Monday, February 18, 2013

Looking for Spring to...erm...spring!

Guys, I'm ready for spring. I know, shocking for this snowbunny to say, but I just feel like if I'm not gonna get that work-closing blizzard, then let's just move on with our lives already. I can't wait until I can feel my fingers on toes on a regular basis again.

Not that I want 4 feet of snow crippling us like got dumped on New England, but come on...a nice 8 inches would be lovely (and yet still manageable). Sigh. The best we've gotten is a few dustings to make it look pretty for a day or so, but more than anything, we've had bitter single-digit temperatures and biting winds. No thank you. I don't mind cold temps, but wind need not apply.

And so I'm beginning to wear brighter colors and daydreaming about skirts without leggings and sandals. And letting my tattoo come out to play. Poor thing's been buried all winter. haha

I'm also thinking about what the heck my garden will look like since I have more perennials in the ground now that should, with any luck, pop back up come May-ish. My hostas already came back beautifully, so this year we'll see what the red hosta-like things do (they never quite went away...hope I wasn't supposed to cut them back...meh, we'll see!). I also planted my calladiums in the ground after learning they'll come back each spring as well. So I guess at this point it's anyone's game for what will happen! I'm looking forward to a fresh dump of crisp black mulch. While it's still cold out, though, I really should get some more bird seed for my feeder...poor birds. Here they are, in the lean times of winter, and I'm offering naught but an empty promise of seeds. I should really get on that... Plus, Hammy would have some new kitty TV to watch when the birds (and, inevitably, squirrels, come to visit).

I will miss a few things about winter, though, once it finally releases its grip. Baking. This is much less enjoyable once our apartment becomes a furnace in the warmer months. And the kitchen is the hottest room of all. Blargh. I'll miss snuggly sweaters. I do love nothing more than a crisp morning when I can toss on some jeans and a cableknit sweater. All is right in the world on those days. I'll miss cozy comfort food and cold-weather smells like nutmeg, fireplaces, hot chocolate.

Now that Valentine's Day has passed, I'm setting my sights and my menu on St. Patrick's Day. It falls on a Sunday this year, which means I can spend all weekend cooking and baking in anticipation! I've invited my parents over for dinner and to try some of my newer Irish recipes. I'll start the weekend with baking some shortbread cookies to have for dessert (though I know those are really Scottish...close enough!). Then John and I will have a brunch of eggs, rashers (once I find a suitable version...they really don't have Irish bacon readily available here!), scones, fruit, and tea. That'll hopefully tide us over till dinner, the first course of which will feature two of my new recipes: brown bread (already made two successful loaves-see pictures below!) and potato leek soup (haven't yet test-driven this). From there, we'll have corned beef, colcannon (also yet to try, but it's really just mashed potatoes with kale so I'm not worried), and roasted veggies of a variety yet to be determined. In addition to the shortbread cookies, I'd also love to serve some brown bread ice cream. I could either pick some up from our fav Irish restaurant, Dubh Linn Square, or I could make my own. I found a recipe for no-stir homemade brown bread ice cream that looks rather easy. And since I'll be making brown bread we'll see how ambitious I'm feeling! Definitely stay tuned for the continuing cooking adventures of this Irish lass. Slainte!