Friday, July 29, 2011

Making Time, Pico de Gallo & Cranberry Biscotti!

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." ~Life's Little Instruction Book, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I've decided to give myself the gift of time. At least a little bit of it anyway.The bit I can reasonably squeeze for myself with three kids, a house and freelance writing and baking work to tend to. For the next three weekends I am limiting my social obligations and devoting myself to my baker's book and related writing project I set up for myself this summer.
Although, other demands, summer get together's and projects often seem to get in the way, I'm going to commit myself to spending as much time over the next few weekends as I can to writing. This weekend the kids are spending time with their Dad so I'm taking myself on a close to home mini retreat from house chores then next weekend I'm going to Kripalu and packing my Laptop to take with me. The following weekend, well I won't get too far ahead of myself. I hate to make promises I can't keep. But I already know it involves time spent writing.
As for Pico De Gallo, I spent six years in Los Angeles, CA then ten years in Dallas, TX and among many other gifts and treasures I took away from that time in my life I learned how to make really good Pico De Gallo. Earlier this week, I grilled a steak, sliced it into thin slices and placed it into warmed tortilla's with shredded cheddar and slices of fresh avocado then topped with the Pico De Gallo.
And I just happened to bake Cranberry Biscotti first thing this morning. My oldest daughter had been away at Camp. The first thing she said when she walked in is, "Mom, I want some of your baked goods". She was happy to see I'd just made the Biscotti.
And I realize that I'm not the only one with only 24 hours to fill each day. You have that much as well. If you happened to stop by and read this particular post remember to use your time well toward the dreams you wish to accomplish too.

Recipe for Fresh Pico De Gallo

2 Large fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped fine
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tsp. jalapeno, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, diced
Mix ingredients in a small bowl, chill and enjoy simply with corn chips or tortilla's and cheese.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sophia's Peach Cobbler & Beach Adventures!

“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” --Jacques Cousteau

With the weather so nice this week there were so many beach adventures to be had. On Monday, a friend I had not seen in literally 25 years came down with her girls to spend the day with me and my family. We took the Island Queen over to Oak Bluffs. The day flew by in an instant but it was fun catching up and making new memories.
On Wednesday night, my book club decided to meet out on the Knob. It's a beautiful spot in Falmouth overlooking the water.
We laughed, ate good food and enjoyed watching the sunset. Sophia had a play date this week that lasted throughout the day and I took them to Wood Neck Beach. It's so fun to enjoy the sand and calm of the water while listening to the chatter of the girls playing.
Today was so hot that I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day than down at the beach cooling off. Sophia and I packed our lunch and met some friends down at Menhaunt. It was one of those perfect beach days where you wish that time might stand still forever.

As for Sophia's Peach Cobbler, the peaches are so amazing right now that I couldn't resist making peach cobbler. It's a recipe that Sophia loves. If you have some ripe peaches in your fruit bowl ( or have a chance to stop by and pick some up at your local farmer's market) give this a try it's dee-licious!
Sophia's Peach Cobbler
4 lbs, fresh ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter

Cheddar Biscuits:
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
2/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted

In a bowl combine the peaches, lemon juice and extract. Place in a greased 13x9 baking dish. Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt then sprinkle over the peaches. Top with the butter.
Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine biscuit mix and cheese add in the milk and butter until just blended. Drop by Tablespoons onto the hot peach mixture and bake for an additional 20 or so minutes until the biscuits turn golden. Eat warm with either fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Baking, Writing & Quick Story!

I've been busy in the kitchen this week. I was happy the weather cooled a bit because baking in a steamy kitchen is not fun! I've baked lots of celebration cookies, a vegetable tart, my "Linda's Lemon Cake", a Chocolate Ganache Butterfly Cake and a bacon & cheddar quiche! I love being in my kitchen with the windows open.
The quiche is my daughter Bella's favorite, I sent it with her to her dad's this weekend because this morning is her birthday and I wanted her to have something special from me first thing.
As for writing, I've completed a few writing assignments this summer since my teaching semester ended in June. The good side is I enjoy writing and it's nice to earn (a little) extra money from home. The down side is I've had less time to work on "Sweeter by the Beach" than expected. I try to have faith that I will complete it when the time is right.
As for the quick story, I recently submitted a food related article that will be published this fall. I mentioned briefly in the article a time I baked for my Dad before he died. Because of space limits I didn't have time to tell the whole story so I wanted to post part of it here.
My dad died a few years ago, and when he died it reminded me of a time when my son was first born. I wanted him to meet his grandson and I knew he wouldn't have a lot of food prepared for our visit. That morning I baked a tart, a loaf of whole grain bread and a lemon cake in my kitchen. I packed them up, bundled up my ten day old son and drove to his apartment in Boston so we could share the meal and he could meet his grandson.
It wasn't until years later, after he died, did I look back on that day and see how much that day must have meant to my Dad: our visit, our gift of sharing good food and the joy that a new baby always brings.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sandy Neck Beach, Cookies for Sale & Friends!

"Friendship isn't a big thing-it's a million little things". - Author Unknown

I'm so grateful for so many of my friends- people in my life who are willing to be authentic, helpful and supportive. I find it's so important to make sure I strike a balance between give and take with each of my friends so that there exists a reciprocity between us.
I'm also aware that not everyone in my life is a true friend and that some are mere acquaintances. Different friends fill different needs and that's OK.
I went down to Sandy Neck Beach over the July 4th weekend to meet up with an old friend. It was good to reconnect. The weather was such a blessing on Cape Cod over the 4th. We couldn't have asked for better weather. They have a Winnebago they park out on the sand and offer an open invitation for friends to come down to visit. It's become a fun tradition to spend at least part of my July 4th weekend out there. The fireworks in Falmouth were really good this year too. My daughter said, "July fourth is my favorite holiday" as I helped her get ready for bed late Monday night.
As for my cookies for sale, I sold them at the Coonamessett Farm Store and at the Pavilion on the bike path. I made a new acquaintance this week and it was fun to bake a batch of cookies and offer them as a gift as we talked over coffee.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Loving What Is, Birthday Parties & Blueberry Sangria!

One thing I seem to be able to count on for sure in life is the fact that things don't always turn out the way I hope or plan for.

This leads me to the place of loving what is! Or at least I try to.

Life happens when I'm ready for it or not and it's up to me (us) to deal with life's changing events the best I can along the way!

My sweet daughter turned seven this week. She and I spent a better part of our days getting ready for it because I think she loves a good party as much as I do.

She decided to frost her sugar cookie pops with chocolate frosting and white chocolate chips for her guests to snack on as they arrived--we put together party hats for her friends to decorate before jumping in a pink and purple bounce house castle, eat pizza and sing happy birthday.

As for the blueberry sangria I decided to make a batch to serve to friends as they arrived with their kids as a way to welcome and celebrate summer! If you do a search for blueberry Sangria on the top corner of my blog I'm pretty sure you'll find my special recipe for it because I posted it last year when I came up with it for a trip down to Sandy Neck Beach with friends.

And if you're in Falmouth this weekend be sure to stop by the Coonamessett Farm Store as I delivered packages of just baked 'Celebration Cookies' for sale earlier today.