Friday, December 24, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
I rolled the dough into rounds, baked them then removed from my oven and painted the tops with melted milk chocolate and crushed candy canes. They are really yummy and it took a little less time than rolling them out into shapes. I also brought in a batch of double chocolate holiday cake balls drizzled with white chocolate.
Each semester I ask my students to turn in a portfolio-a compilation of the best of their work throughout the course with a one page summary that allows them to reflect on their experience in the class and their development as writers.
It's always fun for me to read them because I get to hear from them on a personal level about what they will take away from my class. I always learn something that both surprises me and that I appreciate.
It got me thinking; this concept of taking time for self reflection can be applicable in other areas of our lives too especially around the Holidays when stress is often high and we are about to close out one year and welcome a new one in.
Monday, December 13, 2010
The weekend was otherwise busy and I wanted to make sure I was ready when friends arrived.
I baked a number of different kinds of cookies and served fun cocktails in those fancy martini glasses. The crushed candy canes were for the rims of the glasses. I made my own version of a 'chocolate martini'. I placed the outer edge of the martini glass into light Caro syrup then coated it with the crushed candy canes. I drizzled chocolate syrup into the bottom of the glass then poured a chilled mixture of whipped cream flavored vodka, peppermint flavored Kahlua and a splash of sierra mist. It was so decadent.
However, I was so busy greeting guests, making fancy cocktails and setting girl friends up to bake sugar cookies of their own that I never actually tried one!
I offered my friends samples of my cookies: Hazelnut Shortbread, Celebration, Dreamy Island, Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Biscotti with White Chocolate.
I sent my friends home with the cookies they baked in fancy party favor bags. I printed up labels that said, "Got Baked at Girls Night Out, Cookie's & Cocktails".
Tomorrow is the last day of the semester at my teaching job. I've had a lot of fun getting to know this particular group of students and I will be sad to see them go. They've been hinting that I might bake them something for tomorrow's class-who knows I might just surprise them and bake something for them after all.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
A few years ago I wrote an article for the Holiday Supplement to the Enterprise where I shared some fun ideas for making Holiday gifts which included my recipes for both making Limoncello and Holiday Cake Balls.
The holiday season seems to be getting in full swing fast and early this year as we have a party to attend both tonight and tomorrow.
I love a good party. But I also love time at home simply relaxing.
I guess that's where the good self-care comes in. In order to do all the things I like to do for others this time of year it's also important to remember to take a little time each day to do at least one thing special or relaxing or fun just for me! I invite you to do the same for you.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The boys drove up at the end of the game. It was not a win for Falmouth. But, my son played hard and gave it his all throughout the entire season. I'm proud of him and of course it's nice to win but like most things in life it's really about how you play the game that in the end matters the most.
When I got back to Falmouth their was such a nice message waiting for me from a woman who ordered a couple dozen of my Celebration Cookies for her Thanksgiving meal. The message said, "words can't even describe how awesome your cookies taste". I love the feedback. I always try to bake the way I want my son to play the game of Football. I put care and attention to each batch I place in the oven.
As for the Holidays, I decided to get up early this morning to pre-make batches of my "Nana's No Fail Sugar Cookie" Recipe. It'll freeze well and it'll make my life so much easier to have that done and ready long before my "Cookies & Cocktails" party that's planned for the twelfth.
I also hope to get my Tree, lights and decorations done today partly because Sophia thoroughly enjoys Christmas and I think having it up now will make the whole season that much more magical for her.
I miss the feeling of total magic that Christmas can bring especially when your still as young as Sophia is. It seems like such a small but precious gift I can give to her simply by taking care of the decorating now. She loves to help with putting the ornaments on the tree.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
I baked three batches of Celebration Cookies after dinner tonight. Bella says it's her all time favorite cookie. They really are good with pieces of cranberries, blueberries and white chocolate. It's my own creation- I was inspired to make them while watching Fireworks this past summer over Falmouth Heights.
I made them to fill a baking order. I made extras to have on hand if unexpected company stops by over the Holiday. I was so disappointed to hear my husband was going to work both Friday and Saturday of the Holiday week so hopefully friends will stop by to say hello. If not, the girls and I will embark on our own adventures.
As for synchronicity, I unexpectedly ran into a long ago friend at a High School Reunion on Saturday that I haven't seen or talked to in years. It was a lot of fun to catch up and create new memories. In some ways it felt like the twenty something years haven't even passed by.
I think what makes the moments of synchronicity so special is the hope that the connection will continue.
I brought the reunion hostess a gift of my jumbo chocolate chip cookies with a hint of peanut butter, celebration cookies and cranberry biscotti dipped in white chocolate because I know she worked so hard to pull it all together. She sent a note saying how much she enjoyed it.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I found mini phyllo shells on sale at Roche Brothers grocery store in Mashpee and I bought several packages to keep in the freezer throughout the holiday.
For tonight, I decided to fill them with mashed sweet potatoes, goat cheese crumbles and pecans. I looked around my kitchen and fridge and out of what I had on hand that sounded like a good combination. If you're feeling adventurous (and have more free time on your hands than I do right now) read on for a good tip to bake your own mini pastry shells.
I'm including the recipe of what I'm making for tonight's appetizer because with Thanksgiving right around the corner you might like to give it a try too.
Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese & Pecan Pastries
1 package of pre-made mini phyllo pastry shells
1 large sweet potato, peel, slice and boil until soft, then mash with 1 Tbsp. maple syrup and 1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Goat Cheese crumbles
1 Tbsp. chopped pecans
Place the Phyllo Shells on a baking sheet and fill with the mashed sweet potatoes, the goat cheese and then the pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes. Enjoy warm.
Baker's Tip: If you'd like to make your own pastry shells you can take a pie crust (either from scratch or a pre-made one from the refrigerator section) and cut 2 in. rounds. Take a mini-muffin tin and flip upside down. Place the 2 in. rounds on each upended muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes. Let cool, then follow additional directions above.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Luckily I have a number of friends that live within walking distance and we still managed a fun time. Although, I hope the weather cooperates this year.
Here's something fun: a woman who lives out of town and who subscribes to Cape Cod Magazine recently read my article, visited the blog then went to Amazon to order my book. She called me yesterday to ask a question about my recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. Her phone call got me wondering: how have other's found my blog? I know a few people visit because of the labels I put on my baked goods all summer long at the Farm Store which includes the address.
As for Celebration Cookies, I'm accepting very few orders for Thanksgiving this year as I have my own baking to do not to mention I'm in the middle of my teaching schedule. However, I couldn't resist a friends request today to make her a couple of dozen of my Celebration Cookies for her Holiday party.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
As soon as I started down the stairs I heard Sophia climb out of her own bed and follow my lead. I thought of that Robert Burns poem that refers to the 'best laid plans'. It's like the other night when I'd hoped I'd reconnect with my teens over a fun board game but they had too much homework and it just never happened.
I cherish the time I spend in the kitchen with Sophia. I have the vague sense that years from now these are the times she will remember the most about me and our relationship. Yet, for today I'd hoped to get it started while she was still nestled in her bed because we already have a busy day planned. Let's face it I can move quicker on my own.
Yet, once we settled into a comfortable groove (and I let go of my idea for my 'best laid plans') we managed some of our most precious interactions yet. We chatted about things like how much we both love flour. She said, "I love how puffy and fluffy it is". I told her I agreed. Their is something about a big tub of flour that is so inviting and I love the way her and I share the simplicity of that.
We're baking Cranberry Biscotti with white chocolate. I am using my recipe that is included in "Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen".
As for a Cookie Party, I've decided that sometime between now and Christmas I'm going to invite a bunch of women friends over for "Cookies & Cocktails".
I have tons of fun cookie cutters and a fabulous recipe for sugar cookies. I will serve my recipe for Holiday Cranberry Sangria and have a fire going in the kitchen fireplace. I guess as busy as the season can get I don't want it to pass without having a chance to connect with my girlfriends too.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I'm baking the banana bread today simply because I have a few bananas that need to be used. It'll be nice before school in the morning tomorrow.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Yesterday I helped Sophia's First Grade Class put together a Halloween Party, watched the Parade at her School and took her to a Spooky Spaghetti Dinner. She had a blast-- I was exhausted!
Although I'm happy to be there for her and enjoy her activities I find that too much fun for her without a bit of fun for me can leave me feeling drained.
I think it's all about balance. This morning I am taking it easy by enjoying the morning, drinking a cup of hot coffee and relaxing. I have no 'to do' list for right now and it feels great!
As for Comforts of Baking, if you get a chance please check out my article in Cape Cod Magazine's current issue. What I tried to convey was how rewarding spending a little time in your kitchen can be and how much comfort the simple act of baking can bring.
The photography is gorgeous and I cooked the food right here at home in my kitchen and I share some of my favorite holiday recipes.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I wanted to come up with a really creative way to use these unique fruit that is in abundance right now instead of just the usual way of scooping or peeling and eating.
I decided to make a sauce by scooping out the pomegranate seeds and squeezing the juice in, peeling and dicing the clementine into small pieces and taking a handful of caramels and melting them over a double boiler.
Don't make this sound harder than it is- you can easily make your own double boiler if you don't already have one by heating water in a sauce pan and placing a glass bowl on top-just make sure the boiling water doesn't heat the glass only allow the steam to heat the glass.
Stir the fruit and caramel regularly until the caramel melts and a sauce forms. Let cool. Pour over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
As for pursuing passions, I had the pleasure of being invited recently to exhibit three pieces of my art work at G Design Center in Mashpee Commons (creating unique sculptures is another one of my many passions). My work will be there until mid November.
On Friday the owners hosted a private reception for the participating artists and our friends and supporters. I had a number of friends stop by to show their support and I really enjoyed the opportunity to share my work in a fun atmosphere with the other artists.
*Note on the sauce: You can leave the sauce with bits of fruit or you can cool and puree in your blender. I prefer it with pieces of fruit.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
As simple as it is I think it does matter that I offer my family good food. It may not be fancy every night but when we do get a chance to share a meal I like to catch up with my family and turn the tv off so we have a chance to reconnect.
Tonight I made a yummy chicken dish that might sound like it's on the fancy side but it was super easy and the kids liked it. Give this recipe a try some time soon and let me know if you like it.
Chicken with Ricotta & Pesto over a Tomato, Lime Vinaigrette
Boneless chicken breasts, 6
12 oz. ricotta
3 Tbsp. pesto
Mix the ricotta with the pesto in a small bowl
Cut a slit in the center of the chicken and stuff it with the pesto, ricotta mix.
Place in a baking dish, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Bake at a 375 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes
For the Tomato, Lime Vinaigrette
6 oz. diced tomatoes
juice from one lime
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
salt and pepper
Place in a blender and pulse until smooth.
Spoon onto the plate and place the baked chicken on top. Serve with fresh leafy greens and rice pilaf.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We walked, looked for sea treasures (I found an especially beautiful shell, pictured above) and enjoyed the sun. My son had football practice but he was able to meet up with us for lunch at Wicked. Later that day I snuck out for a bike ride down to Seconsett Island. I'm going to miss that ride once winter arrives.
As for tarts, I love them. You can make so many varieties from sweet and savory to a breakfast, dinner or even dessert version. I want to share the recipe I used for Squash, Sage and Gorgonzola Tart because if you like those items you may want to try it for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday.
Squash, Sage and Gorgonzola Tart
Make a pie crust or pick up a refrigerated pre-made one. Place in a pie plate.
For the Filling
small butternut squash
tbsp. olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
6-8 fresh sage leaves
1) Cut the squash in half, brush with oil and place cut side up on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, until they are brown and very soft. Let cool. Scoop out squash, place in a bowl and discard the skin.
2) Mash the squash and mix with half the cream, season with salt and pepper and spread in the bottom of shell. Spread gorgonzola crumbles on top of squash. Whisk your remaining cream with the eggs and yolk and pour over the squash/cheese. Make sure it settles evenly. Arrange the sage leaves in a circular pattern in the center on top.
3) Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30-35 minutes. Enjoy warm.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This particular friend lives in Central, MA and decided to drive down for the day. We had so much fun. We had a nice long lunch at Anejo's- a new Mexican Restaurant in Falmouth and sipped on their amazing Anejo Margarita's, took a long walk at the Knob (a truly special place) and afterwards we sipped a honey chai tea at Coffee O while I shared my pictures from the trip I took with my girls over the summer. We laughed often about the silliest of things.
She and I met in second grade and we have a very special bond. We know everything their is to know about one another and we still love and enjoy each other's company. To me, that is something to be truly grateful for.
As for Cranberry Biscotti, I was recently asked to donate a signed copy of my recipe book and a sample of my baking for a local upcoming Fundraiser/Auction. I decided to bake a large batch of cranberry Biscotti with white chocolate in part because it stays fresh so well and people really enjoy good Biscotti. I often hear, "that is the best Biscotti I've ever tasted".
I find there are always challenges and unique crosses that each of us must bear, however life is meant for living and I always try to do as much of the 'living part' as I possibly can. What about you?
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I dream about things like taking long romantic adventures to Italy, throwing wildly fancy parties right at home with good friends and having somewhere perfect to wear my favorite dress and shoes!
I also dream about big things like wishing for the day that could end hunger and poverty among families and also little things like wondering what I might be able to do to make someone else's life a little bit brighter.
Maybe dreaming is important because it puts us a little bit closer to the types of things we want and how we want our life to look. Even when it doesn't always look that way now.
On Saturday I went to a party with some women friends from my writing group. I brought my Celebration Cookies along and one of the women commented on how much she loves the way I come up with new recipes the way other people paint on a canvas or create a sculpture.
Perhaps my recent frequent day dreaming might be because I have teenagers and I do a lot of back and forth driving around town. Although perhaps the driving is not all bad.
As for the Apple Crisp I really need to get in my kitchen and get busy baking. We went Apple Picking on Sunday as a Family to Keith's Farm in Acushnet, MA and we picked lots of fresh juicy apples.
I asked my kids what they wanted me to do with them and they all said, "Make your apple crisp". And, as for having two teenagers in the house I'm well aware that a trip apple picking as a family is somewhat of a dream in itself. I'm so glad they decided to come.
Monday, September 20, 2010
One of the things Kripalu is known for is their delicious and abundant food. It is so good for you. I felt it nourished not only my body but my soul as well.
As for the Chestnut Puree, I finally managed to get my hands on some. It arrived by delivery truck just as I was pulling out of my driveway on Friday to head to the retreat for the weekend.
It's downstairs ready for me to make Chestnut, Maple and Pecan Tart out of it. I can't wait to bake it as it sounds like a really yummy combination.
As for the Ginger Scones, I ate them one morning with my breakfast over the weekend and they were so good I am going to experiment with my own version soon.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The photographers arrived today for taking pictures of some of my recipes. Before their arrival I prepared Pecan Bread, Fresh Coffee with ground Pecans, Pancakes with Raspberries, Slivered Almonds and Fresh Whipped Cream, Celebration Cookies, Apple Crisp and a Cranberry Sangria.
As for birthday presents I would have to say the favorite gift I received was from my three kids. They bought me one of those way oversized music cards that plays the song "girls just wanna have fun" and each wrote a sweet note. It came with some fun gift cards for dinner and a movie that we'll go out and enjoy together sometime soon. But it's the fun card and thoughtful notes that I really appreciate.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
And even though I think I've aged fairly gracefully I'm noticing way more wrinkles than ever before!
I remember (very clearly) when I turned fourteen. I reminded my close friends at the time that my birthday was approaching weeks in advance and fourteen felt so exciting because I was a full fledged teenager ready to take on the world.
I remember having the sense that not only was the world my oyster but I knew what I wanted. Looking back, I realize I was so young and naive and wish I could have known then what I know now.
I suppose I might look at my wrinkles today as 'learning lines'-evidence that I have grown and changed in remarkable ways even if at fourteen I thought I knew it all.
I'm about to bake bread this morning-a banana bread as there are ripe bananas just waiting to be used and a special order for pecan bread loaf.
As for picking up the pieces, my sister has been hard at work trying to put her life back together after the recent fire and she has been doing remarkably well. Although tragedy takes time to recover from. For now, I simply continue to check in on her and make sure she's OK and see what I can do to offer my help and support.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Over this past weekend we had my husband's mom visiting from Texas. My sister planned to drive down from Central MA to join us for dinner and to catch up with family. Sadly, she was struck by an unexpected tragedy-a car driven by a teenager who had been drinking lost control of his car and slammed into the front door of her house! The car went up in flames and lit her entire home on fire.
It was truly unbelievable. Thank God she made it out safe although her beloved cat died in the blaze. I drove up that morning to see it for myself and felt my heart deeply aching for her unexpected loss.
I had chocolate chip cookies and cranberry biscotti already baked so I packaged some to share with her. I know it didn't do much that morning but usually a good tasting sweet treat can brighten just about any one's day.
As our company headed back to Dallas I asked them if they'd stop by to drop some of my cookies off at the home of a previous neighbor. From what I hear the cookies really brightened her day as well-- I did it simply because I know she is the kind of person that would really appreciate it.
Maybe there is someone you know that is either lonely, feeling blue or experiencing an unexpected hardship and you don't quite know what to do to help. What about starting with the simplicity of sharing a fresh baked batch of cookies?
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I just finished baking a batch of Cookies that are on their way to the farm now.
As for apologies, when my daughter's and I were out of town a voice message was left for me and I saved it intending to return the call when we were back on Cape. It was a new customer looking for a birthday cake for her child's first birthday and somehow that particular message didn't get saved and I don't have the telephone number so I have no way of letting the person know I did in fact receive the message. I feel bad because even if I know I'm not available for an order I still like to at least acknowledge the call.
The weather today is cool, wet and windy. It's a perfect cape cod day for cooking, baking and staying indoors.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
She spent a week in New Hampshire--I missed her like crazy but it was such a blessing that she had so much fun. We stopped by the Farm on the way back from camp pick-up to deliver at least a few packages of cookies for sale. I love to bake although with three kids around for the summer I feel pulled in many other directions too and never bake as much as I'd like.
Sophia has been wanting to ride the Falmouth Trolley so I dropped things needing my attention on Thursday and we hopped a ride to Woods Hole. She got a special treat and I had a large coffee from "Pie in the Sky". We walked down to the Aquarium and Sophia loved watching the seals swim around in the water. Later that night we met some friends at the Popponessett Marketplace for a truly out of this world Lobster Roll and a fun concert.
As far as relationships go I was thinking that they can be (at times) so delicate and fragile. In other words they can be our greatest joy and blessing and also our biggest obstacles.
When I baked this morning I pulled my butter out of the freezer and as I had less time than usual I decided to soften it by popping the sticks in my microwave. I let them stay in a little too long so the butter was more melted than I wanted it to be. I like my butter to be soft but not melted. I didn't want to waste the butter though. The cookies came out tasting the same but I noticed a slight alteration in the texture. Something probably only I could detect.
Like the butter melting too quickly and affecting how the cookies turn out the same can be true for my relationships.
If I alter what I do or how I participate in a challenging situation I find that my relationships instead of getting harder actually have an opportunity to change or grow. In other words by doing less I just might get more.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
It's been an invaluable experience for me because for many years I often felt I was entirely at fault in any miscommunication or problem especially with family members. What a blessing to finally know that I'm not the cause of everyone else's misfortune or problems. I'm only responsible for my tiny plot of my life.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
In fact, I had to turn away two new customers because I barely had the time to bring my cookies to the farm. I made sure I went into my kitchen first thing this morning to get a batch of Dreamy Island Cookies started.
I'm calling the new recipe, Celebration Cookies. I've put dried blueberries, dried cranberries and white chocolate in them as a tribute to the Fourth of July Holiday. They have a unique texture and sweet taste. I love them.
I invited my son in for a taste and as I anxiously awaited his response he said, "they're so good"!
We're going to a Cocktail Party tonight to Celebrate the completion of a home that my husband has been a large part in the renovation of and I think I'll bring the host a package of my new cookies to try.
Monday, July 5, 2010
It's been almost three years since I came up with Dreamy Island Cookies--and those have been my all time favorite...
Sunday, July 4, 2010
In the morning I dropped off a bunch of my cookies for sale at the Coonamessett Farm Store and packed enough to take some to share at the beach. We stayed late enough to enjoy the setting sun and a nice fire.
While the cousins were visiting earlier this week I decided to make them pancakes with fresh blueberries for breakfast one of the mornings. One of my nephews thought they were the best pancakes he'd ever had. With complements like that I told him he could stay as long as he wanted.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
My four nephews to be exact. What fun Sophia will have with all the boys running around the house! I am so grateful that the sun is shining and that we'll be able to pack lunches and head to the beach together later today. And, even more grateful that after a day filled with sand and sun everyone can rinse off in the outdoor shower before coming back into the house.
My next farm delivery will be a batch of Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies--it's a recipe that I get excellent feedback on and is included in "Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen".
Bella, Sophia and I spent a few fun hours together at Wood Neck Beach yesterday. The water was warm and the tide was high when we arrived then slowly crept out as we enjoyed the afternoon sun.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
It's a beautiful Cape Cod day and I hope you're enjoying it. I'm about to head to Menhaunt Beach to put my toes in the sand and catch some rays!
Friday, June 18, 2010
I arrived at Sophia's school with the cake in tact-this was no small feat as it was three tiers with purple and pink frosted cones for the columns. One of Sophia's classmates was so impressed that she quickly asked if I could make a special cake for her birthday and proceeded to tell me exactly how she wanted it-love those Kindergartners!
At book club we discussed "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave. As for the baked brie their was not even a tiny bit left at the end of the night. It's simply that good-the combination of the crunchy nuts to balance the sweet preserves and the flaky crust that balances the creamy brie. Yum!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I've been invited by Sophia's teacher to bring in a special treat tomorrow to share with her classmates since they will be out of school for the summer when her birthday arrives. It seems only fitting that I bake a pink and purple castle cake.
But for now, shh! I am going to keep the cake a surprise from Sophia as I think it will be more fun to see her face as I arrive at her school with a castle cake.
As for the Baked Brie-I've decided to make it to bring to Wednesday night's Book Club. Book Club is always a good time!
Recipe for Baked Brie:
Large brie wheel
Black raspberry preserves (really any jam will do)
chopped fine pecans or walnuts.
Place the pie crust rolled out flat on a baking dish. Place the brie wheel in the center. Spread the preserves on top of the brie then sprinkle with the nuts. Wrap the pie crust around the brie. Press firmly to seal the crust. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Serve warm with your favorite crackers.
So easy and delicious!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
We invited another friend over and all sat around our fire-pit in the back yard. We laughed and shared stories while the kids toasted marshmallows for s'mores.
As for the Cranberry Orange Scones I managed to bake a batch and have them in the oven before they even woke this morning. I like to place my scone batter in a pie plate (instead of what a lot of people suggest which is to form the dough into a circle and place on a cookie sheet-the pie plate simply holds the shape easier).
I slice them into eight scones when finished baking. I like to serve them warm with butter and preserves.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
It seems like so many people spend a life time doing the same old thing because they don't try something new. There is joy to be found in being spontaneous, trying new things and doing things a little different than your used to. For me, this past weekend, I dusted off and pulled out my bike because I hadn't been on a bike ride in a couple of years (something I love to do) and I really loved getting back on that bike. Sophia and I have plans to use the bike-path in Falmouth together this summer.
As for my cook-book you can now buy a copy of "Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen" at the wonderful local bookstore right in Mashpee Commons.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It's time to take the parties outside!
We have plans to go to a cookout at a neighbor's on Saturday and to spend the day with friends out on Sandy Neck Beach on Sunday. I've been thinking about what I am going to make to share for each get together and decided to post my choices here in case you are looking for something different to bring to your Memorial Day outing.
Asparagus has been in abundance lately. Here's a super easy recipe for Grilled Asparagus that can be done out on the grill.
Grilled-Asparagus with Cashews
One summer Bella and I gave cooking lessons to a teen in his summer home and we made these.
1 lb fresh asparagus
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup of finally chopped cashews
Take a sheet of heavy foil and place asparagus spears (cut the tough ends off) in the center. Top with the salt, pepper, butter. Fold up the foil and seal the edges so you make a packet and asparagus is enclosed. Place on grill on a low heat. Cook for about 10 or so minutes rotating half way through. Remove from heat, make a slit in the top of packet and sprinkle with cashews. Note: if you use thin stalks cook less time. If you're not hosting the party prepare the packets at home and then toss on the grill when you arrive.
Sangria with Fresh Blueberries
Last summer I brought this to a few gatherings and friends still tell me how much they liked it. It's pretty tasty!
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1 orange cut into slices, 1 lemon cut into slices
1 1/2 cup of blueberry juice
1/2 cup of sugar
bottle of red wine
4 oz. triple sec
I always make things 'to taste' so test to see if it's the way you like it! Combine the juice, wine, triple sec and sugar in a pitcher-stir well. Add the blueberries, orange and lemon slices and stir gently. Chill for about two hours.
Layered Summer Salad
With so many ways you can vary this salad substitute the type of fruit or nut you prefer. Here is a way that I like it.
Fresh Romaine lettuce, Grilled Chicken, fully cooked and sliced, Fresh Strawberries, sliced Chopped Pecans, Crumbled Blue Cheese
In a large glass bowl take turns layering each of the ingredients with a thick layer of romaine at the bottom. Serve with your choice of dressing. We would use blue cheese, honey mustard or even a balsamic vinaigrette.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Earlier this week I had so much fun shopping with Bella for the dress she is going to wear for her upcoming Semi-Formal at school. We went off Cape up to Plymouth and she found an adorable white floral strapless dress with a 'poofy' skirt. She looks gorgeous in it. Ahh, the joys of youth!
As for the Popcorn drizzled with Chocolate-I went to my Book Club meeting on Wednesday night to which I brought a yummy appetizer of mozzarella stuffed tomatoes with a hint of basil-when I was leaving the girls asked if their was a special treat around the house that they might snack on. I knew I didn't have much prepared. So I suggested they pop some popcorn and melt some of the chocolate chips I keep for baking cookies and drizzle that on the popcorn.
It's as good as it sounds and it was such a little thing that turned into a bit of fun for them.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I asked Bella today if she had any interest in helping me with baking for the farm table this summer and she said she definitely was! That made me happy because I really look forward to having the kids around more over the summer.
It's been awhile since I've baked Dreamy Island Cookies and I look forward to getting back into making them. I think they might be my favorite cookie. They taste scrumptious but part of why I like them so much is the spirit around which I created them and the day trip I took with my kids years ago to Martha's Vineyard which inspired them in the first place.
As for going with the flow it never ceases to amaze me how much and how often life nudges (sometimes pushes) us to bend and sway with its lead. Summer's a great opportunity to practice going with the flow. I love heading to the beach when the sun's shining. I often put off things that need to get done simply because it's a great day on Cape Cod and nobody can resist that!
Friday, May 7, 2010
I baked jumbo chocolate chip cookies yesterday. The recipe is from "Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen". They have a hint of peanut butter. My kids ate some as an after school snack yesterday and said "YUM" with mouths full and a glass of milk on the side. I also shared them with my students yesterday. I wasn't surprised when they ate every last one.
I've made mention before of how wonderful Sophia's book skills are so I decided to add a photograph of her most recent creation. The back page has a similar drawing but says; "you are the funnest to play with!" It sure is nice to feel so loved by her. I cherish her love for me so much.
As for reciprocity, I believe in the importance of shared kindness and generosity. I want my life to only be filled with people who cherish me as much as I cherish them!
Monday, May 3, 2010
I am so glad we did. It gets me so excited for the upcoming summer.
On Saturday night I invited neighbors over to join us around our backyard fire-pit. I love this time of year. If you're lucky you can get a super warm day and a cool night-perfect for building a fire.
Avocado's are on sale this week at the grocery store so I served fresh guacomole with tortilla chips and delicious frozen Margarita's. The margarita's seemed perfect for the weekend before Cinco De Mayo.
I've been super busy teaching lately although I know I will be selling my cookies and copies of my cookbook at the Coonamessett farm again soon. I've decided to keep it simple this year. I will stock my table with packages of my own delicious creation: dreamy island cookies and leave an order form for special orders.
On Sunday Sophia and I made another trip down to the beach. We stopped down at South Cape for a walk and shell collecting. It was beautiful and very quiet. Picture is from South Cape.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I brought them along with me to my neighborhood Book Club meeting last night and they were a big hit. Book Club is always fun. We meet once a month and rotate houses for hosting. We each bring an appetizer or other treat to share. It's fun to try out different foods and get new cooking or baking ideas.
I was feeling a little guilty when I left the house last night because the kids are on their Spring Break and with me heading out they were going to be at home.
Although when I walked in the first thing I saw written on the dry erase board that hangs on the fridge was a note that said: "We Love You Mom!"
I am looking forward to spending time with each of them today. We will seek out some sort of fun adventure. I think I will use up the rest of my strawberries. I know they will love them dipped in a bit of chocolate.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Earlier this week I bought a bunch of purple pansies in hanging pots to hang around the yard as a way to welcome Spring. I've always loved pansies. I remember an old friend of mine that I went to UCLA and shared a house with for awhile would say she loved pansies because they looked like they had such sweet little faces painted on them. (They do)!
My daughters and I decided last minute to head off Cape to meet a friend for an event being held at the Worcester Art Museum today. I love art and I love to expose my children to it as much as I can. And it's always fun to hang out with a good friend.
Linda's Recipe for Rainy Day Brownies
1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet, set aside, add at end
1 1/4 cups plain cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate chopped fine
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
Heat oven to 325. Grease a 13x9 pan.
In medium bowl whisk flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.
Melt chocolate and butter in a sauce pan stir occasionally until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar and then add eggs one at a time. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture gradually. Mix until smooth. Add in the chocolate chip until just blended.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool, then cut.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
After Easter we had so many left over peeps that I decided to melt some chocolate and dip the funny looking bunny shaped creatures into them. The kids were impressed. I felt a little guilty creating such a sinfully sweet treat although alone they are almost too sugary and the chocolate does provide a nice balance. Besides, with spring here our local grocery store has been so abundant with apples, grapes, melons, strawberries etc that we are getting plenty of healthy food too.
The only other thing I had time to bake this week was cranberry biscotti dipped in white chocolate. I managed to sneak a piece in my kids lunch and they told me later that day how much they enjoyed the unexpected surprise.
I'm heading off to a spring fashion show & lunch today. I'm looking forward to good food and conversation but mostly I am happy to see my oldest daughter model a dress she made out of candy wrappers and silk ribbon.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Each of my three children were very supportive of my acceptance of the race challenge. Nathan asked me what my goals were in the morning and wished me luck, Bella who ran in the race too put a great play list together for me and Sophia told me to "just have fun, Mom!"
I made a batch of cake balls for a Banquet my son attended for Basketball last night and I almost always make the chocolate ones because I feel those are always a no fail treat. This time I decided to bake Vanilla Cake Balls dipped in semi-sweet chocolate then drizzled with white chocolate. I was simply too tired last night from the run to actually attend the banquet myself but from what I hear they disappeared quickly.
As for Bella's run-she did amazing! She ran with a good friend of hers and they finished within seconds of one another. I knew she would cross the line before me and yet I am so happy we were able to share this special event together.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Yesterday a long time friend contacted me to say she was making her son a special cake for his birthday but she misplaced the cake recipe she usually uses. I know how that is. There are many times where I will want to make something I haven't made in a long while and simply can't find the recipe. That is one benefit of putting my recipe book together because when I am baking I use it too. A few of my favorite recipes are committed to memory but for the most part I count on my recipe book. Anyhow, I sent her the Cook's Illustrated Encyclopedia version of the Yellow Cake that I use for her to try. It should be delicious.
Then next friday I have decided to host a small dinner party at my house. I am making sweet potato fries with a garlic aioli, sun-dried tomato and basil tarte and a fresh leafy green salad. I am still choosing between fresh fruit and creme fraiche or that yellow cake with a butter cream and coconut frosting for desert.
In the meantime wish me luck on the race!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sophia and I make a great team. She helped set the table and when the food was just about done she went around to let everyone know that breakfast was ready. Her sweet smiling face and the smell of the good food got everyone moving.
Over the weekend we finally gathered for book club and saw Shutter Island. It was pretty good. It was hard to tell though how well I would have followed the plot had I not just read the book. Afterwards, we gathered for wine and appetizers to chat about the movie. I brought a fresh batch of mini chocolate chip cookies to share. It's fun having a group to discuss a common book with. Next up on our reading list is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett-I feel lucky this month because that is the same book my work book club is reading.
I met up with a woman my daughter Bella and I are friendly with from Church and surprised her with a spring gift-a package of cookies and a signed copy of my recipe book. She enjoys baking so I thought she might like to give some of my recipes a try.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Tonight my older daughter and I snuck out for some one on one time. We've both been extra busy lately and I felt we both could use a little one on one mother daughter time. We ended up at Peking Palace on Main St. in Falmouth and I think we both really enjoyed the chance to reconnect.
As for my book-club, we just finished reading "Shutter Island". And ya know, that is a book I wouldn't have necessarily chosen myself and yet I did enjoy it. It had a super strong plot with a totally surprise ending!
We've been trying to come up with a time that we can all meet up to view the movie version and it hasn't been easy trying to coordinate all of our schedules. Hopefully, we'll get together soon.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
The pictures are an update from blog post earlier today.
I am baking my delicious lemon cake and sugar cookies for an annual dinner party tonight with my writing group.
You can't really tell from the picture but it has been snowing constantly for at least two days! It's not really amounting to much because even though the sun hasn't been out it's really not that cold-just gray and wet!
They say the sun will be returning tomorrow for a few days at least--maybe Sophia will get a chance to play on her play set again soon and I'll be happy because I really miss the sun.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I think one of the best ways to invite people into your home is to try and make them feel as welcome and at home as possible (especially those you hope will visit again). Right before we sat down to eat I built a fire in the kitchen fire place--after dinner we played a fun game of Taboo. We had a few good laughs.
On Saturday, we popped in and around Falmouth-they are big puzzle people so we stopped by Kaleidoscope Toy Store and added a few pieces to the ongoing 18,000 piece puzzle, the Library (Falmouth has a beautiful remodeled one), lunch out and of course a trip to the Famous Christmas Tree Shop.
Later that day just about everyone napped in the living room and we built another fire--a fire makes everything so cozy! It reminded me of that awesome kids book- 'The Napping House".
For dinner, I baked a maple glazed roast and a big pot of mashed potatoes and a special batch of Garlic topped Italian Bread. In the evening we all went to a Cafe to listen to a super fun local Blues band called Flipside-the lead singer is actually a friend of mine from my writing group and my youngest Sophia has a special bond with her.
I didn't forget about baking altogether-over the weekend I accepted an order to make Decorated Sugar Cookies in the shape of a Cross for an upcoming Confirmation party!
Monday, February 22, 2010
*3 large sweet potatoes (Peel, cut into cubes and boil until tender, drain water. Mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl with the butter, 2 Tbsp. of milk and a Tbsp. of brown sugar.)
*1 pound ham, cooked and chopped in small cubes
*16 oz. mozzarella shredded fine
*salt and pepper to taste
*Tbsp. brown sugar
*Tbsp. butter, unsalted and a bit of light olive oil to brush on the crust
*2 Tbsp. milk
*Fresh Pizza Dough (Grocer's Refrigerator Section) and a dusting of flour to roll out dough.
How to Make Pizza:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pizza dough and place in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Brush olive oil on top of dough and bake for approx. 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
2) Spread mashed sweet potatoes on top of crust, then top with the diced ham. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake pizza for an additional 15-18 minutes or until crust is baked.
Let cool slightly, enjoy.
Optional: Add freshly grated Parmesan before serving.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The best part of the trip for me was on Saturday afternoon we did the Cliff Walk together- it was an unusually warm and sunny day (picture from Cliff Walk). I think the kids probably liked the all you can eat pizza event and swimming in the hotel pool the best.
As for my biscotti -we arrived home just in time to head over to a friends house last night. They were having a 'winter break' party. My friend introduced me as someone who bakes the best biscotti she has ever tasted. Naturally, I loved her feedback.
She said, she usually buys biscotti from the store and that it's dry and not very tasty. I make a cranberry biscotti with white chocolate that is just delicious. It's very flavorful and since biscotti is simply a twice baked cookie I do bake mine twice but I am careful not to over bake it. I drizzle it with just enough white chocolate to balance out the cranberries.
My cranberry biscotti recipe is included in Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen.
Monday, February 15, 2010
For my husband, a box of chocolates and later last night dinner at Asia in Mashpee Commons and a trip to see "Valentine's Day" together while my teens babysat Sophia-I was so surprised because I think he liked the movie more than I did.
Monday, February 8, 2010
During the holidays we cover the tree with bright lights. I love it because when it's lit you can see it from the end of the street as you round the corner of our road. Although to do it is a bit of a hassle because as you can see for yourself the tree is pretty tall.
We finally decided to simplify and give the' easy' way a try-we unplugged the lights for the season but left them on the tree. You can't notice them while they are not lit and how cool will that be when the next season rolls around and the hard part is already done?
My point: How much easier life can be when I am willing to give the 'easy' way a try!
As for writing a book: I have been working on a new writing project but recently my sweet Sophia wrote a darling book of her own. It's precious! The book is five pages long with sweet stick figure drawings of smiley faced girls with large hands and no necks! She called her book "Mom and Sophia". The book begins with her writing Mom plays with Sophia and ends with Sophia loves Mom.
As for the cookies, I brought a batch of chocolate chip cookies to the women in my work book-club last week and a batch of cookies to my students too.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
We talked about how amazed we both are at how different men and women can be.
She commented on how easy it was for her husband to ignore all the 'to-do's ' around the house while he put up his feet and relaxed. I told her I knew exactly what she meant.
After the walk I sat with the 'guys' while they watched football. I decided to make a meal they could appreciate.
I made a roast, rosemary red potatoes, Texas Toast garlic bread and a fresh garden salad with goat cheese. It occurred to me that when it comes right down to it men aren't really that hard to please.
It's often as simple as the saying-the easiest way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
On Friday night my husband and I were lucky enough to get out on an unexpected date night because my oldest son offered to baby sit my youngest.
We went to a friends house for Cocktails and Appetizers and then headed down to Woods Hole to hear the very accomplished and talented artist 'Christo' discuss his latest project.
And as talented of an artist Christo is I wouldn't be entirely surprised to hear that the way to his heart is also as simple as making him a good meal.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Admittedly, the movie was a bit corny but I loved how it reminded me that good things do happen all around us and can often happen unexpectedly- at times when we are not even paying attention!
And, I did make it to my friends house warming party on Sunday--it was a lot of fun. I received an email from her and she said her nephew absolutely loved my cake balls and that he would like me to rename them Chocolate Meatballs!
Although I am not quite sure how tasty chocolate with a meatball would be I think what he was saying in the way only a wonderfully precious young person can is that he liked them!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Walking helps me clear my head so that I am free to make progress on my 'to do' list by giving me a bit of a break from all that has to get done.
We've been invited to a party on Sunday, a friend invited us over to help her celebrate the new house she bought.
I wouldn't miss it, even if I can only stop by for awhile because I try to offer my friends the kind of support I am looking for. Even if I have a long 'to do' list or life is keeping them otherwise busy I still love to chat on the phone or catch up over an email. My friends mean the world to me and I like to hear it from them from time to time how much I mean to them.
Naturally, I will bake something to share at the party. My friend mentioned that she recently heard about an alternative to cake balls made from scratch where you use oreos instead. I told her I make those in the summer when we head out to Sandy Neck.
I might just bring the home made version of cake balls and a batch of oreo cookie balls so that her guests can try them both.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I get so much joy from cooking in general and baking in particular. I received a new 'bright red' Kitchen Aid for Chirstmas and I am loving it. I've already made chocolate chip cookies, biscotti and a batch of cake balls with it. Naturally, I used the new 'apron' my beautiful daughter Bella made for me. I have been busy the passed few days getting back in the swing of things after the holidays so I don't feel I have a new baking tale or adventure to report (just yet).
I invite you to shoot me a quick email about something you recently made in your kitchen that was especially tasty or memorable, who you shared it with and what inspired you to make it in the first place.
Happy New Year and I look forward to hearing from you!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
~ Hugh O'Conor (Chocolat)
Nathan turned fifteen yesterday and I continued a tradition that I have done since his very first birthday. I wrote him a letter and stuck it in his birthday card (I do it for each of my children).
I write about things that take place throughout the year- like who he was friends with and what activities he did or special events so that when he gets older he will have them to look back upon and reminisce about.
Writing him the letter this year felt different because not only has he grown and changed so much over the past year but I have too.
In the spirit of O'Conor's words I encouraged him to measure his goodness by what he does and it got me thinking about how I measure my goodness.
For starters, I embrace friends who (want to) listen to what is in my heart. I create good food for my family and friends because I know that it is the most basic form of care and nourishment I can offer them. We had friends over last night for a meal and of course to share a birthday cake with Nathan. And, I include into my life and my heart only those things that support me and cherish me for me-not simply another's idea for or about me but what is true for me.
I want to teach my son to embrace his goodness-I suppose the best way to do that is by my example.
We're heading off Cape today and going into Boston. I bought tickets for a Boston College Basketball game for Nathan's birthday-it's snowing out there now so the day may prove to be quite an adventure.
(I recently read the quote above from an informative weekly newsletter for writers and I liked it-it struck a chord with me).