Saturday, January 04, 2014

To 2014

Every year, we can say that we'll do better. That we'll try harder. And we make a long list of things that we promise we'll do, that will we'll change for the new year.

And every year, I've followed suit. I've made promises to myself, and try as I may, I haven't really been able to keep them. There is something to be said about dreaming a little too big.

So this year, no more setting myself up to fail. Instead, what about some small, manageable changes to elements of my life that will impact the big picture.

Take time to appreciate what I have, and not what I don't have. I am rich in so many ways, and wasting time thinking about material things that are not there isn't helping anything.

Make time each month for a new adventure or experience with my brand new husband. We're both so busy, and already treasure spending whatever time we can find together. Adventures will only make this so much better.

Take better care of myself. Eat smaller amounts of better food. Try to not stress about everything. Be proud of myself, and what I do.

Here's to you, 2014. I can't wait to see what's in store!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This year, I will learn to like:

*Blue cheese

I am pretty certain that learning to like these things may, in fact, help me become a better person. Or something like that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sacramento Happy Hour

Grange, in the Citizen Hotel

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Episode 5 million and one

And, we're back. Mesdames et messieurs, I bet you didn't even miss me.

So much has changed in a few years, yet sometimes it seems like nothing's changed at all.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Episode 15- Attack of the pumpkin spice lattes

Friends, Romans, Cupcakes, lend me your ears (or sprinkles). I have a problem. And that problem is holiday flavor. Actually, it's not a problem per-se, but more of a teeny-tiny growing addiction.

See, in France, the holidays don't really have a flavor. Actually, that's a lie. In France, the holidays taste like FOIE GRAS and CHAMPAGNE. And they are DELICIOUS. I ate more incredible things than I could count. Oh god, French celebrations. Oysters! Roasts! Drinking! Toasts! More drinking! (See also, last Christmas and what we ate there). But there's no special holiday flavored baking section that involves pumpkin and gingerbread and cinnamon and nutmeg. Sure, there are les buches and chocolate, pain d'epices and vin chaud. You could eat your weight in desserts (I think I have). But you can't get the breadth of "holiday flavor" products that you can here. And after three years without a pumpkin spice latte, or gingerbread-scented something, I have started to over-indulge.

The thing is that I do love me some pumpkin. And Thanksgiving. And all of the warm fall-winter flavors that transition from November to Christmas. So it's been a sensory overload lately in the stores and shops. I nearly keeled over for a candle at Anthropologie (but regained my senses over the price- 18 dollars ow). And last night at Trader Joe's I went in for strawberries and left with canned pumpkin (what a novelty! I won't have to roast a squash every time I want pumpkin-something), pumpkin granola and pumpkin butter. Oops.

Cupcakes do as cupcakes will, and I have decided to approach this from a "research" perspective. Very scientific. And hopefully delicious. Not only will I find out which products are worth it, but I may overcome this growing addiction before next year due to over-saturation! Huzzah!

And if I start to gain too much weight then I'll just go ride my bike. But that's another story.

Confession- I sort of missed Starbucks holiday drinks. Mostly because they remind me of the year that Steve and I tried all of them and one day we went together to the Starbucks near campus and we had either peppermint mochas or gingerbread lattes and then it started to snow and it was beautiful. Whew. But come one, Christmas drinks at the beginning of November? It is not time yet! Leave me my fall and my pumpkin! And take those red cups away!

So... stay tuned for pumpkin beer?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Episode 14- In which we dream about opening our own business.

Oh, and grad school? Grrrr.

So maybe the key to this whole "job" thing is not to try and fit myself into a job posting that I find on the world wide web (most of which never answer me back- WHAT'S WITH YOU JOB PEOPLE?) but rather to make up a job for myself that fits me perfectly. People have suggested this to me before and I quite like the idea, but am deterred by the fact that I have no money. Which is sad.

But really, isn't America about the (American) dream and the entrepreneurial spirit and being able to do whatever you want? Shouldn't any double-grad-school-educated person be able to open their own business? Even if it's a business that no one knows about? Even if it's to make food and plan parties for other people? Even if it means I could wear a frilly apron on a professional basis? Even if most of these businesses fail in 2 minutes?

I've always harbored a dream of being a wedding planner (sigh, J.Lo, sigh) and planning extravagant affairs that were like really big formals. Sarah could make the cakes! But probably not happening any time soon. But wouldn't it be nice to plan smaller, classy parties? With cocktails and small bites and cupcakes? Would you come?

So please hire me and my pretend business! Here are things that I could make for you:

Cupakes (duh), filled with jam and topped with a rosewater glaze
Cakes, in the French savory style- goat cheese and walnuts, asparagus and mozzarella, etc
Quiches of all sorts
Tartes, savory and sweet- nectarine and vanilla sugar, portabello and bacon and spinach, etc
Half-moon bites, filled with pesto or goat cheese or anything
Tartelettes, of all sorts
Many many mini-toasts for every taste under the sun
Kir, of course

I think that this is only the beginning of the list, though

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Episode 13- Which hopefully is not an unlucky number

When the going gets tough and there's still no job on the horizon, why not make a savory tart?

And if you, like cupcake, cannot roll out a round pie crust to save your life, why not make a rustic savory tart?

These were my favorite during the thesis-writing period, because they are easy, fast and can be made without a lot of pricey groceries. Any combination of meat and vegetable and cheese will work, or it could go completely veggie. Buying cuts of meat and chopping them at home instead of using pre-ground saves money and lets you control exactly what goes in. Plus, you can buy whatever meat is on special! Let's use one of my favorite examples.

The "I just came back from Spain and I want to use some of this delicious smoked paprika" tart

1 pie crust (made with love at home or purchased if you are in France and can purchase a decent crust)
2 boneless pork chops (they don't have to be huge, the idea is to not use very much meat)
1 yellow onion
mild melty cheese, grated (I've used emmenthaler and comte)
a few teaspoons of aforementioned smokey paprika
salt and pepper

*Preheat your oven to 350, if you're the Fahrenheit type
*Cut the onion into quarters. In a food processor pulse into the onion is finely minced. Set aside.
*Cut the pork into several large pieces and chop in the food processor until the pieces are the approximate size of ground pork.
(Alternately you could just mince the pork and onion by hand, as long as the pieces are fairly small.)
*Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and when hot add the pork.
*When the pork starts to release some liquid throw in the onions. If the pork is too dry add a little olive oil so the onions don't stick.
*Cook the two together until the onions are soft and the pork is done but not dry (it'll cook a bit more in the oven).
*Add paprika, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Taste and re-season. Repeat until it's delicious.
*Roll out that pastry! (or unroll the store-bought from the box)
*Dump the pork-onion mixture into the middle, leaving about a 2 inch radius around the edges.
*Fold the bare sides of the pastry up onto the middle, creating the edge-crust. It will look like a rough circle unless you're perfect and then it will look like a perfect circle.
*Sprinkle with the cheese
*Put the whole thing into the oven until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted and it looks ready. It can take anywhere from 20-35 minutes.

This serves 3 easily, or 2 very hungry people (or boys)