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I believe that spreading a little more kindness starts with our family at home.  But for some of us, we also have a secondary home and family at work – the home away from home crew – the folks we probably spend more time with during the weekdays than our own flesh and blood.

Well, how about spreading that little extra kindness (and a little bit of love) to the crew tomorrow morning by surprising them with a little breakfast nosh for Valentine’s Day.  With some basic ingredients for food and presentation (yes, it sure does make all the difference) – you can simply set the stage for a sweet way to kick-off their day!

This humble little spread can make a difference – one that I guarantee will speak volumes.  It’s about keeping it simple, but making it look special.

Start with setting the foundation with an ironed linen towel or small tablecloth.  Buy a dozen or two of bagels, cut them in half (but not all the way through), and place them in a napkin lined basket.  Scoop out the cream cheese from the plastic tub into a ceramic or glass bowl.  Do the same for the butter (sticks of butter on a plate).  Cut up some fruit – apples, oranges, melon, strawberries, and grapes for example – and gently toss together in a bowl.  Don’t forget to add serving utensils – big spoon for fruit, and butter knives for spreads. Paper napkins and small plates, plastic forks and small cups will work perfectly.

Co-workers + fresh food + a little TLC table setting = a real nice way to start the day.


Love, Nora







  1. Sally on February 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    It is all about presentation; in everything we do in life. Is that Hyssop as the fruit garnish. You are ingeniousely creative. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family. xoxo

    • Nora on February 13, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day to you Sally! Yup, hyssop!

  2. Jaime Costiglio on February 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I’ll be your co-worker any day! So kind and thoughtful, truly what Valentine’s Day is all about.

    • Nora on February 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Jaime,I try to live by the Golden Rule…..I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks so much and Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  3. Jane Roberts on February 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Beautiful pictures, as usual … great ideas for a Valentine’s Day surprise with the troops we spend so much time with.

  4. Athenis on February 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Nora,

    Please find below my recipe for Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie). You may wish to try this out yourself and take beautiful pictures like you always do before posting should you feel your blog followers be interested in such a dish. All I can tell you is, whenever I make a pan or bring a pan as a pot luck, it’s always a hit. Creating this is not as hard as it first appears. It’s a bit involved, but once you make your first, the rest are easy. The only finicky ingredient is the filo dough. It’s not a product that moves well in most super markets, so the frozen ones may be tougher to handle once thawed. If at all possible buy unfrozen. Anyway, I enjoy your blog. I think it’s beautifully displayed and written so I’d like to offer a recipe if your amenable to contributions. Thanks.

    SPANAKOPITA (Greek Spinach Pie)

    Utilize roasting or lasagna pan. I use a 13” x 16” roasting pan with at least 2″ to 3 ” high sides.
    Purchase box of #4 or filo dough (pastry dough sheets), preferably unfrozen. If purchased frozen, please allow to defrost overnight in refrigerator.
    Purchase wide natural bristle basting brush (you can purchase a wide one for less money in a hardware store.)
    4 boxes of chopped frozen spinach (depending on size of pan being used). Be sure spinach is chopped.
    1 to 1.5 lbs of whole milk feta cheese
    1 small container of whole milk ricotta
    1 cup grated Romano cheese (grating fresh from a block is preferable)
    2 eggs
    1 to 2 sticks sweet unsalted butter
    2 medium onions
    1 to 2 leeks (depending on size)
    1 bunch scallions
    1 clove garlic
    I bunch fresh dill
    1 bunch fresh flat Italian parsley
    pinch of oregano

    Place spinach in salted boiling water for 5 minutes or till ice block melts completely. Drain in strainer and set aside in sink or on top of bowl for further draining.
    Take small amount of butter and olive oil in stock or spaghetti pot at low heat.
    Add chopped onions, leek (wash very well / leeks tend to be very sandy) and scallions into pot with butter and olive oil. Add minced garlic clove. Cook till onions are soft and translucent.
    Squeeze spinach in batches between your hands, dish towel or cheese cloth and add into onion mixture. Be sure to squeeze spinach thoroughly.
    Chop parsley and dill and add to mixture. Add pinch of oregano. Let mixture cool for a few minutes.
    Add ricotta and mix well.
    Add grated Romano and mix well.
    Beat two eggs and mix into mixture. Make sure mixture is not hot when adding eggs.
    Add some fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt. (Please note: feta and Romano tend to be salty cheeses. You can taste for salt content before adding eggs).
    Cut your feta cheese into thumbnail chunks (bite size squares). If you buy feta loose in brine, make sure you taste it for flavor and firmness. You do not want to purchase overly soft feta. A good commercial brand is the whole milk President Feta found in most supermarkets. Gently fold feta into mixture. Be sure not to mix vigorously or feta will crumble apart. You want to achieve a variable texture in the cheese with small to medium chunks.
    Set mixture aside.

    Take 1 stick of butter and melt into remaining olive oil or 2 sticks of butter without the oil. Please note; butter is usually used exclusively, but you can use olive oil to decrease fat content if desired. Remove filo dough from box and lay out flat next to roasting / lasagna pan. Filo dough comes in different thicknesses. I like #4. You need to work quickly. Filo can dry up so don’t stop – follow through till you’re done. Brush bottom and sides of pan generously with butter.
    Place five to six sheets of filo dough one at a time on bottom of pan. Lightly brush butter between these layers. Not as much butter is needed for the bottom layers.
    Gently pour mixture into pan scraping all bits with rubber spatula. Spread mixture evenly throughout pan.
    Filo dough sheets may not cover the whole pan, so add more sheets to overlap accordingly.
    Brush butter over every sheet and repeat layering in this way till filo is done.

    Place in preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Stoves may vary in heat retention and baking ability. If you have a light and window with your stove check periodically after a half hour of baking for browning factor. If you do not have a window, peak and quickly shut the door. It’s never a good idea to open oven door when roasting or baking. Filo should be golden brown. DO NOT BURN! If you burned edges or top layers you may gently remove burnt sections, exposing the properly cooked layers underneath. Remove from oven and let rest at least a half hour before cutting. The longer the better. Oftentimes spanakopita tastes better the next day or after resting a few hours, so cook in advance if possible. Do not cut your pieces too small when serving or your filo dough may fall apart. Left over spinach pie should be reheated in oven or toaster oven. Microwaving makes fillo dough mushy.

    Good eats!

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