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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tradition Part III

Krumkake are sweet treats that hold a special place in my heart because my grandma used to make them. I never knew how much work went into making these special scrolls. I only knew that each Christmas I could expect to find wax paper lined shoe boxes full of them in my grandma's pantry.

How she had the patience for all the futz involved with them, I'll never know. I never even gave it a thought until I inherited her iron. Now I'm drawn to make them. I feel a connection to her and our heritage when I drop the first bit of batter onto the hot cast iron griddle.

She'd probably think I'm crazy to go to all of that work to produce this pile of scrolls with nobody to share them with. She was pretty no nonsense. But I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do today than reminisce about my grandma and I hope her spirit is smiling!

Tradition Part II

At first I count ten seconds, flip, fifteen seconds, flip... wiggle the spatula under the lacy web. Transfer to white towel, wrap around metal tube, place seam side down to set. But after a few, you get into a rhythm and the krumkake speaks to you. Flip me now! I'm ready! Okay, not really, but I was definitely in the groove.

There is nothing more pleasing than a perfectly cooked krumkake, perfectly picked up, pirouetting around the metal form. For some strange reason it makes me feel a connection. I'm not sure if that comes with mastering a new thing or sharing in an experience of my ancestors.

Either way, it was a delightful way to spend my Christmas afternoon.

Tradition

I pulled out my grandma's krumkake iron to cook up a little tradition on this Christmas afternoon.

The trick to making these delicate scrolls is to accept that you will scrape the first few off the pan as a complete loss. They always burn!

Then when the batter runs over onto the burner and starts smoking, crack a window, transfer the iron (WITH A POT HOLDER!) to a fresh burner and start over. Thank goodness for temperatures near 50° today!

Twas The Night Before Christmas...

Anticipation!

Peanut is anxiously awaiting Santa!

Delightful Mushroom Gravy!

The steak was not as fabulous as Christmas' past, but the mushroom red wine gravy was absolutely devine! Delightful!

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Lonely Girl Recipe

In honor of a lonely girl weekend, I've finally update the Lonely Girl Recipe in the righthand column.

Try this chopped salad to satisfy a crunchy craving. Yummy!


MEDITERRANEAN CHOPPED SALAD

I'm delighting in this salad lately!

Dressing
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4tsp dried oregano

Salad
1C Organic Girl romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
1/2C tomato, deseeded and diced
1/2C green pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1/4 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/8C pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

1. Combined dressing ingredients. Let sit while preparing salad. I usually combine in a small container, shake, and use the following day.

2. Combine salad ingredients. Toss dressing with salad.

3. Yum!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Now Taking Tradition Suggestions

I'm anxious to be done with work with the impending Christmas holiday, but I have no idea what to do with myself all weekend!

I have long spent Christmas alone. Ever since my siblings started giving the folks grand babies, it quickly became about the kids. So having my own traditions became important to me.

Back in those early days of grand babies, I was working at a Fox television station and a small portion of my responsibilities was to schedule paid programming. One of the best gigs ever! In no way was it challenging and the paid programmers bribed me with holiday gifts like steaks. That first year I made the steaks on Christmas Eve for a small gathering of friends (back before I really cooked). It was pretty plain jane as dinners go, but the whole evening was special in a tradition-starting sort of way. The following year when the steaks arrived, I looked forward to preparing them for myself on Christmas Eve.

My tradition of visiting Pier 1 on Christmas Eve was born during this time as well. Nothing puts you in the holiday spirit more than browsing holiday housewares to jazzy holiday tunes at the Pier 1 in Onalaska, WI. Unfortunately I've found the same is not true of the Springfield store. Sometimes it actually sucks the spirit right out of me. I may still give it another try this year.

After I've settled in for the night, prepared a steak dinner, imbibed a little of the red holiday cheer, maybe catch the Letterman Christmas episode with Darlene Love, I read my Coca Cola Santa Night Before Christmas story to Peanut. He really enjoys it. Almost as much as the antlers he gets to wear!

As magical as all that seems, I keep trying to think of new holiday magicalness I can add to my Springfield Christmas experience. I'm going to need a lot more activities to get me though the long holiday weekend!

Nuts!


I feel as though I've done the work of three weeks in three days this week. I'm amazed at all I've powered through, but I feel like I have three more weeks of work left to cram into two days. And I'm not even taking time off for the holidays!

I took a little time off this morning to tend to my Peanut. Over the weekend he developed a sore paw where his curly-q nail had gotten too long. He spent a great deal of time licking it over the weekend, so I wasn't sure if it was infected or just red from the excessive licking.

At the vet, they trimmed him all up and didn't even think he would need any meds. He seems happier already! He has still been paying it too much attention, but I'm hoping he's on the road to recovery.

He's in his golden years and every little thing makes me nervous. Peanut is my main man after all and practically the only thing that keeps me from working 24/7. I'm looking forward to a holiday weekend with the Nut!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Holiday Anniversary

My folks traveled down for their annual anniversary visit. I took a day off to escort them to a welcome lunch at Joe Roger's. Springfield's favorite chili is not mine, but pleasant enough for the start of an Illinois Adventure weekend.

Friday night we ventured to Hill Prairie Winery for a murder mystery dinner theatre which was not so much theatre as we would have hoped. After being recruited to participate in the show, my dad easily took the lead as being best in show. An interesting experience to try out, though if you have 45 dollars you can't find another use for.

Saturday was Charlie Parkers day, followed by a fudge stop at the Apple Barn. In between we managed to create heaping trays of sweet rolls, game day treats, throw a few dice, and slurp up some spaghetti before I headed out to a station event and the folks ventured out on their own to the 2nd City show (good reviews there).

Sunday was the big Wisconsin sports game thingy. We met up with a couple co-workers at a local watering hole, treats in hand, to view the sports spectacular with other green team fans. Luckily they served beer to keep me occupied.

After the tragic loss, my parents humored me in my desire to see the Dana Thomas house all gussied up for the holidays with flickering luminaria lighting the path. It was a magically merry event I wouldn't want to miss! A bountiful beef roast dinner at home topped off our holiday extravaganza.

With swollen tummies, we settled into the sofa for movie night. Popcorn was popped and as we popped it into our mouths, we plunked it in front of Peanut, and piled it in strings for the birds. Already adorning the shrubbery, I feel the birds' tummies will be swollen by tomorrow.

To top off the night- a viewing of Saturday Night Live's classic Winter Wonderland. What a wonderful weekend! Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Glorious

What a glorious evening to sit out on the porch! I can still hear the drip drops settling into the earth outside my window. The old familiar rattle and hum in the distance take me right back to the tracks of Tremp City.

Peanut is exploring the soggy terrain out back while I soak up the warm glow of my Christmas lights. Evenings like this take the edge off a gloomy day like today. I'm ever so grateful to have decent December weather, but I hope to wake to a glimmer of sunlight.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Disappointment And Other Activities

I spent my weekend puttering around the house. Nothing huge, just this and that little tasks you put off. It was pretty laid back and yet I crossed a lot off the to-do list. I realized it helps if you actually make a to-do list. It really helps to have clear objectives and know what you want to accomplish. And it's so rewarding to cross those tasks off the list! I even found my life goals to-do list and realized I could cross a few more things off. Exciting!

I did so much in fact, I wondered what my dad will find to do on his upcoming visit. He is usually fixing something for me! Maybe we'll just have to have a good time at a couple shows, visit the Charlie Parkers, and he can fix me and the birds a little popcorn! I was wishing my mom was here already. I could have really gone for a few dice games this weekend. And although I've been thinking a lot about Christmas cookies, I haven't dived into that yet. My mom would be a big help there!

As I chugged on into the End of the Weekend station, my thoughts turned to work. All weekend I intended to turn on my Christmas itunes playlist and didn't get around to it. It occurred to me that I should load up my ipod and take it to work this week. So the search for the ipod began.

I searched high and low for that thing. The last clear memory I have of using it was on the plane home from Florida. For the trip I placed it and the headphones in a snack sized ziploc bag. Most of the time when not in use, I stashed that little ziploc bag in the middle zippered pouch of my purse...which was loaded with all sorts of travel things.

It was late getting to the Bloomington airport that night. I do not have a clear memory of putting it back in my purse. Did I throw it away with something? Wouldn't be the first time I'd done that. Did I pull crap out of my purse in the car and leave it in the console...which was recently ransacked by a (what I thought was a would be) burglar? September seems so long ago and hazy now.

La sigh. I am la disappointed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Was It Really That Bad?

Let me pose this question. I've been pondering this all evening.

I admitted to a little flub up. Something that was nothing really. Just something. And I was countered with "You're just having a bad week."

Wait. What? I didn't think it was that bad. Was there something else? Am I just highly disappointing at all times? Makes ya think, right?

I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I hope I'm just suffering from a positive attitude, not denial.

Either way, I'm looking forward to some weekend action and a fresh start.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Card Season

This year I got a Christmas card from the garbage collectors and a good friend! I feel so blessed!

Not that I'm one to send cards. I hate cards. Once the season is passed I will throw your card away. Don't get me wrong...I appreciate the sentiment. I just don't want to partake. Or keep it forever in a box collecting dust. Last year I did use photo cards as gift tags and that worked out pretty craftily. I can still be crafty, right?

And if you receive a card from me (or even a facebook birthday greeting for that matter), it means I really care about you or appreciate something you did. I'm not one to throw sentiment around for the sake of it. And there are cards and letters I do keep. I feel like you know when it actually is special.

So that's it. A call to arms to say what you mean and only send cards when you are moved to do so. Can we all agree?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let It Snow!

Not for real!

Okay, not a moment after I emailed this picture to the blog it actually started snowing outside. For real. Tiny little flurries fluttering through the gray sky. I hope that is all it amounts to, but the first snow is still exciting!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wrappin'

I wrapped up a little holiday cheer today. I haven't had the joy of buying a lot of Christmas presents for quite some time, but today I managed a little gift wrapping despite that!

It's amazing what a splash of gift wrap can do to brighten up the workplace! Add a dripping of icicle lights and blow in the fake snow and you have a winter wonderland on your hands.

I was shocked and appalled to hear of the snow hitting my friends and family in Wisconsin and Minnesota. I really feel for ya! That is why I hung so many snowflake ornaments as possible from the hallway ceiling. I want to really feel what it must be like for you with all that snow blowing around. It was even a little chilly in the office today. Brrr. I may have to take in a blankie to wrap up in!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Deck The Halls!

I'm officially decked.

Bit by bit over the last week I spread holiday cheer throughout my home. I draped lighted greenery across the mantel and over the doorways and windows. I primped my pre-decorated tree and wreath. It's holding up for one more year at least!

I replaced regular old pictures with my favorites holiday ornaments, draped the table with my grandma's tablecloth, and filled everything sitting around with ornaments!

Today I stopped into the antique store to make the traditional holiday sweep for a 1970/71 Lefton Christmas tree-shaped dish. Alas today was not the day to find it, but I did practically stumble over two black and white enamel trays perfectly sized for my vanity. At two dollars a piece, I was pretty happy with my antiquing treasures.

It was a practically perfect weekend including little housework, lots of lounging, a movie night with Peanut, and even a fun karaoke station event. I didn't sing Deck The Halls, but a group effort Twist and Shout at bar time was definitely a high light of the weekend. I can't wait for the next karaoke night!

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