Better to Be Clear!

Sometimes, the little people see bread and it just vanishes. Even right before dinner. Does that happen in your house?

This week I baked some rosemary rolls (yum!!!)

and I wanted to share with a family that has six of the sweetest mouths to feed. That family is made of sugar and spice and everything nice. But eight people, that’s more than our five…

Hence the note:

And the note worked! I returned from my running around and both beautiful rings of rolls were still on the counter, ready for giving.

One for us, one for them, and that’s how the story ends.



Out of Doors

In Southern California we are able to eat outside for many months. We have few bothering bugs, we are drenched with warmth and sun for much of the year, and for all that we pay massive amounts of taxes–with more surely to come! 

Anywho, many of us have these dinky little homes, which means that using whatever outside space available is… smart. And with teenagers, whose bodies are bursting out of these little rooms and places, going outside helps maintain sanity (plus you don’t have to sweep!).

Recently I baked up a beautiful batch of sourdough. I toted my two loaves over to my parents’ new home, and we grilled some sausages, set the tables and enjoyed the fresh air and the view. It’s that time of year, and more often than not, that’s where you’ll find us in the evenings, gathered around a table or another, pairing grilled sausages and sourdough bread, with fava beans plucked straight from our forest. sipping lemonade or margaritas, and knowing that–

hopefully living the fact that–

(despite the taxes!!!)

we are blessed.

Pondering the No

I baked an extra loaf and was wondering if you’d like it.

Oh, that’s so sweet! But I’m eating low carb right now and I really shouldn’t. I’d eat it all in one gulp!

I baked an extra loaf today, and would love for you to have it.

Thanks so much, Jane, but we’re eating gluten free at the moment. 

Many years ago, I stayed away myself from anything wheat related. For more than a year I skipped pasta and bread and bagels and donuts. I was battling an onset of allergies and was ready to do all I could to rid myself of the uncomfortable world of tissue boxes and sneezes. It turns out I didn’t have a wheat allergy, but when you’re miserable, you will try just about anything.

And, the whole wheat industry has changed. The baking industry has changed, people’s eating habits have changed. So I’m not surprised when someone turns down a warm loaf of my homemade bread. It’s just that it’s happening so often now that I’m wondering whether I should find another way to give?

Anyway, that’s what I’m currently pondering. And you can ponder right alongside me if you like. I’d love your thoughts if you’re in the mood to share…


There’s always the beach!

Sending you love, dear friends.



A May birthday, followed by Mother’s Day, and I find myself spoiled. Eating out, carrot cake from Jeannine’s, boxes of chocolate and books about bees. Homemade cards, and goldfish cards, and dinosaur cards. It’s good that there are lots of events swirling around me to keep me giving. Concerts, receptions to organize, school barbecues to plan, graduation announcements to mail, hugs to give to stressed out teens as they approach finals. Yes, it all balances out beautifully. The give and the take, the gifts and the giving.

But I’m especially excited about one gift that is still en route. If you were at school with me in Angers, France, during the summer of 1984–then you would understand. You would know that I could live on eating chaussons aux pommes, and that I’m fierce when it comes to winning…

I’m getting my very own ping pong table!

I am one blessed mama.

Hope you had an amazing weekend, and that the giving and the getting has found a sweet harmony in your life, too!

Blah, Blarg, Ick

It’s fun to try new recipes, but they sometimes turn out like this…

It’s true. I made some fairly awful crackers the other day. Here they are, poor things.

I’m on the hunt for new cracker recipes. I love our rye cracker recipe, but one is NOT enough? Rice crackers, herb crackers, maybe even something to use all the Garbanzo bean flour I have in the pantry (two bags!!!). Please, please share.

Until then, I’ll keep up the hunt,

BECAUSE you can’t learn anything if you don’t make mistakes! (I just said that yesterday to my kids.)

I’m such a mom…

Ingredients :: Wheat to Wheatgrass

Every year when I order stalks of wheat to weave for Saint Brigid’s feast day on February first I end up with many leftover heads of wheat. I snap the heads off the stalks then put them into a bowl and leave them on my counter because they’re so unusual and lovely.

This year during Lent I wanted to grow another indoor plot of wheatgrass for all of us to watch turn from seed to new life. It shows in such lovely form the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf. Have you read this parable lately?

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

So we took those old heads of wheat that I’ve been saving (in years past I’ve simply bought wheat kernels in bulk at the health food store) and started to dismantle them one seed at a time.

Each stalk holds between 30-50 kernels of wheat. We counted. 🙂

The chaff and the seeds. I don’t know why, but it makes me think of the sheep and the goats.

We prepared a bowl of soil that we could keep indoors and sprinkled our seeds fairly thickly on top of the dirt. We covered the seeds with a bit more soil and watered.

The wheat seeds sprout quickly, within a few days. And in no time your wheat needs a haircut!

And then the Vikings invade. At least they always seem to in our house.

We don’t mind, though. We like Vikings. And despite what you might think, they sing Christ is Risen just about as loud as the Greeks! Amazing.

Hoping you play with your food, too…

Some links on growing wheatgrass:

Basics on Wikipedia

Growing wheatgrass in various containers

Growing wheatgrass for Easter


Doctor in the House?

It was a lovely evening.

Warm. The kids were in good humor, my parents were over for dinner, and my dad and the little one even erected some very bizarre pipe set up that reached into our enormous pine tree…


and then my little one went careening into the hall, bashed his head into the corner of a wall, and came out with a whole lotta blood dripping everywhere. John Ronan isn’t one to flinch at pain. He’s a tough little fellow, but this incident had him in tears, and frightened.

It’s gonna be okay, we assured him as we tried to staunch the bleeding. We’ll get you fixed up in no time.

Tears. Grown ups everywhere, my daughter trying to tell John Ronan the specifics (from this years’ biology class–thanks Miss Drake!) about how blood clots–to calm him down (cause he LOVES to know how things work).

At one point when he saw himself, his blond hair now half bright red, he exclaimed, It’s rather cool that my hair is red–now I look like Mom!

Love that boy.

The time came, though, when we had to decide whether it was the ER for stitches or stay home and HOPE for the best. And that’s when we remembered that we have a doctor in the house!

Well, almost. Susie lives just two doors down, but yes!!!, don’t you just love it when a friend is not only a friend, but a doctor, too?!

This is a long story to tell you that neighbors are wonderful, that knowing those around you means you have created community, and that doctors in my neighborhood always end up with loaves of bread on their cutting boards as thanks. Hope she liked the Struan. I’m pretty sure she did 🙂

And John Ronan got to go five days without washing his hair, which he loved, and is of course!!!!! back to his bouncy self.

Hope you’re well, my friends. Happy Spring.


One loaf of Molasses Bread

Mixed, molded and baked on Monday afternoon.

Gave to: Well, tried to give to Sparky’s mama, but it ended up at the corner house.

We’ve lived on this street in Santa Barbara for many years now. We love this neighborhood for many reasons, and one of them has been Sparky, a beautiful and docile white shepherd who was built to gallop and lope with those lovely long legs of his. Sparky adored lounging in our neighbor’s front room, which has a floor to ceiling window that faces the street. He would peek his head out of the closed curtain and secretly watch all that passed by in his regal way.

Well, Sparky was put down not too long ago. His owner, C, loved that dog–we loved him–and it was hard to say goodbye.

My daughter said the other day, “We need to bring C some bread!” And I thought that was a fine idea. So, I baked up two loaves of molasses bread and Madeleine and I shuffled across the street to offer the bread and our condolences. We talked on the front porch for a long while, but the bread stayed in our hands–turns out, like so many others these days, C’s trying a diet that’s free of wheat.

So, I promised her some kumquat marmalade (which I just made yesterday) and we scooted next door to our dear friends on the corner, who are also bread lovers and eaters.

I’m so grateful for my daughter’s heart–that she thought of this giving and not me. Shows that this idea of sharing isn’t mine alone, and that as a community we can make our little street an eensy scooch more connected, sharing our sorrows, our loaves of bread, and our kumquat marmalade– together.

The Chocolate Shortbread Fly By

Facebook is an odd medium for giving baked goods to others, but more than once I’ve posted that I have an extra loaf of bread available and somebody local has popped by to pick it up. This week it was cookies. I’m known to eat leftover chocolate chip cookies for breakfast with my green tea. Is this something that you do, too? Yum. Here’s what happened:

Jane G Meyer says: Cookies and tea. Cookies and tea. Cookies and tea.
  • 10 people like this.
    •  S:  That’s my kind of breakfast! Esp if they are shortbread cookies!
    • C:  Soooo… What time should I get there? 😉
    • S: See, C has her brain on! I’ll be driving by your street in about 45 minutes….

    • Jane G Meyer:  Only two cookies left, my darlings. C, I believe you’d need a leer jet to get here before S. I’ll whip up another batch and put them on the tall rock out front for a quick pickup. Seriously, do not knock on the door, I’ll be in the midst of The Three Billy Goats Gruff with John Ronan and won’t want to be disturbed. Serious literature, that…

    • S: Cookies from Jane? For real? I’ll do whatever you ask! 😉

    • C’s Mom: Storytime! Storytime! Yes, cookies are nice, but I want in on the storytime! “Let me in. Let me in. I’ll huff and I’ll puff. ” oh. Wrong story. “I’m a troll fol-de-rol! And I’ll eat you for sup-per!” Hmmm… Maybe you can bribe the troll with some of your cookies.

    • Jane G Meyer: Who needs to bribe a troll when you have a mighty Billy Goat just ready to do a whole lotta head butting? That troll “was never heard from again.” We had some good reading this morning, and I noticed that the cookies were taken from atop the rock. Hope they were delicious. We used the Teddy Bear cookie cutter just for M (my wee little, spunky goddaughter) 🙂

    • Jane G Meyer: How rude of me, though. Perhaps that troll would be a whole lot nicer if I’d just make him a batch of chocolate shortbread. Something to think about…

    • S: Cookies were delish!! M was happy to get more train blocks, and I loved the art from JR!

    • C’s Mom: I am sure that if the troll had a loaf of some of your magical, mystical, marvelous bread he would have a complete change of heart!
      So, there you have it. The wonders of Facebook. And here is the chocolate shortbread giving in pictures (when my camera decided it felt happy enough to actually capture a shot–it’s pretty broken). More on that adorable little cloth cookie-knapsack soon!