Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Best Weekend

(This post should have been written on Monday. When it was fresh. But I didn’t do that because I didn’t feel like it, so I hope you don’t mind its tardiness. If you do, you don’t have to read it. But you should because there is lots of yummy food and I even remembered to take pictures.)

This past weekend, Julia FINALLY had some days off. And I don’t mean like… days off since last week, when she had days off like you do. I mean days off like damn, she opened two completely different show full of costumes she designed and made which opened within a month of each other, and for which she had to leave the show she had been running 8 shows a week on, including Saturdays & Sundays when we ordinarily see each other, which started in March(?). I mean days off as in I haven’t had a whole day off with my wife in at least three months. That kind of days off.

So we lazed around the house in our pajamas all weekend long doing nothing.

What I learned this weekend is that unlike three or four years ago when “doing nothing” meant ordering pizza, making pancakes from a just-add-water mix, and otherwise not really leaving the couch, “doing nothing” now apparently means mostly that, but instead of take out, we cook a lot of nice things…

Crispy Fish with Tomato, Corn, and Leek Sauté
Tuscan Lamb with Garlicky Tomato Sauce and Polenta

… and sometimes after consuming a bottle of wine, we decide we really want dessert so we might as well whip up a chocolate soufflé…

how to melt chocolate while drunk.
how to beat egg whites while drunk.

how to do a really half-assed job of folding beaten egg whites into melted chocolate… while drunk.

… and while it’s baking we have just enough time to do the dishes and change the sheets, and fight about how to make the bed properly and realize what a stupid fight we are having and make up just before the timer beeps, and then there is this:

how to eat a chocolate souffé while drunk? two spoons.

And lest you think that’s the laziest we get, a Sunday morning of “doing nothing” meant figuring out a new household budget, and then taking our pre-approved weekly amount to the farmers’ market so we could buy up a bunch of veggies and fresh cream and grass-fed bacon.

Eggs over Arugula-Mustard Salad with Fresh Bacon

Which became a delicious breakfast and then later, we made our favorite flavor of ice cream – strawberry basil – with all organic fresh from the market ingredients. Which is not pictured because I was eating it. Sorry.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Welcome APW Readers!

Just a quick post to say hello to the awesome ladies (& gents?) popping over from A Practical Wedding today. Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Thought you might enjoy a brief summary of us and our blog.

Julia and I are theatre people. We both have lengthy backgrounds in stage management, and in more recent years we’ve also branched out into costuming. We met in 2006 at an opening night party for a show I was working on, became inseparable despite the fact that Julia started dating someone else, and eventually after relentless pursuit on my part, she realized what I already knew: that we were perfect for each other.

Julia and I got married just about a year ago and because we are crazy we didn’t like the options we could afford, we decided to make our dresses, the cake, and do all the invitation and website design ourselves. And I wrote our ceremony from scratch with a little help from a great writer and equally excellent friend. (If you all want I can post the ceremony text. A chunk of it is on APW this morning. Which is maybe why you’re here. But I digress…) It was awesome.

Around the time we were planning our wedding, we’d made an effort to start eating better and cooking more exciting food, so once the wedding madness was over, we started this blog to document our first year of marriage via the yummy things we were cooking and eating. You can read the very first post here.

Shortly thereafter, we decided to put our sewing and other creative skills to use and we started figuring out how to start a business doing the things we love. And thus, crafty broads was born. We are still figuring out exactly what we want to do, but for now we are focusing on custom clothing and corsets, and putting our stage management skills to good use offering sane wedding management. If you decide to check that link out, be warned: I haven’t finishes the website yet.

That’s enough rambling for today. Please poke around, stay for a while, comment if you feel so inclined, and have a great PRIDE week!

Inertia and Making it a Habit

I mentioned the other day that I had a lot more to say on this topic, so here goes. Obviously this is my point-of-view, maybe you all are much better at self-discipline than I am, but then again, maybe not.

It seems to me that the obstacle to EVERYTHING is inertia. (Sometimes known as procrastination.) You think to yourself: I will eat better, I will exercise more, I will actually sweep and mop the floors once in a blue moon so that I’m not secretly embarrassed when we have people over. Good intentions, these.

BUT.

If you follow that up with “And I will start it first thing tomorrow!” – you never will. You have to do it now, or never. If you don’t start when you have the mental energy, you will never find the physical energy. I don’t have any advice on overcoming this, really, other than to say: just start. Start with something small, because once you get going that same law of physics applies – objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

For us, we started trying to eat better and the thing that helped us was signing up for fresh organic produce delivery every other week. [Chicago folks, we used Fresh Picks, and they are pretty awesome.] That forced us to eat more veggies in the first place, and also to try things we’d really never eaten before. Kale, swiss chard, parsnips, sunchokes. All delicious. Eventually, that morphed into more regular trips to the farmers’ market, eating less meat and more fish, spending more to get our animal products from farms who raise them humanely without hormones and antibiotics, and planning our meals. And as you may know, that (and our wedding) kind of led to this blog’s existence.

The same idea has, of late, helped me to get better about chores around the house. Because before, aside from laundry, half of the dishes, (wo)manning the grill, and cake/pastry making,* Julia did the bulk of the chores and I was not a very good partner in that regard. I sucked, if we’re being honest. I found I needed a system, a set schedule with deadlines to get things done. I’m using an app (Remember the Milk) on my iPhone (it can also be used via web/email), and I know it sounds lame, but when I see that stupid little red circle with the number of chores that are due, I’m motivated to do them in order to make that alert go away! To each his/her own, I suppose. My point being that it is, apparently, possible to turn into a person who does chores regularly (and consequently, a person who gets to sleep on pretty clean sheets and walk barefoot on the floor without turning her feet black) – you just need a system that works for you.

The kicker? Once everything is clean, I get annoyed much faster when it’s not and am developing an impulse to restore it to order immediately. I’m pretty sure Julia loves me more now that she doesn’t have to do everything.**

So. How do you deal with all the stupid stuff you have to get done so that you and your home are presentable?


*Yeah. I know that is not really a chore. Also, when I say laundry, I mean I put it through the washer and dryer and then bitched and moaned about how much I hate folding and putting it away, and then Julia probably folded and put it away.

**But we still need to resolve where to put dirty dishes when there is no more room in the dishwasher or it is full of clean ones. And yeah, I know that second situation is easily solved by putting the clean ones away… but you know… I’m sitting on the couch, typing this post… inertia.

By Request: Crispy Ginger Lime Chicken Thighs

So yesterday, I begrudgingly made dinner even though I really didn’t feel like it. I was grumpy (maybe because I was tired and hungry?) and I had no desire to chop or even turn the oven on. But. I was hungry and so was Julia and she’s in tech again this week (seemingly, every week, lately) which left me no choice but to suck it up and cook.

[I think there is an extent to which cooking, much like exercise or chores or anything really, is all about fighting inertia and getting into a habit. Ok, I just realized I have a lot more to say about this topic, so I’m gonna table it for now and get back to the chicken.]

I wasn’t gonna post on this dish, but I mentioned it on twitter and Ms. Bunny asked for a serving, but since she lives far away and cannot possibly come over tonight, I decided to make the recipe available on the blog instead. So you can all eat it, no matter how far away you live. And some of you live very, very far. (According to my stats – India & Singapore? Really? Who are you and how did you find my little corner of the internet?)

Now, get ready to wipe up some drool, because here is what I made:

Ok, I know, it doesn’t look that great in this picture, but that’s because I gobbled the pretty one up before I decided to blog about it and this is the leftovers packed up for lunch tomorrow. Best I can do. Anyway, it tasted great and it’s super easy to make. Takes maybe 30 minutes start to finish. I served it with couscous and a mixed green salad (not pictured) but you can eat whatever you like with it.

You can go get the recipe over at Martha Stewart. She’s got a better picture anyway.

My Favorite Healthy Substitution

Today I am super excited to share one of my favorite tips with you! You will save money and fridge space and your food will be healthier. And it will taste just as good as you imagined it

You know all those things, like chicken salad and tacos and every chip dip under the sun and chili and casseroles that require either sour cream or mayonnaise, which you don’t really want to use because they are not so good for you and/or you use either one so infrequently that it goes bad in your fridge before you use it all up? Well, here is the secret:

GREEK YOGURT.

Whenever you are looking for that creamy tang of mayo or sour cream, just use yogurt instead. It’s really really good. And you can buy low- or no-fat if you’re watching calories, and still enjoy your favorite comfort foods.

We made this potato salad using Greek yogurt and it was delicious. I’m pretty picky about my potato salad, and I really enjoyed this one. The recipe paired it with mustard-broiled salmon. I have to admit I had my doubts about that, because I am generally not a big fan of mustard. However, I love love love salmon. Do you guys love salmon as much as I do? Baked, broiled, raw in sushi… this buttery pink fish is always a welcome guest in my digestive system. I will pretty much give any recipe that contains it a try.

You guys. This was a really tasty dish, all around. The mustard paired really well with the salmon. The potato salad was yummy. The end.

Here’s the recipe:
Mustard-Broiled Salmon with
New Potato Salad
(adapted from Real Simple)

You need:
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes (I used half red and half white)
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons, but who’s measuring?)
1 small fennel bulb
4 6oz. salmon fillets
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh dill
salt and pepper

1. Adjust your top oven rack to be about 6″ away from the broiler and turn it on. (High if you have the option.)

2. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover them with cold water; bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water and then cut into quarters.

3. Combine yogurt, half of the lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a bowl. Stir in the potatoes and fennel.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, and put the fillets on it. Combine the mustard and remaining lemon juice in a small bowl and spread over the salmon. Broil 6 to 8 minutes, until the fish is opaque and cooked all the way through. Garnish with the dill and serve.

Et, voila!

This Barely Qualifies as a Post.

Before I write my lame paragraph about why I haven’t posted, quick, do one thing for me, ok? Post a comment and tell me why you read this blog. I have no idea who my audience is or what you want to hear. (more recipes? more rambling? both?) and I need your help. So please. Go now. I’ll wait.

Seriously. You went and commented, right? Right??? (You guys know google stats tells me how many people read this post, don’t you? I’ll know if you didn’t. I won’t know who you are, per se, but I’ll know. And more importantly – you will. I promise I’ll never try to force you to comment again, ok?) Good. Carry on.

I know! It’s been a week. I have pictures of something yummy on my camera to share with you as soon as I can muster up the energy to upload them here and then write about it. It was a busy week, wherein I madly wrote and edited and got other people to edit a blog post and went through 1100+ wedding pictures to put into said post about our wedding which will appear next week over at A Practical Wedding. I finished that late Thursday night and then dashed out of town for a quick weekend visit to St. Louis, which entailed a surprise 60th birthday party (hi, mom) and an equally short visit with my best friend (‘sup yo?) and I was also trying to get at least a basic draft of our crafty broads website up (obviously not done yet if you clicked that link)… so no post happened over the weekend either.

But tomorrow? Tomorrow I’m done work at noon. I suppose I could manage to throw some pictures up here and blabber on about them. And you? You can comment again tomorrow, if you like.

My Dad’s Lasagna

I promised I’d be forthcoming with this recipe when I got around to making it, so here’s last night’s lasagna. It’s pretty easy actually. The hardest part is making the sauce; everything else is just stirring and layering and waiting. You can see my yummy sauce recipe here.

Besides stuff for the sauce, you will need:
1/2 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage (goes in the sauce)
1 lb. box of lasagna (which will actually be a few noodles more than you need for no good reason)
2 eggs
15 oz. ricotta cheese
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (pre-shredded is fine, but for the love do not use the dry kind that comes in a green plastic jar and isn’t in the refrigerated section of the store.)

 1. Make the sauce. Once you’ve started it simmering, brown the ground beef or sausage in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through and add to the sauce. It’s best if you let it simmer for a few hours so the meaty flavor gets into the sauce and vice versa.

2. When the sauce is getting close to done, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cook the lasagna according to the directions on the box. I like to drizzle a bit of olive oil into the boiling water before adding the pasta to keep it from sticking to itself or the pan. Once cooked, drain the noodles. 

3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the ricotta, parmesan, and three cups of the mozzarella cheese.

4. On to the layering! Start with four noodles on the bottom of the pan, overlapping each other so there is no gap. Spread on 1/3 of the cheesy egg goo and 1/4 of the sauce. Repeat two more times.

5. Place one more layer of noodles and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the last cup of mozzarella cheese evenly over the top. Cover with foil and bake 55 minutes.

6. Remove foil and bake 5-10 minutes more, until cheese is completely melted and golden brown. (Uh, it’s not in the picture and that’s because we were too hungry to wait for golden cheese. Sorry. But you should!)

Enjoy!

Not on the Menu: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Remember in my meal planning post how I said you have to leave some room for flexibility, and sometimes you don’t stick to your plan entirely? Here’s an example of how that happens.

On Wednesday when I got to work, the baby had a very runny nose. On Thursday, both of her parents and I woke up with sore throats, and the poor little kiddo was all congested and cranky. I knew I needed to stop in the grocery store on the way home to get stuff for the lasagna I plan to make at some point over the weekend, and on a whim I also decided soup would be a good idea to combat this cold. Also, the other day Julia and were talking about how I’d somehow gotten to through nearly thirty years of life without ever having the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo. So I did a quick search on Epicurious and got this tomato soup recipe before I shopped, and last night we had a pretty tasty (and easy) dinner.

I followed a recipe without making too many adjustments, and, well, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. [I added an extra can of tomatoes and extra celery.] It was a yummy soup, but it was lacking in pure tomato flavor. If I make it again, I might try a different recipe all together, or leave out the cloves and the extra celery and possibly the milk.

The grilled cheese, on the other hand? Stellar. I used seedless rye bread and sharp cheddar cheese, and in an effort to sort of recreate the amazing one we had at Sprout, I added thinly sliced granny smith apple and caramelized shallots. It was superb, if I do say so myself. [And clearly I do, because here I am, saying it.]

Happy weekend, please go grill some cheese of your own.

Tru

Hi friends! Today we have a special treat. Perhaps you remember the other day, when I was babysitting so Keely and her husband P.J. could go out for a fancy birthday dinner? Maybe you recall that they went to Tru? Which I have heard nothing but lovely things about and desperately want to check out? (As soon as I win the lottery…?)

Well. Keely is taking a break from her lollygagging today to tell us about all the lovely things they ate. Please go get a napkin or something to catch the impending drool, and then read on.

The other night, I had the completely overwhelming thrill of dining at Tru. (For the second time, mind you. The whelm has not yet ceased.)
We do not often indulge in four hundred dollar meals – not on a Sunday, at least. However we were in the possession of – as we also were when we last dined there – a few American Express gift cards racked up from copious overspending at places like Cermak Produce and Target. (My husband P.J. and I have decided that this is the best use of our AmEx points, as airline travel remains too pricey and I already own more Hammacher Schlemmer than anyone really needs.)
Plus, it was my birthday. And nothing says the big 3-1 like dining at one of the nation’s top restaurants. 
We were seated at 8pm and, for the parents of a toddler, felt very grown up indeed. We were immediately presented with our choice of napkin. (That’s right, a color choice. From a tray.) Even though this wasn’t my first rodeo, I choked and chose a white napkin. Even though my dress was black. Thankfully, no fibers embarrassed me.
I treated myself to a glass of absolutely stellar Riesling (did I mention that I’m five months and change pregnant? Judge not. For it really was a good glass of wine). P.J. had the same. At this point we were simply stoked to be sitting at a quiet table and not dicing anyone’s food.
And then they brought us each a fluffy little puff of baked cheese. Just ‘cause. And it was good.
Moments later we were presented with an amuse-bouche (literally translated to: say that with a straight face) of cucumber lemongrass gelee with a decadent soup surrounding it. [Cindy’s Note: actually it literally means “amuse the mouth” and is intended to be a pre-meal palate tease of the snooty French variety.] I love to start my supper with a shot glass- always have. Also, “cucumber” was the word of the day at Tru. (When I informed my sister of this, she asked if I had to yell every time something was brought over, a la Pee Wee’s Playhouse. No.)
Then the bread course! We had our choice between pumpernickel, challah, something really puffy (I’m such a stickler for details) and asiago flatbreads. So we took one of each. Here’s an example of how good the bread was: when we had finished our various carbs, P.J. began picking up crumbs from the tablecloth, one by one. I reminded him that the servers carried table scrapers for that express purpose. He held up a breadcrumb and told me that he wanted to put them in his pocket. 
We decided on the three course prix fixe option (and my menu even had ‘Happy Birthday, Keely’ artfully faded behind that evening’s selections). [Cindy’s Note: True story. I saw it. It was lovely. And I said hey should have asked the chef to autograph it.] Here is what I chose: duck confit and foie gras ravioli in some sort of awesomesauce reduction, Maine lobster with madras curry and roasted cauliflower, and a passion fruit mousse with lime, coconut, and dark chocolate. And here is what P.J. ordered: bay scallops on organic polenta with truffles and bacon, the prime beef ribeye with foie gras and wild mushrooms, and an apple beignet with vanilla ice cream.
I realize we had more than our fair share of foie gras. I have guilt over this. I do. Not a lot, but enough.
The appetizers were really, really good. We didn’t speak a word until they were finished, other than, “Oh, did you want a bite?”
My lobster came on a plate with built-in waves. (I really dig that kind of synchronicity.) The roasted cauliflower came on a bed of pureed cauliflower- and while I’m not usually a huge puree kinda gal (again, we have a little kid and she’s the captain of that ship), I wanted to suck it down with a straw. P.J.’s prime rib and foie gras were incredibly tender, but the surprise standout of that meal was the whipped pudding-like potato with curls of saffron. He said it was the ultimate comfort food times a thousand. I said it felt like my mouth was getting a hug. 
At the end of the first two courses, we were given a teensy cup of cucumber (ah!!!) foam with vanilla and most likely eight other pivotal ingredients that enhanced the cuke. But all I could remember to type is cucumber and vanilla. (I am not their target demographic.) 
Then the mousse came. And it was…exactly as awesome as you’d expect something with those ingredients to be. P.J.’s beignet was light as air, covered a slice of tart green apple, and accompanied by a dish of churned vanilla bean ice cream. We were happy campers.
Then they surprised me with the cutest and bitsiest individual confetti cake I’d ever seen, with a birthday frosting greeting swirled on the plate. (And I never know what to do with the dessert-y words. It seems wrong to mash it up, but it’s downright sinful to leave anything on a dessert plate. So I licked it. Kidding. Kind of.)
And of course, once we had finished our individual bites of heaven, a cart appeared at our table. We were offered little plates of truffles, bon bons and tiny pastel pastries – as many as we wanted. (They SAID.) I chose a rose petal macaroon, a blackberry jam truffle, and a dollop of light lemon meringue custard in a dark chocolate shell. P.J. chose the same, minus the rose, plus a small rum cake. (I called him an old man. But to be fair, it was really good. Obviously.) I think our favorite were the lemon ones, but we certainly weren’t going to kick the other ones off the table anytime soon.
We enjoyed these with a fruity sunset tea and a cappuccino, respectively, and marveled at how much we were able to put away. Also how long we were able to sit nicely at a table without running around the kitchen for various things. 
Our meal ended with a last truffle apiece – dark chocolate with gold leaf, filled with a chilled bitter almond cream. [Cindy’s Note: It’s entirely unfair that I have to read about this concoction without having one available to me for the eating. Someone please remedy this, STAT.] We were advised to take it in one bite, or it would explode into a puddle of uselessness. (My words, not his.) However, despite how gently I [thought I] picked it up, mine cracked and threatened to spill all over the table, my teacup, and my pregnant belly. So I did what any rational diner would do: I shoved it into my mouth and immediately drank the filling from the saucer. And stole P.J.’s spoon to slurp up the rest from the truffle plate. Graceful.
As we exited Tru, we were each handed a small cherry sponge cake wrapped in foil for a take home treat.
I love this place.
I also love the two married ladies who pinch hit babysat for our kiddo that evening and facilitated one of the best meals I’ll ever consume. What say we meet up there for the next big decadent event? [Cindy’s Note: YES!]
Just lemme score some more AmEx points, first. [Cindy’s Note: See above, re: lottery winning.]
 
Thanks Keely! People, if you enjoyed this post, you will LOVE hearing from Keely three(ish) times a week over at the Lollygag Blog. So please go visit and then come back here. Preferably bearing truffles.

Wherein Regular Life Feels Like Tech

A note to any non-theatre folks who may be reading this: Tech is the week or so right before a show opens, when rehearsal moves from a room with tape on the floor to the actual set on in the theatre; rehearsal props are exchanged for real props; street clothes are tossed for costumes and makeup; fluorescent lights are traded for blackouts and bright, hot lights; sound effects are queued up; and the dancing in the dark that takes place off and on stage between and during scenes is choreographed. It sounds magical and poetic (and it is, once it all comes together) but the journey there is not an easy one. Technicians come in early and stay late; actors play bits of scenes over and over again to get the timing just right; directors and designers tweak every little detail to fit their collective image of the perfect show. It’s a week or so of long (12+ hour) days, little sleep, few breaks, and lots of hard work. In short, it’s exhausting. Which is why it is always followed with a party (booze: required) and if you’re lucky enough to not also have a day job, you may even get the whole next day off to recover.

Sometimes, my actual life outside the theatre gets all crazy busy and feels like a tech week and I just cannot wait until all the things are done and I can sit on my ass for five minutes without feeling like I’m falling behind. This was one of those weeks for both of us. If you are not interested in the minutiae or my rambling, you should just skip right to the recipe. For everyone else, here’s how the week went down:

For starters, Julia’s show, The Chicago Landmark Project, opened last night. So she was super busy all week long working on costumes for that. I think I might have seen her on Tuesday night for about seven minutes. Secondly, I’d volunteered to host this month’s A Practical Wedding book club on Saturday, and for some reason I decided it was imperative that I finish reupholstering some chairs before the event. And also that our condo needed to be spotless. (Which means, in addition to the usual upkeep, things like mopping floors and beating rugs which haven’t been done in a long, long time need to be dealt with.) And that I should plan at least one fabulous appetizer (see below) and maybe make a cake. Oh yeah, and I had to finish reading the book… (You guys know I’m an over-achiever, especially when it comes to hostessing, right?)

So after work every night I was frantically pulling out old staples, sewing piping, and inhaling many years of dust and cat hair. Which is fine, because I’m usually home by 7pm and I planned quick meals, and on Tuesdays I get off work early, so of course I’d have plenty of time to make pretty chairs and deep clean the place before Saturday. At some point during the week, we were invited to a party on Sunday afternoon by a friend we hadn’t seen in a long, long time and decided we could squeeze that into our upcoming weekend. And at some other point later in the week, Keely texted me that her babysitter was sick and she had reservations at Tru for her birthday dinner and could I possibly babysit on Sunday night? And though I was pretty sure all I’d want to do come Sunday night was sit on the couch in my jammies and watch TV, I was also pretty sure that it would be cruel and bad-friend behavior to say no unless I actually had a prior commitment, and I could watch TV my jammies at their place while the baby slept anyway, right? Because – Tru! And her BIRTHDAY! And have I told you how much time she spent helping me write and edit our wedding ceremony? Come on! Only a terrible friend would not help out. So. The week got a little busier but was still totally manageable.

On Tuesday, I was planning to do the grocery shopping and then come home and slow cook some spare ribs after work, since the baby’s grandma comes to take over at noon. But at 9am she called in sick, so I ended up having to work the whole day. Luckily, Julia had a little time, so she got the shopping done, but I still had about five pounds of ribs that had been soaking up dry rub overnight and needed to be cooked. So… I started those at about 5:30pm when I got home and finally consumed my super failure of a dinner around 10:30pm. Wednesday passed without incident. On Thursday, I got stuck late at work again, and didn’t even get home until 9pm, after which I had to make dinner and was so tired from all the getting things done that I didn’t do any work on the chairs or the cleaning and I really felt bad about that, and then, holy crap, it was Friday already.

So I stayed up until 3am finishing the reupholstery project, decided I would clean in the morning, and set my alarm for 9am but woke up at 8am anyway. And then I cleaned and re-arranged furniture so there’d be enough seating and baked some currant scones which were still in the oven when the first person showed up but it was all ok and really fun in spite of my crazyness. And everyone brought food, which you can see pictures of over on photographer Christy Tyler’s blog. (See? This post is totally on topic.) And then I got all pretty and went to Julia’s opening, which was great awesome, though I admit I was entering a sleepy haze towards the end, after which I drank a cup of black coffee and a coke so I could stay awake for the party after which the thought of 45 min on public transit to get home slayed me so we got in a cab and promptly crumpled into a giant heap of tired on the bed.

And we slept until 11am.

Did you read that? Friends, I cannot remember the last time I slept that late. My internal clock has been set to “I work at 7:30am so I wake up at the butt crack of dawn, even on the weekends” for several years now. I am nearly always awake by 8:30am on days off, and I’m often up even earlier. ELEVEN A.M. And we blew off the party (sorry Kasey, we will totally make it up to you) and then we watched TV at Keely & PJ’s while the baby slept and got bonus hangout time with them afterwards and it all turned out ok. The end.

Anyway, on to the food… besides scones, I made one of my go-to appetizers for when I’m short on time or just feeling lazy. It’s easy, fast, delicious, and elegant. And tastes really good, obviously. So here you go!

What You Need:
1 wedge of Brie
3-4 big spoonfuls of fruit preserves (I like peach or apricot)
A handful of chopped or slivered almonds
A box of crackers (I like Carr’s Table Water Crackers, or the store brand of same)

1. Put the wedge of Brie on a microwave-safe fancy serving dish. Top with the fruit preserves.
2. Microwave for about 90 seconds.
3. Sprinkle with almonds.
4. Serve with crackers.

Seriously, could it get any easier? It’s exactly what you need during tech, theatrical or otherwise. You’re welcome.