Baking with Julia

November 24th, 2009

Every Christmas, since I can remember, my dad has given me a cookbook.  In all those years I have only requested two, The Joy of Cooking and Baking with Julia.

The Joy of Cooking has become our bible or manual to cooking.  It truly has every basic recipe or how to guide you could ever need.  Not that you can’t go all fancy pants with it, but you know, if you were to only have one cookbook on your shelf, this is the one to get.

Baking with Julia, which is based on a PBS series Julia Child hosted with other great bakers as her guests, has become my own in home class.

Once the kids all went to school, I decided to take it and walk through each recipe.  Learning the foundations of baking.  I’m not a bad baker, in fact I’m pretty good, but again there are basics to learn and master before you hit brilliance.

Our Family Dinner’s have afforded me a venue to bake and to get feedback.  And feedback I get.  My family indulges me by going around the table and offering up their thoughts, which then get written into the cookbook, along with the date.

This week’s baking class was the perfect Genoise, in which I chose to make a French Strawberry Cake.

Family Feedback:  delicious, dry-coarse, not too sweet, like the strawberry shortcake my mom use to make


November 23rd, 2009


Originally uploaded by sellke

Learning to use my big girl camera on MANUAL.

Lots to learn.

Midnight and beyond

November 21st, 2009

To be honest, I am normally sound asleep before 10:30 pm.

But who could resist hitting the theater with a bunch of crazy woman for the midnight showing of New Moon?

And by the way, we were not the oldest people there but we may have had the most fun.

Have I told you recently…

November 20th, 2009

how much I HATE cancer?

It’s insidious, crafty, cunning and sly.

It doesn’t care who you know, how much you are loved, how much money you make or don’t or what holiday is coming up next.

It has entered into our lives, taken hold and will not even for a moment relinquish control.

The game it plays is a funny one.

It takes it’s turn, maybe even two turns at a time (it doesn’t care much for the rules) and then we take our turn, almost always lagging behind but non-the-less trying to move ahead, catch-up to it and maybe even out smart it.

It’s a hard game to play.

And if you’re not the player, it is a hard game to watch unfold before your eyes.

My dad continues to play his version of the game.

His next move includes radiating two sections of his spine, starting next week and ending three days before Christmas.

Oh how I so desperately wish I could draw the card that allows him to pass GO, collect $200 and WIN.

Old Time Sunday Dinner

November 17th, 2009

I’ve always loved the idea of sharing Sunday dinner with family.  The visual I get, is of this Grandmother figure with thick Polish sausage sized fingers, stirring her pot of homemade love and the rest of the family wrapped around the kitchen helping, talking and sharing what the past week held for them.

A couple of months or so ago, Adam and I talked about starting family dinners at our house.  With my dad’s ever present illness, it took us about two and a half seconds to come to the determination that Family Dinner was a fabulous idea.

So we have kicked this off with a few twists.  #1.  The meal must be simple (or reasonably simple-I have a tendency to make things much more complicated then they need to be). #2.  Come as you are (showered or not, sweats or slacks).  #3.  We have kept the numbers down for ease, so only Grandparents are invited (sorry siblings maybe you can make a guest appearance sometime).

These Sunday’s at 4:30 pm have come to be precious to me already.

Of course, it is all selfish and self-serving.  I want my kids to learn to sit at a nice table, enjoy good food and listen to stories their grandparents tell and spin tails of their own.  I want to plant the seed of family, caring, being there for each other and simply enjoying life together.

Here’s to hoping.

32 all over again

November 13th, 2009

Happy Birthday Nana!

You are the only woman I know who can take a Friday the 13th birthday and make it magnificent!

Love you!

Talking talking talking

November 12th, 2009

There are so many things about running in the dark of the morning that I love.  One of them happens to be the company I keep and the discussions that occur.  It’s almost a data dump of the mind and then we confer and then we move onto the next subject and then we are done and ready for the day.

Today we talked about the following:

An amazing play Erika saw by a Polish playwright
Big M’s trip to Turkey
Crohn’s Disease

Odawalla Dan and how his new baby changed his life
Recent car accidents in the news
Upcoming trips over Thanksgiving
Then a lost dog, Stella, found us.  We tried to figure out where her home was for several minutes, then her owner showed up with not even a thank you.
Finished up discussion of upcoming trips
Chess Club
My dad

For me it’s like doing the Artist’s Way morning pages but running and using my mouth as my pen.

Little fingers

November 11th, 2009

We just inherited a piano from our neighbor.  It was his as a child, the bench is even filled with all his old music books.  After getting it tuned and finding the right wall to put it next to, now come lessons and learning how to play.

PJ is very excited.  She has been asking for lessons for a year.  Last year for Christmas we even got her a key board to start playing around on.

Since the piano has been in the house, every night before bed, PJ says, “Can I go downstairs quick?  I’m going to say goodnight to The Old Chum.”

And then she walks downstairs and says goodnight to the piano.

The camera of my dreams

November 10th, 2009

So I’ve done it.

I finally, after years of pining, purchased an exquisite camera FOR MYSELF.

What can I say but…I’m giddy!

The art of the hug

November 7th, 2009

Some people have it, some don’t.

This kid has it.

If your ever needing a little love, come on over and get yourself a hug from him.

It always curse what ails ya.

Originally uploaded by sellke