Are you sharing an elevator with an arachnophobe?

The most difficult part of commuting by bicycle isn’t traffic, or pedestrians wandering off the sidewalks, or squirrels darting under my wheels or the weather. It’s getting an elevator in my apartment building with my bike. The apartment building has the worst elevator service I’ve ever enjoyed in my renting life: slow, often one is broken and out of service, the freight elevator is usually busy, and they are rather small in size. I can handle drivers who haven’t mastered the concept of signalling turns and I wear layers of cottonless clothing on chilly damp days to avoid hypothermia but waiting for an elevator is agony.

Last week I had a new and unique elevator experience. I was waiting with my bike in the lobby for an elevator along with a woman and her chihuahua doggie. It was a cute little doggie and she was wearing a rather fetching (ha! — oops corny joke, sorry) pink and grey argyle sweater with matching leash. I cooed at the dog for a moment but returned to the important task of staring at the elevator doors, coaxing it to the lobby.

When the elevator arrived, the door opened to reveal a middle aged woman holding a shopping bag. The dog lady and her dog were about to board  when the shopping lady screamed in shock and horror. I flinched. The dog lady flinched. Heck, the chihuahua flinched. The shopping lady hid in the far corner of the elevator until the dog lady decided to wait for another elevator. I got on with my bike and spent the next few seconds standing awkwardly with the cowering shopping lady. Considering the large number of dogs who live in our building, it must be sheer hell for this woman to get on an elevator and I felt bad for her, the dogs and the dog owners. I can’t imagine how awful it is standing in the elevator and hoping that a dog, even a tiny sweater wearing chihuahua, won’t get on the elevator.

I guess shopping lady felt the awkwardness and decided to break the silence and ask me some questions about my bike. Yes, I commute with my bike nearly everyday. It’s a lot more fun than riding the TTC. I have clothes for cold days, wet days, and sweaty humid days too. I think helmets are great too. Yup, my lights are bright and shiny.

Then she apologized for  screaming and panicking when the dog got on the elevator. I told her it was okay and I understood  she is afraid of dogs. She said a dog bit her badly as a girl and has never gotten over it. I made comforting sounds and asked her if she liked cats. No, but she does like birds and has a pair of finches. I cooed appreciatively.

I should have ended it right there. It was a good moment for the two of us and I absolutely wrecked it. The next thing out of my mouth was “At least she wasn’t walking a huge hairy spider on a leash” with a big grin. That drove the poor woman into a state of twitches and she slapped her hand over her mouth to stifle a scream. I’m guessing huge hairy arachnids are far worse because she was still twitching when I got off at my floor.

I guess that’s why people I know come to me last when they need solace, comfort and advice. I drive everyone to the therapist’s couch.

Here is a photo of some cookies I baked this weekend.

Choco-Oat Nugget Cookies

I made these tasty nugget shaped cookies from whole wheat flour, oatmeal flakes, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, cocoa powder, and a crumbled 70% dark chocolate bar. I save them to eat on my bike rides instead of granola bars or energy bars. Super tasty and cheap to make.

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The Only Jello (ick) Approved by vingada.com

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Make the Jello jiggle.

But don’t put any of it in your mouth. It’s made out of boiled hooves and tendons.

Oh, and spammers? Do you really think I’m going to approve your crappy comments? Your ridiculous insurances offers and jibberish only make me want to send your details to other scammers. If you do then I have a couple of bridges and some prime property on Mars for you. But this is a time limited offer!

High Falutin’ Jello

 

By now you know how much I loathe jello. Be it cherry, grape, lemon, or lime flavoured in bright hues, with or without fruit, shaped like a fish aquarium, eyeballs, or Canada’s flag, I hate it. It’s rubbery chewy texture sickens me and I can’t stand the weird over-sweet chemically taste. I cheerfully make do without jello for dessert. 

 

Imagine the shock and awe when I was flipping through a cook book and I noticed a recipe for eggs and vegetables in aspic. Oh. Ewww. It resembled a transparent bundt cake, but it was made from evenly distributed peeled hard boiled eggs, cooked veggies and covered (COVERED) in transparent jello. My eyes hurt and some bile bubbled up into my nose right there in the cook book section of Indigo. I don’t think I’m going to recover from that image for quite a while. 

 

So, aspic. It’s made from cooked down bones and gristle (head and feet are some choice bits of critter). It’s a thick liquid when hot but turns into edible rubber once it’s chilled. Pretty much any kind of  meat, eggs, and veggies can be cocooned within it’s clear clutches (some choice ingredients I found when I googled were veal, pigs trotters, pheasant, eel (you know, snakey fish), pig skin, cow skin, ox tongue).

 

Jellied Eels. Good for somebody else.

 

I thought I hit aspic gold when I read “Larks Tongue in Aspic” because that’s at least a 10 on the Vomit Scale, but it turned out to be 70s prog rock band King Crimson song title:

Can you imagine trying to catch the larks, then pulling out their little tongues, and then prepping them in aspic? This would definitely be a tedious afternoon chore. And any icky one.

Video Spoiler: There are no larks! 

 

Hideous Furniture

My apartment building has a remarkable tenant turnover rate. Each month for a solid week there are people moving their belongings in and out of new/old units. This results in tons of sale posters taped on walls by the elevators in the lobby and concourse, selling mostly Ikea bookshelves, Ikea dining room tables and chairs, Ikea sofa beds, Ikea tv stands, Ikea closet organizers, Ikea kitchen utensils, and a lot of other Ikea branded stuff. Which is great for anyone starting out or someone who wants to complete their Ikea themed apartment, or people who love allan keys. Also for sale are old television sets, Pentium 1 computers, dot matrix printers, enormous Yamaha organs, and house plants that thrived and turned into house trees. Sometimes a bird comes up on offer, or maybe a lizard with a terrarium and Lizard Kibble, and even an aquarium full of tetras (one time, disturbingly, the poster listing an aquarium on offer stated “new owners not required to keep fish”. I shudder to think what the fishes fate was). Now and then there are fur coats, leather jackets, ski equipment, snow boarding gear, and now and then a gaming system for “low low prices”.

I’ve never bought anything listed on any of these posters. I have a small place and I really don’t like furniture that smells like someone else’s life. I’m also not a big fan of Ikea, but I am fascinated by the hordes of arguing couples who shop there on any given weekend. I’ve often wondered if Ikea has ever provided their employees with “couples training” to prevent divorces that could break out at any moment when people are choosing colours for couches and shaggy throw rugs. One thing is for sure, Middle East peace talks will never happen in an Ikea.Today was a treat! I was perusing the latest posters when I found this gem:

Hideous

It sounds like the furniture grew in the apartment from some ugly bright orange acorns and then took over the place.

No thank you.

Jello shot recipes (or, why do you want this? Don’t you know you can choke on jello?)

I noticed in my blog stats that some less than cautious individuals want to suck back tiny cups of vodka infused jello.

Why?

Picture it, you are drunk. Then someone hands you a tiny clear plastic cup holding a cylindrical shaped hunk of jello. You sucked it back eagerly and then WHOAH! It slides down your windpipe blocking it like a champagne cork. Oh, it’s bad to be you right now, especially since anyone around you is probably similarly poached in liquor.

Now what?

I dunno. I avoid jello like it’s made from boiled tendons.

But since I am such a sap, I did find a Youtube video that can show you how to make your own Jello Plug of Death.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Jello Facts That Horrify Me (and probably you)

JELLO IS THE OFFICIAL STATE SNACK FOOD OF UTAH
How horrible for them. According to this Wikipedia article that has seriously frayed my nerves, Utah is part of the “Jello Belt”.

ERGO, MORMONS ENJOY JELLO. WITH SHREDDED CARROTS. SOMETIMES FRUIT.
And apparently the green lime flavoured Jello (or sneaker flavoured to be more precise) is a favourite because many more boxes of the green stuff was sold in Utah than in other states.

Eww.

THE IMPORTANT INGREDIENT IN JELLO IS GELATIN.
And gelatin comes from boiling and boiling and boiling the connective tissue from animals. I read a most wonderful article in The Chemical and Engineering News (online edition) and provides and interesting chemical and historical information about Jello. That’s right CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING NEWS. Because that’s where I want to find the latest and greatest food recipes. 

HOW TO CONQUER JELLO 
When you see a bowl of jello coagulating in the fridge, toss in a handful of FRESH pineapple. The pineapple contains an enzyme that will neutralize the evil quivering jello into harmless flushable mush. Do it! It’s the only way we can defend ourselves from this foul snack. 

But if you persist: Here’s some information about how to satisfy your South Beach Diet requirements and create a Jello-based holiday recipe then check out this picture I found at Kalyn’s Kitchen:

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It’s Double Berry Jello Salad.

And yes, it does look like it’s been hacked off a person.

Horrible. Just horrible. 

And I thought I’d found all of the horrible jello recipes in existence…

Nope.

I found numerous websites dedicated to jello based recipes.

Yecch!

I pledge to share these with you. You are welcome.

Sawdust Salad, anyone? My favourite part is the option to “Grate cheese on top if desired”. Thanks, but that would ruin a perfectly good bit of cheese.

Maybe you are not getting enough calories. I know this is rather troublesome for people. So here is a recipe to help you pack on the poundage, HorseRadish Mold.

Num num num! The recipe promises 2113 calories per serving. I imagine it comes from either the 1 cup of mayonnaise, or possibly the 1 cup of sour cream. Unless it’s the 4 ounces of horseradish… Regardless, you can be sure to plump up soon after a plate of this salad.

And the Vingada.com Award for Least Appealing Recipe Title: Mom’s Congealed Salad! I wonder what the punishment is if you don’t clean off your plate? This sounds vile… especially the instruction to add ice cream to the blender if the cottage cheese-mayo-jello mix isn’t sweet enough. Oh, and don’t forget to garnish this with nuts.

I suddenly have a craving for anything that is not sour cream, mayonnaise, cottage cheese, horseradish, or jello. Particularily lemon, lime, and orange varieties.

But I’ll leave you with this bonus recipe in it’s entirety.

Olive Relish

Bright Spots For Wartime Meals – 66 Ration-Wise Recipes, 1944

1 pkg Lime Jell-O
1 pint hot water
3 tbsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sliced stuffed olives
1/2 cup sliced sweet pickles
1/4 cup diced celery, if desired

Dissolve Jell-O in hot water. Add vinegar and salt. Chill. When slightly thickened, add remaining ingredients. Turn into small individual molds. Chill until firm. Unmold. Serve with fish or meat. Makes 12 molds. Hospitality needn’t cost you much … either money or pints. Try some of these color-and-savor combinations, all made with food easy to get nowadays. They’ll prove to you and your friends that you can still do luscious entertaining in spite of shortages and rations. Say welcome in wartime!

I copied this recipe from the Jello Museum‘s website. Yes, the Jello Museum, opened by none other than Bill Cosby. Go look, they have pictures. Anyhoo, the Jello Museum has several “Historic Jello Recipes”. I dunno, maybe jello saved the free world from fascism.

Bon appetit!

Umm… is that a green molded salad? Do you hate me THAT much?

This is what I’d expect any guest to ask if I presented this Jello based entree.

May I present to you… Jello’s Holiday Waldorf Salad!!

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Be honest with me… does it look like creamy compost? I think it has an extruded from mashed grass clippings look about it.

Who came up with this gem? Can you imagine the thought process that went into developing this recipe? “I’m thinking lemon Jello and and and mayonnaise! Yeah and apple! And I need to punch up the flavours with some celery! This will be fabulous.”

Not only would I have to be starving before I ate this, I’d first have to eat the wall-to-wall shag carpet and the curtains in the living room before I’d drop a tablespoon of this glop on my plate.

Besides, isn’t Waldorf Salad supposed to have chicken in it? Did Jello figure there was enough meat product (from hooves) in it to satisfy that recipe trolling public that the chicken (from chicken) wasn’t necessary?

Well I’m not going to be the first to eat this. Here’s the recipe. Tell me how it goes.

Healthy Living Made Precarious With Jello Gelatin Salad

Jello Gelatin Gazpacho Salad

So, I was thinking about having my best gals over for canasta and long island ice teas. I figure with the fellas off on their hunting trip, we ladies should get together and bad talk them. Salad is all we’ll eat since we are preserving our curvy figures. I went to my favourite site, Jello, and skimmed through the scrumdelicious recipes looking for the perfect one.

Here’s the address. Thank me later (preferably with a pitcher of martinis).