When my friend Melanie called wedding planning “traumatic” earlier this fall, I thought she was joking. I must have just been overreacting to the overwhelming pressures of decision-making, I thought, after I had complained about wanting this part of the whole deal to be over. No, she was, indeed, quite serious. And she was right. Don’t get me wrong — our wedding day, the most gorgeous day of October in the New York-metro area, replete with frost on the grass in the morning and abundant, warming sunshine throughout the afternoon and so very much love from so many of our closest and favorite people, was better than I ever could have dreamed. On that day, all the meticulous planning, all the decisions, all the trust that ultimately went into our amazing vendors and our incredible family and bridal party to keep us calm and ensure that everything went smoothly, were worth it. But of course, in the weeks leading up to it, I had given myself an onerous task that I should have known better than to leave ‘til the last minute. There was, of course, no way I was going to bake desserts for my own wedding, but I still wanted to share the love with our friends and family in the form of food made from my own kitchen. I would make our wedding favors. I would learn to make — and preserve — apple butter. Continue reading →
Blueberry Nectarine Crème Fraîche Pie
I spent a lot of time this winter and spring in a cave of my own making, shying away from people, from a social life. I am, by nature, a homebody. Running is my social life, and when I was injured after the marathon, I was down, I was defeated, and I hid in my cave, missing the energy of my body and my friends but sinking deeper and deeper into a miasma of self-alienation. Even once I started running again, I didn’t feel like myself, not until I cut back on my solo runs and started going back to my team’s workouts and running (slowly) in races. But I didn’t truly feel like my life was my life again until last week, when I ran an entire speed workout and at the end, after a slow start but a strong finish, our coach, Jared, smiled at me and said, “I love to see that. The athlete in you always comes out.” Then, this past weekend, two of my good friends and teammates got married at the base of our hill workout in Astoria Park under the Hell Gate Bridge, and, with the bride in a beautiful white running dress, led us on a group run over the Triboro Bridge and into Manhattan. The next day I cheered on another good friend and teammate as he competed, and kicked ass, in his first triathalon. There’s something fulfilling about being part of a community. Continue reading →
Celebratory Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
Today, the ImaginariYUM turns one year old. It’s been a pretty amazing year. From my Dad’s Sunday Blueberry Pancakes to Pain au Chocolat to today, you’ve helped me grow bolder, grow easier, grow more comfortable with my abilities and constraints. I’ve made some pretty creative things, tested some things tried and true. Run a marathon, and begun training for another. Learned to enjoy every moment of every season — even the hot, miserable ones, because they all mean something, give something.
And this summer, especially, has been filled with love, and with joy. I was honored to be a bridesmaid and the “pastry chef” for my best friend Tracie’s wedding in July, and then, just last Friday — just a month after I caught the bouquet and he caught the garter, and five years to the day after our first date — my fella asked me to marry him. The love of my life. The guy. The one who says he never really thought the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was true until he met me. The one who taught me to love strange midwestern concoctions, and makes a perfect grilled cheese. The one who washes the dishes, is happy to be my guinea pig. The one who never, ever complains when things take way longer to cook or bake than I led on. The one who makes me laugh every day, throws a bag of ice in the tub when I’m exhausted, sore, and whimpering after a long run, reminds me that creativity is like a muscle that needs exercise. The one who sat with me and watched Bugs Bunny cartoons on my phone, in the back of a bar, on our first date, and who will still sit with me and watch Bugs, over, and over, and over again, any day that I ask. That guy.
So on this bloggiversary, I thought it was appropriate to celebrate just a little. With cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream, to be exact.