basil pistachio pesto

At some point, around the middle of last week, I felt like I should start carving marks in the kitchen wall for each day I managed not to quit Weight Watchers. It felt so much more challenging than when I gave it a go twelve years ago. Then I reconciled within myself that this will be a marathon, not a sprint. Life is just busier now than it was then, but I’m not as physically busy as I was then. Moving away from city life the past year has meant that I need to actually work at being active. Before it was a given. I walked most places, even on the coldest, slushiest of winter days. Continue reading »

somewhere in the middle

After two weeks of settling into life in Maryland, we’re back upstate. I signed the girls up for camp here before I found the apartment, and so we returned a little earlier than I would’ve preferred. We all seem to be finding our footing up here again, and are eager to go back to sowing the seeds we began planting in Bethesda. I have some theories about this, but since clarity is a commodity I’m still in search of, I’ll continue to mull them over for the time being. Continue reading »

peanut butter & banana smoothie

This has been our view the last few days. Our new home in Maryland is in a full-service building, and this pool is one of the perks of living there. I’ve never felt humidity like this before, and while I have dreams about taking in all D.C. has to offer, lugging two kids around in the heat is far from my idea of fun. For now, I’m quite content to let them frolic in the cool water while I take cover under the shade of the trees. By day four Isabella joked that I was a vampire. Sorry kid, mama is just not a summer person. Give me spring and fall, and even winter with all its snow. I’d rather bundle up than have to shed layers for refuge.

I do love what summer rewards us with, though. I baked up my first blueberry pie of the season for my guy this past father’s day. And just this morning, I made a batch of blueberry-cherry conserves. I’ve been meaning to write more about conserves, for like, four years now. I got hot and heavy with them in the months just before M passed away, inspired by this recipe in Bon Appetit. One of the recipes I’ve yet to share is for apricot & lemon thyme conserves. It’s one of the last recipes recorded in my journal before August 7, 2011. I have a few of those recipes, the last ones he ever tasted, that I’m reluctant to let go. Part of me feels like those recipes keep him alive in some odd way. Continue reading »

strawberries, finally!

Watching everything come alive these last few weeks has been incredible after the long, cold, and snowy winter. Last week local strawberries finally made their debut up here. They were a sight for sore, fruit deprived eyes, after months of nothing but apples (the closest we get to local fruit during the winter months since they can be put into cold storage). Luckily I had exact change, as the farm stand had just an honor box, and no way to make change, to pay for the two quarts I bought.

We splurged a little this winter, and bought strawberries in season and shipped from Florida and California, but it just isn’t the same as the taste when your berries haven’t traveled thousands of miles. I might’ve moaned a little with that first juicy bite. Before the kids could devour them I made a pie to bring to my girlfriend’s house in Brooklyn, and then a batch of hand pies for a sleepover Isabella had at her friend’s this weekend. Continue reading »

perfect chocolate chip cookies

The reality of moving finally hit me. You’d think the boxes around the house would’ve made it feel real, but when I started packing the move was three weeks away. Now we’re in the final countdown. Seven days to go (maybe less by time I press the publish button and you read this). For the first time in my four decades on this earth I won’t be a New York resident. Moving upstate at least kept me within arm’s reach of my beloved city. My city and zip code may have changed on my return address, but I was still a New Yorker. I know…once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker. And as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the girl. Continue reading »

it’s all happening

Violets seem a little magical to me. Just a few days ago I looked around the yard, and there was no sign of them, though I knew it would be soon. Then I came home yesterday, glanced down, and low and behold, little purple buds peppered the landscape. A thick patch right outside the back porch door. Another cluster in the back of the yard, behind the garage. And yet more on the field next door which my neighbor graciously lets me and the girls use as our own. Continue reading »

the best cornbread recipe, ever

I’ve attempted cornbread and corn muffins many times over the last couple of decades. None have wowed me enough to make them a second time. The thing is, I love corn muffins. Back in 1994, just before I met Mikey, I had a job as a bank teller at Manufacters Hanover Trust on 14th street. It was a good part-time gig while I was in college. I would go across the street to a diner on Sixth Avenue, and have a bowl of chicken soup and a toasted corn muffin with butter for lunch. I know, a meal fit for an 80 year old, and I was all of 20, but it was pretty cheap, comforting, and most importantly good. Continue reading »

this and that

Here we are, entering the last full week of April. It feels like the month just began with our trip to Montreal. I hope to share some highlights of my favorite places soon (the post has been in my drafts folder for a week now, and it’s almost done!).

I thought I’d pop in today to share what I’ve been reading, eating, dreaming about, and bookmarking for my To Do list in the near future (okay, one of them will have to wait until at least next year).

Hope the weekend was wonderful, and Monday is gentle to you all.


  • I’ve been consuming a lot of these the past month, between my trip here while in Montreal, and then finding myself dangerously close to Dominique Ansel two weeks in a row. I’m eager to try my hand at making them at home, though it will be devastating news for my waistline.
  • If the growing season is in line with last year, I’ll be harvesting violets from my backyard in a week or two to make this syrup. I’m so excited, I can hardly contain myself.
  • When in NYC, this is the place to go for the best burger. One bite, and it quickly knocked every other contender out of the race.
  • I can’t wait to read Patti Smith’s new memoir, out this fall, and already have November 10th marked on my calendar for the 40th anniversary of Horses.
  • Belgium has been on my wish list for a couple of years now. It would be lovely to see this in person next spring.
  • Cleaning has never excited me before, though the end result is always satisfying. I’m eager to give a few of these tips a try.

this and that |

Shredded Cabbage, Apple & Toasted Sesame Seed Salad

I check the farm stand every few days for signs of spring really being here. Back in the city, broccoli rabe is an indicator (more on that, plus a recipe, hopefully next week). In a few weeks, peas may even start showing up, and soon after that, it’ll be time for strawberries. See, the farmers’ markets in NYC aren’t reflective of the city itself. They’re representative of what’s happening in the ground up in the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. It’s even possible to get tomatoes year-round thanks to a hydroponic farmer there on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Continue reading »

easy, homemade granola bars

The transition from winter to spring is quite incredible to watch happen here. It seems we were buried under a couple feet of snow just a few weeks ago. Then today I noticed tractors roaming fields, prepping the land for a new growing season. Still, I’m not quite ready to exhale and pack up my down coat. Two weeks ago signaled our first taste of warmer temperatures. It inspired me to get outside, and tend to the garden. I raked, hauled a few barrels of leaves and trimmings to my neighbor’s burn pile, and then we woke up the next morning to a generous coating of snow. It was nature’s reminder that April is a precarious month. Continue reading »