Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dreaming, Apple Crisp & Celebration Cookies!

I love to dream. Dreaming matters because it helps me to see possibilities!
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

Kripalu, New Friends, Ginger Scones & Chestnut Puree!

As I woke this morning my heart was filled with so much love and gratitude toward the amazing weekend I spent at Kripalu Yoga and Retreat Center in Lenox, MA. I spent the weekend with the Beckwith's-they are the most beautiful and awe-inspiring couple I have ever met! They created an incredible environment for healing, growth and joy. I also met some new friends which was so much fun.
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

Fall is in the Air, Photo Shoot & Birthday Presents!

At the bus stop this morning it felt chilly. The coolest it's felt in a long time even though the sun was shining. There were lots of neighbors milling about, walking their dogs and stopping to say hello before the kids boarded the bus for the school day. Sophia grabbed a sweater and my toes were cold in my flip flops. Autumn on Cape Cod often sneaks in unexpectedly and it always takes time to adjust to the abrupt temperature change.

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

Getting Old(er), Baking Bread & Picking Up the Pieces

I turn forty-two on Monday. In some ways I see it for the blessing it is-I am in excellent health, have wonderful children and am fortunate enough to do many things I love. And yet there is a part of me that sighs at the thought--where has all the time gone?
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

Photographs, Unexpected Tragedy & Cookies!

I recently wrote an essay called the "Comforts of Baking" that will be featured in the upcoming food section of Cape Cod Magazine. They want to visit soon to take photographs of a few of my recipes to complement the article. It should be fun. One of the recipes is for pancakes with raspberries and slivered almonds. The recipe is one of my kids favorites and I'm sure they'll be glad to get to eat them after the photo shoot.

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?