Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life's Better With Half 'n' Half...

So I have discovered another favorite thing of mine. Half 'n' half. Half milk, half cream, it has just made my ordinary coffee that of a scrumptious treat, although it adds up my "points" so I need to be careful what I eat for the rest of the day. Boo! Jason and I ground our beans in the morning. When I say Jason, I really mean he comes out to the kitchen with fresh coffee brewing for him. Its the one "wifey" thing that I am consistent about. I don't know if I can taste that much of a difference, even though I have, in the past, worked in the coffee industry for about 7 years (now THAT would be fun to blog about!), it gives me something to look forward to doing in the mornings. It takes no time at all and my son loves the "wuurrr" of the grinder. Its his favorite part of the morning too! This picture is an example of your typical Viennese coffee. Oh how I miss them.

Last night I made some mashed potatoes, because I had some red potatoes on their way out, so it seemed like the natural thing to do. Jason went to the store to get me some h &h to add to it, and THAT "my friends," is why I now have it for my coffee! Don't be impressed that I made mashed potatoes on a day other than Thanksgiving. Usually the only potato in my house has googly eyes, a funny nose and a silly hat attached to it. This potato mashing should, in no way, give you a false impression of the regularity that I actually cook for my family. I think it is the one thing that I am most ashamed of. Really. Maybe if my son ate more than once a week, I would be more motivated. I get sad every time I offer him something only to receive a violent head shake, tossing his long blonde hair to and fro, along with a sweet sounding, "no. no. no." I think I may have to resort to feeding him intravenously at night while he's sleeping. I really need to look into this. Put that on the list Rici.

So, I'm looking at my latte-colored coffee and it just makes my feel a little bit better about myself. This beautiful picture is of "Cafe Sperl," a coffee house in Vienna that I would frequent from time to time. I miss that place. My brother is in Vienna, Austria right now for a week, and I want to vomit just thinking about it. It should be ME!!!!!!! The tremendous PAIN!!!! If he doesn't bring me back something that says, "Wien" on it, I'll never speak to him again. I'll blog more about Vienna another time. It makes my heart too sad to think about it for very long. Back to the picture.

How can you sit in a beautiful place with a coffee like that and NOT feel good about yourself and your current situation? Isn't it just divine? I like pretty things. Its the same reason why I have a beautiful guitar sitting in the corner of my living room and the only time it gets used, is when Aaron Stahl comes over. We go through the same conversation every time. "Is this tuned?" He asks while picking up the dusty instrument, putting it onto his lap. "Nope! It only gets tuned whenever you guys come over!" He then plucks a few notes, complains that he never has time to practice anymore and then puts it back on its stand, where it will sit until he comes back two months later. But I digress. :0)

Somehow, cream in my coffee makes me feel just the slightest bit refined, and now wiping down my tile floor later today won't be such a drag in my mind. I'm "grown up," and that's what moms do. I remember having a conversation with Jennifer Deon years ago, and thinking how when you're young, moms just have it all together. Mom's can do everything! Anything! Life for them seemed to have a "no sweat" air about it. But once we got older, Jen had kids, I did not, we realized that they didn't have it together at all! They too were trying to figure out life and how to juggle the kids, the husband and the house! But from our view, looking up, they did it perfectly. I hope I can give my own little boy a good view from where he stands too. No use him knowing the whole truth just yet; that I haven't got a clue...yikes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sweet Nothings

What does this mean exactly? Well, sit down with a cup of coffee and a cookie and I'll tell you all about it. For me, an almost 31-year young wife and mom of a two-year old boy, who lives in a tiny city called Fairview, OR, just outside of Portland, a Sweet Nothing can be anything from Hot Chocolate to an hour in Borders, the first snow, to my kid's blue eyes. Basically, anything and everything that brings me joy, makes me smile, giggle, be in awe, or completely appreciative of the life God has given to me. Right now, its Cupcakes...and politics!

I used to make cakes out of my home a few years ago to bring in some extra $ and have a creative outlet. I really did enjoy it. I still do actually. I think once you become passionate about something, you don't just drop it one day all together. Like a moth to a flame, I find myself drawn to the baking section at a bookstore or the library, thumbing through all of the tantalizing pictures of cakes that some genius has made. Cake truly is a work of art in my mind...fondant covered or not! If I can round up some pictures of my cakes, I'll post them. I'm not making any promises though. I'm into cupcakes right now because they are tiny. Anything in its miniature form is sweet. Chubby baby thighs, cute. My chubby thighs, best left unseen. The thought of making fun, artistic cupcakes, is much less daunting in my mind than creating a sugar masterpiece to feed 300+. That is the very reason why I am making cupcakes for my son's 2nd birthday party, rather than a traditional party cake. Last year I made a Blue's Clues cake and it was, I will admit, just darling. This year, however, I'll be making ice cream cone cupcakes, and I'll let the kids choose their own toppings at the "ice cream bar!" Sound like fun? I thought so. I think being a parent was God's idea of letting us extend our childhood for as long as possible. Its working wonderfully in my case.

My most favorite memories from being a kid are baking or watching someone else bake (and perhaps playing a game of Spades with the adults and the glow of the Christmas Tree). There really isn't anything quite like the hum of the Kitchen Aid hard at work. To me, that will always be the sound of "home." I'm not sure if I have a relative on my mom's side of the family that doesn't own one of these perfect machines, except for my sister, who I'm sure is working to remedy this problem). Whether it was with my mom, sister, my Aunt Linda, my older cousins, or simply with my Easy Bake Oven, baking meant being creative, getting a little sticky, occasionally burning and best of all, eating your creation!! That's the best part, right? I mean its the very reason we do what we do; to enjoy the finished product with your loved ones, or by yourself in a moment of peace!

I never understood why a Gingerbread House, for instance, should be off limits. This, to me, is one of the most ridiculous things to impose on a child (or child at heart) during the Christmas Season (yes, I said Christmas). Its a giant COOKIE!!! I've made several over the years, my first house of any difficulty that I made on my own wasn't until I was in high school. It was a blue Victorian house and I held it on my lap for the two hour drive from Santa Rosa, CA to Tracy, CA to share with the whole fam! A proud moment in my life and a springboard to my love affair with working with sugar.
A couple of years ago I made a giant Gingerbread Train that was put out Christmas morning for all the kids. They may have been more interested in the toys under the tree, but this Aunt loves making the sugary scenes, and I will continue to do so until sugar is banned from the Government. Which may not be very far from now! ;0) Well, this was fun and if you have any favorite baking memories, please share them with me, I'd love to hear about them. I'll let you know how those cupcakes turn out!Hope you enjoyed your coffee, I know I did mine! Thank you for reading my very first post to I Love Sweet Nothings, and I hope you check back in from time to time! Don't forget to scroll down to see the "Cake of the Day!" Blessings, Rici