Moving. Ooph. Last week, our little family made the 1,000-mile trek from our home in Missouri to our new digs in North Carolina. That meant two days of driving our caravan of vehicles, one three-car trailer filled with all our worldly possessions and four straight mornings of pre-5 o’clock wake-up calls. Thankfully, Jared’s dad helped us move our truck o’ stuff across the country, and my mom and sister came down for the week to help us set up shop. Now, with the boxes cleared and this-is-our-home feelings beginning to set in, things are starting to get back to normal — or at least as normal as can be expected after a cross-country move. Ooph. Again.
Actually, it’s been pretty fun getting everything put together so far. My handy dandy husband has been hard at work assembling all the nifty furniture we picked up at IKEA during our last stop through Atlanta (shelves to house the inordinate amount of books that will now reside in our place instead of his office and new dining room chairs that became necessary after my last standing-on-a-chair-to-reach-something-high-in-the-kitchen experience resulted in a very broken chair and my need to exercise some quick cat-like reflexes). We also put together the baby crib a few days ago (woot!), and I picked up some zippers and thread at Jo-Ann’s yesterday to get started on all the sewing rigmarole for the Bean’s room. So I’m pleasantly overwhelmed with projects, which are proving to be great distractions from the underlying homesickness that’s also floating around. I’ve said it before, but being a grownup really is tough business. If Duke conveniently relocated to my parents’ backyard, I’d probably stay there forever. Too bad those Gothic buildings are so crazy heavy.
In my continued effort to remain very grownup about this whole moving thing (a.k.a. maintain my sanity and not burden poor Jared with a blubbering pregnant wife a minute longer than I can help it), I decided that day five in the new place was high time to christen the kitchen with a friendly visit from my old pals flour and sugar. I went for an old favorite in hopes that the habitual tastes and smells would make everything else feel a bit more like home. By combining a tried-and-true recipe and the rhubarb jam I made with my grandma over the summer, I think I found just what I needed in familiar flavors and warm-and-cozy nostalgia. For now at least.
Adapted from Real Simple (December 2009)
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 3 teaspoons vanilla
• ½ to ¾ cup jam (any flavor you like)
In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg, and cream until fluffy (takes about two minutes). Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Turn mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients, and mix until fully incorporated. Refrigerate dough until firm (about an hour).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop tablespoon-sized spoonfuls of dough onto parchment- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet. Use your thumb to press a small rounded well into the center of each cookie, and fill the wells with jam. Bake cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, or until edges just begin to turn golden brown.
* Note: Depending on how watery your jam is, these cookies can do funny things in the oven. If your jam leans more toward the watery side, it helps to stick the fully assembled cookies in the refrigerator for a good 30 minutes prior to baking. The extra chill will help the cookies and jam hold their shape when they hit the heat of the oven.
So that’s where we are for now. Tackling projects, decorating the digs and eating cookies as we settle in to the NC. Today’s to-dos includes the assembly of two throw pillows for the Bean’s room. Yes, that means sewing (eep!). Here’s hoping for photos of a successful completion in the very near future!
What projects are you tackling as the summer winds down? Is anyone else settling in after a move, across town or across the county? And speaking of moving, what’s your best advice for feeling at home in a brand new place?