There’s less than an hour left in 2018’s Cyber Monday countdown, and I for one can’t wait for it to be over. Spending Thanksgiving up at our Adirondack cabin with limited wifi made stepping back from the frenzy pretty easy. But if you’ve been shopping the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and scoring the bargains that are going to make your holiday season easier and more affordable, cheers to that!
With everyone’s wifi access limited to my lone hotspot, it was easy to step away from my laptop on Black Friday and drive to Lake Placid with my husband Chris. It was a spectacular day — if a bit (just a bit!) chilly at 12 degrees. But we were dressed for the frigid temps and enjoyed a lovely, after-lunch walk around Mirror Lake, then a nap once we’d made it back to the cabin. April and I did our part to support Small Business Saturday by shopping at our two favorite local stores, Dartbrook Rustic Goods in Keene and The Birch Store in Keene Valley. Both their websites have an array of unique gift ideas.
According to Perrier and my Inbox, August is National Peach Month! Yay!! So since we bought some almost-ripe beauties last weekend at the Farmer’s Market up in the Adirondacks that were now ready to go, I wanted to come up with something that would do them — and us — right. Basically I riffed on a crowd-pleasing blueberry yogurt cake I’ve made many, many times. It’s the kind of cake that makes the perfect summer dessert when topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, but it’s also fantastic for breakfast/brunch when it spends a few minutes in the toaster oven and then is finished with some cream cheese. It’s a super simple recipe I hope you’ll give a try.
…and dessert sauce and yogurt topping and pie filling and…Think you get the idea. This four ingredient (!) jam recipe is so delicious and so easy to make, I hope you’ll put fresh rhubarb and strawberries on your Farmer’s Market shopping list this week. If you’re tempted, don’t wait on the rhubarb. It’s only available for a very short window of time — at least here in the Northeast. I buy as much as I can, then wash, cut and freeze it so we can enjoy it for months to come. Then you can combine it with store bought raspberries, too. If you haven’t tried cooking with rhubarb, give it a try. I think you’ll like (love) it.
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it it was filled with flowers, foot rubs, meals cooked, houses cleaned, diamonds dispensed. OK, now for the bad news. I’m long past it, but Menopause is a time of major hormonal, physical and psychological change for women. Although symptoms may vary, hey hey, there will be symptoms. You’re not nuts if you can’t sleep at night. Or you feel restless. Or hot. Unfortunately, post-menopausal women are less satisfied with their sleep, and as many as 6o% report insomnia symptoms. Including snoring. I always thought we could blame that on our husbands! So what’s a Big Girl to do?
OK, first caveat. I am no expert on fitness. But I embrace being fit. I studied ballet from ages 5 to 13, then switched to modern dance in high school and college and years after. During that time, my Dad tried desperately to get me to fall in love with with tennis. I didn’t hate it, but the times didn’t stress girls in sports. OK, now I know! Fast forward to my marriage to a diehard jock and giving birth to three sons. Tennis, Football, Ice Hockey, Baseball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Basketball…and that’s just Elementary school. (Don’t worry, art and music classes balanced out their activities!) High school added Sailing, Cross Country, Track, and even Ultimate Frisbeee. Vacations added Skiing and Snowboarding. It was a challenge to keep up with my uber active family. I think I’ve been doing pretty well all these years. And yes, I do kinda sorta play tennis. And ski. But to be honest, these days I find myself in a bit of in a rut. So this post is here and now. Let me know your thoughts and comments. Let’s see where we go!
OK, so full disclosure I did NOT invent this delicious salad. But one of my favorite JC restaurants, Hamilton Inn, did. I just became obsessed with it and had to come up with a way to make it my own. That meant substituting more calorie -friendly vinaigrette as opposed to Green Goddess dressing, as well as keeping a close eye on portion control. I promise you this is the perfect serving size for one. But this grain bowl salad is so delicious you may want to multiply the proportions and serve it at your next dinner party or brunch. And if you do, you have to let me know what everyone says! Most importantly, what you think!!
If you know me, you know I’ve been a Smoothie for breakfast devotee for decades. My husband Chris on the other hand loves a varied menu of eggs, toast, cereal, fruit, juice, yogurt and…granola. We go through a lot of it. And since I don’t eat it, I often forget to stock up on it. That’s just what happened the other week. That misstep inspired me to take matters into my own hands. Literally. It helped that Cookie and Kate, one of my favorite online cooking sites, was featuring this Orange & Almond Granola recipe. It sounded delicious to me, but I knew Chris would not like the orange flavoring. And so my first batch of homemade granola was born! It was easy and fun to mix up. Best of all, it was a hit with the Hubs.
It’s not like me to step off the grid completely, even at our cabin, but this past week I did. I even stayed up there by myself with Bowie for two nights — a first! I thought about my family, my life today, and my intentions for tomorrow. No Black Friday shopping! Though I did happily do some some Shop Local Saturday shopping in Keene. I’m sure you’ve been bombarded by both other bloggers and company emails. I don’t think you need me adding to the din. If you did get some holiday shopping or decorating done, I say good for you.
In my continuing quest to come up with healthy lunchtime options, I decided to shop my pantry and fridge for inspiration. This salad combines some of my favorite things: chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), Brussel sprouts, cucumber, radishes, red onion, and at the last minute…quinoa (not shown). I also added some leftover grilled chicken. Think this would make a nice, light side dish, especially for a grilled dinner. I made it in the morning for lunch later, but it was still fresh and delicious the day after, too. Calorie count? At about a cup and 1/4, 300 calories. With chicken, 420 calories.
Studies say that up to 61% of women who are postmenopausal experience frequent bouts of insomnia. For me, sleeplessness started sometime in my early 40s. It kind of goes in waves, depending on my stress level, late dining, too much wine, too much work, ummm…life. At its worst, I’ve gone up to two months without sleeping through the night. Yes, I know there are prescription drugs out there that can help, and I did speak with my internist about them. But in the end, I decided to go for a more holistic approach. I doubt I’ll ever be a “perfect sleeper,” but these 6 steps have helped me a lot. If you experience sleepless nights, I hope some or all of them will help you too!