Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm back!

Hello world! Did you miss me? I'm back to blogging after a many-year hiatus. Only now I'm in a bigger and better space, talking about all kinds of new and exciting things -- primarily my upcoming move to and renovation of a 1916 yellow farmhouse called Meyer Grove. But I'll leave the forum open to pretty much anything and everything. As the politicians that I report on for my day job like to say: "Everything is on the table." Get excited, people. It's going to be a wild ride.

If anyone is still subscribing to this feed, head on over to my new site. See you there!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Christmas Eve Eve!

As my (second) favorite New Yorker likes to say: It's Christmas Eve Eve! So here's a little Yuletide cheer from me to you. Hope your holidays are merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

(Christmas) tree hugger

Last week, just after Thanksgiving, I was having a crisis of sorts. I'm not going home to my parent's house for Christmas until late on Christmas Eve. So unless I have my own Christmas tree, there's going to be very little time for Christmas cheer in my life this year. But getting my own Christmas tree presents a dilemma in and of itself. Growing up, we always had fresh trees -- fresh as in we went out to the woods on our land and tromped around until we found the perfect tree, chopped it down and trudged back home, tree in tow. Obviously it would be a smidge difficult for me to find some landowner in the District who wouldn't mind my trespassing on his property looking for the perfect cedar tree –- much less my procuring the saw to sever said tree. And I'm just not mentally prepared to pay for a tree that someone else got to go tromp about in the woods to chop down (OK, I realize the trees at your average tree stand are probably not natural growths that some hunter stumbled upon during his walk through the wilderness, but instead products of massive tree-farming operations –- just another reason not to buy a fresh tree). But I'm also really not into fake trees. Ugh. Plastic. Consumerism. Ugly. A dilemma, you see.

So after much debating and consultation with friends and family, I decided to divert from the mainstream and go with a potted Christmas tree. This way, even though I'd have to buy it, I could keep it afterward –- or plant it in a certain West Virginian's new backyard. So I tromped the two blocks to the hardware store, carefully scrutinized the three potential potted Christmas trees and settled on a lovely, slightly wonky Norfolk pine. Even my arms were spared their typical Christmas scarring (have you ever tried to carry a cedar tree while trudging through the woods?) because my special neighborly friend, Daniel, carried it all the way back for me.

My sparse collection of ornaments (that I used to hang on kitchen cabinet knobs) covered the tree perfectly. Add a few lights, and voila! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Word on the street is that even a certain Long Island mom/secret hippie is a fan of my socially responsible decor.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone Stateside. It's been a good holiday here in Mississippi, where I'm eating my turkey. My sister asked us all what we were thankful for, primarily so she could gloat and say she's thankful for Nick Saban (she's an Alabama fan; the rest of us root for Ole Miss). But her question got me thinking. I'm obviously thankful for all the *important* things -- life, free country, family, friends, health, etc. -- but I'm also thankful for so many little things as well. Little things that I appreciate on a daily basis but rarely stop to think about, like sunny days, live music, and Converse. But instead of rambling on with hackneyed tryptophan-induced musings, I will leave you with just one superficial thing I'm thankful for: pecan beer (and a brother willing to import it for me from Louisiana). Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Guest blogging

I've got a guest post up at my good friend Amanda's humorous public transportation-stories blog. Check it out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

First you start with a roux

I'm big on second chances. I gave DC a second chance and fell in love with it. I've given countless people second chances. So I figured I should probably give delicata a second chance too. It was a wise decision.

All week long, I've been salivating over this recipe, drawn primarily to the cashew cream. I considered using a different squash like a butternut, but after hearing a friend's horror story of trying to peel those bad boys, I decided to stick with the delicata. Being the overachieving perfectionist that I am, I decided to forego store-bought broth and make my own. And because I'm scared of dead chickens, veggie broth became the de facto winner. I threw in all the typical broth ingredients: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, peppercorns, oil, salt, etc. But I wanted to add some additional flavors, so I chopped up a pepper and -- on a whim -- plucked a few leaves off the ornamental cabbage I've been trying to keep alive in my living room. (I checked first -- it's edible.)

After an hour-ish of broth-making, my stomach told me it was time to get the show on the road, so I strained my veggies and rigged up a sweet apparatus (potholders covered with plastic bags) to squeeze out the additional juice. My hands are only slightly worse for the wear. My dinner guest decided the shenanigans needed to be documented -- but I think she just wanted to play with my new toy.

Finally the broth was ready. The delicata had been roasting all the while, and it was time to get down to business. The cashew cream was really interesting. My guest and I were completely intrigued by the process. And it added an excellent flavor, texture and pallor to the otherwise disgusting-looking soup.

My drizzling skills leave something to be desired, but I managed to make one of the bowls look halfway decent, and the soup was delish!

So I didn't actually start with a roux -- there was no flour involved -- but I figured it was an appropriate enough title. Plus, I've had Louisiana on the brain recently. I blame it on this muggy, dreary weather.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Where's my banjo player?

Last night I needed to make cookies for several reasons -- the primary one being that I wanted to eat some. And it was my first free evening at home in about two weeks, so naturally I needed something to do to fill my time. I couldn't just sit around and watch TV and knit like a normal person. Not me. So I decided to make some snickerdoodles. And not just any snickerdoodles; they had to be Ms. Jennifer's special snickerdoodles.

Growing up, my brother, sister and I had a pretty awesome lineup of regular babysitters. My hometown is a college town, and that school was my parents' alma mater, so they frequently attended football and basketball games, and we kids got to hang out with our awesome babysitters.

First, there was Ms. Frazier. She made these amazing mini-pancake things. Plus, she lived in an old house, which was cool. Then there was Miss Genia, who quite possibly -- along with my grandmother -- inspired my love of crafting. Every Saturday while my parents were tailgating and watching football, Miss Genia helped us undertake dozens of messy crafty endeavors -- I think much to my mother's chagrin because we never cleaned up. There was also Miss Kathryn, whose artwork hangs in my kitchen to this day. But the babysitter of note in this post was Ms. Jennifer because she introduced us to snickerdoodles. (I should probably also note that looking back on it, she was just a generally cool person: gymnastics coach, Spanish teacher, granddaughter of a governor, and I'm pretty sure she also dated the mandolin/banjo player in a local band for a while, which totally ups her street cred in grown-up Katie's book.)

But that's all a very long aside to the true purpose of this post: the cookies.

Making these cookies is fun because in doing so, I get to use two of my favorite kitchen tools:

1. my sifter. I love sifting. I could literally sift all day. I love the machine. I love the fluffy piles of white powder (OK, that's going to put me in some interesting google searches). Seriously, I love it. I almost had a nervous breakdown a few years ago when I couldn't find a sifter anywhere. I searched and searched and finally found one at a grocery store. Go figure.

2. my Pampered Chef mini whisk thingie. This tool is awesome. My mom gave it to me, touting dozens of perks. And she was right. It's great. She also told me to never lose it and to never let anyone steal it from me. So far I've succeeded -- don't get any fresh ideas, Cole. I use it in basically everything that requires mixing. It also works well for stirring soup.

Unfortunately for all of you, my photo tutorial will have to suffice. My mom just told me it's a secret recipe!