Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pre-Party Panic

I'm having a New Year's Day party. There's no backing out now. I think Chad and I started our New Year's Day tradition 10 years ago?? That can't be right. But I think we started it Jan 1, 2000 which would make this year ten but our 11th celebration (someone check my math)!

Each year I seem to invite more and different people depending on where we live and who we're close with. Last year was our first New Year's Day in Sewickley and I have vague memories of inviting people (not tooo many, because I invited too many the year before and swore I wouldn't do that again) and then freaking out in my post Christmas funk, not wanting to cook one more thing, canceling, saying something about unforeseen circumstances......

So this year I decided to really have a Partaayy. I sent out an Evite to a shitload of people. What I didn't plan on was all the fucking kids associated with those adults!! We need to stop breeding. It's out of control. So now I'm panicking just a bit. My latest RSVP count is 48, 24 adults and 24 kids. Yeah, I know. What the fuck was I thinking. You should have seen Chad's face when I told him . . . yesterday. Not to mention 20 maybes, also equally divided.

AND, I've decided to try a new ham recipe! Brilliant, right? Instead of baking and glazing my tried and true ham I am going to roast a fresh ham! It is the biggest ham you have ever seen!! It's like a whole pig's leg or something. Poor piggie. They're as smart as three year olds, you know (new year's resolution!)

I calculated the roasting time based on what I could find online and it was 6 hours! Really??? The last thing I want is to overcook it. Well, maybe the last thing I want is to serve an underdone ham. The Partaayy starts at 1pm. What time do I put the ham in?? Better safe than sorry, right??

It will be fine. I'm counting on people coming and going between 1 and 4 and not staying the entire time. I bought a bunch of crafts today to keep kids (i.e. girls) busy and I have three sitters scheduled to help. I am going to keep the menu simple. Hoppin' John Stew, which I can cook the night before. Cornbread muffins. THE HAM. Spinach Dip. Pizza for kids.

The funniest thing really is seeing Sam & Henry's reaction to my panic. I made a list of all the kids broken out between boys, girls and babies. They just laughed and laughed when they saw how many adults AND kids (boys) were coming. They are now even calling in The Partaayy. Chad is just worried. The boys find it amusing. I am now somewhere in between. My goal is to enjoy myself! I think everything will fall into place after that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lucy & Grandma Ann

My Aunt Jennifer's comment about Lucy's resemblance to my Grandma Ann made me want to go find a picture and compare. Here they are. I think it's the eyes and the cheeks.

Sparkle Sponge

This may not be the most absorbent sponge I've ever used but it's the only one that actually makes me want to clean. I just love it! It sits next to my kitchen sink just begging to be picked up and used to make my kitchen sparkle!

I bought a butt load of them so I will never run out and will always have a clean one! The picture does not do it justice. It is much sparklier in person. Kind of like yours truly.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First Snow

It's fucking freezing outside. Literally. I'm grumpy because Lucy was up at 6am for the third day in a row. I know someday I'll be able to sleep in as long as I want and instead I'll be getting up at 5am like Yaya. But today it's Saturday and I'd rather be in bed.

Despite my grumpiness, I have to admit it's lovely to wake up to our first snowfall. Too sweet to see the excitment on Lucy's face. Somewhat annoying that she wants to go make snow angels before it's fully light outside. Even more annoying that she wants me to go out too and keeps opening the g*damn door to ask.

Maybe Yaya's bah humbug attitude is catching. I don't feel like wrapping. I don't feel like cooking a big Christmas dinner. I don't feel like roasting chestnuts over an open fire. I don't feel like cleaning up dog shit which will surely appear because they dont want to go out in the snow. I do feel like getting the hell out of here and going shopping and perhaps getting snowed in while I'm at Target. Hmmmmmmm . . . .

Friday, December 18, 2009


Check this out. Looks so cute and a great topic for discussion . . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookie Exchange

And the winner is . . . . me, of course! I am the self proclaimed winner of this year's cookie exchange.

Here's the recipe for Sarah's Famous Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (3 tsp of vanilla extract can also be used)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder such as Hershey's Special Dark

note: regular cocoa could also be used but then they would no longer be Sarah's Famous Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies they would be your 'regular ol' I'm too lazy to go to the store and get dark cocoa cookies'.
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons sea salt
48 chocolate covered caramel candies such as ROLO

Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla bean paste. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Cover and chill at least 2 hrs.

Preheat over to 375 degrees

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed. Divide each part into 12 pieces. Press each piece of dough around ROLO and roll into a ball. Dip the tops gently in the sugar/sea salt mixture. Place sugar/salt side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 minutes in preheated oven, rotating pan halfway at 4 minutes. When you take them from the oven there may be a lump from the ROLO. If so, gently tap it down with the back of a spoon. Let cool on baking sheet for at least 4 minutes, preferably longer, so the carmel doesn't come out of the bottom! If you do notice caramel coming out of the bottom when you take them off of the cookie sheet just flip them over, pat the caramel down and let them finish cooling upide down.

NOTES: I used vanilla bean paste but I think it may have been been a waste. The paste might be better suited to a vanilla cookie where you get to appreciate the specs of vanilla bean.

Also, I don't know how many dozen it took me to figure this out but the cookies baked on a dark, non-stick Air Bake cookie sheet came out much better than the ones cooked on a light, non-stick Wilton air bake cookie sheet. The majority of the cookies cooked on the light pan had the caramel come through the bottom. It was fine once cooled but not as pretty. The majority of cookies cooked on the dark pan did not have the caramel come through the bottom. Any ideas on why???