Tag Archive | so simple so delicious

A Sunny Day

I’m as grateful for a sunny day as for a cloudy day. I’m grateful for any day I wake up alive, especially if I get to enjoy it without much pain, as I did today. I’m grateful for a zoom meeting with graduates of the Mindfulness Foundations Course I teach, where we meditated together and then talked about what challenges and successes we’ve had recently in our practice of living with more awareness, a more open heart, and a healthier perspective on our lives; in short, each of us expressing gratitude for how the practice of mindfulness has helped us experience less mental and emotional suffering, and even made physical pain more bearable. Next course starts January 5, enroll now or tell a friend!

I’m grateful as always for Zoom Cooking with Amy. Tonight we made an extremely simple onion tart she found on Instagram. Roll and cut the puff pastry into six rectangles poke it all over with a fork. Slice a red onion in quarter-inch slices, and place them on a parchment sprayed with cooking oil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with the docked puff pastry. Bake at 375℉ for 20 minutes.

When they’re golden, flip with a spatula onto a serving dish, add thinly sliced Cambozola (I used Gorgonzola because it’s what I had, Amy used Brie), and as it melts onto the hot tart, drizzle with hot honey. Hot both ways: microwave the honey for 15-20 seconds to loosen it, then add pepper. I made the recipe with a quarter cup honey and half a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper. Next time I’ll add more heat. I’m grateful for another day well lived.

Breakfast for Dinner

I’m trying to improve my dietary habits a little at a time, like oatmeal for breakfast, and more walnuts. But it’s hard, since I have an ever-growing stack of recipes I want to try, like these maple-pecan scones. So simple, so delicious! Mix a few dry ingredients in one bowl, a few wet ingredients in another bowl, toast and chop some pecans, grate some frozen butter. I made it even easier by using maple cream instead of mixing a glaze from maple syrup and icing sugar. Somehow, I’d never had maple cream before: it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted! It’s just pure maple syrup distilled into silken heaven.

I did have oatmeal for breakfast again, and a healthy lunch of salad and soup, and then a scone for dessert. After my feast, Wren did a few tricks just in case I might have a treat for her. And after a day of good and meaningful work, it was time to eat again. I’m grateful for three meals a day when I want that many, and for all the causes and conditions that lead to having clean, healthy, and nutritious food in my home.

For dinner I made The Bear omelette, and while my omelette cooking skills can improve this was a good start. There’s all this fancy technique, from whisking the eggs through a strainer into a bowl, and “constantly stir[ing] the eggs while gently jerking the pan back and forth.” I stirred a little too long to get a good fold but it still tasted great, and was definitely fluffier and lighter than the last omelette I made twenty years ago. The quirkiest part of this dish is the sour cream and onion potato chips crushed over the top. I’m grateful for breakfast for dinner.


The precious clippers and the dozens of other adorable whimsy pieces made this, like all Liberty puzzles, a delight to assemble.

I’m grateful for this lovely puzzle that brightened the past three dark and snowy days, Indoor Summer Garden by Jenny Wheatley.

I’ve never been an oatmeal-for-breakfast person, but in my quest to eat more healthfully I decided a month ago that I’d try again, and I began to imagine a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and maple syrup. Then I started looking for the oats that I was sure were in the cupboard or pantry somewhere. Not to be hasty, I opted to keep looking for my oats rather than surrender to purchasing another canister. So I double and triple checked the cupboards, and over a couple of weeks in several installments sorted and culled the pantry. Still couldn’t find the oats, so I bought a new bag of Bob’s Red Mill organic oats. Finally I could live the dream! And honestly, it’s been every bit as satisfying as I imagined it would be. I add a tablespoon of protein powder and a teaspoon of maple syrup, and feel ever so virtuous eating oats instead of croissants for breakfast. I’m grateful for oatmeal.

Feeling Useful

Wren likes a belly rub first thing in the morning…

I am grateful for feeling useful today. I got a lot of things done, taking care of myself in several important ways from completing important paperwork to cooking a delicious (adapted) wild rice soup, with several short walks outside in between; getting some work done to meet a deadline; helping others in some meaningful ways…

… and finishing a spontaneous knit hat I started a few days ago when I ran out of Sugar and Cream scrap yarn for dish cloths. I used up some other lovely yarn ends, including a sage chenille and two gorgeous handspun wools. I was able to keep going all day for two reasons I can think of, besides being useful: I enjoyed oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast, and I threw in some full caff beans with my decaf coffee. It’s hard to know (and it doesn’t matter) whether any one of these factors was more important than others: together, they contributed to a very fulfilling day. So simple, so satisfactory: Feeling useful, just being me.

Gilding the Lily

I was grateful to learn that we can order four more free Covid tests to restock the cupboard for winter here. But a little disappointed to notice that the most recent free tests ordered last month actually expired in August. So a snarky no wonder crept into my thoughts: no wonder they’re giving away more tests, they can’t sell expired tests. However, extended expiration dates for all lots of all available tests (and there are a lot!) can be found here, and I’m grateful I had the bright idea to look up the four lots of tests I have stashed, and add the revised expiration date in red on each box, so I don’t have to look it up again later. One box was so old it wasn’t even listed, so I threw that one away. I have a few months remaining on even the oldest box left.

I’m grateful for a simple, delicious breakfast: Brie-butter spread on toast with a dollop of apricot jam. Double gilding the lily! It feels rich and decadent, and I know that not everyone in the world or in the country or even in this state can afford it, so I’m doubly grateful that I can. And, even so, in dollars and cents it’s not that costly. A tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of brie, a tablespoon of homemade apricot jam, and a slice of homemade bread. Altogether this piece of toast probably cost around a dollar, plus some quality time spent harvesting, cooking, canning, and baking. It’s my fervent hope that anyone reading this is able to afford to treat themself to fifteen minutes of indulgence in the morning with an equally scrumptious delicacy; and further, that they make the time to do so.

And who was waiting patiently in the sunny windowsill for Last Bite?

Wren and Food

Wren and food, Wren and food… the themes may get old to some, but they don’t to me. I am always grateful for this surprising little bundle of cuteness and laughter that found her way to me when I needed her, and I’m always grateful for delicious food. I’m grateful that at my age I have finally settled into a comfortable, efficient flow of providing myself (and now Wren) with mostly healthy food without the old stress and struggle that used to accompany eating.

Yesterday’s simple cheese sandwich included Havarti, B&B pickles, mayo, and lettuce.

There were many years during which I ate only because I had to to keep going; I didn’t pay much attention to what I ate, and often found myself just shoving some sort of food in my face at the last minute, often junk food. Ok, yes, I still eat a bit of junk food, like these ‘natural’ cheetos and goldfish amended with poison fish spices, and usually a small bowl of dark chocolate M&Ms after lunch; but otherwise, I eat pretty well in general. This is a pretty big accomplishment for me, but no need to go into all the reasons that’s so. And the main reason I’ve been able to learn how to feed myself is slowing down with mindfulness practice, and discerning where to place my attention.

Wren accepts my leaving her on the chair when I must return to the desk…

I’m grateful for my little bonsai-lunch table in the sunroom. I intended to have a dining table in there for many years before I finally managed to arrange the space to accommodate one. I still only get a small wedge of it to myself but it’s sufficient to my needs: placemat, plate, glass, and kindle. It’s a joy to eat breakfast or lunch in there among the plants and colors in cold or windy weather, whether or not the sun is shining. Today’s cheese sandwich included cheddar, lettuce, dill pickle relish, mayo and tomato chutney.

And tonight’s snack was leftover deep-fried cauliflower with a quick Hoisin-based dipping sauce. Last night, with leftover oil in the fryer from the artichoke hearts, I made crispy cauliflower with honey and hot pepper, drizzling it with delicious Tupelo honey sent to me by a dear friend in Florida with a secret source, and sprinkled the fried florets with homemade paprika. As sometimes happens, I ate it too fast to take a picture. My life is simple these days, and I am content: I’m grateful every day for Wren and food.


I probably eat too much of it. But I think I’d die without it. I’m grateful for another cheese sandwich today, using fromage fort, crunchy romaine, and Sandra’s tomato chutney on sourdough toast. So simple, so delicious! I’m grateful for so much today, including the chutney, the opportunity to help a dear teacher with a technical challenge, time to work on my own podcast, and a sense of security knowing I have a generous friend driving me to another Mohs surgery tomorrow and a community that steps up to support me. And I’m also grateful for cheese in all its many flavors and forms. There will be a Brie-and-Butter spread coming soon in my kitchen!

Living Inside the Kaleidoscope

I was grateful to wake this morning to a few inches of snow, especially knowing it means a lot of snow in the mountain reservoir: an auspicious beginning to our essential snowpack. The deer were grateful for leaves lowered within browsing range by heavy snow. Morning coffee was naturally enjoyed indoors, with a little beggar hoping for a nut from my trail mix cookie. Even Topaz didn’t want to go outside.

I was grateful to see that the dough I let rise overnight formed into a perfect ball when I took it out of the bowl to proof it. I was even more grateful to see the perfect loaf that baked in the cast iron dutch oven. While the bread rose and baked, I was grateful for some loving connection with friends and family over phone and zoom, cozy in my warm home with the little animals and the fire in the woodstove, the scent of baking bread…

The zoom call with Catherine Ingram was especially comforting, finding commonality with others around the globe who are all heartsick over the conditions of power, war, violence, and cruelty rising like a brewing storm. Catherine quoted Kierkegaard in cautioning us to not be ‘tranquilized by the trivial,’ and advised that sometimes the most we can do is simply to “be a light in our own lives – and that starts with being a light in yourself.” There was so much more, and I’ll share the link to the podcast when the conversation is edited and published.

This might be the most beautiful loaf ever! And certainly it was delicious. Naturally I had bread for lunch: the warm heel with butter and some fromage fort that I whipped up with the last bits of some cheddar, havarti, smoked gouda, and mozzarella. So simple, so delicious! For dessert, not surprisingly, I enjoyed a piece of toast with apricot jam. So decadent!

Much of the snow melted during the afternoon, and evening brought a partial clearing of the skies. Then in the span of half an hour the view of Needle Rock went from this…

to this, as setting sun cast its apricot glow on another shower:

I’m grateful for living inside the kaleidoscope.

Real Food

Blessed rain came after midnight, dressing the high country in snow. It’s rained down here off and on all day, deepening snow cover in the mountains all the while.

I indulged in a decaf vanilla latté with French toast made from the heel of the last sourdough loaf, topped with yogurt, apricot jam, and pure maple syrup. I’m grateful for real food, even if some of it is sugar. But that’s not foaming milk above, that’s how I clean the milk frother after frothing milk: a small squirt of dish soap and warm water and press go. Then just shake and rinse, air dry, and it’s ready for the next time.

The maple syrup jug slipped a little as I poured it on…

I’ve waited awhile for this syrup. I usually buy a gallon at a time and it lasts me around a year, I think, though I haven’t really kept track. Neighbor Mary turned me onto this wonderful Vermont company and I’ve been buying maple syrup from them for years now. I like to wait til it’s on sale, but this summer I’d run out and they offered a ‘Generosity Bottle‘ to benefit people who suffered losses during torrential floods in the state last July. One hundred percent of profits from these bottles go to flood relief. I hope it’s enough to tide me over until their winter sale. Today was my first taste in months.

I did some work after breakfast and before I knew it it was time for lunch. I mixed the glaze from last night with a little mayo and dolloped it onto the remaining six salmon cupcakes. What a delicious, nutritious, and filling lunch!

After lunch it hailed outside briefly, before going back to rain. I worked some more, read a little, built a small fire in the woodstove, mixed some Trail Mix cookies, and started a new loaf of bread. I’m grateful to have enjoyed a cold, rainy Saturday. Next thing I knew it was time for dinner. I tossed a healthy salad and garnished it with my share of the cauliflower harvest.

When I posted the other day about the dangers of highly processed food-not-food to individual, societal, and planetary health, the irony wasn’t lost on me that my plate contained processed cheese puffs and a commercially baked bun, as well as numerous dyes on the M&Ms. It got me thinking about cleaning up my own eating habits, which are already better than many, living in this valley of abundant organic fresh produce and ethically raised animals for meat, supplemented by my own garden. I’m grateful for Real Food, which is a value I’m going to pay more attention to going forward.

That Kind of Friend

Another sunny day! Another lunch outside, and more hours to winterize the yarden, draining more hoses, storing plant pots, tidying garden tools. Each ‘last sunny day’ a respite before the strongly predicted storm due to arrive now in about three hours. We’ll know more later!

The aspen has lost all her leaves, but the crabapple still clings to color. I’m grateful for the small display of deciduous trees in the yard, and sometimes wish I’d planted more. I was limited by how much water I had for them, but now that they are all established maybe I can add another one… or two… in spring. A sour cherry, and a red maple, those are my dream trees.

I’m grateful for another delicious zoom cooking with Amy. I can no longer recall which of us spotted this recipe on Instagram, but Amy tracked it down so we could read it easily and then alerted me this afternoon that the salmon had to marinate for at least an hour and the rice had to be completely cooled. I got those things done just in time to get online with her for assembly and cooking, and then we sat down to enjoy our meal.

Nori squares, sushi rice, and salmon marinated in soy sauce, honey, hot sauce, ginger and some other yummies, all tucked into muffin cups and baked hot for fifteen minutes; then glazed with another delicious concoction and served hot and crispy, sweet and sour and salty, crunchy and sticky and soft. I will definitely be making these again!

Shortly after we toasted our salmon ‘muffins,’ she got a call from a friend who needed an urgent ride to the emergency vet for a badly injured dog. Amy is just the kind of friend you need in a situation like that. She didn’t bat an eye. She explained, and I said “Bye!” and ended the zoom. I’m grateful for that kind of friend whether mine or someone else’s; we all need them. And I’m grateful that you’re the kind of friend who is now worried about a dog you’ve never met, so I’m glad to tell you that though it was ghastly it was only a flesh wound, and Boone is going to be fine with some stitches and a night or two in the hospital.