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Kick start your day with a good breakfast

So grateful!

 

 

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Bounty from Halsey Farm and Nursery, Southampton, New York

As a kid in the ’60s, I thought Brussels sprouts were absolutely heinous. When I encountered them, boiled and gray and sour, at my friend Nonni’s house (no offense intended–that was the way everybody cooked them in those days), I vowed never to touch one again. (Thank God my mother didn’t have the foggiest idea what to do with them, so we were spared at home.) Now of course, having discovered they can be just amazing, simply roasted in olive oil with salt and pepper, I’ve got immense plans!

That’s a honey nut kabocha up there on the right in front of that gorgeous cauliflower and between the green beans and the acorn squash. Can’t wait to try that! Any ideas?

I took two small butternut squashes tonight and made soup: so easy! I can’t peel and chop those things, so I cut them in half, took out the seeds, and roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour. I sauteed one chopped onion in butter, added the softened, peeled squash with 4 cups of chicken broth, and pureed the mixture until smooth. A dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg and it was like the whole history of New England was playing itself out in my mouth.

 

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I’m sure this is not new to most of you, but for a kid who thought the Jolly Green Giant crossed his arms and, like Samantha on “Bewitched,” produced frozen vegetables with the blink of an eye, this is all so new and thrilling!

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Frozen, 1960s style

 

 

 

 

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Buenas Noches

This is a site for healthy, fast, homemade breakfasts, but I have to show off last night’s paella. Cook’s Illustrated tackled this complex recipe and boy, did they help us nail it!

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Family lives on the Jersey shore, with access to spectacular seafood at The Lusty Lobster, so the scallops, mussels, shrimp, and clams were right out of the ocean. I stopped in at Kalustyan’s for  pimentón and Spanish saffron. The rest (chorizo, chicken thighs, chicken broth, clam juice, dry sherry, arborio rice, onion, roasted red peppers, frozen peas) are all available at any good supermarket.

The secret? A roasting pan on the grill. All that surface area allows the rice to get its lovely, crunchy crust while the meats and shellfish cook quickly. A keeper!

¡Delicioso!

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Sunday in New York

 

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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.

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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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DIY Dog Treats

A friend whose father was a professional baker told me he makes his mini-dachshund Zelda her own dog biscuits. In that wonderful way the Universe has of listening in and offering just what you need at the right time, I was reviewing an upcoming cookbook by Julia Turshen called Small Victories, turned a page, and voila! Hope & Winky’s Dog Cookies! What’s good enough for Zellie is good enough for Grace, so I made a special trip to the supermarket for Peter Pan creamy peanut butter. Mixed with olive oil, chicken broth, rolled oats, cornmeal, and a dash of salt and baked until toasty with a crackly top,  I’m tempted to steal a couple of these for myself.

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Perfect snack: cookies and milk!

Grace would like to thank Zelda and her dad Ricky for waking me up–FINALLY!–to homebaked snacks.

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Give Yourself a Hand…

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A handmade show of support, that is! Why should you always give someone else the love?

One of the greatest inspirational authors of our age, Louise Hay, had healed her life and millions of others’ with the simple idea, “That which we constantly affirm becomes true for us.” Inspire yourself…congratulate yourself…love yourself and watch what happens.

I’m at 30 days in my promise of “30 days…30 handmade projects.” I have to admit, of course, certain days were less productive than others, but I cooked, sewed, knitted, cross-stitched, cut and glued enough to feel great! Why stop now?

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Made With Love

My niece will be the the first on my side of her family to get a graduate degree. My mother, gone now 16 years, would’ve been so damn proud, as am I.

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Inside my cross-stitched card is this quote from The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration:

“Spread your arms in an embrace, throw your head back,

and prepare to receive and send coordinates of being.

For, at last, you know

you are the navigator, the captain, and the ship.”

She is an able sailor, a brave adventurer, and a loving citizen of the world. God bless her!

 

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I Made It Myself Day 2

Tonight I’ve been invited to visit a friend who lives in the neighborhood to talk about a prospective book of vintage sewing patterns. An ode to the homemade, if ever there was one!

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I’ve made her a hostess gift: six simple felt-backed coasters. Don’t you just love this fabric?!

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