Imperfect and Sweet

Nothing perks up a Winter’s Day like Baking a Batch of Cookies!
This week was a time to delight in Baking!
People have told me over the years that the timing in January is quite ideal, as having gotten through the Holidays and all of the treats that they bring, it is just the time when a new treat may be welcome!
I send Holiday Baking to my Accountant’s office every year!
It feels good to let them know that their hard work behind the scenes is Appreciated! They do such a great job, and are among the many unsung heroes that fill our Day to Day Lives.
I bake a few extra for MOM, my Partner, my Office, the Neighbors…

Baking is always Fun to do! It is also a bit of work!
I find that quite often in Life those two things go together.
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THANK FULL!

Sign on our Door

I am Grateful for Music.
I am Grateful for Laughter!
I am Grateful for Colors — Every One of them!
Purple, Orange, Magenta, Mahogany, Yellow, Mauve, Red, Green, Silver and Gold, Blue, Pink, Violet, Chartreuse, Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Indigo, Scarlet, Peach, Ruby, Azure, Cream and Crimson… and all those Colors in the sky that don’t even have names!
I am Grateful for the Sky
And the Ocean,
Every Blade of Grass
And Every Leaf!
I am Grateful for MOM!
I am Grateful for my BigHearted Partner!
I am Grateful for my Very Amazing Friends!
I am Grateful for my Education!
I am Grateful for the Challenges that Teach Me!
I am Grateful to Know.
I am even More Grateful to Question!

I am Grateful for Transportation, even though the MTA makes me Crazy most Days!
I am Grateful for my Meditation Process even though it’s messy and sloppy and I don’t really achieve a state of Nirvana, except for Fleeting Moments — I think that’s normal, and even if it’s not, I am Grateful for it!
I am Grateful for the Crazy Last Minute Jobs and my humble little Office in Manhattan and for the Gift of Work!
I am Grateful for Health — with its Second-Half-of-Life Challenges! We’re Here!
I am Grateful for Clothing!
For My Bed!
And for HousePlants
And Magic… So Much MAGIC!
And So Many MIRACLES!
And for the Miracle of the Day!

Such a Festive Plate! So Many Autumn Colors!

I am Grateful for Breath
And Being Born
And all of the sacrifices my parents made so I could have my Education
And Books
And Carfare…

I am Grateful for the Crazy amount of Cooking that this Holiday Entails!
So far, I have made Macaroni and Cheese (Not a usual dish at our GivingThanks Day Table, but I like to mix it up a bit!)
Ratatouille (It’s nice to have some Healthy Low Calorie Leftovers too!)
Fudge Oat Bars (It’s also nice to have some Treats and not worry about Calories!)
Homemade Cranberry Sauce (with no sugar — This year I cooked the CranBerries in Orange Juice with cinnamon sticks as usual, but tried reducing the Orange Juice, added a can of Crushed Pineapple in its own juice, and some tiny slices of fresh orange!)
HomeMade AppleSauce which reminds me of COUSIN ALICE!

Oh, How I Adored Her!
Such an Enchanting Human Being!
Such a Delight!
I remember once, as a Kid, saying to MAMA, “I Love Her!”
MAMA assured me with a smile, “She knows!”
I suppose I tend to wear my Heart on my Sleeve a bit.
When you would go to COUSIN ALICE’s House — she was in her Eighties —
She would have Cold Cuts and a spread of freshly sliced tomatoes, pickles, coleslaw — all store bought fresh for your visit.
And she would put out some HomeMade Apple Sauce.
It was Delicious!
I never got her recipe, and I expect she didn’t really follow one.
But I found one — some Awesome friends gave me The Comfort Diner CookBook years ago, and there was a Wonderful Recipe for HomeMade AppleSauce — simple, easy and Delicious, just the way COUSIN ALICE liked her Cooking to be!
Here it is:
Comfort Diner Apple Sauce

I leave out the sugar and the raisins, and I double the spices.
I try to avoid sugar in general, and COUSIN ALICE loathed Raisins.
I remember she once told us, quite cheerfully, “This nice young girl moved in just a few houses down here, and she knocked on my door and said, ‘I baked you a Zucchini Bread!’ I thought that was So Nice! So I thanked her and…” Here her voice dropped several octaves and her demeanor changed dramatically
“Wouldn’t you know it! Loaded with Raisins!” and she gave a big frown!

So I leave out the Raisins, and the Sugar.
But Giving Thanks Day is the Holiday that COUSIN ALICE always spent with us.
DAD adored her! (She was technically his Cousin, so my First Cousin, Once Removed.) DAD would drive out to Staten Island to pick her up on Wednesday, drive her back to the Bronx where we lived; she would stay with us two nights, and he would drive her back to Staten Island on Friday.

I miss her.
She is gone some ten years now.

A Meme from the Internet

And So, Today,
We Celebrate Giving Thanks!
That is the root of this Holiday.
As LINDSAY MCVAY writes on the website of the National Museum of the American Indian  about the Wampanoag People who celebrated with the Pilgrims what we think of as the First “ThanksGiving,”

“Like indigenous groups everywhere, the Wampanoag had a reciprocal relationship with nature and believed that as long as they gave thanks to the bountiful world, it would give back to them. Long before the arrival of the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag held frequent Thanksgiving-like celebrations, giving thanks in the form of feasts and ceremonial games.”

In honor of GivingThanks Day Today,
I made a Feast which includes:

GivingThanks Day 2017 with MOM

Turkey,
Sausage Stuffing,
Sweet Potatoes,
Homemade Cranberry Sauce,
Cranberry Mold (Another of COUSIN ALICE’s Signature Dishes!)
Stuffed Mushrooms,
Ratatouille,
Macaroni and Cheese,
Broccoli & Cauliflower Au Gratin
Apple Cake,
Oat Fudge Bars…

And HomeMade Apple Sauce.

Stuffed Mushrooms

I also learned today that when making an Apple Cake in a Tube Pan, if you plan to turn it upside down to cool, it is Better to let it cool and set for 15 minutes or so before you do that! 🙂 Whoops!

There is So Much for which to be Grateful!
How Blest we Are!
The LeftOvers will last for a week.
Let’s make sure the Celebration of Gratitude that this Feast represents lasts for a LifeTime!

The Complete Door

Happy GivingThanks Day!

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‘Tis the Season (…Presto! PESTO!)

It’s here!
It’s all around You!
Fresh Basil!
Fresh Cherries!
Fresh Raspberries!
Melons!
Peaches!
Fresh Figs!
It won’t be for much Longer!
Have Some! (more…)

BreakFast in the TreeHouses 5 of 5

BreakFast in the TreeHouses
The Best of the Breakfasts!

Today: MUFFIN MAGIC

There is something Magical about Muffins!
Let’s face it! It’s Cake for Breakfast!
It’s Cake in individual size portions.
It’s Cake you wake up to!
It’s Cake you can eat fresh out of the oven!

There is also something that feels especially homemade about Muffins… perhaps it’s because unlike a Cake baked for an occasion, Muffins have a way of making an otherwise ordinary day feel like an occasion.
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BreakFast in the TreeHouses 4 of 5

BreakFast in the TreeHouses
The Best of the Breakfasts!
 
Today: COOKIES COOKIES COOKIES
Here’s the thing about Cookies:


“…There is a problem with the plan

The no more eating cookies plan!

The problem with the plan

Is if we want to eat more cookies, then, in fact, we can…

Cookies, cookies, cookies, cookies…”

— from A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, a Musical by WILLIE REALE, based on the Stories by ARNOLD LOBEL

This is the Fourth Day this Week that we are featuring Breakfast Recipes, many of which I have whipped up at Tree House Point .
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BreakFast in the TreeHouses 3 of 5

BreakFast in the TreeHouses
The Best of the Breakfasts!
 
Today: PUFF PASTRY TRIANGLES

One of My Favorite Things!
First of All, Puff Pastry is Good!
So they’re Always Good!

Secondly, use store bought Puff Pastry from the Freezer Case!
As Janet the Magic Treehouse Kitchen Sorceress said to me years ago when she taught me these treats, “We make Everything from scratch. Except our Puff Pastry.
Because with the Wonderful Ones on the market, to make your own, you’d have to be…” and she affably rolled her eyes in a gesture that clearly read as “Plum Loco!”
Now, if you’re the kind of Chef who makes your own, I think that’s Great — If you can do it, and you have the time, How Marvelous!
Invite me over for BreakFast!
But for most of us, it can be prohibitively time consuming.
I did try (more…)

BreakFast in the TreeHouses 2 of 5

BreakFast in the TreeHouses
The Best of the Breakfasts!

Today: EGG BAKES

EGG BAKES are fairly simple.
They are a Great Way to serve Breakfast to a lot of guests, without having to cook individual omelets for each person, which would likely not all be ready at the same time.
With a little prep the day before, the Egg Bake pops in the Oven, and comes out ready all at once so that everyone may enjoy Breakfast Together.
And Community — Being Together — is a Beautiful Way to start the Day
And Live the Day, for that matter!

At Tree House Point www.TreeHousePoint.com , I have seen a greater variety of Egg Bakes than I could have known existed.
Creative People, Creating for Other People…
Celebrating Community!

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BreakFast in the TreeHouses: 1 of 5

JOE MANGIELLO’s BIG ITALIAN SAUSAGE ROLL

BreakFast in the TreeHouses
The Best of the Breakfasts!

All the Rushing.
Never standing still.

The Automation
The ATMs
Ticket Machines
And Online Ordering…
Rarely encountering another person — Rarely experiencing what used to be called Customer Service.
Sometimes we need a Break from the Day to Day!

Summer in the TreeHouses
Brings BreakFast Recipes…
After all, we gotta’ eat!
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In the Days Following…

The Tree at Rockefeller Center, during one of its last days on display

The Tree at Rockefeller Center, during one of its last days on display

Yes, I know.
Christmas is over now.
I have pushed it as far as I can — all twelve days.
There are those awesome folk in Norway who keep it going through tonight
and I LOVE That!
But here, I expect that the full twelve days through January 6th is about as far as one can expect to take it.
And I have enjoyed the Full Ride.

Our Contemporary Culture seems dismissive of those of us who Celebrate Fully.
Christmas Day is a Day, and Get on with your Life!
And to that I say, “What Life?”
The Celebration of Kindness, Peace and Joy is my Life!
Acknowledgement of the presence of Angels is My Life!
I’ve no desire to toss all of that aside quickly to get back to working and winter and Non-Festive Things!
I have enough days of Non-Festive Things!

And so I have reluctantly taken down most of the decorations and garlands… (more…)

Twelfth Night

TALU GREEN in the Broadway Musical, FELA!

TALU GREEN in the Broadway Musical, FELA!

And on the Twelfth Day of Christmas…
Twelve Drummers Drumming.

Said to symbolize The Twelve Points of Doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
or the Twelve Apostles themselves
or the Twelve Tribes of Israel
or the Twelve Prophets…

GEEZ! Sometimes I think we just insist on putting GOD to Sleep!
What’s wrong with Twelve Drummers Drumming!?
I feel Certain that GOD likes Drummers!
…I mean, way more than the Twelve Points of Doctrine in the Apostles Creed!
There’s nothing wrong with those,
But Drummers are More Fun!
I believe that GOD Likes FUN!
I also Believe that GOD likes BARACK OBAMA’s 2016 Executive Order taking action to reduce Gun Violence.

Twelve Days of Christmas! (more…)