My favorite breakfast this week

The grocery stores have been getting wonderfully plump and flavorful Hass avocados this past week, and I’ve been indulging.  I think avocados are one of Nature’s perfect foods.  Since they are a bargain right now, I’ve been treating myself.  For breakfast, I make a plate of nachos topped with a fried egg and diced avocado and salsa.  Very hearty and delicious!

Preparations for breakfast

I added some leftover ham to my fried egg.

While the egg was frying, I put a plate of Tostitos Artisan Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Chips in the microwave just long enough to melt the cheese. Then I topped the chips with the avocado, salsa, and the fried egg.

“It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted huckleberries who never plucked them.”
—  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

In Washington we have an abundance of blackberries rather than huckleberries.

“The fruits do not yield their true flavor to the purchasers of them.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

How poor Thoreau would find me, a city dweller, who procures virtually all of my food from supermarket shelves.  And while our neighborhood farmers’ markets give us access to locally grown food, we simply buy it with our coins.  How rarely do we plant, nurture, harvest and preserve our own food.  According to Thoreau, we are missing out on the true flavor of food when we do not grow or pick it with our own hands.

Having grown up on a farm, I still hold a deep appreciation for the hard work that goes into bringing food to the table.  I’ve butchered chickens, so I understand the life that was once vibrant in my packaged chicken quarters.  I’ve milked a cow by hand, so I remember the source of my glass of milk.  I’ve made my own blackberry jam from hand-picked berries, so I can appreciate the work behind a jar received as a gift.

Snapshot of me milking our family's cow in 1972, forty years ago!

Much is lost when we forego laboring with our own hands, for the value of the work is not just the finished product, but also the feelings of artistry, productivity, and self-worth built along the way.  And it is true that we savor the end product more when we’ve created it ourselves.

One of my colleagues gives our library staff jars of her homemade blackberry jam each Christmas, and each spoonful bursts with the tastes of summer and Shirley’s shared joy in nature’s abundance.  Everything that is in a jar of Shirley’s jam is what Thoreau is alluding to in this week’s quote.

Shirley's jam on breakfast scones

Homemade jam from hand-picked blackberries

Sweet goodness

“The advantage of riches remains with him who procured them, not with the heir.  When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.  But not only health, but education is in the work.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Playing with New Toys

December 30, 2011

Waffles made with my new Chef's Choice waffle maker

I got a brand new waffle maker for Christmas!

I’ve always been more of a waffle person than a pancake person.  So when my trusty old waffle maker went on the blink after 30 years of use, I missed having waffles for breakfast.  I had a waffle maker on my Wish List for some time.  I was hoping to find a serviceable one at a garage sale last summer.  No luck.  So when my Dad sent us some money for Christmas, I used it to buy a new Chef’s Choice waffle maker.

I’ve already made waffles three times!  I don’t think you ever get too old to play with new “toys.”

Brown eggs

Old egg beater whips egg whites into a froth

Heart-shaped waffle iron

Waffle with bananas and my brother's homemade maple syrup

Breakfast at the Bay Cafe

December 30, 2010

Early morning at the Bay Cafe in Ballard

One of my husband’s and my favorite breakfast places in Seattle is the Bay Cafe in Fishermen’s Terminal.  We both woke up early this morning and decided to treat ourselves to breakfast.  The crescent moon shown brightly in the clear dawn.  The Olympic Mountains glowed white on the horizon.  Few people were stirring.  Our table at the Bay Cafe overlooked the moorage full of commercial fishing boats.  It’s always fun to be by the water.

Crescent moon in the dawn sky

The Bay Cafe ready for the breakfast rush

Seafood omelette and hash browns

The moorage at Fishermen's Terminal

Coiled nets

Water line

Weathered flag

Memorial for fishermen most at sea

Memorial for fishermen lost at sea

Olympic Mountains from Shilshole Bay Marina, Ballard

Seagulls at Golden Gardens, Ballard


December 14, 2009

My brother-in-law and sister foraged for these chanterelles in Oregon.

Lovely chanterelles (tasty, too)

We had company this weekend, and they came bearing the gift of a sack full of chanterelle mushrooms, which they had foraged in Oregon.  What a lovely present!  We ate some of them scrambled with eggs for breakfast. . . a gourmet treat.

Chanterelles sautéed in butter

Eggs scrambled with chanterelles

Simple Goodness

November 1, 2009


A simple breakfast


Everything Good is Simple
by Nikki Giovanni in Bicycles: Love Poems

Everything good is simple:  a soft-boiled egg . . . toast fresh from the
oven with a pat of butter swimming in the center . . . steam off a cup
of black coffee . . . John Coltrane bringing me “Violets for My Furs”

Most simple things are good:  Lines on a yellow legal pad . . . dimples
defining a smile . . . a square of gray cashmere that can be a scarf . . .
Miles Davis Kind of Blue

Some things clear are complicated:  believing in a religion . . . trying
to be a good person . . . getting rid of folk who depress you . . . Horace
Silver Blowing the Blues Away

Complicated things can be clear:  Dvorak’s New World Symphony . . .
Alvin Ailey’s Revelations . . . Mae Jamison’s ride in space . . . Mingus
Live at Carnegie Hall

All things good are good:  poetry . . . patience . . . a ripe tomato on the
vine . . . a bat in flight . . .  the new moon . . .  me in your arms . . .
things like that

Breakfast Table

July 27, 2009

Our Sunday breakfast

Our Sunday breakfast

“Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly arranged and well-provisioned breakfast table.”
     — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of Seven Gables

I love leisurely Sunday mornings when I have the time to make a big farm breakfast.  Here is the muffin recipe I used for today’s breakfast provisions.  I don’t recall where I got this recipe.

Blueberry-Orange Muffins

1-1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 c sour cream
1/3 c orange juice
1 Tbsp melted butter

Mix together until just moistened.  Add 3/4 c frozen blueberries.  Divide into 10 muffin tins, then bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes, or until done.  Cool 10 minutes, then top with glaze.


1 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice