about bliss

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

twd: chocoblock cookies

Kudos to Mary, of Popsicles and Sandy Feet, for selecting a delicious, over-the-top cookie just when I needed some tart nutty sweetness. Please visit her blog and read her baking manifesto. It rocks.

I would love to wax poetic on these cookies. I love them, and could descend into Ode territory declaring their goodness.

But. Moving day is four days away. My Mom and Grandma are coming to visit tomorrow. Strange dudes are coming to fix a leaky roof at 7:15 tomorrow morning. I'm leaving for Paris in three weeks and four days.

Life is full. And chaotic. And absolutely, life-changingly wonderful.

As are these cookies, which I filled with toasted coconut and walnuts, dried cherries and cranberries, and chocolate chips. Mmmm.



Thursday, April 22, 2010

daily bliss: making space, part two

This past week, I've been cataloguing single girl behaviors that will change when G moves in nine days from today:

* piling clothes on the bathroom chair or bedroom floor at the end of the day

* accumulating socks at the bottom of the bed, a different pair kicked off during sleep each night

* leaving the bathroom door open

* saving toilet flushes (to be green. i swear it's not gross.)

* eating ice cream directly out of the carton

* surrounding myself with pillows in bed each night

* sleeping with assorted writers. Michael Perry and the gang at the Oxford American are popular lately (clarification: i tend to slip whatever book or magazine i'm reading before i fall asleep over on the other side of the bed, under the pile of pillows).


We're making progress, slowly, though most rooms are in disarray. The CD's are expertly alphabetized and arranged. Closets are emptying and refilling in the best use of space. We've moved Cloud (the new mattress) from the green room to the other bedroom.

soon to be book-lined study

And how do you know someone really truly loves you?

When they put up with you naming inanimate objects (see, Blossom (mixer), GSexy (car), and Cloud (bed)). And, when they willingly sleep in . . . a pink room.

That, my friends, is love.

I painted the pink room last memorial day weekend, less than a week before our first date.

What a difference a year makes.

Cloud, in the pink room

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

twd: sweet cream biscuits

As I posted on facebook yesterday, some days, the desire to be a barista nearly overwhelms me.

I'm having a bit of a writerly crisis these days. The kind of writing I've been trained to do (scholarly, literary criticism) increasingly seems pointless to me. And, I feel like I'm not good at it. Or maybe I lack the desire to be good at it. Or maybe my position, primarily an introduction college writing professor at a nearly open access two year college, seems so far divorced from the theoretical suppositions this kind of writing demands that I just can't bridge the chasm.

Such days call for simple comforts.

A warm biscuit, spread with still-warm homemade jam. A mug of hot cafe au lait.

When I arrived home this afternoon, disgruntled and confused, I turned on the oven. I tossed frozen strawberries and sugar in a pan on the stovetop. I opened Baking: From My Home to Yours. I mixed together simple ingredients, cut out five biscuits (I made a half recipe), slipped them in the warm oven, all as the fruit bubbled into jam. I heated and frothed milk and brewed coffee. Within twenty-five minutes, I sat down with my new copy of Saveur (the mac and cheese on the cover is swoon-worthy, btw), and cleared my mind.

Melissa of Love at First Bite selected this recipe, which is simple and delicious. My biscuits didn't raise very high, but the flavor was delicious. I usually make Mark Bittman's yogurt biscuits--tangy and light and also much less fattening--but Dorie's biscuits are a wonderful addition to my quick bread list of favorites.

Friday, April 16, 2010

daily bliss: making space, part one

what happens when you blend 700+ CD's?

Since 1995, I have lived in eleven places. Garden level apartments, graduate student housing, my old bedroom at my parents (for six weeks. thanks again, mom and dad!), a hardwood lined 1920s duplex, and, now the upper apartment in a house with a lake view and a fantastic kitchen.

I'm used to the rituals of moving: gather boxes; sort belongings; pack boxes; give belongings away; stack boxes; reserve moving truck; recruit helpers; and start fresh in a new place. Blank walls, empty cupboards waiting to be decorated and filled and personalized.

This time, I'm not moving. Instead, I'm making space. I'm packing up belongings, donating clothes, storing furniture, and attempting to tame all this girly pinkness, because...

...to quote Monica from Friends, I'm going to live with a boy!

Yes, dear readers, G is moving in! He's packing boxes and we're loading trucks. We have a storage unit, which we visit several times a week. We're blending our belongings and re-imagining this space, and, more importantly, our lives...together.

I've never been as happy to make space.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

twd: swedish visiting cake

The only Swede who has visited my home since I made the Swedish Visiting Cake on Sunday is...me (and that's stretching it, as Swede competes with a handful of other European heritages)...and somehow, half of my eight inch cake is...gone.

It's that good. Dense yet moist. Buttery and fragrant with almonds. And, as Dorie promises, a sugared crust.

This cake's utter simplicity of preparation—one bowl, one pan—complements its pure deliciousness.

And, the best part of all is this week's host, Nancy, of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs (and Corner Loaf, a delightful and impressive bread blog). Nancy does math for the rest of us, scaling recipes down and up, providing weights instead of traditional measurements, and overall giving solid, kind, and generous advice to the baking blogoverse and twitterworld. I look forward to reading her blogs every week, and appreciate her warm comments. My mom is also a fan and reads Nancy's blog and appreciates her comment too.

Thanks, Nancy, for selecting this delicious recipe!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

daily bliss: over-the-top cake

The first crocuses have pushed their way through the warming earth.

A late snow and several rain showers have greened the grass.

Trees are on the edge of bursting, spilling their sneeze-inducing pollen everywhere.

My soul stirs, my heart expands, my mind drifts.


To celebrate Spring, I crafted an Easter cake that admittedly took the notion of cake above and beyond the usual boundaries.

I began with a coconut milk-laced layer cake, using the recipe I found at Tender Crumb's blog. I made two eight inch layers, which I split in two.

Then, I made homemade raspberry jam—cooking a bag of frozen organic berries from Oregon with sugar until thick.

I improvised a cream cheese frosting.

I colored coconut both pink and green.

I made a baby pink meringue frosting.

I bought speckled malt eggs and a chocolate bunny.

And then, I put it all together:

Layers spread with cream cheese buttercream and jam, cake covered with meringue icing, sprinkled with coconut, and topped with candies.

For once, the reality lived up to the vision in my head.

The cake was all whimsy and cuteness...and deliciousness.

As expected, G's niece clamored for the big bunny (I gave each of the kids a mini chocolate bunny). We enjoyed slices of cake with rich coffee and a lovely torte of chocolate and pudding, topping off a traditional, tasty Easter meal.

The bunny? He came home with me, and is still intact, though I think he might lose his ears this afternoon:)

Happy Spring, dear readers!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

npm: wallace stevens

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I will write one haiku a day that references, echoes, or is inspired by an existing poem.

prosaic pj's
coffee, grapefruit, early sun
my divinity