Sunday, December 14, 2014

What Rachel Ray has done to my husband

My husband is a changed man. A little obsessed, one might say. And it's all Rachel Ray's* fault.

It's no secret that although I can cook (not bake), twenty+ years of cooking family meals day in and day out has left me a little, well, BORED OUT OF MY SKULL. For a few years I found a great young lady who would cook four meals every two weeks for me, and that helped (my sanity) a lot. Then she very selfishly moved to Seattle and although I tried to think of a way to get her meals to me in one piece, I finally accepted that this wonderful phase was over.

Fearing that the moody, kitchen-hating, knife-wielding wife of old was about to resurface, the Ball & Chain started to chip in with the cooking. "Oooh, good", I thought. "I don't mind doing all the laundry, vacuuming etc. if it gets me out of the kitchen".

But then I got greedy; pushed my luck, in fact. I bought him what looked like a fairly do-able Rachel Ray cook book last Christmas. This one -

The idea is that you make your week's dishes all in one day. And he does. All day Sunday. Like a fiend. This new hobby is second only to golf. That's how hooked he is. The 11 year old is his sous chef and the two of them practically salivate as they leaf through the recipes, picking out the delights for the week ahead. Seriously - it is the most dog-eared book in the house. We haven't had a "dud" meal from it.

The other night I re-heated a Rachel ratatouille he had made, and apparently I forgot to crack eggs into it, as per the recipe.

"I've never had ratatouille with eggs in it before", I said, attempting to defend my grave error.

"Rachel says to put them in."

"Oh indeed. Rachel says to put them in does she. What else does Rachel say?"

"Hey - it was you who brought her into my life."


Anyway, if you're looking for a cracking recipe book (see what I did there), you can't go wrong with this one, and I'm not being compensated for saying this.

* Rachel Ray is a well known chef in the USA.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Getting picky with the Christmas tree

I have bought precisely THREE Christmas presents. THREE! I don't think I've ever been this far behind! It's a miracle that the two UK-bound parcels actually made the postal deadline but I'm at the 11th hour with the few cards I send! Have to get them to the post office today - barring nothing else happening. I can't even "get it off my list" as the nearest Postie to me doesn't open for a couple of hours.

Yesterday we finally got the tree out and the four big containers of decorations. We have a rather large (8 feet) fake tree which looks quite authentic once you spend about an hour faffing with the branches. It didn't help yesterday that the Ball & Chain was "opening" the branches out before attaching them to the tree trunk by brushing them all in one direction - the wrong direction. That necessitated another half hour of me pulling them all towards the outside of the tree. Sigh.

As I said, we have rather a lot of decorations, most of which I probably won't use this year. In previous years we have had two much smaller trees in the windows of the basement family room. They were the "red and green" trees, as opposed to the "white and gold" big tree.

Too much stuff.

For some reason, both trees (pre-lit) gave up the ghost last year and I can't be bothered/don't have the time to run out and replace them. (Even if I could remember where we bought them.) And of course, there will be NO red and green ornaments on the white and gold big tree, so they're all going back in the box and possibly to the charity shop. (I'm sorry but the multi-colo(u)r lights and ornaments thing does my head in. Call me strange.)

Yes, there are two non-white/gold ornaments visible, but they were hand-painted so they're allowed. Only just. 

And is it just me but every year I swear we had more ornaments the year before? I know exactly will happen too. Around December 24th, I'll find another box of particularly nice ornaments but by then I will have run out of energy for the whole Christmas malarkey. Unlike most years, I have a strong feeling that I'll still be shopping on December 24th.

How you doin' with your Xmas preparations? 

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