Archive for August, 2014


Cornbread Truth

For all of you that put sugar in your cornbread: Stop it. Just stop it. That makes it cake. Not cornbread. Sorry it’s just the truth. Salt? ABSOLUTELY – in fact you would be hard pressed to make cornbread too salty for my taste. You know I am Southern and sassy so my very strong feelings about this shouldn’t surprise you. ;)


And now you have it from experts.  Not that I am NOT an expert but I don’t have the street cred David Lebovitz or Robert Moss have. I read this article via David Lebovitz’s facebook post.  He linked to this morning’s Serious Eats article by Robert Moss.  It’s worth a read :) and here’s my recipe:

1/3 cup all purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour’s GF all purpose blend)
2/3 cup GF yellow cornmeal
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 TBSP all vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 425F and place pans in oven. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt into bowl. Stir in corn meal. Add egg, milk, and oil. Mix until just smooth but don’t over mix. Brush pans with light coating of oil. Put about 1 TBSP of batter in each acorn mold. Bake in hot oven (425 degrees) 9-12 minutes.
acorn pan
NOTE: You could make this recipe into another shape if you don’t have the acorn pan or similar pan.  A madeline pan is very good for these little cornbread yummies.  Or mini muffin tins and of course regular size muffins as well.

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,



Not THAT kind of CaT scan or the Diary of An Abscess

Catching you all up to the happenings in our neck of the woods.


Monday Morning August 1, 2014:

This is day 3 back in the hospital for Benjamin.  As I told you he had his appendix out, tomorrow will be two weeks.  A day or so before the beginning of week two of his recovery, he began to feel that something was quite right on the inside. Not only that he was beginning to run fever.  So I called – “Oh, that’s normal – 100 isn’t really a fever.” So I call the second day “Really, I am sure he’s fine. If Tylenol brings it down there’s nothing to worry about.”  Uh huh.  Right.  This went on until day 10 post surgery when it was time to remove his staples.

I tell the doctor whom I have only spoken with once during these last few days and then only because the office staff was tired of me calling to report that his fever was inching up, that he had run a fever again last night but didn’t wake up with one.  He has his nurse take Ben’s temp. 101.  Who knew?  Really?  That’s NOT normal 10 days out?  But it was 7 or 8 or 9?  The doctor quickly announces that he “mostly likely has an abscess in his abdomen”.  I saw red.  And as any of my kids can tell you, it is impossible for me to hide my true feelings.  So then comes the detailed explanation of how there was really probably no way we would have known before about day 10 or maybe 9 but it was really no big deal…when you are taking out a “hot swollen” appendix laparoscopically some of the “juice” (not my words) is bound to get away from you and even though you irrigate thoroughly…well like only 10% of the patients have some sort of further issue with intra-abdominal abscess or infection. It’s a shame I can’t properly share the hand gestures that went along with this.  This did not calm me to say the least.  So off to get a CT scan just to be sure.

Another doctor (of radiology)  came and spoke with us about what was going to take place if in fact there was an abscess.  It did not sound pleasant.  So indeed there was an abscess and they threaded a tube from the middle of Ben’s left butt cheek all the way through to the abscess and attached a bag to the tube to catch the infection as it was drawn out.  That was Friday afternoon.  This is Monday morning.  There is still stuff coming out of him and into the drainage bag.  He’s been given large amounts of intravenous antibiotics as well as by mouth.  And he still ran a little fever yesterday.  We were to go back to radiology at 7:00 am for a CT scan to see how it looks and if they can pull the drain.  Personally the way things are going, I doubt it.  Since it is now 7:47 and we are still waiting.

I guess I don’t understand inefficiency.  I went to the nurses desk to find out if it was okay for him to eat since they had just brought breakfast.  Nope.  He shouldn’t eat.  Well when might we expect radiology to pick him up?  No telling.  They probably have 10 or more people scheduled for 7 am. Reaaallly?  That many huh? Well how about you ring them and see what the ETA is?  Oh sure I can do that.  Well then let’s.  Five minutes later his nurse for the day comes in and says “sure he can eat”.  Are you really sure?  Yes.  Because I heard he couldn’t.  No, he can.  Okey dokey. The nurse at the desk who was looking at his chart said no.  Not that he is likely to eat but I was trying to make a not so subtle point that no one seems to be on the same page this morning.  And of course his doctor left for vacation today.  But his partner can handle this.  No problem.  We’ll see about that.  He’s the partner I talked to in an after office phone call who told me not to worry about a 100 degree temp 7 days after surgery.  I am pretty sure, looking back, it was worrisome.  I am trying really hard to be reasonable.  Ben, who normally has me check my reaction time lost his cool last yesterday when he called the 4th time for his nurse and supposedly/evidently she didn’t get the messages.  Things went a lot better after that – for that shift anyway.

His nurse just reappeared with news that radiology is waiting on the Dr to arrive so IF the drain can be removed it can be done shortly after the CT.

UPDATE 8/25/14: We did in fact go home that Monday afternoon.  The drain was removed and Benjamin was sent home with antibiotics and instructions to call if his fever returned.  Yeah, like that worked before.  Then this past week we have been battling some more tummy issues.  Seemingly gallbladder related – which is what I suspected on the initial ER visit.  But ultrasound showed nothing.  Prescribed Nexium once a day and we will wing it until something else shows up.


Farm Fresh From Vermont

Update: The goal was met and Swan&Stone are headed to NYC!!! Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!!

If you have ever visited my blog you know my love of all things Vermont. Vermont is my happy place. Anytime I get the opportunity to share it, I take that opportunity. And I take it seriously. I have something really special to share today.


It’s not often you see the word millinery. I found Swan&Stone a couple of years back when they were Little Hill Woolworks and bought a hat right then and there!

Collaborators Samantha Stone and Nora Swan, both former New Yorkers, are the brains, hearts and hands behind Swan&Stone. Both have contributed fascinating halves that make the whole of all that is now a thriving millinery housed in The Granary in quintessential, bucolic Brandon, Vermont.

IMG_6372 (2)

Robbin, my oldest and dearest friend, and I were treated to a personal tour of Swan&Stone when we were in Brandon last October. Yes, Vermont in October. Heaven on Earth! Our tour guide was Kelly, whom I met through the wonderful world wide web when we were both in business – she owned a handcrafted lollipop business and I owned Dahlem’s Soapworks. I don’t remember exactly how we met, but it was meant to be. Kelly is an amazing mom and friend AND an extraordinary photographer. I have given her credit on the photos that belong to her – though you could probably tell already – they are amazing.


Stepping into Swan&Stone is a feast for the eyes for anyone – but for a couple of women who love Vermont, LOVE handcrafted, LOVE sustainable products, LOVE locavore culture, LOVE farms and sheep and hats…well our breaths were taken away! We tried on hats, admired and admonished our choices, and had an amazing and educational visit with Samantha. I am kicking myself for not purchasing my favorite of the day – a felt beauty that was a little steampunk, a little country with lot of attitude – you know, like me! LOL! The trim on it was bits & bobs of metal found after Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on beautiful Brandon back in August of 2011.

There are numerous articles written about Swan&Stone online and I will give you links at the end of this post. But the words that are their own are the best. What interesting women, business owners, and artisans. I have to admit, I will never look at hats the same. I say all the time: I wish people still wore hats. WELL, people do! Bold people. Confident people. People who don’t bend and give to the latest fashion trend. That’s what I love about Sam & Nora’s creations – they are timeless. Beautiful, extraordinary, handmade hats for now and forever.


wooden hat blocks


one of a kind hats for men

IMG_6384 (2)

hats waiting for embellishments

Dump 1-1-14 016

LOVE the blue!!

1238936_10202224198471397_6562650_n(from STRUT 2013) photo credit: Kelly McCullough


photo credit: Kelly McCullough

there’s something for everyone!

felt hats, straw hats, fascinators, kids’ hats, hats for brides

These are literally farm to head hats!


photo credit: Kelly McCullough


photo credit: Kelly McCullough


photo credit: Kelly McCullough (I need this one framed)

Now Samantha and Nora have a once in a lifetime chance to show their hats to the world! After a rigorous jury process they have been invited to show and sell their hats at the 2014 Grand Central Holiday Fair! Yes! THAT Grand Central – in New York City! There is a little bump in the road, a catch if you will – the $16K entrance fee. But you know what? This is very doable – and you, me, we can help them meet that challenge head on (no pun intended) and become the famous milliners they are destined to be. I believe in what Swan& Stone is doing. Grass to market isn’t just about food anymore. Every product that is made from sustainable goods should be readily available to consumers who care about that very important factor in producing goods & services. Fine hats should be no exception. So please visit their KickStarter page and contribute.

Every little bit will help them realize their dream.  AND you too can own an original Swan&Stone creation with your contribution.


Please do you and me both a favor and follow the link, visit Swan&Stone’s Kickstarter Page and help this woman owned and operated business show in NYC! You know what they say: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And Samantha and Nora deserve this opportunity – they have worked so hard and offer beautiful handcrafted hats that anyone would love.

Be sure and watch the video on your visit to their kickstarter page. There is also an easy “go to” link in the right column – check it out!

You can read more about Swan&Stone here:

You can also follow them on twitter @ and find them on Face book @


With warmest regards,