Spring Has Sprung Series: Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis, to honor mothers and motherhood.  Congress officially designated the second Sunday of May as a holiday in 1914.  Today, the occasion is celebrated in more than 150 countries. 

Celebrate your mother this year with personal touches such as a simple but colorful flower arrangement, a homemade brunch, a beautiful luncheon, or dinner on the patio.  I know my  mother was touched when my husband and I hosted her and my father for dinner and took the time to have a tablescape with fresh flower arrangements.  If you have children make sure they participate in making the special meal and decorating the table with homemade cards.

Chicken Salad: Serves 6







  • 7 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (2 rotisserie chicken breast to save time)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups of light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried dill
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon  lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 large lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 6 1/2 inch thick slices of tomato
  • 1 cup peeled, halved, and sliced cucumber

In a large bowl, combine chicken and celery.  In a medium bowl combine mayonnaise, dill, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and sugar. Pour over chicken mixture, stirring well to coat.  Place a lettuce leaf on plates and top each with a slice of tomato.  Spoon chicken salad onto tomato and surround it with cumber slices.  Garnish with dill and fresh pepper.  Serve with slices of rosemary focaccia bread.

Spring Has Sprung Series: Kentucky Derby Party

More than likely you will be watching some or part of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.  So why not enjoy it with friends and pour some mint juleps?  A small wager on your favorite horse will make the race more exciting.  Don’t forget the bourbon, whether for another drink or combined with chocolate for delicious bourbon balls.  Combining chocolate and pecans in a dessert is another Kentucky Derby tradition such as chocolate cupcakes topped with pecans or chocolate pecan pie.   You can make it as casual or as fun and festive as you want with hats, horse cutouts to top the food, and boot cutouts for place cards. 

Mint Julep: Serves 8









  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 quart bourbon

In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine water, sugar, and chopped mint; bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, and cool for about an hour.  Pour syrup through a strainer over a bowl, discard solids. 

Fill 8 cups or frozen goblets with crushed iced; pour 4 ounces of bourbon and 1/4 cup syrup into each.  Top each with a mint spring and a straw.

Spring Has Sprung Series: Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  While it is a regional holiday in Mexico, it is a festive holiday in the States where family and friends come together with colorful and flavorful food, music, and dancing.  One of my favorite dishes is Rib-eye Fajitas on the Grill with chips and salsa and a good margarita.  To make it more festive add some sombreros and a pinata. 

Rib-eye Fajitas on the Grill

Ingredients: Makes 8 to 12

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (1 1/2 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oilve oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of red wine vinegar
  • 5 lbs boneless rib-eye steaks
  • 1 poblano chile
  • 4 Anaheim chiles
  • 8 bell peppers (2 green, 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • Sour cream, for accompaniment
  • Guacamole, for accompaniment

In a bowl combine soy sauce, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and red wine vinegar.  Put the steaks in a large plastic bag or container and pour the marinade over them.  Refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.  Preheat grill and oven to 250.  Grill chiles and bell peppers whole until they blister and brown, turning with thongs every few minutes to ensure they roast on all sides; remove from the heat.  Remove core and seeds, slice them into strips and sprinkle with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Wrap them in foil, and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.  Wrap the tortillas in foil and put in the oven to warm.  Grill steaks about 5 minutes per side for steaks.  Slice steaks thinly; arrange on platter with the grilled veggies, guacamole and sour cream.  Serve with black beans, Tex Mex rice, and chips and salsa.