"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Not Rocket Science

Happy New Year's Eve to you all.

I think we need a nice, simple, thrown-together-in-a-mere-moment sort of thing, this morning.  Something fresh and healthy, perhaps.  A light little something that counteracts the overindulgence of the past few weeks...and a good way to start off the day (in the event of possible overindulgence coming this evening).

A wintry, fresh and lively sort of salad.  It's not rocket science, mind you.  It is, however, bright and refreshing.  And oh so easy to make up.  Perfect for breakfast.  Or brunch.  Even a light dessert.  Yum.

Here you go:

A Wintry Fruit Salad - makes 4 large servings

2 ripe pears, chopped in bite-size chunks
2 crisp apples, chopped as pears
1 large juicy orange, segmented
one or two handfuls dried cranberries
1/2 cup (or more, if you prefer) fresh pomegranate seeds

Dressing Ingredients
juice of 1/2 an orange
1/4 cup honey
few tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a large bowl, then add the fruit, and toss gently to combine.

Super simple, yes?  Just the way I like it.

Have a beautiful New Year's Eve!

Cheers, me dears!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Treat

It's a little overdue, a post about food, isn't it?  And, I must confess, right off the bat, that this recipe is one I'm going to direct you toward.  Because it's a goody.  Especially considering that many of you are quite likely still entertaining guests for the holidays.  However, I will warn you:  Should your guests be overstaying...do not make these for them.  Whatever you do.  They'll be inclined to stay longer.  Should your guests, though, be the sort you'd like to impress, (and dare I say fatten up a bit?), you must make these.

Cinnamon Rolls.  They look tasty, don't they?  Not even frosted yet.

So the recipe comes at you from heatherhalesdesigns.  I'm not even a huge fan, normally, of cinnamon rolls.  Or sweet pastries for that matter.  And I definitely do not dig the effort that usually accompanies a homemade batch of these babies...hours, I tell you!  (Do not even get me started on those pop-can versions, either!)  Thus, when I spotted these, I figured I ought to try out the recipe, see just how well they turned out, and see if they actually were as quick and easy as they were touted to be.  Guess what?  They were!  Under an hour these little lovelies took, and soft to boot!  I have to say, these just may have converted me to a new cinnamon roll appreciation stance.

They're actually much lighter tasting than other cinnamon rolls I've had in the past.  I'm not going to go so far as to say they're good for you...but well, what if we just leave it at they're really, really good.

So, go visit heatherhalesdesigns, for her beautifully simple, and wonderfully tasty recipe, link here.  Seriously.

I did tweak the frosting just a bit.  Because, you know, I wouldn't be me, if I didn't.  I cut the amount of frosting in half, not to say you should.  If you dig a lot of frosting, go for it.  They don't need it though.  I also added some orange zest, to lively it up.  Which is kind of perfect, given that it's the holidays and all, right?

Orange Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls - frosts about a dozen rolls (double if you like your rolls dripping with frosting!)

2 Tbs softened butter
1 Tbs cream*
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated orange zest

*You can also use milk, if you like.  I'd even recommend using the juice of a freshly squeezed orange, for more of an icing.  Delicious.*

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together, until they're nice and combined.  Frost those delicious cinnamon rolls and enjoy.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry and Bright

Happy Christmas Eve!

May your holidays be Merry and Bright!

I'll see you all in a few days, warmest wishes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Handmade Christmas - Take 3

This one is sort of a reprise.  But I'll tell you what...I can't get enough!

So, you know I've been making batches of Lavender-Tea Tree Spray, as prezzies.  Then, it came to my bumbling brain that not everyone likes lavender...(I know, how silly of them!)...so, I decided to come up with another version.

And here it is!

Refresh Orange Room Spray

1 tsp pure orange essential oil*
2 tsp vodka
4 oz distilled or sparkling water

*When using essential oils, do buy a good quality oil, preferably organic.  Considering the small amount you use in each spray bottle, a little goes a long way, and you'll have plenty for making multiple gifts.  Plus, who wants to be inhaling nasty, fake stuff?*

Combine all ingredients in a 4 oz spray bottle, shake thoroughly, and there you go!  The scent is absolutely delicious.  A beautiful, awakening, clean scent.  I will confess to feeling ever-so-slightly hungry after spraying it.  For oranges, of course.

I wouldn't recommend using this one as a linen spray, as the orange oil does have some color to it.  But spray freely, with abandon, around the room.  It'll make everyone happy!

Happy Winter Solstice!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Handmade Christmas - Take 2

I just had a mini moment today, when I realized that it's been a week since my last post.  Oops.  All I can say in defense of myself (in a thoroughly unoriginal defense), is that it's that time of year.  And you know how that goes.  S*#t is busy.

Here's a little of what I've been getting up to, of late:

Teacher Prezzies, a la Lavender-Tea Tree Spray.

One of quite a few pairs of fingerless gloves, all of which still need their ends woven in.  As do the hats, which aren't pictured.  Easy peasy pattern, available for free here, on Ravelry.  Now to finish the other two pairs I still intend on making...

And Oh.  My.  Word.  Check these delicious little numbers out:

Felted ponytail holders, tutorial available here, on Kirtsy.  I sort of had to make them, when I spotted them, and oh joy!  found some felted balls at Michael's for the bargain price of $4.99 for a bag.  They take a whopping 5 minutes a piece, to sew the balls onto a hair band.  The girl and her cuzzie will dig them.

And, because I do so enjoy a challenge that defies all reason and logic...

Why not begin knitting a little lace, not so very long before Christmas?  Hm.  Rather underestimated the time this one was going to take.  And let's not even talk about the fact that I'm beginning to go seriously squiffy-eyed from knitting with teeny tiny yarn, on teeny tiny needles, into the wee hours...  Oh well.  It is quite pretty, and fairly enjoyable to knit anyway.  Although would be a fair bit more enjoyable, had I begun just a few weeks earlier.

So, fine friends, those are just a few bits and bobs, things going down around these parts.  Here's to finishing them all up...

Preferably before Christmas...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cheap & Cheerful

A feature in which I share a good deal I happen upon...be it wine, food, or just something fun...If you have something Cheap & Cheerful you'd like to share, leave a link or suggestion in the Comments section at the end of this post!  Enjoy!

It's been a wee while since I've posted a Cheap & Cheerful, hasn't it?  It's kind of an organization thing (or lack thereof), rather than that I haven't stumbled upon any good deals.  Because I have!  Here's one:

Cocobon 2010 Red.  Purchased at Trader Joe's, for a humble $6.99.  And it's darn tasty.  I'm not going to go all notes and essences on you, because, well, I'm not that sophisticated a wine drinker.  It's simply one of those mellow, easy drinking reds that go well with food and friends.  A little fruity, without being sweet.  Nice depth, without being heavy.  What can I say?  It's cheap & cheerful, without tasting cheap.

TJ's wine notes said of Cocobon:  "will draw nice praise from an average wine drinker."  I guess that's me.  No shame in that, right?

Let's have a glass, in the name of good health.  And if one is good...two is, quite likely, even better.  After all, Mr. Twain did advise:

"Moderation in all things, including moderation."

A wise man, that one.


Monday, December 12, 2011


That nine-tenths of the law thing?  Has anyone ever known it to apply to any useful, real-life situations, that might benefit us?  Such as....oh, I don't know...I've checked this book out from the library so many times (and perhaps have contributed to a slight amount of flour inside the pages)...that it is now mine.  Ah, I didn't think so.  Oh well, Christmas is coming...

This book, that I am so loathe to release from my possession, is Rustic European Breads from your Bread Machine.  And, I kid you not, every single recipe that I've made - every single one! - has been great.  I may be nurturing a slightly ridiculous obsession with all things baked (baked savories, anyway, not as much for the sweets), but I don't care.  Bread is the staff of life, after all.  I live for the stuff.

Because I love bread so very much, and because there are no decent bakeries in a 40 mile radius from my home...and because I do tend toward the why-spend-money-on-it-when-I-can-learn-to-make-it-myself (aka - cheap, no!, self-sufficient) side, this book sings to me.  There's a recipe for every sort of bread craving you might find yourself in possession of.  And the best part?  Bread machine, baby!  Who has time to do all the kneading?  Granted, it does still take a little planning and timing, but we do have these marvelous contraptions called clocks...oh, and brains...so it's just a matter of working out when to have those delicious little numbers popping out of the oven, and cooling on a rack, awaiting their fate.  That is:  My Belly.

So, today's treat is a recipe for Milk Rolls.  And, yes, that really doesn't sound overwhelmingly exciting, I am aware.  However, let me just say this:  Light, airy, and fluffy on the inside, with a perfect, pillowy crumb.  Not to be confused with a dinner roll, mind you.  Here's why:  the crust.  While possessing the loveliest, softest insides, these rolls have just the right crust to hold stuff.  While definitely not a crusty roll, they do possess an exterior of the utmost integrity.  An admirable crust, you might say. One that is just perfect for showcasing a great filling:  sloppy joe's perhaps, a good burger, or maybe a nice slow roasted pork shoulder with some coleslaw?  Oh yes.  That's the stuff.

Whatever you choose to fill them with, be it a sloppy something or other, or a nice sharp cheese and salami, these are the kind of rolls that are best served with something delicious inside.  Enjoy!

Milk Rolls - Adapted from Rustic European Breads for your Bread Machine
- makes 10 large rolls

Ingredients - place in your bread machine in the order the manual calls for, I do my wet ingredients first, followed by salt, sugar, and yeast, then the flour
2 Tbs yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten*
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
sesame seeds, for sprinkling on top (optional)
1 egg white, for brushing (optional)

*Note*  The original recipe calls for using only 1 egg in the dough.  I must have not been paying attention last night, and used two, and the result was an even softer roll, than when I previously made them, using one egg.

Process on the dough setting, for the entire time, if using a 1 1/2 or 2 pound machine.  If using a smaller machine, remove the dough after it finishes kneading, usually about 1/2 an hour in, then allow to rise in a large, lightly greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet.  Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface, and form the dough into 10 tight, smooth, equal balls.  Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet and cover with a tent of aluminum foil, or a large garbage bag.  If using the bag, lightly flour the rolls, so the plastic doesn't stick to them.  Set aside to rise until doubled in size, roughly an hour.  Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 deg F.

Once the rolls have doubled in size, remove the foil or bag, and, if you choose to top with sesame seeds, brush them lightly with egg white, then sprinkle with the seeds.  If you don't wish to have sesame rolls, simply spritz with water before placing in the oven.

Bake on the middle rack for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack, then split and fill with your heart's desire.

These rolls will keep in a plastic bag for up to one week.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Gifts

The Girl's birthday festivities stretched over two days, from her "actual" birthday celebration with family, to the Big Present...a girls' night out, dinner and a play.  Just the two of us. Couldn't have been better.  I have to say, the Girl's got some culture, and definitely knows how to have a good time.

Plus, she looks really cute.  And was in absolute raptures about the whole evening.  Love.

At Intermission, between dainty jaunts up and down the aisle, impersonating Cinderella (the play we went to see), she says to me:  "I need to be in plays."  Say I:  "I can see that."  Says she:  "Can you get me in one?"  Say I:  "Well, offhand, I don't know of any directors, but we'll see what we can do."

I suppose I'd best be looking for a children's theatre group. 

And on the handmade gifting front, I managed to get a couple of things done:

The mittens:

A little on the large side, they're the No Swatch, No Gauge pattern, Ravelry notes available here.  But, well, kids do tend to grow, don't they?

The skirt:

Based on the Lazy Days pattern, on Oliver+S.  I adapted it a little, since I did the bottom in fabric, rather than ribbon, and added some perfect buttons, to funk things up a bit.  My Girl does like a funky ensemble.  Check out those buttons!


One of my other absolute favorites, but not handmade, were these babies:

I spotted the boots back in September, and loved them so much that I paid full price...an act I try to avoid at all costs.  They're fleece-lined too!  I'm a bit gutted that the toes are already scuffing though.  Ah, well.

Kind of a black and red thing going this year.  I like it.  As does my Girl.

I've got a recipe coming soon, have a lovely day!

Monday, December 5, 2011


My Girl turned seven today.  (Seven!)  Which, in the grand scheme of things, is still pretty small.  But in the "I'm-quite-certain-you-entered-the-world-only-just-yesterday" sort of motherly way we have when our Kiddos add another year to their lives (each and every year!)...well, it feels like it's all happening rather quickly. 

The Girl is pretty okay with how things are going though.  Stoked, even.  I mean, truly.  How great to be seven!

Amidst all the organizing, searching for and/or making the perfect gifts, wrapping, baking the cupcakes for class as well as the homemade rainbow chip cake, and whatever else goes down, it's tough not to get caught up in the rush of everything that must get done.  Now.  I have to remind myself to just breathe.  Pause for a wee minute, see things from her wide open, excited eyes, and allow myself to savor what it is to be seven.

Because seen from that angle, life is pretty amazing.

As is she.

Happy Birthday, Bells.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diggable Roots

Let me begin by giving a little nod of acknowledgement to all the men and women who cook for their families.  Particularly those who were mucking about in the kitchen before the internet made it so incredibly easy to find new and innovative recipes.  I've been thinking about this a bit lately, since the Thanksgiving meal planning and purchasing commenced.  And it occurred to me, in the midst of searching for a new and exciting ways of preparing the very traditional (and dare I say, to me, verging on boring?) turkey, stuffing, mash, cranberries...You know the drill.  So, it occurred to me that these cornerstone dishes, while perhaps not breaking new ground in the culinary realm, are about satisfying the soul, as much as the belly. 

I don't feel very rooted in tradition, myself.  I dig the idea of cultural institutions, of a heritage passed down from one generation to the next, that the descendants of those who began, ever so long ago, to feast on a particular day, in honor of a particular cause, may identify more closely with who they are, and where they come from.  But I can't say that I've ever seen myself as especially tied to a specific place, or culture.  The ease with which we are able to traverse the globe, or even to pull up information on a faraway land (or a recipe from abroad), perhaps has weakened our sense of identity, at least in regards to a food culture.

It's very easy for me to revere other cultures for their strongly rooted food traditions.  India for its overwhelming, heady spices...Italy for beautiful and straightforward cucina povera...France for its sophisticated simplicity...Thailand for intense heat and color.  You get my drift.  For better or for worse, I don't really identify with my own homeland's cuisine so much, though.

But here I sit, in all my aspiring to Laura Ingalls-ness, thinking about what it all means.  Are we better off now, where we can hop on the computer, type in a few ingredients that we have in our internationally stocked pantries, and pull up a recipe from across the world?  Or, were folks from 100, 50, or even 20 years ago, more blessed to have their own signature dish, passed down from one cook to another, generationally?

Me?  I don't have a signature dish.  In fact, much of the time I forget what I've made altogether.  (This does to make it tricky to remember if I enjoyed something or if it was a dismal failure...but on the positive side, every meal is a new one!  This wee blog does help with the sieve of a memory I possess.)

So, having just finished the day of feasting that is Turkey Day, I found myself thinking about all this.  I didn't come up with a definitive answer.  I don't really think one exists.  We live in the here and now, we have access to an astoundingly overwhelming number of recipes, and also perhaps some traditional ones from the past...let's go with it, best of both worlds, really.

I realize I'm getting somewhat long-winded here, but I haven't had this much access to the computer in weeks, so bear with me.  Just one more wee story...

Back when the Mister and I were dating, and living in Portugal, I was first introduced to the rather modest dish of roast potatoes.  So very strange that I'd never eaten these, in all my 25 years of life, up to that point.  I actually thought they were quite exotic, to be perfectly honest.  (Yep, dumb American overseas, I know.)  Anyway, the Mister took me to a dinner over at some fellow surf lovelies' flat, where they were making a traditional English roast dinner.  (Not all that different from Thanksgiving, in essence.)  These guys, while somewhat inept in the kitchen, having eaten their mums' roast dinner every Sunday for their entire lives, knew the basics of how it was done.  I can't recall which kind of meat they served (I was a vegetarian at the time), but I will never forget those potatoes.  For themselves they tossed halved or quartered potatoes in the juices released from the meat, and roasted them to perfection:  browned and crispy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside.  They even put up with my odd herbivorous self, by tossing some potatoes in olive oil, and sweetly (though perhaps rather ineffectively) dividing them from the meat with a little roll of aluminum foil.  I didn't care.  These were a revelation!

To this day, we eat roast potatoes with some regularity.  And truly, they are soul food at its finest.  Simple, quick to prep, and ever-so-satisfying when they grace the table.  So, when I stumbled upon this recipe for mustard-roasted potatoes, on smitten kitchen, I could not have been more excited.  And ready to get some going for dinner.  Except that I didn't have enough potatoes...

Never fear!  I did have the next best, or perhaps even better, thing:  a humble, but lovely bunch of root veg.  A rutabaga, a giant sweet potato, and some gorgeous blue potatoes (the last from our CSA box).  And here's my adaptation of smitten kitchen's gorgeous recipe.  If I may say so, these are some seriously diggable roots.

Mustard-Roasted Root Vegetables - adapted from smitten kitchen
- serves four as a side

Ingredients (amounts of roots are approximate)
1 large sweet potato, about a pound or so
1 small to medium rutabaga
about 1/2 a pound of blue potatoes (or any smallish variety you like)
1/4 cup grainy dijon mustard
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs melted butter
1/2 to 1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large, or 2 small, garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
1/2 tsp coarse kosher, or sea salt

Note:  The original recipe calls for spraying a baking sheet with cooking spray, which I did, but to warn you, it does make a bit of scrubbing afterward, for clean up.  You could also put foil or parchment paper atop a baking sheet, I think, for less elbow grease afterward.

Preheat oven to 425 deg F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine mustard, butter, olive oil, and well, everything but the roots, and give a whisk until thoroughly combined.

Chop the roots in approximately even-sized pieces, keeping in mind that rutabagas tend to take a wee bit longer than the others, so keep them a bit smaller.  Halve or quarter the potatoes, and roughly base the sizes of the rest of your cuts from there.

Add the root veg to the mustard sauce, and give it a toss.  Spread the veg onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving any remaining clumps of sauce in the mixing bowl.  (They will burn in the oven.)  Bake for 20 minutes, then give a toss around on the pan, and rotate pan front to back, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and crisp on the outside, and easily pierced with a fork.

We served ours up with a runny fried egg atop them, and a side of steamed broccoli.  Yum.

When asked the usual question of a meal, "Is it blog-worthy?" the kiddos and I resoundingly said Yes!  The Mister, down with a cold, couldn't taste much.  Which seems a shame.  But I do believe these will become part of my repertoire, maybe a little dish that graces our table from time to time, woven into the tapestry of our family's food culture.  I think I'll teach the Boy and the Girl to make these too.  Keep it in the family, you know.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Handmade Christmas - Lavender & Tea Tree Spray

Seeing as how I'm having a mighty struggle getting recipes on this here blog, at the moment...and seeing as how I'm immersed in making handmade Christmas prezzies...well, it naturally followed that I share a few ideas with you fine people.

So...drum roll...today we have a little special something-something.  Lavender and Tea Tree Spray.  My dear friend, Jamie, the maven of all things herbal and beautiful, first gifted a Lavender Spray to me, a few years ago.  I fell in love with the idea of this gift, and have had plans, since I received it, to learn the recipe and share the love.  So, finally, at long last, here's my wee adaptation of Jamie's recipe for room and linen spray.

Jamie's Lavender and Tea Tree Spray - makes 4 oz

4 oz distilled or purified water
1 tsp pure essential lavender oil (do use a good quality oil, it's worth it)
8-10 drops tea tree oil
2 tsp vodka

Pour each ingredient into a spray bottle, mine was about a 6 oz bottle, shake, and there you are!  Lovely to freshen a room, or spray onto your linens.  Also, this is perfect to mist about when you've got people down with a bug, both tea tree and lavender have antiseptic qualities.  Might I also add, should you suffer from a bit of uptightness from time to time...lavender is very calming.  Just saying.

Now that I've got the recipe, I just need to find some pretty bottles, and make up some labels.  I do believe how about orange would be a good place to visit for label ideas...

Happy Handmade Gifting!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two Down

I guess I've been a little absent of late.  From the blog anyway.  I am more than present in the day to day stuff of Life.  So, for the moment, computer and camera time have taken a back seat to everything else going on.  Cooking I still manage to make time for, I mean, a girl's gotta eat, right?  (Not to mention a girl's hungry Kiddos and Mister.)  I will have a recipe, or several, for you very soon.  But for now, a quickie.

Christmas is on its way!  And knitting is another activity which I am managing to squeeze into any spare moment, here and there.  Christmas prezzies...Two Down...lots more to go!

A finished pair of mittens (pattern here) for the Girl.  Which she thinks are for her cousin, because I knitted them in front of her, and they turned out way to big for the cuzzie.  A lavender hat for said cuzzie, work in progress, pattern available here, on SouleMama.  And a grown-up hat, nearly finished, just need to weave in the ends.  (That counts as one of the Two Down, people!)

And here and there, a row or two on my Genevieve pullover:

The body is complete, working on the arms now.  Good stuff.

I hope you are all blessed with a lovely Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Toast

Here's to Getting Things Done!  To Working Hard for Weeks on End, and To Finally Being Able to Sit Down, with a Nice Glass of Spiced Wine.  That's the Stuff.

The Weekend went a little something like this:

The Boy in a fundraising run...


Check out that sweet move his buddy's doing!

And back to the cabin for some snow...

Guess who took a snowball hit here?

While the Mister and I raced to (finally) finish painting and millwork...

Who works in conditions like these?  Crazy!

And by the end of the weekend, we were more than a little tired, but oh-so-proud (relieved) to have finished.  Freaking FINALLY.  

It's time for a toast.  Invite your favorite neighbors over, get out a cheap and cheerful bottle (or two) of red wine, some spices...because what's life without a little spice?...and put your feet up.

Mama Nécole's Spiced Wine - makes one 750 ml bottle (easily doubles...or more!)

1 bottle red wine, whatever you prefer (Chuck is perfectly swell, or you can be a little swankier)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 or 3 cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 Tbs allspice berries
3 or 4 strips orange peel, as much white pith removed as possible

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and set over medium low heat.  As soon as the mixture becomes hot (just a few minutes, five or so), turn the heat to low, and let steep for 15 minutes.  DO NOT let it boil, you'll lose that lovely alcohol, and then what would be the point?

Pour the spiced wine through a small sieve, as you serve each glass, then throw the spices (if you're frugal like me) back in the saucepan with the remaining wine, to continue infusing with their flavor.  You can keep the wine over low heat, as you're serving it, so long as it doesn't boil.

This recipe doubles easily, just double all the ingredient amounts, although one cinnamon stick is plenty for two bottles of wine.  Perfectly spiced, perfectly celebratory, and perfectly deserved.

Cheers, Me Dears!  Job well done!

Guess who was enjoying her spiced wine so much, she forgot to get a photo of it?

That's right.  I imagine that you know what wine looks like, though.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, November 11, 2011


I had a bit of a moment this morning, involving our cat, Vincent.  Who happens to be in my black books now.  This creature, while absolutely gorgeous and incredibly affectionate, not to mention a hell of a mouser, did something very naughty, which I discovered first thing this morning.  That something might be completely unforgivable, were he not so darn cute

Yeah, he looks all precious and innocent, doesn't he?  But check out that cheeky smirk, which I know says:  "That's for kicking me out of your room last night!"  (Cue me, shaking my fist, while muttering:  "You're bloody lucky you're so cute, cat.")

The back story:  You know I've been a little busy lately.  And you also know I need to find a wee moment of peace, often in the kitchen, in order to breeeeeeeathe...  Last night was no exception.  The Kiddos in bed, the Mister recovering from a cold, I retreated to my favorite place with a yen for something sweet. 

And the Halloween candy is now untouchable.

Another back story:  After sharing this bit with the Mister and the Kiddos, from Jimmy Kimmel, where he charges parents with the undeniably cruel, yet hilarious task of pretending to have eaten all their kids' candy... and after the four of us bust several ribs laughing hysterically... AFTER all that, the Girl looks at me, deadly serious, glowering, and warns:  "You better not touch my candy."  I have to say, I was a little frightened.  Mainly because I caught a glimpse of a face with which I'm sure to become all too familiar in  say, oh, the dreaded teenage years.  (Cue shudder of fear, and worries that karmic law will apply.)

So yes, we often sneak a piece or two of that candy after the Kiddos are asleep.  What?  Like you don't!  I'm just watching out for childhood obesity.  Dental bills.  Come on, people.  Who walked those kids around the neighborhood in the cold?  And who made those costumes, anyway?  Yeah, that's what I thought.

But alas, the first evidence of my child not trusting her parents (perhaps deservedly so) has asserted itself.  The candy now abides downstairs, in their bedrooms.  (Note:  Do I trust them not to eat it on the sly, at all hours?  Hm.)  And I had an ache in my sweet tooth, that longed to be satisfied.  (And I could hear the Kiddos chatting across their rooms, so sneaking in and snatching a piece was not an option.)

Cue this recipe, for Snickerdoodle Brownies, that appeared the other day, on a friend to knit with.  It looked simple enough, quick to prepare, and obviously, super tasty.  After a little time bustling about in the kitchen, the Mister and I sat down to sample those babies, at about 9:30, which I hear the experts say is the best time to eat sweets.  We went to bed a while later (which I also hear, is a good move, you know, lay down while you digest, right?).  Since the brownies were still warm (Leslie's right, in her post she alludes to the impossibility of waiting til they cool to consume), I covered them with a tea towel, and left them on the counter.

Cue photo of what I woke up to this morning: 

Oh, did you not get that?  Here's another:

Hm.  One...two...three...PAW PRINTS!  Seriously?!  Why, that little bastard.  (It's true, I'm not swearing.  Vincent is a bastard.  His mama was a bit of a slapper, and his paternity is in question.  It's probably the alley cat, though.)

Thank goodness I put that tea towel over them, I suppose.

And that, my friends, is the convoluted story of how Snickerdoodle Brownies came to be desired, to be made, and ultimately, to be walked on.  By my cat.

They are damn tasty though, paw prints or no.  Go make some, here.  But perhaps store them in a cupboard, out of the cat's reach.