Today after doing some errands, I popped into my local Williams-Sonoma to look for a pressure cooker. My friends’ niece is staying with us from Brazil and wants to make us “typical” rice and beans. And she needs one.
They only had one pressure cooker, so I felt like I need to do a bit more research on the internet. Someone was baking some sort of cookies at the store and it smelled so good. I lingered, hoping to get a cookie. I saw the chef (can you actually be a chef at a Williams-Sonoma store???) pull them out of the oven. I must assume, that in fear of a potential lawsuit since they were hot and could possibly burn someone’s mouth or fingers, he zipped them away into a back room to cool.
I was sad. I wanted a cookie. But I didn’t want to wait or shop any longer. Then I got happy again because I saw that he had made Momofuku’s Milk Bar’s amazing corn cookies from a mix. And that I could buy that very same mix along with the blueberry and cream and compost flavored cookies. Momofuku Milk Bar is this fantastic bakery in NYC where you get crazy treats like cereal milk soft-serve and the “crack” pie, which is so yummy that it is literally is addictive. The cookies are so buttery that the wrapper is almost translucent with grease. They are also selling the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook as well, so you can make their delicacies from scratch, if you are willing to see the amount of butter and cream that goes into these. Since one of my New Year’s resolutions is not indulge in excessive sweets, I will probably be waiting until August to bake these. But it is good to know that they are available.
Things are a little slow in our household this week. Last week was filled with holiday parties and two days of “camp.” Does anyone else understand this logic? You pay for preschool by the month. Then there are two weeks off in December, but there is an option for you to pay more for another week of “camp” instead of school. Doesn’t make any sense to me.
In an attempt to keep my daughter entertained and allow me to not go crazy, we have been watching baking videos on Youtube.com. My daughter loves to bake, but I have no will power and will eat everything that we bake. Therefore, I try to limit our baking, or I cleverly have my daughter bake with my Mother, so that very few cookies ever reach our house.
The other day my daughter asked to watch a video showing how to make a princess cake. We had watched some a few months ago on Howdini.com This time, I let her click from video to video while I was making dinner – I can see her and the computer from the kitchen. So she now “knows” how to make a fire truck, a castle, a duck and numerous other festive cakes.
Somehow she left cakes and found her way to videos of people making miniature candy ice cream and bento in Japanese. There is no explanation in either Japanese or English. It is called Kracie Popin’ Cookin’ and as far as I can tell it involves pouring water into little containers that have been filled with special powder, stirring, sometimes adding colors and delicately displaying the wares once they have set. It is very odd. And the strangest aspect to me is that some of the videos have literally been viewed millions of times. You have to check them out.
My daughter also found videos people post of their elaborate cakes. Generally there are slow pans of beautiful cakes and stacks of cupcakes with a bit of commentary. Sometimes there is a soundtrack. My daughter doesn’t really like them, but will watch them. I am amazed by the detail and intricacies.
We went to a gingerbread decorating party on Christmas Eve and our house was totally chaotic. I must admit that I had picked up some tips from watching these videos, but they didn’t seem to apply to my daughter. Oh well.
Check out this piece in the New York Times about Moms, who notice a problem and look for a solution. When they see that there isn’t anything available; they design it, make it and bring it to market.
As if you needed more temptation during this Holiday season, speculoos is now available at Trader Joe’s. I have some Belgium friends, who live in Portland. Whenever we visit, we eat bread smeared with speculoos, a cookie spread, for breakfast. They bring a few jars back from Belgium each time they visit. I never thought that I was in danger of making it a part of my daily life. But now speculoos is being marketed in the U.S. as a peanut-free alternative to peanut butter and sold at my local market.
According to my friends, everyone in Belgium eats speculoos cookies, which are light-brown buttery cookies with a hint of cinnamon (you may have tried one on Delta Airlines). In the morning, they dip them in their coffee or hot milk and patiently wait to scoop-up the dregs from the bottom. A few years ago a Belgian woman won a competition on an “invention” reality TV show where she made a spread of speculoos cookies. Now speculoos paste is incredibly popular in Europe and it has made its way across the Atlantic into mainstream America. I know, it sounds weird, but it is out of the world yum. Try it.
Yesterday, my daughter and her friend Gabriel were loudly debating the merits of their respective t-shirts – Hello Kitty vs. Ben 10. Hers was more beautiful and his was more powerful. Suddenly, it got me thinking, beside Princess and Transformer costumes, what else could they wear to make them be that inspired?
I have been thinking about being thankful, maybe more than usual+, since I have been writing lots of thank you notes lately. As you may have read, I recently “made” as my Aunt Aileen would say, a birthday party for my daughter. I was finally over the whole party process – preparing, hosting the party and cleaning up the sprinkles. And then suddenly Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season are here. What happened to the year? [read more]
Aloi is an amazing tattoo artist and a visual artist as well. It is hard to have a friend, who does such amazing work, if you are like me and can never decide on an actual image for a tattoo (I suffer terribly from food envy too). But the photos in this book may actually inspire me to finally get one.
My daughter has just come to that wonderful phase in childhood where she can spend literally hours drawing. She is making wonderful pictures of princesses, chefs with hats, mermaids, castles and spaceships. Also, she is writing lots of random letters. It is very fun and super cute to watch.
Finally, after being asked for paper ten times a day, I got smart and I gave her a stack of colored paper, which she is going through at an alarming rate. I decided to put together a little art center for her. I somehow managed (not!) to round-up all the various markers that live in our house. And in addition to the basic can’t-live-without Crayola WASHABLE markers, her center contains the following supplies:
Tape. She uses tape to wrap items, tape things that she cuts out, and to tape her art on the wall. I can say with certainty that this tape dispenser from Lakeshore has changed the décor of our house. Who knew that making tape designs on the floor was an art activity?
Scissors. She likes to cut colored paper, playing cards, princess cards, play money — basically anything that is paper or her scissors will cut through. I am continually cleaning up small random scraps of paper. I found scissors like these fun kids scissors in Little Tokyo. They are a hit.
Glue sticks. When we were in Italy over the summer, I picked up some Coccoina Adhesive Glue Sticks at the suggestion of my friend. They are sticky, non-toxic, non-solvent, and acid free. And they smell like marzipan. My friend claims that they are ok to eat, so no worries when your toddler takes a bite. Yum.
Beeswax crayons. My Waldorf friends turned me on to these block crayons by Stockmar. They seem to glide better than the crayolas. And they are easier for little hands to hold. Since they aren’t wrapped in paper, it is one less thing to clean up.
I never knew that I would, or could posses so much great art to keep or recycle.
Lauren Collins wrote in the October 23rd issue of the New Yorker:
Basically, I live 22 blocks from the beach. I really don’t understand why is it so hard for me to zip there to watch the waves crashing on the beach when I have a free hour, or two. Instead I squander my free time by checking facebook updates or reading the New York Times online.