Banana Bread Muffins

The day before we left for summer vacation back in July I made these muffins and lordy my, why have I been hanging on to the recipe since then?! As I type this out I’m wondering if I can post this speedily enough so that I can whip up a quick batch before S wakes up from her nap. It’s chilly and grey here and if there’s one thing this afternoon could use to spruce it up it’s a banana bread muffin and a cup of tea. Instead – and unfortunately – I will probably stay curled up in my blue chair listening to the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and eating pistachio nuts until my time is up and I’m back on duty.

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Chicken-Rice Soup for a Cold (or Anytime)

Sierra came down with a rather wicked cold last week: fever, cough, sniffles, all of it. There’s not much sadder than a sick baby toddler? 16-month-old – you can cuddle her, wipe her nose, give her all the water she cares to drink, and tell her she’ll feel better soon but does she truly understand? This week she finally seems on the mend but we’ve been laying low and eating lots of soup (and cake for the grown-ups because why not?).

I made one of my classic many-vegetabled soups (garlic, onion, carrots, sweet potato, potato, parsnip, turnip) and pureed the pot into velvety smoothness on Saturday afternoon while she had a long nap. The sun streamed in as I enjoyed my solitary lunch and hit the clementines (or tangelos?) placed just so on the counter. There was a blessed respite from the ongoing construction project next door and I took a moment to be thankful for the quiet. The little things, yes? Two months in with no end in reasonable sight I’ve started appreciating Sundays ever more, as it’s the one day a week they don’t work. Morocco, you never fail to challenge.

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Rainy (+ Flourless Pumpkin-Chocolate Bread)

It’s raining as I type this, pattering down on the roof and slipping through the leaky skylight on the stairs leading to the second floor. The California wind chime on the porch is merrily beating against itself. Two nights ago there was a fierce windstorm that had the whole house creaking and groaning; I always forget how it does that, and how the desultorily-attached outside shutters blow back and forth with great crashing booms. If during rainstorms my San Francisco apartment felt like being inside a ship at sea – still cozy, though, especially with a wool blanket tucked around my knees – my house in Casablanca during thunder-and lightening storms feels a bit like being inside a tent in the mountains. I was thinking about long ago backpacking trips the other night when the wind tore at our outside bedroom door and then managed to push it open for a minute, how sometimes it seemed as though that flimsy contraption of aluminum and nylon would slide right off the slick granite and tumble down to the valley in the darkness below. We’d huddle in our bags and listen sleep deeply if fitfully and then in the morning the sun would shine brightly again and the breeze would be a gentle thing. Oh the mountains are calling and I must go — yes. Always.

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