Tuning Up: Jolene

This is the first in a series of post centered on music I’ll be exploring with my voice students. Today’s pick is the classic Dolly Parton song, Jolene.

The song, which has been named one of Rolling Stone Magazine‘s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” was  released by Parton in 1973.

Here’s the queen singing it…

I’ve always loved the heart ache and haunting melody of the song, so I approached my older voice students to see if they might want to add it to their repertoire. They loved it. The girls and I universally agreed that we would not “beg” anybody to not take our man — if he was fool enough to cheat on us, he’d better be the one doing the begging! (And good luck with that.)

Here’s a version with my student Bailey and I covering the song…

Hope I’ve got your toes tapping now. And I hope you like this new musical feature.

Comments welcome.

“Muffin” Monday Peach Lavender Zucchini



If you haven’t guessed by now… I like to bake with what is on hand. And right now… the gardens of Maryland are bursting with Zucchini. Although my particular Zuke plants have been stubbornly unyeilding, my nephew John gifted me a zucchini the size of a small child.  I scooped out the seeds, sliced it up and put it through the food processor.  I got enough grated Zucchini for this recipe, a bonus batch (Dark Chocolate Chip Z. Bread) and some rather yummy Zucchini and sausage soup. So don’t throw out those over sized Zukes.

2 cups Sugar
4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 Eggs
1 cup Oil
3 teaspoons Vanilla
1 teaspoon finely chopped lavender plus 1 teaspoon sugar

crushed Rosemary
1 cup very ripe peaches, chopped
3 cups Zucchini, grated

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and prep 8 small loaf pans with baking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine the Sugar, Flour, Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Pumpkin Pie Spice.
3. In a smaller bowl beat the Eggs. Add the Oil and Vanilla.
4. Gently fold in the Lavender/Sugar  then add the Peaches.
5. Add the liquid to the dry and mix.
6. Add the Zucchini and mix.
7. Divide batter evenly into the loaf pans.
8. Bake for about an hour or until the loaves pass the toothpick test.
9. Let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy.

final shot


BONUS RECIPE: For the Dark Chocolate Chip Z. Bread… replace the peaches and Lavender with one bag of Dark Chocolate Chips. (Yes, I am that clever.)

Both Zucchini Bread variants were well received. I think the Lavender scared a few people off, and I got more requests for the Dark Choc. Chip. But really, both the peach and the lavender melted into the batter and were barely detectable after everything was baked. the same with the zucchini (It probably helped that I used the fine whole side of the grater blade.)  Both these recipes were delicious. The Chocolate had a bit more flavor, the Peach Rosemary was for more refined tastes. The house smelled AMAZING through out the entire process.


Muffin “Monday”: Zucchini Cherry

Zuke Cherry plated

Yeah, so I’m LATE again in posting my Muffin Monday post. And, yeah, this isn’t technically a muffin. But if once you (make and) taste this awesome Zucchini Cherry loaf you will totally forgive me.


  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 4 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (you can use Cinnamon if you don’t have Pumpkin Pie Spice)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Oil
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 3 cups Zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup Cherries, chopped and pitted.



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep 6 mini loaf pans (this recipe also make 24 med. muffins.)

2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.

3. In a small bowl crack the Eggs and slightly beat them. Add the Oil and Vanilla.

4. Combine the wet with the dry and stir until well mixed. The batter will be on the thick side.

5. Add the Zucchini and Cherries. (This will moisten up the batter considerably.)

Zuke Cherry Batter

6. Divide evenly into the mini loaf pans.

7. Bake for about 1 hour (for mini loaves) or 40 minutes (muffins).

8. Use the toothpick test to judge if the loaves / muffins are done. (I prefer a drier Zucchini bread.)

Zuke Cherry baked

9. Let cool and enjoy.


Not only do these baked goods taste awesome, but they travel well and are perfect for shipping out to loved ones needing a little TLC from home. The fact that they use up 3 cups of grated Zuke is a total bonus. They are perfect for the squash you’ve left on the vine a bit too long. You know the one’s I’m talking about… the one’s that are roughly the size of small dog?

I’m waiting to get my reviews in from those darlings who received a package from me this week. But I’m confident these Loaves / Muffins will receive two, crumb covered, thumbs up.




All You Need Is Love


Summer Writer’s Blog: REVEAL — Becky’s thoughts on LOVE

Originally posted on A Side of Rice:

One of my former co-workers has two blogs she updates regularly. I’m such a slacker, with only two blogs that I update when something crazy happens in my life, or if I bake a treat.

June 1st, she issued a 30-day writing challenge. Being the non-procrastinating type that I am, I jumped right on the challenge. On July 1.  But at that point, Rita was only on challenge number 26 herself — seems we both have a little procrastinator in us.

The theme for July 1 is LOVE. So here’s what the theme inspired me to write about…


I only thought about the past week using the words ‘baseball’, ‘vacation’, and ‘work’. But I was decidedly wrong about that. My week was about love.

First it was the love of baseball. My oldest son Alex’s baseball team has been fundraising and preparing for the ultimate…

View original 678 more words

Summer Writer’s Challenge: Day 31

Beautiful tropical beach with the word summer written on the san

Well you’ve done it. You’ve made it to the end. This is the last day for the Summer Writer’s / Creative Challenge. I’ll still be taking submission for another month (indeed I know some of you have not shared your work because you didn’t want to reveal until you finished your story, but now you can take your time and wrap things up.)


Today’s prompt is: FINALE.


Firework Finale

Firework Finale (Photo credit: Chris_J)


Summer Writer’s Challenge: Day 30

Beautiful tropical beach with the word summer written on the san

It is the penultimate day of the Summer Writer’s Challenge, so if you were thinking to yourself…”Dear God when is this going to be over already!” Fear not, just one more day to go! So hang in there and be creative.

For today’s prompt I take my clue from time spent with my nieces over the weekend…. Today’s prompt is SWEET.

Nothing sweeter than game time with my nieces. I surprised them with a homemade "Frozen" inspired version of the board game Clue.

Nothing sweeter than game time with my nieces. I surprised them with a homemade “Frozen” inspired version of the board game Clue.


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