it's never too late to be what you might have been

meatless monday
notes from maggie's farm

it's never too late to be what you might have been
george eliot

And friends, what you might have been, and should be, is happy.  Oh, call me a pollyanna if you must, but I'm with Abraham Lincoln, who said it best:  "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be".  I've made up my mind. I'm not the richest, the tidiest, the thinnest, or the most athletic.  In fact I can still say there is plenty in this life I need to improve upon.  What I seem to be pretty good at, though, is being happy.
In my childhood, I wanted to play with my friends, all the time.  In my teens, I wanted to be cool, all the time. In my twenties, I wanted to be beautiful, all of the time. In my thirties, I wanted everyone to approve of me, all of the time.  In my forties, I wanted to be me, authentically, all of the time.  Now, in my later forties, I'm happy to play with my friends, sometimes, be cool, sometimes, feel beautiful, sometimes, be approved of, sometimes, and be me, all of the time.  these are the bones of my

recipe for a happy life
Try these 10 things a day, and see if it doesn't set you on the path to being pretty darned happy yourself:

1. Smile.  It's not going to kill you.  It's free.  It may cause wrinkles.  Fabulous wrinkles.  Much better than the frown wrinkles.

2. Laugh.  Laugh hard.  Find something really hilarious to laugh at.  Like yourself. 

3.  Tell at least one person how much you love them.  If you do numbers one and two more often, it'll be easier to find this person. 

4.  Get a pet.  I like dogs. (and cats, and goats, and chickens, and ducks).  Maybe you'll start with a fish.  A roach.  Something easy.  The idea is to have something that's really happy you're home.  So maybe a roach isn't that great.

5.  Consider saying "I'm sorry" or "I was wrong" or "I made a mistake".  Just one of them. Don't get crazy.  And don't make it I was wrong to have ever married you.  That doesn't work.

6.  Sleep on a really good pillow.  Sleeping grumpy yields waking grumpy.

7.  Give.  Find a way.  A hug, a loaf of bread, a handwritten note, the right of way, the benefit of the doubt.  Experience the luxury of giving. 

8.  Say thank you. Lots. Especially to people who aren't thanked nearly enough.  A cashier, a waiter, a teacher... (I like to wave a thank you to people in traffic.  It's funny to see the shock on their face.) 

9.  Believe, passionately, in something bigger than you are.  It's God for me.  If you're unsure, seek it out.  Walk your talk.

10.  Smile.  Oh, I already said that?  Yeah, it's that important.

Just 10, you say?  Well, that's just a beginning.  There's a whole heck of a lot you can do to be a happy person.  The next 10 will be easier than the first.  And the next.  For example, number 11 on our list is to eat a little sliver, at least, of your favorite food.  Not something everyone else says is their favorite.  What your favorite is.  For example, many might suggest cheesecake as their fave.  Not me.  Cheese, yes.  Cake, no.  Cheese tart?  Oh yessss...

2011© from maggie's farm
tarte aux poireaux et chevre
which is the very fancy french name for leek and
goat cheese tart.
serves six

2011© from maggie's farm
one tart crust (this is the recipe i use.  if you haven't already been introduced to david lebovitz, let me be the first to share--he's fabulous. french tart dough recipe )
tart filling
1/2 stick butter
3 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, sliced in thin rounds, then washed again (these little buddies hide a little more dirt than other vegetables, and you won't want to ruin your meditative dinner experience with an unexpected crunch.)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 pint half and half
8 ounces chevre (rindless goat cheese) can't find any? well we do have a connection. ; }
1t kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

preheat oven to 350 degrees. butter bottom and sides of tart pan.
on a lightly floured surface, roll tart crust to a diameter of 1-2" larger than your pan. roll crust onto rolling pin, then transfer to tart pan, easing crust down sides and trimming excess.
line crust with aluminum foil, and fill with beans to prevent crust from puffing up during baking. bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat. saute leeks until soft, being careful not to scorch. turn off heat and allow to cool five minutes. add beaten eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper. (seem like a lot of salt? well, cream just eats up salt. always need to salt a bit more liberally when milk, half and half, or cream is used in a dish)
when crust is browned, remove from oven and let sit five minutes. placing the tart on a cooking sheet will make the rest of this process go a little more smoothly. fill with leek mixture almost to top of pan. bake an additional 45 minutes, uncovered, or until center is set. (if you've used a regular pie pan, it will likely be thicker, thus needing additional cooking time.) remove from oven and allow to rest before slicing and serving.

2011© from maggie's farm
serve with this spring-fresh salad of mixed baby salad greens, sliced radishes, and a simple herb vinaigrette (recipe below).

2011© from maggie's farm
whisk together 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar with 1/8th cup good quality olive oil.. (don't skimp, remember the whole quality/quantity thing?), handful of fresh herbs of your choice, finely chopped. (parsley, thyme, chives, and marjoram were our choice herbs, today). add a tablespoon of grated parmesan, 1 tsp dijon mustard, kosher or sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. whisk until well blended. toss torn greens and radishes, sliced, with dressing just prior to serving.
Have a really happy day, friends.


  1. #11 Read Maggies Blog it ALWAYS puts a smile on your face. Thank you!

  2. Thank you my friend! You are one of those sweet readers that keeps me writing. and cooking. and snapping. and writing. and cooking. and snapping.....


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