Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Monday August 24, 2015

Ms Murky Mondays:
A Spectrum of Emotions

Dear friends

I know I have been a bit silent over these last few months. 

If I told you I have experienced the gamut of emotions, would you believe me? Well, of course you believe me. Why would I pose the question?

So here’s how I have been rolling….

Happy and Grateful

I spent the first 2 weeks of May at a writers residency program on Martha’s Vineyard. I decided to write a food memoir. Yes. All about ME! It is quite a journey going back in time and recalling scenes of your life. It is very healing and very powerful. I cannot wait to share it with you. Of course it’s a memoir with recipes!!

Anxious and Sad

Hanging over me and our family during the spring and early summer was the knowledge that my dear sweet sister-out-law had stage 4 breast cancer. While I prayed my heart out, held onto OPTIMISM like it was the last ticket out of town, I knew it wasn’t good. We hosted a magical family reunion late May for Madeline. She was radiant, happy, and beautiful. I thought I was witnessing a miracle – that she had turned the corner. The truth of the matter is I was witnessing a miracle. It’s called living every moment. Or bringing the people you love together to share our love for each other.  Or providing the space for lasting memories.

Five weeks later. Madeline passed away. I carried her pain in my body. I sobbed. I walked around like a zombie. I tried to comfort Jim. And then mustered up the energy to have another family reunion. An old-fashioned Irish wake with the casket right here in our home. It was an honor to offer Madeline one last night at Boulderwood. Her send off was beautiful.  It was pure, unadulterated love. Love that emanated from Jim’s heart, my heart and all who loved Madeline. The priest’s eulogy was powerful. He said God is in all of us. I believe that. We meet people that give us what we need at the moment we need it. This is how God works. This is how the universe works.

Madeline handled her illness with such grace. In her last group email, she said it best: “I continue to enjoy life, but will admit it is difficult to think in terms of no timeline.  Although it is not real for any of us, I think we all live with the expectation of another day and old age.  To plan even a few months ahead not knowing what will happen is different to say the least.  Probably a good reminder for all of us to enjoy the days we have and focus on the important stuff.  As you can see, for me the important stuff is family and friends.”

RIP sweet Madeline.


I am alive. Ergo I live. In the midst of the sadness, I launched another dream – The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project – an 8 week online class where I coach the participants to write their family food narrative, collect and or write all their recipes, collect old photos and take new ones and end up with their own hardcover, color heirloom family cookbook. The pilot class was extraordinary.  Here’s one of the testimonials:

It has been said that because so much of our lives today are documented in technology that we chance to loose our history and stories in these devices.  Carole Murko has offered a gift of leading us through the writing of our families’ food history and memories so that they are not lost and can be passed down for generations to come.  She takes you on a beautiful, emotional, supportive and loved filled journey that is a gift unto itself.  With her warm and creative guidance you create together a memoir that you never realized was inside of you waiting to be shared with those you love.   This is a gift to give to yourself, to a friend, to family.  Everyone should experience this journey with Carole Murko. 

Debby Edwards, Chicago, IL

Thank you Debby for that! Your words went right to my heart. Please check out the class. I would love to have you among us!

Over the Moon with Happiness

When I talk about Jim, I have referred to him as my husband. Well, because he is my spiritual soul-mate and common-law husband. But truth be told, we are not married. On August 4th, my birthday, he asked me to marry him. I. AM. ENGAGED. WAHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am like a little girl. Giddy. Elated. Thrilled. I have always wanted to be married. It was part of my little girl and twenty-something dream. Jim’s commitment to me has validated and honored me. I felt an energy shift in my body – at the cellular level. And in perfect heirloom meals style, he gave me his mother’s engagement ring. I will treasure it forever. It is so much more meaningful than some huge showy diamond. I always said that when I found the right man, a Cracker Jack box ring would do.

For whatever reason, this is the time and place in my life I am meant to be married. I get to plan a wedding my way! My parents get to see me marry the love of my life. It is perfect timing.

I will be sharing the wedding journey from designing my own dress to figuring out how to do all the food and be a relaxed and rested bride!! EXCITING!!!

I am blessed. To have a life so full.

Thank you all for being part of it!!



PS No post is complete without a recipe. I am hanging onto summer with dear life. Here’s my signature summer salad recipe!

Monday January 26, 2015

Ms Murky Mondays:
The Hardest Thing

As many of you know, I just hosted a magical writing workshop with the amazing Nancy Aronie.  Truth be told, it's a few weeks later and I am still beaming from the experience.  A group of 14, thirteen women and one man, gathered together as strangers, but left forever in love, having shared deep and oft-hidden morsels of our souls.

Here is a piece I wrote in 10 minutes with the prompt: The hardest thing.....

I was told it is universal. I would love your comments.  Much love to everyone!

The hardest thing…..

The hardest thing is watching my parents age.  What is it about life that tricks us into thinking we stand still?  That we, ourselves, are not aging.  I carry around pieces of so many of my own stories.  Sometimes I am the 15-year old full of innocence, other times I am the beat up career warrior with lawsuit scars, back stab wounds, and self-doubt.  Then I am fat, skinny, beautiful, ugly, loved, hated, adored, gregarious, and shy.

I am my parents – tangled up in their stories.  Their parts are my parts.  It’s like from the time we are born, we are working on combing out the dreadlocks of connections – to find our own way, yet remain an integral part of theirs.  Sometimes the comb gets stuck in a nasty knot of confusions and sadness – a mess.  Then, like magic the comb slips through the now silky locks.

My parents have always been my true north.  They have given me so much and, I guess, I received it.  I welcomed their advice.  I studied their warts.  I fought to be my own compass.

And now, as I see them become vulnerable to the ravages of time, I get sad.  Where will I be when they are gone?  Have I done my job of honoring them and myself, equally, so that when the time comes, I am whole, and they are not a tangled mess of memories but a beautiful part of my forever fabric of being.

I love you Mom and Dad!! (And Jen, too!)

Monday February 24, 2014

Ms Murky Mondays:
A Pause

Sometimes life delivers you a pause. And generally, it is because that is exactly what you needed.

I admit it, I have been working non-stop for years.  No time off. No vacation.  I honestly couldn't even tell you what I liked to do for fun. And I realized that was pathetic.  I love to cook and entertain but seriously, there are tons of other things I like to do too.  I just 

Monday January 13, 2014

Ms Murky Mondays:
A Revelation about Power

I learned in high school that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. With that as my foundation combined with my experiences, it is no wonder that I have always believed that power is bad.

Jim was reading some article in the paper out loud as he does most mornings.  While I don’t remember for the life of me what the article was about, I know I wrote down on the pad near the stove, “ a revelation about power.”  It struck me right there and then that I have it all wrong about power.  Power is actually good.  It’s how you use power that can be either good or bad.  For instance, you use power to lift someone up or hold someone down. Good power or bad power.

My experience with power has generally been bad.  In my twenties, I was fired from a job for insubordination when I turned down my bosses sexual passes. I pursued a wrongful termination suit and learned it’s all about power and again, the context of power in this instance was bad.  I watched colleagues back-stab, steal, and cheat to get ahead for money and power. And then I was sued by a crazy lady who turned out to be a serial suer.  She prayed on the small vendor and she had to be right.  There was no room for a rational conversation. She had power over me.  And the list goes on and on.  What I now see is that these experiences made me afraid.  In fact, so much so that I started giving my power away.  Afterall, I didn’t ever want to be someone who exerted power. Power was bad.

One day, I mentioned to a dear friend that I felt small. It was a passing comment. What showed up in my snail mail box was the most wonderful passage:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

I am now both holding onto my power and I am stepping into my power. When you live from your heart with love as your guiding principle miracles do happen. And I remind myself when I walk into a room that there’s nothing to fear when I show up as the authentic me – a quirky, adventurous, spirited, pioneering, creative, nurturer, loving connector and joy gatherer – no matter what I do for a living.  And I hold my hand out and offer to lift you up. Whether I am helping you tell your family food stories through Heirloom Meals, or helping you make your house a beautiful place to live, or helping you finding a home, or being your friend, colleague, or neighbor.  This is my power and it is good.

Monday January 06, 2014

Ms Murky Mondays:
Welcome 2014!!

I am back – where did 2013 go?

It’s funny how life has a way of guiding us.  We make our big plans. We set our intentions.  And I bet many of you think I have forgotten to blog or even abandoned my efforts. Well, life happens and intentions get set aside.  But at the core of that statement is life happens…

What many of you may or may not know, Heirloom Meals is my passion.  It has yet to produce any income. It’s been a consumer of capital and I have been working as an interior decorator and real estate broker to fund my dream.    What I haven’t done is integrate all the things I do.  Like, for instance, why not share with you what I am doing, how I am building Heirloom Meals. What’s working. What’s not.  And why not share with you my amazing interior projects and the kitchens and baths and interior spaces that I create for my clients. It’s what makes me, well, me. I realized through a lot of soul searching that I compartmentalize. Shut down. Deliver to you only part of me.  You get the part that’s all love, all passion. I make it look easy. Put morsels of my life that are dreamy, beautiful, and peaceful out into the world.

But life is messy. You set off on your path and you veer off course. Or are you really off course? 2013 delivered 2 amazing decorating jobs/clients.  (I promise to show and tell in a future post!!)  And it delivered 2 big real estate transactions. I. AM. BLESSED.  It also had its challenging aspects. I dealt with betrayal, disappointment,  family dog dying,  a sick horse, and many other things that I can barely even remember, and nor do I want to remember.  Memory does an amazing job of forgetting the bad stuff and keeping the positive things front and center. 

So as I round into 2014 and think about “life happening” and what’s next? It appears that I will continue to fire on all cylinders.  My mantra for the year is to give myself full permission to be me, and that means giving my readers, listeners and fans all of me.  Here’s a glimpse of what’s on tap:

- I am attending the Realscreen Conference in Washington, DC January 26-29th – the theme is unscripted television (that’s what Heirloom Meals is) and most of the major cable networks will be there. Wish me luck!!

- I am attending Debbie Phillip’s Women on Fire Retreat in Naples Florida 2/28-3/1.
- I am working on my book proposal.
- Re-vamping the online store to carry only Heirloom Meals designed artisan products
- Get more guest bloggers writing my Saturday blog post
- Recording weekly interviews for my NPR radio show – got a recipe and a story – I would love to help tell your story.
- Doing monthly cooking demos on Newschannel 13 in Albany NY
- I am taking a fencing class
- I am finishing up the design and décor of a 13-bedroom high-end drug and alcohol rehab in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts called CMC Berkshires.  It is essentially a healing hotel.
- Blog more/daily if I can
- Practice Qigong everyday
- Practice gratitude everyday
- Smile with my heart and be love.

…..And so much more….

Wishing everyone a year full of love, joy, and peace.  And please let me know what you are doing!!

WIth love,


Monday March 18, 2013

Ms Murky Mondays:
College Kids at the Table

A great thing happened this weekend.  My stepdaughter, Caroline and her boyfriend, Adam plus two of his friends all surprised us for a visit.  Caroline did call an hour before arriving to let me know and ask if it were OK.  OK?? It's more than OK - they are 150% welcome - ANYTIME!!  An unsolicited visit is like a gift!!  What made me giggle and my heart sing was that Caroline and Adam both sold the idea of coming to Boulderwood by using my cooking as the hook.

Who knew that 18 and 19 year olds would be interested in dining with adults, then playing some pool and ending the evening with a word association game of Apples to Apples.  They were completely present.  They relished their food, conversed with us and enjoyed sitting in front of the fire playing .  Not once did any of them text, tweet, snap chat, instagram, FB etc..

I have such gratitude that all the years of homemade meals that seemed to be taken for granted actually made an impact on Caroline and they are now offered as a selling point for a visit.  This, to me, is the definition of success.

Life is good!


And by the way, we loved playing the word association game and seeing the generational differences and similarities.  It was the pop culture stuff where I saw the differences - like, one of them had no idea who Lucille Ball was.  I guess I have some 'splanen to do!

And, on the menu: Homemade Organic Buffalo Chicken WIngs, Gluten free liguini with tomatoe sauce (canned last fall), homemade garlic bread, salad with homemade dressing. Dessert: s'mores at the fireplace in the Living Room.

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