sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 26, 2005

three beautiful things
posted by soe 11:26 am

I stumbled across Clare’s site, Three Beautiful Things, last week and it strikes me that if I stopped to write down the things I noticed I might appreciate life just a tad more. So in that vein:

1. Pink flowers — The pink dogwood at the corner of the Moroccan embassy is blooming. Like the magnolia trees three weeks ago, it looks like tons of pink butterflies have alighted on the tree and it makes my walk to the Metro much more pleasant.

2. A cup of tea — I didn’t have time to brew a whole pot of tea this morning and the regular tea bags I have are meant for more than one cup. So I pulled down the tin of Earl Gray tea bags Gramma gave me a while back. It’s been a while since I had a cup of Earl Gray and I had forgotten how much I enjoy a well-made blend. Some blends incorporate too much bergamot, but this one was just right.

3. A chilly cat — Jeremiah, our black-and-white cat, has been on the peck recently and has been a bloody pain in the neck, blocking our other two cats’ ways, chasing after them, and just generally tearing up the place. But at night he curls up on us, balanced on both our hips. And in the morning, he is generally curled up next to my stomach. And this morning, when I needed to be getting up from my chair and getting ready for work, he came and sat on my lap and gave me such a look that I had to sit for a few more minutes just to not disrupt his nap.

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mmmmm… mint sticks…
posted by soe 9:30 am

My friend Phillip is heading to Afghanistan for a month later this week, so he invited some folks over for beers last night. So instead of going empty-handed, I decided this was one of those occasions which demanded bringing a goodie.

For those who know me, you know my cooking skills are tenuous, at best. But I have burned rice much more recently than brownies, so I thought a dessert was a safe bet. And after staring at the cookbook my grandmother made for me for Christmas ’02 at my request, I decided her mint stick recipe was the fastest option I had.

I won’t give up the family recipe (some things must remain sacred, y’know), but sufficed to say I’m sure Gramma has never used cream that had an expiration date of 3+ months earlier in any of her recipes. But I was raised in a household that believed in the sniff test when it comes to dairy products, and the cream passed that test just fine.

And the recipe calls for cooling the dessert in stages. I may have used liberal definitions of “warm” and “cool” in these instances. When the cake didn’t burn my fingers, I figured that it was warm. And to cool it sufficiently for the top layer, I tossed it in the freezer. So while it was cool enough to carry, it was not so cool I wouldn’t have used a trivet if placing it on a good surface.

My mother would have been horrified when Phillip brought out a large spoon to dish out the dessert. Mum feels the whole point of having mint sticks is that they be in stick size and shape — approximately 1″x2″, preferably. I suspect that she prefers this specific size because it means the mint sticks last a lot longer than when you dish out 3″x3″ squares the way Phillip was last night.

But the responses were overwhelmingly positive, particularly when they learned I’d broken out an old family recipe for the first time. So hooray for Gramma and her recipe, for Mum and her ability to make mint sticks last longer than one night, and for me for finally trying to make a dessert entirely from scratch.

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