January 2013 A Note from Marcy
FREE My Best (and easiest) French Country Bread Over 42,000 downloads - this bread still rocks and the perfect recipe to start off 2013.
Hello Fellow Bakers and Friends,
Spoiler alert – if you hate reading long newsletter – just visit www.BetterBaking.com and cruise over to the new recipes for January.
Happy New Year everyone! I was at tango last night dancing my baker’s toes off but I am now primed for a whole new year of baking. Tango was sublime with twinkling lights, gorgeous music and stalwart dancers and if I tell you the women’s frocks were Paris runway chic, it would not be an exaggeration. (Yours truly wore black lace over red silk – not too shabby). But it’s back from the ball and back to baking. I hope this note finds you warm, healthy and gently ready for a new year. I hope you’ve had a nice holiday as I have. I don’t mind spending this holiday moment with you – getting the new edition of BB out.
As for holiday time, I stayed put. I saw Life of Pi as well as Silver Linings Playbook (have to see again, also bought the book by Mathew Quick – well worth buying – a gem), and The Guilt Trip with Barbara Streisand. I hauled my amicable middle son (the one that can’t say no to me) to the movie. Was it great? The company was great but the movie is not quite Oscar material. That said, to see Barbara Streisand on screen in this fashion, with the camera lovingly focused on her face wherein you see the pure love, joy and wisdom shining out of those blue eyes (and all the lines, wrinkles and sheer inherent beauty of a life well-lived) – is worth the price of the ticket. I spent time with family, friends, girl shopping, reading, baking, entertaining and decorating.
I don’t like to revisit the past but let me just say 2012 was my year to rediscover the joys of rest and repose and good nutrition.
I thought I knew a lot about food but turns out, what I don’t know about food (or my own diet) is a lot. What changes have I made? I am now diligent about vitamins such as C, D, and B12. I’ve also tested out the best of the B12 on the market if you care to know. I’ve discovered the joy of selenium (take two Brazil nuts a day), drinking water, nuts, and carbs before the gym, and protein after the gym, and no more calorie counting. Instead of calorie counting, I try and make sure I eat densely nutritious things. I make pretty well all I eat count. I sit down when I eat and take the time to breathe. I share my household with someone who eats hotdogs, chicken nuggets and pizza and I’ve still managed to make great meals for myself – because I count. (and so do you).
I’ve also discovered gluten free crackers of every description (I am not avoiding gluten, I am simply varying the carbs I have) and those, with Pumpkin Seed Butter or Almond (the former for iron, the latter for calcium) and homemade jams are my new snacks. I keep a container of Irish oatmeal in the fridge and have some daily, with a sprinkle of flax seed, hemp hearts and fresh berries. It takes work to eat well!
As for the gym, I work out until I sweat (I was getting into a casual and easy-going gym routine), I swim afterwards and I remember to stretch daily and do weights every other day. I don’t (and never have) work out to lose weight. I exercise because it offers my writer’s day structure, keeps my energy level and mood on an even keel. And I never, ever weigh myself anymore.
What I am saying is – I think great uncompromised classic baking is a treat but it has to be bolstered and balanced with mindful eating overall and a true appreciation of your own lifestyle. I've always thought that. But now more than ever. Why? Because stress is all we hear about these days; I see it in my 20-something sons and I see it my middle-aged friends and everyone in-between. There is life circumstance and challenges and that is what it is but there is also how we respond. But sometimes no matter how good one is, the stresses unavoidably add up. And you don’t always see it coming until you are pretty well burnt out.
There are many tonics for this, not the least is that old chestnut: time itself. But I am thinking like a caring chef right now and ask you: can you eat to reduce stress? Somewhat. Vitamin C repairs adrenals and is an anti-oxidant. Vitamin B12 is THE stress reducer but more so, eating amazing foods, baking with great ingredients ensures that your body at least can heal and repair by having the right things offered to it – to allow it to extract all the goodness it can. And stop starving yourself with weird diets you can’t maintain. It’s just a mean thing to do to your body. Instead, eat to be healthy and nourished, exercise a whole lot (not to lose weight but to keep mobile and cheerier) and then let the chips fall where they may.
As 2013 has its debut, let me just say that if you are expecting exclusively low fat, low carb, low calorie, gluten free recipes from me – I will disappoint. But if you are hoping for broad spectrum recipes (both decadent with butter, chocolate, and vanilla as well as those wholesome with grains and wonderful natural flavors and ingredients) and great fun in this collective kitchen called BetterBaking.com, then I’m your girl. I will be your chef-guide and partner in culinary joy via my recipes, which are (to me), food haiku.
Business notes for BB -
Thanks to so many people for signing up under the $19 deal which ended last night (perhaps other promotions will follow in the new year but for now, that’s it).
I also am sending a shout out to Joanna and Rayann, two Buffalo gals who made their way to my home test kitchen and had a wonderful private baking lesson with me. The pleasure was mine – as was taking them to the Montreal bagel place around the corner. And a shout out to Mary in Honolulu, Hawaii who is one of my newest subscribers – I am flattered as I am by Barbara and Susan, two subscribers who re-subscribed to BB via their Ipads, on a beach, on vacation with a note saying: I don’t want to risk missing a single issue of BB.
I’ve also mentioned BB is looking forward to an overall but it is early on there – but stay tuned. For Washingtonians, I hope to be in the pages of the Washington Post sometime soon (I was invited) and there is also my monthly column at www.Clabbergirl.com. I would also remind you that the recipe data base on my site is always getting cleaned up – If you see errors or glitches – please let me know. As I look ahead, I want the recipe data base to be accurate and appealing – and hopefully too, as time permits, I will start adding some photos (as I take them!).
Recipe of the year at BB? 1750 people downloaded Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins so I guess that takes the popularity cake but my French Bread has been hit on over 42,000 times. That's a lot of loaves.
Weight Loss Perfume?
Other than that, despite the cookbook work ahead of me and overall of my website, I’ve been dabbling again in perfumes and scents. It fascinates me to no end. I find perfume is a world that combines the spirit, healing, mystic arts, and the sheer joy of being feminine. It can also help with weight and metabolism. For instance, if you make combine grapefruit oil, geranium and bergamot essential oils (in a carrier oil of some sort) you will have made a natural weight loss, metabolism booster (and it perks up your mood). But more than that, I am more in love with perfumes because they lift your spirits like nothing else. So in 2013, I challenge you to either make peace with perfume (for those who hate it), or find a new one. It’s a new year – you can’t keep wearing Angel, Happy, or your mother’s perfume. If you need help – tap on my shoulder. Tell me what you wear or like, and I will guide you to a new scent. You have no idea how scent, more than 10 self-help books, might help you blossom forth.
When Bakers Cook is my next cookbook and underway (hopefully June 2013, print and digital). The long awaited The Baker’s Four Seasons is visiting with various publishers but if that book is not asked to dance soon, I will publish that one too, myself. I’ve mentioned this before but to those who have kindly asked I am saying: no worries – the baker and publisher is back in the house (do you sense my second wind?) and the wait time is done. (Btw, my new self publishing house is called River Heart Press – anyone interested in volunteering a logo?).
To start you off for the new year, I’m sharing some simple recipes – a warm soup, a great bread, a zesty chicken, a homey banana cake and a muffin or scone. We’ll get more deeply into all things chocolate in February. My food theme (for now) is make and eat what appeals – to really hone into my own appetite (and hopefully yours) and mood and fine out just what appeals, what do I want, what is my body or mood asking for? It is called paying attention. It is self-loving although it sounds somewhat indulgent. To this, I am also adding that famed BetterBaking.com baking rogue spirit. So look out for some amazing new creations that are easy but dazzling (cuz that’s the whole point – recipes that dazzle, recipes, as one reader, was it Della described it, have that 'wow' appeal). If you permit or accept my invitation, I am taking you on this self-loving baking ‘n food journey with me. Please say yes!
Happy new year all – I wish you a brand new do-over, fresh start, joyous new day, in the kitchen and everywhere else in your life.
Author, Master Baker
FREE My Best (and easiest) French Country Bread
Over 41,000 served! That’s how many people have downloaded this recipe!
A lot of breads are called French Country bread, the name is based as much on the type of dough used and method, as well as the rustic boule shape. This is one version of a French country bread. If you only bake one bread in your life, chose this one. I thought I’d start you off in the new year with this favourite of mine – a version of it is in each of my cookbooks. Serve it with a fresh soup and you have the proverbial feast. This bread has a great crust, holey interior that is both moist and rustic.
FREE Italian Market Restaurant Soup with Chorizo©
This is my best soups. Of course, I always think and consequently declare that but this one is outstanding. The larger chunks of vegetables make it different than usual homemade vegetable soups as do the hunks of chorizo (cooked) sausage which give the soup a bit more body. You can leave that out if you like or want a vegetarian soup. I serve this in crockery bowls, with garlic croutons on top, au gratin with Asiago or small chunks of parmesan cheese broiled into the croutons, at the last minute. This is a good time to have a basil, parsley, and rosemary plant on your kitchen window sill. This is a taste of summer in any month. Mostly, this soup is a taste of legend. It is that good.
FREE Golden Bran Buttermilk Muffins
My own favourite bran recipe of all time – I create new ones all the time but this one is a knock-out. Rustic, moist, healthy, gorgeous.
FREE Vegetable Chips
I fell in love with www.Terrachips over the holidays. These are oven-baked, thin chips of sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, yaro and beets. It’s easy to make your own at home. Tossed with some sea salt and vegetable oil, they are addictive.
Carrot Millet Muffins
These totally rock. I don't know what I like better about these muffins: their taste, their crumb or their hue or their healthy appeal. An incredible piece of baking art. Truly, there is no other way to say it.
Chicken Caesar Salad With Asiago Cheese
Chicken Caesar salad, done right, makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, it is often served with cold, flavourless, strips of chicken breast, gloppy insipid dressing, and rumour of garlic. But just follow this recipe and pay attention to detail in this combination and you will have a stellar salad that hits all the right notes. Fresh Parmesan is a must always! This is restaurant food, done right, at the home bistro.
Outstanding Caesar Salad Bread
People go nuts for this bread and it’s no wonder. It is weird, zesty and delicious and someone I know makes it once a week.
Java Banana Blueberry Bundt Cake
Statuesque and delicious, this fabulous banana cake stays fresh for days. Singing with flavor and emboldened with plump (frozen is fine) blueberries, this is a company cake that will do you proud.
Buttermilk Vanilla Scones with Dried Strawberries
Big, beautiful crusty scones with cake-like interiors. Buttermilk makes them high-rising and dried strawberries are a nice surprise.
“O” List Spa Oatmeal Cookies
What I love about these rustic scones is they are they are very pure of taste – there's no chocolate chips, chunks of Snickers, no vanilla extra or hunks of candied ginger - there's just amazing taste and texture from the basic (but choice) ingredients. This is the real deal, old-fashioned baking, with a not-too-sweet, satisfying wholesome taste
Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:
Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.
- March 2017 A Note from Marcy - March 2017
- March 2017 A Note from Marcy - March 2017
- February A Note from Marcy - February 2017
- January 2017 A Note from Marcy - January 2017
- December 2016 A Note from Marcy - December 2016
- Winter 2016 BB Best Gifts Round-Up - December 2016
- November 2016 A Note from Marcy - November 2016
- October 2016 A Note from Marcy - October 2016
- September 2016 A Note from Marcy - September 2016
- August 2016 A Note from Marcy - August 2016
- July 2016 A Note from Marcy - June 2016
- June 2016 A Note from Marcy - June 2016
- MAY 2016 A Note from Marcy - May 2016
- April 2016 A Note from Marcy - April 2016
- March 2016 A Note from Marcy - March 2016
- February 2016 A Note from Marcy - February 2016
- January 2016 A Note from Marcy - January 2016
- December 2015 A Note from Marcy - December 2015
- November 2015 A Note from Marcy - November 2015
- September 2015 A Note from Marcy - September 2015
- August 2015 A Note from Marcy - August 2015
- July 2015 A Note from Marcy - July 2015
- June 2015 A Note from Marcy - June 2015
- May 2015 A Note from Marcy - May 2015
- April 2015 A Note from Marcy - April 2015
- March 2015 A Note from Marcy - March 2015
- February 2015 A Note from Marcy - February 2015
- January 2015 A Note from Marcy - January 2015
- December 2014 A Note from Marcy - December 2014
- November 2014 A Note From Marcy - November 2014
- October A Note from Marcy - October 2014
- September 2014 A Note from Marcy - September 2014
- August 2014 A Note from Marcy - August 2014
- July 2014 A Note from Marcy - July 2014
- June 2014 A Note from Marcy - June 2014
- May 2014 A Note from Marcy - May 2014
- April 2014 A Note from Marcy - April 2014
- March 2014 A Note from Marcy - March 2014
- February 2014 A Note from Marcy - February 2014
- January 2014 A Note from Marcy - January 2014
- December 2013 A Note from Marcy - December 2013
- November 2013 A Note from Marcy - November 2013
- October 2013 A Note from Marcy - October 2013
- September 2013 A Note from Marcy - September 2013
- August 2013 A Note from Marcy - August 2013
- July 2013 A Note from Marcy - July 2013
- June 2013 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - June 2013
- May 2013 A Note from Marcy - May 2013
- April 2013 A Note from Marcy Baker's Stash - April 2013
- March 2013 A Note from Marcy - March 2013
- February 2013 A Note from Marcy - February 2013
- December 2012 A Note from Marcy - December 2012
- November 2012 A Note from Marcy - November 2012
- October 2012 A Note from Marcy - October 2012
- September 2012 A Note from Marcy - September 2012
- August 2012 A Note from Marcy Baker's Stash - August 2012
- July 2012 A Note from Marcy Baker's Stash - July 2012
- May 2012 A Note from Marcy - May 2012
- April 2012 Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - April 2012
- March 2012 A Note From Marcy - March 2012
- February 2012 A Note from Marcy - February 2012
- January 2012 A Note from Marcy - January 2012
- December 2011 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - December 2011
- November 2011 Note from Marcy Bakers Stash - November 2011
- October 2011 Note From Marcy Baker's Stash - October 2011
- September 2011 A Note from Marcy - September 2011
- August 2011 (1) Note From Marcy - August 2011
- June 2011 Note from Marcy - June 2011
- May 2011 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash - May 2011
- March 2011 A Note From Marcy - March 2011
- February 2011 A Note From Marcy, Baker's Stash - February 2011
- January 2011 A Note from Marcy - January 2011
- December 2010 Baker's Stash - December 2010
- November 2010 Baker's Stash - November 2010
- October 2010 Note from Marcy & Baker's Stash - October 2010
- September 2010 Note from Marcy & Baker's Stash - September 2010
- August 2010 Baker's Stash - August 2010
- July 2010 Baker's Stash, A Note from Marcy - July 2010
- June 2010 Baker's Stash - June 2010
- April 2010 BAKER'S STASH - April 2010
- March 2010 Baker's Stash, A Note From Marcy - March 2010
- 2003-2007 PAST ISSUES Note from Marcy & Recipes - February 2010
- January 2010 Baker's Stash - January 2010
- December 2009 Baker's Stash - December 2009
- September 2009 Baker's Stash - September 2009
- April 2009 Bakers Stash - April 2009
- March 2009 Baker's Stash Baking With Mom, Feminist in the Kitchen and some Retro - March 2009
- February 2009 Baker's Recipe Stash - February 2009
- January 2009 Baker's Stash - January 2009
- December 2008 Baker's Stash - December 2008
- November 2008 A Note From Marcy - November 2008
- September 2008 Baker's Stash - September 2008
- A note from Marcy - December 2007
- A Note from Marcy - February 2007 - An Oreo Love Affair
- A Note from Marcy - January 2007 - When Bakers Cook, Recipes deChef
- A Note from Marcy - December 2006 - Shortbread and Other Favorite Things
- A Note from Marcy - November 2006 - Thank Goodness for Pie
- A Note from Marcy - October 2006 - A Salute to Chocolate Chip Cookies
- A Note from Marcy - September 2006 - The Back to School Carrot Cake Issue
- A Note From Marcy - August 2006 - The Sourdough Magic Issue
- A Note from Marcy - July 2006 - The Annual BB Picnic Issue
- A Note from Marcy - June 2006 - The Bountiful Berry Issue
- A Note from Marcy - May 2006 - Pride and Pastry or Tea With Jane
- A Note from Marcy - April 2006 - The Breakfast Baking Issue and Fresh Starts
- A Note from Marcy March 2006 Passion - Gettin' Some - March 2006 - Havana A Heat Wave, Baking with A Latin Beat and The Passion Play
- A Note from Marcy - February 2006 - Memoirs of A Geisha Baking, Valentineâ€™s Sweets
- A Note from Marcy - January 2006 - The You're Toast, A Salute To Slicing Loaves and More
- A Note from Marcy - December 2005 - Bake It Forward, Gift Baking Issue
- A Note from Marcy - November 2005 - Open Hearth Hosting or Guess Who's Coming For Dinner
- A Note from Marcy - October 2005 - It All Happens for a Reason or Sometimes Bread Just Doesn't Rise.....
- A Note from Marcy - September 2005 - Baking By the Code
- A Note from Marcy - August 2005 - The Tao of Pie
- A Note from Marcy - July 2005 - The Journey of the Journal plus Twix Bars!
- A Note from Marcy - June 2005 - A Pastry Chefs Trial by Cheesecakes
- A Note from Marcy - May 2005 - The Frontier Baking Issue/Living Big in a Small Venue
- A Note from Marcy - April 2005 - When Harry Met Salad
- A Note from Marcy - March 2005 - Baking with an Irish Broque; A Romance in the Dairy Queen One Fine March
- A Note from Marcy - February 2005 - She Just Doesnâ€™t Get Him, Valentineâ€™s Day Rebuttal and Cupcakes Galore
- A Note from Marcy - January 2005 - The Art of Changing and Making Space in a New Year
- A Note from Marcy - December 2004 - The Shall We Dance or Shall We Bake, Holiday Baking Issue and an Ode to Dance
- A Note from Marcy - November 2004 - The Bread and Soup Issue and How A Canadian Became Americanized (sort of)
- A Note from Marcy - October 2004 - The Field of Dreams Issue, Baseball and the Baker
- A Note from Marcy - September 2004 - The Catcher of the Rye Issue, What Falls Away, the Sweet Taste of Forgiveness and Letting Go
- A Note from Marcy - August 2004 - Itâ€™s All Greek To Me Issue and The Evils of Multi-Tasking
- A Note from Marcy - July 2004 - The Gone Fishinâ€™ Issue/Summer in the River City, A Bakerâ€™s Musical
- A Note from Marcy - June 2004 - The All That Jazz Issue, How To Scat and Improvise in Wheat
- A Note from Marcy - May 2004 - The Bread and Roses Issue, Goddess, Feminist or Feminineâ€¦and Fudge
- A Note from Marcy - April 2004 - Waiting for Happy, or If I Won the Lotto
- A Note from Marcy - March 2004 - Meet You in the Bookstore, My Love Affair with Books
- A Note from Marcy - February 2004 - Sweets for the Sweet, a Valentine From the Baker
- A Note from Marcy - January 2004 - How To Eat Right or Resolution 2004 â€“ How Not To Diet
- A Note From Marcy - December 2003 - The Sugar and Spice Issue
- A Note from Marcy - November 2003 - How To Weather the Weather, or Keeping Cozy in Late Fall
- A Note from Marcy - October 2003 (Part 2) - They Laughed When I Got Up To Bake, Hotel School Trials
- A Note from Marcy - October 2003 (Part 1) - How I Got Into Baking, A Bakerâ€™s Beginnings Part 1
- A Note from Marcy - September 2003 - Welcome To Wheatland, a bakerâ€™s fantasy or Camelot in Flour
- A Note from Marcy - August 2003 - Notes on Homemade Krispie Kreme Doughnuts
- A Note From Marcy - July 2003 - Memories of Summer Music Camp or Baking to Birdland
- A Note From Marcy - June 2003 - How to Play Hooky in Summer, An Urban Adventure
- April 2011 A Note from Marcy, Baker's Stash
- October 2008 Baker's Stash
- May 2010 Baker's Stash
- February 2009 Issue Baking by Heart Copy
- March 2009 Baker's Recipe Stash
- April 2009 Baker's Stash
- February 2009 Baker's Stash