According to Forbes magazine, most of us are spending more than one-quarter of our working week just answering or dealing with email. And that’s just email. Then there are the text messages, the telephone calls, and the time spent on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, and LinkedIn…
When I have a really pressing task – especially if it’s also a HUGE, pressing task – I’m unbelievably industrious. Except that I’m not necessarily working on what I’m supposed to be working on. Continue reading “the fine and practical art of procrastination and a carrot cake”
Here, in the North American east, it’s been a brutal couple of months. Extreme cold, snowfall after snowfall, and high winds. We are heading into the tenth week of continuous winter. Most of us are getting a little fed up. Prickly, even. A bit like Schopenhauer’s porcupines. Continue reading “Schopenhauer’s porcupines and a root vegetable mash”
Even though I’m skeptical, I begin each day by reading my horoscope. I’m partial to… Continue reading “a little Carl Jung and a cranberry, apple, and almond tart”
Nobody memorizes poetry anymore.
Once upon a time, it was de rigeur and scholars young and old memorized and recited astonishingly complicated, lengthy poems –The Highway Man, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Tennyson’s Ulysses, and Coleridge’s Kubla Khan… “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, A stately pleasure-dome decree….” Continue reading “on memorizing poetry and an old-fashioned self-saucing baked butterscotch pudding”
It’s hard to imagine anything that smells more heavenly than freshly made gingerbread. Continue reading “gingerbread cookies”
Once again, I’m so far behind in holiday preparations that I’ve practically given up before I’ve even managed to get started. There’s no tree in my new house, no decorations up, no baking done, very few gifts organized, and only one card mailed (to my cousin in England). Despite the fact that I’m a Christmas minimalist – I need some serious help.
I’ve made several batches of this recipe – all variations on a theme. I think I have it perfected. I LOVE these cookies. They’re soft, chewy, and loaded with flavour, fibre and protein. They keep well and there are no strange ingredients. And as cookies go, these are healthy. Plus they are infinitely variable. You can add Reese’s pieces like I did here or chocolate chips or seasonal m&m’s or Smarties or just skip the chocolate altogether (WOT?!) and add raisins or cranberries or walnuts or pumpkin seeds. But really, don’t skip the dates – that hit of sweet, soft fruit works so perfectly in these cookies.
I don’t have to eat gluten-free but I’m trying to reduce wheat and gluten in my diet to keep my migraines under control. Amazingly, it’s working. But I’m having to learn a whole new way of baking.
I won’t go on but I wanted to include a couple of recent photographs, taken from the walking trail in my neighbourhood where I walk my dog, Lola, almost every day.
the marshland along the path where I watch for owls
trail through the naked woods
November sun glinting on Butternut Creek
and this is Lola on her bed (she likes the animal prints!)
best ever gluten-free oatmeal cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, coconut oil, or margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
- 4 cups quick cooking oats (use gluten-free here if required)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup chopped dates – I used Medjool dates because they’re SO good and worth every cent
- 1 cup mini Reese’s pieces
Beat together the butter (I used half coconut oil and half margarine) and the sugars. Add eggs, vanilla essence, and peanut butter. Beat until mixed.
Stir in the oatmeal and sea salt. Add the dates and chocolate.
Drop by the spoonful on buttered cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until browned. Remove cookies a wire rack to cool.
This week I made fig jam twice. The first time I made a tiny batch – a taste really – a single jar. Just for fun. I had some dried figs that I wanted to use and some gorgeous, incredibly sweet empire apples that tasted like candy apples. I was fancying fig jam on savoury sandwiches: fig jam and ham; bacon, lettuce, and fig jam; peanut butter and fig jam. In the end, I had a friend coming for lunch and I made roasted parsnip soup and then roast chicken, lettuce, and fig jam sandwiches on seed bread. Continue reading “mastering the art of fig jam”