You’ve Just Been Pep-Talked

Start each morning with coffee, yogurt and granola or oatmeal, and this:

 

You won’t be sorry.

 

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Ima Take Your Grandpa’s Style

It’s the number one song on iTunes right now, and the artists are doing the late night circuit, but I swear my sister sent the link to this video to me ages ago. It’s barely scratching the surface to say that we come from a house of thrift and consignment store enthusiasts. Chances are that if you point out any object in the house that you like, it once belonged to someone else. We thrift and we’re proud.

The language in the video gave me pause (mom, he’s just talking about the size of his rooster, promise!), and so I didn’t post it when it might have been “news.” Well, ultimately the slow-mo couch running shot wins out. For that handful of folks who haven’t seen and/or heard it yet, please enjoy (for the camerawork and age and racial diversity, if not the awesome sax riff)…

;

roasting fire

Reader, rejoice!  Destiny’s Child will reunite and release (croon? ooze?) what is sure to be another melismatic album this month.  News good enough to rocket this site from a too-long radio silence?  Probably not.  But maybe if you remix and drop their oldies a few octaves:

 

On the docket for Winter 2013, and upcoming  posts:
Reading: In the Garden of Beasts, Toast, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Watching: The Hour, Henry Ford (he would approve this bit of shameless self-promotion),the Oscar nominees
Eating and cooking: beans, cabbage (sauerkraut or bust!), bundt cake, bread pudding with whiskey sauce (this is winter after all, even if global warming promises that January will average out at 45 degrees), salads that involve celery and parsley
Drinking: a lot less booze than ol’ Freddie and Hector; a lot more tea. This, if we can find it. And we’ve been throwing whole peeled and de-pithed lemons in the juicer with the regular mix which has really amped things up.
Going: ICA; Lake Dunmore, VT; yoga classes; Puritan & Company; and a Bruins game

It’s a thrilling life we lead. We’re sort of like the couple in the Portlandia “Motorcycle” episode, pre-motorcycles. But I like it. Happy New Year!

Snack. Snack. Snack. CRUNCH

Today was rough. But that’s what siblings are for. Because without my sister, I never would have seen this:

 

Her downstairs neighbor who works at a public school in Baltimore said it’s all the rage with the kids across the nation. I don’t know that many kids, so can anyone else weigh in on the veracity of this?

Heck, forget the target age demographic – this should be all the rage everywhere. Forever.  Just like the shelf life of Hot Cheetos and Takis (Takis??). Also, try watching the kid that comes in at 2:46 only once. Impossible. You’re going to repeat that part, and probably the whole thing.

Cranberry Pecan Bread

A good alternative to raiding grocery store shelves for things one may not ordinarily buy in bulk but that are imperative to have on-hand during a weather semi-emergency – bottled water, bagged bread, peanut butter, hot dogs (maybe, maybe not), big clear plastic gallons of milk – is to host a baking marathon. Attendees: the baker, a TV show or movie that requires only intermittent attention to follow the plot line (say, Con Air with commercial breaks, or Burn Notice, or Best in Show — but only if you’ve seen it a few times already), and maybe someone to eat up all the finished products.  Should this storm really ratchet up, I might regret buying pastry flour, sticks of butter, and lemons instead of edible staples. Ice cream somehow found its way into the grocery bag too, so if the power goes out, please join us for a freezer par-tay. All joking aside, with lots of family and friends living up and down the coast, we’re hoping for a quick turnaround and a lesser impact than what is predicted for this storm that just so happens to share my opposite-of-destructive mother’s name.

Thanks to a few episodes of season 3 of Nikita, we’ve got a loaf of pecan and cranberry-studded bread cooling next to a pear and apple crisp that also is…cranberry-studded. Nikita herself probably doesn’t eat anything baked, or anything with fat, salt, or sugar for that matter, but she might be enticed to chow down on a slice of this bread before she heads off to ride motorcycles and karate-chop bad guys. It’s got the texture of a good banana bread with a slightly crunchy top due to a sprinkling of sugar, and the usual blah-blah-blah about how the tartness of the cranberries nicely offsets the sweetness of the bread. They really do, though. As soon as I can get my hands on more fresh cranberries, I’m making this again.

Cranberry Pecan Bread
(Very slightly adapted from Martha Stewards recipe found here)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
12 ounces fresh cranberries (if buying in the store, 1 bag is typically 12 oz.)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for topping (I used regular sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a loaf pan (I use coconut oil spray, but Martha says butter and flour, and she is Martha).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, mix together butter, egg, milk, and extracts. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined, then fold in cranberries and pecans.

Pour batter into your loaf pan; sprinkle top with turbinado sugar if desired.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Transfer pan to a wire rack; let bread cool 30 minutes. Invert onto rack, then immediately turn right side up to cool completely.