Monday, December 29, 2014

Xmas in the City, Santa Run

Dec 2014

Christmas Cat!

We did a trip to the city with the neighbors and it happened to be in late December.  We actually went to see the Cartoon Art Museum - totally recommend a visit.  It only takes an hour or two and we got to see a couple different types of art and the gift store has all sorts of great gifts for you or others.  But we also got to see all the decorations
The Christmas tree in Union Square

All the Macy's windows have wreaths

Ginormous tree inside Nordstom's 

Cute cat interlude-he put himself in there.

Also in December a couple of us from game night went to the sing-a-long for The Messiah.  This was a ton of fun and challenging.  If you don't know what you are doing (me)  you can get away with singing not too loud and it is totally fine.

I will try to make sure we do this if not every year at least every other year.

Cat helping trim the tree interlude.

Also in December was the Santa Run!  A 5K in the same spirit as the Turkey Trot but with way fewer people.
And yet I wore the same doofy hamburger hat.

Some people made their own festive outfits.

But it seemed like everyone was wearing the Santa suit you could have ordered.

Really everyone.

EVERYONE (except us).  It was a kind of warm day and a bunch of folks actually trashed them part way along the race-really people?  take those with you and use them again!!!

Cute cat interlude
Hey, where did my toy go?

Here in Northern California we are grateful for the rain that will hopefully help pull us out of a drought.  But it made these little plants sprout from my welcome mat... 

Mr. Lion showing off his new Christmas sweater.

Start and end with the best-Spock, the most cute!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gingerbread houses and Xmas cookies

Dec 2014
The best cookie

Here are our gingerbread parts
So Katie says, lets make gingerbread houses from scratch!  I have never done it before, so I had to get complicated and try 3 different recipes.  The amount of flour is so variable and we ended up not even making an exact recipe.  But for the record, the best was out of Lucky Peach, using buttermilk and the key is the stickiness of the dough.  For us the amount of flour was on the very low end, so I think next year we can get through the making of the parts much faster.

I made the first one with the neighbor boys.  I frosted the parts

then made them hold up the walls while I glued it together with frosting.

They decorated-just dip the candy in frosting and stick it on.

This is Typewriters side.

This is Loggys front.  It comes with an elaborate story about how it is sad because it's girlfriend is dating a jerk (I did not make this up!).

Some trees and a gumdrop sled!

Meanwhile I made a new batch of Buhdda's Hand candy-here it is all cut up and smelling fantastic!

The second one I make with J&K.  We didn't cut out doors, but I think next year we can try after it is baked.

Note to self, dots are too heavy, marshmallows are good!

Out of the three batches of dough we got enough for 2 houses, but then extra, so we tried for trees.
The Katie and Sue tree is all about the colors!  Blue

Purple (those are pink dinosaurs on the bottom)


John opted for a traditional all green tree.

I also had to make a batch of cookies and we frosted with the extra from the houses, not my usual but oh well!
E- makes the most of the colors

fun combos

You can see we were finally running out of frosting-but they are so cute!

Happy holidays everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Turkey Trot, quince, Buddha's hand and tomatoes

November/December 2014

Last of the tomatoes and first of the citrus!  The Buddha's hand on the left is kind of out of control.  I will turn it into candied citron for the holidays.  The tiny lemons on the right are some of the first off my tree.  I planted it probably 5 years ago and it never did anything.  I figured I would rip it out this fall, so of course there were flowers this summer-no problem!  And the last of the tomatoes-not really fantastic tasting off the vine, but I don't want to waste them.

So I oiled and flavored them up and slow roasted for 6 hours!  This pic is from about halfway

Put them through the food mill and voila-great sauce.

Oh the annual Turkey Trot! 
 We wore our traditional food hats-the hamburger, the hot dog and the lobster.

The Palmer chiropractors have been a staple of this race since the beginning and the inspiration for the costume contest.

See all the vertebrae?

Tots adorbs


that we were there!

And I'm still working on the quince
Clean off the fuzz

Boil for a few hours, let the juice drain for jelly 

Love that it turns from yellow to pink.

and mash the pulp in the food mill
I mixed some with cranberries, spread it thin and baked low and slow

to make fruit leather!

Cut into neat strips, roll in parchment and you get fruit roll-ups!  This has been my best yet, I've made plain quince, added blueberries, cranberries and figs, both with and without added sugar.  This is definitely a new favorite!