I am truly over­whelmed with your gra­cious response to my reimur­gence from my cyber­cave! Thank you so very much. :)

Well, a year has passed. It’s one of those sit­u­a­tions where so much has hap­pened that you can’t think of any­thing, you know? Like when you see some­one you went to high school with and once you get past dis­cussing where you work and whether you are mar­ried or have kids it kind of taps out. I’m sure I’ll remem­ber odds and ends as time goes by.

In the more recent past (read, the last two weeks) those of us in the Pacific North­west have been bat­tered by Artic Blast 2008. No, sadly, I did not make that title up. I per­son­ally would have named it Aver­age But Debil­i­tat­ing Snow­fall That Almost Ruined Christ­mas, but what­ever. What it amounted to was real win­ter weather, Mid­west style, in a region oth­er­wise unpre­pared for it. We had snow, ice, freez­ing rain, the whole sha­bang. What we didn’t have were enough plows, salt, or snow shov­els. In our com­mu­nity of 30 homes, one per­son had a shovel. As a Min­nesotan, I was pretty dis­ap­pointed with myself. But I was pleased with my giant con­tainer of sea salt from, where else, Trader Joes. My sec­ond post in and already a Joes plug! I can’t help it, I love them! I used the sea salt to salt the ice off of our porch and it worked perfectly.

We didn’t have a shovel, but we needed to get out of our house. Des­per­ate times call for inno­v­a­tive answers.

Kris Shoveling Snow

Being that Port­land screeches to a halt when there is weather, I spent most of the last two weeks telecom­mut­ing. Telecom­mut­ing is beau­ti­ful on two fronts– 1.) I get so much more done because the only dis­trac­tion I have is throw­ing a spark­ily pom­pom ball for Ravi to fetch and 2.) because my work-from-home com­puter is a lap­top, I can work and throw together some baked goods at the same time.

Such as this Choco­late and Vanilla Cream Pear Galette. This has been one of my absolute favorites so far.

Chocolate and Vanilla Cream Pear Tarte

Choco­late and Vanilla Cream Pear Galette

Favorites for what you might ask? Well, if you’re going to twist my arm I’ll tell you. I was con­tacted by a pub­lisher this fall about pub­lish­ing the recipes from my old book for reals, but updated and expanded and with tons of new recipes (50+). How can a girl say no to that? We are still ham­mer­ing out the title, but in the mean­time I have been bak­ing like there’s no tomor­row and it’s been a blast.

The road to dia­betes is no doubt paved with cook­ies, cakes, breads, pies, and all sorts of good­ies. I’m try­ing to start some dam­age con­trol, and I need to clean up our food habits to com­pen­sate for all of this. It’s been dif­fi­cult, as I’m also work­ing and going to school when I’m not bak­ing, so con­ve­nience has been key and Jim is still mas­ter­ing how I like my instant oat­meal. Any super­fast healthy food sug­ges­tions that are also cost-effective?

Is there any­thing cuter than lit­tle kitty foot­prints in the snow? Linus is from Min­nesota, too, and the snow was call­ing him, so on the first day of snow, we took him out for a lit­tle stroll.

Linus Paw Prints

This isn’t ter­ri­bly event­ful, but it’s pretty darn cute– a video Jim put together of Linus explor­ing the freshly fallen snow while Bindhi plans her revenge from inside the house.

I hope the last day of the year ends on an upswing, send­ing you into 2009 on a high note. This is going to be a tough year for every­one, I think, but cook­ies and com­mu­nity will see us through!

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0 Responses to Wow!

  1. Vegetation says:

    Awww Linus is too adorable! I love the music to go with his explo­rations! And yum to the galette!

    Easy, cheap and nutri­tious for me is any­thing I can throw in the slowcooker 😉

  2. jessy says:

    Linus Wel­comes Win­ter is just too cute! totally made me smile this morn­ing! (the paw prints in the snow were the best!) hooray for kitty awesomeness!

    that’s fan­tas­ti­cal news on pub­lish­ing your recipes & a lot of new ones, too! no won­der you’re crazy busy! bak­ing + work­ing + school! whew! that’s a lot!

    as far as con­ve­nience (and healthy) foodz stuff goes — i do a LOT of cook­ing on sun­day after­noon (or when­ever you have about 3 hours — if you can ever score 3 hours of free time!). i cook up all kinds of beans for the week, a big ‘ol batch of brown rice (or bul­ghur, bar­ley, mil­let, etc.) — then i bake a loaf of whole wheat bread for dan’s sam­mies & a fun loaf of bread for “soup ‘n bread nights”. while every­thing is do’n its thing cook­ing that’s when i get a chance to tear up greens for saute­ing, chop veg­gies, etc. (then i just toss them into con­tainer for use later that week) all the prep work that makes throw­ing a meal together sooo much eas­ier. beans & rice dishes are easy to make and change up a good bit, and soups can be your best friend, too. they’re so tasty, inex­pen­sive, keep you warm, and most of them freeze well! w00t! roasted veg­gies taste great the next day, in sal­ads, on sam­mies, etc — and they’re also easy to make — so we make them in big batches, too. hmm­mmm, i think that’s all my brain has left here for think­ing @ 7AM — but if i come up with any more healthy & fast ideas i’ll let you know!

  3. bex says:

    with that impres­sive fur coat it’s not won­der Linus loves win­ter. Our cat is a short hair so he doesn’t like win­ter but he hates using the potty inside more so he endures it (it just might take a cou­ple tries).

  4. Veronica says:

    Oh, Linus is pre­cious. Con­grat­u­la­tions with the upcom­ing book! That’s fan­tas­tic news! I wish you all the luck with that along with school and work.

    The PNW was most def­i­nitely not pre­pared for this. I grew up here, but I’ve never expe­ri­enced weather of this degree. Iron­i­cally, the snow really put a damper on my hol­i­day tra­di­tions indeed. But, all is well, and that is what we can be grate­ful for. :)

    (I love TJ’s.)

  5. Vegyogini says:

    Happy New Year and thanks for the kitty love!

  6. Courtney says:

    Ha ha…how much snow did you actu­ally get?! As a Min­nesotan, I have to say, I am always dis­mayed when I see on the news that other states vir­tu­ally close down for some­thing like a measly 6 inches of snow…come on! 6 inches?! That is noth­ing! As you know, schools, work, gov­ern­ments, etc. here don’t even blink at some­thing like that! You should prob­a­bly invest in a shovel, though… :o)

    Con­grats on the new cookbook–that is so exciting!

    I hope you have a safe, WARM, and happy new year!


  7. ruthie says:

    OMG Linus is so cute.

    Here are some healthy ideas to off­set the sweets: http://sustainable-shire.blogspot.com/2007/10/finally-our-menu-plan.html

    Much love and nice to see ya again. :-)


  8. Tracy says:

    I loved the video of Linus in the snow! I must admit, as much as I liked see­ing the snow, I think I will stay right her is sunny AZ!

    Con­grat­u­la­tions on the new cook­book! I am so proud of you!

    Take care,


  9. krispycheks says:

    We got about 1.5– 2 feet here. The prob­lem is that it snowed about 8 inches, then we had freez­ing rain, then we had more snow. That mixed with noth­ing get­ting plowed except the high­ways and a few major streets, no salt, etc meant that we lit­er­ally couldn’t even get our cars to move. It was ridiculous.

    Thanks for the food ideas, Ruthie and Jessy. Great ideas, now I need to actu­ally plan ahead. :)

  10. Sandy says:

    Hey there! What a cute video! Love and miss you!