Vintage Recipe: Butter Star Cookies

IMG_20181211_095713When I was a college sophomore in my first apartment, I asked my mom for a cookbook. I hadn’t yet mastered cooking rice, and I just wanted some simple instructions. She gave me my great grandmother’s 1932 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, a cloth-bound binder with pages that had aged as gently as Louise, with her beautiful script on the back pages. I looked through it… and at some point returned it to Mom’s shelf. I was moving a lot and didn’t want things I wouldn’t use, and it wasn’t the book I needed at that time. I eventually figured out how to cook rice and a lot of other things, mostly without instructions.

Years later, I became fascinated with old cookbooks, Continue reading “Vintage Recipe: Butter Star Cookies”

Cooking Dinner… After Dinner

radishes2The ease of dinner from the fridge or freezer on weeknights means that the cooking time must come from some other time in the week. Rather than doing a big freezer cooking day, my routine has always been to simply cook more than we need and freeze the extra. But when 5 of 7 days of the week have little cooking time after work, another strategy is needed… and that’s when I cook dinner after dinner. Continue reading “Cooking Dinner… After Dinner”

Simple Annual Greetings

My 4328/10
German Christmas Card c.1911 from University of Nottingham, shared through CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The first year that I sent my own holiday greetings, I hand-wrote individual letters to everyone.   It was before our marriage, before our parenthood, and before my career burnout.  And even then, it was too much.

I love a good handwritten letter, and I still send them – Continue reading “Simple Annual Greetings”

11-29-18 Advice on Writing from Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time captured my young imagination and I went on to read nearly everything that Madeleine L’Engle wrote.  The Arm of the Starfish, which combined likable characters, science, and international intrigue, was my favorite, and it is one of the books that has withstood rereading as an adult.  Near the 100th anniversary of her birth, I’ll share this advice that she prefaces as being for writers, but which seems to me to be good advice for anyone, especially given the documented effect of writing on health:

I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important:

First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair.

And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write.

The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.

— Madeleine L’Engle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping spirits bright

snowwmWinter in the northern latitudes is a challenge, a marathon, an endurance test. A few months ago, we were basking in so much sunlight that it almost seemed pointless to go to sleep, and now we’re at the opposite end of the spectrum: on a chilly, cloudy, rainy day like today, with abbreviated sunlight hours, hibernating in my pajamas seems attractive… a marked contrast to the summer months of hours outdoors every day, absorbing light and being active.

In recent years, research on circadian rhythms has provided ample evidence that getting bright sunlight early in the day is important not only for mood and sleep, but for overall health. Continue reading “Keeping spirits bright”