New York Times’ most requested recipe!

Easy and delicious…



When it comes to cooking and baking, easy & delicious are two words that bring music to my ears. So when the NYT posted this, their most requested, recipe online last week I had to give it a try. I was NOT disappointed! This torte looks and tastes like something you’d see in a European bakery, but trust me when I tell you, it is as easy as…well…pie. 😉



(yes, you can use different fruit- I used what were most likely the last peaches of the summer from South Carolina.)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 pitted purple plums, cut in half. (Or 6 small peaches cut into wedges with skin on or 3 large baking apples with 1/2 cup raw cranberries to sprinkle on top.)
  • Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon if you like.

HEAT OVEN TO 350 degrees.

Cream sugar and butter.  Add flour, baking powder, salt & eggs- beat well.

Spoon batter into springform pan. (I sprayed mine LIGHTLY with pam.)

In same bowl, toss fruit with some sugar and a squeeze of lemon.If the fruit is super juicy, add a bit of flour to coat the fruit as well. (Add a bit of cinnamon if using apples.)

Place fruit ON TOP of batter.- Bake for approx. one hour.

This cake was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Best served still warm for breakfast with coffee or after dinner with a small scoop of whipped cream. I am not at all convinced it would taste as good with apples, but I’ll give it a try at some point and report back to you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Get ’em while you can!

The 2016 Southern Living Christmas Cookbook has arrived at Dillards!


I look forward to these festive books every year at this time and usually scoop up a few; one to keep for myself, the rest to give as gifts. At only $10 each, they are perfect holiday presents for teachers, bus drivers, coaches & office gift exchanges.  The recipes are always terrific and the glossy photos are sure to encourage even the most intimidated chef. Best part of all, proceeds from these hardcover books go to local charities.  The woman checking me out said their store alone raised $10,000 for the Ronald McDonald house here in Charlotte last year.

Get ’em while you can!

Can you hear those cracking sounds?


Yesterday I saw something that distilled my concerns about our dysfunctional government into one single snap shot.  Sheila Jackson Lee, a congresswoman from Texas, was questioning Jim Comey at a congressional hearing into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail investigation by the FBI. If you look at the picture above, you can see she was wearing a Hillary pin on her lapel.

Let that sink in for a minute..

Let’s say you filed a lawsuit against Target because they sold you a defective product that caused injury.  Can you imagine looking over at the jury during the trial and seeing that one of the jurors was wearing this?


Ms. Lee knew exactly what she was doing when she put that pin on her suit before the televised hearing yesterday. She was certainly out to make a statement to those watching TV,  Mr. Comey, the FBI, other witnesses and the committee chair..not to mention sending a clear wink and a nod to her girl Hillary that she had her back.

The message I received is confirmation of what I fear most, that the people charged with making our government work have become so political that the procedures and processes they are paid to uphold are little more than a sham; a show.  Sheila Jackson Lee wasn’t even feigning to do her job as a congresswoman yesterday. She wasn’t there to search for facts- she came dressed to play guard for her team.

I fear we are reaching our expiration date, pushing the limits of the structural design that keeps our government functioning. We have Presidents who issue major executive orders bypassing congress, we have “super departments” like the EPA creating “rules” which are essentially laws – also to bypass congress. We have a fully politicized Supreme Court that splits along party lines with almost every ruling and most disturbingly, we have renegade government employees who routinely break the law and simply walk away from any consequences.

A few weeks ago, there was an IT guy involved in the Clinton private e-mail mess who ignored a subpoena to appear before congress to testify…No lie, he flat out just didn’t show up.

The Democrats on the committee had NO problem with the guy defying the official order to appear before them because after all, they didn’t want this man to potentially testify against their party’s presidential nominee. Never mind that their collusion ultimately weakens the entire government system.  Why act surprised when we see more and more people boldly refuse to comply with anyone in authority? After all, what’s a lonely IT guy got to worry about if back in 2012 the Attorney General himself (Eric Holder) flew to Disney World on the very day he was instructed to appear before congress?

Our forefathers were truly geniuses, but I fear our politicians have so chipped away at the pillars they designed to hold our government together that the entire country is fracturing.


I can hear the cracking sounds..can you?






Quick & easy guest bathroom update

This room was actually fun to refresh; nothing too involved, too expensive or too drawn out. We didn’t have to wait for contractors, place special orders or conquer unexpected problems. We simply wanted to update the space and create a neutral, clean, spa like atmosphere for guests to enjoy.

The tile  floor had to stay so the grout had to be cleaned.. about three times with various products.  White grout paint was applied in the shower to brighten it up as well. Walls and trim were repainted in lighter, more reflective tones. We replaced the UGLY speckled Corian counter top with a  wood (maple) counter option from Lumber Liquidators that was stained and protected with 5 coats of low gloss poly.  I was going for a somewhat beachy, laid back look.. We used a stain called ‘weathered oak’ by Minwax to enhance the grain and add a hint of color.


The above counter sink was ordered from Signature Hardware.  This was an important choice as the cabinets were strangely low (short.) Placing the sink on top of the counter brought everything up to a more normal height.   Chrome sink faucet and new bathtub fixtures are from;  a truly great online company to do business with.

Round mirror is from Amazon- light from LampsPlus, (only $99 which I thought was a great deal.) We exchanged the over head, ceiling lights with much brighter LEDs, but the LampsPlus light alone emits a much softer glow, perfect for early morning when you don’t want to be blinded by high wattage glare. All new chrome hardware on cabinet doors is from Blackhawk Hardware store in Charlotte.

Simple frame above is from Michaels with a photo to remind me of home.  Other knick-knacks were picked up at Home Goods, including a thick, towel-like shower curtain.  Actual towels were a gift from my mom (Bed, Bath & Beyond) and are as super soft and luxurious as the bathrobe hanging on the door..all of them just waiting to envelop my daughter– who is coming up to visit next week!

Lastly, my husband was able to remove the bathroom mirror without damaging it, so we decided to use it in the hall. We created a frame from Home Depot trim and stained it the same weathered oak color that we used on the bathroom counter.  Being able to use this mirror was a happy, unexpected and useful bonus as we have no other large mirror in the house. (Trust me, as you get older, it’s important to double check that you’ve got the same color shoes on before you walk out the door!) 👠👠 👍


Knock, knock – Who’s there?


Yesterday morning I attached a verse from the bible to the end of my daily post; it was 1 Peter 4:10.


What followed was a super busy day as we had been gone all week-end visiting our daughter in Virginia. At 4pm, after I was finished with all my running around town, I went to the gym.  Our YMCA has a large bowl at the front desk filled with little folded strips of paper, each with a verse from scripture. I always grab one as I head out the door after my work-out, and yesterday was no different.

What are the chances, with the thousands of verses in the bible,  that I’d pull out a strip of paper with the same exact verse from my post earlier that morning?


Well, that’s exactly what happened.

I feel like God may be “knocking at my door” with a message He wants me to hear..

I’d better go answer, huh?