December 23, 2011

christmas rush

All of my presents are wrapped. I think I spent way too much money on everyone this year, but I just kept finding things that I really wanted to give. And since the last few years have been a little scarce, I figured I would indulge myself and my gift-receivers.

Yesterday I was so tired and really just wanted to sleep all day, which usually makes me feel so guilty, but yesterday, for some reason, I just really didn't care. So naps and movies was the name of the game for Thursday. Today I got out fairly early (early meaning before all of the last minute Christmas shoppers, and there were still a fair few of them out with me) and bought the spices to make the chai tea concentrate that Lindsay made in August this year. (Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.. it really is so yummy.)

Since Kendra (mmy little sister, although she's not very little, she's 21 now; I still think of her as 5 to 7 most times) tends to like green tea a little better, and I am not supposed to have a lot of caffeine (or green tea, apparently), I made three batches: the clear bottle is holding the regular tea, the green one is holding, probably obviously, the green tea, and the blue is holding the decaffeinated tea. For the black teas, I used earl grey bags, but I think next time I'm going to grab some loose english breakfast since the flavor is lighter; you can definitely taste the bergamont in these mixes, which is not a bad thing, but I'd like to try it with a subtler black tea. Anyway, the green was just lipton green tea bags, which are always great, even though they are cheap!

The bottles I bought at HomeGoods, on the way home from Whole Foods (where I had to get the star anise pods, because nobody else had them!) They had sparkling water, lemonade and cider in them and I honestly just dumped those out because it makes me nervous to actually drink something I bought at a 'second-sell' store like that. Anyway, I soaked the bottles to remove the lables and get the smell and flavor of the previous occupants out of them, and filled them up with my teas! They look pretty, I think. They'll be in the garage where it's cold, since I'm sure someone at my house would get over-zealous with the cleaning one day and 'accidentally, because I didn't know what they were!' pour them out and throw away the bottles. Funny that on a shelf in the garage no one will touch them.

My lunch break was that asparagus and asiago cheese omelette with an english muffin. I literally sauteed the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper, with a lid, until they were soft,  poured two beaten eggs on the top and added some thin slices of asiago cheese. I'm lazy with lunches. I got halfway through before realizing that I should have taken a picture. Then I took the picture and remembered that I really need to buy a camera. I can't stand the quality of these phone pictures. Maybe Santa Mom will bring me a camera for Christmas. If not, I'll just have to figure out how to fix hers. Or spend the money to get film developed.

The book, The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart, is a book I picked up while looking for "stocking stuffers" for my mom, from my dad (ha! He hates shopping, unfortunately, so my sister and I have to do it. I still need more ideas but I'm running out of energy and the will to Christmas-shop.) The other day I was waiting for Christopher to be done with work so I went to Starbucks and started the book; I was laughing out loud within the first three pages. I can't wait for my trip next week so I can spend some time with the silly beefeater. I think it will become a favorite. I've needed a new genre of book since the last three or four I read were about Cold War spies or Communist China. Something slightly happier is probably good for me! I'll let you all know how I like it when I finish.

Last thought for the day: there are macarons (yes, one "o"; they are not made with coconut) in the oven that I'm currently anxious and fearing for. I think I didn't whip the eggs into stiff-enough peaks. Hopefully, as I think I feel about all of my first-time desserts, they will at least taste good. They are just a test, so that tomorrow I can make real ones (tomorrow, our Christmas Dinner theme is "French" [surprise! If you know my mom, it's not a surprise.]) At least I know one mistake. Also, I didn't have any superfine sugar, just plain granulated sugar, which, if these don't work out, I might just grind in the coffee grinder before adding it to the eggs. Really, the recipe is very simple, there are just 'user' mistakes that I'm sure with a little more time and patience can be easily remedied.

In any event, they're about to come out and I have to get ready for work. Until next time, merry Christmas!


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