No Rest …



All set for the weekend?

I’m a writer.  I usually work on Saturdays and Sundays. But I do take time off. If I want my creative well so stay full and work properly, relaxing and getting away from the job are must-do’s.

Which is why I have scheduled several weekend play dates–one with my husband and one with a girlfriend.

Don’t forget to do the same.

Until next time, and have a rollicking fun weekend,


Connect with me on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter:
Stop by my website:
Sign up for my newsletter:

New (Actually Old) Recipe

tea cake

Mrs. Lawrence’s Scrumptious English Tea Cake

Around Christmas, I was listening to NPR’s Found Recipes program. Love that series! The story I heard intrigued me so much that I headed for the website to download the recipe for Mrs. Lawrence’s English Tea Cake.

I’ll be honest here. As I made it, I had my doubts. Could this unusual recipe possibly be as tasty as the woman in the story claimed it was?

As soon as it was ready, I tested it on my husband and sampled some myself. The unanimous conclusion: delicious!

This cake takes a little time–it contains yeast and needs to rise twice–but otherwise, it’s easy to put together, and well worth the time and effort.

Note: I tinkered with the instructions a bit to make them more clear. Also, italicized notes and information in the parentheses are mine.

Mrs. Lawrence’s English Tea Cake

For the Cake

1/3 cup melted butter, cooled
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 egg, at room temperature
1 yeast cake, or 1 package of dry yeast
1/2 cup water, at 110 to 115 degrees
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons citron (I had to look up citron: a citron is a large, fragrant citrus fruit known for its aromatic smell and flavorful peel. I also had to ask someone at the grocery store to help me find the stuff-comes in a container and I doubt it ever goes bad.)
3 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose flour and had no problems)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

For the filling
Note: Double this!!
1/4 pound butter (1 stick), very soft
1 cup powdered sugar
A dash of vanilla

Stir softened butter, powdered sugar and vanilla together until it reaches a spreading consistency. (I waited to make this until the cake was cooling, but you can make any time.) Set aside.

Making the cake:
(Note: You’ll need several bowls or containers for all the mixing and setting aside.)

Following directions on the package, dissolve yeast pack in warm water. Let sit 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix warm milk, raisins and citron  together. Set aside.

Sift together flour, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Mix melted butter, sugar, orange peel and egg together in a large  bowl. Make sure the butter has cooled so as not to cook the egg. Set aside.

Now it’s time to mix these things together! Add yeast mixture to sugar-butter mixture and stir to blend. Stir in flour mixture, a little at a time, until all is added.  (No kneading required at this point.) Let dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours.

Knead the dough with additional flour (up to 1/2 cup) for about 10 minutes. Dough will be very elastic and light. Divide in half and form two balls. Press dough into two 8-inch round pans and let rise again for 1 to 2 hours. (I only had 9″-round cake pans, which were too big, but they worked well enough. The end result isn’t as pretty as it could have been, but I like how it looks! See photo above.)

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Cool thoroughly, split each cake in half (I used a large, serrated knife and some patience) and spread with filling mixture. Store in the fridge in a plastic bag to keep it fresh. Before serving, wrap loaves in foil and reheat at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Mrs. Lawrence’s granddaughter, Laura

To hear the intriguing story that goes with this recipe, visit

Happy eating, and until next time,


Connect with me on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter:
Stop by my website:
Sign up for my newsletter:

Resoultions, Anyone?


Do you have resolutions for the new year? I used to… Now I make them whenever I feel the need.

I read somewhere that only 8% of people who make those resolutions follow through and stick to them. I’m not sure if that’s correct. Maybe the number is even lower.

If you’re interested in being part of the 8%, here are 10 tips from WikiHow (I have abbreviated them):

1. Realize that Is Just another day…
2. Pinpoint your most realistic resolutions…
3. Write them down…
4. Focus on one change at a time…
5. Use positive language…
6. Make change gradual…
7. Get support…
8. Review your progress…
9. Build on your resolutions…
10. Celebrate!…

For more info, visit .

Until next time,


Connect with me on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter:
Stop by my website:
Sign up for my newsletter:

Winter Solstice is almost here!



This year,  Winter Solstice, aka the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter, officially begins Sunday at 5:03 pm (not sure in which time zone).

At our house, well be ushering it in a day early, with a Winter Solstice party.  We do this to mark the return of longer days (which seem a little slow on the uptake, but they are coming).  I’m not exactly sure what year we started this tradition, but it’s been happening for close to a decade now.

crackle fire

Friends and family join us for a festive evening of food, drink, laughter and conversation around a crackling fire in the living room. If the living room gets too crowded, and it often does, there are other places to congregate–around the laden dining room table or in the kitchen or the family room or a hallway.

Everyone seems to enjoy this brief break from the Christmas frenzy, and we love the chance to catch up with people we haven’t seen in a while.

Thanks for letting me share one of our traditions, and take heart–the light is returning,


My Holiday Newsletter has gone out, but if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter and you’d like a copy of the latest one, complete with a delicious recipe for chocolate mint brownies, contact me through my website at  . I’ll send you a copy.

Connect with me on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter:
Stop by my website:
Sign up for my newsletter:

Happy Thanksgiving!

thnkgiv turkey

I am taking the week off to work on the current work-in-progress  and to get ready for Thanksgiving. Shopping, baking, getting the tables set and ready.

That’s right, tables. At our house, we host a big crowd of family, friends, and people who need a place to sit down and enjoy.

Even when life throws you a horrendous curve-ball, there is much to be grateful for. May you find something for which you can give thanks.

Until next time, and wishing you a thankful Thanksgiving,


Connect with me on my Facebook Author page
Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Roth
Stop by my website:


Be Still, My Brain… As if!


I envy those who spend endless hours in meditation. How do they do it?

My mind just won’t shut up.

That said, I wanted it to. Just for a while. Which is why, several years ago, I purchased an album of Tibetan monks chanting.

From an American perspective, this “music” isn’t melodic or harmonious, but it is pretty darned amazing.  For six months, every morning, after the gym and my shower, but before breakfast, I listened to pieces of a chant. I did this for 5-6 minutes, which was about as much as I could handle before my mind drifted away from the chant and went into its usual frenzied overdrive. And you know what? While I was still, I felt peaceful and centered. What a  wonderful way to start the day.

But then I stopped taking the time to listen.

Why? Because my modus operandi is, “Hurry up and get crackin’. There’s writing to be done!”

It’s been a good three years, and I’m craving that peace again. So… drum role (and Tibetan chimes): I’m going to get back into the routine of spending 5-6 minutes, listening to something that clears my mind and helps me get peaceful and centered. Yes, I know that I have tons of writing to do, and that we are heading into a frenzied time of year. That is exactly why I’m starting again now.

Until next time, and wishing you peace and centeredness,


Connect with me on my Facebook Author page
Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Roth
Stop by my website:

Scones: They do the body good.

You may recall that about a month ago, I made pumpkin puree from sugar pumpkins. The puree went into the freezer for later. The other day, I thawed some and made pumpkin scones.

Scones, baking in the oven

Scones, baking in the oven

They smelled great, and I couldn’t wait to taste one.

The finished product

The finished product

I wasn’t disappointed. These babies are buttery and flavorful.–all around delicious!

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Joy of Baking. com.

Pumpkin Scones

Makes 8 scones– I doubled the recipe and froze the extras for later.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/3 – 1/2 cup buttermilk (in doubling the recipe, I used 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup fresh or canned pure pumpkin (if using canned pumpkin make sure there are no spices or sugar added)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Egg Wash:
No need to double this– it was more than enough for my doubled recipe
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk or cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins and pecans, if using. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a table knife, cut circle in half, then cut each half into 4 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). If the triangles are too big, feel free to halve them. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg wash.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Or give in and have one hot from the oven! I did. 🙂

Until next time, and happy eating,


Connect with me on my Facebook Author page
Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Roth
Stop by my website:

The Care and Feeding of Yourself

12 steps for..

Good advice, yes?

The folks who put this list together left out one very important item, though: Forgive yourself. Or maybe they lumped “forgive yourself” under “be kind to yourself.” To my mind, the two are related, but separate.

Let’s talk about  forgiving ourselves. We all mess up. Heck, I sure do, sometimes several times in one day. Making mistakes is a big part of the human condition.

Some mistakes are bigger than others. Some can never be forgotten. But if we learn something from our missteps, then at least they have served some purpose.

Isn’t that what mistakes are all about-learning and growing so that we are able to forge ahead as slightly different, slightly wiser and more compassionate beings?

Something to think about…

Until next time, and wishing you self-forgiveness and self-love,


Connect with me on my Facebook Author page
Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Roth
Stop by my website:

Costumes, anyone?


So…. what are you wearing today? I’m talking Halloween costumes, of course. 🙂

At the gym this morning, one of the trainers dressed as Wonder Woman. I told her she looked adorable (she’s all of 5’2″ tall). “Adorable?” She frowned. “But I’m Wonder Woman!” So I said she looked fierce. She like that a lot better!

Have you ever worn a costume to work?

Years ago, when I was hired to work in the finance group at what is now Bank of America (armed with my brand new MBA), my boss told me that people dress up for Halloween, and to come to work in costume on my first day. Which just happened to be Halloween. So I did–dressed as a bum, in tattered clothes and a shapeless old hat. I put dried coffee grounds on my face so that I looked like I really need a shave.

Wouldn’t you know I was the ONLY one in costume. If that wasn’t enough, we had an all-department meeting that morning, where I was introduced as the next Whiz Kid on the block. I was really embarrassed, but everyone laughed and so did I.

Still smiling about that one.

Until next time,


Connect with me on my Facebook Author page
Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Roth
Stop by my website: