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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010

i am not in my usual corner of the world. in fact, i am in an entirely different time zone, in Spain. tonight, i will dream in spanish, as i have been for the last week, and i will be hopeful of a bright new year, surrounded by new friends & family, good eats & a more positive outlook on Life.

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to look forward, one must look back.
12 things i made & did:

i wept over pate sucree, an israeli movie and discovered a new love.

chinese new year. (february)
a weekend spent with phamily: playing dress up. sharing food. laughing.

once, long time ago we had the moon & stars, & we were so divine.

anyone who knows me, and they know me best, knows that i like being alone, being quiet, not having to speak, or entertain or ... be present.

i used to identify myself by who or what i belonged to. it's taken me a long time to figure out who i am. i am still trying to figure out who i am.

best weekend. (june)
best kind of balm: friends. picnics. fruit picking. crafting. sitting on a dock of a creek.

i've been thinking about beginnings lately. how exciting and daunting they can be. but when i sit down to think about it, i still catch my breath: i'm single. for the first time in a really long time, i'm not attached to anyone. it's scary. it's nice. and i'm enjoying it.

into the mystic. (august)
did you know that the stretch of I-83 that connects MD and PA is spotted with rolling green grass, blue skies that stretch far beyond the eye can see but the mind's eye? oh the infinite possibilities that eye can see...

i really should label these past hot months as the Summer of Carelessness -- where i abandoned decorum, appearances and essentially ran the risk of being abandoned.

now, years later, i can say, at least he gave me good babka.

this particular dish reminded me of vietnamese chao, or rice porridge but the sourness of the lemon and the sharpness of the lemongrass reminded me of thailand. heaven in a bowl.

glass ornament. (december)
and this is why i keep her around, she's good for my self esteem.

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12 things i read, watched, or listened to:


humanity's fundamental flaw was emotion. racism is a regrettable byproduct of irrational emotion. {love & hate} are impediments of the human condition. in order for a racist to hate one group, he must at least love another. imagine what could be accomplished if the human race would only shed its humanity. the first casualty for conflict must be sentamentality, for its survival would be our destruction.


fat: an appreciation of a misunderstood ingredient by nicole, the habit of being (october)
Good quality fat is essential to our good health. Every cell in our body needs fat, our brain and hormones rely on fat to function, and fat supports immunity, fights disease, regulates digestion, and protects our liver.


little things and the lost art by staci, how very lucky to be a girl (march)
I know.  It’s the little things.  And they matter.  Really.  The little things are words of their own, silently telling us, showing us, reminding us how a person feels.  And the little things have become part of the problem.

the deep end of the pool by jackie summers, f*cking in brooklyn c/o Sex, Lies & Dating in the City (january)
I didn’t just fall for you; I dived. For impossibly long, perfect moments, I was the master of your deep. I could have stayed submerged in you forever.

little miss i'll take less when i always knew so much more/little miss who you are is so much more than you like to talk about/little miss big ole heart beats wide open, she's ready now for love.



true transformation by annie parsons, hooteannie (august 2008)
And lately, I have been learning that God can take anything and transform it into something worthwhile, something big, something of consequence.

the road by cormac mccarthy
dark of the invisible moon. the nights now only slightly less black. by day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.

the killer angels by michael shaara

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i'm not one for new year's resolutions, it's a set up for possible failure (tho i am a staunch believer that failing is just the excuse to try again...) but this coming year i have two focused items i must do, one of which is on my life list. here is to a much better 2011.

see you soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

of soup, beans & chicken ...

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i read somewhere once that cookbooks are collected, maybe one or two recipes are made & then the books are shoved on the bookshelf to look pretty & give the homecook some credibility, but are rarely rifled thru again. me. i peruse my cookbooks, all of them, often. sometimes i need the inspiration and other times, well, i just want someone to tell me what to do for once.

 
pictured:
chicken, sausage & kale soup
adapted quick white beans w bacon
honey balsamic chicken thighs

Friday, December 24, 2010

coconut macaroons

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i've said it before, i am no fan of coconut yet i always have it on hand in my pantry. but i make concessions to the stuff, because of the existence of these macaroons. there's a shop in rockville, the name eludes me, that has the best coconut macaroons and now, i can create them myself, thanks to wendi. i followed the recipe straight up. the first 9 were kept in at exactly 15 minutes and my oven was acting up, they were too brown & came out rather crunchy, still good tho. so the final batch were in at 12 minutes and just perfect.

methinks that next time i make these, i will cut back on the sugar or use unsweetened coconut flakes and mayhap, ignore the almond extract and throw in a splash of lemon juice.

happy weekend & happy birthday to Jesus...

“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

English Muffins ~ the grace of friends

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i'll be honest with you, in fact, i've probably alluded to it, but it's been a rather trying season for me. seasonal depression is no joke and combine that with dealing with Real Life, it can sap one of any kind of energy, leaving in its wake restlessness and a serious case of please get the eff out of my face.

as a person who has always had rather lukewarm feelings about thanksgiving, xmas and new years anyway, these last few months have been especially difficult. my emotions are all over the place, i am sullen and god bless anyone who asks me.one.more.time.what.i.am.currently.baking. so it's always a nice breath of fresh of air when i can be surrounded by people who make me remember the act of decency, shared laughter and the simple grace of breaking bread together.

i attended another Inspired Supper hosted by wendi of Bon Appetit Hon before the holiday hoopla. unfortunately due to the crazy accummulation falling from the sky, only myself and Father Leo attended, but it was a good time had by all. he blogged about it here. wendi, our hostest with the mostest, sent us home with a jar of her homemade apple cranberry rhubarb jam. don't be jealous.

i made english muffins to go with the jam. nothing is better than a sunday morn, with my cup of joe, foodtv on in the background with my toasted piece of bread slathered up with homemade jam, pieces of apple sneaking in, and the essence of cinnamon & spice in every bite. well, except for the grace of friends.

Monday, December 20, 2010

.exhaustion.

vintage ring
vintage chain necklace
vintage lacy bcbg
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i spent all of saturday in georgetown, lunching with friends and vintaging.
oh wait, you don't know what vintaging is? shame.
sunday i pretended i was willy wonka, only i failed. thankfully, i could fall back on peppermint bark and pop rock lollies. there may have also been some homemade english muffins & fabu apple cranberry rhubarb jam.

oh weekend. i am exhausted.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Golden Martha Cowl Scarf

Picnik collage
Golden Martha Cowl

unfortunately, this pattern is no longer available. i was lucky, i printed it out before it went offline.

a few things: somehow my flower was just 2-layers and that irked me so, i made up the 2nd flower sans pattern. don't ask me how, i don't remember. last, the cowl ended up shaping with a pointed V, which worked out since it's a looped thing but that irked me too. i added this item, imperfections & all, to my giveaway package since the winner ended up being female.

happy weekend.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bacon Toffee

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exactly one year ago today my braces were removed. before that, for 18 months 1 week & 6 days i couldn't eat something like this, at least not without breaking a bracket or hurting the chompers.

i made these during turkey weekend, as part of my giveaway package. i even bought a new thermometer on black friday for the occasion. i sorta followed this recipe by a dork & his pork. i say sorta because i ix-nayed the almonds and used heath bar crumbles instead. it was on sale at Target and i ran the risk of SNORTING it if it wasn't used right then & there! do.not.judge.me.

and i mean sorta because i didn't follow the rules. i wasn't present. my friend melissa was coming over any minute, i was mixing wonton filling in one bowl and rolling out apple molasses cookies and well... one second it was 275F and then the next, jesus in the kitchen, it was effing 310F. i grabbed the handle fast and as a result touched that one small metal part and BURNED a finger.  plus, there's a slight burnt aftertaste to the toffee.

so kids, just listen to jeff and be present, be there, act accordingly and try not to harm yourself. my redeeming save: i had the silpat-lined cookie sheet ready.

verdict: it tastes like a heath bar. with bacon. a few coworkers didn't dig it and i'm ok with that. thank goodness i don't have braces anymore, bacon pieces between the tracks would've been so unattractive, yes?

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nuria gifted me the kindle & my first official buy will be the heart is a lonely hunter but any recommendations?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Glass Ornament

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were you one of those kids whose mom kept every single art project you ever produced in school? i wasn't. my best friend in high school, kevin, he was. his mom decorated their home for every season and holiday, and you can bet that there'd be some random kevin or his brother andrew creation on the end tables, or on the walls. it was quite endearing, as well as gag-inducing. me? grandma didn't hold much stock in such things and my stepmother would graciously accept them, but by the end of the day, they'd land in the trash. this is why she doesn't receive gifts from me, bought or handmade. BigK is now the recipient of most of my art projects. ain't she lucky? my most recent offering to her is a glass ornament. this will go along with the other ornament i've given her, a very very very ugly painted one that i gifted her years ago that still graces her tree. and this is why i keep her around, she's good for my self esteem.

on a recent jaunt to mcfadden art glass studio for a glass blowing workshop, i fumbled my way thru & created this piece. for the record, i did say rather inappropriate things, there might've been an expletive uttered when i created a massive hole in my ornament & yes, i giggled the entire 3 hours there. i'd do it all over again, only this time i'd make something else...

the staff was very friendly, patient and hands on. for more pix. special thanks to Jill Myers for snapping some of the shots, especially the ones of me goofing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blue Velvet Cupcakes

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for a dear coworker's birthday recently i made blue velvet cupcakes. thru a series of random facebook inquiries to her daughter, it came out that rebekah likes the color blue, a square cake and lilies. i don't know how to make lilies yet, and i have but one square pan so the only thing i could accommodate her on was the color blue. i laugh now when i think my simple question to get a FLAVOR garnered that answer.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes
recipe from Mean Jean (whose birthday is on the 11th... seriously, december babies are the best!)

2 1/2 c sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TBL wilton gel icing, in royal blue
1 small glob of wilton gel icing, in violet (color tip courtesy of one particular kitchen)
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a smaller bowl, combine the cocoa and food colorings to make a sort of paste. (i did add about 5 drops of water to achieve the paste)
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs one at a time and mix after each addition.
Add in the vanilla and mix well.
Mix in the cocoa paste and 1/3 of the flour mixture.
Pour in half the buttermilk and mix well.
Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture...
then the rest of the buttermilk...
and the last of the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and baking soda

Add it to the batter and mix well, scraping down the sides with a spatula to ensure complete mixing.

Pour the batter into the prepared cups, filling the cupcake liners about half full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes come out clean.

For the icing, i used used 8oz cream cheese and 1lb (more or less) of powdered sugar. i used the biggest tip in my collection to pipe.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Knitted Gryffindor Scarf

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it's Big K's birthday today. she's 29. again. last time she visited, we got inked. again. last time i visited, she graduated and played flip cup like she was 18 21. again.

in her possession she has two bobby flay cookbooks. i elbowed old women and trampled over kids in strollers that day at wegmans to meet that man, i jumped the line from position 344 to 91 to bat my eyelashes at that man, i took PTO from work in the hopes of challenging that man to a throwdown. and in the end? i got inappropriate personalized autographs & the assured belief that he is the personifaction of a very good looking person with the character of a cardboard box. a plain brown cardboard box.

she also took home a knitted gryffindor scarf that nuria created. we three created scarves and traded with each other. i've no details on the scarf, nuria made it on the fly but they are the same yarns as the crocheted gryffindor scarf i made.

Happy Birthday to my favoritest hooker.

Friday, December 3, 2010

oh, hello December

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my 2yen on a few things:
  • december is my favoritest month, despite the cold
  • roses are much easier to pipe than you'd think
  • i am still not a fan of icing
  • one cake decorating course done, two more to go
  • offset spatula is an underrated tool
  • the rotating cake stand thing = Best decorating accessory
  • try not to lick your fingers clean of icing as you're decorating, that's disgusting
i've been researching the Kindle & Nook, trying to make a decision on which i want to invest in. for a decidedly decisive person, i am being very indecisive. Kindle is kinda sorta pretty much winning right now tho... thoughts anyone?

have a loverly weekend, stay warm.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wonton Noodle Soup

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it was a weekend that required some comfort -- what better than grandma's wonton soup? this time with added yellow noodles & baby bok choy, shared with a friend while we watched sappy british movies on netflix.

recently watched: Legion. it was my 2nd time seeing it and i still screamed like a whore burning... in church. i don't think melissa recovered from her laughter that night.