Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year's Bonus Post!

Because I love you all so much, here (finally) is my Persimmon Jam Post! It took a long time to make this jam, and in the end, I didn't even taste it. I gave away all 6 jars, and forgot to open my parents' jar when I was home for Chanukkah. Whoops. Oh well. Now I can say that I've made jam. I used Elissa's recipe, as it seemed the easiest of all the recipes I looked at. It was pretty simple, actually, just kind of a lot of work. Peeling and chopping persimmons takes a while! And the boiling of the jars? I should have invested in those rubber-tipped jar tongs, because it was REALLY hard to get them in and out of the water with my little metal ones. Especially when they were full and I was trying to put them in upside down. Boy. Also, if I had a dishwasher, I could have sterilized the jars first that way, and that would have saved me a little trouble, I think.

So, I'm not going to be the next canning maven. That's ok with me. It was fun, and I'm not so turned off by the process that I won't try to make this peppermint fudge sauce at some point soon. Besides, I have about 20 little 4 oz jars left! Gotta find something to do with them!

Anyway, enjoy this slideshow of pictures from the process, and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

In my New Year's sort-of tradition, I should be posting something about my resolutions for next year. I can't believe this is the third one I'm doing for this blog - how time flies! I don't usually remember to do a wrap-up post about my resolutions from the previous year, so in the interest of staying on top of things, I'm going to do one now. As usual, my resolutions are fairly broad, but I have so many times in my life that I have to (I mean 'get to,' tee hee I love lists) be specific, I kind of like leaving it sort of open-ended. I'd like to think of these more as general themes for the year.

2009 in Review:
  1. Only buy what I need: I kind of forgot about this one, but due to the lower income at Pixar and the unemployment just 6 weeks later (and the new job with the same income I was getting at Pixar), I was pretty good about frivolous spending anyway. There was the little thing here and there, and I bought myself new clothes when I needed them, but I was better about things like the $80 splurge for no reason at Old Navy online.
  2. Make one recipe from a cookbook every month: I didn't quite do this once a month. We have been cooking a lot, and I have been making an effort to try new recipes. Even though I didn't strictly ensure one cookbook recipe a month, I have been trying things from wonderful food blogs and haven't merely sticking to my old standbys every night. I am definitely thinking more about fresh food and trying (mostly) to be healthy and adventurous with my cooking! My parents got us a gift certificate to a cooking class - that should only inspire us more!
  3. Eat Less, Exercise More: Sigh. I HAVE been exercising more (thanks to joining Curves when I was trying to keep busy during the unemployment), but I have not really been eating less. I'm going to make a concerted effort to do this in the new year though.
  4. Spend time with my girlfriends. This has been fun. Especially when I was unemployed and Will was on his trip, I did a lot of lunches and pedicures and just sitting around chatting. It was fun to reconnect with the lovely ladies in my life and remember just how wonderful it is to have them around.
2010 Goals:
  1. Eat Less, Exercise More: I think this will be on the agenda every year until the end of time. It's not about losing weight; it's about not eating just because the food is there. If I am hungry, I will eat. But I won't overeat, and I won't eat just for the sake of eating. The increase in my exercise routine over the last year has helped me to feel a bit healthier (or at least a bit more conscious of my body and health), and I haven't gained weight...but if I want to tone up a little, I need to stop eating out of boredom. It's not about deprivation, and I love food way too much to diet or limit myself or anything like that. I'd just like to be more conscious of how I eat so that I don't slip into habits like eating 6 cookies in 30 seconds just because a coworker left them near my desk!
  2. Start taking yoga: Will and I decided we want to take one yoga class a week. I've been wanting to for a while, but just not making the time for it. If we commit to doing it together, hopefully we'll stick to it. I'd like to get some strength, flexibility and balance, as well as the calming effects known to come from an hour spent channeling positive energies and such. :)
  3. Spend more time outdoors: Last year, we only went camping twice. Will is disappointed because he only went skiing a few times (he'd ski every day if he could. me, not so much). We both love the outdoors, and I want to take advantage of the wonderful place we live. There are so many hikes and walks and places to visit around here - not to mention the fact that we live a mere 3 hours from both Tahoe and Yosemite. We are already planning a Yosemite trip for next summer (with both of our families; the official meeting of the parents), and are thinking about going to Yosemite this winter as well, and I'd like to make a bigger effort to get out there and do things!

2009 had its high points, but it was also a rough year for my family. Here's hoping 2010 moves forward from the good and away from the bad. Overall, I know that I am very lucky in so many ways - I have a wonderful family and friends and a job and a nice place to live. There are so many people who have it much worse, but that doesn't diminish the struggles we all have. I'm very lucky to have a family who is strong and cooperative and willing to work together to make things better.

Today is low-key - Will is playing hockey (and filling my car with gas and bringing us lunch! yay!) and I'm doing laundry. I also want to go to the grocery store, since we're kind of low on food at the moment (that's what being out of town for essentially 3 weeks will do!). Tonight, we're going to see Avatar (in 3D, whee!). Then, we'll probably find a bar or something to ring in the New Year. Personally, I'd be happy to come home to some champagne and chocolate cake, but maybe that's just me. Some year, I'm going to have a little New Years party of my own, but this year, the apartment is still an explosion of holiday stuff! I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend of unpacking, straightening up, and just hanging out. After the whirlwind of holiday travel that was December, it'll be nice to take it easy for a few days before heading back to work.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back in Action...Sort of

Back from the holiday travels, but still not fully (erm, at all) settled, I haven't had much time for blogging. Catching up on work has been busy, and we haven't even gotten much unpacked since we got home on Sunday night. Laundry has been put in the hamper, but nothing has been unpacked really. While it's certainly not awful, the apartment looks to me like a tornado hit it. I have so many pictures to upload, and some lovely memories to share, but I don't think it's going to happen until this weekend. A brief update on this week, to compensate for not having pictures or updates recently, or much of anything to offer, really. I promise, there will be more content coming soon.

Not much food in the house, thanks to our diligent pre-trip planning (aka: "don't go grocery shopping; eat everything that will go bad"). Just some rotting veggies that we didn't get rid of before we left (aka: "whoops"). At least we remembered to take out the trash/recycling (thanks, Will!). Dinner on Sunday night was Thai food delivery at 10pm (and not even from the good Thai place, since they were closed). Monday night was soup (with the amazing Cougar Gold, my annual Christmas present from Will's brother). Tonight I had leftover soup from Will's lunch today. There's frozen tuna defrosting for tomorrow night, which we'll eat with the brussels sprouts that survived two weeks in the fridge. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, but still eating pretty well.

My plans for tonight were originally to go to the gym and the grocery store. One it was time to leave work, I had changed my plans to taking a hot bath and watching the "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" (only the best, most hilarious show ever. pretty much.) marathon my friend Kate told me was on. Unfortunately for me, the marathon is on Discovery Health, a channel I do not get, and my bath was barely lukewarm. Hooray for a tub that is larger than our water heater! Usually it's ok...not great, but at least I can get a warm bath for a bit before it turns cold. Tonight, I got in and instantly realized it was not going to be good. I stayed in for a few minutes (trying unsuccessfully to blow up the inflatable bath pillow thing I bought at Walgreens a few months ago) before I realized how dumb it was to sit in a tub of cold water on a cold night. Also, I noticed some lovely soap scum (highlighted by the water or something) that didn't exactly make me feel like I was getting all clean. Also, what a waste of my last two awesome bath tablets from Product Body. Sigh.

After my unsuccessful bath, I stood in front of our wimpy living room wall heater for a bit getting warm before throwing some laundry in. There's a win...I'll get a couple loads of laundry done tonight. Yay. I ate Will's leftover chicken noodle soup with some more Cougar Gold, and am now watching the special on E! from when Kendra gave birth. Yep. I'm a little embarrassed that I'm tearing up a little, but come on. Television producers know what they're doing. They make these things emotional on purpose.

Anyway, laundry started = win. Pedicure yesterday = win. Getting a 4-day weekend this weekend = win. Tomorrow is my Friday, and I'm just going to get through it before I tackle getting settled back into things. We have been talking lightly about going somewhere (again?! are we nuts?) over the long weekend, but I would kind of like to just stay home, clean up, get settled, do some cooking, upload some photos, and relax before a full work week starts Monday.

Now I'm watching a show about a family where everyone weighs over 300 lbs. That will make me feel less (or more) guilty about not going to the gym! I should have gone, sure, but hey! I don't weigh 300 lbs!

I think that's enough pointless rambling for one night. I hope everyone had wonderful holidays, and I'll be back with a big ole update (with pictures and everything) this weekend!

Friday, December 18, 2009

We're Going on a Train!

I hope it's as awesome as I'm thinking it is...because I am excited! In just a few hours, we will be boarding the Amtrak Coast Starlight to Olympia, Washington. It's an overnight trip - we'll sleep for the first portion, and then hopefully wake up in time to see Mount Shasta and the areas of Oregon where Will hiked this summer. Should be pretty fun!

I haven't blogged in a while, and I probably won't until we get back on the 29th, but I have many pictures (and will have more) to expect lots of pictures when I return!

Happy last night of Chanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, and Happy whatever I left out!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tiny Kitchens!

A while back, I had the inspiration to blog about my tiny kitchen and call out to readers to take pictures of their tiny (or not) kitchens as well. Recently, I found this old post from Smitten Kitchen about her tiny kitchen and realized I wasn't super original...but oh well.

Basically, I have a very small kitchen. This often discourages me from trying fancy new recipes because I feel like I don't have the space to spread out and make a mess (not that I enjoy messes, cause I don't). I feel like I would bake more if my flour, sugar, etc. could sit in neat glass canisters on the counter instead of being shoved precariously into the cabinet. Or if I could have pretty containers of various rices and grains, I would be more creative with my side dishes. Or something. I think, for me, it's all about the wanting what I don't have...and the decorating. I want that dream kitchen where the food acts as art. Prettily displayed pastas and oils and salts and such. Not the "hide it all in cabinets because lordy I have no counter space" philosophy.

I am realizing, however, that this may just be me making excuses. I am the Master when it comes to the Art of Justification! Is there a way to make a career out of justification and excuses? Because sign me up, I am awesome at that! Anyway, I know all of you beautiful food bloggers out there (I'm looking at you, Shanna, Elissa, Jacqui and Bria, just to name a few!) don't have professional-grade, restaurant-quality kitchens (though I am convinced that you are slightly magical). But somehow, you manage to inspire me with every recipe you post. You make such lovely creations in normal kitchens...even tiny kitchens like mine! Or maybe even smaller! Who knows?

I would like to know. And I want to reach out to all of you out there...all of you wonderful ladies and gentlemen who read this blog. Whether you are new readers or have been reading since it all began. Sidenote: I used to write about knitting a lot. That reminds me, I need to get back into knitting.

Anyway, here is what I propose: Take a picture (or several if you like) of your kitchen, and email it to kimskitchensink [at] gmail [dot] com. Whether you have a hot plate and a microwave or a full, fancy kitchen that will make me die of jealousy, I want to see where you cook. Partly because I am a little bit nosy (omg Tricia, I loved this post), but mostly because I'm hoping that seeing where other people cook will inspire me to make the most of my tiny space. If you approve, I'll compile all the photos into a slideshow which I'll post it right here on this blog, so we can all inspire each other. If you don't want your photo shared (or want it shared anonymously, or shared without a link to your blog, or shared with your full name and address - just kidding), just say so. Or don't send one. Just kidding, please send one. Photos can be taken with your fancypants cameras, or with the camera on your cell phone, I don't really care. If you want to send along the approximate measurements of the space, great. If not, that's ok too. Want to include a photo of your favorite meal to come out of your kitchen? Awesome! If not? Guess what? That's ok too.

I'll get you started with this one (albeit really old) picture, just to put you in the mood!

The Deets:
Who: You, my lovely few-but-awesome readers
What: Photos of your kitchens
Where: This here blog, the interwebs
When: Get the pictures to me by, um, December 31? I'll send out a reminder next week.
Why: Because I am curious and looking for kitchen inspiration
How: Email a picture to kimskitchensink [at] gmail [dot] com

Let's start 2010 out with some kitchen inspiration! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday Date Night

We had a lovely little date night tonight, and I'm not quite feeling up to blogging about the persimmon jam yet, so I'll just share some pictures of our decorations. Again. Because they have changed slightly. And because I am tired and happy. :-) Where did we go on our date? Tommy's Joynt (as shown on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) and the San Francisco Ballet's production of The Nutcracker (opening night!). Quite fun indeed! Their snow was gorgeous.

it "snowed" outside the opera house before the ballet (i'm guessing because it was opening night. they were also handing out little stuffed animal moose in santa hats for the kids). when i was talking about the beautiful snow, i meant in the snow scene of the ballet (although HELLO it did actually snow in parts of the bay area this week. sadly not in berkeley, but pretty nearby!). it was fun to see the kids all excited outside before the show, all dressed up. brought back memories of my own (many) years with nutcracker...i honestly can't remember a time in my life when i didn't know about it.

here is a picture i found from the chronicle from looks about the same as this year's. really gorgeous. the best snow i've seen in a nutcracker. ever. it was so tiny, and there was just so much of it! also, the snow queen's tutu was amazingly sparkly.

back to our not-so-warm apartment (though we have the little heater on now so at least the living room isn't an igloo). last year's white garland on top of the hutch with some new red plastic berry branch things. also, will's stocking. PS - it has been FREEZING here lately! i mean, not just for little california kim. it's seriously cold! down in the low 30's/high 20's, and our heater barely warms the living room. the walls are thin, and boy does it get cold in the bedroom overnight! so hard to get out of bed in the mornings! tis the season for bundling up! also, will's mom said it was 6 degrees out today in olympia. seriously. six. degrees. that is all.

some presents under the tree. looks a little jewy to me ;-)

more presents...and pinecones!

the ornament will picked up at the airport on the way home from the minnesota/cal game this year. he lights up. and yes, his body is a football. will has a thing for getting me tacky little things from airports when he travels without me. :)

it was hard to get a good shot...but do you see our little blue (LED, solar-powered) lights?

PS - here's another picture from the snow scene. yes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Next Few Weeks

As I've mentioned before, the holidays are kickin' into full gear around here. The next few weeks are just crazygonuts, what with all the holidays and the traveling and the desire I somehow have to do things like make jam and fudge to give as gifts when I don't really have time and have never made them before.

So that I don't go insane, I'm going to list out the next few weeks...mostly for myself, so I've written it somewhere and I can make sure I get things done. And hey, I'm not wasting paper!

Monday after work: make persimmon jam (full post on this later)
Tuesday after work: Nutcracker at San Francisco Ballet
Wednesday after work: dinner with friends who are moving away
Thursday after work: pack!
Friday after work: fly to LA
Friday night-Tuesday night: LA for Chanukkah
Wednesday after work: unpack, maybe dinner with friends and their baby
Thursday after work: pack! make fudge sauce to give to coworkers? maybe?
Friday after work: train to Olympia
Friday night-Sunday the 27th: Olympia/Victoria for Christmas

TA-DA! Wow, it doesn't look like too much now that I've written it that way. I know it is. And again, I don't know why I decided that I should make little coworker gifts. Maybe I won't get to it and that will be ok. Maybe I will just bake pumpkin chocolate chip muffins or cupcakes or something for our little gathering on the Friday before we go to Olympia. We shall see how it all goes.


Saturday, December 5, 2009


I am pooped! My brain isn't quite functioning well enough to write something coherent at the moment, so I'll just post some pictures and tell you what they are, and we'll just call that good enough for tonight, eh?

I took this on Friday, in the parking lot of the place where I go to get the Friday morning bagels for work. It's a higher-end kind of shopping street, with yummy restaurants and shops that are mostly frequented (I believe, anyway) by 30-somethings with disposable know...Papyrus, Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware. Places I wish I could afford. Anyway, the decorations are nice. I like these little multi-colored ball things.

I went to the dentist today, and walked past this tree outside the house next door to his office. I think it's a holly tree? Does that exist? It's pretty anyway, and the people who live there decorated it with jumbo bulbs and giant gold ornaments. It's festive, and I thought it was such a fun idea!

This is my brand-new gift wrap organizer. I love it. You probably don't know what my solution for gift wrap storage was before...let's just say it wasn't pretty. Wrapping paper standing up in a little paper bag in the linen closet (which tipped over constantly), tissue shoved into the bag all crumply-like, ribbons falling all over the place...not so nice. I still have two small plastic bins (one for bows and one for cards/little boxes and bags/gift tags), but I am super stoked about my new way to organize all the rest of this stuff. It was $12.99 at Target, and unlike the plastic bin versions, this one will slide nicely under the couch or bed when holiday wrapping season is over. For now, it's standing upright in the linen closet for easy access.

Ta-da! A blurry picture of the presents under the tree. This is *almost* all of mine (Will hasn't wrapped his yet...he was gone all day watching various sporting events). I am still waiting for a few things to arrive, but this is the main bulk of it. It looks like there are more presents than there are due to the small surface on which they sit (though there are quite a few, I'll admit!) It took me about 3 hours to wrap them while I watched TV this afternoon. This is mostly because I had to unwrap many of them from their boxes before wrapping them in holiday paper. Also because I love to wrap presents, and take time to curl the ribbon and choose a nicely coordinated bow. Hopefully they don't get TOO messed up when I pack them to go to LA/Olympia.

So that was my day. I went to the dentist and wrapped a bunch of presents. I also baked a loaf of apple spice bread (Trader Joes) and am in the middle of laundry. I am pooped.

Friday, December 4, 2009

One Day, One Picture

Last week, I posted two pictures that had been taken on two separate days. Remember? Here's the picture from today. Noticeably grayer, mistier, colder. You can't even see the bay at all.

Balls, Bells, and Dangly Things!

As promised, pictures of the prettiness that is Holiday Cheer at Our Apartment (and yes, those are bells in a sundae glass). Yes, mom, there will be Chanukkah decorations too. Once I get them from you, because I am clearly so absentminded that I left them at home over Thanksgiving. That last sentence was more for everyone but my mom, since she is the one who reminded me that I left them at home. But I digress.

I have been listening to "holiday" music, which really means "Christmas" music, because how many "holiday" stations are going to play "Maoz Tsur" amiright? Jews in the house say what? Yeah. Chanukkah doesn't exactly scream HOLIDAY CHEER AWESOME DECORATIONS AND MUSIC at you. It is the festival of lights, yet it is not traditional to string blue and white lights up around the house or anything. This is something I have never understood. My parents have some dreidle lights, and some banners and stuff (and then there's the Chanukkah mice, which will require their own post after I photograph them when I am home next weekend), but aside from the menorah and the dreidles and the gelt, there's just not a ton of decorating that goes on. Maybe because the Jews wandered the desert for 40 years they just couldn't take all their Chanukkah decor along for the ride? (erm, the walk)

I don't know. What I do know is that it is really fun to hang up lights and put shiny things on a tree. And when the time comes (in one week), we will celebrate Chanukkah, and I will be happy to have both the candlelight of the menorah and the twinkle of the Christmas tree lights to light up our little home. We do currently have a string of blue lights (solar powered! awesome!) lining the banister of the stairs that lead up to the apartment. I'll try to take a picture of those tonight. Or you can just use your imagination. Picture a staircase...with blue lights...going in a straight line...up the banister. Ooh! Seriously, they are pretty. And solar powered LED's are pretty much the best, most environmentally-friendly kind of lights you can use, right? So they were totally worth the $19.99 for 50 bulbs pricetag? I think so. They claim that they will last forever. And shine brightly even after a day of clouds. And adopt baby kittens and create world peace and stuff. Ok, maybe not that last bit.

Anyway...what you've all been waiting for (I know, I know, the anticipation is killing you) - pictures! Lots of pictures! Sorry there are so many pictures! I just got excited!

First, it is my pleasure to present: Le Tree Complete. She is adorned with glittery balls in silver blue, red, gold and green ("lovin' would be easy if your colors were like my dreams"*), some dangly-icicle-pointy-shaped shiny things, and even some bells. Jingle bells, if you will. I think you will.

A close up shot of the pine cones surrounding the base of the tree. They reflect our love of camping, hiking and nature in general. Oh, and they smell like cinnamon.

A less artistic shot, but the lights were on, so you can see a little more clearly. I loved these blue and silver snowflake ornaments. Kind of Chanukkah-ish, right?

Snowflake tree topper. It's a little wonky, bounces around a little on its springy base, but it was cute. And non-denominational.

When the tree lights are on, it looks like there is a squirrel on the ceiling. Do you see him?

Will taking the Halloween topper things off the white bulbs hanging in the window. Bye bye to ghosts and jack-o-lanterns (I kept them up in November b/c the orange and white still felt appropriate. Somehow)!

Another picture of the tree, with some of the lights on so you can fully appreciate the ornaments and the uneven wonkiness of the tree. It's a little Charlie Brownish at the top, but as Emika said, that just makes the ornaments easier to see. I think it's adorable.

The view out our front door. The fog really rolled in last night, and it was still there when we left this morning. Very misty, very cold. Very Decemberish.

To give you an idea of how thick the fog was, this is what happened when I used the flash on my camera.

Sorry to end this post with kind of a weird picture, but that's just the kind of gal I am. I have one more ornament to put up on the tree (the Minnesota Gophers snowman, complete with blinking light inside, that Will got me when he was in Minnesota for the Cal game), and Will's stocking is still in the garage...and oh yeah, there are a few more decorations still to put up around the house. But there's our tree, and some bonus "weather" pictures. So enjoy! And get in the spirit already!

*Name that quote reference and I'll give you a prize. Or just be really pleased.

Cheer! Cheer! Holiday Cheer!

I am so full of Holiday Cheer I can't even tell you. It's infectious - my friend Emika came over last night...and while yesterday she was saying things like "I'm just not feeling like the holidays yet," this morning she was saying things like "Bring on the holidays!" Take that, Grinches of the world! Not that Emika was a grinch; she just wasn't feelin' it yet. As for me, as soon as we changed the calendar over to December, I was ready. I love this time of year, I really do. I took a bunch of pictures last night of our newly-decorated tree and the cold, misty air outside, and I'll post those later one I get them uploaded.

For now, if you are allowed to listen to music at your desk, in your cubicle, wherever you are, I highly recommend going to and clicking on the "Holiday Jazz." If this doesn't get you into the holiday spirit, I don't know what will.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hooray for Nordstrom!

I've always loved Nordstrom (even when I couldn't...erm...can't afford it), but now I love them even more.

via Consumerist, via my Google Reader's Popular Items suggestions list

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BABIES - Trailer

I think Focus Films is out to torture all of us 20 and 30-somethings who are having biological clock issues.

Thanks for sharing, Emily.

NYS Senator Diane Savino speaks on the Marriage Equality bill

Taylor posted this, and I couldn't help but share. She is so well-spoken, and so very right.

Holiday Decorating, Part 1

Last night, we went to Target to get a Christmas tree. We're going to be out of town so much this month, I wanted to have our tree up as early as possible (without breaking my "No Christmas Before Thanksgiving" rule) so that we can enjoy it longer. Makes sense, right? Anyway, Will grew up either driving down long dirt roads to choose and chop a tree from a tree farm or actually cutting down a 15-footer from his own backyard...needless to say, going to Target is not exactly traditional. But like I always say, you just have to do the best you can with what you have. And Target had trees and decorations. We set the tree up last night, after some Leatherman-assisted branch-sawing by Will, and I rather like it. Photos below, of course.

We don't have many Chanukkah decorations, because frankly, they don't make many, but I'll be picking a few up from my parents when we're down in LA, and until then, we'll make do with the menorah and dreidle and blue/silver candy in a Chanukkah candy dish. That was a rather long sentence. Oh well.

Anyway, pictures. All taken with my Canon PowerShot SD850 IS Digital Elph. It's the same camera I've been using for years. It doesn't take amazing indoor photos, but it works. So just pardon the fuzziness.

The tree, right when we brought it home. $19.99, and the guy even "fresh cut" the bottom for us. It's a Douglas Fir, and it smells divine.

The piece that had to be sawed off so the tree would fit in the tree stand. Maybe I'll turn it into a wreath?

Ta-Da! Our cute little tree. I like the slightly unevenness of's not perfect, but neither are we.

My $2 Old Navy stocking (gaudy red "jewel" carefully cut off) and our multi-cultural candy dishes. The white one has pretty little Jewish stars on it. The turtle is from our trip to Kauai last year.

When you don't have a fireplace...

Decorating commences tonight!

The tree looked so pretty silhouetted in the morning light; I couldn't resist taking another picture. See you tonight, little tree!


This is so pretty it makes my heart hurt. In a good way. I am seriously drooling over this wrapping. Hence the "GAH" title...that is what my head said as soon as I saw that picture. Like, "GAH THAT IS SO PRETTY I AM MELTING."

I am off to Michael's soon (lunch break!) and I am definitely picking up some cinnamon pine cones (hopefully they still have them!) and perhaps a large glass vessel or two...for ornaments and bells and pine cones and such.

Oh gosh, I love decorating at this time of year.

Did I mention I got a new gift wrap storage container? You know I'll be posting pictures.


I took this picture outside my apartment this morning. It just felt very fall-ish. It was cold and grey outside, but the trees were bright...they almost look to me like they could burst into flame. That would be bad. I take that back. No fires, please.

But they look pretty. They almost distract me from the giant construction zone across the street (worst part about being unemployed was having to listen to the construction noise all day long).

Pretty fall leaves. Even though I've officially moved on to Winter.

It's December. All bets are off.


It seems like everyone has already blogged about Thanksgiving, and even though I've only been back in town for two days, I'm already late to the party. We had our newly-traditional two Thanksgivings this year, one with the extended family (over 30 people) at my great-Aunt's and one at home with just a few people. It's always a weekend full of food (what Thanksgiving isn't?), and family and friends. All the important F's. It's nice to reconnect with the extended family that we don't see often enough, and it's nice to spend time at home with the smaller group of us as well. It's been a really rough year for my family, and I'm grateful that through whatever hardships we face, we still have each other. With the end of 2009 (thankfully) coming up, and the holidays now suddenly upon us, I am choosing to believe that the new year will bring us new hope with new beginnings. We are scrappy folks, and with the support of the family, I know we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep moving forward. Maybe it's our Jewish heritage that teaches us perseverance (it certainly sounds very Fiddler on the Roof), maybe it's just who we are.

Anyway, to make up for my delayed Thanksgiving post, and because I just feel like giving right now, I'm going to share a little secret recipe with you. It will change your life. Or maybe it won't. But it will be delicious.

Cranberry Pear Crumble
Serves 8. Or so the recipe says. We have found that there is never enough.

1 pack (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
2 large, unpeeled pears, cored and sliced thin
1 cup (or slightly less) granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup flour (to be divided - I don't measure it out at the beginning; it's easier to just dole out the tablespoons as the recipe calls for it. I guess just make sure you have 1/4 cup on hand.)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup regular oats
3/4 cup chopped pecans (the original recipe calls for walnuts, but my dad is allergic so we've always used pecans)

This recipe is very easily doubled. I highly recommend doubling it. You will want leftovers. And there may not be any. This dish is delicious served hot, along with your Thanksgiving meal, or cold, right out of the fridge the next morning.

What You Do (with pictures):
In a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart shallow baking dish (like an 8x8 brownie pan - use a 13x9 if you're doubling the recipe), mix well the cranberries, pears, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and 1 tbsp flour. Set aside. You can try using a spoon to mix - I always do - but you will end up using your hands - I always do. It's more fun, and honestly, it's easier.

cranberries, pears, just feels festive

all the sugar has been dumped on. looks like snow.

mixed well!

closeup on the well-mixed fruit. so delicious.

In a medium bowl, mix remaining 3 tbs flour with brown sugar. With a pastry blender (or your fingers), cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. It's ok if the butter is melty first - makes it easier to "cut in." Stir in oats and nuts. Sprinkle evenly over fruit mixture. Again, I always start out with a spoon and end up with my fingers.

ready for the oven

you cannot resist my crumble!

Bake in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes. If you can. It's better to let it stand...I suggest leaving the room so you are not tempted.

baked crumbly goodness.

Thank goodness my aunt snapped this picture of the finished product (though it's from the batch she brought over on Thanksgiving #2, not the batch that I made the next night - this gets made repeatedly around this time of year). I ate mine too fast to get a picture.

our table for Thanksgiving #2, just for fun

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I am feeling festive!

I love this wreath as a nice combination between Chanukkah and just feels very festive! I don't have the patience (or the cash) to make one, so I'll just settle for cheap decorations this year. Post to come...