Sunday, November 8, 2009

SMS: Cranberry Pear Muffins with Ginger Crumble Topping

I am back! Yay, after spending most of the day cleaning my new house (boo) I finally got to bake in it! Yippee. I am so happy to be back with SMS, I baked with a big grin on my face the whole time. This week's recipe is Cranberry Pear Muffins with Ginger Crumble Topping chosen by Jennifer of Maple N'Cornbread. Old habits are hard to break, so even though I thought I could use this fresh start to do things a little ahead of time, no dice, and so the muffins are still warm, no tasters yet, and bad lighting. Oh well. They sure smell delicious. And, I ended up making 24, since I didn't read the recipe carefully and didn't realize that it called for a 1/2 batch of the crumble (also true to form) and so instead of waste the extra crumble, I just made another batch since I had left over of everything else as well.

My Mother-in-Law (who is AWESOME) and her boyfriend and her good friend are in town and have been here for almost two weeks. It's been great to have them (she and her BF are French) so we've been treated to some amazing French home cooking and house improvements (Maurice is a Jack of All Trades, a wonder really). I hope they like these American treats. They are very strict about having breakfast every morning with coffee sitting down at the table - so weird! I suspect these will fit the bill. I'll let you know - I made one batch dairy free with soy creamer and soy milk and dairy free margarine so I could try them, as I love cranberry muffins.

Check out the other SMS'rs too, their muffins look great!

Friday, November 6, 2009

OMG it's been tooo long

Wow, what do you say when you have been absent for sooooo long? I'm sorry, please keep reading my blog, I won't let this happen again ..... By way of background, otherwise known as excuse, here's my story - if anyone will either bother to read this anymore! September: we submit our 5th bid on a house in the East Bay (Northern Cali), and we are accepted!!!!! This, after months and months and months of spending the very little free time we had looking at tons and tons of houses with our great agent, Warren Lei of Caldwell Banker, and being outbid (thankfully) on a few houses. Our new home:

As you homeowners know, bid acceptance is the first step, then inspections, contingencies, mortgage, escrow, etc. Thankfully, everything went well and without a hitch. We closed just in time for me throw my good friend Ashley, who introduced me to my husband (i.e. forever in debt) a 30th birthday party at my empty house. The theme throughout this whole saga is that my work as a corporate attorney as been INSANE. So, I get home from work at 11PM the day before the party and stay up 3am baking a cheesecake (her request) and cupcakes and making her present (we all went in on a vacation package, I set up a registry, and then made cards for each component of the vacation). I must say, it is crazy to try and throw a party in an empty house, I mean, at the time the guests were scheduled to arrive I was at the harware store learning that the grill I bought had to be partially disassembled and then reassembled at the party in order for us to cook dinner!!!! Thank goodness for her boyfriend Mark, rockstar, as my hubby was in Nicaragua when we closed (meaning I spent three hours siging the paperwork for both of us with a power of attorney).

Immediately after the party, I get to work on making the house my own - with my good friend Auburn's guidance and help, we start the ambitious task of painting several rooms. Insanity. Two nights during the week I don't make it back to the house until 10PM and THEN start to paint, like a crazy person.

So, hubby returns from Nicaragua, and instead of finding our apartment all packed up, because work was CRAZY, I have done nothing (did I mention how I worked super late and then painted the house alone?). So, we have 4 days to move our apartment filled with 4 years worth of $%@@. It takes almost every waking moment of those four days - one of which I worked full time. Sleep deprivation, what is that? Huh, what? I'm confused.

We finally make it, get all moved in, and then... WE HAVE TO UNPACK. My dad and sister are scheduled to visit to help, so that gives good motivation to push. And then they come and help tremendously with so many things, buying a couch, putting up pictures, planting plants, etc. So, unpacking, hosting, shopping, and oh yeah, did I mention how I WORK ALL THE TIME? Well, for the month of October I did - spending more nights taking a few hours nap on the couch in my new home office (which I do love) then in my bed. So, what this means is - NO BAKING IN MY WONDERFUL NEW KITCHEN. Can you say torture? a weird twist of fate? Sucky is what I say.

Ok, so I am almost done with this big o'le long explanation. The other thing, I joined the committee for my hubby's non-profit, blueEnergy's, fundraiser. So, in my spare time (the very little that I have between my crazy lawyer hours, new house, new commute, I devote to obtaining/soliciting and planning for the silent auction. It ended up being a successful mission thus far, event still to come, but we have put together quite an action. So, that is my story. Not really have anything to do with baking. Apart from one super late night making 10 dozen cupcakes for my husband's work event, not much baking at all. But, I feel the tide is turning. I will be joining back in SMS this weekend - and deeply apologize to all SMS members for my absence, and thank Karen soooooo muuuuchh. So, if you are still reading after all this, and can find it in your heart to keep on reading, I thank you so very much. I will be making the blog rounds this weekend and can't wait to see what you all have been up to.