Sweet Surrender


I’m one of those girls perennially trying to lose ten pounds. My strategy for most of the year involves an uber-restrictive diet of wine, cheese and chocolate, and an intense daily exercise regime consisting of walking the Chihuahua across the street, standing in place while she does her business, and then carrying her home. Since I’m putting in all this effort, I really can’t explain why the extra pounds don’t melt right off. But they don’t. It’s an honest-to-God battle. I think maybe there’s something out of whack with my metabolism. Be that as it may, around the holidays, I usually let my intense discipline lapse a bit. Why not surrender to the inevitable? Plus, nothing puts me in a Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Man frame of mind quicker than, say, a mouthful of peppermint bark. This year the crap-fest started a little earlier than usual, because I offered to host the annual holiday get together for a group girlfriends. As a conscientious hostess, I’m duty-bound to try out all the options before settling on a menu, right? Right.

With that selfless mindset, I headed down to the Country Mart recently with the little guy to look around. We hit the Crumbs Bakery, because I have proven, repeatedly, that it isn’t physically possible to pass by a Crumbs Bakery and not go in. I’m no scientist, so the exact explanation eludes me, but it probably involves a tractor-beam, or mind control, or a positive ion bombardment. Something. The mere sight of all the fluffy, colorful cupcakes sends me to my happy place. This visit, they had a whole display case of the little, “taste size,” cakes. My inner hostess insisted we put a few to the test. Our faves included the Good Guy, the Chocoloco, the Dulce de Leche and the Peanut Butter Cup. I could have tried them all, but after splitting six, my son proclaimed, “Mommy, I’m a rocket!” and zoomed off to the playground with so much velocity I actually heard a sonic boom. Mission accomplished. Thinking it might be nice to kick off our holiday season with a home-baked treat, but knowing full-well the limits of my baking skills, I picked up the pre-decorated holiday sugar cookie dough from Ralphs. I arranged the Santas, Frostys, Christmas Trees and Rudolphs on a non-greased cookie sheet and put them in the oven for the recommended eight-to-ten minutes. Then I diligently tried each one. Perfection. Hubs and the little guy agreed. Talk about a Christmas miracle!

My gluttony continues. Last Thursday my book club/drink club met at Toscanova in the Calabasas Commons. I hadn’t been to the restaurant before. All I knew was they had the space once occupied by the restaurant Mi Piace, which I really liked. The good news is I think Toscanova is Italian for Mi Piace. My taste-buds were none the wiser. After downing some wine, discussing the book, (which didn’t take long ‘cause none of us finished it), enjoying some wine, eating dinner, drinking some wine, solving the world’s problems, and then having a little wine, we ordered dessert – one chocolate lava cake and one crème brulee. Of course I had a bite … of each. Okay, maybe more than one bite. Maybe I blocked everyone else’s spoons like a hockey player hogging the puck. All I can say in my defense is … yum, yum. Last night Hubs got a wild hair and, putting my store-bought-dough sugar cookies to shame, whipped up a batch of peanut butter, chocolate fudge. Not that I’ve ever had any doubts about who is the lucky one in our dynamic duo, but if I had, that fudge would have settled them. Heck, I had some for breakfast this morning.

I love the holidays. I really do. And I particularly love spending them at home, as we’re doing this year. I just hope by the time they’re over I can still fit into my house. Got a favorite holiday indulgence? You know I wanna hear all about it!