Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Last born had a birthday on Sunday. After warm spinach-artichoke dip and zingy cucumber dip; after frozen strawberry margaritas whose fruit factor was boosted with homemade strawberry jam; after burgers and hot dogs sizzling from the grill,  sweet and bacony baked beans, and potato-egg salad with fronds of fresh dill (that I should have chopped…

Welcome home.

We sent him off in January with Chicken Tortilla Soup and prayers. We welcomed him back this weekend with grilled steaks, that Spinach and Artichoke Dip he likes, and hearts full of gratitude. First born made him a cheesecake for the birthday celebration he missed while Over There. We’re so lucky. And so thankful. On…

Strawberry Jam

Silly me. I must have misread the label on the strawberry plants I bought last month. I thought I was buying a variety called Ozark Beauty. Instead, I must have bought some called Ant Food, by mistake. Good thing there’s a strawberry farm in nearby Cabot, Arkansas, that grows lusciously sweet fruit, scarlet to the…

Chicken with Beans & Tomatoes

This is one of my top ten favorite recipes. It’s comfort food. Source is Real Simple magazine, and it’s the reason I try to keep pots of oregano and thyme growing on my deck most of the year. Here’s how to make it, with minor adaptations. Chicken with Beans and Tomatoes 2 15.5-ounce cans cannellini…

Snapshot: Easter Table

I planted a garden down the center of my dining table for dinner at sunset on Holy Saturday. Even the nest was real, built two years ago by birds on the ledge of a bathroom window at my house. One of the birds had a decorator’s eye, finishing off the nest with a ruff of…

Twenty-seven Hats (and Honey-Mustard Chicken)

After my mother died several years ago, there were 10,000 details to attend to. I’ll tell you now, it isn’t easy figuring out how to stop an electronically-drafted pension issued from a foreign country through an unknown entity based on employment 55 years earlier by a company that had no record of my mother working…

Roasted Red Snapper

A seafood counter clerk had already packaged my salmon filets by the time I noticed the snappers. My eyes swiveled like a flounder’s spying prey. These fish had heads and  tails, unusual in my suburban grocery store, several hundred miles from the nearest U.S. coast. And they were fresh, their silvery skins glinting bits of…