Ladies Day In

When we moved into our new house in December, a few of our good friends were unable to join us. Thankfully, I have an incredibly thoughtful friend for whom that scenario “just wouldn’t do!” So, we scheduled a ladies only brunch so they could see the new house and we could have a relaxing day indoors.

Well, today was the day! A snowy, very cold February Monday brought me three dear friends, a salmon fritatta, fresh fruit, blueberry bran muffins and plenty of chocolate!  I provided the venue, mimosas (and of course, tea & coffee) and a warm fire and they brought brunch.  I set the table with square Lenox Butler’s Pantry plates I purchased about 15 years ago at the factory in Italy over chocolate brown woven chargers topped with my grandmother’s ivory cloth napkins. I love, love these plates and I simply do not use them enough! I specifically bought them for ladies luncheons and so, they had to be featured on this special day. Please do keep in mind, I am not a stuffy ladies luncheon kind of person — but I was a military spouse for 25 years and sometimes you have the privilege (or responsibility) of hosting a whole lot of wives for a social or luncheon and I wanted to be prepared. Read More


Cookies, cookies…

If you are looking for a cookie recipe that is sure to please, you are in the right place! No matter the season (or day) I make either treat, they never stick around for long.I’ll start with a family recipe from my grandmother, Shirley. She made these every Christmas and they are my dad’s favorite, hands down. As a result, I have received the torch and have committed to continue the tradition. I have no idea where she got the original recipe, so she gets the credit this time around. 

Vanilla Icebox Cookies
Serves: 4-5 dozen cookies1 1/2 c. butter, softened
3 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 c. chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, Shirls always used walnuts)
4 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. vanilla

Mix thoroughly all ingredients, starting with the butter, sugar & eggs. Roll into 8-10 inch long, 2″ diameter logs after dough is chilled. Store logs in the fridge in wax paper, twisting the ends of the paper to seal. Refrigerate overnight before cutting in thin slices. Bake at 400º for 4-5 minutes, depending on how thick you cut the slices. I typically bake one log at a time, so the dough can last in my fridge for up to a week. After all, fresh out of the oven is always best for any cookie! 

Salted Caramel Cookies
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies Read More