New Year Shine

Doesn’t the new year feel a little bit exciting to you?  It’s a great time to pretend that the last year has been put away and the new year will be all kinds of different–I’ll eat right this time and work out more and everything will be wonderful.

Right.  I get that it never works that way.  But every day, I have an opportunity to behave more kindly, to understand things just a little bit more, and to make better choices.

This morning, there was a beautiful, thick layer of frost over everything, and it made the whole world outside of our house (or what I could see) this pretty, sparkly wonderland.  I was a fan!  It made me think about the freshness of the new year, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to start the year than with natural sparkle.

If I’m tempted to take a picture of the trash cans because they’re so pretty, something miraculous is going on.  It happened.  (This picture is not of our trash cans, as I couldn’t capture the sparkle adequately this morning.)

photo from seasonbytheriver.ofaolain.com

photo from seasonbytheriver.ofaolain.com

Wait?  The new year doesn’t start until tomorrow?  Well, just go with it.  There will be frost tomorrow, and it will be sparkly.  And it will make me think about a fresh new year again.

And so with that, I say an official farewell to 2014.  I will try and fail to do things right in 2015, but there’s some beauty in trying and getting another chance.  I hope you enjoy the fresh year, too.

Faux Snow

There was a 30% chance of snow last night, and I tried not to get my hopes up.  I really did.  But I was still disappointed this morning with the total lack of snow.  I will say though, I’ve enjoyed seeing the frost on the grass lately.  It isn’t as fun as snow, but it does sparkle in the sun.  It does crunch under your feet as you walk through the yard.  And it does feel like winter.

I’ll take what I can get.  Doesn’t it look a teeny tiny bit like snow?

photo from oceanbeachbulletin.com

photo from oceanbeachbulletin.com


Okay, that’s not actually our yard.  Our yard does look more or less like that at a groggy 7:20 AM, however.  If you squint, it looks snowy(ish).  Try it a few minutes after waking up.  It’s most convincing then.

More Spice

This weekend was chock full of adventures and productivity and naps.  It was great.  And this morning, thanks to the time change, we got to watch the sun streaming over our friendly neighborhood hilltops, not the dramatic pink sunrise that we’ve grown used to.  Both options are good.

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We also got the bonus of frost crystals on the back deck.  Fuzzy banister!

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Do you know what fuzzy, frosty banisters call for?  More spice, of course.  We had some chili on Friday night that was a switcheroo from the standard turkey chili.  I suspect that it’s first cousins with Cincinnati chili.  The recipe is Giada’s California Turkey Chili.  It has some spices that a lot of chili recipes don’t use, which gave it a really rich flavor.  Between the heat and the brown sugar/cinnamon/etc., it was pretty tasty.  I would show you a picture, but it turns out that even for professional photographers, turkey chili just doesn’t look that pretty.  I’ll let you imagine what it looks like.

The only real changes that I made to the recipe were changes of convenience.  We have a bounty of smoked serrano peppers, so I used three of those (they lose some spice when smoked) and one poblano pepper instead of the two poblano peppers that were called for.  I wouldn’t say my substitutions were a mistake.  The smoked peppers definitely added delicious flavor.  They might have added more spice than the recipe intended, however, and it was at the top of my spice-acceptance meter, for sure.  Scott loved it.

So… try the recipe as it’s written or throw in whatever peppers you’re brave enough to try.  Also, the recipe says it takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to make.  I read through it to make sure that wouldn’t be true, and it isn’t.  Thank goodness.  I think it took me 40 minutes or so, and I’m a slow cooking type of gal.

Bon appetit!  [In Julia Child voice.]