Monday, February 28, 2011

Every Night

Every night I go into her room, often to turn off her light, always to pull the covers back up. This face, this moment. It makes it all better.

Monday, February 21, 2011


So, I have this brother. Matt. He's my kid brother. There's only a little more than three years (and a sister) between us, making him 37, but he's still the baby, you know? The one who got spoiled protected a bit growing up, who still chafes under the ever-so-slightly overwhelming concern of the three of us women in the family. (We worry. You know how that goes.)

He's been on an amazing roll in the last two years, and suddenly, it turns out he's, like, an adult. And a business owner. And a husband, and a stepfather, and as of shortly after midnight last night, a father.


My little brother is a FATHER.

He has babies. Babies! Two! He and his wife had twin boys. Boys! The first on my side of the family (winning him the Grand Prize of giving a child our grandfather's name, which I believe every single one of us, all seven cousins, have at one point or another wanted to do).

He's become this completely new and amazing person over the last twenty-four months. I mean, he's always had these elements of his personality in play, different times in his life when he's shouldered responsibilities or taken on important roles in the lives of those he loves, but suddenly they've all come together and he's... he's a man.

And a father.

Congratulations, Matt. I love you. 

(Even if you don't read my blog. Neener neener neener!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Only a Little Late

So... Still not cooking.

But! Yesterday I whipped up these little cuties:

Homemade peppermint patties. Only heart-shaped!

They were surprisingly easy to make. I more or less followed this recipe. Basically, you mix a boatload of confectioners' sugar with a little peppermint extract and a couple drops of coloring (for Valentine's Day, duh), roll out the "dough" and cut out yer shapes, dip 'em in chocolate and let 'em set. Easy-peasy.

Except for the "making the dough" part. The sugar did not want to clump together. But I persevered and eventually prevailed (by adding extra corn syrup). I may not be the boss of Sarah, but that sugar knew who was in charge. Yeah.

So, here you go. How to make peppermint patties. (I didn't photograph the first step, because: stuff in a mixer. I'm pretty sure you know what that looks like.)

The "dough", rolled out. Not pretty, but it worked.

Centers, heading to the freezer so they don't dissolve in the melted chocolate.

Chocolate bath!

Starting to look like candy.

See? Totally candy. Which I made.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Not Exactly Cooking

So, I haven't quite figure out how I'm going to approach the whole cooking thing yet (but thanks to you all, I have lots of ideas).

But, hey! Look! Cookies! Totally better than roasted meat.

S got an itch to make some treats for Valentine's day after watching the Martha Stewart show with me. (Shut up. Yes, I watch Martha Stewart. While I fold laundry, in fact. I am a housewife, peeps, and am embracing the clich├ęs.)

ANYWAY. We made some sugar cookies (dairy-free, because one of Sarah's besties can't have dairy products) and then whipped up some royal icing, which was totally fun to play with.

Aren't they cute? (They dried hard, though. I should have used the recipe for soft cookies.)

Fancy, eh? I tried that trick where you drag a toothpick through lines of frosting, and it totally worked!

But my favorites were these that Sarah did. Aren't the colors fantastically 80s? They're like little edible Cyndi Lauper videos.

If only cooking dinner could be just a little more like frosting cookies. How does one get crafty with pot roast? Artistically carved vegetables? Little frilled caps on the bones? (No, wait, that's a standing rib roast.) I'll get back to you on that. Still, cookies! Yay!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

That's Just Mean

In the mailbox today was this:

And in my backyard? This:

Why, yes. That is a snowbank half the size of our garage blocking access to the garden, which is buried under four feet of snow.

Thanks, Martha. Thanks a lot.

Monday, February 7, 2011

In Which I Decide To Learn How To Cook. Again.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, there lived a young woman who loved to cook. She made her own bagels, whizzed up enormous batches of homemade gazpacho, smooshed up garbanzo beans by the pound for hummus... She cooked. She had her own Cuisinart and KitchenAid and cast iron pans and stove-top waffle maker. And she used them all.

The young woman got a little older, started working at a culinary school's restaurants, and completely coincidentally started dating aspiring chefs. And she started cooking less. And by the time she got married to a man who, while not an aspiring chef, just so happened to love cooking, she'd stopped altogether.

Many A number of A few years passed. The no-longer-young woman had a family. And one day, she realized that all she cooked was breakfast. She did make a few sporadic stabs at baking. But really, it was breakfast or nothing. Her husband would leave for a business trip, and she would provide breakfast for dinner to her offspring. Pancakes, eggs, french toast, hash from leftovers. Breakfast. All the time.

And then she further realized that back when she did cook, her repertoire was almost entirely vegetarian. Not because of some principled stance against meat, but because meat is expensive and the woman in question was and remains cheap thrifty.

So, she decided it was time to learn to cook. Again. Now with meat!

But where to begin? How to begin? She decided to drop the third person and appeal to her invisible readers:

Peeps, if you were going to tackle (re)teaching yourself to cook, what would you do? I'm not about to work my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking; I just want to learn to roast chicken and make, I don't know, pot roast. Ham. A turkey dinner. Classic home cooking first. The French can wait.

But who to emulate? JuliaMartha? Mark Bittman? James Beard? Irma Rombauer? The dedicated food nerds at America's Test Kitchen? Elizabeth David? Ruth Reichl? MFK Fisher? Nigella Lawson? Saint Alton Brown? Where to begin?

Seriously. Where should I begin? Where did YOU begin?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

While The Cat's Away

Tom's been away all week, being all business-y in the nation's capital. Sarah and I have been entertaining ourselves as best we can. But I unexpectedly found that I had a roommate for a couple nights.

Martha the cat had quite a good time catching, petting and releasing him. Repeatedly. She just loves her some rodents. (Naturally, she only eats the ones she finds outdoors. I'm pretty sure she believes any that make their way inside are her pets. Because that's what she does: catches them and pets them. And then lets them go. It's almost sweet.)

Shortly after this photo was taken, Sarah named my roomie Mr. Fuzzy Cutie and asked to keep him. Fortunately, she wasn't terribly upset about his being released into the wild. He was last seen galloping north across Elm Street.

But never fear, I was not left alone for long. Mr. Fuzzy Cutie's family has been building condos in the walls and, from location of the scratching and squealing we hear at night, possibly the pellet stove chimney. Thoughtful little guys, aren't they? Keeping me company like this.

So. Anyone have any favorite rodent-catching tips?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Breaking News!

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am not the boss of the resident four year old and that I do not make the rules in this house. Imagine my surprise. My understanding is that, in fact, I AM the boss and I DO make the rules. I'm shocked to realize I've been laboring under such a major misconception for so long.


She's only four. FOUR. What am I going to do when she's fourteen and bigger than me?

I was a complete nightmare to my wonderful mother when I was a teenager. A nightmare. Just inexcusably rude all. the. time. (Seriously. Ask anyone.) Karma, dudes. I'm about to be flattened by that heavy wheel.

Oh, and for the record, Tom loves this. Couldn't be prouder. He's calling her Tommy Junior.

Someone send help.