Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking back, looking forward

Oh, hello there.  
As my son likes to announce with gusto when entering a room these days... "I BACK!"
What have I been up to the past few days?  Celebrating, eating, drinking, hunkering through a blizzard, making airport runs and doing hospital waiting room duty for the last time in 2010 (and hopefully for a long time to come!  And all is fine, no worries!).

I've cooked: a 5 lb. brisket, racks of lamb, fresh pea soup with ham, chicken stew with white beans and artichokes, potatoes au gratin, radicchio salad with dried cherries, chopped pecans and panko-crusted baked goat cheese, and many, many eggs over easy.  Recipes for the best of these are coming soon!
I've baked: a batch of dinner rolls, a double batch of challah rolls, chocolate chip cookies and M&M cookies.  I also offered emotional support as the husband made an apple pie from scratch.
There have been more pots of coffee brewed than I care to admit, more dishwasher loads run in a week than in a usual month here, and lots of blizzard-related noshing.  There have been sisters stuck in Europe and the midwest due to the blasted snow, but beautiful walks in the stuff as well, with the little guy shouting "SNOW!" with such glee, you can hardly mind the inconvenience. 

I've assembled many appetizer spreads, as these fellows and my sister assembled quite an amazing second Christmas for our boy...
Thank you Nana and Grandpa for the most amazing play kitchen!
And thank you Pops and Ganma for the ultimate train table!
Is this guy spoiled loved, or what?  Along with the unpictured Aunt and Uncle-related goodies, we now live at FAO Schwartz, and couldn't be more happy about it.

We're now in some sort of weird non-existent time between 2010 and 2011.  Since the blizzard foiled our planned Christmas get together, we did our family gift exchange at the hospital yesterday, which was equal parts hilarious, surreal and kind of appropriate given the way this year has gone.  A lot of good has come out of 2010, but it has been a grueling year for us as well, and I can't say I'm sad to see it go.  I'm looking forward to one more fabulously rich dinner with perhaps a tad too much wine, a couple more days of 2010-related introspection, and then it is so on to the next.  I'm looking forward to ushering in a new year in our new home with old friends scattered about this lovely old city with whom we have many a memory to make in the coming year.  I'm looking forward to finding a new job, bringing some new things to the blog, and to a year with perhaps no moving vans.  Thank you for spending this year with me... can't wait to ring in the new one with you.
xoxo, SMJ

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Minute Foodie Gift Ideas

Check out the ultimate Barefoot Contessa Gift can only dare to dream...
With just four days left until the Big Holiday, those of you procrastinating shoppers who still have a long list left to cover may be slowly starting to panic.  Never fear, my friends, you need not look farther than your local grocery to get all your shopping finished in one fell swoop, and perhaps grab yourself a bottle of wine on the way out to reward your creativity and effort.  We are lucky enough to have a small, locally-owned specialty grocery in our neighborhood which makes a last minute spree like this one all the more fun and rewarding, but many big chain groceries have ethnic, gourmet or health food aisles where you could do some promising damage.  Here is my gift/grocery list to help you on your way:

1) Good Olive Oil: great olive oil is such a treat to have on hand for everything from simple pasta dishes to dunking fresh bread.  You can get a wonderful bottle for anywhere from $15-30, or find an Italian specialty shop, buy a vat of the stuff, and get pretty bottles from someplace like an Ikea or your local craft shop, sterilize them, and create your own bottles tied with festive ribbon for simple gifts or stocking stuffers.

2) Ditto the above with Great Balsamic Vinegar.

3) Jenna at Eat Live Run has a great tutorial up on making vanilla sugar for a gift, and all you need is a couple pounds of the white goodness and some vanilla beans to recreate this idea in your kitchen.

4) Local Jams and Jellies make unique and special gifts.  However, even non-local brands can be a delicious treat.  We love Bonne Mamon and Crofters Organic jams, both of which are available at large grocery stores.  Create a package of four and pair it with a fresh baguette from your favorite bakery, or some new tea towels if you are shipping it farther than bread will travel.

5) Have you seen the vast array of nut butters for sale these days?  Everything from hazelnut butter to white chocolate or maple peanut butter to almond butter seem to be proliferating on the supermarket shelves.  Nut butters tend to be pricey ($8-10 per jar), and I think most people stick to good old PB to get the most bang for their buck, which makes specialty nut butters a perfect gift.  They're special, versatile and a bit of a treat; all hallmarks of good gifty-ness.  I've heard great things about all the varieties from Peanut Butter & Co.

6) Most guys I know would be pretty thrilled to receive a case of local, seasonal beer with a bow on it.

7) Why not provide your recipient with an instant party?  Buy a bottle of wine (it need not be super-pricey to be good), a hunk of aged cheddar, some fabulous crackers, a jar of olives, and some candied nuts, throw them in a cute reusable grocery bag, and your friend has half their holiday party menu solved, or a damn good dinner for two.

What's your favorite last minute holiday gift?
It's the thought that counts, you know.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Lunch

When the over-indulgences of the season start taking their toll on your body and spirit, I say the best remedy is to get in the kitchen and make some healing soup.  The hub and I may or may not have been feeling a bit rough around the edges this fine Sunday morning, and I knew we needed something to soothe our stomachs and souls and give us the energy to proceed with the Sunday we have planned, massive honey-do list and all.  So, while he ran to Home Depot this morning, I threw together this soup.  We sat down to steaming bowls at noontime, and he proclaimed this to be one of my best soups ever.  It's also a fitting soup for the pre-holiday weekend, with the combination of red lentils and green currry (although the resulting soup is a more Halloween-like orange color).  Try it... it will cure what ails you and get you feeling holly jolly once more!
Behold... our lunch date/Christmas dinner brainstorming sesh.
Christmas Curry Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 lb red lentils
4 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 can light coconut milk
2 heaping teaspoons Thai green curry paste
2 heaping teaspoons or brown or turbinado sugar (this balances the heat of the curry)
Salt to taste
1) Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.  Add the leeks and garlic and saute until the leeks are tender, about 8 minutes.
2) Add the sweet potato and carrots, stir to combine, saute gently for 5 minutes, stirring often.
3) Add the lentils, broth, coconut milk, curry paste, sugar and salt.
4) Simmer, covered, until the sweet potatoes and carrots are tender and the lentils are cooked through, about 30 minutes.  At this point, you could serve the soup as is, and it will be delicious, rustic and chunky.  However, I went ahead and pureed my soup with an immersion blender before serving, and it really took it to the next level; the soup is creamy, thick, and somehow more sophisticated than your average lentil dish.  Either way is a winner. 

Sunday soup makes it all better.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rocking my world this week...

We're having a lovely pre-holiday week here at Casa SMJ.  Some things tickling my fancy are as follows...

1) The Boston Public Library System
I love the library, and for so much more than just the books.  Did you know that your free membership to the BPL system allows you free or heavily discounted monthly entry to almost all of the museums in town?  This is an incredible deal, for only a bit of extra work.  You simply go and check out a pass to the museum of your choice (at the main branch downtown, there tends to be a long wait for passes, but at the smaller branch libraries, there is tons of availability), and you're off.  Yesterday, my sister-in-law and I took little J to the New England Aquarium for FREE.
Adult tickets are usually $22 per person, so this felt like a real score.  And thanks to our willingness to use metered parking in the North End and walk over to the Aquarium (instead of using the adjacent, ridiculously priced parking garage), we had a $60 outing for all of 50 cents.  How awesome is that?

2) Brooklyn's Eagle Street Farm on The Selby
Photographer Todd Selby has made a project of photographing creative people in their homes, and the resulting blog is one of my new faves.  I particularly love this recent shoot of Brooklyn urban farmer Annie Novak on her rooftop farm, and encourage you to check out the whole set.  I love the concept of the rooftop farm, I love her dress and boots and the photos are smashing.  Consider it a little treat for your Thursday.

2) Tiny Prints' Holiday Cards
It's not too late to send some holiday cheer!  I'm old school and adore receiving peoples' holiday cards every year.  I love to collect them all on one wall and just kind of take in the people in my life and what the past year has brought us all.  This year, though, so much has been going on in the last few weeks, I thought we'd never pull it together to do a card that could arrive before Valentines Day.  Tiny Prints to the rescue!  Not only do they have a variety of fantastic designs to choose from, but you can still get your cards by early next week without paying an arm and a leg.  What's more, they're offering 15% off all of their holiday card orders until the end of the day tomorrow -- just enter the promotion code 15HOL at checkout.  Stylish, affordable holiday cards for the procrastinating set -- I LOVE IT. What are you waiting for?  Click over there and make something great to send to the people you love!

4) Gwyneth and her crazy-town wreath
Enough said.

5)  The health of my family.  After a recent scare, we got news today that all is well.  So relieved and grateful.  This puts everything in perspective and makes the holidays brighter.  WE LOVE YOU M.A.M.A.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gift Guide: Dude Edition

I don't know what I did to deserve the husband I ended up with... he's patient, kind, a double-gold-star dad, a genius in the kitchen and behind the grill and adorable to boot.  Despite my rampant troubles with decision making and simple math, my propensity to need things *just so* in the house (which can't be easy to live with sometimes), a level of patience not on-par with his and an addiction to the Real Housewives (who he disdains), he loves me anyway.  For that, I'm more grateful than he'll ever know.  What do you get for the guy who held your hand through childbirth, thinks your quirky humor is hilarious, forgives you for wearing yoga pants while telecommuting five days a week and is your most beloved champion and best friend?  Should I win the lottery, the answer would be a month-long trip for the three of us at a Costa Rican surf retreat, a ski trip with his buddies at Whistler, a diesel pick-up truck, a MacBook Pro, and Red Sox season tickets.  In the meantime, here are some more reasonable ideas for the men in your life, sanctioned by my very own honey...

1) Hip Flask
Most guys I know tend to like to have a little nip of an adult beverage here and there.  They especially enjoy said nips outdoors in the cold (think camping, tailgating, walking the dog).  A hip flask fits right in the pocket for such occasions and can be engraved with a monogram for a keepsake.  However, don't make the same mistake I did on one of our first holidays together and get a nice one for your guy.  The lovely silver monogrammed flask I got for B that year met its end when he sat on a tree trunk with it in his back pocket on a camping trip.  Stainless ones are more durable and start at $9, so it won't be  tragedy if his is confiscated at a ball game or concert, or if he happens to smash it into a rock or what have you.

2) All-Clad Grilling Tools
Men like to cook with fire.  Men like things that come with their own carrying case.  Men like tools.  My husband has temporary custody of the above set while my dad is living sans grill for the winter and he loooooves it.  All-Clad is top of the line, and this grill tool set is the best.  Enough said.

3) Portable iPod Dock
When I asked the husband what items I should put on this list, the word "tailgating" came up again and again.  Guys, or my guy at least, like a portable party.  This iPod dock has a rechargeable battery and is totally wireless and packable, so it could provide a perfect soundtrack from the lot at the Pats game to a car camping trip to that romantic picnic he is planning for you even as we speak.  I love how sleek this one is as well.

4) Patagonia Lined Canvas Hoody
We both love this versatile jacket from Patagonia.  The canvas lining is both rugged and stylish, and the fleece inside makes it toasty warm.  Says the husband, "You could wear this jacket to chop firewood, hike, workout or go to the bar."  I say, he would look woodsy and wickedly cute while doing all of the above; a win-win.

5) Sports Tickets
There's nothing better than an activity-gift; it never gathers dust or goes bad, and you create a memory that lasts forever.  Around here, there would be no better gift than a ticket to Fenway Park or to see the Patriots, Bruins or Celtics.  Depending on what city you live in, the tickets don't have to break the bank, either.  Present him with a pair and he could take a buddy, or you could have a rowdy, Budweiser-y date night. 

Men are simple creatures.
Give them something to do with sports, fire, or being outside, and they'll be happy.  
Love that and the men in my life...

Monday, December 13, 2010


 End of a Vermont day... end of a Vermont era...

I interrupt my festival of holiday gift guides to state that I am officially unemployed.  I'd be remiss if I didn't include some nod to this event in this chronicle of my life.  I'm equal parts terrified, relieved, nostalgic and stunned.  What began as a simple job to pay the bills while my husband was in law school became a career adventure that yielded personal growth, dear friends, and a knowledge of things like the law of takings and the workings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that I most certainly never would have picked up anywhere else.  I am going to miss the tight-knit community of the law school, bosses who should win some sort of award for supporting working parents, my light-soaked office, my lunchtime runs with the gals, and above all, my beloved work wives.

This Monday finds me with a to do list diminished in some ways, and ramped up in others.  For the first time in five years, there is no e-mail to be answered, no project to finish, no call to return for work.  Instead, there is my next task at hand, which is finding my way in my career and searching for something New.  With so many unknowns (Where will I land?  Will it dovetail as well with family life as I hope it will?  How long will it take to find something? What to do for daycare?  What is stylish in pantsuits these days?), this is simultaneously daunting, exhilarating and totally surreal.  Plus, with the knowledge that very little tends to happen in the way of hiring between now and the first of the year, I find myself with a couple quiet weeks ahead to perhaps truly exhale and enjoy the holidays.  If I can let myself...

Isn't it funny how afraid to relax we can be?  In a vacuum of work to dos, I found myself composing an at home to do list this morning about three times longer than anything I've tried to conquer domestically in quite some time.  If I don't have to call into conference calls, it's high time I dust this place top to bottom, reorganize my home office, and become the low-budget Jewish answer to Martha Stewart in time for Christmas around here, goes the voice inside my head.   I think the thought of maybe, kind of having less to do somehow really scares me.  Twisted is what it is.  So here's what I am going to do: take a deep breath, pour a cup of tea, and enjoy sitting here with my boys for a minute.  I'm going to have faith that my next move is out there waiting for me and that I can savor just the slightest exhale in the meantime.  I'm going to bid farewell to one chapter and get ready to embark on the next. 
"Perhaps true happiness comes not from creating the perfect balance of conditions but from finding a balance that doesn’t depend on it."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gift Guide: Working Mom edition

Why is it Thursday and the first time I am posting since Monday?  Because I'm a working mom, and I never know what is going to be thrown in my direction by life on any given day.  I always have to do lists for both the day and the week, and they most always get crossed off completely by Friday, just not always in the order I expected.  In honor of my truly packed week of curveballs and travel, I give you my gift guide for the working mom:  what to give the woman who has everything but time...

1) Whole Foods Gift Card
The thing that stumps me the most when I contemplate the possibility of going back to a 9-to-5 office job is how in the heck we're going to get a dinner on the table every night that doesn't turn us into pudgy, sodium-addled zombies in short order.  Time to cook in the evenings can be rare to non-existent in a house with two working parents.  This is why a Whole Foods gift certificate would be a blessing for any working mom: have you seen their "hot bar"?  Behold!  Dozens of healthy dinner options for the taking!  From rotisserie chickens to wholesome soups to delightful stir-fries, it is all ready made and chock full of nutrition.  It is also the reason many people call WF "Whole Paycheck", and most of us can't justify hitting up this bar with any regularity.  My thought is that your fave working mom could stash this gift card in her wallet and have a freebie dinner ace in the hole when she needs it the most.  A gift card to a favorite local pizza shop would do the same, just not in such a caloric-ally beneficial way. 

2) Digital Photo Frame
Nothing makes me happier than pictures of my boys.  However, the ones on my desk of little J are from when he was 8 weeks and 13 weeks old, respectively.  While those photos are beyond adorable, they're not of the running, jumping, chatting guy in my life these days, and I can't say that getting prints made and framed is high on my "likely to happen soon" list either.  Hence, the beauty of the digital photo frame; it's imminently update-able, and not only by you (and right from your jump drive, no less), but by anyone else who happens to be chilling with your kid (I'm talking to you, little J's brilliant photographer aunties).  I don't know about you, but I'm a visually driven person.  A photo of the little guy on my work desk keeps me motivated, not only to work efficiently so I can spend more time with him, but also about why I am working so hard in the first place.

3) Massage Gift Certificate
Hours of sitting at the computer and shlepping toddlers take their toll on your back, neck and shoulders, and most moms don't get a whole lot of this kind of "me" time.  Most moms I know would weep with joy for a professional massage.  In Boston, Greg Pratt at Etant Spa is God's gift to your muscles.  In Portland, Oregon, Unwind Massage's Angella King is a miracle worker.  In Portsmouth, NH see Jill Vranicar at Mid-heaven, and in SF, Moss Acupuncture has massage therapy available on site.  Yelp is also a great resource for finding massage therapists in cities other than your own.

4) All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker
Sorry to keep coming back to food, but let's face it: when times get busy, covering life's basic needs takes priority, and food is one of those needs, people.  Slow cookers are amazing.  Our's is from the early 90's and we've been looking to upgrade for awhile.  I've got my eye on this All-Clad one, which has a removable insert that you can place on the stove-top to sear meat.  My thought is that you'd do that while dishing out the cereal in the morning, throw in some veg and sauce, turn the thing on low, and head out the door.  You'd come home to a hot meal and a house smelling of fragrant comfort food, and what better gift is there, really?

5) Neutral Cashmere Wrap
What do you do when you are all dressed up and ready to head out (and only a few minutes behind schedule, no less) and then someone plants a yogurt-covered handprint on your last clean shirt?  Throw a wrap over the whole thing and call it a fashion statement.  A good wrap can save even the most thrashed outfit, and is a perfect thing to stash in your desk or airplane-bag.  And why cashmere, you ask?  I'll tell you why: sometimes all it takes is a deliciously soft fabric to take you from feeling shlubby to elegant, and make you feel polished and ready to rumble. It's worth the splurge. The White + Warren one above would be a great luxury treat, but J.Crew has lovely silk-cashmere ones at a bank-friendly price point.  Or see the pashmina-hawker on your favorite downtown city street if you must... any woman in your life will be glad to have an extra wrap in her arsenal.
Coming next?  My gift guide for dudes.
Stay tuned...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gift Guide: For your sister/bestie edition

I had so much fun putting together my yogini gift guide, I've decided to devote this week entirely to fun present ideas.  I'm keeping it simple: five items per post, each geared towards a special person in your life.  Please add your suggestions; there's nothing better than some communal virtual window shopping to combat the cold!  Today's gift guide features gifts for that rock of strength, support and laughter in your life: your sister/best friend(s).  No one is more important than the person you laugh, cry, wine, dine and/or run with and call first in times of joy and pain.  Here are some treats to show her she's the best of the best...

1) Eat, Pray, Love Soundtrack
I just saw the Eat, Pray, Love movie and dug it, although the book was better in my opinion.  Even so, the movie was visually stunning, Julia rocked, and the best part was the amazing soundtrack, which I think most gals would very much get into.  It's a mix of swoony crooning from Marvin Gaye, Eddie Vedder and Joao Gilberto (three very eclectic but powerful brands of sexy right there, ladies), favorite Neil Young classics (Harvest Moon = sigh), and a few kind of Euro-pop tunes thrown in for good measure.  In sum?  PERFECT music for roadtripping, yoga, or background music for an at-home date with your sweetie.  I'm hard pressed to think of a woman in my life who wouldn't love it.  Go old school and pick it up at the record shop, or download it from iTunes and give it on prettily decorated CDs.  All will love and play incessantly, I promise.

2) Keep Calm Journal
Journals are the quintessential gift for every woman.  We use them to pour out our emotions, dabble in poetry, make on-the-fly grocery lists, and capture those a-ha moments that hit us when we least expect them.  I've shown you the large Keep Calm and Carry On poster that hangs in my kitchen... it is kind of my mantra and I adore it and love the idea of a pocket journal to remind you of the same.  And red is the perfect color... easy to spot and fish out of your purse when inspiration strikes!

3) Fresh Sugar Plum Lip Treatment

The. Best. Lip. Stuff. Ever.  It tastes good, smells good, lasts forever and does amazing things to your lips, keeping them moist and supple, even in the midst of a New England winter.  The plum is a universally flattering shade that can easily replace 10 of your friends' old lipsticks, and on top of all that it has SPF.  It also costs $25, which is insane.  That most of us can't justify spending that much on lip product is what makes this all the more genius a gift.  Isn't the point of gift giving to indulge someone in a way that they wouldn't do for themselves? Love it.

4) Barefoot Contessa's How Easy is That?
You know of my deep and abiding love for Ina Garten; I need not gush further here.  This is her newest book, and although I don't own it (yet), I feel comfortable fully endorsing it.  All of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks are the most used and loved on my shelf.  Her recipes are easy to follow, classic, and delicious, every one.  In this latest addition to the collection, she promises recipes which save time and avoid stress, but still give you a deeply gratifying end product in a way no 30-minute Meal can. I guarantee you all the busy home cooks in your life would love this book. Plus, I just want to reach out and squeeze her with that tray of parfaits.   Ina, I love you.  That is all.

5) La Vie Parisienne Earrings
Anytime a guy in my life asks for help picking a gift for his sweetie, I have but one thing to say: "When shopping for women, you can NEVER go wrong with jewelry."  Catherine Popesco of La Vie Parisienne may be one of my favorite jewelery makers of all time.  My two favorite pairs of earrings I own are both of her design: gorgeous turquoise and green drop earrings from my mother-in-law, and beautiful gold lattice earrings with tiny crystals in the center from my law school gals (thank you and thank you!!!).   Her delicate designs are special enough to dress up, but basic enough for every day.  I LOVE the Pacific Opal Swarovski Crystal Stone Drops pictured above, but literally every pair on her site and the one I link to above (which sells a great cross-section of her collection) are amazing.  I'd love to buy up the whole lot and give them to every pretty lady in my life.  For the quality and craftsmanship, they are incredibly affordable, and I recommend them highly for all the sistas on your list. 

With that, I must hit the sack.  It has been an epically busy day at Casa SMJ and I am frankly half asleep already.  More to follow, my dears.  I'm rather enjoying this virtual elfing.
Ho, ho, ho.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gift Guide: Yogini Edition

Right.  So, we know that the holidays are about so much more than gifts, yes?  But still, it is such a fun time of year to play elf and look around the shops and the internet for things to delight the special people in our lives.  Whatever your means, window shopping (preferably with delicious hot beverage in hand) is a wonderful pastime.  So, strictly for fun, I'll be presenting SMJ's Holiday Gift Guides over the next couple weeks, just to share some things that have sparked my interest through the virtual frosted window panes, and which might inspire you for your mama, sister, sweetie, hubs or bebe as well.  Put on the kettle and have a gander at my first list, with your favorite yoga studio denizen in mind...

1) Me and Ro Tiny Chakra Bezel Flower Ring
Me and Ro is the jeweler to the bendy stars, and I love everything on their site, but the mixed metals and message of self-awareness in this delicate ring make it a particular fave of mine.

2) Yoga Journal Subscription
With its lovely photos, delicious healthy recipes, and easy-to-decipher guide to complicated poses, Yoga Journal is my favorite yoga-related mag.  A year's subscription is less than $20 and would help your favorite yogi deepen his practice and improve his health.

3) Lululemon Awareness Jacket
Yoga dates often go from the studio to the cafe, coffee shop, or even the bar, depending on how your week is going.  Its nice to have a washable layer available to keep you warm and cover the bits that yoga gear often exposes (bum and bust, I'm talking to you) once you are out on the town.  Even if you're just headed home, this would be snuggly for savasana.  Lululemon is to yoginis what Vera Wang is to brides: the best of the best.  I love how sleek this wrap is, and the way the closures allow you to customize the coverage.

4) Seda France Candle
My yoga instructor bestie introduced me to these candles, sold at her studio.  What's the best way to extend that yoga buzz?  Come home, brew a pot of tea, light a delicious candle in your room, lie down, breathe, sip and relax.  Ahhhh.... it's the gift that keeps on giving, and this Japanese Quince scent is particularly irresistible.

5) The best gift for a yogini?  More yoga!  Most studios will allow you to purchase a 10 (or more) class gift card by phone.  My favorite Boston studio is O2, where the owner, Mimi, will both inspire and challenge you in her Power class.
Other great studios for your resident yogi? In San Francisco, I loved Yoga Tree, in Vermont I was devoted to Upper Valley Yoga and Bikram Yoga Pittsfield, and my girl Shira dishes out the yoga love at AreaYoga Brooklyn (and her yoga mixes are reason enough alone to attend her classes... sheer musical brilliance!).

Coming next... my fave presents for foodies, boys trapped in the bodies of grown men, and actual toddlers... stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things that are making my day...

A perfect triple latte from City Feed and Supply.  Yes, a triple.  That's how I roll these days.
Advil Cold & Sinus (damn you airplane germs!).
My sister-in-law taking the little man on a field trip so I can get a ton of work done today.  Thank you AD!
Trimmed and filed fingernails.  It's the little things, no?
Quickie Indian leftovers for lunch.  Tofu Tikka Masala=yum.
And these banana cookies from Simply Recipes.  We had naners go rotten on us while we were away, and I cannot face another mini-muffin at the moment.

Simply Recipes' Banana Cookies
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 ½ large bananas)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups of flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground mace or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 cup of pecans (walnuts and chocolate chips are fine alternatives)
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2) In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.
3) Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture and mix until just combined.
4) Fold into the batter the pecans or chocolate chips if using. Drop in dollops onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.
Makes about 30 cookies.
Delish, I must say, and an appealing alternative to banana bread worth keeping on file for when your bananas turn on you. All I want is to finish my work, for the hub to come home and the babe to peacefully go down to sleep, and for us to sit on the couch with a plate of these, an icy cold glass of milk, some Nyquil and an episode of Mad Men. Ahhh....