Saturday, November 15, 2014

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Each season brings a few special treats to our kitchen. In November that treat is a big batch of Iced Pumpkin Cookies.   

These cookies are cakey and fallish, and perfect with a big cup of hot coffee. For the frosting I generally use a combination of rum, orange juice, and cream, giving them a nice complexity of flavor. I also add a generous portion of pumpkin pie spice to give the cookies more pop. The nuts and raisins keep the texture interesting. It's hard to believe, but these cookies have been a seasonal staple in our house for over a decade!

Friday, November 14, 2014


My neighbors put up their Christmas tree this past weekend. I went into Target this week and was hit with reindeer decorations. I dropped into a Starbucks on Wednesday afternoon and my eyes were assaulted with glittery green and red and huge ads for holiday drinks. It's November. Stop it.

A week ago I read a great Jezebel article, "Christmas Must Be Stopped. Let's Declare War on Christmas." I couldn't agree more. November is a time for enjoying the end of autumn, for watching the last leaves fall from the trees, for celebrating Thanksgiving. I'm not a big fan of Christmas (it's my least favorite holiday), but I can tolerate, and maybe even enjoy some of it when it is kept to it's December place. When it starts intruding on Thanksgiving, and even Halloween (!), I flip out. The only place for this consumerist glut is *after* Thanksgiving. Not the evening of, not at 4 a.m. the next morning, but *after*. I think it is completely disgusting that corporations are pushing Black Friday back onto Thanksgiving day, and I have little patience for people that participate in such capitalist bloat. Don't do it, people. Don't force low-wage employees to work on the only American holiday that actually celebrates family and thanks. Don't be that ugly person running to a big fluorescent box store to buy some plastic crap that you don't need anyway. Keep your integrity. Have some respect for yourself. Shop later at retailers that stay closed on Thanksgiving (here is a list of 20 such retailers), or shop local.

For now, I'm enjoying pumpkin cookies and leaf gazing, hot spiced apple cider and squash pastas, kale dishes and things spiced with the last herbs from our garden. Be here now. Live in the season you're in. Christmas will have it's time, but let's all agree to wait until that time is right.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Royals Blue October

This is a few weeks overdue, but I need to write a tribute to this years KC Royals team.

While I enjoy sports, I'm not a huge sports person. We usually go to a game or two per season; in a year we'll hit up baseball, and maybe college basketball. I'd like to go to an NFL game (Lambeau Field is on my life list), and for a few years we've tossed around attending a major league soccer game, but have never acted. While I enjoy the camaraderie of sporting events, the prices are generally too high (I'm looking at you Chicago Cubs), and we haven't lived in a city with many winning sports teams, with Jayhawk basketball being an exception.

Having said all that, I love going to Royals games. The cost is low- generally $15 a ticket for the seats we get, they have good Boulevard Beer, and there are decent food options like veggie hot dogs. The K is a great place to watch a game, and it's close to our house. We went to one game this year, back in August, and really enjoyed ourselves.

Then came October. And that wild card game. And all the rest.

It was so amazing to see Kansas City come alive with joy as the Royals marched towards the World Series. T-shirt vendors popped up on street corners. Cars had blue flags flying from the windows. Our neighborhood had fireworks going off at the end of every game, and people just seemed to be happier. Little dude's Japanese school took a group photo and sent it to Aoki, the Japanese player on the team. Everyone wore blue for weeks. The games we watched at the local bars were filled with smiles and high fives. We watched most of the playoff games- I even watched some while on a work trip to Texas. Although we didn't win the Series, it was still really fun to see KC light up, to see friends post pictures from playoff games, and to see all the fountains and buildings drenched in blue. While I know that many of the players will be off to new places next year, I still look forward to going to the first game of the season, and to seeing how we do next year. It was a great October.