Life in Maison Gezellig

  • Brooklyn,  Doing More With Less,  Life in Maison Gezellig,  Questions

    The new kitchen (and what to do with it)

    new kitchen panorama

    Above (in my rather inexpertly rendered panoramic view) is my new kitchen. Your comments on my last post were all really helpful and/or encouraging, so I’m back for more.

    Here’s my problem: THERE. ARE. NO. COUNTERS.

    Okay, this isn’t as big as deal as my caps-lock might have you believe. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know about this before I moved in and my last apartment only had about 3-4 feet of counter space anyway.

    If you click through to Flickr, you can see my notes on what I’m thinking of putting where (and what I’m not going to do, like screw shelves into the wall that the electrical breakers are on — yikes).

    So. What do you guys think?

    Addendum: Under the jump are my own (somewhat disjointed) thoughts and ideas.

  • Life in Maison Gezellig

    The state of my February state.

    we rode the central park carousel twice in a row.I think what people sometimes don’t get about seasonal affective disorder is that it’s not like I’m just lying in bed, alternately weeping and stuffing my face with Entenmann’s donuts, utterly immobilized by despair.

    Not even close.

    It’s more like… have  you ever had the flu or a really bad cold that just completely knocks you out for a couple of days—and then when you’re well enough to get back to work or school, you feel… off somehow, like you’re two steps behind and everything suddenly got twice as hard to do?

    That’s maybe a bit more like it.

    My creativity—whether for writing or for cooking—is at its lowest ebb. I get a couple good hours per day in which to do some work, and which has to be prioritized immediately: school work? freelance work? blogging? which of these needs to get done now—because this is all I’m going to get done today…

    And yet, even with all this in mind, this February has actually been pretty good. I’ve finally found a way to not listen (more often than not, anyway) to the jerkwad who lives in the back of my brain—my anti-Stuart Smalley—who says shit like, I don’t know who you think you’re kidding because you’re definitely not good enough or smart enough. oh, and P.S.? people don’t like you. I think thanks in large part to that new superpower, I’ve resumed working on a side project that’s been lurking in the recesses of my laptop. I’ve also got two papers to write in the next week or so, but I’m not feeling particularly overwhelmed by that, either.

    And just ten days left in February? I’ll take it.

  • Being Frugal,  Life in Maison Gezellig

    Staples, revisited.

    fridge shotI was looking through some old posts about groceries and grocery shopping, and I unearthed this post about what I consider to be household staples — from February of 2007.

    I was really surprised to see some of the things that were a constant staple in our pantry.

    I can’t even remember the last time I bought Stella D’Oro breakfast treats, although when I wrote that list, my kid was in the middle of a long phase of loving them. And over the past couple years, the price of evaporated milk (which I used to put in my coffee) has steadily crept up until it got the point where I just gave it up and switched to whole milk instead.

    So, I’ve revised my list of kitchen staples. It’s pretty long, so click the jump tag to see it all.

  • Life in Maison Gezellig,  Photo Post

    Photo Friday: Wash Week Continues


    To give you an idea of the epic mountain of laundry I’ve been doing, I’ve filled (and emptied!) that laundry sack four times this week… and I’d estimate I have another three more to do.

    Why am I so obsessed with this saga of laundering? Because, I will confide to you, my reader — I almost never finish anything. I have more 6″ scarves and cut-out pattern pieces than I would care to admit, because I suck at follow-through.

    Not this time, though. So help me, I will wash every goddamn item of laundry in this house.

    And once that’s done, doing the laundry once a week or so will be CAKE.

  • Doing More With Less,  Life in Maison Gezellig,  Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    When life gives you frozen corn, make chowder.

    Okay, I haven’t been a very good food blogger of late. Truth be told, there’s been some belt-tightening going on in Maison Gezellig. Nothing dire, just finding we need to cut back on some expenses and food is one of the easiest places to start.

    Unfortunately, making dinner out of whatever you find hanging around isn’t a recipe for exciting food blog posts.

    Or, as it turns out, for especially alluring food photography.

    corn + potato chowder

    Which is a shame, really, because this corn and potato chowder was one of the best things I’ve made recently. Even my kid, who usually can’t even remember where she left her shoes an hour ago, saw me editing this photo from last week and remarked on how good this soup was.

    The soup was born from the packages of frozen vegetables that my husband always brings home from the grocery store. There are a few exceptions, but in general, I hate frozen vegetables. They’re always a sad reminder of how they once were before being frozen. Fortunately, for me and my freezer, this soup makes up for it.

    Corn and potato chowder

    Mince one medium onion. Saute in two tablespoons butter until onion is soft. Peel and grate one medium potato. Add about 2 cups broth, enough to cover the potato and onion. Simmer potato and onion until both are cooked through. Meanwhile, dice two more peeled potatoes and a couple stalks of celery. Thaw and rinse one 10 oz. box of frozen yellow corn. Once the potato/onion mixture is soft, puree with a stick (or regular) blender. (This makes the soup creamier without adding actual cream, which I never have on hand.) Add the remaining vegetables, 2-3 cups of milk, a couple bay leaves and a big pinch of nutmeg. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to be sure the milk doesn’t scald to the bottom of the pan. Salt to taste. Serve as is, or with a little grated cheese.

  • DIY,  Green is Gezellig,  Life in Maison Gezellig,  Make Your Life Gezellig

    Not exactly about food, but still pretty great.

    compulsive recycling

    I am a compulsive recycler. If something can possibly be used again, by god, I have to at least try — and if it keeps me from having to buy something new, I am equally delighted by my ingenuity and my single-handed environment-savingness.

    At the same time, I also really love a good household purge. When you live with another adult and a kid (as well as three cats) in less than 650 square feet, there is really no room for anything you not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

    So, what happens when you have something still beautiful but not useful? For example, what to do with a shirt that shrunk in the wash just enough to be too small on my husband while still too big for me?

    Recycle it and make it into something beautiful, like so:

    before: husband's old shirtafter: kid-sized dress

    More photos and details behind the jump…