the gregarious homebody

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Walk to Beautiful

I don't realize enough how lucky I am to be born in this country, as a woman.  Our health care may be...difficult to deal with in a lot of ways but at least I--and my daughter--will never have to worry about {this}.

I think one of the first things I will do when I'm gainfully employed is to make a donation to {this foundation}.  No one should have to live a life like these poor girls have have had to.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pret-ty Pleased with Myself (Another Before-and-After)

 This break has found me finishing some projects.  *SHOCKER*  
And I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Before (duh):  nice lines, disgusting-colored wood.  Awesome (?) hardware under all that tarnish?
After: My go-to white, Behr Linen White semi-gloss, nice and shiny brass hardware (thanks to this ), glass top (which came with it!!!).  BTW, does anyone know a good way to not have wires show??? TOTAL price: $54 because I had the paint and Brasso!  Woo-hoo!
Next purchase: a chest of drawers or some kind of buffet to store office supplies. 
 Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gifts on a Stick

I'm probably the last one to blog about these.  I know...I made them last year too.  But they're just so friggin cute and delicious to boot.  I think these make a nice gift all winter long (hostess, Valentine, whatever).

The recipe is here from King Arthur.  I made another recipe last year that had cocoa and they just weren't as good.  Nothing beats realchocolate and heavy cream.  Just make sure you don't cut your tongue on the sweetened condensed milk can.  

I have no personal experience with this, I've just *heard* it can happen.

Anyway, here's the step by delicious step:

Okay, not exactly step by step, but melting chocolate isn't very interesting.  So, I simmered the heavy cream and condensed milk and then dumped the chocolates in and melted them. Then I poured the whole mess into a *foil-lined pan.  *Note: HH thought I was a genius even though I told him this wasn't my trick.  To line a pan with foil, turn the pan over and then smooth the foil on, folding corners like a present.  Then flip pan right side up and the foil slides right in.
 So the recipe says to let it sit overnight but who has time for that? Let it set up a bit (why? I don't know) at room temp and then throw it into the fridge until it's solid.  Then, cut into 36 squares.

While those bad boys are setting up, you're going to make your own marshmallows.  YES.  You ARE.  Because it's easy and because the crap in the supermarket is only good for camping trips after you've tasted these!  Follow this recipe but don't line the pan with parchment and do NOT sprinkle the pan with a mixture of cornstarch and powdered sugar, even if you've heard this is the right thing to do.  Because corn starch is gross and makes a squeaky sound akin to Styrofoam and I hate that.  Just spray the pan with nonstick spray, sift some powdered sugar over the top of the goo once you've poured it in, and  when they're ready, dump them out onto more powdered sugar.  Cutting them is a pain in the butt--I've tried scissors with success but think I'm going to try my mondo pizza cutter next time.  Because there will be a next time.
Now get ready for sticking!  You've already bought some sticks from here, right?  Next time I'm going to put them on a candy cane, I think.  Yeah.  Anyway, line everything up and have at it.  After I was done putting everything together on a big piece of parchment, I cut it into squares around the chocolate so they wouldn't stick to the plastic wrap I was wrapping them with.  LEARN FROM ME:This was stupid Spend about 3 minutes cutting out about a million 2-inch squares and then plop the finished stick onto the squares instead of cutting around them like an idiot.  I'm here to make the mistakes so you don't have to.  I'm a giver.
See? Like this.  I got smart(er) with the second batch.  Then wrap them up in nice cellophane or not-as-nice saran wrap because damn-it, that's what you have lying around, and tie with a ribbon.  I put 4-6 each in coffee bags with windows I got from here last year.  I'm almost out of them and I love them. Then give to your friends and they can make this:
Or they can just be like my barbarians children and eat the whole thing right off the stick. Whatever.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Jewish Christmas

I have always loved Christmas.  When I was a kid I celebrated it the way a lot of people do--not religiously but in a steeped-in-tradition way.  When I converted to Judaism, I only celebrated it with my parents, not in my own home. I cried for about 3 years in a row, driving home to my apartment I shared with HH that did not have a Christmas tree.  It was a huge transition for me and really, the only real one when I converted, this not celebrating Christmas in my own home. But I felt it was right one.  If I was going to embrace Judaism I was going to have to give up those old traditions and make my own new Jewish ones.
Chinese, Japanese, whatever.  It's not a baked ham.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Fast forward to now: I still love Christmas.  I love the tiny (and not so tiny) lights on the trees.  I love the giving.  I love the food.  And we have our own traditions. We always see a movie.    In the past we've gone to the movies with our non-Jewish friends who also see a movie every Christmas eve.  We often have Chinese food (like every other American Jew in the world)
No teenagers were forced into having their picture taken here. This time.
Most of all what I love about Christmas is being together with my kids and HH in our undecorated Jewish house.  The best part is the being together with my little family part.  The kids literally have NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.  
This man would trade all this togetherness for more sushi.
Who needs caroling when you can eat chocolate mochi and play Boggle?
 It's a forced togetherness but I'll take what I can get.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Before and After

I'm totally copying {Design*Sponge} because I'm so proud that I got something done around the house.
BEFORE (duh)


Credenza from {here}, painted with Martha paint in {Cornbread}, then distressed with sandpaper and finished with {Butcher's Wax}.  Total cost: $65.97.  Woo-hoo!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Love My Girlfriends

L'Chaim!  Or however people on the Mayflower toasted Hanukkah.

Every time I have a party we have a million people and I love love love it.  The only thing I don't like is that it leaves me wanting more--more time to talk, more time to laugh with my girlfriends.  More time.

Her ankle injury was sustained before drinking.  I have no explanation for the glasses.


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