Friday, December 26, 2008
Here's a little peek at our living room decorations...
...including a tree, decorated, phew!
These nesting balls are from my childhood. I love them so much. I think they are from Germany, and for a while I thought they were lost! Oh, I was upset about that...
These antlers we found in the woods, and by we I mean the boys.
Back to the kitchen: I got the greens for this garland from the downed branches. It's pretty but I have to admit that a fake one would not be now getting dried out and dropping needles all over everything.
Do you love this pork roast? Just go ahead and next time, wrap whatever you are making in bacon. It will be a lot better, I promise.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
O Radiant Dawn
O eternal Sun, come and enlighten us, for where Thou art not, there is darkness, death, and wickedness.
"Come and enlighten all who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."
A giant snowstorm kind of threw a little monkey wrench in my planning (such as it is). But we're getting there.
Not that there isn't chaos, but what's a little chaos when the colors it comes in match your den perfectly??
We got a tree yesterday! It's out in the driveway. I'm hoping to get it up really soon because I'm not German. I can't do it. We are trying to get the birthdays celebrated tonight. I had something I wanted to tell you all, but I can't think! I CAN'T THINK!
Maybe Frosty the Snowman, that odious character, has addled my brain. The one that was left. It's gone now...
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Before my batteries died, I took these few pictures.
We were blessed in that we didn't have a tree fall on the house.
We had part of a tree clip the gutter and miss the bunny cage
...and we lost power for about 36 hours, in which we were worried, for sure, but also warm and toasty (as long as we didn't stray from the kitchen!) and delighted with a chance to test the merits of our new wood-burning stove and our cosiness skills. I want you to note the all-fired amazing practicality of those enamel pans, which fit perfectly in there and kept us in hot water.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The recipe I use for pie crust (pate brisee from Gourmet) always leaves me with a little bit of crust left over. Usually from doubling the recipe I can make a two-crust pie and another with only a bottom crust, using the leftovers. But if, as on Thanksgiving, I've made four recipes yielding two two-crust pies (apple and strawberry-rhubarb) and one largish one-crust pie (squash), then I have just enough left over for...not much!
I could make "cook's treat" -- which is that fabulous tidbit produced by rolling out the leftover dough and sprinkling it with cinnamon sugar, to be consumed standing by the stove; piping, indeed, tongue-searingly, hot, a few choice pieces vouchsafed to a begging child. Or the dough could sit in the fridge until the convergence of inspiration and acquisition of a truly small pie-pan occurs. At the exact moment of a feast day dinner!
This pan is probably one you, with your high standards, would not really use. It's a little chipped. It came in this enamel bucket:This I purchased for very little at my favorite antique (read, junk) shop to use as an ash can. Don't you love my bucket? The other thing in that bucket was that enamel covered pan (on the left) I use to raise my dough. What a find. Three enameled containers at once! Oh happy day! Anyway, this pie plate is small. That fork is covering (not intentionally -- I was trying to give you scale) a little chip in the enamel. But who cares about chips when you're talking about the right size for your piece of pie dough! Who cares?
So here it is.
The yummiest morsel you will eat in a while, requiring only that you have just the right sorts of leftovers and lurking fungus (in the forms of mushrooms and blue cheese) in the depths of your storehouses. Here is my recipe:
Spinach, mushroom, and blue cheese tart
Enough pie crust for a small (8") pie.
1 cup of the spinach which you have previously cooked with lemon, garlic, and onion, and served enough times so that you had better disguise it but good.
5 large mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in olive oil. The store I shop at has mushrooms in all sorts of packages, but the cheapest best ones are the loose large stuffing ones. I always grab a few. Mushrooms make everything better, no matter what Bridget says.
1/2 cup blue cheese. This cheese was really getting to the point of no return.
Bread crumbs. You don't buy bread crumbs, do you? Just throw your bread heels into the food processor and freeze the crumbs until you need them. Honestly, you can just wipe your food processor out when you are done.
Roll out dough. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and cover cheese with a layer of fresh breadcrumbs (these will absorb the liquid given off by the vegetables).
Spread spinach on breadcrumbs. Spread mushroom pieces on spinach.
Bake for ½ hour at 350*
Monday, December 8, 2008
And, of course, nothing like a flat tire to facilitate Christmas shopping.
Yes, even the most strong-minded Advent celebrator must still shop for Christmas presents.
Friday, December 5, 2008
and by the help of Saint Nicholas
keep us safe from all danger, and guide us on the way of salvation.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
collect of the Feast of St. Nicholas
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Blessed are those prepared to meet Him.
-- Gospel acclamation
I wanted to tell you a little about how we celebrate Advent, which is all about preparation.
Monday, December 1, 2008
No, this is not my bedroom. This is the driveway.
I like very much the fact that it is small and armless -- perfect for a high-traffic area, which my whole house is, due to the fact that there are multiple doorways, a fireplace, and windows in each room, with little space for actual furniture. Big rooms, no space! Ironic.
I try hard to balance my love of stuff with a hard-hitting realization of what I can and can not do. I really feel that I cannot do caning or rushing or any kind of involved seating repair -- certainly not upholstery. I'm willing to spray paint. I'm willing to staple. I know my limits!
I thought about throwing it away at multiple points. It seemed dumb to keep something I couldn't fix, but...I like it! I began pondering...and trying to find a piece of foam. Do you know how easy it used to be to find things like foam, and how hard it is now? I made the mistake of driving 20 minutes to JoAnn's on Halloween evening to try to get my foam. I forgot that every single person in North America is at JoAnn's getting a small piece of black fabric and some trim for their Halloween costume.
After waiting in line for the cutting for half an hour (yes, the foam must be cut), and realizing that the line at the cashier was going to be another half an hour, and needing to pick Bridget up at dance, I ditched it.
Finally I found pre-cut foam at Michael's. (Later, in a "use what you have" failure, I came across a perfectly fine piece in the attic, but never mind that. It's important to burn some fossil fuels when spiffing up a yard-sale find.)
A few weeks ago, while we had all the painting stuff out for the house and the kitchen, I dragged a bunch of things outside to finally just get either done or pitched. (I'll show you some other things later!) I figured out how to unscrew the part of this chair that has the broken rushes from the actual bottom.
"Honey, that 'one more trashy thing' you see in the garage is the template for a piece of plywood I need..." and voila! The Chief comes through.
Here you see that I stapled on a lovely linen tea towel. This comes from Angelique at Ao Neko -- I won it in a giveaway! I love it so much. I don't even know if I thanked her properly -- I wanted so much to send her something lovely in return -- I might have gotten paralyzed about that. I think it's fabulous.
I wanted sturdy linen (another thing that's hard to find) for this chair, and yet I couldn't bear to cut into this towel, so I just stapled it on whole! I like an exit strategy. In my mind I can always unstaple it and use it for a towel after all :)