Goodness and Bourbon Balls

2 12 2007

bourbon ballsAnd to your left, you’ll see my first attempt at bourbon balls, a holiday favorite around these parts. Imagine pecans soaked for three days in Woodford Reserve, smashed up into balls with unspeakable amounts of sugar and butter, then dipped in melted bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate. You can all thank Allan for passing on his mom’s recipe to me. I test drove a few of them this morning, and they were quite yumtastic. Be nice to me and you just might see some arrive via parcel post… 😉 Today’s baking adventures include bourbon-fudge brownies and cranberry-orange bread. So, to answer your question, I apparently DO miss the five pounds I lost last week, and am making every effort to get them back.

Today’s kick in the nuts is focussed on giving. Yes, giving, that heartwarming holiday tradition that creeps up to bombard us with guilt should we forget to participate. It’s that time of year when the good-hearted step in to remind us that there are those less fortunate than us who are constantly in need. Sadly, the efforts of the good-hearted are usually thwarted by the all-consuming materialism that is the good ole U.S. of A. in December; can’t give you any money today, gotta get to that last Bludgeon Me Elmo or Meth-Addict Barbie, or whatever it is that my narcissistic brats demand this year. Of course, the failure to be charitable at the holidays is not always this blatantly self-consumed; sometimes it’s just not a good time: we don’t have cash on us, we’re late for work, we have a puking reptilian beast possessing our toddler at home. But sometimes, it’s just pure self-absorption and tunnel vision. I saw a perfect example of this yesterday at that shameless corporate mogul, Sam’s Club.

Believe me, I feel bad enough for patronizing The Man, but when one does as much baking as I do, bulk purchasing is GOOD. I usually try to leave something foul and reprehensible in the restroom on my warehouse-shopping ventures as penance for my retail misdeeds; gotta make my sister proud. So anyway, on the trek between parking space and building entrance, I noticed the unmistakable tinkling of a Salvation Army volunteer’s bell. Sadly, I also noticed cart after cart after fucking SLED of goods being pushed past said volunteer, with nary a contribution from their operators. NOTHING.

I stopped in my tracks, mid traffic lane, struck dumb by this baffling display of consumerist oblivion. Sam’s Club is a destination of excess. For starters, you have to pay a membership fee to shop there. Next, nothing found within those fortified walls is NECESSARY. No one’s life depends on an 82-roll pack of TP, or a case of individually-wrapped and labeled for retail sale Chic-O-Stix. Sure, I might have some pissed-off family members on my hands if I show up to Christmas dinner sans goodies, but they’ll live. I simply can’t understand how people can justify spending hundreds of dollars on 50 cases of diet caffeine-free Dr. Pepper (WTF is that stuff, anyway?), but can’t cough up a little bit of change for the people who are genuinely in need.

I’m one of those weirdos who gives all the time, not just when someone in a red cap is staring me down and thrashing a bell. I’m always happy to see a Salvation Army volunteer, and I always deposit a handful of change in his or her bucket, no matter how strapped for cash I am. It’s a reminder to me that I should be grateful for the luxury of shopping at a grocery store, when so many have nothing. I don’t have much, but I have enough. And it feels good to see a smile erupt on the volunteer’s face when I give whatever I can to the cause of helping others. So, when you’re out and about, procuring whatever it is you need this holiday season, be sure to give a little to those wonderful men and women who donate their time and body heat to the cause of helping those less fortunate. It will put a smile on your face, and it will remind that volunteer that there really are good-hearted, giving people left in this world of excessive consumerism.


I’m ba-aaaack!

26 11 2007

yumYeah, that’s right. I’m done crying in my beer and am back at the goodie-baking. This happy little monkey to the left is apple cinnamon oatmeal bread, and I dare say that it’s not a sin to eat it for breakfast! There’s only 1/2 cup of brown sugar in the whole 9-inch loaf; everything else is GOOD for you! I’m a genius, I know. 😉

So, in all seriousness, thank you, each and every one of you who listened to my emotional barfing over the past week. Thank you for the kind words, thank you for the encouragement, and thank you for just being there. This couldn’t have really happened at a worse time, but, to quote a friend of mine, one does one’s best. For those of you who know J, please keep him in your thoughts. He’s a wonderful guy, and I’d love to see him ’round these parts (and ’round RP as well), but something tells me that won’t happen. You guys are the best. I’m so glad to know that I have the love and support of so many fantastic people, whether I’ve met them or not!