How to Prepare for House Guests (better than Martha Stewart) 

The past few weeks have been incredibly eventful for me. Not only did I catch a super chest cold from my baby, I am still hacking up a lung and feel sexier than ever.

 
Now, I have to shift my focus to having house guests.

 
I love having house guests. It forces me to really take a look at my life and also take a long sniff at the perpetual dog stench that clings to the air and seeps into the couch. With a baby, poop is now added to create a war of stinky aromatics.
So here’s my list of things I do to get ready for house guests and create an experience that’ll leave them wanting more, wanting more information on what’s going on, or wanting to get the hell out of your house and never return.

 
1. Meal plan. 

Yes, it’s a good idea to feed your guests. Thankfully, it’s warmish outside and we can use our grill that doesn’t keep temperature to burn everyone’s food. Soup is also a good meal because you can make a lot and look like you know what you’re doing.

 
2. Wash your pets. 

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Dog shame.



Ours hadn’t been cleaned in months, so they smelled. It’s also a good idea to wash everything they touch, which in my case, is everything.

 
3. Clean the floors. 

I literally just did and there’s a clump of dog hair already on it. The baby will soon crawl around in it and spread the clump further, so this point really is just to say that you tried.

 
4. Laundry. 

Make sure there’s clean bedding for your guests, especially when your dogs sleep in the guest bed on a regular basis.

 
5. Get distracted and watch Netflix. 

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Yes we can, Sung Hoon. Let’s go.



My poison of choice right now is Korean dramas. My brain tells me they’re garbage yet my body wants to rub itself all over them. It’s only creepy if I say it out loud.

 
6. Groom yourself. 

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On the plus side, I also have coral colored stripes all over my arm.



I try to present myself as kind of having it together for guests, which includes doing my nails, and then fucking them up immediately because I forgot I was making tea and it was over steeping.

 

7. When all else fails, distraction is key.

This could includes my favorites: alcohol, burning incense, running an aromatherapy diffuser (both cover up smells, but also makes you look like a stoner hippy – use with caution), barking dogs, and the baby.  Then they won’t notice that maybe you didn’t hide your sex toys or condoms well enough.

 

Good luck.

 

-Mary Ellen

Mac and Cheese

A couple weeks ago, both my boyfriend and I both had bronchitis. We were sick as hell and all of our communication was reduced to grunting and gesturing. Neither of us bathed for like three days. It was nice. Right before I got really sick, I realized we had no food in the house, so I bravely put on pants and went to the store to get essentials. I got like 10 cans of soup, a couple apples, and ingredients for Mac and Cheese.

Mac and cheese More cheese
I didn’t buy enough cheese, so I supplemented with some sliced muenster, which by some miracle, wasn’t already moldy.

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but my body doesn’t get along with dairy products super well. For that reason, I only ever use almond milk or coconut milk. But I can’t give up butter and cheese, even if it means that in addition to coughing up my lungs, I was crop dusting the hell out of my boyfriend for like three days. Cheese and butter are worth his suffering. I’m a true romantic.

Recipe adapted from food.com

Ingredients

8 oz pasta (I used penne but there’s nothing wrong with elbow macaroni)

½ stick of butter

¼ cup flour

Salt and Pepper

2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

2 cups shredded cheese

Mac and Cheese Cheesy Sauce
When you are getting sick, you don’t bother to clean your stove top before taking pictures.

Directions

Cook pasta and drain.

Melt the butter and whisk in flour to make a rue. Let sit over medium heat for a couple minutes, add salt and pepper, then add milk and mix well. Slowly add cheese and mix until it is melted. Add pasta to sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with salad if you feel like your body is begging for nutrients.

Mac and cheese plate
Salad and wine magically turn everything into a healthy meal, even if you’re lactose intolerant and just ate a pound of cheese

I regret that I don’t keep the ingredients for this recipe on hand, but whenever I make it, I have other regrets. Is this the circle of life?

Serafina

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I really wanted to do another doughnut recipe because I was inspired by Mary Ellen’s last post, but I didn’t have time. When you’re preparing for a Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman final exam, there isn’t much time for doughnuts (The exam is basically driving out to a farm and then doing practical multitasking midwifery while you pull babies out of cows, humans, goats, etc. The people and animals that live on a farm are always pregnant, so as long as you drive with your preceptor, it doesn’t matter which farm you go to).

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I made these cookies. I froze more than half the dough in dough balls, and then ate all the cookies and all frozen dough within a few hours. It was very nice.

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I can’t respect people who don’t eat cookie dough because of raw eggs. They’re just like the people who don’t eat food that they’re allergic to. I’m allergic to peanuts, so I only eat them when I know I have an Epipen with me.

This isn’t one of those horrible recipes that expects you to have your butter softened or rest the dough in the fridge for 8 years. This recipe knows you, and knows that if there is softened butter in your kitchen, it’s probably been sitting unnoticed for at least a year. Year old butter doesn’t tend to yield tasty cookies, and you deserve tasty cookies.

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Browned butter tastes better anyway (which is what I tell myself to feel better about my inability to plan ahead)

It also doesn’t have any stupid shit about only using an egg yolk. My chickens work hard laying eggs and I’m not about to let anything go to waste (they’d find out and probably peck my eyes out)

I started a sugar-elimination diet the same morning I decided to make these cookies. I didn’t have processed sugar in my system for at least six hours, which was probably the most important aspect of this cookie success. By the time the dough was done, I had nearly collapsed from lack of sugar. These cookies literally saved my life.

Choc Chip Cookie Dough
I advise using big chocolate chips and trying not to eat all the dough before you’ve made a couple cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/crispy-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¾ cup unsalted butter, melted, or browned

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

2 eggs

About 2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl

Cream sugars and melted butter, then whisk in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips. Don’t bother chilling your dough and gallantly drop dough balls onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, watching closely. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. If you’re baking all of your cookie dough, just keep on keeping on. If you are freezing some of it, let the baking sheet cool. Then, fill the baking sheet with balls of dough and stick in the freezer for 30 minutes-1 hour. Once relatively frozen, cookie dough balls can go into freezer bags, waiting patiently for the day that they will be eaten.

 

Cookies and dough balls

May the cookie force be with you

-Serafina

The Definitive Guide to Diet and Exercise

[Note to readers: Mary Ellen is not a doctor, but she plays several on TV. She played both Trapper John and Hawkeye Pierce on the hit TV series M*A*S*H, so, it goes without saying, she’s an expert. Take everything she says like gospel] 


Everyone that knows me knows that I’m the pinnacle of health and fitness. My body, being perfect by any standard, has reached the end of the fitness journey. Health nirvana, you could say. 

So, I decided to let you in on my secrets. That’s right. I’m just giving them away, FOR FREE. Fuck you, Dr. Oz.
 
1. Fad Diet

Do all the fad diets. All of them. Because it’s difficult to pick just one sometimes, you can do them at the same time. This keeps your body constantly in fear of what you might do to it, so it burns fat faster as well as sculpting your glutes. Be careful about being ahead of trends, because while it might gain traction and be popular, contributing to an extra 30% more beneficial outcome, you lose -7 points if the trend falls on its face. 

2. Update on social media

This almost goes without saying, but it’s a scientific fact that you burn 70% less calories when you don’t post your workouts online. In addition, if you don’t post your healthy meals online, you gain three pounds. However, if you post your unhealthy meals online with a self depricating joke about how you’re going to “totally be super fat after eating this” than it cuts the calories, as well as saturated fats by more than half. If you’re doing a cleanse, juicing or otherwise, or doing a diet that markets itself like a meathead challenge, you better post before and after pictures, as well as every single day you do it. Make sure you tell everyone you have more energy, despite not drinking coffee during it. 

3. Add workout regimens to Pinterest

It doesn’t really matter if you do them or not, what matters is that you are looking at them. Bonus burn if you change the descriptions because it’s weird when you don’t. 

4. Wear athletic gear out

This is especially important if you’re at a coffee shop or doughnut shop (see, Serafina, I’m fucking conforming to your impossibly high spelling standards!). Generally, I’m always a little sweaty and worn out from the restful night I had baby wrangling, so I look authentic. Jogging in place also helps, as well as aggressively (but friendly) giving your order to the attendant. Take up space, puff out your chest, because you earned this, baby.  When you do this, it acts as a barrier to the fatty ingredients and helps the sugar shoot directly into your bloodstream, giving you unlimited energy for tens of minutes. 

And that’s it. Being fit has never been easier. 

Now go out and get that dream butt you’ve always wanted. 

The hardest, most judgmental trainer I’ve ever had.

Up top, brahs,

Mary Ellen 



Whole Wheat Banana Bread

(Or how to cope with talking to your neighbors)

Sometimes when you’re a grown up you have to talk to your neighbors. It’s awful because they’re people, and even though you put up a privacy fence a little while ago, before the fence was up, they probably saw you running around your yard with matted hair and at least one boob hanging out.

Anyway, I had to talk to one of my neighbors today, and about 20 minutes after I was back in the safety of my own home, I realized that I smelled terrible. I make my own deodorant, but sometimes the natural diy stuff just doesn’t help with the horrible anxiety sweat that you get from having to talk to a human person.

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They say build bridges not fences, but did a bridge ever stop your neighbors from calling the cops when you’re running around drunk and topless? I didn’t think so.

Fortunately, I learned that hand sanitizer makes wonderful deodorant spray that actually works. I’ve tried to make my own version, but it always just smells like rubbing alcohol. I’m not sure what the commercial armpit spray people do differently, but I don’t care enough to bother looking.

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We were supposed to get paid for endorsing this product, but Mary Ellen was pretty tipsy when she was negotiating and we ended up having to pay them.

Why is a banana bread recipe following this daring tale of bravery and armpit spray, you ask? Well, not everything is about you, and sometimes I want to make some goddamn banana bread.

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I may not have fancy place mats like Mary Ellen, but I do have a stove top that I rarely clean.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

Ingredients:

1/3 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil

½ cup honey

2 eggs

2 fairly large ripe bananas

1 tbsp. molasses

½ c unsweetened almond milk or water

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 ¾ c brown spelt flower or whole wheat flower

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The mysterious jar is vanilla extract. And by that, I mean, vanilla beans and booze.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325° and grease a 9×5 loaf pan

Smash bananas

Whisk oil, honey, eggs, bananas, vanilla, molasses, and almond milk in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix to combine

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 55-65 minutes. Watch closely the last 10 minutes or so. It’s done when a toothpick or skewer comes out clean.

I’ve heard it’s best to wait until the loaf cools before you start cutting and eating slices, but I’ve literally never tried.

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I couldn’t even wait until I took a picture to cut a slice, but there were no negative consequences to my decision.

Do you best to eat at least one slice nude in your backyard.

-Serafina

 

Leftover BBQ Stirfry 

Wow. Just, wow. The response to my last post about how Serafina and I became friends was overwhelming. I’m touched. We got emails upon emails requesting pictures of the vajazzle job, and while I would love to send out 40,000 pictures of Serafina’s nether region, I can’t, because Disney owns the rights to all that. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we are total sellouts. 

Remember how I hate grating fresh ginger? Enter the ginger paste. Laziness in a tube. Can you tell I shop at Trader Joe’s? It’s because they pay me millions to do so, and their stuff is cheap. Not that I need to be frugal because, you know, I’m a millionaire.

This week’s recipe came about through a combination of boredom and weird cravings of something sweet and salty.  Normally,  I make this as a combination of two different leftovers. Leftover pulled BBQ chicken (which, here’s the recipe: like 4 chicken breasts, a bottle of BBQ sauce, a crockpot, and 6-8 hours) and leftover stir fry. At the time, I decided I didn’t want stir fry for a second night in a row, so I plopped some BBQ chicken on top of it, and I ended up loving it. 

You might think that white stuff is butter and be excited, like my husband was, but it’s cauliflower. Sorry to disappoint.

However, I did not do this recipe with chicken today, because I didn’t have chicken. I used tempeh. 

It still kind of looks like chicken, so it might be traumatizing for Serafina’s chickens to see it.



BBQ Tempeh Stir Fry 

Ingredients:

  • Toasted sesame oil (or extra virgin olive oil) 
  • 1/2 TBSP Ginger paste
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce (or coconut aminos)  
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2-3 cups frozen veggies (can be a mix or I recommend peas, corn, and edamame) 
  • ~4 cups cooked brown rice 
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar 
  • 1 package tempeh (or pulled chicken, or, if you’re Serafina and have a soy aversion, use steamed or roasted cauliflower) 
  • ~1 cup BBQ sauce 



Directions:

Cut the tempeh into bit sized cubes and marinate with the BBQ for at least 15 mins or you can forget about it and do it overnight. Heat oil in a pan (or wok, preferably) to medium low heat and add the garlic. Don’t burn it or toast it. The garlic should not brown, or you’ll lose flavor. Add the ginger paste. 

Add the rice and soy sauce and increase heat to medium high. Add the veggies and cook until heated through. Finally, add the vinegar. 

While you’re doing all this, also have another pan heated to medium high and try and brown the tempeh, but not to the point the sauce is totally gone. Just make sure it’s heated through. I’ll feel slight guilt if everyone’s food is all cold. 
Dish yourself some stir fry and add the tempeh on top. It’s good, I promise. 

Drink lots of water because this dish is not only salty in taste, but in attitude as well.

Namaste and eat this,

Mary Ellen 

Time Management

Hello again, beloved readers. I’m here to talk to you today about a topic which is important to everyone: time management. You may not know this yet, but in addition to writing an inspiring and profound post for you every other week, I also work part time and sort of go to grad school. So, I’m highly qualified to talk to you about how you’re managing your time wrong.

Tonight, I have a paper due at midnight. Tomorrow, I have a practical exam during which I will either pass or fail my class. Most people would be tempted to study, or write their paper, but that would be a fatal mistake. You see, it’s not procrastination if I don’t start writing my paper. If I put off writing it and then start it at the last minute, I would be the poster child for procrastination. But I’m not going to do that, because I have a plan. I’m not going to tell you what my plan is, because that would be basically spoon feeding you time management skills, and I’m not here to do that. It’s like that parable of the one guy feeding the hungry stupid guy a fish. I can’t just give you a time management fish, I must catch you, the time management fish, and then devour you while looking into your dead little fish eyes.

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I took this picture while my man friend was trying to catch a fish awhile back. He didn’t catch anything because no one taught him about time management.

I’m sure you understand, just as I did when I learned that parable.

Anyway, after a long day of school, I like to come home and fix myself a proper dinner. Being short on time is no excuse to short your body the nutrients it deserves.

For this meal, I decided to provide myself with inspiration so I can focus on what matters in my life right now, which is planting a plum tree in my back yard this fall.

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Using jam with the word “fancy” in it increases the quality of your dining experience. It’s been empirically proven.

Crackers with Almond Butter and Jam

Ingredients:

Crackers

Almond butter

Jam

Instructions:

Place crackers attractively on a plate

Using a plastic spoon (or regular spoon if unlike me you have available clean silverware in your home) drop a dollop of almond butter on each cracker. Then drop a dollop of jam next to the almond butter, but still on the cracker (it’s important to ensure BOTH ingredients are on the cracker).

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See how attractively arranged the crackers are? It’s ok if yours don’t look as nice.

Place cracker in mouth and then eat.

If your mouth gets dry or the almond butter sticks to the roof of your mouth, you should try drinking a beverage. I went with beer, which worked well.

XOXOX

Serafina