Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

This month my grandfather will be 94 years old. When he was in his early 20s, the son of two Sicilian immigrants, he joined the US military and fought in World War II. He was stationed in New Guinea, fighting on the Pacific front. A part of the war, that I learned little about growing up. Almost exclusively, aside from Pearl Harbor, I learned in school about the European front. The Nazis. Hitler. I never learned about the horrors the men who fought in the Pacific faced. Horrors that to this day, statistically, crippled the veterans who returned more powerfully than other men who fought in WW II.

I don't mean to minimize anyone's loss or pain. Each and every burden in the face of war is great. I only mean to try and understand what my grandfather, Macy, may have faced. He never spoke about the war, or his role until I was in college. One warm summer day, though, while my family and I visited he and his wife, he began to talk to us about his life as a young man in the war.

with my Grandpa Macy several years ago
He told us about the shock of landing on the island and finding the woman there didn't wear shirts, but walked with their breasts bare, ready to feed the babies on their backs. His nickname, Macy, comes from the war. His cousin was stationed nearby him and to avoid confusion with their last name, Mascena, on mail days, he became "Macy". He laughingly told us that he an a few guys, including his cousin, devised a plan to make homemade wine in a unused drum of some sort they found (can you tell we're Italian?) and my grandfather used to hop boats to other camps and secrete the illegal wine to other soldiers. Once he almost got caught, but managed to evade capture!

And with tears in his eyes, and holding the hand of both my sister and I, he told us that he realized that soon he might be gone and no one would know these stories, no one would know the things that made him, him.

That summery day, on the patio of my grandfather's home is something I hold close in my memory. And even more so, now this his own memory has failed him.

I keep those stories close because they remind me that freedom comes at a price. I felt it in the weathered hand of my grandfather who didn't, and perhaps couldn't, talk about his part in our freedom for decades as I grew up.  I feel it when I think of my other grandfather, Jim, in the coast guard during the Korean War. And my brother-in-law, a career man in the Navy, who spends months at a time away from my sister and his life here.

As I stood on the sidewalk yesterday, on my lunch break, and watched Boston's Veteran's Day parade march by, I clapped, and waved my flag. I looked at these men and women in the eye and hoped they would know how much I'm thankful for their willingness to serve our country, despite the great cost.  I am so thankful. 

Happy Veteran's Day. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

KatyInTheKitchen: Birthday Charlotte Russe



A few weeks ago, my sweet roommate requested that I make a special birthday treat for her mother, who is visiting this weekend to celebrate! We discussed something decadent and rich that would be a complete birthday indulgence.


Now that summer is over, I'm back to baking away, and was excited for an opportunity to make a delicious and beautifully presented treat. . .my favorite!


I spent a lot of time deciding what I wanted to make when I happened to come across the idea for a Charlotte, or a Charlotte Russe cake. You've probably seen one before, but not known what's it's called. A Charlotte is a dainty mold cake filled with custard, mousse, or cream and surrounded by ladyfingers or sponge cake.

Since I haven't made one of these treats before, I searched around for some recipes that fit the bill. I made my ladyfingers using this amazing recipe from the Cilantropist, and while her mousse filled Charlotte sounded amazing, I opted for a coconut custard recipe favored by Martha Stewart.

The result, a rich, creamy coconut custard filled Charlotte garnished with some fresh tangy raspberries and finished with a chocolate bow. Divine!





Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One Year Later

Warning: This. Is. A. Rant. 
It's been just about a year now since the demise of my darling car Betsy, as some of you may well know. My '98 Escort met her end one sunny day, as some pals and I bounced toward the home of a friend on Boston's rough city streets. There was a snap, some clanking, and the terrifying moment where I wondered if we'd see a wheel rolling past us on the road. . .from our car!

We did manage to make it there and back that day, and I let Bets linger in my parking lot for a few more weeks, un-drivable and defeated, and hoping that she would miraculously be healed. Having dumped a huge amount of money into trying to keep her chugging the previous summer, I didn't bother to take her in to my hott mechanic (see: Fred). You know, no need to beat a dead horse and all.

So, I said my goodbyes and donated her off to the Special Olympics.

Thus began my first year, ever, of not having a car. Betsy was my car before I even had my license, and got me through 8 years of a lot of life changes. 

I'd like to say that this has been the best year ever, and I realized having a car is foolish and needless in a walking city with accessible public transportation (if one can call the B line thus. . .). For sure, I didn't miss having to shovel out a car this winter, or pay for car insurance, or feel the helpless frustration of walking up to my parked car and seeing a telltale orange paper tucked beneath a windshield wiper.

But, really. I'm over this.

Sometimes I just want to go to Target at 8 o'clock at night for no other reason then to look at sunglasses. And sometimes, I want to grocery shopping and have it not take 2 hours. Also, as much as I wax poetic about this blessed city, sometimes I just want to get out of it. 

I want to go home to the country, or the beach, or just go to dang church on a rainy Sunday and not have it be a giant production involving planes, and trains, and (gracious) friends who've offered into giving me a ride. I would like to go visit my grandma, who always asks me when I'll be in town, instead of reminding her I don't have a car so I won't be in the wilds of northern Connecticut anytime soon.

 I've been trying to look on the positive side of this past year. I hope that I have grown more patient, and less structured. That I am more compassionate with people for tardiness and changed plans, and grumpy arrivals. Especially now that I know what it's like to watch the bus (that showed up early) drive by my stop while I stand on the other side of the street jabbing at the walk signal and wondering if I have the ninja skills to run through traffic in enough time to catch it.  I hope it has made me more vulnerable, and willing to admit to people I need help, because sometimes I do. 

But, OK, also, I really hope that this next year brings a new car. . .

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Real Deal

A few years ago, I moved to my lovely city (Boston, if you don't know) with a close friend of mine. At the time she was suffering from some pretty serious and mysterious health problems and, after a lot of trial and error, began some radical changes in her diet that have helped her tremendously. 

During that time, through her extensive research, I also started to learn about the amazing changes diet alterations have brought to people with autism, chronic fatigue, lupus and other serious mental and physical ailments that do not have "cures". 

These discoveries really got me thinking about the many unknown ingredients I'm constantly putting into my body. So many of my friends, only a few decades in to the long lives we live thanks to modern medicine, are already struggling with debilitating health problems that often can't be diagnosed or resolved with pills, creams, or any other quick fix. And more often than not, it seems changes in their eating habits start to give them some relief.

And really. . . is it any wonder? I was born in the late eighties and raised in that happy, roaring decade of the 90s craving Lucky Charms, Kool Aid, and Hamburger Helper. I've been consuming man made powders, chemicals, dyes, and protein chains transformed into "food" my some incredible technologies from my earliest days. It's no surprise  my friends and I seem to have bodies that are falling apart at the seems already with this list of faux nutrients? 

I'm ashamed to say that, despite this new awareness, it took me awhile to climb fully aboard the "real food" movement. Mostly out of laziness, I think, knowing it would mean a change in much more than just what I put on my plate. I finally am making some real changes, however, and it feels exciting and great! 

 Earlier this summer, I made the commitment to start eating about 80% real food on the regular. This seemed like a realistic goal without going crazy and failing right off the bat (which would happen if I deprived myself of ice cream, lets be real). I haven't been perfect, and have certainly had weeks where I've gone of the deep end. . . but, because this is a long term lifestyle change I'm striving for, I'm sticking to it, and being gracious with myself when I fail.

My hope is that, in the next few years, my diet will contain almost no chemical preservatives or processes foods. 

I decided to blog about some of the biggest challenges I've experienced so far in making this lifestyle change, mostly because any time I mention my goals to people, I hear the same thing. Something along the lines of, "Oh, I'd really like to do that, but I don't know where to start!" It seems like we're scared of using real food! And since I dove in with the benefit of some healthy eaters going before, and sharing knowledge and resources, I want to pass it along!

I'll be blogging this week about the change in food costs I've noticed this summer but, until then, here's a new favorite recipe of mine for when I'm craving carbs. 

++++++++++++

Whole Wheat Tortillas:
(this recipe is only very slightly altered from here)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

++In a stand mixer mix flour, oil, and salt until crumbly, scraping as needed. If you have a dough hook that would work, but I just use my standard paddle.
++Keep mixer running and slowly added warm water and mix until dough is smooth. At this point, I remove the dough and kneed it on the counter for a bit. If you use a dough hook, no need to knead (get it? hehe)
++Diving the dough into 12 pieces, roll each into a ball and flatten in out on a pan or board. 
++Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temp for 15 minutes to an horus
++Heat a skillet over med-high heat with a little coconut oil (or other favorite oil)
roll out the tortillas using a very small amount of whole wheat flour. I usually make mine about 8 inchesaround. 
++Transfer to the hot skillet and cook about 30-45 seconds on each side.
++Be sure to eat one when they are hot, fresh and amazing! The rest can be stored in the fridge or freezer to use later!


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Long Goodbye

Well, hello! 

See what I did there? Took the summer off and didn't even tell ya'll.

I guess I figured if I was too busy soaking up summer to write, you were probably too busy to read (at least that's what I've been telling myself. . .)

Between apartment sprucing, weekends away, and summer fun with friends, I decided not to stress the blogging.

A recent slew of goodbyes to friends headed on their next adventure has got me writing, again, however.

My friends, Hannah and Joanna, recently left Boston for the warmer streets of Nashville, after 2 education-minded years. Closer to home for them both, but just plain far away for their friends here in the North East.

These lovely women were the latest in a line of friends and acquaintances who've taken part in a mass exodus from Boston this year. Since May they've been trickling away in fits and starts leaving those who are staying behind to look around at the empty spaces. We are waiting to see who will be left when the dust settles (to be perfectly cliché).  

These many goodbyes are not the first of my life and certainly will not be the last. While I know that, truthfully, we cannot all stay together forever, it hasn't stopped my compulsions to grab tight for hands around me as they go (or stay) and insist that we all be the lifetime sort of friends. No matter how often or familiar the sad task of saying goodbye comes around, each time I  feel that deep and throbbing pain in my chest at the thought being separated from another friends. And, truth be known, I feel a welling of self pity at the injustice of my having to say goodbye to someone when I just don't want to.

Wouldn't it be easier if we always could be close to the people we love most? If they were forever just up the hall, or down the street for a chat or a hug, and we didn't have to just suffice with Facetime or texting or phone calls (although, I'm mighty thankful for all of these means of communication!)

As often as I've been tempted to give in to that pity party these past few days, after this particular departure of my sweet friends, I've also been reminded that this sadness is really a byproduct; a longing in our hearts for something much deeper.

It reminds me that in the beginning, when Adam and Eve were new and full of wonder, and before they made other, more knowing decisions, there were no sad goodbyes. Only sunny day spent together and cool evenings strolling in the garden with their Father friend.

But then, without knowing really what they were doing, they chose, among other things, separation. From their Friend in the garden, from the garden itself, from each other, and their children and the list goes on. It was here that the jagged edge of "saying goodbye" must have been realized.  To begin to bridge this gap, there was another great separation, between a Father and his Son. The Son coming to earth as a man. Living among us, making friends, building relationships only to have to leave them behind. 

I imagine Jesus had more pressing matters on his mind those nights before He died. But I also wonder if He thought of his friends who had stuck close to him. If He thought of how He would no longer spend his days with them, joke with them on the road, or pray with them. I think, because he was fully man, that he did.

I know that when I call out to Jesus with sadness at the new distance from a friend, he doesn't just hear me. . .he knows intimately what I am feeling because he felt it too. And He knows that ultimately what I'm longing for is an end to separation from Him and His Father. 

For those of us in Boston who are not so transient, it seems a cruel decision we've made: To live in a city full of people always leaving. But for those who have chosen to believe what I do, let it be a reminder to us that the sorrow of parting will one day be erased. One day, we will be surrounded by all our precious friends on a cool, evening walk in the garden with our Father,  and there will never be another whisper of goodbye.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oregon Trail: Part 2

 Sometimes, I say I'll do things "tomorrow" but I'm really just using the term loosely.
Here is Part 2 of my trip to Portland and it's all about the amazing food. From street food at the food carts that are synonymous with Portland to high end outdoor Latin dining at Oba we truly enjoyed some amazing eats (as the foodies say. . .heh!). I'd go back to Portland just to keep exploring the cuisine scene, for sure!

Shwarma for lunch!
1} Lovejoy Bakers; 2} Kushary, Kushary; 3} Voodoo Donuts; 4} Bunk Sandwiches 

one night we hit up the funky Alberta neighborhood for  ice cream at Salt & Straw
(we loved the ricotta honey lemon)

Voodoo Doughnuts! I tried the dirty old bastard...best donut I've had in awhile!

a slice of haunted pizza at the eerie Old Town Pizza
And my lovely travel companion Jenna: enjoying a Whole Bowl, strolling through Powell's Books, and drinking from a Benson Bubbler! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Oregon Trail, Part 1

A few weeks ago, my friend Jenna and I headed cross country to visit the great state of Oregon. She for a work conference, and me, for vacation! I've always wanted to visit Oregon (we were specifically in Portland) and couldn't turn down the opportunity to tag along! These people are serious about their food, their beer, and their art, and I loved them for it! Did you know the Portland was almost named Boston? But a coin flip decided another fate!

Coincidentally, I was at Walden Pond the day before I left for Portland !
On a walking tour of the city I learned Portland businesses have to spend 1% of their budget supporting local artists

reproduction Globe Theatre


Cheesin' at Oregon's oldest microbrewery. My pint of Stumptown Tart was amazing!
PORTLANDIA
(she's the second largest of her kind. . .can you guess the first?)



try the Statue of Liberty



As previously stated, Portlandians are serious about their food, and I was lucky enough to get to sample all different kinds while there. You'll see some of that tomorrow!




Friday, May 3, 2013

April 30, 2013

I had such a special birthday this year thanks to friends and family (. . .and the random people on the phone at work that I announced it to)! From morning surprises, to an evening filled with chocolate and gal pals, it was truly a lovely day!
A knock on the bath room door while I blew my hair dry revealed some sweet pals with a cake and some birthday love! My favorite: yellow cake with chocolate frosting :)

A box o' goodies arrived from my dear, lovely friend Aimee
Sassy Bonnie and her crazy science experiment drink and me being "Happy Birthday-ed" 
Best Chocolate Martini EVER



So many sweet friends in one place, and so many more made my special day a delight!





Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Baby





Twenty Six years ago at precisely 11:26 PM, I made my way into this world. I'm just barely an April baby, and so happy I made it. April is such a lovely birthday month, and one which I share with 3 cousins, 2 aunts, and countless friends. 

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my family and I have so many sweet memories, thanks mostly to my mom who worked so hard to make us feel so loved on our day.

When I think about my birthday, though, there is one in particular that comes to mind, and always encompasses that birthday feeling. My 6th birthday.

That day was a Friday and I was going to spend the weekend with my grandmother for my birthday. I chose to wear my favorite dress. A blue flowered number with frills, bows, and layers of polka dotted ruffles peaking through. The day was warm and bright, and we had recess outside. My little limbs could barely still themselves with the excitement of my special day! 

I imagine that night at my grandma's we had salmon pie, one of my childhood favorites. We talked like grown ups do and I got to take out my grandma's porcelain doll she's had since childhood. Us grand kids had a room upstairs, but the heater made scary noises and  I always begged to sleep with grandma in her bed, instead. Safe with her beside me, I didn't wake until the morning, pulled from sleep by the loud insistent chirping of a spring bird. 

It is that moment I think of every April 30th, when I wake and remember it's my birthday. I remember that chatter of cheerful birds returned after a winter away, as loud and bossy as the sun streaming through the windows. I remember the thrill of a sleepover and waking snuggled next to my grandmother and a day filled with whatever adventures we had planned. It is a morning of sunny spring promise and the best kind of birthday feeling!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Awakening


Boston has been in the national news lately for the sad events surrounding the marathon. I have been on the emotional roller coaster with everyone and shaken by the reminder that we are not invincible, but I have never been in more in love with my city.


I think it is a small mercy that these horrific days occurred just as Spring was throwing off the last cold hand of Winter. She, a whirlwind of energy, life, and fragrant blooms waiting to grace our scarred streets with her beauty.

These last weekends, for me, have been filled with visits from family, sweet time with dear friends, picnics in the park, and even a little tan! I've also apparently eaten an inordinate amount of pizza during these adventures based on the above photos. . . 

A trip to the country and my old home in western Massachusetts this weekend (ahem, complete with some Antonio's pizza) left me feeling refreshed and ready for the week. As we drove along the rural roads, windows down and hands and faces in the clean air, I wondered how anything could be better than the awakening of Spring. 



Monday, April 8, 2013

A Great Day


"Make it a great day or not. The choice is yours."

Every day, from the first day of 6th grade all the way through our last day in 8th grade, my middle school classmates and I would hear those words coming from the morning announcer as we languished in home room. We would snort, roll our eyes, snap our gum and recite it silently along with her.  

"We knowwww" someone would inevitable moan, leaning back hard in their chair, pen sweeping in meaningless doodles across a notebook.

It was a joke. Nothing our adolescent minds could capture with any sincerity.

But, this morning, as I awoke with a tension headache already building, thinking of another week at my job filled with too much work and no help, that phrase popped into my head. 

As a child, I thought our teachers were silly and irrelevant. I thought they couldn't come up with anything better to say. But I think what they were saying is something very important, that I forget too often. We can spend a lot of time each day blaming other people for why our lives aren't going the way we want, but that won't change a thing. Life is hard and always changing and never the way we picture it. I think what our morning announcer was telling us was to take responsibility for ourselves. We don’t get to choose the world we live in, but we do get to choose the way we react to it. We choose the lens through which we will view our day, and we must make that choice every, single day.

With that command echoing in my head, I didn't linger in bed despite my anxiety about the day. Instead I got up and spent time reading my Bible and storing up peace for a long day. I rejoiced in an open seat on the T for my 45 minute ride in. I counted bursting Spring buds and red-breasted robins as I walked in the Public Gardens during my lunch hour.

My circumstances didn't change, but my perspective did.  Despite the piles of work, the lack of support and the potential to be a no good, horrible, very bad day. . .today was a great day because I decided to make it one.




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

He is Risen!

What a busy (and fun) weekend this was! Easter weekend is one of my favorites of the Spring. We get to celebrate our risen savior who died so that we may live. And this year, Easter also happened to fall just 3 days after my younger sister turned 21. There was much joy in getting to celebrate both these special moments with my dear family and friends.

On Saturday, I joined some of my family for a combo birthday/Easter brunch, and on Sunday spent the day worshiping in church and then having friends over for an Easter Feast! I roasted a chicken and whipped up mimosas while everyone pitched in and brought delicious side dishes. It was a beautiful weekend, and I'm so thankful for God's provision of everyone I spent time with this weekend. 

Oh, and I also had the opportunity to make an Easter themed cake for dessert on Sunday. My favorite!




                            


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Cleaning


I'm writing this post from my sick bed.

How's that for dramatic effect?

About 3 week ago I was struck with a nasty virus that seemed to linger forever. For 4 glorious days last week, I thought I was over the worst. Last Thursday however, I started back up with a few sniffles and moved on to bone racking chills and feeling like death warmed over yesterday. This leg seemed to be a fast albeit brutal round 2, though, and I think I'm on the mend.

To combat these stuffy nosed blues, I've been started to think about spring cleaning. Bright, spring decorations are all up at my house and I'm getting that antsy urge take stock of what's been lying around my apartment all winter long unused and unnecessary.

When I was young, I had a hard time throwing things away. I think mostly owing to the pack rat tendencies of my father and grandmother. (unless it came to stuff us kids left lying on the stairs, my dad never had much trouble chucking those things indiscriminately!), but also I was so afraid to get rid of something that I might want again someday. The older I get, however, the more I recognize that all of the things that we fill our lives with are never that important. And if the only reason I remember something exists is because I pull it out from under bed storage and dust it off every few years, I think it's safe to assume I'm not going to miss it all that much now or ever. Not to mention, there's something about the fresh spring wind that just makes me want to feel light. To open up space in my world for the promise of this new year so recently begun.  To head into the warmer days and longer nights without all the baggage of a long winter.

I have some lofty plans for what I'll organize and clean out this year, but I'm going to try to start small, lest I get a little to crazy. First order of business? A good, old fashioned, shredding party with my ever growing stacks of papers, receipts, and documents that are now old enough to make their way out of my file box. I can't wait!

Are you planning out your spring cleaning? Or will you attack it one breezy day on impulse? Or not at all?


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hello, Again


The cold and snow finally descending upon New England this January and with it came a wave of melancholy I've been struggling to drag myself out of. I've spent far too many Saturdays and Sundays lately lying on my couch, watching episodes of Friday Night Lights and feeling that moving was more energy than I had. And, truth be known, feeling pretty hopeless.

Shortly after my optimistic thoughts on the New Year here, I began to feel a sense of wanderlust, discontentment, and confusion about the future. I feel trapped in the city without a trusty car nearby. I don't like my job, I don’t know what's next, and amidst several friends moving on to bigger and better things after a stint in Boston I feel a little directionless and left behind.

The Sunday after Blizzard Nemo (come on weather people, really?) ripped through my city, this all came to a head as I stood in front of a selection of steak at Trader Joe's thinking some iron would solve my problems. Cuz' you know, maybe I was anemic, right?

I wasn't anemic, I was depressed.

I've struggled with depression before, the worst when I was jobless and feeling lost  shortly after graduating college. And just as now, spent a lot of time watching dramatic TV and dreaming of a different life. (You know, since that's really helpful)

The naming of these feeling, though, has brought me hope. I am someone who believes wholly in God and the gift of salvation He has given me. And I believe He is also a God who wants to know deeply those who follow Him. So that Sunday and in these following my realization, I've asked Him for help. Through the encouragement and prayers of sweet and loving friends, He has affirmed that my life has direction and meaning. Through the unexpected request of a woman at the office to make some treats for her niece's bachelorette party He has reminded me the gifts  and dreams I have are not useless or unseen. And through spending time reading my Bible, He has reminded me that he wants my whole heart even when I feel tired and discouraged and far from His love.

" For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" Jeremiah 29: 11-14

I believe that there is  a God who lives and who longs to know me deeply and speak to me of his purpose for me. So I am choosing to seek Him with all my heart as He asks, even though I don't "feel" like it. Because He promised me He will answer and, in the desperate moments of my winter, He has.

Post edit: Mostly, I fail to talk about my faith on this blog. I've decided to change that, it's such a big part of who I am, it's a wonder I've left it out of my writing until now. It took me a long time to write this post as I wondered how to best talk about the things I believe without being confusing! If you're wondering about this sudden appearance of God in my blogging, you can always talk to me about it here: katydidwhatblog@gmail.com

Sunday, February 3, 2013

KatyInTheKitchen: Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not long ago (I can't remember quite when) I heard some rumblings around the internet world about avocado chocolate chip cookies. The avocado is used to replace the butter and oil in chocolate chip cookies, which reduces the calories and adds all the health benefits of that creamy, lovely little berry we call avocado. While at the grocery store last week, avocados were on sale and I grabbed one on a whim. After a few days of it sitting in my fruit stand, I knew I'd need to use it up, and these cookies popped into my mind. Perfect!

Admittedly, these are not quite the same as their full fat, full butter predecessors, but they have a slightly sweet, spongy, moist quality all their own that is so. addictive. And with only about 84 calories (in my version) compared to the 240 of a "regular" chocolate chip cookie, it's easy to convince myself that these are basically healthy and it's definitely fine to eat just one more.




Ingredients: 
1 cup whole wheat flour 
1 tsp baking soda 
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 bag chocolate chip minis
1/2 cup avocado (approximately one avocado) 
1/2 cup sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp vanilla extract



To make (24 cookies):

              Remove avocado from skin and place it in a deep bowl. Also, add sugar. 
              Mix on high speed until you have a smooth mixture. 
              Add egg and vanilla extract. 
             When that’s all mixed, add baking soda, flour and salt.
             Mix everything on high speed until it’s all blended properly.
             Add chocolate chips and mix with a spoon.
             Place it on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 290 degrees . (I didn't use parchment paper and just loosened them after a few minutes and it was fine. 

Recipe and nutritional info adapted from this post


These aren't much to look at, I know. Blame the whole wheat flour and baked avocado for that. Still, give 'em a try. And let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KatyInTheKitchen: Homemade potato chips

This past weekend, after a morning of laundry, cleaning, and, ok, some lazing around, I milled around my kitchen wondering what I'd have for lunch.
Based on the meager offerings in my pantry, it was going to be a turkey sandwich, but I had a craving for a little something extra. 
 I decided to make my own potato chips, since I don't usually have any around. I'd never made my own before but I figured it couldn't be all that hard. 

After glancing online for any strange little details that might be necessary, I discovered that after thinly slicing the potatoes, soaking them in cold water for a half hour so supposedly removes excess starch and allows them to crisp up better.

After that I popped them in a deep pan with some hot oil and let them fry away, and removed them to a cooling rack to drain off any excess oil.

I liked that I could add whatever seasonings I wanted to these chips. I opted for simple salt and pepper and they were a perfect compliment to a turkey, cheddar, and apple butter sandwich. 







Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fire in the Hole


"Uhh, I'm sorry to have to tell you this but there's a fire in the subway and we're going to be offloading. . .there's nothing I can do. . .you'll have to get off and walk to Kenmore for a shuttle that will make all subway stops"  

It is 8:38 AM and I've been loosely considering texting my boss to let her know I'll be late, as   we were clearly not getting to my stop before 9.  The word, "fire" gives me pause, and I silence my earphones to take it the repeated announcement.  Late to work takes on a whole new meaning.

you can sort of see the masses crowded and freezing here
 Then, just like that we jerk to halt at Blanford, and hundreds of winter clad commuters swarm out of the T, blocking traffic on Comm Ave as we cross the street. My toes are frozen before I reach the opposite sidewalk to make the trek to the Kenmore bus station. A disheartened groan escapes my numb lips as I arrived at Kenmore to find that hundreds more people racing around trying to figure out how to get downtown.  We are directed to wait for shuttle buses, but as they begin to arrive, it becomes clear I've taken up a place in the back of the line. 
Thankfully, a very confused shuttle driver pulls up right in front of my section. She's only been given direction to take people from stops farther out here to Kenmore, but as we all wildly pile onto her bus, shivering and begging for a ride to our downtown destinations, she relents. 
Bodies thick with winter padding smash into the bus until it seems we were all one. A single, undulating down coat. I'm waiting for angry shoving. shouting and general angst to overtake the crowded shuttle. Yet, in a city known for the surly indifference of it's inhabitants, this sudden, minor disaster seems to have transformed my fellow Bostonians into generous, thoughtful, kind people.

"Hey, guys, let this lady of the shuttle, she got on by accident"
"The red line's closed too, everybody!"
"Guess we're all officially late for work" (that one followed by a laugh)
"you have to have a sense of humor to live in this city!"

And amid it all, my fellow shuttlers and I begin a strange foreign dance; one we do not involve ourselves in on our cranky Green Line. We make eye contact, smile, and roll our eyes in amused frustration. We forgive elbow jabs from panicked commuters as they push aggressively through our numbers with a laugh.  We thank the harried shuttle driver and wish her well as we clamor off the bus, our toes and noses immediately frozen in the negative air. We are happy, and light, with the strange sense of camaraderie that arises out of chaos.

Despite the frenetic (almost) two hours I spent getting the 5 miles to work today, I stepped into my office feeling more invigorated and light hearted than on any normal  day. You can blame it on the cold, if you will, but I think it's because this morning I got a glimpse of a fine moment for Boston. The cheerful, patient, let-it-roll-of-your-shoulders part that reminds me we are not all bad. 

Boston, sometimes we are beautiful, too.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

KatyInTheKitchen: Rosemary Shortbread

Oh Sweet Heavens, friends. 

This holiday seasoned, I discovered what might possibly be the most delicious and unexpected treat. Like, ever.

I recently subscribed to Family Circle after realizing how fun it was to get a mag in the mail every month, and this recipe was featured as a homemade Christmas gift. I didn't give any out as a holiday present but I did make it for my tree trimming party and again for my office Christmas potluck.

It's Rosemary Shortbread, and probably going to be my new favorite savory treat to make.

The recipe is quite simple (included below) and it's been a huge hit with everyone I've served it to (besides a few picky eaters). It's flaky, soft, and buttery as expected but with barely any sugar and a healthy dose of salt and rosemary, it's heady and aromatic and oh, so, addictive.

The recipe also suggested a few different salty sweet combos such as thyme and lemons zest and Cayenne pepper and cocoa. I tried the thyme & lemon zest combo and really enjoyed it as well!



Rosemary Shortbread:
(makes 24 cookies)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. confectioners' sugar


Directions

1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, rosemary and salt. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture; blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gather dough into two balls, wrap both tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees . Remove one dough ball and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on parchment paper. Punch out cookies using a 31/2-inch tree-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer cutouts to a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat with second dough ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (Do not allow cookies to brown.) Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Family Circle recipe here

easy as pie, right? Or, dare I say. . .cookies? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Seriously

I'm feeling a bit nervous as I write this post, and it's rather strange to me.

A deep breath, and here goes.

New Years resolutions are not really my thing. You may have noticed them absent from my retrospective on the previous year, yesterday. I find that most people don't actually keep or think about their resolutions much longer than it takes to make them. I read in a magazine the other day that most people have given up their resolve by January 10th. That is less than two weeks after making those grand statements. 

Still, there is one thing that's been on my mind for awhile and the promise of a new year had caused me to commit to it, which makes me nervous.

When I started this blog, it was with the viewpoint of sharing my life with a bit of humor. My life at the time was a regular barrel of laughs what with working for the crazy Writer, and so this little place to write my thoughts morphed into mostly a place where I only share the "funny" bits of life. As time has gone on however, I often find myself thinking about serious topics. I've refrained from blogging about them, however, because honestly I think I was scared.

Scared that people would stop reading because it wasn't funny. Or scared that my words just wouldn't be eloquent enough for solemn topics. Mostly, though, I think scared because putting hard or scary or sad thoughts down is a lot harder than making light of the time there was a mouse stuck in your bathtub at one AM and you ended up drowning it because it seemed like the best idea at the time. . .

I've decided that there's no room for that fear anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'll still be writing those funny moments down. It gives me such joy! But don't be surprised to find a serious thought or two around here. Because I'm a person that's about more than making people laugh, and I want to share those parts of me, too.

And it case you wondered, KatyInTheKitchen will be around too! You wouldn't know from my posts, lately, but I've been in the kitchen quite a lot these last few months and, as luck would have it, I've got the most divine new discovery to share with you all tomorrow!

I'm not calling this a resolution, lest it fall by the wayside in the next nine days. I'll just call it opening another door for myself, and see where it goes!

Oh, and because I forgot to say yesterday. Happy New Year all! 
I pray 2013 is good to you.