Friday, January 28, 2011

morning comes...

and life moves on...
how can another week be coming to a close?   i have started to blog about 10 times this
week but something always comes up.  something distracts me and then another day
happens. this past sunday it was 3 months since my dad passed away.  it's very hard to
believe.   my mom is back home trying to fit into her new life.   i can hear in her voice a piece
is missing.  she is one half of the whole -  it takes time to learn how to figure out the newness. 
like a puzzle trying to figure out where she fits.  she doesn't let me think she is anything but fine,
but i can feel the spaces. we go back again and again to these places of the past.  sometimes
they bring pleasure and sometimes they bring pain.  to look forward and back at the same time. 
we look at the world with the spaces in between. we are still "us" here in this world and we are
left to keep on  moving and we do.  our lives are made up in these small hours and we keep
chasing the years. 
  wishing everyone a beautiful weekend.  i am planning to:
         revisit the farmers market. have lunch with some special ladies. take some photos.
          start an office re-do project.  attempt a new bread recipe.  flip through some magazines
                        and hopefully find some fun valentine projects.  stay snug and warm. 

love sent, xo

Thursday, January 27, 2011

pass it on... because that's what friends are for...

my sweet, sweet,  friend c sent this along and it is so worth reading every day.

handbook 2011 really should be handbook for life...

1. drink plenty of water.
2. eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. live with the 3 e's -- energy, enthusiasm and empathy.
5. make time to pray.
6. play more games.
7. read more books than you did in 2010.
8. sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. sleep for 7 hours.
10. take a 10-30 minute walk daily. and while you walk, smile.

11. don't compare your life to others. you have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. don't overdo it. keep your limits.
14. don't take yourself so seriously. no one else does.
15. don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. dream more while you are awake.
17. envy is a waste of time. you already have all you need.
18. forget issues of the past. don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. that will ruin your present happiness.
19. life is too short to waste time hating anyone. do not hate others.
20. make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. no one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22.realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. problems are simply part of the curriculum that
appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.  my favorite.
23. smile and laugh more.
24. you don't have to win every argument. agree to disagree....

25. call your family often.
26. each day give something good to others.
27. forgive everyone for everything.
28. spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. what other people think of you is none of your business.
31. your job won't take care of you when you are sick. your friends will. stay in touch.

32. do the right thing!
33. get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. god heals everything.
35. however good or bad a situation is, it will change...
36. no matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. the best is yet to come..
38. when you awake alive in the morning, thank god for it.
39. your inner most is always happy. so, be happy.

last but not the least:

40. make time for you.

love sent, xo

Sunday, January 23, 2011

it snowed again...

hi there!   how was your weekend?  friday it snowed, big snow, and i loved it. a chance to work from
home and shoot more photos. it's quite magical how beautiful snow can make everything look. 

the weekend was filled with simple breakfasts, a farmers market, a bit of antiquing, a bit of  reading, a bit of cooking, mugs of hot chocolate, seeing friends, watching football. amazing sunsets. and staying out of the cold...

french onion soup with lots of cheese to keep you warm....

sunsets that take your breath away...

hot chocolate by the amazing emily steffen

and friends...

Monday, January 17, 2011


i love this...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

on my mind...

in no particular order...

this was a crazy week..

1. i made bread twice -  i have three loaves of cinnamon bread in the oven right now and my house smells like a bakery...
2. i cook and bake when i need to forget things...
3. my mom is in the hospital and is actually doing much better but last night i didn't
sleep and i was so, so, afraid.
4. there was a huge snowstorm on wednesday and i loved it.
5. life is so fragile.
6. there is a woman that lived around the corner that walks by my house every day
and she died on tuesday, she was 59.  i am still trying to digest this. tonight her mom called me.
i cried.
7. i took lots of pictures this week -   i guess i take lots of pictures every week.
8.  mic goes back to school on monday. :(
9.  when i listen to sugarland my heart melts.
10. i love hot chocolate.

love sent, xo

Thursday, January 13, 2011

12th things on the 12th...

but it's really the thirteenth...
always breaking rules.

"behind the story i tell is the one i don't -  behind the story you hear is the one i wish i could make you hear."

goings on...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

snow day = heaven

today was an awesome day -  totally awesome day.  a day snowed in and productive.
sleeping in and a long steamy shower  -  crispy potato pancakes
a day for   cleaning closets   and washing sheets
a day for   taking photos     and reading magazines

baking cookies and
baking bread  
catching up and   writing notes   

making dinner   and    bringing treats to neighbors

making snow angels wfm
 and being mesmorized by the fireplace 

                                  enjoying the beauty of it all   -  wish every day was a snow day...

                                                                       and as m says...

love sent, xo

brioche and berry bread pudding with lemon fondant

butter, room temperature
4 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for dusting and topping
4 large slices brioche bread
2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries),
 plus more for garnish

lemon fondant:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 lemons, zested and juiced

butter and sugar 6 (6-ounce) ramekins. i used a med size baking
dish to make one large one.
in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla extract,
lemon zest, and sugar. combine well with a whisk - then let it settle so there
are no air bubbles on the surface otherwise these will cause lumps in your anglaise.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
tear the brioche up into large pieces using your hands, add to the custard mixture and toss to combine. Equally divide the berries among the ramekins and top with the bread mixture. gently press down so they are packed evenly. sprinkle with more sugar, then refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to let soak.

bake for 25 minutes in the center of the oven. the pudding is ready when it has puffed up and the custard is set. the top should be a nice golden color. remove and allow to cool slightly.

make the fondant. In a mixing bowl combine sifted powdered sugar, water, lemon zest and juice.

once the pudding has cooled slightly, invert onto an individual serving plate. drizzle the lemon fondant over warm bread pudding and serve with extra fresh berries.

Monday, January 10, 2011

comfort food....

cook, cook,  and then cook some more... and you will be happy...  or tired.
make homemade raviolis and roll the dough for so long that  your arms are going to fall off then you realize you really need a pasta maker to get the dough thin enough.

ingredients - pasta dough
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

to make the pasta dough: in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue to mix until a smooth dough is formed. if the dough is too dry drizzle in a bit of water, if it is too wet sprinkle in some more flour. dust some flour on a work surface, knead and fold the dough until it is elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. brush the surface of the dough with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

then roll and roll and roll or if you are smart break out your pasta maker for the perfect dough. you are looking for paper thin consistency which is hard to attain with just a rolling pin unless you have arms like shaquille oneil.

then make the filing -  whatever you like. i kept it simple,  ricotta, parmesan, eggs, salt pepper, oregano, fresh parsley and garlic.

but then in the end it was worth it.  sort of.  i still want the pasta maker.

and then forget to take a picture of the consumption of the raviolis because they went fast.
the sauce: (via food network)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices (i only used two)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 (28-ounce) cans san marzano whole plum tomatoes

for the tomato sauce: in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. add the onion and garlic and season with salt and red pepper flakes. cook until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. add the sugar and the canned tomatoes. use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time. taste for seasoning, the tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. cook for another few minutes if the tomatoes still taste like they need a little more time to break down. set aside to cool.

then you should make this eggplant - it's divine.  try not to eat all the eggplant while you are cooking it up. it's crispy and crunchy and really good.
the eggplant:

2 medium eggplants, washed and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons whole milk
4 cups italian-style breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

vegetable oil, for frying, as needed, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups

1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 pound provolone cheese, grated
2 handfuls fresh basil, leaves only, torn

for the eggplant (this step is optional, leave it out if you have limited time i did not do it) arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. sprinkle with salt on both sides of each slice and allow it to sit for about 1 hour. salting it draws out the liquid and bitter flavor. after an hour, rinse with cold water and dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel.
put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. in another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. in a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. dip each eggplant slice in the flour and shake off any excess. then, dip in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs. make sure to coat both sides of each slice of eggplant. arrange them in single layers on the baking sheets.
in a large skillet, pour enough oil to accumulate about 1/2-inch in the bottom. heat the oil until it begins to smoke lightly (alternatively, test with a thermometer and wait until the oil registers between 380 degrees F and 400 degrees F). use a pair of kitchen tongs to add a single layer of the eggplant to the pan. cook them until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. remove from the oil and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel so the eggplant can drain as the others cook. season lightly with salt. take care to reheat the oil back up to temperature before adding another batch of slices to the pan.

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

to assemble: In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, spoon about 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the bottom. top with a layer of the fried eggplant; the eggplant slices can overlap slightly. top with about 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. sprinkle with about 1/4 of the parmesan and provolone cheeses. top with a layer of torn basil leaves. spoon sauce and repeat the layering 2 more times to make 3 layers. end with the remaining mozzarella. carefully press the layers down firmly into the dish once assembled. place the dish in the top part of the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. for extra browning, put the dish under the broiler for a minute or two just before serving to get an extra brown cheesy top. i always nibble on a bit of that before sharing it with my friends!
add lots and lots of fresh cheese, fresh mozzarella, provolone and parmesan.

then bake...

and enjoy... xo

my new favorite song...

playing on repeat, repeat, repeat....

Friday, January 7, 2011

time heals...

i know this to be true.
i have experienced it.
the world looks different with each year that passes.
like looking into the lens of a camera.
when you look through and you see a wider landscape.
you see your life moving along.
pieces of change.
losses that cut deep.
the past year has had ranges of emotion that are impossible to explain.
you would have had to have been there.
so the journey of life continues.
each life with it's twists and turns and detours.
there are places i can't reach.
it's not always as easy for some people as it is for others.
i see my children and how much they have changed.
how they are making their way in this world.
how quickly they became grown ups.  how proud they make me.
they can't see me jumping up and down in the backdrop of the day
wanting everything to slow down.
they are in the prime of their life.
they want to push the clock and make the morning come quickly.
i want the time to last and last  - but it doesn't.
 it finally catches up to you
 and then pieces of it are over.
but i am so grateful that i had that time
a time impossible to measure.
a time so many people never ever have.
i have to believe that all things happen for a reason.
then i watch my mom and how she smiles through her heart ache and i know
i can too.
 i wonder how fast she thinks time is moving along.
i see my friends and some of their struggles.
they want to go back in time.
sometimes i can't catch my breath with how fast everything is moving.
but on the edge of all of this, there is love -  and  in the silence i find peace.
little pieces of time where i know that even on hard days things will be better.
that even tho so much of my invincible skin has torn off these days.
even tho i know how fast it is all going down.
and sometimes i am scared with how my heart feels.
there is love here, great big love, and i still have so much love to share,
and with that i know i will get there.
and i remind myself it's the journey not the destination that is most important.

love sent,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

i love you guys...

tonight i met up with my girls for a little post christmas celebration.  we laughed
we talked. we bonded.  we shared the ups and downs of the past year.  we left fulfilled.
i love them. they make all my days better...
jane, i love my present.  christine, well yeah can you stop bonding with everyone in lowell. xoxo
nanc, we miss you.

happy happy birthday brae.....

keep on rockin...

love you, xo

Monday, January 3, 2011

happy monday....

happy first full week of the new year.  i am so happy to have this one last day off.  it has been
so nice to have some extended time off for a change.  having my mom here has been comforting.
she will be leaving to head home on thursday :(  she says she is "ready" -  as ready as you can be
i guess.  my heart hurts thinking about her leaving but we know she has to go. another chapter is ending
and  a new one will begin.  i wish for happiness, love and mostly peace for the new year to all my
friends and family.  xo

Sunday, January 2, 2011

happy new year...

and the best of 2010.    a walk down memory lane...
january -  best snowstorm...

february  - best big love...

march -   best friends...

april  -  best girl's weekend...

may -  best photo...

june -  best chs graduate...

june -  best graduation party...

july -  best lemonade stand...

august -  best summer hang out...

september -  best flowers...

september - best wedding...

october -  best of the best...

november -  best out of town visitor...

november -  making the best of it...

november - best last day on the job...

december -   best twinkling lights...

and... all the best for 2011

love sent, xo

happy 8th birthday love....

xo hope all your dreams come true...