Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pretty awesome cookies and a bit of Betty Crockerism

I know - it's me, ranting yet again about baking. But wait! They were so pretty, I had to share a photo, and they're so tasty, I wanted to share the recipe.

These are Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints, from Better Homes and Gardens, and they are delish! Yes, a wee bit time-consuming. You have to bring the dough together and then chill it for two hours. This is not a "Oh, look - it's 8:30 in the evening. I think I'll make some cookies" recipe. And then you have to roll said dough into little balls, dip them in egg-white wash, roll them around in finely chopped pecans and then smush with your thumb. That's not counting the melting of caramels and chocolate.

BUT. They're so pretty, and so yummy! I think they're great for a potluck sort of thing, or to impress someone (boss, boyfriend, in-laws, holier-than-thou neighbors).

My hubby loved them. Which reminds me of something funny. We were sitting on the back porch yesterday after work; he's eating a chocolaty caramel thumbprint and we're talking about (for the billionth time) how badly I need new shoes and how we're not paupers so why don't I just go buy some for chrissakes? And I offer up my usual "I hate shopping."

To which my husband adds, "You just hate spending money." (Which is only partly true. For real - look at my Publix or Target receipts. Good beer isn't cheap, either.)

He pauses, and then says, half a cookie in hand, "My God, I'm married to a woman who doesn't like to shop or spend money, and actually thinks baking and cooking is fun. I am the luckiest husband alive. You're perfect."

Now, before you get your feminist thongs in a wad, I promise you that he also loves my wit, appreciates my intelligence, and bows to my mighty credit score. Just because it's a bit of stereotyping and old-fashioned doesn't mean it didn't make me smile. Who doesn't want their husband to think they're the most amazing woman on the planet?

Anyway, I was flattered. And it's hard to complain about old-fashioned stereotypes while wearing a "dressy apron."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pretty . . . weed

I was walking across the "lawn" from the parking lot to my office building this morning, and came across this lovely flower:

It's really quite pretty - if you look at the full-sized version of this photo, you'll see that each little blossom resembles a tiny little snapdragon flower.

In reality, this plant is really small. The flower couldn't have been more than an inch tall, if that. And I'm quite sure it's some sort of weed, as it was growing merrily across the grassy strip surrounding the parking lot. Plus, the leaves remind me of another weed found pretty much everywhere in Florida, the dreaded spurge. But I've never seen one with such pretty flowers.

I looked through the book "Weeds of Southern Turfgrasses," pulled from the shelf of my coworker and Master Gardener, Kim. Nothing - no tiny, low-growing weeds with itty-bitty-pretty flowers.

Perhaps someone will recognize it here? Hmm, I'm not sure how many botanists who specialize in Florida landscape weeds read my blog.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Things I Want

Yes, even a penny-pinching tightwad desires stuff sometimes.

I love pretty much anything in the Arts & Crafts style. But I especially like crewel embroidery, also known as crewelwork. Crewelwork uses heavier wool for embroidering and usually sewn on a sturdy fabric (in order to support the weight), like linen. I like the style of early 20th century work done in a Jacobean fashion - stylized floral patterns, mainly.

A lovely example of a modern piece is this pillow from Pottery Barn:

I have one like it at home. Of course, the pillow I have was probably $20 at most, from World Market in Jacksonville. (Oh, World Market - how I miss you! Pier One ain't got nuthin' on you!)

This is $40, and that's just for the pillow cover - you'd pay an additional $18 for a pillow "insert." I looked around the Internet for a cheaper alternative, but 16x26" doesn't appear to be a common size.

So, a $60 pillow? I don't think so. What a bummer!

But it's so pretty...