Thursday, December 18, 2008

The annual granola factory

It's a good thing I got my fun baking done last week because this week, the granola factory has been churning along:
This year's variety: Cherry Cranberry Granola

Here are the bags, all lined up and ready to go.
We're dropping them off a day early since 7-11 inches (!!) of snow are forecast for tonight and my guess is the last day of school before the break will be canceled. I do not need 10 pounds of granola sitting in the house waiting for school to start up again in January!

And yes, I did mention fun baking at the beginning of the post. On Saturday I attended my first cookie exchange with the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. Patti hosted us (again!) and I have to say, the selection of cookies way exceeded my expectations:
Now that is a groaning table of bounty!

I made the cookies on the three goofy floral plates at the lower center of the photo: chocolate chocolate chip shortbread, mini mince pies and cranberry orange shortbread.

Want a closer look? (Of course you do!)
There were mincemeat spirals, date nut spirals, Italian wedding cookies, chocolate espresso cookies, chocolate biscotti, chocolate chip with coconut cookies, ginger snaps, jam thumbprint cookies, gingerbread mittens, pistachio bars, ginger cookies with candied ginger, homemade toffees and truffles and probably a few others that I'm forgetting.

Whew! And it's funny thing, but there aren't very many left from the heaped up container I brought home. Fiona gobbled up the ginger snaps and gingerbread, I appropriated the Italian wedding cookies and anything with mincemeat, and Brian has been coming to bed with chocolate and nuts on his breath (Ian thought they all looked too scary. Sigh.) So I might have to do a bit more fun holiday baking to get us through until Christmas, especially if the 7-11 inches of snow trap us in each other's company with no escape. Butter, sugar, chocolate and spices are almost as good as therapy in such a situation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How does anyone get any work done?

These days, my brain is completely preoccupied with a) anxiety about the auto industry and b) the chaos of the holiday season.

Book? What book? I'm supposed to be writing a book?

The task of sitting down and spinning ideas into reasonably comprehensible prose seems even more impossible with the lack of sunlight, short days and hostile weather. It has felt much colder than usual--this Saturday I made the boy critter walk with me to the Farmer's Market when it was 18 degrees out. We got down there, got our 2 dozen eggs and we were about 1/2 a mile from home when I felt like I was ready to give up (the boy was fine, having fun kicking chunks of ice). I whimpered for the remainder of the march, then came home and sat in the tub until my thighs defrosted.

So that does it. I'm taking a break from the book; maybe once the holiday piano recital, the school multicultural fair and other holiday get togethers are over I can contemplate having enough of my brain back to devote time to my characters. But right now, it is dopey to keep fighting an uphill battle and making work that has been a wonderful pleasure into a chore.