BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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Patience is a Virtue…

And all of you lovely people that left me such thoughtful, heart-warming comments certainly have it. I can’t thank you guys enough for waiting by while I got my shittake together, and I don’t think I would have been able to get through it intact without you. Having a good friend that you can turn to in times of turmoil is invaluable, and so I would hardly feel right about turning away others in need.

Such was the case when a tiny purple bunny appeared in my herb garden one day.

Cowering next to a large pot of basil, the poor dear was clearly scared out of her mind. Alone and lost – How she got there, I couldn’t tell you – She definitely was in need of a kind soul to help her out of this confusion. Offering up my cozy patch of greenery as a temporary residence, I promised that we would get her back to where she belonged in no time at all. Little did I know what I was getting myself into…

It was only a matter of time before a friend of hers showed up, and I was overjoyed to know that neither of these tiny creatures wouldn’t be alone. Contented that they could keep each other company, I went about my regular chores, completely care-free. As the hours slipped away and out of my grasp faster than I could even turn them over in my hands, I didn’t get to check in on them for nearly half the day. When I came back to offer them a snack, I stopped short and wondered if perhaps my vision was faulty; I was seeing even more than double!

Um, okay, not a big deal, I’ll just pull out a couple extra chairs at the table. But then, I swear I just blinked and-

Bunny overload!

Now, I’m not about to toss these sweet little ones out on the street, but I can’t possibly take care of all twelve on my own. Knowing that you guys are all such great friends, I was wondering if any of you would be interested in taking one into your own home instead? Just leave me a comment before midnight tonight (Eastern Time) and I’ll pick out a dozen names at random. Consider it a small ‘thank you’ for being so patient!


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Tagged x Infinity

All form of intelligible thought flies far from my lips when I try to say exactly how thankful I am for everyone’s recent comments and various forms of flattery, but it never fails to amaze me to see how many people are actually following along. So much attention is still totally new to me, and it’s crazy to see how many times my blog comes up in regular posts these days! Particularly when there are some certain memes taking the blogosphere by storm… I think that I’ve been tagged for the same meme at least 5 times now, no joke! My studies are a bit demanding at the moment so while I’m I’m afraid I won’t be participating in this round, perhaps I could possibly bribe you guys with a cup of tea, or maybe even a slice of cake instead?

There’s a nice wedge of cookies ‘n creme, for those who want the best of both cookies and cake…

Or for those whole prefer simplicity, what about a sliver of brilliantly crimson red velvet cake?

If all else fails, there’s always the old standard of chocolate and strawberries.

I would never try to buy your vote or your love… But would a bite of one of these cakes score me any points, at least?


16 Comments

A Little Birdy Told Me…

So I may not have seen any groundhogs yesterday, but I did meet up with one weather-wise, winged friend instead…

Judging by her enthusiastic chirping and fluttering about, I think it’s safe to say that spring is finally on it’s way. Besides that, the temperature has risen above freezing, which feels downright toasty at this point!


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Eating Like an Animal

Most people would never bat an eye over chowing down in a restaurant, or big dinner party, but eating in public places is awkward for me. Simply put, table manners perplex and overwhelm me, driving me to eat in solitude so as not to accidentally offend those around me. Admittedly an odd character quirk on my part, any member of my family who is so unfortunate to have dined regularly with me would understand- Talking with my mouth full, elbows on the table, picking at food with my fingers, I am no where near a master of eating etiquette. These bad habits can obviously be suppressed with conscious effort, but needless to say, I’m just not comfortable seated in one of my university’s many dining halls. Surrounded by a couple hundred unknown students, each with their own set of cultural norms and taboos, I fear that each bite I take may be seen as more appalling than the last.

Doing my best to speed through another self-conscious breakfast, hiding in the corner with my head buried in a text book, I was startled by the sudden sounds of noshing even more violent and untamed than my own. Craning around to find the source, I saw the exact image that I fear others might project onto me; Snout rooting about in a mountainous bowl of cereal, this guy was an absolute pig!

No, seriously, he was a pig!

Watching crumbs fly though the air as this voracious animal tore through those crunchy wheat squares, I instantly felt better about my own unsavory behavior. As out of place as I may feel, I’m fairly confident that my manners aren’t nearly so conspicuous as his!


22 Comments

Unsavory Sushi

If there was ever one single food trend that 99.9% of the population could identify with, foodie or not, it would absolutely be the ingenious Japanese creation known as sushi. Climbing up the ranks of culinary fads so rapidly that it has barely established it’s roots in the US before hitting cult-status. Fanatics sprung from the woodworks and soon, it seemed as if the country was engulfed in a collective obsession over those rolls of vinegared rice. One could practically trip over all of the dime-a-dozen sushi joints sprouting up in metropolitan areas, and I personally have yet to see a single one of them go under. It would seem as if every last person on earth were enamored with them, and their appetites as bottomless as the wallets that strain under their often exorbitant prices… And I am certainly not excluded from this majority. As shocking as it is to still find the stray uninformed eater who has yet to try sushi for themselves, it is even more startling to still encounter confusion when I profess my love for this simple fare. “But… I thought it had fish in it? Are you sure you’re VEGAN?” they might ask incredulously. While hundreds of different vegetable combinations and recipes struggle to emerge from my slightly gaping mouth, the overwhelmingly abundant options prevent more than a feeble response of “Of course, there are vegetable sushi…!”

Coming from someone who partakes in some sort of rice rolls about once a week, you would expect a slightly more in-depth explanation, but if you ask me, sushi speaks for itself. So simple in its basic construction but with so many complex adaptation and options along the way, it’s no wonder that the preparation of this ubiquitous Japanese specialty is considered an art in its homeland. When it comes right down to it however, I take the purist’s approach and pursue the easiest choices, guaranteed to be found on any menu. The sheer number of kappa maki that have rolled down into my gullet over the years would be terrifying to account for, to say the least. They’re my idea of comfort food, and so every time I returned home for a weekend between classes, there would always be sushi in the dinner plans.

Unfortunately, the difficulties of ordering in most rinky-dink restaurant become abundantly clear from the moment that we’re seated, and the waiter can’t even tell you what certain dishes are composed of. The rank smell of stewing chicken wafts out of sticky kitchen doors and stamps out the scent of what’s actually being served. Requests for separate plates go unheeded, and fish comes piled on top of my sad, squished rolls, rendering them uneatable. These occurrences are nothing new, but worst of all is when orders get mixed up, an suddenly an unseen hand above my head drops a bomb: A plate with only fishy flesh.

Vegetable sushi. What is so hard to understand about vegetable sushi? I’m sure that one combo platter is just as easy to make as another, but that doesn’t mean that they can be prepared interchangeably! A lovely work of art in it’s own right, it’s almost an insult to return such a meticulously constructed platter back to the kitchen, as I’m sure most other patrons would be delighted with the brightly colored fish perched delicately on their starchy thrones. My confidence abandons me, and the most I can do is stare sadly at those unsavory sushi. With nothing else to eat while the rest of the family digs in, ordering sushi starts to become more of a trial than a treat. Struggling to replace this offensive dish with the correct one for several more minutes, followed by another long wait while a new plate is prepared… It’s a surprise even to me that my love for the stuff still remains untouched by the end of such arduous meals.

I can’t be the only one to have experienced this, and yet there is still such an enthusiastic reception for sushi that it clearly has a firm hold on a multitude of palates near and far. Perhaps it’s the promise of exotic new flavors, the sheer possibilities that keep sushi fans coming back for more… Or just the possibility of making it in the comfort of one’s home that makes it all the more appealing- Something that I can certainly agree with!


20 Comments

Deck the Halls with… Cupcakes?

“A CHRISTMAS tree, in our house?! Never!”, my mother would reprimand me when I suggested a new holiday decoration in the form of pine needles and twigs. Coming from a long line of observant Jews and nothing else, it should have come as no surprise that my parents wouldn’t budge on the subject, but the holiday symbols have come to mean something completely different from their religious origins. Anything that has that certain holiday cheer to it, that indescribable seasonal joy, be it a menorah, stocking, or snowman simply turns my heart into marshmallow fluff. All that matters is the celebration, not the ritual. And so I persisted like the annoying gnat I imitate so well now, and for the first time last year, I was finally given permission to bring that other holiday’s symbol into our home. Of course, there were conditions- It was to be small, very small, so small it might get lost in the jungle of dishes that is our kitchen. December 31, it was to be gone, no questions asked. And of course, it was my own rule that prevented me from ripping a healthy little sapling out of the ground, and so artificial tinsel on a wire frame it was!

Affectionately named “Filbert,” the mere sight of the one foot-tall, glittery shrub brings a smile to my face.

Since this is the second year that Filbert has come out of hibernation, you would think that I’ve already fashioned eight dozen miniature ornaments to outfit him in, but alas, the holidays always pass so quickly- The poor bush still has little more than the blue orbs he was purchased with. Although this year is no exception in terms of its hectic pace, I’ve at least taken the time to give him a more personal affect, and one that says a lot about where my mind has been lately: A tiny felt cupcake.

At this rate, I might be able to fill all of Filbert’s stubby branches by the year 2025, but hey, it’s a start.

And in the spirit of the holidays, I thought I might just share this simple design with you, and perhaps you might find the inspiration to start replacing your own store-bought ornaments with handmade gems, too. Since Filbert is so tiny, I might suggest enlarging this pattern 2 or 3 times for a regular-sized tree, lest it get lost in all of the greenery. It’s another dead-easy project that could be enjoyed by crafters of any skill level, so get out the kids and let them make their own cupcake ornaments, too!

First of all, click here, [enlarge if desired], print and cut.

To assemble, all you need to do is cut 2 frosting shapes out of your desired frosting-colored felt, and 2 cake shapes out of your desired cake colored felt. Sew one frosting to one cake along the dotted line, and repeat for the other pair. Attach bugle beads to the frosting to imitate sprinkles. Hold the two sides together with the right sides facing out, and starting from the left bottom corner, whip stitch the pieces together. Pause when you get down to the bottom right side (leaving the bottom open) to attach a length of embroidery floss for the hanger/loop, lightly stuff, and then sew closed. Have a happy tree!


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Flying South

Bursting in through the open windows without warning, a blustery wind filled with sharp fragments of freezing rain seems to signify that like it or not, winter is upon us once again. Never mind the red leaves still hanging precariously by a thread up in the tallest trees, or the calender that still firmly insists that this season is still known as “autumn”- Mother nature appears to have other thoughts on the matter. All of a sudden, there is nary a pest indoors or out (not that I’m complaining) and nearly every single wild creature out there has already turned in for a long hibernation, or has taken off for a trip to the tropics. That is, except for one little fellow who showed up on my doorstep not too long ago…

Looking quite distraught, this tiny bird was but a newborn, not yet a goose but still a wee goose-ling. Sporting wings so small and underdeveloped that they could have only carried perhaps a single feather, he quickly explained that the rest of his family had left him behind in search of greener pastures, not to mention warmer weather. Unable to wait for the youngster to gain the strength required to make such a long journey, the plummeting temperatures scared them off without the poor baby in tow. Searching for some kind family to put him up for the winter, he had been ringing doorbells all throughout the neighborhood, but to no avail. Apparently no one wanted to deal with a wild goose, probably knowing all too well that they aren’t exactly the easiest creatures to toilet train

But those sad eye, that heart-breaking story- How could I turn him away so cruelly? If you know me, then by now you would know that I couldn’t… But unfortunately, I couldn’t keep him here, either. Thinking fast, I realized that I knew a very generous, sweet blogger who does actually live in Brazil who would certainly take good care of him. Arranging for a first class plane ride, he would be able to fly south for the winter after all!

(Photo courtesy of Patricia!)

And even if he hasn’t been reunited with his original family, it seems that he has happily found a new one, and I would say that this lucky duck hasn’t been having such a terrible time since he arrived, either!

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