Cooking + Baking

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Hey there, and happy Friday! This early thanks brought to you by sentimental, comfort craving Colleen – because I can eat Thanksgiving all-year-long. Uh-huh. I am the not-at-all ashamed woman wiggling to unstick hot-shorted legs from the naugahyde booth of a chain of comfort food restaurants in high summer. Joyfully proclaiming, “I will have the turkey dinner. Please and thank you.” Only this wasn’t turkey, but chicken. Turkeys are too big and make too many leftovers. For if you know me at all, you also know that I don’t care much for them either, save a few exceptions: lasagna, sesame chicken,  the best sweets. The hubster likes this just fine. Reason No. 1037 our marriage is a match made in H E A V E N. Yes.

And now for the sentimental bits – the napkins are a shade my of my favorite turquoise. The boozy drink is a moscato made absolutely stellar with the addition of Atapino and Wheeler’s Gin, two of Santa Fe Spirits magical infusions of the landscape of my soul. Delicious. Jellied cranberry because childhood and perfect slices. The stuffing serving dish (with snazzy lid that is not pictured) is from my Grandpa, who got it as a prize way back in the 1950s. The little brown jug was my Grandma’s. We used it to pour the gravy with a heavy hand.

And now, for the thanks:

Thankful for my Grandparents, whose treasures litter, in the best possible way, my home. Thankful for how long I had the privilege of knowing my Grandma. Thankful that I know my Grandpa still, that we play, laugh long and hard, and give the best and most tender of hugs. Grateful for my parents. Grateful for their health and caring. Grateful to live in this house in this beautiful city. Grateful for friends near and far. Grateful for the best parts of my family, showing me how to be generous, loving, resilient. Grateful for our favorite four-legger, her joy and tenderness. Grateful for the hubster, his every kindness and sweet love. Grateful for this breath and the one after that. Always.

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Virginia Creeper in fall flame and a rather nice bit of vintage signage a short hop from our house. We admired it while enjoying dinner and coffee and cake at the newly minted Good Neighbors Meeting House. How I love having fun places with kindly people a walk a way from home. And the blueberry cheesecake? The best we have ever tasted. For the hubster this is especially telling, he is not usually a fan.

Black-eyed Susans making cheerful glances at the sky. I went out to photograph a horde of painted lady butterflies feasting on their nectar, only to have them flit off before snapping a photo.

Promenading – because Juniper knows the word walk and W-A-L-K. That dog is a smarty pants!

Caramel apple pie! Made for my parents who came to stay. It tasted as good as it looked.

Tabletop Tableau

Two of the painted ladies I did manage to catch. Or perhaps the same one? I don’t know how different their wings are, but these look very much alike to my non-butterfly expert eyes.

And the weather this morning, blanketing our burgeoning back yard. Mother nature didn’t get the memo stating I am not quite ready for snow. She does as she pleases…

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At last, as I hoped, we received our best snow well into spring, two storms in one week, beautifully blanketing the land, finally whitening our most revered neighbor, and sending Juni B. into paroxysms of glee!

I, this morning, with remnants of meals past, made a most delicious bread pudding, not quite in celebration, because it wasn’t as deliberate as that, but certainly elevating the mood of the day.

Our dearest Colorado Springs friends trekked all the way across the street for a day of fun. I made chicken noodle soup for lunch, but it was difficult for everyone to eat because there were cookies RIGHT there and waiting to be decorated!

I decorated each cookie to order and could scarcely keep up with demand. More Colleen, more!! L only wanted pink frosting, E only wanted blue, and C (giving his best thumb’s up) only wanted white. Though they were each pleased with a wide variety of sugar and jimmy sprinkles.

Post cookie sugar coma. E was asleep with his eyes open, not watching television. I kid you not.

All done…

A super fun day!

Made

I don’t know that I’ve ever told you that I am a gleaner. A spotter and collector of edibles, mostly fruits. Yesterday, while out with the hubster at the hardware store to buy a post hole digger (Oh, yeah! We dig.), I spied a passel of trees heavy with tiny apples. I’d seen them other places, but this was somewhat less conspicuous than collecting them at the library. So, while the hubster shopped, I picked. They were mostly overripe, so I didn’t get as many as I would have liked, but enough to try a batch of jelly. I hadn’t made jelly before, generally preferring jams and other whole fruit preserves. It’s a bit more labor intensive, as I forgot to document the step where I strain what is essentially apple sauce in a drawstring bag dangling (by tying it to a broom handle balanced on dining chairs – fancy!) over a glass bowl. In this case, it was WELL worth the effort. It is as delicious as it is beautiful, slightly tart and fragrant, the skins of the apple turning it that marvelous color! I’m calling it, with a serious nod to my 80s roots, Pretty in Pink.

Grandpa, are you ready for a jar?

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