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Writing, Gardening, & Cooking

I'm still not sure if I'm a writer who cooks and gardens, a gardener who writes and cooks, or

Quill Pen

some other combination of those seemingly disparate yet similar at their core activities.

Of the three, I've been a writer longer than I've been poking seeds into the ground or exploding glass baking dishes and turkeys (a story for another time). I started writing stories (not necessarily good ones, mind you) when I was about ten or twelve. I didn't really get into cooking until my early twenties and, shortly thereafter, planted my first herb and veggie garden.

Over time, it has occurred to me that as different as they are, they all share one big similarity. Taking a jumble of 'nothing' and turning it into 'something'.

Vegetable Garden

Seeds, dirt, water, light. Herbs and spices, meat/veggies/legumes and fat/liquid. Thoughts, ideas, and words. Massage them carefully, mix appropriately and...viola!

And leftovers, be they the remains of a meal, seeds dried and saved from last year's plantings, or snippets and characters that didn't make

Stock Simmering

the final cut in a book, all can be used to make yet something else, an extension of the original thought or plan.

Pretty freaking cool, no matter how you look at it.

I'll be starting my next novel after the holidays. This next one will be a cozy mystery set in a (fictitious-ish, yes, that's a word) town just north of Boston on a small peninsula populated by an eclectic assortment of artisans, summer folks, and the usual interesting personalities that

Flea Market

tend to crop up in my books. Simultaneous with that, I'll be working with my editor on A Parade in Every Town, a novel set at the Sun Market and Trailer Park, and starting the process of driving the cover artist crazy regarding Parade, as well as talking about illustrations for a kid book I'm planning on releasing next fall.

Busy, busy, all around.

When I hit a mental brick wall with writing (or editing, the bane of most writers' existence), I'll switch gears and decompress by starting a pot of stock or sauce, a loaf of bread, or sometimes reconfigure my little indoor greenhouses.

Everyone has their thing (or things) that are their happy place(s). What are yours?

Comments are open

A easy recipe for the holidays below.


Lemon Ricotta Cake (

Note: I've found a double batch works well for a small gathering


Lemon Ricotta Cake

- 3 tbsp butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan

- 5.5 tbsp sugar

- 1 egg

- 6 tbsp all-purpose flour

- 1 tsp baking powder

- pinch of salt

- 1/3 cup ricotta

- Zest of half a lemon

- 1/3 of a medium apple (about 1/3 cup), peeled and grated

- Powdered sugar, to dust the top with



- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 6" cake pan with some softened butter. You can also greased fitted parchment paper. (Same pan works for a double batch as well; cake does not rise a lot).

- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together. When combined and creamy, add in the egg and mix to combine.

- Pour in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir everything together.

- Add in the ricotta, lemon zest, and grated apple and stir to combine - no clumps!

- Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.

- Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cake is beginning to golden on top and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.

- Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before flipping out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

- Dust the top with powdered sugar.

Optional: Top with your choice of berries

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1 Comment

Dec 03, 2023

What a great analogy… the recipe is not bad either…Think of me when you’re ready to have the trailer park book read and reviewed! Happy writing!!!

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