Hindsight & Orecchiette with Cauliflower & Bacon

Banal as they may be, we use them all the time. Actions speak louder than words.You can’t judge a book by its cover. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Then there is my mother’s favorite – What goes around comes around. So why do we use these clichés? Is it possible that we’re not clever enough or eloquent enough to share our thoughts in a more original way? Or perhaps we can’t be bothered. Oh no, that can’t be true. Alright, let’s be generous. We all have a lot on our minds. These platitudes are a quick and easy way to send our message.

Now just to be contrarian, I’m going to argue with one of these platitudes. Whoever said hindsight is twenty-twenty didn’t grow up skiing in New Hampshire. The line could be defined as oops-I-got-that-one-wrong or oops-I-guess-I-should-have-done-more-research. It’s what you might say when you discover the property you bought online is not beachfront but – uh oh, is that an alligator? – a swamp. When it comes to childhood memories and February ski vacations, hindsight is definitely not twenty-twenty. In fact, I suspect that hindsight is blind or, at the very least, wears rose-colored glasses.

I don’t know about you but all my childhood winter vacations were good. Once Mom and Dad built the little weekend and vacation house near Pleasant Lake, they were perfect. If anything, February was better than Christmas week. The start of the ski season could be a little iffy but by mid-February, snow was plentiful. The sun shone every day and there were never any lift lines. Okay, maybe that last one is wishful thinking … if not an outright lie.

Anyway, year in and year out, February vacation was nothing short of wonderful. One year, it was even stupendous. Thanks to a couple of well-placed nor’easters, the break expanded. Instead of a much too short one-week vacation, we enjoyed three glorious weeks in the snow.

The trouble (although I’d hardly call it that) began five or six days before winter vacation was due to start. Gentle but persistent snow began falling Saturday night and continued through Sunday. To play it safe, we stayed put in New Hampshire. By Monday morning, more than a foot of snow had fallen. All of New Hampshire’s roads were clear by noon. Across the border, snow and abandoned cars clogged the roads for days. We weren’t snowed in New Hampshire but snowed out of Massachusetts.

Throughout the Commonwealth, schools and businesses were closed. It took at least three, maybe four days to dig out. By the time traffic was flowing, February vacation was more or less upon us. (I think we might have played hooky on the Friday. Hey, there was no need to drive all that way for one measly day of school.)

The vacation week was delightfully snowy but uneventful. There were no major storms or upsets, just sunshine and plenty of skiing. Then as if by a miracle, it started to snow early Sunday afternoon and showed no signs of slowing down. Using the recent debacle on Massachusetts highways as justification, we stayed safe and warm in our little house in the New Hampshire woods … and then spent another week on the slopes.

There is nothing like a Sunday nor’easter to make a skier smile. Bon appétit!

Orecchiette with Cauliflower & Bacon
A cozy après ski dish. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Olive oil
8 ounces thick cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 large cauliflower, cut in bite-sized florets
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch (or to taste) chili flakes and/or smoked paprika
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
16 ounces Orecchiette
Grated pecorino Romano cheese
Fresh, chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly coat a large, heavy skillet with olive oil and heat on medium. Add the bacon and sauté until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve.

Put the cauliflower in a large roasting pan, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and 3/4 of the bacon fat, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon thyme, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Roast the cauliflower at 375 degrees until tender, about 30 minutes.

While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the onion in the remaining bacon fat on medium until translucent. Add the garlic, sprinkle with the chili flakes and/or paprika and remaining thyme, season with salt and pepper and sauté 1-2 minutes more. Stir in the broth and wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and bacon to the skillet, toss to combine and set aside.

Can be made ahead to this point, cooled to room temperature, covered and refrigerated.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, less 1 minute. Saving 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta, add it to the vegetables and bacon and toss to combine.

If the pasta seems dry, add more or less pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low for 1 minute. (If you add too much water and the pasta is soupy, don’t worry. Uncover, raise the heat to high and simmer for 1 minute.)

Transfer the pasta to a serving platter or individual plates, sprinkle with pecorino Romano and chopped parsley. Pass more grated pecorino Romano for the cheese lovers.

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One Year Ago – Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad
Two Years Ago – Sausages with White Beans
Three Years Ago – Chocolate Panna Cotta
Four Years Ago – Turkey Scaloppini with Prosciutto & Sage
Five Years Ago – Cheese Fondue
Six Years Ago – Flatbread with Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions & Spinach
Seven Years Ago – Tuscan White Bean Soup
Eight Years Ago – Wild Mushroom Risotto
Nine Years Ago – Swimming Pool Jello

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What is your favorite winter Olympic event? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018

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Winter Olympics Weekend Special

Uh oh, I’m feeling a little achy, my throat is a little scratchy and my nose is stuffy. With any luck, it’s a blip. Without that luck, it could be a weekend on the sofa. Thank goodness, the Olympics are on. There will be plenty to watch.

Hopefully, your immune system is holding up better than mine. After all the Olympics are a terrific excuse for a watch party and delicious dinner with friends. Buffet or around the table, you choose. Either way, here are a few ideas for a tasty Olympic feast with a bit of Asian flair:

Let’s start with a tasty appetizer, maybe two. There couldn’t be a better time to give my Savory Korean Pancakes a try. Need more? Let everyone help themselves to a beautiful platter of fresh vegetables, Roasted Shrimp and Peanut-Sesame Dipping Sauce?

Start your dinner with a lovely salad. Can I suggest – Spicy Cucumber & Radish Salad or Thai Salad.

Now, for the main course. How about a delicious combination of Hoisin Pork Ribs with Quick Braised Asian Vegetables and Dandan Noodles.

Ready for dessert? Green tea or ginger ice cream and/or fresh fruit works. If you’d like to take it up a level, you might like to try my Ginger Crème Brûlée or Fresh Berries with Creamy Lime Custard. Neither is Korean or even Asian but both are delicious!

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!!

What’s up with you this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus!

Photo courtesy of  IOC Media © Dave Thompson/IOC. All content exclusive of IOC photo © Susan W. Nye, 2018 

Fun Facts – Winter Olympics Edition & Quick Braised Asian Vegetables

The Olympics trace their origin back to 776 BC in Olympia, Greece. The first celebration honored Zeus and featured only one athletic contest, a 600-foot run. Adding competitions along the way, the festival continued for almost twelve centuries. After a 1,503 year break, the modern Olympics debuted in Athens in 1896. Feeling a bit left out, snow and ice enthusiasts put together the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix in 1924.

A lot has changed since then. Sixteen nations competed in Chamonix; there will be ninety-two at PyeongChang. Nigeria is making history with two firsts at the Winter Olympics. Competing in the bobsled and skeleton, the team of three will be both the first Nigerians and the first women to represent Africa at a Winter Olympics. Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia and Singapore will also compete in their first Winter Games. Meanwhile, a doping scandal has banned Russia. Clean athletes can participate under the generic Olympic flag.

There will be a few new events at the PyeongChang Games taking it over the top with more than 100 medal events. When it comes to winter medals, you can’t beat Norway. In spite of its small population, just over five million people, little Norway has earned 329 winter medals. That’s more than any other country.

The estimated cost for the PyeongChang Games is a hefty $12.9 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a B. As impressive as the number is, it doesn’t compare to the cost of the Sochi Olympics, a whopping $51 billion. Only one city has had the audacity to reject the honor of hosting the Olympics. Denver won the bid for the 1976 Winter Games but, after looking at the price tag, the people of Colorado voted it down.

Athletes from the divided peninsula of North and South Korea will join forces for a joint Olympic team. They will march together under a unified flag in the opening ceremony. Athletes from both sides of the demilitarized zone will train together. The women’s hockey team will take it one step further and send a unified team out onto the ice. It is not the first time an Olympics has united a divided country. West and East Germany competed together in 1956, 1960 and 1964.

Fielding the largest winter team ever, the US is sending 242 Olympians to South Korea. These athletes hail from coast to coast and thirty-one different states. Four are from our very own New Hampshire. Four more are immigrants from Ghana, South Korea, England and Canada. The youngest member of Team USA is Vincent Zhou, one of six seventeen year olds and a figure skater. The oldest US Olympian, Brian Gionta, is still playing hockey at thirty-nine. Speaking of hockey, anyone who remembers the miracle on ice at Lake Placid in 1980, stay tuned. The National Hockey League will not break for the games so NHL players will not skate at PyeongChang.

The Olympics can be a family affair. Seven sets of US siblings will compete in PyeongChang. Twins Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux play hockey for the US while the Brandt sisters are on different teams. Hannah is a forward for the US and Marissa plays defense for the unified Korean team. Adopted and brought to the US at four months, Marissa will play under her birth name Park Yoon-Jung. Seven more athletes are following their parent’s footsteps, including skiing great Barbara Cochran’s son Ryan. Then there is the Caldwell cross-country ski dynasty. Patrick will be at PyeongChang, his father competed in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984 and grandfather in 1952.

Enjoy the games! Wishing all of our athletes the joy of victory and bon appétit!

Quick Braised Asian Vegetables
A great side dish for your Olympics viewing party. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Vegetable oil
8-12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon or to taste sriracha
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup chicken stock
About 1 1/2 pounds bok choy, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut in match sticks
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves

Lightly coat a large wok or skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium-high. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and reserve.

Add a little more oil to the skillet. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and sriracha and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce and chicken stock, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium-high, return the mushrooms to the pan, add the bok choy and bell pepper and toss to combine. Stirring frequently, cook until the vegetable are tender, 3-5 minutes.

Drizzle with sesame oil and toss to combine, garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve immediately.

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One Year Ago – Scrod Florentine
Two Years Ago – Lemon Risotto with Spinach & Herbs
Three Years Ago – Black Bean & Beef Chili
Four Years Ago – Coq au Vin
Five Years Ago – Crostini with Beef Tenderloin & Stilton
Six Years Ago – Flatbread with Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions & Spinach
Seven Years Ago – Lemon Cheesecake
Eight Years Ago – Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms
Nine Years Ago – Raviolis in Broth with Meatballs & Escarole

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What is your favorite winter Olympic event? Feel free to share!

Opening ceremony photography courtesy of www.olympic.org.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018

Show Me a Hero & Pa Jun – Savory Korean Pancakes

The Olympic Games are an amazing tradition. Since the first winter Olympics in Chamonix, they have been a mix of spectacle and pomp, grit and determination, joy and misery. Last week, I saw the movie I, Tonya. It’s about the Olympics and so much more. Although this dark comedy is laugh out loud funny, it is also a tragedy. Of all the Olympians who have come and gone, I’m guessing that none has more lasting name recognition than Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.

That got me to thinking. Hundreds of skiers, skaters, lugers and more have risen to the top of their game. Some have even climbed to the top of the podium while others have adorned a Wheaties box. But how many do we remember and for how long? For almost one hundred years, these stellar athletes have stirred our national pride and captured our hearts. Many hold our attention for a minute, some for a generation but few stay with us forever.

In this fast moving world, will our grandchildren and great grandchildren know the names Apollo Ohno and Shaun White? For that matter, before the movie, had we all but forgotten Tonya and Nancy?

Here are ten Olympians. How many do you recognize without sneaking a peak into Wikipedia? How many do your kids recognize?

Dick Button
Peggy Fleming
Dorothy Hamill
Eric Heiden
Charles Jewtraw
Kit Klein
Andrea Mead Lawrence
Phil Mahre
Penny Pitou
Picabo Street

At one time, these gold medalists appeared on the front page of every newspaper. They were the lead story on the evening news. Men admired them, women adored them and little girls with sparkly pink pads and pencils lined up for autographs. They were our heroes.

Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote these words in one of his notebooks in 1945. I won’t bet on it but I’m thinking Tonya’s story would have baffled F. Scott. Like many of his heroes, she was from the wrong side of the tracks. Raised in an abusive home out in Oregon, she was far removed from Fitzgerald’s world of gilded New York apartments and mansions on Long Island Sound.

Tonya loved to skate and was an exceptionally fierce and unconventional competitor. Defiant of the norms, she still wanted what we all want – love, respect and … why not … recognition and acclaim. Performing a perfect triple axel in 1991, the bad girl became a hero. But not for long. She didn’t just fall, she fell hard and lost it all. Tonya was remarkable athlete, an Olympian and a US champion but in the end, she became that saddest of fates, a punchline.

Wishing you the joy of continued victory and bon appétit!

Pa Jun – Savory Korean Pancakes
A delicious nibble to enjoy while watching the Olympics!
Serves 8

Spicy Korean Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup grated cabbage or coleslaw mix
1 carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 eggs
1/2-1 cup water
1/2 cup flour
Vegetable oil

Make the Spicy Korean Dipping Sauce (recipe follows) and set aside while you make the pancakes.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.

Put the vegetables in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Put the eggs and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the flour and continue whisking until smooth. If necessary, add more water.

Pour the batter over the vegetables, toss to combine and let everything sit for about 10 minutes.

Lightly coat a large skillet or griddle with oil and heat over medium.

Working in batches and adding more oil as necessary, place spoonfuls (a small ice cream scoop works well) of batter onto the griddle. Fry until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the pancakes on paper towels and keep warm in a 150 degree oven.

Serve immediately with Spicy Korean Dipping Sauce.

Spicy Korean Dipping Sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon or to taste Asian chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon or to taste toasted sesame oil

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

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One Year Ago – Spaghetti with Mushrooms & Bacon
Two Years Ago – Oven Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions & Garlic
Three Years Ago – Capellini with Lobster & Caviar
Four Years Ago – Sour Cream Cupcakes with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
Five Years Ago – White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis & Fresh Raspberries
Six Years Ago – Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets & Lentils
Seven Years Ago – Chicken Niçoise
Eight Years Ago – Greek Pizza
Nine Years Ago – Triple Threat Brownies

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What is your favorite winter Olympic event? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018

It’s Another Patriots Super Bowl Weekend Special

New Englanders are beside themselves with excitement. Tom Brady and the boys are in Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52! They’re going for number six … that’s six Super Bowl wins. It’s party time throughout the region. Football fans will be watching (and eating) in fancy screening rooms and ordinary family rooms. Man caves will be packed and, invited or not, women will be there in their number twelve jerseys.

Now for the spread … how about Italian? … because – who doesn’t love an Italian feast. Here are a few ideas for a delicious spread:

Let’s start with beautiful antipasto platters. To start, arrange some of your favorite cheeses, sliced sausages and prosciutto on a platter, add some fruit and a few nuts. Next, roast some of your favorite veggies. Think Cauliflower, Beets and Butternut Squash as well as Mushrooms, Leeks, Shallots & Pearl Onions. If you like, add a small pitcher of Balsamic Reduction Finally, fill a basket with artisanal crackers, toasted baguette slices and a few breadsticks and invite your friends to make their own crostini.

Enjoy your favorite pasta at halftime. Now you can keep it simple and toss up a big batch of Penne alla Vodka. (Hint: make the sauce in advance.) Or take the make ahead route with Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Bake or everyone’s favorite Four Cheese Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach. Serve the pasta with a colorful Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad.

For dessert? How about a cupcake? Of course you’ll want to bake one with a white frosting … so you can add a few drops of food color to celebrate your favorite team. You might like my Sour Cream Cupcakes with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting. Not enough chocolate? Well, then give my Double Trouble Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes a try. Too much, then maybe you’d like my favorite Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Touch down and bon appétit!

For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!!

What’s up with you this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2018

The Super Bowl LII logo is a trademark of the National Football League.  

Winter Carnival & Penne alla Vodka

It’s that time of year again. We hold our breath and do our sun dance. Okay, we do that more or less every day but this time with a purpose. It’s Winter Carnival in small towns and at colleges throughout the northeast. Midwinter festivities aren’t just popular here; you’ll find them around the world. Mardi Gras, Karneval, Fasnacht and Carnaval are celebrated right before Lent. Perhaps our wintery celebrations are somehow connected. Then again, maybe these northeast revelries are nothing more than an excuse to ski, skate and drink too much beer.

About the beer, Winter Carnival makes me think of my college days. That said, I’m not altogether certain we had one at St. Lawrence. Way up there just a few miles from the Canadian border, it makes sense that we did. Then again, I might have only seen Winter Carnival in a movie. I can just picture it – watching the movie that is. I’m probably thirteen or fourteen. Outside it should be snowing, but instead, it’s raining or twenty below zero. Inside, I’m cuddled up on the sofa in front of an ancient black and white film. Attractive boys in letter sweaters run around in the snow and flirt with pretty girls. At some point someone shouts, “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” or “let’s build an ice sculpture” or “climb Moose Mountain” or something like that.

There actually is a movie called Winter Carnival. It takes place up the road in Hanover at Dartmouth College. It seems that F. Scott Fitzgerald was involved but his name does not appear in the credits. Legend has it that F. Scott was falling down drunk before filming even began. Irritated, the producer kicked the Princeton dropout out of Hanover. Or maybe it was the police. When I was at St. Lawrence, I wrote a paper on Zelda Fitzgerald. From the little I remember of my research, F. Scott on a bender sounds more than plausible.

Anyway, the movie did get made in 1939. That’s the same year as The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. Unlike Scarlett, Rhett, Dorothy and her pals, Winter Carnival was not received with acclaim and wild applause. In the words of critic Leonard Maltin, Winter Carnival was contrived romance. Even Ann Sheridan in the lead couldn’t save it. That’s saying something since she was the girl with the most oomph that same year. Perhaps she forgot the oomph when she packed her bags for Hanover.

After reading the plot synopsis, it’s possible, even likely that I did indeed see the movie. I watched a lot of old movies on rainy afternoons when I was a kid. I also took a film course in college but I don’t think I would have seen it then. The professor mostly stuck with noteworthy films not harmless, easily forgotten froth.

Winter Carnival in our little town is family-friendly. Attractive boys in letter sweaters will not guzzle beer on the town green. A beautiful girl in an evening gown will not be named Queen of the Snows. Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that our chief of police will kick a once-famous novelist out of town. We’ll have to settle for dog sleds, ice fishing and snowshoeing. And don’t forget dinner on the green, fireworks and s’mores.

Have fun in the snow and bon appétit!

Penne alla Vodka

 

Invented in Rome in the 1960’s, Penne alla Vodka is a delightfully retro dish. It seems like the kind of a recipe that hungry boys in letter sweaters would like. With or without a pack of fraternity boys, it’s perfect for a weekend filled with outdoor activities. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Olive Oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
Pinch or to taste crushed red pepper (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup) plus more for passing
2 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
1 pound penne
Fresh chopped basil and/or parsley

Set a large pot of salted water on the heat to boil.

Lightly coat a saucepan with olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot, sprinkle with herbs and pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes more.

Add the crushed tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Optional: Let the sauce cool slightly, remove the bay leaf, transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan.

Cook the penne in rapidly boiling water according to package directions less 1 minute.

While the penne cooks, add the vodka to the sauce and continue to simmer on very low. When the pasta is just about ready, whisk the cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter into the sauce. Continue to simmer and whisk until the cheese and butter have melted and the sauce is piping hot.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot, add enough Vodka Sauce to generously coat and toss to combine. Cover and simmer on low for 1 minute.

Transfer the pasta to a large, deep serving platter or individual shallow bowls, sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve. Have more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano ready to pass to the cheese lovers.

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One Year Ago – Oven Braised Chicken Cacciatore
Two Years Ago – Poverty Casserole
Three Years Ago – Roasted Cauliflower
Four Years Ago – Savory Blinis
Five Years Ago – Lettuce Cups with Shrimp & Noodles
Six Years Ago – Caribbean Black Beans
Seven Years Ago – Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower & Bacon
eight Years Ago – Chocolate Mousse
Nine Years Ago – Shrimp & Feta

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

Do you have a winter carnival story? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018

Weekend Special – Coffee? Tea? Please Join Me

At a certain point, no matter how young or energetic, we all need to slow down. I think I’m rapidly approaching that point. The roller coaster of cold, thaw, rain, snow, more cold, more rain and another thaw has not helped. It’s time for a lazy morning or afternoon or both.

Call up a pal and invite him or her over for coffee or tea. Keep it simple. It’s all about the company. Light a fire, set out a basket of muffins or a plate of cookies and enjoy a good long chat. While I find baking relaxing, particularly the simple stuff like homey muffins and cookies, sometime you just want to curl up in a big armchair. So, a little hint here – a few times a year, I bake a double batch and freeze them.

Here are some of my favorite muffins –

Applesauce Muffins

Zucchini Muffins

Very Ginger Gingerbread Muffins

And some cozy cookies –

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut-y Chocolate Chip Cookies

Root ’n’ Tooty Good ’n’ Fruity Oatmeal Cookies

So brew  a pot of your favorite coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy. For a special treat, you might like to try my Spiced Chai.

Relax and bon appétit!

For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!!

How will you celebrate the New Year? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2018