Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mom's, Magic & Hand-made Aprons!

I can recall as a child wholeheartedly believing in the magic of Santa and Christmas. What a blessing to be able to watch my five year old tip toe down the stairs first thing Christmas morning to find a princess ride-on car and hula hoop! It was exactly what she had asked for-like magic!
So much of the magic of Christmas reflects our deepest desire for something (anything) and then having (and also hoping) that it might come true. Part of the reality of that is we so often in life don't get what we desire or hope for and it is in those special moments where everything seems like it will be all right (like those few moments, early on Christmas Day).
A friend recently told me that life is just two sides of a coin; the good and the bad. She's right.
My oldest daughter offered me a magical present. It was so unexpected and somehow she managed to make it all on her own. She printed out a series of family photographs and the words #1 Baker and transferred them onto a white cloth apron. The apron is beautiful. I wore it yesterday as I made Breakfast for us all. I know I will wear it for many baking adventures to come. Something else magical is that I always want to know that my children love me and her kindness and thoughtfulness to me clearly reflects what is in her heart.
We drove to my mom's yesterday for a family gathering off Cape. We were grateful for the chance to spend Christmas with extended family. They made us a delicious holiday meal and we passed out gifts to one another. I brought the game Pictureka and we gave it a try. It's fun and we shared a few laughs.
We finally took our Steele family photo and hope to have it out by New Year's. I guess I've been a bit busy this season to get it all done before the big day. I paused just long enough to look for the magic in things along the way.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!

Sophia and I braved the cold this morning to wait in front of the house for her to go to school. It's pajama day in her kindergarten class so she wore adorable snowman pj's with her pink snow pants, pink coat, pink hat and bright red boots. It was 19 degrees out and our noses were as red as Rudolph's. But, she couldn't miss pajama day!

Despite the storm we managed to have our holiday open house last Sunday. Lots of people didn't make it out on the roads but a whole bunch of us 'die hards' were there.

What could be better in a snow storm than to have a fire going with friends over eating good food? We kept a fire in the kitchen and the living room going throughout the night.

Luckily for me my guests brought their appetites so I wasn't left with a ton of food on my hands. I even managed to get them playing the 'guess that Christmas song' game-which was fun! During the party we heard that school was canceled for Monday in Falmouth so everyone was able to stay later than expected.
Despite it being so cold, it's beautiful in my yard and it looks like we are in for a White Christmas after all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Cape Cod Times & Candy Cane Cookies!

I learned yesterday that my cookbook was mentioned in Wednesday's Cape Cod Times as one of three gift choices for local food lover's. That was a nice surprise!
I just finished making a tray of green and red candy cane sugar cookies that I needed for Sophia's Kindergarten Christmas lunch today.
Our holiday open house is Sunday and I have baked cranberry biscotti, peanut butter chocolate drops, dreamy island cookies, red and green whale shaped sugar cookies, and chocolate cake balls dipped in white chocolate. I might just need a long hot bubble bath from all this baking.
I hope our guests bring their appetite and their holiday song knowledge. I came up with a party game since I didn't do a 'Yankee Swap' where people have to fill in the blanks to popular 'Christmas tunes'. Ho Ho Ho!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hold on Tight, the Holidays are Coming!

Bella and I had a blast in NYC together. I am head over heels in love with the Broadway production of 'Wicked'. Instead of buying a t-shirt to remember the day I decided to buy 'wicked' perfume instead. I put some on immediately to walk around the city. It's a great combination of fruity with a bit of wicked.

When we got out of the show it was snowing. It was so beautiful. We stopped at a little bakery and shared a croissant and coconut macaroons as we watched the snow fall over Manhattan. I wish we were able to stay longer and I'd love to visit again soon.

As I'd expected I have lots of baking to do before the holidays --but I have a plan. I am doing cranberry biscotti dipped in white chocolate today, cake balls tomorrow, sugar cookies over the weekend.
The holidays always feel as if they are rushing toward me so quickly and my plan is to do a little work and have a little fun each day!

Friday, December 4, 2009

'Wicked' Fun

I enlisted the help of my kids to put together a scavenger hunt for Tommy's birthday. We gave him a series of clues that if he followed them correctly they would lead him to each of his birthday gifts.
Luckily, he managed to find them all, and I think he had fun doing it. One of his gifts was a Roger Stauback # 12 jersey and the clue was "go to your closest fellow Cowboy fan's house".
We all met back at our house and had a yummy dinner of sushi and salad. We had cheesecake for desert.
Tomorrow, Bella and I are off on our own mother/daughter adventure to NYC! I surprised her with tickets to see 'Wicked' tomorrow at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway.
Lots of holiday baking will be waiting for me to get done when we return.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey's, Football & Family!

We are heading out early this morning to watch the High School Football game in Falmouth. I have a thermos filled with coffee and a bakery box of cake balls, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and pumpkin bread to share.
I just finished making a chocolate cream pie and an apple pie for our dinner later today!
Tommy and I were laughing yesterday because we couldn't quite remember when there was a time that we actually cooked a turkey.
Although, since we are both pretty good cooks we decided we will figure it out. I am making a glaze from roasted shallots with maple syrup and rosemary-it should be delicious!
The blessing of staying home this year is that we get a chance to reconnect as a family and focus on what is important. At least we won't have to spend the day traveling.
To those who read my blog: thank you and happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Five things I am grateful for today:
1) My home: especially my super comfortable bed and my kitchen fireplace
2) Morning Coffee: especially when I wake up before everyone else and watch the sunrise while drinking it fresh brewed with a bit of milk
3) The completion of my little 'cookbook': it's small but sweet and I created it from start to finish on my own and feel grateful that I did it
4) Sophia: last night she told me I am the best 'mommy in the whole wide world'
5) Smells from Baking: the whole house smells delicious from baking cake balls and chocolate chip cookies

Sometimes it really is the little things that can make the most difference.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Game Night, Lemon Cake, Football Dinner & Deprived Husbands!

On Wednesday, I decided to bake a lemon cake for my family. It had been quite awhile since I let them taste something I'd made because often it's going out the door for a party or filling an order. We also played the game 'Apples to Apples' which everybody loves. Sophia played on my team and had a blast just hanging out with her older siblings.

Just recently I have been very aware of how in just a few short years Nathan and Bella will most likely move out and Sophia will not have them around as much. I try to get them all together as often as I can just to do something fun. I made a fire in the kitchen fireplace because it was a cold night.

On Thursday, we all went to a Football Dinner at the school for Nathan. It's a tradition where the Varsity players serve the parents and the rest of the freshman and JV players.

Tommy commented to one of the other dad's about how when his wife bakes he doesn't get to taste much of it since I am either filling an order or giving it away. He pointed out that the chances of the other dad getting more of my baking than he would is pretty strong since I usually bake for people around the holidays. They joked about how he would invite my husband over when I passed out my holiday baking gifts.

Since his birthday is right around the corner, I'll make a point of baking him a special cake so that he won't feel so deprived!

Baking is funny that way though. As much as I enjoy it- it takes a lot of time and effort to get just the right amount I need so that I tend to be a bit protective of what is cooling on the cooling racks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Holidays!

The kids are home today. Nathan has two friends here and Sophia has the girl from next door over. They are busy!
The boys have been throwing the football around, playing video games and drinking soda- lots of soda. The girls are upstairs trying on dress-up clothes, flipping through books and playing pretend. I have to admit it is really nice having everyone around today.
I've been brainstorming party plans for the upcoming holiday season. It always arrives sooner than I feel ready.
This year I am throwing caution to the wind and hosting a Holiday Open House. I think by this weekend I should (seriously) get a head start on my holiday baking.
For the party I know I will want cake balls and Christmas cookies to serve to guests. Luckily those are two items that freeze well.
I am not quite sure what we will be doing for the Thanksgiving Holiday this year-although I know we will continue with one important tradition. I am sure I probably wrote about it last year on this same blog.
We put together either a whole bunch of turkey sandwich lunches or buy a slew of gift cards and pass them out to people in need. It's been a great way to instill in the kids the importance of reaching out to help others.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Quick Idea for Leftover Halloween Candy!

We've decided to invite some friends over tomorrow to watch Football. Although, it has been a touch and go kind of week with all the 'bugs' going around. We'll see.
Later today, I am going to get a batch of chili started and have meatballs and sub rolls on hand. I found a delicious recipe for a new salad that I'm going to try with lettuce, pepperoni and white beans. If plans do get cancelled due to sickness-at least I will have a head start on dinners for the week!
It's going to be one of those Incredible Cape Cod kind of days I live for-sunny and a slight chill in the air.
It's funny how much our kids change as they grow. I told my youngest I wanted her help on Saturday to start raking all the leaves in the yard. Her immediate reply with a huge smile: "YEAH! I can't wait!"
I mentioned to my oldest that I was hoping for a little help in the yard and he said, "AAH! MOM-- Not on Saturday!"
Hopefully, I can convince him to help for a bit before he's off with a friend: either riding his bike or playing football, off looking for adventure!
Here is my quick idea for what to do with leftover candy. I make chocolate cupcakes. I fill the cups half way with cake batter then drop in a piece of Halloween candy in the center. I am using nestle crunch but Snickers, peanut butter cups and Hershey bars work just as well too. I fill the cups all the way then bake, cool and frost!
You'll have to try it for your self to see how good they are!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Flapper Girls, Mermaids, Gangsters & Pumpkin Cakes!

It has always been the little things that make me the most happy. Cases in Point:

My Flapper Girl costume turned out cute! Although if truth be told I had a hard time with all my props. I found one of those long black cigarette holders and fake cigarettes that looked as if it were lit when I puffed on it. I kept losing and dropping my props throughout the night!

The next day I was out walking in the neighborhood with a girlfriend and we found my fake cigarette on the ground. I'd lost it the night before on the way back home. I also had long white pearls, two inch heels, a feather in my hair, a black rose choker around my neck and long black gloves. Tommy made a pretty good gangster too. He had a fake gun, a white silk tie, a rose corsage tucked in his pocket and a cigar. He didn't have as much trouble with all his props as I did.

At the party, we saw my middle daughter's Science Teacher who made a great 'Mad Scientist'. She had a lab flask from which she drank her party drink.

On Saturday, Sophia woke up not feeling well. She woke with a cold and slept most of the day. Although, she rallied right up like a true party girl when it was time for trick or treating. I loved her Mermaid costume. I never did find a red wig so I bought a long blond one and dyed it red myself.

The only baking I was able to squeeze in last week were the two bundt cakes that I frosted orange. I grabbed sugar ice cream cones and frosted them green. I stuck them in the middle of the cakes so they'd look like pumpkins and brought them with me to the Halloween Party!

I did receive a cookbook order through Amazon last week though-I felt like a real professional downloading the label and shipping it to the customer right from home in my pajamas while drinking coffee!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flapper Girl, Pumpkin Bread & Amazon!

For now, I've decided not to go ahead with the cup cake costume~I came across an adorable flapper girl costume instead and since I seem to have talked my husband into going as a Prohibition era gangster we may be on to something fun here.
Years ago in a women's history class I remember the Professor talking to us about how flapper girls were bold, independent and liked to smoke, drink and listen to jazz music.
The term flapper came from a movie back in 1920 called the 'Flapper'. A Harvard Psychologist back then was quoted as saying Flappers were "the lowest forms of Intelligence". It must have been their independence that bothered him so much.
My daughter was up extra early this morning. Her class is going on a field trip into Boston to visit Bunker Hill and have lunch at Faneuil Hall. Since I'm up I've decided to bake pumpkin bread to have ready and around the house this weekend. Although it usually doesn't last very long.
As for Amazon, I just added "Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen" to their list of titles and it should be ready for purchase in about two weeks through them. It's something I've been meaning to get to for awhile now. Life just gets busy in so many different directions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

For the Love of Mermaids & Cupcake Costumes!

I will be catching up with good long time friends later at a wedding rehearsal dinner. I feel blessed. These are friends I have had for literally 35 years! We used to play at each other's house as far back as second grade.
I decided to bake mermaid shaped cookies dipped in lavender sugar (colors of the bridal party) for the girls to snack on throughout the day tomorrow as they get ready for the big event. They are almost too cute to eat!
My youngest daughter Sophia has decided to dress as Ariel, the Mermaid, for Halloween this year! Her dress is a shimmery green with a puffed up skirt and the most adorable sparkly gold and purple clip-on earrings. Maybe she'll want me to put a touch of green in her beautiful blond curly hair. I love all the rituals autumn provides.
My husband and I have been invited to a Hip Halloween Party for a neighbor's fortieth and I am thinking about putting a pink cupcake costume together. I am not much of a seamstress so I would give it my best effort-I would start with cotton for the frosting, a pink wig and pink taffeta type material for the bottom of the cupcake. Although this may prove challenging, I would want to be a 'cool' looking cupcake and I suppose this might be a hard affect to achieve-with a pink wig and all...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Catching up, Cookbook & In the News

I just got a call from the Coonamessett Farm store; a woman had come in from out of town to buy three of my cook books and they only had one available-so sorry. There are also cookbooks at Paper Tyger in Falmouth.
I will drop off more tomorrow on my way to work.
I have been trying to catch up with a good old friend for a while now-we've been playing phone tag and now it seems as though time keeps passing. I suppose it will happen when it's time. I need to have patience the way I do when I am baking.
As for being 'in the news' here is a nice little article written about me recently. There will be a reception for the show this friday from 5:30-7:30.
Check it out:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Julie & Julia", Baking for the Teachers & Pumpkin Bread

Last Friday, I snuck away and caught the movie many friends have been encouraging me to see. I thought Julie & Julia was adorable. Meryl Streep makes an excellent Julia Child. I couldn't drive home fast enough to get my oven turned on and try something new. I adore how Julie felt she knew Julia simply from reading her cookbook!

I've decided to meet my daughter for lunch in her school cafeteria today and I have baked one of my famous lemon cake's to share with the staff. They seem to like it when they see me heading to the school with baked goods.

Later today I am going to make the pumpkin bread that I included in my recipe book. It's a good fall day for pumpkin bread. The only problem is the kids eat both loaves in no time. It's hard to resist warm from the oven with a touch of butter.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Such as Life!

Here is the cake I decided to bake for myself this morning to share with my family tomorrow on my birthday!
It's called Magic Mocha Cake and I suppose it doesn't look too magical from here except to say that the new pan I bought has a special insert so that there is a thick layer of fresh whipped mocha cream all throughout the inside of the cake.
The cake itself is a two layer double chocolate. The frosting is a whipped butter cream with white chocolate.
Many times when I bake a cake it is for a cake order I am going to fill so someone else gets the pleasure of eating it! This time my kids were very happy to hear they are the recipients of this one.
The 'such as life' comes in when I remember to mention that just yesterday I wrote about how much I like to sit back and 'reflect' on the good times while baking. As usual a little bit of reality always creeps in.
As I was whipping the frosting, the kids were busy running around the house and my attention was unexpectedly called away for a minute--the setting was on pretty high, I'd just begun the whipping. As I looked back not even a half minute later lots of the frosting had escaped from the bowl and covered everything from the wall, the counter, the floor, my clothes, etc..I think you get the picture.
Anyway, I have managed to get it all cleaned up and the cake is ready to roll for the celebration tomorrow. As always, more good times to come.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Good Times!

I think one of the reasons I love baking so much is it allows me a bit of time to reflect on the good times.
So much of life seems so busy busy busy and rush rush rush! When I have something baking in my oven, for the most part, I simply allow myself the gift to wait for it to finish. Instead of trying my hardest to multi-task, I'll often take a minute to put my feet up and reflect.
My birthday is Sunday and I recently bought myself a very sweet cake pan that I have had my eye on for a while now. Sometime over the weekend I am going to bake myself a yummy cake and reflect on all of my 'good times'.
Last year, I had a very fun birthday party to celebrate my fortieth--I guess this particular year I am looking for something a little more low key. We are having lunch with my mom on Sunday at one of my favorite restaurants in the Worcester area--it's not my favorite so much because of the food--although it is pretty good--but rather because of all the good times I can remember from going there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blueberry Blogger Contest Results!

At the start of summer I noticed a blueberry blogger contest posted on of all places-Face book. I entered my recipe for blueberry walnut empanadas.
It's something I created on the spot during a baking demonstration I did last November. Why not enter? I had nothing to lose.
I won second place and the recipe is now posted on their website-the prize was $600!
That's a lot of blueberries!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vacations, Cookies & Shelburne Falls!

I just delivered Dreamy Island Cookies to the farm. I thought I was about to 'bake' myself having to turn my oven on today in this heat but I am glad I did.
There was not a crumb left, so to speak, after returning from our little vacation. Lots of slices of lemon cake and cookies sold while we were away.
After Labor Day, I won't be baking for the farm again this season because my teaching schedule will start again not to mention the farm will be slowing down and then closing for the season.
As for our vacation we traveled all over MA in a very short period of time. We drove from Falmouth to North Adams then Williamstown to Charlemont then Shelburne Falls. From there we went across the Northern part of MA east into New Hampshire. I loved Historic Downtown Portsmouth-very cool! We ate dinner one night at the Portsmouth Brewing Company and our hotel room overlooked the water. The zipline was a blast and of course the kids loved water country.
As for Shelburne Falls, I hadn't been there in years. It's an adorable village in the Berkshires. There are great shops and food. But you can also check out the Galatial Potholes and the Garden walk. Going there brought back lots of memories. Bella turned thirteen this past July and I remember being pregnant with her the last time I was there.
Time Flies!
I hope you've had a chance to stop by Paper Tyger or the Farm to check out my recipe book.

Stay Cool and as always, Happy Baking!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lemon Cake, Paper Tyger & Zipline!

I have lemon cakes ready to bring to the farm this morning. We leave on a mini family adventure early in the morning and I'd like to go knowing there are baked goods available.

Then I'll deliver copies of Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen to the Paper Tyger. It's a sweet stationary store at Queens Buyway in Falmouth. If you haven't been go check it out. There are some really cute things and you can take a look at my recipe book while there.

A woman wrote yesterday asking for my coconut pound cake recipe. It had recently been published in a local paper and she misplaced it. I hope she likes it as much as I do. I call it Incredible Coconut Pound Cake.

I don't make that particular cake for myself very often because I always slice myself the biggest piece. I love all things coconut.

As for the zipline-we've decided to pick a vacation this year even my teens might get excited about. We're also heading to Water Country. The zipline is in Western, MA. If curious about it go to and watch the little video.

In the meantime, Happy Baking!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Update on Cookbook, Cookies & Sandy Neck!

What an amazing beach day we spent with friends and family out on Sandy Neck this past weekend! On a scale of 1 to 10 it was an 11 kind of beach day!

I had a feeling my baking table was empty this morning after a busy weekend here on the Cape so first thing when I woke today I turned my oven on and baked some cookies.

When I brought them for delivery to the farm earlier I noticed my cookbooks had already been sold out and the store keeper mentioned that someone came in looking to buy one. I will bring more cookbooks by the end of the week. I hope whoever it was is able to get one.

In the meantime, although summer is coming to an end soon I hope we get a bunch more beautiful days out on Sandy Neck before every one heads back to school.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I want to go to Italy!

I am not sure if it's the recent hosting of the limoncello party or that in my creative writing time my thoughts keep wandering back to a story about three girls who embark on a journey to Italy together but lately all I can think about is how am I going to get myself there?

I mentioned my desire to someone the other day and he went on and on about a wonderful trip he took to Florence years back.

As a baker and someone who loves to cook I know I am drawn to the food there but it's also the pictures of the gorgeous land that I want to touch and feel up close.

I am also drawn to the strong sense of family and the art. Imagine actually walking around the Pitti Palace and Gardens?

I want to see the back streets. I want a restaurant owner to invite me into his cellar and let me try his limoncello. I want him and his wife to tell me about wonderful family stories. Even if I can only understand their tales through expressions and gestures because my Italian won't be very good --just a few phrases I'll have picked up here and there.

I suppose getting myself to Italy is as simple as setting a date and a goal for myself. I've done it before--with my baking business and the finishing of my recipe book!

In the meantime, I have Dreamy Island Cookies and Lemon Cake for sale at the farm alongside my recipe book. Do pick it up and take a look!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blueberry & Walnut Empanada!

Here is a super scrumptious recipe for using the abundance of all those fresh plump blueberries.

Empanada's are so much easier to make than people realize and they freeze great for later use.

Empanada's are a Latin inspired puff pastry-you can use traditional empanada dough or just as easily substitute pre-made refrigerated pie crust. They are nice for an afternoon snack with tea or as a breakfast treat with a cup of coffee.

Rolled out refrigerated pie crust, cut into 5 in. circles
Cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
Tbsp (or more) brown sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten, to brush top

Place cut out circles of dough on clean work surface. Drop a few fresh blueberries, 1/2 tsp. of cream cheese, sprinkle of chopped walnuts and brown sugar in center of each circle. Fold over one edge to meet the other side of dough and crimp around edges with a fork to seal. Brush a bit of egg on top of pastry to glaze. Place empanada's on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about fifteen minutes or until pastry starts to slightly brown. Let cool slightly. Enjoy!
Yield: 1/2 dozen or so

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen

Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen: Recipes from West Falmouth Baking Company is complete and ready for sale for $12.95. It includes (among other things) my recipes for Dreamy Island Cookies, Lemon Cake and Cranberry Biscotti.

A local food writer has planned to write a review of the book in the Falmouth paper in a couple of weeks. She sent a note earlier today to say she really liked the book.

I will also have copies of it for sale at the Coonamessett Farm store, include it as an option in my gift baskets and if people prefer they (for now) could send me an email to order a copy. You can probably pay by pay pal and I'd be happy to ship one out to you.

It's been fun to think up a creative project (like putting together a collection of my best recipes) then seeing it through to completion.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Limoncello Girls!

On Sunday, my girlfriends and I hosted a sweet summer backyard barbecue by the water-a celebration of the summer of sorts!
We kicked the party off with a homemade Limoncello tasting. Guests took sips and were asked to come up with fancy names for our versions of the delightful Italian liqueur.
The names were read and guests voted on their favorites. A prize was offered to the best name.
The Limoncello girls first gathered last fall. We brewed up this idea to make our own Limoncello at my birthday party. We got together about a month later for evening lemon zesting and girl talk.
While making that first batch we gathered three times-each time became a mini party among friends. Then we shared homemade Limoncello with friends and family last Christmas.
In February, we met up again at one of the Limoncello Girls' book signings and chatted about our desire to get together and make some more. We did.
The party became a celebration of The Limoncello Girls and our desire to have fun and throw fabulous parties.
Lots of guests arrived in fancy yellow attire and we served them my lemon cakes and a friends delicious lemon squares for desert! One guest even arrived by boat and docked right at the house. Another guest offered her incredible home made fudge and the chocolate became the best accompaniment to the tart lemon treats.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Parties & Having Teens in the House

I am pretty sure that Sophia's fifth birthday was a hit! Here's a quick snapshot of her helping me bake the pony shaped sugar cookies we served as guests arrived.
I feel so lucky that she enjoys baking with me.

As for teens in the house, it doesn't feel quite as effortless. They seem to only want my time to drive them around town and as much cash as I am willing or able to shell out.

As for other summer parties-this weekend is our Homemade Limoncello Tasting and Barbecue.

It's been very strange on Cape Cod lately. We will be blessed with one gorgeous summer sunny day and then have five or six straight days of either rain, clouds or cooler temperatures!

This doesn't seem possible but we haven't even spent a day at the beach this season yet.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chocolate Decadence Cake and Pony's!

On Friday I made a chocolate decadence cake with sweet cream for a friend's mother's 80Th birthday! It's a cake that you really can't go wrong with it. You start by melting chocolate and whip it into softened butter and white sugar.
I topped it with a mini whale shaped cake dipped in white chocolate for decorative effect. She called to say they LOVED it!
As for pony's-my youngest turns five this month. She and I have been planning her birthday party and a pony is set to arrive at our house. I also found a pony pinata and a pony craft too.
Naturally, as a baker I searched for and found pony shaped cookie cutters.
If you know Sophia you will understand why we chose purple and pink colored sugar to dip the pony cookies.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kids, Farm Delivery, Gardens & More

My kids were happy I baked before they even woke for school this morning. They all had a taste before the bus. I added mini Lemon Cakes and banana bread to my baking table.
Then, I stopped by the Wholesale Nursery to pick up compost and a mixture of potting soil and peat moss to go into the tiny spot I have to put in my garden.
I am going to try squash, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant. I think I will be all set if I remember to water regularly.
My cookbook is almost there. I have worked through a number of printing challenges and it is a matter of getting it done now. Once my teaching semester ends I am more hopeful for its completion. In the meantime, I will bake as much as I can.
The weather today reminds me what I love most about living on the Cape. I went to a teacher conference at Bridgewater State College for the day yesterday and it was a good 15 degrees hotter there than it was when I returned over the bridge.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Basket, Cookies & Ta-dah!

This week I donated one of my gift baskets to the kids school for a silent auction. When I dropped it off (my four year old in tow was still wearing her night gown) the office staff commented on how pretty it looked. Sophia looked pretty adorable herself. Her long super curly blond hair complemented her silky and pink princess nightgown. She wore her Hannah Montana flip-flops.
I am up early this Saturday morning baking cookies for the farm. I am bringing dreamy island cookies for sale at the store later today.
As for today's ta-dah! I finished writing my cookbook this week. I am in the process of finding the best way to have it printed.
At some point, you can purchase a copy at the farm directly or order one through me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gotta Love it & Things to be Counted on!

With the arrival of spring on Cape Cod I am able to get back to my favorite walking spot. Here is the view from the entrance of the path I like to walk at South Cape Beach.
One of the things that comforts me the most in life is that no matter what happens their are certain things that can and will remain constant.
For me-it's a good walk, good talks with trusted friends, baking a cake and the love and care I have for my children.
The kids are home this week. I am so happy for the added time I get to spend with them. I suppose I should add that even though I'm happy about them being around, I wouldn't say it's easy. Between the late nights of my teens and my early bird daughter Sophia I am tired. Although like those things I can always count on my love for them will remain constant.
The kids had fun yesterday playing with a cousin that is visiting from out of town. I am going to make them banana bread for breakfast later and cranberry biscotti that I need to add to a gift basket order.
Oh, And you gotta love it- The weather man claims that after the bit of rain we are getting this morning we are headed for five days of warm air and sunny skies!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lemon Cake Compliments, Gardens & Signs of Spring

Sophia and I started our seeds indoors last weekend for an end of May planting. We are hoping that come summer we will have home grown cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, lettuce and a few herbs growing in the yard for us to pick and eat.
I have an excellent Summer Vegetable Tart recipe I will pull out over the summer.
I made a Lemon Cake for a friend as a thank you for something nice she had done for me recently. She has written me twice to tell me how much she enjoyed it.
Planning is underway to set aside some time to get my recipe collection complete this weekend.
Wish me luck! A few friends have said they are hoping for a copy when it's complete.
As for the Signs of Spring, they're everywhere. On a walk earlier today I saw crocuses and daffodils popping up all over the place. There were three adorable tiny sparrows sharing a snack from the bird feeder off the kitchen window.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Biscotti & Cake Balls

I have been working on my recipe collection this week. I hope to have it written and printed by Mother's Day. It will be offered for sale here as well as at the farm table next to my cookies.
I have written the introduction and lots of mini 'stories' to help introduce the recipes. I have completed the section on Cakes, Cookies, Quick Breads and Biscotti.
I added my recipe for Cranberry Biscotti.
I still have a section on Cheesecakes and 'Baking as Dinner' which includes my recipes for things like Empanadas, Quiche and Tarts.
What has been the most time consuming is a large portion of my recipes are primarily from memory or just the ingredients are scratched on a sheet of note paper.
As for Cake Balls, I made some for my students and my kids this week. It had been a while since I baked for my kids and they were asking for something.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What you Give & Life's Surprises

It was Sir Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister during World War II) who said "you make a living by what you get a life by what you give".

I don't know about you but these words inspire me. I love (adore) the restaurants around the country who have recently been inviting customers to pay what they can afford. Good for them and their customers!

I have a minor confession- my baking time has lapsed a bit lately. I remember a time where I baked each and every opportunity I could find.

In my effort to get back on the baking track, I have hired my older daughter to help me in the kitchen this coming summer to meet baking obligations. Lucky for me she was more than willing to help and make a little extra summer spending money. And, thanks to her willingness to help I see a completion to my recipe collection on the horizon!

As for Life's Surprises, recently I have been a bit betrayed by someone who should very much know better to give me not only the benefit of the doubt but also kindness to the very real fact that I have always been a loving and kind mother not to mention a very devoted and supportive wife.

I suppose though not every lesson in life is for me to learn. Sometimes, it might be the other person who has something to gain from the possibility of a 'new perspective'.

In the meantime, I will do my very best to heed Churchill's message and give what and where I can because that is where I 'gain' a life worth living.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time Marches Forward, Cookies for Friends & Gardens!

I am online today because when I woke this morning it dawned on me that I have yet to post a baking update for March. I enjoy writing here but life often takes me to other places and on other adventures.
My baking business will get busier soon as I start to sell at the Farm.
My recipe collection is underway and will hopefully be ready in time for sale at the farm table or directly from me by summer.
Last Friday I baked an orange pound cake to remind my office mates of my love for baking. It's a refreshingly moist cake. I've included the recipe in my recipe booklet. I sent dreamy island cookies to an old friend for her birthday. Today I'd planned to bake Biscotti but have decided instead to go to a friend's book-signing cocktail party at Bleu in Mashpee. I will bake the Biscotti tomorrow.
As for gardens, I am planting my own this year. My youngest goes off to Kindergarten next fall and I want to spend as much time with her as I can so I have invited her to plant the garden with me. Who knows, maybe I'll create some new recipes from what we grow.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sharing Recipes & Unexpected Afternoons!

I love getting tried and true recipes passed to me from my friends. My most recent newly acquired recipe is a perfect pumpkin bread from a good friend out in California.
I often think about her enjoying sunny skies throughout the year.
When you live year round on the Cape you have to put up with gray skies and cold temperatures now and again. Except in the summer when this is truly the only place in the world to be.
Although, today is not one of those dreary days. It's bright and sunny-close to sixty!
So I don't have much time now for blogging or baking- I'll get back to that when the weather unexpectedly turns cold again as we are expecting a sudden storm this weekend.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

'Fun'-due with a Four Year Old!

Our Ski trip to North Conway, NH got put on hold because my sons basketball team made it to the finals. They won 17-0 for the season then all four of the championship games.
One would assume that with the season championship behind us basketball season would be over for now. Although we now head full swing into 'post' season tournaments. Next weekend we go to Basketball City in Boston. It'll be good to get to go into the City.
In the meantime, I want to have fun with my youngest daughter while she is home over break. Yesterday we decided to make fondue which she calls 'fun'-due.
We melted a bowl of chocolate. We cut up fresh apple slices, bananas and grapes. She decided to try everything she could find in our pantry. We used large marshmallows and small and a handful of pretzels too. After awhile as I noticed the large ring of chocolate around her mouth it was all about the chocolate.
I'm into this 'fun'-due too. It's perfect if you end up with last minute dinner guests and don't have time to bake a more formal desert.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Results are In!

Throwing a chili cook-off super bowl party not only turned out to be a lot of fun, but it was also a smart move on my part! We had a ton of food to share with guests but the best part is I didn't have to make it all!
I did make a delicious beer bread. It's kind of like a banana loaf bread or a pecan bread but I made it with a bottle of beer. Adding the beer just gives it a unique texture and flavor. It went great with all the chili.
I am pretty certain that over the summer I will up the ante for my friends a little and throw a summer salad and cocktail party!
As for the results, each entry scored pretty well. One entry was especially tasty because the maker put cumin and all spice which gave it a sweet taste. The prize turned out to be very simple-a sterling silver ladle, a cookbook and some tasty crackers that go well with the chili.
Although as I pointed out to the winner--it's the title of "best chili" that really matters.
My entry didn't actually win but I will say that the large pot of it that I served in my Crock pot through out the night was completely empty!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Super-Bowl Sunday & Chili Cook-Off

We've decided to throw caution to the wind and pull together a little bash celebrating the Super-Bowl. It's not that I am especially excited about any of the teams that are playing- the way I see it is most people are going to be hanging out watching the game anyways so mine as well get together and stuff our face with food and drink.
We can laugh at the commercials and cheer on our team of choice. We've decided to make it a chili cook-off contest. Guests have been asked to bring their best batch of chili and we will provide the 'fix ins', appetizers, drinks and desert. My kids like to make a squares chart and contend for candy bars as prizes.
Which leads me to my dilemma-what will I bake for super bowl Sunday? I could bake a cake in the shape of a football or a field. No, that is just not my style.
I think I'll keep with tradition and make dreamy island cookies, jumbo chocolate chip cookies and a batch of my cake balls. They're always a hit and so easy to pop in your mouth while sitting around watching the game.
As for the Chili cook-off I'll have to come up with some sort of prize for the most original and best flavor.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lucky Me & Where Have the Days Gone?

I can't believe it is January 15th already. The past two weeks have been a mix of running the kids around town, cleaning up after the holidays and getting a fun writing project under way. I am in the process of putting together a select collection of my favorite recipes into a booklet just to have on hand because so many people ask me for different recipes.

My love for baking has brought me so many cool blessings. I often get to visit my kids classroom with some aspect of my baking.

About a month ago I stopped by to read "Eight Animals Bake a Cake" to my daughter Sophia's preschool class. At the end of this charming tale the animals drop the cake on the floor and end up eating a pineapple upside down cake. I baked an upside down cake of my own to share with the kids for snack.

Today I am heading to Bella's Spanish Class. She wants me to make empanadas for her classmates. The teacher is letting me come with a batch ready to pop in the oven and then the kids will do a small demonstration themselves.

As for being lucky, how many mom's get to stop by their kids junior high class to see what goes on while they are away each day?

It must be something about the food that draws people in. Because my son, an eighth grader at the same school, someone who often shies away from any type of public contact with his parents because it's just not cool said he'd stop by the school kitchen to say hi.