Holiday Dinner

We may have not been raised to attend religious services often or at all in my youth, but this never stopped my Mother from making a terrific holiday dinner. Dad brought home ta Ham or Turkey for the day’s celebration from the market in which he worked. Luckily he got the day off to celebrate.

Time off of work was hard to come by in his profession, the last thing he wanted to do was to spend the morning on a church pew. He would much rather be catching up on chores around the house and getting his collection of fishing gear ready for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile my Mother was busy preparing the families favorites. She usually began a few days ahead. What I remember most wasn’t the baked ham along with all of the fixings but what she called “Bunny Bread”. Rarely have I seen her open her copy of Fanny Farmers’ cookbook to double check measurements and directions, somehow she just knew.

Today I find myself recalling these orange scented yeast breads, and have tried a few times to make them for my crew. Never with quite the same results. Perhaps I’m just a bit too nostalgic for high altitude baking. In any case, I have found a recipe that’s pretty close I thought I would share below.

Time to get myself to the market, cut the flowers, set the table and get in the kitchen. Funny, how our fondest memories are focused around sharing time with family, friends and the smells from the kitchen.

Happy Easter.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, salt, lemon peel and orange peel in large mixer bowl.  Heat butter and milk until very warm (120° to 130°F). Gradually stir into flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs, vanilla and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover; let rise on floured surface for 10 minutes.

 Then form rolls in a simple twist. Cover; let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

 Bake bread in a 350° F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until surface of the bread is golden brown.

To make Glaze, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring mixture to a boil, maintaining a full boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool until thickened. Spoon glaze generously over bread.

Home Comforts

The study of bees

The study of bees

Back…. Way back: I learned a lesson from my Mother and Father. It was to care for ones belongings. In this day of furniture with an expiration dates due to poor quality of home designed items, I found it necessary for refresher course on caring for a wood collection of well designed furniture in an organic and natural way. 

Immediately, what comes to mind is a piece of furniture from my youth that my parents had positioned stately near our front door. A roll top Scandinavian designed desk.  A great place for keys, hiding mail, and unloading our daily pockets. Mind you, my bother and I were never to take advantage of its many drawers, mechanics, and storage possibilities for our childlike collections, for this was a cherished piece of importance in my parent’s eyes. It’s location and structure I will remember forever. 

I was always intrigued by the way the solid bowed curved door came to a close as well as all of the secret compartments that held mementos, movie tickets, photos and postal stamps. Along with a few miscellaneous keys, to this day I have no idea what they unlocked. 

Hard at work

Hard at work

The color was a blondish Teak Wood, complete with a beautiful grain that ran through all of the drawers with decorative minimalistic carvings. --- Getting off the beaten path here with all of my reminiscing, we had to care for this piece with it seasonal cleaning, maintaining and polishing.  Oh, how I dreaded those days when my Mother would say “Cleaning Day” for I would much rather spend my time out of doors exploring and challenging my youth with all of death defying feats I could dream up. 

She wins as always. And so we begin the process, not scheduled, but any time it was needed in her eyes. Understanding the process of mechanics and engineering behind the products today they knew how to properly care for their belongings, a process many people write about today. I now realize how my parents were before their time or I perhaps I wasn’t listening at the time… I prefer the prior. 

In any case, we always started this ritual the same way. Clean with soapy water, dry, finishing with turpentine, today we call it terpeniod combined with linseed oil. The mix was one part terpeniod, with two parts oil. More or less depending on sun damage, watermarks, wear or tear or the like. 

A study in watercolor and gauche    

A study in watercolor and gauche


After a day of drying and care, it was time to buff and wax. My mother somehow concocted a mix of bees’ wax and essential oils that smelled a bit like herb garden at the time. I’m not sure how she came up with the mix today. It must have been something passed on by her family. 

Today, I use a concoction made by my friend William Varney, and organic gardener that knows just about everything for gardening, cooking, entertaining to just giving great advise concerning the home. In our talks, I was thrilled he knew exactly what I was speaking of not only for the preservation and care of items but the renewals of sprit that my parents had instilled within me for the care of home.  He has come up with a signature paste wax of pure bees wax, scented with lemongrass and sage. Described in one word, heaven. If you have a chore as big as this, it might as well be enjoyable.

William Varney's love: An organic lifestyle. Jump with a click of his logo to learn more

William Varney's love: An organic lifestyle. Jump with a click of his logo to learn more

A must have for the new homeowner as well as the old. Jump with a click to learn more. 

A must have for the new homeowner as well as the old. Jump with a click to learn more. 


What initially brought my attention to this subject; yes, quite boring to some; of polishing and caring for wooden items of furniture was a snippet of an article I had found in country living UK. “Something to Make” scented wax polish, gifts from the garden by Deborah Robertson. Along with a few pages torn out of a 2010 Martha Stewart magazine entitled “Furniture First Aid” and my personal copy of a book everyone should have, as a go to for the care of everything “home” entitled Home comforts, the Art and Science of Keeping a Home by Cheryl Mendelsom published 1999.  A great reference for the care and joys of home care.  Today, You’ll find me in the midst of late summer tasks thanks to William and all of the mentioned above, including my parents… 

To my parents, thanks for keeping me indoors for a few moments to learn a lesson or two and for never letting me know where the keys were kept for that desk…