30 December 2011

Okay, guys

As we get to the New Year I'm all about thinking about refocusing my life, or my habits I guess. I need to exercise more, I need to eat more veggies, I need to be more frugal, I need to maintain my follow through on things I say I am going to do and I need to be more and more creative....create the pace of life I wish to live as one of my girlfriends put it so well the other day.  These are things I hope.

In the meantime, check out this Bon Appetit "lucky foods" list.  I love it!  Found it here.

If you'd like to get yourself some good juju for 2012, here are ten ways to eat for luck on New Year's Day. 

1. Eat twelve grapes at midnight. The Spanish and Portuguese eat twelve grapes as the clock chimes twelve times for midnight, to symbolize the twelve months of the new year. Incidentally, eating grapes this quickly is not as easy as it may sound.

2. Seek out ring-shaped food for breakfast. Consider bagels or doughnuts for breakfast (don't you always?), which represent not only carby deliciousness, but also the year coming full circle.

3. Down some pig. Lots of people consider pork to be the luckiest of all foods to eat on New Year's Day. Why? Pigs are rotund, which represents prosperity (not, as it turns out, weight gain). They also "root forward" with their noses, which is supposed to symbolize progress. You can choose to eat your lucky pig any which way, including ham, sausage, whole roasted suckling pig, ham hocks, bacon, pancetta...sorry, where was I?

4. Smash a pomegranate on the floor. (And waste a perfectly good piece of fruit?) In Greece, when the new year turns, a pomegranate is smashed on the floor in front of the door to break it open and reveal seeds symbolizing prosperity and good fortune. The more seeds, the more luck. 

5. Roast whole fish for lunch.  Fish are lucky in three ways: their scales resemble coins, they travel in schools, which represents prosperity, and they swim forward, symbolizing progress. This option has the added benefit of complying with whatever New Year's dietary resolutions you've likely made.

6. Slurp soba noodles without breaking them. In Japan, long buckwheat noodles symbolize long life, and are therefore lucky--but only if you eat them without chewing or breaking them. So get your slurping technique down.

7. Nosh on greens. They resemble paper money, and who doesn't want more money next year? Everything from cabbage to kale to your Mesclun salad mix applies here.

8. Whip up a batch of Hoppin' John. This dish of black-eyed peas and rice is customary for New Year's Day in the American south, where black-eyed peas are considered auspicious based on their resemblance to coins.

9. Cook some lentils. Can you guess what lentils resemble? Money! Yes, these coin-shaped legumes are lucky in Brazil and Italy, and are said to have been eaten for luck since the Roman times.

10. Bake a coin into a cake. The second Greek tradition on our list, this involves a special lemon-flavored cake called a vasilopita baked with a coin inside (again with the money!). Whoever finds the coin gets a year of good luck. That, or a chipped tooth.

06 December 2011

DEEE cember

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Do you like to try to guess your gifts ahead of time?
I do. :( I feel bad about it. I try to put it out of my head but I do try to guess...even if I don't tell you I think I know what I am getting...I try guess what it is the person is giving me. I'll admit it, along a similar line, I have fantasies about my fiance coming home and surprising me just to hang out. He's on the road a lot so I think that this is a way that I express my missing him. I create these elaborate things in my brain and hope they happen...even though I know that they won't it still makes me really excited. 

Monday, December 5, 2011
What was the first gift you ever made another person?

The first gift I made had to have been born of my father genius to do what all children should do on Mother's Day - make brunch! I'm sure that was the first "gift" I made. I also have a tendency to make my family cards. One year I even made a work of art for my family. They each had a similar drawing of a building from from France, then I found quote approprite to each member of the family and painted it on the canvas. Not terribly creative but I think everyone liked them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2011
What was the most disappointing gift you received as a child?

I don't remember every having a gift disappoint me. Especially as a child, they were presents. And no - this was not a cop out.

Monday, December 1, 2011
What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?

The first tangible gift I remember getting, hmm. Wow, my brain initially told me to tell you about my little yellow chair I received on like my 4th  birthday but I can’t remember actually “receiving” it, you know? I don’t remember opening the box.  I know I said “just what I’ve always wanted” because I’ve been told, at that birthday party, that was my response to everything. We had just moved to Scottsdale, AZ, I had no friends my parents knew a handful of adults so they invited them over to our house so that I could have a birthday party.  Everyone played along and brought gifts and I was ecstatic, hence the “just what I’ve always wanted” response to everything…I mean, I was four and had a houseful of adults looking at me as I opened ever gift there was. And, I’m sure after the first time, someone laughed and I loved the response so I kept doing it.  Attention hog much, NO WAY.

That was my gut reaction but when I thought about it, the first gift I remember holding in my hands and feeling that overwhelming feeling a child gets when they open a gift they never knew they wanted but it was the best thing ever.  I think it was like 1987 and I was 6 or something and my dad’s parents had come up to CT to celebrate Christmas.  My family had a tradition of opening one gift of our choice on Christmas eve, I think we’ve since dispelled that tradition as this 30yr old didn’t do it last year, or the year before for that matter. Anyway, it was the night before Christmas and all through the house, everyone was waiting for me to pick a gift...because it takes FOREVER it has to be the right gift. Finally I settled on the gift from my grandparents, it wasn't too light and it wasn't too heavy, you could hear something moving around in tissue paper. Not LITERALLY moving around, I was shaking it a little. I opened the box, there was no wrapping paper, just a dark green box with a white ribbon. I opened the box and slowly pulled back the white tissue paper to reveal a beautiful china doll. She was gorgeous, she had pale skin, lightly pinked cheeks and lips and a plain dress. I loved her and hugged her. I was so happy. She was so delicate. That't it.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I just decided to make whisky vanilla extract.  I used two big Madagascar vanilla pods split in two then a cup of Irish whisky and popped it all in a jar.  Shook it once or twice and stored it under my sink, I'll be back in a week to check on it but it's supposed to take a month or so...so, we'll see.

Ever made home vanilla extract?Better luck with vodka or bourbon?