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This Weekend Open Thread is Filled with Glitter

It’s the weekend, so we’re out the door to the real world for a couple of days. Until we’re back on Monday, enjoy this open thread! As special inspiration, it’s double points until Sunday.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

368 replies on “This Weekend Open Thread is Filled with Glitter”

HEY BITCHES, guess what I’ve learned? The national animal of Scotland is: THE UNICORN

They’re having an independence referendum in 2014. We should start our own fringe party and take over the country. Salmon and whiskey for the win!

In other news, I have twelve bazillion applications to send out by Monday. Someone motivate me with humorous YouTube videos.

Scotland has many delicious things, none of which are food. (I kid! I kid! No, actually, I don’t. Most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.*)

*If you (meaning anyone reading this) haven’t ever seen So I Married an Axe Murderer, go rectify that situation immediately.)

I just a did quick search for colcannon and I have to say, it looks rather scrumptious. May make it soon, for the sake of my not-too-distant Irish heritage and the yumminess. Mustn’t forget the great Guinness, with which you can, of course, make delicious pies (Guinness, steak and cheese pie is super) as well as chocolate and Guinness cake!

She is. When she appears on things (like when I listen to old I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue or QI) I start bouncing. I love Sandy, I have since I was a little girl and she was on Whose Line Is It Anyway.

I’m going to Scotland next year for the Pipe Band World Champs (Mr Cesy is a piper, I’m tagging along), which I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO.

OMG YES, I actually was going to post that I would pay good money to watch Sandi and Sue read the phone book. I’ve spent all week watching Sue in the Supersizers series. I love Sue with a creepy passion. Of course, we had Sandi and Sue on this week’s News Quiz, so I’m happy. I might listen to it again actually.

Went to a friend’s birthday party last night after Chicago got 8 inches of snow.  Got stood up by the LTR BF because of the weather, was sad, didn’t want to go, but then had and awesome time.  Dueling pianos and friends I hadn’t seen in forever.  And then leaving the bar I slipped and fell in the snow and hit my head twice.  So today I am braving hangover and bruises and scrapes.  I will watch ALL THE NETFLIX!  (While stealing glances at the “I’m sorry” roses that got delivered this morning.)  Who cares if there’s lots of homework to be done?  ALL THE NETFLIX!

It’s snowing here! I’ve been up since four; took my dog for a long walk and made first tracks (my favorite thing). Now lying on the couch with tea, completely unmotivated to do anything other than stare out the window, drink tea, and munch on toast. Love a lazy day and will not feel guilty about it! I’m going to break out the new Kate Atkinson novel in a little bit and become one with the couch. Hope you all have a lovely day.

Snowed in three! We tried to take the kiddo out on her sled this morning but she was too cold and got really grumpy, so that only lasted about 5 minutes. I’m just happy she doesn’t seem to have realized that we had to skip her swim class today. I just downloaded one of the books Slay Belle wrote about in her “good” reading list, so I’ll probably start on that once I get the kiddo down for her nap. Either that or keep working on our “West Wing” rewatch; we’ve only got one or two episodes to go. And then tonight an online baby shower for a friend, which should be ridiculous and fun.

It’s been snowing here for 3 days and today is finally sunny and clear! We went for an hour-long hike in a conservation area a few minutes’ drive away and got really lost- nothing looks familiar when it’s blanketed in whiteness. We both had our phones, nobody panic- and we eventually found our way back to the car.

Then it was time for cocoa made with whipping cream and the last of the Christmas mini mince tarts. I will now join you in couch Zen.

It’s 4am on Saturday and I’m still awake after sleeping for maybe an hour! THIS NEVER HAPPENS, I am usually an amazing sleeper.

nNext week I would like to get a full-time job. YES. Get a billion apps in every day and finish my social work application for Sept and stop sleeping til 10am every day just because my part-time job has slashed my hours. Can’t move on in life til I do this thing. I wonder if PoM has an Unfuck your Underemployment regimen.

Ugh. I’m there.

I’ve been out of a job since November and have only really half looked for jobs. I updated my resume and have sent out some apps; but I was gone (on a wonderful trip) for three weeks and now it is so hard to get back into productivity mode. I definitely spent all day yesterday in my pajamas farting around on the internet. You think I’d at least clean my house, but apparently not. It is so hard to get motivated. Plus I really need to update my portfolio before I apply to any more jobs. I did some of my best work at my last job, but still have to polish it, remove identifying information, and package it. Somehow I seem to be really busy with other things so I just want to chill when I’m at home.

I definitely feel where you’re coming from, @marthamydear

With the help of unfuck your habitat, I’m going to try to make productivity more of a priority. I really don’t need to sleep 10-12 hours a day.

FOR REAL. I have access to a bunch of online workshops through my volunteer agency and keep thinking “Oh I should do XYZ number of workshops to put on my resume before I update my resume” but then it just becomes a vicious cycle.

My concession to productivity today was looking up ‘how to ask for recommendation letters’ articles and making a plan to put together a document folder for the profs I’m going to approach. Can’t actually do any of this today ’cause I’m snowed in at my BF’s and all my stuff is at home on my laptop, but at least planning feels nice.

I started some unfucking of my habitat tonight (mostly my bedroom. Not done, but much more livable), and it felt glorious. Messes demotivate me, in all areas of life.

I later went for a walk in the light snowfall, and took some photos, and had a lovely night.

Also, I think this might be the first time I’ve ever posted something publicly with a swear word in it. Woo!

Ooh, I will try to join in on that! It is rare that I get the opportunity to get out with my camera and just enjoy taking photos, but I should like to try it more often…

Haven’t looked over any of my photos yet from tonight, but if they’re reasonable I’ll try to put them up.

I need some advice.

I’ve been living on my own since October (it’s temporary, my husband is out of the  country until Aug) and I haven’t been eating very well at all.  He was the chef, and I guess I didn’t realize how dependent I was on him to keep me (well both of us really) on a healthy and varied diet.

So my question is how do I ensure that I’m eating properly?  I’ve basically been eating sandwiches, soup, and other quick meals since he left.  I eat a lot of Morningstar veggie chicken patties and nuggets (I’m not vegetarian, I just don’t trust myself to cook chicken haha).  I’ve been trying to do some research, but it just seems like such an immense task.  I work a lot, and I feel so tired all the time, so when it comes to making dinner, I usually just give up and do what’s easiest.  And that’s generally a sandwich.

I love fresh veggies and fruits, but you can’t really buy them in bulk if you’re the only person eating them.  And then when you do get them, what the heck do you do with them??  Salad?

I guess a lot of the problem is that I’ve never lived on my own before, so there was always someone else to do it.  Cooking is just one of those things that has never interested me at all.  I am very interested in eating healthily (and hopefully keeping the cooking to a minimum).

If anyone has any advice, please tell me.

ETA:  I forgot to add that I’m lactose intolerant, so I can’t eat a whole lot of dairy.  I know my veggie nuggets have some sort of dairy product in them, but it has yet to affect me.

I have to give it more thought before giving you in-depth advice, but beans can be cooked up easily, safely, and deliciously with a variety of spices, flavourings, veggies, etc, and eaten with wraps or pasta or rice. Brown rice helps with fibre.

As for veggies, carrots tend to keep fresh for fairly long, and are good with hummus. Apples also last a long time, especially if refrigerated. Frying up some kale with garlic and salt is delicious.

A vegetable stir-fry with tofu and some sauce makes for a healthy meal where you don’t have to worry about cooking the meat till it’s dead twice-over, but you can also cook your meat and cut it open to test it, until you have enough experience with times/heat/done-ness.

Omelettes with veggies also work well and are quick to make. Have it with a good dark bread, or with rice, or just on its own!

If I think of anything else, I’ll try to add it. I’m sure the others will have amazing suggestions!

ETA: I understand completely about being tired in the evenings and not wanting to cook! I cook a big batch of food on the weekend, one meal that can cover 3-5 lunches generally, so I can freeze them and minimize food prep and cooking during the week. Then for dinners I make simple foods like eggs or have pita and hummus and veggies.

Ooooh carrots and hummus I forgot about those.  I love hummus.  And omelettes are a great idea.  I always forget about the obvious stuff.

I tried to do the big meal thing this weekend, and made some goulash (well my version of it anyways).  I just get so bored eating a lot of the same thing.

Silly question: What is kale?  What does it taste like?

Thank you for the tips, I’m making a list as we speak :).

 

I get bored too, but sometimes I’ll make two semi-large dishes and alternate between those, especially if one is a quick stirfry or something similar.

Kale… I’m not sure how to describe what it tastes like! It’s a dark green leafy vegetable, with a lot of good nutrients. It can be a little bitter but is less so when cooked, especially if made well. It’s got a good solid texture to it as well. I love it, but not everyone does. I sometimes substitute it for spinach in dishes when I want something a bit different but that will still (usually) match the dish. Oh! I love smitten kitchen, and this dish (when simplified) is divine: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/03/spinach-and-chickpeas/ (simplified version noted below)

Instead of grinding the bread, I use 0.5 cup of already made breadcrumbs. And I use 4 Tbsp of white vinegar instead of the red wine vinegar. I often substitute kale for spinach. And I use 2 cans of chickpeas, not the dried ones. And 1 Tbsp of cumin instead of 1/2 tsp. The rest should be the same. Basically, cook the veggies and set them aside. Add some oil to the pan, and cook the breadcrumbs until lightly browned. Add the spices and cook for a minute. Pour in tomato sauce (about 1 cup) and the chickpeas. Add the vinegar, and if it’s not ‘saucy’ enough, add some water. Cook everything till it’s hot, then stir in the veggies. Season with salt and smoked paprika as necessary :).

 

 

My partner works nights, so I normally fend for myself at dinner time. I’m not a huge meat eater when I’m on my own, so I treat my vegetables like meat and build a meal around one base vegetable, and build from there. At the moment my favourite meal is courgette fritters with a easy Tomato/Basil/Balsamic Vinegarette salad.  I find a really good place to start is just find your base ingredient, do a Google and see if things tickle your fancy.

Also, bulk cooking is your friend. Cook one thing that will last you three meals. One of my favourites is roasting pumpkin because from that I can take some and turn it into a pumpkin/chickpea/feta salad, or a fritatta with pumpkin, or any other million things you can do with pumpkin. I ate a lot of pumpkin when I was flatting.  Mr Cesy tells me he used to survive summers just on lasagne he cooked twice a week. I don’t recommend just eating lasagne, but something along those lines can be helpful.

Things like apples will keep in the fridge for a long time, if you buy bananas and they start getting a bit black, you can freeze them and use them for baking,

Keep healthy snacks on hand, a handful of nuts or some dried fruit, or rice crackers.

That’s all I can think of right now, hope that is helpful!

I spent a year living solo and found that my eating habits devolved too into peanut butter and jelly and yogurt cups without much else. However, you can eat healthy–I swear. Here are a few ideas. I would try granola for breakfast because it’ll give you some good whole grains without you having to think about it. You can add dried fruit or frozen berries to this for addition yumminess as well as yogurt for some protein and calcium. Lunch: buy a tray of pre-cut veggies (this could last a week) and sack them up on your way to work with a can of soup and a slice of bread. Added bonus: crackers and tuna if you want more protein but don’t want to cook meet! Dinner: throw a handful of frozen veggies into the fry pan with a little soy and a squeeze of ginger and garlic (I find it easier to buy the pre-minced tubes from the produce section rather than grate/crush my own). Add in long-life noodles at the end (or ramen noodles if you can’t find them) so that they soften and soak up the juice with your veggies. Voila! Basically, the key to eating solo is to freeze everything. Even yogurt–buy the GoGurt tubes and freeze them for an after dinner dessert!

Go for easy to consume/incorporate fruits and veggies you can buy in smaller quantities that you’ll actually eat (no preparation). Baby carrots, a carton of blue berries, 2-3 apples, cherry tomatoes. Berries are good because you can easily incorporate them into yummy snacks. I love berries, yogurt and granola- minimal effort for maximum tastyness. Another good option is pasta (you just have to boil it) with jars of sauce or tossed with olive oil and fresh tomato/basil and parmesan.

I found this really hard when I first got my own place: buying appropriate amounts of produce for 1. Its so easy to buy too much and so depressing when it goes bad and you haven’t finished it all. Where I live now is super close to a grocery store- so buying less and heading to the store more frequently- when I need something seems to work better for me. I also like to buy frozen veggies that I can just steam a handful of- in an inch of boiling water and keep the rest of the bag sealed in the freezer and ready to go whenever I want to cook another handful.

I hope that was helpful (maybe?) You can do this!

It’s hard to get used to buying for one.  Buying for two is so easy in comparison.  I always feel so wasteful because I buy some great veggies or fruits and then I just don’t get to eat them.

I love doing pasta and pesto.  That’s probably one of my favorite things to eat that I can cook.

 

One of my favorite easy meals is just pasta with vegetables. I boil some whole wheat pasta and toss it with a little olive oil, some Italian spice, and then whatever vegetables sound good. You can use the frozen steam bag kind, or get some of the steamer ziplocs and put whatever sounds good in there. I also really like raw cucumbers. Oh, and there’s always tomato and basil!

Another easy and delicious thing is baked portobello caps. Just throw them on a baking sheet, brush on some balsamic, and bake until tender. They’re great by themselves or on a sammich!

Oh man. I hear you. BF used to be a raw foods chef and LOVES cooking. I’m average, sometimes adventurous.

Tasty Yummies is one of my favorite blogs: http://tasty-yummies.com/2012/01/04/the-top-11-recipes-of-2011/ as far as ideas go.

As far as dealing with proportions, I like to buy one protein, say a pack of 2-3 chicken breasts, and make chicken each night.

As far as healthy goes, I try and stick to protein + veggies + grain [I like to do different rices, basmati, jasmine, red himalayan]

Annnnd, as far as leftovers go, this is obvious: get a bunny rabbit. Feed all left over greens to it.

I’m a problem solver.

 

Cooking for one can be the worst.  Can I recommend that you learn to cook chicken?  It’s pretty easy, especially if you just buy boneless chicken breasts.  (I have cut up whole chickens before.  It’s kind of a pain in the ass for one person.)  Pick a cooking method and cook until it’s white all the way through.  Consider a small George Foreman grill.  I had one of those for about 4 years and being able to grill anything whenever I felt like it was kind of awesome.

As for veggies, I love to cut them up small, sprinkle them with garlic and olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Deelish.  Also, 101cookbooks taught me a love for soup that I really can’t deny.  Soup is great for one person because you can package it up and freeze it or just throw it in the fridge.  Healthy instameal for later!  This one:  http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/lively-up-yourself-lentil-soup-recipe.html is particularly delicious and easy.  Lentils and kale and deliciousness!

Just wanted to second this – making chicken isn’t that hard, just that the consequences of not cooking it right are drilled into our heads. Generally, most recipes will tell you how long to cook the chicken, and it will be in the “safe zone”. Also, there are visual cues that you can use to make sure that the chicken is done – by cutting into the chicken is the meat in the center not pink/peach? Do the juices run clear?

Here’s a really delicious and simple chicken recipe that keeps well in the fridge: http://omnomnominal.blogspot.com/2009/05/chicken-thighs-with-soy-sauce-and-lemon.html

Usually when I’m on my own I’m too lazy to cook with meat as well. Rather than go into detail about all different kinds of meals I thought I’d start by listing a few pantry & long-lasting items that will ensure you always have *something* to eat:

– tinned beans of all kinds (including chickpeas which are wondrous), several types of pasta and noodles incl. ramen and soba, tinned tomatoes, lentils (YES), quinoa or kasha or another grain you like, rice, good quality olive oil & vinegar, spices

– sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, lemons, fruit that you can eat in small portions (apples, oranges, berries, bananas), dried fruit

– some kinds of longer-lasting hard cheeses, eggs

Here are some of the crazy meals for one I’ve dreamed up at various points using some of these ingredients, with only one or two additional ingredients (i.e. things that don’t last super long so you need to buy more regularly): soba noodles with poached egg and chopped spring onion and pak choi; many, many types of salads; tinned white beans with onions, garlic, chorizo and a splash of red wine (mm wine for me?); cheese & crackers with apples when lazy; quinoa with frozen steamed veggies and chickpeas; quinoa with sweet potato, dried cranberries and spinach; kasza with mushrooms and leftover chicken breast; pasta with chickpeas; egg fried rice with frozen veggies; puy lentils with onions, garlic and chopped up hot dogs (whatever, I had no cooking equipment at the time!); tomato soup; sweet potato soup with coconut milk… if you like the sounds of any of those things and want recipes just say!

If you look a lot of dishes, they follow a formula of sorts:

filling item (rice, pasta, legumes) + vegetable and/or meat + sauce

I would recommend that you learn to cook a few types of vegetables or meats, and then learn maybe 5 to 10 sauces, then you could combine them in interesting ways:

If you learn to make gravy, how to saute mushrooms and/or beef, and put that on top of egg noodles you have something like beef/mushroom stroganoff.

If you learn how to make a stir fry sauce, and then saute mushrooms and/or beef and broccoli, and serve that over rice, you have a stir fry.

Basically if you make your meals modular, [like IKEA furniture :D ], you have tons of options!

I’ve really been loving/appreciating Judith Jones’ The Pleasures of Cooking for One, which has all kinds of great advice for healthy and tasty solo meals, and how to deal with fruits/veggies, etc. You can preview a lot of the book over on Google Books. As for cooking meat, give yourself a little permission to mess up, and give it a try. Chicken is not so hard–start with boneless breasts or thighs and try roasting them in the oven or in a pan. If you cut it open and it’s still pink in the center, just put it back in and let it go a little longer. You’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

 

Year two of grad school (MA) starts Monday. I had minor surgery Wednesday (and for the first time in my medical history, recovered at an average pace). I miss my boyfriend something fierce. Related, I’m horribly lonely. My chronic disease is flaring. I ahve incompletes (see: chronic disease) that I’m afraid will block my graduation.

Luckily (?), my roommate and my bff just broke up. So did my sister and her bf. I’m back from NYC after living my wonderful month-long life with my partner in the midwest.

I can only seem to get my shit together when I’m being the support system for others. As soon as I’m alone though, insta-mess.

Also, hey ladies (and mynz), it’s been awhile. *hugs*

 

Eesh, that is rough. I always found that the busier I was with grad school the more efficiently I dealt with the rest of my life- so I tend to throw myself headlong into things, which I also know is not for everyone. But there’s all manner of people at school, plus roommate, plus sister, which still doesn’t equal boyfriend, but hopefully enough to keep you going til you see him again.

Oof. I totally concur with you. I’m all about tossing myself into work! It really keeps my head on straight. The only catch is the chronic disease thing. If I REALLY want to be super awesome, productive, and do something for myself, I’ll throw myself into getting healthy (which means cutting sugarz, etc, but, seriously, have you ever HAD a cookie… om nom nom).

Grad school starts Monday though, so I think once I get.. you know… into the classroom. It becomes significantly more real (and encourages enthusiasm).

 

 

I really need to get off my ass and start using me *new* aerobics stepboard and get some damn exercise. This weekend will (hopefully) be full of discipline, exercise and productivity; I may have to deactivate my internet for this.

ETA: Has anyone here heard of Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil? It’s a Canadian comedy show, and I love and am obsessed with it. Sooper-dooper raunchy  humour ahoy!

I just sent out the invitations to my wedding. Sure, they’re fancy electronic invites (savin’ paper!) but hitting the send button still just almost made me vom. Say what you will about a ring, but it’s not until the invites are out that it’s *really* official – at least that’s how it feels.

Who let me be an adult?!

Woo you adult! That sounds very exciting, if scary!  E-invites sound like a good plan, I saw some invites the other day that were written in a Gothic font, and she spelt out the dates like this “seventeenth of March”. It made me cringe so badly.

It was hideous. The invites were to my co-workers sister’s wedding. It’s not til March but the Bridezilla insanity is so amusing already. The day after the wedding I’m bringing a bottle of Kahlua to work and she’s going to fill me in about what happened.

I was listening to music, but the sound of the rain was too much and I just had to listen to it unadulterated. And then, of course, it slowed to a drizzle.

If it picks back up, it’ll be perfect to go to sleep…I really need a relaxing wknd.

I am dying for a sleep in tomorrow. I am pleased I got up and went to the gym but I just want to sleep. Sweet beautiful sleep.

Send some of the rain my way would you? My house and garden are covered in ash from a factory fire earlir in the week, I’d love for it to go away.

I have a killer headache that I am trying to medicate with Vanilla Coke. Next step if that doesn’t work: cider!

I’m still watching “The Supersizers Go”, I just love this show! Also thankfully have rainchecked on drinks tonight with my friend. Three of us were supposed to met up, but two of us have headaches, so we might go to the farmer’s market and act like the yuppies we are.

Personally, utter fucking fear is my motivator. Also, guilt, feeling like a failure… =)

I don’t suggest these routes. What I’d really suggest is faking it til you make it. (Seriously this time.) Sit down with your books in front of you, with coffee. Create a nice space. Make a plan (for ex: first 45 minutes cover chapters 1 and 2, break for ten minutes, next 30 minutes do practice questions or writing what you remember…). And just try not to kick your own ass.

And keep your eye on the prize.

Thanks for the suggestion but, I actually need the internet to study.. I have to look up and research about 40% of what I study. Plus, my classmates pop up with random quizzes on facebook, which is super helpful, and spread study guides around like stds in a frat house.

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