Blistering Heat! Subtitle: I’ll Have a Cocktail With That…

It is currently 90 degrees outside… do you know where your back sweat is?  I kid, but seriously folks.  It’s 90 in April.  April.  Then, it will be 60 tomorrow.  Mother Nature and her hot flashes… I swear.

Days like this make me long for a nice, cool alcoholic beverage.  Thankfully, I work at a book publisher with some wonderfully alcohol-adept people and books.  My co-worker, Adam, posted this video of our author AJ Rathbun concocting one of his signature drinks.  If only I didn’t have a class presentation to give at 6…

Have a happy Tuesday, everyone, and enjoy a cold one on me*!


*Disclaimer: All “cold ones” purchased under the assumption that I will be reimbursing their imbibers will not be honored and any claims of beverages enjoyed “on me” is heretofore null and void.  Buy your own Corona, people.  Yeesh.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Deserve a Double Post Day


my cramped kitchen counter

my cramped kitchen counter

I have a serious case of the midnight baking! A craving for chocolate chip cookies propelled me away from finishing my presentations (which I plan to be working on all night) and into the kitchen to bake up a storm. Chocolate Chip Cookies are simple, satiating, and hopefully curative of this ridiculous headache I’ve developed.

Recipe from Mom’s Big Book of Cookies by Lauren Chattman (Harvard Common Press): Continue reading

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It’s Gonna Be a Bright (Bright) Bright, Bright Sun-Shining Day


my outdoor workstation

my outdoor workstation

It’s a gorgeous weekend in Boston, and I couldn’t possibly be happier.  Yesterday was spent with friends at Revere Beach, soaking up some rays, eating a fish sandwich from Kelly’s Roast Beef, drinking beer, and enjoying each other’s company.  Today, in my attempt at long-overdue productivity, I’m sitting on my back porch typing away, listening to NPR, reading the Globe, and intermittently flipping through the pages of Real Simple.  Back here, you almost forget you’re in the city; with the exception of the occasional car alarm or siren, it’s relatively quiet.  I remember first moving here and being startled by the screeching of the T creeping down Comm Ave or the gibberish being screamed from one tenant to the next in the abutting apartment complex.  But, today, if those sounds exist right now, I can’t hear them.  I guess that’s what happens when you get used to the city.  But enough of that, onto food… Continue reading

An Earth Day Challenge


photo by digiyesica via

photo by digiyesica via



So, I am currently reading two of Michael Pollan’s books (yes, months after the rest of the world read them, but that’s how I tend to operate): In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  I am on the last legs of In Defense…, and though I find that my eyes start to glaze over every 10 pages as I try to digest (hah!) all of the nutritional science Pollan provides, I have to say that this book has single-handedly convinced me that I need to start eating organically and locally.  It’s not that my food habits are particularly unhealthy; I tend to prefer fresh, natural, well-prepared ingredients over anything that comes in a bag or box (with the exception of my strange affinity for Doritos, Oreos, and instant mashed potatoes… don’t ask).  However, I also know that I am prone to eating lots of carbs which contain lots of enriched flour.  I’m also less careful about eating foods that are grown locally, meaning that I’m not always conscious as to how my diet choices are impacting the environment.

So, on the sunset of this year’s Earth Day, I am making the commitment to reworking my lifestyle, and effectively abandoning the “Western diet” of cheap-trick foods that lack the necessary complexity of natural whole foods.  My first task of the day was to give away all of my Splenda.  Might not seem like a lot, but if you know me, you’ll know I’m “that girl” with the 30 packs of Splenda in her purse (“just in case”).  I usually put two in my coffee and am currently running on about 3-cups of coffee a day.  So, this is going to be hard.  Much like a crack addict in rehab goes through withdrawal, I am already feeling an onslaught of the shakes.  Those matchbook-sized, happy-yellow packets are calling my name… but I must not relent!  Instead, I’m going to learn to appreciate the intricate bitterness of plain ol’ coffee… or use honey as a sweetness substitute (it works!  Found this out after trying a honey latte at Starbucks).

I encourage anyone and everyone to take up this challenge with me!  For help, visit sites like Conscious Choice to help green your diet!  Feel free to leave a comment if  you choose to take this on!

Most Likely to Die Alone Interviews Me!

So, even though I made various plans with various people for various fun things tonight… here I am.  Stuck at work.  On a gorgeous Friday night.  Sigh… Anywhosit.

I guest blogged again!  You can find it here: Most Likely to Die Alone.

Dave picks my brain about recipe-sharing on the Interwebs and I try my darndest at seeming knowledgeable and relevant.  Enjoy!

And good luck to any and all of those running the Boston Marathon!!

Happy Easter from Key Notes with Becca


I’m sitting at the kitchen table in my parent’s home in Connecticut, a margarita in hand, and my pot of Butternut Squash, Pear, Cider and Vanilla Bean soup stewing nicely on the stove.  I’m looking out of the big bay window, the backyard that was the playground of my youth aglow in the Spring sun.  Though, it hardly feels like spring out there, with temperatures barely reaching 40.  I’m sick of the cold; I love New England, but I long for warm weather, flip flops, and eating sandwiches in Copley Square.  Enough is enough, Mother Nature.  Make it warm, please.

The Butternut Squash Soup I’m making is an adaptation of Orangette’s adaptation of Seattlest’s adaptation of Crow’s Winter Squash Soup.  Phew.  See, thats one of the amazing things about recipes: With each new cook comes alteration.  Like a series of tailors, we adjust the seams until there’s a perfect fit.  What’s amazing is, thanks to the World Wide Web, you can easily track these changes from blog to blog, person to person.  Though, it does make me nostalgic for the days when adaptations were scrawled in various handwritten notes on the margins and under ingredients, and you could track the lifetime of a recipe based on the number of stains and smudges on its card.

Butternut Squash, Pear, and Cider Soup

**my adaptations included the use of some pure vanilla extract and a touch of pepper and onion salt to adjust the seasoning of the soup.

Travels Well With Food: Costa Rica


image by jeepeenyc via flickr

image by jeepeenyc via flickr



It’s official!  This June, I will take my first trip with a handful of friends to the paradise known as Costa Rica.  On the menu: rainforests, surfing, potentially camping in an RV, dancing on the beach, and, of course, sampling a lot of the local flavor.

As soon as the trip was booked– and I mean, literally within 16 minutes of confirming my flight– I started looking up articles on Costa Rican cuisine.  It’s basically what one would “typically” expect from the region: a lot of rice, beans, beef, and yucca.  Pretty standard fare, and the dishes are generally kept simple, with little spice-enhancement.  Arroz con Pollo and Papas con Chorizo (potatoes and pork sausage) are perhaps the most common/familiar dishes, but there are also neat little oddities like refrescos which are energizing fruit drinks sometimes made with pinolillo (roasted corn flour).

I am so excited for my trip, it’s ridiculous!  I’ve never been to Central/South America, and my only stints outside of the US have involved Canada and Europe.  This was just one adventure I couldn’t pass up!  Seven days of being out in nature and away from the pollution of the city is going to be incredible.  Am I nervous?  Not really.  I mean, I’m trying to crunch in a few Spanish lessons so I’m not a complete mute while I’m there.  I’m not really worried about what to do once we get there, I’ve done the whole backpacking thing before.  I’ve started a physical training program that will hopefully get me in shape for surfing.  Also, I’ve started a different sort of physical training the past few weeks: I’m re-teaching my body to process red meat and pork.  It’s something I’ve talked about doing for a while, and I’m finally committing to it.  So far, so good, with a little bite of hamburger here, some bacon/chorizo there.  It’s a slow process and I probably won’t be able to down a vat of pork stew in Costa, but it’s a start.  I am just anticipating a wonderful experience.