Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Guest Tonight Is....2011!

I just wrote 253 words of utter hoo-haw about the final days of 2010. I talked about the year in deaths and the year's best albums, and how people feel pressured to drink on New Years Eve, and what happens to your liver when you drink your blood volume in "punch" that you make by adding food colouring to vodka and then wish for sweet death on January 1.

And then I scrapped the whole damn thing, because it was ungodly boring. Look, I like nostalgia and looks back as much as the next gal, but right now, I'd be lying if I didn't tell y'all that I'm ready for the next thing. I sort of wish I was a southern hemisphere woman, because heaping a new, untested year onto the short, chilly winter days seems sort of, like, cruel, but I'll take the fresh, unopened 2011 donuts now, thanks.

So let's chat about all the wicked things we call look forward to in the upcoming months. First of all, we're finally leaving this awkward decade behind. The Aughties? The Oh-ohs? Were we serious? Thank god for the sleek and easy to understand "Teens." Based on Chinese Feng Shui and digital coding legends, along with predictions I'm currently making up right now, I'm positing that the next decade will be a time of great turbulence and change: earthquakes! Sandstorms! Canadian pop idols descending on an unsuspecting world! More flu pandemics! Pantone colours will run the gamut from beige to ecru! It'll be a time of great changes, in which everything basically stays the same, but with more technologies to befuddle the old and the poor.

By the time we get another decade in, I'll be 37 years old - maybe settled, maybe not, with hopefully a higher net worth than my current standing (I'm at minus nineteen thousand dollars, which isn't super inspirational, but whatevs). Maybe a nice spousal-type person, or a couple kids - hell, maybe both! I'm feeling greedy tonight! - and I'm sure a I'll be running really irritating mommyblog about organic baby food and the best ways to roll when Junior blows chunks all over the papaya pyramid at Whole Foods. But also, I hope, with solid relationships with my friends and family, and the ability to ask for help when I need it, and the ability to give help when it's needed. What I look like, what with my unbrushed hair and my potentially fat ass (I come from hearty stock! I'm big boned! I'm really, really lazy!), will hopefully come to matter less and less as I conquer the January-first thing and move more into sane, healthy adulthood. And if not, there're always squats.

The next few years promise to be jazzy and playful, with oakey notes and a sparkling finish. Whoops, sorry: that's tomorrow night's champagne. But 2011 should also be a good time! Global warming brings us spring earlier with each passing year; I'll be refining my prairie girl/zombie fighter ensembles; I'll (probably) move out of student housing and into a big-girl apartment. I'll be able to say the words "my boyfriend" without having an out-of-body experience. I'll travel: my dad has promised me a father/daughter pilgrimage to Lebowskifest, the closest I'll probably ever come to having religious ecstasy. I'll have a paycheck-type job. I'll buy more contact lenses, try new foods, see good movies, kiss, write, bike, eat, drink, make new friends, renew friendship vows with others, and start paying off my horrible student debt.

So I'm not making any resolutions this year. None of this "I'm going to lose fifteen pounds and only eat kale for three weeks" bullshit, because that's punitive and unfun. I vow to be interesting to talk to - last night I had dinner with a man who is not only a tombstone carver, but also a champion sled dog racer, and he was cool as hell - and interested in the world around me. I promise to try new things: a different route to work, a new meal (I ate, like, one hundred burritos in 2010), a small kindness for a stranger. I'll try to take care of myself, both physically and mentally. I'll work on things with my family, who need kindness and guidance and a listening ear 365 days a year. I promise to try, really hard. And I vow to fail sometimes, because I'm going into 2011 the same way I'm leaving 2010: as a human being.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting Baked

In the spirit of the do-nothing week between Christmas and ringing in the New Year, I've been baking a lot. Since moving back to Toronto in September, I've been exploring my kitchen in a way I never really did when I lived alone - I'm sure having a boyfriend, who I love cooking for, totally helps, since when I say, "Hey, would you eat shrimp and rice and veggies?" he looks at me like a wolf looks at a baby sheep. That's what's known as motivation.

I love when all my ingredients are lined up on my kitchen counter (and balanced precariously on the toaster). My little third-floor kitchen is tiny, and constantly smells like our green bin, but it's also really cozy and has a pantry, which always makes a huge difference in workability. So I pull out all my ingredients and get to work making grilled cheese sandwiches, or omelets, or Big Salads, or fancy nachos, and I feel nice: I feel like I'm home.

Oh, I'm still a sucker for take-out...but being broke and unemployed also helps curb that expenditure. I went from a sushi/burrito/schwarma person to a girl who thrifts her way through No Frills, so cooking at home, along with being an educational and self-discovering process, is a financial no-brainer. Huge bunches of kale and bags of apples share fridge space with fake meat and loads of Coke Zero, the only vice I haven't been able to shake in the past few years.

But even though my burners are all ablaze and my pantry is stocked, my first love is always baking. From s'mores brownies, which I'm currently obsessed with, to Perry Good Cookies - originally named for a family friend in Calgary, now known as "Kaitlyn's cookies" to friends who agree that they are, bar none, the best cookies in the history of the world - to chocolate-chip banana muffins, preheating the oven and making something sweet and gooey is a great way to express affection, blow off steam, use up skanky bananas, impress your guests, or even play nice with the friends and family. In the spirit of the holidays, I give to you the recipe for Kaitlyn's Cookies, also known as Perry Good Cookies, also known as "are you making those cookies? GOOD. They complete me. You're okay too."

The Best Cookies Anywhere, Ever
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1 cup butter/margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Mix
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 baking powder
  • Mix!
2 1/2 cups oats (this is one of those things that always tweaks me out. I've made them with everything from instant oatmeal to the classic 15-minute business, and they all seem to work fine.)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional, and sort of unnecessary)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more!)
  • Mix, and place 1/2 inch balls (ha) on a baking sheet. These are flat cookies, so leave some space between them, since they'll spread as they bake. Bake 12-15 minutes, and cool on a plate or wire rack. I have no idea how many cookies this recipe makes, since I always eat a good amount of cookie dough, but I would say probably a couple dozen, at least.
So make these for someone you like, or want to impress, or want to fatten up. Alternately, just stuff the whole shebang into your mouth and pretend this is a good idea. And Merry Belated Christmas.