Thursday, December 31


I'm very close to buying my first house. It's equal parts exciting and terrifying. Beyond the home purchase I'm considering getting dog. I will likely wait a bit to get settled into the new homeowner routine but eventually I'd like to get a trusty little buddy by my side to help keep an eye on things. I've long been a fan of corgis but lately I've been thinking about the possibility of getting a bassett hound. They have great temperaments, are loyal and have deep intimidating barks all in a reasonably sized package. Best of all they have amazing howls!

Meet Sadie who howls whenever her BFF leaves the house. Such despair! I love how Sadie stops when she finally realizes she's not alone and in fact has someone to play with. I heart her.

Wednesday, December 23

Time Well Squandered

I've been on vacation this week. All of my Christmas duties are complete. All of my gifts are purchased, wrapped and sitting under the tree. I baked some spectacular Oatmeal Pecan Raisin cookies for my Dad and soon after became obsessed with finding some new quality cooking sites online. I found some great ones to add to my blog's sidebar:

Taste Spotting
Smitten Kitchen
O Pistachio
What We're Eating
Mixing Bowl
Love & Olive Oil
Make Life Delicious
The Bitten Word
Sugar Crafter

But hands down my new favorite has got to be:

Food Porn Daily

Despite all of these great new finds I wandered over to Allcooks and was entirely mislead.

I felt like baking but didn't have the patience for cookies (all those pesky batches!). Instead, I zeroed in on banana bread. Unfortunately, I could only find green bananas (much less over ripe bananas). I switched gears and decided to make a zucchini bread instead. I sadly did not do the wise thing and ask around for a decent recipe. I did the lame thing and logged on to AllCooks, found an ok looking recipe and baked what has to be the worst zucchini bread of all time. I knew 2 shredded zucchinis looked like way too much but I shrugged and baked it anyway. The resulting bread looked perfect but tasted all wrong. It tasted of way too much zucchini and God knows what else. I hated it. My Mom tried a bite and said "Is this supposed to be a healthy recipe?" Yeah, it was that bad. Even my Dad bravely tried a bite and exclaimed "Blechh, that's pretty bad". They were right, it was a damn bad sweet bread.

I redeemed my skills in the kitchen later by making Julia Child's Onion Soup. It was amazingly good despite my one exclusion. Julia says to add some cognac to the soup right before serving. I had already cooked some dry vermouth into it and thought it tasted sublime as it was. I really dislike the taste of alcohol and couldn't imagine cognac helping any. I told my Dad he could add a splash of cognac if he wanted. He didn't. Dad agreed that it tasted great as it was. I toasted up some fresh French bread and melted some good Swiss cheese over the toast. The soup over the toast was fantastic.

Even my soup success didn't make me feel better about the great zucchini bread debacle. I decided to give it to try again but this time with a pro's recipe. I looked for an Ina Garten zucchini bread recipe with no luck. I then visited Martha Stewart's site and found what seemed to be a much more reasonable zucchini bread recipe than this afternoon's. In fact, I baked Martha's Zucchini Spice Bread and it came out amazingly good. It's not very sweet, it's just right. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 19


Have you ever been drawn to something yet repelled by it at the same time? I was sampling Christmas music and realized I feel that way about several things. For one, I'm oddly drawn to Jim Brickman then I listen to him a bit and immediately feel over steeped in sap and retreat. Do you know what I mean?

I feel the same way about the Catholic church. I'm bizarrely drawn to the pomp and circumstance of the church (or is it The Church?). I really like Mary and I think confession is a grand idea. Mostly I love the fact that Catholics have a Saint for every occasion. Did you know there's a Saint for cramps? I mean seriously that's a religion for me, right? Then I take one curious step towards Catholicism and immediately run for my life when I learn about the rules and oppression and the assigned roles of women. They like to hold up Mary as their favorite woman but sheesh, she had to give birth to God to impress them. I eventually think of the Inquisition and then I think of Monty Python and then I'm lost. Through it all I remain curious but not enough to actually go to a Catholic church to investigate any of it in person. Did I mention that I was baptized Catholic? I always claim that "it didn't take". I don't mean to offend my Catholic friends and family, let's just say it's just not for me.

I have the same push/pull feelings for New Year's Eve. It always sounds like a fun idea but when it comes down to it, it's just a weak excuse for the immature or troubled to drink too much and cause problems for the rest of us. I typically just pretend it's not happening until New Year's Day when I can watch the Rose Parade on tv. A parade, by the way, that ends about 2 miles from my home.

I love the idea of drinking aged scotch but find the taste revolting. I think it would be so cool to be able to order a scotch on the rocks and love it, but I don't so I can't.

I LOVE to learn about Henry VIII but think he was a despicable freak. This pretty much applies to most history. I'm fascinated with history but I am NOT one of those who feels she was born too late. Traveling back in time is not a fantasy that has ever appealed to me. I occasionally think it might be fun to be some sort of invisible spectator to some past events. Would I want to go back and live there? No thank you. I prefer the idea of past historical figures coming into our times for a ride. Wouldn't you just love to take the some of the Donner for a drive to Donner Pass? I guess that's sort of a mean idea but I couldn't help but think of it when I drove up there a few years ago.

I guess I'll just continue to satisfy my curiosity from the safe confines of my little MacBook and the Internet.

Wednesday, December 16

It's About Tme

Speaking of year end lists, I was thinking about what I've read this year and I'm sad to say it's not much. I don't mean the content was bad, I mean it's a pitifully short list that I'm not proud of. It made me think about the books I've been meaning to read for years. I'd say the book I most hang my head in shame about having never read is Little Women. I know! Someone gave me a copy when I was around 10 years old but I could never get into it. I've decided it's finally time to knock that one off my "To Read" list. My buddy Shandon and I spoke about doing a book-of-shame swap. By this I mean that I agreed to read Little Women and she said she'd give her book of shame a shot. (I'll let her tell you what that book is.)

Here are the books I'd like to finally read in 2010:
Sort of a weird list, huh? I can't help it. These are the books I've always meant to read but never have. Dammit, it's time!

Here are the books I'm thinking about re-reading in 2010:

What books have you always intended to read? Will you finally read one this year?

Monday, December 14

Best of

I love the "Best Of" lists that pile up this time of year. I think they are the very best thing about a year ending. If you feel the same way, here is a great place to get your "Best Of" fix. Click around for NPR's best in all kinds of genres. I know I'll be buzzing around these lists when I have a little more time come vacation. Weeeee!

Oh, and Shandon? Did you know about American Fantastic Tales? Do tell!

Sunday, December 6

Silly Gifts

This is one of the funniest gift ideas I've seen so far this season. If you "get it" then you're a pal o' mine, if not, then you're not.

Here is another one that I love:

Anyone who knows me knows that I really dislike cats. Here's a little something to celebrate that hatred:

Ok, I know tragedy plus time is supposed to equal comedy but I don't think I'm quite ready for this.

These are cool:

So there are a few gift ideas for you during these last days of Christmas shopping. Enjoy!