This ‘n’ That

I’ve been a demon for cleaning lately.  My goal is to actually have a working dining room sometime this year, and so I’ve been wading in and sorting, trashing and generally moving stuff out of my dining room which is still filled with computer stuff and packing boxes from the move nearly seven years ago.  I can’t work in there without saying “OMG, I forgot I had this!” or “So that’s where this has been.” at least once each session.  It’s a satisfying, frustrating, and really dusty experience.

This was what my dining room looked like at my old place.  When I moved, I sold all the furniture except for a beautiful corner cabinet where I now keep all the hand-painted china.  I loved the color I chose, but for this place I want something in a deep red-violet.  I keep finding colors I think are right, and then changing my mind.  Glinda just rolls her eyes every time I pick up a paint chip and say, “Definitely this one.”

I think a lot about what I’d like the room too look like, and honestly, I don’t even have a table yet.  But I have chairs.  I have a bunch of mis-matched chairs that I plan to refurbish.  Some I’ll paint, some will just get new seats, some are fine the way they are.   I keep a Pinterest board called “Eat, Drink, Talk, Laugh” with a lot of beautiful photos of rooms and tablescapes.  I hope I manage to pull something together before I’m too old to enjoy it.

In other, similar news, I did a new riff on the Breakfast Cookie.  I was going to bake up a batch of Nikolajs, but realized I was missing a bunch of stuff, so I improvised.  I cut the recipe down to a half batch and still ended up with three dozen cookies.  They’re triple chocolate-oatmeal-peanut butter and they’re really good.

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 T vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 C cocoa
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 T cocoa nibs
A splash of almond extract
Bake @ 350 for 13-15 minutes.

What I would do differently next time:  One of the reasons why I didn’t make the Nikolajs was because I didn’t have almond butter.  And while these are super tasty, the peanut butter is way more assertive in this than I would like which was something I was afraid would happen.  It’s why I didn’t add any spices or dried fruit or chopped nuts.  I figured that the chocolate and PB would overpower everything else, or turn this into a crazy cookie with so many competing flavors that none of them come off well.

Next time I’m going to have almond butter, or just use all dairy butter instead.  When I do, I’ll probably add dried cherries and coconut and more almond extract.  And that’s why I love this recipe, it’s so flexible and allows for so much customization.

While I’m on the subject of home and food and other things that make life good, I’m going to put in a plug for saving the Monarch butterfly.  They may end up on the endangered list soon.  Pesticides, loss of habitat… you name it, we’ve done it to these icons of summer.  But you can help.  Plant milkweed.  Seriously, plant milkweed plants in your garden.  You can get heirloom milkweed seeds at Baker Creek.  For more information go to the Xerces Society website and check out their information on Monarch butterflies and milkweed.  They also have a lot of information about helping to save the honeybee.

And finally, a couple of kitty pics to close.  Just because.


It’s winter; we’re all hibernating.

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