Throwback Thursday: Halloween Candy

Halloween is right around the corner, and since I’m too lazy busy deciding which ironic Halloween costume to wear (Miley Cyrus wrecking ball?

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Or Baby North West?),

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I thought I’d go into the vault and pull out this little gem I first published back in October, 2011.

Originally part of a feature I did called Turn Up The Good: Turn Down The Suck, where I profiled a few things that were good, followed by a few things that sucked (genius, I know), this post is all about my favourite thing in the world (besides wine) – Candy! enjoy.

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Halloween is by far my favourite holiday of the year. Not only does it give you free license to wear whatever the hell you want and call it a “costume”, it’s also the day on which such A-List celebrities as Vanilla Ice, Rob Schnieder and (drumroll please)…. yours truly, were born. So that’s why, for this edition of Turn Up the Good, Turn down The Suck – I thought I would focus on one of the best parts of this glorious day: CANDY.

Halloween breezyk circa 1989

As a child, I put the “anal” in “analyze”. This was especially true of Halloween. I would return from trick or treating, dump my goods on my bedroom floor, and proceed to spend hours poring over my loot and categorizing its contents; determining which pieces were to be consumed first and which saved for later. By the time I was done constructing all of my little piles, my room looked like an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive- but it was worth it. My rationing ensured that I would be adequately supplied with candy until Christmas (or at least until my older brothers got a hold of it.)

Sure they look cute… but these boys CANT BE TRUSTED

Anyway- as evidenced by my story, not all Halloween candy was created equal: so here I present to you a list of the best (turn up the good) and worst (turn down the suck) of Halloween candy:

Turn Up the Good

1. Full Size Chocolate Bars: otherwise known as the holy grail of trick or treating. Like unicorns (yes, exactly like unicorns), these were scarce. Neighbourhood kids would discuss which houses were giving full-size bars away, and make special trips just to get them. God bless these generous individuals.

2. Reese Peanut Butter Cups: I realize this one is slightly subjective. You can feel free to insert your favourite fun-size chocolate bar here- but damn I loved me some Reeses. Guaranteed to make the top cut of any sorting round.

2. Full Cans of (NAME BRAND ONLY) Pop (None of that No-name cola shit): I hesitated to add this one, simply because of the sheer weight these puppies add to your treat bag. However, it’s a cross I was always willing to bear in order to have unlimited cans of Pepsi at my disposal throughout November….

4. Homemade Shit: This makes the list due to its elusive nature. Homemade cookies? Quaint little bags of popcorn tied up lovingly with ribbons? CANDY APPLES? Sure they all looked amazing- but kid, you might as well just forget about it. If your parents were anything like mine, all that gloriousness was being thrown in the trash faster than you could say “this isn’t actually a costume“.

Homemade halloween treats- I salute you. Though your creators may be creepy, and you may contained concealed razor blades- your potential deliciousness transcends.

Turn Down the Suck

1. Rockets: AKA a cheap-ass waste of valuable treat bag space…. or, as a friend of mine rightly clarified: “a waste of EARTH space”.

2. Mollases Kisses: You know the ones I’m talking about. A sort of caramel/tootsie roll/ black licorice hybrid that have been around forever, and for some reason still persists. These choking hazards shouldn’t be given to CHILDREN- they should be reserved for old men who are missing most of their teeth so they can kill some time. I’m not feelin it.

3. Unmarked bags of potato chips: This was always a crapshoot. Emblazoned only with the “Hostess” or “Humpty Dumpty” logo all over them, you never knew what you were going to get. You risked wasting potential treats if you opened it up and didn’t like that kind, and for the weirdo kids like me, this created a nightmare for categorization.

Like this… EXCEPT NOT

4. Non-Food Related Items

Pencils, erasers, religious pamphlets… basically anything that made you roll your eyes behind the mask of your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume and go “REALLY?”

Bitches be fundamentally misunderstanding the concept of Halloween, yo..

Question of the Day: What were your favourite/ least favourite Halloween Treats?

I Ate New York

A few weekends ago I went to New York City. Ostensibly, to visit my friend Jane for her birthday…in reality, to eat as much delicious food as humanly possible.

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Our weekend of gluttony began on Friday night with not one but TWO (count ‘em) dinners – the first at a Japanese restaurant in the East Village called Taishu-Izakaya Kenka.

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Since the look of the menu nearly gave me an aneurysm:

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I left Jane in charge of ordering. She summoned up a delectable feast for us including deep-fried calamari, delicious noodles, and of course, Japanese beer.

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Dessert was do-it-yourself cotton candy from their COTTON CANDY MACHINE.

I love New York.

Although I was already pleasantly full, Jane insisted we check out a hot dog place down the street called Crif Dogs. I’ll admit I was slightly confused as to why we NEEDED gourmet hot dogs after ingesting a full delicious meal, but of course, I wasn’t about to say no (we are talking about food here, people). 

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We walked into a bustling underground hot dog diner filled with hipsters drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon around tables made from upturned arcade games, and I was convinced I was having a true New York experience. 

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Just as I began studying the menu and deciding what hot dog would be getting in mah belly, Jane beckoned my friend Alex and I into to an old timey phone booth at the side of the restaurant.

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Confused, we followed her inside, where she picked up the receiver and dialed “1”.  After a couple of seconds, a trap door on the other side of the phone booth swung open to reveal a  SECRET SPEAKEASY! . 

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I’ll admit I was pretty excited, but also kind of bummed because, well  I kinda wanted a hot dog.  “Don’t worry,” said Jane. “They serve hot dogs in here too”. A private speakeasy that served HOT DOGS? I must have died and gone to heaven. 

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I ordered a specialty Kimchi dog:

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And we shared an order of the world’s most delicious tater tots..which I totally hogged.

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(Don’t worry, I saved some for later.)

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We also sipped on just a few cocktails named after old-timey men involving different varietals of bourbon. 

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When the taxidermied bear on the wall started talking to me, I knew it was time to go; so we stumbled into a cab and went home to crash.

The next morning, we awoke with one thing on our minds: more food. (I told you guys I was on a mission).

Knowing another full day of eating was in store for us, we tried to minimize our caloric impact with a run across the Brooklyn Bridge……which, let’s be honest, mostly involved posing for instagram-worthy photo ops:

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Then, we headed to Smorgasburg, an open air food festival in Williamsburg.

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You guys, I thought places like this only existed in my dreams. Each tent was filled with a delectable culinary masterpiece: malt ball milkshakes; gourmet mac and cheese;

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truffle fries;

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DONUTS

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I didn’t take many pictures because, well my hands were kind of full stuffing my face incessantly… but I think this gif pretty much sums up the whole experience: 

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The big draw of the day was the Ramen Burger, a gourmet burger with buns made out of ramen noodles. The line was over two hours long!!

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I was feeling pretty seedy after already ingesting a year’s worth of cheese, so we decided to pass on that one. (I’m sure it will become popular in Toronto in like, 2016 anyway.)

Pre-food coma

Pre-food coma

From there we rolled back over the bridge to Manhattan where we did some lazy shopping before heading to our next feast at Fatty Crab in the West Village.

Behold: The Big-Ass Bowl Of Crab:

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Unpictured: The most heavenly pork buns that I made QUICK work of.

I wish I could say it ended there, but there was also a bit of this:

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A little of this:

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And a lot of this:

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I can no longer fit into any of my clothes, but you know what?

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Question of the Day: What’s The Most Delicious Thing You Ate Lately?

My Life Through Instagram Vol. 2

What up, homies? I know my blog has been about as active as a Giant Panda on Valium lately, and for that I apologize.

Side note: did you know Giant Pandas spend approximately 16 hours a day eating?? 

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We have so much in common.

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Anyway, it’s been a busy few weeks for your girl BreezyK here: weddings, parties, cottage weekends, and most importantly- a new job!

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(Do I get points for the timely Shoppers Drug Mart gif? No? Ok.)

It’s still in law, but no longer in private practice… so I expect the quality of my life to improve drastically to have more regular hours and thus more free time for blogging. (When my busy schedule of grooming and beauty related appointments permits, of course.)

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Those pictures were completely gratuitous.

Anyway, I know I owe you guys a real post (and to read and comment on some of the great stuff you’ve been writing), but as mentioned above, I’m in panda-mode. So in the meantime, I thought I’d give a little update on my life through my favourite fleetingly popular social media platform: instagram.

(You can see my first installment of My Life Through Instagram here.)

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, then you definitely should: @BreezyK1. I am extremely self-absorbed and post a lot of pictures of my manicures. Who doesn’t like that in their newsfeed??

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1.    Someone’s been making mixtapes!

2.    See, I told you. (Hey, when it takes as long as this did, it deserves to be instagrammed) 

3.    Summer BBQs. If you can believe it, there was actually way more food unpictured.

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4.    We clean up aiight 

5.    Sunset over Sugar Lake

6.    Wine and Cheese with a view.. oh you fancy huh  

7.    This album has been getting me through a lot of tough runs lately. Kanye- you may be a crazed egomaniac with questionable child-naming skills, but your beats are solid and your lyrics genius. So thank you for that.  

8.    Champagne celebrations

9.    I challenge you to name me a treat more delicious than s’mores

You just peed in your pants a little, didn't you?

You just peed in your pants a little, didn’t you?

10.  So I joined a softball league this summer- considering the ability to play softball entirely irrelevant. The only thing worse than my batting average is my attendance- but I do contribute to the team by taking glorious, sunset candid shots like this one.. so I think I’m pulling my weight.

11.  My lovely friend Danielle looking fierce at her wedding

12.  Cottage Adventures

13.  Do you… canoe? (Ok that was lame. Forgive me guys, I’ve been out of the game for a while) 

14.  Little father’s day tribute to my pops.. (and some inadvertent product placement. Mmm. Veggie Thins) 

15.  Delicious Sangria by the pool… I am just noticing now how many of these pics involve alcohol.

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16.  A lifesize “The Claw” arcade game set up in the financial district as part of Toronto’s Luminato festival for the arts and creativity. There was actually a dude inside who, when you put money into the machine, tried to retrieve a toy for you with oversize claw-like implements. Everyone cheered when he got one, and when he missed they played the sad fail music from the Price is Right. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

Umm this Youtube video has had over 3 million views. I don’t know why, but that’s awesome.

Question of the Day: What has been the highlight of your summer thus far?

Mine’s probably a tossup between drinking that Sangria and watching the new season of Big Brother.. but I expect that to change when I head to Nova Scotia this weekend!

It’s Not A Party Until Somebody Busts out an EpiPen

“Someone call 911!!” my Father shouted, “and for God’s sake would someone go calm down your mother??!”

It was Thanksgiving 2007, and I was standing in the upstairs bathroom of my childhood home, staring down at the (seemingly) lifeless body of my older sister Marija.

Just a few moments before, she had returned from her annual Thanksgiving 10k run and  gone upstairs to take a shower. The rest of my family and I were busying ourselves in the kitchen when suddenly, we heard a telltale “THUD” . We rushed upstairs to find my sister, passed out cold on the bathroom floor, sweatband and dry fit gear still firmly in place.

What she had neglected to tell any of us was that for the past four days, she had been subsisting on nothing but a cayenne pepper and maple syrup concoction (laced with speed, evidently) in an effort to pare down for the holidays. Apparently, this was a diet Beyonce swore by.

Right. So that makes it a good idea.

Unarmed with this essential information, we all feared the worst and launched into full-scale panic mode. My brother hit the floor, attempting to revive her like a scene from a bad Nicholas Cage film, while my mother screamed bloody murder in the background. I, in my usual helpful fashion, did nothing but stand there and sob uncontrollably. My father had just gone to send up an emergency flare in the backyard when my sister came to, staring into the faces of 6 crazed lunatics.

“Guys, I’m fine” she said. “But can someone get me a Gatorade or something?”

I wish I could say that this story was one of a kind; a blip on the radar of an otherwise unblemished Thanksgiving history. But sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Growing up the youngest of 5, Thanksgiving, much like any other holiday, was basically a shit show. If someone wasn’t passing out, they were splitting their hand open with a carving knife, or arm-wrestling over the last drumstick. Just getting us all in one place was cause for celebration in and of itself.

Despite all of this calamity,  I continue to book the overpriced ticket and go home for Thanksgiving every year. Why? Because there’s always the distinct possibility of one of my siblings getting their head stuck inside a turkey. And if so, I’d really like to put sunglasses on it.

Another Thanksgiving debacle in our family is the annual debate over who will say grace. The pre-dinner prayer was a necessary precursor to every Thanksgiving meal growing up, and one my siblings and I avoided like the plague. My Father would take up his post at the head of the table and ask, “Now, whose turn is it to say grace this year?” And inevitably, 5 collective heads would lower, eager to escape this cruel and unusual punishment.

I’m not really sure why we hated it so much. You reference the grub, thank the Big Man upstairs and move on. I mean, sure, there are are some weird, Latin old-timey words in there, but it wasn’t like you had to announce that you still wet the bed or something. Regardless, it was an unwritten rule that the one who had to say it would be forced to carry around a lifetime of eternal shame.

As the youngest, I was often the scapegoat. My siblings would team up against me and insist “It’s Bree’s turn! It’s Bree’s turn!” conveniently “forgetting” that I had recited it the previous 5 years in a row. If I ever thought about objecting, I only had to look at my brothers to know that one peep would result in a year’s worth of Smurf bites and figure four leg locks. Inevitably, I relented, left to mumble “Bless us o lord, for these thy gifts…” into my mashed potatoes as my brothers snickered in the background.

Things only got worse for me when one year, I decided to make a Thanksgiving centrepiece. I was 11, and going through my short-lived “interior decorating phase”. I watched home decorating shows religiously, rearranged the furniture in my bedroom daily, and, if permitted, would have sponge-painted every available surface area in our home. I had seen an amazing centerpiece in a copy of Martha Stewart Living  and was hell-bent on making it, despite my mother’s objections about the mess it would cause and my brothers’ taunts that “no one cared about a stupid centrepiece anyway”. It consisted of fall leaves artfully arranged in a cornucopia made out of a single piece of birch bark: all sprinkled with a hefty dose of glitter. It was magnificent. I just knew having it on our table would make for the best Thanksgiving ever.

Determined, I set off  in search of the perfect fall foliage for my piece de resistance. What I neglected to consider, however, were my chronically severe seasonal allergies. About 20 minutes into rummaging through leaf piles, I was sneezing so hard I could barely see straight, hives popping up on every inch of exposed skin. Think McCauley Culkin in My Girl, minus the anaphylaxis. I was barely able to stumble back home and limply drop my leaves onto the table before my mom gave me a hefty dose of Benadryl and sent me to bed. This was not, as Martha had suggested, A Good Thing.

Luckily, I only had to wait one year for my embarrassing Thanksgiving moment to be eclipsed by my brother Kristin performing what was perhaps the most notoriously stupid act in our family’s history.

We were celebrating our first Thanksgiving in a brand new home, and my mom brought out her gold-plated wedding china for the occasion. We had all been served, and were just about to sit down to dinner when my brother decided to warm up his turkey dinner in the microwave.

Not being an idiot, I of course knew that the combination of gold plating and microwaves did not mix, but despite this did nothing to stop it. Why? Because the irony was much too sweet. My brother; the self-described “science prodigy”. Boaster of many a math and science accolade. Dropper of frequent and unsolicited periodic table-related puns. This was much, much too good.

Just as I (and every known law of physics) predicted, within seconds sparks began flying and the Microwave lit up like a fourth of July picnic. He quickly rushed to press “cancel”, but not before leaving a sizeable hole in the newly microwave and a strong sulphuric tinge in the air. I had never felt so validated.

Shockingly, the mayhem is showing no signs of slowing down, and year after year, our house continues to resemble another instalment in the National Lampoon series. Just this past Thanksgiving, my mother claimed to have taken an allergic reaction to my sister Sherene’s homemade preserves, and proceeded to fan her face and sneeze dramatically throughout the entire meal. She says it was because of the nutmeg. I say it’s because they sucked. Oh well, I guess the old adage is true: it’s not a party until somebody busts out an EpiPen!

           Question of the Day: Any Good Thanksgiving Fails to Share?

*Ok so I know it’s not technically Thanksgiving for me. But I thought I would share this one for all my Amurrican friends. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Thanksgiving 2012: The Highlights

I know, I promised you all updates on my enthralling visit home and never delivered…but hey, better late than pregnant as I always say! (I actually never say this. I read it for the first time yesterday on becomingcliches blog and liked it so much I decided to steal it. Oh well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? At least that’s what I tell my friends when I copy their outfits).

I kept trying to blog when I was home, but then I’d get all distracted by other really important things… like watching 8 episodes in a row of Ex-Wives of Rock (not joking. I actually did this… with my sister.. on Saturday night. We shared a king-sized Twix bar. )

Eating an entire pumpkin pie also took 5 minutes a lot of time.

And trying to figure out all the rules to every dance genre on Dancing With the Stars. Did you guys know that the only dance that involves a lift is the Argentinian Tango? I bet you didn’t. There’s your value added from reading my blog right there.

Oh, and also not exercising. I successfully used my lingering cold as a diversion tactic by reaching for a kleenex every time my mother asked me to go to the track and proceeding to blow my nose loudly and dramatically until she gave up and left.

I did, however, feel well enough to pose for glamorous instagram shots with her:

Love you mom!

That’s a lie, I actually did make it to the track one day… although I didn’t really “exercise” so much as take pictures and goof around with my niece, Lola. We did cartwheels and listened to One Direction while she taught me cool dance moves she learned in her HipHop Class.

For those of you considering trying this at home, make sure you wear a high quality sports bra, because there is way more jumping up and down and flailing your arms than I anticipated.

My sister (pictured right, actually exercising) also convinced me to take this crank groundbreaking new formula called “Alli-Max” to help combat my cold. I shelled out $30 for these pills at some weird health store that are pretty much straight up garlic. You are supposed to take, like 100 of them a day (ok, 10) and let me tell you.. it’s not pleasant for anyone involved. After three days of stomaching them down, my breath could’ve killed a small child. No change on the cold though.

The one other time I left the house was to accompany my sister, brother, sister-in-law and my two nieces to a gigantic corn maze in a neighbouring town.

Whoever came up with this idea is a certified genius, because that, my friends, is a gold mine. The place was just crawling with kids. (Literally. Many of them were crawling.)

This place had everything- from a game of Clue within the maze where the suspects were all barnyard animals (Spoiler alert: it was the Chicken. With the Rake), to hay rides, to a pumpkin u-pick. A pumpkin u pick!!

Plus it was just nice to spend time with the fam and be outside during that glorious time of year where everything looks like it’s naturally washed with an instagram filter.

…. but that didn’t stop me from instagramming it anyway!!

Lola, my sister-in-law Jill and baby niece Maeve.. the hand-holding kills me.

Me, being the picture of maternal instinct

Demonstrating the power of positive thinking

Siblings

Lola, fearing we might not make it out of the maze alive.

Love on a hayride. Brought to you by diet pepsi.

I ate these

Family love. Maeve still hates me. We’ll work on that.

Somehow I didn’t manage to take any pictures of Thanksgiving dinner itself?? Guess I was too busy eating. A lot. Anyway, here’s a pic I found of some random happy family eating Thanksgiving dinner instead:

I’d like to join them. Mostly because they have at least two different wine selections.

Oh, and if this post seems a little disjointed to you, that’s cause I wrote most of it on the plane while sitting in the row directly behind the first-class passengers. I kept losing my train of thought while trying to peek between the curtains. I was also distracted by the smell of their complimentary in-flight meal. It smelled like my own failure mixed with a slight hint of Asiago.

Question of the Day: How was your Thanksgiving?

…. or, if you didn’t celebrate it – have you ever been to a corn maze? This one was apparently used to film the movie Signs. I think that makes me officially more legit now.

OH and p.s. for those of you who asked- Our new sidewalk:

Is that fabulous or what?

If you Can’t Take the Heat…. Well, you should probably just get out of the kitchen anyway.

So after admitting to all 3 people who read this blog last week that my go-to meals on weeknights include either (a) cereal or (b) something you can unwrap and put in the microwave,  I decided it was probably time to get my act together. So I went grocery shopping on Saturday and picked up  some fresh salmon, veggies, and all the ingredients for a rice pilaf with the intention of making a lovely, romantic dinner for one on Sunday night.

But you know what they say about good intentions. Hell is papier mached with them… or something like that. Sunday came along, and after indulging in a few too many diet cokes the night before, I had no desire to cook whatsoever. But as I lied semi-comatose on the couch watching a marathon of Millionaire Matchmaker, my guilt about the $85 dime-sized piece of salmon sitting in my fridge (effing inland province) just kept increasing. I could almost hear it taunting me from the fridge…  “coook meeeee BreezyK” It said. “Coat me with your sweet sweet marinade and have your way with me”. It eventually got so bad that I couldn’t even focus on Patti’s sage advice (the penis DOES do the picking) so I pulled myself together and prepared to get my Rachel Ray on.

Slowly but surely, I preheated the oven, marinated the salmon and chopped up some vegetables… by all accounts, things were moving along. Granted, the only similarities between me and Rachel Ray were a muffin top and an incredibly annoying voice… but you take what you can get. The last step involved boiling some water for the pilaf. And this my friends, is where I made a grave, tactical error.  After nonchalantly flipping on the burner, I proceeded to immediately become distracted by the Disney movie Prom that had just come on the movie network. I know. I can’t  even handle how cool I am either. So engrossed was I in the fact that all of the prom decorations had just been destroyed in a random act of vandalism (what was Nova going to DO??) that it took a good few minutes before I noticed a funky smell emanating from the kitchen. Hmm… That smells like………. plastic, I thought. I looked up from my place on the couch to see that the room was slowly beginning to fill with a black, putrid smoke. I ran over to the stove to investigate and discovered that ( DUN DUN DUN…..) I had turned on the wrong element.

Yeah. This happened.

There sat my pot of water, undisturbed and cool as a cucumber on the front element… while on the back burner, what was once a plastic-handled steak knife, now sat a soupy mess of black plastic.  Immediately I rushed for an oven mit to scoop it up.. but it sort of felt like I was trying to pick up a melted marshmallow. (Cause I do that all the time) Just as I got hold of the remaining exoskeleton, the smoke alarm began to ring. And ring. And ring. I quickly opened my patio door and threw the remnants of the knife onto the cold concrete, next deciding what to do about the smoke alarm.

I tried fanning it with a dishtowel- to no avail. Next I took my fan out of my bedroom and positioned it on the floor right underneath it.  But still, the little white dome continued to shriek at an ear-blistering decibel. It would not rest, it seemed, until everyone within a 10 mile radius had been informed of my idiocy. Finally, I decided to open and close the front door of my apartment rapidly, attempting desperately to create some sort of cross-breeze. Of course as soon as I do this, my next door neighbour, who I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE, decides to come out into the hallway to investigate. “Don’t worry!” I shouted, over the alarm. “There’s no fire! Nothing to see here!” You know, except for these incredibly sexual and glamorous (read: ratty, stained and oversized) pajamas I’m wearing. But whatever.. no time to be sexy. I just needed this death machine to STOP SCREAMING.

Finally, it turned off and I stepped back into my apartment to avail the situation. The thick black smoke still penetrated every corner… and the smell. Oh good god the smell. I would liken it to burning garbage meets a homeless convention. My counters were covered with sticky black tar like substance, and the sulphur lingering in the air had rendered everything that had been sitting out on my counter inedible- including the salmon that I had recently taken out of the oven.

Admitting defeat, I googled the nearest Thai delivery place. Ordering in, at least, was guaranteed not to burn my house down. I enjoyed my lovely MSG laden cashew tofu while watching Nova and Jesse rebuild  the prom decorations- and at the same time, their relationship- and  was making my way to the fridge to put my leftovers away when I felt a waft of heat. That’s right friends. I had left my god damn oven on.

I ‘m starting to think it’s more than culinary ineptness. Maybe I just have a death wish.

Question of the Day: Are you a good cook?

Have you had any misadventures in cooking lately?  

A Very Urban Long Weekend

While I would by no means consider myself a Monarchist, I will admit that the Royal Family has done a lot for society. Specifically, Queen Victoria.

Why Vicky? You might ask. Well, for starters, she:

  • was the longest reigning Monarch in history, and ruled the British Empire  during its most glorious and powerful days:

(Just kidding, I bet it was more like this:)

  • harnessed her baby making prowess to produce 9 offspring, which ultimately resulted in one Prince Hot Ginge:

  • gave mad face all day, every day.. like in this photo:

Bitch is not amused, so you might as well just stop asking

  • inspired really fancy and uncomfortable chairs like these ones:

  • and- most importantly, gave us Canadians a brief reprieve from the soul-sucking power of The Man and an excuse to get Sunday-drunk each third Monday in May for the past 150 years. That’s right, my friends- I’m talkin about Victoria Day. Or, if you like to keep it kla$$y, the May 2-4 weekend.

So this past weekend, while pretty much every other pretentious urbanite and their Goldendoodle packed up their Tumi luggage and coordinated casual wear and headed to their million-dollar Muskoka “cottages”, I chose to stay here in Toronto, instead. Why? because I had work committments am a renegade. Yep. bet you couldn’t tell, but under my suit, I’m hiding my own drum.  And guess what? I march to the beat of that sh*t.

My best friend was here in the city too, and we decided to make the most of our long weekend by drinking excessively exploring everything Toronto had to offer.  We started out Friday night with drinks at Lee , a Toronto hotspot owned by famous foodie and Top Chef  alum Susur Lee.

I’m a big Top Chef fan, and have been to Lee a couple of times before, but have never actually caught a glimpse of Susur himself.. so this time, I was really hoping to.

I mean c’mon.. just look at that hair.

While we pretended to be fabulous and sipped on $20 cocktails, I told my friend Lia about an article I had read recently naming Susur’s undergrad-aged sons as two of Toronto’s 30 Most Eligible Men. The bartender I guess had overheard me, and looked up from the ginger he had been muddling with unbelievable precision, and said:  “there’s one of them right there“.

photo via National Post

I turned around to see the older of the two (with the shaved head, above) waiting on the table behind us, and almost choked on my Saketini. Think Taylor Lautner meets David Beckham, but in an attainable sort of way. So what if he was only 21? Don’t they always say there’s something sexy about an older woman? I was admiring his tattoo sleeve and daydreaming about us laughing over Japanese Margharitas and listening to Motown on vinyl as he taught me how to Julienne vegetables, when I heard a voice snap me back to reality:

“Hello”, it said.

I turned on my stool to see Susur standing beside me,  in all his ponytailed, chef-coated glory.

I was like:

Now, let me just preface this by saying that I am from a small town.. and up until this point, the biggest “celebrity” I had ever encountered was Bubbles from The Trailer Park Boys. And I didn’t even actually talk to him.. I just admired his bottle-cap glasses from across the room.

Anyway, I could feel my cheeks burning red, and after what felt like an eternity, managed to squeak out an awkward “hello” before burying my face in my drink and praying for the floor underneath my barstool to open up and swallow me.

I’d hate to see what happened if I ever met an actual celebrity. I’d probably throw up on their shoes.

Anyway, this post was really supposed to be a summary of my entire weekend.. but somewhere between the wing-backed Victorian furniture and that highly unflattering  John C. Reilly gif, I guess the wheels sort of fell off somewhere. (I blame the  tequila.  That shit’ll get you every time.)

I guess you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to read about Part Two of my epic Victoria Day Weekend adventures… and after the quality piece of literature you’ve just read… well, I can’t see how you wouldn’t be dying to come back. Just don’t all come crashing the site at once now, ok?… my server can’t handle that sh*t.

Ok, I’m really done now.

Question of the Day:   Have you ever met a celebrity??

And if so, did you play it cool, or did you channel Captain Awkward of the Awkward Brigade like I did?

What’s that thing on your forehead? (And other memories of Lenten seasons past)

So, it’s that time of year again- when Cathiolics and masochists alike make the solemn vow to give up one of life’s few little pleasures for 40 days and 40 nights.

Me? I think I’ll give up raw vegan pizza this year.

What?? too easy?

Well I guess I’m at a loss, then. I considered giving up wine for a hot minute… buut then I remembered I hate reality too much for that. So then I thought maybe I’d give up eating cereal.. only, two problems:

  1. I might starve to death; and
  2. I already ate it this morning- and last time I checked, we catholics aren’t big on the whole “forgiveness” thing.

I guess I’ll figure something out. In the meantime- I’ve been spending my morning reminiscing about lenten seasons past…… 

Cue the flashback scene.....

Growing up Catholic, lent was a pretty big deal… and although I can look back fondly on it now, it wasn’t always what you would call a “pleasant” experience at the time.

Sure- things started out great with Shrove Tuesday and all (Pancakes for dinner? Yes please!), but after that, it sort of  went downhill from there.  First, there was Ash Wednesday to contend with.

Every year, my mom would pick my brothers and I up from school at lunch time and cart us to the noon-hour mass at our church, where we’d begrudgingly wait in line for the priest to apply ashes in the shape of a cross on our foreheads.

image via wikipedia

Since washing it  off was a crime punishable by death (or so we thought), we were forced to return to school afterwards, still sporting the ashes emblazoned on our foreheads like the Scarlet Letter. The worst part was that  it never actually looked like a cross, either. I’m not sure if it was sheer laziness, exhaustion, or the sausage-like fingers our priest was unfortunately born with, but it always ended up looking more like a nondescript blob than anything. No matter how hard you tried not to, you’d always touch it, too- and end up with ashes smudged all over your hands and face, like a schmuck. 

I remember once  examining my ashes in the bathroom mirror at school, thinking they bore an uncanny resemblance to Slimer from Ghostbusters:

At least there were cool points in that.

One year in high school, desperate to get out of this socially-destructive practice, I discovered on the internet that Ash Wednesday wasn’t actually a  “Holy Day of Obligation”  . Convinced this was  my ticket to freedom, I approached my mother with this new information. Unfortunately, I underestimated both her intellect, and religious zealousness (and the fact that catholics don’t have quite the penchant for semantics that I do). So off to church I went.  

After Ash Wednesday came the whole choosing what to “give up” part. My mom always had final say on this one. I remember on a few occasions, thinking I could pull a fast one on her by trying to give up things I didn’t even like, and constructing what I considered to be foolproof arguments: “You know what mom? This year, I think I’m gonna give up carrots. I mean- I know my eyesight will suffer for it…. but what is that to the pain Jesus felt while dying on the cross for our sins ??”

Once again she was too clever for me though- and instead would usually force us to give up all treats of any kind.

Now when you’re a mildly overweight/highly overindulged 8-year-old, this is basically your own personal version of hell.  No twinkes? No doritos? No peanut-butter stuffed Chips Ahoy Sandwiches?? But what will I eat for my after-school snack????  

Luckily for me, my family subscribed to the lax doctrine held by some Catholics that you get a temporary reprieve from your Lenten promises on Sundays.

Every Sunday after Church, my mom or dad would take us to the  store and let us pick out “a few” treats to be enjoyed that day. Now- the definition of “a few” varied wildly depending on if it were Mom or Dad at the helm of this expedition. If Mom was herding us- we’re talking 1-2 treats each, MAX. Dad on the other hand, usually became distracted by the Sunday paper, and paid no attention to what we piled onto the counter, simply handing over cash at the end of the transaction.

These were the days we lived for. We’d go home, pour our loot out all over the basement floor, and proceed to engage in a 12-hour sugar bender. I specifically remember one Sunday, watching The Wizard of Oz on VHS, and being so hopped up on sugar that I spun around the room screaming “A TWISTA!!!!!! A TWISTA!!!!” for a good half an hour, before having to run to the bathroom and throw up.

Good times.

Somehow, despite public embarrassment, binge eating, and sugar deprivation, we always made it through, though… and for our efforts, were rewarded each Easter Sunday with a basket of God’s greatest gift to the universe: CHOCOLATE. And sidewalk chalk.   Can’t forget about the sidewalk chalk.

Awww yeaaaaah

Question of the Day: What are YOU giving up for lent?

P.S. a HUGE thank you to everyone who read, liked and commented on my post “The Vegetarian’s Dilemma” which was Freshly Pressed yesterday- I’m doing my best to respond and pay visits to all of you! Special thanks goes out to all of my new followers- I hope you know what you’ve signed yourselves up for! muhahaha ;)  xo, Breezyk

The Vegetarian’s Dilemma

Life can be hard when you don’t speak the language of meat.  I can attest to this- having been a vegetarian for the past three years now.

Given that I’m already left-handed, you’d think I would have learned my lesson by now, and not chosen to willingly submit myself to yet another subgroup of society who constantly get the shaft… but alas: I am a glutton for punishment… or I just flat-out hate myself. That’s also a possibility.

Anyway, living in a world built for meat eaters poses a number of difficulties- like finding an acceptable meal choice at a restaurant (specifically, one that’s not a roasted eggplant, stuffed with eggplant, garnished with aubergine shavings finished with a nice eggplant glaze),  or awkwardly having to defend my lifestyle/moral convictions to complete strangers, or being that guest who screws up the dinner party menu for everyone. Ruiner.  

Salad: You don't win friends with it

The thing that I struggle with most about being vegetarian, though, is not any of these things- it’s the prevailing, and completely unsubstantiated view, that vegetarians are stupid.

What makes me say this you ask? Simple really: it’s the endless parade of  vegetarian and vegan food options attempting to fool us by masquerading themselves as something else entirely. “Chik’n” fingers; Veggie burgers… Tofurkey… creatively titled as they may be- I’m here to tell you that the jig is up. I’ve tasted countless of these products- and have yet to be convinced. No portobello mushroom- no matter how succulent- will ever be a hamburger. Dehydrated Eggplant will never be bacon. Nutritional Yeast is some kind of freaky powder- it’s not cheese.  So please, for the love of God- STOP CALLING IT THAT. (Oh, and Amy – I’ve tasted your “pot pies”….. and I’m not really sure what’s going on there, but it sure as hell ain’t chicken).

I’m not really sure why companies and restaurants continue to do this. Why slap a fun-sounding title on it, instead of just calling it what it really is? A sh*tload of beans and tofu. Plus I find this whole designing veg foods to look like meat thing all a little Freudian, really- the unfounded assumption that all vegetarians have a chronic case of meat-envy. (Unless you’re talking about bacon. In which case- that’s absolutely accurate).

Just the other night actually I encountered a particularly bad case of food trickery. I was working late, and forced to order dinner from our online take-out system at work. Given that my obscure vegetarianism already severely limits my selection on this, I’ve long since given up hope of finding anything “good” , and instead generally just go for “edible”. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the choices that night was a local all-vegetarian restaurant.  Like a kid in a candy shop, I excitedly perused the menu, ultimately settling on the “Pizza”- which also happened to be raw, and vegan. Bonus karma points.

I knew that this pizza was a tad unconventional, given the description that accompanied it:

Pizza (raw)
thin walnut crust, herb pesto, arugula, artichokes, mushrooms, cashew chevre

I decided to take my chances anyway- and was prepared for the challenge (“cashew chevre?” is that even english?)… but what I was not prepared for,  was this:

 

Ummmmm… hate to state the obvious but……..

THAT’S NOT PIZZA!!!!!!!!

I may have been born at night, but I wasn’t born last night, people.  Painfully familiar with loose definitions and the art of spin that my profession has made me-  I’m certain that by no stretch of the imagination could the above photo be considered “pizza”.  I would guess that it was more likely a few forgotten passed apps the delivery man stole from a vegan convention on his way to my office.   

In the interest of full disclosure- it didn’t actually taste that bad… and I might even have ordered it again- were I not inclined to stand on principle. This vegetarian, at least, has been fooled for the last time. 

To those out there determined to continue to try and pull the wool over our eyes- let this be a lesson to you all:  Animal loving, bleeding-hearted,  and chronically low in iron as we may be- we vegetarians are not naive. And if ever again you attempt to present me with a soy-based product dressed in carnivore’s clothing, then I will promptly tell you, on behalf of fed-up vegetarians everywhere, that you can take your “Not-Dog“, and shove it.  

Question of the Day: Are you vegetarian? Have you tried vegetarian substitutes?

The Old Woman and the Jungle (or, what I’ve been up to this Holiday season)

So, you’ll all be pleased to know that I made it home safe- and only mildly scarred by the fact that my  Montreal to Halifax flight involved a loss of power; a one hour de-icing process on the tarmac; and a seatmate who had several full-on panic attacks during the flight (one even requiring the use of an air sickness bag for breathing). Air Canada, you are a de-light.  

Anyway- the sad thing is that after all of that excitement, I’ve spent the past couple of days largely doing nothing whatsoever. I know. I really should’ve spread that shit out. Well, I shouldn’t say nothing- I have been getting up to a few antics…. including:

  • Hanging out with my niece, Lola.

Man I missed this kid. She’s always up for a good time. Yesterday, for example, we wrote and starred in an original play entitled “The Old Woman and the Jungle” (rumoured to be hitting broadway in late 2012). I don’t wanna give the whole thing away here- but I can tell you that it involves apple picking; a cat named Crumple Ears; and an unlikely friendship.  

  • Watching a lot of daytime TV.  It is a sad but true reality, that just yesterday I watched about 8 hours in a row of television. I’ve decided that I find pretty much every presenter on tv either extremely offensive or annoying…. Rachel Ray, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz , almost every Chef on the Food Network, Jeremy Kyle-  I want to punch them all… but yet I can’t stop watching it. I feel far too compelled to find out how to make a decorative centrepiece fashioned entirely out of donut holes.. or a wreath made of toilet paper…. or that cancer cure I never knew existed right there in my cupboards.

*I don’t actually want to punch Jeremy Kyle. I want to give him an award for being the most badass TV personality of all time, and having the balls to say to his guests things like “GUESS WHAT?? Your wife’s a liar as well!!!”

  • Not wearing anything but pajamas and/or sweatpants. Two words: aaawwww yeeeeeeeeaaa
  • Eating. A lot. mostly chocolates, things involving cheese, and/or holiday baked goods. But I don’t really discriminate…. if it contains more than my recommended daily intake of calories- I’m interested.
  • Arguing with my mother about our Christmas tree.  So, this year my mom decided that she was done with the nonsense of cleaning up needles, and decided to switch up our beautiful, regular live tree for an artificial one. Now, I don’t really have anything against artificial trees as a concept- what I do have a problem with though, is this artificial tree:

Shit looks like Charlie Brown’s pygmy reject that went on a hunger strike in protest of being its own damn self.  Needless (pun intended) to say, it has become my own personal mission to annex this tree from our home… which shouldn’t be hard, given that I clearly beat it in both physical stature and holiday cheer.

So that’s what’s been happening with BreezyK- stay tuned for more of these extremely high quality literary updates on my life.. or, do yourself a favour and don’t.  Hope you guys are all having a wonderful holiday season- and let me know:

What have you been up to??