Danish Braiding

Daring Bakers

What we have here are the beginnings of a housewife (gasp!) courtesy, in part, to the Daring Bakers.

It must be a nesting instinct, this desire of late to organize, learn to knit, and bake from scratch.   Not to say this desire always comes with impetus mind you, but that’s why I joined the DB’ers in the first place.  The monthly baking challenge feels like a delicious obligation.

This month’s challenge was for Danish Braid and I was happy to oblige: 

Danish Braid

Which isn’t to say things went off without a hitch.  Did I even know what laminated dough was when Ben and Kelly hosted such a thing this month?  Um, no.  I’d never worked with any kind of dough, period.

Which is maybe why my piece of rolled dough looked more like the Blob than an actual rectangle.  Or why my cardamom replacement (cinnamon and nutmeg) played hostile flavor takeover.  Is the braid supposed to be this bready?  I wouldn’t know.  When you fold the butter in and unfold out after the fridge, should the dough stick madly to itself like Ralphie’s tongue to a pole a la A Christmas Story?  Probably not. 

And yet…and yet.  Even though it looked like there was hardly any dough to work with in the first place (having halved the recipe from the get go) and even though it never proofed like it should have and though, I’ll admit, I patched holes in the braid with leftover non-rectangular dough, in fear that my delicious guava and cheese filling would seep out and put me over the edge, this braid was damn good ladies and gentlemen: damn good.  Next time, it may be out of this world.

Danish Braid Inside


Maybe what we taste is tied to our hearts after all.  Last month, during the miscarriage, the Opera cake seemed like an overly sweet apology that could never make amends.  This month, working leftover dough resulted in a tiny piece of heaven:

Tiny Croissant

Let’s hope it is prophetic. 🙂



My dear Craig:

How sad you were last Friday to see there was no “letter to my husband!”  But you fox you.  You’ve taken to expect them regularly on Fridays now — haven’t you? — and it’s only a strange treat if you read any other day’s post (but how I loved your comment this past week!).

The thing is you were gone most day Friday and upon your absence one of two things happen.  I either finally get some work done because we’re not otherwise having a ball or I mope and watch TV for countless hours waiting for you to come home. 

This is the sort of behavior people find repulsive in other couples.  But in us, this is adorable, no? 

There are couples who would drive each other crazy were they in each other’s presence all day each day.  We are not these people.  We dream of winning the lottery not for the money itself — though it would be nice, yes, very nice — but because it would mean never having to go to work leaving the other behind. 

(Wow, from the outside looking in, I’ll admit we’re sounding saccharine myself).

But there wasn’t anything I could have told you last week that I can’t tell you today, too.  Like about being thankful for all you do for me.  Like sitting through marathons of Jon and Kate Plus Eight.  Like the mean frozen pizza you bake when I can’t think of a thing for dinner.  Your psuedo-Vulcan mind melds to ease the pressure in my head.  How you organized the mess that was the man room.  How you fill my water sippy bottle so I don’t forget to drink.

My cup runneth over. 

Forever and ever,


What Ails Me

My head is not my friend. My nose is not my friend. They work alone and more often in tandem, wreaking havoc with monster migraines and stuffy sinuses.  Bitches.

Aleve and Imitrex have been my saviors, but since it’s time to conceive, I must bid them adieu.  Cry.  (The Topomax I took to control the migraines?  I gave it the boot months ago.  Not sure it was doing much anyway, other than contributing to ten pounds of weight loss.  Thanks a lot).

So I guess I’m only left with “natural remedies.”  This week, I’m giving a neti pot a try.  Because there’s nothing more natural than pouring salt and water in one nostril and watching it come out the other.

Neti Pot

I don’t know that I’m ready to give it a whole-hearted seal of approval, but I’ll admit I felt my nasal passages open a bit after yesterday’s go. (And any little relief is welcomed.  My left nostril was so clogged, I poured forever before any water could even break through.  Yeah, that bad).  Of course, the whole thing also felt super F U N K Y, so it’s touch and go for now. But hey, if it’s the only thing I’ve got, I’ll give it a whirl.

I could have sworn that those few weeks I was pregnant, I felt better, as far as head and nose go.  A girl can dream.  If so, the cure to my pains may just be nine pregger months.  Well, except for the nausea, the constant peeing, feeling hot all the time,….

9 Weeks

I really must remember to unenroll myself from the weekly Baby Center emails…

There I was happy as could be with the thought of starting over when my inbox surprised me with “My Pregnancy at 9 Weeks:” 

Baby Center

Sigh. I didn’t really want to know that my lost baby would have been forming teeth this week or that the sex organs would be developing, even if still not distinguishable.  In another 9 weeks, we’d have known what sex for sure.  And although most days I go on with my life, this thought today completely depresses me.

I already spend enough time postulating girl or boy, girl or boy?  Either would be wonderful.  I now just have to wait 20 weeks to find out, if we’re lucky.  Pray this month is a good one.  The waiting is murder.


Well, I never thought I’d celebrate menstruation, but I guess life is full of surprises.

Oh yeah, shake your booty! Old girl Flo is here and you know what that means: a new cycle and a new window of opportunity.  God bless the body.  Just slightly over my average 28 days, and after a miscarriage and all.

Give us a ten to fourteen days and baby-making here we come!

The Day the Circus Left Town

So while we’re on the subject of not putting hamburger in our mouths…

The other elephant in the room? The circus.

(Image via flickr: click image for more info)

I’m talking old-fashioned circus fare, what with a hundred clowns climbing out of a Volkswagen and, less funny, elephants on parade. Now I’ll admit to, in the past, having put some dollars in the Ringling Brothers’ pockets. I took my younger siblings to the circus once. I’ve visited the Ringling museum in Sarasota. I live in Florida after all. Museum options are limited. And truth be told, I enjoyed both.

But the more I talk to Craig about it, and the more I read, the more I learn the circus just ain’t cool.  I guess it’s like what I’ve heard Oprah say: “when you know better, you do better.”

Reading about how circuses keep elephants in chains for up to 20 hours a day has made so uncomfortable, I can’t even bring myself to love this otherwise adorable nursery bedding.  Because that’s a tent, right?  And I don’t think you find those in an elephant’s natural habitat.  I can’t imagine the balloons are good for them either. 

Popular family entertainment: it’s a landmine. Forget zoos. Or movies with chimps. Even Cirque du Soleil is questionable now, PETA tells me.  But I’d like to raise an empathetic caring child who lives a conscious life .  That means I have to, too.

So I’ll start with this PETA petition.  Read all about it:


Eat Your Veggies

To eat meat or not to eat meat: that is the question, and I’m not the only one asking.  The issue seems to be all over television (Oprah goes on 21 day cleanse!) and the blogosphere (blog titan Dooce giving the cleanse a go, too).

I admit it’s on our minds as well, and I hope not just because the topic is so much in the air.  At my mother-in-law’s one past Sunday I took one look at Craig’s miserable face as he picked at his piece of chicken (bone in) and just outright blurted: “Maybe it’s time to give up meat.”  And guess what?  He didn’t say no.

Craig’s father is a devoted — and I mean devoted — vegan. Sufice it to say that the man hasn’t just saved a steak from his table: he has saved entire cows.  They live with him now and play games on his farm.  No joke.  And though neither of his sons has started an animal sanctuary of their own yet, it wouldn’t surprise me if kindness toward animals turned out to be genetic.  My brother-in-law takes in strays.  My husband would, aside from me I like to think, choose animals over people any day of the week.  I do not exaggerate.

So why are we still eating meat?  It’s easy to, me thinks.  It’s everywhere.  It’s relatively inexpensive.  And unlike the animals, we’re human.  We’re selfish.

Plus there’s the whole trying to have a baby thing.  Only a few pages of my new reading material talk about the vegetarian mom-to-be: 

Eating Well When You\'re Expecting

I know it can be done, but getting enough protein and iron will take some imagination.  How creative will I be when my head is down a toilet?  

Maybe it’s the kind of thing we could take on one day at a time.  Kick the chicken habit one day.  Red meat the next.  The outright vegan thing?  I’ll admit, I don’t see that happening…I mean, cheese, how will I ever forsake thee?  Hats off to those that do, hats off.

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