One year ago it all fell apart. Today I’m putting it back together.

It has been exactly one year since all hell broke loose in this household. Happy anniversary to me.

One year ago today without warning, without reason, the fella walked out the door and never came back.

The house was a mess, my life was a mess,  and there was nothing I could do about it other than deal with it as best I could.  And as the worst year of my life came nearly to an end, the fella’s father died.

This year was a horror.  It was a horrible, awful, tear and rage filled year and today it comes to an end.

If this year I am run over by a bus, have a spider lay eggs in my ear and get the gout, it will still be a better year than last year.

So here’s hoping.

One of the things I stopped doing this past year was make a weekly menu. I didn’t do it because the fella wasn’t here to cook for plus I didn’t have a functioning kitchen or a real desire to cook. And even if  the kitchen was technically functioning it was ripped apart, meaning my olive oil may have been in the mudroom, my big pan under my bed and the wood spoons somewhere I hope to figure out soon.

So this week, on this day, as a way to start my next year on a good note I’ve decided to (at least for myself) start doing weekly menus again. It’s something I always loved doing. Making the menu and then making the food. I thought I’d lost my love for cooking this past year but once I took a look at my new kitchen I realized I hadn’t lost it at all. It was just hibernating.

The kickstart was when I decided to make a true pie (apple, which happens to be the truest of the true) in honour of the fella’s father this week. Making the dough and stirring the sugar into the apples, stirred something inside of me.

I WANTED TO COOK! And eat.

So I headed to the chalkboard and for the first time in a year I wrote down a weekly menu for myself. I can’t guarantee I’ll be posting the weekly menu here every week, but I will the odd time.

If you’ve been knocked off your rocker for any reason this past year, I hope this weekly menu might stir something in you.

Menu-1

Recipes

 

Goat’s Cheese & Leek Tart

Beet Salad

Cashew Chicken

Toasted Bagel with Sprouts

Broccoli Soup

I look forward to a year of garnishes, greens and gout.  And I wish the same for you.

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172 Comments

  1. Bobbi says:

    Bon appetit !

  2. Chavella says:

    Good for you. Welcome back, I look forward to the menus. I was really sorry to hear of the fellas dads death. When I feel down, you always make me laugh. Thanks Bunches, Smiling in Atlanta Ga.

  3. Molly says:

    Wow. I had no idea. You inspire me, make me laugh, and make me think I could actually do some of the things you do. I love your site, and I wish you the best year yet.

  4. caryl says:

    Been knocked off my rocker over and over and over and still..thanks for inspiring me on pretty much a daily basis! More might hit the fan but you.ve shown yourself to be the cool breeze wafting at me on a hot day. Thanks so much. XOXO

  5. Jenna says:

    Hi Karen! Been following you for awhile and I remember when you originally shared about the fella. I hope the coming year treats you much better. Also wanted to say the weekly meal plan struck a chord with me. I found out on Christmas Eve that I lost a pregnancy at nearly 14 weeks. I totally lost my cooking mojo. Now I’m getting back on track (helps I’m 17 weeks pregnant again and all is going well) and started cooking and baking again this week and boy does it feel good! Hats off to you for keeping your blog so enjoyable during your crisis. I let mine go and I’m looking forward to relaunching soon. Thanks for all your wit and humor despite your craptacular year!! Cheers to you!

  6. shuckclod says:

    Glad your getting your grove back. Plus you have to make sure you eat pretty stuff to show off in the fridge. I still think he is fertilizer 🙂

  7. SusanR says:

    I’m so sorry, Karen. I hate those “In life you never know what will happen in 5 minutes” events. They are rarely good.

  8. AnnW in the US says:

    Brava to you, Karen for surviving the past year with dignity and grace. We all support you in your varied ventures. Can’t wait until we can view your kitchen. What’s next? Dressmaking? Car repair? Waiting with bated breath. Ann

  9. TC says:

    I wondered about the weekly menus. Good for you! *clinking champagne flutes with you* “to the new year!”

  10. danni says:

    This hurt my heart. We all know and love you and want to be your friend to cry with. We all feel like we know you, but you don’t know us at all, which is pretty weird. Can you feel us loving on you? You make us happy. Wish there was a way for us to reach out and make you feel happy too. Sending love and happiness from Portland, Oregon.

  11. victoria says:

    GOOD FOR YOU! ! new year starting in May- it’s perfect. Thank you for inspiring all of us. When you’re ready for your next romantic adventure there will be hot men all over you, you’ll see!!!

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Hah. Yeah. No, I’m done. And that’s fine. The fella was it for me. I loved living alone prior to him and, I actually love it now. So I’m good. 🙂 ~ karen

      • Sally says:

        What about Idris Elba? You can’t throw over Idris – he’d be devastated! Just don’t let him move in with you.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Well done, Karen, for making it through this year, and making it seem to us, your loyal readers, like more fun than it really was. So long as your sense of humor is intact, you’ve triumphed. And if you make it through ’til Sunday, May 18, that will be one delicious dinner to enjoy. (All week looks yummy, but “bison burger with grilled sweet potatoes” has me revising my grocery list).

  13. Tanya says:

    Just had the same dubious first anniversary celebration earlier this year, tossing in cancer, a newborn, and a mistress to the mix. Glad you didn’t let your fella’s nonsense stop you from being awesome!

    • Karen says:

      Well Tanya, the newborn makes up for it all. I’m considering getting another chicken which is almost exactly the same. ~ karen!

  14. Susie Heller says:

    You are a strong women. I have been reading your column for several years and laughed and cried along with you. I am glad you have passed the one year mark. I understand that is a huge milestone. I am about to get a divorce after 43 years of marriage so will be glad when I too reach the one year mark. However, I hate to cook now so will probably not catch some great new talent for it. I think I could be struck by the senior citizen bus sooner that being hit with a cooking gene that I lack. Best to you and keep your knockers up!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susie – 43 years. 43 years! That’s a lifetime. This is a major life change for you. It will be sad and scary and intimidating. Until it isn’t. Which will be sooner than you think possible. You’ll be amazed at what you’re going to find out about yourself. And it will be good. Honestly. ~ karen!

      • Susie Heller says:

        Thank you. I am looking forward to this change, even though it is hard and not understood by those around us. We each deserve to be loved for who and what we are. Not by some other standards. Love is unconditional and without qualifiers. I hope that IF IF iF I ever marry again, I will find a man who love me just as I am! You will find your perfect man too. You have too much to offer and are great looking besides. Best to each of us in our travel through life’s journey.

    • Forty-three years has got to be a record. Mine was at 17 years. What went through my mind is that you may not get to the point where you can say, “I’ve been divorced way longer than I was married.”

      Thing that drives me crazy about divorce: doctor’s questionnaires that say, “single, married, divorced.” Why is divorced in there? If you are divorced—you are single. I’m in there with back pain or a kidney stone. How does this play into the big picture? After all these years, that is still what ticks me off. Very odd.

      Karen, congrats on the one year of survival. When the time is right, someone like the fella’s dad will walk into your life. He seems to have been a better version of his son judging from everything you ever wrote about him.

      • Carolyn says:

        Rondina – I am in total agreement with you! I refuse to see “divorced” as a state of being. You are either single or married, that’s it. In some ways the word “divorced” indicates some kind of relationship or non-relationship with the former spouse. Forget that! I’m single.

        And Good For You Karen! I’ve only followed your blog for about a year so, I’ve only “known” you in your year of survival and I’ve really enjoyed your blog.

  15. Mama Toto says:

    Hi Karen – I haven’t been reading your blog for very long (found you via a Lee Valley newsletter!), but I have to say one would never know from your writing that you’ve had such a hell of a year. I’ve enjoyed reading and you are truly witty, funny, and down to earth. Now that the year is over I wish you all that you wish yourself.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mama Toto – I’m so glad you told me you came from the newsletter! I’m always curious about how people find their way here. Yeah, it’s been hellish. I lost my funny for about 3 days. Then it came creeping back. You should go back and read the first post I wrote after taking a month off from blogging after the fella left. My love letter to Idris Elba, lol. I returned with a bang. 🙂 ~ karen

  16. Laura Bee says:

    Beautifully said. It makes me happy to know you are renewing your love of baking & cooking. I have missed the menus.
    I killed a centipede tonight & thought of you.
    I may make the tart for Friday dinner.
    Thanks for being there. Feeling like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs as the saying goes.

  17. judy says:

    Wow! talk about one of life’s gut punches that must have been a doozy,but you are a spectacular human being(obviously) and so you prevailed and seem to be doing quite well for yourself. Wonder what he’s doing? Bet he doesn’t have a brand new kitchen and a very impressive fridge and even more important he doesn’t have you.

  18. Jody says:

    Bless your good and strong heart. I’d say you win.

  19. Cred says:

    It’s odd, feeling strangely connected to someone you’ve never met- online readers would fall somewhere in between stalker and star-struck tween if you were to admit the connection you feel to a blogger you follow. But as odd as it seems, there it is… The funny lady who gives you a daily chuckle and shares brief tidbits of her life, can bring you to tears just as though you were an old friend. When you first told us of the fella leaving, I cried and felt that pain in the pit of my stomach. And I cried again when you told us of the fella’s father passing, and I just now choked as you described baking a true pie in remembrance of him- for a man I only knew through a few stories from a woman I’ve never met. It’s such an odd place to sit but the emotions are real. Whether readers are little more than new millenia groupies or not, we care. Wishing you the best of years, starting today.

    • Tigersmom says:

      Thank you, Cred, for putting my feelings into words.

    • Arianne says:

      Beautifully said Cred. Made me tear up. Hugs to you and Karen!

    • Tracey says:

      Cred, that was so well said and I second all of it.
      Karen, I’ve been reading for a long time now, but never comment. I guess I’m a lurker. But I too wanted you to know how greatly you enrich my life and give me confidence to try new things. I love your humour and used to love watching you on the tv. It seems it was a few minutes between other tv shows….I can’t remember what I watched, but only remember you providing those few minutes of hilarious.
      I thought I should de-lurk to say you mean a lot to me. I may even get chickens. How do I watch the chicken cam? I never was able to see it. Are there stored videos we can watch?
      And I hope the coming year is the very best for you.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Tracey – Thanks for coming out of Lurkdome! I’m happy to inspire. That’s the point of all this. To let people (women especially) they can do whatever the hell they want with a little instruction and little courage. The coop cam is down because I accidentally broke the camera by leaving it out all day in the rain. I hope to get my pennies together to buy another one which I will take better care of soon. ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Cred. 🙂 And I do feel and appreciate all of the support from my readers. It is definitely real. ~ karen!

    • Ev Wilcox says:

      Again, thanks for saying it for me. We DO love her, having never met. It sounds kind of silly, but we do!

    • Karen says:

      🙂 It makes perfect sense to me Cred. I’ve been on television for years so I’m used to people feeling like they know me when I don’t really know them. But, with this blog, I actually do feel like I know you all a little bit through your comments. For instance I know you like crisp, clean linens and you didn’t like the Woefield Poultry Collective. 🙂 And of course, you’re very nice. ~ karen

      • This is a great response…you DO get to know us here I guess via our comments. Like I feel as though I know Marti and Tigersmom from their daily comments here.

        I too cried when I heard about the fella leaving last year and when I read about the fella’s father and this one made me get a lump in my throat too. I am a marriage and family counselor so I hear a lot of leaving stories but cred’s right…you feel like a loved one and friend and so we all felt kicked in the gut (albeit not as hard as you felt it). I am so glad all the pieces of what we love about you (cooking and menus included) are coming back. That is healing.

        Best,
        Kim

    • Barbie says:

      What Cred said! Ditto Ditto Ditto! Your are truly loved Karen! Heres to a new and glorious year!

  20. Jasmine says:

    Well you’re a bit of a hero. Good work. I can’t wait to see a picture of you in your new kitchen. Baking a pie or making yogurt tampons. I’m cool with either one. And btw, I have the exact same coffee maker as you. Yum. One of the best purchases we have ever made. You were right about that too.

  21. Sue says:

    This past year was an evil beast of a year. I have never encountered more people all at once who have had to handle multiple, sudden, hard losses-me included. Friends losing husbands and then fathers, losing mothers, losing jobs, ending relationships, losing multiple pets, you name it, this past year was horrible.

    Yay you for getting through it and helping all the rest of us laugh and making it easier to get through our own grief while healing yourself. I didn’t comment when I saw the fella’s one true father was gone, but I was very sad to hear. (I’ve mostly stopped baking but I will bake a true pie in his honor this year. )

    I’m happy to see you’re cooking again, I hope you will inspire me to cook more with your oh so well planned menus.

  22. Janet says:

    Could I just say something here that’s been on my mind for awhile? I just really really want to say that I’m a bit pissed off at the fella. There. I said it. Now it’s off my chest. Oh, I suppose I could extrapolate just a bit…. but let’s not. Onward and upward! Thanks for this opportunity to vent.

  23. Auntiepatch says:

    “Find something under the sofa cushions”! Snort! LOL!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you are a genius and we all would love to live next door to you!

    I’m sorry that you have had such a bad year but please know that we are right there with ya. =^..^=

  24. Grammy says:

    Being happy with yourself and having the inclination to try new things and become proficient at many of them is the best kind of life. It’s exhilarating to buy what you want, try what you want, and know peace within. Now that you have come through this past year you will just be better equipped for everything to come in your long and zany life ahead.

    And how is this for weird? Right after the local news this evening, a rerun of The Office came on TV. It was the episode where Idris Elba came in as the regional manager who was going to whip everybody into shape. As soon as he came on the screen I thought of you.

  25. Susan says:

    After my life altering experiences , divorce, poverty, major fire just name a few, people ask me how I can keep smiling and keep going. ‘Cause we do! Sometimes I want to just crawl into my rabbit hole and not come out again. Sometimes I am so frustrated by the pettiness of others over trivial things that I lose it. Lots of times I wake in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep so I play a game on my computer for hours, read a book, stare at mindless T.V. or go to into work at an ungodly hour. Lots of times I have no desire to cook, clean or even get dressed but the sun always comes up and life goes on. I still enjoy my own company but get a kick out of good friend’s and family’s company too. It’s what we do! Kudos to you for surviving this year. And best of luck for getting thru the next one! You’re strong, smart and full of love! You have a good family and a large network of friends close to you. After the fire I got myself a few chickens, at about the same time you got yours. I felt the need to have new life to look after, something different to look after and think about. People thought I was crazy…really lost it this time. But funnily enough those goofy chickens kinda gave me a new lease on life. I enjoyed feeding them, holding them and having them waddle after me in the garden holding up their little wings wanting to be picked up and cuddled. I have a Newfoundland dog that also gives me much love and needs attention too but for some reason the chickens were what I needed at that time. One of my favorite girls died this week in my arms. I shed a little tear, buried her in the garden where the impatience will be planted but I didn’t fall apart like I might have a couple of years ago. I started to think about the flowers I should plant instead. I thought about my grandchildren and what to tell them about Jemima and I thought about what kind of chickie I should get to replace her. Or even if I should replace her at all. I find myself looking forward now and not backwards nearly as much as I used to. When I saw your post tonight and your menu board I laughed to myself. I have never in my life made a menu up for anything. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl…(old broad) but I knew your rabbit hole must be getting smaller. Love ya, Karen. You’re the best!

    • Karen says:

      Aw, thanks Sue! 🙂 And I’m so sorry about Jemima. I know she was one of your favourites. Poor girl. But yes. You will get a new one to love. ~ karen

  26. Turly says:

    Hi there! I am new to your blog and had no idea about your lousy year. You are so inspiring.
    Thanks for wishing your followers well but I’ll give the gout a miss if I may – my husband has it enough for both of us!! More power to you!

  27. Melody Madden says:

    Karen, thank you for this post. Although my breakup is still so raw and fresh – 12 days today – this at least gives me hope that I may find myself in a better space at some point in the future . Any space is better than the one I’ve been occupying lately .. Sprawled out on the floor sobbing uncontrollably. Your posts put a smile on my face everyday and for that I am so very grateful.

    • Sally A says:

      Hi Melody! I remember your comment before, 27 years? I feel your pain and have been there. For me I remember crying and wandering aimlessly about the house like a crazy person. Asking why and how it could happen. Feeling scared and alone and feeling like a robot inbetween the ugly-faced sobbing…mechanically showering and getting dressed…realizing i hadn’t eaten in 3 days and choking down a piece of toast (I did lose 40 pounds that I needed to lose though!:o)) Anyway, the point is I am happy now, and you will be again too! One day you’ll hear someone laughing and realize with a start that it’s you! I’m so glad you found Karen’s blog! She is good medicine. Hang in there!!

      • Melody Madden says:

        Sally, I feel so grateful you took the time to comment on my situation. Thank you for your kind words.

    • Karen says:

      Oh Melody. I’m so sorry. If you can smile at anything you’re already doing better than I was a year ago. And sob all you want. And sleep all you want! Sobbing and sleeping is what heals us. ~ karen!

  28. Sally A says:

    Like a Phoenix from the ashes is our Karen! Wow. Has it been a year? I just realized that I have read everything that you’ve posted for that year (and who knows how long before…I can’t remember when I started reading your blog) I look forward to it every morning…except weekends of course, when you so selfishly take time for yourself. Rude. I don’t think I’ve done anything consistently every day for a year except eat and pee. TMI? Thank you for doing your blog. I really enjoy it and learn so much! I look forward to your next giveaway where it most certainly will be one of those refrigerators. You are very generous. :o)

    I hope you have a very happy anniversary and end up with a full tummy and a full heart. Those of us who “know” you, care about you and wish you all the happiness! You deserve it!

  29. Maureen Locke says:

    Happy “New” Year Karen. The fella left the way my ex did. Just one night.. out the door, no explanation, reason, nothing… My world fell apart. I lived my life to take care of my husband and three children. After 20 years of marriage, he ripped my life away. It’s not easy to recover. Especially with 3 kids, two of them teenagers… but I did. I became so much stronger every day and now I live life for me. I’m always learning new things and you’ve helped immensely in that direction. I’m now very happily married to my “Harlequin Hero”. hehe I was addicted to stupid silly Harlequin novels until I met Mike. He’s my soulmate, my best friend, a partner in life who accepts me as I am and loves me despite it. I do as I please, always with the thought of not hurting my love, but he’s so easy going and understanding that I don’t know what I could do that would upset him, except be unfaithful That is what broke up his marriage and left him a single father. I’m rambling and need to get ready for work. I guess I just wanted to let you know that there’s lots of hurt in this world and you have helped many of us deal with it. I found you through the yogurt tampon video and have loved you/your blog ever since. Thank you for sharing your life with us and all the other cool stuff. xo

  30. Heather says:

    Yay Karen!! Sometimes life is about endurance. Hopefully the fact that you have had the suckiest of sucky suck years will make this year bright and beautiful. Life is relative–right? you have been in the dark all year, coming back into the light will hopefully make it brighter than ever. Don’t forget your sunglasses xox
    P.S. Wish we all were near you so we could bring you out for a welcome back night on the town. You deserve some sort of celebration after enduring all that and coming back out!

  31. cassie says:

    i am new here, so i didn’t know all of this…. wow! i am wishing you the best in the year ahead, full of good food. and i hope the only spiders you see are those that are eating the real pests.

  32. Carol Hogan says:

    I know just what you are talking about. When my world fell apart, I felt like I was at the bottom of a trash can with all the trash on top. For I while I had to just lay there. Then bit by bit and piece by piece, I began tossing the trash and climbing out. I am awed by how well you have coped this past year given your challenges. You’ve continued to be funny, informative and inspiring. I am glad that you’ve turned the corner AND I love your menu/recipes, so I’m happy for me too 🙂 (The overused smiley face – just for you.) Now get cooking!

  33. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    A year? Wow, Karen. A lot has happened in that year but look at you — you’ve come so far!! You’ve shown us how to handle rejection with dignity and how to move the f*ck on. You’ve taught us that we can survive the unexpected and come out even better on the other end. And though I may sound like a broken record, you are an inspiration and real role model for how to handle life (or at least pull yourself up when life is crappy). Now let’s eat!! Hugs, woman!

  34. jane says:

    Thanks Karen. I remember your post last year. Felt like a punch in the stomach. Though you have not mentioned it, I know Chris has a son, and you were his stepmother for 11 years. You were someones Mum Karen, and he and you and your family lost a child. If we let it, life reasserts itself. You’ve done that and forged ahead. Congratulations.

  35. Su says:

    Ditto what all the readers above said.
    Why is it that so much of the love of cooking is tied up with the love and care of another person? The food we share with others is a way of sharing ourselves. Even if it is PBJ or a warm soup that simmers all day. I’ve been married with kids and a full house, lived alone and now am fortunate (so he tells me 🙂 ) to live with a pretty great guy. All of them have their lovely wouldn’t trade it for a second moments, and their gee this bites one too….. thank you for sharing…..

  36. Louise says:

    I have also been thru the hardest year of my life. My darling 17 yr. old son went truly and literally insane. I don’t mean teenaged-insane; I mean locked-in-mental hospitals-at-least-30%-of-this-last-year-insane. His doctors and I are not sure if it was his seizures or the seizure meds, but he was incredibly violent, and anorexic to boot. I really thought he’d die. And all this year, I came here to escape the horror and fear – this was the little space where I could be myself at the end of each terrible day. You have no idea what an inspiration and comfort you’ve been to me. On the days when you don’t post, I read posts in your archives and I always find something to make me smile. I thank you with all my heart for that!
    And tonight, just before I came here, a miracle! I started him on a new treatment; medical marijuana (under the care of a brilliant doctor). Two little sprays into his mouth and he instantly stopped pushing and slapping at me (the precursors to something far worse), said “Ahhhh – I feel much better!” and lay down to go to sleep. Ten minutes later, he was up again saying he was hungry and ate a real meal for the first time in months!
    I’m telling you this because I want you to know how much you’ve meant to me, how you have touched the lives of others in ways that you can’t imagine. You have brought fun, amusement and knowledge to your readers. But you have also inspired, comforted and saved the sanity of others.
    I also want you to know that the stars have lined up for this next year to be better – for all of us!

    If this is too long or personal, I certainly understand if you want to hold it back.

    • Louise says:

      I meant to say that it is perfect that my son decided to eat on the night you posted the menu. I’m going to try one of these recipes on him!

    • Debbie says:

      Your story and your love for your son is not too personal. It is inspiring. You are an strong woman.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Louise. Oh I don’t hold much back. 🙂 I loved your comment. People (especially in social media) tend to put their best face forward. No horrors, no mistakes, no heartbreak. I’m sorry about your son. Mental illness is the hardest for everyone to deal with. Doctors, the family and of course the person with the illness. Good luck and I hope the marijuana continues it’s magic. ~ karen

    • Louise,

      I have teen sons and I can only imagine your pain. You and your son will be in my daily prayers. Hang in there.

      Kim

      • Louise says:

        Thank you – we can use all the prayers we can get!
        But this new med (mj 😉 ) gives me hope. It’s just a matter of charting every step and figuring out what works best.
        BTW, I’m putting out there about med. marijuana because I hope it can help other people with seizures or aggression. So spread the word!

    • Janet says:

      Honesty is the best policy.

  37. Barb says:

    Happy New Year Karen. It is going to be a good one because you deserve the best! To your blogging friends, I have had the good fortune of knowing Karen for many years. I love that she is able to convey who she really is to you. She is a kind, warm, talented, extremely funny woman who I am proud to call a friend.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Barb! And YOU were the very first person to have enough faith in me to give me a job in television. Which I will never, ever forget. ~ karen!

  38. Cathy says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how humans can return renewed, if not reinvented, from adversity. Over the last month mine involved changing roles from nurse to patient, and one surgery became four. But I notice my appetite returning as well as my desire to cook. Yup, slowly coming back to whatever the ” new normal is”, I’m just glad this wild ride is slowing down to its end.
    Get that chicken. I can’t imagine you’d regret it on any level.

  39. Tigersmom says:

    I want to say the same things that Danni (comment 10) and Cred (comment 19) said.

    The only thing I have to add is that I loved living alone, too. I think that is something that creative types really enjoy because you never know when a creative jag will strike and its always a tug at the heart when its interrupted by the day to day needs of others. I can grab a spoon of peanut butter for lunch and keep working on something, but I don’t always get to these days. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything, but sometimes I pine for the days of getting to create uninterrupted.

  40. Pat says:

    You go girl! Reading that a women has conquered the crises in her life is always inspirational to me. Those who do it with humour – even more so. So thanks for that.

    Love your menus but I have a quick question: you seem to make a new meal every day – no eating the same yummy food two days in a row? No creating a new meal with pieces of yesterday’s dinner?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pat – Oh yes .. I definitely do that. But being the first week of real cooking in my kitchen I wanted to go full force. The tart for instance will be cut up and frozen for later use. Freezes great. But normally I’d skip a day then have it again. Or I’ll make extra mashed potatoes, so I can make potato pancakes the next day.~ karen!

  41. Mary Kay says:

    I can’t believe a year has come and gone – so glad you stayed you <3 – and thanks for the smile and the lessons every morning.

  42. Sandra says:

    WOW! I didn’t know you were a cook! Cookie, yes, cook, no.

  43. Robin F says:

    {{{raising my hand}}} I had a few knocks this past year, some worse than others. I am going to take a page from your game plan and make a menu. I think it will make us all feel better.

  44. Sally says:

    Okay. I think you need to do a post on how everyone found you. I got here because I was trying to revive some peonies several summers ago. Reading about your midnight trip to the grocery was a hoot, and I was hooked. Congrats on getting to the one year mark and I love the menus.

  45. Judy says:

    Congratulations on finding your legs. We’re behind you. Tiny steps. We’re still here.

    Oh!..and lovely menu. Thanks!

  46. Danni says:

    A year already? I cannot for the life of me remember what brought me to your website but it was exactly 1 year ago i found you. I read the sadness then preceded to read past entry’s and was just delighted at your quirkiness. You are a strong, thought provoking, hilarious woman whose imagination apparently knows no bounds. So Happy Anniversary his loss my gain..

  47. Susan says:

    Congratulations, Karen, on the milestone. It’s now all water under the bridge.

  48. Maria says:

    All smiles here for you Karen. I can’t think of anything more to say, as its been said above, so: You go girl!

  49. Debbie says:

    Thank you for your post today Karen. I’m very sorry for the things that happened to you that turned your world upside down. It’s sad to me how one can be living a life they dreamed, then one day, out of the blue, someone changes all of that. Your fairy tale life is over. But what I’m slowly learning is that you can write a different ending to that story. I will be the first to admit, it’s difficult to pick up the pen and start writing, or living. It’s funny to me to see today is your start over. Today I woke, the sun is shining very brightly, and I thought to myself, today is the day. 3 1/2 years is enough suffering and self loathing. I still have my husband, but some days I think that’s more difficult than if I would have just chosen to not take him back. Everyday I choose to remember the things he chose that were not in the best interest of us. Today….I’m choosing to look the other way. Today I will start living again. Hugs to you and the start of your new year.

  50. Jeni says:

    Here’s to fresh starts, one meal at a time. Thank you!

  51. Jacquie says:

    Good for you girl. I can’t and don’t want to cook but I appreciate it’s important to you and I’m pleased it’s back in your life. You give so much to others that I don’t think you even know about.

    If you ever want a bit of sun, history older than the Egyptian pyramids and Italian food, get yourself over here to Malta in the Mediterranean. We’re only tiny but we’ve got room for you, any crazy sisters you wish to bring and of course your lovely mum.
    Love and hugs.

  52. marilyn says:

    i am woman hear me roar

  53. SheriS says:

    I’m just curious. Do you make a single serving of all of these things – or do you make more and freeze/save for another time?

    • Karen says:

      Hi SheriS – I do both actually. The tart for instance will but cut into serving sizes and frozen. If I make soup, I have it as an entree one night and as an appetizer other nights. ~ karen!

  54. Cheers to a wonderful new year and many new adventures….hopefully gout free!

  55. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    Yes, thank you Cred, for saying what I was struggling to put into words. You are an inspiration Karen!!!

  56. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    YOU have shown us you are a survivor! You make us laugh, you make us cry, after all…you are our Karen. Thank you for being you and for sharing your life with us. I’d like to second what Danni said…we love you and have hurt when you hurt. We celebrate your happy days. Today is one of those days. I’m still scared having to wait for the entire kitchen reveal, but I’ll get over it. Sooner or later. Happy New Year!

  57. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    Yes, thank you Cred for saying what I struggled to put into words. You are a huge inspiration Karen!!!!

  58. Mary Werner says:

    We all need to remember to keep that key to our happiness in our own pocket – not someone else’s. After reading your comments, I think you did begin the official Friend’s Day as May 8th. I love the part where you said you had learned a lot about yourself this past year. What better tribute to the time you shared with him since it can and should be celebrated also.

  59. Karen says:

    In hindsight, falling apart is okay. But taking the falling apart and punching it in the face is awesome. Cheers to that!

  60. alicia says:

    Karen, I just read your love letter to Idris Elba and OMG! you are too funny. You should think about writing a book. The thing that I find Fascinating is that I’m #56 to leave a comment. You have 56 people who truly care about you, people you don’t really know who are taking the tme to write to you and let you know that we all have been ‘there’ at one time or another and we are rooting for you because we love you in some strange cyber way and we support you. I’ve been there, the whole divorce thing after 18 years of marriage – ex-husband didn’t realize you can’t be married AND have girlfriends. I know, guess he didn’t read the handbook or just replaced it with a book entitled “It’s all About Me: How to Live the Life of a Small Man”. Happy New Year Girlfriend!!

  61. Irene says:

    You are wonderful. Thank you for being you.

  62. Jodi T. says:

    I am so sorry that this year was so horrid and so sorry about the fella’s Dad. Glad to hear that you are feeling more like yourself.

    Here’s to a new year, Karen!!

  63. jainegayer says:

    Happy new year, Karen! May you have a year free from wayward busses, spider eggs , gout and centipedes.
    And thank you for always being there for us, with your humor, and inspiration.
    You rock!

  64. Maureen says:

    2013 was a rough year for many. For us here, it was post hurricane rebuilding, a shattered foot, a displaced hip that turned out to be a tumor (benign). There was a lot of recovery to be done.

    You faced this past year with great spirit, good humor and a focus on moving FORWARD.

    You are inspirational and I know you cheered me up on many a rough day.

    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Maureen. And good luck with the recovery. I can’t even imagine hurricane rebuilding. Can’t. Even. Imagine. ~ karen!

  65. Linda Barnett says:

    Go get ’em, Karen! You got this.

  66. Marion says:

    Atta girl! You’re definitely starting this year off the right way. I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through, but as some other readers have said we’ve all been here with you laughing (and crying) and sending lots and lots of love and good vibes your way. I’m glad you let us share this journey you, I look forward to reading your posts every morning when I get into work.

    Cheers to your best year yet! – Marion in Missouri

  67. Debbie says:

    Can I come over on Wednesday? I love broccoli soup.

    Karen, you have a blog for a reason. The comments show how much you give to others. Kudos to you. I have learned that everyone has a story, and that the stories are not always what we thought life would be like. I am grateful to have my middle son alive after an illness at 9 months old that the doctors told us he would most likely not survive. He is now a 20 yr. old college student. My youngest is enlisting in the army, so I have a lot of worrying ahead of me. How we handle what we are given is how we guide our destiny.

  68. Anita says:

    Hey! Happy Anniversary, I’ve been reading your blog for about 2 years, and you always make me laugh. I had a feeling the breakup was tough, but you never lost your quirky sense of humor and your can-do attitude. Bravo. And also, did you really write that chalkboard & it wasn’t like photoshop or something? b/c if so, I am suuuuper jealous of your chalkboard handwriting.

  69. Jennifer S says:

    Life is always better with a weekly menu. Less stress, less creative angst over trying to put things in the pantry together, less spending money on eating out, less hating yourself for eating take-out every day. I don’t know why I ever don’t do this, but sometimes it happens, and it’s always terrible.

  70. Jody says:

    I am always amazed, astounded and inspired by people’s stories and how they have endured. Many of the posts are testament to that. Everyone has a story. However Karen, what makes you and your story so special is that you share it with all of us. The good, the bad, the funny and the ugly. Thank you for that.

  71. Marion says:

    Karen, I felt so sorry for you last year, I couldnt stop thinking about your horror. Therefore I’m glad that you are getting better and even enjoy cooking again! Your cooking posts are among my favorites – I truely missed them! But I’m a bit confusesd, I thought all of this happened last July (I remember being on holiday) and that brilliant coming back Idris-post just around my birthday in August! Nevermind, I hope you have a wonderful year ahead of you with a lot of joy and laughter! I love your blog!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marion. Well the truth is the fella left on May 8th. And I got up that morning, sat at my computer and worked. I worked for a month. Never missed a post. None of you had any idea. I did that for as long as I could until I just couldn’t do it anymore. That’s when I told you the fella had left and took a month off. ~ karen!

      • Louise says:

        Wow! You continued to work and kept it a secret from us for a whole month? I don’t know how you did that – it must have been so hard! You really are an inspiration in so many ways, including how to handle Big Crap.

  72. kate-v says:

    A year? Already? Well, as my grandma used to say: “Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.”

  73. mia pratt says:

    You go girl<:}

  74. Sherri says:

    You’re back and better than ever, mon ami! I’m so happy to be a member of your fan base; even if I don’t comment on every post, I’m reading and thinking. Lord knows, I have a hard time multitasking so reading, thinking AND commenting is just too much to ask of me most days. Keep on keeping on!

  75. alison says:

    You no longer have to endure that godawful crossfit paleo nonsense!! Good for you!

  76. West Coast Nan says:

    Life handed you lemons, you made a new kitchen to make lemonade in. I call that a win. You inspire me to do better and for that I thank you.

  77. Pat says:

    Totally understand where you’re at in your life. For me, it was 10 years ago that the rug was pulled from under my feet and I had a helluva a time getting off the floor, so to speak. Yes, the one year mark was a milestone. When you told us the fella left, all those old feelings came back to me and I know, we readers cried for you. I remember telling you that life would get better even though at the time and throughout this past year I am sure you felt it never would. Your light was not out, simply on a lower wattage! Sounds like you have had a power surge and more power to you. You keep us all laughing, entertained, informed and educated along with daring us to try things we probably would not. Yay, Karen!!!!

  78. Wendy says:

    Happy New Year.

    I think renovating is hard.
    I think renovating your life is even harder.
    And it seems as if sometimes they come hand in hand.

    Enjoy the True Apple Pie, and all the other goodies cooked/baked out of food from your garden, in the kitchen you’ve just accomplished to suit your own needs.

    W.

  79. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I’m thinking maybe seeing Chris again at the funeral gave you some needed closure..Amen sister..now get cookin..and get a new chicken..As I’ve said before..You are my hero!

  80. Olga says:

    As I was reading your post I thought the “reveal” part will be where you announce that the fella is back…I’m glad weekly menu’s are back. Your cooking is different and unique . I would say it’s very foreign, it’s like traveling through Europe lol and I love it. I’m going to make similar tart (I love leeks), once I find something else to substitute goat cheese with.
    I hope this year will bring you all the best.

  81. Carla Berry says:

    Thankful for the healing that’s taking place! Love to you, and all the best.

  82. Shel says:

    There’s something about cooking that is healing. I’ve battled some pretty bad depression this year…and I always know I’m approaching the other side when I can get back in the kitchen and cook or bake. Something so healing and satisfying in that! Thanks for being you, Karen. Glad you’ve got your mojo back full force!

  83. Ashley W says:

    you speak to my heart. thanks for always being there even when you weren’t.

  84. jeannie B says:

    Karen, I ‘d don’t know what to say. It’s been almost 300 days since I lost the love of my life. But there’s no turning back and you can only go forward or disappear. Every night, just after the grandfather clock strikes midnight, there’s a ring on my iPad, telling me that your daily blog has arrived in my inbox. And that is comforting. From the bottom of my sad, broken but healing heart, I say “thank you” and to all of your wonderful followers for their stories and comments.

  85. christine says:

    I know exactly how I found this site. I was looking for insiration for xmas holiday outdoor arrangements and voila, I saw Karen’s brilliant lit dome idea for planters.
    The beet salad recipe is great and I am going to make it. I have never had good luck cooking rocks, I mean beets. haha So, I am suggesting (for my own ineptitude) Love Beets, a great fresh product found in Longos and probably other places. Already cooked and peeled, but fresh.

  86. rktrixy says:

    You have really run the emotional gauntlet this year. And while remodeling too! If that isn’t a metaphor for chaos and loss and regrowth, I don’t know what is. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    I do hope this year treats you better, and you end up with so many tomatoes we will have a weeks worth of recipes for canning tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, tomato chutney, green tomato mincemeat, etc. Life = tomatoes, right?

    Hugs from Alameda, CA

  87. Ev Wilcox says:

    So many comments, Karen. We are all with you,and have been all along.

    • karol says:

      Karen, your strength and humor is what keeps me reading your posts. All of these comments left today is a testament to how much a virtual stranger can make a difference in people’s lives. Congratulations on making it with dignity through the last year, you’re a wonderful woman. We all have our roller coaster lives and you are brave enough and funny enough to put it out there for all the world to know. Thanks for the smiles.

  88. Anne C says:

    Oh. It really rings a bell. (My (second) “anniversary” was april the 3rd.) So: happy new year, dear Karen, a very, very happy new year to you! He was “it”. But you’re The One. And bison burgers must be something, too. Life has so many delicacies and spices on the menu. Let’s cook, and give a f…!

  89. Heather says:

    Oh Karen, so happy to hear you’re back on your rocker! Thank-you for the recipe inspirations, I shared your painful then “recovery” year too. I too do not wish to be run over by a bus, have a spider lay eggs in my ear or get the gout, but I do wish you and me a Happy New Year!

  90. Go You!!! I’ve been impressed with how you have handled the stress of the past year with grace and humor. Glad to see the weekly menu again. But what do you do with all of the leftovers? If you were me, you would just continue to eat each evening until there was nary a crumb left and then go online to order bigger pants (just pants, the top of me never seems to expand at the same ratio). Suggestions?

  91. Carole McGinnis says:

    You are an inspiration to all of us. I am glad you are ready to move on and welcome the next chapter of your life. Times does heal. Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that. I am so happy to see the weekly menu back.

  92. Sophia says:

    Hi Karen,
    Welcome back, so nice to be with you. You have extended blog family in Toronto as well.Just saying you are always welcome to us.
    Take care and keep on going..

  93. Shauna says:

    I can’t believe it’s been a year. I think we all gasped a year ago today and all felt the protective feeling you get when a friend has been hurt. Here’s to a great year ahead – with new menus, rich food and gout all around!

  94. Joanna says:

    Hurray!!!! Thank you’!!!!!xo

  95. kelliblue says:

    Wow. Has it been a year already? Your “annus horribilus.” Stupid, stupid year!

    So impressed by the way you handled everything, and came out on the other side a better woman. Not that you had to go far. 🙂 Love this quote for you: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

    And you can DIY and cook like a raging mofo. Yeah. You’ll be fine. 🙂

  96. I look at your abs and I look at your menus, then I know you are Superwoman. Wonder Woman!

    I haven’t seen kitchen photos, have I missed them? I have been under a stone for a while.

    I bet if you wanted to you could do a Queen Elizabeth 1 tour of the whole of north America, never sleeping in the same bed twice, just going in stately processional from one blog friend to another. Then write a book about it! You could bring the chickens!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Thanks Tricia. Not quite, but nice to hear all the same. That’s kind of a brilliant idea by the way. The travel thing. Exhausting, but brilliant! You missed the first kitchen post. Here it is … The kitchen!

  97. Stephbo says:

    That first year is always the hardest. Kudos to you for handling it with such grace.

  98. Angela says:

    I can’t for the life of me remember how I ‘found’ you…but you make my day, every day you post! I can remember sitting and reading your archives like I was reading a novel! A funny novel at that! I laughed all day! It was great! I had no idea about the fella being gone until just recently when you mentioned him. Sorry… Jackass! Moving on, This weekly menu is awesome, thank you! After reading your letter to Ibis, (which was hysterical!) I feel very lucky to have a dinner menu! YOU are a ROCK STAR!!
    Bless you Karen and a Very Happy New year to you!

  99. Patti says:

    Good for you Karen! You’re my hero!

  100. Ellen says:

    Happy Anniversary, and kudos for powering through a shitty year.

  101. Liz says:

    Oh man Karen, you’re awesome. Through hardship and heartbreak, you still managed to turn on your computer, share with us, make us laugh and teach us how to do “stuff” ;)… among other awesome things. Happy Anniversary to you indeed! Your best days are ahead of you.

    I’m so looking forward to your kitchen reveal, and will be picking up a copy of the magazine !!

    One of my favorite quotes…although I can’t source it, soooo… maybe I’m just making it up
    “What’s on you will destroy you, if what’s in you can’t sustain you”
    …you must be full of good shit

  102. Kelly says:

    I love that you have a ‘scrounge’ day! It’s so important to build in flexibility!

    Cheers to the start of a great year!

  103. Jennifer Maldondo says:

    I found your site not so long ago Karen, but I must admit I have very much fallen in love with the idea that there are strong beautiful women that focus on the same goals and inspirations. I never knew there was such a breed of us out there. My “Mr.” is still here dealing with me, but life will be fine without what walked away from you. You are strong, beautiful and determined. Stay focused and be only the best that you can be and it will all work out in the end!

  104. Elisa says:

    What an amazing collection of comments! Yours was one of the first blogs that I followed and routinely forced my husband to read over my shoulder. I’ve always admired you for continuing to seem like a real person when so many of my favorite bloggers have begun to sound like infommercials for products. Thanks for keeping it real and inspiring so many of us!

    • Karen says:

      Hah! Well those products pay a LOT of money Elisa, lol, so don’t fault them for that. 🙂 But I know what you’re saying. Thx! ~ karen

  105. Fair play to you Karen!
    I was astounded when that happened, such a shock as I always thought your life was so together and sorted. And that just showed that shocking things can happen to anyone.
    I totally admire how you’ve pasted the fragments together, dignified and brave. Kudos to you!
    They’ve a saying here, ” when tragedy hits, time is the only thing working for you”, but while I agree that time helps, good friends and family do too, and I’m sure your Mum, Pink Tool Belt and Fish Ped did too.
    With hopes that at least some days this year are easier for you. Xx

  106. Julie says:

    I think you’re wonderful. I think this year is going to be great. <3

    • Karen says:

      Well thanks Julie. 🙂 You’re pretty swell yourself. And like I say, pretty much anything would be better than last year, lol. ~ karen

  107. Anj says:

    Pheeww if it is New Years then I haven’t missed your birthday by much and I can bring over your real card, not the lameo Ecard I sent. Elise and I will see you in the second week in June, It is Dutch Walk time at the Conservation area near you again. Maybe I will bring Oskar but he is taller than you so you may not want that.
    We haven’t seen each other enough but I feel like I see you all the time, every day on my computer. Excited to see you soon. I have Gatusso Pizza Sauce! Anj

  108. Chris says:

    Wow, little did I know googling oxiclean this morning, would lead me to such a wonderful site! I also am fairly newly single, and soon coming up on the year anniversary that he finally moved out. 36 years. It moved me greatly to read so many others going through the same life experience. Thank you all for sharing, it helps me to know I am not alone! Happy Happy Anniversary – may it be the first of many wonderful years ahead for you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris. Many, MANY people have been through it. I was just thinking today at how socked at I am at how much better I feel only one year later. I’m perfectly happy. 🙂 I still wish things hadn’t gone the way they did but it has not ruined my life. And welcome to The Art of Doing Stuff. ~ karen! p.s. Oxiclean is GREAT

  109. Sara says:

    Catching up here. I am so sorry to hear about the Fella’s father. This tribute was lovely, perhaps your best work yet. My condolences to you all.

  110. Olga says:

    Karen? Are you still driving Jack? Is two weeks in US equal to one week in Canada?

  111. Olga says:

    Karen, do you copy? Is this weekly menu just random weekly menu, or “weekly menu” means it’s going to be posted every week? I’m sorry, but I have not fallowed you from the beginning of the earth, so I’m not quite sure if you were posting “weekly menu” every week or not. I guess, before I make any assumptions, I should do my homework on your blog… Over and out.

    • Karen says:

      Olga – I used to post my weekly menu every single week. Now I’m just doing them for myself, but *will* be posting them occasionally here. Not this week though. 🙂 ~ karen

  112. Delila says:

    Just found your site today and already feel like I know you as a good friend. Kudos for jumping back in the ring and doing what makes you happy…cooking! Love the Menu Board idea too. Will look forward to many more uplifting posts from you and your site. Nameste

  113. Bronwyn says:

    Just stumbled upon this as a relatively new reader and you have inspired me to cook the leek and goats cheese tart. You are an inspiration. There you go!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Bronwyn. And you’re going to LOVE the leek and goats cheese tart! It’s one of my favourites. ~ karen!

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