Almond Scone by Day, Strawberry Almond Shortcake by Night

Almond Scones

It began innocently enough: Demure almond scones served warm from the oven, with a little jam and maybe some clotted cream – perfectly proper fare for breakfast, brunch or tea. A tad decadent, perhaps, but still a fine way to start the day. Then came word of the same almond scones emerging at all hours of the night, dressed provocatively in billows of whipped cream and a slathering of juicy strawberries. When approached for comment, one scone replied: “I may have a soft spot for berries, but I’m no tart.”

Strawberry Almond Shortcake  Continue reading

Bacon, Potato and Leek Frittata



Breakfast, lunch or dinner is served! I tossed around some other names for this dish: Leftovers Pie, Crustless Quiche, Make-Ahead Magic for Overnight Guests, Zap-n-Go Anytime Meal Slices. Some of these are better than others, but they all would work. Frittata sounded a little fancier – worthy of the leeks I used in it this time, but it’s not a traditional frittata. It’s also not as heavy as a cream-laden quiche, but I think you get the idea. I’ve made similar versions without the leeks – just a lone, leftover baked potato and some bits from the Christmas ham. That was good too! But leeks work really well here and bring a much-needed glimmer of spring to the table. Continue reading

Kitchen Essential: Pre-cut Parchment Sheets


I love pre-cut parchment sheets so much, and use them so often, I though they deserved their own post. These 12″x16″ sheets fit perfectly on half-sheet baking pans (another kitchen essential) – no more wrestling with parchment rolls that never quite fit right. They make cleanup a snap as well. Continue reading

Dad’s Famous Blackberry Pie


In my family, nothing says “I love you” like a freshly baked pie. Blackberry pie is my favorite, and my dad knows it. So when I journey back to Tacoma, WA for a visit and there’s a warm, lattice-top blackberry pie on the kitchen counter, the pastry says what words can’t. I love you too, Dad!

Dad with his lovingly crafted lattice-top pie.

Dad with his lovingly crafted lattice-top pie.

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Mother’s Day Brunch

Sue + Karen

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Karen! If we didn’t live 2,413 miles apart, I’d have her over for Mother’s Day brunch tomorrow. I’d probably make this tomato tart recipe that she first discovered in a Sara Moulton cookbook, along with a green salad and some extra-lemony lemon bars (she’s a lemon-lover).  This quiche-like tart does involve several steps, but it can be partially (make the crust) or entirely made ahead, and then gently reheated in a low oven.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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Healthy Cupcakes Take TODAY Show’s Top Prize!

Sue Walter TODAY Show

Can you believe it?? My “Too Good to Be Healthy” Black Bottom Cupcakes landed me on the TODAY Show last Thursday, as a finalist in Joy Bauer’s contest. AND -we won! (We, as in the cupcakes and me, and also as in shared honors with the nervous contestant #1 who fainted right before we went on air.)

Since everyone’s been asking me what the experience was like (and what was in that prize basket?), I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes highlights.

The real stars of the day!

The real stars of the day!

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“Too Good to Be Healthy” Black Bottom Cupcakes

Lighter black bottom cupcake

Can you have your cupcake and eat it too? With these lightened up, nutrition-enhanced beauties, the answer is yes! You don’t have to tell anyone that you cut back on the sugar, or that you swapped out all the oil for fat-free Greek yogurt and puréed prunes. Just don’t do as I did and eat 3 cupcakes in one sitting; that kind of works against the whole “eating healthy” idea. Continue reading

Blackberry Crumble Bars

blackberry crumble bar

With school back in session and the days getting cooler, summer’s becoming a distant memory. The good news is that this also signals the beginning of baking season (for me, anyway).  With the warm, tart taste of summer’s wild blackberries still lingering in our heads, I thought these blackberry/oatmeal/walnut crumble bars would make the perfect back-to-school treat. Summer sandwiched between layers of fall.

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Crafty Cracker Baskets

Cracker basket salad

While many of our friends are lounging around in sunny locales this week for spring break, sipping Piña Coladas (or Shirley Temples) and worrying about nothing but SPF coverage, we are hunkering down at home – gearing up for another snowstorm (?!) and making To Do lists for our New Jersey “staycation”.

cat watching snow

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