• Strawberry Season

    One of my most favorite part of Spring in North Carolina is strawberry season. We live very close to some pick-your-own strawberry fields and I must admit we indulge quite frequently. There is nothing like a ripe strawberry, straight from the field. They are nothing like the ones sold in stores, which can be overly firm and pale and lacking in flavor. Fresh from the plant, their hearts are a deep pink, they are tender and juicy. We love them by the handful, or sliced on top of granola with yogurt. We love them on our waffles and pancakes and of course, on top of vanilla ice cream. We do…

  • Limoncello

    Over the years, my husband and I have visited a few wineries, breweries and some distilleries and I find myself fascinated by the science that goes into creating the perfect tasting wine, bourbon or liqueur. Weather, water sources and age can vastly change the end result. It is as much art as it is science. Once you have seen behind the curtain, so to speak, you begin to appreciate the process and effort that goes into crafting these drinks. You definitely understand that they are created for sipping and savoring the experience, and not meant for mindless imbibing. Recently, there has been a boom in home brewing. While I am…

  • All-Season Soup

    So, it’s SUPPOSED to be Spring here, but we have had a cold snap this week. People have been advised to cover their tender plants, just when they were getting excited about all the warmth and sunshine. While it is fleeting, the cold always puts me in the mood for soup. Some people think soup is a seasonal thing, but I love it and could eat it year-round. After running errands on a cold and soggy day this past week, I was inspired to whip up some Minestrone. I think my first experience with Minestrone was at a certain popular Italian restaurant chain that features all-you-can-eat soup, salad and breadsticks.…

  • Breakfast for Lunch & Dinner

    I love breakfast. Eggs and bacon, crispy hashbrowns, omelettes, nice fluffy pancakes and waffles. If I am at a restaurant that serves lunch or breakfast food, I am always going to go for breakfast. While I love getting breakfast when eating out, we also have a tradition of a nice homemade breakfast on Saturday mornings. Of course, some Saturdays are too busy for that and all the clean up that comes after breakfast. But sometimes breakfast makes a great dinner, as it can be thrown together with little planning. You can even make your breakfast, lunch or dinner extra fancy with a few special ingredients. While dining out for lunch…

  • Liquid Sunshine

    Spring is one of the major reasons my husband and I moved to North Carolina.  When we met, dated and married, life for us was in chilly Minnesota.  Then a beloved friend moved to NC and began to tell me about this thing called “Spring.”  She would email me photos of trees in bloom – in March.  What?!  Sunshine, flowering trees and green grass in Spring – in March?!  We were immediately won over. Now that we happily live here, Spring still continues to be one of my favorite seasons in the South. (And yes, North Carolina is the South.)  The days are starting to get longer, the sun shines…

  • The Loaf of the Irish

    This Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day, the day people with the slightest bit of Irish ancestry (or none at all) celebrate all things green. I have very, very distant Scotch-Irish roots and have been lucky enough to travel to Ireland, so my love of all things Irish runs deep. Not surprisingly, my favorite way to celebrate the holiday is with food. Around this time of year, you will find an abundance of corned beef, heads of cabbage and packages of all things Guiness-flavored in the stores. But you will also find Irish Soda bread, whether fresh from your favorite bakery or boxed mixes to try at home. One of our…

  • A Few of My Favorite Things

    I have been recovering from a head cold this past week, so I spent more time resting on the couch than puttering in the kitchen. So I thought I would take this week to share with you a few of my favorite things; things that make cooking so much easier for me. I confessed last week to being resistant to using an electric mixer when I can easily mix things by hand, but I have learned that many kitchen tools may seem frivolous but are really quite handy. The Heavy Hitters There are 3 small appliances that are in heavy rotation in my kitchen. The first is my slow cooker.…

  • The Perfect Cookie

    There is really nothing better than a freshly baked cookie. It’s a a sugary, comforting handful of love. I really haven’t met a cookie I didn’t like, but I think my favorite is the Monster Cookie. Years ago, I worked in downtown Minneapolis and one of my jobs was to order in lunch for everyone who wanted it. My favorite place to order from was Key’s Cafe. They served enormous omelettes, salads and sandwiches. They also served gigantic cookies the size of dinner plates. I think this was my first introduction to Monster Cookies. A Monster Cookie is an oatmeal, peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips and M&Ms. The origin…

  • A Legume by Any Other Name…

    Chick Peas, Garbanzo beans, the mysterious, round, beige beans at the salad bar. Whatever you call them, those little legumes are having a resurgence. Chick peas are chockfull of nutrients, protein and fiber. They are a great addition to salads and pastas. They are the base of delicious creamy hummus. They are extremely versatile. I did not grow up eating chick peas. I think they are a love ’em or hate ’em kind of thing and my Mom hates them, so we never had them. But as my little family began to eat healthier, I started to experiment with these funny little beans. We love them in hummus, and you…

  • Instant Pot Yogurt

    One of the reasons I decided to add an Instant Pot to my list of kitchen gadgets was the appeal of having a yogurt maker. I had seen yogurt makers in kitchen and cooking catalogs, with their cute little individual cups. I did covet those, but the Instant Pot won out for all of it’s extra capabilities. Some of you may be wondering why on earth I would want to make my own yogurt when there are so many varieties available in grocery stores these days. Well, I like yogurt. Greek yogurt, French yogurt, Australian style yogurt, etc. But I have always had this elusive memory of the taste of…