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A Curious Thing Happened

I was feeling inspired today and decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies.
Normally it does not take much to inspire me to bake but this week has been especially challenging. I was laid off last Friday from a company I’ve worked for for 4 1/2yrs.
It was not an utter shock but still stung nonetheless. I’ve been doing a good job of staying off the couch and not feeling completely sorry for myself, but the desire to bake for myself and my girls eluded me till today.

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I stuck with the classic chocolate chip recipe gracing the back of every bag. I had everything I needed in stock so why not? I thought “Wow, I cannot wait to bite into a warm, chewy, crunchy, chocolatey cookie.”
I mean look at these cookies!

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And then, a curious thing happened. As I was biting into this warm morsel, ready to devour a handful, I realized I was not loving it! “Wait, What?!” I know, crazy isn’t it? I blame it on this program. It’s a program I’ve followed twice now with amazing results. The best part? I listen to my body more. Even though I thought I wanted some delicious cookies, what I really wanted was roasted veggies sprinkled with sea salt.
Now the girls will have the cookies to themselves and I won’t gorge myself.
I’m still so happy I felt inspired again to bake. I’m looking forward to pulling out my cookbooks and cooking and baking up a storm this Fall. One of the blessings of being laid off.

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Monday Monday

Was feeling a little blah today. I knew a great way to feel better would be to cook. To me cooking is therapy. I can think thru things while I’m chopping, slicing, pureeing and so on.
Came home from work, put in my apron and went down to the garden. Ha! Ok, who am I kidding? I cannot manage a garden, but I am proud to say I can manage my herb pot!

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I cut some Basil (I am also growing Parsley and Thyme), brought it upstairs and washed and carefully patted dry.

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I placed about 1-2 cups of basil in the food processor. In a non-stick skillet, I toasted about 1/2 cup of walnut halves in a non stick skillet, on low heat stirring until lightly browned. Add nuts to the processor along with some sea salt and a couple cloves of garlic.

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After putting the cover on, I take the little top off, turn the processor on and add olive oil until a smooth consistency is achieved. For pesto I like to use a good extra virgin olive oil. My oil of choice is Seggiano

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Once the pesto was done pureeing, I sautéed half chopped onion, a small clove of garlic chopped and a handful of halved cherry tomatoes. After a few minutes I added 3/4lb of shrimp. Cooked just until pink.

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While everything was being puréed and sautéed, I boiled some rotini until al dente.
I tried my pesto; yumm and so green!
I tossed everything together, pasta, pesto and shrimp sauté. Served myself and smiled.

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This Monday didn’t turn out half bad after all……. Cheers my friends!

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Polo Anyone?!

I’ve lived in Rhode Island for 9 years now and I still have things on my RI Bucket List I want to cross off. Tops on the list? Visits to Block Island, kayaking in South County, a sunset sailboat cruise in Newport Harbor and more. This Summer I finally crossed a big one off my list: Newport Polo!
Matches take place every Saturday from May thru Sept., on the polo grounds of historic Glen Farm in Portsmouth, RI.
In preparation of this super fun Saturday I had 2 decisions: what to bring & what to wear?!! Sandwiches & sundress of course!
Here are Lisa and Theresa looking fab in their sundresses!

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Our friend Frank had arrived early and set up the space. When attending Newport Polo it is best to arrive early(especially if you have general admission tix), to claim a great spot. Plus you have more time to tailgate!!

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Once we had arrived and were settled in with a tasty beverage (Pimms Cup was my cocktail of choice), Theresa and I decided to check out the ‘Alex and Ani Pavilion’. A great viewpoint to be sure. A wonderful place to people watch.

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I was also looking for ladies in hats. I figured that was a Polo tradition; wearing your finest hat to watch the match! I could not find one hat in my closet, but was looking forward to seeing what other ladies found.

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Found some!!!
This one was my fave. I just LOVED this ladies entire outfit! She decorated the hat herself. I’d give her first place. She was so flattered that I stopped her to ask about her hat. She happily posed for a picture.

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Not one to sit still at a fun event like Polo, I was off again in search of terrific tailgaters. There are folks who attend these matches every week and they don’t mess around. Right away I spied some youngsters manning the grill for their Parents. Burgers anyone?!

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It’s easy to make friends at events like this, just say hi, ask them what they’ve got cooking and of course compliment them on their hat!

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The purple lady was a riot with such a fabulous hat! It was her Moms’. She then very enthusiastically offered me her tailgate special: Kahlua S’mores. Carefully broil marshmallows, top with crushed graham crackers. Make an indent in the middle. Add droplets of Kahlua and pop in your mouth. Yumm!

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After about 6 of these(what can I say?! She kept handing me more!), I had to move and check out the “car” tailgaters. These folks are serious. Cool cars, tents, bars and so much glorious food!!

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Because I was so busy socializing, I did not get to participate in the Polo tradition of stomping the divets. I did however make it in time to stick my hand out while the players come around and “high five” everyone “the Polo-way”.

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I also (despite being allergic) wanted to see the horses. So strong and beautiful.

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What a delightful day it was! USA won their match. We took the back roads home through Bristol and made it in time to see a spectacular sunset on Bristol Harbor. I look forward to attending more matches next season.
Today I’m headed to the Brown/Harvard football game, but you still have 1 chance left to experience Newport Polo this season. Today at 4pm are the finals!! Get your chores done and head on down to Glen Farm in Portsmouth and cross this great Rhode Island event off YOUR bucket list.
Cheers!!

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With a touch of Local zest

My upstairs neighbor has been leaving me the most delightful gifts every Saturday. Farm fresh veggies from the Hope St. Farmer’s Market! She works at the terrific Arcadian Fields Organic Farm stand.
She can barely keep up with the array of veggies she brings home. How nice of her to share! Having a ton of greens ‘ veggies can be a bit overwhelming. Normally I hunt through my cookbooks for ideas but lately I’ve just been cooking “off the cuff”
Easy as pie. For today’s lunch I sautéed summer squash, Cherry tomatoes & organic spinach in a little olive oil & sprinkled with pepper & sea salt.

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I love that particular combination, but any variety that you like will work.
The point is not to wait till you find that perfect recipe. By then the veggies may go bad. Keep it simple, use it up, don’t stress & savor the flavors of the season!!

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A Healthy Start

It’s Sunday night and like most people, I am anticipating my upcoming week. Working out my kid’s calendar in my head and headed back to work tomorrow. Mostly I am feeling thankful to be healthy!
My Dad and Step-Mom arrived last Sunday to watch the Super Bowl, eat my Dad’s famous guacamole and help me post surgery.

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The surgery had been scheduled but a bad asthma flare up threatened to put all that on the back burner. Nothing a third dose of Prednisone won’t cure! It’s a strange powerful drug that takes care of a whole host of ailments. Not something I like to be on too long as my skin turns a bit yellow and I act a little more wacky than I already am!
Last Monday morning came and off we went to Women and Infants. I’m no stranger to this hospital and every visit the care is top notch.

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I even got to take these great dual treaded socks home with me!
After recovery, we headed home in the snow. But not before my Dad made a special stop at White Electric so I could get a post-op Mocha and Foremost Bakery Banana Choc Chip Muffin.

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My parents stayed till Tuesday and in that time proved how healing love and food can be.
My Dad made Chicken A la King,

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My Step-Mom brought her comforting Chicken and Rice Soup:

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And on Tuesday she made breakfast. She has the magic touch with scrambled eggs:

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I was sad to see them go, but the storm was headed our way and they needed to get back up to NH.
My Mom lives here in Providence so she headed over. She brought daffodils which were tightly closed one minute, then seemingly bloomed overnight:

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Mom’s turn to spoil me and take care of me with love and food!
For dinner she made a terrific dish of Panko encrusted chicken breats topped with a Dijon mustard sauce. Served with roasted potatoes and sautéed spinach and garlic. Delicious!

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For dessert?! Nothing but the best for this kid at heart: Jello!!

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The next day I was on my own. I was all set though. I was able to read the entire Sunday edition of the NYTimes
and enjoy my Mom’s famous red-lentil apricot soup.

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The rest of the week was spent quietly recovering. Taking it easy and doing a lot of tea drinking, reading and thinking.

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Not only am I thankful my lungs are clear and my body is feeling healthy,

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But I am so very thankful all 3 of my Parents came over to help. I guess no matter how old I get, I’ll always be their “little girl”. I cherish moments like this and know that I will help in turn if they ever need me. I thank them for showing their concern and taking care, in part by making food. A passion they have happily passed on to me.
So happy to be healthy! Spring can’t come soon enough.

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Treat of the Week

Pear Perfection

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The other day I was in between Doctor’s appts. I had just finished fasting so was mighty hungry and in need of caffeine. I stopped at my favorite coffee shop walked in and spied something new. A Pear Almond Danish. It was so beautiful, with it’s crust glistening in the case. I had to have it.
I am not one for sweet pastries and as of late have drastically reduced my carb intake. Exceptions had to be made, it was calling my name.
This was pastry perfection. First off it was not too sweet. The layers of pastry were slightly crunchy ( must be from a light sugar glaze before baking?!) and oh so light and puffy. There was a luscious coating of almond paste on the bottom layer. Ladies and gentlemen; the pear…..oh my. Perfectly ripe, not too soft and certainly not hard. Had a lovely toothsome texture. Heaven on a plate. Who bakes these lovelies? Foremost Baking Company
If you’d like one of your own ( I don’t recommend sharing; you’ll want this all to yourself) or you’d like to try there other pastries; head to White Electric or:
Small Point Cafe
Coffee Exchange
Bolt Coffee at The Dean Hotel
New Harvest Coffee and Spirits
And many other locations across Providence.
Enjoy! I best watch out, this may be a weekly indulgence……

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Saturday Selfie

So it’s official: my cough is just an asthma flare-up no virus! Of course that means a dose of prednisone, but whatever works. The vice grip on the lungs needs to go away.
I was feeling pretty good Saturday morning so I headed out & about.

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My first stop was Providence PerfumeProvidence Perfume. For my Birthday my Mom gave me a gift certificate to make my own perfume, so I decided to use it!

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Charna Ethier is the delightful owner of this gorgeous parfumerie. I spent 2 hours with Charna creating my very own perfume! Her passion for and knowledge of perfume is expansive. I could have listened to her wax poetic about scents for hours! My perfume; which has yet to be named( Dish, Spicy Dish?) is currently “aging” for a few days. I will tell you all about the fun creative process in my next post.
After creating my perfume, I said goodbye and left in search of coffee!

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Of course I ended up in my favorite coffee spot, White ElectricWhite Electric
When you find a good thing why change?! The coffee is great, the baristas are fabulous, there is always cool artwork on display, awesome music playing and the food is scrumptious. On this day a guy was in the window seat concentrating hard on his pen and ink drawing.

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Once I finished reading the Arts section of The Times, I headed out to the Providence Athenaeum. Providence Athenaeum

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It’s one of my favorite spots in town and did you know, one of the oldest libraries in the country? Edgar Allen Poe also enjoyed this very same library! I was not in search of his ghost but rather a fresh set of books to jump into and read.
I was pretty pooped after all that, but happy I ventured outside the comforts of my cozy kitchen. Checking out a new establishment and going to some of my faves, was a great way to spend some “me time” and boost my spirits!
Now I wonder what my special perfume will smell like?! Stay tuned….

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