Wednesday, December 31, 2014


"Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate". ~ Alan Wolfelt

Here is the view from my dining room table on Christmas Day. It felt cozy and warm to make a fire while sitting down with my family for Christmas Dinner. I made some of our favorite foods between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because the making and sharing of good food is a symbol of my love for each of them.

My favorite meal over the holiday was breakfast on Christmas morning because I made Spinach Feta Quiche and Cinnamon Rolls. I made them the day before so I only needed to warm them in the oven after we exchanged our gifts to one another. I'd have to say my daughter Bella's favorite was that I baked one of my coconut pound cakes with fresh raspberries and drizzled chocolate for Christmas Dinner Dessert.

I've been receiving orders to purchase my recipe book from Amazon yet unfortunately I am out of my copies from my self published version. I apologize for not being able to respond to any requests yet. I am excited for the updated version to be published. For now, the details and deadline are out of my hand. The good news is I have done what I can so am waiting to hear from the Publishing Company about publication dates. I will let you know when I know.

Meanwhile, I have other interests and projects to tend to. One thing I'd like to do baking related is to start an ongoing Soup Swap. And of course, in the spring I will be teaching Analysis of Literature. And I've been writing more poetry too. My own photographs and text are captured in a series of creative book marks and for sale in local stores. I look forward to what creative opportunities and inspirations emerge as the new year unfolds.

Blessings for a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and yours from me and mine.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Pies

I am grateful that everything came together beautifully for our Thanksgiving day meal. I think what saved me was I took care of little tasks over a few days time instead of trying to do it all at once frantically on the Thursday. And I simply asked for help from my kids when I needed it.
 The pies are a Pecan and an Apple Caramel. I also made a batch of Celebration Cookies and Brownies with Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Chips.
Then last minute I decided to whip up a meat stuffing to go with the bread stuffing because I had some ground beef in my fridge. I sautéed the Ground Beef with finely chopped onions, celery, diced fresh garlic and tarragon. I don't normally like a meat stuffing but making it unexpectedly and with a creative flair it turned out really yummy.
And it was such a gift to spend the day with all three of my children.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gratitude, Wooded Walks & Holiday Menu

'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding."

   A very Happy Thanksgiving from Cape Cod. When I looked for a quote related to gratitude and saw this one by Alice Walker it reminded me of many years ago when I met her in Dallas, Texas. She was, at the time, one of my favorite Authors. I went to a Lecture she gave at SMU-I was in graduate school at the University of Texas, Dallas. My two older children were in preschool and I wouldn't get pregnant with Sophia until a few years later. It's strange how much life changes with each passing year.
 I remember I was so happy  that day when I had a chance to speak with her at the end of the event. She struck me as a very powerful, strong and beautiful woman. Even though it's been about 15 years
since that day I still cherish that particular memory. All I remember saying to her was Thank You.
It's funny how in spite of life's many challenging and difficult times there are always so many blessings and things to be grateful for. I want to be the kind of person who always remembers to reflect on the good life has to offer.
I took a friend out to a fun celebration lunch yesterday at the gorgeous new restaurant in Mashpee Commons-Café Estia. The food and service were great. If you're in town give it a try. I wrote my friend a card and in it I shared fifty blessings on tiny pieces of paper of things we have shared that I remain grateful for. We had a lot of fun and even though our relationship over the years has experienced it's own minor ups and downs what remains constant is our willingness to maintain our friendship and support one another when we can.
I'm cooking the Thanksgiving meal this year. For starters I'm making Shrimp wrapped in Bacon, Curry Deviled Eggs and Hand-rolled Taquitos with cheese. I am cooking a Turkey too with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Brown Sugar Butter Nut Squash and Freshly made Cranberry Sauce. For desert, I've decided to make a Pecan Pie, Dreamy Island Cookies and Apple Pie. It's always a lot of work to create a Thanksgiving meal but it's so nice to sit down and enjoy it together once it's done.

Five Things I'm Grateful for Today:

1) All three of my kids will be home.
2) People in my life that I love to cook for.
3) Wooded Walks in the Fall. I love going to the Beach so much in the summer that I often forget about all the amazing wooded walks on the Cape. And how beautiful it is here in addition to the beach. Photo above was from a five mile hike between Cotuit and Mashpee this past weekend.
4) My passion for making really good food.
5) Friends and Family who remind me what there is to be thankful for.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adventures in Paris!

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well".
                                                                                                ~Virginia Woolf

Bonjour, mes amis!

     I took Bella to Paris for her birthday/graduation gift and we had a fabulous time. I loved the entire adventure. We enjoyed so many fun things together. We wore lots of fun summer dresses, biked to Monet's former home and garden in Giverny (the photo above of the lovely kitchen was where Monet and his family ate their meals), visited le jardin de tuileries, the Louvre, Champs Elysees, Notre Dame and of course the Eiffel Tower.
We ate our way through every step of the trip. There was a Patisserie right down the stairs from the small apartment we rented and would stop daily for either a fresh baked quiche, a baguette or a chocolate éclair.

 Honestly, it was hard to decide what to choose because there were so many amazing options. We never let ourselves feel guilty trying them all because we walked everywhere and well, we were in Paris! Paris reignited my already strong passion for baking because there are so many bakeries with delicious and beautiful treats with careful attention to detail everywhere.

And at the end of the day one of my favorite things to do was head back to our apartment and make dinner for us--it was always something simple yet cooking at 'home' and enjoying our meal on the kitchen table or out on the patio was a nice way to relax after our travels exploring the City of Light.

 In the photo above we simply warmed a baguette with olive oil and rosemary for dipping, tossed a leafy green salad with mozzarella, tomatoes and peppers along with a pasta dish with sharp cheddar and goat cheese. Paris has a wonderfully long twilight and on a few occasions we would sit down to our evening meal at ten pm and it was not yet dark.

Our Paris adventure is something we will remember for a lifetime.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Exciting News & New Appetizer Perfection!

Last month I signed an official book publishing contract to produce an updated version of my 2009 self-published book "Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen". I'm excited for this creative opportunity. I can add photographs of people, places and additional recipes to the current collection. I'm going to include more sections and some of my favorite food related quotes too.
I hope you will celebrate this fun opportunity with me and look forward to its release date. It's a great feeling to produce this book in the way I originally imagined because of the collaboration between me and the publishing company.
In the meantime, the Cape always offers so many fun opportunities to try new recipes. Just recently I attended a friend's party. She was celebrating her birthday, her father's birthday and her daughter's birthday all in one cool event at their home on Waquoit Bay overlooking the water. It was a fun time of good food, music and conversation.
 Her husband served an amazing appetizer that I found to be the perfect combination of sweet and savory. I'd like to tell you about it here in case you'd like to try it yourself.
You simply take individual pitted dates and wrap them in a small piece of bacon and then cook them just right under a low broil. And enjoy. Delicious!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter's Beauty & Butternut Squash Ravioli with Mascarpone Cream Sauce

One of the cool things about living on Cape year round is that even when all the crowds leave and the tourist season is over there's still so much beauty. Here's a sample: the early morning winter sun from my walk on the shining sea bike path, the swans from Waquoit bay and the sun rising over the snow taken from my living room window. 
On a walk with a friend earlier today it was only 14 degrees. 
I prefer the sun and warmth over the winter any day. Although the beauty is so comforting despite the cold. 
Last weekend I hosted a dinner party at my house for family we didn't get a chance to see over the Holidays. I so love to cook good food for family and friends and be creative in the Kitchen.
My son is home from College--and said "Mom, you really should be a professional chef". At least it's nice to be appreciated.
One of the dishes I made was a roasted butter-nut squash ravioli with a mascarpone cream sauce with candied pecans, and freshly ground black pepper. I also made a flat-bread with goat cheese, mozzarella, sautéed mushrooms and a balsamic glaze. We had Tiramisu and Peppermint stick ice cream for dessert.  I even opened my last bottle of red wine from Italy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Chicken Soup & Apple Cranberry Pie

   "God gave us our memories so that we may have roses in December". 

Because of daylight savings time sunset is at 4:30 today! We've had a beautiful summer and an amazing autumn so I feel I need to focus on the gratitude from the wonderful season I've had rather than my sadness of the upcoming early dark and cold winter that is soon to follow. I don't like when it's so dark so early on Cape.
I'm meeting a friend soon and we're going together to celebrate with another friend her current art show and reception. I've been making a large pot of home made chicken soup and a cranberry apple pie this afternoon so that there will be something to offer my daughter's and I comfort here at the house when we return.
I'm going to try and embrace the early dark this season with more get together's at home, the sharing of good food with friends and catching up on creative projects  instead of simply waiting for the good weather to return.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Brownies topped with Chocolate Chip Cookies & The Changing Autumn Leaves

Hey there! I never meant to wait so long to update my blog.When I came back from my adventure to Italy I thought about sitting right down at my desk and sharing stories about all the amazing food I ate, the super fun cooking class I took and all the great people I met. But it was summer on Cape Cod and I knew my son would be leaving for College soon, my daughter would be starting her senior year of High School and my youngest would be starting fourth grade. In short, I went straight from living happy in the moment in Italy to living happy in the moment right here at home.

The weather has been amazing here lately and even though we have been making and eating lots of good food these past couple of months I haven't paused long enough to post about it. Although, I have written a few food related articles including two that will be published in the local Dining Guide soon about "Preparing an Italian Meal" and another called "Five Desserts your Guests will Love".

  My son is home this weekend from College and I've found myself in the kitchen again. It has felt something like Christmas waking up on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with all three of my kids in the house and in their beds. Each morning I woke before them all and peeked on them while they slept. It's one of those simple joys of mother hood that I will probably cherish for as long as I live.
 I've been cooking a lot because my son said the thing he misses most is home cooking. I made a batch of dark chocolate brownies topped with a layer of chocolate chip cookie bars yesterday afternoon. The house felt all warm and cozy and smelled good in the way a house does when there's a chill in the air and an oven is turned on.  I love listening to the sounds of my kids throughout the house as they wait for the baking to be done. 

As for the changing colors. I took the two photographs above of the same tree in my front yard within hours of one another. One thing the fall always inspires me to do is bake more bread, pies, soups and even pull out my crock-pot while keeping a fire going in the fire place. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Dinner Party!

"Summer afternoon-- Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the most beautiful words in the English Language". ~ Henry James

I invited a friend and her husband over last night for an impromptu dinner party. They were both so helpful to me in pulling off my son's graduation party at my house last week that I wanted to thank them personally. It gave us a chance to catch up over a simple summer meal.
I baked a summer vegetable tart, tossed a Ceasar salad, made a Caprese salad and then whipped fresh cream to spoon over just ripe strawberries and blueberries for dessert.
The dinner was delicious-light and just picked ingredients, easy to prepare and healthy like a good summer meal should be. Yet what really made me happy was to know that I am loved and cared for by such good friends. And that since summer always seems to pass by in a flash we took the opportunity to chat outdoors under the night sky on my patio after dinner.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Supporting Student Writers, Graduation & Cake!

Take a look at this cool cake I had made for one of my students. It's a  photo transferred on a cake of a pencil drawing he made of a barn. Early on in the semester I asked students to bring in a photograph of something they love or care about and then write a narrative essay based on their connection to what's in the picture.

One student brought in this drawing that reflects his passion for barns. He wrote a beautiful essay reflecting on his life growing up in Vermont and his interest in preserving the simple yet special architecture found in an American treasure-an old barn.

I encouraged him to submit his essay to our campus journal Turning Tides and when it was accepted for publication I wanted to show him I was proud of his efforts to write and to write well. I wasn't only celebrating him but the class as a whole. They worked hard and it took dedication throughout the entire semester to put together final portfolios. Portfolios they could feel proud of.

As for the photo of the butterfly cake my oldest son graduated this past weekend from high school. I felt that strange dichotomy of emotion where my deep happiness and pride in his accomplishments rubbed right up against my intense sadness for what will no longer be. So, I shed a whole lot of tears this weekend.

The reality is the turning tide of his life is that he's no longer in High School. And I'll never get to make his lunch for school or wake him up to get to class in the same way as  I have been since he first went off to kindergarten.

People tell me it will get easier and our relationship will grow and change in unexpected ways. I have faith this is possible. For now, I think I'm just going to need a little more time to get used to the idea.

In the meantime, I've been baking for parties and celebrations for both end of semester and graduation. I baked a few butterfly cakes dipped in ganache to remind the graduating seniors that they now can open their wings and fly.