Archive for July, 2007
Thank you Costco bakery worker. Thank you for once again saving me from myself.
I don’t know if it’s a store policy but please don’t ever change how you package the assorted giant muffins. The glorious, delicious, tender, yummy muffins. The gargantuan muffins that are way more than one serving if you have any self-restraint at all. Mostly I, myself, don’t suffer from the ills of self-restraint and I can polish one off in a sitting, no problem.
It’s the chocolate ones that steal my heart (and stomach). Rich and cake-like, studded with chocolate chips. A damn, fine dessert all by itself, really. I can easily pass by the chocolate muffins packaged by the dozen. In no figment of my imagination can I justify twelve heavenly chocolate muffins all to myself. And they would be all mine, for you see, my husband does not have a sweet tooth. I still wonder how such a thing is possible. If I’ve made cookies, he might have one that day and ask a week or more later, are there any cookies left? Is he serious? It’s been a week. No self-respecting homemade cookie lasts more than three days, four tops. So you can see how the muffins would be my responsibility alone. (The kids, you ask? C’mon, the muffins are as big as their heads, I can’t feed them to my kids. Seriously.)
So I was once again saved yesterday from the assortment pack of muffins by the strange flavor combinations they favor there at the bakery. The hunt begins by looking for the ones with chocolate. Have to have the chocolate. Next we see what will they be paired with. Blueberry? That’s a good one. You can pass this off as breakfast. Banana walnut? Same. Lemon poppyseed? Tough call. An excellent muffin but one fears the strong flavor of the lemon might have infiltrated the chocolate if they’ve been touching. The oat-y, apple-y one with icing? Another good run at dessert, maybe breakfast with the oats and all, also justifiable.
The saving grace is…. the corn muffin. They’re always in the assortment with the chocolate. Egads!
I don’t have anything against corn muffins. I like a corn muffin once in a while. I even bet Costco makes a fine corn muffin. But I won’t buy an assortment pack with corn muffins. You see, despite the fact that I like to delude myself sometimes, I really do understand that these muffins are bad for me, especially in the Costco quantity. They haven’t called out the trans fats yet on the label, but I’m sure they’re in there somewhere. Something must be hydrogenated. They taste too good not to be. Bottom line is I can’t eat four unjustified corn muffins just to get to the delectable chocolate ones. I don’t know why, but it’s a line I can’t cross. Thank heavens. I think it’s been more than a year since I’ve bought muffins. I think the last time I caved, I was pregnant and somehow felt justified.
So thank you again, Costco bakery worker. You’ve made it possible for me to make it out of the store once again without muffins. Bless you.
So we already know I’m not good at accessorizing. And despite my love of color and art, I realized that in some respects I’m quite boring after seeing this great collection of mugs that belongs to a friend of mine. I have 8 plain white ceramic mugs from Target that I oddly like. And I have one gorgeous handmade mug that I never use right next to the white ones. It’s almost too pretty in relation to the others. Like if I used it, I could never go back to the white ones and I’m a sucker for the underdog. Maybe I just can’t make artistic mug choices before I’ve had a cup of coffee. Anyway, I digress…
Next, I realized that my living room is all green and brown… couch, pillows, rug. So I went my fabric stash. I’ve had this collection of fat quarters for a while that I thought would be great somewhere in the house. And man oh man, between the wavy stripes and kooky dot and the colors, wow, do they brighten up the room. I’m so so happy with them. I wish I had made them sooner.
My darling three year old boy has entered the why phase. He must say it (interject some very large number here) times a day. Good grief. I’m running out of things to say because his logic and listening skills do not equal that of his curiosity. I made a rule to explain things just three times then I won’t talk about it any more. Mean mom? Yup, I was afraid of that. He doesn’t really want the answer, he just wants to ask the question. I admit I’m not prepared for this. I’ve mastered bathing, burping and breastfeeding but I’m baffled by this one. This should be in parenting classes…. “How to handle Why? in three sentences or less” or “Why? for Dummies“.
This is a conversation in the car a few days ago… Why is the farmer in the dell? What’s a dell? Why don’t we have a dell?
If he starts asking about Pop Goes the Weasel I’m in serious trouble. Help.
Do you want the good first or the bad? Ok, good first. Summer breeze does make me feel fine. Almost better than the scent of flowers, I love the fragrant perfume of herbs. I love our little herb garden.
Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives, parsley, sage, peppermint and cilantro. Another call for a scratch and sniff blog. Honestly, I must give all the credit for the upkeep to my husband. He waters it when things get dry. I occasionally go out with our oldest boy who loves using his safety scissors to trim off any of the tops that threaten to flower and to pick something we might need for dinner. But we weren’t diligent enough early on. We’ve lost my favorite… the cilantro. It grew like wildfire then went to seed before we could stop it. I’m so sad about it. I tried trimming it down in hopes it would come back (see sad picture, right). But alas, just a few spindles and more flowers. I love cilantro, the unmistakable spark it adds to dishes. And I love the fragrance even more. I swear, if they had a perfume that smelled like cilantro, I’d wear it. As far as the rest of the herbs, we haven’t begun to use to their potential this year. Last year we were exploring sage. Here’s a great recipe. A bit time consuming and makes a ton but very tasty. We haven’t done anything at all with the mint which is new for us this year. Maybe a mojito? I know I’m bucking the trend but I don’t think they’re all that special. Have to poke around for a few more recipes.
Ok, I know it seems a shame to interject this now but here’s the flip side. Hot summer breezes can also bring some not so pleasant smells. You know, the garbage that has to be taken out TONIGHT and can’t wait until morning. But right now there’s something funky in our downstairs bathroom. It also connects the storage space under the stairs so who knows what may lurk therein. It smells like something small and dead. I think dead things are my husband’s realm. That and big spiders. I’m pretty sure it was in our wedding vows. I’ve so far avoided the area but I may have to pull out the flashlight and investigate. If it’s something dead, I’ll bring it up with the proper party. (Thanks, love.)
My mother has a lipstick vine like this one that I picked out at a greenhouse over thirty years ago. I had never heard of plants living so long but apparently they do. Over the years, as I went away to college, moved to this state and that, this tropical plant has lived a contented life in central Connecticut. It’s a temperamental bloomer, they say but according to Mom, hers is a harbinger of visits from … you guessed it, me. It would be dormant for months, she’d report. No lipsticks in sight. But as it approached time for me to visit the family homestead, out would pop some lovely little lipstick flowers. The blooms on hers tend to a more eggplant purple, rather than these red ones. I just found this plant a few months ago in a nursery nearby. Over the years, I have tried to grow cuttings from Mom’s plant and others that I have bought new but I’ve never been able to keep them alive for more than a few months. Odd … or not, can’t quite figure yet. I’m still trying to ascertain the hue of my thumb, green or otherwise. The only plant we have in the house right now is the longest, leggy-est pothos (read: un-killable plant) known to man. As our house is currently child-proofed, there aren’t too many places for houseplants to live happily. The lipstick vine is living outside for the summer which it seems to like so far and I’m just hoping to find a warm, partially sunny place inside for the winter that will please its fickle temperament. Now if I only knew whose visit these blooms are predicting…
I just have to put the borders on this quilt top and it will be ready to send to the Quilts of Valor Foundation. They will find a machine quilter to button it all up and then the finished quilt will make its way into the hands of a returned veteran. I’m happy and humbled to be able to make this quilt and I hope it will be useful to someone who has given so much.
I’m really pleased with the pattern, called Options from Maple Island Quilts. It’s not a symmetrical block so depending on how it is sewn together, a number of looks is possible. It was really hard for me to envision how it would look as I was working on it but when I laid down the blocks in this way, the pinwheel in red fabric was really striking. The design on the red has great movement and the lighting in this picture really accentuates it. I’m thinking of using this pattern with some of this fabric when I get around to a new quilt for our bed. I think it will be fabulous. Can’t wait…
(Don’t you wish blogs came with a Scratch & Sniff feature?)
It started with a loaf of Sourdough bread from Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago. I fell in love with sourdough when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area years ago. Tangy, chewy and delicious. Yummy. But oh so hard to find in my native New England. The Trader Joe’s loaf was fine to be sure but the store was just not in my usual travels. What’s a girl to do? Well a crafty, do-it-yourself girl does just that. I would make my own sourdough bread. This, my friends, brings us to the mysterious “sourdough starter”…. an odd smelling, bubbly thick goo (see below) that begins the journey of every good loaf. The best starters are handed down for generations, probably from the Forty-Niners themselves. Not being the beneficiary of such a concoction, I decided to make my own. So many different ways but ultimately you take flour and water or milk, let it get all funky and fermented and viola! You have your very own sourdough starter pet. I say pet because it needs regular care and feeding or it will die. It’s actually getting better and better as it develops over the months. Who knew what I was signing myself up for?
So we have homemade bread in our house now. And now I’m in love with that. It tastes better, it toasts better. (Don’t even get me going, I think I could write a soliloquy on toast alone. Maybe later.) I think I’ve bought only one loaf of bread from the store in the last 4 or 5 months. I called it my Amish winter. All I wanted to do was make bread and quilts. At home with my two young boys, there are days where the to-do list doesn’t get any shorter at all. But at least if I made a couple of loaves of bread, I could feel a sense of accomplishment. And I need that feeling sometimes. So it’s all win, win, win. Good food, good for the family, good for me. And tasty too. Just don’t talk to me about carbs.