mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

fresh lemon rosemary shortbread cookies . . .

 

Tonight’s dinner consists of fresh ginger marinated thin ribeye steaks grilled and sliced over a large green salad with arugula, lettuces, cucumber and grape tomatoes. The dressing contains a touch of jalapeno pepper and some fresh lime juice.

ginger steak photo for blog

To complement it as a small sweet for dessert, I thought I’d make half a batch of Meyer lemon fresh rosemary shortbread cookies.  I didn’t have enough flour to make a whole batch – and just as well because we probably shouldn’t eat so many of them. Lemon zest grated on the microplane, fresh rosemary leaves chopped up (left over from making lamb loin chops over the weekend); one stick of unsalted butter, lemon juice, vanilla, flour and salt completed the ingredients list. The dough is chilling in the fridge for an hour so I thought I’d take a few minutes to write up this short post for a shortbread cookie experiment.

When the dough is chilled, the recipe calls for rolling it out to about 1/4 inches thick and cutting out cookies to bake about 10-12 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

And, here they are! Scrumptious!

lemon rosemary shortbread cookies

 

 

 

 

a nocturnal visitor in our chimney flue . . .

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rosemary roasted cashews . . .

 

rosemary cashewsIt’s about an hour before the kickoff for the Pats vs. Broncos game in Denver today. Otherwise known as “Brady vs. Manning.” Last night, I had a recurring dream that I had made some Asian dumplings with a special energy powder in them for the Pats. In fact, in the dream, G., my husband, was supposed to bring them to Danny Amendola (I kid you not.) Anyhow, it was a humorous dream to have.

But this afternoon, I was casting around for something to make as a snack for us to eat during the game since it starts mid-afternoon. Lemon pound cake was an idea but had two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar in the recipe even though I have some Meyer lemons in the fridge that would have been perfect to bake these little treats.

I did remember that I had some raw cashews in the pantry – and then came across Ina Garten’s recipe for roasted cashew nuts with fresh rosemary. Since we’re having lamb loin chops for our supper tonight, the fresh rosemary was on hand, and I also liked the idea that the nuts would be roasted first and then coated in a mixture of fresh rosemary, brown sugar, butter, cayenne pepper and salt rather than the old standby of coating them with egg whites which I’ve tried a couple of times with walnuts and which were sticky and unappetizing to deal with.

So, here are the nuts, resting in the still warm oven after being coated with the mixture. It seemed like common sense to put them back into the oven (350 for 8 minutes) to dry out a little and crisp up on their own since they were raw to begin with.

This isn’t Asian dumplings similar to my comical dream last night, but our good wishes are there for the Pats to win today.

Here’s hoping!

Afterword: Well, that was a painful game to watch if you’re a Patriots fan. We enjoyed the nuts but wished the Pats were going to the Super Bowl. In hindsight, this season has been a meaningful one for us in New England given the bad press and hype regarding the NFL’s punishment of Tom Brady. Go Pats!

 

knitting “fur” . . .

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I’ve been knitting all my life. Until recently, I used yarns that were made of wool. Simple, right? I got into the habit of knitting free form – that is, making up measurements and stitches that I liked, especially seed stitch and antler cable patterns.

Then, I saw a posting of a knitted cowl that looked like wild animal fur. The pattern turned out to be available on Ravelry for free. And I managed to scrape together enough yarn to make three of them for myself and two daughters: two out of a color called “otter” with a faint hint of brown tone; and one out of “grizzly” an all black-tipped yarn.

Well, it was hard calling it yarn actually, because the actual knitting felt like handling tips of fur even though it was completely synthetic. The only drawback to knitting with this yarn is that if you happened to drop a stitch, you were unable to find that stitch again amidst all that fuzz. I learned that the hard way and had to stitch up some holes afterwards. But the good news is that this yarn knitted up is also very forgiving. You can’t see the holes nor the repaired parts.FullSizeRender

These cowls, fashioned after the TV series, “Highlander” which I haven’t watched myself, are extremely lightweight, warm and very flattering. The yarns in “otter” and “grizzly” are almost extinct everywhere. They are “winter colors” I’m told so places, even if they restock, won’t be doing so until the Fall, unfortunately.

These cowls require six skeins of this Louisa Harding yarn called “Luzia.” There is a funny dark styrofoam filler in the middle of each skein. I can’t imagine finding anything equivalent to how these cowls look or feel. It was an interesting and worthwhile endeavor to knit these. They each took about a day and a half of knitting straight through the day on size 10 needles; 55 stitches across.

 

a flock of cranes . . .

flock of origami birdsThe other day, I saw a flock of white paper cranes (and a few swans) in an etsy listing:

(https://www.etsy.com/listing/178440685/flock-of-white-origami-cranes-paper.)

There are lots of origami cranes online but this particular one caught my eye because of the way it was asymmetrically arranged and photographed in a courtyard setting. Usually, what people do is arrange a few in a circle to make a mobile – nice but not dazzling like the ones shown above.

Hope you enjoy seeing the flock of cranes too!

dumplings on New Year’s Day! . . .

We had some visitors here for lunch today. They were people whom I had known 20-30 years ago. I realized upon seeing them again that I really didn’t know them at all or even if I ever had.

For New Year’s Day, I made chive-pork dumplings, making wrappers from flour and warm water. It’s not a complicated recipe but it does take care and some time. Here are some photos of them ready to go into the pan for browning and then steaming until the bottoms are crisp!

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“hi-protein” life! . . .

zucchini & onion in olive oil w/cheddar cheese beside a jumbo organic egg for a hi protein breakfast!

zucchini & onion in olive oil w/cheddar cheese beside a jumbo organic egg for a hi protein breakfast!

 

My birthday was this week. It’s not a big deal to me and serves primarily as an internal milestone to adjust my life in ways that are easier and more enjoyable. So instead of waiting for New Year’s to make resolutions, I decided to make some on that day. Short and simple:

  1. DO more and buy less! (speaks volumes, doesn’t it?)
  2. Use cash for food and shop 2X a week!
  3. Read, write, play the piano and listen to music a lot!
  4. Avoid toxic people (most important for true well-being)
  5. Live fully (mindfully) and give thanks . . . every day!

That’s about it. I was tempted to put down stuff about losing a little weight or exercising but that’s so boring. But one thing I did think about this morning was what best to have for breakfast that was hi-protein, low carb, low sugar and most important – appetizing for me to eat on a regular basis.

There’s a lot to read about this topic online and some of the suggestions were either way too fussy (frittatas! eggs in avocadoes!) or expensive to make. I remembered that I had some leftover zucchini in the fridge and had just bought some jumbo organic eggs at the farmers market the other day. So I took a small frying pan, added olive oil and sauteed some chopped vidalia onion and the zucchini. Grated some fine Kerrygold cheddar cheese on top after it was cooked and fried one of those eggs with a huge yolk beside it.

It smelled wonderful and tasted even better with a sprinkling of Maldon salt and cracked pepper on top of everything. A cup of black coffee topped it off! I was so happy to discover this combination which was hiding right under my nose in the fridge! It’s not as high in cholesterol as bacon/sausage with the egg and tastier than a scrambled egg by itself. And no fruit that contains grams of carbs and sugar, no oatmeal, grits or toast, no English or corn muffins. Breakfast is my favorite meal and the carb/sugar restrictions have made it challenging since the aforementioned grains all contained high carbs along with fruit juice and fresh fruit full of carbs AND sugar!

Not anymore though with veggies and a sprinkling of cheese served with eggs. Fresh baby spinach would be good too – I even think a small braised endive with fried egg might be delicious for New Year’s Day breakfast tomorrow!

braised endive and egg with cheddar cheese

braised endive and egg with cheddar cheese

So, on New Year’s Eve, here’s to a new, repeatable hi-protein breakfast concept paired with a higher-nourishing lifestyle. . . and to living with more verve, relaxation and FUN in 2016!

our christmas table . . .

cardinal table 1

My daughter, C. brought these beautiful paper placemats of cardinals decked out in Renaissance-like headgear. Just LOVED their whimsical touch to our Christmas table this year. The truffle salt that we used on the roast filet of beef wasn’t too bad either! Lots of good cheer and thoughtful gifts, all around. We are thankful for such sweet family gatherings.

cardinal pillow 1

 

a very merry christmas to all! . . .

branch chandelier Dec. 23rembrandt portait dec. 23

lady slipper orchid Dec. 23kitchen windowsill dec. 23

Table Dec. 23rd

christmas sangria . . . “tra la la!”

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We usually think of sangria as a fruit wine punch that you drink in the sun and warmth of summer parties. We’re having a light lunch on Christmas Eve day – and I was reflecting on what would be good to drink with a meal of proscuitto with honeydew melon, duck rillettes that I’ve been saving since Thanksgiving and French onion soup.

So I searched online for “Christmas Sangria” not knowing what might turn up and this lovely recipe surfaced. It’s made with green Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples, fresh cranberries (green and red fresh fruit, right?); white wine, white grape juice, club soda and sugar. The recipe recommended a Pinot Grigio for the wine. A comment below it suggested a drier wine like a Sauvignon Blanc coupled with a little Grand Marnier. That sounded interesting to me – more complex in the layers of flavor.

I rummaged around and found a beautiful antique glass pitcher in the cupboard and will fill it with this Christmas Sangria for our lunch on Thursday. Since we don’t want to nod off and nap all afternoon after lunch, I’ll make just a pitcher full and see where that takes us. The recipe calls for letting the fresh fruit and liquids sit in the fridge with a large sprig of fresh rosemary for at least an hour. It also suggests dipping moistened rosemary sprigs with granulated sugar to look like pine boughs covered with snow as garnish for each tumbler full of sangria.

Truly charming, don’t you think? Maybe you’d like to try it too?

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