Dawning of a New Age

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I love making resolutions.  Despite my terrible follow through.

Unfortunately, I have not been known for Keeping many. Which seems to be a critical element in the Making of them.  As soon as I make a resolution, either my tragic lack of will power or a loss of interest gets me. I am a weak creature.

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It’s a habit I seem to have perfected. Anytime I promise myself that “I’ll work out!” or “Won’t drink anymore caffeine” or “I WILL EAT ALL THIS KALE!” I fall off the wagon. Usually in a big tiramisu induced, espresso driven, Pride and Prejudice marathon kind of way. I know that these “standard go to’s” are the silly, clichéd, and empty promises that everyone (at some time or another) makes to him or herself.

Okokokokok. This we know.

But the cores of these resolutions are true. They are aimed at healing one’s relationship to food, to health, to happiness. Which is a relationship I would very much like to improve. Right? This is good talk.

So why am I giving it another go around? Same old song and dance, right? EVERYONE and their Great Aunt Susan’s are writing about resolutions, and empowerment and quinoa salad. But just gimme a second to work this out…

This year is a big year for me. It’s the first year I get to meet the world Head On, not as a “student” or as a “kid” or as a blissful floater in between responsibilities, but as a Young Woman. Oh, how Life got real. Student loan repayments, moving plans, words like “career”, “publishing houses”, and “high residency MFA programs” are serious things I say, not just the quotables I played with while sitting in a coffee shop at 3 in the morning with my friends, safely shrouded under the protection of “Undergrad”.

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I guess my intrigue with this season of resolution concerns “the importance of conviction”, of self-induced empowerment. Harnessing the qualities in ourselves, that make us better folk.

My Challenges on this (most auspicious) New Year are these:

1.)  Financial Frugality. Know where my money is going and why. I found in doing this, that I waste and AWFUL lot of money. And waste is not acceptable. In any capacity.

2.)  Transfer/Relocation Plan of Action. Boston 2012, or BUST! (hopefully it will be the former and not the later that comes true)

3.)  Treat Myself like a Friend. My sister gave me the idea for this one, and I thank her for it. Think about how harsh and mean and cruel we are to ourselves. We say things in our heads that we would never say to our friends. We discourage ourselves in ways that we would NEVER discourage our friends. I want to love myself like I love my friends—unconditionally. I want to show my body I love it with the food I nourish it with, the places I take it, and the things I do with it. It is my happiness.

4.)  Feed my mind. I am proud of this goal because I have kept it for some time. It started right before Graduation. I was worried that after I left school I wouldn’t read anymore, I won’t inquire, that all my curiosities would be dulled or worse, they’d be lost. But I am happy to say that my curiosity has sharpened considerably. I have come to find that education doesn’t stop after leaving the classroom. A commencement ceremony is just that, “a journeying out into the world at large to seek and to find, and to grow and enrich your mind and the minds of others”.

 

It’s pleasing to see goals written down. It’s far easier to manage the thoughts of sabotage when you feel, in your heart, a kind of affection for the truths you’ve written.

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I wish you all time to listen to the echoing depths. It is an indecipherable conversation, but as Gertrude Stein said “We can only know ourselves knowing the truth”. Which relieves the pressure for articulation.

 

At least I hope it does.

All my love these final days of the year and far into the next,

M

xxoo

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Major Micro Awesomeness.

My siblings are here. They are present and accounted for. It’s been awesome. We’ve karaoke’d our little hearts out. We’ve eaten, laughed, and watched embarrassing throwback movies.

So what’s left?  What do 3/4 of an “of age” family  do the days after all the holiday festivus?

Let’s play a game.

Do they:

A.) Start Washing the piles and piles of laundry in the basement, Eat leftover Christmas cookies and play extreme PingPong?

B.) Shovel the driveway, eat candy canes, slip on driveway, choke on candy canes, curse at driveway, curse at candycanes, abandon driveway, finish candycanes, lie about wounded pride?

C.) Throw away our dead tree. Vacuum up the needles, put the ornaments and garland and tinsel away. Binge on the major stash of homemade toffee?

Or…

D.) Go on one epic Micro-brewery tasting room tour?

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Did you answer D.)? Good idea. I agree.

For those who don’t know what’s up, Colorado is the Napa Valley of local beers. Total Truth Town. 

O’Dells, New Belgium, and the new FunkWerks brewery were on the Fort Collins Docket. Avery and Asher and Lefthand Brewing company for the Boulder lineup.

We had it all- Belgians, ales, lagers, IPA’s, bourbon barrel stouts,

But the favorites were these:

1. Funk Werks- Saison
                        – Mon Tresor

2. O’Dells- Three Sheets Trippel
                 – Myrcenary IPA
                  – Nitro Oil Can Stout

3. New Belgium- lips of faith Old Cherry
                           – Prickly Passion Saison
                            – Abbey Ale

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All so good. All so fine. So much beer. So little time.

Hope your holiday was lovely! And

      Happiest of New Years!!!!
Xxoo M

Chocolate Peppermint Party Pretzels

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It’s game night. You need foods.

You need sweet foods. You need salty foods. And what the hell, its festive, you need pepperminty foods too.

Three birds, one totally easy and affordable stone.

One bag Pretzel RoDS

4 Chocolate bars ( I did half dark half milk)

4 candy canes, pulverized.

In a double boiler, slowly melt chocolate bars. Dip pretzels in chocolate shaking off any excess. Sprinkle candy canes on top. Set on parchment paper to cool and set.

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Serve in mason jars with Juniper ales and board game madness!

Merry Christmas PARTYING!!!!

Xxoo

Megs

Mini Cheesecakes with Lemon Curd

I’m a girl who listens to Public Radio…

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Oh Lord, I LOVE me some public radio.

I want “NPR” to be my first tattoo. At least in my fictional tattoo planning brain.  Committ.

But I just learned that apparently talking back to Public radio at a stop light with your Windows down gives your fellow commuters cause for alarm. Who knew.

So sue me, I Lol hard to ” Wait, Wait don’t tell me!” Ugh, so hilarious. Get into it.

People of the world, don’t ruffle your brow at the girl in the 1997 Ford escort who’s jammin to some “World Cafe” or gasping at the BBC World News. Or taking notes during All Things Considered. It totally ok. She’s stopped at a light. She wouldn’t take notes and drive…. Right…. That’s crazy….

I made some mini cheesecakes for you. And some lemon curd for you. Courtesy of my sister and her cheesecake makin tomfoolery.

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Why? Because we love you.
And public radio. Obvi.

MIni Cheesecakes:

For Crust-

1 package Graham Crackers

1 c. Walnuts

1 stick melted butter

dash of cinnamon (optional)

For Filling-

3 packages of cream cheese (room temperature)

3 eggs

3/4 c. of sugar

3 to 4 T. of Flour

milk (for consistency)

1/2 T.  Vanilla

Zest of One Lemon

Juice of Half a Lemon

Preheat oven to 410 degrees.

In a standing mixer, cream the cream cheese and add eggs one at a time. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix for a couple minutes until softened and relatively combined. add the flour, zest, and lemon juice. combine. While on medium low speed, add milk in slow stream until the batter falls down off a spoon in a slow but continuous ribbon.

In a food Processor, add walnuts and pulse until the texture of coarse sand. Remove and set aside in separate bowl. Then add grahams. Pulse until it is the same texture. Add to walnuts. Pour in melted butter and combine.

In two muffin tins, line with baking cups. Put enough crust in the bottom and using a measuring cup, press to cover the bottom. (*to prevent the crust from sticking to the bottom of the measuring cup, press with one hand and twist. Hold the baking cup with the other. success!)

Then add thin layer of Lemon Curd. Spoon batter on top. The cheesecakes don’t “rise” so make sure you put enough in each cup so no one feels Gypped.

Put in the middle rack and set the timer for ten minutes.

Check, if the centers jiggle put them in for another minute or two. You want them to be “set” but not terribly firm. or burned.

 

Let cool completely and then top with another layer of Lemon Curd and Fresh Raspberries.

 

Eat for dinner with a glass of wine and Ira Glass.

xxoo

 

 

 

 

the Gin #4

I have recently discovered Pinterest and it has taken over my life. This digital cork board has consumed me so much so that I am now in a constant state of hunger and craftiness and all i can think about are cutsie DIY projects and fish tail braids. Dear Me.

But as they say, “first world problems”.

this Gin cocktail is called “the Number Four” and i found it (wait for it!) on Pinterest.

I’m not sure why its called the Number Four. Don’t ask questions. Just keep your head down and drink.

and Merry December 10th.

Cheers and Love

M xxoo

 

the Gin #4:

2 oz. Gin

1 T. Honey

1 crushed Cardamom Pod

3-4 crushed black Peppercorns

crushed ice

Sparkling Water (optional)

 

Mix Honey and Gin. In a shaker, put Pod and Pepper and Ice-shake vigorously, serve immediately. Cut with sparkling water (if need be).

 

Blackberry Simple Syrup

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Do you know how cold -5 degrees is? Its friggin’ freezing. I’m talkin “Flippin-cry-your-eyes-out-but-don’t-really-because-they’ll-probably-freeze” Cold.

Did you know that? cause it is. It is the coldest. oh boy…its only gonna get colder.

My nose hairs LITERALLY froze inside my nose today. that is just unacceptable. i need a cocktail that tastes like spring. Maybe i’ll add just a lil’ darkness. (I mean, i don’t want to be totally disrespectful…)

This Blackberry Syrup is a keeper.

1. c. Sugar

1. c. water

1/2 pint blackberries

Bring all the ingredients to a boil and cook until berries soften to  a “mushable” texture. Turn off heat and let the syrup cool in the pot.  take a fork and mash berries into small little bits. or you can pulse the mixture a few times in a blender. which i did. worked like a gem.

it is soooo pretty, and deep, and rich, and sweet, and a little tart.

Virgin spritzers, cocktails, pancakes, this stuff means business.

I invented a drink: “the Mrs. Dalloway”

4 ice cubes

wedge lemon

wedge lime

dash of raspberry liquor (Chambord)

1/2 oz. Vodka

sparkling water

sugar (for rim)

1/2 oz Blackberry Syrup

With a clean glass, dip the rim in a little saucer of vodka, then a saucer of sugar. Add ice. squeeze lemon and lime over ice, muddle the wedges to the bottom. pour in blackberry syrup and vodka. Stir. add raspberry liquor. top with sparkling water. stir to combine.

Drink and feel Wonderfully melancholic.

p.s. this has a most beautiful color. would make a GREAT party drink!

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Peanut Butter Fudge Milkshakes

Friends make milkshakes. Milkshakes that are Peanut Buttery and Milkshakes with Homemade Hot Fudge.

I have these friends. We do these things. Observe:

FOR THE MILKSHAKES:

4 scoops vanilla ice cream

2 T. creamy peanut butter

milk (for consistency)

homemade hot fudge (both in AND out) *see below for recipe

Put all this stuff in a blender and Whip it up! add more milk until desired  “milkiness” is reached. Be careful not to overdo it with the Peanut Butter though. Truly. It can be done. My friend Shoshana will testify to this. She put a GIANT scoop of it in hers. It gave her lock-jaw. seriously. You just want need hint.

Divide in 3 glasses, drizzle with more hot fudge and enjoy!

For the Hot Fudge:

(courtesy of Joy the Baker)

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces good bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped

2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cup into 1/2 Tablespoons

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoons hot water

Stir together cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt and half of the chopped chocolate in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted.  Cook mixture at a low boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso powder into 1 1/2 teaspoons hot water.

Remove the sauce from heat, add remaining chocolate, butter, espresso mixture and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.  Cool slightly before serving.

Cooled sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  Reheat over low heat, stirring to serve after it’s been chilled.

Lemon Shortbread

 As adapted from Joy of Cooking
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 T. Meyer lemon zest, finely grated

1 T. lemon Juice

1 cup superfine sugar (or process regular sugar in a food processor for 30 seconds)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. Baking powder

1 large egg yolk

1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream butter, lemon zest, sugar, and salt in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed. Add in the egg yolk until well blended, and then the egg and the vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add in the flour until just combined. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (up to two days).

Preheat oven to 375°F, placing the two racks on the upper third and lower third of the oven. Working with one batch of dough at a time, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Use either a well floured surface or a Silpat liner and plastic wrap. Cut out shapes using cutters, trying to use up as much dough as possible. The dough should only be re-rolled out once. Alternatively, if you don’t have a cookie cutter, scoop cookie dough with a small ice cream scoop and roll out and flatten by hand.

Bake 2 sheets at a time until the cookies are slightly golden brown at the edges (about 6-8 minutes). If your cookies are thicker than 1/8 inch, you may have to bake for longer. After baking, immediately transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

Cold Melon Soup

Melon Season! Melon Season! Cold Soup and Melon Season!

Let’s get to it:

2 melons (ripe and a lil squishy)

Splash of White Wine

4-6 Mint Leaves

juice of a lime

1 c. Greek Yogurt

First off, choose your melons wisely. I used one Cantaloupe and one Rocky Ford from the western slope. Rocky Fords are sweet with a velvety texture, which makes this soup souper silky. get it? soup-er silky?… Nevermind

(Ask your grocer to sample some local varieties whichever ones you like,buy! Honeydew, Canary, Crenshaw, etc. All are good choices)

Half Melons and scoop out seeds. Cut into wedges and then cut the flesh away from the rind, making sure NOT to leave any bits of tough green on the fruit. Cut into chunks and trhow into a food processor (or blender). Add the splash of white white and lime juice then Pulse. Add yogurt and blend until smooth.

For the Mint: I bruise the leaves so the oils begin to leech and put them in a tea ball and drop in the bowl while it chills. But you can float them in the soup if that’s easiest. Just be sure to fish them out before serving. The mint is just supposed to give a hint of freshness to this soup. Chill and serve.

Sprinkle with black pepper if you wanna get down.