Saturday, March 20, 2010


"She did not talk to people as if they were strange hard shells she had to crack open to get inside. She talked as if she were already in the shell. In their very shell."

photos: francesca woodman
"Repose is a quality too many undervalue... In the clamor one is irresistibly drawn to the woman who sits gracefully relaxed, who keeps her hands still, talks in a low voice and listens with responsive eyes and smiles. She creates a spell around her, charming to the ear, the eye and the mind." - Good Housekeeping, November 1947
I was recently reading from Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance, and a particular passage resonated with me. Maybe because like most people my days often seem harried with barely a spare moment to offer a greeting, a smile, or a chance for a real connection with the people who pass through our lives. We try to crunch in too much in a short period of time, filling up the hours with revolving errands, appointments, and assignments. There never seems to be enough hours in a day to do all the things you meant to do. And instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment for having checked off a dozen things from your 'To Do' list, you're simply relieved you got done as much as you did. And anxious about what you didn't. What would actually happen if we took the opportunity to slow down, savor, and surrender ourselves to any given moment? Would it be such a catastrophe? The pauses, moments, and the spaces in between - these are the small intervals that resonate with us, and give meaning to our lives. In the midst of chaos there is always calm, an opportunity to take stock of what we have, and feel grateful for what is right instead of what is wrong.

I've got a lot on my plate today so in the interest of saving time I've decided to share a recipe from a cookbook I put together last December as a Christmas gift. This is a simple cake recipe that only takes a few minutes to throw together. Not only are the results delicious but you get the satisfaction of knowing you made something from scratch.

Busy-Day Cake
8 tbsp butter (1 butter), room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, set aside.
  2. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the flour in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Make sure each addition is incorporated before adding next. Add the salt, vanilla, baking powder, and nutmeg and mix until combined.
  3. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until top is golden and tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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