roasted chestnuts + a very merry day to be alive

the world didn't end today. In fact instead, my happy things happened. People flew home to see their families. My parents celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. Lots of little babes sat on Santa's lap and others sang Christmas carols in the choir, their cherub voices drowning out the noise of hate or loss. To celebrate, we're lighting a fire and roasting a batch of chestnuts, and getting right into the Christmas mood. I was about to tell you how, but Bon Appetit covered that for me this month {see their recipe here} which means more time to quiet my mind and enjoy being here....

In the days ahead, I hope you have the chance to really live, to be in every moment with every one you dearly love. Merry, merry Christmas.



Fig, Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookies + Lingonberry Thumbprints

This November, in the weeks and days before I started my new job at Real Simple, I clung to the things I knew Id no longer be able to do on a whim in the middle of the week: take my baby girl to toddler Yoga, linger with my camera and the dreamy light that hits our studio kitchen before noon, and bake anything I fancied at a given moment, like these cookies—holiday cookies I banked in the form of dough in my fridge so that on these busy first days of December I could still treat friends and neighbors to an oozy hot oatmeal chocolate fig cookie if they happened to stop by.

We still have 6 solid days left to bake before Christmas, and another week to indulge before the New Year, so I suggest you do. Bake these two beauties {Fig, Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookies and Lingonberry Thumbprints} in generous batches to have at the ready for the days ahead. Theyre worth it. 

Warm Fig, Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookies

Characteristics: Chewy, subtly sweet, chunky, chocolaty
In A Word: A Mouthful
Origins: A pantry-based baking frenzy during hurricane Sandy

1 cup thinly sliced dried figs 
2 sticks butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups whole wheat white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats or barley
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, on convection setting if available. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the figs, cover and set aside to plump, 15 minutes. Drain. 

Meanwhile, beat together the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the applesauce and vanilla. Beat.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the dough until just combined. Stir in the oats, plumped figs and chocolate pieces with a wooden spoon.

Scoop the dough in 1-heaping tablespoon sized portions.* Arrange onto cookie sheets leaving plenty of space between cookies.

Bake until just cooked through and golden brown on the outside, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your oven. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to three days.

makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies


Buttery Lingonberry Thumbprints

Inspired By: Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberries
Most Lovable Quality: Butter
The Big Surprise: Shortbread is nutty and still addictive when made with part whole-wheat flour

1 cup cake flour
3/4 cups whole wheat white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup organic sugar
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/3 cup lingonberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium high until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean seeds. Beat. In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder and salt. Stir into the dough until just combined.

Scoop the dough in 1 tablespoon sized portions and roll into a ball.* Arrange onto parchment-lined cookie sheets leaving plenty of space between cookies. Press your thumb into the center of each to make a well and fill with a heaping ½ teaspoon of lingonberry jam.

Bake until just cooked through and pale golden around the edges, about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove and cool completely. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to three days. 

makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

*these doughs can be made, portioned, wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before baking.  

Photos and Recipes © Sarah Copeland 2013
Please credit source when using on Pinterest. All other uses require permission via email.


one splendid squash + a prayer for peace

I've always said, never underestimate the ability of a humble squash to feed a family. Growing up, one of my favorite meals was mom's baked squash, stuffed with sweet and spicy sausage and a sprinkling of brown sugar. We'd each get an oozing warm half, or a quarter (for the littler ones) drizzled with the buttery brown-sugar goodness that had collected in the bottom of the roasting pan. It was steady and sure, both the meal and the feeling I had after eating it, surrounded by my siblings and parents at the family table.

I intended to write you about this habit I have of buying a pretty squash on every trip to the market, particularly when I know we'll be going away. It keeps well on the counter, and waits for our return, a promised sure-thing dinner when we return from a weekend or even a week away. I planned to write to you about the style of simple sure-thing cooking I've come to rely on the last two weeks, working outside the house again as Food Director at Real Simple magazine. I thought I might convince you of the splendor such simple foods can translate into when you give them a little love and care. But right now, squash doesn't seem to be quite enough of a steady and sure thing for the times we're living in.

Tonight, far, far too many families are sitting around a table with an enormous part of their world and their hearts missing. I can't express enough sorrow or sadness, can't begin to comprehend the future for these families. All I can offer is prayer, and a wish that each of us take every opportunity to continue to love, cherish and nurture the beloved ones we have the great privilege of sitting among tonight.

God bless and keep us, every one.


{inspired by....} persimmon

I've always been fascinated by persimmons, perhaps because I didn't grow up with them. I love their fleshy, floral vibe but I still haven't quite mastered how to make them shine. Have you? Do share, please?


{best of} Thanksgiving 2012

{download the menu and pdf here, under Bonus: Classic Menu. }

Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Unless, of course, you're a food stylist, recipe developer, food editor or anyone who works in food media. For us, there's thanksgiving #1, in the summer, when we're busy cooking up the features, and then real thanksgiving again come November, when, incredibly, we're finally in the mood for it again.

This year, I contributed a classic Thanksgiving feast to Rachael Ray Magazine {download here}, complete with a few tricks for making your bird the juiciest ever (hint, flip the bird halfway through cooking), killer mashed potatoes and a pumpkin pie I think you'd be super proud to call your own. 

And then I sort of forgot about Thanksgiving until the November issues of every magazine I subscribe to (too many, I can't help myself) starting hitting my mail box. Miraculously we, the *food people* behind these pages, managed to recreate the classics yet again, in ever new and inspiring ways that have me, frankly, salivating. If I had the help (and the stomach) for the world's largest feast, here's what I'd serve between my turkey and my pumpkin pie.

The Best of Thanksgiving 2012


Hats off to my friends and colleagues in the food world. You are a remarkable bunch, and I'm grateful to be among you. And to the rest of you, I hope your platters are full of plenty, and your home the host to dear friends, family and oodles of things and moments to give thanks for. 

with love + gratitude,


the sweet smell of Saigon + an apple-pear sauce

Do you know what's really wonderful eaten along side a generous hunk of fresh Carrot Banana Hazelnut Bread? A bowl of warm Apple-Pear Sauce. The apples break down into a tender mush, leaving elegant slivers of pear in tact, every bite swimming in the heady satisfaction of Saigon cinnamon. I make mine in small batches because we all love it warm, straight from the stove, but it keeps like a dream in glass jars in the fridge for the week. There's really little more to say....


Apple Pear Sauce

Serves 4

4 pounds sweet-tart apples such as Macintosh, Jonagold, empire, or Macoun
1 pound firm, ripe pears such as Bartlett
1 stick cinnamon, or ground cinnamon to taste
about 1 cup apple cider, or as needed

Wash, quarter and cut out the core of your favorite apples (I like a variety, just like in my pie). Repeat with the pears. Cut the apples into chunks and the pears into chunks or slivers. Layer them in a large saucepan with 1 stick of cinnamon, or a generous pinch of Saigon cinnamon. Add just enough apple cider to reach about 1 inch up the pot and cover and simmer over medium heat until the apples are soft and start to break down, and the pears are soft throughout, about 25 minutes.

Spoon the sauce into four bowls and eat warm, or remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, or spoon it into sterile jars and cool on the counter before sealing. Store in the fridge up to one week. 


{bake shop} Carrot Banana Hazelnut Bread

Did you ever wonder why moms make so much banana bread? I hadn't given it much thought until this weekend, but now I know. If you have kids, bananas are a staple. An utter must. Since the amount of kids I might need to feed can jump from one to five in an instant at the whim of our little social bee, I now stock them in the double digits. This also means that there are bananas of varying ripeness on hand, and more and more often lately, the smashed carried all day in my purse in case Greta got an instant case of the hungries bruised and beaten banana that gets stuck back in the fridge if still uneaten when day is done.  

This lovely bread—as inviting as a breakfast bread as it is an after-nap weekend snack—is the happy accident when a few of those bruisers and last night's leftover carrot mash were calling to me "Reinvent me. Bake! Make me beautiful again!" 

And here's the big reveal...there were. I topped my Carrot-Banana bread with sprinkling of sunflower seeds, rolled oats and hazelnuts (and walnuts on the other) for extra flavor and fiber, but you could add any combo of nuts, seeds and grains to the top (or insides) or yours. Give it a little love, it's deserving. 

Carrot-Banana-Hazelnut Bread

Makes 2 large loaves or 4 to 5 small loaves

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups raw organic sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
10 ounces pure carrot puree (1 1/4 cups)
2 cups white whole-wheat flour or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 very ripe smashed bananas
¼ cup rolled oats or barley
¼ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (or walnuts)
3 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 standard loaf pans or 4 to 5 mini pans and dust evenly with flour.

Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer in a medium bowl on medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Add the oil and carrot puree. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and stir into the batter until evenly combined. Pour into the prepared pans and top with oats, nuts and sunflower seeds. Bake until the breads spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes, or 20 to 22 minutes for small loaves. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Wrap well and set aside to ripen overnight or eat warm with butter.     

Photos and Recipes © Sarah Copeland 2012
Please credit source on Pinterest. All other uses require permission via email.

My photo
New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.