Sometimes when I actually get around to cooking on the weekends, I begin to feel that I may have been overly ambitious in formulating my culinary plans.

Sitting in bed with a cup of coffee and the kitties in various relaxing attitudes, getting up, getting dressed, and starting to cook doesn’t seem all that appealing. Cats are very demotivating.

Most of the time, they just stay in bed while I start cooking and tidying up. Cats quite rightly despise housework and avoid at all costs, wisely leaving it the help.

This weekend, I had the delusion that I could make my own Montreal bagels, despite not having a wood-fired oven and being about 3,000 miles away from Montreal. As I started to assemble the ingredients – one of the drawbacks of my house is that the food is stored in a separate area from the kitchenette – it occurred to me that I could use up some leftover mint and some cucumber by making spa water:

I often have mint left over, and this turned out to be a delicious and refreshing way to use the leftovers.

With spa water at hand and kitties snoring upstairs, I started the bagel construction process. It is lengthy and, to be honest with you, something of a hassle. I used this recipe from the New York Times, and the irony was not lost on me, since Montreal bagels are a very different style from the bready New York ones. They are mostly hole, resembling a bracelet, and are chewy and slightly sweet from being boiled in honey water, just one part of the lengthy process.

My oven is an overachiever – faithful readers may recall how I inadvertently quick roasted a turkey one Thanksgiving – so I overcooked the bagels a bit. Still, not bad for a first attempt:

The oven was quite busy that day, cooking apple crumble to use up the four or five aging apples in the fruit bowl and my Dad’s honey-mustard chicken. Maybe my underachieving is really overachieving!

A YEAR AGO: Dodge joined the family! I am pleased to report that he is now 100% plush and 100% happy.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Hanging out on the couch.

TEN YEARS AGO: Hating the heat. I always have, and I always will.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: A little on the sleepy side.

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