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archive for October 2013

the best half of my life

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Recipe: baked chocolate doughnuts

There is a big bowl of chocolate candies sitting on our kitchen counter. We didn’t get a single trick-or-treater this year. I mean, we don’t typically get very many kids hoofing it up to our house, but we’ve had as many as a dozen on Halloweens past. It doesn’t help that it was cold and windy. I like Halloween so very much for a lot of reasons. First off, it’s a no guilt holiday (for me) that doesn’t involve obligation, travel, or cooking a massive meal. Secondly, it’s FUN and creative and also a little scary! But it’s not TOO scary because little kids are involved, and that’s good because I can pretty much handle “little kid” levels of scary. Thirdly – it is the anniversary of our first date, followed by November 1st, our smoochiversary.

20 years ago on the shores of the olympic peninsula

Jeremy and I have been together for 21 years, which is essentially half of my life… but all of my heart. He is the very best person I have ever known. And when the very best person you have ever known likes chocolate and cake and doughnuts, it’s absolutely appropriate to make chocolate cake doughnuts, don’t you think?

vanilla, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, butter, eggs, flour, buttermilk

flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt

mix the dry ingredients together

Every time I’ve made doughnuts in the past, I have fried them. I think fried dough is one of the perks of being human. We have opposable thumbs, we can make doughnuts. But deep frying stuff is a pain in the ass unless you have a deep fryer, which I don’t want to own. A few weeks ago, I finally broke down and purchased doughnut pans. I usually cringe at the thought of acquiring such task-specific bakeware, but figured I could get some good mileage out of these pans if the baked doughnuts were a success.

adding buttermilk to the brown sugar, vanilla, eggs

whisk in melted butter

combine the wet and dry ingredients

the batter should be thick and smooth

**Jump for more butter**

grapity grape

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Recipe: frozen grapes

Guys, we need to talk. Have you heard of Holiday grapes? I saw them last week at Whole Foods. I tend to be particular about grapes. I like them to be sweet, crisp, juicy, and preferably without seeds – but I’ll make an exception for the seeds if everything else makes the grade. I gently squeezed one of the giant round grapes between my fingers, surprised at the firmness. I plucked one off and popped it in my mouth. Delightful! Since then, I’ve purchased several pounds of this variety. Apparently they are typically available from mid-October to early November. That means now. That means – get ye to the market and find yourself some Holiday grapes.

holiday red seedless grapes

The check out guy scanned the grapes and then said, “You know what I love to do with these? I put the whole thing in the freezer and snack on frozen grapes. It’s so good!” I’d never frozen grapes before, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to try this with such precious, lovely and expensive grapes. When I got home, I plucked three from the stem, washed them, and popped them into the freezer.

give them a wash

pat dry

**Jump for more butter**

good for the body and soul

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Recipe: roasted carrot soup

This past week was a really good one for me. Jeremy was out of town for the last half, so I plowed through heaps of work in addition to spending quality time with Kaweah. Warmer than normal weather meant Kaweah could sprawl out for countless hours on the deck (something she loves to do) without freezing or overheating. I packed my schedule to free up more leisure time when Jeremy came home.

kaweah soaks up all of the morning sun

and she periodically got up to sniff the latest news

i was quite excited to get new trail runners in the mail

And then late Wednesday night I got a message from a friend, asking if I was free to meet up for a last minute lunch or coffee the next day. Absolutely. I moved everything around in my schedule and drove into Boulder because you see, this was my best friend from high school who lives on the East Coast. We’ve known each other since fourth grade. We hadn’t seen one another in over 20 years.

meet clark

I waited outside The Kitchen, sending an email to a client when I heard a familiar voice call out, “Yuie!” The best people in my life give the best hugs and Clark is definitely one of them. It’s been a long time, I thought. All of the events since we last saw one another hit me in a wave and I blinked back the tears. It’s often said that good friends can pick up from wherever they left off and we immediately began sharing our lives, talking about our families, discussing happiness, life choices, aging dogs. The natural back and forth of conversation, so relaxed yet enthusiastic, made me realize just how close we were and still are. Two hours is such a short window of time to catch up on 20+ years, but it left both of us with the promise to get our families together and smiles that would last the rest of the day.

a great sunset to close out the weekend

That visit put my mood in the stratosphere. Good relationships are important for feeding your soul just like a good soup feeds your body (and your soul). I have fallen madly in love with this roasted carrot soup – so much so that I’ve made it three times in the last week. When Jeremy landed in Denver he texted me about dinner plans. Should we meet in Boulder at a restaurant or eat at home? I was already making the soup. After an entire day of travel, I figured he might enjoy relaxing at home with a nice meal, a glass of good wine, and perhaps unwinding in front of a movie.

so simple: celery, onion, carrots, olive oil, chicken broth, butter, salt, white pepper, ginger

dice the carrots

toss with olive oil

**Jump for more butter**