Toe Warmers!

 Toe Warmers

What an invention! My sister received these as a gift from her best friend, who’s mother-in-law makes these from scratch. When I say from scratch, I mean she raises rabbits, spins their hair into yarn, and then knits these up. They feel divine and I love the idea: you just place them over your socks when you wear your winter shoes or boots, and your toes stay warm and cozy.

This is definitely something to think about for next year’s handmade gifts list, although we don’t quite have enough room for a rabbit farm yet…

Deep-Dish Pizza

Giordano’s, home of the original Chicago deep dish pizza.

We are looking forward to many exciting things: Seth’s family is coming in mid-March, and my parents are coming just after, at the end of March. It’s been fun reserving a rental car, making calls to friends and planning for the trips. By the time they get here, our itinerary will be as packed as the Griswald’s.

In the midst of the excitement of planning and the need to get some serious work done, we tried a quick new recipe the other night. We decided to make pizza. We got all the toppings and our grocery store, Champion, even has its own brand of dough made without poly-hydrogenated oils (the bad dangerous fatty stuff found in most pre-made doughs). The only problem is that our oven is the size of a toaster and the only pan resembling a pizza pan is the one I use for quiche.

Thinking back to our trip to Chicago and the pizza we had at  Giordano’s gave me the idea of going “deep dish” and just piling all the toppings in and baking the pizza for a bit longer than usual.

The result? When cutting and serving, the cheese all came off and the mushrooms slid out, but in all, a delicious slice of home-made pizza we’ll be trying again.

Deep Dish Pizza
Our version, the pizza quiche.

Grandma’s Mittens

Grandma Wearing Mittens

I knit fuzzy mittens as a Christmas present for my grandmother. My sister, Monica, attached the appliqué patch for an added festive sparkle. She wore them to the Christmas Eve service and Christmas dinner the next day. I’m so proud of how they turned out!

Grandma??s Mittens
A fuzzy close-up. Just imagine it’s a Seurat painting and squint!

Kings’ Cake

Galette des Rois

The holidays last and last when you’re living in France: here, they celebrate Epiphany with a kings’ cake, usually a layered cake flavored with almonds. Inside is a hidden bean (or now, usually a porcelain figurine). If you find it in your slice, you’re the king. The glory of wearing a metallic cardboard crown is surely worth a chipped tooth, n’est-ce-pas?

With Epiphany already almost a week over, we were happy to still find these galettes des rois sold in pastry shops and grocery stores. But if you’re not living in a place that sells galettes, or if you’d simply like to try to make one yourself, check out Richard Nahem’s recipe over at Eye Prefer Paris. By the way, if you’re looking for an entertaining, knowledgeable custom tour of Paris, Richard’s talents as a guide are as awesome as his cooking ability.

Wisconsin Winter Wonderland

Snow Jeff Snowman

The snow that fell during our Christmas trip to Wisconsin was some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It sat perfectly on the tree branches like an Ansel Adams photo. It also packed into perfect snowballs, as I repeatedly found out first-hand (thanks, Seth!). It was a magical backdrop to a warm reunion with family and dear friends.

Snow Old Garage
An old garage in our neighborhood. I thought it looked timeless.

Snow Backyard
Freshly-fallen snow in my parents’ backyard

Snow Laura Stella
Laura (my youngest sister) walking her dog, Stella

Snow Seth and Jeff
Seth and Jeff (my brother-in-law) planning a snowball attack at the grade school

Snow Jeff Pitch
Jeff throws a perfect strike into the littlest of snowballs, à la William Tell

Snow Monica
Monica on the snowbanks we used to play on in grade school

Seth Kicking Football
Seth kicks a football

Snow Walk Home
On the walk back home