Apple & Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cake, and Knowing When Something Is Perfect Just As It Is

Apple & Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cake, and Knowing When Something Is Perfect Just As It Is post image

I'm pretty sure that each and every one of us have our own ideas about how something should be. We imagine in our mind's eye the qualities that should make up a thing, and we decide whether or not those qualities are present based on some (often hidden) standards that we have. Or sometimes, we have actual knowledge of how something should be based upon real experience and previous observation, and surely that counts for something. It seems like it's often a balancing act trying to ... {more please!}

Pumpkin Cream Sauce Fettuccine, & Keeping Things Together When They Want To Come Apart

Pumpkin Cream Sauce Fettuccine, & Keeping Things Together When They Want To Come Apart post image

Ah, the best laid plans... My heart desired nothing more this morning than simplicity: to sit down at my computer, quiet my mind for a moment, and then connect with the writer side of myself and put to paper (or to screen, in this case) my thoughts in order to see what essence or mischievous imp wanted to be unleashed. But alas, things wouldn't go quite as planned, as our water heater decided to fritz out this morning just a little bit, in turn placing my ... {more please!}

Hearty Italian Chicken and Autumn Veggie Soup, and Gratitude for the Simple Pleasures

Hearty Italian Chicken and Autumn Veggie Soup, and Gratitude for the Simple Pleasures post image

It gives me a lot of joy and contentment to find pleasure in something simple. Just before sitting down to write, I decided to spend a few moments sitting in a chair in the back yard in utter silence just listening to the world around me, soaking up the milder rays of the warming sun (and some much needed vitamin D). And just from those few, precious moments that I gave myself for refreshment, my spirit feels calmed and quieted; it feels lifted up. I feel ... {more please!}

Oktoberfest Potato Skins, and Finding Good Reasons to Celebrate a Little

Oktoberfest Potato Skins, and Finding Good Reasons to Celebrate a Little post image

As we get into late September and then into October—into the autumn—I feel myself come alive a little more. I feel my colors become a bit more vibrant in the autumn, and my enthusiasm for simple festivities increase. Perhaps it's the promise of cooler weather, and of the holiday season just around the corner; of a fresh, crisp breeze that, in the evenings, brings a slight chill, and that gets my excitement going. Or perhaps it's the simple fact that the sun sets earlier, and earlier ... {more please!}

Caramel Apple Sticky Rolls, and Saying Goodbye to a Season that’s Passed

Caramel Apple Sticky Rolls, and Saying Goodbye to a Season that’s Passed post image

Having to say goodbye has never been easy for me. I recently had to say goodbye to my parents who had come to visit with us for a while this summer, after not having seen them for about two years; they left to go back to their home (these days) in Slovakia. It's tough not knowing when we'll all see each other again; perhaps another two years from now? The pace at which time and life goes by, it'll most likely be at least a little ... {more please!}

Crunchy-Baked Garlic “Popcorn” Chicken, a Different Type of Popcorn to Pop

Crunchy-Baked Garlic “Popcorn” Chicken, a Different Type of Popcorn to Pop post image

I don't know about you all, but we're still making our way through some hot weather here in Southern California—whew-wee! Can we please be done with this? Where's the cool fall? Where are the temperatures that beckon for me to wrap myself in a comfy-cozy blanky, or throw on a jacket or sweater when I go out in the evening? They seem to be hiding at the present moment, that's for sure. So it makes it just a wee-bit less appealing to turn on an oven ... {more please!}

Hard Cider-Battered Fish n’ “Oven” Chips, Pub Style; a Fall-Inspired Version of a Crispy Classic

Hard Cider-Battered Fish n’ “Oven” Chips, Pub Style; a Fall-Inspired Version of a Crispy Classic post image

Our teenage son has always been a huge fan of crispy fish n' chips. Ever since he was just a wee little thing, if this classic comfort food was on a menu, he'd almost always ask to order it since it wasn't an entree that we would typically make at home—frankly, it seemed a bit laborious. And because of his adoration of this tasty-yet-unpretentious meal, my husband and I have found our own love for it, making it a family “thing” by stopping by our favorite ... {more please!}

Chicken Salad with Honeycrisp Apples and Candied Walnuts, a Perfect Little Sandwich for Autumn

Chicken Salad with Honeycrisp Apples and Candied Walnuts, a Perfect Little Sandwich for Autumn post image

Finding comforting ways to use fresh, seasonal ingredients is one of my favorite things about cooking; it's a wonderful challenge! And the more simple a recipe is, the more one can really taste the flavor of those seasonal ingredients, and find the joy and simple pleasure in them. Honeycrisp apples, just as their name implies, are incredibly crisp, sweet and juicy—they embody that wonderfully fruity and earthy flavor of fall, and brighten up so very many recipes that call for the autumn-centered fruit. And they're perfect ... {more please!}

Granny Smith’s Apple Flapjacks with Warm Cider Syrup, and Anticipating the Sweetness of Fall

Granny Smith’s Apple Flapjacks with Warm Cider Syrup, and Anticipating the Sweetness of Fall post image

Although fall “officially” begins September 22, I, for one, certainly don't need an official date to begin bringing out the fall-inspired recipes. After all, fall is my favorite time of year; and once all of the various sweet, juicy and crisp apple "varietals" begin appearing more and more in the produce isles, and the local orchards start inviting us to participate in their “U-Pick” festivities, then I start to have a very hard time resisting the temptation to begin brainstorming comfy-cozy and kitchen-warming new recipes that ... {more please!}