Mother’s Day

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Everyone loves breakfast in bed

Few gestures of affection create such a stir as presenting Mom with breakfast in bed. Here are some tips:

  • The surprise of breakfast in bed is almost as important as the presentation. Make sure everyone keeps the secret and rises early enough to prepare the meal. Time the meal so that it is ready when the person of honor typically awakes.
  • Select an easily prepared dish to cut back on the noise. Store- or restaurant-bought foods can still make a nice impression if they are dressed up.
  • Adult supervision is a must when young kids are cooking. Delegate some tasks to kids. A young child may be able to arrange flowers in a vase, while a slightly older child may be more adept at slicing toast or helping to flip pancakes. The breakfast should be a joint effort so that the person treated to breakfast knows everyone involved cared enough to pitch in.
  • Choose easy-to-eat foods. Crumbly and messy foods are not the ideal fit for breakfast in bed. No one wants to spill food onto pillows or go to bed the next evening to find a pile of crumbs beneath the sheets. Crepes may be a nice alternative to messier muffins. Serve coffee or tea in a cup with a lid to help prevent spills.
  • Invest in a food tray to make serving breakfast in bed that much easier. A bedside table or nightstand also can fit the bill.
  • Add small details to make the breakfast even more special. Use heart- or flower-shaped cookie cutters to add whimsy to everything from pancakes to fruit. A hand-written card or poem is another nice touch.


Easy Kale Quiche

Recipe courtesy of
Serves: 4 to 6


1 large bunch (about 1 1/2 pounds) kale, thick stalks discarded, leaves roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 whole eggs
4 ounces grated gruyère or comté cheese
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 slices high quality sandwich bread or rustic country bread, crusts removed
2 tbsp butter


Method of preparation:

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add kale and press down with a wire-mesh strainer to submerge. Cook until barely tender but still bright green, about three minutes. Transfer kale to a colander and run under cold water until chilled. Squeeze out excess moisture then transfer kale to the center of a clean dishtowel. Roll up towel to encase the kale, and then twist the ends to wring out excess moisture. Transfer dried kale to a cutting board and chop into 1- to 1/2-inch pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Combine half and half and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until mixed. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Add kale, cheese and nutmeg. Mix with hands to combine.

3. Place bread in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs are achieved. Grease a nine-inch deep-dish pie plate or a cast iron skillet with better. Add breadcrumbs and rotate plate while shaking to coat bottom and sides. Discard extra crumbs. Pour kale filling into prepared pie plate.

4. Place pie plate on a rimmed aluminum baking sheet and bake until center is just barely set but still jiggles when touched, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Quiche can be served warm, at room temperature or straight out of the fridge.


Squash, goat’s cheese and rosemary pancakes

Recipe courtesy of
Makes 8 pancakes
1 ¾ self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 rosemary sprig, finely chopped
1 egg
1 ¼ milk
1 ¾ tbsp butter, melted and cooled, plus a knob extra
2 tbsp olive oil
½ pound butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
3 ½ ounces vegetarian goat’s cheese, crumbled into small pieces
Handful pumpkin seeds, rocket salad and onion chutney, to serve


Method of preparation:

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, rosemary and a good pinch of salt in a large bowl. Beat the egg with the milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and whisk in the milk mixture and melted butter to make a thick, smooth batter. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Over a medium heat, add a knob of butter and 1 tsp oil to a large pan, then add the butternut squash and cook for 10 minutes until tender, turning the heat up for the final few minutes to brown a little. Remove batter from the fridge, add the goat’s cheese and squash, then carefully fold everything together.

3. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan, then, in batches, add a ladleful of batter per pancake. Allow to cook for three minutes until bubbles cover the surface, then flip over and cook the other side until golden. Serve with dressed rocket salad, a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and onion chutney on the side.

Give the gift of green for Mother’s Day

An eco-friendly gift for Mom is a gift that keeps on giving. When you jot down your gift list, think about adding these “green” gifts.

  •  Make a basket of gardening gear. Compile different gardening essentials, such as seeds or seedlings, organic soil mix, mulch, all-natural compost, and a few different planting containers. You can also include gardening gloves and ergonomic tools made of recycled materials. Finish the gift with the inclusion of a book that describes different garden designs and gives tips for beginners.
  • Dine at a local restaurant. Explore the possibilities of restaurants that may serve foods made with local, organic ingredients; and cut fuel costs.
  • Pay for a car tune-up. Improving the gas mileage on Mom’s car is one gift that can be environmentally friendly. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, deflated tires or an oil change, can improve Mom’s gas mileage by as much as 40 percent.
  • Purchase eco-friendly kitchen items, like new mixing bowls or utensils made from recycled materials. New glass tumblers and sipping straws made from recycled glass are perfect for serving cocktails and outdoor entertaining.
  • Pamper mom with organic products. You can treat your mother to a spa experience at home by assembling a basket full of organic shampoo, conditioner, massage oils, bath salts, and any other organic spa items you can find.
  • Local florists can assemble a bouquet made from responsibly grown flowers or even a wreath for a wall or door.
  • Spend the day outdoors. Check out the various parks and hiking trails in Essex/Colchester for a relaxing day outside. Finish the day with a homemade picnic lunch.

A new swipe on gift cards

Gift cards make convenient gifts, but they may not carry with them the panache of other holiday gifts. Dressing up gift cards in creative ways can make them even more appreciated.

  • Scavenger hunt: Have the gift recipient work a little in a clever way for the gift. Plant clues around the house that will gradually lead to the hiding spot where the gift card is stashed. Clues can include witty poetic verses or tie into recipients’ personal interests.
  • Nesting boxes: Hide your gift card inside of a box that looks like any other gift. However, once the person unwraps the gift, he or she will discover another wrapped box inside. This prank can be repeated over and over as many times as desired until the gift card is unearthed.
  • Gift basket: A gift card can be ensconced with other trinkets and tied into a theme. For example, a gift card for a spa massage may be complemented by lotions, massage oil and a terry-cloth robe.
  • Themed wrapping: Place the gift card inside of an item that epitomizes the gift. A card for a bookstore can be nestled inside of the pages of a classic book. A gift card to a hair salon can be attached to the end of a hairbrush. For those gifting to a favorite coffee shop, place the gift card inside of an empty coffee mug.
  • Shopping savvy: Offering a gift card as a present is entitling the recipient to a day of shopping. Wrap the card with a reusable shopping tote so that he or she can carry purchases inside or purchase a new wallet and place the gift card inside.
  • Special delivery: For a creative spin, work with a retailer that offers home delivery service. Ask to have the gift card attached inside of a pizza box or nestled in a bouquet of flowers. When Mom receives the delivery, she will be surprised by the added gift.

What kind of mom is your mom?

Mom deserves our best efforts come Mother’s Day, and while traditional gifts like flowers and chocolate might make for thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts, those who want to go the extra mile for Mom this year can consider the following unique gift ideas. What kind of mom is yours?

 The music-loving mom:

Why not take a stroll down Memory Lane and take Mom to see one of her favorite acts in concert? She will still appreciate the chance to spend an evening out on the town with her kids and some good music.

 The culturally savvy mom:

Theater tickets make for a great outing. If Broadway is a bit too far for you to travel, do your homework and find a traveling production, a show at the Flynn or better yet, a performance by the local Essex Community Players/Colchester Theatre Company.

 The pampered mom:

Many luxury spas offer packages, especially around Mother’s Day, that make a full-on spa treatment a more affordable gift. In addition to easing sore muscles, reducing joint pain and helping soft tissue strains or injuries, massage can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and calm feelings of stress to help to lift spirits and lower blood pressure. Massage can also help promote healthy sleep, reduce risk for migraines and even has beauty benefits. Rubbing the face and scalp can promote blood flow and encourage lymphatic drainage. This can add vitality to the complexion and plump up the skin. Dull hair may appear more shiny and revitalized. Accompany Mom on her trip and reap the rewards of being such a thoughtful son or daughter.

The yogi mom:

While yoga does not require much in the way of supplies, yoga enthusiasts do need yoga mats and clothing that allows them to perform the various poses a typical yoga session demands. A new workout bag could spruce up gym trips. You could also buy Mom a few sessions at a local yoga studio to take her workout to the next level.

 The globetrotting mom:

Moms who love to travel and experience other cultures would certainly appreciate a trip abroad or a domestic getaway to a region of the country they have yet to explore — Montreal is only two hours away. A travel kit allows for the comforts of home during long layovers (think nice creams and soaps, a toothbrush, etc.) while inspiring mom’s travel bug. Travel journals make great gifts for those who want more than just visual memories of a trip, while maps encourage involved exploration, and a set of noise-cancelling headphones can make it easier to doze off comfortably on a flight or to enjoy a music playlist while sightseeing in a busy city.