Sweet sixteen

Being the mother of a sixteen year old does feel sweet. It is a time to celebrate the glory of your child. It is a time to sit back in wonder at the person that has grown up before you. Sixteen years of tremendous accomplishment have led us to this moment. To this sweet moment. Happy birthday, sweet Ava.

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A Little Soupy

Perhaps it is a sign of old age. Or perhaps it is my appreciation for the perfect simplicity of it all. One bowl full of all the right things to be enjoyed and savored spoonful after spoonful. Whatever the case, I love soup. All kinds. The simpler, usually the better. Spicy, savory, sweet, pureed, creamy, chunky, hot or chilled — I like it all. Yesterday I was enjoying my last holiday lunch in the tropics. What could better than sitting down to a lunch of perfect chilled soup feet from the crystal blue sea? Answer: sitting down to a lunch of TWO perfect chilled soups feet from the crystal blue sea! Who could resist these? Each bowl was so bright and cheery in its own way; but, together, they made me smile.

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Cold Cucumber Mint and Watermelon Soups. The crystal blue sea in front of me was the ultimate backdrop for these two gorgeous bowls of chilled soup. Visit www.younourish.com to find a unique selection of soup, salad, snack, and large serving bowls.

 

Snack time

Memories of my Montessori classroom are fondly recalled, having been stashed away for many decades now. Scents, sounds, rituals, puzzles, everything low to the ground — I loved it all. Punctuating the morning was snack time, always served at small tables, with small chairs, and on small plates. I still like this break. Although time has rendered me unable to sit at a small table, in a small chair, I do serve my snack on a small plate. A little connection to the past sprinkled with a bit of now is satisfying.

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Morning snacks taste a little better when served on these adorable Celebration Stars Small Plates. Visit http://www.younourish.com to find out more

Thumbprints

These little sweeties were a one-bowl cinch. An added bonus was that they required no electric mixing equipment. The whole mixture came together using the kitchen’s best tools — les mains. Whole wheat flour, almond flour, butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder, and jam. After ten minutes baking, these shiny morsels emerge needing only a brief cooling. The filling possibilities are endless… chocolate (duh!), spicy jam, peanut butter/jelly, marshmallow, nuts, nonpareils, hazelnut spread, I could go on and on…

3 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup sugar
21 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature
large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
Scant 3/4 cup your choice of jam

Generous tablespoons of the dough are baked at 400 once a scant teaspoon of jam fills the thumbprint.

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Colorful thumbprints look perfectly at home on Rainbow Herbal Small Plates.
Visit www.younourish.com to find out more.

Neighborhood “friends”

I am no stranger to raccoon trash bandits. I became most familiar with these furry fiends a few years ago when a nursing mommy raccoon was visiting my cans for meals. My office chair is not far from the door that leads out to the trash area at my house. I often was startled by the sound of the trash can top slamming down — a sure sign that mama had made her way into the buffet. I would wait and watch her little black hands reach up and out of the can, and very slightly lift the top to make sure the coast was clear before her departure. She became also familiar with me as I regularly shooed her away. Unfortunately, mama coon must have mis-took my shooing for a welcome because she only ever walked toward me when I spoke at her. After a season she disappeared and others would follow.

This rainy morning I was startled once again as I sat at my desk. The familiar sound of the trash can top had taken my attention away from the morning’s news. I waited and watched through the window to once again see those little black hands reach up and out of the can. I waited. And waited. Nothing. I opened the outside door, looked at the can, and slightly moved it with my foot. Seemed empty to me…but I was not going to make sure! Sitting back down at  my desk, I began to hear a strange, almost cooing sound. I soon realized the sound was not cooing (I thought it might have been a dove bird) but rather a crying/distress sound. I made my way back to the trash can and bravely lifted the top. There siting at the very bottom of a big, empty trash can was a juvenile raccoon. I told it not to worry and that I would help. Then the raccoon jumped on it hind legs, front legs raised over its head and let me know it was very frightened. I figured this out from the snarling, growling, and a quick look at some sharp nails. I was back inside the house in a flash.

Gathering myself, I went back outside and gingerly tilted the large can over until if fell on its side. My little raccoon friend quickly ran to find safety. It was very scared and quite young. I got myself back inside the house quickly and watched the small fuzzy varmint until it disappeared over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. Well, it probably worked up an appetite.

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This is mama raccoon — unlike my recent visitor, she never had trouble with her exit.

 

Falling leaves

The change of seasons is always exciting for me. I think of it as a restart, of sorts. The change also inspires. I like to bring the outdoors in. My favorite place to mirror my appreciation for the glory happening outside is on my dining table. A simple golden leaf napkin ring not only brings shine and a bit of glamour to the table, but it also celebrates the season and nature’s perfection.

Visit www.younourish.com to find these gorgeous napkin rings. Bring a little bit of brilliant autumn to the table.

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The succulents pictured above have been content inhabitants of my backyard for quite a few years now. I have done very little to help them thrive as they have…through blizzards and heat waves. They give meaning to the word hearty!

Rainbow meal

Weeknight dinnertime is often conceptualized quickly, without too much thought; most often, built upon whatever ingredients are available in the fridge. Kind of like a homespun Chopped! To my delight, a meal I recently delivered to my family seemed to check all the color boxes. I had prepared a rainbow meal without a deliberate plan of doing so. According to science, eating a wide mix of colorful foods provides the body with an optimum variety of vitamins and minerals required for a healthy diet.

Baked line-caught salmon with creamy herb topping, herbed tomatoes and crisped lemon slivers; simple escarole salad with homemade herb dressing; and, baked sweet potatoes with ginger, scallions and honey/brown sugar glaze. What is not pictured is the blueberry/blackberry cobbler that was cooling on the back counter… I even got blue in there!

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Rainbow color gradient mesh background Trendy style Vector illustration