eggboy and i are in chicago now, escaping the north dakota cold and seeing my family. it is a crisp -9ºf right now and it's supposed to warm up to zero later today! such excitement, i think i'll shed one sweater layer. 

we spent the weekend in the suburbs with homeland season 3 and a massive stack of cookbooks. we did not surface except to take a salty cheesy trip to eataly with these two and to eat about 12 orders of brunch paella at ba ba reeba

my sisters and i, we do this thing where we impersonate al dente noodles. that's what that gif is all about. i dunno how it started, i think it's a variation on the helpless dog pose that we do when we don't want to do something or if pops is taking too many pictures (do you see where i get it from?). my best guess is that stoop is a penne noodle, mia is a bow tie or perhaps udon, and i like to think that if i were a noodle i'd be some sort of hand pulled strand like one you'd find at xi'an. 

i find myself obliterated with excitement to do things that were once a norm. going to a mall, going to the paint your own pottery place, staring at the whole foods cheese counter. even a five minute trip to trader joe's has been a highlight. it feels benjamin buttony and i like it.

anywho. ikea calls, so i am off to "brave" this "bitter cold weather" and i promise not to call anyone a wimp in the process. (but seriously, chicago, grow a pair.)




santa has come, santa has gone, i forgot to put out cookies for him, but he was still good to me. i received big girls gifts like industrial style chairs and cast iron kitchen accessories and a snazzy vintage pyrex pie plate. a lot has changed since the furby/tamagotchi/overhead projector years. 

we celebrated with a roast and lefse and one of my gifts to eggboy: the pleasure of my company while watching lawrence of arabia. it's his favorite movie, but as you may have guessed, my favorite movies are rom coms and made-for-tv christmas movies.

it was actually last christmas when i presented him with a homemade "i will be in the same room as you while you watch lawrence of arabia" coupon, but it has taken us this long to get around to it. and, surprisingly, i was not completely uninterested. peter o'toole was a hunk. and those camels! they brought back such fond memories.

on christmas eve day, the eggfamily and i bundled up real good and headed to the farm for a little snow picnic inspired by asian shaved ice, baobing. we brought all sorts of tasty sweets and plopped them on fluffy mounds of snow before feasting till our brains froze over and wrestling each other to the ground.

it was a balmy 13ºf. really quite lovely.

oh what is that? you want to have your own baobing snow picnic?

here is what you will need:

-clean deep snow

-snow pants or a towel to sit on, fuzzy gloves, other warm apparel

-chopped fruit

-condensed milk

-red bean paste (i made my own from this recipe, it is so easy! but if you don't live in the middle of nowhere, you can just get it at your neighborhood h mart or the equivalent)

-brown sugar syrup (i actually forgot about this part...oops)

other fun toppings: mochi bits, matcha green tea powder, nuts, sesame seeds, candy...

and then all you do is:

1. make a mountain of snow

2. sprinkle on the toppings to your heart's desire

3. enjoy!!!! and then wrestle in the snow and try not to vom.





i promise, cross my heart, that i'm not just saying this so that all of you will visit me in this new tundra home of mine, but -16ºf is really not that bad.

maybe it's that i've been overly prepared with my new sweater layering skills and my new favorite thing, the bomber hat.

maybe it's that i never have to walk to a subway or hail a cab.

maybe it's that it gives me a good reason to stay inside and bake all day.

snow here is a friendly snow and people accept it. they don't kvetch about it, cancel their work, and then drink all day. life carries on, people bundle up, they drive safely. i hear there are even free cross country ski rentals at a local park.

this weekend, the snow helped us make caramels! we heated up our sugars and then poured it into the deep farm snow for the fastest cooling caramels i ever did make.

i imagine you can use any caramel recipe. i used the kitchn's. cooling caramels in the snow isn't the thing to do if you want perfect, smooth, rectangular, cutely wrapped, chewy caramels. it's more the thing to do if you want to have fun in the snow but are too much of a scaredy cat for a snow ball fight and just not feeling free spirited enough to make a snow angel.

they'll probably be a little bit crackly on the outsides from being frozen in the snow, and their shapes will be awkward. but you'll have fun, i promise.

basically all you do is you cook your sugars according to the recipe, and then instead of pouring the syrup into a prepared pan, quickly (and carefully!) run outside and drizzle it in some deep and clean snow. use a spoon or spatula to collect the hardened caramels from the snow, and then rinse off excess snow in a colander. pat them to dry and enjoy! 

don't forget to brush your teeth.