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Mother’s Day Perspective

This is the first Mother’s Day that I can’t call my Mom and wish her  a Happy Mother’s Day. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I know many of you are struggling with feelings of sorrow at being unable to shower your Mom with love today.

What strikes me now, though, is how much I didn’t know about my Mom. When did she feel most insecure? What were her beliefs about certain things in the world? Did she think about her life, her past? Did she have hard moments of guilt?

I knew her in the here and now. She was always interested in my life and what I had going on. She listened to my ramblings, offered wisdom and humor, and made me feel better. But what did she dwell on in her private moments? How did her life shape her perspective? Why didn’t I ask her more questions?

Perspective is rooted in the deepest part of ourselves. It becomes our reality. We feel bolstered when somebody else understands our perspective. When you have a genuine interest to go beyond my surface and desire to know me more fully, I am able to change and bloom.

Insecurity is replaced by confidence and so on.

My Mom’s life continues to teach me. And so today, even though I miss her terribly, I will focus on perspective. I will try to understand the people in my life more fully. I will ask more questions. I will try to help somebody else bloom.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Fierce Love

I lost my mom 91 days ago. She sewed a ‘Genie’ costume for me so I could participate in the Halloween parade in elementary school. Later, she would make my prom dress senior year, fashioned by her own hands. She would iron my cap and gown for college graduation, and help me into my wedding dress just a year later. She thought I was beautiful.

We had our moments through all those years, to be sure. All mothers and daughters do. As an adult, though, she became my friend. My fierce and loving friend. You see, when you lose someone you love, you also lose someone who loved you. We don’t often think of it that way. Losing someone who loves and supports you unconditionally is difficult, because you don’t get more than a handful of people like that in your life. Your mom is at the top of that list.

Mine was the kind of mom you didn’t mess with. I couldn’t always tell her if I was struggling with a certain friend or my husband. I knew she would take on my fight long after it was over. She would still have a little fire in her on my behalf for that person. Sometimes, I would just call her out of the blue during one of these struggles, but I wouldn’t tell her I was hurting. She could tell by the sound of my voice, and she knew I just needed to hear hers.

She taught me words like ‘fan dangled’ and initiated my love for writing. She taught me how, with a little patience, you can fix most things. She taught me to be gracious. She displayed this virtue in the face of my attitude many times. But what she taught me the most is love. A fierce love for your family and friends. A love that takes on your cause and supports and encourages. It was the last thing she said to me, “Just know that I love you.”

She used to give me Mother’s Day cards before I had children, just to say she felt blessed to be a mom because of me. She said I was the best thing she ever did.

So when I’m at my lowest of lows, her love continues to be the place I look to pick myself up and dust myself off. And this is what I want to leave for my own kids: to know they are fiercely loved by me.

As I look ahead to Mother’s Day next weekend, I know it will be a little bit of a challenge, but her gift of a Mother’s love is with me, in my heart to pass along. I’m not sure there is a better gift than that. Thank you mom, and to all the moms out there leaving behind a loving legacy.

Handwritten Recipes

With 70,000 books and 3000 cookbooks in stock, Michael Popek, a bookseller in New York finds a “collection of curious and wonderful recipes forgotten between the pages.” Michael has taken those forgotten recipes and turned them into a wonderful cookbook for you and me.

I stumbled upon Michael’s blog about a year ago and tested one of the recipes he had posted. It turned out so good, I decided to photograph it so Michael could post it for guests at his blog. I love the concept of trying to decipher the original intent of the recipes, and find myself wondering about the people who made them.

So when he asked me if I would cook something and photograph it for his new cookbook, I was excited to experiment again. I wanted to honor the original intent of the recipe creator, while making it easy for readers to follow. However, I didn’t know he was going to send me this:


  • 1 pound butts, ground or cut up in small pieces
  • 1 leg of pepperoni sausage
  • 1 package of provolone cheese (1/2 pound or more)
  • 1 large onion
  • parsley grated cheese
  • 4 or more eggs

It went on to say, “make a crust like pie crust” but didn’t include a recipe. It was also missing oven temperature and cooking time, and what the heck is a ‘butt?’ Pork or beef? My work was cut out for me, but the finished product remains a family staple. I’m including my version of this Italian Pie for you here, but I encourage you to buy Michael’s book to discover more forgotten recipes and make them your own. This pie is found on page 83 of Michael’s book, let me know how you like it!


I used a buttered 10.5 false bottom tart pan for this dish. You could use a pie dish, but the size of this pan went perfectly with the amount of crust yielded by the pastry.

I baked this dish in a 350 degree oven for approximately 55 minutes. I started at 30, and then increased it in 10 minute increments, until the final 5. You might bake it faster at 375 for 45 minutes.

Italian Pie Filling

1 lb. ground beef
1 5 oz. package of pepperoni
1 8 oz. package of provolone cheese
1 large onion, diced
1 handful of parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs

Italian Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups flour (300 grams; 10.5 oz)
2 Tb. olive oil
1 pinch salt
2/3 cup warm water (5 oz.; 150ml)

Method for Pie Crust

Mix the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl, add the oil and water. Knead for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Set aside while you make the filling.

Method for Pie Filling

Brown the ground beef in a skillet, stirring often to prevent too much browning. Add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent and meat is fully cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
In a food processor, add pepperoni and provolone cheese and pulse until chopped into little pieces. Add to the browned beef and onions.
Now that the beef and pepperoni mixture are in the mixing bowl, add parsley, grated parmesan cheese and the eggs.
Mix until everything is well incorporated using a mixing spoon.

Method for Assembling

Take the pastry dough that has been resting, and cut it in half with a knife or pastry cutter.
Roll out into a large disk about 10.5” in diameter, and press into a prepared pie tin with scalloped edge and false bottom. Make sure to press the dough against the scalloped edge.
Add the filling to the pie tin on top of the pastry.
Roll out the other half of the pastry dough, and gently place it on top of the filling, making sure to press it against the sides of the tin to reveal a nice edge when the pie is all finished.
Make small decorative slices on top of the pastry dough.
Place dish onto a cookie sheet and bake for 55 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the false bottom and cut into 8 slices.

Applesauce Spice Cake: The Old Hen (Guest Post)

I’m so excited to present to you one of my Twitter friends whom I also know IRL (that’s Twitter-speak for In Real Life).

Deanna, owner of The Old Hen B&B, will be on air October 27th in a new show called “My Family Recipe Rocks” with Joey Fatone on the Live Well Network. Check your local listings here.

This is the only place you will get this recipe for a few weeks. Let me know what you think!

And without further adieu…

What if you could take all of the fallish flavors of a comforting mug of apple cider and pack them into glorious cake? What if you could then smother that cake in the world’s best cream cheese frosting? Well, preheat your ovens, pour a cup of coffee and flip the fireplace switch on. It’s fall and that cake is just one afternoon away from being on your dinner table. Applesauce Spice Cake will turn your average everyday day into a fall festival in your mouth. Let the leaves fall as they may…

Applesauce Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks (or 1 cup) butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 – .74 oz. (or single serving size) package dry spiced apple cider mix

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spray two 8 inch round cake pans or one 9X13 baking pan well with baking spray. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a fork poked into the middle comes out clean.


  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 16 ounces butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 dashes salt

In a large bowl cream together cream cheese and butter. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and then vanilla. Add salt. After cake has cooled completely cooled, frost cake.

For easier frosting, wrap cake after cooled and place in freezer overnight. Frost the next day while still frozen.

About Deanna Morauski:

You can see Deanna on Joey Fatone’s new show “My Family Recipe Rocks” on the Live Well Network this month on October 27th. She will be making four scrumptious recipes throughout an entire episode filmed at her B&B, The Old Hen. Follow along on her Facebook page or on Twitter for updates .

Deanna’s love for baking and cooking began as she sat upon a baker’s stool as a little girl. Her love for people grew in the midst of church potlucks. She expresses her loves today creatively through speaking, writing for her foodie blog, television appearances as well as hosting guests, including celebrities, at her inn, The Old Hen Bed & Breakfast in Snoqualmie Valley, Washington.

Mango Chutney w/ Heat

I became fascinated with chutney a few weeks ago when I was watching a cooking show. Salsa and chutney were being used interchangeably and I found myself being frustrated that the terms were blurred. Then I realized I couldn’t successfully explain the difference, so I went on a chutney binge for a week. For me, chutney is heated, usually with some kind of fruit, and with spices you would use in the fall. For me, salsa is fresh, usually with basic ingredients, and with minimal spices and no fruit…otherwise it’s a raw chutney. These are just my simplified definitions feel free to use your own.

This mango chutney is a version of Jamie Oliver’s Cheeky Chili Chutney. I modified it using what I had (for some reason I was out of cinnamon sticks, so I just used ground cinnamon). I used this atop cream cheese as a dip, and then on meat. Now It’s gone and I need to make more soon. I think it will be a staple.

Here’s the link. Enjoy!

Smores Anyone?

We’ve all done this. It’s just fun to do with kids. I prefer mine straight out of the microwave.

Roasted Bell Peppers

If you haven’t tried roasting bell peppers in the BBQ this summer, you’ve got to try this just for the fun of it.

You can use this method with any kind of pepper, then once they cool, use them in salsa, chutney, marinade. Anything really.

There’s no recipe for this other than to keep an eye on them and not to be afraid of the blackness that occurs.

Once they are cooked, take them off the heat and wrap them in tin foil. In a few minutes you’ll be able to peel the skin off of these to reveal a sweet and smoky pepper great for any recipe or eating just plain.

Try them with yogurt and agave after they’ve rested in the refrigerator overnight. I know it sounds weird, but you just might like it!

An Affinity for Oysters

I haven’t been able to talk about or eat an oyster for about six months, the story of which I’ll save for another time. But on this day my subconscious nudged me toward a pile of oysters while walking past the seafood counter at the grocery store and said, “Don’t you think it’s been long enough?” And with that, I found myself buying fancy oysters with names I can’t recall. Hubby still can’t eat them, so I had my fill of these delicious roasted oysters on the half shell with prosciutto, cilantro and a shallot-sherry drizzle on top all by my lonesome.

My affinity for oysters dates back a while. When my parents lived around these parts and I was a newlywed, we would celebrate ‘Seafood Sunday’ every week. My Dad and I would buy a giant bag of oysters from the local oyster supplier and BBQ until every last one was popped open with a sizzle and snort.

My parents later moved to sunnier locales and ‘Seafood Sunday’ fell by the wayside. So I took up scraping them off slippery stones in Strawberry Bay on Cypress Island. With my screwdriver and bucket in hand, I would wake up in the morning when the tide was low and forage for my favorite island snack. My husband would start a beach bonfire and I would roast my oysters and eat every last one.

My six-month hiatus over, these oysters remind me of earlier times I treasure with family. Now I just need to get hubby back on the oyster board.

Oysters (fancy or not) w/ Prosciutto, Cilantro and Sherry-Shallot Drizzle

You will need:

Oysters – it doesn’t matter how many

Cilantro – 1 bunch

Prosciutto – you can never have enough

Sherry – splash

Olive Oil – 1 TB.

Shallots – 1 sliced and diced

How to cook this dish:

Set your BBQ on high, place the oysters on the grill. Meanwhile cook the prosciutto in a pan on the stove until crispy like bacon (although it won’t take that long). Chop your cilantro and set aside for garnish. Saute shallots in the same pan you cooked the prosciutto in until they are caramelized.  Mix together the olive oil and sherry, add shallots to mixture.

When the oysters start to sizzle and snort, with your heat protective glove ( I use whatever I can find), pick one up and see if the top and bottom shells have separated. This is a sign that the top shell is ready to be popped off with a screwdriver (flat head works best). Once the top shell is popped off, drizzle the sherry shallot dressing over each one and close the lid. Continue to cook the oysters until they are done to your liking. Take them off the grill, drizzle with more dressing, eat, enjoy, repeat.

Of course, you could also add butter to these, and they will taste heavenly, but with the amount I can pack away, I’m trying to eat light.

Let me know how these turn out!

Rosemary Garlic Pan Sauce

We just got back from a fun vacation in Denver, and needed to stop at the store to get some food supplies for the empty pantry and refrigerator. I always clean everything out just before we go on vacation so we don’t come home to any unpleasant smells…you know the kind.

At Whole Foods I picked up thinly sliced sirloin steaks and knew instantly that I would be flash frying them in Coconut Oil. The night I chose to do this was very hectic, as Spring nights usually are, with playing children, excited dogs and piles of laundry. So this is what I came up with on the spur of the moment. It’s not a recipe, really, so feel free to improvise!

Ingredients for flash frying steaks:

  • Thinly sliced top Sirloin steak
  • 1 clove of Garlic (smashed, not chopped)
  • 1 Tb. Coconut Oil for frying
  • 1 branch of Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper (you can also use your favorite steak seasonings for this to maximize flavor)

Melt Coconut Oil in a large pan, then add the whole clove of garlic and rosemary. Flash fry seasoned steaks for about a minute and thirty seconds per side. Place finished steaks in a casserole dish until all of the steaks are done. Place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.

On this particular night, I didn’t want to dirty any extra pans, so I decided to toss Asparagus into the pan that I just fried the steaks in. I’ll show you down below at what point I added them.

Ingredients for Rosemary Garlic Pan Sauce

  • Splash of red wine (Cabernet works great)
  • 1 Tb. Shallots, chopped
  • 2 Tb. Cream
  • 1/2 cup Beef Stock
  • 1 Tb. finely chopped Rosemary leaves
  • 1 clove of smashed Garlic (added to the one already in the pan)
  • 1 Tb. Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Tb. Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Method for Rosemary Garlic Pan Sauce

Add the shallots for a minute or so, then splash in some red wine. Deglaze the pan and add the smashed garlic. Add the beef stock and rosemary. Here is the point where I added the Asparagus. Two things are happening: My asparagus is cooking to a nice al dente, while the sauce is reducing and concentrating flavors. This takes about 8-10 minutes. (Sorry, on this night, I didn’t have the stamina to peel the Asparagus.)

When the Asparagus were done, I placed them in the same casserole dish as the steaks, and returned the dish to the oven to keep warm while I finished the sauce.

Let the sauce reduce for a little while longer. My family was hungry so I didn’t have time to reduce it down as much as I would have liked. Do what you have time for.

After the sauce has reduced to your liking, add salt and pepper to taste. Then turn off the heat. Add the Coconut Oil and Butter to the sauce until it melts. Then pour the sauce over the warmed steak and asparagus. My daughter made Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing to go atop a very quick salad, and dinner was ready in 30 minutes!

A pretty simple dish! You can copy and paste these ingredients into your cell phone or save an image to Pinterest so you can have the recipe with you next time you’re at the store. Enjoy!

Poached Pears

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big world of difference. Meals don’t have to be challenging to plan, difficult to prepare, or expensive.

A juicy pear poached in your favorite red wine and topped with reduced balsamic vinegar and parmesan shavings, is simplicity at its finest. No real recipe, easy to prepare and not expensive.

But the experience of biting into this delicacy reminds me that when big things in life are too big, when problems loom and days are long, throwing  four ingredients together can give us a new perspective. The big things in life, really aren’t that big of deal; the problems that loom, are really just arching over on their way to toppling, and the days are actually too short.

So here’s to a new perspective on what’s bothering you right now, and four ingredients that can give you a simpler point of view.

Pears – Peel, cut if you want to

Red Wine – Simmer with the pear

Parmesan- Shave over poached pear

Balsamic Vinegar – Spoon over poached pear and enjoy


Vent – Tell a friend

Imitate – Act how you want to feel

Evaluate – What is triggering your thought process

Wonder – Ask yourself questions, and wonder about how to make a change if you need to

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