Starbucks Gingerbread: At Home

If you are like me, you relish the solo Starbucks experience. That, in my mind, is the only reason for paying for drinks that are as expensive as my meals normally cost. But the experience—the warmth of the drink, the smell of the vanilla-y air, the zen colors, the bookish/Apple computer status you gain from working at Starbucks, you know, all of that—is what I like when I go there by myself.

But I want warm froth and zen-ness at home too. And fresh baked goods. This is why I embarked on the quest to find this clone recipe.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever ordered this from Starbucks. But I’ve seen it in the window plenty of times and it looks just like it. This recipe is wonderfully flavorful, so maybe if you try it, you’ll like it even better than Starbucks. I made a few adjustments, of course. I used 2 tsp. ginger, substituted pear sauce for applesauce (because it’s what I had on hand), and added chopped candied ginger to the (homemade) candied orange sprinkled on top. Perfect!

Of course, the gingerbread was accompanied by a vanilla roobis tea latte, which really does taste quite as good, if not better, than the version I order at Starbucks. Not to mention I can buy a whole gallon of milk for it for the price of one cup at Starbucks. Ahhh. I and the budget are more zen now.

A Friendly Gesture

What’s one of the nicest things a stranger’s done for you?

On my 14th birthday, I believe it was, my mom took me and my best friend out to tea and the elderly couple at the next table paid for both our tea and a gift for me which the hostess gave me at the checkout register. I was amazed and the memory of that generous gift from a stranger and the sweet memory of it has stayed with me.

A few weeks ago, I received another gift in the mail, very pretty packaged too, I may say. It arrived just at the right time to really lift my spirits. The last few weeks have been rough, with the stress of the failed adoption still fresh.

What do you think I found, in the giant stash of unopened mail that was delivered recently? I had entered a giveaway hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, and although I did not win, this amazing gal mailed EVERYONE of those who entered her giveaway a small present. Have you ever heard of anyone doing that? And the present was handmade by her! Kudos to Lauren Elise, for spreading goodwill and cheer.

Quiet Among the Art

I was sorting some old pictures today and came across these from 2008. It was a memorable evening, just an hour or two before closing, and David and I were exploring the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. There were few others beside us that night. The Gallery was preparing for some gala event and musicians were tuning their instruments. I tell you, there is nothing like wandering alone quietly among all the faces of all these long-dead heroes (and villains), with the strains of violin and harp in the background.

There were these fresh lilies in one room. Just by themselves in a silver vase, on a richly inlaid table, until we made our entrance. The air was rich with their perfume.

Wandering quietly in the Gallery felt like being Lizzy exploring Pemberely, all alone. It was a beautiful evening and it was beautiful remembering it.