Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Well said

"I'm not sure if I can define success. I think if I get to the end of my life having hurt as few people as possible, I will be happy, making sure that the people who mean the most to me know they've been loved.  Success in work, whatever work, will come and go." --Keira Knightley, Marie Claire, 3/2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Here's what we did Saturday

Penny: "Dad, there's something under there.  Can you please get it?"
Ron: "What is 'it,' Penny?"
Penny: "I don't know, but there's something under there and I want it."

Penny: "See it?! I see it!  Get it for me!"
Ron: "Penny, I have no idea what you think is under here."
Penny: "There's definitely something there!  How come you're not getting it for me?"

Penny: "You're not even trying to find it, are you?"
Ron: "There's nothing there."
Penny: "Liar. You just don't care.  Also, your hat smells funny."

(We played this game five times on Saturday, but I only took pictures of it once.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Two things worth trying

I saw these "two ingredient cookies" on Cup of Jo the other week, and I thought, "hmmm ... why not?"  Here is a pretty convincing argument for these cookies by the original authors of the recipe: "Sometimes we’ll make 16 'cookies.' And we’ll eat them all for lunch. I know what you’re thinking… WOW you’re gonna be 500 pounds if you keep eating 8 cookies. But think about what went in these cookies! If I ate 8 cookies, I’ve had: 1 banana, 1/2 cup of oats, and half a handful of chocolate chips and walnuts. Amazing. Leave out the chocolate chips and they are all health."

Do you need to be convinced even more?

They were incredibly easy to make and they're really, really good ... especially for breakfast.  I chose to mix in chocolate chips, some sweetened and unsweetened coconut, and cinnamon.

Next, another recipe that I have made before but forgot existed in my arsenal.  One of the foods I throw away most frequently is ricotta cheese.  I usually buy a 15 oz. container of it, use 1/2 to 1/3 cup of it for a random recipe, forget about the remaining (nearly full container) left over, and then throw it away a week later.  Wednesday night, I made this dessert from Everyday Food:

Crappy photo but it'll have to do.
Basically, it's coffee flavored cannoli filling.  This is ALSO really good for breakfast.  If you've used part of the container of ricotta, then make sure you adjust the sugar accordingly or it could be too sweet.  I wouldn't adjust the espresso powder, though, because the more coffee-er/the better in my opinion.

That's all.

I might make more of those cookies over the weekend. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Checking in

Mulligan and Paloma

Brucie Boy

Forgot to show my mom's handiwork last week.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

Busy week. Name something with sugar in it: We made it.  Since I only work part time, I took full advantage of my situation and told my mom's family to come over for lunch on Valentine's day.  Of course, everything I wanted to make requires help from Ron.  Like the marshmallows in the last post: If you read that recipe, you'll see that it involves pouring molten liquid sugar into a stand mixer without spilling or burning or killing any living people or creatures.  Anyone who knows me also knows that I should never, ever be trusted with a task like that.

Less dangerous are Aunt Edna's cut-outs.  Granted, I literally do not have the physical strength to roll these out properly.  Again: Cue Ron.  If these aren't going to be tissue thin, then don't bother with them.  But DAMN, they're good when they're finished.

I recreated Laurie's red velvet cupcakes that she brought to a Valentine party two years ago.  I remember these things being as good as anything from Dozen (my most favoritest bakery ever ... five hours away in Pittsburgh).

(Oh, Pittsburgh! I've missed you all month!  It's my month to be with you, but that will probably never happen ever again.)

Anyway, mine didn't taste like Dozen at all.  They were just regular, old, red velvets with *yawn* cream cheese frosting.  I need to find out what Laurie did to her frosting. I remember it had some orange zest in it, and I remember it being slightly crunchier with sugar, but not grossly sweet.  Laurie: What did you do??

It also doesn't help that I was so frickin tired when I made these: I creamed (attempted to cream) butter and eggs rather than butter and sugar.  Anyone who knows how to bake anything is cringing at that last sentence.  I know, right? BUTTER AND EGGS???  And, it was 4pm when I did this.  The sun was up when I made this mistake--it wasn't late at night or anything.  I almost threw the whole bowl of batter off my back deck, but I resisted.

Meanwhile, the Fluffs were no help at all this week. Today, I put clean sheets on the bed and Pearl took full advantage:

Yes, the big lump is Pearl.  She slept under the sheet like that for five hours.
Turquoise and pink: my fave Vday color combo.

Cranberry and champagne cocktails

I ate so much sugar today.  And let me tell you: It felt so good.  I kept thinking, "I might regret this," but so far ... nuthin. No regrets.  If dessert is wrong, then I never want to be right.

So I guess it's obvious what I'm not giving up for Lent this year?  No way--life's too short.

Hope you had a fun day and remembered to wear pink ... or red!

Monday, February 11, 2013


I was so upset because I forgot to dye them pale pink!!! I had thought about it all week ... and I forgot.


(btw, we use Ina's recipe.)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Green (instead of grey)

I'm getting a little impatient with winter--slowly reaching my breaking point.  While I am ETERNALLY grateful not to live in Boston this weekend and repeat the winters of 2010 and 2011, I also can't help but feel so damn sick and tired of the cold.  I shouldn't complain ... because I don't live in Boston this weekend (and I'm not moving my daughter into her new apartment in RHODE ISLAND this weekend like one of Ron's colleagues ... can you imagine? The timing is so bad I could weep just thinking about it).

I took the fern pictures the first week of March last year and the fig picture in June or July.  I'm tired of looking at dormant stuff, so here is some stuff that looked alive at one point.

How ironic ... a Boston fern!

Laurie, are you thinking what I'm thinking? "Wow, your new lens would've made those last two so much better"?  Oh well.

Looking at these, I also find myself thinking, "Huh. I don't have any of these plants anymore ... because they all died last year."  Oh well.  At least I still have both of my figs! They're sleeping in the basement right now, and one of them unexpectedly sprouted new leaves last week.  So I have that going for me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2013 Valentine Reveal

Like I was saying a few weeks ago, I really like Valentine's day just because it's a spot of pink in the middle of a grey month.  (Has this month and last month been grey or what? Well, it has been in southeastern PA ... probably not so for Marcie in California.)  Something else I really like is mail--not junk mail (although I have PILES of it if you'd like some) or bills (I have plenty of those too), but fun mail like birthday cards, Christmas cards, and random stuff from my grandmother and Dr. Joanie G.  (The last time Joanie G. mailed me something two weeks ago, it was the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Why? you ask. Why not?? I counter.  Also, she ordered two by mistake so she gave one to me.  Isn't she great?)

Valentine's Day is yet another excuse for fun mail.  I could go further and argue that this is my lame attempt at some sort of public service: USPS is going belly-up faster than a frantic wasp in a huge swimming pool, so any excuse to buy stamps is helpful to this public entity (right? right).  Last year, I spent a weekend cutting out felt hearts and sewing them together to make these pins. I have to say, my felt heart pins keep showing up even a year later.  For example, Lauren keeps hers on the curtains above her kitchen sink window, Annie stuck hers on her bedroom dresser, and Steph wore hers on her purse.  It's pretty flattering when these things aren't immediately thrown into the trash.  (We could go existential here and ask, "Won't we all just end up in 'the trash'?" but I won't.)  This year, I stayed away from the felt (pretty and durable, but a hellish nightmare to cut) and stuck with paper.

First things first: I took pictures of a bunch of heart-shaped stuff this year.  I saw these green moonflower leaves on a Longwood trellis in April or May:

After Christmas, I saw these anthurium (anthuria?) at Longwood and they looked valentiney too:

I also picked out a third shot of a heart-shaped bundt cake (that got totally stuck in the pan despite liberal use of Crisco and flour--it got turned into cake pops), but it's not on my computer to post separately here.  Finally, I saw this heart at Longwood too, but it didn't make the valentine cut:

Since the first two images plus the bundt cake were Instagram shots, I had them printed out on little 2x3 cards via the Printstagram website (along with a ton of other shots that I love and I really wanted outside of my actual phone).  I glued the shots onto the blank side of Valentine card stock and embellished them with Martha Stewart's adhesive border strips for scrapbook pages (the same ones I used for Erin's tags in the last post).  Like I said before, no gluesticks required.  Like I said before: Thank you, Jesus.

Each one is a little different.

I love all of the bunnies and birds on the Martha stickers.  There were so many stickers in the Martha book that I had plenty to decorate the front and the backs of each card.

Finally (not pictured here), I stuck on a magnet to the backs so that they're functional somehow.  While the magnets are strong enough to stick to the fridge on the back of the valentine, they're not strong enough to hold up something else with it. (Be warned.) They're small, so they would look cute on a fridge or that ugly filing cabinet next to your desk at work.

The Printstagram prints are great--I was shocked at the quality of the image and the card stock on which they're printed.  (Isn't it sad that I used the word "shocked" there? I swear to God, the only thing I do most days is frantically avoid getting ripped off ... again ... for the millionth time.) The only problem and foil to my plans: You can't write on them.  If you scroll up, you can see a gap under the green leaves and pink anthurium blossoms where I had planned to write "14 feb 2013" with a Sharpie pen ... but the ink won't adhere to the glossy paper. It just beads up and smudges off.  A plain old ball point pen didn't work either. I thought I had totally ruined one of them when trying to write the date, but it was nothing that a Martha sticker couldn't cover up.

I finished them all last week while watching The Most Pivotal Episode of Downton Abbey EVER, and then I packaged them up in last year's leftover envelopes.  Of course, I purchased the latest "love" stamps (you're welcome, USPS) and dug out my heart stamp and pink ink pad. (Saying "pink ink pad" out loud sounds funny.)

So they're all ready to go.  I'm telling you, people, find yourself some pink because February will feel even worse if you don't.  Or, you can just whine and gripe about it. Your choice.

(I'll probably do both.)