Friday’s Thought – A Time to Pick Fruit

plums at the farmers market2

“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.”

(Anton Chekhov)

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Filed under Friday's Thought, nature, New York, wisdom, wise quotes

My Favorite Things – Stumbling on a (GOOD) Healthy Cookie Recipe!

My day today so far has been pretty much dedicated to food.  (Ah, the joys of summer and not having to rush off anywhere!)  After doing the grocery shopping with my husband (which also counted as weight-lifting since we lugged it all back on our shoulders from Whole Foods), we ate our lunch on the balcony.

bistro dining on our patio

Dessert was watermelon cubes, but before shopping I poked around on the internet and wrote down the ingredients for these Almond Joy Cookies by Holly Christine Leary at She Passed the Sugar.  I liked the ingredient list (simple) and that the cookies are gluten-free and also very low sugar.  While I have no allergies or special diet needs, I have found that I feel a lot better if I watch my sugar intake and limit simple carbs.

So, after lunch I got to work assembling the ingredients for the cookies.

ingredients for paleo almond chocolate cookies

The aroma of the almond and coconut flour together with the cinnamon was already intoxicating, so I figured the cookies were bound to turn out well.

My batter wasn’t quite as “sticky” as the recipe’s author described it would be.  My guesses for why this happened: I mixed the wet ingredients in my stand mixer instead of in a blender; I didn’t have the AC on in the apartment and it’s a hot day; the size of eggs I used might have been bigger than what she used.

All that said, I was still able to create nice mounds of dough on my prepared baking sheets.

cookies before baking

After 15 minutes in the oven, I pulled the cookies out of the oven and plunked a nugget of 72% dark chocolate on top of each cookie.

cookies with melted chocolate

Cookies must be had with milk…

two cookies and milk

(And shared with your husband.)

How are they?  Chewy, chocolate-y and “real” tasting.   A far cry from the sandy-textured, odd-flavored concoctions that are most “healthy” cookies…


1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup of coconut flour

1 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/2 cup softened butter

3 Tbs of agave nectar (you could also use coconut palm sugar here)

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 chocolate bar broken up into chunks

Pre-heat oven to 350.  In a small bowl, whisk together flours, cinnamon and baking powder.  In a blender beat butter until fluffy.  Add nectar or sugar.  Blend.  Add 4 eggs and vanilla and blend, scraping sides as necessary. Add dry mixture, again scraping sides as necessary.  The end product will be very sticky.

Use a small cookie scoop to drop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets.  Push down in the middle of each dough ball so that it’s easier to add the chocolate later.

Bake 12-15 minutes.

As soon as you take the cookies out of the oven, press one chunk of chocolate into each cookie.  Cool on rack.

Makes 21 cookies. GL = 2.5 each

(Recipe from She Passed the Sugar)


Filed under healthy eating, Influences, My Favorite Things

From My Sketchbook – Week 29

On Friday, I braved rush hour, the summer heat, and the oven-like New York City subway stations to travel over to the East Side to volunteer for New York Cares.  Sketching was a great way to distract myself from thoughts that I was about to melt, and fortunately I had plenty of interesting “specimens” on the platforms to study.

From a distance at the 96th Street station, I captured this young fellow.

young man on cellphone

Once I got over to the library where I was volunteering, I found myself with some extra time before the project started, so I plunked down at one of the kid-sized tables in the children’s wing to catch my breath and enjoy the cool quietness around me.  The only other patron on that floor was a very studious, very sweet looking middle-aged gentleman who was poring over what looked like a geography book.

And because he held himself so still, he was the perfect model!

studious man reading at the library

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Filed under art, illustration, Influences, inspiration, New work, New York, New York Cares, New York City, practicing drawing, Quick Sketch, sketchbook, subway sketches

Friday’s Thought – Shades of Green

shades of green

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”

(Pedro Calderon de la Barca)

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Filed under Friday's Thought, Influences, New York, New York City, photography, wisdom, wise quotes

My Favorite Things – Colorful Dining

I’m flying solo this week since my husband is out of town again.  Generally when he’s away, I find that my habits become rather manic.   All of a sudden there are so many more hours in which to get things done…and eating and sleeping are usually the first to get shafted.   But I am trying to be somewhat more mindful this time around.  Case in point, yesterday, after my 4th day of  eating leftover pasta for dinner, I was inspired not only to do a BIG shopping trip (we New Yorkers all have our OWN handy-dandy, folding shopping carts, thank you very much) but to cook healthily as well.

old lady shopping

(Me, in a year or two…)

While I did plan the menus, I didn’t thoroughly read through the recipes (tsk, tsk), so at 9 p.m. I’m writing this blog post while my shrimp marinates and the cucumber salad rests overnight rests in the refrigerator ’til the shrimp is ready.  As I said, my sense of time does tend to go all wonky…

Every nice meal needs appetizers and a drink.  Here’s what I enjoyed as I did the chopping prep-work for the dinner:


Mixed nuts, olives and a vodka-tonic “mock-tail” (my non-alcoholic version omits the vodka)

Although shrimp is the main feature of this meal, I needed a vegetable to accompany the shrimp.  Since it’s been so hot this week, steamed veggies really didn’t appeal.  I’m in love with beets, so this salad seemed perfect.

beet salad

Quick ‘N” Easy Beet Salad

1 cup coarsely chopped no-salt-added canned beets

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

2 tablespoons sliced green onions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fat-free Italian dressing

2 lettuce leaves

1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour dressing over mixture; toss gently. Cover and chill 2 hours.  Serve on lettuce-lined salad plates; sprinkle with hard-cooked egg.  Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 cup beet mixture and 1/2 egg.)

And, for whatever reason I also felt like I should have a salad to go with my salad!

cucumber salad

Marinated Cucumber Salad 

2 English cucumbers, julienned

1 red bell pepper, seeded, julienned

1 yellow pepper, seeded, julienned

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 cilantro chopped

In a large bowl combine cucumbers, peppers, salt and pepper.  In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients for dressing.  Pour mixture over vegetables; toss well.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days.


my dinner

(Shrimp recipe follows)

Grilled Shrimp with Lemon Thyme

1 Tbs. minced fresh lemon thyme or thyme

3 Tbs. fresh lemon or lime juice

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Salt, to taste

16 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Vegetable oil for cooking

1 lemon cut into wedges

In a bowl, combine lemon thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and salt.  Add shrimp and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours.  Preheat a grill pan or prepare a fire in grill.  Coat grill pan with vegetable oil and lay shrimp on pan. Or, skewer shrimp and place on grill.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  Turn shrimp and continue cooking until pink and opaque throughout.  Serve with lemon wedges.  Serves 4.  (Adapted from The Golden Door Cookbook, by Michel Stroot.  Broadway, 1977)


Note:  I wish I could give credit for the beet and cucumber salad recipes.  Alas, I clipped these recipes years ago from magazines and didn’t think to include the authors when I pasted the recipes in my recipe folder.  My apologies to the chefs!


Filed under My Favorite Things

From My Sketchbook – Week 28

It’s been HOT in the Big Apple, which makes the idea of going out sightseeing – and anything that involves having to wait on a hot subway platform for a train – pretty unappealing.  As a result, I haven’t done any real life sketches this week.  But for your enjoyment, here are two pencil sketches inspired by photographs,  along with the marker and ink versions.

sultry flapper sketch

Sultry flapper for blog

girl in crocheted hat

Girl in crocheted hat final for blog


Filed under art, drawing, drawing faces, illustration, Influences, marker and ink illustration, New work, New York, pencil and marker illustration, practicing drawing, techniques, Weekly Sketch Project

Friday’s Thought – Castles in the Clouds

sunset in the clouds over Manhattan

“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”

(G.K. Chesterton)


Filed under Friday's Thought, nature, New York, photography, wisdom, wise quotes