Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Confections: Part 2

I know you're only carrying on with the treats posts because you want to hear about the failure I teased about last post. You could skip all the way to the end, but then you might miss out on some yummy ideas. . .

This is a little something we like to call White Trash in my family. The epitome of politically correct holiday desserts, eh? 

White Trash is an amazing little confection consisting of (in my version) pretzels, crispex, peanut M&M's, mint M&Ms and vanilla candy melts. The beauty of this little munch mix is that you can really tailor it to suit your tastes. My mom puts peanuts in hers and plain M&Ms, and she's also made other themed mixes, with red hots for Valentine's Day, and so on. I think this years batch was my favorite though. The mint M&Ms really added a cool kick that I adored!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my friend, E, who joined me one night the week before Christmas for a little baking party.  E was making a cranberry upside down coffee cake that immediately had my attention. Not only was it incredibly moist and delicious with that hint of tartness cranberries provide. It was amazingly festive with the brown sugar glazed cranberries cheerily topping the cake! She got the recipe here, and I'm definitely going to be making this myself at the earliest opportunity!

 And now we move on to the duds. You know the ones. They bake up all amazing and delicious looking. But one bite proves they're not quite what you wanted. Enter these bacon cheddar mini muffins. Whipped up for a holiday potluck.

These little guys were incredibly simple, and although I'm not a bacon eater in general, frying up some bacon for these little minis was almost enough to turn me into one! Though, I think the strips I ate while making these will tide me over until next years bacon baking flop. 

Despite looking delicious and flavorful here, these mini muffins were more like biscuits--quite dry. Also, not the bacon or even the bacon drippings I used in lieu of vegetable oil added enough rich flavor to the batter. The cheddar all but disappeared in the dish. I was less than impressed, and will not be making them again. 

Oh well, you live an learn. Perhaps I'm better with the sweet stuff. Or bacon and I were just never meant to be friends. In any case, I'm off to make a cup of raspberry hot chocolate and munch on the last morsels of WT. 
Did you bake anything fun this holiday season? Tell me about it! 
E with her scrumptious cake!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Confections:Part One

     Every year during the holiday season, I get super pumped to bake all manner of sweets and goodies (truth be told, I start dreaming up recipes in July. . .). 
     Sadly, because I don't have a family of 50 fast metabolizing children  nor am I so popular that hundreds of people are dropping by every nigh for a treat, a lot of my sugary confections have to fall by the way side when it comes down to it. 

     I did decide on some new desserts that I wanted to make this year, and based on the reactions, they all turned out great! 
Topping the list were these glorious nutella thumbprint cookies (which I got from here) I decided to whip up for Christmas, My mother, in particular was a fan of these delightful little morsels, which were a great sort of upgrade on the old peanut butter blossoms. With a bit of a creamier texture, and a molasses heavy zing thanks to some dark brown sugar, they were a great addition to my thumbprint cookie repertoire (my peanut butter black berry thumbprints are still my fav!)

This year, I also decided to get a little crazy and make a Bûche de Noël 
 for Christmas Eve dinner. Buche de Noel are somewhat time consuming to make, but all the different steps were actually quite fun. This one is a mocha chocolate yule log, and while the mocha bit was a hit, I actually am not a coffee flavored person myself (I know, why did I make a dessert bursting with coffee flavor then?). I'm definitely going to try some jelly roll variations just for their fun effect! 

I will say, the frosting recipe I used for this Buche was quite possibly the single most delicious chocolate buttercream frosting I've ever come across. I'm itching for an excuse to whip up another batch. . .if only so I can "taste test" half of it in the process! 

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow. . .including a holiday baking fail!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Please, Christmas, don't be late!

Three Days Until Christmas 
(Basically TWO since it's so late in the evening!)

My friends, Jenna, Jenn and Elissa are jazzed too! 

This is my favorite picture of the season, taken on the roof of a spa in downtown Boston earlier this month as we got into the Christmas spirit with cranberry cocktails and free spa goodies! Don't I just have the most beautiful friends?

You probably (if you're being honest with yourself) are wondering why I've been suspiciously mum about my Christmas baking this year. I'm working on some top secret new recipes that I'm keeping underwrap--just kidding, that's a dirty lie! But, I have been measuring and mixing and snapping pictures, getting ready for a Christmas edition of Katy in the Kitchen.

 The baking will be taking place right up until the day this year, though, so you'll just have to wait a little bit longer! To tide you over, however, here's a little sneak peak!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Boughs of Holly

I woke this morning determined to make this one just a little bit smoother than last. Oh, and let me just interrupt and say 4 days til Christmas, whooo!

So, yea, I set my alarm for the real time I have to get up. I only snuggled into bed ignoring my wake up call for a few minutes. I put up my hair to avoid the laborious task of blow drying. A lovely Braeburn apple made sure that there would be no more MEs on the train ride to work. All was right in this pre-Christmas world (except for the no snow part, but that's another story)

Then, in a moment of poor judgement I've been known to make on mornings like this, I got a little too comfortable. I decided I'd straighten the kitchen, look for a new book for my Kindle, and  switch shoes. Before I knew it, I was just a teensy bit late. Not "sprint your way down the street to catch the T" late, just "throw everything in your purse and leave right now" late.

After finding my mittens and my iPod, I was out the door. Almost. 

You see, I have this sweet little wreath on my front door. Green pine, red bow. You get the picture. This innocent wreath is hanging on an obnoxious wreath hanger. Well, let me be clear. The wreath hanger is the best one I've ever had. It's heavy duty clear plastic with notches to adjust the length. Unfortunately, it's just the tiniest bit too thick for the top of our front door, so when you try and lock the deadbolt, it's a sort of mini tug of war game. I've dealt with the hassle for two years now because I refuse to have a wreathless door come Christmas. Also, most of the time, if I'm lucky, I'll hit the lock's sweet spot right off, and it will lock without a problem. Not so, this morning.

I made the mistake of putting hand lotion on right before heading out, and so I couldn't grip the door handle and pull with enough force to click the lock. There I was outside my apartment door yanking repeatedly on the door, praying for the little click to signal it was locked. I tried everything I could think: I threw my weight back to push it closed, I stamped my foot, I shed my winter jacket so I could get a better angle on it.  I even tried to explain to all parties that I had a guest coming tonight and wouldn't it be sad to bring them home to a naked grinch of a door. Nothing.

In a final effort  I unlocked the door and swung it open, just to give it a minute. Then, I saw the time, and knew the game was over. The wreath hanger had won. For the second day in a row, I was going to be quite late to work. I wrenched the hanger and wreath from the door and tossed it on the back of a chair. The door closed and locked without a single moment's rebellion.

And just like that, my morning did become on of those "sprint down the street to catch the T" mornings. In wedge heels.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Almost Medical Emergency

"Do not faint. Do not faint, do notfaintdonotfaint" I will myself as I lean against the T window. One hand pulls at the knot in my scarf, working at pulling it loose from my neck. The other rapidly unbottons my winter pea coat, fanning it out to let some air hit my clammy neck. Finally my scarf slides loose and I bundle it up and try to nonchalantly wipe away the beads of sweat that have begun falling down my forehead. 

"I'm not even that hot," I think as a strange prinkling sensation works it's way down my body, "you're not going to faint. You've never fainted, you don't even know what it feels like," I tell myself. Trying to gain control of the situation.

My unruly brain doesn't agree, "But you're going to faint" it whimpers as I stare at the doors of the T lurching closed. In that moment where the T seems to be moving both forward and backward at the same time, I have a brief fantasy of launching myself at the doors, breaking through into the free fresh air (Or, the nasty, polluted, cold air of the city, but whatever) and then losing it into a trash can calmly like a normal person. But the T starts moving for real. I grip the handicap bar behind with all my weak strength.

 I'm sure that I will become the person who necessitates the conductor barking "Medical emergency, folks, we're going to be stopped here for awhile" into the loudspeaker. Everyone will huff and sigh and roll there eyes at the idiot who is holding up their morning commute. The girl with the purple coat and matching bag standing in front of me is already eyeing me suspiciously. She'll probably break out her iPhone immediately to snap a picture of me-pasty and slumped onto the filthy T floor-and post it on facebook for all her friends to laugh at.

As I stare, pleading, at the girl from my spot, silently begging her not to magnify my embarrassment, I also wonder how my day could have sped downhill so quickly. 

This morning, I awoke to my bleeping alarm, rested, surprised at how great I felt and, also, jazzed that Christmas is now less than a week away. As I snuggled deeper into my flannel sheets for a moment, I wondered if maybe, somehow, it had snowed last night. Slowly, I turned to look at the clock and my peaceful morning was hit by a semitruck on steroids. 
What? It can't be 7:45. I get up at 6:45. Surely my clock must be saying 7:45 but really it's 6:45. Clearly.

I grabbed my phone and jabbed away texts alerts to get to the time. 7:45. As in, I am supposed to be leaving for the T in approximately 20 minutes. Leaping out of bed, I hopped around in panic for a moment and then forced myself into gear. I could do this. I could get ready in 20 minutes. I hurdled into the shower, and with a speed that belied my gender, I showered, dressed, blow dried by bangs, brushed by teeth and put on makeup. At 8:15, I left the house, only 10 minutes later than normal.  Then, as you already know, the real fun got started.

When we hit Copley, blessedly, someone vacates their single seat and, even more miraculously, no ones clamors to claim it. I stumble over and sit, dumping my stuff on my lap and trying to breathe deeply. "Don't throw up, Don't faint." I chant to myself, trying to focus on the music on my iPod. 

My brain apparently was able to do the rest on autopilot, because somehow I got to the office and in an effort to restore my blood sugar levels, which I assume to be the culprit of this whole hooplah, I chugged some apple juice and got to writing this post.

Only 5 days til Christmas folks!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No pear tree for me

I had this ingenious idea for some bloggy Christmastide cheer this year. Last night it came to me in a stroke of brilliance and I giggled aloud as I plotted and planned a series of (hilarious) posts.

I'll give you a hint: It was going to involve 
The Twelve 
Days of Christmas.

No, not the longest Christmas song of all time. The actual twelve days.

The thought occurred to me this morning, however, that my idea of these dozen days of cheer might be slightly misplaced. A trip to Wikipedia confirmed my epiphany (heh heh). Those twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas (not before) and run until Epiphany. Something most American's probably don't spend much time celebrating. Though, in some countries and religious traditions, Epiphany is actually more important than Nativity.

Wikipedia blamed the disappearance of the Epiphany in the U.S.A. on marketing and post-Christmas blowout sales. I thought this was pretty ironic and short sighted of the marketing bigwigs. Recalling my own struggle with Christmas spending as intimated in a previous post, you think it would behoove those pesky marketers to milk all twelve days of Christmas. Umm hello, people? Five Golden Rings? So much to work with there.

Alas, it appears the advertising world missed that money making bandwagon. And as such, I was mislead in my understanding of the twelve days of Christmas 

Consequently, my thoughtful idea for some pre-Christmas fun came to and end. Stop the presses, let that partridge loose. It is not to be.

Thanks a lot advertising world, it was going to be so good. . .

In light of all the confusion, I've decided to celebrate twenty four days of Christmas. Twelve before and twelve after. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

These Gals Rock!

Can you believe that Christmas is only two weeks away!

I can't. Although this morning in a fit of child-like excitement I felt as if these two weeks were two centuries and Christmas would never come. 

This year, as part of my Christmas festivities, some friends and I got all dolled up this Wednesday and went to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at the Wang. In case you're wondering--

I. Love.The.Rockettes.

My first time seeing these amazing precision line dancers, I was probably about 8.  My grandmother took me to New York to see them perform at Radio City. I remember how grand and beautifully decorated the lobby was. And the performance? Well, I have a distinct memory of the Nutcracker portion with the little girl dancing around a giant real tree on stage!

I've seen them a few times since then, and every time I get totally caught up in the magic. I love seeing all the little girls in their cute holiday dresses (frankly, I'm a little jealous), and of course, watching the perfect precision of those high kicking sisters is amazing!

Even though I'll (obviously) never be a Rockette, I feel as if I could be when I'm there watching them tap and sing their hearts out. . .never mind that I never had a dance lesson in my life. Some of us don't need lessons. We're soul dancers. 

some illegally snapped photos from the show thanks to Elissa W. (and yes, those are real camels in that last one!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I should never have memorized my debit card number

As usual, the Christmas season has descended upon our lovely country producing a capitalist fervor the likes of which only a well planned Black Friday campaign can incite.

And while I know that the true meaning of Christmas has everything to do with the first part of that word and oh, nothing, to do with Kohls having a 110% off sale on clearance, I admit, I sometimes lose my mind over those pretty red sale signs.

This year, in particular, I seem to be on some sort of strange kick where my hand becomes detached from my body. . .and budget loving brain.

Throw on some Mariah Carey and stick a frosted Christmas cookie in my hand and I'm off. Hand made chocolate marshmallow soap for 50% off? Sure, why not. Who doesn't want to smell like a hand baked s'more on the T?

And every time Mariah croons that classic chorus line, there my hand goes. 
"All I want for Christmas is youuuu"
click, clickity click.

And since you can't really buy strapping men online for 50% off (that I know of), the "youuuuu"  might as well be those heather gray TOMS with the laces. Come on! Free Shipping!

I think I've realized the problem and have nipped it in the bud (mostly) but it sort of makes me sad to think how easy it is to become such a crazed Christmas consumer.

Because really, Mariah Carey, what I really want for Christmas is for my bank account to be above zero come December 26th. Thanks.

(did I mention the lip tint was 50% off too. . .)

products from Orange Thyme

Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's Keep Being Thankful

It seems as if my Thanksgiving Eve post last week was ages ago. Maybe because I've been in a tryptophan induced coma since late last Thursday afternoon. Kidding! 

I actually eat a large amount of turkey year round and I'm pretty sure that I've built up an immunity to any soporific qualities that bird may boast. My hope one day is that I'll be in some sort of battle of wits, a la The Princess Bride, but instead of Iocane, I'll have built up an immunity to tryptophan and outwit Vizzini.  Anyway, I digress. . .

This Thanksgiving seemed to blow by, but I'm glad I had opportunity to take pause and remember how blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life. Not only did I get to spend time with a bunch of family, I got to squeeze in some quality time with two beautiful friends I don't get to see nearly enough. Why does it seem so hard to just stop for a moment and appreciate how blessed I am with all these relationships? I'll never know. 

The holiday weekend this year was capped off by dinner at my sister's house, including 3 dogs, one snooty cat, a joint birthday celebration and decorating her Christmas tree. My family likes to get our Christmas on before the turkey has even settled in our stomaches. What can we say? We're just a bunch of holiday junkies!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all are as well as can be, and finding things to be thankful about on this Thanksgiving Eve. 

I'm thankful to be spending time with my brother and sister tonight as we prepare some dishes for tomorrow and enjoy each others company.

I'm also thankful that we were able to get the wood stove up and running again after we apparently neglected it too long(don't ask. . .clearly none of were girl/boy scouts)

Have a great day tomorrow my friends, and remember that the day should be about so much more than how much turkey you can fit on your plate!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spam, Bam, Thank You Ma'am

"Why do you keep sending me links about Viagra?"

This is the message I received from my sisters several weeks ago out of the blue.

"What?" was my response, "obviously, I haven't been sending you them on purpose!"

Emily went on to explain that she and a random other group of people on the Cc list were getting e-mails from me with a message about checking out what smoking does to your body, but when/if you clicked the link, it led to some sort of Viagra website.

Of course, I knew it was some sort of e-mail virus shenanigans that had gained control of my account but it was a huge pain because I have gmail which basically saves every e-mail address you've ever used. Normally handy. Not so, when you've unwittingly become a Viagra salesperson. And to top it all off, one of the repeat receivers happened to be my grandmother.

Trying to do some damage control, I sent out a witty message to several people to warn them of this new development but couldn't figure out where it was coming from so couldn't seem to stop it.

A few weeks later, though, as I went through and cleaned out my junk account not related to Gmail, I saw several mailer deamon returned emails in my spam box. My sister had failed to mention this was the email address the spam was coming from.

With some quick work, I realized most of the contacts it was e-mailing were defunct addresses of friends and family, although some were still legitimate. I deleted my outdated contact list, and for a few weeks that seemed to be the end of it.

On saturday morning, I signed on to my email and saw that I had an new e-mail from myself. Not unusual because I send myself emails just about every day with links, recipes, or other random info I want to access later.

I opened it to see which one is was and saw a garbled message with a link. Confused, and unable to remember what I'd e-mailed myself I clicked on the link. 

I think you can guess where it led me.

I had just been spammed by my own e-mail. 

The ridiculousness of this happening in the tech savvy world we live in was not lost on me. Not only do we have to look out for other people attacking us electronically, we now have to contend with our own e-mail accounts turning on us!

This moment should be a lesson for all of us, to be remembered when companies start trying to market robots to do everything for us. I can tell you from experience how that's going to end up. . .

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


If you'll recall, often at work I get bored and write poems. . .I won't say there any good--but they happen, and occasionally, I blog about them. Here's what happened this morning:

I know this guy who has brains for teeth and doesn't like to eat beef. 
every time he opens his mouth statistics march out like who has the most Olympic gold medals and what rain boots are made of
I'm sitting there chomping on a hamburger and wondering how many inches of snow they get in Alberta, Canada in a year, but I don't dare ask because he'll start in on the life cycle of a praying mantis 
so I still won't know the answer, but I might have some ketchup on my lip. I think what he needs is a steak. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Leave a message after the

For a long time now it's been a joke amongst many of my friends that I am completely incapable of leaving a concise voicemail about anything. I don't really know what it is that happens in my brain, but everytime I call someone and the automated woman starts blabbing about the directions for leaving voicemails I get distracted, and then I hear the beep (sometimes; Other times I don't and then awkwardly stay on the line for a minute deciding if it beeped yet) my brain goes totally blank. Nothing. Often so much so that I don't even remember who I'm calling.

I try to collect myself quickly and move on, but that initial few seconds is crucial and throws off my game. Thus, my voicemails are an amalgam of random thoughts, stream of conscious ramblings, and maybe, occasionally, the point of why I'm calling.

The worst though, is the dreaded finale. I absolutely am terrible at ending things. Conversations, emails, and messages. I feel like there should be something profound or definite, perhaps. But whatever it is, I end with various trite statements, sometimes repeated over. "So, umm yea, I umm hope you're doing well (for the 5th time) and I hope you have a great week (again) and uhhh, yea justgivemeacallkthanksbye." 

It never occurred to me when I started working at my job here in Boston, that the days would come when I'd have to be dealing with people on the phone. And, more specifically, leaving them detailed messages. Quelle horreur!

Blessedly, I've suffered through months of awkward messages, returned calls, and the like without out too much drama. Sure, I still began every conversation in a sort of hurried, rushed explosion of what I need that the person usually asks me to repeat a few times but, for sure, I'm improving.

Until today, when I apparently took about 50 steps back. I was calling a woman to give her details of some transportation I'd arranged for her. She usually answers, but didn't this time, so when the message tone beeped, I rambled off all the details. As usual, the end came but I couldn't seem to gracefully extricate myself. So, I chose this classic ending.

"Soo, I hope you're well. . . aaaaand. . .bye." 

word for word. 

First, I'm hoping that "aaand" didn't last long as it seemed in that moment. 'Cuz in the moment it was really long. 

But most ridiculous: "I hope you're well"? Do I really hope that? Because I have never actually met you and the extent of our relationship is me calling you with times a taxi is going to show up at your house. But, you know, call me up sometime. Let's chat. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Officer, I'm Innocent

After returning home feeling rejuvinated from my baking fiasco last night, I decide that I need to put together the turkey chili I plan to throw in the crockpot for dinner tomorrow. As it's already after 10, my goal is to get everything together as quickly as possible so in the morning I can just turn my slow cooker on and not have to worry about anything else.

First things first, I get the turkey browning in a pan and start straining some dark red kidney beans. Around 10:20, just as I'm opening the pepper to sprinkle some on the turkey, I hear an urgent tap at my living room window. 

Now, this may seem odd in general but it's actually not so out of the ordinary. You see, our buzzer in our building doesn't work and since we live in the ground, instead of calling we encourage people to just tap on our window and we'll come let them in. 

Still, given the late hour, I look over at the window in confusion and see a huddled form there and the light of a what appears to be a cell phone shining. Another urgent bang sounds on the window.

Still unsure of who's outside (could it be my roommates brother? Or perhaps a friend who lives nearby?) I open my front door cautiously and walk up the steps to the main doors. With a start, I realize that there is a policewoman standing there looking rather harried.

For a moment, I freeze on the stairs, feeling guilty. Except, it's not like I've done anything wrong. . .that I remember. So, why is a policewoman tapping on my window at 10:30 at night? Regaining my composure, I leap up the stairs and swing open the door. She enters with a woosh of cold air, her gold badge gleaming in the hall light.

"Thank you!" she exclaims, gratefully and holds up her cell phone.

"Umm, you're welcome. Do you--" I start not sure what to say to an officer of the law. . .
"I don't know wants wrong with my roommate, she doesn't answer her phone!" she starts apologetically.

For a moment, I don't realize what's going on, and then it slaps me in the face. 
It's Halloween

This woman lives here and is dressed up like a policewoman, and locked herself out of the building. And I am a complete idiot.

"Ooooh, no problem!" I say a little to loudly, my laughter a little too bright, "have a nice night!"

I whirl and head downstairs and she runs up thanking me again. Reaching my door, I close it and give a small hiccup of laughter, and head back to the sizzling turkey on the stove.

I can't even believe this day just happened.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My not so happy Halloween

Today I was home recovering from being a sickie all last week and after a lovely fall walk, I decided to make some pumpkin bread. I've been dying for a delicious loaf of pumpkin bread for weeks now, and recently made some of my own pumpkin puree. Each year, I usually just pick a basic recipe that sounds good and play off of it, adding some of my own spices, and whatever sounds good to me. Tonight I made a plain loaf with some ginger and a chocolate chip loaf. 

The whole time I was mixing ingredients, they all sat out on the counter waiting for their turns to be added. I stirred and folded the batter, greased up the pans and poured in the mix. All with this nagging in the back of my mind that I was missing something, but ignored it, . 

The batter seemed a little watery, but I popped it in the oven and began cleanup. About a half an hour into the cook time, I decided to check on the bread as I got dinner ready and when I opened up the oven, I was horrified. Both pans of bread were bubbling and boiling, with a dark grainy sheen on top. One word echoed in my mind in that moment.



I never but any in! The main ingredient in any bread! I rushed back to my computer and bring up the new list of ingredients. Surely it wasn't my own error, but that off this faulty new recipe. I scanned the list once. twice. and there it was.

three cups all-purpose flour.

After mumbling a few wordsthatshallremainnameless aloud. I stomped over to the oven ready to have a full blown baking temper tantrum. My pumpkin bread. . .ruined! All that fresh, handmade pureed pumpkin down the drain! 

And so I did the most ridiculous thing anyone would think to do. I took the pans out of the oven and added flour into them in some desperate attempt to have some dang pumpkin bread. Is that to much for a girl to ask! 

I knew it wouldn't work, and I type this, the bread is now in the oven, confused and flat and looking not very much like bread at all. 'Tis a sad day in my house.

Especially because in addition to ruining an entire batch of bread. . .I burned my chicken meant for dinner while dealing with this whole no flour fiasco. I don't even care. I'm eating them both.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

that fluffy white stuff

This morning when I woke up, I did something I rarely ever do. I checked the weather. Imagine my surprise when I saw one singular glorious word standing out like a beacon amongst the others.


Oh boy, did I get excited. Because I love snow. I love how it makes everything, even the city, seem quiet when it falls, and how sometimes it sparkles so much I feel God must just be up there throwing down buckets and buckets of glitter. I love stomping around in freshly packed snow, and stepping out side and being warmed by icy snow reflecting the sun.

Basically, it's clear that not only am I New England-er born and raised. I'm also one of those crazy fools who thinks snow is the cat's meow. 

Except when it February and it's been snowing for months and the snow piles are 6 feet high and all of my boots have sprung leaks. Can we all say, "Hello, last winter, I hope I never have to make your acquaintance again"? Even though I did love all the snow days from work you made possible. And late starts. And early dismissals. 

Unfortunately, though, as I sit here typing this, it doesn't seem that the snow is going to make an appearance in the Beantown tonight. At least as much as I can tell from my window. A friend just called though to say hello and informed me that it's snowing quite a bit in my home town in CT.

When she told me, I was tinged with an unnatural jealousy. Of someone else's snow. Don't say it, I already know. . .

Is it snowing where you all are?

In celebration of the almost snow here, I'm going to go have a ginger pumpkin cupcake I baked with friends last night and drink some cocoa. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Keene Pumpkin Festival

This Saturday, my mom, sister and I made the drive to Keene, NH for the famous pumpkin festival. There were lovely goodies to be had and thousands of pumpkins to look at. The real fun started at night when everyone began helping to light the pumpkins, though! I'll let the pictures do all the talking (for once). . .


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Not your momma's RATatouille

For the last year I have lived blissfully unaware of a secret menace lurking around my city's corners. Ok, blissfully unaware is not quite right, maybe it's just that I've been blissfully ingnoring these menaces.

Sure, I know in the grand scheme of the world rats exist. And I know that living in a city means I'm in closer proximity to them than I'd like to know. But I haven't seen them scuttling around anywhere, and as the old saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind."

Earlier this month, however, I joined a friend and we headed to Roxy's Grilled Cheese truck for a little outdoor dinner. After indulging in some delicious rib stuffed, and avocado, bacon stuffed grilled cheeses, we sat on a strip of lawn by the truck chatting as dusk settled over Boston. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a few little grey creatures hopping around in the grass maybe 50 feet from us and exclaimed "oh, Bonnie, look at the baby bunnies. . .or whatever those are. How cute" Squinting I tried to make out what they were. Bonnie, with much clearer vision than I turned to watch them. "Those aren't bunnies, Katy, those are rats!" With a shudder we both glanced at each other. "Well, I'm done" Bonnie exclaimed, as we both jumped up and made our way off the lawn, away from those nasty vermin.

Not more than a week or two later, my roomiefriend Becca and I were walking to our local Whole Foods for a late night treat. As we approached the store, I see a big grey thing hurrying along the sidwalk before slipping into a WF's pumpkin display, it's lighter colored tail bouncing behind it. "A rat! It's a rat!" I exclaimed in horror and also fascination. And so began another conversation about how gross rats are.

Despite a few shudder inducing recollections of those two disgusting moments, I'd really forgotten about this whole rat business. 

Until this morning.

Stepping out into the cool air, I hurried along my usual route to my T stop. Rounding a corner, I happened to glance down and was stopped short as I giant fur ball scampered right in front of me, almost over my feet. As soon as I saw that endless, scaly tale, I knew what it was. In horror, I watched as the rat dashed headlong into a pile of leaves right by the window of a "garden" (real estate speak for basement) apartment. Just like the one I live in. I nearly vomitted in horror.

And like the true irrational person that I am, as I walked to the T my thoughts began spinning. Why so many rats all of a sudden, when I've gone a year without seeing so much as one? I recalled an image of a town infested with millions of mice I saw on Animal Planet once, and I started getting worried that these sightings are a result of something terrible. A city wide rat infestation. It'll be like the Dark Ages. The Black Death hits Boston centuries later and I'm in the rat ruled center. This is a crises people!

Call me paranoid if you will, but I'm getting suspicious of this new influx of rat sightings.

The roommate and I have alredy agreed that the day a rat makes it's home in our home, we're outta town.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Here! It's Here!

. . .and it was no small feat getting it here, let me tell you!

The "it" I'm referring to is our beautiful new, baby dishwasher:

A few months ago (a.k.a. June), you may remember me blogging about a little fiasco involving the death of my dishwasher and the almost death of my toilet in the same day. 

Our gracious landlords had  just replaced our tatty carpet and were a little hesitant to spend more money on a new dishwasher. After a few months, though, they let us know that one was ordered and on its way! Becca by default ended up in charge of the whole situation given that  the landlords only speak to her, and so she began the process of coordinating the delivery people and the maintenance people who needed to shut the water off in our building during install.

Can't be too difficult right? Wrong.

After placing endless phone calls to any number of people trying to organize two separate entities was proving incredibly problematic. And to add to the melee, Sears informed Becca at some point about 2 weeks in that the order had expired and our tiny little dishwasher seemed to be lost somewhere in the shuffle.

Let's jump ahead in time 4 more weeks, shall we? Becca and I are still sans dishwasher, but Becca has managed to secure the cooperation of our condo association once the dishwasher delivery folks got their act together. The people at Sears were having a lot of trouble keeping track of our DW, even after several supervisors and eventually a case manager got involved in our situation. 

At last, earlier last week, it seemed that the stars were aligned and we would be getting our dishwasher on Thursday. The delivery guys called Becca Wednesday night to confirm with here, but gave her a time several hours later than previously agreed upon. Becca explained the whole shenanigans and they agreed to rearrange the times back to the original.

Thursday 8 AM: Becca get's a phone call from the delivery/install man. Do we have the dishwasher already here? Umm, no sir. We were under the silly impression that's what you, the delivery man, were going to be doing. Several hours later, no dishwasher. And, once again, no one in the entire Sears corporation (if it is one!) seemed to know where it was. 

Becca rescheduled for Friday and the delivery dudes were once again a no show. Seriously, Sears? At this point we were really starting to get TO'd (oh wait, that happened round about week 3). 

But finally, finally after all that ado about nothing, our sparkling new DW arrived bright and early (actually later than planned) this Tuesday morning (afternoon). I'm beyond excited. It's white, with a shiny chrome looking inside. and best of all. IT WORKS! At least we think, we haven't actually run it yet . . .

And if you're mocking me right now for being so whiny about a extra convenience dishwasher, let me tell you something. I spent the formative years of my childhood elbow deep is soap dishwater after dinner. I've paid my dues. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A pumpkin brownie kind of day


Happy Monday! Finally, some fall weather has hit Boston, and you know what that means. I've been itching to do some baking! Fortuitously, my dear friend Jordana's birthday was Sunday (Happy Birthday J) and so I had an excuse to hit the ovens. These delicious little pumpkin pie/brownie hybrids seemed like the perfect treat for a autumnal birthday. I've never been an enormous fan of pumpkin pie like treats, but add chocolate to anything, and I'll eat it! I used someone else's recipe for the pumpkin "pie" part and then took liberties with the chocolate chunk brownies. If you'd like the recipe, e-mail me here. Or just stop by and I'll whip you some up!

Here are a few other highlights from my weekend. On Saturday, I took the 7th grade girl I mentor on a trip to the 'country' for some apple picking. I can't wait to make some applesauce this week. yummm!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Behold the "Free Collections"

Several months ago, you may remember a certain post about the new Kindle I had purchased.

Since that time, it has proved to be one of the best purchases I've made this past year, providing some great entertainment during my morning and evening commutes. 

When I was first initiated into the Kindle world, I started buying up the books that I'd had on my list forever, but hadn't gotten around to reading. One thing I didn't count on, however, was that just because the the books are discounted, doesn't mean they didn't still cost money. 

Thus began my introduction to the world of FREE COLLECTIONS.

Kindle has a whole selection of books that are $0.00. It's amazing. Just click on a book and it's on your kindle, for nothing!

There's just one little caveat. These books aren't free because they're best sellers, or because everyone loves them. No, they're free because no one would actually pay for them. I find that these free books usually fall into three categories:

Bodice Rippers

Christian Fiction

Best Seller Wannabe's 

Now, as tempting as is it to read a book entitled Raunchy Ranglers (oh wait, not that tempting) or indulge in one of the many BR's in the "Passionate Embrace" series I generally steer clear of these more unsavory varieties.

And Best Seller Wannabe's are usually Wannabe's for a reason. Terrible prose, confusing plot lines, and atrocious dialogue. 

So this has left me with the Christian Fiction subset. More specifically, Christian Fiction Romance. That's right folks, 9 times out of 10 I spend my mornings on the T reading sub par Christian fiction romance novels about  spit fire, hard working women who tame the rough and tumble mountain men through prayer and a modestly attired but no less attractive figure. And often as not do it with just as much awful dialogue and plots at the BSW's. Sometimes, I actually get a little embarrassed on the T thinking of the people that are reading over my shoulder. 

"You don't understand!" I want to tell them, "I don't have any choice. I'm on a budget, and David Baldacci and Michael Lewis just aren't an option right now. Try me next month when my budget restarts!" 

But yesterday as I was reading a nice little number about a maid working at the Biltmore Mansion, I actually thought to myself, "Hey, this is kind of cute!" and not only did I read it on the T, but I read it when I got home, and before going to bed and was excited to get back to it this morning. 

I don't really know what to make of this new development, I may have to break the bank a little and buy a Best Seller. Something, anything other than a christian fiction romance for free at the kindle store. To prove a point. 

Although, I think this latest book is part of a series. . .

I mean, not that I'm planning on reading the others if they exist. obviously.