This year can stay perfect as long as I don't leave the house

Happy New Year! 

I hope last night's celebrations were satisfactory for everyone!

The key is focus.

2015 WRAP UP: 

  • We all survived intact, save one baby tooth
  • I started a teensy business and that is very exciting to me, still
  • I intended to read a lot of books. My second-favorite thing about New Year's, after black-eyed peas, is the feeling of intending to read a lot of books. I'm having it again, right now! It's great! Didn't really work out last year, maybe because I kicked off my "read a lot of books" mission with a dense 800-page 19th century novel and refused to forgive myself for not finishing it, which dampened my reading enthusiasm overall. HOWEVER! I have taken Middlemarch off of my "currently reading" shelf on Goodreads and I'm ready to move forward. This year kicks off with a...dense 800-page biography of Alexander Hamilton WAIT HEAR ME OUT it's different this time. It's different. This time I have a soundtrack. Speaking of which...
  • My official resolution for last year was to buy and closely listen to one new album every month of the year. I didn't quite make it, partly because the end of the year was so completely steamrolled by Hamilton, but it was an immensely satisfying project regardless, and one that I am tempted to try again this year. Here, in order of how likely they are to randomly pop into my head, are my albums of 2015:
1-46. Individual tracks from Hamilton

47. No Cities To Love, Sleater-Kinney. This would have handily won my album of the year award had I not fallen inexplicably in love with Aaron Burr. (Every time someone describes him as the "villain" of the show I am hurt and confused.)

48. Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves. This is just a thoroughly enjoyable collection of music. Catchy, funny, Texan-in-a-good-way.

49. Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Stevens. Do I necessarily want these songs to pop up in my head? Maybe not, since they tend to signal extreme emotional distress. Ivy's favorite track is the one that ends with a chorus repeating "We're all gonna die" over and over again. It is BEAUTIFUL music, but hoo boy. You've been warned.

50. Phosphorescent Blues, Punch Brothers. This is the kind of album I had to listen to several times before it all started clicking into place for me. That's not bad necessarily, sometimes the best music makes me work for it a little bit. After a month of listening to this over and over we went to see them live and it was pretty tremendous.

51. The Desired Effect, Brandon Flowers. I got this one because Chris and Andy of my dearly, dearly, so dearly departed Hollywood Prospectus podcast (RIP Grantland) couldn't stop raving about it and I think I would have liked it more if I were five years older or so. But if you are in the market for some 80s throwback, it delivers like whoa. This was Anna's favorite, for what it's worth.

52. Uptown Classic, Mark Ronson. I liked this at the time, but it didn't really stick around in my brain, maybe because it was last January's album or Uptown Funk exhaustion just shut down that whole section, I don't know.

53. The Magic Whip, Blur. I could not name a single non-title track from this album. Some people love it! It may just not have lined up with my overall mood for that month, I think I was expecting something slightly less mellow.

  • Cooking projects were disjointed, half-assed, and overshadowed by the constant melting of wax on my stovetop. Speaking of which...

On this sacred day of good intentions, let's set up another cooking project. Some online store or another (Dermstore?) keeps throwing in magazine subscriptions with my orders, to the point that I have about eight random magazines arriving each month. For January, I thought it would be fun to make two of them do battle.

The angel and the devil on my shoulder cookbook stand.

Just peeking inside the first page of each of these gives you a pretty good idea of the direction they're going:

Eating Well: Basket of gourds on a car that are still like six steps away from being edible. Plus drive time.

Rachael Ray: Sugar goo.


Rachael Ray's Zucchini Muffins vs. Eating Well's Winter Squash Muffins with Cranberries

These both tasted good, although I had a lot of trouble with the zucchini muffin batter for some reason. Most of them look like this:

Whereas the squash and cranberry all look exactly like the magazine picture:

Anna refused to eat either. Ivy only ate squash/cranberry. The zucchini muffins have four times as much added sugar but I don't think it really pays off in taste. In the zucchini's favor, it was a much, much simpler recipe to pull together, to the point that I almost decided not to bother with the other ones. WINNER: Eating Well, by a pretty long shot.

Anyway, time to start simmering black-eyed peas and continue not wearing pants. I hope your holiday is equally pleasant.