Tuesday, December 29, 2009

self portrait: tuesday

prezzies for the kitchen

dan mentioned that purchasing cookbooks for me is a win win situation. indeed. i've been seeking a good soup cookbook for years, and i think love soup fulfills the quest. that paired with a magnificent immersion blender from my mother-in-law, will make for many warm bowls of soup in the heart of winter.

last night i salvaged a head of cauliflower that would not have lasted another day in our fridge. i made the cauliflower bisque with buttered bread crumbs. oh it was good.

and you gotta' love a dish that you can share with the baby.

my mother kindly gifted me with apples for jam by tessa kiros. i have her other cookbook, falling cloudberries, which i quite love. her cookbooks are full of charming anecdotes, beautiful photographs and recipes for elegant yet often simple dishes. she is also partly greek-cypriot, as am i!

my sister-in-law sent me this nice set of indian spice blends, complete with loose nutmeg, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks in the box. the spice spoons will find a happy home in our kitchen!

and tashi too scored a couple of cool cookbooks. each recipe in kids cook 1-2-3 has just three ingredients. and the redwall cookbook reveals the mysterious ingredients behind the mouth watering meals described in the redwall stories.

time to eat!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

merry, merry, bright and tired

what a wonderful series of days. the storm leading into solstice was really such a gift. it forced us all to start taking it easy well before christmas day. and while there may have been some frantic catching up to do a day or two before christmas, i think for the most part the snow forced everyone to slow. way. down.

the baby also set a moderate pace to christmas day. there were lots of breaks to nurse, to change diapers and to comfort.

the connection between tristan and tashi was the best gift any parent could ask for.

and there were a few gifts that we made for each other.

there was a delicious feast, with left overs to sustain through the weekend.

the cats were pleased with their gifts as well. nothing says happy like catnip and catcube.

and now the very tired parents can spend some days snoozing, enjoying the hearth, comforting baby boy as he cuts his first teeth and preparing for a certain young lady's 12th birthday.

here's wishing you much rest and reflection in the days leading up to 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

storm chronicles

i may have spent my childhood in a snow belt town of pennsylvania, once dubbed "the coldest spot in the nation," i may have lived in buffalo and ann arbor, but i have no memories of being snowed in for days, intermittently without electricity, water and telephone.

since we've lived in charlottesville we've giggled at the dramatic response to a dusting of snow. tashi has complained about the winters, missing the opportunity to sled and throw snowballs and tunnel through mounds of cold white powder. we've listened to countless storm warnings that yield little more than an inch of snow. so when the warnings started pouring in last week, we just shook our heads and said, "believe it when we see it."

the snow did indeed start falling in fat flakes late friday afternoon. by 6pm many roads were impassable, mostly due to cars that had gone into a tailspin. it took tashi and dan two hours to make it home on what is usually a twenty minute drive. once they arrived home safely, we cozied up together for what we knew might be a snowbound weekend.

the next morning we woke up to a winter wonderland and no electricity or water. the cloth diapers were wet from a washing the night before. we hadn't stocked up on drinking water. and we only had two small bundles of wood from the supermarket.

dan immediately waded through two feet of snow and started chopping wood from a dead tree in our yard. i started melting snow by the wood stove and hung the wet diapers close to our only heat source. we pulled out the camp cook stove and boiled greek coffee, as we couldn't grind our usual beans. we ate pbj for lunch.

it was a beautiful day and would have been more relaxing, had we been better prepared. regardless, we savored the big quiet upon sparkling scenery.

we sighed with relief when the electricity came back on around 5pm, just after we'd had an early dinner of leftover quinoa chili warmed on the camp stove. we commenced to busying about with loads of laundry, piles of dirty dishes and collecting water from the tap. the electricity went back out by 9pm, but feeling rather better prepared this time, we relaxed, lit candles, savored the fire and camped out in the living room for the night.

it was wonderous, waking up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire and seeing the brightest of stars gazing down upon the snowy world. we rose in the morning to a roaring wood stove upon which we cooked a delicious breakfast. we took catnaps, leafed through holiday stories. the phone/dsl went out as well. so even when our electricity came back by midday sunday, our communication with the outer world didn't (our cell phones don't work out here). it's always good to have a little vacation from the internet!

and so our weekend went: quiet, full of flame, hands upon books, projects, shovels, saws, sleds and a funny baby boy. time well spent leading into solstice.

monday all services returned, the snow plow arrived, and dan spent four hours shoveling the drive way. i hopped online and finished our christmas shopping, knowing that i wanted to spend as little time as possible in stores and shopping malls. the solstice faeries hid books around the house, and as the darkest night commenced, we lit our floating candles and cast our wishes.

* * * here's hoping your solstice was steeped in all that sparkles * * *