I thought I’d give you the recipe for the Quinoa Salad I took to TGIF  the other night.  It was so good ~ my girlfriends LOVE Asian food and there’s always lots of yummy Asian appetizers so I thought I’d make a salad to go with them. ♥MUSICA♥


Have you used quinoa? (It’s pronounced keen-wa.)  If not, you are in for a treat and a world of wonderful new healthy salads!

helpful tips . . . and some interesting things you might like to know. First off, quinoa is not a grain, it’s a seed, and considered gluten-free (for those with celiac disease you might like to read this).

diet quote

quinoa And it’s so good for you!  Those little seeds (related to spinach) are an excellent source of protein, it’s a great source of fiber, and it has 700% more iron than white rice.  Quinoa has an interesting texture which means it goes with almost any savory thing you serve; and there are many ways to flavor it.  If you can’t find it at your market, try the health food store, or try Bob’s Red Mill.

quinoa salad

This is the Quinoa Salad that’s on page 84 of Girlfriends Forever ~ it has roasted peanuts, ginger and lime.  With the use of different herbs, the salad could be Asian style, Mexican style, you could make it with fruit and cinnamon, with shrimp or fish, or almost anything you would like.


quinoa salad

For my recipe, you cook 2 c. of quinoa in 3 c. water for about 10 min. and pour it into a strainer.  In a large bowl you mix together all the rest of the ingredients: rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh ginger . . .


. . . the zest and juice of two limes (don’t worry, I’ll put the recipe at the end) and soy sauce . . .

making quinoa salad

. . . minced green onions and chopped celery . . .


A little salt and pepper


quinoa salad

 Stir it all together with sliced water chestnuts and coarsely-chopped, dry roasted peanuts . . .

quinoa salad

. . . crunchy fresh snow peas and sweet currants . . .

quinoa salad

. . . and voila!  I put it in my candlewick bowl, because it’ll reflect light . . . and took it to Jaime’s house.  We ate ourselves silly, caught up, had a group hug and promised to love each other forever; it couldn’t have been nicer.



  • 2 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • zest & juice of 2 juicy limes
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • 1 c. snow peas, trimmed and halved
  • 3/4 c. celery, chopped
  • 3/4 c. water chestnuts, halved
  • 5 green onions (w/ green part too) thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. currants
  • 1/3 dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • a few good grinds of black pepper to taste
  • If you’d like chopped herbs ~ mint, cilantro, and basil, together or separately work great with this salad.

Rinse 2c. quinoa under running water in a fine mesh sieve.  Bring 3c. water to boil in saucepan.  Add quinoa, bring it back to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 10 min.  Strain and set aside.  Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix together all other ingredients.  Add drained quinoa, herbs too if you like, stir well and serve. Good cold, hot, or room temp.  Enjoy, you arteests!


Here’s our new thing . . . these birds just came into the studio.  Are they cute or what?



They’re finely detailed metal, very thin, and all have bases you can put screws into so you can secure them to fence posts, window sills, ledges,  porch rails, where ever you’d like.  Kellee will be putting them up today (I think) . . .

new birds

Over the years, here and there, I’ve found a few narrow-based things for the tiny ledge over my fireplace, and I just found three more!

bird ornament

. . . and, in case you don’t have a ledge or a fence post, we have an ornament you can hang from your window lock, a cupboard knob, from a nail that something else is on (remove the something else, hang the bird, replace the something else, allowing the bird to hang below). Hope you like them!

And now, for Pat in particular, a promise to be kept:  Lowely’s delicious recipe for

I R I S H    S O D A     B R E A D

Serve this crusty bread hot from the oven, smothered in butter and jam.

  • 3 2/3 c. (450g) all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2/3 c. dried cranberries (or raisins, or currants)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 2/3 c. (400ml) buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425º (220ºC/gas mark 7). Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.  Mix in sugar and dried cranberries.  In small bowl, beat egg with buttermilk.  Make a well in the flour and pour in all but 1/4 c. (50ml) of liquid.  Wash your hands and dry them. Grab the flour and liquid with outstretched fingers and keep doing that, moving your hand around the bowl in circles; add more buttermilk mixture if necessary, until it comes together.  Don’t knead; the dough should be soft, but not too wet or sticky.

Keeping the bread warm

Turn onto floured work surface and pat the dough into a round, about 2 1/2 inches (6cm) in height, and cut a deep cross in it, from one side of the loaf to the other.  Transfer to the baking sheet.  Bake for 10 min. at 425º, then reduce temp to 400ºF (200ºC/Gas mark 6) and bake for another 30 to 35 min, until the bread is golden, crusty, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool on wire rack while you get the butter! Cut thick slices with a bread knife; wrap the bread in a dishtowel and serve it in a basket. 

It’s not very far from bread and water to tea and toast…

pink border


Have a wonderful day Girlfriends! XOXO

pink border 

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Transition Time

First off, some favorite Old Musica ♥  It’s transition time, Girlfriends ~ a big change of season is on the way for us!  Nothing shows the conflict between the past and the future, and the exact spot where the line divides, more eloquently than this photograph . . . out in our backyard . . .



. . . it’s a fight to the finish, but I know who’s going to win.  We are!  We’ve had our winter fires, our hot soups home-sweet-homeand grilled cheese sandwiches, we’ve had our dark and cozy afternoons, we are up to here with hot chocolate and wearing four sweaters in the house ~ someday we will want all of these things again, we will pine for that first falling leaf and the smell of woodsmoke, just as right now we are pining to go OUTSIDE and PLAY!  You California girls are already there, lots of you across the country are going outside without a sweater. But in this neck of the woods, we still have a ways to go.  The weather report has us in the 4o’s for the next ten days.  We are not complaining.



One of the ways we know the season is about to make a radical change is the way the sunrise streams through the kitchen windows; the way it plays over the cupboards and stove.  The sun has changed positions, has come around to give us more morning light.  Jack says Hi!  Don’t you just want to grab him?  He will let you.  He will lay on his back in your arms like a baby and turn those green lights on you and then you have to kiss him a hundred times just as he planned, until he can escape.

Jack and daffodils

Because to be truthful? Despite all that love?  The turkeys in the driveway are more interesting than you.  And by the way, probably the very best $10 a person can spend while waiting for spring to arrive ~ we went to Maurice the Florist (we say Mor-eest-the-Flor-eest) and got a bunch of daffodils.   Aren’t they perky?  What snow?

hyacinths for the soul

Kitty Love

Jack reminds me . . .  we have more food for soul:  our charm collection has grown and now includes, from left to right, pink flowers for our “Girlfriends,” green hedgerows for “A Fine Romance,” the brand new tuxedo charm for “Kitty Love,” and swirls of sea foam for “Martha’s Vineyard.”

Kitty Love

KITTY LOVE comes just like the rest of them, on its own gift card.  Jack and Girl have ordered one.  I think they’re giving it to me for mother’s day.


Girl Kitty prefers to use her tuxedo as camouflage.

birdsWe also got in a collection of wonderful birds cut from metal ~ four different shapes This one is made to hang from a window or a cupboard knob; the others stand alone and have stands that can be screwed to a shelf or a fence or a window sill.  Look how delicate this is.  They aren’t in the web store yet, I want to take pictures of them today ~ I just happened to set this one on my book about the wonderful Edith Holden (The Edwardian Lady) ~  it looked so cute I had to show you.

Holly Oak

I’m working hard on the new book every day, we’re not going out much, just working since the weather is perfect for it.  I love writing it, we are laughing ourselves silly reading some of the entries in my old diaries, remembering my first ferry ride when I thought everyone on the boat looked like a Kennedy, the first time I saw this little house in the woods and how sad it was, the first time I ever saw a cardinal land on my birdfeeder,  I’m remembering so many details about coming to the island . . .

Holly Oak

. . . and how I had to figure out how to live in a place that had seasons ~ it was quite an interesting challenge that first year . . . especially winter! It goes from happy home-sweet-homechildhood, to broken heart, to starting over, in scrapbook form, or so it seems right now, lots of pictures (before and afters of the rooms in that little house), recipes, and quotes.  I’ve written 267 double-spaced pages so far. I write, Joe edits, I write some more.  I’ll have to give you some excerpts one of these days.  It’s making me very happy.

And, speaking of  H A P P Y, what are you going to do for our next big holiday?  Any plans?

gummy worms

No, I don’t mean Easter!  This isn’t our Easter dinner.  Our next holiday is April Fool’s Day!  Just around the corner!  Have you done your holiday shopping?

gummy worm

Gotta pick up some gummy worms and figure out where I can hide them this year! (He always forgets what day it is.)  I’ll get them when I go grocery shopping this morning ~ do any of you have a favorite April Fool’s joke?

Tonight I get to go to TGIF at my girlfriend Jaime’s house, everyone is bringing an appetizer, so I’m off to cook and watch Great Expectations on TCM.  I haven’t seen my girlfriends all together for way too long.  I’m in the mood for girl talk!  So off I go now . . .   leaving a little reminder on how to “lighten up” for APRIL!  Byeeeee, Girls!  Love you ~ have a wonderful day! 



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