Zucchini Cardamom Muffins with Lemon Glaze

It’s about making spaces. Space to find peace of mind. Space to flourish creativity. Space to nourish the soul. Space to find the breath that leads you to your voice, your moral compass, and to recognize the path you are on and finding those surprises along the way.

This last pandemic year, ergo the last 14 months, has presented challenges beyond what we could have imaged. In many ways it felt as if everything familiar, those previous world views, were burning to the ground around us as we remained alone together. As a marketer I can attest that ‘social distancing’ was really good pandemic branding, because the experience was more along the lines of ‘social isolation’.

Now as we look at the world, vaccinations are giving us hope to regain our former lives. I’ve started to reconnect with friends over coffee and imagine future travel and what that might be like. I imagine a world with less screen time. A world where I can hug my family and friends and smile unmasked, invite friends and family over. I miss people. We all do.

This new world has had its benefits – I have had time to closet-scape and friend-scape. I’ve built spaces to create my version of a retreat. I’ve taken on projects outside of blogging, because I just couldn’t take any more screen time or entertain the thought of puzzles. I expressed my creativity in learning about garden design, exploring undocumented recipe development, and watching the rebuild of our ’67 Mustang convertible. It’s been quite a pandemic so far. I’ll stay clear of the political unrest for now, it’s not been easy to process this and the divides it has created.

Back to two points I’ve mentioned: friends and undocumented recipe development. This recipe is one I had to publish. I created it for my long-time friend who is fighting a big health battle. She and her family said they loved it – I love her beyond words. I love their family and to me food is love.

This recipe has lovely floral undertones juxtaposed against crisp lemon flavors which are enhanced by the moist texture that zucchini provides when incorporated in baking. I intended for these treats to be eaten as muffins, but they could certainly masquerade as cupcakes.

Zucchini Cardamom Muffins

Muffin Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp cardamom powder

3/4 tsp baking powder<

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup and 2 TBS sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (room temperature)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

Glaze Ingredients

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 TBS butter, room temp

3 TBS lemon juice

1/2 lemon zested

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with 12 regular cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.

In a large bowl, add eggs, sugar, oil and buttermilk and whisk until smooth. Combine zucchini and then mix in dry ingredients; use spatula to mix until just combined.

Divide batter into prepared pan, place the pan in the middle rack of the own and bake for 22-25 minutes.

To make glaze combine ingredients and frost muffins.

Note: to make buttermilk, add ½ TBS to ½ cup milk. Allow to sit 5 mins.

Pan-Fried Petrale Sole with Fennel & Capers Cream Sauce

2020 was a helluva year, good riddance. When we look back at this year, I wonder just how clear its lessons will be. The pandemic shook up a lot of our preconceived notions. It exposed us to our frailties. The year underscored the eternal truth that nature always wins. Continue reading ‘Pan-Fried Petrale Sole with Fennel & Capers Cream Sauce’

Turkey Chowder

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about the spaces in my mind. These ‘unprecedented times’ just feel like a free fall from >insert one of any big skyscrapers in your city of choice< to which the end just might be a mighty thud. When not working I spend my days trying to survive the emotional landmines. Some days are better than others as we live in our pressure cooker – trying to keep everyone in a peaceful state of mind, distract ourselves with cooking, baking or the latest streaming content and simultaneously tethering ourselves to help with those we love that we can no longer physically hug or be in close quarters which leaves me emotionally raw or ‘heart naked’. Continue reading ‘Turkey Chowder’

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After 231 days of the global pandemic, I found a sense of quiet. Not the kind of quiet that makes you shudder with anxiousness, but rather the kind of quiet that carries with it a sense of serenity. I have no explanation for this unexplained magic, yet that didn’t concern me. As I took the dog on his evening walk, I listened to the nothing-ness abound and absorbed this uncharacteristic sense of calm. It made me miss this space, this place where I come to meet you intermingled with my thoughts.

Despite my lack of blogging, my recipe development has not ceased. Continue reading ‘Vanilla Cupcakes- Gluten Free’

Plum Cardamom & Strawberry Swirled Sweet Bun Fillings

Month five of lockdown, or is it locked-in? I’ve lost track. The weeks somehow manage to fly by and the weekends crawl at a much slower pace. I’ve abandoned counting the days since this all began, but I can tell you that as I write this post, we are about 28 weeks in (or 195 days!). With 52 weeks in a year, that seems like a significant amount of time to remain virtually isolated.

We remind ourselves that we are lucky. We could not really want for anything, but yet something still does not seem right. Our lives are changed, and the Continue reading ‘Plum Cardamom & Strawberry Swirled Sweet Bun Fillings’

Authentic Dutch Apple Pie

Sometimes friendships find you and then happily take you through the years. When you reflect, suddenly you realize that the memories appear to be more abundant than you realized.

This past October, my friend Lisa organized an intimate housewarming party. Our small group decided that we would each bring something for the celebration. The evening was lovely beyond words, as we passed the hours away with a delicious dinner (thanks to our hostess Lisa, a.k.a. ‘Cupcake’), fantastic bubbles and wines (thanks to our resident sommelier John, a.k.a. the ‘Wine Ninja’), and great company (all of the above plus Leon, Ursula, Eric, and Zara). The hours flew by as we chatted, laughed, and shared stories al fresco. To close out the already perfect evening, the featured dessert was a stunning homemade pie. Or, as I like to think of it, my very first introduction to Dutch Apple Pie- made by the lovely Ursula. Since that night onward, I’ve chased this recipe. I am no stranger to apple pie, but this was beyond compare. Continue reading ‘Authentic Dutch Apple Pie’

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After the world was turned on its head, the world then stood still….for a very, very long time.

We are only 60 days into lockdown and I vacillate from the feeling that every day is a blur to there are some really amazing great memories we are creating together. There is plenty of time for deep reflection and undeniably plenty of ups and downs as we all have our days where we feel a bit less positive. We are keeping focused on the long game, we know we may not get out anytime soon, but at least we are finding ways to enjoy ourselves with cooking, baking, binging shows, memes and long walks with or without our old hound dog. Continue reading ‘Apple Cherry Pie’

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The world was turned on its head.

The people were told to distance themselves, limited to only essential outdoor activities.

The news increased a sense of panic and despair.

The economy plummeted.

Humanity behaved poorly.

At a glance those are my out-takes of the past few weeks. And yet, I implore you to look harder. To increase and strengthen your mind game. To be the kind of person that you want to meet in the future. To show Continue reading ‘The World Was Turned On Its Head’

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As I post this long overdue note, I am reminded how quickly life can change – and it has. Week One of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in my part of the world saw the initial lockdown expanded from local pockets in the Bay Area to all of California. It has us all looking for ways to stay connected. Virtual is the new every day- and respectful in-home space is a necessity for the new work and study from home evolving culture. I’ll be sharing more recipes and thoughts but for now, let’s get back to a day, not oh, so long ago when this Black Swan event wasn’t even a blip in our consciousness. Continue reading ‘Seedy Chocolate Ginger Slice Bars & Other Musings’

PB&R Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’ve been in hibernation mode. Taking a planned break to just have fun cooking and spending time with people I miss engaging with regularly. I remember as a child looking at my grandparents in awe of how many friends and acquaintances they had. The list of contacts seemed endless and my daughter made a comment over the weekend that reminded me of that feeling. I understood her perspective and the sheer awe of the network.

The last few years have taught me one thing loud and clear- spend time only with those that are worth your time. Laugh and smile and make everyday fun. There is a lot we have to be grateful for…don’t waste a minute of it wishing your life could be otherwise. Continue reading ‘PB&R Chocolate Chunk Cookies’