bloggers block

I have it. Well, I don’t really have it, I just haven’t finished the post I had hoped to publish this past Friday. Usually I get excited about photographing something, or wanting to make a particular recipe, or simply sharing something about my daily life for posts and then I go about photographing whatever it is I want to shoot/write about.

This past Friday while I wrote and wrote it just wasn’t ‘flowing’. It’s a fairly big topic and different than a usual post – more like a philosophical question – not a simple recipe or how to ideas…so while that one is sitting on the back burner, I was left with the question, ‘what to post?’ I had nothing. Well, more like I had great ideas but no photos to include, or just bad photos, or great photos with no real ‘story’… nothing inspired me, thus no post on Friday. But it’s been bothering me. I want to post on a regular basis – Tuesdays and Fridays, bi-weekly is the goal. And while I’ve mostly kept to that, every now and then I haven’t been able to write for one reason or another – and it’s most certainly not because I don’t think about it, that’s far from the truth (blogging is addictive!) – no, it’s more because of my time, or more precisely, the limited availability of it. I enjoy sharing bits of my life through the camera and words, but if nothing strikes me or the photos are blah, then I’d rather not publish anything. So, that’s what happened on Friday. Nothing. Now, it’s Sunday and I’m still thinking…

Then it occurred to me – how about a simple post with photos from the past few days and have it be ‘a day in the life’ … so here it is. Short and sweet – a day in the life. Food, work, play, love…enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

strawberries

Ahhh, the simple pleasures of summer…freshly picked strawberries are SO incredibly good! I had never picked strawberries before and I really wanted to make homemade strawberry ice cream, so off Finn and I went to a beautiful organic farm in Bowdoinham Maine, Fairwinds Farm, they have acres and acres of beautiful strawberries!


it was an incredibly beautiful and hot day – just right for picking and eating…I did most of the picking while Finn did most of the eating…strawberries warmed in the sun are SO juicy and tasty – simply irresistible!

I decided we’d make a few biscuits too – biscuits, strawberries and freshly whipped cream – need I say more?

Ahhh, summer…ice cream, strawberries and sunshine…and so much more…

minestrone in spring


So simple – a bit of prep and you’ll have a lovely rustic soup in no time. Go big and bake some bread too. Try a yeast free bread like Irish soda bread – only 35 minutes from prep to table…the great thing about this soup is you can use a variety of vegetables – use what you like, utilize what you have…

I made this soup last week while we we’re having a few chilly days and below freezing nights –  it is Maine and it is spring so why not eat a bowlful of hearty minestrone soup? Enjoy.

Soup Ingredients

3-5 carrots

3-5 stalks of celery

1 medium sized onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 big handfuls of fresh spinach, swiss chard or kale

1 cup dried cannelloni beans – cook prior to adding (or 1 can – rinsed)

1 cup dried pasta (bow tie, shell, ziti – you choose)

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (or fresh if you have the time and desire to poach and peel)

1-2 cups broccoli (frozen or fresh)

32 oz. vegetable or chicken stock

juice from 2 lemons

olive oil

bit of butter

salt

pepper

a good pinch of fennel seed

1 bay leaf

a few leaves of fresh basil if available

What to do;

Chop carrots, onion, garlic, celery and greens (either spinach, kale, swiss chard).

Keep each prepared veggie separate from the others.

Saute onions in butter until slightly browned, not burned, in a heavy bottom soup pot.

Add a bit of olive oil and garlic, cook briefly.

Add carrots – gently cook.

Then add celery – toss and gently cook a bit more.

Add greens – and more olive oil if necessary, you want the veggies to glisten so as not to burn…

Pour in stock.

Add crushed tomatoes (the entire can may not be necessary).

Stir.

Bring to boiling point.

Add uncooked pasta.

Boil gently for about 5 minutes.

Turn down heat to simmer.

Add salt and pepper to taste, finish with generous pinch of fennel seeds + bay leaf.

Pour in lemon juice + cooked beans (with cooking liquid if prepared from scratch)

Simmer on low about 40 +/-  minutes, covered.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan or asiago. Try crumbled goat cheese with fresh chopped basil – add a slab of warm freshly baked bread slathered in butter and what more do you need on a chilly spring evening…

Eat good food. yum.

Super simple chocolate cake

I came across this recipe a few years ago and I am so glad I did.  It’s deliciously decadent and very easy to prepare. From start to oven it only takes about 10 minutes – there’s no reason anyone should ever buy a chocolate boxed cake mix again! Who needs all those additives and preservatives anyway? Try it yourself.

Prepare oven and pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour average round cake pans; set aside.

Deliciously Decadent Chocolate Cake

1 cup buttermilk                                                                                                                            1 cup water                                                                                                                                   2/3 cup cooking oil                                                                                                                  2 cups sugar                                                                                                                                2 eggs                                                                                                                                          1 tsp. baking soda                                                                                                                   1/2 tsp. salt                                                                                                                                  2 cups flour                                                                                                                               3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine in an extra large mixing bowl buttermilk, water, oil, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and salt. Use large wire whisk, whisk until well combined. Add all flour and cocoa powder; whisk vigorously until smooth. Divide batter between pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes – until the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Filling

1/2  whipping cream

Whip cream in mixer (or by hand) until slightly stiff. Spread over the top of the first layer of cake,  then top with second layer of cake.                                                                                   * I also like to spread this filling while the cake is still slightly warm; it causes the whipped cream to slightly melt into the cake itself making it that much more moist…I then serve each slice with just a smidgen more of the freshly whipped cream – why not?

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

1/2 cup whipping cream                                                                                                              4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

In a saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium to high heat. Remove from heat – add chocolate – do not stir. Let stand 5 minutes – then stir until smooth…cool 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour over cake, allowing it to drip down the sides – pour in middle and it will naturally flow over sides…Chill until set, about 30 minutes or so.

Slice and serve with a bit of freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit, chopped nuts or simply by itself. Yum. Let me know what you think!

 

Mommas little helper…

My son is a VERY busy and inquisitive two year old boy. We don’t have TV and we don’t do kids videos or video games so there’s a lot of one on one time around here…which means our little guy is interested in everything we do, thus he ‘helps’ with just about everything in our household. He hauls wood, cooks food, waters the plants, weeds the garden, rakes leaves, sweeps – you get the picture. Yet, he is only two…The ‘helping’ at times requires a bit of patience from Mike and I – sometimes great patience, but he’s two only once – how can we say no?

Needless to say, sometimes we just don’t ‘need’ help, but our little guy insists …And again, he’s only two for such a short time and it’s a great time for learning, so we do our best to encourage and allow his participation with just about everything. If it’s safe, he can try…what better way to learn? And it reminds us to slow down

Here’s a few pics of me trying to take photos with my little helper at my side, on my side, under my legs, behind me…he just has to be a part of the action.

He has to get his hands (and feet) into everything – why not – good food is just that – good!

Beauty is eating a slice of freshly baked bread, with butter on it.

Fresh baked bread on a cold and dreary day (ok, any day) is such a treat for the senses, why not keep a recipe handy that is both yummy and quick. Here’s a recipe for a super simple and absolutely delicious homemade bread, without yeast…

Irish Soda Bread

– 2 cups flour

– 1 1/2  tsp. baking powder

– 1/2 tsp. baking soda

– 1 cup buttermilk*

– 1 tbls. melted butter (optional)

* if you don’t have buttermilk on hand – pour juice of one lemon (juice from half of a lemon will do just fine too) into a 1 cup measuring cup – then fill remainder of cup with milk. Let stand a few minutes; use as if it’s buttermilk.

(Buttermilk is far superior, but for those times when you just don’t have it on hand, this substitute is the perfect solution.)

Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Add buttermilk and stir until begins to form a ball.

Knead a few times (either in bowl or on lightly floured surface) and form into a round ball.

Place on ungreased baking sheet and slightly flatten.

Rub gently with melted butter.

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until done. Super scrumptious served warm, but just as delicious not…Enjoy it – Sliced thick and toasted, smothered with butter. As French toast. Sandwiches of any sort. Why not with soup, salad and your favorite beverage?

It’s an all around good recipe to keep on hand for those moments when nothing but a fresh loaf of bread will do…or your simply out of bread.

Enjoy beauty.