Thursday, November 22, 2007


Today is Thanksgiving, a day of gratitude and one of my most favorite holidays. I love to prepare all of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes and like to try a new dessert or side dish otwo each year. Imagine my disappointment when my beloved stove broke down this week and my even greater disappointment when the service repairman had to order the part which will not be in for two weeks. What to do?

We are hosting a dinner for 12 today and had to improvise quite a bit. My mother will be cooking the turkey and stuffing and bringing it over (along with her famous chocolate cream pie). We had to (gasp) buy some side dishes and pies, which was very hard for me. One of the things that I am grateful for is my crockpots! I ended up roasting six butternut squash in two of them, and also partially cooked the following dish in another. This recipe is for my dad, who says that we are part Native American. My dad is retired, but still works hard every day. Yesterday, he brought over a whole truckload of wood that he cut himself for us. He and my mom constantly make our life better and wonderful and and I grateful for the childhood that they provided for me and my siblings. They surprised us all the time with things for us that they always wanted but could never have when they were children.

This recipe came from a little book called The Plimoth Colony Cook Book, of course, a bit revised. Having spent last weekend in Plymouth, MA watching the wonderful Thanksgiving parade and touring the Mayflower, I am very inspired to work hard and be thankful, like the Pilgrims.

Indian Pudding
4 cups milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup dark molasses
3 eggs
1 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons butter

Scald milk, stir in cornmeal, add molasses, ginger and butter. Let mixture cool for a bit and whisk in eggs. Pour pudding mixture into a buttered casserole dish and place into a large slow cooker. Cook for 3-4 hours on low, or until pudding is set.

An old Plymouth Colony receipt says: "Take the morning's milk and throw into it as much cornmeal as you can hold in the palm of your hand. Let the molasses drip in as you sing 'Nearer My God to Thee,' but sing two verses in cold weather."

Enjoy your Thanksgiving day! Oh, and don't forget to reflect on thanks and gratitude and make sure to tell someone you are grateful. I am grateful for you!

Also, I am grateful for my gifted parents most of all, my wonderful and gifted husband Doug, Molli, Kelly, Carey, Jesse, Jake, Eli, Val, Mark, Mike, Missy, Uncle Dave and all the rest of my family and friends. I am also very thankful to live in our home which we love so much and to be warm and have good food to eat. Blessings!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dudleytown Curse

This is a true story. Last year about this time, we teamed up with a Hollywood production company to make a full length feature film and book series about events that happened in Dudleytown, an abandoned village in Northwest Connecticut. Some say that Dudleytown is one of the most demonically possessed place in the United States. Some say that it is not a cursed village. I say that the Dudleytown curse is real. We hired a team of writers and put them in a lovely house not too far from the Dudleytown site. Very soon after, things started to go wrong. People turned against one another - relationships were damaged - gossip ran rampant - many acted out of character. We all suffered greatly... And one day, the writers just disappeared. And someone almost died... Check out to learn more about Dudleytown (you can also get to our myspace from there). This is a true story.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Love

Look What We Got for Halloween! My mom and dad gave us this wonderful Mr. Jack sculpture - he is so cute and scary! xoxo

Big Basket of Squash!

My dad also brought this over - stay tuned for lots of wonderful squash recipes and ideas!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Frog Prince - Oh Happy Day!


Oh, Happy, Happy Friday! I am sharing with you Jim Henson's The Frog Prince. I had the LP (I'm dating myself)of this video when I was a child and listened to it over and over again. The Frog Prince was a memorable part of my happy childhood. I am so glad to rediscover it - it is such a fun story.

RIP - Jim Henson


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Big Bowl of Winter Squash Risotto - Microwave Style

Last Sunday, I needed to make something cheerful since it was such a truly bad week. What is more cheerful than some beautiful fall risotto, served in a beautiful Metlox bowl.

My foodie friends laugh at me when I tell them that I sometimes make risotto in the microwave. This recipe saves a lot of stirring time and comes out great. Be prepared for a lot of food. What to do with all of the leftovers (besides eat it) - Risotto cakes!

Winter Squash Risotto - Microwave Style

12 Servings

10 cups vegetable stock or water
1/3 cup pure olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound Arborio rice (2 cups)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano chese (2 1/2 ounces)
Salt and freshly gound pepper

1. Heat olive oil in skillet. Add the onion and squash and cook it over moderate heat, stirring often, until it softens, about 15 minutes.

2. Combine all additional ingredients except cheese and seasoning into a really big bowl - add onion and squash mixture - cover with microwave safe wrap.

3. Cook in microwave on high for 10 minutes. Stir risotto, recover and cook for 2-4 10 minute increments until all liquid is absorbed, rice is tender and everything is all creamy and beautiful.

4. Remove bowl from microwave - be careful - it will be incredibly hot. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in warm bowls with additional cheese, if desired.

Cook's Note - I used very low sodium vegetable broth and no additional salt. Also, I used butternut squash.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Donut Muffins

These are my favorite muffins right now. They are beautiful and delicious. I like to make them REALLY big in the Texas muffin pans. Of course, they are best served warm, but are equally delicious served at room temperature. Perfect for a cool autumn morning and for sharing. I found this recipe in the Boston Globe and adapted it a bit. I usually substitute the buttermilk for skim millk or soy milk and eliminate the salt. In addition, I use I Can't Believe it's Not Butter butter spray for the coating. It works just fine. You can also substitute some of the oil for applesauce.
Donut Muffins
Butter or spray for the muffin tin
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream (non-fat works fine)
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin; set it aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt just to blend them.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, buttermilk and sour cream. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture is combined.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each indentation right up to the top.
5. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes or until they are firm and golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a small bowl in the microwave, melt the butter
2. In a large shallow bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Stir well.
3. While the muffins are still hot, turn them out of the tin. Brush each muffin with melted butter. Roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Everyone's Free to Wear Sunscreen

I love this. Molli introduced the song version of Everyone's Free to Wear Sunscreen a few years ago and I often think of it. If you get a chance, check out the song. Actually, it is more of a spoken word thing set to music.

The original column was by Mary Schmich of The Chicago Tribune. June 1, 1997. Click here to read Mary Schmich's version of how her article was miscredited to Kurt Vonnegut via e-mail and became hugely popular. The song, on the CD Something for Everybody by Baz Luhrmann, is properly credited to Schmich.

The lyrics to Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen, by Mary Schmich:

Wear sunscreen.If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy.

Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Monday, October 8, 2007

DO SOMETHING - Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

Columbus Day, 2007. Today, I woke up with the memories of my weekend - Molli's day-long video shoot, Dougie's revelations, visiting with relatives, including long-lost cousins, perfect next-door neighbors, my parents and sister - all remarkable, hard working and creative and I just had to DO SOMETHING. Today is the first day of my blog and I give to you Pumpkin Oat Pancakes, adapted from Jane Brody's Good Food Cookbook, inspired by a beautiful fall morning and day off from work!

Mostly savory, beautifully golden, low fat and delicious, they welcome a host of toppings, including maple (the obvious) or cinnamon syrup, whipped cream, a little pumpkin butter, and a few pecans...

In addition to adding some Vitamin A to your breakfast, pumpkin is recommended to soothe the kind of jittery stomach that interferes with concentration. My version of Pumpkin Oat Pancakes includes a few sunflower seeds for added protein and energy.

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

"Wet" Ingredients

1/2 Cup Rolled Oats (quick or regular)
1 Cup Buttermilk (or any other kind is fine, soy, skim, etc.)
1 Egg White
1 Whole Egg
1 Tablespoon Oil
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Milk (any kind)

Dry Ingredients

1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Wheat Germ
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, combine the oats and buttermilk, and let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes or longer to soften.

2. Add the remaining wet ingredients, blending them well.

3. In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir them into the wet ingredients, mixing them until the batter is fairly smooth. Add some more milk if the batter is too thick.

4. For each pancake, place about 3 tablespoons batter on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Flip the pancakes when their undersides are golden brown and the tops begin to bubble.