Things have been the usual kind of nuts lately. Our days have been busy, spent juggling deadlines and this and that. Yesterday, we made last minute dinner plans with friends, and sat down to a perfect winter feast that included these roasted chicken legs (my fourth go around on the recipe –– it’s that good), plus a batch of savory cheddar waffles (recipe coming later in the week), and a green apple and spinach salad with shallots and garlic. We made palomas and sampled great tequila. All that revelry has left me a little behind today, but no matter –– it was totally worth it.
I wish I could tell you the night was capped off with a slice of this pretty chocolate layer cake with a kumquat glaze, but we devoured it long ago. read more »
Peanuts were first. I’m not clear on exactly how it was discovered, but as long as I can remember I’ve been allergic. I was also allergic to tree nuts and avoided them, mostly. There was that one time on a plane when I ate that white chocolate almond-studded ice cream number. It was a cross country flight, I was alone, and a kid, so I ate the thing (though I did my best to pick out the almonds). Things turned out fine, but even then I knew I’d made a bad decision. read more »
Holidays in years past have been epic affairs. Thanksgiving practically required a spreadsheet to organize, and Christmas needed Swiss precision as we rushed from this place to that. All that planning and coordinating made it hard to enjoy the holiday as it unfolded.
This year, Brian and I decided to make some changes. Our Thanksgiving featured only the four of us, Brian, me, and our two girls. In typical fashion, we sat down an hour later than we’d wanted to, but it didn’t matter in the least. After dinner, we had pie, put our littlest to bed, while our older daughter got to stay up late to watch It’s a Wonderful Life with us. We had to pause a lot and explain things that don’t come up much in a 7 year-old’s life, like the difference between a building and loan and a bank, World War II, bank runs, the Charleston, and the nature of greed, but still, it was a lovely time. Right after that, our weekend spiraled out of control a little bit with sickness and the like, but nobody had to go to the hospital so we count that as a victory. read more »
In the beginning, neither Brian nor I had grand ideas for parenthood. Honestly, it was a selfish endeavor for me –– I wanted to see if I really could, you know, create another human. I also, somewhat mistakenly, saw pregnancy as a great opportunity to eat a lot of ice cream. Our daughter was an easy baby, especially once we’d made it through those first six weeks, and Brian and I settled in to parenthood rather effortlessly.
And things went along this way, with the usual ups and downs, until last year. That was when we realized that the skills required to nurture a big kid and help them become an upstanding person are pretty different from the ones you need to nurture a baby. It’s been a tough transition, with lots of instances of helping our oldest navigate her relationships with others, resolve conflicts, and right wrongs. These same things happen with littles, but the social web of interactions is so much more immediate. Also, there’s homework. read more »
When you work for yourself, when a hobby turns into a job, it’s tough to measure success. And, where the internet is concerned, it’s nearly impossible.
My friend Kelly, the talented woman behind Design Crush, has an ongoing project to share a quote a day everyday this year. I must confess to kind of hating the typical quote sharing on the internet and can guarantee that I do not follow your inspiration board on Pinterest. (It’s not you, it’s me –– if I never see the Keep Calm meme again it will be too soon.)
Kelly’s quotes are different. They move beyond the fluff and hint at the best quiet, focused, or selfish bits of driven people. They reveal truths, minus the saccharine. And occasionally, the smart words she shares stop me in my tracks. read more »
The best desserts are the simplest desserts. A few flavors, choice ingredients, and enough finesse that everything together is so much better than any of the ingredients alone.
It took me a while to really understand tarte tatin. For the longest time, it seemed to me it was just an upside down apple pie. Don’t freak out –– I’ve seen the error of my ways. A good tarte tatin is spare, with a deep caramel, pleasantly soft apples, and a dreamy puff of pastry to hold it all together. Here, I’ve swayed from tradition only slightly by adding a pinch of sea salt. And instead of store bought puff pastry, I went ahead and made my own rough puff pastry (which is, if you’re worried, fairly simple to make.) read more »