Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the grapefruit are here

Monday there was a huge display of grapefruit at the store, and I bought a few. Yes, I'm one of those people who is susceptible to such displays. And I always shop hungry. One of my favorite things about winter is all the citrus.

As I unpacked the grapefruit from the grocery bags, I remembered a cocktail we made a few times last winter. Our friend Gary told Alexi about it, or about an approximation of something like it he'd had. It's too good not to mention, here. I plan to make some this weekend; maybe you will, too.

1.5 oz grapefruit juice
1.5 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1.5 oz vodka

Chill cocktail glass in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the above ingredients. Shake well. Strain into the chilled glass. Enjoy.

Serves 1.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday


I once heard Nancy Pearl say that you should read into a book 100 pages minus your age before deciding to stop reading it. In general, I think she's right. I recently bought The Marriage Plot with high expectations; Jeffrey Eugenides is quite a writer. I've been reading it slowly, uninterestedly, and have only continued it for lack of something better on hand. Until yesterday! On page one hundred and thirty something, I finally got into it. And I'll be surprised if I don't lose sleep reading it late into the night over the next couple of days.

Abbott recently read Wildwood and loved it, and wanted me to read it, too. So, I'm also in the middle of that. It's fantastically well written, and the illustrations are gorgeous. We downloaded the audio book so Cal could hear it, and we've all been enjoying listening to it on our car trips to school, to hockey, etc.

Happy Tuesday to you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday

I threw out the pumpkins on the porch, and got rid of all things harvest looking inside and out, aside from the wet leaves. I worked on those, but couldn’t eradicate them.

I grocery shopped and did laundry. Mailed packages, dropped off drycleaning, and went to the bank. The postal clerk was grim. The grocery store staff seemed to be in a state of post-traumatic stress; probably from a harried week at work last week leading up to Thankgsiving. Those I’m on a first name basis with barely said hello.

I paid bills, answered emails, and diminished my task list. It felt good to be productive and focused.

The sun was out, intermittently. Abbott raked for money, then I worked outside while the boys played street hockey with a neighbor. We stayed out until the sun was all the way down and the street was lit by the crescent moon.

While I worked my mind wandered to a couple of changes I’ve put in motion; I’ve surprised myself in overcoming inertia. I dream about what certain aspects of the future will look like. I’m sure you do, too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Portland


We’ve been away for a few days. Cal played in a hockey ‘jamboree’ (a few games) in the Portland area, so we decided to make a long weekend out of it. We walked the city, ate a lot of good food, played in the hotel pool, read books. We saw Arthur Christmas, which was clever and hilarious and warm. We loved it. One of the best Christmas movies I’ve seen; modern and timeless at the same time. And we’ve been listening to and enjoying A Very She & Him Christmas all weekend, thanks to Lorraine’s mention of it.

I hope your weekend was a good one. It's always harder having it end after a holiday, isn't it?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving


I hope you had a nice holiday with those you love. xoxo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23

Today is Alexi's birthday. The first celebration in this season, for us. He likes having it so close to Thanksgiving (some years, on the holiday), because those near and dear to his heart are often gathered around. We slowed down and had an easy day together; a nice pause before the busier days of celebration are upon us.

Best wishes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday

Coconut macaroons I made today for a Hockey Fights Hunger event. (The cookies were only used to fight the hunger of the participants; a canned food drive was the plan for fighting hunger in our community.)

Every time Abbott encounters an unfamiliar word, he finds out the meaning, and then I hear him use it in a sentence of his own before the day is over. Not a day goes by without my being inspired by him.

My (ten year old) niece ended her Christmas wish list with, 'PLEASE, nothing sparkly'. I love her.

We - Alexi and I - need a better system for choosing movies. It often takes us, seemingly, as long to select something to watch as it does to watch it. Seen anything good lately?

Happy Tuesday to you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday

A P-Patch I encountered this morning on a walk through the Eastlake neighborhood.

I'm sitting down to make my finalized Thanksgiving shopping list; tomorrow morning I'll shop, then start cooking. Last year I made Stephanie's sweet potato biscuits and they were one of the best things on the table; planning to make them again, for sure. They were especially good for making little turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches with the leftovers. I'll use Molly's cranberry sauce recipe. And I always make cornbread stuffing; I like Cook Illustrated's version best. I wanted to make a cheesecake instead of pie this year, but I got out-voted 3-1. What's on your menu this year?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday


We had to leave the house just before 7:00 to get to Abbott’s hockey game. The sky was the deep blue of a barely light, clear sky. The first frost I’ve seen this year was on the ground and the rooftops and the car windows, and it hurt to inhale, it was so cold. The crescent moon shone directly above. The rink we drove to resides in a valley, and this morning it was full of a heavy, icy fog. As I got out of the car I heard honking above; my eyes followed the sound to the faint outline of two groups of geese flying in formation, shrouded in fog.

After the game, we headed to church, and had a few minutes before it started at the park across the street.

As I began the drive home I heard the end of something on NPR. ‘Cynicism is an easy place to pitch a tent…I urge you to choose a more honorable campsite.’

Leftover Thai food for lunch, followed by a walk with a football. Gloria in Excelsis Deo, I sang along, Abbott accompanying on the piano as I cooked dinner.

Another week begins.

Adam Gopnik on Thanksgiving

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18

Is it just me, or are the weeks passing by ever more quickly as this year progresses?

Thanks so much for reading, and for all of your nice comments this week. Happy weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

from Thursday evening

The house is still, and quiet, except for the faint murmuring coming from the direction of the guest room, and the wind blowing outside. It feels more lived in tonight. It's good to have it full. Fuller.

We are ready for Grandparents and Special Friends Day at school tomorrow. I signed up to bring cookies to Abbott's classroom; they're having a tea party. Earlier this week I bought ingredients to make macaroons. When I told Abbott the plan, he vehemently told me he wanted to bring whoopie pies. I suppose I could have asked him first. Parenting is a learn as you go activity, sometimes. So, back to the store I went, and tonight I let him and Cal do the baking and then the making.

We may get snow tonight. Fingers are crossed.

I just bought the boys the Lego Star Wars advent calendar. Now I need to get to work on filling our usual advent calendar. (Some of my ideas from past years, if you'd like to see, are here.) It's hard to believe December is just around the corner. I went to a parent council meeting this morning and there were candy canes and brownies served. The president, provider of the treats, said she's trying to get us to think ahead.

Anyway. I wish you a peaceful evening, wherever you are. xo

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

my best salad

For most Americans, next week is the week to travel, if you’re going to, or have the house fill up with guests for Thanksgiving. We, however, are starting early. Our school’s Grandparents/Special Friends Day is Friday, so tomorrow Alexi’s mother and stepfather are arriving. I haven’t gotten so far as to put sheets on the guest bed, fresh towels in the bathroom, or vacuum, but I have stocked the kitchen, and I’ve cooked. Everything will somehow come together or it won’t, and either way, we’ll all be glad to see each other. This afternoon I prepared a chicken for roasting tomorrow night, and made a salad for these Minnesotan, wild rice-loving relatives.

I’ve been making this for over a decade. Every time I share it with a crowd, I end up giving out the recipe. I’ve made it for Thanksgiving on more than one occasion.

Nutted Wild Rice
Slightly adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

1 cup (1/2 pound) raw wild rice
5 ½ cups chicken stock or water
1 cup shelled pecan halves
1 cup yellow raisins
zest from 1 orange
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
4 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the rice in a strainer and rinse it thoroughly under cold water.

Place the rice in a medium sized heavy saucepan. Add the stock or water, and bring it to a rapid boil. Adjust the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes check the rice for doneness; you don’t want it to get too soft. Place a thin towel inside a colander and turn the rice into the colander to drain. Transfer the drained rice to a bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients to the rice; toss gently. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Let the mixture stand at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Serve at room temperature.

Yield: 6 portions

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

these days

We've had a stretch of clear days that have been cold in the mornings, warm by afternoon. They've been beautiful, every minute of them.