Embrace the mess!

posted by harlie in day-to-day, family


The Century of The Self

posted by harlie in media

This is a fascinating BBC documentary that I felt compelled to share. It’s how psychoanalysis, starting with Freud and moving forward, has changed our entire society. Granted, it’s hard to believe that any one disciple is wholly responsible for the zeitgeist of a nation (or two), but this does make you wonder.

If you believe you’re a savvy shopper who isn’t influenced by marketing, you definitely need to watch this. You might find this a bit depressing or you might find yourself saying, “I told you so!”. Worse, it shows how politics has, more recently, adopted the same strategies. And, you know, I always felt that politics was different when I was younger. It turns out I was right — it was changing right before my eyes. Regardless of your political stance or level of shopaholism, you need to watch this. I was blown away by how a mere handful of people have completely changed the mindset of the western world in just a couple generations.

This youtube video is actually 4 episodes strung together, so it’s nearly four hours long, but it’s well worth the time spent watching either in segments or all at once. (And don’t be turned off by the image of Clinton on the youtube embed if you’re not a fan. He figures into the documentary near the end when they discuss how politics has changed and has about as much air time as Reagan, Thatcher and Blair. I don’t know why they chose to show him in particular.)


Easter Table: Our Menu

posted by harlie in home

We have a couple of friends, Peter & Kat, with whom, without really trying or planning to do so, we started trading off hosting for Easter. They had us over one year, we had them over the next and then…I guess we just kept going. This year, we figured it was our turn, so we broke out a few of our favorite, traditional recipes and filled out the line-up with some new tasties. I just thought I’d share them with you too (I promise: this is my last Easter post until next year).

My Mister has the most amazing lamb recipe and any time we have the occasion, I encourage him to break that sucker out. It’s a pretty, standard recipe but rack of lamb is a classic and my honey really knows his classics. We also got a ham in case any of the kids didn’t like lamb (which turned out not to be a problem). As a side, I usually make my favorite mashed potato recipe, à la Alton Brown. I also found a great roasted carrot recipe. So simple, so tasty! It will become a staple for us, definitely. Our friends brought a brussel sprout dish that was A-MA-ZING! I know brussel sprouts get a bad rap, but I like them and I asked Kat for the recipe, it was just that good.

I had intended to serve rolls as well, but I forgot. We had a to-do list of things we needed to prep and cook before dinner and I didn’t put the rolls on the list. So they didn’t get made. The dough is still in my fridge. Oops! This is my problem with lists — I have a love/hate relationship with lists. They’re wonderful for keeping track of what I’m doing (and who doesn’t love checking things off a to-do list?), but I tend to rely too heavily on them when I have them. If my list isn’t thorough, I’m in big trouble. Anyhow, I guess I’ll be using it to make cinnamon rolls in the morning.

For dessert, we have two favorites that we always make for Easter. My Mister’s baklava and an orange-chocolate cake from the Barefoot Contessa that I’m working on perfecting. I love this cake and maybe the recipe written as-is works from other people. However, even though it always tastes great, I’m still working on getting the whole dense+moist thing down consistently. The Mister’s baklava, however, is reliably delicious. Dense, but flaky. Sweet, but not cloyingly so. In fact, it’s so good that Peter & Kat’s two daughters assumed we were Greek (they are, we’re not). So, I call that pretty darn good baklava.

I would love to tell you how best to bacon-ize your brussel sprouts, but that is a recipe I have yet to steal. Until then, do you want to find out how to make a killer rack of lamb? Or make baklava just like your Yiayia use to? Yeah…you do!


Easter Table: from Pinspiration to Reality

posted by harlie in home

Well, Easter has come and gone and I think that we did pretty well working off of our pinspiration. Don’t you think so?

You might notice the colorful, lidded cups with twisty straws replacing the wineglasses at the center placesettings. Those were for our under 10 guests as both drinking glasses and favors. They loved them! Thanks, Target! I can always count on you!

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