30 November 2010

TWD: Rewinding Madness (My Favorite Pecan Pie and Devilish Shortcakes)

Hello y'all!

For the November 23 rewind, I made My Favorite Pecan Pie for a Thanksgiving dinner.  I think it was a hit.  I'll post about it when I find my camera cord, but in the meantime you can revisit my original triumph and surprise here:  My Favorite Pecan Pie

And this week we have Devilish Shortcakes, selected by Tania at Love Big, Bake Often.  Well guess what!  For once I'm ahead of the curve.  I made these in Charleston earlier this summer.  Devilish Shortcakes

I also plan to make these again this week...am blanking on a suitable filling though.  Perhaps some tangerines or oranges?

I thoroughly enjoyed my four day weekend.  I mean, you know, I didn't, like, have any cute little redheaded babies on Thanksgiving or anything (I'm looking at you, M!)  but it was cool or whatever.  We were let go early on Wednesday.  I woke up Wednesday morning looking forward to that like it was Christmas and I was expecting Santa.  I got to go home when there was still sun!  Amazing. 

Aside from Thanksgiving day--which was spent making the pie and then driving out to Bon Jovi's hometown for dinner (not with the Bon Jovis, though) I spent the whole weekend puttering about the house working on a new dress, which is coming together nicely.  It's my first time working with knit fabric and I may never sew with woven fabric again.  I had planned to crank out three or four dresses this weekend, but I am slowly coming around to the idea that a properly crafted dress takes some time to do and that it really, really helps for me to stop before I get tired and crankypants and then start making stupid mistakes and/or drinking.  I also pieced and sandwiched a second baby quilt this week, too.  It was a pretty good sewing week.  Not a bad baking week either.  I hope all of you had a lovely holiday.  

16 November 2010

TWD: Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving-Cranberry Shortbread Cake and other stuff

found here

Today was a weird little milestone in my adult life.  This morning was the first time in probably 10 years or so that I woke up, realized I was sick, and had to really think about whether or not to go in to work.  Ah corporate life.  In graduate school and on fellowship, this would probably be a day that I'd give up the ghost and stay in bed in the hopes of nipping cooties in the bud before I am full-blown sick, rather than stretching it out until I am convinced I am surely perishing from the grippe.  Oh, if I was teaching, I'd probably drag in and entertain the kidlets for the hour or whatever, but I'd hightail it back to bed after, and none of them would be allowed anywhere near me with their Teenage Supergerms.  (I'm convinced my immune system is infinitely heartier due to six years of teaching undergraduates.)

I was automatically running through all the pros and cons in my head at 6:45 am, doing all sorts of calculations factoring in my number of sick days left, the number of vacation days I'll have, the likelihood of traveling for Christmas, current approximate level of illness and likelihood that a day of rest is best used today, my upcoming trip to Paris, likelihood of annoying my manager or having something important happen while I am out, level of hassle involved in going all the way downstairs to get the laptop and email that I will be out, possibility that I get ill again in the six weeks before the year is up.  All this in the span of about five minutes.

I got some Dayquil and went in, cooties and all, and spent the day sequestered in my office.  You know those early days in a potentially bad cold when you are pretty much totally functional but you can almost feel and smell the cloud of germs around you?  So you feel more like a threat to others than to yourself?  It was one of those days.  I felt guilty speaking to anyone--poor hapless unsuspecting coworkers, they are only being friendly and collegial and I am probably dooming them and their families to infection at every breathy "hello."

So now I am home, with every intention of getting to bed early tonight to make up a tiny bit for the rest I didn't really get today.  Today's TWD  recipe is a cranberry lime galette.  After last week's Cranberry Shortbread Cake I think I need a cranberry break.  I'm cranberried out.  Matter of fact, I need a fruit-dessert-break.  So I am reaching back to week before last and making the Peanutty Blondies instead.

The Cranberry Shortbread Cake, however, was spectacular.  I wish I had photos of the process, but it was ridiculously easy to do: I made a lovely cranberry-orange jam and then whipped up a soft shortbread, rolled the dough out into two discs and sandwiched them in a springform pan with the jam.  I didn't know what to expect but it was deelish, especially the first night, slightly warm with milk.  I LOVE SHORTBREAD.  OMG.

The shortbread, predictably, got softer and soggier as the week wore on, but it was still quite tasty. I like the cranberries, but I have to figure out a way to make it that involves some other kind of filling that you can bake. 

My sewing projects are both moving forward and languishing at the same time.  Since I pretty much never have an entire day to work, I have become one of those sewers who starts stuff but doesn't finish;  maddeningly, I get almost finished, the thing is completely constructed except for a few finishing bits, and then am ready to move to another thing.  (huh.  this sounds like another languishing project...)  Right now I have a 1950s corduroy jumper dress which needs a hook-and-eye sewn in;  an ivory wool cape in need of buttons, buttonholes and hemming;  a skirt suit whose skirt is fully done and jacket just needs facings and hemming (I have even hemmed the sleeves).  I've also started quilting and have a baby quilt that needs binding;  a big boy quilt in need of tying and binding (I can't decide what color to bind it in) another baby quilt that needs piecing;  fabric for a quilt for myself that has not been started.  And a ton of patterns and fabric for more clothes, including a winter coat.  Really, a ton.  I had to buy a chest of drawers to hold them and they aren't all in there.  

I'm still very excited to sew, but I think much of the slowness is that I feel like I am kind of stalling out right now;  I don't see that I am making a whole lot of progress on the learning curve at this point and the things I think I need to be working on skill-wise, I don't have anyone to teach me and I am freaked out to try on my own for fear of ruining some otherwise well-done garment that I've spent hours constructing.  Most classes at fabric stores and sew n vacs focus on things I already know how to do now.  I can easily make a pair of pajama pants;  I can make a basic skirt;  I can make buttonholes manually or install a zipper without much fuss.  I'd like lessons in handsewing, or fitting clothes, or altering patterns in ways other than grading (moving between sizes when cutting out fabric).  Anyone got a grandma in central New Jersey they can spare?

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