Friday, December 30, 2011

Is This Fudge Still Good?

Today and yesterday have been purging days. What are we purging? We are purging Christmas from the house. It has been a bittersweet process, since it is always sad to see the sparkly and shine go down, but since this year just did not feel like Christmas to me, it wasn't too bad. And it was nice to be able to see the living room again, now that the seven trees are down (yeah, you read that right, we had 7 Christmas trees).

And in the midst of taking down my tree and packing up my decorations, I also started throwing out the Christmas goodies that have been picked over and left to go stale. We got a good haul, everything from fudge to some kind of relish to sugar cookies to a box of fancy nuts. A good portion of the stuff eaten (and thrown away) was stuff I made, since December seems to signal to my inner baker that it's time to have fun. So I did. Ho boy, did I have a billion calories worth of fun.

First up were chocolate cake batter cookies, my first attempt and it was a glorious success. Fabulous. I added in Andes mint chocolate chips to make them festive, and those cookies were polished off in no time. I didn't even have to take any to work, I was so impressed.

Next up were molasses cookies. Easy peasy, no odd instructions or anything. About halfway through sifting together the dry ingredients, I realized something . . . We didn't have molasses. *Facepalm* I KNOW I bought molasses, at least within the past couple years, and honestly, how many recipes call for molasses? But not a drop was to be found anywhere, so I substituted what Google told me to substitute. And bought molasses on my next trip to the grocery store.

On that same trip to the store, I remembered that I had several recipes that called for chocolate chips, and recently had noticed that we were out of chocolate chips (that was a bad day). Normally I always have a stash of two bags of chocolate chips in one fridge or the other, so being out was incredibly disturbing to me. So I bought four bags to compensate.

Upon arriving home, I put groceries away, and when I opened the drawer in the fridge to toss in the chocolate chips, I burst out laughing. Apparently on my trips to the store that I had taken in the week or two before that, I had remembered to buy chocolate chips then as well. With my new addition of chocolate chips, I had a total of nine bags of chocolate chips in my fridge, 6 Hershey's, 2 Nestle, and one Andes mint. Suffice it to say, we are set on chocolate chips.

Upon acquiring my precious chocolate chips, I also added to my cart that day rice Chex and powdered sugar. Oh yes, my friends. Muddy Buddies. The reason Chex cereal is still in business, in my opinion. Sure, Chex Mix is good, but Muddy Buddies . . . heaven. I made three batches this year, and probably consumed at least one full batch all on my own. I love those things. And my shirt loved them too, because by the time I was done, my nice black shirt had powdered sugar streaked and puffed all over it, with a really nice chocolate peanut butter smudge all over my stomach. I need to stop leaning over the bowl.

With the list of clothing I dirtied up while baking, we can also add another shirt generously sprinkled with oatmeal bits from making No-Bake cookies. And a pair of pants dripped with batter from maple bars (too dry, couldn't figure out why). And I got the toe of one of my white tennies when I dropped a little chunk of warm, gooey, and green colored Rice Krispie treat mix on them.

Like I said, I went a little bonkers. I think the most popular were the Muddy Buddies (duh, I mean really) and the chocolate mint cake batter cookies. For some reason, the maple bars didn't get touched except by me, and the green Rice Krispies ended up in the garbage because they dried out too fast. It was a shame, really. But all in all, I made a whole lot of delumptious holiday treats, and I've got the chocolate still under my fingernails to prove it. And the powdered sugar all over the counter. And the Pam spray on the floor. And the flour in my hair. And the chocolate chips under the edge of the cupboards on the floor.

Now it's New Years, and despite still being in an insane sugar coma from all the treat-bingeing I've been doing over Christmas, I can't wait to tackle the traditional New Years food. Little smokies in their special sauce. A cheese ball with crackers. Shrimp cocktails in that sharp red sauce. The classic vegetable tray. Who knows what else! All I know is my holidays are planned around food, and in a whole lot of ways, dishes and mess notwithstanding, that often makes it feel the most festive of anything.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Things I Do That Pete Finds Annoying/Endearing

All of us have those traits, those absolutely idiotic quirks or habits that drive our near and dear completely insane. And here is a list of mine that annoy Pete, although thankfully he can usually find something endearing about the situation to make him not want to kill me.

#1 - Shoes. I am a shoe girl. I love shoes, I think they are fabulous and wonderful and no matter how fat I get, my shoes still fit. Same thing with purses and jewelry. I still fit the earrings that I wore in junior high! Anyway, yeah. I have easily 30 pairs of shoes, scattered all over in our closet and on the floor in front of the closet. Basically anywhere near the closet is a shoe deathtrap. However, I think Pete kinda likes the little squeal I make when I see a new pair of shoes I must have. Until he realizes he has to pay for them.

#2 - My side vs. His side. Of the bed, that is. See, when he's on the road, I can think of no valid reason that I can't just shove all the crap on the bed over on his side at the end of the night when my eyes fuzz over so bad I can't see. That is, until he comes home. And has a mountain-sized mound of crap all over his side of the bed. But don't worry, he gets even. Because he just shoves it all back over on my side.

#3 - Hobbies. I have . . . a lot of hobbies. I do crafts like crazy, including everything from sewing to coloring. Yes, coloring. With princess coloring books and colored pencils. And these hobbies of mine take up a LOT of space. I could fill a room with all of the crafting/hobby crap I have. I have a guitar, a box of items to be used when I someday have the vineyard kitchen I want, boxes of movie ticket stubs and Sammy's old nursery drawings she brought home from church, scads of scrapbooking stuff. It is truly insane. And yet . . . I honestly use all of it. I don't think Pete has found a good side to this yet.

#4 - Freak out at electronics. This happens a lot. I do something to my computer or phone that I didn't want to do, and I immediately throw a whiny tantrum that potentially escalates to sulking, stressing, and even the silent treatment. It doesn't annoy him to have to fix it, usually. It bugs him when I throw a fit at the problem. But then he gets to call me a dork.

#5 - Making him render an opinion. "What color should I do?" "Which shoes look better with this?" "How should I do my hair?" "Does that match?" "What should I make for dinner?" His answer? "I don't know." "I don't care." Do I let him get away with that? Psh. Nope. I bug and nag and pester and annoy until he heaves an annoyed sigh and I get an answer. Drives him nuts!

#6 - When I randomly wander off at the grocery store. We're walking down an aisle, I see something shiny, or cheap, or tasty, or whatever, and without a word I just suddenly start veering off in a different direction to beeline at what I just saw. And right after I disappear, Pete realizes I'm gone and has to go find me. It happens ALL THE TIME. He's taken to standing behind me while I push the cart with an arm on either side of me and holding on to the cart as well. People probably think he's being really cute with me. Nope. He's keeping me from wandering off. I'm like a psycho bunny.

Now . . . there are also a few things about me that he finds endearing. I'm putting these mostly because I can't think of any more things I do that consistently annoy him (and he's denying 3 out of 6 of the above things). I would ask him, but he's half asleep. And I would be fulfilling #5 if I woke him up and asked him.

#1 - I ask questions about video games. I've discussed before my absolute lack of ability when it comes to video and computer games. I have not improved. But for some reason it really tickles his fancy when I ask questions about something he is an expert at. It's the same with Star Wars and Star Trek. Now, I'm a total Star Wars Fangirl, but Pete is a bit more knowledgeable about the stuff that happened before, after, and in between the movies. And he's kinda a Trekkie too. And I think he really digs being the source of knowledge for me.

#2 - I am a klutz. No, really. I can list 3 spectacular face plants right off the top of my head, and I can even tell you which shoes were at fault each time. And two of those were in public! I also injure myself on a fairly regular basis, especially when in proximity to the stove. I have a wicked awesome steam burn scar on my wrist from one of those escapades. But rather than finding me a hazard, Pete just finds it slightly adorable at how accident prone I am. Especially since that means he often gets to roll his eyes at my shoes.

#3 - I talk to myself and lip-sync with my headphones in. I think the rockstar lip-syncing makes him laugh the most. Oftentimes when I make dinner I do so with my MP3 player blasted and wearing my noise-cancelling SkullCandy headphones, and I can't resist that. So I lip-sync along quite enthusiastically, and apparently that is a really funny thing to walk in on. And yeah, I talk to myself. More often than not calling myself an idiot for doing a stupid. He likes to listen to me argue with myself.

#4 - My giggle. Apparently I have a signature giggle. The kind that even when I text *giggling* on my phone, Pete says he can hear it. I know I giggle all the time, I have structured my life so that I have plenty of opportunity for kicks and giggles at every opportunity, and I guess it has paid off. Because I have a Pete-approved giggle, and he gets a dorky little smile on his face every time he hears it.

Next time I think I'm going to have to make a list of the things Pete does that I find annoying/endearing . . . this could be so fun . . .