Nearly 2012. I am completely through with 2011. Through. I had decided I'd wanted to take a break from all that is and live "off grid" for a bit. And so I have. It's been pure and utter delight. I won't say that I didn't peek into the world of the internet here and there, but when I did stop by, it was brief and I quickly set about doing whatever it was my mind was consumed with two minutes before.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Vegan Lemon Almond Tea Cake with Lemon Glaze (And Snowflakes on The Side for Some Much Needed Crochet-for-Me Time)
I had to take a break from cookie baking. Plus, it felt like I was being unfair to the cake. In keeping with the "only happy things" posting theme for December, I am sharing this amazingly delicious lemony slice of heaven with you. If you are stuck for a gift idea for special foodies in your life, might I strongly suggest you give this recipe a try. Seriously. I'm on my "almost" third piece this morning already. The addition of ground almonds to the batter took this bread to a new level in my opinion. There is this sweet, crunchy-almond-y, lemon-y pizazz you get when you bite into this. The browning of the crust occurred after I baked mine in an old metal loaf pan once belonging to my mother. Mmm. I will promptly be hitting the treadmill this afternoon.
I have a trip coming up here shortly. I'm heading back "home". Indiana. I have not been home in sixteen years. My last visit was for my mom's funeral. (I wouldn't really call that a visit as much as a mandatory march.) She wasn't from here either.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Vegan Linzer Cookie (This Vintage Holiday Baking Moment Is Brought to You by My Mother's Recipe Box)
Well, we finally had snow. A dusting. But just enough of a dusting to ignite a bit of that holiday thing everyone else on god's green planet seems to have. I headed back to my favorite home store for Christmas lights, deciding this year, it's LED lights outside for us. (Especially since the makers of these lights got smart and realized NEON white is not really appealing to the average Christmas light home decorator, and that the warmer glow is much preferable.) Purchasing these new LEDs nearly required me to take out a small loan. I let out a gasp when I signed my receipt, but we'll still be able to put food on the table. Besides, as I explained to Dr. Thyme (after telling him of our new "holiday decoration investment")--they'll last 25,000 hours and use eighty percent less power! We'll just need to be sure to put in our will who is to inherit them when we're gone. Besides, I refuse to "celebrate" and be all festive while our local utility company is "laughing all the way. . . to the bank". I simply cannot live in the dark during the bleakest time of the year.
It's the little things.
Like Christmas lights.
And these amazing cookies.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I've decided that December is going to be Happy Foods Month--only posting about foods that truly make me happy. Chocolate is the first order of business. Oh, and there will be cookies, don't worry.
We've had this cake on the counter now for three nights. We have a little ritual called, Eight o'clock Happy Time whereby the last food of the day consists of something that makes us both very happy. Some nights it's a small bowl of vegan ice cream. Dr. Thyme preferring a mint/chocolate combo and for me cherry/vanilla or chocoate, just depends. (This "routine" perhaps has lead to a more blissful marriage. Just a theory.)
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
If there is one thing that heals, it's baking. I cannot tell you the number of times I've worked through grief via my kitchen. It must be in the hundreds. It's a gravitational force that beckons me forth: Here. Come in here. Preheat. Mix. Bake. Taste. There. It's all much better now.
The shift in the house from one less member is going to take some time to "deal with". I deal better with it if I am kept busy. I sat in the corner of my kitchen yesterday afternoon (god it was an awful day outside--cold, dark, rainy--very Novemberish) my feet propped up under me on my favorite kitchen stool, next to the bookshelf of baking cookbooks, pouring over the "cookie" sections. Because we needed some cookies. Because it is cookie-baking season and because I know that the instant that oven preheats and the aroma of cinnamon and ginger begin co-mingling with the everyday smells of us living here--it will override everything else. The mind will focus on other matters evoking pleasure: cookies.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
And now we are three. Yesterday was a gut wrenching day for our family. No matter how much preparing you do: visits with the vet, medications to halt physical symptoms--you are never, ever really ready. The crying and heaving and wondering if this or that might have made life "better"--it doesn't ease any of the pain. All you can do is let the grief wash over you and carry you further and further away from the moment when the last breath is taken. And we were there. Holding her. Well, Dr. Thyme did the holding, I was hunched over, my head in my lap, sobbing out loud. The pain is still sharp. Crying again now.
Mystique was a beagle mix we found on my birthday fifteen years ago.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Tosca cake: Norwegian in origin. Almond and caramel layered yellow cake. Something to do with Puccini's opera. Very popular among the Swede set. Also known as the Swedish Visiting Cake (from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan). According to Dorie and her source, as the name implies, it is a cake for "visitors" because you can literally begin baking it when your guest(s) show up in your driveway and have a snack for them hot from the oven about forty-five minutes later. Easy peasy.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
White Bean And "Lotsa" Garlic Sage Soup with Swiss Chard (From My November Garden. . . Now Reading "Rin Tin Tin" by Susan Orlean And Realizing Again Why I Love Dogs So Dang Much)
This soup originally began as a simple white bean and garlic/sage soup. It evolved as I cooked. I added carrots, fresh and canned tomatoes, then some garden finds. It was delicious. It was just what I needed to finish my day. I was recovering from a morning of stress. I wanted something simple. Our boy's eating had stalled again. Nothing since Friday night. Oh, a kibble here and there--and maybe a few treats. Here we go again, I thought. I called the vet yesterday and asked for insight into the "what now" question. Does he need antibiotics again, or another round of steroids. They said steroids--at least this would stimulate his appetite. So off I went for yet another visit to the vet. My fourth in a month. Sigh.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I made these muffins on a whim last Sunday morning. I usually try to gussy up one breakfast on the weekends. To say I am not much of a morning person is a bit of an understatement. I try really hard to be. Anyway, earlier in the week, I was browsing through one of my favorite baking sites of all time, King Arthur, and there was something that caught my eye: the word "donut". Since St. Louis opened it's own Dunkin Donuts, I have had this insatiable donut craving. (As far as I know there are no vegan options there. . . yet. Look out the minute there are!) Just last month, I purchased one of those mini-donut makers. That was fun for a hot minute and it did provide some much needed donut relief. But I get bored easily. So new donut maker is packed lovingly away until the next urge strikes. Then this recipe came along. Dunut Muffins. Wow. Brilliant. I think I finally have an answer to the donut-at-home. Better yet, I've slightly improved their recipe with my additions of flax and some white whole wheat flour. I had the last donut yesterday afternoon as my "snack". Still delish!