Lots of ideas are dancing in my head right now. It's a fantastic twirl of sparkly, magical ideas! What a year this has been. I'm really looking forward to the next few days- spending the holidays with my family and making the most of what remains of 2010.
It's playing at the Brew & View until Thursday, so there's still time to see it. And tickets are only $5- you can't beat that!
This is my all time favorite Christmas movie. I love the singing, the dancing, the costumes, everything! There was just a certain classiness about that time period- traveling on trains, drinking martinis, men wearing suits, women wearing hats. I love it!
We're in Phoenix for the holidays so I know I won't be having a white Christmas this year. I'm a little sad about this especially since it's supposed to snow in Chicago on Saturday. It would have been my first white Christmas ever. But, on the other hand I think I'll be pretty happy with 72 degrees and sunny.
Rosemary turkey meatloaf and colcannon with brussel sprouts hits the spot on a cold Chicago night- it's comfort food at it's healthiest. I'd never heard of colcannon before. Ebert kept saying they were "just mashed potatoes", but let me tell you they are so much more than that. Ebert doesn't love all the starchy goodness of potatoes as much as I do so we rarely ever cook with them. But, even he had to admit, while enjoying his second helping, that colcannon is not your grandma's mashed potatoes. Unless, of course, you're Irish than maybe they are.
I'm happy to say that I'm officially a Chicago Public Library card holder. I ventured out into the cold today to get my library card at the Harold Washington Library Center. Now, that's a library! 9 levels with rows and rows of beautiful bindings on every shelf. It's a book lovers dream. The main reason I went to the library was because I'm on a search for a new monologue which means I need to read plays, lots and lots of plays. As an actor this is something I should be doing on a regular basis anyway- reacquainting myself with established playwrights and reading new plays from up and coming playwrights. And while I was on my monologue quest I remembered that I've been wanting to read this book.
Yes, it's going to be some fun holiday reading for me!
Nothing says Merry Christmas from the heart quite like a gift you lovingly made yourself. As you know I'm a big fan of handmade gifts, even more so when they're created in the kitchen. I haven't done any holiday baking or cooking myself, although I have bookmarked some festive recipes that I really want to try. But, with the holidays being such a busy time of year and with Christmas Day being next week already (now how did that happen?), sometimes there just isn't enough time for rolling out dough for a plate of cookies, waiting for a candy thermometer to register 236 degrees for a pan of fudge, or coating popcorn for a tin of caramel corn. As much as I love to cook and give gifts there are times when I don't want myself or my kitchen floor to end up a flour coated, sticky mess which is usually what happens when I bake. So here are some easy recipes that require very little kitchen time.
A few weeks ago this mysteriously appeared on our front porch. Ebert had signed us up with Organics Delivered to have organic fruits & vegetables delivered to our home every couple of weeks. It was truly a delicious surprise! When I opened the box I discovered an array of apples, pears, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, lettuce, zucchini, baby carrots, potatoes, an onion, swiss chard and radishes. My first thought was, "I can't wait to find new recipes and get cooking.", which was immediately followed by the thought, "What the heck am I going to make with swiss chard and radishes?"
I've cooked with kale before but never with swiss chard. Whenever I'm at a loss for a recipe I always go to one of my favorite foodie blogs. Of course, Eggs On Sunday did not let me down and I found this recipe. Unfortunately, I never got around to trying this recipe- the swiss chard started to wilt and I wanted to use it up before it went bad so I just sauted it with olive oil and garlic. Yummy! But, I'm sure it's even better over polenta.
I'm not a fan of radishes so I had to do some searching to find a recipe where the radishes were cooked and not just added raw to a salad. If my go-to foodie bloggers (Eggs on Sunday, Smitten Kitchen, Everybody Likes Sandwiches) don't have what I'm looking for then I go to Foodgawker- it's a recipe search engine galore and that's where I found this radish recipe.
I've never braised anything before. The butter/olive oil combination worked out well, but I think if I had a cast-iron skillet my radishes would have braised a little bit better. I skipped out on using the rosemary and oregano and only used salt and pepper for seasoning. It was a very tasty dish and I may even start eating more radishes.
The vegetables paired very nicely with some leftover chicken stew I made earlier in the week with some of the potatoes from our box. It was kindof a hodge-podge, leftover meal since we also heated up a curried sweet potato & rice stew that was in our freezer. I had made this stew a while back and never posted about.
'Tis the season . . . . for shopping- that is if you believe what the television ads, magazines and reality shows tell us Christmas is about. Don't get me wrong, I love giving gifts and receiving gifts, but there's so much pressure to buy, buy, buy and most of it's stuff that we don't really need anyway. All I know is that I don't want to hustle and bustle through crowded stores and stand in long lines with grumpy people who are maxing out their credit cards and fighting over the last "it" toy of the season that their child has to have. That all takes the joy out of what Christmas is supposed to be about. So a few years ago Ebert and I decided not to "buy" in to the commercialism of the holidays and convinced most of our family members to do the same- so there's no presents, it's just all about the food and the people and the creating of holiday memories. We'd much rather spend our holiday season decking the halls, roasting chestnuts on an open fire, rocking around the Christmas tree, or simply dreaming of a white Christmas.
But, if I were to present shop, which I do love to do, I would buy handmade & local. And since there are so many great gift giving guides from fellow bloggers, especially from myprettymommy who agrees that "we just don't need anymore STUFF", I couldn't help but share some awesome gift ideas from local Chicago artisans.
What an adventure this past year has been. Sometimes it feels like only yesterday we were saying goodbye to LA and moving to Chicago. I can still see the beautiful mountains from our back porch. The pictures from our life there are so vivid in my mind. But, then there are moments when it seems like a lifetime ago- living in LA was such a different life for us, it feels more like a distant land that I once dreamt about rather than a place we called home. Now, LA is like this foreign country that I would be completely unfamiliar with. So much has changed.
But, here I am on the 1st of December, one year later, sitting in front of the fireplace of our Chicago apartment as tiny snowflakes quietly fall from the darkened sky. This year has been an amazing adventure and being nestled in the warmth and quiet of the evening brings about such a beautiful, happy feeling for what has happened and for what is to come.