Lemon Chiffon Pie

A lemn chiffon pie with 2 lemons and a pie server

Today’s Musings:
An undeserved firing, a cheating partner, a false accuser, a friend who never pays back money lent – why is it nearly impossible to let go of the injustices we have endured at the hands of others?  Why do we waste time ruminating on people who don’t deserve another minute’s thought – the liars and the cheats and the backstabbers? We fixate on and revisit these feelings of betrayal because we wholeheartedly believe in the rules of balanced and fair conduct.  When someone deceptively tips the fairness scale in their favor, we want repercussions for the cheaters’ and charlatans’ duplicity.  Once we have recognized their deceit, we desperately attempt to rebalance the fairness equilibrium.  Becoming consumed by our efforts to uncover their motivation, we endeavor to understand the why, feverishly seeking justice in a situation that is intrinsically unjust. Haven’t we all, at some point, been incapable of spitting the betrayal bit from our teeth, even though we know it’s causing us further anguish?

This unrelenting quest for fairness, sadly, puts our own precious life on hold.  Unable to move forward, we spend hours rehashing the details with our friends and therapists, conjuring schemes to rebalance the scales by stooping to the betrayer’s level or questioning if we somehow deserve what happened to us. To step off this hamster wheel, we need to move past our inherent need to comprehend these injustices. Squandering minutes contemplating motives or reliving the injustice merely exacerbates our wounds and is ineffective in moving the scales.  How do we begin to rebalance?


In spite of what you may believe, forgiveness is not proclaiming, “I forgive you because I didn’t warrant being treated any better” or “I am releasing you because it is okay that you did this to me.”  It was NOT okay – it was NEVER okay.  Forgiveness is saying, “I release you because you are incapable of giving anything better, whether through your ignorance, intolerance, mental defect, or circumstance.”

So, how do we unearth forgiveness for the undeserving? By sending that shithead all the love we can muster.  Whoa, I know; it’s not easy.  There’s a Buddhist meditation called Metta meditation (Lovingkindness meditation) that encourages the meditator to first focus on someone they love deeply and meditate on the words, “May you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering.” Next, they focus on someone they feel neutral about – the barista, the dog walker, the person jogging down the street – and repeat the same words. Finally, the meditator choses someone who deserves their anger. They gather up all the bits of love in their heart and send that loving energy towards the undeserving, feeling the words, “May you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering.”  The meditator continues with the practice – days, weeks, months, years – until they can truly muster lovingkindness towards this person.

Once we can find love in our heart for an undeserving asshole, we can find love for anyone and everyone.  It’s a sense of mastery – and then we are free.

I’m still practicing.

**Inspired by Phil Stutz…and Betty Broderick

Today’s Recipe:


  • Servings: 8-10 slices
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Spring captured in a pie. This light and airy pie doesn’t skimp on tart, mouth-watering, fresh lemon.


  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 11 graham crackers)
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar, divided in half
  • 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated (room temperature)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • Freshly whipped sweetened whipped cream


  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press along bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate. Set aside.
  2. Pour cold water into a small bowl. Stir in gelatin until fully mixed and let stand while you make the custard.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk ½ cup sugar, yolks, lemon juice, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it is the consistency of custard, about 10 minutes. Add lemon zest and softened gelatin and stir until fully incorporated. Pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool while you make the meringue.
  4. In a stand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining ½ cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Increase speed to high and continue beating until firm peaks form. Fold ⅓ of meringue into custard to lighten and then fold in remaining meringue until no large blobs of white meringue remain, but do not knock all the air out.
  5. Spoon filling into crust and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream.

Today’s Tips: 
By adding about ⅓ of meringue to the lemon custard first and then adding the remaining, the two textures blend without overly deflating the meringue.

This meringue is uncooked. If salmonella is an issue in your area, use pasteurized egg whites. 


3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Mousse

Two peanut butter mousee parfaits with spoons and scattered chocolate

As a child, I believed a prominently placed “no soliciting” sign was a sure indication that a crotchety, reclusive homeowner lived there – the same neighbor that would yell at us to, “get off the grass!”  When faced with that sign, I would reconsider pressing the doorbell.  It seems, now that I am older, I am a card-carrying member of that same cantankerous category. 

As someone who works from home, I am exasperated by salespeople who attempt to sell me solar panels by ringing my doorbell on Monday at 10:00 a.m.– as if I have been sitting around, staring at the walls, just waiting for a visitor.  Even more annoying are the interruptions during my days off.  Fervently typing away in my writer’s retreat, I’m compelled, at the obnoxious dinging of my bell, to stop mid-thought, exit the retreat, stride across the backyard and through the house. When I crack the door, there stands a dreaded salesperson on the other side assuring me they are, “not trying to sell me anything.”  I’m reminded of Coleridge’s Person from Porlock.  Rather than a direct and simple “no soliciting” sign, I’m tempted to post this excessively verbose rebuke below:

Dear Stranger Ringing My Doorbell NOT Trying to Sell Something:

If I open the door, and you compliment my “lovely” home or anything else within your sightline…you ARE trying to sell me something.

If you mention some fictitious “problem” in the neighborhood – unreadable curb numbers, the rising cost of electricity, the work that has been going on to add more AT&T Fiber cables, home security, the proliferation of black widow spiders – you ARE trying to sell me something.

If you glance at your clipboard and mention a random neighbor’s name who agreed to sign up for whatever it is you are not selling, then you ARE trying to sell me something.  I know many neighbors – and why is it you never list a neighbor who I actually know? 

I understand that you are just trying to earn a little cash.  However, this is my HOME and you have NOT been invited to my doorstep.  If I am here, I am most likely working, cooking, writing, napping, or watching a show on Netflix.  NONE of these situations are improved by an interruption from you.   

Further, even if I DID want to switch my Wi-Fi carrier, door-to-door sales is not the method I would choose.  I would go online and order it – after extensive Yelping and Googling.  I would never TRUST that your product or service is of quality and reasonably priced. If a company is using door-to-door as part of their advertising campaign, then something is shady with the advertiser.

The only item I would ever purchase from someone going door-to-door is GIRL SCOUT COOKIES – so, if you’re not selling those, then please save us both the hassle and MOVE ON.  Thank you.

Too Much?

I adore peanut butter and I’m not above scooping a large blob from the jar and licking it directly off the spoon, but this is even better. This fluffy peanut butter mousse recipe can be thrown together in a flash and yet still satisfies the biggest peanut butter fan’s craving.  Full confession – the photo shows two precisely piped and decorated peanut butter mousse parfaits – in truth, I usually scoop the mousse from mixing bowl directly into my mouth. No fancy parfait glass needed.


  • Servings: 2 small servings
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For peanut butter lovers only. This 5-minute dessert is an upgrade from eating PB out of the jar with a spoon.


  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup (generous) peanut butter
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar


  1. In a medium size bowl, using beaters, beat all ingredients until fully combined and the texture of a fluffy mousse. Optional: sprinkle with chocolate shavings or flaky sea salt, such as Maldon. Serve in dessert glasses or eat directly from the bowl – I won’t tell.

Easy Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies decorated with colored sugar on a pink plate

Today’s Musings:
A short piece I’m working on for the book – not fully baked yet.

Fishing: Your first kiss caresses my lips gently, yet its current surges through my blood and sinew.  Can I convey all that is wrapped within this one pure and simple gesture?  There’s the “jigging” before the kiss – playful glances, and easy banter about nothing, our attention too focused on the inevitable for meaningful words. Toying touches. A brush of your fingers across my knee. The slightest tickle as my arm grazes yours.  We linger and take our time. Yet, throughout this game, you tug gently, attempting to draw me towards you with your invisible line.  I fight the urge to move.  “Please,” something instinctive and primal cries from within me, “I cannot wait any longer.” I strain against the lure; I cannot look into your eyes.  At last, the slightest stirring animates your being and, with an almost indiscernible shifting toward me, your lips capture mine and I succumb. We’re drawn together; I am caught.  Don’t ask me for permission – I cannot speak now – can’t you see my answer is “yes?”  Kiss me and let me drown in the current of your soft lips on mine.  With your tongue, wrench me from the center of my being.  I am dizzy; I am floating.  A torrent surges through my veins and churns hot between my thighs.  I am languid within your arms. Breathe your warmth into me. Where do I end and where do you begin? I don’t know, I don’t care – just let this kiss wash over me forever.    

Today’s Recipe:
These simple cookies caused a bit of controversy with my taste testers.  I baked three batches using either white sugar, powdered sugar, or light brown sugar.  The powdered and brown sugar versions had an equal number of fans with a 50/50 split (sorry white sugar).  If you are craving a classic shortbread sugar cookie with a crispy snap, the powdered sugar cookies will fit the bill. The brown sugar (see variation) in the other version gives the cookies a buttery, toffee-like flavor and crunchy texture. Since each recipe only makes a dozen cookies, you can bake both and conduct your own taste test.

Easy Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 12 cookies
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When you’ve just gotta have cookies, these buttery sugar cookies can’t be beat and come together in a snap. It’s so simple to whip up a batch of these crispy, shortbread-like babies with ingredients you probably already have on hand. Add whatever optional flavoring strikes your fancy.


  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • Flavoring such as ¼ teaspoon vanilla or ½ teaspoon lemon or lime zest (optional)
  • ¼ cup sugar for coating (white sugar, turbinado sugar, or colored sugar)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat sheet. Beat together salted butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Beat in flour in two additions until dough comes together (don’t overmix or cookies will be tough). Beat in flavoring, if using.
  2. Divide dough into 12 equal parts. Form into balls, roll in your preferred coating sugar, and place on baking sheet. Press cookies flat with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden.

VARIATION: Replace powdered sugar with ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar and increase flour to 1 cup.

Chicken Bahn Mi Sandwiches

Two Chicken Bahn Mi Sandwiches with a dish of pickled carrots

Today’s Musings:
Written Eons Ago

The buds of pink jasmine have emerged, proclaiming spring’s arrival. This explosion of blushing trumpets amassed along twining jade filigree never fails to elicit a smile. “Spring has truly sprung,” they croon.  I spy clusters of tissue-pink blooms from my kitchen window, recalling their sweet perfume when I bury my nose within the ephemeral blossoms.  Barefoot, I step gingerly along the overgrown path, gathering clusters as a gift to cheer up the winter-weary house. Back inside those four walls, blooms in hand, the heady, cloying scent is too much. Funereal. A stifled sob escapes from somewhere low and dark inside me. The sunlight through the kitchen window is too dazzling.  The house is melancholy.  We are all in mourning here.

Today’s Recipe:

Chicken Bahn Mi

  • Servings: 4 Sandwiches
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These sandwiches are all about the mouthwateringly-flavorful sauce. Don’t forget to drizzle more over the sandwiches before tucking in. Choose a baguette with a softer crust so you don’t tear up your mouth when you take a big bite.


    Pickled Carrots
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Cilantro-Mint Sauce
  • ½ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed, plus more for sandwich
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Sambal Oelek Aioli
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) sambal oelek chili paste – depending on your preferred heat level
  • Sandwiches
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken, cooled
  • 4 Tablespoons lime cilantro sauce
  • 1 Baguette, cut into four 5-inch pieces
  • ½ Cucumber, sliced


  1. Make Pickled Carrots: Combine carrots, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour ½ cup boiling water over carrots and set aside.
  2. Make Lime Cilantro Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Make Sambal Oelek Aioli: Stir together mayonnaise and sambal oelek in a small dish. Set aside.
  4. Make Chicken: In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken with 4 Tablespoons lime-cilantro sauce.
  5. Assemble sandwiches: Slice baguette pieces in half and remove some of the bread so you have more room for all the good fillings. Spread one side with sambal oelek aioli. Layer cucumber, shredded chicken, pickled carrots, and cilantro. Drizzle with additional sauce and enjoy. The chicken can be served warm or cold, but I prefer these sandwiches cold.

Rice Pudding Tart with Rum Raisins

A rice pudding tart with a piece removed

Today’s Musings:
The other day, I accidentally stumbled upon a photo of an ex-boyfriend. Fucking Facebook. My heart immediately jumped into my throat, my nerves felt jittery and I got a little flushed. “What the heck is this? Why is my body reacting this way?” I wondered.

I extricated myself from this man’s web years ago, processed the damage, recognized the situation for the disaster it was, and moved on. I dealt with that shit.  Today, I don’t care what he’s doing, nor do I care who he is doing it with, or where he’s doing it.

My reaction on seeing his image, made me wonder, “Am I harboring some sort of unprocessed emotion? What the fuck is going on?”

It seems this is an automatic response from my body and entirely normal. It doesn’t matter what my head tells me, my body is going to do its own damn thing.  This reaction is my fight or flight response. It is the same response I would experience if I came face to face with a lion. My autonomic nervous system’s way of telling me, “Danger, bad situation ahead!”  Even though it was just a photo, my body was saying, “Girl, you do not want to go there!”

So, my reaction was automatic and nothing I can influence.  My shit with him is processed, I am in my right mind, and my body is just doing its job.

If this ever happens to you, just acknowledge it and then let it go, which is exactly what I’ll do next time – rather than Googling the feeling to see what it was, ruminating on the flight or flight response and relationships, and writing this damn blog post about it.

However, now at least I know I cannot control what my body does in this situation. I can only control my reaction to it, and that reaction should be to acknowledge it, keep scrolling, and then…Let. That. Shit. Go.

Today’s Recipe:

Rice Pudding Tart with Rum Raisins

  • Servings: One 9” Tart
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Creamy, cinnamon-scented rice pudding dotted with rum-soaked raisins encased in a sugary cookie crust.


  • 1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
  • 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup (scant) golden raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon dark rum
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (generous) cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, well-beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetened whipped cream


  1. Make Rice: Rinse rice and place in a small saucepan with two cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until tender. Set aside rice in a bowl to cool.
  2. Make Rum Raisins: In a small bowl, combine golden raisins and rum. Heat in a microwave for one minute, stirring once. Set aside.
  3. Make Crust: Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Pat dough on the bottom and up the sides of a 9” tart pan. Bake about 25 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and cool.
  4. Make Rice Pudding: In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk in egg until no cornstarch can be seen. Add milk then cooked and cooled rice.
  5. Place saucepan on medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Simmer until pudding is very thick, similar to the texture of thick oatmeal. Take saucepan off heat and stir in rum-soaked raisins and vanilla extract.
  6. Scoop rice pudding into pie crust and cover with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic wrap makes contact with the pudding surface to avoid a skin. Chill at least two hours. Decorate with sweetened whipped cream and dust with cinnamon. Let tart stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.