Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rilke's Wisdom, My Favorite Tree & Good 'Cookie' Karma!

" Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, for they could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps, then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer." ~ Rainer Marie Rilke
The weather was unexpectedly pleasant today. It was warmer and the sun was extra bright. Sophia and I spent a good hour or so in the yard raking leaves together. (I know! The leaves should be raked in the fall, however, the cold hit fast and hard this year and we were simply playing catch-up).
While we worked in the yard I decided to take a picture of my favorite tree. I can see it best from in the house, from either at my desk or through the upstairs bathroom window. But today, it was fun for Sophia and I to stand below it and look up and take it's picture. I thought I would share it with you.
As for Good Cookie Karma, I love to bake cookies for people and drop them off unexpectedly. Recently, I sent a batch in the mail to a high school friend who did a favor for me that I really appreciate. Today I dropped off a batch of Celebration Cookies to my mechanic because he managed to fix my car in a short period of time for a really decent price--dropping off a batch of cookies seemed like good Karma.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Baking Tarts for Book-Club, Bonfires & Cake Balls!

During the winter months it's easy at times to feel isolated living on Cape Cod. I go through periods where I can feel far away from some of the people I love (not that many people come to visit in the winter) and because it's so cold I stay indoors more. In the winter it can be dark as early as 4:30 p.m. I do what I can to stay connected to friends and my kids stay busy through sports.

Book-club has been a great opportunity to get together. We read a book throughout the month and then come together to discuss it but more than anything it's a time for friends to laugh, share a fun cocktail, eat delicious food and catch up on each other's busy lives.

For book club this month I made two tasty tarts. I simply rolled out a sheet of puff pastry onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. I topped one of them with roasted red peppers and cheddar and the other with caramelized onions, bacon and blue cheese then baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or so until the pastry browned. It's easy to be creative with food and a sheet of puff pastry. I also like the combination of goat cheese, black beans and roasted corn.

As for the bonfire and cake balls, a friend called last night to invite us over for a backyard bonfire. The past couple of days have been bright and sunny and relatively warmer. It almost reached into the 50's yesterday. So I thought it was a great idea for getting friends together. I am baking a batch of chocolate cake balls dipped in white chocolate to share.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Anonymous Cards & Bagels with Egg, Cheese & Bacon

I snuck out of my warm bed extra early this morning to pull together a special breakfast for my kids. I decided to dip large strawberries in melted milk chocolate and make one of their favorites: toasted honey wheat bagel sandwiches filled with bacon, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese.
I figured it was the least I could do on this chilly Valentine's morning as they headed off for school.
Sophia spent the weekend making the most precious hand written, thoughtful love letters to each person in her class. I suggested I could buy her any kind of card she wanted but she was determined to make them all on her own. Each card has become a sweet work of art.
I read an article recently that suggested as a random act of kindness to anonymously leave Valentine cards on people's windshields in a parking lot. I decided to give it a try. It's a fun way to do something special for someone else. I only left a few and I'm pretty sure no one saw me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Super-Bowl Sunday, Sunset to Sunrise & Squares!

I was so happy to see the sun greet us on Super Bowl Sunday. The first picture I took while at Chapaquoit Beach, the other one is from my doorstep the next morning. I was excited to see the sun again the following day.
For me, Super-Bowl Sunday is just as much about all the food as it is about the game. Who even played in the Super Bowl--just kidding, Packers Vs. Steelers, right?
To serve during half-time, I made a large batch of chili. I used ground turkey, fresh diced tomatoes, sauteed chopped fine red onions, black and pinto beans, tomato sauce and lots of spices. A friend of my husband's stopped by and said, "this is delicious"! I made a large loaf of baked garlic bread too.
For desert, I baked my kids favorite Chocolate Cake. It's a moist Bundt cake drizzled with white and dark chocolate for the frosting. The recipe for that is included in "Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen".
As for the Squares, it's a tradition I started years ago. I want the game to be fun for my kids too even when they were still too young to care much about who was playing.
We make a traditional betting chart that the five of us take turns filling out. I buy prizes of things the kids like and depending on whose name is on the winning numbers they get to pick a prize.
It's usually just a large candy bar or something cool I came across. But they still look forward to it.
Somehow, I never seem to win a single square everyone won except for me!

Friday, February 4, 2011

One Eskimo, Cabin Fever & Baking!

It has been grey, cold, icy and wet for most of the week here on Cape Cod. The thing I like the least about that is we don't go outdoors as much and cabin fever seems to set in. The pictures show my attempts to make the best of staying indoors. The kids were dismissed from school early on Tuesday then Wednesday was a big mess of slush and ice around my neighborhood. I've been listening to a CD by the band One Eskimo that I've really been enjoying and one of the songs is called "Simple Day".
It felt like such a simple day on Wednesday when all I did was tend to the fire, work on my lesson plan for class and bake a large batch of "Celebration Cookies".
I decided to bake those because they remind me so much of the summer. The kids were happy because they ended up eating them all.