Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Key to Wasting Time Gracefully

Some time earlier this week or late last week, my husband and I began a series of arguments. I hate to argue. What are they ever about anyway? You know the saying: "It's never just about the dishes"... At any rate, I handled the added stress in the only way I know how besides self medication and truancy from work: Art & Food. Mainly food. I mean, who doesn't love to eat? I really only like to cook because I love the taste of the food after I am done with the labor.

As you may remember I have been going on and on and on about this whole Boeuf Bourguignon recipe since forever. Well, it hasn't happened. I am totally intimidated by the recipe! I did, however, manage to get a book from Border's on sale full of some of Julia Child's most famous recipes. The funny thing is I am too sheepish to even attempt most of them. The even funnier thing is that I spend hours per day studying the same recipes of interest over and over as though I will be tested on them. In fact, at this point I can probably recite at least 6 recipes from complete memory, but I haven't mustered up the guts to take all that knowledge to the kitchen where it belongs!

Instead, I was able to experiment with some far simpler recipes. First, I tried to make asparagus taste... well, like something other than asparagus. I like the overall flavor of it, but it is a very strong flavor. To my knowledge, there isn't any way to change the way this particular vegetable tastes... At any rate, I liked the end result. I cooked/baked it in butter (I am such a butter-holic! Always have been!) and some garlic spices. It was good, but it still totally tasted like asparagus! Forgive me for the picture. For some reason, Blogger has chosen to warp and load all of my photos vertically despite however they were edited and saved on my laptop.

Of course, Julia Child has some awesome recipes for asparagus and sauces to eat with veggies. I have to try them! I never thought to use lemon juice on asparagus! But the citric acid is so strong, it just might work! But then, I have to think... if it doesn't taste like asparagus anymore, what in the world should I expect?!

Shortly there after, my husband comes up with the glorious idea that he is craving home made chicken noodle soup! A little secret I kept from him was that I have been dreaming of trying to make that soup for at least 6 months. You would think that it is some sort of insanely complicated feat. It's really not! But of course in true "Bri Fashion" I had to research about 60 recipes all over the internet and in random library cook books until I came up with something I thought I could manage with the ingredients I had on hand. Again, in true "Bri Fashion", while researching the chicken soup, I got distracted and decided I wanted to make some dumpling soup too. I have no clue what exactly a dumpling is to this day! Nor do I have a clue as to how people make their own noodles! But I can say this with perfect intelligence: Go to the damn grocery store and get the shit in a box/bag/jar. And that is what I did!

I was worried about both of these store bought products. As you can see, the noodles called themselves "dumplings", but they didn't resemble the gnocchi at all...which, did appear to be what I know as dumplings. I was afraid the boxed, dried gnocchi was going to be rock hard in the soup, especially because the box said to boil them for just 5-8 minutes. And I was sure the egg "dumplings" were going to dissolve completely into muck!

Just my luck... neither of those things happened!

My second dilemma was that I had no intention on buying and boiling an entire chicken to get stock. I planned on making two totally different soups! I wasn't about to fool with boiling, chopping, and all that! So I used some boneless, skinless breasts that I baked in spices and well... yup, you guessed it... BUTTER! I love me some butter. It makes everything tastes better, different, richer. Well, everything but asparagus, that is!

Again, with the photo uploader. Sometimes, I really do think that everyone and everything is out to get me...including the Blogger people! Ha!

In the end, the egg "dumplings" didn't dissolve. Thank goodness. I would have hated to explain that I ruined my husband's dream lunch by turning it into baby food. It was almost like it came from a can... meaning it wasn't some strange and unfamiliar flavor, but it was Better. And just so you know, these are not my words. My Husband said so!

The creamy chicken & dumpling soup was all right. It actually needed to sit before being eaten. I was shocked about that because I had anticipated something more exciting to come of that soup. I am not sure what the package creators had in mind, but letting the gnocchi simmer for 15-20 minutes was a Much better idea because then they take up the flavor of the soup rather than just tasting like flavorless, industrial potato balls, which is what they resembled after 5 minutes of being boiled.

In the same day, I decided that I wanted to make the Panera Bread mac & cheese. I didn't plan on shelling out a million dollars and consuming ONE THOUSAND calories (no, seriously! The large portion is a whopping 980 cal!) But, aside from butter, I am in love with cheese. The pictures looked to appetizing, so I figured I would do some research and give it a try.

Well, I don't want to knock the recipe that I found. I also won't post a link to it. All I can say, briefly, is that there is a reason I hate baked mac & cheese. It tastes powdery and not creamy. But the recipe did have an interesting point to it. There was this method of mixing and stirring butter, flour, and cheese until it turned into a complete cream sauce. That was delicious until I went and baked everything. So, I will return to that microwave method again...very soon! Who doesn't love mac & cheese. It's like an all-American staple! Or at least that's what I tell myself.

The sad thing about all this is that, despite my joy of cooking, no pun intended, and my complete delight in satiety, I have decided that I better get on a diet. If I eat another FOUR sticks of butter in one day, I might have a heart attack... or wake up with an additional 47 pounds that found its way to my body over night.

Tomorrow, I am going to focus more on art than eating. In fact, I have come up with another idea to distract myself from the fact that I am unable to focus long enough to complete my goals of opening an online shop to sell my crafts. I have absolutely nothing on my walls. I think that I will find some art online and create a pastiche from some famous artist. Since I really enjoy black and white charcoal drawings, that is the medium I have chosen in order to complete my project.

I found some amazing pictures from one of my favorite artists, Robert Longo:

Untitled (Ulysses) from the Yingxiong (Heroes) 2009 Exhibition

This amazing pilot mask is a charcoal on mounted paper drawing, not a photo! I think it's sheer genius. Just like this next one:

Russian Bomb (Them)/Semipalatinsk from the Sickness of Reason 2003 exhibition

Well, let me reassure you that I have no real talent of this expertise. Having viewed all of his collections- charcoal drawings, 3-D exhibitions, and photos- I just want to admit that am not a photographer to this capacity, first of all, and I am not sure that my attention span would allow me the opportunity to create detailed drawings of this magnitude. This, however, is an example of the sort of awe that I want to evoke.... in the very few and typically random house guests I happen to have.

Instead, I have chosen to do large charcoal drawings of dancers. I found these amazing photos by Lois Greenfield. As mentioned before, I love dynamic photos, and what could be more dynamic than someone dancing. Although, not all of her work is in black & white, I will print the photos in b&w and then draw from the copies. She has literally hundreds of photos to choose from, so you can imagine my head spinning as I try to choose which ones would be the best for my living room.

Here are a few of my favorites:

New York City Ballet Co.


Maureen Fleming

Carmen De Levallade

Maureen Fleming

Most of these seem to be of the ballet influence. I am not sure which genre of dance I will stick with. I know it is not my style to have one cohesive collection of items, rather than some melting pot of seemingly nonsensical insanity. I would really hate for the meaning only to lie within my own heart and mind. I want, when someone comes through my front door, for the first thing they see are these ginormous amazing works of art. I want breaths to be taken away. I want people to feel a sense of awe, excitement, and joy. And if it is a woman who walks through and sees ballerinas (if that is what I go with...), then I want for her to go back to a time when she was a little girl and the most important thing to her was her holiday dress and she would spend hours and hours pretending to be a world renowned ballerina. That is what I genuinely believe all little girls think of at some point- the beauty, discipline, grace, flow, and respect that a ballerina exudes. Unfortunately, I am not all that feminine anymore, so it would be uncharacteristic of me to have huge drawings of ballerinas all over, but I am not really designing and creating for myself... I am doing it for what I believe all artists work for- to inspire onlookers, to set a point of view, to chnage opinions, to push boundaries... to evoke emotions that have been unknown, forgotten or repressed.

So as soon as I collect the funds to get the paper to draw on, preferably a 38X50 inch piece of Stonehenge, I will whip out my never before used easel and get straight to work.... Oh, yes, I am forgetting something. I have to do one of my absolute least favorite tasks: Make a Decision! I better get that part together, otherwise, I will never buy the paper. And with no paper... well, we all know where that will have me ending up- Right where I am now... Nowhere! And we can't have that.

Tomorrow, I will show off some of my little hooking journeys that I have made in the last two weeks. It's winter time, and I am all about creating cute little ways to keep warm! If I am diligent, which is almost never, but a girl can dream right... I will give a little sneaky peak into some Christmas presents. If I am patient and diligent, I will also do a GIVEAWAY this week-- woo hoo! I am excited to do my first give away *Big Goofy Smiles* So all you praying folk out there who enjoy hand made crafts... get them prayer shawls on and say a little prayer for me to have Focus, Determination, and good Craft-womanship this week!


  1. *hehe* You forgot one other thing, where you 'waste' your time gracefully!!! You write a a lot of words for your block posts! ;-) How long did it take you to write this one?

    Thinking of NaNo, I guess you won't have any problems to reach your daily amount of words to reach the 50.000 words mark. At least, when you can concentrate long enough on writing! ;-)

    You're are a lovely whirlwind, really! :-)))

  2. ha! all the cooking and looking up art is totally a waste of time. i should be on a diet, first of all, and i should most definitely spend more time seriously completing art projects to sell online...which is probably not within my near future if i dont get serious!

    and 50.000 words? ha! child's play! i got this :D