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Showing posts from June, 2011

Charbroiled Chicken from SIMPLY FRENCH

The first cookbook I bought by Patricia Wells was Bistro Cooking, which I adored and used to make goat cheese dip and steak frites. Somewhere along the way, during this same period (late 80s) I bought another of her books, SIMPLY FRENCH: PATRICIA WELLS PRESENTS THE CUISINE OF JOEL ROBUCHON. 
During the heyday of these books, French bistro cooking was all the rage and Patricia Wells was making a name for herself as one of the best cookbook authors of this segment of the genre.
At the time, I was living in New York and her books appealed to two of my requirements, 1) that the food was accessible, easy, and tasty, and 2) I was in love with all things French. It was during this period that I first read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast (still one of my favorite books) and made my first trip to Paris. 
Ironically, though in keeping with many of the cookbooks that I bought during this period of my life, though I collected all the latest trends in cookbooks, my experience with the actual book wa…

Gratitude: When the Going Gets Tough, Say Thanks

Things have been difficult for the past four weeks as Mom suffers through post-shingles pain that has been so relentless that even the two different painkillers she's been prescribed haven't made a dent in pain relief.

Yesterday, we thought we'd turned a corner. Mom got up feeling great and we celebrated by running out to Home Depot and then Sundance, our local nursery, to buy a few plants for the front garden. This morning she was still feeling well and spent the day reading. But by afternoon, the pain had returned like a tsunami and it seemed that once again the painkillers were having no effect.

During setbacks like these, it's easy to get discouraged and to believe that things will never improve. And as much as I'd like to crawl into bed and pull up the covers, I've found that the best remedy is actually to give thanks.

As counterintuitive as that might sound, it works. Somehow it puts things into perspective, reminds us that not all is lost, that things w…

Carrot Yogurt Soup

My love affair with soup continues. This week I made a carrot yogurt soup adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure - Book Two by Anna Thomas, a wonderful cookbook published in 1978 that I picked up at our local thrift store.

The spine of the book is broken, some of the pages are loose, and there are slips of paper tucked between the pages or 'good one' written in the margins to mark a favorite recipe. The fact that it was well-used was a recommendation in itself. This classic vegetarian cookbook presents recipes that are accessible, but rich and comforting...think Julia gone vegetarian and living in Southern California in the seventies, or Alice Waters, for that matter.

I am inspired by soups because they are a very efficient delivery method for vegetables, which I never get enough of in my diet. Carrot soup is something I've never tried before...and one thing I love about cooking is challenging myself to try new flavors and ingredients. Best of all, once you've made a bat…

Taking Myself to Task: Excel Spreadsheets for Procrastinators


As I've documented in many, many posts, I have more clever ways to procrastinate than just about anyone. Which means that if I want to get anything done, consistently, I need to figure out a way to hold myself accountable.

Which is when I came up with this Excel spreadsheet.

Yes, it's crude and lacking both in sophistication and beauty. But it gets the job done. Since I began using it last month, my productivity has increased in every area. And when I slack off, I can see where and how long it's lasted.

Creating the spreadsheet was simple. On one axis I listed the days of the week. On the other, I listed the activities that currently meant the most to me, things that would improve my life if practiced consistently.  These included: exercise, writing, and reading. Each day, as I spend time on a different task, I color …

Gazpacho 2011

Every year I post my gazpacho recipe on this blog. It has become for me, a signal that summer is here. Every year the end-result is a little different, depending on what recipe I've consulted. This year, I didn't consult any recipes and just went with what I had in the vegetable drawer and the pantry...which worked out beautifully.

While adhering to most of the classic ingredients, essentially the soup becomes a chilled tomato-based, fresh vegetable soup.

Making the soup is incredibly easy. And since it doesn't involve a hot oven or stove, it's perfect for the hot days we've been experiencing lately.

Just a few steps and you're done:

Fine chop the vegetables in a food processor and then place in a large bowl. 
Pour V-8 juice over the chopped veggies in the bowl. 
Begin to layer the flavors with white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, a splash of hot sauce, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a healthy pinch of kosher salt. Keep adjusting the flavors un…

The Unfortunate Consequences of Henry's Indoor Pool

Another beautiful morning in Evergreen.  We begin with a walk around the neighborhood.  

Followed by a refreshing dip in the indoor pool. 

A quick little towel off.


...this is why I'll be buying a kiddie pool today.

Have a great weekend!

Henry's Indoor Pool

This morning after our morning walk, as I was brushing my teeth, Henry came into the bathroom and stood by the bathtub. This is his signal that he wants me to turn on the cold water tap so that he can get a drink of water.

So I turned on the water and went back to my morning routine.

A moment later I turned back and saw that my darling Henry had decided that my tub could be HIS spa!

This may be the clearest indication that the kiddie pool I've been considering may have to become a reality this weekend. Henry obviously needs a place to cool down.

Hang in there Henry....

Editing My Novel Again: The Joy of Revision-ing

Lately I've been revising what will be my second novel, A MAP OF HEAVEN. This novel has rich significance to me because it is the first novel I wrote after my father passed away eleven years ago and because, to this day, it remains my favorite novel. It's also a book that I've revised and sent out several times over the years, always to no avail.

Last month, when I unpacked one of the many bound versions I had packed away in storage, I hadn't looked at the manuscript in over five years. In fact, because I've gone through so many computers in that time, I found out that I didn't even have a complete version of my longest draft of the novel on my hard drive.

This means that my revision process has entailed working from one version I have on my hard drive, while referring to a printed version that is twice as long, trying to figure out what has been left out and needs to be added back in from one page to the next. Oh and I've decided to change the POV from …

Sunday's To Do List

photo credit:

It's a another beautiful, partly-cloudy day here in Evergreen. I am oh so thankful for that overcast sky because it's shading us from the very hot weather they're expecting down in Denver today.
Breakfast has been made, the kitchen cleaned, now it's on to the rest of my list. I've got things to do... Making a new batch of Henry's Heart Shaped Dog Treats
Spending an hour with A MAP OF HEAVEN
Updating my Author's Page on
Put patio furniture on deck
Adding finishing touches to the first gazpacho of the summer. Recipe and photos will be posted later this week.
Addressing invites to Mom's July birthday party
Writing two blog posts discussing my thoughts on editing MAP and my annual gazpacho recipe.
Watering plants.Am trying not to remember that this is supposed to be a day of rest. Have a great week!