Surprisingly enough, my favorite Valentine’s days have been spent with friends. There is so much hype around the day of romance, that it is much more fun to throw tradition aside and spend the day with all the people you love, not only your significant other. This year, I’m going to miss out on our annual Valentine’s brunch, but instead, I had a “virtual brunch” with an old friend. I brought the coffee cake.
Dates are my best friend during detox season. They are the most delicious, naturally sweet fruit out there and they deserve an award. When ground with almonds and cinnamon, they make yummy bites of sweetness to curb your sugar cravings. But due to my giant sweet tooth, I managed to over-dose on the cinnamon date balls this month and it was time to find a new date recipe.
We are finally making our way to the Swiss Alps in Zermatt this weekend. I’m really excited and really nervous. If I knew I would be knitting in the lodge the whole weekend, I could just be excited. But people keep telling me that I need to try this whole skiing thing since we live in Switzerland bla bla bla. I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: skiing freaks me out.
My grandma is a great cook, but a self-professed terrible baker. Which makes sense, because I find that the more I cook, the worse baker I am. I catch myself thinking, “ehh, let’s not dirty the measuring spoons if we don’t have to.” Besides Gram’s signature sauerbraten and potato pancakes dish, she makes the most amazing soups. No soups are ever alike, and that’s what I love about them. Don’t you dare throw away a ham hock or turkey bones in front of her because there is good soup stock to be made!
I know it’s already 2014 and all, but I still want to talk about 2013 because it was an amazing whirlwind of a year and I’m not sure how 2014 will measure up.
I started out the year as a newly engaged woman who was trying to plan a wedding and sell her first home as a real estate agent. All the while, we were packing up our San Francisco apartment for a transatlantic move to Switzerland for my fiancé’s job. Jon left for Switzerland at the end of February and I continued wedding planning and working. I joined him at the end of March and was immediately thrown into a ‘real’ winter. This California girl was not prepared.
Christmas in Europe is pretty magical. I guess when you combine a ton of beautiful lights with a cold Swiss winter; the result is a wonderful Christmas feeling that I have never experienced. On top of the pretty lights, there is glühwein to be drunk (a warm mulled wine), a nightly singing Christmas tree, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (who knew that actually happened?), Saint Nicholas roaming the streets passing out fruits and candies, and Christmas markets that sell anything from ornaments to artisanal soap.