Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Year's Eve

New Years, well it wasn't Rockin' at our house this year like it was last year but it was so fun.


We like to stay in and it seems house parties are the new black, everyone is either hosting or attending a soiree ringing in the new year at home.  I love the idea of an intimate and casually elegant gathering.  This year we stayed in, just the two of us, and Bailey of course.  It was festive and fabulous with a heaping does of whimsy. 


I pulled out the decorations from last year to set the mood.  The theme "Midnight Reverie" and soon our house was dripping in dark blue and gold.  Party hats tiaras, noise makers, glitter, Champagne chilling in the fridge and homemade lasagna in the oven.  Clyde pulled out a delicious bottle of wine and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner while toasting to the end of 2011.

And then, as my East coast friends were ringing in the New Year, it made it's debut, the quirky gift I gave Clyde this year for Christmas and the best twelve dollars I have ever spent;  behold the S'mores maker.


We are not big S'mores people, in fact aside from our camping trip this past summer, I can't remember the last time we actually made them.  But this past summer camping with friends up Icicle Creek Road in Leavenworth, Washington, we were schooled in roasting the perfect marshmallow by our friend Dan.  Dan has the marshmallow roasting down to a tee, he even travels with his own roasting stick.  

It really is an art form, and he has it perfected.

Our campsite. Oh I do love camping, the fresh air, the slow pace and the coffee brewing in the morning.

.....and least we forget the evening's around the campfire.

So when I came across this S'mores maker on, I could not order it quick enough.  The idea of re-creating the classic campfire cuisine right here in our living room on New Years Eve was just too good to pass up.

Oh it was good indeed, dimmed lights, New Years Eve celebrations on the Telly and our little coffee table campfire.  It could not have been better and our indoor S'mores maker roasted  beautifully.   In just a few minutes our marshmallows had a lovely, caramelized crisp crust on the outside and a soft, warm gooey goodness on the inside. 


Yum! I even think Dan would approve.

A few days later I made a thin dark chocolate bark with nuts and dried fruit which elevated this Girl Scout tradition to an over the top extravagant treat.  For now we have put the S'mores maker back in it's box.  I am sure it will make other appearance's on occasion, maybe our next dinner party or perhaps the first warm day of Spring on our patio.  

And back to 2011, it had it's challenges.  The past year  has tested so many of us almost to the point of breaking.  And it is just at that point, that we remember; we are stronger than we think we are.  We often feel so many of life's hurdles are insurmountable, we think of what lies ahead and we say I just don't know how I can get through this, but we do.  We make it through, we may be battered and bruised but we make it because sometimes there really is no other option.  And once we realize we have survived the un-survivable we recognize that we have changed.  We are often more compassionate. more tolerant to others in need, less tolerant of that which does not give back and more resolute in our convictions of what is important to us.  It is easier to edit the drama and cherish the parts that really feed our soul and nourish our future.  It is with these changes, that we are able to move forward in the direction of our one wild and precious life.

I am looking forward to 2012 and this year I wanted to make some resolutions.  I have never really made them and I struggled at the thought of defining what I really wanted for this new year.  If I am going to declare resolutions I want them to be very well thought out, attainable and custom fitted just for me, not the standards many default to but never keep. 
My list is short but they are important to me. 
I want to end 2012 with less stuff than I have right now.  I want to de-clutter, keep only that which is extremely important to me.  If your wondering yes, I am keeping the S'mores maker, it makes me happy, not so much the s'mores themselves but it's fun and I love it.
I want to buy less disposable items and the things I do buy, other than necessities, I would like them to have at least a five year life to them. 
I want to go out to lunch less and meet friends or my Sweetie for happy hour more.
I want to take more pictures, I already take a lot but I often get so caught up in the moment and then forget to capture it, so I need to work on that. 
I 'd like to lose twenty five pounds by the end of June, I may have to break up with the site Smitten Kitchen or at least take a time out.  Oh how I love that blog.  And Ina, please do not hate me just because I don't keep in touch.  We'll always have Coconut Cake and Chicken Stew with Biscuits.

I made two resolutions in November with a deadline for the end of the year.  I accomplished both of them.  I changed and upgraded my health insurance and I moved my accounts from BOA, both of which felt great.  I have hope for 2012, it has a nice ring to it doesn't it?
Have you made any resolutions?  I'd love to hear how you will improve your one wild and precious life in this new year. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas Traditions, past and present.

I miss my family and it's always harder around the holidays. I have not been home for the holidays in quite a few years. With a guaranteed layover on a flight from Washington to Maine, over a million passengers rushing to get somewhere and the possibility of inclement weather looming, we prefer to fly home in the Summer or Fall. That doesn't mean I don't get nostalgic every year around the holidays and wish we had made the trip home anyway.

I remember Christmas as a kid. We were always up bright and early to get the holiday underway. I remember the gifts extending fifteen feet from the base of the most beautiful tree. My Dad always picked the tree, and while he did not go all Clark Griswold, we always had a very beautiful full tree. And I know the gifts did not come out fifteen feet but that's just how I remember it. I remember the vintage bulbs, the bubble lights and plenty of tinsel. My parents still have all the ornaments from when I was little the hand painted angel I made, the ones I helped pick out and the ones I cupped in my tiny hands as a kid.

I remember my Grandparents always coming over early for Christmas. We always opened our stocking gifts at the table during breakfast. As the scent of homemade cinnamon rolls wafted through the air and Bing Crosby crooned from the record player in the living room, I would unwrap grape Lipsmackers lip gloss and Love's Baby Soft perfume from the same knitted snowman stocking Santa filled years earlier. After stockings and breakfast it was off to the living room for what seemed like a six hour event of passing and opening gifts. Then dinner, our traditional Christmas ham dinner was always delicious and our table went on forever with everyone passing yummy food to one another. It was perfect, we were together and that was our tradition.

I am sure all of that still goes on, maybe a little differently but pretty much the same way. While I miss all of that, knowing they are all there together makes me happy.

So now on Christmas I try to blend the "being away" from home with the "traditions" of home and we have ended up making our own traditions right here in Washington.

Like Gingerbread Lobsters.

I call home every year and get passed around wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas" and a "I wish I could be there too." Then Clyde and I start in on our traditions here in Washington. We sleep in a little late, but still open our stocking gifts with breakfast. I still have the same stocking from when I was a kid and while it has not seen any Love's Baby Soft, it does seem to include some version of lip gloss every year. Bailey always has a few gifts to open from Santa and Clyde and I always exchange gifts. We have the same Christmas breakfast, cinnamon rolls and coffee, orange and grapefruit salad, and tomato and basil quiche. Disclaimer, this year my cinnamon rolls were awful, they did not rise or bake right and so in my lemons to limoncello way, I toasted an english muffin, slathered on some irish butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. I have to admit not exactly like cinnamon rolls but a pretty good stand in just the same.

Our stockings, my vintage early 1970's handmade stocking on the right and my Aunt was so lovely to knit one for Clyde a few years ago to match, on the left.

Gifts wrapped under the tree.

Someone was excited to open his gifts.

He loves to open gifts.

After our Christmas at home we traveled to our dear friends, Diane and Bela's for Christmas dinner.

Let me just apologize right now that I did not take more photographs as Diane prepared a meal worthy of a four page spread in Bon Appetite magazine. The main course was roast pork tenderloin with, fennel pollen, and it was divine. She even showed me the tiny jar she collected the pollen in, from the fennel growing in her garden. It was all so good, dear friends, wonderful dinner, great wine and festive merriment.

The table was beautiful.

Even the wooden art dolls were in a festive mood with their own tree to decorate.

It was a wonderful Christmas blended with traditions old and new and I am thankful for all of it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...