Breakfast EVERYONE!

ERA picnic table

Mornings are magical.  I know some of you might think I’m crazy for saying that, but I love that quiet time when the house is still and the sun is just starting to peek up over the horizon.  The start of a new day often brings with it clarity and perspective.

When kids become teenagers and up, problems aren’t always solved with a hug and a bandage.  Hopefully we let our kids “practice” problem solving on the little stuff so when something big comes along they will have a frame of reference as to how to proceed.  But until they get their wings, a call home can give them the confidence they need to make an informed decision.  A hug and a bandage can’t fix everything…but after a night sleep often clarity and perspective awaits…and breakfast!!!

I like to have a simple breakfast…granola and yogurt or an egg, but my kids love the BIG breakfast!  Pancakes, French toast, crepes…you name it!  But the favorite at my house is Pasta Papa ala Mama.  This meal was made for us by some friends years ago.  We had plans for a long lazy day floating the river, so this meal was hearty enough to keep us full ALL…DAY…LONG.  We’ve made this meal for 5 and for 100, so it’s easy to augment.  The kids love it, young and old.


Farewell 2017


Capture a moment in time.  A photograph can do that, but the memory associated with it lives in our hearts.  With the passing of my mother-in-law, I’m finding myself cherishing each moment a little more thoughtfully.  Even simple tasks take on new meaning as memories pop up of past experiences. Last weekend I was gazing out the window at the snow remembering past winters and holidays spent at our cabin.  Some with friends and some with family, but mostly cherished by all.

I tend to compartmentalize moments in my life I guess to preserve the joyful times and to soften the difficult ones.  Our cabin was built in the 1920’s.  The walls here have seen their share of all that families have to offer.  The family that lived here before we moved in raised Arabian horses.  Before that, the residents owned and operated the hardware store in town.  Our barn is still filled with lots of hardware.  Little baby food jars with nails and bolts sorted just right.  Sometimes when we need to repair something, I’ll head out to the barn and say, “Mr. Baker…do you have what we need?”  9 times out of 10 it’ll be there in one the old baby food jars.  And so, they remain…

I have a few “go to” meals at the cabin.  While we’re all still in the holiday spirit, I’m gonna throw a pumpkin cranberry scone recipe your way.  I like to make these and freeze them, so they are ready whenever I need to put a delicious pastry on the table. Take them out of the freezer while the oven is preheating, and they will thaw enough for them to bake through.

While we make our way through the last few days of 2017, take some time to savor the special moments.  Take some time to let go of mistakes.  Take some time to honor those we lost this year and hug the ones we love.



Heartbreak in the midst of joy


Celebrations this time of year pile up on the calendar.  Every weekend is booked with an event.  Buying and wrapping presents take center stage along with holiday cards and decorating.  Sadly, this year in the midst of all of this, our family was hit with heartbreak.  My husband’s mother passed away on Sunday.  You can never prepare yourself for the 4:30 am phone call.  Time stands still…

My mother-in-law was an amazing woman.  She sang with the Sweet Adaline’s in her youth.  She traveled to Cuba in her 20’s.  She moved to San Francisco from Chicago where she met her husband.  On her 80th birthday she floated the Icicle River with a bunch of us in an inflatable canoe…she loved an adventure and had lots of stories to tell.  She had a very kind heart and strong determination. Last summer the whole family was able to be together to celebrate her last birthday.  It was quite a blessing.

I was welcomed into this Irish/Scottish Catholic family nearly 30 years ago.  The extended family stretching across the country to Washington DC, to Chicago, to San Francisco, to Santa Barbara, to Cannon Beach to Seattle and many other places has always been as solid as they come.  We will see many of them as we celebrate her life in the coming weeks.

My favorite Christmas cookie recipes come from my mother-in-law.  She shared them with me wholeheartedly years ago.  In fact, I’m making my 5th batch of Pecan Tarts today as they seem to keep disappearing!  I even freeze them, so we won’t eat them but amazingly enough they are delicious frozen too!  The second batch of Hello Dolly’s was baked yesterday with my daughter.  Traditions and family recipes are meant to be shared and handed down to the next generation.  That’s how our loved ones continue to live through us forever…




Traditions are a fun way to continue family connections.  It’s a way to experience your heritage and keep it alive.  Part of my heritage is Norwegian and Swedish.  When our daughter was little, my mom suggested that celebrate St. Lucia Day (commonly know as St. Lucy).  Here’s what it’s all about!

“Saint Lucy’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, is a Christian feast day celebrated on 13 December in Advent, commemorating Saint Lucy, who according to legend brought “food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs” using a candle-lit wreath to “light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible”.[1] Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a Christian festival of light.”

We dressed our little angel up in a white robe with a red sash, the traditional costume for St. Lucy.  She carried cardamom buns in her basket for about 2 minutes until she decided she’d had enough.  Then she and her brothers would sit on the stairs and eat them.  I love thinking back to those days when Christmas was magical.  The anticipation of the big guy coming down the chimney was almost more than they could handle.  The twinkle in their eyes when they came down the stairs in the morning and saw that Santa had eaten a couple cookies and the carrots we left for the reindeer were all gone.


Christmas is still magical, but in a different way.  With our children becoming adults, it’s not so much about Santa and more about family.  I know the day is coming where I will have to share them on this day.  Nothing really stays the same.  It’s ever changing.  Keep up the old traditions, and create new ones.  Staying connected to family…

This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens.  I know you have that cookbook!  It is a recipe for a Cardamom Braid, (which I also love to make), but for this I bake 12 small braids.