Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Before the Cliff: Mini pies and cinnamon ice cream

Black & Blue (berry) Mini Pie
Well, I've been in San Diego for exactly three weeks now. As predicted, the daytime temperature rarely strays below a breezy 75 degrees. My proximity to the coastline (about two miles) and at least a hundred great hiking trails are great sources of happiness. I'm still working remotely for my D.C. employer, exploring ways that business and philanthropy in the United States and Mexico can bolster the non-profit sector across the border. (Paying attention to Mexican non-profits would be a good start, I've learned.) And I'm doing some ad hoc work for my soon-to-be San Diego employer, a community health group. Through those experiences, I'm re-entering the world of food and physical activity policy, writ large, a huge excitement for me. And I'm interacting with the community again, which makes this whole move a bit sweeter.

In other news, I'm working on becoming a big sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters. I've joined an area women's book club, appropriately called "Hip Chicks Book Club," whose next read is the first book in Game of Thrones. There's an amazing YMCA down the street from my apartment, which I plan on joining as soon as their New Years joining fee waiver goes into effect. I'm planning a container garden from my partial-shade balcony to be seeded early next year. And I've bought the supplies necessary to paint a foolproof forest scene, using this handy YouTube instructional video. Plus, I'm forcing my boyfriend to partake fully in Christmas festivities, including but not limited to tree adorning, stocking hanging, gingerbread house constructing, cookie decorating, and Christmas music jamming. We'll see if he endures...

I'm hoping to start work full-time with the San Diego folks in early January. In preparation for the big job transition, I've been invited to their holiday party tonight. It's a potluck, and I signed myself up to bring a pie. After much Internet research (and a new ice cream maker), I've decided to make mini apple and berry pies using a standard muffin tin, and a creamy cinnamon ice cream. I sort of crowd-sourced my pie recipes, but you can find more information on making these adorable desserts at Dollhouse Bake Shoppe and Zoom Yummy. The cinnamon ice cream recipe I stole wholesale from this rave-reviewed one on AllRecipes.com. As the commenters suggested, I used just 3/4 c. sugar, rather than a whole cup, but otherwise followed the instructions exactly. Most of my produce is from Sprouts, my new hangout and a welcome throw-back to my time in Phoenix, where Sprouts was also king. Fun fact: produce is ridiculously cheap in Southern California.

I feel a little ironic, baking pies and ice cream for the staff of a childhood obesity prevention group. But hey, if we're going off the fiscal cliff in the next couple of weeks--Wile. E. Coyote-style--I'd like one of my last meals to be a miniaturized dessert. (Read a smart column on the ubiquitous Cliff conversation by my current boss here.) And I know the end of the world is predicted for the 21st, but doesn't anyone else find the date 12/12/12 a little fantastic? This is the last time this century that we'll have a matching date, month, and year. (The only cooler date was last year's 11/11/11, when all the digits were the same.)

The only conclusion I can draw is that we should all eat pie.

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