – the perfect thing to sprinkle atop a bed of zucchini, shallots and briny feta cheese in this puff pastry-based tart.  A fresh spinach salad, topped with toasted almonds, rounded out this nice, light meal.

Minestrone Tortellini Stew with Cheesy Croutons

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This stew-soup hybrid was yummy and, thanks to the tortellini, very, very filling, but nothing that rocked my world.  I did make one small amendment to the recipe, tossing the ciabatta bread cubes with a bit of garlic-infused oil, before sprinkling on the parmesan cheese and setting them in the oven.  I thought the entire recipe was better off for having added an additional layer of fresh flavour.  Besides, who’s going to say no to savoury little cubes of bread toasted in garlic and cheese?  Certainly not this person!

By and large, I find Hello Fresh’s entrees – at least the vegetarian ones that we have sampled – to be more hit than miss, and these two weeks were no exception.  I remain consistently impressed with their offerings, and I think they’ve done a great job so far in maintaining their well-functioning business model in unprecedented times.  To the next round of delicious, good food!

Chionodoxa

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That’s the name of these cute little blue blooms that have flower-bombed my front beds and lawn.  They’re big time bee-bait, though, so I’ve been admiring them at a distance (except for when I dashed outside to recklessly plunge my hand into the buzzing bed of buds to snap this photo of these inspired-by nails I recently did.  What can I say, guess I’m willing to suffer for my art.) 😉

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Fairly Local Eating

More like eating EVERYTHING.  The grazing is just out of control.  Making things worse this week is the PSA – potato service announcement – the spud producers of Canada issued, imploring Canadians to eat more delicious french fries, owing to the 200 million pounds of potatoes going bad as they sit in storage, waiting to be turned into delicious french fries.  I joked on Facebook that I just KNEW that one day my true life’s purpose would reveal itself, but this is probably not the call-to-arms I needed.  There are presently seven bags of tater tots in my freezer, so I think I’ve got this processed potato business well covered.

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But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t step over you and everyone you’ve ever met to get my mitts on some McDonald’s fries right about now.  Oh, McD’s fries – salt-crusted, golden yellow sticks of heart attack-inducing pleasure…one day, when the world is not a total hell hole, you, me and a pile of McChicken Sauce will be reuinted.

Until then, I continue cooking from home.  I haven’t caught the baking bug too, too badly, although I’ve made a few batches of scones, a lot of cookies and a couple of raspberry cream-cheese pies.

Dessert Collage

A friend of mine has been cultivating a sourdough starter – remind me to check in with her to see how that science experiment is proceeding.  Her husband has been helping the process by barking, “TA-WISTED SOUR START-AH!” in the style of The Prodigy’s Keith Flint at the thing.

We’ve ordered takeout from local (Ottawa) businesses often – The Works Kanata for choose-your-own adventure burgers (Gotta Be KD, featuring, yup, Kraft Dinner, is my not-so-weird favourite); Karara for incredibly tasty Indian takeaway (I could DRINK the mustard seed-studded sauce that accompanies the Madras chicken); Pure Kitchen Kanata for buffalo cauliflower bites and plant protein burgers smothered in vegan cheese; and Meatings, a beloved barbecue joint we placed an order with last week for ah-mazing dry smoked staples like pulled pork, brisket, chicken and jackfruit, as well as vacuum sealed pouches of favourite sides, like creamy, Cheetos-topped mac and cheese and buttery little loaves of cornbread.

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And while we haven’t ordered from them directly, a couple of pasta entrees from Biagio’s, a favourite west end Italian restaurant, proved to be a lovely treat for my parents one recent weekend.  And we’re itching to try Dreamland Cafe on Preston, a quirky little pasta restaurant.  Lots of pasta love in this family.

Hello Fresh continues to impress with their meal kit deliveries; that one’s at the local/provincial level.  We’ve backed off on this one somewhat in recent weeks, simply because we haven’t loved many of the recipes on offer.  Thankfully, Hello Fresh makes it easy to skip any weeks you don’t love.  Seems prudent during these times – someone else is going to love that sweet potato wrap you just weren’t feeling.

Hello Fresh Collage

And our local grocery stores have remained fairly reasonable places to shop, with dedicated seniors’ hours, and staff going above and beyond to maintain a safe shopping and working environment.  Through much of high school and all of university I worked part-time as a cashier at a grocery store, and man, do I feel for the new breed of essential worker.  It’s why Mr. Finger Candy and I plan our shopping trips like we’re going to Disney, with a mind to getting in and out as efficiently and safely as possible.  Don’t dawdle and have a purpose.  These people are putting so much on the line for you.

Interestingly, the food-related businesses we’ve had difficulties with during the pandemic have all been big multi-national concerns, including Starbucks (our local will allow you to place and pay for a mobile order, but you can only pick it up if you’re in a car, despite the fact that the mask-less, glove-less barista is still handing it directly to you; guess that steel framework around the wide open window makes all the difference) and Instacart, a data mining operation disguised as a grocery delivery service.  Disentangling ourselves from a botched $60 order on that one led to Mr. Finger Candy sitting on hold for over nine hours across four different phone calls.  Good thing we’re all at home and have nothing better to do with our time, right?

Anyhow, long story short, there’s no bullshit to the phrase SHOP LOCAL.  Turns out it’s a pretty great practice, and I’m pleased to be supporting small and smaller businesses in my community that are undoubtedly struggling during these deeply uncertain times.  Give it a try in your neighbourhood, because hey, even during all this weirdness, you still gotta eat (and eat and eat and eat…)  Might as well do something great for your community while you’re stuffing your face! 🙂

Mickey’s Hidden Agenda

Hidden Mickey Main Collage

Hidden Mickeys are a Disney thing.  Hunting them all down – and there are over 1,000 of them in Disney World alone – is like an unofficial, parks-wide scavenger hunt for three circles in the shape of Mickey Mouse in a place where you would not normally find them – a little cluster of stones on the lobby floor of one of the resorts, the profile of three logs stacked together in a fireplace, this artfully arranged pile of leaves.

Mickey wreath

Anyhow, whilst recently cleaning up my nail art supplies, I ran across this KB Shimmer polish, Hidden Agenda, a neat thermal colour-changer that morphs from a peachy-grey blush to a steely metallic blue.  I thought it would be fun to dot Hidden Agenda onto a nude base in the shape of Mickey’s head – presumably the hidden Mickeys would stay hidden as against the nude background, only to emerge in glorious icy blue when exposed to the cold.

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Of course, that presumed that Hidden Agenda was the same colour as the base I chose, which, as you can see, it most definitely was not.  I remember it being much peachier than it’s showing here, but the effect still mostly stands.  Cute.

Hidden Mickey Collage

I haven’t been talking about Disney much lately, because…well, because the world is completely screwed up, and that includes Disney.  There’s some curious shenanigans going on at the executive level, to say nothing of the worldwide park closures (I’ve no idea if this is true or not – the House of Mouse is notoriously guarded when it comes to its official numbers – but I read the other day that for every day the parks are closed, Disney loses $30 million.)

I’m sad that my favourite place on Earth is well shut up behind padlocked gates, and I’ve no idea when I’ll get see it again.  I’m upset that 35,000 cast members have lost their jobs.  I’m tired of the Disney bloggers and the vloggers who can’t respect a stay-at-home order to save their own lives, let alone mine.  And I’m mad at the guests who could not see well enough to stay the hell home in the days leading up to the closures.  You actively prolonged this entire situation.  Hope you enjoyed your vacations.

I’ve also always viewed Disney’s as a kind of barometer of how well my own life is going.  Do I have the financial means to take a Disney vacation this year?  Is my passport up to date?  Am I feeling fit enough to tackle a Disney vacation?  And if the answer to all those questions is yes, then I dare say I’m doing okay, life-wise.  I might just sort of have my shit together.

But Disney’s hurting right now, and I’m hurting, too.  There’s no fun there right now, just gigantic neon question marks over a fog-shrouded future.

Wow, okay, so now that I’ve bummed everybody out, it’s time to get on with the day and stop dwelling on the negative.  Disney – indeed, life – will “open up” once again.  We’ll be able to go back to the people and the things that we love.  That much doesn’t need to stay hidden, even if for the next little while, we might.  Stay safe and stay home, friends.

Hoppy Easter (and a Hoppy Birthday to Me)

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So here it is, proof positive that whether it’s on my nails in polish or on a piece of paper with gel pens, all of my attempts at drawing an animal result in some gigantic butt’d aberration that looks like it’s suffering from a wicked case of conjunctivitis.  At least this chunky fellow is wearing a mask and maintaining social distance from those carrots.

I made that little card yesterday for my parents, who are used to my laughably childish creations, and we ran it by their place, along with a COVID care package containing ah-mazing Indian takeout (hit up karara.ca if you’re in Ottawa, peeps), chocolate chip cookies, raspberry cream cheese pie, toilet paper and a whole mess of silly comedies and rom-coms.  Don’t ever say I’m not a great daughter when I’m bringing my parents both Indian takeaway AND the TP necessary to deal with the aftermath.

Care Package

Though, even at a distance, I think my parents could have done without their son-in-law showing up dressed like a pirate bike messenger.

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We did the lightning fast trading-of-the-care packages via the garage, while my mom danced a trio of stuffed bunnies in the window and my father – so randomly, like a Kids in the Hall sketch – ran out of the house with his BELT looped around his neck, shouting that he was so bored he was taking HIMSELF for a walk.  I think they might be going a little stir crazy.  They just looked so excited to lay eyes on us for the first time in over a month.

Which is a feeling I’m coming to be quite familiar with.  I miss my parents more than is probably healthy for a 43-year-old; the urge to run at them with a tackle-hug, the kind I haven’t given since I was probably a little kid, was practically overwhelming.  I had to dither by the car for a couple of minutes to keep from bursting into tears, and then I bawled the entire way home.

Doesn’t help matters that tomorrow is my birthday (I’m turning 43 bullshit years old, if you’d like to send me a cake made of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.  I’m the one behind the Haunted Mansion doorbell.)  I’m an only child (duh) and kind of a spoiled one at that (double duh) and the big joke among my family come April is “How much are we going to get hosed for Sandra’s birthday dinner this year?”  Like hosing isn’t a foregone conclusion when I insist on going to a restaurant that only lists its market prices (and now I’m crying again thinking about the Kir Royale and seafood risotto I will not be enjoying at Giovanni’s on Preston tomorrow.)  It’s only-child-indulgence on a massive birthday scale, and I think my parents enjoy lavishing it on me just as much as I enjoy receiving it.  But this year is going to be kind of different.

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Yeah, okay, so like my inability to draw creatures, probably all the proof you needed that my parents and I are close is this envelope addressed to “our princess.”  You can also see where I got my artistic ability (joke; that wonderful little doodle my mom did there is a reference to every stick figure drawing I ever made of “us is the family” – dog, Boo Boo; dad, glasses and two hairs; mom, miniskirt and curly hair; me, bangs and a tutu; cat, Puddin’.)

Anyhow, we made out about as well my parents did with this reciprocal gift of roasted garlic tomato sauce, apple cobbler with caramel sauce and these adorable little chocolate bunnies, which I immediately decided to take outside for an Easter photo shoot, because I’m clearly bored as crap.

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A 2020 EASTER BUNNY STORY, IN THREE PARTS

After spending some time in quarantine on my parents’ kitchen counter, a plastic bag acting as their PPE, the bunnies were feeling severely cooped up, and so they decided to venture out into the world.  It felt very big and very quiet.

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They made it as far as the front flower bed before they got freaked out by the silent emptiness and decided, like everyone else, to go back inside and get drunk.

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It did not end well.  The bunnies now have to go take a nap.  The end.

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Good to know I haven’t lost my (stupid) sense of humour!  Speaking of, you’ve got to have one to go out in public looking like this!  Easter weekend fashion in the age of Corona, folks.

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So there’s all the mostly welcome weirdness we’ve been up to this weekend.  I hope you’re having weird and wonderful ones yourself, friends – may they be just the hoppiest. 😉

Food For Fun

2 Hello Fresh Collage

It was recently brought to my attention – hi, Mom! – that my Hello Fresh posts are, shall we say, a bit shill-y.  As in I’m stumping hard for the meal kit delivery service, with a mind to gettin’ paid.  Anyhow, in case this was troubling you, allow me to reassure you that this is very much not the case.  I’m simply a pleased consumer passing on a solid recommendation.

But yo, Hello Fresh, if you’re reading this, I can be bought SO HARD!  Hit me up and I’ll shill even harder than I apparently already am. 😉

But until I’m rolling in fat stacks of Hello Fresh entrees, let’s talk about the changing face of food in this new age of Corona.  Last week during both a video chat with a friend and a regular old telephone call with my mom, we were in agreement that perhaps THE most exciting part of our new routines is the planning, preparation and eating of our meals.

This is actually not too surprising.  If you’re fortunate enough to have consistent access to quality food, you know it’s about so much more than satisfying your nutritional needs.  Food is warmth, food is comfort, food is stability, food is home.

And so now that we’re home all of the time (or at least we should be – get off the friggin’ beach, Florida!) food is playing an even larger role in our lives – it’s becoming the focal point around which many of us orbit our days.  So whether you’re putting on a five-course spread for your family, or you’re finally cultivating that sourdough starter, or you’re simply upending a box of Kraft Dinner into a pot of boiling water, food has taken on a brand new importance in our lives.  It’s now about so much more than stuffing our faces.  Now it’s about discovery and anticipation, routine and structure, and the kind of satisfaction that only comes from a really good meal (with really good people, now sitting in virtually from their own kitchen tables.)

It’s also its own unique form of entertainment.  It’s new techniques to try and new flavours to explore, with (hopefully) delicious results.  It’s NOT sitting on your butt for seven solid hours watching that wretched Tiger King thing. 😉

Pre-Corona, I noted that I really loved making these Hello Fresh meals.  That much has not changed in our intra-Corona lives.  It’s just a fun activity, and there ain’t nothin’ better than the kind of fun you can also eat.

For specifics on our experience with Hello Fresh, including lots and lots of photos of the tantalizingly yummy recipes we’ve tried, please click here, here and here.

And now on with the show!  As in the showing of the food, six vegetarian recipes we tried some weeks back.  Spoiler alert: One was amazing, four were great, and one was a serious contender for the worst meal I’ve ever eaten.  Okay, let’s do this thing!

Brie, Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Sandwich with French Green Bean and Cashew Salad

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I’m not a big brie-lover (although every time I hear the word “brie” I think about Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters nervously querying a party guest as to whether the room is too warm for the brie) so I passed half of my sandwich on to Mr. Finger Candy, but I LOVED the mixture of sauteed cremini mushrooms and onions in a balsamic glaze that made up the other half of the sandwich.  The spinach salad that accompanied this dish was also pretty fantastic, utilizing those balsamic mushrooms again, along with mustard-glazed green beans and toasted cashews.  I liked the salad so much, I made it again a week later for my parents as an accompaniment to balsamic-buttered steaks.  Definitely one to add to the permanent rotation.

Creamy Stracciatella Cheese and Tomato Sandwich with Roasted Potato Wedges

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Bruschetta!  Drizzled with more of that scrumptious balsamic glaze (I actually went out and bought a full size bottle, because I might just start adding it to everything.  Coffee?  Sure.  Ice cream topper?  Why not?!)  With a side of roasted potatoes.  Mr. Finger Candy went WILD for this dish, with its piles of tomato, basil and green olives atop crunchy ciabatta buns.  Stracciatella cheese added just the right amount of mellow creaminess to offset the bright, briny flavours of the bruschetta topping.  Solidly yummy.

Golden Halloumi and Ratatouille with Roasted Garlic Dressing and Ciabatta

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Halloumi is a super salty, semi-firm cheese reminiscent of cheese curds.  Owing to its high melting point, it lends itself quite well to direct heat cooking on a grill, or in a dry pan on the stove (which is how this particular halloumi got those lovely, lacey brown bits.)  Halloumi shows up in a lot of Hello Fresh’s vegetarian recipes, presumably because it’s delicious, filling and, best of all, versatile.  In this dish, the pan-fried cheese slices were paired with a delicious roasted vegetable ratatouille and chunks of garlic-toasted ciabatta bun to sop up every last bit of that roasted garlic dressing.

Beyond Meat Gyro Wrap with Chunky Fries and Chopped Salad

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My city attracts a lot of people of Middle Eastern descent, and shawarma restaurants abound.  Substitute the Beyond Meat in this recipe for actual meat and you’ve got your pretty classic Ottawa-at-2am-after-the-bar food (I was actually more a fan of veggie Whoppers on the second floor of the Burger King on Dalhousie, but there’s no accounting for taste, now is there?) 😉  This was yummy, but like all of Hello Fresh’s pita-based recipes, there was a disproportionate amount of filling to filling-holder.  Two autre pitas, s’il vous plait.

Butternut Squash Stuffed Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts and Baby Heirloom Tomatoes

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Of the more than – *counts giant amassed stack of recipe cards* – 50 Hello Fresh meals we’ve eaten, there have only ever been two dishes I flat out hated, the final dish I’m going to discuss today, and then a too-greasy, lemon-and-pesto pasta dish we had some years back.  So when I saw that this recipe featured many of the same ingredients as that pasta dish, I thought, “Wuh-oh, here comes a dud.”  But hey, turns out I was totally wrong, because this pasta dish was GREAT, with each plump ravioli draped in a light, lemony sauce that had me licking my plate clean.  Good grief, this one was dee-licious!  And I see that it’s coming around again in a few weeks’ time, so obviously I’m not the only one who thought it was divine.

North African Spiced Freekeh with Roasted Squash

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Saving the inedible for last, we come to the worst Hello Fresh meal we’ve eaten, a weird mishmash of freekeh (a rice-type grain), squash roasted in dusty-tasting Moroccan spices, and onions sauteed in bracing, acidic harissa paste.  And if that’s not gross enough, the whole works were then topped with spinach, briny feta, chewy currants and toasted almonds.  I put my plate down after two or three game bites and still paid the digestive price the following day.  Mr. Finger Candy really fared no better.  I’ve no idea what Hello Fresh was thinking with this incoherently bad recipe, but it really needs to be relegated to the “Never Again” pile.

As always, and particularly during this time when a good deal of us are under orders to not even dare think about leaving our homes, Hello Fresh is a great service that delivers, pun intended.  I’ve been really impressed so far, and that’s before I had a genuine necessity for such a meal kit delivery service.  Please give ’em a try and let me know what you think, and hey, try and have a bit of fun out there while you’re chowing down.  We can, and should, still enjoy the little – and delicious – things.

Socially Distant

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There’s a line from the 2009 movie Zombieland that has been going through my mind now for days.  For those who haven’t seen it, Zombieland is a comedy set in a post-apocalyptic America besieged by the ravenous undead.  Jesse Eisenberg plays Columbus, a nerdy introvert and borderline agoraphobe whose ultra risk-averse and rules-oriented approach to life and death (and un-death) has him convinced he may be one of the last human beings left on the planet.  He’s wrong, of course; Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin soon join in on the post-apocalyptic fun.

But before he meets the trio who will go on to form his cool new functional family, he spends a lot of time surviving alone, a lot of time wondering if he’s the last man on earth, and he remarks at one point, with a great deal of sadness, that he was never much for people, but now that there are no more people, he misses them.

And that’s where I’m at right now as I at least enter my fourth week of this weird new state of what I’m coming to call Hiding From the Flu.  Not to fear, I’m in no danger of breaking the quarantine.  I’m still quite a ways from running out onto the street and madly dashing about, licking and touching everything and everyone in sight.

But I do miss people.  I miss random human connection.  I miss coffee nights with a lifelong friend.  I miss wantonly scruffying the cat who comes by our back porch to extort food from us.  And I really, really miss my parents, who are just a 22-minute drive east, and who I have not seen now in over a month.  We’re your pretty typical, not-too-touchy WASP-y types, but I’d really like to reach out and give them a hug right about now.

Here’s some topical nail art for the times.  Sending you love across the socially accepted distance, people, because I do indeed miss you.

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Monday, Monday?

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Hey friends, show of hands if you, too, feel like time has lost all meaning (“Time’s gone all David Lynch!” as Buffy might say.)  I actually woke up on Friday morning and had NO clue what day, week or month it was, let alone the hour.  Turns out it was 7:34 am.

Like a lot of people, I’m bored and unmotivated and more than a little frightened.  But I’m also going to shut the hell up about all of those things, because somewhere – somewhere close by; friend of mine is an epidemiologist – someone has it much, MUCH worse than a nagging case of boredom (very much enjoying all the memes taking celebrities apart for griping about ANYTHING.  Please tell me again how difficult this is on you from the comfort of your multi-million dollar ranch.  Y’all got as much to complain about as I do.)

Anyhow, once I sorted out what day it was, I decided to do my nails.  Absent the four or five manis I’ve done since we moved, I really haven’t been keeping up with my nail art, and I’ve missed it.  It’s comforting in a “Wow, has nail polish always smelled this bad?!” kind of way, and if ever there was a time for a bit of creative reassurance, this would be it.

So I sat down at my coffee table in the livingroom, cranked up the twenty one pilots, just like in the old condo days, and did these pretty floral nails.  And I felt much better afterwards.

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So, small lesson here?  In the midst of all this chaos, fear and uncertainty, try not to fall too far down the rabbit hole (and definitely not to the point where you no longer know what day it is.)  Keep up with the things that bring you joy and relaxation, no matter how insignificant they may seem in the grander scheme of our new, CORONA ONLY world.  Because we’re still living, odd though the circumstances might be, and every now and then we need a reminder of WHY.

Stay safe and sane, friends.

Stay Normal, Peeps

Peeps Collage

Is it still spring out there?  We’re still in 2020, right?  And this IS Planet Earth, yes?  Show of hands if you, like me, have found the last two weeks to be wildly disorienting.  I woke up this morning and had NO idea what day it was, or how far into the month of March we were.  To deploy a favourite Buffy-ism, time’s gone all David Lynch over here.

So in the midst of the March that will not end, I was tending to a bit of what-season-is-it-anyways? cleaning when I ran across this cheery old KB Shimmer polish, Where My Peeps At?  Rummaging around, I discovered that a number of my KB polishes – mostly the three-quarters empty, glitter-packed ones I’ve used time and time again – had completely dried out.  I guess I just loved them too hard.  The move was also not terribly kind to them (the move was not terribly kind to ANY of our possessions.)

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But Where My Peeps At? was still standing strong.  And since merely staring at its sunny yellow hue was cheering me up, I thought I’d go the extra mile and give myself a nice little manicure.  Then, if I was feeling so inclined, I’d maybe go outside and take some pictures for the blog, find a nice spot around the side of the house where the lighting is good and the neighbours won’t see me standing there in nothing but my jammies and a really bitchin’ mani.  Then I’d go back inside because of, you know, that whole troublesome end of times thing.

And so that is what I did!  And it felt great, better than I’ve felt – more normal than I’ve felt – in weeks.  So if you, like me and probably 95 percent of the world, feel like life has gone completely bananas and you’re just a little lost, try returning to an activity you have not indulged in for quite some time, even if it’s as simple as just painting your nails.  I think you’d be amazed at how comforting and soothing a hesitant attempt at normalcy can really be.

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