A Saturday post? What am I doing here? I thought it was still Tuesday. I’ll have to talk to my assistant about keeping a better schedule for me, and maybe limit my daytime drinking just a bit.
This week has defeated me in almost every way. I am so excited for this weekend, where I still have a shit ton to do, but Annie is also semi available and I can just ignore it all and go drink sake in the corner.
I promised myself I would never do an eggplant recipe on this blog, but, just like I do with everyone else, I break promises frequently and aggressively. This recipe will not win anyone over that is scared of eggplant. It really is for people who already like it.
It’s also adapted from my sister’s recipe that I saw her make once many years ago. I was going to call her and ask how to do it, but I just sent her dance videos for hours instead, never mentioning that I was destroying her recipe and posting it publicly.
Let’s get to it.
Sista Ethel May Darkhorse’s Eggplant Appetizer (pillaged from the mind of Mary Ellen’s sister, Inception style)
Bell pepper (I like yellow)
Salt (I used course Himalayan in a grinder)
Goat cheddar (don’t fucking use anything else)
Slice the eggplant fairly thinly, salt, and put in a colander to sweat for several hours. When ready to bake, rinse and pat dry.
Lay the eggplant out on a pan with parchment paper and brush with the vinegar. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s pretty done. I didn’t time it, sorry. It’s up to you, young Jedi, to figure that shit out.
Remove from oven and flip the eggplant. Brush the other side with vinegar and then lay out cheese slices and pepper on top. Drizzle with oil and salt. Put the eggplant in to broil until the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven, and eat it. It’s weird and eggplant-like. Yummy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
People say that when you have a child, all your priorities shift.
“You won’t spend anything on yourself or your dogs ever again,” people said (and still say).
Well, I recently spent $150 on dog toys and treats, so apparently I have different priorities. Tonya and Nancy (my dogs), deserve the best, even if I have a hairless baby now.
This post won’t be as long as my normal, long-winded rambling posts, because I’m depressed for having to cut out dairy from my diet. I’m in mourning right now. Celebrate all you want, I’ll be back to my long-winded stories next time. I think a Mary Ellen and Serafina origin story will be in order. I guess I’ll also whip up some disgusting dairy free dish, seasoned with my tears.
[*Note to my readers: all opinions in this post are 100% not my own. I was sponsored, and paid heavily for writing these reviews. If you click on a link, not only do I get $3000, but the dude from Incubus has to come to my house and perform, shirtless. I don’t even have dogs, the sponsors sent dog models to my house for this post. For a hefty price, I will have any opinion you want me to have. Actually, I’ll do it for $5. Send me $5.]
This one is also fun for us humans. You put treats in it and make it as easy or as hard as you want to. Nancy is too good at it now, so we are going to have to get a harder puzzle. We clean it in the dishwasher, although I don’t actually know if it’s dishwasher safe. Nancy now programs computers for a living.
This food ball releases food a little more slowly than most, and it’s harder to get it all out. That’s a good thing for Tonya because she’s a fatty who usually is done with food balls in 30 seconds. She actually works for it and rolls it around the house. It’s quiet too, so it doesn’t annoy the hell out of humans.
Now, for my personal favorite. I stumbled across this thing recently and I, and the dogs, are crazy for it. We mostly give it to Tonya because she won’t let Nancy have it, so we are going back to get another one for Nancy. We will actually give her dinner in it, because like I said, Tonya is a fatty and doesn’t chew her food. This slows her down and she becomes a relaxed, less bitchy asshole for the rest of the night.
So, I wrote an amazing post about Mardi Gras and I was going to bake a king cake and everything was going to be unicorns flying and purple sprinkles everywhere.
But then, the baby decided he hated sleeping, and possibly me.
I only got around 12 hours of sleep total last week. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. This isn’t even satire right here. Just me, Mary Ellen, or whatever the hell my name is because I can’t brain things anymore, just pleading with you to understand as I work through this trying time. Thankfully coffee is a thing that exists, and I love it, because otherwise I don’t know how I would have survived. Even the dogs are strung out, and I’m hearing whispers in the shadows that they might be planning to overthrow the baby. It’s a tense time in the house right now, so I unfortunately don’t have time to track down a plastic baby, or bake a beautiful yeast-based cake. My time is dedicated to streamlining as much as I can, and bribing the dogs.
A few things did happen that were important last week. First, I hired a maid to do light cleaning once a week. Serafina has a maid, so I was jealous and got one too. My house is clean. I’ve finally made it to the point in my life where I can hire help. Oh, the American dream. Secondly, I discovered curbside grocery service. I ordered all my groceries online through my store of choice, selected a pickup date and time, and then picked it up. Normally, grocery shopping takes forever with a baby, but this took 15 mins. I know now heaven exists, and its online shopping.
This week, we’re doing salads for lunches. Ew, salads! That’s what I would normally exclaim. But as you get older, and the years of drinking, and binging on powdered donuts and fried cheese start to take its toll on your body. Also, having a baby makes your body weird. My skin is truly terrible. I think a demon is possessing me and drying me out from the inside. I smell weird most of the time too. I’m extra lumpy in weird places, and what in the actual fuck is up with my facial hair? Am I turning into Hagrid? Also, nursing is giving me monster-like hunger and thirst. I really do feel like I’m turning into something you might see on Supernatural.
This also means that when I eat too much crap, I can feel myself dying, and my body screaming out to me, “please, just one leaf of lettuce, please!” I tried telling my body to shut the hell up, take the donut and stop complaining, but then it gave me sad, puppy dog eyes, and really bad heartburn.
So for dinner, we’re picking up a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods (you don’t have to be a pretentious asshole like I am, you can get a chicken at most grocery stores, or make your own if you’re one of those homesteaders) and then cooking some vegetables to go along with it. It’s easy, because I have appointments in the afternoon, and we can still eat at a decent time, since the prospect of cooking scares the shit out of Annie.
After dinner, I’ll go to town on the chicken, ripping it apart (Serafina, avert your eyes and your pet chickens’ eyes) and use the leftover meat for a chickpea salad recipe/other stuff. It’s hard to believe I used to be a vegetarian. Don’t worry, I cried while eating the chicken, and while re-purposing it.
When that’s done, the carcass gets bagged to go into a pot to make stock later this week, along with some other bones from a different dinner recipe. Yay for not being wasteful and being budget friendly, right?
*Note: I didn’t use avocado from the original recipe because I made them ahead for lunches, and I didn’t use cilantro because I don’t like cilantro. I prefer arugula.
Combine all ingredients, except the dressing, in a large bowl and toss. I separated into 4 Tupperware containers for lunches, but you can also serve immediately. Add dressing before serving. I imagine this salad would go great with Greek yogurt and hot sauce instead of BBQ dressing, as well as avocado.
Last night, after a long day of running errands and doing the usual house cleaning, my husband, Anderson Anderson Hooper, and I cozied up in front of the fire with a bottle of wine. It was a perfect moment in peaceful quiet, and we just gazed at each other lustfully. He gently grabbed my hand and scooted a little closer to me. He smiled at me, as if he knew my thoughts. I released a nervous sigh.
“How many water bears do you think we unknowingly eat every day? And does that go against veganism?” I asked and twirled my wine glass pensively.
“Uh, yeah I don’t know,” Annie replied (I call him Annie).
“Do you think that they survive our digestive system? I mean, they can survive the vacuum of space. How many water bears, on average, are in human poop? Do they study this? Do we know any biologist that we can call and ask?” I quickly grab my phone and start googling, while Annie switches his focused cuddling on a nearby dog.
I still don’t know the answers to my questions, but I’ve decided to start a charity to save the water bears. They terrify me, with their scary jagged vacuum mouths and dark stares with no eyes. But I just feel bad that I eat them all the time, even if they ARE delicious.
This is a recipe for buttered noodles (heavily seasoned with water bears, but you can just add grilled or roasted chicken instead). I am basically on a cooking vacation this month, because I’m burned out on life, so this recipe is excellent for fellow lazy assholes like me. Seriously though, this is as easy as Top Ramen, so all you college kids can make this for your dates you’re trying to sleep with. Actually, this recipe doesn’t work great for that because you WILL get butter all over your face and both of you will be greasy as hell. I will actually be making real things soon, not just skirting by on my good looks and charm. I can’t let Serafina have all the glory.
Package of noodles (1 lb)
1 stick of butter
½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese
Pepper to taste
Sliced grilled or roasted chicken (optional)
Cook the pasta according to package directions al dente. Drain the pasta, and then return to the pot. Add butter and cheese. If you want meat, add it now (make sure it’s already cooked). Stir, and season to taste. Eat the pound of noodles yourself and order a pizza for the other person. I usually serve this dish with green beans, but I’ve honestly only done it once, so it’s not like I’ve set up a precedent or anything.
As I sit back typing out this post, gathering recipes, ideas, and organizing schedules, I’m reminded of simpler times. Growing up in rural Wyoming, buffalo roaming the wild, and tending to my family’s ranch brings a single tear of nostalgia to my eye. I was the youngest of 12, and nothing brought me more joy than slopping around horse shit all day. I was always rewarded with a heaping bowl of boxed hamburger helper at the end of the day, sealing in all the folksy warmth. Some of my fondest memories are of spending time around the kitchen, arguing over the package directions and deciding exactly how much butter is too much to add to a dish (answer: there is no amount too great).
I’m not sure if any of this happened, or if I saw this in a movie, but I’m pretty sure this was my life.
Before I post any more recipes, I want to let you in on the secret life of my meal planning. It’ll be sure to get you organized, leaving your whole family moderately satisfied with the job you’re doing as the house spouse.
Step 1: Find the recipes, collect them all like adults trying to relive their childhood collect Pokémon
There are certain websites and cookbooks I browse often, but I also get a lot from Pinterest. I usually spend about 17 hours a week on Pinterest. Around 10-15mins of those hours is spent on recipes, the rest of the time I look for inspirational quotes, exercises I never plan on doing, and sexy pictures of famous people that are currently really old and/or dead.
Out of the recipes I get on Pinterest, only about 2% are successful, in that my family will actually eat them. Some might think I’m crazy for using Pinterest as my source because of this, but I’d like to think I’m a clever risk taker and I will eventually surpass even the most accomplished professional bakers.
Step 2: Write a grocery list
I take a lot of time on this part. I rarely look at my pantry or fridge to see if I already have stuff, so I tend to have doubles, as well as I have to get creative with ingredients because I don’t have stuff for recipes. I’m preparing to be on Chopped so it’s ok.
Step 3: Go shopping, late in the evening, with a cranky baby, and everyone is hungry
Only this way will you be motivated enough to get it all done in under 3 hours. Sure, you may forget stuff on your list, and you’ll get more crap you didn’t plan on getting, but consider this: you will be so happy to have those extra powdered donuts lying around when you’re bored.
Step 4: Give up, order fast food
There is no way to sustain this life. You’re hungry, the baby finally fell asleep in the car, and you’re tired as fuck. All you want to do is eat crap and have a conversation with your husband about adult things. The last thing you want to do is slave over a hot stove, getting sweaty and adding to your already weird stench of breastmilk, baby poop, and dog musk. It’s ok, I still love you. You’ll make that casserole tomorrow.