People, my cabinets are an unholy disaster. And I don’t mean that in a humblebraggy, Pinterest-y “Oh, my kitchen is so MESSY! Look at how crooked my Weck jars are on my sparkling clean refrigerator shelves!” kind of way. I’m talking about half-opened boxes and bags of every ingredient imaginable, shoved haphazardly into any available square inch of real estate. Pulling anything out is like a game of Cellophane Wraps and Cardboard Box Jenga. It’s not cute. I mean, I do actually own Weck jars, purchased long ago with the intention of having a Pinterest-worthy pantry situation going on, but now they’re shoved into the back of the hoarder’s lair, probably surrounded by some spilled jasmine rice from that week in 2011 when I was very into trying to cook more exotic dinners, and then realized I had a kid who wouldn’t eat anything but buttered noodles. Gah.
The situation kind of reached a new level of insanity after the holidays, though. With all the new recipe development I’ve had going on, plus holiday baking, the amount of edible odds and ends has multiplied at an alarming rate. Every time I step into the kitchen I get very Joan Crawford, flapping my arms and shouting things like, “I simply cannot WORK under these conditions!!” and then pouring myself a Weck jar full of vodka before retiring to my chaise lounge.
It’s New Year’s Eve, y’all! Wowza. As I type this, I have a huge, almost 10-month-old baby in my lap and a 5-year-old in the living room, who is on (a rather unnecessarily long, really) winter break from Big Kid School. Unreal! 2013, you were a crazy one. I’m not even going to get into the ups and downs and utter confusion that marked this year for me–does the internet really need more year-end oversharing? So I’ll just say that like a lot of you, I’m looking forward to a new year, new projects, and an all-around new attitude. Not to mention more full nights of sleep, which I finally started getting around here during the past week. (Hey, it only took 10 months! Blergh.)
I hope everyone has lovely plan to ring in 2014, whether that means some fancy gala that calls for hair and makeup and something sparkly to wear (Ooh! Tell me, what is that like?) or if you’re doing something more our speed, which is to say a celebration involving comfy pants, (spiked) hot chocolate, popcorn, and the East Coast feed of the ball drop because seriously, I can’t do midnight anymore. Whatever you do, I hope it’s full of fun and love and hope and promise. Really, truly. We all deserve a great 2014. Can you hear me, universe?!
But first, priorities. Brunch planning! New Year’s Brunch, to be specific. Let’s do this year up right by starting with some epic eats. And I don’t mean a whole homemade spread, although if you’re doing that, I’d love to come over. For me, it’s about one great dish or a special side thing to make the first day of the year a little extra special. Bonus points if said thing has make-ahead elements to gently massage you into the morning. No need to be bursting out of a cannon on Day One and making the rest of us look bad. Let’s save that action for some especially warm, sunny day in early June.
First up? Bacon and Caramelized Onion Tart. (See top photo) Because if you’re going to have bacon and eggs, why not repackage the whole thing and blow minds?
I know we’re barely into September, but I am READY for fall, friends. Although I’m generally a fan of the fall season (having been a November bride once a upon a time, my husband still claims that I love him more September through December. Probably?), this year I’m particularly pumped about the passage of time. Could it be that it’s because I’m very type A and relieved to finally be falling into a new routine now that Little C is in Real School? Or maybe it’s that I’m desperate for San Francisco Summer, which is to say September and October, when we finally get temperatures above 65 degrees and the skies become sunny and clear (true story, if you’ve never visited)? Or it could just be that I”m counting the hours because my baby is teething like a mad man, sweaty and sobbing and only happy when he’s being held and gnawing on all my slobbery body parts and I really know I shouldn’t be wishing this time away with my baby, but hey, at least he’s six months old now so LET’S BRING ON THE IBUPROFEN, SUCKAHS.
Ahem. What I mean to say is I’m excited for fall because pumpkin. Yes, that’s what I mean. Autumnal pumpkin treats for all!
Lately I’ve been playing a lot of mind games with myself:
The laundry/kitchen/bathroom is half clean, not half dirty.
It’s not a six-month-old color job here on my head, it’s Unintentional Ombre.
My belly button is getting higher! (As opposed to other things getting, er, lower.)
You see where I’m going, here? It’s so Zen, right? I think I’m going to stay on this Thought Train as long as it keeps working for me. And since the latest affirmation is “Bread pudding isn’t dessert, it’s breakfast!”, I’d say you’re gonna want to go on ahead and get on board.
So! I emerge from The Cave of Two Small Children to say hello and bring you waffles. With whole wheat, no less! I know. What has happened to me?! But in truth, there’s been a lot of exciting things happening around these parts–life is good, full, verrrrry busy. I’m even working on developing some new, exciting projects that may or may not end up being real life things so LET’S JUST NOT JINX IT, OKAY?
I’m going to try really hard not to make all my check-ins with you lovely people be all about being a harried mother of two, because honestly, I’m not experiencing anything that one tra-zillion women before me haven’t. But dang, it’s all-consuming, this two kids business. Everyday I remind myself to take it easy, to simplifysimplifysimplify, and not get all worked up about all the things on the checklist that don’t get done. Because I’m kind of Type A when it comes to my checklist, whether it’s mental or written. And just when I think I’m going to get 30 minutes to do something that might make me feel “accomplished” on a given day, somebody needs something and gahhhhh, another item on the checklist is getting pushed off again. It could be working on a new book idea, composing a coherent e-mail, or folding an entire basket of laundry at once. It could be showering when I’d like to, or it could be finally–finally!–finding my other black (most comfortable, most loved, where arrreee yooouuu?) Reef flip-flop. Madness, I tell you.
Well. THAT hiatus lasted a little longer than I’d intended. Let’s just say that the holidays plus my website kind of going haywire for a bit plus entering my third trimester made for a perfect storm of procrastination. That’s not to say that I haven’t been occupied around here, because when I’ve not been busy pounding Tums from a gallon-sized container while wearing compression socks, I have indeed been writing and cooking and baking, and would you believe that much of it has been of Whole Grain and Greens sort? I know, it’s kind of disappointing–I thought that my sweet tooth might rage again like it did at the end of my first pregnancy, but after a gestational diabetes scare and a general “meh” feeling towards sweets lately, I’m not taking down pounds of Twizzlers at this stage in the game like I did with Little C. (Although, full disclosure, I did eat two spoonfuls of confectioners’ sugar the other day in a fit of “I want something intensely sweet and starchy and oh! Maybe with a hint of chalk”, and it was the best thing ever–Pregnant Lady Bizarro Cravings, I salute you).
So what else have I been doing lately, aside from shoveling powdered sugar into my face straight from the box? Well, bracing for Baby 2.0 big time, for one thing. I’ve been to Ikea and Target about 27 times each in the past two months. I’m not sure how it is for other second time moms, but this time around, I’m focusing on preparing the barracks in such a way that might seem completely trivial from the outset, but as any husband who has lived with a crazy post-partum wife will tell you, sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference, and those little things are often completely unrelated to the actual baby that’s been birthed.
While I hesitate to call it an all-out phobia, I will say that my, um, reticent nature towards baking with yeast has been well-documented in the past. I know I’m not the only one out there who suffers from this fear, and let’s face it–yeast is a funny thing. I mean, it’s ALIVE, for cry-yi. Unpredictable, with a mind of its own! And how do you choose the right type of yeast? What if you only have active dry and the recipe calls for instant? How can you really know for sure if the dough has doubled? The world could explode with such Oprah-esque Life Questions.
Well. Recently I’ve tried to tackle that fear for good, experimenting with different breads, rolls, even cakes that use yeast as their puffing (and flavor) agent. I’ve been inching closer to becoming One With the Yeast. Baby steps.
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