The Blues


We all get the blues from time to time. They are those periods in which we sink low and deep into the nether worlds of existence. Our hopes and dreams seem so far out of reach and we feel like we are about to hit rock bottom. Just a silly period of time that might last no longer than a day, except we feel like it has been going on for a century. How do we fight the blues? Do we even want to fight them? The truth of the matter is that the blues are the grease of our happy existence. We are so obsessed with happiness and every single action we take is towards an eternal feeling of happiness. We eventually reach a stage where we have become numb with it. So much happiness overflows our lives to such a ridiculous extent. Ah but the blues are what makes it all balanced. They are the bitter medicine that makes happiness taste like the rarest of sweets. So do we really want to fight off the blues that are the essence of what makes life worth living?

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Almond-Anise Biscotti


We all love that little treat we allow ourselves with our coffee or tea. This recipe is perfect for a guilt-free trip to sweet-land. The biscotti is a little different in texture than the original biscotti and is more crisp and thinly sliced but the toasted almonds add that little extra something which makes you want to have one more biscotti. With a nice cup of tea to accompany them on a cold winter afternoon, these biscotti leave you feeling relaxed after a hectic day.  Having three to four of these darlings is equivalent to one biscotti. It leaves you feeling as if you have had more than the usual portion even though it’s the same quantity.

Almond-Anise Biscotti

prep time: 25 minutes, Bake: 55 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. anise seeds, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. anise-flavored aperitif
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (pinch)
  • 3 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine anise seeds with the aperitif and let stand 10 min in a medium bowl. Grease large cookie sheet.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, chopped almonds, baking powder and salt. With a wire whisk beat eggs into anise mixture. using a large wooden spoon stir egg mixture into flour mixture until blended. Divide dough in half. On prepared cookie sheet, shape each half into a 15-inch log, placing them 3 inches apart. (dough will be sticky)

3. Bake until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, around 40 min. Cool for about 10 min. then remove longs to cutting board. Cut each log crosswise on diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices, place cut side down on two  ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 15 min. turning slices once over and rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks midway through baking. With spatula transfer biscotti to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 84 biscotti.

Winter Warmth


Even though it’s technically supposed to be the coldest of all seasons, except this time of year is one of the warmest. The winter chill either drives us scuttling under a quilt on the sofa with s steaming cup of coffee, or huddling together around the kitchen table with  bowls of soup. There is no denying that winter gives us a reason to bake just one more batch, it gives us the perfect excuse to scurry around the kitchen and whip up all sorts of winter treats for the family.

One of my favourite winter foods is roasted chestnuts. The whole family gets to spend time together while the chestnuts roast and are ready to be served. The mere act of waiting is a means of family bonding. It is a time out of life and , no distractions, a time for sitting back and relaxing with the ones you care for the most. The odors and tastes of the different recipes and foods that we enjoy, that is the smell of winter warmth. Warm meals around a table surrounded with beloved faces  that is what winter means to me.

Herbal Teas and Infusions


        The thing about herbal infusions is that they all seem to have very similar benefits, whenever we read about an infusion or an herb we get the same old information and very little stress on variation between different infusions. There are about a gazillion and more herbs that are relaxants and stress relievers but how do we know what to chose? I hope to dabble with herbal infusions and tisanes until I get a semblance of difference between the various relaxant, cold relieving and multi-healing  herbs that we are told to drink when we are sick or going through a rough patch. The results of my modes dabbling will hopefully be beneficial to many including myself.