Category Archives: spring

where she admits Spring is here

What a disappointing winter…
The height of DC’s snow: Shaw Recreation Center on Feb. 12th
I repeatedly humored the so-called winter weather, preferring to think that all the mild December and January temperatures presaged a violent dumping of snow to occur in mid-March or *gasp* end-of-April (birthday). But the climate appears not to have heard me. I think I can finally declare to myself that Spring (and temps in the 80s) are here to stay. Cue groaning about DC humidity here
Unfortunately this gives me a good excuse to gripe about my running schedule as well. Progress in training this week has been irregular, and I am comparing myself to the early-peaking cherry blossoms in reproach. It’s not ME! It’s the CLIMATE!
That’s okay, though. If I’ve learned one thing from my mature years, it is that one dip does not mean the end of the streak. No, we shall just go bumping along, like many other fearless creatives who are risking it all for their happiness.
Well, folks, it’s been a tough week, with the runs falling a bit short, and having to face several goals that are not being met (pages written, healing accomplished, enlightenment achieved). One morning, I woke up decidedly against running. Daylight savings had it completely dark outside during my usual run time, and I was tired from the time change. I didn’t want to run, so I decided…
To Bake.
That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Maybe not. Well, it’s like this: my body didn’t feel like running, but my mind craved the satisfaction, the sense of accomplishment, that come from putting in the effort toward a worthy goal. So I made these cookies, from the blog, Coconut & Lime. They were pretty good. And I got to conduct a science experiment.
6 oz semisweet chips

3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature*

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, the spices and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in chips. Place tablespoon-sized blobs of dough on the lined cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look “set” and the bottoms are just golden. Carefully remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
The experiment was this: you know how some cooks recommend you squash down the tops of drop cookies before baking? What’s that about? Instead of Googling it, I did half spheres and half smooshed spheres of cookie dough and observed their behavior in their natural habitat.
Squished on the left, Round on the right

The smooshed spheres of cookie dough burned on the bottom faster than the regular spheres, which even got an extra minute in the oven. After combing the Googels extensively for 20 minutes, I found this article that stresses the amount of baking soda as key in how much a drop cookie will spread when baking (more soda, more spread). However, I’m having difficulty finding the cause of the tradition of flattening the drops of dough. Does anyone out there in Blog Land have an idea? Please let us know in the comments- your help would be much appreciated!

The cookies were gobbled up to general satisfaction, but it will be good to get back to running.

The Infamous…

My party, as promised :-)
So. I floated along in a glow-haze for the whole week, but I guess it’s time for documentation. Proof that so much fun could, in fact, be had. Well, here it is, folks. My very own pinata party, out on the green.

(This is me being cheeky and pointing out over right field where my homerun would go, hehe.)

Here’s Rachel, giving it a go (left). So what else did we do, besides swing away? You’re right, it wasn’t all violence; we don’t roll like that. Since it was actually a dual celebration for my friend April (born 4/19/someyear) and me, we had two mostly-not-overlapping groups of friends, so people got to meet and talk and bascially just loll about in the perfect California-weather day. It was awesome- felt very Chosen People-ish (but more on that below with the bowling).
There was also a fair amount of food. It was hard to stand it, but I managed to sample a few things here and there. I brought Nora’s red pepper spread recipe, Molly’s Banana Bread, and some cranberry bread with no chocolate, since it was not yet Easter and I knew at least one person would be abstaining from chocolate for Lent (that is one old habit that should die a fabulous death).
And here is April of the 4/19 bday, in a great Action Shot (right)! Her mom was in town too, and so helped with the logistics- I think the older Filipina woman did a great job blending in and having fun with all us young’uns!
But the pinata party wasn’t the only event. Nay, there were pre-party rumblings heard as early as Sunday. Rumblings that took the form of… a Korean Triple Playย !

Lovely beef and noodle dish atย Palace Restaurant

ย Me, Nina, Nora at the Lanes

Jess, Nora, Marc focused on the ‘pan-chan’ (terrible anglicism)
The Korean Triple Play was born of my desire to continue field tripping into adulthood. If we’re going to go into Virginia, we might as well make hay, right? Or something like that. So especially for people who couldn’t make it to the pinata party, it was a nice outing. Consisting of:
1) ‘Palacial’ dinner at Palace Restaurant, a Korean BBQ/ Grill place of tasty food and wonderful service
2) Burning off a few of those calories at AMF Annandale Lanes, just down the road
3) Burning off some more (and losing our voices) as we choke through an hour of karaoke at a Korean private-room karaoke lounge
It was a great idea, let me tell you. PLUS, we had a great time bowling- we went Jews v. Gentiles; each team had an N, a J, and an M (isn’t that crazy? natural selection or something?), and each team won once. That’s all we had strength for!
Ahh, 30. I am embarking on this year with a powerful feeling of self-possession, balance, and drive. TOward what? Well, we’ll see. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last Best Bits

Here is the last post about the party the welcomed Jess back to DC. I hope breaking it up into 3 parts was easier for you all to digest. I could have just gone on and on (as the prep that day did in fact seem to go on and on…), but 1) that might have been boring to read and 2) I would have only been able to give myself credit for doing one post! This way, I get to pat myself on the back 3 times! haha… yes, folks, the secret to better stats is not strictly more work, but better and more crafty presentation. ๐Ÿ˜‰
In this post, I have the last few bits and the people (the best bits).

I made a beet hummus, which someone saw and cheekily suggested was made in honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival, which we were right in the middle of! Alas, no such planning had been in my head, but I wanted something fresh, healthy, and different (seems to be my M.O.) and saw this recipe on Simply Recipes which sounded great! It was pretty easy, since I started with the already cooked Trader Joe’s beets (yes, I am a dyed-in-the-wool TJ’s fan, try as I might to be objective).

Beet Hummus: the horror movie

It turned out rather well, as a sweet tangy pucker in a fresh earthy dip.

Second, I wanted a green dip, so I searched and found one by a friend that did not use mayonnaise– perfect! It used up artichokes in a jar that I had, spinach in a bag that I had, and included plenty of lemon and garlic, always a good indicator of quality.

No photographic evidence was obtained because, like the Baked Brie, it had to be in the oven until presentation, so … I balked at showing the picked-over leftovers in a picture. Yes, yes, so there is definitely some natural selection on this blog; that’s why the photos are so good! ๐Ÿ˜‰
But I can certainly say I had it for leftovers for several days and did not tire of it!

Third is the crowd pleaser: Chocolate Orange Pound Cake, from a mix my mom sent in a care package, and which I had been waiting to pull out for the right ‘convenience-needed’ moment: bingo!

It was delicious served at the end of the meal with mango, which we took turns slicing and dicing, since it is kinda hard to do. Any tips on this? They were champagne mangos from Mexico (via Whole Foods) and not as ripe as they could have been, but I tried theย cool-looking scientific method, which wasn’t perfect, but served the purpose. Purpose the mangos needed to be riper…

And finally, the friends that made the party such a joy to host: Jess, Dany, Steve, Suzanne, Figo, Mandy, Nora, Rajiv, and others that didn’t get captured on celluloid. Thank you, Friends!

And now that I’ve presented all the high points of Welcome-Back-Jess party I hosted, which the Nina Post called “elegant and sophistocated… very adult,” I will hopefully be back shortly to report on my birthday party of a couple days ago, which involved Candy, a Cookie Monster pinata, and what else?ย 
Good Food!