I need a vacation.
The single mom thing has been getting to me lately. I would imagine a lot of you read my blog and think I have a perfect life, or that I’m trying to make you think I do. The truth is, I take many a photograph around here after I just shoved crumbs or unfinished homework out of the way to take a picture.
My life is messy. And most days I wonder how I’ll ever be enough. In a few years, my oldest will be leaving the house, and I wonder if he’ll ever know what stability actually feels like. I worry I’ll never get everything together . . . or not even everything! I’d be happy happy with just having a few things together! Like my laundry, for example. I think I’d like to actually get it all folded one of these days . . . that would be good.
I keep stumbling upon articles that talk about how stress makes it hard to lose weight, and then they go on to make suggestions about eliminating things that stress you out!! That’s when I break into a manic laugh. Oh right!! I’ll just cut back on my stress!! Why didn’t I think of that before!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!
Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine. Seriously. I’m fine.
So as I was saying, I need a vacation. I need the real kind with palm trees and soft white sand and towels and beach umbrellas. No cell phones. No computers. No cooking. Come to think of it, I’ve never had a vacation like that. The kind I usually take involves going to a city and walking around and eating a bunch of things that look interesting. And those are fun, too, and rare, and I love them when I can get them. A couple months ago I got to go on a little trip like that (and since I’m already talking about needing a vacation again, it must not have been quite long enough!). Remember a couple months ago I told you about those doughnuts from The Doughnut Plant ?? That was right after I got back from New York. I didn’t want to spill about the whole trip because I wanted to wait until I could show you these videos. I collaborated with Martha Stewart’s people and the Crocs shoes company to make a couple little videos about exploring New York and all the best places Martha loves. I got to try all my favorite foods and meet a bunch of fascinating people. You can see the videos here and here .
Shooting those was a lot of work, but really fun. It’s hard to explain why so many people love New York, but it’s so full of life and energy. I’m sorry I couldn’t bring you back a treat from all the great places I visited, but I thought you might like a recipe you can try for yourself. These French macarons are based on a macaron I tried from a French bakery. They had used un-blanched almond flour and then I think they only used butter as the filling. This is my version. Oh, and one more thing: don’t you think a vacation to Paris—with one whole day going from bakery to bakery to try all the different macarons—would be great?
My sister bought a little bag of Matzo Crunch at Whole Foods several years ago. These matzo crackers, which were drizzled in toffee and coated with chocolate, almost brought tears to our eyes, especially when you got a piece where the caramel spread all over the bottom of the matzo, so it was basically a toffee sandwich (see picture below). I honestly don’t know how we got the bag to last so long.
I vowed then that I would figure out how to make it myself and then post it here for Passover, but the week always comes and goes and I miss my chance. But not this time.
Where I grew up, wicked, as an intensifier (never as an adjective in and of itself), was part of every cool kid’s vocabulary. Used in a sentence pronounced with a thick Boston accent is now music to my homesick ears.
I wanted to post a quick and fun carrot cake recipe for Easter. How does throwing everything in a bowl and stirring it up sound for easy? There’s no creaming, sifting, separating or anything. I love it.
I should probably call this post “How to Make Macerated Balsamic Strawberries,” but I’m not a fan of the word macerated.
Yeah, because I’m just that mature.
I’m posting these to go with the Eton Mess I posted yesterday, but I’m a huge fan of balsamic strawberries anyway, whether I’m eating them alone, on top of a Pavlova (which is, let’s be honest, just a tidier version of Eton Mess), in a strawberry shortcake, or my favorite way: on top of vanilla ice cream.
I’m what people consider an Anglophile (don’t you hate words that end in -phile?). I love Downton Abbey . . . Ben Barnes . . . Charlie Hunnam, all recent super hero casting choices . . . I love the English countryside, and how beautiful it is to see one solitary tree on a hillside meadow dotted with white sheep. I love C.S. Lewis and fairytales. I love Bath; I love Jane Austen novels. I know that if I could start my life over again, I would spend at least a year or two in Oxford after I graduated from college, just in case some ruddy cheeked footballing graduate student wanted to fall in love with me and start a family.
This recipe is for any of you who are like me. It’s very simple, it originated at the school attended by Prince William and Lord Grantham , and it’s absolutely delicious. Or perhaps I should say brilliant.
I have been wanting to eat one of these babies for over a decade.
When I was in Elementary school, a girl in my class brought in meringues her mother had made. They were white on the outside, but when you bit into them, you found M&Ms hidden inside. My nine-year-old self could not believe how amazing they were.
I made my chocolate meringue kisses ages ago to be like those M&M meringues, but these white ones are a simpler version. They’re just about as simple as you can get, but the possibilities are endless. You can mix in candies, pipe them into different shapes, swirl in colors, or flavors . . . you can do just about anything.
I know this recipe is a little more suited to about two weeks ago, but I just could not get myself to bake this holiday season. What was that all about? I’ve had butter sitting on my counter for weeks so I could make it into something that required it to be at room temperature, and I just haven’t done anything.
Will someone please tell me now why I haven’t dropped ten pounds for demonstrating such restraint?
This is the same poundcake I showed you about four years ago, only this time I added chopped cranberries and orange zest. You can add it to your list of treats to make next December, or you can just make it as one last homage to the passing holiday. And then start your diet . . . tomorrow.
I also learned a little trick!! Every time I make this cake at high altitude, it always sinks. But a couple weeks ago, I thought I’d change the kind of flour I used, just to see if there would be a difference. I tried making it with bread flour, thinking the extra gluten would help give the cake the structure it was lacking, and guess what! It worked!!
I’m sure you’ve been just as busy as I have been, but here’s just a quick something-or-other to add to your Christmas cookie boxes. They’re like eating pure evil.
Back in mid October, I bought a huge box of these gorgeous Empire apples:
The folks at Allred Orchards assured me they would be best if I ate them quickly, or at least refrigerated them. Of course I didn’t, since that would have meant cleaning out my fridge, which I don’t ever do if I can possibly help it. Anyway, they ended up looking sad and wrinkly.
Well, maybe not sad. They’re still a pretty color. But they are definitely wrinkly.
So I turned them into applesauce.