There’s nothing like a few days of vacation at home to motivate me to catch up on things that have piled up.
Clothes that I haven’t worn in a while are at the top of the to-do list. While wardrobe items seem to breed in dark closets and drawers, said closets and drawers don’t expand to accommodate them. Actually, I suspect my closets and drawers shrink.
A full-length mirror works best when I deal with my overabundance of clothing. I tend to save things for far too long. I have at least three different sizes of everything, collected over a ridiculous number of years. By the time I lose the weight, the clothes look outdated. Better to donate what I don’t wear and let somebody else get some good from it.
Getting rid of unwanted and unneeded clothes requires brutal honesty. Look it over. Still like it? Try it on. (Can you get it on?) Study yourself in that full-length mirror. Now you have three choices: hang it up, sell it or donate it. The clothes you have left will thank you by not being squashed together and leaving you wearing wrinkles.
Shoes with a 2-inch or higher heel make me a danger to myself and anyone standing close by. The cute flats and wedges that didn’t hurt years ago do now. Feet spread a little; some of us get bunions. The options here are even fewer than with the clothes: sell or donate (and buy half a size larger with toe boxes that fit a human foot).
How about the well-worn small pieces of furniture we tend to accumulate or inherit? Be honest if it’s useful and/or you like it, and/or it makes you happy to rest your eyes on it or it was made by Uncle Richard circa 1932 have it reupholstered or even rebuilt. In the case of the small hand-crafted footstool that happened to be at Ground Zero when the ceiling fell in, throwing it out was not an option.
There is no reason to keep out-of-date papers. Old receipts, newspaper articles that seemed like something to preserve 10 years ago, and cancelled checks are clutter, nothing more. Why let them take up your space? The prize-winning essay your child wrote in the fourth grade is a keeper — one copy only.
My vacation days will leave me with a cleaned out couple of closets, far fewer paper receipts, and fewer cut-out recipes that I mean to try “some day.”
About those recipes. I will keep some, but some don’t even appeal to me anymore. There’s always something new to try while I have some days at home. One that I tasted at work and had to make at home is for a dessert that is, as they say, “the bomb.” It sounds odd, looks awesome, and tastes delicious. After all, unless you are of the vegetarian persuasion, what doesn’t taste better with bacon?
MAPLE BACON CUPCAKES
For the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup crisp bacon, crumbled fine
Have all ingredients at room temperature when you start.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 regular-size or 48 miniature cupcake cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat butter, sugar, vanilla and maple syrup until fluffy.
Add eggs to butter mix, one at a time, until thoroughly blended. With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients one-third at a time until well mixed. Fold in bacon.
Fill each liner three-fourths full.
For regular-size cupcakes, bake in preheated oven 18-25 minutes just until light golden.
Cool completely on a rack.
For the frosting:
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 cup bacon, crumbled
In a large bowl, beat butter, confectioner’s sugar and maple extract until fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle tops with crumbled bacon.
Makes 24 regular or 48 miniature cupcakes.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at email@example.com.