It all started with meatballs and a piece written by an extroverted freelance writer with a desire to gather friends, family and strangers around her table and to share food and build community. ‘Friday Night Meatballs‘ became a movement of sorts and Facebook exploded with people who wanted to create their own Friday Night experiences. We really liked the concept too and while we cannot commit to an ‘every Friday night’ format, but we knew having people over for a meal on a somewhat regular basis was something we wanted to do.
I have dreamed, thought, considered, planned – whatever verb you choose – to bake a Buche de Noel for many, many years; always deciding that baking one would be far too much work, far too complicated and far out of my reach in terms of decorating something that fancy. In other words, fear of failure kept me from attempting something I’d really wanted to do for a very long time. So why in the world would I attempt to make a gluten-free Buche de Noel now? Chalk it up to . . . age.
Can you believe it’s September???? Does this surprise you as much as it does me???? And why am I using multiple question marks???? I have no idea. Other than I’m truly gobsmacked September is here and I’m not ready to let go of summer – can I just get an ‘amen?!’ It’s still hot and humid and because the Winter of 2013-14 was so. very. long., I’ve got a death-grip on summer and will not release her until Mother Nature pries summer from my slightly wrinkled, tightly-clenched fist, one finger at a time. Even then, I predict I’ll drag myself into fall kicking and screaming.
I left my home in Washington State in 1996 and remember writing the word ‘Rome’ in my journal; I had never traveled out of the country and had absolutely no reason to think I would be going to Europe let alone Italy, any time soon. But I did. In December of 1997 I traveled with a group of college students to Rome and spent a little more than two weeks helping in the construction of bedrooms for a church family there. I’d only known The Professor a month before leaving on that trip – we were just good friends and had even discussed the fact that neither of us were looking for a relationship.
The Professor and I are headed off for Italy to attend Jovial’s Culinary Getaway, Gluten-Free Italian Style; we’re attending as particpants this time and I have to say, we’re pretty excited. We’ve had the privilege of working with Jovial this past year and we always have their products in our pantry – but we’ve not attended the class as students so this is going to be great fun!
A few weeks ago our oven bit the dust and not that there’s ever a ‘good’ time to replace a major appliance, but this was particularly painful as we’ve planned to install a much needed fence. I polled Facebook friends to get recommendations on brands they loved and/or didn’t love – and then we went shopping. Ooof!
Not much happening here at the old Smith Bites homestead; there is still snow on the ground (‘Suprise!’ she says sarcastically) and The Professor is in his nineth week of a 16-week semester. The good news is that as of today, it looks like temperatures near 50 will be here by Friday . . . break out the flip-flops people!
This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while now because almost two years ago, The Professor and I completed a mini-kitchen update and streamlined our pantry into one area. Before then, we had pantry items stored on shelves in our basement, on a shelf above the stairs leading to the basement, on shelves in our studio area, an extremely deep pantry, and non-functional cabinet in the kitchen and anywhere else we found empty. There are just two of us. I may need an intervention.
And suddenly, it was September. The Professor and I are home this month and we’ve been taking advantage of ‘no travel’ by tidying up our abode – fresh paint on walls, dusting everything in the rooms from floor to ceiling and moving furniture around. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as ‘fall-cleaning’ but if there is, this is what we’ve been doing.
We’re in that ‘between’ season which is the end-of-semester-regular-school-year and the start of summer-session teaching for The Professor; I think it may be one of my favorite weeks of the year because Spring has definitely arrived, the gardens are finally awake for another season and the morning light is bright and quite lovely. We sleep a little longer in the mornings and stay up a little longer in the evenings – a nice change of pace from the usual 5am wake-up calls which happen from September to May the rest of the year.
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Musical pairing – “Imagine” by John Lennon
NOTE: I meant to post this last week but in the midst of attending Big Traveling Potluck in Los Angeles, I completely forgot; the cake is still fabulous – I really hope you’ll bake one!
Sometimes one just needs cake or rather one needs to be in the kitchen baking anything – cookies, pie, tarts or in this case, a cake. I know that I’m with the rest of the world when I say last week was an incredibly stressful one.