Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Progress Check

Tree progress?

Um, yeah.  Still bare.

I have a good excuse, though.  I'm lazy baking.

Since tomorrow is December 1st, and, in my opinion, the start of 'baking month,' I thought I'd make some tasty cookies for Craig's co workers.

First up, my favorite double chocolate chunk cookies.

But this time, in the spirit of Christmas baking season, I'm using these dark chocolate/mint morsels in lieu of the chocolate chunks.

How festive.

Next up:  Snickerdoodles.  My ultimate favorite Christmas cookie.

The two cookie doughs are chilling and I'll bake them up shortly.  In an effort to not clog Craig's co worker's arteries too heavily or cause their blood sugar to sky rocket into diabetic territories, I've picked out two baking recipes to bake each week until Christmas.  Just enough to keep them smiling, but not enough to kill anyone.  If I had it my way, I'd bake something each day.  You just can't beat the aroma of baking holiday goodies; it just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, even when you're the type of person least likely to be described as warm and fuzzy.

I realize having two baked goods per week is still overkill, but the time I have left to bake for such a thankful and receptive audience is dwindling, so I've got to take advantage of it while I can.  I'll explain why my baking days are numbered shortly, but don't worry, it's nothing tragic like a broken Kitchen Aid mixer, or anything.  Once our ducks are in a row and things are more official I 'splain it to you. 

Oooh, how ominous.   ;)

Okay, time to bake. 

And decorate my tree?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making Progress

And by progress, I mean I dragged my monster of a tree from the garage, into the house and up the stairs.  I started to fluff all the branches, but I got kind of bored and gave up.  It's a tedious task; I'll get back to it later. 

Next up, I have to actually put the ornaments on the tree.  Most people find this an enjoyable activity, but I find it stressful.  Isn't that kind of sad?  Christmas tree and stress are two words that do not belong in the same sentence.  The trouble is that I'm a total perfectionist and I like for the ornaments to be evenly spaced; making sure that this happens takes a lot of time and effort.  A lot of bending, reaching, standing back to check progress, rearranging and moving the clumped ornaments an eager (yet one who is unaware of the importance of spatial relationship) child loads in one quadrant of the tree.

Sometimes I don't know what to do with myself.

For the moment our tree stands bare.  It shall be adorned eventually.

Apropos of nothing, I feel as if I should confess a few things that have been weighing heavily on my heart.

1.  I do not like Bing Crosby's rendition of "White Christmas."  I know this confession probably makes me seem unamerican, but I can't help it.  It's not like I hate it or anything; I don't turn the radio dial when it's on, but it's just not my favorite.   I should also say, that I like Bing's "White Christmas" about 1,000 times more than I like "Little Drummer Boy."  Now, THAT is a dumb song.   Rum-pum-pum-pum?  Bing and David Bowie in cardigan sweaters?  Sheesh. 

2.  I'm also not a fan of black and white movies.  I'm sure you all think I'm horribly uncultured for admitting this, but it's true.  I like a few black and white tv shows, especially Leave it to Beaver, but old black and white movies bore me.  They're not flashy enough, I guess.  I need the flash.

3.  I don't like shortbread or butter cookies.  To me, cookies need to be thick, chewy and dense.  Extra points if they're slathered in icing or dipped in chocolate.

4.  Generally, I do not find myself emotionally attached to 'stuff' and I can easily throw things away.  However, I have a major emotional attachment to my Christmas ornament collection.  If our house was on fire, I'd probably grab my ornaments before any of our other important belongings.  So many of these ornaments tell a story of our family history; I would be shattered if I lost them.

5.  Yesterday, after our 20 mile run, my feet hurt so bad that when it was time to get Caroline from her friend's house, I walked there in just my socks.  Actually, they were Craig's socks, which have a lot of padding.  Sure, I felt like a hillbilly, but I really didn't care all that much.  I tried to put my feet in shoes and I lasted 10 steps before I chucked them.

Okay, I feel better now.  Confession truly is good for the soul.

I'll be back tomorrow.  Hopefully with a decorated tree!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Please Step Away From The Ribbon Aisle

If Michael's walls could talk, they would say, "Alison, step away from the ribbon aisle; you have enough" 

Clearly, the walls cannot talk.

Or I have simply chosen to ignore them.

It's hard to resist festive ribbon at 50% off.

It's Christmas Krafty time, after all.  And in my opinion, a craft isn't a craft unless ribbon is involved.

I'm bringing back an old favorite: homemade ornaments

Last year I used clear ornaments, shredded filler paper, sparkly letter stickers and ribbon until my heart was content

This year's ornaments look similar to last year's

except I'm not using stickers this time.

I'm keeping this year's version simpler, but still very much adorned in the ribbon department.  All of these  are going on a small tree I put in my dining room.  A tree which I'm officially naming "the tree of whimsy."  The ornaments will join some previously made cinnamon-applesauce ornaments on the tree to provide a whimsical touch to our Christmas decorations. 

I've unearthed most of my Christmas decorations from the dusty depths of our storage area and the majority of them are on display.  My monster tree is still in its box in the garage, which I'm dreading dragging up the stairs.  I love my big fake, pre lit tree, but it is a pain to set up and fluff out all the branches.  I'll get to it soon enough. 

But probably not today.
Craig and I are running 20 (!) miles this morning.  I highly doubt that by the time we're through running, showering, refueling and praying for physical healing, Christmas tree decorating will seem all that enjoyable.

I have a feeling that if I did attempt to trim the tree today, in my post long run fog, my beloved tree decorations would be replaced with Tylenol garland and ice cube ornaments.  


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Tragic Friday

So while crazy enthusiastic people were braving the crowds and elbowing their way to bargain basement priced laptops and dvd players yesterday, another group of crazy people (ages 10 and under) ransacked my house.  As evidenced by the pictures you're about to witness, you can see that the girls had fun setting up for their greatly anticipated post Thanksgiving Webkinz feast.  Evidently feast preparations involve sawing through cardboard boxes to create tables.  And lots and lots of mess.

I give them points for creativity.  Unfortunately they were docked points for failing to maintain a clean workspace.

There really aren't any words to accurately describe how I felt living amidst this mess yesterday.  By the end of the day, when the sun started to go down and everyone suddenly had to go home RIGHT now, Caroline and I were left with the mess.  Funny how that works, huh?  Actually, they were all outside when they were called home, so I can't fault that.  However, it would have been nice to have a little help.

Since the feast is scheduled for today, and I couldn't toss the boxes as I had hoped, we stacked up the boxes the best we could.

And now it's all scattered around the living room again.  For the feast shall be held this afternoon. 

And because my life is that tragic.

In other news, it's out with the foliage and gourds and in with the Christmas decorations.

Time to tuck away the golds, oranges and browns and say hello to green, red and silver.

It's safe to say that plenty of ribbon will be involved in the decorating of this house.

And hopefully a little of this, as well.

But, considering my current messy living room and the four girl wrecking crew that won't seem to leave, I think I'll need a little of this, too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

So, A Girl Walks Into A Kitchen.....

So, a girl walks into a kitchen, by herself prepares an entire Thanksgiving meal from scratch (minus such conveniences as boxed chicken stock and canned pumpkin), spills sweet potatoes all over her clothes, burns her hand and does 8,763 dishes all with hopes of meeting her high and hardly attainable cooking expectations.  The house smells lovely, with the aroma of roasting turkey and savory cornbread stuffing wafting through the air.  She's satisfied with the spread of delicious looking food she's about to serve her family.  That is, however, until she pulls the turkey from the oven. 

And then, my friends, that girl has...you guessed it:  a turkey meltdown.

She channels her inner hot-headed Italian gene, mutters, bangs her fists and wishes she could throw her meat thermometer out the window.  She did everything right; she read the directions over and over, brined, patted dry, rubbed with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper.  The turkey looks done; it has been roasting for the specified time, and the white meat registers complete doneness.  The dark meat, however, is not done.  The turkey goes back in the oven, the girl mutters a bit more and is thankful her young daughter is not within earshot of the colorful language escaping her tongue.

As the turkey continues to cook, while the remaining food is done and losing temperature quickly, the girl drops to the floor, head in her hands, melodramatically wishing they were all vegetarians.

"I only wanted to cook a turkey breast" she said to herself, with a certain amount of self pity in her voice.   "A turkey breast does not cause such epic frustration"  she told herself.  But, you see, she didn't have a choice this year.  For she had a whole turkey in her freezer; a turkey her young daughter  proudly won in a running race.  How could she not cook that damn turkey?  Never mind the fact that the winner of the turkey won't touch turkey with a ten foot pole.

More and more time elapses and the turkey, with meat pulling away from the bones and other visual cues signaling that the meat is cooked through, still isn't registering complete doneness in the leg/thigh area. 

Perhaps it's the fault of the thermometer?  Or, perhaps, the girl is just cursed?

Whatever the case, the girl beckons her family for dinner, throwing her hands in the air, admitting defeat and wishing she could now throw not just her stupid meat thermometer, but also the entire turkey, out the window.

Thankfully the girl's husband declares the turkey not only edible, but tasty as well.  But still, the girl, with terribly high standards, isn't entirely convinced.  The evening went on, no one got sick from ill prepared turkey and in the grand scheme of things, all is well. 

The girl is still annoyed and has vowed to only cook turkey breasts on Thanksgiving from now on.

It's a true story, folks.  The turkey meltdown happened.  It wasn't as legendary as it could have been, but I'm still DONE with turkey. 

I believe the words "I'm never roasting another $&^$&$*#&@*# turkey again" slipped through my lips on a couple of occasions, last night.

It's true.

Down with turkey.

In other news, I'm participating in Black Friday via the comfort of my own home.  Just like that, with the help of the incredibly dangerous Amazon "one click" option, I've purchased a few Christmas gifts this morning.  The best part is that when I use my Amazon visa card, I get triple points on all Amazon purchases, which I then redeem for Amazon gift cards.

Win, win, win.

Which is far better than the "why, why, why" I cried last night.

Shopping good.  Turkey bad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010



Clearly, the sentimental gene was overlooked when God made me.

As I've mentioned on more than one occasion, 1) I'm not mushy-gushy sentimental and 2) our family lacks any sort of real holiday tradition. Therefore, writing heart felt crap about how wonderful family holidays are doesn't come easy for me. 

So, I'm not going to even try.  Although, you should know that even though I'm not an eloquent emoter, I do actually love my family and friends.  I'm just not so good about reiterating those feelings in the form of spoken (or written) words.  However, if I put up with your junk on a regular basis and have not gone ape monkey crazy on you, that's a sign of true devotion.    Words?   Who needs words? 

Anyway, like I said, I'm not going to try and emote, instead,  I thought I'd share with you some of my fonder Thanksgiving memories.  Because I'm sure you really care.

The first Thanksgiving meal I truly remember was when I was somewhere between the ages of 6 and 8.  How's that for specifics?  We ate at my grandma's house; the kids (and my Uncle Wayne) sat outside on the patio while the rest of the family sat inside at my grandma's dining room table.  I remember eating mashed potatoes so quickly, not even giving them a chance to make it all the way down my esophagus, going back inside the house for more, and throwing them up on my grandma's carpet. 

When I was in middle school, my family started eating out on Thanksgiving.  We'd go to a movie, which was the ONLY movie my dad would see all year, and then go to a restaurant for dinner.  The first year we saw Home Alone and ate at Sizzler.  Classy, I know.  Actually, the food was really good.  The second year we saw Ernest Saves Christmas and went to Sizzler, only to find out that it was closed.  There's nothing more depressing than arriving at a restaurant, ready to eat some turkey and sweet potatoes only to find chairs on the tables and the lights turned off.  So we went to a hotel restaurant instead.  I think that eating out tradition only last two or three years, but it was a fun one.

My details of the remaining childhood Thanksgivings are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember one year in high school, my mom forgot the mashed potatoes.  That was tragic.  Well, not really, because she makes instant potatoes, which is much more tragic than actually forgetting to include them on the Thanksgiving table.

The first Thanksgiving Craig and I spent together as a married couple, in 1996, was spent in Florida.  He was in Missouri waiting on his security clearance so that he could ship off to Korea (he never actually went to Korea, but that's a whole different story) and flew home for the holiday. I don't remember anything about that Thanksgiving;  not where we ate nor who we spent time with. 

A couple of my favorite Thanksgiving meals happened when we lived in Hawaii.  My pal Mandy, who has an incredible gift of hospitality, invited lots of people over to eat at her house. It was a great way to spend the holidays when so many of us were really far away from home. 

In 2001, we went to Craig's co workers house and I was introduced to that cranberry sauce with pineapple and walnuts that I talked about yesterday.  Oh, and derby pie.  Have you ever had derby pie?  If not, you should.  It's epic.  The hostess sent us home with about half of a remaining derby pie and I remember parking my pregnant self on the couch with a fork and eating the pie straight from the pie plate.  Craig helped, too.  If you can  believe it, I only gained 20 pounds my entire pregnancy and I'm pretty sure most of the weight came from that derby pie.

In 2002, and I had recently discovered my love for cooking; I made the best turkey ever.  EVER.  It was brilliant and has yet to be duplicated.  I'm not sure what I did to make it so fabulous, but it was awesome and will forever  be the benchmark to rate all further turkey roasting attempts.  Suddenly, I'm feeling pretty nervous about today's turkey.  I hope it's on the caliber of 2002's successful roastage.

In 2004, Craig was away at school in Arizona, so Caroline and I visited my parents in Florida.  We were told we'd be going out to eat (yay!), but two days before Thanksgiving my dad called me and said "I need you to do me a favor; will you cook Thanksgiving dinner?"  I said yes, but only if he bought me one of those timers with the meat thermometer probe.  He agreed.  Oh, and my mom did all the dishes.  That was awesome.

I'm drawing a blank now.  Oh wait.  In 2005 I made that great crunchy topped sweet potato casserole and then came down with an awful cold the next day.  I remember the front of my neck hurt really badly. That was the first and only time that ever happened; I was actually pretty sick.

In 2007 my parents and sister came to our house in Augusta, GA for Thanksgiving.  The day before Thanksgiving, my refrigerator died and I flipped out.  We had two meals to make; one for Craig's co workers who did not have the day off and the other for the Smith-Kennedy clan.  I had no time for broken appliances and rancid food.  Thankfully, George the maintenance guy, to whom I offered a big sloppy kiss and my first born, brought me a new refrigerator within an hour of my frantic work order call.

In 2008, our first Thanksgiving in Virginia I had an epic turkey meltdown and then got strep throat the next day.

Last year, we went to Raleigh, NC to see Craig's sister and her family.  I don't remember a whole lot about the meal (I'm sure it was tasty), but I do know that Caroline had a GREAT time playing with her cousins.  Oh, and the weekend highlight for me was driving to Greensboro the next day to see my pal, Sissy.   :)

Okay, that was one long walk down memory lane.  I may not be sentimental, but I sure am verbose. I've spent way too much time blathering when I should be making pumpkin pie and apple crisp.  I guess it's time to get cooking.

Oh, and if you're interested, here's what I wrote last year on Thanksgiving.  I think it's safe to say that I'm still thankful for all of those things again this year.  But I'm hoping my predictions for a legendary turkey meltdown this year are proven false.

I'll be sure to let you know.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let's Talk Turkey

It's about to get messy up in here.  That's okay, preparing Thanksgiving dinner is an excellent reason to make a mess.  Last year, Craig, Caroline and I drove to North Carolina on Thanksgiving morning to spend the holiday with Craig's sister, Sarah and her family.  I'll admit, not having to worry about dinner was kind of nice, but, on the downside, we returned home to a refrigerator completely void of Thanksgiving leftovers.  This year, I'm not off the hook and will be cooking like mad tomorrow.  I can't promise I won't have a meltdown of some sort come dinner time, but my famed Turkey Meltdowns are what makes Thanksgiving a bit more, um, special.   And colorful.

I can't help but be excited for tomorrow's dinner, but sometimes I wonder why.  Holidays aren't a big deal around here; our holidays aren't teaming with tradition and lack the picture perfect Norman Rockwell vibe I so longingly desire.  And yet, each year,  I set out with a renewed hope to achieve that one special holiday moment.  Craig isn't a big holiday guy.  He enjoys a good turkey dinner, but if I said I didn't feel like cooking and would rather order a pizza, I don't think he'd mind.  Apathetic holidays are our specialty.

Despite this tendency toward apathy, we're forging on and will eat to our hearts are content and our stretchy pants can stretch no more.

We keep our Thanksgiving table pretty simple around here.  We do the basics:  turkey, gravy, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls and some sort of vegetable (braised carrots this year).  Pumpkin pie and apple crisp for dessert.  If it were up to me, I'd skip the turkey and mashed potatoes, in favor of eating only stuffing, sweet potatoes and vegetables.  Caroline focuses on the rolls, vegetables and cranberry sauce.  Craig, on the other hand, is a turkey, mashed potato, gravy and stuffing guy.   But we all like pumpkin pie.

It's a simple spread; one not worthy of a picture spread in a magazine, but it's what we like.

Craig grew up in a largely southern family in Arkansas where the Thanksgiving meals were big family affairs which included such atrocities as giblet gravy (with hard boiled eggs in it!) and green bean casserole.  The idea of giblet gravy makes my skin crawl, but I'm okay with green bean casserole.  Craig takes the opposite position on those two dishes.  I actually did not know what green bean casserole was until I moved from California to Florida as a teenager.  We just didn't eat green bean casserole growing up, nor did we ever eat giblet gravy with hard boiled eggs in it!  I also did not know that cornbread went in stuffing until I met Craig.

The differences don't end there, though.  The biggest difference is our cranberry sauce opinions.

I'm a whole berry kind of girl; Craig and Caroline prefer the jelly log that plops out of the can with the little lines permanently indented in the sides of the log.  Too quote Mama Pea: "sauce shouldn't slice."

The year Craig was deployed to Kuwait, I tried to convert Caroline to homemade, whole berry cranberry sauce.  We set out to make the simple recipe on the back of the bag of cranberries.  It was a valiant effort, however, we accidentally used salt instead of sugar in the recipe.  Yep.  We sure did.

Thankfully we realized our mistake before we brought it to our neighbor's house for Thanksgiving dinner and we were able to make a new batch in time.  Caroline liked it okay, but she still prefers that sliceable log.
One day I'll win her over to my team.  One day.

Since I'm the only homemade cranberry sauce eater around here, I make a special sauce with pineapple and walnuts in it.

I first sampled this delicious recipe the Thanksgiving I was pregnant.  We went to Craig's co workers house and his wife offered, among many other tasty dishes, this fabulous cranberry sauce,  It made my pregnant belly incredibly happy.  Thankfully she let me bring some home with me.  God bless that woman!  I'm forever grateful to her for introducing me to cranberry pineapple sauce. 

Okay, it's time to get cooking.  I have a turkey brine to prepare, cornbread to bake and cranberry sauce to slice into circles to make. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  May your hearts be happy, your bellies be full and your my turkey meltdowns be minimal.

Gobble, gobble.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Day of Random Stuff

Which therefore leads to a post of random stuff. 

I went to Caroline's class this morning to help a few students type up their 'what they're thankful for' paragraphs for some project they're completing tomorrow.   I didn't see Caroline's paper, but I sure hope she says she's thankful for her parents and not for her Webkinz or her soccer ball.  How pathetic would it be to lose out to a dirty soccer ball and a box full of stuffed animals?

However, Caroline is as sentimental as her mother, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised if she's more thankful for an inanimate object than for the mother who gave her life.

My time at the school was over in an hour, which gave me plenty of time to run some errands.  First stop:  Starbucks, of course.  I like Dunkin Donuts for cold coffee and Starbucks for hot coffee.  Although, it's warmish outside and I started to sweat while drinking my misto.  Perhaps I should have gone for an iced DD coffee instead.  But, I was in the general Starbucks direction on Ft. Belvoir, so location ultimately made my decision.  I went looking for a new basketball for Caroline.  The season starts soon and her coach said they needed a 28.5 (whatever that is?) ball.  We have a 27.5 ball, which I suppose is no bueno.  However, the store had 27.5 and 29.5 balls.  Perhaps the coach made a mistake and meant 27.5, which is the youth size.

I don't know.  Determining basketball size is boring, so instead of looking ridiculous as I pondered ball size, I decided to ditch the whole effort.  I think the ball she has will do.

After I wasted half my life (or something like that) standing in the basketball aisle, I was then distracted by the Angel Tree and found myself purchasing toys for one of the children on the tree.  That was fun.  And much more exciting than debating the differences between 27.5 and 29.5 basketballs.

And then I went to buy batteries and make up.  I still forgot to buy those little plastic flosser things for Caroline's teeth, but I'll get those tomorrow.  Caroline will be wholly unamused by the fact that I forgot to buy them, despite the fact that she has reminded me every night for the past three nights AND I went to two different stores today that carry the flossers.  On the bright side, I did remember batteries for the Wii.  At least I did *something* right today.

Wii > flossing.

After my exciting battery and age defying foundation purchase, I went home for lunch.  And then I went to Target.  Where I forgot flossers again.  But, I did buy peanut butter, vitamin D and a few clothing items for Caroline.

That's what I love about Target.  You can get one of everything there.  Even flossers. IF you remember them.

Quite obviously, I'm home now.  After all, the fun must end sooner or later.

I like staying busy and running random errands, but once I typed this all out and reread it, it now seems more pathetic than anything else.  Except for the Starbuck's misto.  That was anything but pathetic. 

It's good, however, to get all the random stuff out of the way because I'll be busy tomorrow with Thanksgiving preparations.  And there is no way I'm going shopping this weekend.  In my youth, I got all excited for Black Friday shopping, but now that I'm old and crusty, the idea of braving the crowds for cheap dvd players and $10 puffy vests is most unappealing.  I'd almost rather pay full price for stuff than deal with traffic, crowds and crazed Black Friday shoppers. 

Am I full of good cheer or what?

How about you?  Black Friday shopping:  Yay or Nay?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Now The Song Is Complete


To go with my sage, rosemary and thyme.

Although, honestly, I think parsley is one of those useless herbs.  It's a weed.  I really only bought the parsley because I wanted to be able to say that I had parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Don't worry, I didn't go to the store with the sole purpose of buying parsley; I went to get non mutant sized sweet potatoes.  As luck would have it, the grocery store near my gym had sweet potatoes on sale for .33/lb.  Score!  Except, when I did the self check out thing, they scanned .59/lb and I didn't do anything about it.  Some things, including a .26/lb price difference on sweet potatoes, just aren't worth the added hassle. 

I learned something today:  sweet potatoes aren't very photogenic.

Lumpy, bumpy


and hairy.

Thankfully their insides reveal a much more eye appealing, smooth orange flesh.  Nutritious, vibrant sweet potatoes, best served with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon.

I'm vehemently against the Thanksgiving staple marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole.  Well, vehement is a strong word.  I actually like it okay and I wouldn't turn it away if offered because I'm polite like that, but once I started making a sweet potato casserole with a crunchy, brown sugary, buttery topping,  I can't go back to the old school marshmallows. 

I'm a recent convert to that type of Thanksgiving sweet potato dish.  For many years, I did as my mom did and made marshmallow topped sweet potatoes.  I'm not sure what caused my marshmallow defection, but all I know is that I first made my now beloved, crunchy topped sweet potato casserole on our first Thanksgiving in Georgia (2005?).  Craig invited one of his young soldiers and his wife over for dinner and all I remember is that the guy LOVED the sweet potatoes and kept saying "it's like a cookie on top."     That totally made my day.

It's just the three of us this year and I'm the only one who eats sweet potato casserole, but you better believe that it'll be on our Thanksgiving table this Thursday.  Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes.  You can quote me on that.  ;)

How about you?  What are your thoughts on sweet potatoes?  Marshmallows:  yay or nay?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Totally Herbacious

I finished my Thanksgiving grocery shopping this morning.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, to go early Sunday morning and beat the inevitable after church crowd.  Evidently all of Ft. Belvoir's commissary patrons thought along those very same lines.  Great minds think alike, I suppose.  Despite our best intentions, the commissary was a nutso madhouse; triumphantly, I escaped unscathed.  I do have to buy sweet potatoes elsewhere, because the sweet potatoes the commissary offered  for sale were jumbo sized.  Like not even normal jumbo.  They were mutant jumbo sized.  The idea of buying mutant sweet potatoes left me feeling uneasy, so I chose to skip those for now.

As I got got home and started unloading groceries, I found myself simply delighted by the fresh herbs I purchased.  It seems kind of strange to be so entranced by herbs, but the smell is simply intoxicating.  I'm finding myself in a bit of slump lately; between being sick, growing a year older and baking a tragic birthday cake, I haven't been as joyful and thankful as I should be.  Imagine my surprise when I was so taken aback by my joy over the aroma, texture and sight of some simple fresh herbs.

I didn't buy parsley, but the song is almost complete. 



and thyme.

Rosemary is my favorite, but all three combined sure do get me excited for Thanksgiving dinner.

A bowl full of sunny, bright citrus has a similar affect.

plus a few green apples that didn't quite fit in our overflowing fruit drawer

It's the little things that can make or break your day.  A non fat misto with toffee nut syrup to drink while navigating the crowded grocery store aisles;  a bowl full of vibrant lemons and tangerines;  the scent of rosemary left on my hands.

What are you delighting in today?