It’s another Monday and another month. I hope you all survived any jokes that might have been played on you last week. I was skeptical of basically everything that was said to me all day. I also tried to limit my interactions with the internet because that is where they are most likely to get you. Did you fall for any internet pranks? What was this thing with Hamburger Helper? Apparently I need to get myself the Hamburger Helper mixtape??? I would not be mad if Hamburger Helper came out with more of that. I don’t even remember the last time I ate Hamburger Helper but my guess is that listening to this mixtape will make me pause the next time I walk past it in the grocery aisle.
I made these little biscuits for you because I needed something impossibly simple and quick. Luckily, Grandma’s box had these biscuits in there and honestly I can’t say no to biscuits! My life has been crazy lately and I am trying to hold on to those sane moments and avoid adding to the nonsense. There are so many things going on at work and then there is everything outside of work, there is the house we still have yet to finish moving in to and the yard that we have all of these plans for but don’t know where to start. There is the constantly changing weather that makes getting dressed in the morning a challenge. Then the thought that spring is here and soon summer will be upon us and I don’t even know! I have seen a lot of slogans lately lamenting the status of being an adult…all I can say is, ditto!
Do you feel like there are seasons or periods when the crazy hits a maximum? It comes and everything is upside down and you have to figure out some way of getting through it but you can’t seem to remember how you did it the last time. If this were an actual Labyrinth full of weird muppets and rock princes I would probably be cool with this but unfortunately life is not as entertaining. I started taking long walks with Mr. JD on the weekends but then this past weekend it snowed and I stayed under the covers until being forced to get out of bed (not actually joking).
I need your advice! What do you do when it gets crazy? How do you manage when things are all happening at once and you don’t know how to prioritize your work self, personal self, aspirational self? Any guidance is appreciated because right now I am content to sit under the covers snuggling with the puppy and eating mini sour cream biscuits…
I guess if you are Irish then you are feeling lucky. I wonder, do the Irish always feel lucky? Can I borrow some of that luck? How Irish do you have to be to inherit this luck? I really have a lot of questions about this.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you about my latest obsession (I wish obsession was an overstatement, eh). I finally took the plunge and started building out my family tree on Ancestry.com. I have found the process to be a little bit addicting. Here’s how it works, you type in a name and a birthday and before you know it there is tree growing on your screen. Well, the tree doesn’t actually grow, you have to sort through a bunch of online records to determine who is who. Well, when I started putting in information on my dad’s side it didn’t take long for things to grow.
So far I have discovered that his side stayed in the same places (PA, Maryland, Illinois) and those that resided in PA pretty much owned all of Fayette County…well maybe they didn’t own it but there were quite a bit of them living there. Also, they made booze which is AWESOME! Side note: I am trying to determine if the family legend that we are related to George Washington is true, stay tuned!
My mother’s side of the family is a little bit trickier. I have been able to slowly build out the tree using obituaries that my mother so wisely kept. Our Louisiana roots are strong and that is something I already knew so it was good to get confirmation. So far I have been able to plot in family members dating back to the late 1880’s. It is at this point that I have to tread carefully. I may click on a green leaf that will unravel a family narrative that I have not yet heard. Who knows what might exist beyond the 1880’s, who knows what kind of door I’ll open and what knowing certain things will do to me or do for me. I have to think that no matter what darkness is in my tree there is also the chance that there is light. I may find out that the real Irish in me comes from her side of the tree…
I think it is fitting that this recipe comes from my Hollymead collection. If I am going to make a dish and talk about family heritage then that dish should be a family recipe. My grandmother had a recipe box filled with dishes from all over the globe so it does not surprise me that she has this Hot Cross Muffin recipe. It’s easy and delicious. I hope you find a way to enjoy these this St. Patty’s Day. They would probably go well with green beer or a Shamrock Shake. I also realize that these may be more closely linked to Easter and Lent than St. Patrick’s day but we’ll just let that go.
I could not get enough of the sunshine this weekend, how about you? Sometimes Mother Nature taunts us during this time of year; she gives us a brief moment of warm and sun and we get all excited for Spring. We start thinking about flowers and picnics and before we know it the sun disappears behind the clouds and the chill returns. According to that famous groundhog we shouldn’t have to wait long for the real spring to arrive. I hope he’s right!
Over the weekend we celebrated 4 years with Mr. JD. As a treat we took him on a trip to Three Dog Bakery where he got to pick out a new toy and some yummy treats. We spent more on him than one should probably spend on a dog but he’s the baby!
You might be wondering how JD pranced (yes, pranced) in to our life. Well, maybe you aren’t, but I am going to tell you anyway. After we got married we knew we were going to get a dog. It was something that both of us talked about even before we got married. We also knew that we wanted our first dog to be a rescue. We went online and searched all over until we found him. There he was, shaggy and goofy looking, a blur of grey and white on a screen. The rescue group named him Sprocket after the dog from Fraggle Rock; we knew at that instant that it was meant to be.
We drove from our home in Virginia to a small town in Pennsylvania. The excitement and anxiety of picking up a dog we never met was with us the entire 4 hour journey. We stopped at a small grooming salon off a single lane road. We greeted the woman who owned the rescue group and then we saw him. He was standing on a table getting his final primping before we could take him home. They took him off the table and let him run around. He ran all around us in circles. I held him for a moment but then he squirmed and I quickly released him. I was beginning to feel nervous, maybe he didn’t like me. Maybe we were in way over our heads (this proved to be true at various points in the early days).
We finalized all of our paperwork and loaded Sprocket in to the car. We began our journey home with the new addition of our family in a crate in the backseat. He barked for a good while and then howled. A moment of panic came upon us as we pondered the thought that perhaps we just picked up little dog with a mighty voice. He began to quiet down and we were relieved. During our drive we tried to get a sense of his training and sometimes called out his name. He didn’t seem to respond to Sprocket so we started thinking about other names. I ran through my list of literary heroes and the hubby went through his list of political icons followed by favorite athletes. We called out a few of our favorites and then I said JD. His ears perked and he looked at us almost with excitement. It was settled, he was henceforth named JD after my favorite author, JD Salinger.
And Now… the JD Gallery
It has been a wonderful 4 years with this little ball of fur. He never ceases to amaze us with his spirit and his eagerness to love. I share all of this on Hollymead Monday and am reminded that my Grandparents also had dogs in their lives. When I visited them in their retirement they had a dog named Bouncer and in a lot of ways JD reminds me of him. I recall Bouncer’s silly tail with sparse strands of fur and then laugh when I look at JD’s and the similar nature his tail shares. It is amazing how much a dog can mean to you and how much they imprint upon us. I think of Bouncer on this Hollymead Monday and think of the joy he brought to Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Joe. I think about the dogs that came before him and the stories that are passed down by my dad as he recalls the bonds he had with his childhood dogs. Sometimes I am in awe of how much JD loves us, how much he depends on us but also, how much we depend on him. In this case he really is, woman’s best friend!
Oh yeah, this potato salad is perfect for spring and great for picnics or BBQ’s. You will love it!
Last week was not my favorite. If you know me then you already know why. I don’t generally complain about things going in my life but last week was rough. We started the week hearing about some major and expensive home repairs we’ll need to make (UGH!), and in the middle of the week I had to put my cat of 15 years down, by the time Friday rolled around I was emotionally and mentally exhausted. So, needless to say, I am beyond grateful for this three day weekend.
As I reflect on last week part of me feels like I need to get used to having a tough week now and again. I don’t expect to be dealing with the loss of a pet that frequently (Note: I believe that Mr. JD will live forever, well he better!); I am more convinced that being a home owner and approaching 30 is when you realize that the tough stuff in life is now tougher than it might have been a few years ago. I am also fully convinced that I need to embrace 30, in fact, I have some serious plans for setting a positive tone for 30 and beyond, by making small changes in my life. I want to think more thoughtfully about my wardrobe and appearance, my health and fitness will become more significant (I hope!) and I’ll take the time to enjoy my hobbies. This is just the beginning!
It might sound weird for me to make all of these declarations but I am taking this 30 business seriously. 30 has always been a benchmark year for me. I have said that 30 is when I’ll start thinking seriously about having children and demonstrate control in my professional development. Last week helped me to realize that having this new approach is needed and potentially a good way for helping me to cope when adulting becomes unbearable.
Because of the past week, I knew that I needed to get some comfort food in my life. Since it is a new year I didn’t want to dive right in to something fried or greasy so I turned to Grandma Bute and her box of comfort dishes. Somehow she managed to come up with dishes that aren’t fried or laden with butter but bring feelings of comfort all the same. I have also found that she had a way of making a vegetable dish a comforting dish. Maybe when you run a B&B you have to make veggies in a way that even the pickiest of all eaters struggles to turn them down. Don’t believe me? Check out these other amazing dishes from the Hollymead Collection; Broccoli Casserole, Green Beans with Bacon Dressing, and Blue Cheese Brussels.
Friends! I am sorry it has been so long. The month of October was beyond crazy for me. All great things though. Here are some of the things we did in October:
We celebrated my parent’s 30th Anniversary with a weekend full of family, laughter, and a surprise party with some of their closest friends
We closed on our first home!!!!!
We moved into that home
We sat down and took a deep breath
I hope that helps to explain my lack of posts recently.
Now that we are in November I would like to think life is going to slow down but who am I kidding? The holidays are upon us and much to my dismay the stores are doing their best to remind us that we are already behind. Side Note: I almost turned around and walked out of Target last week when I was looking for Halloween candy and was faced with Christmas decorations. Guys, it goes Halloween, Thanksgiving, THEN Christmas! I didn’t think I would ever become one of those people who got really annoyed at the amount of marketing and commercialism that comes with the holidays; guess that is starting to change. The hubby was always somewhat of a grouch since Christmas completely overshadowed Hanukkah. I am starting to see more Hanukkah decor these days so I am not sure he has much to complain about now.
I mentioned that we celebrated my parent’s anniversary earlier in the month. It was such an amazing weekend! My siblings and I starting planning for the weekend a year ago. The main goal was to spend time together as a family since we are all scattered about. My oldest brother lives in Syracuse with his wife and three adorable kids. My older sister lives outside of San Francisco with her husband and a baby on the way! My grandparents also live outside San Francisco and they all flew out for the weekend celebrations. My youngest brother lives in Pittsburgh so he and I were the ground crew. We had to do the creative storytelling so our parents wouldn’t catch wind of the details for their anniversary weekend.
Our family is a tight-knit group. When we get together it is always hysterical and exhausting in a good way. Since the time we have together is often brief we try to cram in as much love and laughter as we can. It is a pretty wonderful thing.
In an upcoming post I will share with you some of the cooking tips I learned from my grandpa Sam while he was here. I think I might have impressed him with my own cooking skills. You’ll have to stay tuned.
On this Hollymead Monday I wanted to share a recipe that merges two family dishes. My mom’s famous Apple Butter and grandma Peggy’s Apple Nut Muffins. I added a special touch with the cream cheese glaze. This is a great treat for a fall morning and the perfect way to use your leftover apples!
Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with a mixer. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to combine after each addition. Add remaining ingredients except for the lemon zest and nuts. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated, careful not to overwork the batter. Gently fold in nuts and lemon zest. Spoon batter in to prepared muffin tins. Bake until done 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before topping with cream cheese glaze.
Instructions for Glaze
Whisk cream cheese, lemon juice and mil in a small bowl until smooth. Combine confectioner sugar and continue to whisk until smooth. Stir in cinnamon. For a thinner glaze add a little more milk but be careful with how much you add. To glaze muffins place glaze in a piping bag or small ziploc bag. Snip off a small portion of one corner of the bag. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins, glaze will harden as it sits.
I did not add nuts to my muffins since I am not a huge fan of them in my baked goods but I would recommend walnuts if you are going to use nuts.