Happy Easter!

I just put out the crystal candelabra and tulips along with the glazed strawberry pudding cake I made this morning. It’s still cold in the sunroom right now but it will reach the 70s by noon when I’ll finish setting the table for our Easter luncheon. I’ll keep the cake refrigerated until then; I just wanted to show it to you because there’s a secret I’ll share!

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Valentine’s Day Cake & Amarena Cherry Mocktails

We had my Valentine’s cake for lunch and my Valentine loves it! I’m really happy since I had never baked with beet juice before so I had no idea what the result would be. I’m also glad to have discovered Fabbri Amerena cherries which was a direct result of my planning for this cake when I was doing an ingredient search for delectable red edibles. Since we don’t consume alcohol it’s wonderful to find something that can turn a simple sparkling water beverage into a sophisticated mocktail in addition to making a dessert shine.

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Hot and Steamy Valentine’s Day Preparations

I’ve just set the table for Valentine’s Day weekend (we can stretch that day out!) after I ironed a vintage red and white gingham linen tablecloth. I enjoy ironing old linens and the sound of the steam, it’s relaxing. I’ll be pairing red-colored cake decorations that are absent of artificial coloring: ruby chocolate and wild Italian cherries that come in a beautiful ceramic jar I plan to save and reuse. This morning I crafted my recipe for our Valentine cake that will use organic beet juice for coloring the batter. I’ve also been admiring some old Valentines…

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In Defense of “Cottagecore” (aka Simple Living & Homemaking)

Oh dear. Simple, beautiful living is being pathologized by the media, natch. Granted, Instagram influencers can take an authentic way of life and turn it into an unattainable aesthetic which is part of their charm, I suppose, for those who find that aspirational. #cottagecore, which I had never heard of before until this morning when I read this CNN article, “Cottagecore has us yearning for a bygone era that never was” that prompted this blog post, is once such ideal. Apparently much of the way I’ve been living since I left NYC in 1985 (as well as millions of people without hashtags) share a lot of the cottagecore values. I do live in a cottage with two acres of woods, for starters!

Here’s the problem with the critics: They embrace a toxic “ideal” that’s out of touch with a healthy reality while denouncing simple living as being irresponsible and a form of cowardly retreat:

As much as a life filled with gallivanting across the countryside picking berries and baking scones might sound ideal, most people have responsibilities at home.

OK, rant on:

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Recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Oven Roasted Rebel Chicken

Pictured is the dinner I made last night and it was outstanding! The breast meat was exceptionally tasty and tender as were the legs. The carrot’s sweetness was enhanced and the potatoes were soft and rich. As a bonus there was a nice pan gravy to pour over it all. I used a 4 1/2 pound LaBelle-Patrimoine Heritage chicken, organic carrots and organic yellow potatoes roasted in a vintage 13″ cast iron skillet. The chicken did not come trussed (legs tied together) and I didn’t have any twine on hand so I decided to wing it and prepare the bird in her un-lady like position. This ending up working to my advantage and you’ll see why in my recipe I’m sharing with you here.

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Food Chat: Julia Child, Calories, Cake, Corn on the Cob

When I post photos and recipes to my blog or Instagram I sometimes receive messages from people wondering how I can eat cake yet maintain my weight. Did you know that beginning in her early forties and through the rest of her life Julia Child counted calories and weighed herself daily? She was an “assiduous calorie counter” which is exactly what I’ve been doing since I turned forty and documented in my vintage diet book American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s.

”I used to feel that the more I ate at every meal, the healthier I would be,” she (Julia) said. ”But I started putting on weight when I was 42. I weigh myself every morning.”

Her diet includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, few desserts, small portions and six tablespoons each day of fat or oil, including two of saturated fat. ”I like marble steaks, and I like butter,” she said. ”I am very careful to eat two tablespoons of saturated fat a day, with greatest pleasure.”

To me it’s no different than maintaining a budget by spending wisely. When you know you can afford to buy or eat something it can be much more enjoyable! And really, as a former apple orchard boss lady shared with me when I worked at her farm stand in the mid 1980s, it’s always a good day when you can stand up and take nourishment! At the time I didn’t really get it but since then as I’ve grown older I know how deep and true it is. To be well enough to eat and enjoy a nourishing gift as “simple” as a freshly picked apple is a good day! We don’t need apple pie.

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Recipe: Yogurt Quiche With Gluten-Free Mashed Potato Crust

For lunch just now I had a slice of quiche showered with fresh black pepper shown above which is leftover from last night’s dinner. I created a Greek yogurt quiche with a mashed potato crust that held up like an actual crust! My recipe is thrifty and simple and I’m happy to share it with you.

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Layer Cake for Breakfast, Controversial Homemakers

January and February are when the sun shines brightest in my kitchen and I create new recipes. As Julia Child said, with cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude. I decided that I wanted to make a delicious, healthy breakfast cleverly disguised as a decadent dessert layer cake. Why haven’t I done this sooner, anyway? With organic oats, eggs, Greek yogurt, bananas, dates, a twist of Meyer lemon juice (Wayne’s brother gifts us lemons every year from their tree in California) and a few other secret specifics I did it! It’s light and lovely!

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Sunny Day Gardening and Yard Work

We had a great day today outside enjoying life at home. Wayne got the raised garden beds ready for the tomatoes and mowed while I pruned and trimmed the hedges and shrubs. We had the kind of glorious weather every Mainer dreams about all winter.

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Pandemic Flower Power, Parties, Pizza

May hasn’t been very gracious. Saturday temps were in the 30s with blustery winds, snow and rain. Sunday was sunny but still cold.

When the going gets tough, the tough get groovy. I decided that I wouldn’t let the boorish behavior of some clouds and weather patterns get us down. I threw two parties for two, the first of which was late Saturday afternoon right before the Lawrence Welk Show on PBS.

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