Thursday, October 22, 2009

a very cheap Halloween

Things on the job front have been unstable to say the least so funds are a little low this month. This has inspired me to come up with some new decor ideas that cost little or no money.

Scary Photo Wall
Instead of buying those generic art frames with the pictures that change when you move I opted for a free print from home option. I just did a google search for creepy vintage pictures and eventually came across these horrible family photos. I printed each and stuck it on some black poster board and ended up with a cheap photo wall.
Apothecary Cabinet
For the past few months I have been saving glass jars. I combined the load of jars with my spice jars and relabeled them with more appropriate labels. I threw some poster board over the books on the book shelf and loaded it up with my jars. I added an Apothecary sign made from poster board and called it a day.

I wanted to use up some of the old wall pieces we had laying in the basement and thought why not make a sign for the backyard. After agonizing about what to put on the sing I settled on zombies. My favorite part is the zombie....I am thinking of painting a larger one on the neighbors house.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween is Approaching.

My favorite Holiday is quickly approaching and though I have been thinking about it since June I have finally started to transform my house into what will be the location for the greatest party of all time. This year's party will feature many new and exciting things but the most significant will be the band. Meeting of Important People, a local Pittsburgh band, will be playing for an hour at our party. Brian and I won a raffle at the WYEP rock the block party for a one hour house concert. MOIP agreed to show up for our halloween party! Perfect.

Stay tuned for Halloween Party Prep tips and updates.

Welcome Back

Yes, I have not written here is a very very long time. But who really cares? No one. So instead of acting like I have to apologize to the phantom reader out there, I will just start this thing up again. I may stop tomorrow, I may write every day for the rest of the year. It doesn't really matter.

Monday, August 3, 2009

been some time

It has been some time since I have posted but last nights dinner deserves to be shared. It was delicious! 
Figs with black pepper honey & goat cheese

Cumin spiced pork chops with tomatillo and apple salsa.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finally getting some use out of those Wedding Gifts.

There is one thing that is guaranteed when you get married: you will receive a bunch of personalized, weird shit. Some of these things are useful and some are so far from useful that you wonder what your great aunt was on when she bought it. I heard people say things like, "Well they're so unique, I wanted to get them something unique and fun". This is a mistake. There are are only a few rules that I feel should be followed in gift-giving. Any gift should be appreciated but these rules do exist.

1. Give gift receipts when possible.
2.. Never get someone something to decorate their home unless you have been in the home and can select something that fits with the decor they have already chosen.
3. Sex acts as gifts are almost always inappropriate.

That's it. Simple enough.

Unfortunately we received many "unique" gifts, all without gift receipts that now sit in a box in our attic waiting for the day when I need to be reminded of my wedding date in 6 different colors of monogrammed blankets.

We received several canvas "art pieces" that I can only assume we are supposed to hang above our beds to remind us of our love. They include our names, wedding date and in some cases inspirational words of love.
I have been on quite a tear decorating the house lately and came across a box of gifts that included the above gem. With my spray paint in hand, I took to the back yard determined to make this canvas into something I could hang in my house. A few coats later, I was pleased to hang this on my wall.

The second canvas pictured was a beautiful Rogers family monogram. Now I just need to find a use for the three Bibles we received and Uncle Tom's coupon for two sensual massages.

From the "Does that really work" file

I have been hearing all over the place that you can re-grow green onions. After you cut the white part with the root off you throw it in a glass of water and it will regenerate. I tried it out and it does, in fact, work.
The best part about the whole deal is that they don't have to grow in dirt thus eliminating the crap that finds it's way inside the sprouts. There is a downside though, I think they lose a bit of their flavor the more they reproduce. It's like burying your onion in the pet cemetery, as Jud would say, "Sometimes dead is bettah".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Best Sandwich in the world!

Inspired by Fatty's Cafe in Astoria, the Chavorrayo. 
I have been craving this since I moved out of New York, now I am whipping up my own "Chav's" on a regular basis. 
Loaf of Crusty bread
chicken breasts
jack cheese
garlic aioli (recipe below)

just season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook them however you want.

layer chicken breast, avocado an some jack cheese. Smear the garlic aioli on. Then I try to grill it like a panini. I just kind of press it on the griddle. There it is simple as pie.

For the garlic aioli ....

3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 large egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
couple turns of pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

combine everythign in a food processor (or blender) except the oil and pulse until it turns into a paste
slowly add the oil while running the food processor or blender

Monday, June 15, 2009

Welcome Saoirse Cake

I attempted my first ever tiered cake last week. The bottom tier looked great. I was talking to Sean while rolling out the fondant for the top layer which caused me to loose focus so it was a little messy. Overall the cake turned out pretty good and tasted great! (It was even a hit with "picky timmy")

Top Tier- chocolate with vanilla buttercream filling
Bottom Tier- Lemon cake with lemon curd filling and buttercream frosting


I love Aprons. They are in fact one of the catalysts to my housewife transformation. On a recent trip though the hocking hills I stumbled across a vintage skirt apron for only $2.50! Quite a find. Upon my return I went on an online search for aprons and found my supplier has gone out of business to "be a mom". LAME! There are still some aprons on the site but it looks like only the ugly ones are left.
Anyway I did find her blog that has a regular apron giveaway. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Sometimes working from home can make you feel like you are living a boring life. Because of this you may find yourself accepting invitations to do about anything. One minute I was baking sugar cookies and before I knew it I was piling into a minivan with eight 21 year olds heading to Bareaoke. Yes, Bareoke. This is not karaoke based on Barry Manaloe nor is it karaoke at a lodge with bears hanging on the is BARE- AOKE. As in karaoke sung while strippers gyrate on the stage to your song.

The club, the Tennyson Lodge, is run by a mother, daughter and their dog. It is beyond anything you can imagine. The dancers are well passed their prime as evidenced by the knee braces and potbellys. Dj Marty and his metal head friends rule the place along with college kids and middle aged couples looking to put some spice into their relationship.

This is one of those things you have to experience to truly understand. Just do not invite me to come along, I think once was enough.

Top 5 most awkward Song Choices for Bare-aoke

Lightning Crashes- LIVE
Runaway Train- Soul Asylum
We Built this City- Jefferson Starship
Mr. Roboto- Styx

Monday, June 1, 2009

FYI- website find

In my day to day life of surfing the web for countless hours I often stumble upon websites that are useful. One such site is
Visit this website to learn the best time to run out for a bathroom break, how long you will have to pee and what you will  miss while you are gone. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home Made Household Cleaners

I have been meaning to make my own household cleaners for a while and today is the day. Yes, I am in it for the green reasons, reduces waste, chemical free etc... but I am also in it for the cost saving factor and the smell. My nose hairs have been burt from a good bathroom cleaning.

Making your own cleaners required the Holy Trinity of household items. Lemons, Baking Soda and Vinegar. With these 3 you can make almost any cleaner you require. I am so excited about trying these out I may actually clean my house.

Vinyl Floor Cleaner- 1 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon warm water
Wood Floor Cleaner- 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 gallon water
Window Cleaner- 2 drops dish detergent, 3 tsp vinegar, 2 cups water
Scrub Powder (Commet)- baking soda
All Purpose Cleaner- 1 cup vinegar, juice of one lemon, gallon of water

There are tons of sites out there with recipes and ideas on more ways to make your own products. Here are a few:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Orges are like Onions

If cutting into onions makes you cry like a wuss....

Try cutting near an open flame on your stovetop. It eats the gasses and helps you avoid looking like an idiot.


Today's new recipe was Spanakopita or Spinach Pie. I love this Greek treat but have never gotten around to trying it myself. In Astoria we used to trip over spinach pie on our way to the subway. It was all over the place. You stop for coffee, here have some spinach pie. Oh, you want a pack of cigarettes? Would you like Spanakopita with that? Close to the time we left Astoria my brother got engaged to a Greek lady. Like really Greek. Like, uses the word YA YA and not be referring to your vagina Greek. Anyway, she soon became my source for Spanakopita. Her family recipe is so good I never wanted to try to do my own. But alas, this week is all about trying new things so I busted out the phyllo and went to work.
adapted from Tyler Florence
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts4 garlic cloves, minced2 pounds fresh baby spinach, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ounces crumbled traditional feta
5 ounces crumbled reduced fat feta (yea, like this is going to make it healthy)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted
1 pound phyllo pastry sheets1/4 cup dried oregano1/4 cup finely chopped chives (from my own garden!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 3 minutes until soft. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and continue to saute until the spinach is limp, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, remove from heat and place in a colander, and squeeze out excess liquid using a cheese cloth. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with feta, coriander, and nutmeg. Season, then fold in the cooled spinach mixture until well blended.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, brush 2 baking sheets with some melted butter. Unroll the phyllo dough and lay a sheet flat on a work surface. Keep the phyllo covered with a damp, not wet, towel as you work to prevent drying out and becoming brittle. Brush the sheet with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with some oregano and chives. Repeat with 2 more sheets of phyllo, stacking on top of each other. With a pizza cutter, cut the sheets lengthwise into thirds to form strips. 
Place a heaping teaspoon of filling near 1 corner of the layered phyllo strip. Fold the end at an angle over the filling to form a triangle. Continue to fold the triangle along the strip until you reach the end, like folding up a flag. Brush the top with butter and dust with Parmesan, place on prepared baking sheet, and cover while preparing the remaining pastries. Repeat until all the filling and phyllo strips are used up. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes until the triangles are crisp and golden. Serve hot, warm or cold.

Sean likes

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pittsburgh Magazine Best Restaurants Issue

I just received my Pittsburgh Magazine's Best Restaurants Issue. This issue is both my favorite and most despised issue the magazine puts out. I love reading about the top 25 restaurants and planning which I will visit next. The readers choice, however, makes me angrier than Anthony Bourdain at a Bobby Flay restaurant. 

Check out the reader's choice selections below. This is a sad day for anyone in Pittsburgh who enjoys good food. If this keeps up our city will be full of frat boy sushi and hush puppies. I can see it now, Sean staring into my eyes over a breakfast smile and a jaeger bomb.

Category 1ST PLACE
Best Restaurant- Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
American- Eat'n Park Restaurants
Bakery- Oakmont Bakery
Bargain- Eat'n Park Restaurants
Best View- LeMont
Breakfast- Eat'n Park Restaurants
BYOB Restaurant- La Tavola Italiana Restaurant & Pizzaria
Catering Services -big Catering
Child-Friendly- Eat'n Park Restaurants
Chinese- Sesame Inn
Continental- Eleven
Deli- Smallman Street Deli
Dessert- Gullifty's
Downtown Lunch Spot- Franktuary
For Visitors- Primanti Bros.
French- Le Pommier
German- Max's Allegheny Tavern
Hamburger -Tessaro's
Holiday Restaurant- Grand Concourse
Hotel Dining- Omni William Penn Hotel / The Terrace Room
Indian- Tamarind: Flavor of India
Irish- Claddagh Irish Pub
Italian Chain- Olive Garden
Italian Non-Chain- F. Tambellini Ristorante
Japanese- Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
Korean- Sushi Kim
Late-Night Student Fare- The Original Hot Dog Shop
Mediterranean- Casbah
Mexican- Mad Mex
Microbrewery- The Church Brew Works
Middle Eastern- Aladdin's Eatery
Most Authentic Pittsburgh- Primanti Bros.
Most Romantic- LeMont
Outdoor Dining -The Pines Tavern
Pan Asian / Fusion- Soba
Pizza Chain -Pizza Hut
Pizza Non-Chain- Mineo's Pizza House
Polish -Bloomfield Bridge Tavern
Post-Theater Dining -Six Penn Kitchen
Pre-Theater Dining -Six Penn Kitchen
Seafood -Red Lobster
Soup -Panera Bread
Special Event -LeMont
Sports Bar -Jerome Bettis' Grille 36
Steak- Ruth's Chris Steak House
Sunday Brunch- Grand Concourse
Sushi- Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
Tapas -Ibiza Tapas & Wine Bar
Thai- Bangkok Balcony
Trendy- Seviche
Vegetarian- The Quiet Storm Coffeehouse & Restaurant
Vietnamese- Tram's Kitchen
Wine List- Sonoma Grille

I feel like I need Amy Pohler and Seth Meyers here for a "Really!?!" segment. 

Who are the people that take the time to vote in this poll and chose Red Lobster as best seafood? I went to Red Lobster about a year ago on one of those "let's go get stupid drinks and eat at a chain restaurant" expeditions. What, you don't go on those expeditions? Anyway, I was sick for a week. It was one of the absolute worst things I have ever put in my body. 

I am withholding most of my Nakama commentary for an upcoming blog dedicated to the "restaurant." But if Red Lobster has the best seafood in this city than I guess, based on those standards, Nakama has sushi...

And what is this freak obsession with Eat N Park? It is a Denny's with cookies....I am all for the cheap eats but just because you can get a salad bar with your breakfast does not mean it should be voted the 2nd best restaurant in the city!

And McDonalds is voted as child friendly? Feeding your kids McDonalds is anything but child friendly. In some cases I would call it abuse. 
Oh, they have salads there? I guess I was wrong. Take your kids to Mcdonalds and order them a salad, I dare you. 

see complete listing here

New recipe week

This week at work is slower than ever. With one boss in Germany and one in Dallas I don't even have to pretend to work.

Therefore I declare this week, new recipe week. Each day I will make something I have never tried before.

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Bechamel Pizzas
*new things- dried mushrooms, bechamel sauce

You would think I would have made a bechamel sauce in the past but this was my first attempt. These little pizzas were so good I can guarantee I will be making many more bechamel based things in the future. Expect these pizzas to be showing up at a dinner party soon!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups milk
2 ounces fresh goat cheese, thickly sliced
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pizza dough
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 pound baby portabella mushrooms
1 pkg. dried assorted wild mushrooms
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1. Heat beef broth until almost boiling. Add dried mushrooms and soak for 30 minutes until reconstituted. Remove mushrooms and set aside. (save liquid when finished for a rick stock)

2.Preheat the oven to 500°. Preheat a pizza stone or generously oil a large baking sheet.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of flour until a paste forms. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking until smooth. Bring the béchamel sauce to a simmer over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until no floury taste remains, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese until melted. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

4.Cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece to a 6-inch round. Dust the rounds with flour and let rest until slightly puffed, about 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the smashed garlic clove and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 15 minutes. Discard the garlic. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and stir in the thyme leaves.

6. Roll out one of the dough rounds to form a 9-inch round. Transfer the round to the peel and brush the edge of the dough with olive oil. Spread 1/3 cup of the béchamel over the dough and scatter one-fourth of the mushrooms on top.
Transfer the round to the pizza stone and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are crisp and the béchamel is bubbling.

7. Transfer the pizza to a work surface, cut into wedges and serve. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Breakfast in Bed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ho Ho's

My favorite coffee place, Big Dog Coffee, has amazing little snacks in the window. I tried one of their homemade Ho Ho's the other day and was inspired to make a version of my own. Everything started out okay, I baked the cake in a sheet, I whipped the center filling, I prepared everything to perfection. But as soon as the cake was frosted it all went downhill. Now I am left with something Sean has dubbed "poop loafs". Maybe these would be more appropriate for the "Steve Dump Bingo"* we are planning for later this summer.

The Theory was to make a thin chocolate cake, rolled into a little ho ho type log, filled with cream cheese frosting and covered in chocolate. But the cake is dry and tastes like crap. It also cracked when I tried to roll it. I rolled it in the wrong direction and the chocolate would not stick to the cake. This is how poop loafs are made. Well, this is one way poop loafs are made.

If you want to give it a try go for it. Hopefully yours will turn out better than mine.

*Think Cow Patty Bingo with a dog in your backyard* *
For those who don't know, Cow Patty Bingo is where you pick a spot in a field in which you believe a cow will take a shit. Whomever picks the correct square wins. It's very fancy and very cool.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Great Asparagus Urine Experiment!

As you probably already know, asparagus can have strange after-effects in the bathroom. I believe I am one of the most susceptible people to this urine odor phenomenon. You can smell my asparagus pee all through the house after I munch on some of these little green odor missiles. I could fumigate our second floor just from having a few spears in a salad. If you don't believe me you can ask Sean, he refuses to come near me after I eat it.

I have decided that my acute sensitivity to asparagus is a calling. I will, nay, I must, use my body in an experiment to find a cure. I will conduct a desperate search to find something that will neutralize the smell of asparagus pee. My body and the house will smell sort of like liquid vitamins and chicken noodle soup until I make my discovery.

The test will work like this, I eat asparagus then I eat/drink something that I think will reduce the odor in my pee. I will then rate the effect of each on this blog.

Control Group Findings.
Control meal- Asparagus in a salad with goat cheese, red onion, beets, cucumber balsamic vinaigrette
7:15- Consumed salad
8:45- Bathroom break #1, odor present not deadly
10:15- Bathroom break #2, odor pungent and lingering
1:10 am- bathroom break #3- odor slightly less pungent but still lingering
9:00 am- next morning bathroom trip- Odor still evident, less pungent but noticeably there

Week #1- Will Hard Alcohol reduce the effects?
Theory: Drinking liquor will dehydrate me and get all the odor out right away.
Meal- Salad with asparagus, goat cheese, red onion, tomato, cucumber, zucchini and balsamic vinaigrette
Neutralizer- 2 Whiskey Drinks.
8:20- Consumed Salad
9:13- Bathroom break #1- slight smell, I would compare this to the normal reaction a person may have to Asparagus
10:57- Bathroom Break #2- Very Pungent and Lingering. (Sean used the bathroom after me and yelled "This is gross; what the hell is wrong with you?")
1:00 am- Bathroom Break #3- Fading smell with staying power
9:00 am- morning bathroom trip- no scent
Conclusion: Drinking Whiskey forces most of the smell out in one pass but not enough to declare it a success.

If you have any ideas you want me to try go ahead and suggest them. If it won't kill me I will try it. My goal is to solve this age old pissing problem and share it with the world!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Indianish Food

Last night I found myself with a couple of chicken breasts and no idea how to prepare them. I was in the mood for some spice but not the Frank's Red Hot kind... I decided to throw together things i had to try to come as close as possible to making an Indian Masala Dish... turns out, not too bad. I would definitely make some substitutions in the future to make the dish more successful but I was quite proud of what I could pull together with no prior indian cooking experience and no recipe to work from. To Sum it all up- I am fucking awesome !

2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup white wine
1/2 large can tomato puree (in the future I would use fire roasted tomatoes, about 12 oz or so...maybe more)
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 cinnamon stick
a couple of whole cloves
tsp. nutmeg
a dash of ground ginger
1 tbsp. curry powder
heavy cream
1/4 bunch cilantro
oil, salt & pepper

1. Heat veg. oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Brown chicken on all sides (my breasts were large so i cut them into pieces first..yea I will say it breasts were large)
3. Move chicken to a plate, cover and set aside.
4. Toast all spicesexcept nutme, ginger and curry in another clean pan over high heat for about a minute, don't burn them!
5. Grind down all the spices into a nice powder
4. add butter to chicken pan along with finely chopped onion and garlic. Saute until soft.
5. Add about a cup and a half of white wine. Deglaze pan. Cook for a few minutes.
6. Add in tomato puree or crushed tomatoes whatever...
7. Add about 3/4 of the spice mix
8. Add chicken back in along with any juice on plate.
9. Simmer until chicken is cooked through.
10. Stir in a couple of splashed of heavy cream.
11. Add chopped cilantro and serve over rice.

*some of the measuements may be a bit off*
It should look something like this...

*sorry for the horrible pic, my camera battery died just as I was taking this*

Monday, May 4, 2009


My submission to this is why your fat....

Bay of Pigs Headwich (Fatheads Pittsburgh, PA)

roast pork, ham, swiss pickles, caribbean killer sauce, honey mustard..with chips

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Cake.

Inspired by earth day articles touting the glory of going vegan I decided to make this delicious vegan chocolate cake. The recipe has been passed down to me from my mother in law. I considered keeping it a secret but this cake is too good not to share!
The cinnamon sugar on top creates a crust that accentuates the moist fluffy cake underneath.

Oven 350

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil/ veg. oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups cold coffee
2 tablespoons vinegar
cinnamon sugar mix

In large bowl mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt until well combined
Add oil. vinegar, vanilla and coffee and stir until combined
Pour into a 9x 13 glass baking dish and spread until even
sprinkle with 1/3 cup cinnamon sugar (1 tablespoon cinnamon added to 1/3 cup sugar)
Bake for 25- 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean

Serve with strawberries and chocolate sauce or vanilla ice cream or just serve as is.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the breast cake in the world!

In the last year I have found myself invited to two bachelor parties, I hope this is a growing trend because I had a blast at both. In an effort to get myself invited more often I have been arriving with erotic cakes. Nothing goes better with a night of debauchery on a bus than a red velvet titty cake!!

Stay tuned for more erotic cake creations!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

True Love

a love note from sean....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The First Ever Unexpected Housewife Contest!
Do you want to come for dinner with The Unexpected Housewife? Now is your chance. The lucky winner and a guest will be treated to a home cooked Housewife meal.  After the meal the guest will be asked to review the dishes and I will post the review right here for you to read. How narcissistic can I get!

How to enter:
Leave a comment telling me about your favorite foods and a food you would like to try.
The lucky winner will be chosen at random (out of a hat) and will be invited over for Dinner. 

Entries received from 3-18-09 until 4-06-09 will be eligible. All entries must be original. Participants must be 21 or over and be legal resident of the United States. Transportation will be the responsibility of the winner. Overnight accommodations will be provided upon request. 
By entering you are agreeing to allow your image to appear on the Unexpected Housewife blog. The winner will also be required to deliver a review of the meal within 48 hours of dining. No fat chicks please. 
Winners will be announced on this blog on 4-07-09.

One grand Prize winner will receive a 3 course meal prepared by The Unexpected Housewife. Meal will include beverages. (Value $178.45) Overnight accommodations available at winners request. (Value $129.00). Doggie bag of any leftover food. (Value $17.95).
3 runner up winners will receive a very special Unexpected Housewife gift in the mail. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Picky Timmy

One of the most difficult parts of being a good unexpected housewife is entertaining the in-laws. This task is made exceptionally hard if your father-in-law is the pickiest eater alive. We all know picky eaters, but Sean's Dad goes beyond anything I have experienced. He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, as in he will only eat meat and potatoes with a side of corn. Keep in mind he will not eat all meat. He will consume beef and chicken. (NOTE: One treads on shaky ground putting anything besides orange season salt on the chicken)
You may think this is no big deal and that there are plenty of options still available for a nice dinner, but you would be wrong. You don't know the rules. The rules are complicated and binding. They have secret amendments and can be changed at any time, sort of like The Patriot Act. Here are the rules that I can identify:

1. NO GREEN - this includes any vegetable as well as herbs or spices that are not masked.
2. NO VEGETABLES- corn is the only veggie allowed. Do not garnish with one, do not stuff with one. The rule is no veggies ever.
3. NO SAUCE- The irrational fear of vegetables has lead to a ban on sauce because of the chance that they could be hidden within. One acceptation to this rule is pasta sauce, which he will eat on chicken. This leads us to rule #4
4. NO PASTA- Though it is his wife's favorite food, the man will not touch a noodle.

These rules make it difficult to have them over for dinner unless we're having steak or burgers and fries. I have tried to venture outside the box on occasion and end up feeling guilty because he leaves hungry.
I thought I was within the rules when I invited them over for corned beef and cabbage. I knew the cabbage was out but I also made potatoes so there should be more than enough to fill his picky belly. It was over as soon as we sat down. He grabbed for the potatoes and loaded his plate. I passed him the corned beef that I had brined for several days and lovingly cooked for hours. He ignored it. IT IS BEEF! I followed the rules. Corned Beef!! The name might lead one to believe that it is corn and beef, which would comprise 66% of the food that he will eat. He took a slice or two after his wife pointed out that he only had potatoes on his plate. He tried it and said "oh, this isn't too bad".
When I was cleaning the plates after they left I found shredded beef hidden under the potatoes. And to think, I let him eat dessert.

(not my actual corned beef. I was too nervous and flustered to remember to take a picture but this is close to what it looked like...)

Non-Approved Corned Beef and Cabbage

For the Brine
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons whole coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons peppercorns
1 teaspoon all spice
4 sprigs oregano
4 sprigs thyme 
2 bay leaves
3 lb. brisket

1. Mix all ingredients above (except brisket) in a large bowl or pot
2. Coat Brisket with spice  mix and add to large bowl
3. Add water to cover brisket add a plate on top if you need to weigh it down
4. take an egg and see if it floats in the brine...if not add more salt until it does.
5. cover and refrigerate for 2- 10 days...I did 5.

Step 2 Ingredients
3 tbsp. olive oil
6 carrots chopped
1 head of celery (including leaves) chopped
1 head of garlic cut in half to expose cloves
handful of oregano (fresh is you got it)
2 bay leaves
1 head of cabbage cut into 6 pieces

6. Heat oven to 300 degrees
7. Heat a large oven proof pot or dutch over (hahahah) over medium high heat and add olive oil
8. Throw in onion, carrots, celery, oregano and bay leaves and cook abotu 10 minutes
9. Remove the meat from the brine and rinse well
10. Lay meet on top of veggies and add water just to cover the meat
11. Boil and skim any foam
12. reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes
13. Add the cabbage and throw in the oven for 3 hours.
14. Remove the meat and cover with foil for 20 minutes. Then remove fat, slice against the grain and throw it on a plate with some cabbage and potatoes (cooked during that 3 hour window).
15. Serve to people who are not babies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

Once again, my day seems to be filled with sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Unfortunately, it has not been ringing much since January so it is possible this cushy job may be in danger. I need to take full advantage of it while I can. So today, in one more nod to St. Patrick I whipped up some Irish Soda Bread.  This bread is so easy and delicious!

5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg beaten
(2 cups raisins optional)

Oven at 350

1. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda
2. cut butter into small cubes and cut into flour mixture until grainy
3. Stir in seeds and raisins if using
4. Add buttermilk and egg to flour mix and stir until well moistened.
5. Shape into 2 loaves and place in well buttered pans (I used one pan and on baking sheet to try a round loaf..)
6. Bake for an hour, cool in pans for 5 min then move to rack
7. Eat lots of this to soak up all the booze you will be drinking.

Saint Patricks Day

Saint Patrick's Day is upon us once again. Tomorrow, normally respectable human beings will set their alarm clocks to make sure they wake up early enough on Saturday to be piss-your-green-pants drunk before the parade. These people will flood Market Square adorned with plastic leprechaun hats and carrying yards of green Miller Light. The discussion will begin with surprise and mirth at how early they are drinking and slowly meld into the rich topic of how long they've been drinking. Eventually they will fall into the Sisyphean pattern of waiting in line for beer, carrying your beer to the bathroom line and then directly back to the beer line. After this pattern is identified they will retreat to a nearby bar or Station Square. There, they will slowly sip from the plastic yard cup that has been cutting the edges of their lips all day. Eventually defeat will be admitted and the Irish mob will head home for a "nap" only to wake up at 11pm wondering if calling it a night will mean they are pussies.

So, what time are we meeting, pussies?

I'll bring the cookies.

Soft Shamrock Sugar Cookies
2/3 cup butter flavored shortening
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
granulated sugar/ icing for decoration

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cream together butter, shortening and sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into creamed mixture until dough comes together.
3. Put half the dough in the refrigerator. Using the other half roll into buckeye size balls and press into sugar. Place on cookie sheet with parchment or silpat about 2 inches apart.
4. bake for 10 to 12 minutes, cool on wire racks.
5. Remove dough from fridge and roll out. Cut shapes and place on baking sheet.
6. bake for 10-12 minutes (timing will vary based on shape and size)
7. cool on wire racks. ice when cool.

HardDrive Failure

I know the blogs have been few and far between lately. My harddrive failed on my computer thus forcing me to share a laptop with Sean for a week. Thankfully I got it back late last night, just before we filed the divorce papers. 

So here we go...back at it..

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sweet Potato Pi

Monday, March 2, 2009

How Much Do You Love Your Dog?

I attended the Detroit Kennel Club dog show this weekend and checked out some of the on-site vendors. By far, the most amazing one was Ash Embedded Memorials (
Yes, you read it right. She will take your pet's ashes and make a portrait of said pet with them. This loon will spend days, if not weeks and months, mixing your dog's remains into paint and smearing it across canvass. You will then display this artwork in your home, perhaps on the mantel, and point it out to house guests. This will show them that you loved your dog more than they love theirs.

Gretchen's Creations LLC
"A Touching Way To Remember"
What your furry companion leaves behind is a legacy of unconditional love. Deciding how to pay tribute to your pet's life can be overwhelming. We offer an unmatched memorial that combines the respectable option of an urn with the accentuated beauty of an original, distinguished plaster portrait. Once your photograph and style of portrait has been chosen, Gretchen will consult with you and explain the dignified process of acquiring the ashes for the memorial portrait. Your pet's ashes are mixed into the plaster allowing the final resting place to be as unique as the love you shared.

(this dog is dead)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Candle Addicts Anonymous

A few years ago I heard a comedian quip, "Candles are to old ladies what cats once were." This weekend I saw the dark truth behind the joke. I ventured into housewife territory like never before and attended a candle party.
I knew I was in for it when the perky, over-accessorized-for-a-Sunday-afternoon woman asked "Is there anyone who has never been to a candle party before?" I raised my hand expecting to be one among many, but no, I was the sole hand-raiser. I was terrified and rightfully so.
When, purely out of guilt, I agreed to attend this candle party I expected mimosas, bloody marys and snacks while we sat around and talked about how funny it was that we were at a candle party. Instead we had non-alcoholic fruit punch, diet coke and chick
en salad with grapes in it (my hatred for fruit in my chicken salad will be discussed at another time).
The candle lady stood in front of her shrine like she was the Patron Saint of Flowery Smelling Shit. Her candles filled the air with artificial scents like Chocolate Coconut Cascade and Lilac Spa Fantasy. She began by giving us raffle tickets and asking us to please, say your name, how you know the hostess and why you think I have been doing this for 17 years.
Why I think you've been doing this for 17 years? OH MY GOD! I almost crapped my pants.
This woman has been selling candles for 17 years and she wants me to tell her why! It's like she stood up in front of the room and said, "Allrighty, let's start this party off by ragging on me. " My head swirled with reasons. Here are just a few:

1. You are very lonely and use these "parties" as a way to make friends.
2. You are an Andy Kaufman-like comedian who is living your life in this ridiculous fashion to see how people react to you.
3. You are an escaped mental patient and we are all going to be killed and enrobed in french vanilla wax.

I'm glad I didn't say any of these because, believe it or not, this wasn't performance art. She just loves her some fucking candles. And she explained how she is able to bring in $5000 a month with the gig. She also told us how we could enjoy such a lifestyle, if only we decided to join her little club. The other women in the room seemed oblivious to the pyramid scheme pitch. Do they seriously believe that this woman makes $5000 a month selling wax to housewives? Was I missing something here?

I started to notice that the candle lady talked about her wares as if they were artwork. "This is a real conversation piece," she would say, or, "People see this in a house and think, 'Wow, there must be an interesting story behind that."

Candles just don't do this for me. I will never stand around and discuss the merit of a candle. What's interesting about telling someone you bought a candle in someone else's living room? "Hey, where did you get that candle?"
"Oh, I got that at a candle party."
That's the conversation.

The candle lady then went on to tell everyone about her addiction to candles. That morning at church, she told us, her priest asked them to pray for people with addictions. She, of course, thought he was talking about her and her candle addiction. As if her obsession was on par with alcoholism or drug addiction. She admitted to having panic attacks if there were not enough candles in the room. I was waiting for Tyler Durden to burst through the wall and throw lye on her face. I completely lost it. This was the most ridiculous thing I had been a part of in quite some time. The other women were eating it up and agreeing with her desire to own all the candles. All the candles in the whole world.

I had just regained my composure when she pulled out a bag full of pennies. Everyone stepped up and took one and each time the candle lady said "Penny for your thoughts" in pretty much the same manner a priest says "Body of Christ." We were supposed to tell her which candle we liked best and why. I had to manufacture an emotion about a candle. Thank god I spent those years doing improv!

Once we all had our pennies we then used them to purchase a votive for a penny. What a great deal! The only catch is, on the bottom of the votive is a piece of paper. On the paper it says to pick a prize or Fast $50. If you choose Fast $50 you "get to" book a show with her on the spot. I prayed that the four people who landedFast $50s before me had eliminated them all. I watched as my friend Tina, the only other person disturbed by the absurdity, sat sweating, hoping she would get the prize and not the booking. But Tina did pick the Fast $50 and suddenly it was my turn. I approached the votives like a soldier who's entire platoon has been shot down but still storms the beach. Thanks to some divine intervention I was the only person to pick a prize.
I took my shitty candle and didn't have to talk to the ringleader of this circus of insanity. Tina, on the other hand, was forced into picking a date and promising this sad woman that she would, indeed, invite ten of her friends over to purchase candles.

In the end I placed my order, trying desperately to get away with a cheap holder out of the magazine. I had done my part, spent $28 dollars and could get the hell out. I handed in my order and breathed a sigh of relief. It was all over. Or so I thought. The Candle lady called me over and told me that one of the other guests did not use the 50% off they qualified for so I could use it. It's just that, and her hands were really tied on this one, I had to spend at least 40 dollars. I thought, okay, I'll get to $40. Half off will be $20 so in the end I get more stuff for less. Apparently I do not speak the candle language. I added the products she recommended which brought me to $45 then she took off the discount but I still owed $40. WTF? It turns out the half off applies to one candle which was $10. I couldn't take it anymore. I said 'fine' and walked away. Tina grabbed me and we made our escape.

Though I am embracing this housewife lifestyle, I am not embracing these parties anymore. Please do not invite me because I will not come. Do not guilt me because I will feel no guilt.
The afternoon of February 22nd was a dark day and, in the words of Rudy Guillani, I will never forget.