Sunday, November 29, 2009

Remains of a Holiday.

I can't believe it's over almost as much as I can't believe we get/have to do it all again (only bigger) in three weeks. I'm not ready to do the Christmas stuff yet. I think this stuff is so pretty. So, I'm waiting until December, maybe next weekend, to drag out those bins.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I like it low-key and stress-free, which to me means, dinner is ready when it's ready, and the day need just unfold. I was going to keep it just us, because I know it's hard for people not to follow a plan, and I can't really fit more than 6 people around my dining room-in-my-living room table. I also didn't want to worry about a perfectly set table and decorations, or feel a need to wear anything but sweat pants all day.

Then today I decided, Screw that, and invited Pannland to join us whenever they feel like it, and the Swan's to come by for dessert. I'll probably have to eat standing up at the kitchen counter, and it's bound to be stuffy and chaotic in my tiny little house, but isn't all the togetherness also the point of the holiday? Spending time with family and friends? My favorites have always been more hodgepodge and less Martha Stewart anyway.

So, besides stuffing myself with Chex Mix and Heavenly Onions, another highlight of the weekend is when we lay around watching Home for the Holidays. I have no idea how this tradition got started, but my Mom, brother and I still die laughing every year when the cat pukes, the dad plays the organ, and Robert Downey Jr. pimps Holly Hunter in the hot rod.

Finally, I'd like to share the recipe I can't live without, and only eat one day of the year:


4 large onions (2 yellow, 2 sweet/vidalia)
4 Tbs butter
1# grated Swiss cheese
1/2 Tbs pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
3-4 tsp soy sauce
french bread - sliced and buttered

1. Saute onions. (I will do this in a large pan on the stove, but the original recipe uses the microwave at 90% power, and goes 5 times for 5 minutes – stirring in between).
2. Mix the sauteed onions and all the rest in a large bowl and pour it into a large, flat baking dish.
3. Place buttered french bread on top.
4. Bake at 350┬║ for 30 minutes.

I seriously can't wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My littlest fan.

How cute is Ever looking at my drawings that lamp?

Little one up top is a fish drawing I did for her, the other is an abstract portrait of her parents on their wedding day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My 2009 Cookbook.

Hi friends. I think I'm going to do another cookbook this year. Opening the last one I'm somewhat distraught to realize it's been FOUR years since the original, which I feel was only 2 years ago. Regardless. If you got one of the 2005 cookbooks, maybe you used it once or twice. (Hopefully more – lots of classic recipes in that one).

*Click to enlarge. From the 2005 edition – worth repeating.*

If you are interested in getting the 2009 version (no repeat recipes), let me know. They are kind of a pain in the a** to make, but I think I'm going to do another round this year, and I want to make sure everyone who uses and enjoys them gets one. SO – leave a comment if you're interested.

Miss Pink Dianthus (I think).

So, my favorite plant of all time got her crew cut this morning and will be stored away in the garage all winter. If she comes back for a third year, it will be tricky to find a replacement for my personal fave. This plant has been beaten down. Eaten to one bald branch last year in the pot by bugs, she revived herself at the end of last summer, and then came back and continued to bloom this year, despite repeated diversity, until about 2 weeks ago. I heart this plant. Delicate and tough.

Graue Mill.

FINALLY got out for a walk in the woods. The weather hasn't been cooperating at all for about the past 6 weeks, so unfortunately that means all photo-ops for the true beauty of colors on the trees were lost, but still got a few pretty ones regardless.

Despite a twinge of a soar throat that kept me home for the most part, this weekend was a good one with some friends, organizing and long naps (3+ hours! both days!). I miss my brother and family lately, so the pending holidays which are rapidly approaching is making me excited for some down-time, decorating and maybe some shopping. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beef Daube Proven├žal – Part II.

On Sunday I made this simple and delicious beef stew. (Funny, but that's exactly what Cooking Light said about it). And it was simple. It was delicious.

But tonight I am taking some of the leftovers to another level – all thanks to my new Breville Panini Press. Dave & Jane sent this to me a couple weeks ago and it's literally changed my life.

Now I keep French rolls in the freezer. It's quick and easy to thaw one out, stuff it with goodness and something that will melt, and grill up a masterpiece. In this case, a Burgundy Beef & Cheese. Yep, I just made that one up.

Here's how it went:

1. Defrost roll. Heat up press.
2. Brush roll with olive oil.
3. Press roll halves to flatten and slightly crisp.
4. Build sandwich* and top with cheese.
5. Press sandwich until you have a melty, steamy, toasty delight.

Well, I don't know what to say**. I keep making the most incredible sandwiches.

*I separated the meat from the stew and broke it down by pulling it like pork. I added some of the onions and garlic, and pre-heated this in the microwave.

** I used baby carrots and cut them into circles. Next time I will just halve or quarter them length-wise.

UPDATE: The Berville Panini Press is ON SALE now through December 3rd. $70 off! Get one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blown Away.

I just got home from This Is It. All I have to say is WOW. I had heard it was awesome, but I wasn't prepared to be so moved. Sometimes when I see performances, I can't stop smiling, and I want to cry at the same time. I basically felt like that through the whole film.

I'm utterly devastated for the dancers, musicians, singers, art directors, set designers, producers, and literally everyone involved in the making of this unrealized "come back" "farewell" concert and tour. The hours of practice, deliberation, planning, tweaking, sweating, joy and pain are incomprehensible to me. The one consolation is the time each of them got to spend so intimately with arguably the most incredible performer of all time.

His talent is timeless. His unmeasurable knowledge of music and dancing, creativity, and just timing in general – WOW. One of my favorite parts was when someone said, Well how will you know when to start when you can't see the screen behind you? and he simply replied, I'll feel it. What a legend.

Blown away. That is it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Highlight of Halloween.

The sun finally came out!

Just kidding. It was these three and their swine flu stopping by. I told them I'd heard their haunted house was cool. Bobby said something like how I was awfully generous. Nicky yelled Happy Halloween from the minivan. And Davey asked, Does it [a Heath bar] have nuts in it. Lindsey laughed and said, You're not allergic to nuts, Davey. And Davey: Yes I AM! Davey definitely seemed the least sick.

I had 54 Treaters. 9 were sorta embarrassed teenagers. Only 1 of the groups of kids got away without any of them saying thank you, about 7 tween boys.