Friday, October 28, 2011

Early Morning Fire & Lemon Cake!

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."~ Colette

I can relate to Colette's idea's on cooking. There are days when so much needs tending to that even the thought of having to boil water can feel like a chore.
But on other days, when I'm settled in at home I can make and bake a whole host of yummy foods. I'll make some for now and some for later and some to share as treat with a loved one.
And similar to love, the rewards, seem equal to what is put into it.
I was in my kitchen first thing this morning baking a Lemon Cake. The house was cold because I haven't turned on the heater quite yet so I made a fire to take away the chill. At the bus stop my neighbor said she could smell the fire. I must have used an especially fragrant piece of wood because it really filled the air throughout my yard and beyond.
We joked about how between the smell of the Lemon Cake baking and the fire burning I was making my own form of aromatherapy.
And like cooking, love comes in so many different forms. This week, I was lucky enough to witness the love my niece has for her new born baby. I got to watch my youngest daughter's face light up when I surprised her at her school lunch. And, then saw another family member's concern over her loved ones recent illness that progressed for the worse. Like the quote above, it's better to enter into with abandon than not at all.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Harvest Party Time!

"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you posses. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace. " ~ Kent Nerburn

I decided to host a small autumn get together to celebrate the harvest this weekend for two reasons. It had been far too long since I hosted a get together and one of my main ideas in the book I've been writing is to share how fun it is to gather friends and family around good food inspired by living near the beach-I consider hosting a party as research for the book!
Another reason I decided to host a party, is that I've been invited to a number of Halloween Costume parties and for whatever reason (I can't even come up with a good one) I really don't like having to wear a costume to a party. Although by passing on those parties, I didn't want my friends to think I didn't want to get together with them so I decided to invite them to a Harvest Party instead.
I'm going to serve all things harvest related and have a fire going in the fireplace.
First thing this morning I baked a carrot cake, cranberry biscotti with white chocolate and a pumpkin bread with a white glaze. I'm serving baked brie with preserves and walnuts, pumpkin and sage ravioli, bacon and blue cheese tarts and an apple crisp. I will offer guests Pumpkin Flavored Beer, Pomegranate Martini's or Apple Cider to share in a toast of this season's harvest.
More than anything, it's a chance to catch up with friends!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Many friends who have tried my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies say they are the best they've ever had. There really is "something so special and simple about a really good chocolate chip cookie". They are the ultimate choice for sharing food as gift, because like Sophia says, "who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies?"

Earlier this week I decided to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies for one of my three English Composition Classes. When teaching I often use the over head projector to share with the class different images, videos or notes and one day this week the computer wasn't working properly and a student offered to let us use his laptop instead. I told him I would thank him by bringing in cookies to class. They said things like, "Mmm" and "Yum" and "Thanks for the Cookies".

In case you want to give my recipe a try:

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, unsalted (softened)
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
12 oz milk chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Combine in small bowl salt, flour and baking powder.
3) Beat together in a separate bowl butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla blend well but don't over mix.
4) Stir in flour mixture until well blended and dough forms and then stir in chocolate.
5) Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup drop rounds of cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15- 17 minutes or until bottom of cookies brown.

These cookies are perfect when shared with a large glass of cold milk!
Happy Baking!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Simplicity,Chill in the Air & Baking!

Do you know the song "Simple Day" by One Eskimo? I listened to it first thing this morning. I pulled it out to remind me of the kind of day I wanted to have! It's a good song. If you have a chance, do a search for it and you can find a version of it online. The kids are home from school today because there was a staff development day in Falmouth.

It was such a treat not to have to get up so early make breakfast then lunch first thing and rush everyone off to the bus. We slept in and took the morning slow. I drank coffee. The girls snuggled in their beds and we had a chance to laugh over silly things and catch up after a busy week. My son had a couple of friends over but they were snoozing until almost noon.

There's a chill in the air this morning and the house felt cool. Sophia and I took a walk and she asked if we could bake something together. We decided on her favorite's: chocolate chip cookies and an apple pie. The kids will be at their Dad's this weekend and it will be fun for her to bring them with her to snack on over the weekend.