Gratitude and Comfort

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Grits with White Cheddar, Ham, and Jalapeño

There has been a shift in weather the last couple of days.  It is cooler, almost as if autumn is coming.  Changes in the weather can bring about different feelings.   Smells can bring on feelings.  Food and taste can bring a memory to us that was long forgotten.

Sometimes these memories and feelings are joyful, wonderful and all things good.  I get so excited with spring because warmer weather is coming after a cold winter.  At other times, it can be a trigger of anticipation and anxiety.  Sometimes, it can even bring on both positive and negative emotions.

I have felt peaceful and anxious, fearful and excited, stong and weak, grateful and selfish.  How can we feel so many different things at one time?   I don’t know but we do and it can come on as a tsunami.   School starts in less than a week.  Is summer really already over?

I had a party last weekend to celebrate 1 year of G&H being in business full-time.  I had no idea how fantastic owning a business would be but I had an intuition that said “do it”.  I am so grateful for all of my clients,  clients that have become close friends, old friends and new friends.  I am also grateful for the courage that I found to take this delightful and sometimes difficult journey.   I am grateful to those who have worked with me.  It can sometimes be too quiet in the kitchen.  I love shooting the shit and solving the worlds problems while chopping and dicing.  But most importantly, I want to thank those people who are so dear to my heart.  My Gabby Goose who just walk outside with her baby doll and came right up to me while I was typing away, to give me a kiss.  She knows I am working and to not bother me while I am writing so she doesn’t say a word.  She just kisses me to remind me she loves me, and what I am doing all of this for.  I am grateful for my older daughters who know me well enough to ask if I need help when they see me running around frantically to make sure every detail is perfect for a party.   Emma reminded me the other day that I was a good mom.  Those words coming from a 13 year old’s mouth makes you stop whatever it is you’re doing.  There is always room for improvement, which she has reminded me of, but not that day.  Allie, my oldest, who always laughs with me (or at me) when I get too serious.  It reminds me life is too short to take things too seriously.  I am grateful for my parents and brother who stand by me when things aren’t as easy as I would like them to be.  With every adventure, comes stumbling blocks.   My Dad loves telling the story of me touching a hot stove eye right after he told me not to do it because it was hot.  I do like to discover things on my own.  I am grateful for those few best girlfriends that like to enjoy wine, test my food, have belly laughs and maybe do a little venting.  I am super grateful for my best friend.  He knew right away that I was a creative and passionate person when we first met.  Passion can be a wonderful thing when life is going well, but challenging when things aren’t going the way I think they should.   At least, that is what he said.  🙂

I am so grateful for all of you.  You see things in me that I have yet to discover and it gives me such encouragement!  I have picked some awesome people to surround myself.  Thank you!

On that note, I would like to share a little comfort food recipe.  Grits are comfort food in the south. These aren’t the instant grits that are sold in super markets up north.  These are the stone ground corn grits that we are lucky enough to have in our southern markets.

Grits with White Cheddar, and Ham topped with Fresh Jalapeño Pepper

Ingredients

4 cups water

2 cups stone ground yellow or white corn grits

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick butter

1 cup shredded white sharp cheddar

1 cup chopped ham

salt and pepper

1 jalapeno ~seeded and diced

 

Directions

Begin by boiling your water.  When the water is boiling add a teaspoon of salt and your grits.  Stir occasionally to keep the grits from becoming clumpy or sticking to the bottom.  When the grits have absorbed all the water, add the heavy cream, butter, cheese and ham.   Once the cheese and butter have melted and are incorporated add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately and top with jalapeño.   If your grits become to thick, just add a little more cream or milk.

This is a great recipe for breakfast, brunch or dinner.   I hope it brings you great comfort no matter what feelings you may be feeling today.  And whatever those feelings are, I hope you know that you are loved.  I love you.  And thank YOU for reading my silly, serious, and sometimes savory words.  I am very grateful.  Cheers!

 

 

 

Food, Love and the Love of Food

Girls Night Out

A friend called yesterday, and she  had her feet knocked out from underneath her.  We have all, including myself had bad days or weeks.  Many people have called this the “wolf”.  The “wolf” that sniffs at everyone’s door and comes in with different forms.  It may be in the form of losing your retirement that you have worked so hard for 50 years, it may be that your air-conditioner has stopped working and it is 98 degrees (feels like 110 degrees with humidity) and no cash or credit to fix it.  Sarah Ban Breathnach coined it beautifully in her book, Simple Abundance.   Sarah wrote about M.F.K. Fisher and how she kept her “wolves at bay”.  She says  “Poverty is always experienced in the soul before it is felt in the pocketbook.”

We all want it~ a full belly, a heart overflowing with love.  Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, a wonderful food writer who lived during the depression said it best.

It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.

― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition

How many times have we been around a table, and the memory of it fills our soul?  The ritual of  “breaking bread” with our loved ones is such a soul lifting experience.  Afterwards, full from eating, we linger at the table because the company is so wonderful and we want to continue the conversation and laughter.

When friends come over, it is such a pleasure for me to make a wonderful meal for them to show my love to them but I also get to share in conversation to solve our small but very important life problems.  The combination of food, wine, and deep belly laughs are all I really need to persevere through a really difficult week.

This action need not be expensive.  This recipe of Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Linguine isn’t expensive at all and is not difficult to make.  During the summer, taking a walk to your local farmers market if it is close by will only add in the wonderful experience of the preperation.

Surrounding myself  around those I love with a great, but simple meal is exactly what I needed this last week to remind myself of how much I am loved.  I encourage you to do the same.  As Sarah and M.F.K said, “rely on your own innate sense of what you must do with the resources you have to keep the wolf from sniffing too hungrily through the keyhole.”

 

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Linguine

Ingredients

2 Pounds Organic Tomatoes, diced (if they are not in season, use cherry tomatoes cut in half)

2 12 ounce container of Ciliegine Mozzarella (fresh bite size mozzarella)

1 cup fresh basil leaves chiffonade

3 cloves garlic finely minced

1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon pepper

1 Pound Linguine

Directions

In a large bowl, combine, the tomato, basil, mozzarella, garlic and oil.  While that sits, heat your water for the pasta and cook your linguine as the directions say on the package (usually 7-8 minutes).  When pasta is al-dente, drain and add the warm noodles to the tomato mixture.  Mix in salt and pepper.  This can sit out for a bit at room temperature or serve immediately.

Cheers to wonderful friends around a lovely meal and to brick houses that can’t be blown down!