Time for Gingersnaps!

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October! A favorite month and one that gets me thinking of spicy sweets with lots of cinnamon and ginger. So it was a lovely synchronicity when my dear friend Maloah mentioned her family’s old recipe for gingersnaps, which I immediately requested. What better treat to hand out out to Trick or Treaters on Halloween? As fate would have it, Maloah’s mother, Buffy Treat, included that particular cookie recipe in a cookbook she lovingly edited back in the 80’s for the Heifer Project International. “Peace begins where the hungry are fed,” says the cover of her book. And I found some used copies still for sale on Amazon, to Maloah’s immense surprise and delight!

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Here’s Buffy’s treasured family recipe:

Gingersnaps

2 cups sifted flour
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. baking soda
1.2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Sift the dry ingredients. Cream the softened butter. Gradually add sugar. Add egg and molasses. Beat. Sift dry ingredients over wet ingredients. Shape dough into small balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350ª F.for 12-15 minutes until tops crackle. Cool on rack.

Personal tweaks: I doubled the ginger and I rolled the doughy balls in a heavier sugar, called evaporated cane juice, which I’m accustomed to using when I top my scones.

Here are my gingersnaps, out of the oven, served, appropriately, on one of my Grandmother’s plates. They are so delicious!

gingersnaps

I have heard loving stories about Buffy Treat (don’t you love her name?) for years. So I must include a picture of Buffy with four of her six children here–all four of her beautiful daughters. Doesn’t she look like the most wonderful mother and wouldn’t you want to inherit a cookie recipe from her? I’m so glad Maloah and her sisters did, and that I have permission to pass along to all of you.

Maloahfam

Thanks so much, Maloah, for sharing your special recipe with us this Halloween. These cookies will add a festive cheer throughout the holiday season.

Love and holiday blessings,
Kathryn xoxox

Book News: I am delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to do a booksigning at Depot Bookstore and Cafe in downtown Mill Valley on November 1st, noon-1:00PMish. If you are around and available, I’d love to see you in person! I’m so looking forward to being there!

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Love Letter to My Blog on the Occasion of Our 7th Blogiversary!

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Congratulations!

The Story

In the early 90’s I left my home in Mill Valley in Marin Co., and made my way up to the tiny town of Little River, on the coast of Mendocino Co. I simply wanted to “go to the country and get a dog.” So I did. Here I am with Moxie, my first Border Collie, whom I adored, in the woods, on our two acres, in front of our garage and guest cabin and our first little flower plot. Color us happy!

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And there I planted a garden, the first in a long while, and this simple act became the inception of what was to become my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden. The path to publication involved more than one agent, more than one artist, more than one proposal, a sale and a deadline, and, a variety of other plans, and unexpected turns in the road, including a complete rewrite, and, finally, the decision to self-publish, as, ultimately the plan that worked involved my being able and willing to assemble the team of people who would get me across the finish line. Whew! It was, stunningly, an over twenty year process. When it was at last time to consider the marketing, I rang an agent in the City, an old trusted colleague of mine, updating him and asking for his input. “You need to start a blog,” he said. “What?” I replied, surprised. “I don’t have a book, yet. It’s not finished!” “Doesn’t matter,” he said. “You need a platform.” Apparently being a book publicist for over three decades was no longer enough. Things were changing. “Put on overalls,” he said. (Like that was going to happen.) “Put yourself out there. Now.” Huh. This was completely counterintuitive to my publicity beliefs, but I saw he was right. I took his advice, in my own style–I managed a hat–

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— and began my blog, eventually finding the site Blotanical, a gathering of over 2500 gardening bloggers around the world, where Plant Whatever Brings You Joy became the #1 Most Popular Blog for over one year, was ranking in the Top Ten and Top Twenty Most Popular Gardening Blog lists, and was attracting a worldwide audience of over 40,000 people each month. It was on and through this blog that I met and developed friendships with gardening bloggers who to this day are a very treasured part of my life. Lifelong friendships have been formed, and I hold this network as one of the most precious gifts with which I am blessed.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Plant Whatever Brings You Joy did not just open up the door to meeting like minded gardening lovers around the world. It also served as the vehicle for two amazing social media events–first The Scarf Initiative, [for full story explore The Scarf Initiative category in right column] and later, I made a decision to use the blog as a focal point for helping to save the animals in the Tripoli Zoo in the middle of the Libyan revolution. Yes, seriously. It’s called Plant Whatever Brings You JOY. And as readers have learned over and over again, the book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy embraces a wide range of joyful topics, that might well have stemmed from a lesson learned in the garden, but the intention, always, was to apply those blessed lessons in our everyday lives. The tagline for this blog is Heart + Meaning =Joy. Each individual must define for himself or herself what has heart and meaning, that will ultimately lead to abundant joy.

I am deeply grateful this blog has for the last seven years been a place of inspiration to so many–myself included. Maintaining it has always motivated me to learn something new, to go on field trips to explore a new place I might share, to document the life in my garden, as a careful nature lover and observer, to share my favorite recipes. I have always turned away “advertising opportunities” and kept the blog as a sacred place, an oasis, where folks might come and be uplifted. And where they might be inspired. And where they might learn. I’ve included reviews of books I’ve appreciated. I’ve shared my photographs, sending them out into the world where many have a life of their own, moving around the globe unhindered. “It’s just light,” I have told folks. “If I’ve captured something that people want to send along and share, well, good.”

“Stuff your eyes with wonder.” ~Ray Bradbury

I am so grateful for these last seven years, and what has come forth, and I look forward to continued exchanges with you, dearest readers. Thank you for your comments, your readership, your subscriptions, your own blogs, your loyalty and love.

Recently I put together a board on Pinterest that is, essentially, a tribute to this blog and to the publishing of my book, and its journey as it continues to find readers around the world. Did I think I’d still be writing this blog after seven years, and promoting my book after four? It never really crossed my mind. But the path is still beckoning, and as the meme says, “Don’t quit before the miracle!” Can’t wait to see what happens next. Thank you for being with me on this journey! You are each so appreciated, more than you could possibly know.

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Postscript! Whoever leaves a comment on this Blogiversary Post–or my FB link– might be winning a copy of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy! On September 21st I will put all the names in a hat–and draw out the name of the winner. I will contact that person privately asking for an address where I might mail you your copy! Good luck! :)

Sunday, September 21st: The winner of the 7th Blogiversary Book Contest in Nell Campbell! Congratulations, Nell!


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Good Old Fashioned Applesauce!

ladder

As with all the most delicious concoctions we make in the kitchen the fresher the ingredients, the better the outcome will be. That ladder and tree are in my back garden, so you can well imagine these apples are fresh–and organic! Sure there’s a moth or two in there, but for some blessed reason those moths dig into the center of the apple when they choose to inhabit, which is very handy for a cook with a good paring knife. Yep. A bug here or there may not sound appealing but upon consideration, and the knowledge that commercial apples can be sprayed up to 26 times in a season, well, it’s a small price to pay.

appletree

So up the ladder I went, collecting these wonderful apples from my kitchen garden. This (very old) tree was professionally pruned last year so it’s expressing its gratitude with an abundance of very much appreciated fruit. Now, what to do?

apples

Honestly? The first thing I did was what I’ve done in years past. I pulled my dehydrator out of the shed and dutifully prepared and cut up apple pieces, just the right size, and placed them first on one and then on two trays. And then you know what? I plum ran out of steam. I accepted this, turned on the dehydrator and let it run all day long over the Memorial Day weekend, thinking surely I would get back to more another day. And here’s what I got out of that adventure.

jar

Are they delicious? You bet! But did I want to do it again? I did not. Part of that decision was based on the realization that even though they were dehydrated they still needed to be stored. And although I’d considered “putting them in the freezer” once I was actually experiencing how long it took to get them dry, I knew I didn’t want to store them somewhere they’d be absorbing moisture. I concluded that the best way to store dried apples was by using a heat sealer. And I was not equipped to do that in that moment. So. What to do? Applesauce. Delicious, easy, could be done in smaller batches and could be frozen. Perfect. So I did that.

pan

So easy. Quartered and peeled the apples. Pared off any offending intruder. I’d picked them off the tree directly, so no bruises to deal with. Popped them in my big pan, with a little water to get them going. And then I cooked them not until they fell apart, but until they were soft. Then I transferred them to my Cuisinart, where I carefully judged just how much I wanted them pureed. I wanted to maintain a bit of texture without their being chunky. Then I added a bit of lemon juice and a tiny bit of cinnamon and a very small amount of sugar. I have to remind myself I’m adding sugar to a sweet fruit, so it’s important to be conservative. And that’s it!

applesauce

I’ve made about four batches so far. Most went into the freezer in freezer bags. I will pull out as needed for a side dish, as an ingredient in applesauce cake or perhaps pancakes! I’m also going to make up a batch which I will also freeze to add to my dogs’ breakfast on occasion. They love these apples, I’m happy to say! And they will appreciate a bit of apple this winter.

What is your favorite thing to do with applesauce? Now is the time. Autumn harvesting of apples is upon us, a mighty blessing to be taken advantage of for a happier, healthier, more delicious winter!

Love and kitchen blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book News: GreenPrints magazine has just put Plant Whatever Brings You Joy up for sale on their beautiful website. They surely did a wonderful job of presenting! Link to GreenPrints. And if you have not yet “liked” our FaceBook Fan Page, here’s that link, too! Lastly, if you’ve read Plant Whatever Brings You Joy, and loved the book, your review would be greatly appreciated on Amazon, where there are now 23 reviews, mostly all 5-star! Or Barnes and Noble! Thank you! xo


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