One a Day

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Cooking, cooking. Once I started I just . . . kept going. For Midsummer Day we made the same breakfast we'd made for Father's Day (because that was good), and then I made a strawberry shortcake for dessert after dinner. I didn't split it in half the way the directions say to because I didn't have enough strawberries, so I just buttered the thing and piled the berries on. But this shortcake recipe is good, and I've had it so long I don't even know where I got it originally.


2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cubed
1 beaten egg
2/3 c. half-and-half

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg and half-and-half, and add all at once to the dry ingredients, stirring with fork just to moisten. Spread dough in a buttered 8" round cake pan, building up the edges a bit. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from pan and cool slightly. Slice cake horizontally and spread butter on inside layer. Add sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

Cooking: I have a plan, now. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but suddenly I remembered my old friend: Apples for Jam. This cookbook . . . oh, I fell for it hard. I've fallen for all of the Tessa Kiros cookbooks that I have, actually, but this one, for me, turns out to have been the most cookable. This is the one that is full of family food; the one with the gorgeous, evocative photography of bowls of soup and children's playthings; the one with the sweet, memory-laden, slightly windy creative writing (well, they all have that, but this one is about kid stuff); the one that helped me become a mother before I became a mother. It feels familiar and friendly and also like the greatest privilege to be reading it now, making food as I do every day for my child, who is still, at this point at least, eating everything I serve to her  (until she is full and begins flinging it to the floor, and then hanging over the side of her high chair to watch the dog eat my fresh mozzarella . . . the meatballs that took me all afternoon . . . the fish that cost $8.99/lb., etc., while saying in her most I-am-adorable! voice, "Uuuuh-oh! Uh-oh Mommy!!! Uh-oh Mommy!!!" Pointing at the floor, dog licking franctically).

So Sunday I made the spaghetti and meatballs, and yesterday I made the fish parcels (with cod) and the lemon rice pudding with roasted (white) peaches, all from the book. It was all really good, though next time I'll use breadcrumbs and an egg in the meatballs (her recipe called for milk-soaked white bread, and I think that bread crumbs make more tender meatballs — I like them really soft and mushy, myself). Oh, and all of the brown sugar slid off my peaches and burned on the bottom of the pan, but oh well. Still lovely and fragrant (I used a vanilla bean and Meyer lemon and grated the nutmeg) good. I'm enjoying myself a lot, cooking, but wow, it is a LOT of work to cook this way with a one-year-old who no longer wants to sit still for any length of time. I'm trying to do as much as I can early in the day, or during naptime, but still, some things can't be done until dinnertime, and pre-dinnertime is still (and rather suddenly) proving to be kind of insane. I used to be able to have her in her high chair hanging out with me in the kitchen while I cooked, and lately she is not into it. She wants to — you know it! — go 'SIDE. AND NOW!

So, after yesterday I decided that I'm only cooking one thing a day, on these weekdays. Everything else must require nothing more than chopping up (cantaloupe, strawberries, steamed carrots, spinach, green salad, etc.) or come from the deli case at New Seasons (beet salad, caprese salad with those little mozzy balls, yum) in order for it to go on my table. I mean, that just makes sense anyway. I'm not sure why this is a Major Revelation but that just shows you how complicated I've been making everything.

Just as I got to the colorwork part of the light blue Fimma, I put it down. It suddenly felt too daunting in these evenings lazy, light-filled evenings. It's in hibernation. I started a pale pink Lottie cardigan, and I'm loving it. Easy-peasy and relaxing. Sometimes I think I should just forget anything that's not in garter stitch. When life gets a little hectic my GSB (Garter Stitch Barometer) alarms, and I must knit, robotlike, and then turn and knit again, and then turn and knit again (occasionally increasing at well-marked spots) and feel my breathing slow a bit. . . .

And two people — Erica, a long time ago, and recently Ms. Bibliosophy — suggested the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. Medieval Norway!!! I got the first book (The Wreath) and can't put it down. Thank you very much for the recommendation!

Oh, and by the way, I've been meaning to say this if I didn't before, I watched all of the Restoration Homes on YouTube through my television. There's a way to connect the devices through my TV; I'm really not even sure how to tell you to do it, honestly — the possibility just popped up on mine through TiVo, I think, and so I connected them. The picture quality is pretty bad but for some reason I didn't even care. And thank you also to those of you who have suggested things for further viewing, if possible (though we don't get to watch all of the shows, even on YouTube, here in the U.S.). I need to go back through your comments and check them out. If you feel like leaving a recommendation here (again) so they're all in one place, would you? Thank you!

Midsummer, already. She just turned twenty months old. A whirlwind of energy and emotion and curiosity and joy: Walking, running, yelling, laughing, crying, pointing, "talking," playing, freaking out, pulling it together, snoozing, cuddling, watering, hugging her animals so fiercely, staring at them lovingly and stroking their heads the way I do hers, kissing them throughout the day, or pressing her forehead to theirs and saying, "Mmmmmmmm." Lovable, kissable, squishable, sweet, dearest loving sweetest girl. I'm so proud of her.

P.S. By the way, all of the flowers on the table are from my wildflower cutting garden or my front yard. Very exciting for me!


Oh I just love your writing.... Thanks for the info on how you watched restoration. I was looking for it yesterday and couldn't find it. Now I'll check it out! p.

I will gladly try your shortcake recipe, as the one I use tastes good, but is very sloppy to deal with.
If you're ever in a hurry to cook, and you've got cod, you can just put salad dressing over it and bake it that way - it always tastes fine, and is especially good on hot days when you don't want to use the oven much.

If you have a smart TV, you can connect to you tube via wifi. For those w/o a smart TV, a roku or similar device plugs in and connects to wifi. There is no monthly charge for a roku, so you are only out the money it costs to buy it. I use it to watch Amazon Prime for free.

There's another shortcake recipe you posted year ago, that I've been making since and get to make it for my daughter for the first time this year (she's 15 months).

From the ingredients it sounds like shortcake is pretty much the same as a British scone - in which case I completely agree that piled high with fresh strawberries it is a food from heaven! My personal heritage (I'm from Devon) would require clotted cream but I don't know whether that exists across the pond. For what it's worth, when I'm in a cooking phase I try to do as much as I can while I'm also making the little ones' lunch and then it can be thrown together a little easier in the early evening - I've got a 3 year old and an 18 month old bumbling around the kitchen so I know exactly what you mean!

Well, I am on my fourth toddler now (she is 2 yrs 3 months) and I subscribe to about the same theory about cooking with little ones. It cannot take too much time and effort. I am about to rediscover my crockpot, even though I still insist that all crockpot recipes come out looking and tasting the same.

Last night my 19-month-old was flinging salmon that cost $31/kg on the floor and I was just like... why? Why? Toddlers are no respecters of expensive food.

But it's not midsummer yet!!! Summer just began on June 20th, the summer solstice. Midsummer is weeks away!

My word, how inspiring; your photos are gorgeous.
All the best there x

Oh, by the way: I love Apples for Jam. I have baked and cooked many things from it and all equally delicious. I particularly love the banana bread and chocolate cake. (Don't get me started on Tessa Kiros: I love her books).

Isabella says: June 24, 2014 at 09:31 AM

Oh, everything looks yummy, including your daughter! I must try the shortbread. I remember that time from 4-6 PM with my four little ones. (So long ago now!) I called it the "witching hour." Everyone is tired and hungry. Even the best-laid, do-ahead cooking plans often went haywire. How often I must have said to the older ones, "Can you play with baby happy while Mom cooks?"

Thank you for the recommendation to watch Restoration Home, I am trying not to "binge watch". At first I watched it on my iPad through YouTube, not I am watching it through Apple TV on our tv. The picture is great so far. I found some programs that are "pne year on" so you can see what else they have accomplished. Really good show. Thanks from sunny and warm (finally) Nova Scoita!

Ooh, good book suggestion. I read that years and years ago but it sounds perfect again now. Which is weird because I'm coming off a serious Sookie Stackhouse binge. I guess it is the opposites effect.

The cooking sounds wonderful. You'll probably have to find some a compromise with your cooking now. Easy to prepare but still wonderful. I always come back to the crockpot which I know isn't everyone's favorite. But you can do things that aren't soup in there too. I've done fish packets in there and they were awesome!

Absolute.loveliness. Every picture, every words. Heck, while we are at it, every post. I am such a fan of your blog. A place of peace in a chaotic world. I check in every day and get giddy with every new post. The book you're reading now I finished last summer. It's a lovely trilogy. You will love it!

I am loving your post, as usual. Loving Amelia, admiring you, and sympathizing with your cooking struggle. I'm a nanny for a little boy who is just a few months older than Amelia, and I've had the same problem.

Also, I know you have several of the Tessa Kiros cookbooks, and I was wondering if you have Venezia: Food and Dreams, and if you do what you think of it?

Slán go fóill,

Oh, how I always love your photos. I always feel so at home here. :) Thanks for the suggestion on the book series. I've been looking for a good summer read, the kind that is hard to put down. I'll have to see if I can get this series on my Kindle. Have a blessed day!

krystina says: June 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Ahhh yes, my youngest wants to get into everything and it's nearly impossible to cook around her! When she gets a little older, she can "help" but right now its harrrd. One tip that has worked moderately well for us --- her own "kitchen." We bought the little ikea kitchen and set it up in our kitchen and I put her to "work" while I do my thing in the kitchen. It works... sometimes...
I LOVE this blog. Your pictures and words are like a great big breath of fresh air.

Your life seems to have a calm rhythm that you communicate through your posts. I love all your tips, this post, the Norwegian trilogy has been noted. It's great that these little snippets about the best things in life float through the web and are shared across countries. I bought one of your kits recently, when can I expect your book? Maybe when little one is a bit older.

Jean x

Oh, those lovely denim colored eyes!
I can remember coming to the same realization about cooking with little ones more than one thing per meal that needed a recipe. And at the most hectic times, the one recipe couldn't have too many steps!
Now, my 'just turned eighteen' year old loves to cook so much that my little ones are surprised when Mommy makes the dinner. I think they don't believe that I really know how to cook!

Thanks for the shortcake recipe -- I try a new one almost every time I cook and always forget which ones worked, etc.

Also, BIG THANKS, for telling me where you watched Restoration Homes. We get YouTube through Roku so that works but I also watch British shows on YouTube on my laptop while I sew. I, too, don't really care if people's faces are all grainy and weird as long as the sound is good and there are no commercials -- I love YouTube for that!

SarahPerkins says: June 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Again, thanks for the wonderful blog. I'll have to try the shortcake recipe...our local berries are so sweet and juicy this year. Also, your many knitting patterns are simply inspiring. I totally identify with settling down with what I call 'comfort knitting'. For me it's whipping my way through a top down raglan sleeve baby/toddler sweater. So much satisfaction. :)

Tips please., if you have the time...I'm headed down to Portland/Vancouver next week for my son's baseball tournament. We will have chunks of down time each day. What's fun to see and do in Portland? What about yarn and fabric stores? Go to restaurants? Any advice is welcome. :)

Christine says: June 24, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Your blog is so perfectly perfect! Despite the fact that I KNOW no one is perfect I really just think you are. Just a lovely, happy, interesting, creative, informative, calm, sweet, funny, pretty place to visit. Delightful!
Thank you! Plus you reminded me of that lovely cookbook that I bought because the pictures were so pretty and now I actually have to cook something out if it:)

BONNIE BUCKINGHAM says: June 24, 2014 at 10:55 AM

You will adore Kristin Lavransdatter. I read them years ago. I am gathering the next series about her son: The Master of Hestviken.
Here is Claire Basler's home and studio outside of Paris in an old schoolhouse:

oh look how her little legs are getting longer...she is so sweet. xoxo

Lori Lynn says: June 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM your post, then as I'm finishing up reading Angry Housewives Eating Bon-bons, guess what their book club selection is for this chapter?? Kristin Lavransdatter!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at