See The Breath
Do you suffer from from headaches, Dear Reader? I am sorry for it. I do as my mother and grandmother do and did before me. Our youngest daughter, Mia gets headaches too, sadly. Tonight, Mia went to bed with a nasty headache for company. I rubbed her back and told her to ‘see the breath’ flowing in and out. As I applied pressure to her back, she breathed a long and full breath and held it briefly before exhaling. This breathing in tandem with applied pressure has always helped her relax and find relief from pain. Try helping a loved one or yourself by seeing the breath as you inhale and exhale. It sure beats a pill.
It’s time to talk a walk and get inspired. That’s right, Dear Readers, it’s time for spring eats! The air is fresh and clean and the rains have revitalized the earth. The lilacs are in bloom, fresh herbs are returning and violets and violas are bursting forth to brighten our lawns and pathways. What to do? What to do? Pick them of course! Then? Eat them of course! Side note: Make certain you are eating edible (wild) violets, free of pesticides and doggy doody.
The easiest way to enjoy fresh edible blooms and herbs is to simply toss them in a salad. They add a pop of color and freshness of taste. I like to use a Boston/butter lettuce since it’s delicate texture pairs well with blooms and herbs. Fresh violets and herbs may also be added to vinegar and will impart a pretty color and mild flavor as the concoction develops.
These charming little treat only come in the spring and, along with birds building nests, herald a new season. They are to be appreciated and celebrated. Get creative and have fun!
Finding Mr. and Mrs. Killdeer
Nature is quite incredible. My husband Russell and I went birding locally with a small group and nesting next to working train track was a pair of killdeer. Talk about fear factor! At least the babies will be de-sensitized to noise. Mrs. Killdeer was on the nest but her mister was off having a beer. Eventually Russell spotted him by the water’s edge. We returned home soon after playing a bit of finding Mr. and Mrs. Killdeer hungry and in need of refreshment.
We ate warmed cheese tortellini over spinach for lunch and sipped Mai Tais before well-deserved brief naps. For dinner I seared lemony porks while asparagus roasted at 425° and were eventually joined by the chops and then a quick fresh biscuit. The chops got an additional splash of lemon and a rest while the biscuits browned and dinner was on the table, wine poured and hungry tummies filled in less
than 30 minutes. All that food and I didn’t want to cook!
As a side note, I am out of flour so I made biscuits using a three ingredient King Arthur Flour recipe for self-rising flour biscuits. Honestly, I prefer biscuits made with all purpose flour but sometimes you have to go with flow and use what you have. Here is the recipe.
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup butter, cut cup
1/4 teaspoon salt (my addition)
2 teaspoons sugar (my addition)
2/3-3/4 cup cold buttermilk
Combine the butter, flour, salt and sugar until crumbly. Add 2/3 cup of the buttermilk and mix, adding additional buttermilk only if needed, and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Pat out the dough into a 1/2-inch thickness and cut into rounds or squares (my lazy change). Bake about 12 to 14 minutes, until golden.
Restless Mind Syndrome
Birds seem to rarely do it. Sharks do it. Babies and dogs do it ALL day long. What? Sleep. Just the idea of it makes me sigh. Aahhh... Sleep is an unattainable daily goal for me. You see, Dear Readers, I suffer from restless mind syndrome. The slightest sound, like birds singing or the wind howling can trigger it and set it off. What follows is the same for most of us, stirring.
The stirring usually begins with my stomach and freely moves about until it reaches my mind. Like any good captain, the mind goes down with the ship, my body, or in this case, up with the ship. Once this series of stirring events is triggered, there is no turning back. My “to do” list or my “I wonder” list begins to play and build in my mind. Do you ever do that, Dear Readers? Have a running “to do” or “wonder”list in your mind? I thought so.
To battle my restless mind syndrome, I have taken up learning languages, or at least trying to anyway. Instead of watching videos or researching recipes, I study Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian and German. Don’t I sound smart? I figure I may as well be productive plus, I don’t wake up hungry. Now, if you will excuse me por favor, I have some things to think about.
My Life in Pictures
A smile here and a mushroom there. Flaming pork chops one moment and roses and daisies the next. There is New York and Brighton next to the Parthenon and The Green Farm. Beetles, tomatoes, the ocean and a field of flowers keep company with freshly baked cinnamon rolls and Spanikopita. My life in pictures... I smile at the captured memories and sigh at how fragile and fleeting life is when you realize it is stitched together by moments. Decide to be your best self and life clicks into place.
Spring in all her vibrant and manic beauty has arrived! Spring knows how to make an entrance. She comes escorted by birdsong and bursting blooms, joy and relief. Birdsong heralds new life, blooms celebrate it, joy flows freely all around and who can’t help but feel relieved color and exuberance has returned to brighten the earth. Instead of just clicking a camera and paging through the photo, capture the joy and exuberance in your heart too and share it with someone. Life is, after all, about the pictures.
Happy Easter to those of you Dear Readers who celebrate. Our oldest daughter, Alyssa, could not come home for Easter this year and it was our first a part. In her honor, we decided to watch the 1964 Disney Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins was Alyssa’s favorite movie as a toddler. She would wake up and call out ‘P Poppins Mama!’ I would start the VCR and we would act out the movie together. When the tape finished, we rewound it and began the movie again. Tonight we had a gorgeous meal of rib roast, roasted potatoes, steamed asparagus, creamy, cheesy bean dish, Tsoureki and lemon meringue pie. I told Mia stories of how her sister and I danced around the house just as Mary and Bert do during the Step in Time routine and laughed as we reminisced. Holidays are for making and sharing memories and I hope yours are beautiful. Wishing you all happy times.
Easter is tomorrow and before I get hopping along, I thought I would share the simple meal we are having. You see, I flew in last night from visiting my parents in Arizona and by the time I got to bed it was four in the morning! I’m a bit sleepy and had lots to do. In between laundry loads I was mixing, chopping, sautéing, kneading and baking everything from onion dip to Tsoureki, the traditional Greek Easter bread that is a tradition in our home.
As the delicates tumbled and spun, two types of bread doughs were flavored, kneaded and later shaped and baked in what seemed an endless day of preparation for Easter. Apple turnovers for breakfast and bean dish, rib roast and potatoes with asparagus for dinner. The dessert is a bright and fresh treat of lemon meringue pie. Somewhere in between? Mai Tais with munchies and red wine. Happy Easter, Dear Readers.
Don’t Eat the Daffodils
Flowers are popping and bursting everywhere! It’s thrilling to see let alone feel the sunshine. After long months of cold and wet and clouds, spring has sprung. Hooray! As you know, Dear Readers, I believe in foraging from my surroundings but be careful because common spring blooms like hyacinth and foxglove and daffodil are poisonous so don’t eat the daffodils but go for the violets instead. Violets are blooming and besides being charming and yummy are good for you. Violets contain rutin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (mercola.com). Not bad for a delightful purple sweetie most people barely notice.
Spring Magnolia Blossoms
All around there are spring magnolia blossoms and I began to wonder if they are edible. It turns out Magnolia grandiflora are in fact, edible. I read up on it at eattheweeds.com. The petals are strong- tasting and may be pickled and the leaves may be used much the same way as as bay leaves.
I feel like I’m going crackers lately so I figure, do something about it! Make them and just be done with it! So I did. I for one enjoy a crunchy snack. I for two, prefer that crunchy snack be healthy, not always but usually. I thought I would share what I created today and hope all you Dear Readers enjoy.
One-Two Whole Wheat Crackers
yield: 1 zillion (give it take)
Into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade add:
2 cups whole wheat all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup oats bran
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
About 1/2 cup water
While the food processor is running, pour in the wet ingredients and process just until the dough comes together, less than 1’minute.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Briefly knead the dough until it comes together. Divide the dough into four or five portions. (This is just to make working with it a little easier.)
Preheat the oven to 375° and line 4 baking sheets with lightly greased parchment paper.
Roll each dough portion as thinly as possible. Use a pizza cutter to cut into whatever size crackers you like. Use a bench knife or a spatula to transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheets. Once all the crackers are cut out and placed onto the sheet, spray them lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with sea salt to taste. Bake the crackers until lightly golden, approximately 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Once the crackers or baked, turn off the heat and open the oven door about five minutes then shut the door and let the crackers remain in the oven as it cools. (This is to promote crispiness.) Store in an airtight container.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor