31 Dec

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve Cupcake Toppers - LaStudioprints via etsy.com

New Year’s Eve Cupcake Toppers – LaStudioprints via etsy.com


Just wanted to send a quick note to wish you all a very happy new year, and to share a couple of rituals I find comforting this time of year. My new year’s celebrations are simple and consistent – basically: reflect, set intention, eat. Since I’ve written about these before, this year, I’ll give you the highlights in link form:

My all-time favorite reflection/intention exercise comes from Andrea Scher – this year, she put it into a really sweet video message.

You can find some other helpful tools in my January 1 post from last year.

And if you’d rather work together in person to set a strong foundation for the new year, have I got the retreat for you (this Saturday!).

Oh! And let’s not forget the food! Do you do cabbage and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day? This is a tradition that my midwest relatives find baffling, but let me tell you, the biggest display at the front of my Randall’s grocery store today was a bunch of cabbages and black-eyed peas. Peas for good luck, cabbage for prosperity. Can’t hurt, right? I laid out my favorite recipes last January in this post.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2013!

04 Jan

New Year’s Meal

Argh.  Do you know how aggravating having your house broken into can be?  I mean, first, there’s the obvious irritation of coming home to find the broken window and the empty space on your desk where your MacBook used to sit (and don’t get me wrong, that part’s really bad).  But then there’s this lingering annoyance when, months later, you go looking for something you haven’t used in a while (like that cord that connects your camera to your computer so you can download the photos you’ve taken), and you know that you always keep this certain thing in the same place, and it’s not there.  So you go looking in the four other places that it just might be, and it’s not in any of those places, either.  And then, even though you’ve been fighting it, you just have to give in and get mad at those robbers (again) because dammit!  It’s like they just keep stealing from me.  And what did they even need with that cord anyway?

So.  Perhaps we have established that we will not be viewing any new photos on cindyscovel.com anytime in the near future.  We’ll see.  I’m still in that state of deciding how much I need to replace and, well, this is probably one of the necessary items (I mean, I’m still taking pictures), but I’m also kind of holding out on the little things (is it possible that I just misplaced it?  Yes, it is).

In any case, I really wanted to start this post with a picture of my New Year’s meal from the other night, because that would be the thing to start out a post with recipes, wouldn’t it?  Instead, you will just have to read the recipes and imagine it.  Or maybe cook them, and then you wouldn’t need the imagining part.  It is probably too late to get in on the good luck and good fortune that comes with these black-eyed peas and cabbage (that’s for January 1, you see – apologies for my delay), but you can still enjoy the deliciousness all year-round.

Here you go…

Spicy Black-Eyed Peas from Paula Deen


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas, washed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups water


In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, crumble, and set aside to use as a topping for the peas. Saute the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the peas, diced tomatoes and green chiles, salt, chili powder, pepper and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender. Add additional water, if necessary. Serve garnished with crumbled bacon.

A NOTE ABOUT THE PEAS: If you follow the link to this recipe, and check out the comments, you’ll see a lot of discussion about whether or not to soak the peas/beans.  I followed the “quick-soak” method on the pea package (peas + water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, wait an hour, rinse and drain), and then PD’s recipe took about an hour to cook.  I also halved the recipe.

Molly’s Recipe for Braised Brussels Sprouts (I’ll explain) from Orangette


1 ¼ lb. Brussels sprouts
3 Tbs unsalted butter
¼ tsp coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice, or more to taste


First, prep the Brussels sprouts. Trim the stem end of each sprout and pull off any ragged or nasty outer leaves. Cut the sprouts in half from stem end to tip, and then cut each half in half again. Ultimately, you want little wedges.

In a large (12-inch) skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are nicely browned in spots, about 5 minutes or so. I like mine to get some good color here, so that they have a sweetly caramelized flavor.

Pour in the cream, stir to mix, and then cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low or medium low: you want to keep the pan at a slow simmer. Braise until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 30-35 minutes. The cream will have reduced some and will have taken on a creamy tan color.

Remove the lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary. Let the pan simmer, uncovered, for a minute or two to thicken the cream to a glaze that loosely coats the sprouts. Serve immediately.

NOTES: First, if you follow the link, you’ll find more headnotes, plus you’ll get a dose of Orangette, which is always good.  Second, this recipe is for brussels sprouts, not cabbage (I know).  I actually follow the recipe for braised cabbage found in Molly’s book, A Homemade Life – a good read, and full of tasty morsels to try.  To prepare cabbage instead of the sprouts, cut a small cabbage into 8 wedges and arrange in the pan.  Turn the wedges after 5-7 minutes in the pan, and add the cream (2/3 c instead of a whole one).  Cover them for 20 min, then flip again and cover for another 20 min.  Follow the instructions for the lemon juice above.  Enjoy some delicious comfort food, and a prosperous New Year!