The promise of spring… or, how spring can be SO fickle!

The promise of spring… or, how spring can be SO fickle!

Sunny one day, rainy and cold the next. Peaceful, then wildly windy! Warm, then here comes a snowstorm! Spring is so beguiling… and so fickle!

Let’s not forget, we’re in another transition time. Spring is a little bit of a seesaw. So our immune systems can be tricked! We can get colds or leftover remnants of the flu.

It’s been super rainy here in the Bay Area, in fact, super rainy in many parts of the country. And while you may be yearning for those bright, fresh spring greens it isn’t quite time to jump into a big salad yet. But it is a time when you want to perk up and feel a little brighter.

How do you welcome in the green of spring and still successfully juggle all the vagaries of what’s going on outside?

Refresh & renew: spring cleaning!

Refresh & renew: spring cleaning!

On a recent Sunday, I was in my pantry trying to find baking powder. If you know me, you know I’m not a baker. Soup, yes! Baked goods, not so much. So I have a little bin at the top of my cupboard where I keep less-used things that I have to get on a step stool to reach. I stretched up, got down my little box, pulled out the baking powder… and noticed the expiration date. Embarrassing!  

Bringing February to life with beets & citrus!

Bringing February to life with beets & citrus!

When you think of February, do you picture the color red, matters of the heart and that Hallmark holiday right in the middle of the month? I remember those old-fashioned paper valentines! Sitting at the table, filling them out, and taking them to school, one for every classmate. And the cupcakes parents would bring in, iced with colors not found in nature. And those hard little pastel, heart-shaped candies stamped with messages (BE MINE). As I got older, it was all about, am I going to get a valentine from a CERTAIN PERSON? And then, am I going to have a date?

Getting to the other side, with love and gratitude!

 Getting to the other side, with love and gratitude!

If you’ve been reading between the lines, you may have noticed that this has been a challenging year for me, something I’ve alluded to, but not shared. I have been riding the rollercoaster, touching some of the scariest parts of life, death, and everything in between. There was no recipe for this year of my life. I learned about resiliency. The power of love. The magic of the unknowable. And now that I’m on the other side, I can share.

Food to have on hand for holiday meals, from fancy to impromptu!

Food to have on hand for holiday meals, from fancy to impromptu!

You may not be surprised to learn that when I’m thinking about food to have on hand for the holidays, I’m thinking soup!

This is the time when you’re entertaining both formally and (more often than not) informally. Your kids are home from college, and their friends drop by. Your favorite Aunt just arrived hungry from Cincinnati. The family is suddenly hungry, and a quick, comforting impromptu meal is in order. Soup!

DIY and selected foods: Give the gift of yum!

DIY and selected foods: Give the gift of yum!

More and more I’m finding people love gifts of food! Something sweet to have on hand for holiday guests, elegant olive oil or Grade A Dark Maple Syrup, with a colorful homemade tag. Food gifts, DIY or thoughtfully selected, say LOVE—and isn’t that the point? Don’t miss the special new recipe I’ve included this year, from my dear colleague Marti Wolfson, an easy-peasy chocolate bark. Too yum to resist!

Your Gift Guide: My absolute favorite cookbooks for 2018

Your Gift Guide: My absolute favorite cookbooks for 2018

What’s the reason to buy a cookbook? For me, it’s either because it’s a good story or because the author has something excellent to teach me. My favorite cookbooks become companions in my kitchen, wise chef/authors I commune with to enhance my kitchen creativity. I love books that share a unique point of view, that tell a compelling story, that are beautifully designed and have gorgeous photography.

Here’s my 2018 list of the best of the best! These would be great gifts... or fit rather nicely on your wish list. :)

Thanksgiving in challenging times

Thanksgiving in challenging times

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Not only because it’s a culinary-centric holiday, but because having a day devoted to putting everything aside (whatever the dynamics!) and giving thanks with family and friends seems the ultimate kind of gratitude. This was the central theme of all my Thanksgivings growing up, when we held hands and my father reflected for a few moments about what really matters in this world. Then we dug into the food and the flood of lively conversation!

The flavors and superpowers of garlic!

The flavors and superpowers of garlic!

Are you already surrounded by people coming down with sniffles and coughs? I'm reposting one of the most potent food as medicine—and delicious!—cures I know. If you've never really taken this superfood seriously before, do it now! It will do you a world of good.

Have you been trying to ward off colds and flu as the season changes? Watching out for trick or treating vampires? Have I got the fix for you!

When time expands: creating a life that’s full and rich and meaningful!!

When time expands: creating a life that’s full and rich and meaningful!!

Wow! Am I ever intrigued with a recent article in the New York Times entitled, Why Following Your Passions Is Good for You (and How to Get Started). This features a 2015 study published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine which found that pursuing your passion both lowers stress and contributes to greater happiness overall. My dears, this is RIGHT up my alley!

Become a soup master in 9 minutes!

Become a soup master in 9 minutes!

What could be cozier or more welcome than homemade soup? If you've never tried cultivating this admirable culinary skill before, this popular post from the archives will guide you to success! Friends, family, and YOU will be thrilled.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s soup season!

When I get that first whiff, that first little inkling of Fall, I take my big old soup pot out and I start sauteeing onions -- the beginning of broth, the foundation of soups to come, the veritable core of both health and flavor, the indescribable difference. The YUM!

Turning in and letting go

Turning in and letting go

A post from the archives that really nails the feelings of transitioning into fall, along with skillful means for self-care and taming that anxious mind. Beautiful!

This post is from my dear friend Marti Wolfson, MS, who has appeared on my blog several times, including my Soup Session with the extraordinary Marti Wolfson, when we had SUCH a good time chopping and cooking up Spicy Thai Carrot, Corn & Tomato Bisque soup (the video is great!).

We’re back in the kitchen! American eating habits are changing.

We’re back in the kitchen! American eating habits are changing.

Referencing the old saying, Everything old is new again—all of a sudden, cooking at home is trendy! A recent article in Bloomberg Business with data about current eating habits says,

“Home cooking would be making a comeback if it ever really went away. Restaurants are getting dinged by the convenience of Netflix, the advent of pre-made meals, the spread of online grocery delivery, plus crushing student debt and a focus on healthy eating. Eighty-two percent of American meals are prepared at home [emphasis mine]-- more than were cooked 10 years ago, according to researcher NPD Group Inc. The latest peak in restaurant-going was in 2000, when the average American dined out 216 times a year.”

Go big! Stepping outside your comfort zone

Go big! Stepping outside your comfort zone

Take a look behind the scenes and join me (studio 306 A) and all my artist friends for Artists at Work at the ICB Building (Industrial Center Building) in Sausalito, California this Friday, September 28th from 1 to 8 pm PDT. Built in 1942 to produce cargo ships and tankers for the war effort, the building now houses 100+ artists working in media including painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, weaving, basketry, new media, fiber art and more. Rather than just an open house, this is a rare opportunity to see the artists at work, watch their process and see how their art is created.

What is nourishment?

What is nourishment?

In the past decade we’ve placed SO much emphasis on whole foods, clean foods, paleo vs. vegan, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant... I think we’re there already, don’t you? We know what healthy eating is. ENOUGH ALREADY! I want to move beyond the research, the data, the shoulds, the restrictions (and the ensuing guilt), and plant my flag right here: are you really being nourished by by what you eat?

A Gravenstein applesauce story

A Gravenstein applesauce story

Do you have annual food rituals that you love? Making tomato sauce when the season's at its peak, freezing ripe blueberries or making stock when soup season begins in fall? The fizz of anticipation, the planning ahead, the sheer contentment when the treasure is stored away for future delight. If you haven't tried it or tried it with a friend yet, do! Working side-by-side with a dear friend in the kitchen is one of the most nourishing experiences in the world. Enjoy!