Monday, December 14, 2009

Tuscany

yes, this is in our kitchen
{currently my only picture of our new kitchen, because I think it's funny...this is a decal (wallcovering sticker?) of a scene in Tuscany (I think). The seller's realtor described it on the realty website as "adding great character...shows lots of depth". Which totally sold us, you know? We needed no other reason to buy than this mural right here. So this is where we have breakfast every morning. Isn't it just picturesque? Sadly, this will be the first thing to go when we start on the kitchen renovation...}

I spend a lot of my time thinking about baking and cooking, so you'd think when Christmas comes around I'd be thrilled to have the opportunity to bake things and give them out as gifts. A baker's dream! But I find myself paralyzed by indecision. This is a huge test, right? I have to find the best cookies and treats to make. There just seem to be lots of just ok cookie recipes out there, and I just don't want to mess with anything that's mediocre.

That's why I love food blogs (see also: my left sidebar of ones that I follow). Food blogs are like cookbooks, but infinitely better! What's not to love about a medium that allows people from all over to comment on the correct procedure for, say, making creme brulee? It's so fascinating to me. I've also recently discovered AskMe, specifically the posts tagged
food and beverage. Great tips and tricks to be discovered there.

I've muddled through several of these blogs and posts, and found a few recipes that I have decided to give as gifts this year. I wanted to give a variety of things, so I searched for nut recipes, truffle recipes, as well as cookies, of course. So here they are (and thanks to their respective blog owners for doing all the dirty work to distinguish between so-so and so good).


chocolate carmel crack(ers)
lemon cornmeal shortbread cookies
pepita brittle
rosemary butter cookies
rum balls
twice-baked shortbread (note: this would be, most definitely, my choice for a last meal if I were ever presented with that question. Just a big platter of these and a glass of milk, and I would die happy)
sugar and spice nuts

What are you making for (edible) Christmas gifts this year?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twilight...

No, not that. (Tangent: I have not read any of these books, nor have I seen the movie. Does it live up to its hype?). More like we've been in sort of a twilight zone. See, we spent the whole weekend moving. Into this!

our new home

If you read my blog at all, I posted a few times over the summer about us finding a house and making an offer on it, only for it to fall through. That happened twice. One lovely commenter reassuringly said that, "Don't worry, third time's the charm!" Well, what do you know, she was right. This time everything worked out, and now we've ended up with the house of our dreams. Seriously. It was built in 1907, has 14' ceilings, and has pretty much all of the trappings and amazing character of a late Victorian home. It has all the room that we'll ever need, and we love it.


And the kitchen! The kitchen, people, is what I've always wanted. Our previous kitchen left much to be desired. The new kitchen is still full of unpacked boxes, and it's killing me that I haven't been able to fully use it yet (Christmas cookies, anyone?). I'm dying to bake or cook something. Anything. Now I actually have the room to make anything that I want! 10 dozen cupcakes? No problem! I've got more counterspace than I know what to do with! Can you tell that I'm thrilled? I am entertaining the idea of turning this blog into more of a cooking blog, starting from the very first thing that I make in our new kitchen...

Anyway, back to our twilight zone. Otherwise known as moving an entire house full of stuff to another house. I counted, and I've moved almost 15 times since I turned 18. I'm 28, so that means I've moved 15 times in 10 years. And even then, with all of that moving under my belt, I still forgot how painful the whole process is. Sort of like childbirth? I don't know. All I know is that by the end of Saturday, straddling both worlds by having half of our belongings at one house and the other half at the other house, I broke down in tears because all I wanted to do was go to the store to buy detergent. Detergent. For some reason I felt that everything would be made alright and the new house would feel like home if only I could get my hands on some detergent and do some laundry. My husband just wanted to shower and go grab dinner, and I was so exhausted and emotional that I just started crying, that all I needed was some detergent. "We can't go out to dinner! We have to make this new house clean and good and ours," I sobbed to him. God love that man, I'm sure he thought I was going crazy. He convinced me that basic hygiene and eating a meal were more crucial at that point than washing a load of laundry. And of course, he was right.

But the boxes! And the bags! The funny thing was, we had packed the whole week prior, and thought we had made decent progress; we would only need our friends to help with the big furniture. But then we realized we hadn't packed up the pantry. Oh, and what about the refrigerator? The freezer? Oh my gosh, the upstairs den. It was never ending.

But despite the stress and the exhausting days, it's all worth it. We're so excited. It's a new start. :) Stay tuned for more pictures...and maybe the start of a brand new cooking blog!