Friday, December 28, 2007
Greg was great to me.
I was great to Greg.
Family and friends were great to us.
Throw in three types of tamales, massive amounts of cookies. Candy. Some light egg nog. Spiced apple cider. Snuggles with Portia. Time off.
It was great all around.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
In celebration of Christmas Eve, yesterday I pulled out the rest of the rugelach dough from the other day and made more pinwheels. This time with dried cranberries, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts with apricot and these were rockin! Though honestly the first batch was great too, but these were just a little less sweet and more tart but still sweet. Hmm that made no sense. Anyway, rave reviews from hubby, who said 'those pinwheel things are good, i ate a few'...haha. I def think these and the PB cookies are my fave this year. I'm hoarding the PB cookies and trying to eat them sparingly, because how often do I bake with hydrogenated oil Skippy? Once a year.
This 2nd batch of rugelach came out way more visually lovely than the first tries I made. Those were still good looking but nowhere near SmittenKitchen or Janna beauty, now I finally feel like I got more of the hang of it.
ready for it's closeup.
Time for presents!! Have a wonderful day everyone. Hugs and kisses from Greg, Mara and the snow princess, Portia.
Monday, December 24, 2007
I had Grandma help me by making her famous sauce (which has 3 types of chilis, garlic, peanut butter, chocolate, pumpkin and sesame seed in it!!) and I did the rest. I went a little crazy because I figure when in Rome so we made beef/pork combo tamales ala family tradition, chicken chile verde tamales ala Mara experimental tradition, and sweet tamales which are kind of rare and unique around here so I was really excited about these. They are basically like dessert tamales.
Like any obsessed blogger, I catalogued the process the whole time with my camera. I started cooking the meats on Friday, and we assembled on Saturday. Greg helped. Started steaming on Sunday and into Monday, each batch takes between 2-4 hours to steam.
Here are the highlights. I am happy to report that every version was received with cheers by the family members and the most important taster, my cute guinea pig husband, who wants to eat tamales and cookies solely for meals the rest of this week. I like the way he thinks!!
done, cooled and cut-up. they ARE as tasty as they look.
Friday, December 21, 2007
So last nite I spent 4 hours baking goodies for my team cookie exchange, which was actually a ton of fun. We put the Christmas music on and I started making a whirlwind of a mess in the kitchen!!! I only needed to make one type of cookies for the exchange but I've been researching them all week, so I got inspired and made three different types. Baking superwomanslashfriend Janna has been waxing on and on about SmittenKitchen.Com so I started checking out that blog and other baking blogs this week. So I had a little pile of 'I wanna try this!' placed in front of me. Oodles of european unsalted butter and light brown sugar later...I had my results and boy were they tasted. I took pictures the whole time, which Greg just finds hilarious and a little crazee, but after seeing those baking blog pictures, you'd be inspired to take photos of your handiwork too. I'm but a novice.
beautiful organic sugar.
peanut butter dough.
finished peanut butter product.
apricot rugelach dry filling.
rugelach dough rolled & filled.
yum yum. solo baked rugelach.
rolls and rolls of rugelach.
cooled & packaged...tasty pretty.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
amazing starters, check out the intricacy of the deviled eggs. mine will always seem so cheap & tawdry looking in comparion forevermore.
after a little wine...
the infamous slavovica (or slivovitza to us americanos)
big fresh fruit platter completed the lavish dinner (which was multi-coursed, i just didn't get great photos of it all...)
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I made some double chocolate peppermint dream cookies and snickerdoodles. When I don't want chocolate, the snickerdoodles are seriously my fave cookie ever. The chocolate ones came out so incredibly rich and I halved the butter in the recipe, so it was amazing to think that the original recipe called for double the butter. I really have no idea where it'd go, they were really rich anyway. And I did the same in the snickerdoodle recipe and they came out wonderful, to rave reviews from my better half (though maybe it was his spiked eggnog talking?).
Fruits of Labor.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
HOWEVER, where Shutterfly trumps the others is the ability to select 'let us mail cards for you'...which I swear is like hearing the heavens open up and angels begin to sing. What...no mailing of xmas cards this year? No trauma of looking at them sitting on the cold granite island waiting to be addressed? No buying stamps? Be still my little heart.
I signed right up, spent way too many hours uploading images and playing with our card...and finally hit the button last nite. So who knows when these little gifts from God will arrive to our lucky recipients, but at least *I* don't have to be licking envelopes. And that was worth the exhorbitant price I had to pay for each card. And now...I can concentrate on wrapping presents. Yanno, the fun stuff.
Soooo...if you are wondering why our Xmas cards haven't come this year, wonder no longer. Card's in the mail!! I swear.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Two bands, lots of food, free flowing alcohol and a whole room of desserts. My kind of party. We danced a long while and snapped some incriminating pictures. Not so much on the incriminating part but lots of pictures.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Our funtastic results..seriously I about die laughing every time we play it. And before you ask, Portia is blue because that was the only photo I had of her here with me...her in the snow in Tahoe haha.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Highlights...the rest are being uploaded to Ofoto..I'll post the link in a few.
Host and Hostess.
Mara n Jen.
Saucy!!!...Mara, Nic & Shari workin' the hip!
Yummy cider. Halfway gone *hic*
And again, what party is complete without Kenny hamming it up.
Monday, December 3, 2007
So yeah, this last weekend we spent a good amount of time putting the rest of the house 'together'. And it looks quite good I am proud to say! Yay for sparkly holidays, the best kinds.
Here's what I started with. One 6.5' noble fir, naked and cold.
Add countless red, gold, and silver ornaments (who knew I was such a ball collector??)...
Equals super sparkly results, along with a bored looking rat.
The rest of the cheery abode...
Downstairs tree. You can see the outside 'project in progress' with Greg happening.
I've got more pictures (no really...) but have to upload them so check back later for the rest of the pretty sparkly items.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Yesterday I was changing upstairs in our master bedroom for my trainer appt (where he seriously kicked my butt with some traps and delts work til I swear I almost cried. Strong back, baby!!!)...and I looked out through one of the windows. With our new shades, they are the top down, bottom up cellulars in a cool shade of white linen...and we put the top down mostly halfway so we can see out into the horizon and the blue sky, since we have no houses that are as tall as our townhouse is. It is an awesome view that we don't really typically have time to appreciate...and now that it gets dark so early, we are hardly ever home when dusk falls. But yesterday I got home a little early to change and I looked out the window and saw this...
It was so beautiful! I had to get the camera and take a picture. It's times like this that I love our townhouse even more. I know that we don't plan to stay here forever but it's such an awesome place for us and this is just one of the reasons why.
My cousin just had her first daughter last nite, 3 weeks early yet entirely healthy and ready to come out. The first great grandchild for my grandmother and the first baby to be born into our family for 17 years! As such there was a ton of excitement around the whole thing... everyone loves a baby to spoil, especially when that baby isn't theirs!!! Oh maybe that's just me. I just like being auntie Mara. Or in this case, First Cousin Once Removed Mara. FCOR. There's gotta be an easier term.
Photos below. It really scares me how happy Greg looks holding this baby. In fact, it scares me that I look happy too. Scared all around. But baby...Lily is her name, is SUPER CUTE. Apparently I looked like her when I was born. Which means Mara=Super Cute. I love math!!