Catchup.com – uh, November?

Helloooo, blog land! And by that I mean, helloooo Mom (thanks for reading!). I had planned to do Blog-Tober, where I post every day. Then I was all “well, I’ll do Blog-Vember, since I missed Blog-Tober.” And then, I did nothing.

For the first time since I started carving out this little corner of the internet, I let an entire month go by without a single post. I know you’re all feeling the pained sadness that comes with the dearth of my sparkling wit, my poignant and thoughtful social commentary, and my profound and seemingly endless well of wisdom. But, wait no more, my preciouses. I’m hear to fill you in on what’s been happening at Camp AudPodge.

And that’s basically almost nothing.

Mid-October to pretty much yesterday was spent doing the following:

  • helping one of my best good Sydney pals prep for her big move to Queensland
  • moping after said best good Sydney pal did move
  • re-watching all of Mad Men
  • moping after some bad times for family and friends
  • mystery virus that zapped every ounce of energy from me for 3 weeks
  • not writing
  • not reading
  • riding a fucking delightful wave of hormones, thanks to birth control weaning
  • playing the same level on Super Mario Brothers for a week straight
  • re-watching all of Dance Moms
  • spending a lot of time taking photos of my cat

Only Mildly Depressed.com: Sometimes, it’s been a few days and you’re just more tired than you’ve ever been. And sometimes you realise there’s just a lot of shit stacking up on you, near you, around you, and you aren’t sorting through what’s important and what’s not important very well anymore, so you just stop sorting through it all and stare at the piles with so many feelings of overwhelmment fux-ulation (my very own made up feeling) that you just stop sorting through anything.

There was this article on Thought Catalogue that discussed self care and how it’s not just taking a sea salt scrub in a luxurious bubble bath while watching Netflix and eating brownies. Self-care should be more about daily maintenance, the little things we neglect when we’re just trying to get shit done. Like, keeping track of your budget so you know how much money you’re spending. Running the dishwasher before you go to bed so you have dishes for the next day. Getting off the couch for 30 mins a day. Saying no or asking for help when you’re tapped out. Doing your laundry once a week so it doesn’t pile up. Taking a shower. Not calling 2 coffees and 8 Lindor Chocolate Truffles lunch. When I go through a depressive stage, my daily maintenance goes out the window. And that’s what’s happened. In fact the only thing I kept up with was laundry, and that’s because I wear my favourite pairs underwear first and all the pairs are in the hamper by the end of the week and sometimes you just need to wear your goddamn favourite underpants and nothing else will suffice and NO ONE can stop you from making this a much bigger deal than it actually is.

So, I took a mental health day from work, and spent a 3 day weekend with my Get Your Shit Together Book getting my shit together. I caught up with my budget and habit trackers and shit. I started seeing my counsellor again. I got a recommendation for a licensed clinical psychologist and I’ll start seeing them in January. I have a meeting with the nutritionist at work this week, and she’s going to help me organise grocery shopping and meal planning like a real adult (no more chocolate lunches) and help me organise  pilates/barre/weight lifting classes. I wrote a whole page last week, after 25+ days of zilch. Last week was much sunnier than the past 6 weeks have been, so I’m hoping shit is on an upswing.

Humble brag time: I’m patting myself on the back, because if I’ve only achieved one thing this year, it’s getting better at intervening with myself when I’m in a downed out place. My depressive episodes are becoming shorter, because (lightbulb) reaching out for help, helps. It’s taken years to get to the point where within a couple weeks I can admit “I’m sad and overwhelmed, and I need help.” I’ll keep working on it, and with any hope I’ll be able to work it into a few weeks to a few days. So keep this in mind guys: Don’t lose hope. Help is just like AA, it works if you work it.

So yes, riveting. But in my slothness I did manage to maintain a very small semblance of a social life, do some driving, spend every single dollar I earned, and knock off some superficial and financially unnecessary totally important projects. Oh, and Joel made Thanksgiving. Oh, and we put up the tree. And did I mention that one page I wrote? Good things.

And here are some pics:

Bed makeover.com: We decided to invest some money in our bed, ie. buy good quality, breathable sheets and blankets for summer, and pillows and mattress toppers that won’t destroy our spines, hips, knees. This makes my life, because (as abundantly documented here) there’s not much I love more than buying new bedding.

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Before: hot mess express
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too much money a sound investment
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Heck yeah, egg crate foam mattress topper topped with pillow/microbead mattress topper (we can’t afford a new mattress because if we’re going to buy a new mattress, we’re going to get a Queen size which means a new bed frame and more new bedding and a bigger apartment, which means $$$$$$$, so now we’re just working with what we have. And two toppers = hella comfortable)
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After: heaven pile of 100% linen bedding and new pillows and cushions (including a memory foam side sleeper (A+)

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I also got sick and tired of not having a night stand with drawers, so I picked up some new night stands that look like they were taken off the set of Mad Men, and make the room look cleaner. I underestimated how heavy the night stands would be (the boxes they came in looked small), so I ended up needing to take a cab from the store that’s a 10 minute walk away from the apartment. Whoops.

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Et voila!

Operation: Make the bedroom a better place is slowly coming together. The bed is incredibly cozy, and I never want to leave it. We had to take the doona (or comforter) out of the duvet cover because it’s summer and TOO DAMN HOT, but once winter comes around things will be fluffy again.

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Pancake approved.

SNES Classic.com

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What was supposed to be a casual browse through EB Games ended up being a trip to my childhood and being reunited with the last video game console I was mildly good at. It comes with 21 pre-installed games! Joel kicked my ass royally at Mario Kart (I fucking hate Mario Kart), we were evenly matched at Street Fighter, and I get stuck on the same Super Mario levels I did when I was 9. I got calluses on my thumbs the first weekend we had it. It’s the greatest.

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Holy Throwback, Batman

Pancake Continues to be Adorable Little Bear-Cat.com

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dat faaaace

Eating Good Shit.com

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Brown sugar baked pork chops baked with apples, onions, and spicy brussels sprouts. Served on cous cous. +10
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Best Brunch Buddy
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cocktails + recliner chairs + free popcorn + AC + awesome movie = best Sunday
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Yakisoba!
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Homemade Coffee Cake: Tasted better than it looked, promise!
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I went to brunch with Casey and only ordered sides. It was everything I wanted it to be.
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Joel is a chicken crumb master. I can’t even. I want to eat this everyday. 
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Another one, because this is one of my favourite meals of the year.
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As you can see, I heart brunch as much as I heart my friends who also heart brunch. Also revamped love for poached eggs on avocado toast. #millenialeating

Seriously Pancake is so damn cute.com

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sun baked fluff pile

Getting My Shit Together.com

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New  planners = new lease on life

Things I Love.com

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Saturdays with Pancake
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Favourites ❤
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Early summer is the prettiest

I’m Not Kidding Pancake is Stupid Cute.com: She’s coming around to us a lot more since we found a brand of canned cat food she likes, and since we let her drink from the running bath tap more often. Apparently the way to her heart is through her stomach.

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Just sleeping with her head lightly resting on her paws. Stahhhhhp

I Wrote A Whole Page.com Slow and steady wins the race. Slow and steady as a glacier moving through frozen water wins the race. I can do it. More on my writing struggles and how I publicly gave myself a deadline of one year to finish my book in a later post.

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But I wrote a whole page!

Thanksgiving.com In true Audrey style, I remembered Thanksgiving the day before. I started to plan a quick little dinner, when Joel told me not to worry about it. The next day, he planned dinner, cleaned the apartment, bought groceries to make said dinner, started to prepare it, and then I unexpectedly had to stay late at work. And then he unexpectedly got called into work, and had to work late. So we put our dinner plans on hold for the next night.

When I got home from work, the apartment was sparkling and Joel had made a stupid cute Thanksgiving card for me. Staaaaaahp!

The next night we had a lemon and herb roast chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, and American Style Green Bean Casserole (he spent quite a time hunting down all the Australian equivalent ingredients, only to realise my mom had sent them to us back in May. whoops!). Everything was beyond delicious, and I love him for taking the time and effort to make Thanksgiving special. He’s the best.

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My 2/3 scratch pie, and Joel’s sweet card. I made the filling from scratch (what a process!) but the crust and whipped cream were store bought. Next time I go full-from-scratchness.
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You can’t see because they’re out of focus, but those potatoes are drowning in butter (love)
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carving the roast beast
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food coma

When Joel opened the can of cream of mushroom soup, Pancake freaked out and thought we were opening canned cat food. It was then that we had the crushing realization that we forgot to give her Thanksgiving. WTF! So we fed her little pieces of chicken and it seemed to make up for it.

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also food coma
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Thankful for pie. And my totes profesh whipped cream decorating skillz

Things I Love.com

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.com Every year, our tree gets better. And I’m really loving our tree this year, guys.

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How to Keep Your Cat From Eating the Base of Your Christmas Tree
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Mench on a Bench (missing his bench)
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Pancake wasn’t into the whole tree thing.

DRIVING BY MYSELF.com I made the 15 minute journey to my local Ikea and back, and parallel parked, all by myself and I didn’t have a panic attack. I am very excited.

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I did it! All by myself.

Things I Really Love.com I love Joel. Having an understanding, supportive, and caring partner who makes you belly laugh and pushes you to be a better person and who brings you coffee in the morning is the best thing in the world. 1,000 pairs of sweatpants on a 1,000 couches with 1,000 favourite snacks in front of a 1,000 of my favourite movies couldn’t come close to making me as happy as you do. Thank you.

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❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Annnnd you’re all caught up. Right in time for the end of the year post. WHERE THE HELL DID 2017 GO?!

xo,
Auds

Comfort food, ch 2: Sweet Metric System Casserole Cookies

I love cookies. Or biscuits*, as my British based, adopted homeland calls them. I love pies and desserts, but my most favourite dessert is soft, buttery, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and creamy vanilla ice cream. /droooooool

Continue reading “Comfort food, ch 2: Sweet Metric System Casserole Cookies”

Garbage can eating

I used to eat like a garbage can.

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At Waffle House – in my prime

Correction, I used to eat like a garbage can – and get away with it. I sure as shit haven’t cleaned up my eating habits – ever. And it’s becoming moooore and more clear that I might not have a choice to soon.

One charming aspect of climbing into my 30’s is my new reaction to food. Tomatoes? Heartburn. Onions? Heartburn. Oatmeal? Heartburn. Too much salt? Simultaneous and instant bloat, dehydration headache. Too much sugar? Irritable sloth bitch who can’t keep her eyes open. Dairy? Let’s not get into it.

This is all new to me. In my prime, my garbage can days saw me skipping breakfast for a large coffee mixed with powdered creamer, hot chocolate, and Splenda; mid-morning snack of doughnuts; lunch of fried, instant nooodles scooped up with Doritos; inhaling every processed snack when I got home; giant bowl of pasta, sauce, and bread with a bottle of wine for dinner. Rinse and repeat with no real issues.

But the past few weeks have been a real eye opener. I fell into a downward spiral of fat a couple Saturdays ago. I woke up and ate a chocolate croissant with a cup of sugary coffee. Then we went out for breakfast and milkshakes. Then we had coffee in the park. After I spent the afternoon with a stomach ache so bad I was cursing the dairy Gods and their evil temptress ways, we ordered Pizza Hut and I ate 4 pieces. The next day, I made cookies and ate half the batter. The following week at work, I had take away coffee every day (2 sugars each!), and that week + plus the few weeks that followed were so busy that I found myself eating Welsh Cakes (like a bigger, less exciting Snicker Doodle) for lunch, and really, snacks throughout the day. That’s in addition to coming home to eat dinner and dessert.  One night, as I was literally struggling to get off the couch because I was so crabby and so stuffed with shit food and so full of chest pains, I thought to myself, “what the hell am I doing?”

But then fucking Christmas. The season of Obligatory Gifts from Co-workers Who Don’t Know You, i.e. sweets. Cookies. Brownies. Cakes. Cannolis. Fudge. And really, any and every sweet thing imaginable. It’s been a week of not being hungry for lunch because I’m full of sugar. A week of riding a roller coaster of emotions as I peak and valley with sugar highs while feeling and looking a bit like Violet Beauregard.

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me IRL

Suffice it to say, I’ll be looking for a nice sugar detox after Christmas. My skin, my dreams, my joints, and the waist bands on my pants are ALL feeling the strain of eating like shit day in and day out.

Any suggestions? Or maybe a hypnosis program that makes vegetables taste like doughnuts.

mmmm…

 

 

Caramel Cake: Behind the scenes

My last post was more about the feels inspired by the Back in the Day Bakery’s Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting than the actual process of making it, which itself was a doozy. An involved and kinda painful but ohhh so fun doozy. Also, attempting to make a cake from scratch, by yourself, and documenting it with a camera and note taking, by yourself, adds a whole new degree of difficulty and danger.

The recipe comes from the Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love cook book by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. You can order the book here and you can find the recipe here.  But you should just do yourself a favor, and order the book. It’s full of happiness.

And without further ado, here are some behind the scenes shots!

When your butter looks like this, you're going to need a scale.
When your butter looks like this, you’re going to need a scale.
YES
YES
Sifting things! Sifting was my favorite thing to do when I was kid, and surprise, it's my favorite thing to do as an adult. I heart tools.
Sifting things! Sifting was my favorite thing to do when I was kid, and surprise, it’s my favorite thing to do as an adult. I heart tools.

DSCF1614Haha, the caramel. I read the recipe over and over, wondering how I’d get caramel just from melting sugar. After a few minutes on the stove, I was still pushing sugar around. And then, out of nowhere, it started to melt into a clear liquid.

Making caramel!
Making caramel!

And the more sugar I added, the darker the liquid got. By George, it became caramel.

Caramel!
Caramel!

It was a slow, careful process, as I had to stir it constantly, add a little bit more sugar each time, and not take my eyes off of it. I felt like a scientist.

So much f*$%ing patience.
A very serious scientist. Who cooks with sunglasses as a headband.

After all the sugar melted, I followed the recipe and took it off the heat, and immediately, but slowly, added the cream. And I thought the caramel was going to explode! It instantly reared up, all the caramel seized and it smelled like someone had a wet dairy fart in the kitchen. Something tells me that my definition of “room temperature” cream and science’s definition of “room temperature” cream are different.

Ugh, dairy bomb.
Ugh, dairy bomb.

I’d have a picture of the 40 minutes me stirring/whisking/swearing at the caramel, trying to get it to melt back down, but I decided to spare the internet. This where I burned my fingers, made a huge mess, and started to wonder if it was too late to just buy an ice cream cake.

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Also not pictured, an hour later removing all the burners so I can scrape caramel sauce off the stove top. Sweet.
I think I put myself at a disadvantage when I bought a $20 mixer. Apparently "5 speeds" means "2 speeds: off and SUPER EXTRA FAST"
I think I put myself at a disadvantage when I bought a $20 mixer. Apparently “5 speeds” means “2 speeds: off and SUPER EXTRA FAST”
The cake batter was so thick and creamy. I kinda wanted to curl up inside the pan and eat my way out. Instead, I ate about 3 spoons full. /no shame
The cake batter was so thick and creamy. I kinda wanted to curl up inside the pan and eat my way out. Instead, I ate about 3 spoons full. /no shame
I forgot to buy a wire rack. So I had to buy a cheap roasting pan for its rack. Ah well. Now we can roast chicken!
I forgot to buy a wire rack. So my only option was buy a cheap roasting pan for its rack. Ah well. Now we can roast chicken!

Around 9 PM, I realized both cake pans wouldn’t fit into the oven at the same time. I thought,
“I’ll just bake one at a time.”
“but that will take too long.”
“I can bake one on top of the other!”
“But then one layer will bake faster than the other.”
“But they’ll be done! And I can go to bed!”
“Sold.”

So I baked both layers at the same time, and the layer on the bottom rack, as predicted, baked faster. And maybe too much.

Whoops...
Whoops…

But the other layer turned out great!

Better! And you can spot the caramel that didn't fully melt...
Better! And you can spot the caramel that didn’t fully melt…

The funny part is, I ended up talking to my mom for about an hour while the cakes baked. It took about 25 minutes to cook each layer, so I could have just baked them one at a time, and I would have stayed up the same amount of time. Ah well. My entire life is a rush to get to bed.

The next day, I started the frosting.

Brown sugar and butter will soon be frosting!
Brown sugar and butter will soon be frosting!
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Guess what happened immediately after this photo! If you answered, “Powder sugar bomb because Audrey forgot to fold it into the sauce before she turned the mixer on” you are correct. Your prize: come clean my kitchen.
And then we had frosting!
And then we had frosting! It was yum.
yes plz
My first cake stand! A vintage looking aluminum Jamie Oliver stand that I found on sale for $18. Jamie Oliver is Australia’s Racheal Ray. I can’t escape him.
This looks like a sandwich. And I want to eat it as is.
This looks like a sandwich. And I want to eat it as is.
Crumb layer--best advice ever. You put a layer of frosting on to catch all the loose bits, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then frost it again. The second layer of frosting goes on smoother and looks great.
Crumb layer–best advice ever. You put a layer of frosting on to catch all the loose bits, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then frost it again. The second layer of frosting goes on smoother and looks great.
While the crumb layer chilled in the fridge, I made the bunting. I cut out triangles of paper, wrote on it with white out, and taped all the triangles to string, because the string was too thick for the small triangles. But it worked like a charm.
While the crumb layer chilled in the fridge, I made the bunting. I cut out triangles of paper, wrote on it with white out, and taped all the triangles to string, because the string was too thick for the small triangles. But it worked like a charm.
finished!
finished!
yuummmm
yuummmm

I just realized that I forgot to sprinkle the cake with flaky sea salt. Sheeew. At least there was sea salt in the frosting.

So there you have it! Baking fun with the almost competent baker.

Give it a whirl!