Friday, March 25, 2016


George M Markham, Maranda Stone & family. My grandfather, Charles Robert Markham is the boy in the front row on the left. Lee County, Virginia, c1886.

Friday, March 18, 2016


This Saint Patrick's Day cake is rich, dark, and oh so chocolaty! The Guinness keeps the cake moist and gives it a tangy, creaminess. Cut the cake into 9 squares and you will not feel so quilty about having this rich and delicious treat. You can also bake the cake in a 10-inch round springform or regular cake pan. Another version of a Blonde in a Black Dress!

1 cup unsalted butter
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup Guinness (dark Irish beer)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 T pure vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ t sea salt
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder

Butter a 10-inch square cake pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and semi-sweet chocolate over medium heat until melted, stirring a couple of times.
Remove from heat and stir in the Guinness and then whisk in the sifted cocoa powder.

In a large bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk, and salt using an electric mixer.
Slowly pour in the Guinness mixture and continue to beat.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
Slowly pour in the flour mixture and beat until well combined.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake in oven for 40 minutes.

Let cool before frosting the cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 t vanilla extract

In a bowl using a hand held mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until combined.  Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.
Add the vanilla and beat another few seconds.

Frost the cake and it can be lightly covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to cut into 9 slices and serve.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


My last summer of camp was when I was 12 years old. My mom packed a bag of Fig Newtons in my suitcase. I really didn't like them but I loved the movie "The Parent Trap" with Haley Mills. She shared her Fig Newtons with her fellow campers, so I wanted to be like her character in the movie. This recipe does not taste like the old figs I remember and is a delicious way to serve fresh figs. There are a lot of recipes out there with the combination of figs, honey, and cheese. I infused the honey with thyme leaves and lemon zest. I think you will enjoy this for a healthy light lunch or breakfast.

4 slices whole grain bread
2 t unsalted butter
4 oz Gorgonzola or blue cheese, softened
¼ cup raw unfiltered honey
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
Zest of ½ lemon
3 Brown Turkey figs, stems removed and thinly sliced

In a skillet or griddle, melt butter and toast the bread until golden on both sides.
Spread the Gorgonzola cheese evenly on all 4 slices of toasted bread.
Pour honey into a small saucepan or bowl and heat slightly.
Add thyme leaves and lemon zest.
Arrange figs on each slice of bread.

Drizzle with honey and serve.