I was hoping to come back when life looked a lot like the picture above. But there comes a time when one must adjust one's expectations and just jump back in, thankful, perhaps, that things aren't quite as bad as they are in the picture below:
It isn't clear what terrible misfortune has befallen the doll family, huddled together in the attic, but poor Grandpa camped out next to his bucket gives my heartstrings a special tug.
I did a not insignificant amount of freelance editing and copyediting work this fall. This does the brain a great deal of good and the bottom line a small but just-tangible amount of good. It almost completely obliterates the leisure-and-dream department, which is fine, actually--I find a way to squeeze some fun in on an as-needed basis, and when a wider expanse of time opens up, as it has now, I have plenty of plans stored up.
It now seems to me that the best plan for this space would be to post more frequently and at lesser length. There is (bien sûr!) a theoretical framework supporting this decision, and also a story from the beginning of my blogging days, but the only important thing is that this is what I think will work for me. Anyway, it is what I am going to try now. I'm imagining I will continue my own trend of posting fewer recipes, too, and more links to recipes, since I usually don't reimagine anything enough to make it my own. It seems odd to type something up verbatim, but I'm still mostly a verbatim kind of cook.
It turns out that we have a pretty okay Chinese restaurant near our house. They don't deliver, but they do carryout, and although I've only actually taken advantage of that once, it's a comfort to know that someone else will make dinner for me if necessary. That one time we had carryout, we got three perfect fortunes, but each ended up in the wrong hands. I got Bee's: "Many new friends will be attracted to your friendly and charming ways." Bee got Andrew's: "Learn to enjoy every minute of your life." And Andrew got mine: "Make decisions from the heart and use your head to make it work out."
Anyway. I've been making mental resolutions left and right, but I have decided that there is one resolution I want to share in public. NO PROCESSED FOOD IN 2012, and I am looking pointedly at you, Doritos, my shameful crutch in weak moments, but also at you, cereal, you insidious pantry-dweller. Pasta gets a pass; if I meet potato chips at a party or in a restaurant, fine; but buying chips or having a bowl of the cereal I keep on hand for stronger-willed family members...no. (I think I have an affinity for MSG, since I have no other explanation for my Doritos passion. They are objectively Not That Good, but something keeps me coming back.)
There will still be snacks and treats. The spicy popcorn in At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, for instance, is actually much better tasting than Doritos and will not send you--or me, in any case--into paroxysms of guilt. I have simplified her recipe and cut a lot of salt:
Pop 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. (I do this by putting three kernels in a big pot with a big glug of olive oil, turning the heat to medium, and then covering. When those kernels have popped, I add the 1/2 cup popcorn kernels and shake the pot vigorously and frequently--but not continuously--until the popping has pretty much stopped. I keep the heat on medium the whole time.) Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, a dash of ground cloves (optional), and a dash of ground cinnamon.
I am a buttery-salty popcorn woman and was not sure how this would work out, but it is so good. A quarter teaspoon cayenne sounds like far too much, but it's just barely spicy, as long as you make sure to toss toss toss.
*UPDATE* I served this to Andrew for the first time, and he does not like it (although he did manage to eat his half of the bowl). So there you go. I think it's amazing.