Sunday, December 25, 2016

T-minus 6

6 days until the new year - 2017.  I think it will be the start of many good years.  Christmas was good, typically is.  Yule time is often quite nice.  I am somewhat craving some Wassail - which to me means dark beer plus fruit juice and spices.  To my other half, all that minus the beer.  Not quite as warming IMO but to each his/her own.

Revisiting my plans from a few weeks ago -

1. Yule log - check
2. Yule themed wreath - gotta find materials....
3. Perfect Yule cocktail - I've been making gin + tonic mix + cranberry + club soda, does that count?  It looks reddish!  Just need to take a pretty pic and add some herbs in... rosemary would do nicely.
4. Figure out things to plant for spring - well, the plants are alive and the mint plant is thriving - still gotta discuss the plant plans.  I am leaning towards several herbs (see below) and a couple edible flowers, since they all do well as "companion plants" and encourage pollinators and discourage pests.  Need to find some sweet woodruff seeds... haven't ordered any yet but I think these would all do well.
5. Add on the XHIT leg exercises - yup!  Since starting two weeks ago I have maintained doing them Tues and Thurs!  Even this past Thurs when I REALLY didn't want to!
6. Journal Club at work - yup!  It is up and running.
7. Halloween costume - that will be a challenge, but I do have a lot of time to work on it...  Hopefully we'll get an update on Cyberpunk 2077, and what with the Bladerunner sequel coming out next year, I should have enough fodder!
8. Read a chapter of Ulysses with companion book between each "great book" completion - yup!  I've only done one, but considering I just finished Pedro Calderon de la Barca's "La Vida es Sueno" I guess I'm due to do the second chapter.
9. Clear my CME inbox - does putting them all in a folder titled "Medscape CME" count?  No... but that won't be happening.
10. New chapter of Red Horizon - this goal is now changing to re-read Red Horizon (partial draft 1) and revise it.  I need to make some changes to the dynamics of my future dystopia.  It's got elements of Orwell and Huxley, but finding the right balance is the key part for maintaining realism.

Bonus goals:
- Set up monthly donations to Electronic Frontier FoundationCenter for Reproductive RightsNational Resources Defense Council, and Move On
- Weekly World History and Marine Bio readings - even setting up flashcards!
- Got some longer-sleeve work clothing
- Added some aluminum prints to my office

Still need to work on drawings, finish SC2, and hash out the details of next years' vacations.

As a bonus-bonus goal, I organized my computer files!  Dating back to the year 2000!  Ugh my diary.  So painful.  Such a teenybopper.  Yes, I admit it, I was insufferable.  Now I have all my pics and documents in two places - desktop and portable hard drive.

I think things are off to a rip roaring start.  I just have to keep going on these things!  Time to check on the Jun tea -

Buche de Noel aka Yule Log

Yule Log!  I made my first one based on THIS recipe - it took about 2 hours of nonstop baking and mixing, so plan ahead - I didn't make it as decorated as that picture, but it turns out pretty well - here are the pictures of the process:

Here are all the ingredients laid out - it doesn't look like much, right?  Only problem is all the damn whipping you have to do!!

Whipping egg yolks...

Whipping egg whites...

Rolling the fresh baked chocolate-whipped yolk stuff...

Applying the chocolate whipped cream (third whipped item btw)...

Cutting it to look kinda like a branch

I thinly spread some melted semisweet chocolate along parchment paper and chilled it in the fridge - the brown is a bit homogeneous but it looks decent with the powdered sugar sprinkled on top!

And ta-da!!!

By the way, it tastes AMAZING.  I'm a chocoholic and I thought the amount of powdered cocoa that goes into it wouldn't be sufficient but it was fantastic.  I love this cake.  I want to make it a tradition that we try new ways to decorate it every year - I want to try those mushroom meringues next time!

Happy Yule and Happy Holidays!  
The days start to get longer from here on out!