Dutch Baby With a Twist

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As I sat with my first cup of coffee this morning, I was going through my Cast Iron Skillet cookbook,
looking for an idea for dinner. What immediately caught my eye was a recipe for a Dutch baby with
pears sauteed in butter and cinnamon. Forget about dinner – I was suddenly looking for some instant gratification, something that took just a few minutes to make, something that would make my mouth water!

I used this recipe for inspiration but actually followed my basic gluten-free, sugar-free version with a couple of little changes. As the pears were sautéing in butter, cinnamon and a dash of agave nectar for a bit of sweetness, I quickly popped all the other ingredients in the blender and then poured the batter into the skillet over the pears and baked for 10 minutes. I used this time to clean up my mess – no one can make a mess as quickly as I can.

I poured myself a second cup of coffee and cut myself a healthy serving of this delicious looking treat. It did not disappoint – It was sooo good. I can’t believe what a difference using almond extract instead of vanilla made. I think next time, I’ll try it without the pears and add some chopped
almonds on top. So many possibilities.

Happy Spring, everyone! I love this season of hope, possibilities and thoughts of all the wonderful things we’ll be planting before you know it. I love seeing the slow shift from melting snow to buds and blooms – a joy to behold.

Susan
XOXO

Guided Meditation

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They’re doing it again! Deepak and Oprah have teamed up one more time to give us a free, 21 day meditation series entitled “Hope In Uncertain Times.” The purpose is “to eradicate fear and doubt and find a renewed sense of trust and optimism about your life and the world around you.” Now, I don’t know about you, but, I think this sounds like a great idea – something that could benefit all of us.

The series begins April 10th. Just go to www.chopra.com to sign up and get a free
workbook to download. I love to meditate first thing in the morning, but you can do it whenever you have the time. Each one is about 20 minutes and I can tell you from experience, it’s a great way to start your day. It centers you and brings a sense of calm that you carry with you throughout your day.

So, do something nice for yourself – sign up and give it a shot. It can’t hurt to try something that will make you feel better. For those of you who already practice meditation, you know what I’m talking about.

Wishing you all a wonderful week.

Susan
XOXO

Mother Nature’s Curveball

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I think I spoke too soon about the gorgeous spring-like weather we were experiencing here in the northeast last week. On Tuesday, dear old Mother Nature had a change of heart and we were blasted with over 18″ of snow. Of course, the news broadcasters were happy to give us plenty of advance warning so I had time to run to the local grocery store for all the necessary snow supplies (you know, bagels, mini peanut butter cups, ice cream) along with hoards of other locals.

It started around 2 a.m, kept up until 6 p.m. and I enjoyed every minute of it! I declared it an official snow day which means no cleaning, no laundry and cooking is optional. I hung out under a quilt with lots of coffee, a good book, a crochet project and the latest edition of Victoria magazine. It was full of all things floral and transported me to a world of bright colored blossoms, a charming cabin in the Smokey mountains, April Cornell’s beautiful studio in Burlington, Vermont and a fabulous house tour in New Orleans. The flowery beauty made me forget, for just a moment, that there was a blizzard going on right outside my window.

As much as I enjoyed my official snow day, and I really believe in living in the moment, I will admit to being just a tiny bit excited at the prospect of spring – seeing the melting snow give way to buds on the trees and bushes, bulbs shooting up out of the ground and turning into beautiful daffodils, tulips and hyacinth and feeling a warm breeze on my face as I sit outdoors with a good book. Soon, I tell myself, soon.

Day Dreams

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“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagine.”

Henry David Thoreau

I love this quote – perhaps it’s because I am, in fact, a dreamer. I always have been. And, the wonderful thing about dreams is that they often come true. Years ago, I dreamed about opening a shop in a quaint little village near my home. I dreamed about what color I would paint the walls, what kind of merchandise I would carry and even what scent the candle, burning on the counter, would be. After awhile, I bought a composition notebook and started keeping notes on all these dreams. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this – yes, I opened that little shop of my dreams and I loved every minute of being a shopkeeper.

Four years ago, I hung the CLOSED sign on my front door for the last time and my husband and I moved to upstate New York, but I’m still daydreaming about things I’d like to do and see. And, like before, I still think about all the little details that make the dreams come to life. How about you? Do you daydream too? Do you imagine how you’ll feel or where you’ll move to or what you’ll buy? Well, then why not do what Thoreau suggests and move confidently in the direction of your dream because it really is possible to live the life you imagine.

Happy Sunday!
XOXO

A Long Winter’s Nap

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Hello, dear friends! I can’t believe it’s been months since I was last here in this space – I’ve been hibernating, hunkering down and being very, very lazy. We had a couple of nice warm days this past week and I seem to have come back to life, working on projects that haven’t seen the light of day in months, re-acquainting myself with the kitchen, spending some time outdoors and visiting with friends.
I think I was getting a bit of cabin fever, watching way too much news, which can’t be too good for you.

I finally picked up the afghan that I started way back in 2015. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my daughter that year and then again this year. Well, better late than never, I guess. Now that my life seems to be getting back on track again, I began another afghan that I’m making from some of the yarn I have left over from other projects. I’d like to donate this so I’m hoping it’s done before the temps hit 90 degrees!

I’m even in the mood to cook and bake again, finally. I haven’t used my crockpot at all this year and I’m trying to find a few recipes that are both healthy and tasty – anyone have any suggestions?
I like the idea of getting dinner going in the morning and not having to think about it all day.

Wishing you all a happy week ahead!

Susan
XOXO

Decking the Halls

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Oh, how I love this time of year – a nip in the air, Christmas shopping with my daughter, a steady dose of Christmas music, hot chocolate, unwrapping ornaments that were made with love so many years ago. I love my wonderful neighbors that pitched in to make Christmas a glorious day for a single working mom with twin boys. And, how about all those sweet Hallmark movies that make you cry, even though you know how they’ll end an hour before it’s over.

Of course, I still have a million things to do. There’s gifts to buy, lots of wrapping and cookies to bake – I haven’t even begun with that. This weekend might be the perfect time to whip up some dough and pop it in the freezer until later next week. Then it will be just a matter of baking and decorating. I’ll put on some Christmas music, light a candle and enjoy every moment of it.

I’m still working on a couple of things I’m making and hoping they’ll be ready on time, but I’m not allowing myself to stress out over it or anything else. I’m actually trying to keep things as simple as possible. My daughter, granddaughters and myself will get together on Friday to prep food for the holidays. I love spending time with them and as my mother used to say, “many hands make light work.”
Then we can all sit back and enjoy!

I hope you’re all finding beauty and joy in this most blessed season.

With love,
Susan xoxo