High School Seniors, Here’s My Shoulder. Have a Big, Ugly Cry.

Dear Class of 2020: I’m writing today because sometimes when terrible things happen, it’s important to stop, and count the cost, and just cry. Of course, having the next few months of your life popped like a soap bubble is nothing compared to the tens of thousands of people who have lost their lives. ButContinue reading “High School Seniors, Here’s My Shoulder. Have a Big, Ugly Cry.”

Harvest Vegetable Soup

In times of struggle, anxiety, illness, there is no better balm than soup. It is literally a healing food. It’s also a comfort. It’s unfussy. It can be made quickly, easily, cheaply. This soup, in particular, lends itself to adaptation. Toss in a little of this. Add a little of that. Which makes it well-suitedContinue reading “Harvest Vegetable Soup”

To Connect is Human

Two weeks ago, I was in a retirement community in Eastern North Carolina, celebrating the long life of my mother-in-law. After a lovely funeral Mass, the family lined up to hear the kind words of those who knew her. We were instructed not to shake hands or hug. We could lean in, bump elbows, smile.Continue reading “To Connect is Human”

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

We’re not big dessert eaters at our house. Maybe some ice cream or good chocolate. A lot of muffins get made and devoured. But if there’s cake in the oven, there’s a good chance a celebration will be following. My youngest asked for carrot cake for her birthday last fall. When my February birthday winkedContinue reading “Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

Finding My Path

Six years ago next month,my first newspaper feature in more than a decade was printed in The Roanoke Times. That story marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one where I would attempt to add a career in writing to the swirl of raising three kids and eating local food and volunteering in my community. I’dContinue reading “Finding My Path”

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread

My husband is the bread baker in our home. On a good week, he makes two to three loaves (we do feed a teenage boy, after all) that become breakfast toast, lunch sandwiches, afternoon snacks, dinner sides, and even, on occasion, dessert. (As in, “I’m still hungry. Is there anything else to eat?” “Oh yes,Continue reading “Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread”

Basic Bone Broth

Bone broth became a health craze several years ago. But it’s one of those foods that has been around for eons. It was once simply the way soups and sauces were begun — with a nutrient-dense liquid made at home from what was left of another meal. Now it’s touted as a cure-all to beContinue reading “Basic Bone Broth”

How to Find Local Food

Buying local can connect you with healthier food that is good for the environment and your community. It takes a bit of retraining — like forming any good habit. But the rewards are delicious fruits, vegetables and proteins at the peak of their flavor. Below, find a few resources to get you started. Once youContinue reading “How to Find Local Food”

Balancing Act

I remember hearing about “the golden mean” as a child. It must have been explained to me then that this philosophy of Socrates and Plato, of Aristotle and Confucius and Aquinas, was a basic truth I should strive to follow. It basically says that the path to perfection is carved between two extremes. The MiddleContinue reading “Balancing Act”

Free Floating

I am standing in a warm, salt-smelling room. It’s dark; what little light there is casts a surreal rosy glow. In front of me sits a giant plastic pod, the shape of an avocado. Its mouth is open. Its tongue is 12 inches of tepid water. That’s where I’m planning to spend the next ninetyContinue reading “Free Floating”