Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Shoe-Switchover

It’s that time of year again for my massive shoe switchover.  The task is daunting and takes days to accomplish but since I’m home for Spring Break it makes it less of a chore and more of a project.

Since my shoe collection has grown so much, I can only fit one season in there at a time – that’s about 12 shelves with approximately 13 or 14 pairs of shoes across – help me with the math…

That’s about 156 – 168 shoes in the closet at a time.  And that’s not counting the countless I do not have room for… oops!

Step One:  Yank all the winter-like shoes out of the shoe closet and throw into a giant pile on the floor.  The pile gets so high it grows past the top of the bed.  Dust shelves thoroughly.

Step Two:  Go up into the horror-show of an attic with no floor and throw down the ladder as many pairs of footwear as I can get my hands on – trying not to hit the cats below circling like piranhas and craftily trying to pass me up the ladder so that they can spend the day in junk and pink fiberglass.

Step Three:  Start the switchover.  Winter shoes in the summer shoe boxes and summer shoes on the shelves.

Step Four:  Involve the husband.  There are several Rubbermaid tubs sitting on beams just waiting to be brought down.  Sadly I am not strong enough to get them down the ladder without serious physical injury – so my poor husband has to traipse the tubs down the precarious, metal stairs without breaking his ass.

Step Five:  Continue switching the shoes and put the remainder of the pile into the tubs.

Step Six:  “John!  Can you please bring the tubs back up in the attic!”  He always loves this one.

Step Seven:  Arrange closet by color and style.

Step Eight:  Realize that there must be another box or container of shoes upstairs because I know that I am missing some.

Step Nine:  Go back up into the attic (both of us) and search for the missing shoes – that I can never find until the next season!

Step Ten:  The final sigh of relief when the closet is all done.  “Ahhhhhhh.”  And the satisfaction that I won’t have to do this until the weather changes again.

What are some of your “season-changing” behaviors?  Do you do the shoe switchover?  The clothes switchover perhaps?

Is your closet ready?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.


In Search of the BEST…

While I consider myself to be a rather good chef, I am always in search of the perfect “dish”.  A way to improve which is already yummy and a constant longing for perfection of taste.

I think I’ve perfected my gravy and meatballs, Lasagna, New England Clam Chowder, Soft Polenta and Vodka Sauce to name a few, but I still cannot get 2 plates to the level that I expect them to be.

  1. Bolognese Sauce
  2. Shrimp & Grits

Let’s talk about Bolognese…  I’ve tried a ton of recipes – all good but none great.  Due Amici in Brielle, NJ has a great Bolognese that I can’t seem to duplicate no matter how hard I try.  I search and search for the ideal recipe to no avail.

As far as the fabulous southern dish… I ate the best Shrimp & Grits in Charleston, South Carolina but can’t seem to get it right.  The first recipe I made was done with a homemade fish stock –  it was good.  The second was made with prosciutto and the grits were very close to the way I make Polenta – this dish even better but not stupendous.  I’m going to try a spicy Andouille version next.

I want to prepare knock your socks off Bolognese and Shrimp & Grits (not together mind you) but I need your help.  Can anyone out there recommend any great recipes?

Desperate for the Best

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.


Fridge Growth: What is that smell?

In their unconscious state, those with NSRED a...

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Being a Food Network addict, I am always amazed at the sheer neatness and organization of the celebrity chefs’ kitchens.

Whose ice boxes are that pristine?  Not mine.

Even though there are only two of us, I tend to cook for an army – which means a lot of leftovers.  Leftovers that we forget about for a very long time.  Sometimes we don’t even realize until that telltale smell permeates our living space.

I’ve grown blue and green penicillin, some nasty cobweb-looking mold, left mussels in the garage fridge for months (amazing smell) and have even found unwrapped fragments of old cheese lodged in the back of my fridge.

I cannot be the sole offender – my husband helps.

Hopefully there is someone out there like me.  Please!

I’d love to hear your refrigerator horror stories… do tell!  What have you found in your fridge?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Separate Bedrooms: The New Retro Modern?

A couple of years ago my husband and I had a huge fight (probably over something stupid) and he moved into the spare bedroom.

To this day he drifts in and out of our boudoir for various reasons:  sex, sleep, intimacy, his bed is not made….  Frankly, I am so used to sleeping alone (well not alone – with 1, 2 or 3 cats) that when he decides to invade my personal space (Isn’t that what marriage is?) without warning, I get absolutely NO SLEEP.

By the time I get acclimated to a warm, non-furry body next to me, he’s gone again because of his crazy work schedule.

Back to the lack of sound sleep….

Girls… you know what I’m talking about.  The burping, farting, snoring and general restlessness of a man is difficult  to look forward to.

My friend tries to convince me that it’s part of marriage and she’ll never go to sleep  without her husband next to her.  I agree – but once you get used to the less smelly, less noisy version of sleep, it’s hard to go back.  I already have to deal with the cats and my own ADHD.  Damn!  I take to 2 Benadryl every night so so I can fall asleep at a decent hour.

I am not a cuddler.  I am always warm and can’t stand the idea of someone snuggled up against me.  Maybe I’m a guy in a chick’s body?  Who knows!

It definitely got me thinking about the past and the practice of separate bedrooms.  My parents always slept in the same bed, but I think the kings and queens of Europe had the right idea.

Are separate bedrooms the new retro modern?

I think so.  Right or wrong.  Good or bad.  I think if it works for you, go for it.  What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

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Favorite Posts

Everyone has their favorite posts – for various reasons….  Here are mine – well today anyway:

Notice a pattern?

Yet another pattern?

Yes.  A pattern again!

© 2011  J. H-M and CultureChoc2010


Matisse in Belmar, NJ

Henri Matisse. Woman with a Hat, 1905. San Fra...

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Matisse Restaurant
1300 Ocean Avenue
Belmar, New Jersey
732-681-7680  *BYOB

Last week I went to TD Bank’s kick-off party for Jersey Shore Restaurant Week.  I tasted so many local restaurants’ fare, so I was anxious to make the most of the week ahead.

Last night in the pouring rain we made it to Matisse on the ocean in Belmar.  They offered 2 three-course menus, one for $20.11 and one for $30.11.  Since our reservations were at 8pm we took advantage of the latter.

I started with the Thai Coconut Scallop Ceviche which was very tasty.  My husband had the Tuna Tartare and we both found it to be a little bland.  There was no depth of flavor that you would expect with a Tartare.

We both ordered the Pan Seared Angus Rib Eye Steak for our main course.  I ordered it rare and John ordered his medium.  Both were cooked to perfection and tasted wonderful.

Our last course was delicious as well.  I enjoyed a Double-Chocolate Brownie with Whipped Cream and Berries and John indulged in Crispy French Toast with Vanilla Ice Cream and Raspberry Coulis.

All in all it was a pretty good dinner.  The steak was my favorite.  I’m very picky about my food.  A food snob as such – so it’s very hard to totally please me.

We got a $10 gift certificate to boot for coming in during Restaurant Week, so that will give us incentive to go again and order off their regular menu.

Try out Matisse and let me know what you think, so we can compare notes.

Until then… enjoy the Jersey Shore and all it has to offer!

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Filet Mignon & Hot Peppers

Since no one wanted to go out to play and have some Sangria I came up with this recipe as I cooked.

1 lb Filet Mignon cubes
steak seasoning
1 bottle of beer
3 large cloves of garlic, sliced thin
a mix of long hot and sweet peppers from the garden
5-6 small tri color potatoes, sliced thin
extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle meat with steak seasoning and marinate in 1/2 to 1 beer, turning occasionally – about an hour.

Add olive oil to pan, heat to high.  Slice tops off of peppers and add to pan – lower heat.  Add potatoes and some salt and cook until potatoes are almost cooked and peppers start to brown.  Add garlic cook until peppers, potatoes and garlic are done.

Remove and drain on paper towels.  Add a little more oil to the pan and turn up to high heat.  Remove meat from marinade and dry off with a paper towel.  Brown meat to desired doneness and add the pepper mixture.

Stir and cook a little longer.  Serve immediately.


© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.


Pussy Costs Money

No matter what kind of pussy you’re talking about, it’s going to cost you.

Let’s examine the possibilities:

  1. Dating: Dinner?  A movie?  Making it worthwhile costs some serious cash.  Be sure your companion is worth it or worthy of it.
  2. Health: Gyno visits.  Birth control.  Tampons.  Douches.  General health and well-being doesn’t come cheap – even with health insurance.
  3. Pets: This is the one I’m talking about!  I spend a mint on my cats.  My new cat’s (that we rescued from a snowy parking lot in Warren, NJ in November) vet bills are enormous:  $750 first 2 visits.  $500 second visit and another $400 for an emergency spay!  Bailey:  Yearly shots and a lovely infection in his chin $350 and growing.  Peaches will have to wait.  Forget about the beaucoup bucks dental cleaning visits.  I’m broke.
  4. Marriage: Keeping your pussy happy is an all-around task.  Some are higher maintenance than others.  Clothes, shoes, jewels, dinners, sex – and the list goes on.
  5. Male entertainment: Dare I mention go-go bars?
  6. Bullying: The school bully beats the crap out of you, takes your money – voilà.  Morale of the story… Don’t be a pussy!  Stand up for yourself or have someone stand up for you.  That’s how I got rid of my bully as a kid.
  7. The Pussification of American kids: I hope I don’t have to explain this… but it’s going to cost money in the long run.
  8. Female entertainment: We too, need to keep our own pussies entertained.  Did you ever read the book “Cucumbers Are Better Than Men”?  Not on the best sellers list – but good for a chuckle.

Pussy is power.  Pussy is expensive.  Is pussy worth it?

© 2011 J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010.