Snacking Cakes, Paper Planes, Painting Cans

Good morning, Troops. Yesterday I got to interview the legendary Deborah Madison about her upcoming memoir and the history of the vegetarian movement. One thing that surprised me: She is obviously a vegetable lover, but she’s not actually a vegetarian. (Her reply “That’s why I wrote the book!”) In other exciting news, I also scored more than one four-pack of toilet paper at our local grocery store (for anyone else fascinated by the TP shortage, this podcast helps explain it); I started Jane Smiley’s Age of Grief (never read it); and pretended to love Emma Chamberlain’s latest video, but really just wanted an excuse to sit on the couch in between my two girls. Here’s today’s PPP…

Project: Snacking Cakes

I was planning to make that insane looking carrot snack cake I wrote about on Cup of Jo yesterday. It was an Adeena Sussman recipe from Family Meal, the digital instant cookbook published to support restaurant relief, and called for coconut (had it), labneh (or Greek yogurt, had it) and tahini (yup.) Only thing missing? A single stinkin’ carrot. But I couldn’t get the idea of a snack cake out of my head, so instead baked a favorite recipe from Odette Williams’s Simple Cake. It’s an almond gató made with only six ingredients, including almond flour, a little lemon zest — but no leavening agent, so the final product tastes like heavenly marzipan. That recipe is not online, but I wrote about her (also easy) chocolatey chocolate cake last year. Between that one and Adeena’s, you should be covered in the snack cake department.

Pantry: Paper Planes

Is it Friday yet? No? Ok good, you have another day to collect the ingredients for Andy’s new cocktail of choice: A Paper Plane. His old coworker Sally turned him on to them and I for one I’m grateful. It feels just right for this time of year, a little bourbon for New York nights that are still a little chilly, and a hit of Aperol for some color that hints of warm weather just around the corner. Cheers!

Purpose: Food Container Art

I am a longtime Gina Triplett fan — she designed the cool floral spine for my second book and, a long time ago, painted recipes inside my cabinet door for part of a magazine story I worked on. These days, I’m loving her quarantine project: Making art out of used food containers like kombucha bottles (above), coffee cans, and mustard jars. Even if you’re not artistically inclined enough to try this yourself, it’s a nice reminder: beauty is everywhere, people are amazing. Follow Gina’s instagram to keep up with her work.

Stay safe. Stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

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Thanks Jenny. I bought Family Meal for my birthday yesterday and encouraged my friends to do the same. I sat on the couch and flipped through the whole e-book! Lots of intriguing recipes (but some with WAY TOO MANY ingredients – haha!) The Paper Plane looks yum.


Thank you for these daily posts! Something to look forward to, and it’s nice to see how another family copes with staying at home.


Read somewhere recently (since the quarantine) to use baby food carrots.


Paper Planes have been our go to quarantine cocktail but over the last 8 weeks I think I’ve perfected them with extra lemon juice and a squeeze of orange.


Long time reader, first time commenter. I, for one, am really enjoying this daily posting that you have going on! Thank you. I have been wanting a new bourbon cocktail, so thatnks for that too. Last, and random, I read your post on COJ re: cabbage, and have a great one for you. Julia Turshen’s Best Rice Pilaf wiht Roasted Red Cabbage. It is in her Small Victories cookbook and is so good.

Mom of Boys

Jut the word “Aperol” reminds me of summer and Aperol Spritz. We shall try the cocktail–for our part today, we are making sure our local liquor store stays in business. Cheers!

P.S. make sure Andy has a Last Word in the book! Best cocktail ever!


Thank you, thank you for these posts. They are a highlight of my day! I am a long time Deborah Madison fan. When my husband of 37 years became a vegetarian many years ago, her ‘ Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone ‘ became a favorite, it is SO good.

Frankie Wilson

The almond gato cake is amazing – I bought my mom the Simple Cake cookbook for Christmas and she loves it and made that cake about 5 times to give away to friends during this quarantine.


Hmmm…not sure i need another snacking cake in my life these days, but i am such a fan of odette’s ever since you introduced Simply Cake. I bought it, and follow her on IG–where she sometimes does tutorials (and now i’ve made her ricotta gnocchi!).

As for the cocktail: I love all things aperol and/or campari. Looks like i need to add amaro to my liquor cabinet!


I have so.enjoyed your new longer quarantine post. I save them all for friday so I have a longer read to start my weekend
The can art made me smile yellow being my favorite color

Season Eckardt

These posts are bright spots! Can’t wait to read your write up on the legendary Deborah Madison.


I love your couch and have been looking for one like it. Where is it from and do you think it can handle two rambunctious boys?


It can probably handle two rambunctious boys, but there is not a button left on it thanks to my two rambunctious dogs. It’s from Bloomingdales (I think it’s actually their label) and we bought it almost a decade ago, so not sure it would still be there.


I love the plate in the top photo! Where is it from? Also, the cake looks pretty good too!


I loaned my friend a knitting book this weekend, and when she arrived to carefully pick it up from the spot I had placed it on my porch, she left me a jar of Paper Planes that her husband, a cocktail wizard, had mixed for us. I can’t believe I’d never had one before, it’s all the things I love but all at once! Here’s to more Paper Planes making things better one mason jar at a time.