Sunday, October 23, 2011

fall cookin'

I wanted to pop in and share with you two recipes you MUST make. The first is from Apples for Jam and uses up apples which are currently plentiful here at the farmer's markets. Apple bread!
I made mine without the walnuts, well, because I'm not crazy about nuts in bread (and I also didn't have any walnuts). Apple Bread (walnuts optional!)

3/4 c sugar
1/4 lb. plus 3 tbsp. softened butter
2 eggs
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (I used ground coriander, it was fine)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
about 2 apples, peeled, cored, coarsely grated
2/3 c walnuts, lightly toasted/coarsely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 c walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

heat oven to 350F. butter and flour a loaf pan. beat together sugar/butter till "fluffy" ... add eggs, beat them in well. add flour/baking soda/baking powder/cardamom/cinnamon/pinch salt. mix well. add apples, walnuts, vanilla. mix well. scrape into loaf pan. for the topping, mix those three things together and scatter abundantly over the batter. bake 45 min but check after 30. cover top with foil if it's already quite brown. cool slightly, then turn out carefully. serve slightly warm (of course!!) ... this bread is SUPER moist and delicious!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Here I am again, popping in as promised.
I'm taking this entire Sunday to myself and my dog, who is very happy to have me here all day, all to himself. I am: slow cooking dry pinto beans for a lentil-bean-veg stew I'm making for dinner tonight finishing my current novel (Sarah's Key) and starting my new one (The Help - finally) updating my blog (read all of yours last night) already - walked my dog, got a coffee and cheese-filled croissant from the local bakery. pastry is rare these days as I've been focusing a lot on my health. It was delicious. folded laundry, tidied the kitchen and bedroom i will - knit on my socks, go five minutes' drive down the road to work out at the Y and lift weights (in two months I've lost 5.5 inches from my waist! dropped almost four pant sizes). Yesterday, I tried a new farmer's market. I only wish I had my camera with me. What a warm, joy-filled place, and our weather here has been fantastic, sunny and just the right balance of warm/cool. Next week, I'll try to remember photos. Between today and tomorrow, I'm also hoping to make a pumpkin-sage lasagna and I've had lot of requests via Facebook for the recipe, so I'll try and post that, as well. The ex-dbf got on a plane yesterday. I have one more wall to paint and have decided to let both rooms on the second floor and move my little old self into the attic where there is plenty of room for both my bed and a place to use the sewing machine.
The word "simplify" has been a lot in my thoughts again lately. It's worked its way into my thoughts about this large space I rent, the meals I cook, and the things I do outside my home that cost money. I'm glad it's come back. I have not been extravagant, but I have not been consciously saying yes to some things and no to others, either. I think sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget about the importance of frugality, slowing down, and saving money. Perhaps this reflection and conscious slowing is what makes autumn time so special to me. I'd like to engage more in: less online time, more handmades (knitting AND sewing), simple meals (have been already doing this for a couple of weeks), making daily time for a workout, more reading, and reaching out to friends, inviting them over to enjoy a big pot of stew together or just coffee and dessert. Also want to start making earlier bedtimes a priority again. I got out of a good routine when I was completing my master's thesis and let my night owl take over. Here's to my October mantra, which I hope will carry me comfortably through the winter months to come: Simplify. What are you doing to simplify your days? your life?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

i'll be back in a few ...

i will try to pop in here tomorrow ... miss this space.

Monday, October 3, 2011

some recent reflections and happenings.

Wow, it's been a long time since i posted.
But the master's thesis is in the mail (!!!!!) after six weeks of working endless wee night hours on it each day, so that frees up my time ... briefly. I just got hired at trader joe's, which is finally opening a new store here in Louisville. I start working for them next week. I'm still at the Montessori school, and I applied for a two-day-a-week position at the local Waldorf school teaching a parents' day out program two mornings a week. I broke up with dbf a couple weeks ago. Unexpectedly, old issues (of his), unresolved. Amazing how the tables turned, and now i'm a fabulous single woman again (wondering if she should go to a sperm bank ... only half joking ....). I am sprucing up the apartment and changing the chi. Antiquing, putting out yard sale treasures. A pumpkin. I'm looking for a roommate. I'm painting the room former dbf has been currently occupying, awkwardly, the one that was going to be the classroom :-( I found lace curtains at a yard sale and I'm going to paint my room a shimmery gold (think, metallic gold marker). I have baked blueberry muffins and chocolate chip cookies from scratch, and zucchini bread is on deck.
I met a good blog friend, who's local, at the farmer's market (that was lovely, cate). The weather is much cooler here at night, I have to shut the windows in my room. I bought yarn today!! For a pair of knee socks for me. And I bought a book that has a pattern for a dog sweater for my beagle. This past weekend, I went to our local art fair and got many bars of soap to pair with dishcloths for gifts. I also bought myself two gorgeous multi-wood cutting boards from a regional craftsman and a pair of earrings made from red sea-glass. Splurging a bit has been good after the stress of the last few weeks. Are there still unpaid bills? Yes. But this was necessary. Especially as I have nothing major coming up for the next months to spend money on. I am dreaming about an Alaskan cruise next summer. I've been slowly switching my dog and cat to organic food brands. I've been snacking more and cutting down my own grocery bill by eating smaller quantities of really healthful, REAL FOOD, stuff. I've been eating ... ovo-lacto vegetarian. I will only eat eggs/yogurt/cheese produced locally and responsibly. I can't believe how much I'm currently enjoying grass-fed, non-homogenized yogurt from a regional organic producer. My body is feeling more full, longer. For lunch today, I had a grilled goat's milk cheese sandwich with local tomatoes. I'm thinking about switching my vegan Earth Balance with nasty palm oil to real butter. I hardly use butter. I sub bananas for butter when baking. I'm reading some Sally Fallon and agreeing and disagreeing with her. I still don't think I can eat animals, even "happy" ones. I'm done with labeling myself, though, even if my vegan friends hate me for it. Meals overall are getting simpler, last night was quinoa with tofu and sauteed veggies and steamed kale, tonight was quinoa and steamed kale with tahini. I have to steam the kale just right. It's still not my favorite. It's local kale though and not too bitter. Snacks are local apples and almond butter. Lots of stove-topped popcorn with olive oil, too. Smoothies. With chocolate almond milk, honey, kale, flax seeds, maybe some peanut butter. Eating right feels great. I wish I could do more yoga ... have to carve out time for that. Getting back to the Y starting tomorrow. I've lost about 8 pounds on the scale, many more in inches (4 on my waist!) over the past couple months. It's slow, but it's progress. Hoping the fall and winter are quiet, overall. Slow. I'll try and pop in more often.