The senior warden at Palmer promised (or threatened?) us that September and October would fly by quickly, and he was right. Between small groups in people’s homes, a men’s retreat and clergy retreat for Neil, meet-and-greets for two new schools, and other comings and goings, it was a crazy couple of months, but mostly in a good way. We still haven’t hung all of our pictures, but we decorated for Halloween and managed to locate the children’s trick-or-treat bags. I may not be able to tell you exactly where the Christmas decorations are, but I voted early in this year’s elections. I’ll get our schedule figured out one week, and then something will change with a piano lesson or a babysitter, and we roll with it. It’s been a good transition, and this definitely feels like home.
What we’ve been lacking until now, though, is a solid weekend or two at home. This past weekend was great for that. We had a few events to attend and of course trick-or-treating on Halloween night, but nothing stressful, and nothing that kept us from taking a couple of naps. I may finally be catching up on sleep, because I’m starting to have really weird dreams. That seems to happen when I get enough sleep, and I haven’t dreamed in months. It’s a wonderful thing, even if they are completely bizarre dreams.
Our weekend at home coincided nicely with the first weekend of cooking from the new Contessa cookbook. For lunch after church today, I made her Miniature Italian Frittatas. I don’t know why they’re miniature – maybe that makes them easier to reheat? I don’t see why you couldn’t just throw the whole mess into a pie plate and serve it as a whole, but the muffin size was good, too. I was lucky that we had a clean muffin tin to use. Rowan is in a cupcake phase, thanks to the Cupcake Wars television program coming to Netflix. I forgot to buy leeks for the frittatas, and used regular yellow onions instead. These were amazing. I managed to get home from church with the kids in time to make them before Neil got home, and we really liked them a lot. I’m sure there are about a dozen versions of this in church cookbooks and grocery store checkout lane fliers, called “ham and cheese egg muffins” or “mini crustless quiches,” but these little frittatas had the Italian elements of fontina and parmesan cheeses, which made them taste (and smell, and look) really delightful.
Then, for dinner, I made herbed pork tenderloins with apple chutney, and my children actually ate more pork than we did (!). I was ambivalent about the chutney before I made it, but it was really one of the best parts of the meal. I made the goat cheese mashed potatoes from the new cookbook as well, substituting boursin cheese for the goat cheese, and then roasted some asparagus to go with it. It was all really, really good. The dishes piled up in the sink, but we’re not complaining when we’ve eaten this well! While all of this was cooking, I made about 3 quarts of chicken stock from the chicken I made earlier.
Last but not least, we made cake! Rowan, our six-year-old, tends to vacillate between things that capture his interest. For years and years, it was trains. Then, LEGO and art, and then mostly just LEGO, and then fish tanks (there’s a long story there), and then a little HGTV and home renovation thrown in, and then most recently, Cupcake Wars. You know those weekend naps that I get to take every once in a while? Netflix is my friend on those weekends. Well, the poor child was disappointed when he found out that my new cookbook didn’t have any cupcake recipes in it, and so we modified! We made the chocolate cake with mocha frosting from the new cookbook, but the last thing this weekend needed, on top of the time change and trick-or-treating, was caffeine added to baked goods. So, we skipped the coffee in the cupcakes. The frosting recipe frightened me (no sugar?), and so we kind of made up a buttercream chocolate deal on the spot instead, again with no coffee. The cupcakes got rave reviews, with and without frosting, from the toughest judge on the block.
In the background of that last photo, behind the cupcakes, you can see the symbols of our seasonal confusion. Little pie pumpkins and a giant watermelon? Why not?