• Snack Attack: Lemon-Vanilla Applesauce
  • Written September 22, 2010

    For as long as I can recall, this has been one of my slightly guilty snack pleasures (guilty only because I have passed it on to my kids): applesauce, with a dollop of sour cream, and Ritz crackers to dip. I know where this began: Sunday mornings, in the church nursery, snack time. In my […]

  • Recently Made: Peach Pie with a Burst of Blueberries
  • Written September 17, 2010

    Here in North Carolina, we’re suffering through endless dry days. For the past week, though, my kitchen has been one huge steam bath. It’s been canning central since I hit the farmers’ market last Friday, buying 40 pounds of apples, a case of peaches and about 60 pounds of tomatoes. My plan to can throughout […]

  • Recently Made: Blueberry-Peach Crisp
  • Written September 2, 2010

    I often make variations on my standard recipes that don’t deserve a full column here, but seem worth noting; thus I’m going to periodically post as “recently made” blurb in the hopes of encouraging others to experiment. I rarely deem a recipe so perfect that I never mess with it again, and I frequently find […]

  • Back to School: Cheer-Me-Up Treats
  • Written August 25, 2010

    Yes, that’s cheer me up — not my children. I’ll never understand how parents can drop their kids off on the first day of school and not weep, or at least sniffle ingloriously. Maybe when mine are full-fledged teenagers, I’ll be happier about the end of summer and decidedly less spigot-like, but today, I am […]

  • For Fabulous Frosting, Butter, Meet Marshmallows
  • Written June 3, 2010

    In the midst of mad editing, I frequently fight the urge to just shut my computer and bake something. My brain gets twitchy, and especially once my children come home from school, I want nothing more than to head into the kitchen with them. So it was that last week my daughter and I ended […]

  • Strawberries Solve Everything
  • Written May 22, 2010

    The scene: A mother, relaxing in the tub before diving into an all-day editing assignment. A father, reading the newspaper with two children nearby playing in their rooms, blissfully enjoying the first Saturday in a very long time with no homework and the rain-induced possibility of a day off from sports. Bang bang bang bang […]

  • Strawberry Dreams
  • Written April 29, 2010

    It may be that you are a person who can stay calm in the face of strawberries. I am not such a person. Every week, we drive by our favorite strawberry field on the way to guitar lessons. For something close to forever, the signboard out front has held one pitiful word: Collards. I like […]

  • Snack Attack: Frozen Yogurt
  • Written April 22, 2010

    The Snack Attack is back, after a longer-than-intended hiatus (holidays, editing work, way too much volunteer work–but all such fun!). I’ve been testing recipes from various cookbooks I’m reviewing (see them at Dessert First), but that hasn’t all been baking, or all for the kids, and I’ve noticed my supply of snacks, cookies and bread […]

  • Snack Attack: Quick, Bread!
  • Written March 23, 2010

    Banana bread makes the perfect argument for why no one should fear baking. So many good cooks profess to tremble before a baking book. Sure, I wouldn’t start out making a macaron, the latest cookie trend, but so much of baking allows more leeway than we let on. Proof? Just try the first quick bread […]

  • Mama Mia Mascarpone!
  • Written March 19, 2010

    Since our ricotta and mozzarella successes, my son and I have been feeling pretty confident in our cheese-making skills. We’d moved on to cream cheese and sour cream, and even my classic stupidity couldn’t ruin the latter. Still, when we mixed cream and white wine vinegar and came up with amazing mascarpone, we were awed […]

  • Snack Attack: Oatmeal Batter Bread
  • Written March 17, 2010

    I’m still on my Laura Ingalls Wilder kick; Melissa Gilbert, who’s now old enough to portray Ma, will be in Raleigh this week for the musical version of “Little House,” and do I wish I could go. We’ve been having such fun making cheese lately (I really do want chickens and a cow for my […]

  • Snack Attack: PB&J Cookies
  • Written March 12, 2010

    Oh, a peanut sat On a railroad track, His heart was all a-flutter, When round the bend Came the number ten. Toot! Toot! Peanut butter! Does anyone sing this anymore? Far better than the annoying and endless “first you take the peanuts and you crunch ’em, you crunch ’em” ditty. Kicking off the weekly snack […]

  • No More Stupid Snacks
  • Written March 3, 2010

    Ordinarily, I see a few movies per decade; I’d much rather read a book than have a story told to me on screen. I’ve smashed all my movie-going records in recent months, though, with the revival of a downtown movie theater that shows classics for $3 a ticket. I’ve seen Judy Garland marvel at Oz, […]

  • The Pioneer Mom Lunchbox
  • Written February 26, 2010

    Whenever we hit a figurative bump in the road on the many trips of my childhood, my mother would ask, “How did the pioneers do it?” It was her way of reminding us how hard our life was not, and it became a family catchphrase. Being a pioneer mom definitely wasn’t something I aspired to, […]

  • Making Sweet Snack Memories
  • Written February 23, 2010

    When a friend asked me recently for snack suggestions, especially for a daughter who isn’t big on fruit, I was pulled up a little short. We have fairly haphazard snacks, with one child who eats three meals a day and calls it good, and another who finds hunger hitting at the most inopportune moments. My […]

  • Cool Cream for Snowy Days
  • Written February 15, 2010

    Our latest snow settled Friday night over the icy remnants of the last storm, a rare sight for North Carolina’s Piedmont. This round gave us a perfect winter wonderland combination, with snow-crusted treelimbs but streets that were just delicately wet. I’d been prepared to be snowed in again, so my only disappointment here was losing […]

  • No-Guilt Apple Crisp
  • Written February 3, 2010

    I suppose it says something about how well guilt works on me that I find it impossible to feed my children cereal. If they get up on Saturday before I do, they know to get a bowl of cereal. Once I’m up, though, they know to hold off until something comes out of the oven. […]

  • Hot Churros for Old-Fashioned Snow Days
  • Written February 1, 2010

    As a child, I found snow days magical. A North Carolina dusting meant everyone stayed home, with my mother mixing up treats in the kitchen and my father guiding us on death-defying sled rides. A good bit of that magic hit the snow with a plop 10 years ago, when my son was 6 months […]

  • Dealing Gingerly with Illness
  • Written February 1, 2010

    For me, ginger ale equals comfort. As children, my sister and I rarely got to drink cokes (as we call any soda in the South, i.e., “You want a coke with that? What kind, root beer, Cheerwine, Sprite?”). We had two chances: illness and travel, both thanks to my father. Daddy, a Nebraskan of German […]

  • Sandwich Bread to Travel On (and Keep the Dentist Away)
  • Written November 18, 2009

    I’m in mourning for the RV I never had. In my life, I’ve been the owner of two high-top conversion vans, both of which I adored despite their endless technical problems and the fact that the front seats are so far apart, I couldn’t drive and hold hands with my husband at the same time. […]

  • Easy-as-Pie Apple Tart
  • Written November 16, 2009

    When we built our house, I dreamed of a large pantry with neat shelves stocked with my jars, and a freezer with shelves neatly organized and labeled. I got the large pantry. Got the shelves stocked (not always so neatly) with jars of applesauce,tomato sauce, pickles, chowchow and jam experiments to get us through the […]

  • Apple Tart
  • Written November 16, 2009

    This makes one large tart; it’s best warm but will still taste wonderful the next day if lightly covered in plastic wrap. To transfer the pie dough to the baking sheet, gently fold it in half so it’s easy to pick up, or even into quarters. 1/2 recipe Pie Dough (2 rounds of dough) 1/2 […]

  • We All Whisper for Lavender
  • Written July 30, 2009

    In my family, it doesn’t feel like summer if we’ve haven’t milked something. It certainly hasn’t always been this way: We are city (well, town, at least) people. For several summers, though, we’ve ended up staying in cottages or homes on farms where we get to milk a cow, bottle-feed a 12-hour-old calf, milk some […]

  • Pie Dough
  • Written March 13, 2009

    This recipe makes 4 dough rounds (enough for two double-crust pies or 4 single-crust). Cut it in half if you prefer. If you don’t have coarse salt, use ¾ teaspoon table salt. To cut up the sticks of butter into 32 pieces, cut each stick in quarters lengthwise, then make 8 crosswise cuts. Don’t worry […]

  • Sweetie Pies
  • Written March 12, 2009

    I want to be a pie mom. Don’t like soccer, can’t stand hockey, and, frankly, have always found something off-putting about identifying myself by my child’s sport. But a pie mom? That’s the game for me. I suppose, though, that I can’t claim the title without pies being common, a tradition, in our house. How […]