Chocolate macaroons were one of the first recipes that I learned to make. Not the pillowy meringue kind from France but the humble, chocolate sticky kind that require little planning and only some patience while you wait for them to harden in the refrigerator. The kind where you scrap the pot with a wooden spoon to get that last bit of chocolatey sauce. The kind that if left in a warm spot, become a gooey mess and you’ll probably still eat them! Years ago, I started added Cadbury mini eggs (no other brand will suffice) to them at Easter and wham! They are an Easter classic at my house. The children love them and they also satisfy Easter cravings for those who are gluten-free.Read More
Since starting this blog, in addition to being the designated family baker, I have assembled a set of tried and true recipes for cake emergencies, birthday parties and everyday or snacking cakes. There is another list though that I refer to as my dream cake list. This cake recipe, along with making towering wedding cakes decorated in organic flowers are part of my dream cake category. Dream cakes are those that take more time to make and decorate. They must have an elevated taste that perhaps only myself and fellow baking fanatics would appreciate. They stand out in a crowd of cakes, but the main idea is that I make them because they are fun and challenging. All in all, dream cakes are not something that I make on a whim but a baking project that requires planning and experimentation.
My husband, who doesn’t share my baking obsession happens to be a die-hard Momofuku Milk Bar fan. While a small component of his obsession is due to nostalgia of life in New York City, the main reason is that these recipes are substantially different than other cakes that one can purchase at a typical bakery. I’m delighted when he requests a Milk Bar cake for his birthday because it means I will be given the time to spend in the kitchen while he runs the household. However, I was a little stressed when he requested a Milk Bar cake for his birthday party in which we had invited over 20 people. For those who don’t know, these towering cakes are tiny and only feed 8 people (but I have sliced it 10 ways as well). Since I couldn’t say no and I also wasn’t ready to stray far from the original recipe by adapting it to larger cake pans, I decided to make multiple desserts. For the party day, I made Apple Pie Layer Cake, Gluten Free Pistachio Layer Cake along with Magnolia Bakery’s famed Banana Pudding. Needless to say, I went overboard but it was worth it.Read More
Even though there is still snow on the ground there is an excitement in the air. Excitement for the possibilities that only spring can provide. My dining room table turned into a project table filled with seeds, notes, ribbons, labels, old photos and papers of all sorts. Sorting, crafting and planning- we’re all energized for warmer weather over here and for the weekend in general. Here are some borrowed words to celebrate spring, to excite the gardener in you and to add beauty to your day.Read More
Hello March! I cannot believe you’re already here. This season of my life is just passing so quickly. Winter is passing in a flash. As my memory isn’t quite as good as I had hoped it would be, I have developed a strong urge to document. I take photographs and videos with the intention of turning them into photo books and a monthly video (so far, I am 4 years behind on the printed photo books and I make 1-2 videos per year for special occasions). Special moments are recorded in messy scrolls in baby books. I write shorthand in my journal to clear my mind.
As I mentioned in a post waaaay back in January, I also took the time this year to record reflections from 2018 and directions for 2019. It was a process that was new to me and I am already seeing the benefits of completing the exercise. I have found that the seed is set when I record an intention. It seems that information gets organized in the brain or body so that a person becomes more open to seeing things from a different angle or perhaps notices things that he or she wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Focus becomes a given as the universe provides. This has been the case for me from reading, physical activity and career perspective.
My bedside table is filled with books that I have begun. I would secretly enjoy providing a lengthy and accurate answer to the commonly asked question in “By the Book” New York Times Book Review section of “What books are on your nightstand?” The ones that I have actually finished (and enjoyed) are:
As I write this blog post, the snow continues dance outside my window. I can hear the windchimes in the backyard. A neighbour is outside shovelling. I’m cozy and warm within the shelter of these thick, limestone walls. I’m humbled by the age of my home, by the storms it has endured and yet, how it still solidly stands over 150 years after it was constructed. There parts of it that need care, storm windows to be restored and a roof that needs repair in the spring, but it we’ll make it through the winter. The home must have so much history locked away within these walls. Stories to tell about the people and families who lived here before me. Who were they? Has there always been a piano in the front room? When was the kitchen moved from the basement to the first floor? Did children feel safe to play in the streets outside?
My February musings. I’m not sure I’ll figure out the past, but I keep my listening ears ready for the stories of the people that surround me. I record my children’s stories and the ones that were told over the holidays. I’m listening more than ever before and reading more than I have in years. It takes practice and I know my winter rhythm will change when the snow melts and everything is green once again. But in this moment, I am content.Read More
Welcome 2019! Happy belated New Year, readers!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through January. I’ve been taking my time to write this blog post because I’ve been focusing on planning and getting off to the right start for myself and my family. Also, my writing flow is rusty as it was put to the side too often in the second half of the past year.
Goodbye 2018. It was a year of intense and beautiful growth for my family. There were a lot of firsts, first steps, first piano lesson, first skate. It was the year that we turned our old house into our home. The year that I healed my knee and made small steps forward in my photography. I’ve written this before, but I find it difficult to move on when I’ve had an enjoyable time. There is so much to be thankful for and so many fleeting moments. I was the child who never wanted summer to end and as an adult, I want my vacations to last longer, to spend extra time with my kiddos as babes, toddlers and all of the wonderful childhood stages and also, to have that extra piece of pie and be the last person at my best friend’s party. 2018 was a wonderful year and in order to let it go, I’ve started something new. I recently went through a thorough reflection process for 2018. It occurred over the period of a week and involved pages and pages of writing in my black leather catchall book for recipes, dreams and plans. The writing process was both cathartic and served as a method to be accountable to myself. In retrospect, I should have been doing this for years, but I had to get over the hurdle of feeling like I was wasting time.
In reality, I have wasted time spinning my wheels. Being indecisive and uncertain. Afraid to make a mistake I suppose. In this state of unawareness, it is not fully possible to “live in the moment” as we’re encouraged to do. And really, I could continue on this way. It is easy to put off dreams for the future or to claim that now is not the right time especially in the throes of early motherhood. Being busy and tired does make it difficult to focus. I’ve finally realized, 6.5 years after becoming a mother for the first time, that it takes a different strategy to make things happen, it takes thoughtful planning.