Let’s celebrate National Family Day tommorow, September 26th!

Tomorrow is National Family Day…I’m in…are you?  One of the main intentions of the folks who have been instrumental in promoting this day want people to eat dinner with their family more often.    So, of course this is something that I am behind 100%.

I know that it’s hard…too many different schedules, too many activities…but if you realized how much it means to your children’s future, really more than soccer practice or ballet, would you make more time to have dinner with your family?  I’m betting you would.

Many studies have found that families that eat together on a regular basis (3 to 5 times a week) are healthier, both physically and mentally.  Of course, your children grow up with better nutrition and better table manners, but did you know that by having a regular dinner together your children will make better choices in life regarding friends, drugs and alcohol?  They will also have higher grades in school which leads to better careers and therefore a better future.

Why?  Well, it’s pretty simple.  When a family has dinner together you talk and listen to your children.  You get to hear their views and they get to listen to yours…not in a “let’s sit down and have a talk” session that both you and your children dread, but on a consistent, friendly basis.  When difficult topics come up in the natural course of conversation, it’s an easy way to guide your children to make good choices rather than to lecture them on that same topic.

It’s also a great idea to get your children involved in making the dinner with you.  If they are involved, it will be easier to teach them that a variety of foods are tasty…they will learn from you.  There is always something even little children can do to help.  The more involved they are, the more you can teach them about the importance of good nutrition and respect for the food that we eat.  Who knows, you might just have a budding chef in the family!

The dinner table is a very special place; we can relate to one another, not via cell phone or text messaging, or e-mail.  We can talk, share, laugh, argue, but we’re being heard in a face to face way that can’t be duplicated as a family anywhere else but at the dinner table.

I would love for more families to eat together every night, but if that’s just not possible, please start a tradition of eating together on Sunday…let’s all return to Sunday Supper!




Congratulations to the winners of CBS Chicago’s Blogger Contest!

I want to congratulate all of the winners of the 2011 CBS Chicago’s Blogger Contest!  Even though Return to Sunday Supper was not among the winners, I truly felt like one.  Really, to be in the same group with so many wonderful bloggers was a dream itself!

I sincerely believe it was an honor to be nominated, and all of the wonderful, positive support that I received in the last few weeks has been so uplifting and meaningful. I know that you believe in the message of Return to Sunday Supper, and that means more than you know.

Thanks again to all of the folks who were voting for me and supporting my effort.

Cheers to all of the winners!

Thank you, thank you!!!

I would like to show my gratitude to all of you who have been so supportive of my nomination for the CBS Chicago Blogger Contest.  I have received so many wonderful comments and e-mails from you that have really touched my heart.  Thank you!  I really appreciate that so many of you are behind my message that families and “families of friends” need to eat together more often for so many positive reasons.  So, whatever the outcome is on Sunday, please know that I thank you for your support and your votes!

Another “thank you” goes to Paula from California, who was the high bidder for the lovely, fine art prints by Jeff Kauck, that I auctioned to benefit,  A Fund for Jennie.  Enjoy them Paula,  and know that you made a wonderful contribution to this event!

These bouquets are for all of you!!!  Thank you,  again!

Roasted figs with honey, rosemary, goat cheese on grilled bread recipe – Easy, and children love them!

This week, Dana and I had great fun assisting my husband Jeff, who was taking photos for the upcoming Patricia Wells cookbook.  We were lucky enough to shoot in the Vaucluse region of Provence.

It was a lovely time between the fading of summer and the awakening of autumn.  The days were bright and warm; the nights pleasant and cool…the harvesting of the vineyards laden with their heavy burden had just begun.

We were told that it has been a good year for figs, a bumper crop.  We brushed past a large, fragrant fig tree every time we entered or left our bastide.  When we opened our French doors and looked out toward the summit of Les Dentelles we could see sunlit fields and beyond the hives that were home to “les abeilles,” the bees.

This visit inspired the next recipe that resonates with the flavors of Provence…figs, honey, rosemary, freshly baked bread and goat cheese.

It’s such a fun and easy recipe to make for your family and friends for Sunday Supper.  I like to serve figs two ways for this appetizer.  Fresh, with a bit of prosciutto and roasted with with fresh goat cheese on grilled bread.

This recipe is a great way to introduce children to a food that perhaps they’ve not tried before.  I’m betting that your children will go back for seconds, if not thirds.  My husband would eat the whole bowl if I’d let him.


Roasted figs with honey, rosemary and goat cheese on grilled bread

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Fast, easy fig appetizer that everyone will love.


1 pint figs (about 8 or 9)
3 tablespoons good quality honey (in this recipe I used honey from Sardinia from Liccu Manias)
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary (about 2 sprigs, removed from stem)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 ounces goat cheese
1 French baguette, sliced and grilled (you can brush with olive oil, if you like)


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and dry figs, cut them into quarters and place into an ovenproof dish.

Drizzle them with the honey and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and a baked for 10 to 15 minutes till they are bubbling and a bit brown (see last picture).

You could prepare individual servings yourself, or serve them on a tray with the goat cheese, grilled bread, walnuts and arugula as shown and let your guests serve themselves.


Bon Appetit!!

Touring Tennessee – Marinated Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad Recipe

We drove down south to Tennessee for Jeff’s birthday.  It was just a short getaway, but well worth it!   You see, instead of gifts that are put in the closet and sometimes forgotten or perhaps returned, we like to make memories on special occasions.

It’s the little things that we remember the most.  The morning walks along the stream and in the woods, afternoon at the boathouse, the evening enjoying dinner.  Oh yes, the meal memories…don’t you think that they are really some of the best and most important?  The time when we focus on good food and better conversation.  The meal times that re-establish the connection that we have with each other.

We spent a couple of days on a farm.  I loved gently waking up to the cocks crowing instead of a jarring alarm clock.  Our cabin was tucked away in verdant, shady woods, which was soothing because it was extremely hot.  I thought that is was supposed to be cooler in the mountains…I found out that “cooler” can be relative when the whole country hovers at above average temperatures.  But it smelled so green, overwhelmingly green!

This trip has me thinking about having a bigger garden soon.  I was inspired by the garden at the farm, filled with heirloom tomatoes, vegetables, and fruit.  The grazing sheep inspired me too….but I don’t think that a flock will be in my future any time soon.  But it’s a wonderful experience to see firsthand the farm to table movement.

My Aunt Mary always had a huge garden.  She was way ahead of her time…her garden was totally organic and her compost pile was immense.  I would visit her in August and watch her can and bake daily.  She would send me home with armloads of fresh and canned veggies. You will be enjoying some of her recipes in future posts.  I’m glad to share them with you because her reputation as a cook was known far and wide.

I know that many of you don’t have the chance to experience a farm, so I hope that you enjoy the images that we took on our journey and I hope that you enjoy Aunt Mary’s recipe for marinated cucumber, onion and tomato salad…so fresh and delicious this time of year.  If you have a garden, you might just have what Aunt Mary called the “fixins” for this salad right now.


Marinated Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Recipe

Yield: 4 Servings

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Quick, refreshing summer salad.


1 English cucumber, sliced thin
1 Sweet onion, sliced thin, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
4 Medium tomatoes, sliced


1/4 cup simple syrup
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Lots of freshly ground pepper

Simple syrup

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar


When I make this, I like to marinate the cucumber and onion, but I don't marinate the tomato, because I like the contrast, but feel free to marinate the tomato also, if you would like.

Thinly slice the cucumber and onion and put into medium bowl.

Whisk the simple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a separate bowl.

Pour the marinade mixture over the cucumber and onion and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Assemble salad in layers as shown. You may do 2 layers instead of 3, if you prefer.