At Home With: RCakeWalk.

I love old albums from the '50's and '60's that have a fireside tableau and text like "An Evening With ____" or "At Home With ______", as my own album cover would state. I can see myself in a chic apron, my worn out cargo pants (that I really can not leave the house with anymore, they are that worn out), Led Zeppelin t-shirt (also now so threadbare that I save it for special occasions)and a cheesecloth scarf. So, here it is - At Home With RCakeWalk! Had I time or a fireplace, I would photograph myself here, but I'd have to use my oven as a hearth. You'll have to use your imaginations...

We are leaving for Florida later today, and sometimes I feel like a curmudgeonly old woman and hate leaving my home. I love to travel, but I also love being in the home. I do love the leaving, but I love even more the coming back. I haven't had much to cook, since I've been systematically emptying the fridge, so I thought a day in the life of RCakeWalk sans cooking duties may be a fun episode. If I were headed to Miami, I would recompose the lyrics to Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side, but since Orlando is the final destination, I'm at a loss.

At any rate, off we go:

Yesterday for breakfast, I had a taste for the Burp! Cornmeal Waffles, but Boy-O wanted pancakes. So, iPod googled me this Whole Grain Pancakes recipe from Baking Bites (formerly the Baking Sheet). I actually didn't tweak it at all, which was amazing. She had already done that for me. I made about 11 4-5 inch sized pancakes, and they were really good. For a picky eater, my kid will eat any crazy grain you can throw at him, so we make some kind of pancake or waffle for breakfast twice a week usually.

The day before, I spilled loose tea all over my kitchen drawer most used: The utensil drawer. I was not feeling like cleaning, so I pulled everything out and waited for the dawn. After breakfast, and a quick trip to Target for a new utensil holder and some cork drawer liner (the greatest thing ever by the way) I rushed back home and fixed it up. I no longer dread this drawer! Nothing slides around on the cork, and in general, it has made my kitchen life much more enjoyable. I never cease to amaze myself with how I can be so happy with so little effort.

Christmas decorating is easy when you have a little house. I only have a couple of places to actually put things, out of the reach of a rambunctious 3 year old, and my inspiration board area is one of them. I particularly like this red car that my Grandpa gave the Boy-O on our last visit, and the very old glass ornament to the left.

During the breakfast dishes, I decided to make the time to make Cranberry Apple Jam from Marisa at Food in Jars. I had to scrounge around to find enough smaller jars; ordinarily I wouldn't make such a mismatch of jar sizes in one batch. More on the process below.

Since we are leaving town, I decided to plant the thyme that came in my Harvest CSA box from Highcross Farms in October. I have changed the water in this little glass of thyme each day for over a month, and happily discovered that it was sprouting roots and growing! I always wish that I could grow herbs indoors, and in the past have never had any luck. In fact, this year, I wasn't even going to bring in my big container I had planted of Pineapple Sage, Lemon Thyme and Rosemary. I cut it all back mercilessly, and let it sit outside until I thought it was going to freeze. Then I thought, why not, and lugged it into the dining room.

Not only is it not dead (which has happened every year, usually by Thanksgiving), it is growing! I made a little space, and tucked in the beautiful CSA thyme. I hope it keeps growing so well, like I said, it's the little things.

Boy-O took a nice long nap, a rarity these days, and I completed my Jam Mission in record time. I love making jam, and am repeatedly glad that I took it up in full this year. I used Ginger Gold apples, which actually do taste like ginger, and frozen cranberries. It always comes as a surprise that this will cook down into something extraordinarily thick. The only alteration I did to the original recipe was to add cinnamon and ginger, and a pinch each of salt and Jamaican allspice.

My mismatch of jars wasn't quite enough for my yield, so I kept out a couple of jelly jars to use right away. Sasa stopped by, and I donated one to her. I could hardly wait for breakfast today to see how it was going to taste in my plain yogurt.

It was delicious, and such a pretty pinky, red color. I was invited to join a flickr group the other day of Pink Foods, so these jam pics will be sent to them, I think.

Breakfast was worth the wait. The cranberry really stood out in the tart, plain yogurt and mysteriously became much less sweet. I overdid it a bit by adding it to some toast too, but compensated by leaving the cream out of my coffee so it was a nice and bitter contrast. I'm so glad Marisa posted this recipe, and that I didn't neglect making it due to time or the amount of jam already on my shelves. I promise you instant inspiration if you visit her at Food in Jars!

Lobster roll.

We had take out sushi for supper, which I love for these reasons:

a.) I don't feel bad about ordering, since it's not something I could just whip up easily and without intent at home.

b.) I never buy plastic storage containers, and I like to reuse the packaging to send leftovers home with people who come to dinner.

c.) It's tasty!

So that's it for my day in the life. In between, I did too much laundry to mention and cleaned up some gravy from an overturned spoon the day after Thanksgiving, but I'm afraid that wouldn't have made for exciting photography. It seems strange to head out on a mini-vacation at this time of year, but that 70 degree weather does have a way of sounding good. I think I'll pack that Led Zeppelin t-shirt...