Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs and Unhealthy Obsessions

I've mentioned before that I have a certain penchant for the less-than-gourmet inventory of a Chinese buffet.  I can't help it- load me up with a variety of dishes coated with several different thick, sweet, and savory sauces and I'm a happy girl.

I can't be trusted in the face of sesame chicken, orange chicken, General Tso's chicken, whatever chicken, or any of those fried tasty bites (I'm looking at you Crab Rangoon...)  with an *ahem* generous serving of sweet-and-sour sauce.
Seriously.  I have problems and I know it.  :-)

The other day I was craving something in that vein when I came across this recipe for Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs.  I already had all of the ingredients on hand (always a plus) and they seemed like the perfect topping for the fairly ridiculous amount of basmati rice I'd made the night before.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lemon Bars and Fellowship Halls

Do you know what I miss about the churches in which I grew up?
The fellowship hall after our service.

I grew up in two churches- first Methodist, then Baptist, then back to Methodist.
Both churches were super down with cookies and coffee after service and fairly regular post-church Sunday potlucks.
I really, really miss that.

It's something I struggle with as an introvert who constantly forces herself to fight against social anxieties.
Having a close-knit church family was something I took for granted.  I was surrounded by the most wonderful group of people, a surrogate family who loved me and stood beside me as I grew up.

An earthquake deemed it unusable in 2003.  It was torn down, the property sold- all of that history replaced by new development.
But the people?
My church family?
When I got divorced they emailed me.
When I was a single parent struggling I was supported.
I still get birthday and Christmas cards after all of these years away- and so do my children, despite never have even lived near those wonderful people.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Corn Chowder and Shocking Discoveries

My husband dropped a bombshell on me a few days ago- a big one.
Something truly shocking.

After over nine years together he decided to tell me something major he'd never shared before...
corn chowder is one of his favorite things in the world.

Can you believe it?
Nine years!  It's like I don't even know the man.

Seriously though, I have cooked more meals than I can possibly begin to tally over that time and not once has he thought to tell me how much he'd enjoy it if I'd just make some simple corn chowder.

You know I had to right that wrong immediately.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quick Breads and Easy Gifts

I've baked a lot of bread in my life.
Loads of it.

It started in middle school and the trend has continued well into adulthood.
While I have made many types of bread over the years, I honestly don't make many quick breads.
The entire concept of working with yeast- that living, consuming, gas-producing, stuff- is just fun for me.

The one time of year I tend to get really into quick breads is over the holiday season.
Quick breads differ from yeast breads in that they typically use baking soda or baking powder as a leavening agent (the ingredient that causes them to rise) rather than yeast.  They can be sweet or savory (think cornbread or biscuits) but over the holidays I like to go a little nuts with the sweet varieties.  Not only are they delicious, but they're kind of perfect for giving as gifts.  Last year I found a great deal on a set of 50 mini loaf pans and baked mini loaves of that amazing, moist Eggnog Quick Bread I wrote about a few years ago.

It's seriously delicious, you should definitely try it.  Trust me.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year and Trying New Things

Happy New Year!

We had our fun early last night with rounds of Beanboozled and lots of laughter on a chilly evening.  My daughter's friend spent the night, and in true pre-teen fashion they huddled away together upstairs, laughter spilling from her room for hours.  My younger one stayed downstairs with us, an uncontainable ball of energy zooming around the house as he anticipated the coming of the new year.  Though I'd already made an early dinner, as the night wore on I decided to order a pizza for the kids and as it arrived we'd just bundled up and headed outside so they could (briefly) frolic in a short-lived flurry of snow.
The young pizza guy took in the joyful, frenetic scene and just laughed as I met him at his car.

It's about the little moments, though, right?