The days go by, and here it is Monday, the day after the solstice, and we're trying to get organized for a trip to Pittsburgh.
It's been insanely cold here and a bad weekend for ice. A friend of ours slipped and fell and broke her wrist, so on Saturday we helped her get her car from the store where that happened to her house. Then the Fool and I baked like madpeople.
We made hazelnut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies, which Mama Fool loves and I like a lot too, gingersnaps with minced crystallized ginger (gives them a really good gingery bite), shortbread with pistachios and cranberries and lemon spritz cookies. I wanted to try these chocolate hazelnut cookies, but we ran out of time, so I'll make those for new year's.
I made panettone off the King Arthur's Flour baking blog (good recipes, once you look past all the shameless product plugs, but hey, it's a company blog, so I don't expect impartiality from them.) The flavor is great, although it didn't rise like I expected it to. I'll be making this again and experimenting with pans.
We're heading out for lunch with a friend of mine, and then after that, back to packing, making beef stew and planning for the dance I'm calling tonightall by myself for the first time ever - ulp!
The stew is a present for Mama Fool, and I recommend this if you're stumped for holiday presents at this late date, because casting something on is insanity.
If you have someone in your family who lives alone, doesn't like to cook and tends to eat from the frozen dinner section of the supermarket, I think it's helpful to make them some homemade frozen dinners.
Mama Fool likes beef stew and it's not loaded with sodium and preservatives.
My dad liked frozen pizzas and lasagnas. Roll out the dough, top, freeze on a cookie sheet and slide into a freezer bag. You can make single-serving lasagnes in those mini disposable loaf pans.
(If you have someone on your gift list who commutes by car, I recommend "Traffic," by Tom Vanderbilt, a book about the sociology and psychology of driving and drivers. You can even get it as an audio book. It explains all the stuff that people think about while they're stuck in traffic and I'm finding it fascinating.)
Two ideas and a picture of some socks I made for a good friend, wrapped and ready to give. I've got some more knitting to show off, but the recipient reads this blog, so ... later.
My trip knitting is all my unfinished socks. That's three pairs and I plan to knit the pairs one at a time until the socks are all done. I started a pair of Christmas mittens for the Fool, but they're turning into New Year's mittens, or possibly Epiphany mittens. Heck, it's entirely possible he'll get a Martin Luther King Day present this year.
I'm also thinking about trying to replicate a pair of cheap glove/mitten combo things I bought at Target before I learned to knit, in wool, rather than acrylic-cotton blend. I have enough stash yarn to make that work, and I'd really like a pair.
OK. Back to the salt mines.