Monday, December 24, 2012

Sparkly, Very Sparkly Stars


More Time will be on vacation for a short time.  
When I've cooked a bunch more, I'll be back! 
In the meantime, make my Sparkly cookies.   Make merry, friends!

Sparkly, Very Sparkly Stars

This not-too-sweet, pie crust-like, melt in your mouth gem is actually a tiny, fluted piece of shortbread showered in white sanding sugar.  Regular old white sugar will work just as well, as would bright red cookie sugar from the grocery store.  The white sanding sugar, however, gives the cookies a sheen and a sophisticated sparkle unlike any other.  It yells, "I'm special."

While other cookies try and steal the show with great globs of frosting or hunks of high-quality chocolate, this cookie (tiny, but mighty) shows strength and endurance because after you put out a big bowl of them, folks will just keep nipping in until they're gone.  One isn't enough.  Especially with hot tea... or a little snifter of brandy. Try this:
  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Great Holiday Links--Enjoy!


Just for grins and giggles, here are some of the links I've enjoyed this season....


cookbooks for gifts

Shine's List of the Best of 2012
Best Cookbooks of all Time
Epicurious 10 Cookbooks Worth Giving                                             




cookies you might not have made

Candy Cane Crinkles
Chocolate Chip Cookies- Saveur
Chocolate Dipped Espresso Cookies
Ginger Snap Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten-Free Cookies -- Saveur
Holiday Sables - Breton
Italian Christmas Cookies

Richart Parisian Chocolate Macarons


no-bake treats                                             

Dark Chocolate Pudding with Candied Ginger
No Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
DIY Sriracha for Gifting
Peppermint Crunch Bark 



Alyce's Go Nuts

 holiday food and drink

Alyce's Afternoon Open House
Boston Globe's 12 Beers of Christmas 
David Lebovitz' Hot Mulled Wine
Gourmet Live's Christmas Eve Feast 

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Saveur Christmas Recipes
Wines at Christmas 


alyce's easy meals for busy nights                

 Alyce's Beans and Cornbread
Oven-Roasted Rosemary Chicken Thighs and Butternut Squash

  White Wine and Lemon-Steamed Salmon with Broccoli
Foiled Flounder with Roasted Green Beans and Rosemary Potatoes
Pear-Fig Salad with Goat Cheese
Shrimp-Winter Fruit Salad with Quinoa and Pomegranate Seeds 
Spicy Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Wendy's Sage and Thyme
Turkey-Lentil Crock Pot Chili

 

holiday desserts and goodies

Chocolate Date Caramel Tart from Gourmande in the Kitchen
Cranberry-Streusel Cake 
Crunchy Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layer Cake 
Dark Chocolate Pudding with Candied Ginger 
Gingerbread with Quark Cheesecake
Kaiserschmarrn Austrian pancake, cut up while cooking; Topped with Fruit (dessert or breakfast)
Wonderful Food Gifts in Jars from Bon Appetit

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 Christmas Movie List all in one place

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courtesy share our strength

 

gifts to help end hunger...   

   

 Give the Gift of No Kid HungryHonor someone by giving a gift to No Kid Hungry in their name – a powerful way to pay tribute to a person’s life, whether you are honoring their memory or celebrating an important milestone.    Honor Someone Today


*Find a Food Bank 
*Give to No Kid Hungry/Share our Strength--END CHILDHOOD HUNGER
*Give to Feeding America 

*Give to World Food Program









  

LISTS OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALBUMS


Best Christmas Albums of 2012 (new)
The 10 Best Christmas Albums Ever?

Another List of the "best" Christmas albums...in case you didn't like the ones above.  

  A Few of Alyce's Favorite Christmas/Holiday Albums: 

A Charlie Brown Christmas   

An American Christmas:  Boston Camerata/Joel Cohen

James Taylor at Christmas 
Peter, Paul, and Mary:  A Holiday Celebration with NY Choral Society
The Rose Ensemble:  Slavic Holiday
Tony Bennett:  Snowfall


                                                                                                  courtesy heifer.org

giving in other ways 

Donate to the Newtown, Connecticut Memorial Fund (help fund the funerals)

Divine (Fair Trade) Chocolate               

One Simple Wish (dot org)  --  A place to donate cash for specific gifts for foster children...

                     for example:  music lessons, a trip to the zoo, senior photos.... 

Make a Wish (dot org)  --  A place to donate to fulfilling children's final wishes.

Toys for Tots 

Volunteer (or donate) for Fema/Hurricane Sandy 

Food52's Guide to Helping Sandy Victims

Habitat for Humanity

Donate an animal...Heifer dot org  


Blessings of the Season,
Alyce

Monday, December 17, 2012

DON'T LET THE LIGHT GO OUT!



"Light One Candle"  Peter, Paul, and Mary...  This is, for me, the song of the year in view of the loss of our people in Newtown, Connecticut.

     It's a not new Hanukkah (but is also Christian, Buddhist, and whatever else ) song performed by Peter, Paul, and Mary in a holiday special years ago.  The album is available on amazon...


and you can also watch a performance of it on youtube.

Here are the lyrics:


Light one candle for the Maccabees' children With thanks that their light didn't die Light one candle for the pain they endured When their right to exist was denied
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice Justice and freedom demand But light one candle for the wisdom to know When the peacemaker's time is at hand
Don't let the light go out It's lasted for so many years Don't let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears
Light one candle for the strength that we need To never become our own foe And light one candle for those who are suffering-- Pain we learned so long ago
Light one candle for all we believe in That anger not tear us apart And light one candle to find us together With peace as the song in our hearts
Don't let the light go out It's lasted for so many years Don't let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears
Don't let the light go out It's lasted for so many years Don't let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears
What is the memory that's valued so highly That we keep it alive in that flame? What's the commitment to those who died That we cry out they've not died in vain?
We have come this far always believing That justice would somehow prevail This is the burden, this is the promise This is why we will not fail
Don't let the light go out It's lasted for so many years Don't let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears

Read more: PETER, PAUL & MARY - LIGHT ONE CANDLE LYRICS

Friends:

Years ago, Dave and I lost two babies in two years.  To say we were devastated doesn't begin to do justice to what we lived through.  And no, you never get "over" any of it.  You learn to go around, through, embrace, and then you pray to heal.... Which, thanks to all the loving people and God's grace, we did.  But one thing I know is this:

None of these parents ever expected to have to bury their own children.
Most of them, I'd guess, never had a funeral fund in the bank.
They probably had barely got a college fund started.

The last thing they can do for their children is bury them.

You can donate to burial expenses fund here.

Light a candle.  Make the darkness bright.  Don't let the light go out.  Let it shine through our love and our tears.

Sing a new song; it's all we can do,
Alyce

Friday, December 14, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 25 -- Dried Beans -- French Beans with Smoked Sausage and Chicken


Nothing like the fragrance of rosemary for remembrance filling the house in December.

 I'm not a cheap cook, but I have always looked for inexpensive ways to provide our daily bread.  Raising a house full of kids, I often had no choice.  Even today, when we're empty nesters with a bit more funds than when the kids were home, I look for ways to save a bit here and there because it's the right thing to do.  It's often healthy, too.   I buy the best I can find for the least amount of money.  If you've ever cooked for a soup kitchen, or worked in a food pantry, you'll know that beans go a long way, are low in calories, and high in fiber.  They're filling and versatile.  They can also be yummy.  Hence this pot of smokey-fragrant "French" beans with lots of

  • smoked ham (or pork chop)
  • vegetables,
  • big flavors of rosemary, thyme, and bay, 
  • browned chicken thighs, legs, (I like Kadejan chicken from Glenwood, MN) and...
  • sausage pieces.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Squash-Mushroom Salad with Sherry-Truffle Oil Vinaigrette



There are meals when the main course is light, delicate -- a brothy-frothy soup  or a small piece of white fish with a few vegetables.  Or maybe you just have some squash leftover you'd like to make into a pretty "meaty" meal. On the other hand, this would also be a decidedly different and total side for a few great slices of pork loin or a lovely duck breast over the holidays.  If any of those things is the case or even if none is, this is your salad.

It starts with cooking a whole acorn squash and about half of a normal-sized butternut squash (I do both in the microwave for recipes like this.*) If you like, a Hubbard or a Turban squash could be used instead.   Let the squash cool a bit and then peel and cut it into one-inch pieces.  Meantime, a few mushrooms are sautéed, stirred into the squash pieces, and gathered together  with a decadent vinaigrette.  A bit of cheese,  a handful of fresh spinach and arugula, some chopped nuts for crunch and  you have your salad.  Couldn't be easier, quicker, or more luscious.  So winter.  So warming.  So if you're cooking squash one night for dinner, fix an extra couple so you have have this the next day.   Here's how:

Friday, December 7, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 24 -- Quinoa -- Shrimp-Quinoa Salad with Winter Fruit, Pomegranate Seeds, and Blue Cheese



Festive and healthy at the same time is a winning combination.  While we often think of holiday meals leaning toward big hunks of meat and baked desserts, it may be just the time we should be thinking of cutting a bit here and there.  If you'd like a gorgeous December salad that's colorful and filling without being heavy, try this little plate of love.  There's plenty of shrimp (I bought cooked shrimp for ease of preparation) for those who need visible protein, but it's off-set by the addition of lots high-fiber quinoa, green apples, red pomegranate seeds, cucumber, fresh cranberries, clementines, and spinach--to say nothing of the blue cheese grace notes.  A light orange vinaigrette spiked with a bit of crushed red pepper tops it all.   You could add some steamed, chopped asparagus or green beans, I think, but the spinach gives you lots of green.  I served a little bread and butter with this salad to round out the meal.  Try this:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Beans and Cornbread -- Cold Day Supper

I don't know if Friday Night "Dinner and a Movie" is still on. Last time I tuned in, it offered decent film viewing as well as little vignettes and cooking segments presented by talented folk.  The music was the late 40's jump tune (Louis Thomas Jordan), "Beans and Cornbread!"  Loved it.  I don't know what it is about the phrase...  Once you hear it, you just start walking around going, "Beans and cornbread uh uh uh...Beans and cornbread..."  The "uh uh uh" is the tenor sax.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 23 -- Oats -- Porridged Eggs

I've never heard of porridged eggs, though my experience is that very little is truly new.  We've just lived too long.  For a few weeks, off and on, they kept coming to me.  I love the idea of oatmeal because I know my body, my heart, needs whole grains and oatmeal's tops.  (Read about the great oat here.)  But I also find that I operate better (and eat less) during the day with a protein for breakfast.  Especially in cold Minnesota.  Hence oats and eggs.  But how?

I grew up with the occasional bowl of take-no-prisoners buttered, salt and peppered grits with my eggs fried to a crispy lace in bacon grease.  Along with biscuits slathered with sour cream and honey.  And the very best fried fish in the world.   Lest you think things were always that wonderful, there was the occasional pot of squirrel gumbo, as well.  And often there was dove that required careful chewing lest you bite into buckshot.  While I seldom indulge these days, my displaced southerner living-in-Chicago parents provided me with a culinary heritage upon which I still draw.  (Phew.  That grammar's a killer.)

 

 Add that to my natural love of all things Scots (I'm a McClendon), and the oats and eggs just seemed right.  While I may try them in a few different ways upcoming, I think the single cook  might enjoy this simple repast that could be, with the addition of a piece of fruit and a glass of milk, a complete breakfast.   Of course I've made it for two, but haven't tried it in larger quantities. To get your mind around eggs with oats, take away the thoughts of oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, apples, bananas, whatever.  Take away the idea of sweet.  Replace it with a meal more on the order of eggs and grits, with wholesome and tastier oats to replace the grits.  A tiny bit of butter graces the finished dish, and a generous dusting of salt and pepper completes it.  Not only that, but here the egg cooks right in the pan of oats for ease of clean-up.  Here's how:

Porridged Eggs  serves 1

1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup water
1 egg
1 t butter
Salt and pepper to taste

 In a small sauce pan, heat the water and the oats over high heat until boiling.  Turn  heat down and simmer for two minutes or so.  Carefully break egg into the center of the oats.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover tightly.  Let cook another 3 minutes or until the eggs and oatmeal are done to your liking.  Spoon carefully into a deep cereal bowl and add the butter to the top of the eggs.  Salt and pepper to taste.  (originally posted on Dinnerplace.blogspot.com, 12-15-2011)
........................

 I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine's Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients:    Read more about tasty oats tomorrow at these sites:


Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink


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                                                                            this week on dinnerplace:
 wine and lemon-steamed salmon on broccoli

 
 During the calorically dense holiday season, it makes sense to have a great, quick fish meal in your pocket....This one's a winner.   Saute onions, garlic, and broccoli.  Add wine, lemon juice and salmon filets.  Cover and cook just a few minutes.  Dinner's served!

Sing a new song! Cook something new!
Alyce

Monday, November 26, 2012

Helen's Cherry Pie- Constructed, Deconstructed and Reconstructed -- Pie 101

"Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?  Can she bake a cherry pie, charming Billy?"
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother....  is poor Billy's lament.  She can, however, bake a cherry pie quick as a cat can blink an eye!  (Click on above link to hear the song; guitar chords included.)


 I was just minding my own business.  I had stuck the hot cherry pie on a rack on an empty shelf in a kitchen cupboard.  A good place to cool pie if you have two golden retrievers. (I made four different pies for Thanksgiving; everyone deserves their favorite once a year.  I'm convinced.  Cherry is my sister Helen's favorite.   Hence "Helen's Cherry Pie."  Also my loved "niece," Kathy's.)

Tucker up front in the kitchen, Gabby retreating into the dining room.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey Noodle Soup--Carcass and All




Make this soup on Friday and curl up on the couch to watch the first Christmas Movies!
If you kept or froze your turkey carcass from Thanksgiving and aren't quite sure what to do with it, this is your method for soup. While it looks like a recipe, it's merely a method and you must yourself judge which ingredients you have or want to add; it's all about flexible. Note the options of using your leftover vegetables, gravy, stock, or just adding all purchased low-sodium chicken stock and so on. In about an hour an a half, you'll have just about the best turkey noodle soup you ever ate. If you are skipping noodles this week, leave them out and, instead, add extra fresh or frozen vegetables. (Brown rice, wild rice, or barley are other possibilities.)
Turkey Noodle Soup from Thanksgiving Leftovers...Including that gravy if you like.
This soup is made in two stages: one to create a quick stock and the other to make the soup.
Please read all the way through before beginning.  

Cook's Note:  The Turkey Soup police are not out today.  You can make this with lots of changes and substitutions, but you have my idea to start.  Blessings on your soup pot!  Be brave!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Cranberry Thanksgiving Day or How To Get the Kids Involved in Thanksgiving!


"Get Mother to help."
 As my family well knows, there comes a day in November (December is just too late) when I do nothing but bake cranberry bread.  We have it for Thanksgiving morning breakfast, take a loaf or two to friends, and then have one squirreled away in the freezer for Christmas morning as well.   I make a fun production out of the day (no other activities, favorite music on, microwaved lunch) and have nearly an assembly line in the kitchen so that loaf after loaf is mixed individually and baked on the center rack.  It does require a number of pans, but I'm good at finding extras at Good Will or splurging on a great pan with a Williams-Sonoma gift card.  I also bake this bread in coffee cups
for large size muffins or in tiny pans as little gifts for special folks.

Apilco (French porcelain)--all their tableware is oven-safe.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving, 2012

                     "It's not what's on the table that's important.  It's who's in the chairs."

                       
This post includes:
  • Guide to cooking and baking hotlines
  • Links to great Thanksgiving sites for tips, food, decoration, kids' activities
  • My own favorite Thanksgiving photos, recipes, music, wine, and even a blessing or two  ... 
Enjoy!

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  I can't preach about giving thanks.  I'll just say I think it's healthy.  It's lovely in that it's a discipline folks of any religion or country can take part.  But of course, our fair "Rabbie" had it best:

Some Hae Meat
 Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

~Robert Burns

 Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  You could have guessed.
My worlds all come together on that day.
Giving thanks-- being grateful--is a practice or discipline of many religions and cultures, including mine.
I need it.  I need that discipline. And:
Creating a meal to honor that...is my idea of a great day!
I wish you a day of totally beautiful, grateful life.


A grace could be very simply giving thanks for the hands that made the meal, for the workers in the stores, on the trucks, in the gardens and  the vineyards Even a toast to all who made it possible would work.  Mark the moment.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  
                                                    ~W.J. Cameron
.                          
Awareness.   Awakeness. Appreciation.  Peaceful breath.
A table that includes something you love.
Someone you love.

Some of the best new scripture these days is found on paper napkins.
I have some that say, "It's not what's on the table that's important.  It's who's in the chairs."
Ah, that we have to print that somewhere.

Deep breaths and a sense of warm wonder to you as you prepare to give thanks this year.


          If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. 

                                                                                                              ~Meister Eckhart
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Before the fun begins,  thanks for reading and responding:

           Bloggers Without Borders Post on Helping Victims of Sandy 

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 22 -- Brown Rice -- Chili and Brown Rice with Spinach Salad


BTW, those are still cherry tomatoes from our garden on November 8.

While chili is a quintessential American fall meal, it is often eaten as is.  Just a bowl.  Just a spoon.  Just you and your chili.  

Fall in our 'hood--tiny, dried crabapples against a St. Paul blue sky.


The chili mostly stands alone, I guess.

Or at least just with chips, cheese, onions, sour cream....or on hot dogs or fries.  Ha.

(Election Day Turkey-Lentil Crock-pot Chili--my last post--is one of Michelle Obama's favorite meals... well--Turkey Chili is, at any rate.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day Turkey-Lentil Crock-Pot Chili

If you're like me, you'll be all over MSNBC Tuesday night like icing on wedding cake.  Like blue on jeans.  Like red on Merlot.  Like chocolate on chips. Oh well, whatever you're on, you might want something done and done to get you through that long night.  Just, please, God...let be over and clean and obvious.  No hanging anythings and the Ohio machines all working fine.

I already made my chili and froze it. I just run that 4 quart container under hot water in the morning til it "pops" and then gently slide the frozen chunk into my crock-pot on "low" for the whole day. (Make sure and add a little water to the crock-pot before the frozen chili.)   But since you didn't know ahead of time....  Try this spicy, filling crock-pot chili that only asks you to....

Friday, October 26, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 20 -- Papaya -- Papaya-Candied Ginger Muffins with Cashews


A crispy-moist, very gingery muffin made with oats, whole wheat, and yogurt. Don't tell.
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Somewhere on toward 6:30 and there was no light anywhere that October morning. Only the too-lazy-to-make-their-own-coffee guys were struggling down the street to the gas station where ethanol-fragranced cheap brews waited.   No birds stirred.  The dogs slept on.  Donning jeans and t-shirt in the dark, she searched for her moccasins by sitting down and feeling around on the floor of the closet with her hands. Toddling down the hall to the bathroom, she made peace with her body, and then carefully made her way down the stairs, feeling each tread with her toes before proceeding to the next.

Friday, October 19, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 19 -- Kiwi -- Quick Individual Kiwi Tarts with Gingersnap Crust


An ultra thin ginger snap smothered with hot pastry cream serves as the "crust."
How the Quick Kiwi Tart with Gingersnap Crust came to be...

While I love to bake a pie as much as the next woman (more than most, I'd guess), I also like nearly instant desserts that are luscious and don't wear out the soles of your trainers.  (Like after you've cooked for company all day and still need dessert.)  I have a pocketful of favorites like a 30-second pumpkin custard (it'll be in my soup book) and a blink-done  individual chocolate flourless "cake." I also have no-bake favorites like a strawberry ice cream parfait layered with crumbled ginger shortbread and fresh peaches. In cases of real emergencies, I buy ice cream and cones--and not just for the kids.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guinness Beef Pot Pie with Cheddar-Dill Biscuits or I'm So Full I Don't Know Where I'm Going to Sleep Tonight

Made in a deep, heavy 8 quart cast iron pot with a  lid  (Dutch oven)
Last year around this time, I made a pot roast with big pieces of butternut squash and halved onions in the oven.  A day later I took the leftovers, including the gravy, and made stew.  Stew from leftovers is definitely an improvement over freshly made stew.   There's a deeper, fuller, and more flavorful rich quality--without question.  It's just that there's usually less than when you make a fresh pot. That stew made very quickly with the addition of more onions, celery, and Guinness stout, etc., was divine.   I mean it, it was an incredible stew.

No who knows totally why one time things are so scrumptious you want more and more -- and another time (same ingredients and method apparently) it's like, "This is ok. Yeah, we can eat dinner here."  Perhaps it's the quality of the meat (in the case of stew) or maybe it's a little pixie dust.  Your taste buds might be on their "A" game so that you are able to season the pot in an extraordinary way.   Truly, I just don't know.  I know when I'm tired -- really exhausted-- the meal prepared under those circumstances is plebian.  I just did that recently, so I know.  I know when I don't give something my undivided attention that it's bound to be less interesting.  (As in the kids are hungry-throw a bunch of cut-up chicken in the oven and make some rice for God's sake.)



Friday, October 12, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 18 -- Citrus -- Step-by-Step Pear or Apple Crostata (Pie 101)


Scroll down for recipe.

Come fall, I make crostatas regularly.  They're beautiful, terribly good to eat, and generally make folks quite happy.  A free-form fruit pie (often made with homemade jam in Italy), they're easier to make than traditional American pie and are show-stoppers when you have friends to dinner.  I've blogged the crostatas before, and have taught them several times for the Italian classes I've done at home.  But I didn't think of them in terms of citrus until our Power Foods list came up this week.  While citrus (lemon particularly) is a huge part of my cooking, I think about it less in terms of baking.   


  For instance:  I rarely make a green salad without squeezing a lemon over it.  Either I have lemon and oil, lemon alone, or lemon before a vinaigrette.  Whatever choice I make, lemon, as an acid, is always followed by salt and pepper on my salads because salt dissolves best in acid.  For that reason, if I'm making a vinaigrette, I always put the salt in the acid -- whether citrus or vinegar-- before adding the oil. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pear-Grilled Fig Salad with Goat Cheese


 There are moments when I'm aware enough of the blessed goodness in my life.  Maybe.  I know not everyone has a counter full of butternut squash, apples, onions, shallots, garlic, hundreds (literally) of tiny green and red tomatoes, and Bosc pears.  I know not everyone has a warm snug lying next to them come the cold, dark morning.  Or a reason to get up and do something with the bounty in the kitchen downstairs.  I probably don't truly understand it, but I get it.  My life hasn't been all rose teacups and long walks along the river with the dogs.

This morning I read a post on a blog I follow (there's a link in my blogroll at right, too).

leave it where jesus flang it

Margaret writes daily there.   It's a prayer journal of sorts.  She's an Episcopal priest on an Indian reservation in South Dakota and life's hard there.  The loss and the poorness and the hurt are hardscabble painful and it's her job to keep showing up for the difficult moments and beyond.  Today she writes about people nearby whose babies have just died...  And (having had babies who died) I understand where this is and where it goes.  What I am drawn to these many years later is twofold:

1. why...if we need each other so very badly through the crazy, hilarious, dipping, winding, bottoming-out life trek, and if church is meant to provide that for us...why are so many of us no longer part of that community?   Or, if we are a part, are those communities truly sustaining us? and 2.  a bursting grateful noise for all I have and all those who have loved me through the nearly killing losses.   I come back to the idea that to begin with thanksgiving is a perfect way to pray/live and I have to learn it all over again, all over again, all over again.   Even if God isn't a welcomed presence in your life, I think the settling of near-constant thanksgiving in our bodies is a positive way to breathe on earth.

Friday, October 5, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 17 -- Berries -- Fresh Berry Cake


Just looking at this cake will tell you that it's not difficult to make and it's NOT.  A quick glance at the recipe, however, might put you off.  Don't let it.  There may be a little reading involved, but the cooking and baking are fairly simple and don't take long.  In fact, though it's two layers, you only bake one cake.  After it's cool, you cut it in half.

But listen, if you're not a baker, this is just the cake for you... because you can get away without baking a cake at all!  Just buy a Sara Lee pound cake and cut it into layers--maybe three?--and do a loaf-shaped cake on a pretty rectangular tray.  Follow the rest of the directions for the berries and filling and there you are!   You could also bake a box cake into cupcakes, slice them, put half in a pretty coffee cup and decorate from there.  Whatever you do, this is a beautiful, tasty cake for Easter, Mother's Day, or the Memorial Day picnic.  (Assemble this cake where you're serving it.)  If you don't have a special cake plate, don't worry about it.  Whoever eats this will be happy no matter what.  Next time you run in Good Will, see a funky antique shop or a garage sale,  keep an eye our for great serving pieces.  No need to spend a fortune at the department stores. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Salmon on Kale with Lemon and Thyme--One-Pan Dinner


 I'm a firm fan of the frozen salmon that comes in the individual or duo vacuum pack.  It's delicious, less expensive than fresh, and sometimes fresher than the fish in the seafood case.  I've been buying packages  all summer long at a price of about $4 and change per approximately 6 oz. serving.  (This is a quote from my blog, DINNER PLACE-- THE SOLO COOK.)

Friday, September 28, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 16 -- Apricots-- Coffee Cup Apple Cobbler with Apricots, Dates, and Walnuts


Just add ice cream
Gently put:  I'm so very, very thrilled to be able to bake.  Anything.  To leave a burner on for soup.  Any kind.  Blessed fall, I welcome you with a full slate of cooking I've been dying to do for a month.

My husband started wandering around a few weeks go saying things like:
Are there any cookies?  Any at all anywhere?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tuna Salad Quesadillas - A Recipe in a Title

Tuna Salad Quesadillas -- a Recipe in a Title
 If you read both blogs regularly, you'll be starting to feel like I'm hooked on this sort of salad.  In fact, I'm not.

Friday, September 21, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 15 -- Winter Squash -- Israeli Couscous-Butternut Squash Salad with Fall Fruit, Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette


Israeli (Pearl) Couscous, butternut squash, apples, pears, figs, cranberries, cheese, and pecans with an orange vinaigrette--cornucopia salad.


















How are new salads born at my house?    Like this......

I've had some Israeli couscous (actually a blend) in my cabinet for a few months.  Waiting.
Typically I throw some leeks, garlic, and asparagus in a sauté pan come spring and throw those lovely things into a bowl of couscous or orzo with a handful of grated Parmesan and lots of black pepper.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Proscuitto Caprese with Toasty Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Chips


 I have a terrible time leaving caprese alone.  I just keep messing with it.  Adding this and that.  Changing it up. Or Down.  In part, I've just been overrun with tomatoes, so why not eat them fresh while they're heavy, fragrant, juicy, and ripe?  Make hay while the sun shines.

Friday, September 14, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 14 -- Tomatoes -- Photos from my Tomato Gallery

Julia's 100th Birthday post:  Salmon Fillet en Papillote with Spinach and Tomatoes
Just for fun this time, I thought I'd share some of my favorite tomatoes and tomato dishes  from both of my blogs ...  Enjoy my crop!