Home remedy.

Dear friends,

I took a few days off over Spring Break with ambitious plans, most of which didn’t come to fruition.

I spent my first day cleaning house and my second day re-organizing my dish pantry. Over the course of several months, the pantry had become a junk closet — one you  could no longer walk into because the floor was covered with piles of objects I was too lazy to put away. But by day’s end, it was clean, tidy and organized.


Despite my early productivity, additional plans to clean out my quilting cabinet, wash windows, take care of some nagging paperwork, and finish a quilt-in-progress never materialized.

Instead I watched television, took more naps than I can count, and abandoned my dreams of vacation productivity in favor of a very slow pace — so much so that by Friday evening, I was feeling pretty let down.

Whenever I’m feeling lethargic, there’s nothing like a day in the kitchen to re-charge my batteries. Cooking has long been my fail-safe home remedy to cure what ails me. Cooking and baking are both my motivation and my therapy.

I started early with a tried-and-true cake recipe. By the time Mr. Mom woke up and joined me for coffee, he wondered if someone had lent me a hand in the kitchen.


Note to self: Black yoga pants aren’t the best baking attire. No wonder pastry chefs wear white.

After the cake, I set my mind to three new recipes culled from a cookbook by Food and Wine and one from a food blog. By 5:00 pm dinner was on the table, and oh what a table it was!


There was Maple Glazed Chicken with Mustard Jus; Brown Rice and Barley Tabbouleh with Apricot and Mint; Roast Zucchini with Ricotta; Romaine and Avocado Salad with Garlic-Anchovy Dressing; and Vanilla Layer Cake with Raspberry-Cointreau Filling and Chocolate Buttercream Icing.

When food is this good, it’s a treat.

When it’s beautiful too . . .


It’s almost too good to be true.

And it totally makes up for a few undone projects.

With gratitude {for a happy Saturday to end my vacation and the best Spring Break meal in a million years},

Joan, who urges you to try every single one of these recipes because aren’t you hungry now? And PS: Is there anything that perks up a table more than a cheery vintage tablecloth?


  1. Adorable tablecloth – a dinner deliciously captured. I gained weight just checking out the recipes. I know I’ve asked this before – how are you not all 300 pounds? (Sidebar followup question: Ms. Booty Camper – how many burpees does it take to offset a piece of that cake?!)

  2. Deb — I can’t do burpees fast enough to make up for that cake. Especially when I eat it for dinner and then dessert the next morning. Let’s just say the only reason I tolerate exercise is so I can cook.

  3. A cake fit for the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art!

  4. Looks fantastic! Makes my mouth water

  5. Joan–
    I clicked over from Momastery today (I am rarely “current” on my blog reading) to check out your blog after reading your post there, and began reading your first page of posts backwards (newest to oldest). I feel like I’ve spent the last half hour reading letters from a dear friend whom I now miss very much and wish I could have over for dinner next weekend! I’m thrilled that your empty nesting projects came together so beautifully (even if they didn’t fill the summer as you originally planned for them to) and I am grateful for the deep belly laugh that your “Note to self” about the black yoga pants gave me after a very long and tiring week.

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