Sunday, December 25, 2011

Musings of Martha Wannabe

Let me be honest.

I am not so very good at the domestic things.

Its not that I can't do them. I can. In fact, there was a time when I looooveeeddd to throw parties with themes and fancy food.

Its just that I live by myself now. With a naughty dog. I work all week. Try to go outside all weekend. I have poor time management skills in my personal life, which means I never get things done in the time I want to get them done. Like making Christmas presents, sending birthday gifts, or creating gourmet meals worthy of a four star restaurant. and cereal for dinner serve me well most of the time. You are welcome. Come over for dinner whenever you are in the mood for some Kix.

But the last couple of weeks, I have come down with a seasonal epidemic known as "Stewartluenza."

The symptoms are very obnoxious. They include lack of appetite, sleepless nights, shaking, aching joints, headaches, and illusions of grandeur.

Allow me to elaborate.

A few weeks ago, I got it in my mind that I wanted to make this recipe for Sweet Potato, Roasted Chili, and Coconut Milk Ravioli. How hard could this be? You know... to make ravioli from scratch. For the first time. Ever. And have company for dinner while I tried out this recipe.
While mine look only a little like the recipe, they were pretty freaking delicious. I ate them until I couldn't sit up comfortably and contemplated undoing the top button on my britches after dinner...but alas, I had guests. I didn't eat anything else for the next two days. You might say I lost my appetite completely.

Except for the following week when I had delicious stew made especially for me. Which I ate with reckless abandon and forgot to photograph.

Last week I woke up with the overwhelming need to make Christmas candy for my office and friends. Unfortunately, when I make Christmas candy, I can't just make one batch. No no.

I made Peanut Butter Fudge, Chocolate Orange Fudge, Chocolate Coconut Almond Fudge, and Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears.

This would have been fine, except that I did not get home from work until 8:30 PM, stayed up well past midnight, then got out of bed at 4:30 AM to start my next day. I had a sleepless night.

Sister's annual Christmas Cookie Exchange was last week, which meant that I had to bring three dozen cookies to share with people, in addition to lots of other foods to add to the table. I made cinnamon apple oatmeal bars...

And these chocolate Andes mints cookies, which I could not hold still enough to photograph. I apparently sampled too many cookies. Sugar overload?

Sister's party was beautiful, but as you can see from her expression, which mirrored mine....

we were quite tired and sore from standing at the stove by the time the guests arrived for this lovely spread.
The Eve of Christmas Eve proved to be the worst of the virus. The illusion of grandeur. After seeing this beautiful picture of Panettone:

I got this crazy idea that I, too, could make something so delightful on the eyes and obviously delicious.

How hard could it be to make a sponge...

Watch it rise....

Divide it up into pans with ridiculous looking "collars" so that it would be tall...

Bake it and enjoy?

Quite hard, actually.

Messy. Time consuming. Like hours upon hours, really.

They didn't turn out so very tall and fluffy, but they were pretty yummy anyway.

I can't say that every endeavor was chaotic or resulted in me harboring some sort of resentment. Christmas Eve Dinner was actually pretty fantastic. Painless. Delicious. In fact, I might even go far as to say it was the Pièce de résistance to this season: Amazingly Good Pork Loin....studded and stuffed with garlic and rosemary, then topped with a rosemary balsamic reduction.

I am sure that I will recover soon from Stewartluenza. Hopefully sooner than later because with all this baking and cooking of amazing food, I am gonna need to buy some new pants.

And trust me, if you thought my trouble with hats was bad...wait until you hear about me and my jeans. 

Happy Holidays!

From me and Ellie....

May your season be full of adventures, a little bit of snow, and lots and lots of cookies!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Welcome, Drew Cooper!

Not so very long ago (well, September of 2010), I got to stand up with my oldest and bestest friend while she married her best friend.  A special occasion for all of us who love them to smile about. 

In perfect and right timing, they had something even more special to smile about...

And on Friday morning, all 8 lbs of Drew Cooper decided he wanted to come out and meet everyone.

Welcome, Little Man! I am so glad you are finally here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Bleeding Heart

Politics, like religion and economics, is not a topic I often broach with people I do not know. Perhaps because I advocate tolerance for individual choice, opinion, and freedoms. Perhaps because I work for The Man and I am not really supposed to talk about those things at the water cooler. Perhaps because I suck at confrontation and usually end up with comebacks that are some derivative of "Pbbbtttt!" when political debate begins.

I will freely admit, however, that my political leanings are more Left than Right. That I made cold calls for our President and would do it again. That I have some staunch opinions about certain hot ticket items that do not always jive with my upbringing...and that I am avid NPR listener.

Interpret as you wish.

When I get to the point on Highway 395 on my daily commute that I can pick up an NPR station (the north end of Little Lake Canyon, in case you are wondering), I stop everything I am doing...since I am excellent multi-tasker while I am driving....and listen to Morning Edition, or Talk of the Nation, or All Things Considered, or Fresh Air. If I'm lucky, I catch Car Talk or This American Life. And yes, I do subscribe to the Podcasts. And stream from my computer while I am knitting on Saturday mornings

Since I listen to NPR, and do not have television, I have missed out on the propaganda  media soundbites for the upcoming GOP primaries. I am not terribly heartbroken, since the brainchild of Will Ferrell and Andy McKay - Funny or Die - has provided me with all the information I need.

Enjoy. And take with a grain of salt becasue I would never tell you how to vote in 2012.



Thursday, December 8, 2011


This was a very long week that involved a lot of driving, a lot of worrying about people having medical tests and procedures, and not a whole lot of sleeping. Thank God its FINALLY Friday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

7 outtta 10.

I'm still around...just in the middle of a 10 day work week.

I'm exhausted. But I wouldn't trade sleep for any of the amazing things happening right now.