Friday, November 30, 2012

Wintry Mix

Today I finished sugaring the Meyer lemon peels I candied, and I started making the next batch of candied peels, those being sour oranges. I almost gave up on them for being too bitter, but the fourth dip in boiling water did the trick and most of the bitterness is gone. But not all! I must say, I do prefer the Meyer candies--they are so sweet and lovely, I was snacking on them constantly. The sour oranges I am seeing as more of a cocktail garnish, not really a sweet. They have a bit of a bite. I might even just can them in their syrup, instead of drying them. We'll see where I am when they are done with their sugar baths.

What kind of day did I have today? Well, the above picture looks so tranquil, doesn't it? I'm sugaring candy while my docile child plays. What a lovely image. But it's really not what happened. It happened for about ten minutes, which was dreamy, and then it abruptly ended. That's why I love all these kitchen tasks that take days and barely any attention. I can put the candy away and be there for the incessant question: "what's next" which will one day very soon turn into, "I'm bored!" 


We did get an advent calendar today from a friend of ours. Lucky us! It has toys instead of candy, which I like a lot. Advent calendars are a lot harder to explain to a four year old than you would think, but he was very patient when I explained we didn't open it until tomorrow, and even then it's only one door a day. Patience is a virtue, as they say.
White whole wheat buttermilk pancakes.
We made some pancakes. And chocolate chip cookies. They are required on a frozen day filled with little flurries buzzing down from a gray forbidding sky. I used coconut oil in the chocolate chip cookies for the first time. That is the ticket, I want you to know. Coconut oil in any kind of chocolate-y dessert is a good thing in my book. Then you can tell yourself it's good for you!

Toasted buckwheat is kasha. 

Lest you think all we eat are sugary treats, I did toast these buckwheat groats to make a recipe from Food in Jars' cookbook. Well, I guess it was for granola, so maybe I don't eat anything healthy. Actually, now that I think of it, I had breakfast all day long today. Steel cut oats with maple syrup for breakfast, the rest of the oats with parmesan cheese and pepper for lunch--oh, wait, I had turkey noodle soup for dinner. There's something not breakfast-y. Whew!

In the afternoon, we had a pre-cookie tea party which ended up with a broken teacup. This is what happens when you use real glass (and nice vintage ones, at that) for tea cups for a four year old boy. I knew what I was up against. In this picture, I was setting up a shot in which life would look so easy and wonderful: some tea, some cookies, a cozy kitchen. My little fantasy turned into a crying boy and a harried woman vacuuming the grimy floor, making sure no slivers of glass remained to cut little (or big or feline) feet.

The cozy life of a stay at home mom looks pretty idyllic from the outside, doesn't it? But really you go a little insane from the incessant tedium. The pretty tea parties belie broken cups, the endless trains make you a little crazy, and cold days are your nemesis. That's why you see so many of those crazy craft blogs by mommies who are trying to fill a freaking day! I sometimes find myself wondering how some people do it: three kids and not a day goes by without gorgeous pictures documenting it all. I guess humans like the glossy ideal or the train wreck, and the in between dailies aren't often as appealing, whether you are taking the pictures or viewing them. And that's the beauty of photos. A snapshot of a train set looks so inviting, but five hours of it can crush your soul, and leave you a gasping for a few minutes of frosty outside air. 

But then you come back in and breathe in the warmth, and it's all okay again.


  1. how i envy that kid! i want the wooden train set. what a delight crawling on the floor, playing choo-choo.
    as goes times boiling grapefruit rind: you must know by now i never do the same thing twice. it so depends on how thick the rinds are, how much pith i allow, last but not least how many fit in the pot against water. likely i do three cycles, have done two and if the rind is kinda dry i'll do four.
    i'll keep you up to date - such a mess, drip drying in the oven, the sugar coating, oh my god...
    and now it's already december. how did that happen?

    1. Thanks for the update on your technique! I never do things the same way's all a matter of flow.

      And I don't know about December, I'm sure it will be next year before we know it!