Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year of the Treepods

Alas, the end of the year. Most people I know are ready to wrap it up and put old 2009 to bed. Go ahead, un-Christmas the house, take out the trash, start with a fresh calendar and outlook on next year. I'm not sure I'm ready to toss it out the window. Ten years from now, I won't recall that 2009 was an exceptionally fantastic year, but if I put on my glass half-full hat, I can quickly think of 10 good things that I'll remember about 2009.

10. After 2 years of nothing but talk, I started a blog.

9. I learned to bake a most excellent chocolate cake.

8. Approximately 40% of my family survived H1N1.

7. Approximately 60% of my family did not have an opportunity to survive H1N1.

6. My gardenias bloomed twice; my delphiniums (biennial) did not bloom for the third year in a row (off to the compost bin they go).

5. Setting up a charge account for the kids at the local diner while on vacation provided me a full day of relaxation each and every day for two full weeks.

4. My landscape design business did not fail, in fact, it will post a profit for the second year in a row. (What recession?)

3. In spite of the excellent chocolate cake and the frequency of which I bake it, my overall health remains good. Too, my hairdresser also remains in good health so that I can continue to disguise my chronological age.

2. My husband, after 16 years of marriage (plus the 6 years we dated), became a Catholic like the rest of our family. Surely, the highlight of this Easter Vigil ceremony was two of our children helping with his baptism. And, the most excellent chocolate cake, this time with raspberry filling between the layers.

1. The debut of the Treepods. While they are definitely a 2009 creation, I think I'll keep them up a few more weeks to break in the new year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where's the Beef?

Forecast tonight in our nation's Capitol is 14 to 20 inches of snow. After braving a near bloody battle in the grocery store parking lot, the kitchen is stocked and ready to break in the brand new Crock Pot. (I gave it to my husband for his birthday last weekend. Romantic, huh?)
SO, the question is, what do I make first for a cold and snowy day? Something that will fill the house with warmth and delicious smells?
Ingredients on hand include stew meat, ground chuck, chicken, roast, onions, garlic (of course), potatoes, carrots and a cabinet full of herbs and spices. Plus, I always have lots of broth, diced tomatoes (paste and sauce too), picante sauce and Tabasco and beans galore. I checked the herbs still alive in my pots and if I can dig the snow off them tomorrow, I'll have fresh basil, parsley and thyme.
Feel free to send suggestions - and I'll let you know how it turns out!