Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking forward

This is my last blog entry of this year.

In the past I have always struggled with the end of each year, never appreciating the things that I had done but only looking at the things I had not finished or had never started.
Well, when I look back at 2012, a lot has happened.  Last February we moved across the country and started new lives in Michigan. My husband started a new job. We almost lost one of our friends. We made new friends. We visited lots of new places and, we lost our best friend. Loosing Pico was the hardest thing of all.

So, we did a lot of living last year and we made it through some tough times. I learned more about myself in one year than I think I have in the last 40 something.

My resolution for 2013 is to continue to move through this thing we call life and make as many good memories as possible, to keep looking forward to the future and never regretting the past.

Happy New Year

I hope 2013 is the best one yet.

See you next year!

Pico 1997-2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter gloom and food

Living in Arizona for a large chunk of my life, I have apparently taken several things for granted.
The first and most obvious is the sun.  I never realized until now that I could actually miss the sun and the heat. For the last couple weeks, the skys in Michigan have been grey. Sometimes the sun will peak through just long enough to taunt you and it seems to be mocking my sunglass collection that is in hibernation right now.
Today it finally snowed, as if the sky has been working on a stomach ache for weeks, and finally just purged. The weather channel said we should get less than an inch on our side of this state, which kinda bums me out. I would like it to really snow hard and stay until the winter is over. I don't really like surprises, this way, it puts it all out there right now.


Pretty holiday decorations

See how grey the sky is?

The second thing I have taken for granted is Ethnic food. This week I have been craving mexican food. All I can think of is eating a chorizo, egg and potato breakfast burrito. Damn, I miss those. Those breakfast burritos were so good and not good for you, that I reserved eating them to twice a year, when I went to Yuma, AZ to visit good friends, and when I was in Tucson at the Bead Show, again with good friends. So, not only do I crave the taste, but also the friendships that surrounded me while enjoying those greasy things. 

This week, I thought about things that would make this gloomy weather easier, and the first thing that popped into my head was to cook! Since I really wanted something to warm me up, I thought of Mexican food. Well, where does one shop for Mexican groceries in Ann Arbor??? I did end up finding 2 small Mexican grocery stores, with an emphasis on small, but I found what I needed and made Red Chili Colorado with beef and pork chorizo. The red chili sauce was so rich and spicy, it really hit the spot. But, the chorizo has to sit for another 12 hours before I can enjoy it......
4 heads of garlic made into puree, yes, heads.

Chili before

Chili after!

Chorizo resting before it's big day tomorrow- when I finally get to enjoy my BREAKFAST BURRITO!!!!

I am so looking forward to my huge breakfast burrito tomorrow, I only wish my friends were with me to enjoy their company too. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Finally...the cookies

I finally had some time to bake the cookies. I made 2 flavors of Biscotti from this fabulous cook book:

Hazelnut and Chocolate Biscotti

Almond and Orange Biscotti

 This year I also made something different. I am not a fan of fruit cakes, but I have always loved candied fruits. I guess I could blame it on the German or the Italian in me, so I tried Ina Garten's Fruit Cake Cookie recipe  Oh yum!!! They are shortbread cookies with dired and candied fruits that have been soaked in Sherry.  Did I mention they were yummy?
Here is a link to the recipe:

Happy baking!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like....Cookies

Here in Michigan, it's beginning to look a lot like winter, at least like winter that I am used to. There is frost on everything and it is cold, but no real snow yet. Other parts of the state have gotten snow that has stuck, but not the Southeast side. Yesterday, as I sat making new jewelry for the trunk show this weekend, there were large, soft, gorgeous snow flakes just blowing around outside. I felt like I was inside of a snow globe.

This year I decided to break out the apron and bake some cookies and other treats. As I went through my recipe box, I came across recipes from my childhood. Grandma Zimbaro made lots of cookies, but my favorite were her Church Window Cookies and the press cookies. They were not really cookies, but a chewy, chocolatey treat. They are basically colored mini marshmallows held together with melted chocolate chips rolled into a log and sliced to look like stained glass windows. The press cookies are a basic butter cookie shaped with a cookie press much like a calking gun. They were in the shape of trees, wreaths, and stars.
Grandma Kern made lots of candy. My favorites were Peanut Butter Bon Bons and Chocolate Covered Cherries. I have made these in the past, and they are not easy to make.
My mom carried on some of these traditions and added Sugar Cookies, Fudge, Biscotti, Zucchini Bread and Cranberry Orange Bread.

Reading these recipes not only made me hungry, but really home sick. This year we will be spending the holidays without our family, so I think making some of the family recipes will help.

I will take some photos, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My new city love

Some of you already know this, but for those of you who do not, I LOVE the city. Any city. San Francisco, New York, D.C., Phoenix....

I spent my childhood in both a city and the country. Living in Arizona as an adult, I felt I could have the best of both worlds. Phoenix is a large city, but is more sprawled out than San Fran or NYC, the downtown has been growing over the last couple of years and there are fabulous restaurants, coffee shops and bars. If you wanted something smaller, all you had to do was drive 1-2 hours away and you were in a small town or hiking in the pine trees or in Tucson in the low desert. Arizona really has a lot to offer, but it also has its politics....

Then there was living in the Bay Area, going to SF and feeling the energy of the big city, the people, the high rise buildings, the ocean, the bussle. Man I miss that. And yes there is the traffic, the garbage....

When we lived in AZ, we vacationed in SF every year, and even though it was another state away, I always felt it was just next door.

Moving to Michigan, I am saddened by the thought of SF being so far away. We have visited NYC and D.C. and absolutely loved it. I have taken comfort in the fact that they are very close, but sadly not next door.
I have been to Detroit a few times, and love it there. I have to spend more time there finding places to see and explore. Detroit is different though. It is hopefully in its recovery process, and will continue to get better. Only time will tell.

Sadly, we did not make it to San Francisco this year, but I have found my city love again!

Meet my new neighbor: CHICAGO!

And I look forward to many more visits to Chi Town..... I won't forget you SF, I will see you next year.

Just be

In my last post I wrote about change and how difficult it can be, this week I continue my quest for Zen.

One of my struggles with staying home is that I get distracted. This is something I have always struggled with. I think focus and follow through, like common sense, are something you are either born with or not. I have only been graced with common sense. Believe me, I am definitely not complaining, just calling it out so it has less power over me.

So, since my life needs some structure, I have created a schedule for myself. I have to report to "work" by a certain time and continue to work as if I was working for someone else. I have a job description, a lunch break and a set hourly schedule.
This means that I will be posting in my blog on a more regular schedule, making more beads and jewelry, updating my Etsy site, and working on a website.

And now for your moment of Zen.

I look forward to seeing what happens. Peace.