Monday, January 6, 2014

The Start

Happy New Year!

It's time to grasp the new year by the horns, and not by the neck in an attempt to make a cat beard with a heavy cat who doesn't like to be lifted.

I came out of last year kind of weary.  Although I worked through the holidays for the first time in a couple of years, I'm feeling a bit energized.  So, while everyone is being good and I'm eating candy the day before a dental appointment (no cavities!), I am trying to feed off of everyone's good intentions and being productive while it lasts. 

First up, bread.

I mentioned making bread in another post.  It was a baking goal of mine last year, and I have made a few different kinds, repeatedly.  However, after moving in August, I had not been able to make a single successful batch.  Specifically, none of my dough ever seemed to rise properly, and I thought it was a curse of the new house.  However, in my first real baking attempt of 2014, I had the best results ever, cutting off a slice straight from the oven and patting on some butter (ok, well, Earth Balance spread).  It was crispy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside with no yeastiness at all.  I had not lived until I ate this fresh bread.

Top: failure (still eaten, though) / Bottom: success



I've been quite busy in the kitchen, getting back on making snacks like these bars.


Here's what we made out of packaged ramen that came from our trip to Japan.  Yes, we really did make the switch to organic eggs, and wow, are they different.  For one thing, they stay silky even if you overcook them, which is easy to do because the cooking time for these differs significantly from the conventional.


I've also gotten into pickling vegetables, making dashi (Japanese stock that's a base of a lot of recipes), and even rice balls.  Here's what I'm having from lunch today!

 

Most of my other efforts have been focused around gardening.  The weeds really had a field day out there, so we have had to deal with those on top of normal cleaning and mowing.  Oh, and fruit -- in a short time, we picked this amount times two:


Avocados, orange, and lemons.  Only in California!

As for me, I'm trying to dress a little better this year, since I felt so frumpy last year.  Not good for self-esteem OR professionalism.  So gotta pull out the heels and all that stuff once in a while...


Some big things are sitting in the queue this year -- more auntie-hood, Big Sur, and... a return trip to New York to show it to "The Ukrainian."  I'm looking forward to more happiness and living in the moment this year.  This is something I have not really been good at, but for sanity's sake, it needs to happen now.

Even if things aren't always ideal, it's time to "wing" it (which will be soon, as I'm running a marathon in 13 days!)!

Cake pop failure! ;)

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