It was a quiet weekend around these parts, with much baking and experimenting in the kitchen by yours truly. We actually went out twice but somehow still found time to nest. There was talk with some good friends over some delicious Pad See Ewe on Friday night about having a “Pho Night,” and you better believe that will get documented here! And yes, I did make chili last night…because even if I don’t know what the flip is happening on the field, I can still enjoy the down-home American Superbowl tradition of staring blankly at the TV over a big bowl of homemade chili and beans. I even topped it with bacon (find the chili recipe here).

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It’s been a warm week here, almost spring-like. Whenever I think of spring I always want easy, light,  fruit-based desserts. I imagine myself on a porch somewhere in the south of France (a place I’ve never been, but bear with me), hanging crisp white linen on a line and reaching up to pluck a perfect little lemon from my lemon tree. I examine it, smile a secret smile to myself, and then drop it gently into my apron pocket, as a warm breeze floats through the backyard carrying the scent of lavender. Then Johnny Depp sneaks up behind me, enveloping me in his manly embrace. Then I, um, bake a tart. WIth Johnny. Let’s move on.

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Life has taken such a monumental turn for me these past few months. I have seen another continent and moved out of my hometown. I am currently unemployed and get to spend my days cooking, reading, walking, and googling cats on the internet. Life is beautiful.

No, you make me laugh! Shut up lolcat!

So let me just make it clear that when I say I miss Ann Arbor, I don’t mean I’m unhappy here. Quite the opposite. There are, of course, plenty of things that are different enough to notice and take issue with, like the traffic (oh, the traffic). Suffice it to say I’ve been honked at and wanted to honk back more times in the past month than I ever have in my life. But let’s not talk about the traffic. It’s not like I miss Ann Arbor’s traffic.

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I love mornings like this. Diluted, soft light filtering in through the windows, hot coffee on the stove, no real obligations. It reminds me of waking up on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Sundays were not relaxing mornings–we had a rigorous chore schedule that had to be completed by noon (which included scrubbing the bathroom floors on our hands and knees) and there was the impending dread of doing all the homework I’d put off. Sundays were never fun days.

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If you’re anything like me, you love winter mostly for the food. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like the snow and even the cold (that’s the Michigander in me), but the food in winter just fills you up in a way that summer food doesn’t. It’s an excuse to eat for comfort. It’s too rich, too sweet, and too filling but somehow it’s better that way. The best dishes in winter have the capacity to warm you from the inside out, to satisfy your soul as well as your palate. And the colors are better. Warm oranges, rusty reds, deep evergreens. It’s like your favorite sweater, only you get to EAT IT.

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I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I tend to overthink things. Well, as I’m sure was predicted by many, it took me ages to pick something to begin with on here. My first recipe! On my first food blog! I agonized over this decision. I’m big on tradition and celebrations, as anyone who has met me knows. I’m the girl who makes the same birthday cake every year for birthdays (because it’s the BIRTHDAY cake) and has an unflinching allegiance to the same Thanksgiving menu (cranberry sauce like THIS, not like that). In a world that changes and grows and zips along so merrily, so quickly, I do find it comforting to put stock in traditions. Gigo’s meatballs, Daddy’s scrambled eggs, Nonna’s plum pudding. These are recipes I cherish, brought into my life by people I cherish: and I definitely want to pass on some of my own recipes someday. Because I take all this cooking stuff so seriously, I knew I had to choose something for my FIRST recipe that was cherishable. Something I could look back on and be proud to say was my best work.

What if everyone everywhere hates it?

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I’m not doing much these days. I wake up when Ryan leaves for school, say goodbye, pull out my laptop, and proceed to do “blog research” from bed until about noon. Then I tumble into the shower, spend  good twenty-thirty minutes on getting dressed, and stumble into the kitchen, where I make myself an overly elaborate brunch that gets eaten in front of the TV. Around 4pm I wander back into the kitchen to start chopping and prepping stuff for dinner, which is on the table by 7 or 8. I then lay in bed and watch a movie with Ryan, or do crosswords until midnight when he has to go to sleep. This is my life. I have become a housewife.

Did I lock my car? …. …. ….Yes.

Now, mind you, I’m not married. I am happily partnered up but I retain some semblance of independence in my life choices…or do I? My partner sure isn’t a housewife, so there’s a difference right there. And I know, given the opportunity, that we’d both be able to very quickly outline exactly how different we are. He likes vanilla, I like chocolate. He likes Boards of Canada, I like Bruce Springsteen. He likes to get ahead, I use the urgency of impending deadlines to force myself to focus (aka I sleep till noon and watch Top Chef Masters marathons all day until I literally have twenty minutes to do all my homework, shower, eat, and drive to my class which is 25 minutes away….oops).

I didn’t lock the car! And I left it in drive!

But the real question isn’t whether or not I am a housewife, it’s whether I want to be one. As everyone from the US Army to Popeye to my mother tells me, I should be who I be and be that completely. And quite frankly, of course I want to be a housewife. I can’t think of a more enjoyable, easy life for myself. I love to cook for others, I love cleaning (yep, it’s true), and I love the feeling of satisfaction when I’m thanked and loved in return by the fella I’m serving. But there’s this little voice that keeps popping up too, and it’s the voice that says, “Don’t Settle.”

Don’t get too comfortable. Don’t relax for long. Work hard. You can always work harder. You can always be more. You can always rise above. And somehow being a housewife doesn’t quite satisfy that voice. This life makes me too happy, too relaxed. It’s too easy. There’s always been a restless part of me that craves adventure and change and discovery, and changing up the dinner menu every night doesn’t quite seem like enough. I want to serve MANY, not just my partner. I want to spread that satisfaction to the furthest reaches of the globe. So I’m not exactly happy with this life, not yet. It’s like a big bowl of soup, with nothing but broth in the bowl. Satisfying, delicious, healthy–but boring. I need some spice! I need some greens and homemade noodles and chunks of carrots! I need some garlicky bread to sop it up!

Don’t wanna give this part up, though.

So this blog is a way to start. If a few people’s meals are brightened, inspired, or improved by some of the recipes on here, I know I’ll feel more connected. More sure, more sharing. More satisfied with my own life. I’ll love better, live better, eat sweeter. Hopefully.

Right now I gotta go though, Barefoot Contessa is on.

(images courtesy of vintagehousewife and I Love Lucy) (inspired by deargolden)

I woke up with Van Halen’s “Jump” in my head. Then, while I was making breakfast, I was singing along to the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin'”. Made for a pretty delicious meal, I can tell you that. But then I looked outside, and it’s frozen solid. The roads are icy, the cars are a white line, the air crystalline, the branches heavy. Sometimes it feels like gravity is stronger in winter, pulling us earthward with brutal insistence. So, I did what any sane person would do–I got back in bed and began daydreaming about summer. And this song floated into my head. And, when I looked it up on YouTube, I found this video, which looks so much like Willow I almost think whoever posted this must have been there. Either way, it makes me happy to know that someone else sees exactly what I see when I think of this song. Enjoy.

Hi. Hello, everyone. Hello, readership.

I have no idea where to begin. Um. Since this is my first post, I suppose I should talk about why I want to do this at all. Ehh? Let’s give that a shot.

I began thinking I might like to have a blog way back in high school, when logging into AOL Instant Messenger seemed like the most forward thinking action a girl of 14 could take. I have kept a journal since I was 9 and it was starting to feel claustrophobic. Also, it wasn’t edited for future purposes, i.e. the day my daughter wants to read her mom’s diary from middle school (who DOESN’T want to get a glimpse into their parent’s minds?). At this point, literally all that was in my diary were long, desperate entries with titles (titles!) like “Why won’t he even LOOK AT ME??????”. Not exactly what I would want to pass on to the future generation. I am also the type who thinks everything can be fixed by starting over; thus I have probably eight or nine half-full journals that were discarded the moment my focus wavered. (“Oh, I NEVER write in this lame blue diary anymore. I’m so over it. Oooh, lookit, this journal has different colored pages! I need this so I can keep writing.”)

So, when I heard about the new, ultra-hip, extra-cool blogging phenomenon, I knew it was my big chance. It was going to be so different and so great. I was going to share my thoughts with the WHOLE WORLD–and brilliantly, while gratifying my ego and allowing me to go on pretending I was a good writer, it would also force me to edit my thoughts so that they were cool. I figured any daughter of mine would care that her mom was cool. I wanted to set a good example. And yes, even when I was 14 I was sure I wanted to have kids. And no, I did not actually take steps to make this happen at that age, Mom. And NO, I’m not trying to have a baby anytime soon, Ryan. Glad we cleared that up.

Ok, ok, I’m saying no….

So I signed up for a Geocities account. I became the mayor of my very own Geocity. Geocity of Carol, population one. It was pretty fun, actually. I ended up a huge nerd online after all, and I was okay with it. As I slowly came to grasp that my nerdiness would likely plague me my whole life, I somehow grew more confident in my opinions and my writing. Screw it, I thought. I might as well enjoy who I am if I’m going to be spending this much time writing about myself. I would love, at this point in the narrative, to link you all back to my Geocities page, but alas, it’s too late. Yahoo decided, apparently, that we were all just too uncool and removed all the content in 2009. And, because I believed that the internet was permanent and we had all been sternly lectured by our teachers that “nothing ever gets deleted on the World Wide Web”, I did not save any of my posts.

I trusted you.

I opened a new blog on blogspot, but this of course went the way of all my old journals and was abandoned the moment I found something better to do. I suppose there are many better things to do than blog, and I’m happy I’ve been able to experience so many of them. Which brings us current, I think.

I am starting to blog again for several reasons. For one, my life has changed a lot (a LOT) in the past few years, and it’s still changing. I’m in the midst of a Major Life Transition, and it’s wonderful, and I want to document it. Also, I love to cook and take pictures of food…and I figured this was a pretty good way to share that passion with you. I’m sure this blog will take many forms, but mostly I plan to use it as a place to share recipes, photographs, travelogs, poetry, and life philosophy. I figure it’s better off here than on facebook. And, I’m constantly inspired by so many friends (Lauren, Annie & Amy, Duff, Heidi, Emily) and strangers (Honest Fare, 101cookbooks, My New Roots) that now just seemed like the right time. I have a lot to learn and a lot to share!

So, with that, I think we have enough to get started. Thank you very much for reading. Without further ado, I present to you: Eating Sweet.

{images courtesy of:  disney and}