7 Sleepy Takes Saturday

7 Sleepy Takes Saturday March 31, 2012
This is exactly how I feel right now
I am so sleepy. The Ogre’s students came over last night, and after a frenzied day of cleaning/baking wherein I spent way too much time cleaning the bathroom, got the raspberry bread in the oven way too late, and then yelled at the Ogre when he suggested that perhaps next time I not worry quite so much about what his students think about the state of our shower, I was beat. Then the minions got up at six, because they LOVE me. 
My town. Isn’t it beautiful?
This is one of the things I love about living in Ave Maria, though. We could never have invited students from UNLV over for appetizers and a pre-play discussion, mostly because we lived twenty  minutes from the school, but also because we could never be certain which students were working for the mafia. 
I love being able to meet the Ogre’s students here. It was so much fun to have them over last night. One of my favorite professors at UD has this wonderful wife, and when we were in Rome I got to know her really well. We would go get pizza and coffee, I would come to their house and play with their kids, and she and I would just sit in the Italian sun and talk. She and her husband were incredibly supportive during the difficult times I had post-Rome and kept in touch with both the Ogre and me, racking up God knows how much in international phone bills. I still keep in touch with her through facebook and by phone.
That is exactly the kind of wife I want to be. Supportive, engaged, and active in my husband’s life and work. It’s so wonderful to be at a small university where that is a possibility.
As always, I remain eternally grateful to Trader Joe’s for being my knight in shining armor, swooping into Naples just in time to rescue me from my dire Trader Joe-less state. Their scrumptious frozen appetizers ensured that the only cooking I had to do yesterday was whipping up this tasty spinach and artichoke dip and the ever-divine St. Nicholas bread that I discovered last December.
I know the recipe comes from Cooking Light, but never fear. Do you really think I would ever use fat-free cream cheese? Gross. No, my friends, this dip was full of creamy, delicious full-fat cheeses. I also threw in two extra garlic cloves because I am biologically compelled to use more garlic than is reasonable, and it was SO delicious. Garlicky, cheesy, spinach-and-artichokey…mmmm. The students loved it too. They gobbled it up. 
Image via St. Nicholas Center
But they didn’t love it nearly as much as they loved this divine bread.
Oh my goodness. We discovered this bread on St. Nicholas day this year. It is so, so, so…indescribably delicious. I do the raspberry filling and almond glaze, although last night I discovered at the eleventh hour that I had forgotten to pick up almond extract, so I used vanilla instead. Still delicious. 
When I first made this bread I had my doubts about my ability to braid it so that it looked like the masterpiece in the picture, but it’s actually really simple and does indeed end up looking like a candy cane. Obviously I didn’t shape it like a candy cane last night because, um, it’s March, but it still made a very pretty braided loaf. I’m considering trying to make a wreath today but that might be stretching my culinary talents. 
You should absolutely make this if you want to impress someone or gain ten pounds because you simply cannot stop eating it (so maybe after Lent?). The bread was served literally two minutes after I took it out of the oven, so it didn’t even have a chance to properly cool at all, and still the students were SILENT after the Ogre sliced the bread and handed it out, and then after about three and a half minutes they all began to talk at once about how good the bread was while gazing ruefully at their empty plates. I had more dough but since I spent valuable bread-making time cleaning the bathroom it wasn’t ready before they had to leave for the play. I felt bad, but then I was really kind of glad about it this morning when the minions ate an entire half of a loaf for breakfast. 

So As You Like It opened this weekend for students only. It will be open for the public in a couple weekends. I think it’s really cool that they reserved performances especially for students. It allows the cast to settle into their roles under slightly less pressure (although maybe more pressure, since they are performing in front of their peers and not the moms who bike around town towing a veritable clown car of children (of which group I am a card-carrying member, thanks to a certain neighbor who lent me her bike)). The Ogre took half of his students last night and he’s taking the other half tonight and guess what? I’m going with them! 
Seriously, thank goodness for college students who have little siblings. They are the best babysitters. 
Remember how I said that I got caught up cleaning and didn’t get the food done in time? Yeah. I promised myself last night that I would be in the kitchen making the food ahead of time by 10 a.m., and it’s 9:34. That means I need to publish this post five minutes ago if I’m going to squeeze in my requisite half-hour of internet trollery. Sorry for the abrupt ending, but internet trollery is vital to my mental health and well-being. 
Here’s a gratuitous picture of my minions, for no reason other than that I don’t have time to go searching for an appropriate picture for this last quick take. 
Happy Saturday! Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and go see Jen for more quick takes!

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