Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Kicking off the Leftover Season

Thanksgiving deserves its own moment and attention, and Chuck and I did it up big this year: 23-pound turkey with all the trimmings. Now… onto the leftovers!


The breakfast of champions.

Martina McBride’s bacon-cheddar biscuits with Chuck’s homemade cranberry sauce! I need to be more generous with the cheddar next time; there’s plenty of bacon!


Oxmoore House $30 hardcover October 2018

Martina’s new cookbook is as pretty and warm as her gorgeous voice.

Martha Stewart’s cheddar-sage biscuit has been my go-to biscuit for a long time—long enough to need a rest, but so delicious nobody wants me to stray too far. Martina’s Cheddar Biscuits With Bacon do the trick. ‘The original recipe didn’t call for bacon,’ she says. ‘(That was my idea. You’re welcome!)’ Thank you, Martina, for your magical music and your culinary magic!

Cheddar Biscuits With Bacon

Serves 6         Hands On 30 Minutes          Total 45 Minutes

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

6 pieces smoked bacon, cooked and chopped

1 cup buttermilk

1 large egg, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 450˚
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly coat with vegetable oil.
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or use two knives, until butter is the size of peas; stir in the cheese and bacon.
  4. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture just until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface, and pat or roll dough into ¾-inch thickness; cut with a 3-inch round cutter, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

If you’re in a rush, these work great as drop biscuits. Using an ice cream scoop or ¼-cup measuring cup, drop the batter on the prepared pan.—(c) 2018 Martina McBride

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Sunday in New York


fruit stand

Best thing about this stand? It’s there at 6am every morning when I go out for the newspaper and need a nice, fresh apple or papaya for breakfast. 

We were supposed to get thunderstorms this afternoon, but luck was with us. Bobby Darin’s delicious rendition of “Sunday in New York” ran through my head as I shopped for blueberries at my local fruit and veggie stand ($1.50 for a dry pint; yes, there are still affordable things in Manhattan!)

Sunday’s become Muffin Day, prep for the work week. (Yes, there are five work days and six wells in my muffin tin, so I get to taste-test when they’re warm from the oven.) Martha Stewart’s simple, never-fail Better Than Basic Muffins is the starting point, and then I improvise.

blueberry muffin.jpg

Today it’s Blueberry Bran Walnut. 

Makes six muffins

Preheat oven to 375° and prepare a six-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and flour.

Whisk together an egg, 1/4 plus 1/8 cup of vegetable oil, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup bran, 1/4 plus 1/8 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix lightly. Fold in 3/4 cup fresh blueberries and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Not only are these packed with goodness, but that 15 to 20 minutes? The perfect length of time for a lie-down on the couch. Sunday is a day of rest, after all.



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What did Max grow on Yasgur’s farm?

Cows! Max Yasgur was Sullivan County’s biggest milk producer in the late ’60s.

Then came his fateful agreement to host Woodstock, 45 years ago this weekend.


I was 13, living in Chappaqua, NY, too sheltered, too scared to dream of going. Actually, I probably wasn’t even aware it was happening. But I did spend hours later, blasting Richie Havens’ “Freedom” on the hi-fi to my parents’ dismay, just imaging what kind of life I’d someday make for myself. Let’s just say, to be perfectly honest, that sheltered and scared isn’t too far from the truth. But there’s still time to rock out!

In a nod to Wavy Gravy, still working, fearlessly reaching out to anyone and everyone in need, who wowed the crowd with a smile and “What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000!” I made what might have been a typical breakfast at Woodstock.

whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, fresh strawberries, cold milk

whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, fresh strawberries, cold milk

Peace, everybody.

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Dance Like There’s Nobody Watching


That quote is by a man named William W. Purkey (imagine how much Mr. Purkey must’ve been teased at school, particularly around Thanksgiving).  Sandra Bullock brought the same thought to the graduating seniors of New Orleans’ Easton High School when she told them one of the things she’s teaching her son is to turn up the music really loud and dance before you leave the house–it changes the way you walk.

So this morning, I’m switching to my favorite classic rock station (from my favorite classical station) before I hit the NYC sidewalk to go to work: whether it’s “Born to Run” or “L.A. Woman,” I’ll be striding out the door with a whole different swing.

Good morning!

Good morning!


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A Joni Mitchell Morning

I had a thought to do something with the Mamas and the Papas’ “Monday Monday,” but when I listened to it again… I just hated it. Pretty melody…indecipherable message. Is Monday good or bad, drab or fab? The heck with it.

You know I’m a big Joni Mitchell fan and I can almost always find a perfect song for every occasion from her amazing catalog.

ladies of the canyon

“Morning Morgantown”,  with its “ladies in their rainbow fashions, colored stop-and-go lights flashing,” has an innocence and brightness that shines a whole new light on the start of another work week. Spring is just about here, the daffodils are coming up, so how could anybody be blue?


“The only thing I have to give
To make you smile, to win you with
Are all the mornings still to live
In morning Morgantown.”

Good morning!

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Christmas Caroling Breakfast

A treasured gift from Chuck's mom.

A treasured gift from Chuck’s mom.

I had a hearty, classic eggs-sausage-and-toast breakfast this morning since I won’t have time for lunch. At the end of mass, I’ll run home to walk Gracie, then run back to sing in the Advent Lessons & Carols concert, a perfect way to reinforce the true meaning of Christmas. We’re debuting “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day” by Sir David Willcocks, the patron saint of the quintessential British carol sound, as director of the King’s College Choir, Cambridge.

And to think Keith Richards was once a choir boy!

And to think Keith Richards was once a choir boy!

Here are excerpts from my two favorite Christmas stories. Happy reading!

“Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold. If the good St. Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit’s nose with a touch of such weather as that, instead of using his familiar weapons, then indeed he would have roasted to lusty purpose. The owner of one scant young nose, gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs, stopped down at Scrooge’s keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol; but, at the first sound of

“God bless you, merry gentlemen, 

May nothing you dismay!”

Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog, and even more congenial frost.”–A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Stave One

“And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn’t the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves.We reached the black bulk of the house.

‘What shall we give them? Hark the Herald?’

‘No,’ Jack said, ‘Good King Wenceslas. I’ll count three.’

One, two, three, and we began to sing, our voices high and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood close together, near the dark door.

Good King Wenceslas looked out

On the Feast of Stephen…

And then a small, dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely, balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-gulping -gas;  everything was good again and shone over the town.

‘Perhaps it was a ghost,’ Jim said.”–A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas



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Thankful for…Buttermilk

Someday I will taste the real deal, but for a tangy hit on the tongue, even commercially prepared buttermilk is a delectable addition to pancakes. For a further burst of tartness, ladle on the fresh cranberry sauce.


Here is the recipe for no-fuss buttermilk pancakes from Breakfast. 

Easy Buttermilk Pancakes

4 pancakes

¼ cup self-rising flour

½ tablespoon sugar

½ cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon beaten egg

½ tablespoon melted, cooled butter

  1. Thoroughly mix the flour and sugar in a big bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg, and butter.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just combined and don’t mind the lumps.
  4. Coat a hot frying pan with more butter and drop in small ladles full of batter—you can make two at a time or, if your pan’s big enough, all four at once.  (If the batter gets a little thick, use a dash of buttermilk to thin it.)
  5. Cook until bubbles form on the tops; flip and cook another minute or so.

Beat the egg really well in a small cup and pour into a tablespoon; much easier than trying to spoon it out. Then use the rest of that egg, mixed with a few drops of water and some shredded cheese, if you’re really hungry, as another healthy hit of protein on the side.

Today’s the first day of Advent, so in choir we’re singing a beautiful anthem by Paul Manz called “E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come.” which you can hear here.

Happy December!

cardinal in icy tree



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TGIF Treat–Chelsea Morning

More breakfast music and images to send you out into your life with a lightness in your step… on a day that holds a long-time sadness for so many of us.

Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning

chelsea hotel

at the chelsea hotel

bowl of oranges

janis joplin

owls by night

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Breakfast Music

Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken

I’m off on a little visit to beautiful Rumson, New Jersey for a couple of days, so I thought I’d leave you with some pretty music and pictures that might bring a smile to your face.

Runny yolks!

Runny yolks!

A cup of coffee to get you hopping...

A cup of coffee to get you hopping…

Half full or half empty?

Half full or half empty?

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