“Hope Chest” Root Vegetable Baskets — Celebrating 20 Successful Years!!

The Hope Chest

The Hope Chest, LaGrange, IL, USA

A group of busy women were looking for efficient ways to raise money for our favorite charity:  the Constance Morris House, a Chicago area shelter for victims of domestic violence.  We had tired of exhausting raffles and holiday events.  But what else could we do??   “Perhaps a second-hand clothing shop?,”  someone suggested — “something sustainable rather than multiple whirlwind events?”  We thought it was a fabulous idea! Continue reading

A Malvern Hills Ramble – Sustained by Hearty Granola

Earthworks at British Camp, Malvern Hills

Earthworks at the British Camp, Malvern Hills, England

If the word “ramble” brings to mind someone droning on without focus, you are probably not English.  In England and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, a “ramble” is a walk. One “rambles” the public rights of way that lace through the UK countryside – paths established before the days of Downton Abbey.  And, like many things English, time has done little to change them.   Continue reading

Lille – A Macaron Mecca

Lille, France

Lille, France

Wandering the streets of Lille, you begin to wonder how this small French city sustains a patisserie on virtually every corner. Are the locals required to eat in a patisserie as least once daily? Or is it because the window displays look so good that it is impossible to resist the treats within??  Or is it that Lille is the home of Paul, the famous French pastry shop? Or is it the colorful and ubiquitous macaron that weakens ones resolve?? Continue reading

Cuban-Style Citrus – Mojo and Mojito (Part 1 of 2)

Historic Ybor City

Ybor City – Historic Cuban-American Neighborhood

Perhaps because it is so difficult for Americans to go there, I am fascinated by Cuba –with its rich history and culture.  To gain access, Americans must get a license from the U.S. Treasury Department, and that license requires a specific purpose (e.g., journalism, charitable work, government business, etc).   I haven’t applied for a license since I don’t think writing a food blog would qualify 🙂 Continue reading

A Kosher Cooking Lesson and Vegetable Brown Stock

Rosemary Rescued from the Snow

Rosemary Rescued from the Snow

Cooking lessons are so much fun. I still dust off some of my old lessons when asked or, occasionally, as donations to charity. So, when a friend asked to sell one of my lessons at a live charity auction, I was delighted.  The lesson, “Stocks and the Five Mother Sauces”, was from my repertoire of tried and true lessons.  I could teach it in my sleep.  Piece of cake.  Sure, I would be happy to donate the lesson.

Then came the surprise from the buyer: Continue reading

Do-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner (Part 1 of 3) — Turkey Brown Stock

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile – Perfect for Early Christmas Shopping

It is almost Thanksgiving and the start of holiday season here in the U.S.  This is when I wish the moratorium on human cloning had expired, and I could be in multiple places at once. Continue reading

Blueberry Blues

Michigan Blueberries

Inspired by one of my fellow bloggers, Cookinginsens, who shared the delicious results of her recent freezer purge, I decided it was time to clear out the basement freezer.  I was making very good progress in this endeavor.  My final task was to utilize the last of the 2011 Michigan blueberry crop.  After all, the 2012 blueberry season had arrived. Why would anyone hoard frozen blueberries from last year when there was a new crop to be had?  Time to make some blueberry muffins — best with fresh blueberries, but quite serviceable with last year’s crop — and an excellent way to use frozen blueberries. Continue reading