day 10(0000) quarantine

day 10(0000) quarantine

As most of you know and many of you are in the same situation, we are currently in self isolation aka quarantine, here at home. We had actually started homeschooling V back in February, and thankfully I had gotten my sea legs A LITTLE stable before the madness ensued. Of course nothing could prepare us here, or anyone for that matter, for what would come.

Yesterday a friend asked if I had any magazines that her children could use for a project. Of course I did! And I remembered she had just started her seedlings, I had not yet gotten soil, I asked if she had any left we could use, she did and would bring it by. I went around the house and gathered what I could find, magazines and catalogs. And a set of grow lights, it snowed again and she needed some for her seedlings. Into the bag they went! I grabbed some of the snacks I always keep on hand in bags, animal crackers, they are her little’s favorite, and into the bag they went also. I remembered an idea I had seen, drawing hand outlines on cardboard so that kids can practice painting their nails, she has 2 girls so I made one for each of them. Before I made them, I sprayed Lysol on the cardboard, front and back. That kind of struck a cord with me, like WOW, am I really doing this? YEP! I got it all into a bag, washing my hands probably 50 times while assembling the bag. And then I put the bag outside the garage door, and closed it and went back inside. That was hard.

That was a very profound realization. I could watch her from the window, but I wouldn’t be able to see her, give her a hug, or chit chat in the living room. She would leave the soil and some medicine she picked up for me, at the garage door also. I waited a bit before checking the window for tire marks in the snowy driveway. This is the new way of doing things. For now. I don’t want to call it the new normal, nothing about this is normal, and I don’t want it to ever be.

Baby news…..

Hello there! I am really trying to keep the “baby” part of my life separate from this blog. I figure you are here for food, recipes, garden stuff, home stuff, and probably really aren’t into the progress of my pregnancy. I honestly don’t blame you, it really isn’t glamorous, lol.

BUT for those of you that do want to know how it is going and check out the baby belly pictures, I have finally posted them all over on Reality of Bebe !! Head on over there for the pictures I have taken so far, of my ever expanding waistline and for all the fun of how things are going.  ”

Baby Belly Pics, Baby News, and Updates in General

And for those of you who don’t care about that stuff, I’m posting pizza ideas here tomorrow!


This and that and I miss food.

Hello there! How’s it going? How was your Thanksgiving? This here is going to be a really informal chat .  There has a noticeable lack of activity on all areas of Burlap and Butter Knives, and for that I apologize but I’m going to be brutally honest with you. Writing about food, and posting delicious pictures can be SO hard when you have no appetite and can’t keep a thing in your stomach. It is horrific.  Yes I am still putting a hot meal on the table every night, granted it is often grilled cheese (usually with some kind of tastyness/protein stuffed in for the mister, but I myself and not really eating. I am in fact usually “mourning the loss of my meal”, aka tossing my cookies.  It is the pregnancy, and I am hoping it ends soon, because this is torture.  The hubby has been so helpful and really stepped up (in addition to working from 4am till 5:30pm)  and I cannot thank him enough. I bought him two brand new video games to show my gratitude and thankfulness and he plays them while I lay on the couch usually asleep and dreaming of a day when I can eat a full meal.

I haven’t  been on pinterest, or twitter, GASP!!!! I know, its shocking. I feel like I have failed you, and I am sorry.  On the bright side, as of yesterday I started taking some meds that will hopefully help me keep food down, YAY for meds!! The dr was concerned about the baby getting all the nutrients it needs (I am taking vitamins just FYI) so as anti meds as I am, I am giving them a try.  And fingers cross, I will be back to my old self in no time! And in the meantime, I am experimenting with dinner alternatives, things I can make quick and easy and without my usual 2 hours of work.  I just found out about a new gourmet food product line called Simply Enjoy which I am definitely going to be checking out because right now, with working, growing a baby, keeping up with the home, laundry, dishes, and having limited time overall I need all the kitchen help I can get! I will be sure to report back to you on how the foods are. (I am totally going to Stop & Shop tonight and checking them out, hello Christmas shortcuts!) 

Our Seats for the show!

Our Seats for the show!


I DID go to NYC on Saturday (was sick on the tain and in a really nice store, luckily both times were in a bathroom) and I will definitely be posting pictures of that soon!! We took my sister Elizabeth to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, it has been her dream for a long time, and since this year is her 21st birthday, it just seemed like a good time! We saw the show, ate at Carnegie Deli, walked around, shopped, did not get to little italy :-(, but did have a great time and did see a wedding being photographed in Grand Central!!

Grand Central Wedding!

Grand Central Wedding!

A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Place, and Thanksgiving Thoughts

“A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Place”, that is a mantra I have lived by my entire life. Growing up I always thought Mary Poppins was simply the bee’s knees.  She was prim, proper, composed, always knew just what to say, how to organize, how to get children to keep a tidy home and listen. She was the golden goose, everything I wanted to be.  And I was.  I grew up to be a wonderful nanny, with some of the most wonderful children in my care, and many of the families would lovingly say I was like the wonderful Miss Poppins. In my opinion that was the highest compliment. I may have moved on in life from being a nanny,  (went to culinary school and beyond) but the need for order and placement is one I have never left behind.

You might not think it by my love for pinning holiday things, but sometimes the holidays can be frustrating for me. The weeks leading up to them mean a plethora of excess in the house,gifts, foods, decorations, etc; and finding places to put all this “stuff” can be taxing. The gifts I usually put aside in the spare room where I don’t have to see it, but the food items for the big dinners, there is no avoiding seeing THAT.  The past few days I have really been struggling, my anal retentive Poppins has kicked into high gear.  I look in the kitchen, in the fridge, and I just see STUFF, and I want to tear apart the fridge and reorganize it because there  MUST be a way to make it prettier, more organized, neater, roomier, etc; except there isn’t. The fridge is stuffed to the max and there is nothing I can do about it.  I was standing there staring at it when it hit me….. WOW, that a blessing this is, how lucky we are!!! There are so many people around the country, the world, who don’t even have a fridge, let alone one so full they can’t shove anything else in it, and ours is maxed out! Our fridge is SO full we can’t fit one more thing in it. WOW, that is wonderful, I truly am blessed beyond measure.

And just like that my entire attitude and outlook changed.  I went from being upset, frustrated and irritated; to being humbled,  appreciative and thankful.  Thankful for my husband who worked all weekend, up eat day off at 3 am to be at work by 4, thankful for the food in that fridge, and the ability to get it all and still pay our bills, have a beautiful home, and love in our lives each day. Thankful for this “mess” of a spare room because we have bought so many gifts for our family and loved ones that we literally have run out of room to store it.  (In all fairness I start the holiday shopping around um, June, July, sometimes May if I see something great)

So, if you find yourself getting upset this Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas, take a moment and remember….

  • There are people with no family to sit at a table and spend time together, or argue with, or get annoyed by.
  • If Aunt Zelda makes a gross side dish, remember to look around and realize that not only did she love you enough to put her hard work and effort into it, but there is a table full of food around you, what a blessing!!!!
  • If the house gets overheated with all the hot air flying around, be thankful you have heat and a roof over your head.
  • If the plethora of gifts you are giving takes over every spare and hidden nook and cranny in your home, be thankful you are able to buy such beautiful, wonderful and special gifts for others, how fortunate you are!!
  • If you are chosing to not cook and are ordering your dinner or going out to eat, think about the sacrifice those cooks and chefs are making to make YOU a MEAL!!! They are giving up their time with their loved ones so that you can not cook for yours, THAT is luxury!!
  • If like me, you look at your fridge and want to teat the entire thing apart, stop and take a look, and realize just how blessed you are to have that overstuffed, nothing in its place, everything mixed up fridge that makes you want to tear your hair out.

AND….just to REALLY put my uncomfortable self out there… here is a picture of my “god awful” fridge. I am so embarrassed, but I am doing it anyway! Do not judge my fridge. I am using some shortcuts this year (premade pie crust, DO NOT JUDGE) simply because I am exhausted, like really tired and not feeling well. But I AM making Thanksgiving dinner!!  Also, darn tootin that’s “regular” martin’s potato bread, what else would I eat leftover sandwiches on?!?!  I eat organic yogurt, but I love my Philly cream cheese. And Chris goes through an obsene amount of half and half. BEHIND the coffee mug with Riley on the front is indeed organic juice, AND Ronnybrook Milk, as there is Ronnybrook Eggnog on the lower shelf.  And all those egg crates are full of eggs from backyard chickens!

My terrible fridge, please do not judge

My terrible fridge, please do not judge

Happy Thanksgiving, from my home to yours. 🙂

Turn off the movie, put down the electronics, and open a window for once!

My disdain for “life today” is no secret. I look around me and see children with absolutely no patience at all, who interrupt their parents, can’t sit still for a minute, and need a constant barrage of electronic eyeball stimulation to keep them entertained. STOP THE INSANITY!!!!!!!!!!! This is ridiculous! And we have no one to blame but ourselves. When I drive the car, I don’t actually play music, I enjoy the silence. At home when I am alone, I don’t have TV or music on, I enjoy the silence, and when I garden, I don’t wear an iPod, I enjoy the sounds of nature.  This isn’t rocket science or a new way of thinking, this is old school living at it’s finest!

We constantly wonder why our children have this crazy need to be constantly entertained??? WE did it do them!! From the moment they are born they are bombarded with sing song DVDs and in car “Baby Genius” CD’s to “entertain” them and “keep them quiet”, how about when it’s nice out we just drive the car and put the window down so they can feel a nice breeze and look out the window?  How about from the moment we bring the baby home we DON’T get in it’s face 24/7 with toys that make sounds and sing and have disco like flashing lights? How about we allow children to just be, and explore their own minds and the environment around them???  We don’t nee to give them an activity every minute of the day unless we train them into thinking they NEED it every minute of the day. Which they don’t!

If a child is born into a family, and isn’t trained into thinking it needs to watch a “movie” for a 20 minute ride to the grocery store, then the child can’t pitch a fit when it doesn’t get to watch a movie!!! And really, who needs a movie for a 20 minute ride? That is ridiculous!! We all grew up without movies in the car, and we did just fine! We played thigns like “Hangman” and count the color cars, find the staet license plate, and slapped our slap bands on our wrists, and made signs about selling out parents and then stuck them in the window. Look at us now, we are just fine!!  And what happens when the child grows up and catch watch the movie because they have to learn to drive???? What kind of monster will they turn into then?!

Now that I’ve calmed down…. what’s your thoughts on this?

A simple thought for the day.

With all the news coverage surrounding the failed gun control law, it begs the question; why can’t Americans be THIS passionate and vocal about things that matter even more? Is what we feed ourselves and our family on a daily basis not as important as gun control?  It certainly doesn’t get nearly as much media coverage; the president isn’t shaming it. Why can’t we as Americans stand up and say “It’s a shameful day in Washington”, when the Supreme Court rules in favor of Monsanto as  President Obama did in regards gun control just a few moments ago?

“I wish people would be as up in arms about the “control of special interests” and voting practices of our government when it comes to our foods as they are about Gun Control. – Burlap And Butter Knives

A beanstalk from my garden

A beanstalk from my garden

That’s all I have to sat about that.  I would love to hear your input on the matter.

– Jessica M. Berardi

My shame spiral of snacking.

Food is wonderful, and I love it.  This is something you already know about me full well.  I like it far too much according to most US Standards. I am hungry ALL day long, seriously, I’m always hungry.  Maybe it is because I wake up at 4am each day, or maybe it is just because I like food. Either way, I always want to eat.  When I was in Highschool, if I was hungry I would chew on a stick of gum, Winter-fresh to be exact; now when I’m hungry, I eat. Talk about a change in priorities!

My favorite night time snack.

My favorite night time snack.

Here is my dilemma. I snake on things like triscuits and hummus, triscuits and peanut butter, triscuits and cheddar, pretzels, pretzels and cream cheese, or peanut butter.  Heavens help me if it’s night time, then I am a Haagen Dazs girl all the way! You see where this is heading. If I snack on an apple, I get half way through and I am bored.  I tried plain, roasted, unsalted almonds for a while, but my satisfaction level was “eh.” Maybe I should have dipped them in Hummus, or wrapped them in cheddar?

Please tell me I’m not alone in this shame spiral?!   Do you snack throughout the day, or stick strictly to eating during meal times? If you snack, what do you snack on?  I would like to alter my snacking habits, but it is just so hard, I am in dire need of some inspiration! 🙂

Work it out

This isn’t food related, let’s just file this under life.

I started working out.  That is a big deal, because I don’t work out. Yes, I go to the gym and swim, or leisurely walk around the track;  usually it is more like time in the sauna though.  But nope, I’m actually sweating, and sore.  Like, gummy legs about to fall down the stairs SORE.  To tell the truth, it feels great! I love the burn, I love the rush, I love having more energy and knowing I am doing something to change. I’m using my trusty old Wii fit. Crazy right?  I got Wii Fit a few years ago when I was visiting Florida  it whipped me into shape, and then I got lazy. So I am using it again. You might think, wow, really, a video game workout? But I’m serious, this is NO JOKE.  I’m not going to give you stats, or pounds, or inches. But I am telling you because maybe if I tell you, then I will be accountable and stick with it the entire 30 days. That is the hope.  🙂  Yesterday I didn’t want to work out, and I texted my brother and said “I am working out. Not because I want to work out, but because my desire to change is stronger than my desire to be lazy.”   Hopefully I have that attitude everyday!

feel good body

I want to be in better shape, I want to be the best me that I can be.  I want to climb mountains, and swim lakes, and not be tired! I want to know what it feels like to be in the best shape I can possibly be.

hot and sweaty

I really don’t have much else to say today.  I am going to stick to it!  Here is a picture of me taken after I cooled  off a little while, and fyi, I will probably never post a picture this “raw”, this bad, again! lol.

Green Skies and Sugar Trips is now Burlap and Butter Knives!!

Happy New Year!  The name has changed, but it is still me here behind the screen. Well my screen, not your screen, that would be weird. 😉 After a bit of a break, for various reasons to be disclosed later, I am back; and this blog is going to be better than ever!  For those of you that were already subscribed to “Green Skies and Sugar Trips”, you will continue to get all the newest posts as they come out, delivered right to your inbox.  If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do it  now on the right side of the page where it says “Subscribe to Burlap and Butter Knives! ”  🙂 The the facebook page is brand spankin new, so you will need to go and “like”  it to stay connected with me there. (A huge thank you to everyone that already did, ya’ll are on the ball!)

I am really looking forward to bringing you even more delicious recipes, gardening tales, canning information and whatever fun things we stumble into along the way.  If there is anything you would like to see here, I would love to post it for you!  Are there any topics in particular you want to learn about? Something you have always wanted to try making but haven’t? Let me know!  If you have cooking, baking, canning or gardening questions, post them here in the comment section, on the Facebook page, or email me,  I will be happy to answer them.

Thanks for being a part of this exciting new chapter!  Happy New Year, and here’s to an amazing year ahead! Cin Cin!



Me in a Tree

scaling back, re-prioritizing and healthy, delicious panko chicken

This time last year it seemed I had time for everything.  This year that is not the case at all!  Between work, home, the garden, canning & jamming, learning preserving & pickling, getting Sugar Trips started, and all the usual “home duties” I have ZERO time; Not a second to spare. So I have scaled back on my commitments, a lot.  My sister Becky is pregnant (yay for being an Auntie again!!) so with that, and my lack of time, it was with a heavy heart we decided to not do the big garden this year.  Since we weren’t doing the big garden, I expanded my backyard garden. I tripled the size of the actual physical garden, and then doubled the amount of containers I’m planting. Of course this decision to expand the backyard garden came after I had already weeded and re-bricked the little garden. So we ripped up half the back yard, tilled it, and then mixed in some amazing fertilizer.  I am still in the process of finishing the border on the “new garden.” It’s almost done!

Original Size


Current Size, without the border

What my dining room looks like when it freezes for a week

I have been trying to get Sugar Trips off the ground for the past year, and when I say “trying” I mean wanting to do it, but not having the time available needed to devout to getting it up and running. Thus it has nestled into it’s home on the back-burner and little by little I have worked on it. I have been reading and note taking from some fantastic books on starting a home baking business. They have been so helpful, and they were written by an amazing and inspiring woman, Mimi Shotland Fix, who happens to be a Hudson Valley resident.  If you have ever thought of having a home based food business her books are a must;  Home Baking for Profit, and Start and Run a Home Based Food Business. I finally designed and ordered my business cards, have my DBA, and a call in for my inspection; I am moving along, little by little.

With all this lack of time, it can be really trying to find something  for dinner that doesn’t require a lot of work. (allowing me to do all the other things on my list) One of my go-to meals, is actually super easy and delicious. Let me introduce you to my good friend, panko chicken.  She is tasty, delicious, flavorful, juicy, and guess what, she’s healthy too.

I have never done a workup on the nutritional info of this recipe, but it can’t possibly be bad. Chicken, basic breading, seasoning, olive oil, see nothing bad!  This is really a  no fool recipe!


Panko Chicken 

  • Preheat your oven to 375F
  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 1 Cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 Eggs, Dash of Milk or Water (add a little salt in to thin it out)
  • 2 Cups Bread Crumbs, season them with seasoned salt, garlic powder, salt and pepper, anything you want!
  • Set up your dipping area, see the above layout
  • Coat the chicken first in flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs
  • Place breasts on a lined baking sheet, and spray the top of each breast with olive oil. (I use an olive oil sprayer, but you can use Pam Spray if you don’t have a sprayer)
  • Bake for 40 minutes, take out, let rest for 5 minutes, and enjoy!