Martha Mondays: Strawberry Tart

May 14, 2012

I am back to work and made this week’s project! I had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. We got a lot done around the house, found time to take walks, and just hang out. My husband made me lunch and husband and kids made dinner, including my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe. It was everything Mother’s Day should be. I hope all the moms out there enjoyed the day as well!

I made the strawberry tart Megan’s Cookin’ chose for our project, but it really didn’t infringe on my “I’m not cooking today” mantra. The crust was easy to put together and  I mixed up the cream cheese in the food processor. I cut the berries in half because one container I had was rotten and there wasn’t going to be enough. I used strawberry jam on top of them instead of currant jelly. I thought it looked pretty. It doesn’t compete, however, with my grandmother’s recipe for strawberry pie which I may share with you at some point!

I thought it was pretty good though. The crust was a really nice shortbread crust that I loved. I think if I didn’t know what was in this (just cream cheese and sugar) I would have liked it more! But it actually was pretty good and so simple to put together.

Martha Mondays: 5/14

May 10, 2012

Hi everyone. I apologize for not getting last week’s recipe done. I haven’t been feeling well, with little appetite for food, so I just couldn’t manage it. I hope to get to the next project though, chosen by Megan’s Cooking, strawberry pie. I hope you will forgive me for falling behind. We’re on day 3 of some renovations here as well, which has just made it impossible to do anything.

Want to Write Your Own Cookbook?

May 9, 2012

I was recently interviewed by the Buffalo News about writing your own cookbook. The piece is out today, if you’d like to take a peek. I enjoyed doing the interview, but did not enjoy the photo shoot (!)  and they ended up using art anyhow so it was a waste of time. It’s a great piece though.

Apologies to my Martha Mondays friends. I am still in the midst of a lot happening here – dealing with some health issues and a major home improvement project.

Martha Mondays

May 7, 2012

Hi everyone. I’m behind due to some illness. Hope to make this project later today or tomorrow depending on how things go.

Martha’s Smashed Potatoes

May 2, 2012

It must be my Irish blood, but I love potatoes. On nights when I’m alone, a baked potato is my go-to dinner. I love potatoes made just about any way you can think of. So of course I had to try the Smashed Potatoes recipe from May Everyday Food.

Here’s the deal: you boil some small potatoes (I used baby red) until just fork tender. Drain. Put them on a greased baking sheet and smash them with your hand, or as I did, with the bottom of a measuring cup. Drizzle them with olive oil and salt and pepper them and bake at 450 for about 35 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they are brown and crunchy.  Amazing. I would have cooked mine a bit longer if I had had the time, but these were really good. I might use butter next time instead of olive oil. I served them with sour cream. It was like having French fries but without so much grease.

Live Fearlessly

May 1, 2012

My friend Alisa Bowman recently co-authored a book called Be Fear Less. Yes, this falls outside of what I normally write about here, but I couldn’t help myself. I needed to write about it. And, yes, the publisher sent me a review copy, but I would have bought this book if they hadn’t.

Alisa is co-author with Jonathan Alpert, who is a psychoanalyst. But he’s got an entirely different take on therapy. In fact, he thinks it is kind of stupid. His point is that sitting around talking about something for years often does not help you solve the problem. I don’t know a lot about therapy, but I can tell you that when someone I know needed help dealing with a needle phobia, traditional therapy was of no help. A therapist wanted her to talk about her childhood, blah, blah, blah. Instead, she found a therapist who gave her tools to use to combat fear and she conquered her fear in 4 sessions. It really hit me that this is what Alpert is all about.

Another reason I wanted to share this book is because Alpert said something that really hit home with me. He said that instead of experiencing fear, try to change your view about the way you are feeling. You feel sick to your stomach, you’re sweaty, you’re on edge, but instead of interpreting that as fear, interpret it as excitement. I tried this and it really helped me one day as I waiting around for a photographer to come here to do a photo shoot. The truth is the physical feelings are exactly the same so if you can put a positive spin on them, it will really help you change the way you’re thinking and experiencing. When I thought about the photo shoot as a great opportunity I was excited about, I suddenly was more positive about the entire thing.

There’s also a whole section on dealing with rejection, which is something I deal with as a writer every day. Alpert says to expect rejection as part of the process, which is so true as a writer, and to realize that each rejection just makes you stronger. And a rejection is not person, it just means you weren’t right for the project, which again is so true in writing.

I also loved the tips on dealing with fearmongers. Do you have one of these in your life? I do, and the tips were great.

Alpert talks about how to strengthen your dream list. We all have one of these and often it gets us nowhere. Alpert walks you through how to analyze and tweak what is on your list so that they become attainable.

I’m keeping this book on my bookcase to turn to when I have moments of fear – it’s a great resource.

Martha Mondays Schedule

May 1, 2012

5/14 Megan’s Cookin’

5/21 Sassy Suppers

5/28 Perfecting Pru

6/4 Tiny Skillet

6/11 Sweet Almond Tree

6/18 MarthaAndMe


Martha Mondays

May 1, 2012

It’s my turn to pick for next week, so let’s make the Cinnamon Bun Bites from April Living. They sound like monkey bread to me.

Martha Mondays: Rosemary Bread

April 30, 2012

Thanks to Ana at Sweet Almond Tree for this pick, Rosemary Bread. This was easy to make and I liked the taste of the fresh rosemary in it. And it was a nice bonus to get two loaves, so I could freeze one for later. Very tasty and fun to make. Although I got frustrated with the dough hook – it was making so much noise, I finally pulled the dough out and kneaded it by hand it at the end.

Pottery Collection

April 27, 2012

Over the years, I’ve managed to accumulate pottery from our trips. It had been sort of scattered around the house, with some of it stuck in drawers or on various shelves. When I put away the Easter decorations, I usually get the pottery out to stand on a chest in the dining room. This year the collection had grown a lot, so I thought I would share it. As you can see, I like blue!

The plate with the turtle is from Hawaii (Big Island) as is the blue and green plate in the front left, which has dolphins on it. The bowl at the front right is something my mom brought back from Turkey for me. The interesting shaped vase at the back right is the Navajo wedding vase I bought last year in Taos. The little bowl to the front and left of that, as well as the big blue bowl in the center are from Maine. In the back left, the bowl that is pink inside is from Santa Fe. The little piece to the front and right of that is a small plate or coaster that has sea glass set in the center of it. I bought that somewhere in the SW last summer (after I bought it, I saw them in almost every store, so I am unclear where I got it). The tall blue vase is a mystery! We looked at something similar in Colorado last summer but did not buy it. I have bought this since then, but have totally blanked on where, possibly Amelia Island, Florida.

When I asked my daughter if she could remember where I bought that vase she told me I have to put stickers on the bottoms of these items, and other things in the house so that I can remember so that she will eventually know where it all came from when she inherits it, which is a good point. I have a lot of beautiful things my grandmother bought on her travels and I am just clueless about where some of it came from. So, today I stopped and bought a package of stickers. Let the labeling begin!

This pottery collection has sort of organically happened over the years. I never set out to collect pottery, and Mr. MarthaAndMe will tell  you I have PLENTY  of collections (sheep, bookmarks, baskets, ornaments, teacups, eggs, antique glass, cranberry glass). I just keep bringing it home so I apparently I collect it! Do you have any collections that have snuck up on you?

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