July 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Just a quickie for a little inspiration.
My herb and tomato plants are doing nicely, and Mr. H sent me this photo of some of our yield from earlier today:
Pictured here is some delicious yellow grape and brown cherry tomatoes, basil (we have TONS of basil…pesto soon), mint and marjoram.* I like to combine these things with a little cheese on some multigrain toast for breakfast or a snack. Yum!
Enjoy the 4th!
*Please note that marjoram is lovely with all kinds of other herbs, so mix it up. And is smells heavenly, so don’t be afraid to put some in a bud vase.
(Photo: Mr. H for Some Cozy Night. And the salt is Maldon…Gwennie isn’t a dope all the time.)
January 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Happy Saturday! I stumbled out of bed after a 36-hour bug to find this outside my window:
“Did it snow?” I asked myself. I checked again. Yes, it had. Even though the weather report had not indicated that we would be getting more than an inch or two and I was not convinced we would get any. For the record, we definitely got more than and inch or two.
I surveyed my options and while the thought of building a snowman crossed my mind, after assessing the accumulation a little more closely while out with A+O, I decided my best course of action was a day indoors. A perfect excuse to catch up on some reading…
I have been meaning to get to this Jansen book for well over a year. And it is fascinating. (As is Know Your Rodent, but that is a much quicker read.) While reading about the many amazing homes this venerated design firm decorated well into the later part of the 20th century, I began to get The Craving to order a few more books on some of the more infamous and glamourous figures who made up much of Jansen’s clientele and their circle, including the Mitford sisters and Nancy Lancaster. It seems to me that these topics could take me through a number of other snowy days and it is totally possible that this weather is here for a spell:
Really, who wants to go out in that, which isn’t even as bad as it could get. Much better to be curled up with a book and a dog, I say.
So, I fixed the fire…
Which enabled Mr. H to build upon said fire…
Leaving me with nothing to do but order my books, keep reading and then make dinner for friends*, starring a fresh bolognese from Marcella Hazan, who is pretty much that last word in these matters.
So, it will have been basically a day of loafing and pasta-eating, which we all need from time to time. So, thank you very much Surprise Snowfall.
*Although even that might be a Mr. H production. At least I set the table. And pulled out the necessary ingredients.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night, who left her good camera in the city.)
January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
So, I went a little nuts yesterday and spent the day cooking and freezing to make at-home dinners a little more within our grasp. The goal was to make several soups, a few things with our beef*, and a number of sides and sauces that will enable me to cook up a chop or two, make a salad or get some nice cheese and call it a meal.
When I began at noon, I didn’t really think about the end game exactly. I just bought a ton of stuff and got down to cooking. Here is some of the fruit of my labor:
Please note that it is very hard to make edible food look nice in a photo. But this was my “cooling” center where prepared food was left to get cool enough to freeze and avoid freezer burn.
A recent Development Area that I decided to work on in earnest this year was to begin labeling the things I make and freeze. No matter how certain I am that “I’ll remember”, I do not. And it is silly to pretend that I will. So, here are my very casual labels.
And here is the end result, with everything in the freezer.** Again, not pretty pictures, but I am still pretty proud. In fact, it was around this time, either in a fit of delirium or just too much dancing around the kitchen to the Scissor Sisters, that I proclaimed myself “An Awesome Wife” for doing all this stuff.
So, what did I make? I’ll tell you:
– Three containers of Roasted Veggie Soup with Spelt Pasta
– Three containers of Escarole, Bean and Sausage Soup
– Two Sautéed Broccoli and Pine Nuts for use over pasta or as a side
– Two Sautéed Brocoli Rabe with Garlic and Red Pepper as a side
– Two Sautéed Bok Choy, Ginger and Mushrooms to be combined with thin chicken slices at dinner time
– Two Sautéed Kale with Onions and Red Pepper as a side
– Five mini-meat loaves
– Thirty meat balls
– Five containers of Tomato, Basil and Garlic sauce, for use with said meat balls
I finished at around 7PM, just in time to have a little dinner, wash all the food off of me and settle in for my reward: the season premier of Downton Abbey. A very good end to an Awesome Wife Production indeed.
* Have I mentioned that Mr. H and I do a beef share every year with about ten friends? It sounds nuts but it is excellent.
** And there’s the beef. And some lamb from our CSA. And other important items like ice cream. (You have to have priorities.)
(Photos: Mr. H, who also put everything into the freezer for me. That was an Awesome Husband Production.)
January 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
The Disconnection is officially over and I am here at my lovely desk waiting for the coming storm to hit. So far, so good. I’ve gone through all the mail (seriously: I thought we were in the digital age…what’s with all these catalogs???), changed my voicemail message, reconnected with my team to see what’s what and am now moving on to Bigger Things.
In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to pep up the place a tad, so I bought myself some flowers. (And added some for the entry of the office, too. Everyone can use a little extra cheer on the first day back, no?)
Other things one can do to lessen the blow:
Plan a few social things
It can be anything from meeting someone for a drink to going to the ballet. Just something fun to give you A Lift, as my Grandmother would say.
Straighten Up Something
I’ve been seeing Facebook status reports that boarder on bragging about how much cleaning and organizing they had completed before the end of the year. I am happy for them, but between you and me, I think it is far less taxing to take things one step at a time. Before I left for the holidays, I straightened out all my sweaters. I was ever so pleased to find them all neat and tidy when I came home. Tonight, the big goal is to tidy up the drawer of my bedside table. Slow and steady, my friends.
Make a new outfit
No pressure…just see if you can’t find a new way to wear some of your old favorites. Even if it is just wearing a different top with your favorite pants. Free and very satisfying.
Cook Something Delicious
Nothing hard, mind you. If you live someplace where it is cold, I recommend a very simple roasted vegetable soup*.
And that is all I have for now.
*Super-easy Roasted Veggie Soup
– One onion, diced
– Two or three stalks of celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
– Two or three carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
– 1 Pint of grape tomatoes
– 1 bay leaf
– 4 cups of chicken stock
– Olive oil
– Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Set the oven to 350 degrees
2) Put all the veggies on a parchment-lined baking sheet (tomatoes on a separate one); toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes.
3) Put the stock in a pot, pop in the veggies, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil
Serve with a little fresh parsley and grated parmesan. Also, feel free to add a little pasta, rice or whole grain for a little extra bulk. And a glass of red wine would not kill you.
(Photo of where my flowers will go when they arrive: Some Cozy Night, who is waiting for them ever so patiently.)
December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
I decided to go super-traditional this year with Christmas and made a giant turkey. Mr. H was kind enough to brine it without our usual giant brining bin, and even upped the ante by roasting the bird himself. (I suppose that means that I did not make a turkey on Christmas, then, does it? Well, at least I planned the menu.) I am happy to report that it came out beautifully, but since we could not pawn all the leftover meat on to our relatives, we had a little situation. One that not only included leftover turkey, but also a sizable bag of fresh mushrooms that my Mother brought over because…well…I guess it was because she had them and was leaving for Florida the next day.
Those leftovers felt like a time bomb in my refrigerator. I had to do something with them quickly and preferably something that was not disgusting. I was thinking a pot pie could be the answer, but the mushrooms seemed out of place. Thankfully, my old Joy of Cooking had a better idea: Turkey Ala King. Yes, that stew-like dish from, I think, the fifties. I had never made it before since I do not live in the fifties, but the main ingredients were turkey and mushrooms, so I dove in…
December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
If you have been with me since the beginning, you may recall that last year I started this project while on my break between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Mr. H and I close our company for the week so that we can disconnect as much as this highly connected world allows. And generally, we spend that time by the beach.
Since swimming and sunbathing are not options this time of year — New York is weather challenged — prior to Disconnection it is essential to make sure that we have everything on hand for a proper time of indoor rest and relaxation. The focus of my efforts is on two things very dear to my heart: Eating and Being Entertained
Ensuring the proper complement of goodies to enjoy while resting requires both planning and cheating. Under “Planning” we have a stop at my favorite cheese shop in town and its equivalent by the beach (I never remember everything). New Year’s Eve nibbles are on order for delivery next week, and I am slowly working myself out of my Holiday Cold Haze to purchase the other ingredients needed for dinner on Christmas Day. (Note to self: Pack that turkey.)
As for the “Cheating”, I’ll be serving a ginger cake from Zingerman’s instead of making one myself on Christmas Day, as well as their cinnamon buns for the following morning, since I just can’t knead this year.**
Finally, Mr. H has made sure that the bar is stocked, including a supply of lemons and limes, a fresh Soda Stream cartridge* and ice made with the giant ice cube tray*.
Aside from long walks with A+O, Disconnection generally involves a stack of magazines, Pandora, an Intended Reading List and an idea of movies we’ve been meaning to see or want to watch again. These have all been gathered, although I could stand to spend a few extra minutes planning out the movie selection. I believe “Iron Lady” will top the list, even though we’ll need to leave the house to see it. Suggestions welcome.
Not to be Forgotten…
1) Firewood! Essential to being truly cozy. Kindling and newspapers are also very much required. (Good thing I’ve been reading all those Financial Times this month.)
2) Facial Masks and other Treatments that can be done since you are home anyway. My newest love is Sonya Dakar’s Nano Mask. I have no idea what is “nano” about it, but after 15 minutes, my skin feels plumper which is the only place I ever wish to feel that way.
3) My loved ones, since Disconnecting without them would make the whole endeavor pointless — and not at all fun.
So there you have it: A little bit of effort, but not so much that I wind up blowing off the preparation entirely and find myself bored instead of blissed. And I didn’t even use Excel for this one. Yay!
* These are life-changing items:
The Soda Stream: http://www.sodastreamusa.com/store.aspx?gclid=CIfHxuuHlq0CFQXd4Aodu30OoA
BIG Ice Cube Tray (Big cubes, less water in your drink.): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00395FHRO/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B003DR4W4C&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1KK82YBAA8FD18R11CKA
** When I can, however, Nigella Lawson’s Norwegian Cinnamon Bun recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess is my favorite. Just don’t use wax paper in place of parchment, even though it says you that you can. You can’t.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)