Cooking + Baking

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I’ve never seen a goose poop mid-flight, but can you imagine?

How about that for a beginning to mark the end of 2021? All told, it was a pretty great year for us, thank goodness. Not that shitty things didn’t happen. Nearly six hundred family homes are mere ashes after burning rapid-fire near my childhood home. People we care about died (one from COVID) and got brain cancer, while others got married and had beautiful, healthy babies. Two had successful surgeries! Relationships ended and others flourished. Good and bad, how life always is. There’s probably a more eloquent saying for that, but I’m too lazy to look at the moment.

Two of my favorite people, hanging out for Christmas! We spent three nights at my parents, where Greg and my dad laughed and played ample pool while sipping adult beverages. I did not document my mom and I making tamales, some of the best ever, or us eating them, but I assure you it happened. We also listened to holiday songs, watched movies, admired the glow of Christmas lights, and played Farkle with my Aunt Mari. All the good things. Y-E-S, yes!

Juniper played and played in the yard of my childhood, and, as always, how fun it was to see the place of my burgeoning imagination run riot with her joy.

Shuttling about, we spent a grand evening at Michael and Mary’s, and another under the twinkle of holiday lights and the roar of laughter with our dear, dear, Andie Card. On the afternoon we went home, we stopped by my cousin Stephanie’s for treats and conversation and to see Stella grow stronger and stronger. An abundance of riches.

Yesterday, before the snow. Last night, after first noticing the arrival, I dashed onto the porch in my bare feet and shouted with glee. We awoke to several inches and it continues to fall. My word, how long in coming that was. Here’s hoping we get heaps and tons more this 2022.

And finally, the last of the 2021 food photos. For our holiday treats, I made: biscochitos (and created my best iteration, yet), peanut butter fudge (also my own recipe, which tastes like a PayDay!), toasted walnut fudge, cherry mashers (thank you, Joanna Gaines, though I used butter), red chile pecan brittle, butterscotch potato chip shortbread, peppermint slice, and brownie cups (peppermint chip and not-so-plain).

Our New Year’s Eve meal was zoodles with a fabulous Italian sausage and mushroom red sauce (homemade, duh!) and extra cheesy garlic bread. We live large!!

Here’s hoping this is the year we really bust through COVID and make every sweet dream come true! HUGS…

Happy day after Halloween! Are you good and sugared up? Greg and I did our fair share of partaking in the stash of candy, to be sure. They are probably not new, but I only discovered them this year – giant chewy Nerds! So very good. Yesterday was also cookie day, which took the sugar rush to the next level and kept me from getting a pleasant sleep. As Grandpa would say, “The bunnies were chasing me!”

It was wonderful to see so many kids out and having fun. I suppose the only bummer of the day was our weather taking a misty turn. We need the moisture, really and truly, but I wish it had waited a day for the trick-or-treaters.

It is Juniper sweater season, the aspens are dropping glorious leaves at every turn, and I’m trying batches of hot honey and hot sauce with Farmer Greg’s chiles. We also completed our first two puzzles of the season, so you know, all the signs of fall!

Finally, a pretty lunch bowl – chicken tinga, pinto beans, corn, and cauliflower “rice.” Very Weight Watchers approved. Which reminds me, I am down 13 pounds, and Greg, drumroll please…23!! Testosterone really is a body’s best friend when it comes to weight loss. Lucky Duck!

mint + tomato

I love HOT coffee. To get quite literal, I’m talking 150 degrees hot, because, of course I measured! On a French press day, I pour it into our old school Corning Ware pot and let it big bubble boil before adding the wonder that is milk. Mostly lotsa, lotsa homemade almond, cow a distant second, I know – snob. But I’ve probably burned a coffee connoisseur bridge or two by boiling it in a pot on the stove. Eeek! Now that we have an espresso machine, that milk’s gotta be creamy-steamy steamed. I like what I like! I sit at my usual spot at the table, sip slowly, and revel in every single sip. I really do.

Lately, I’ve been reading a Psalm while I’m at it. Aside from a few Catechism classes as a wee one, I have never had any sort of bible study. If you are a religious Christian, this might be the moment to avert your eyes. <<PAUSE TO WAIT>> Thus far, I am finding them to be mostly angry rants against the Lord and wishing misery upon others, when I was looking for a bit more eloquence, hope, and aspiration. Let’s just say it answers a lot of other questions about Christianity for me. We’ll see how long I stick with it. <<PAUSE OVER>>

And now for TEA! For reasons I cannot explain, it is pretty much a polar opposite situation. I do not enjoy it at coffee temperature. At all. TOO HOT!! So I wait, generally for enough time to have nearly forgotten about it. Then it is lukewarm perfect and I GULP it down in a truly separate but equal heart aflutter fashion. Odd funny, and another very unsurprisingly me, Colleen Sohn, thing to do. Oh, the multitude on the list. Like anyone cares or needs to know, but alas, here we are!

And finally, the photos. The last bunches of mint and tomatoes. So pretty. Praise be to the beauty of fall. I do not remember the last time it didn’t snow or freeze in such a terrible manner that the majority of leaves immediately fell, so very green and sad, denying us the beauty we are now experiencing. The trees are alive with color, dear reader, and I could not be happier about it!

The amazing salad -Vietnamese Pork with quick pickled radish, jicama, and carrot, and with a bevy of other chopped goodness – the last of Farmer Greg’s cayenne & curly endive, then jalapeno, cucumber, cilantro, mint (from above!), purple and green cabbage, lettuce. Good grief, the chopping! It was super-yummy, but if there’s going to be a next time, I will need a little help. I was at it for an hour, chop, chop, chopping, and pickling. We downed them in less than ten. Not the best ratio, in my humble opinion.

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Our STRONG rooted fennel took two hands to release from the ground!

Juniper’s tongue! She’s so stinking cute.

The beautiful fluff of seed pods waiting to be carried off to new lands.
omelet
Bee and butterfly!
butternut squash tacos
reflection from a seltzer can!
spicy Asian pork salad
Bald Eagle
Final harvest of peppers, onions, and fennel!
tiny poblano
Snow!

Hello, and happy Wednesday!

We’re a one foot in salad and one foot in soup season around here. Days still have enough warmth in them, but my mind, I think, is further along the transition because I made fennel apple soup with these last bulbs, and boy, it was wonderful!

It is full on FALL here, with trees lit up: ochre, pumpkin, scarlet. But alas, no photo! The last jeweled apples cling to trees and prettily litter the ground. It hurts my heart a bit not to gather them all, but I’ve already made butter, sauce, and jelly galore. The birds and squirrels and other critters will go gonzo soon enough, I suppose.

The bee and butterfly up yonder were noshing on our mint. After looking a little droopy, it took off right and proper, with hundreds of winged creatures feasting on the flowers. We were dazzled by the constant flurry of activity and ever-so-grateful not to have prematurely trimmed it back. I shudder to think at all the missed nutrients for the bevy of tiny friends.

Farmer Greg’s final harvest was a showstopper considering the tiny footprint of the garden, and this doesn’t even show the giant bowl of tomatoes waiting to be made into something wonderful.

And on that wonderful note, how good does the handsome hubster look after 18 pounds lost on Weight Watchers? He’s humming at a much faster clip than I, but we’re still moving forward. Foods like the pork salad and butternut squash tacos (thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow for this idea) make it all the more colorful and satisfyingly delicious.

Here’s hoping you are WELL!

Happy & strong. . .
bumper crop
weekly cookie & iced latte
nasturtium
mum
sunflower
scarlet runner
crocosmia
rudbeckia
canteloupe
hollyhock
aster
hyssop
goldenrod
teeny tiny rose

Last week we got our no. 2 shingles vaccine, and it knocked us OUT. I had a headache within minutes, and my arm was sore the first night. But oh, the next morning! We walked Juniper, and were so exhausted by our truncated effort that we returned to bed. Later, I heard my phone making a ruckus and went to my office to check. Turns out, we’d been asleep for hours. It was 11:30 and I’d missed a massage appointment. I felt wrecked for the rest of the day and pretty tired the following two. Brutal, dear peeps. Brutal.

When we finally came up for air, we took Juniper to her favorite frolic spot, and let her get her wiggles out good and proper. She was pretty happy with our decision!

I made three pints of pico de gallo with the tomatoes, and the hubster could not be happier about it.

Greg and I are down 15 and 10 pounds respectively, thanks in part to enjoying cookies one-at-a-time, rather than a half batch in one go. We both like that it is sensibility not deprivation.

Oh, and speaking of cookies, have you ever tried a chocolate chip dough with the addition of white miso? Sounds crazy, right? I read about it somewhere recently and gave it a whirl – one tablespoon to our half batch of dough. Eek! Quite the je ne sais quoi to elevate the humble winner to it’s better-better best.

And the garden! Much of it is fading, but much remains so very alive. The hyssop is especially delightful, with a constant zoom & flurry of hummingbirds.

Happy Fall…

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