Enjoying the Beauty of Becoming

It has been 374 days since my last blog post.  I have continued on with the writing program at SCAD, expanded the weekly meal program to more than 50 families, gotten engaged, gotten un-engaged, catered many fun social events including a Buckhead roof top social of 300 people, catered the most beautiful wedding, my strong beautiful daughter graduated from high school and my sweet Lauren May left G&H after almost three years to work at a great internship.  This has been a fun-filled and heart breaking year, to write the very least.    I have so missed sitting down and writing about it.

I went a little off course, again.  The roads that led to beautiful moments only lead to more roads with the journey that is never-ending.  I lost sight of what I wanted out of life.  I had gotten to a point where I felt angry and disgust for so much – politics, murder, bigotry, oppression, family dynamics, traffic, cancer, my own mistakes and even simpler things such as burnt toast.  These things are black in my soul that follow me unless I write about it.  I was putting so much pressure on myself to be the best mother, the best partner, the best personal chef and business owner, the best student, the best friend, the best daughter and sister.  I hated myself and this beautiful earth we live on.  I hated who I was trying to become, this little miss perfect.   Trying to be the woman everyone else wants me to be- gross.  Or at least what I thought they wanted me to be- even grosser.  She isn’t the woman I am destined to be, but I know her and I hate her more than anything.  My stomach hurts by writing the word hate- such a nasty word.  And, I’ll not kid myself, I was so far from perfect.  I fought with friends and family.  I snapped at annoying but, harmless business calls.   I screamed at the girls.  I continued to bury myself deeper out of sight so that when it was forced upon me to look at myself, I had no idea where or who I was anymore.  The humiliation of this person I had become is, well, excruciatingly painful.  Everyone seemed to know what I refuse to see.  I wonder if there is no wonder.

As we were catering this beautiful wedding back in May, only a few days after my own engagement ended, the question was asked if the yard had been sprayed for mosquitos and I thought for a brief moment of rolling around in the grass to see if I could be eaten and taken off by them.  This event turned out to be such a gift.  The universe will not let me go my own scared way. It was a peaceful union of two people who adored each other and they certainly aren’t perfect in everyone’s eyes but they are authentic and loving and so imperfectly perfect in my eyes.  I am so glad I got to be there to see their union and feed them well.  The positive energy and love was palpable.   Everything about it was the opposite of what I was living and that gave me the truth to start living differently.

Grief, as every emotion, is relative to whom is feeling it. My biggest loop in my head has been “it is my fault this is awful” and I have gone over and over how I could have changed the inevitable.  But, there is no way and god and everyone else knows I have tried.

Now I am trying to flow with the current that is the least resistant.  I have been known on occasion to believe I have to struggle like hell instead of just flow with the nature of things.  Haggard and disheveled, I kick and scream against my own current and for what?  To feel absolutely beaten down.  Everything is easier said than done.  So glad that my friends are not quitters and want to throw in the towel with me.  This does not mean that I don’t have to work hard to evolve.  As M. Scott Peck says love “requires the extension of ourselves, love is always either work or courage.  If an act is not one of work or courage, then it is not an act of love.” But as I start to let go, stop the struggling internally, have faith in myself again, it does feel easier to trust.  It feels so much easier and I think I may even be loving myself a little bit for it.

Where do I go when I feel I have hit the bottom?   I look up and kick like hell the glass ceiling to get out.  Through one tear (or three), one smile, one laugh, one friendly chat on the phone, one weekly meal, one delivery, one hors d’oeuvre, one dinner party, one movie night with the girls, I get up and brush my knees off.  Sometimes I surprise even myself.  Mosquitos would have been a long and painful death.

I have seen in some eyes that they wish I would stay down.  Or we see in some eyes, “you deserve what you get”.  Someone just recently told me I should get a “real job” instead of my “dream job.”  It’s funny, that was always his encouragement and why he is where he is in his own journey.  This job isn’t my dream, yet.  It is still forming and molding.  My children will not need me at home when I can live my dream job.  For now, it is my value.  I can live no other way without that.  There are people out there that do not want the best for others.  And those people, we have to ignore and let go.  I work like hell to have compassion for those who want to harm and hurt just to make themselves feel better or for their “justice”.  I must forgive them, move on, know that I am still loved, so loved and love those who want to be loved.  This is so difficult for me to do.  We can not make people like, love, understand or accept us. I have tried and so desired it but only getting hurt in the trying.  That is my struggle I must let go of.  Accepting that putting my eggs into a basket for it only to be thrown on the floor to break just hurts myself.  So, I choose not to do that.  I give my egg basket to those who want to handle them with care.  What a corny metaphor!  My professors would have a field day with that.  I am so grateful for those professors that encouraged me to keep going this last quarter.

As I went into a yoga class yesterday, my mantra was to love myself so that I can love others.  I said it over and over through deep breaths.  I felt it through my rib cages sucking in just a little more air to fill the cracks.  I could not help but notice and admire this woman who was fit, beautiful and graceful in her movements.  I quickly wished her love and went on about my practice, not wanting to wish myself to be her.  After class, I grabbed my things and noticed she was leaving in front of me.  I chuckled to myself because I noticed she looked like me but with blonde hair.  Then I noticed when she got into her car, it was the same as mine except a different color.  I smiled again at the universe showing me my mantra.  I drove around to leave when I passed her and noticed she was born in April, like me, from her tag.  I didn’t know this woman and who knows what her story is.  But I know me, and I want to really love and admire fully who I am, the dark and the light.  I could admire this strange woman and not even know her, but admiring myself has always seemed selfish.  This was a little moment of self-love to me.  I have always confused that  self-love was selfish but I do know if we don’t give any to ourselves we are empty.  And empty to give anything to anyone else.  I believe this is an epidemic amongst women, not just in me, that I would love to see gone, forever.  If anything, I will try my damnedest to not pass this on to my own daughters.   I will claw tooth and nail to omit it- really.

One of the biggest things that fills my heart, and I get to share it, is having dinner parties and writing.  I’ve known this but I wasn’t doing it.  So a couple of weeks ago I invited a couple of girlfriends over to sit on the front porch and have dinner.  I had forgotten how much I loved having people over.  I had forgotten how much I loved cooking for people.   My home isn’t big or extravagant.  Since I sold my house I think I have been holding back because it isn’t perfect.  In fact, my neighbor has put a couch out in our front yard that the city of ATL has yet to pick up over the last 3 weeks.  My neurosis are totally kicking in but allowing my imperfections to be seen at the front of the driveway is so much easier than hiding them under my pillow or worse, my heart.   I think the last time I blogged was the last time I had someone over for dinner.  My writing is also so imperfect but it is imperfectly me and that feels so good.

I made a most wonderful, healthy, summer salad with organics from the farmer’s market and grilled chicken breast for our dinner party.  This is my ultimate favorite food, fresh out of the garden.  Can’t you just taste the sweet sun ripening the tomatoes?  We sat outside with a citronella candle to keep any mosquitos from trying to take us away.  If I could encourage others to do one thing, the thing I wasn’t doing, is to do what you enjoy, do what you love and share that light.  Don’t put negative people in your life that want to squash that.  Enjoy moments with loved ones over a meal.  Go write.  Call me if you want to have that dinner but don’t have the time to cook! 😉 I will do that for you and love myself very much for giving you that moment.  Here we are full circle.  My wish is for you to enjoy this summer with friends, a good meal, and sweet peace of mind.

 

Summer Salad with Warm Shiitake Mushrooms and Lemon Mustard Dressing

 

For Salad

Red Leaf Lettuce

Radiccio

Canned Artichoke Hearts in water

Cherry Tomatoes

Cucumber sliced

Shiitake Mushrooms

Grilled Chicken Breast or Grilled Shrimp

Goat Cheese

 

For Lemon Mustard Dressing

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 cup good olive oil

 

 

For salad: Sauté your shiitake mushrooms in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  After 3-5 minutes take of heat and allow to cool for a few moments.  Pile your other ingredients as big and high with all your veggies and protein that you desire.  Top with shiitake and goat cheese.

For Dressing:  Whisk everything but oil.  Then slowly, while whisking, add oil.  You can add as much or as little dressing as desired to your salad.  Toss, serve and enjoy.

 

This journey of life is far from over, ups and downs, over and under, but I am so glad I can share it with you.  Please feel free to send me your story so that together we can share it with those who may be looking for answers.  May your summer be a glorious one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daddy’s Day Southern Fried Chicken

DSC_0237Well, I would say summer is officially here in the south.  My car thermometer registered 107.  Summertime also means Father’s Day to me.  I want to make my Dad’s favorite thing to eat and that is none other than Southern Fried Chicken.  My brother and I would tease my Dad for not leaving one piece of meat on the bone of his chicken.  He told us this story of why he couldn’t leave any meat on the bones.

During special occasions, all the family (my grandfather was one of 12 children) would come over for supper.  The adults would go first to get their plates.  They would get the larger pieces of chicken.  When it was finally time for the children to get their plates, the only chicken that was left was the wings and drumsticks.  This was during the depression and food was scarce.   They killed their own chickens and they grew their own vegetables.  Some of those habits of those who lived during that time do not die-hard.  My Dad doesn’t like to throw anything away and this story is 60 something years old.

I would branch out and say all of us have opinions based on what we grew up experiencing, good or bad.  Politically my Dad and I don’t always see eye to eye.  In fact, I think he may be absolutely wrong and bases his opinion from fear of an unknown.  There aren’t many people in the world that I love more than my father.  We can have different political views and still have a respect and love for one another that supersedes politics and power.  Sometimes we choose not to talk about it.  We have gotten down right “hot” with discussions over plates of fried chicken.  However, I know that discussing and connecting over meals eases tension and brings joy in our hearts no matter our differences.  If he would just pretends to listen and agree all is well!

I believe that all anyone wants is to be respectfully heard.  That may seem to simple but it seems to me to be the only place we can start.  At the end of a political season, these moments of laughter and togetherness will be what matters in times of differences.  I hope you too will enjoy my recipe of Southern Fried Chicken and it brings you the same joy and togetherness it brings to me, especially in the heat of the moment.  😉

Southern Fried Chicken

Ingredients

4 Chicken breasts

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1/2 cup canola

Directions

Soak your chicken breast in the buttermilk for at least an hour or overnight.  When ready to fry, mix your panko, flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl so that you can dredge your breasts into the mixture making a thick coating.  The black pepper is a key ingredient.  If you feel up to it, add more!  After each breast has been coated, heat your oil in a cast iron skillet or fry pan.  When the oil is hot, add the breast making sure not to crowd them.  If you need to, do two batches.  Fry each side about 3-5 minutes watching to make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot and burn.  When your breast are browned, put in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees fahrenheit.  Finish the chicken off in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.  Southern Fried Chicken is great with corn on the cob and watermelon or slice your chicken and put on a garden salad.  The  cooked chicken is great refrigerated and later packed in a cooler for picnics at the pool or amusement parks.

Happiest Father’s Day to all the Dads, enjoy and I wish you the happiest of summers!

 

 

 

 

 

An Eclipse

Smiles with Leigh

Smiles with Leigh

There was a Lunar Eclipse last night.  Wikipidia says that an eclipse is “is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer.”  I believe I’ve been in my own eclipse.  When I glance at the news, I feel the world is in an eclipse of sorts.  There is a shadow that is obscuring our view.  There is nothing more frightening to me.  I like to see things clearly, to make sound decisions based on facts and truth and to know what direction I am going.  What this entails for me is faith.  Faith in myself, faith in those that I love dearly, and faith that behind the eclipse, there lies a truth that will give me peace.

So, in search of this truth, I went to my dear long time friend’s Leigh Mallis’ Kundalini class.  Kundalini is a type of yoga that is extremly spritual and has a lot of meditation included in the practice.  I like to think of it has an excersize of body and mind.  And, everytime I leave from a class, I feel stronger in both.

During a full moon, there is a meditation that can be done for healing.  Leigh guided 24 of us women attending class through this 31 minute healing meditation.  I looked around the room to see the different faces.  I was thinking about my own need for healing and those women around me.  The faces looked like this ~ a young girl who is a rape victim, a woman batteling cancer, a woman with addiction, a woman who is pregnant, a woman who has lived her life enmeshed in her career but longing for partnership and love, a woman lost, a 6 year old little girl, soon to be a woman, a woman desperate for her own child, a woman with a sick child, and the faces go on.  All of us, different faces, different struggles, different skin colors, different bank accounts, different pasts and different futures, all wanting to heal others, heal ourselves and live a peaceful loving life.  It was really a beautiful moment.

Honestly, I haven’t been very hungry lately.  There seems to be so much sadness around the world.  But, I have faith that this will pass.  I dig deep for healing.  I have faith others will do thier own healing.  As I write this, I hear the water trickeling in my fountain, the sun shining through my window and that alone can be so peaceful.  I am sure I have writen that before.  To build strength for tomorrow we must nourish ourselves even when we are in a shadow of an eclipse.

I found this recipe last week in a HeartSmart Recipes magazine.  It is a recipe that uses cauliflower as “couscous”.  For those of us who are building stronger hearts and looking to heal, this recipe is for you.

Turkey and Cauliflower Couscous

Ingredients

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup snipped dried apricots

1 large or 2 medium cauliflwer florets

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast

1 large handfull of fresh organic spinach

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 green onions sliced

Directions

Place dried cranberries and apricots in a bowl of hot, boiling water for about 10 minutes.  While those are plumping up, pulse your cauliflower florets in a food processor in batches so that it resembles couscous.  In a large rimmed pan, sauté your onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium/low heat.  Add garlic and cauliflower spreading in an even layer to brown evenly.  Stir occassionaly for about 5-10 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and combine.

I did adjust the recipe to make my own from the original.  The original had walnuts instead of pecans and added butter for a little extra fat and flavor.  All of which you can do too.

I would suggest going to get this magazine.  It has some other good recipes in it too and it should be out until May of 2016.  And, I would totally suggest going to one of Leigh’s classes, www.leighmallisyoga.com.  She really is an amazing woman and an inspiration to so many.

I hope whether you are a woman or a man, rich or poor, sick or healthy, you have peace, hope and healing in your heart.  Cheer’s to finding grace in the little things, faith of a beautiful tomorrow and breathing through the eclipse.  Let’s put on and share those smiles!  #itsthelittlethings

 

Tic, Toc, Tic, Toc…

IMG_8690I can not believe we are already in February of 2016.  It has been such a great start to the new year!  Things are really busy and hopping here at the G&H headquarters.

As for personally, I began school at the Savannah College of Art and Design this past January.  I love it.  But, it has not come with its challenges.  As a mom, I have felt guilt because I can not always be available for the girls.  However, the lesson has been for them and for me, to let go.  It is time to let go of being everything they want me to be and be ME!  Now, of course they would prefer that I be available when they need something immediatley.  Who wouldn’t want that?  So, I can not blame them for having some push back.  I will say time management is the biggest, best skill we are learning.  We are all learning to manage our own schedules, plan accordingly and not take advantage of one another.  Again, this is not an easy skill that comes naturally.  I catch myself being so busy that the first thing to go is the gratitude.

I picked up Emma from Lacrosse the other evening.  She hopped in the car with tears streaming down her eyes.  I said “what is wrong?”  She quickly began explaining her fear of being kicked off the varsity team because she didn’t practice well.  Emma was doing what I do all the time.  She wasn’t enjoying the moment for fear that tomorrow it will be taken away.  Light bulb!

I have been so scared that I won’t be able to juggle the kids, the school and the business that I am not enjoying the moment of all of it.  And, I do love all of it.  Each thing brings me such joy and nothing is perfect about it.  Imperfect…I feel I am right were I am suppose to be.

So, as time is ticking away, I blink and we are at another birthday.  My baby, Gabrielle is 9 years old today.   We are going to make cupcakes from a box.  Imperfect but yet, so perfect.  I’ll save the cake from scratch for my clients.

As for Grits and Honey, it has really taken off on the weekly meals program.  I just love this aspect of the business because it helps those who feel, like me, a little overwhelmed at moments.  And, if I can help you out with your time management, that puts a smile on my face.  But, it isn’t just about saving time or we would be going to eat fast food everynight.  It is about eating healthy, eating well, and eating together at home.

Here is to enjoying all those imperfect and sometimes rushed moments!  I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS- Get those dates in for Spring catered events (graduations, baby showers, birthdays and weddings)… the calendar is filliing up quickly!

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Mo Cookies!

IMG_7761Happy Wednesday!  Boy, do I not feel like working on this blog right now.  I can think of 1000 other things I need to do.  But, I told you I would write out the Soft Ginger Cookie recipe.

Some promises are not easy for me to break.  Did I promise this?  I would have to go back and check my writing.  But I do know that I said I was going to do it.  When I say that I am going to do something, it is my language of love to do it.  Expectations can be so titillating or so, so disappointing.   Now, I don’t think if I didn’t get this blog out that you guys would cry (or notice).  But, I never know.  And I do not want to dishearten one soul.  😉

So, here goes!

Soft Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup molasses

Raw Sugar for rolling over top (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Begin mixing your butter and sugar.  While is mixing add flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in another bowl.  (I didn’t have time to sift the flour today and the cookies came out just as divine.)  Set this aside after giving it a stir with a fork.  Go back to butter and sugar mixture and it should be pale and fluffy.  Add in egg, water, molasses.  When this is mixed, turn mixer down and add in flour mixture.  Shape dough in a ball and pat raw sugar on top or scoop out small half-dollar balls for baking.    Bake for 10 minutes, then cool for 5 min.  Freeze or refrigerate the dough for drop in guests!

My eyes feel heavy.  Whew, I am tired.  Looks like we are having Soft Ginger Cookies for dinner tonight.  Here’s to that!

 

 

 

Autumn + Cookies = Perfection

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Warm up the fire places!  It is the first day of fall.  School is back in full force, the catering business is getting ready for high season, and all is well with the world.  Well, all is good minus the Republican candidates for Presidency, but we aren’t getting into politics!

I just recently had my first menus printed.  I know that may sound crazy since we have been in business for 4 years (yes, FOUR years!).  But, everything has been either word of mouth, the website, or individual menus that are emailed.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to hold them and pat them and pet them!  They are really so beautiful.  Thank you to the fabulous graphic artist, Jenn Streck!  It is funny how a menu makes me feel all professional inside, as if I haven’t been catering for weddings of 200 plus people.  This is a prime example of the littlest, simplest things that can matter so much.

Another thing that can matter so much is a simple delicious cookie.  And at this time of year, cookies are very important.  We can make them and store them in the freezer for the moment we need them most, like that school function we forget about or the random kids that end up at our house on a Friday night.  I love how baking a batch of cookies warms up the house with the oven temperature and the aroma.

So, let’s get baking.  My two favorite cookies this fall are  the lovely and ever so simple Chocolate Chip Cookie and the spicy, soft Ginger Molasses Cookie.  Today we will get the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe out.  Look for our Ginger Molasses next week if I can get my blogging life together.

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G&H’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line your baking pan with parchment paper.  In a standing mixer, mix your melted butter with your three sugars.  While this is mixing on high-speed, in a separate bowl mix together your flour, baking soda, and salt.  After the butter and sugar mixture turns a pale brown, about 5 minutes, add in your eggs one at a time and then your vanilla.  After this is incorporated, turn the mixer to low and add in your flour mixture slowly.  Don’t over mix, just until flour is incorporated.  Turn mixer off and hand mix in your chocolate chips.   Drop a tablespoon size of cookie dough on your parchment paper and bake for 13-15 minutes or until toasty on the sides.  Lastly, try not to burn yourself when eating them too soon after coming out of the oven.

I hope you all enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather immensely with a good simple cookie.  Here’s to the best Chocolate Chip Cookie!  Cheers!

 

 

Long Rough Roads That Do Lead to Somewhere

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Lighthouse Beach, Eluethra


I went on a fabulous trip with my wonderful, amazingly patient partner in crime.  We did some traveling along the roads of a small island in the Bahamas called Eleuthra.  There is one main road that travels the distance of the island that is paved.  Then there are tiny dirt roads that branch off if you want to explore towards any one of the many beaches.

One of our road trips was to a beach we had read was the most beautiful.  It was on the very southern tip and about an hour away.  After traveling the main road (about 45 minutes) we turned onto the this jarring and rugged road with tree limbs that reached out scratching the sides of the car and reaching inside the car to smack our faces.  We began our journey towards the Lighthouse Beach on this uninhabited dirt road.

Now, the tires on the convertible Chevy Tracker we rented were also so timeworn that they looked white.  I couldn’t tell if it was that color because of the sand or because the threads that were so exposed.  I was a little concerned our vehicle wasn’t up for the excursion.  It didn’t matter, we were on our journey.

This car ride to reach this amazing beach is like my own personal journey I’ve been on the last few years.  I feel like I have been on a road of rough terrain but believing this road will come to my own understanding, happiness and peacefulness.  I know people who have gone before me on this journey, which gives me some relief that I am not alone and a lot of gratitude for their stories.

My personal road seems to keep going on and on and on just like the road to the Lighthouse Beach with Stephen.  Is it ever going to end?  I feel car sick.  Will I get there?  Then, just when we level a hill and look out on the horizon, I think maybe this is it and then I see it goes on further.  This road seems to go on longer than I had anticipated.  Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten on this road had I known how difficult this journey was going to be.  Then I surprise myself with how determined I am.  Believing is what keeps me looking at the next hill towards the horizon.  Is it here?  No.  I keep going.  We keep going.  Another 45 minutes had to have passed.  I know that this road ends and a beautiful place exists.  It has to.

Just when I think I will crumble and I want to quit, I see it, a beautiful beach.  I immediately get out of the car and walk towards and into the water to cool off.   I touch the earth to keep my stomach from turning because of being car sick.  I am so glad to be out of the Tracker that any where would be better than the car.

I look over to Stephen and something is troubling him.  I have a feeling I know what is wrong but I don’t want to say anything.  Please just ignore it, I think.  It is a beautiful beach and I am happy to be here with him.  He says it.  “I don’t think this is it.”  Shit.  I really don’t want to get back in the Tracker.  I really don’t want to continue this journey.  But, the water is really rough.  There isn’t a lot of places to swim and snorkel.  It doesn’t look like what we had been told.  It isn’t what we believed it to be.  I saw myself starting to settle.  I was nauseous and satisfied to be “almost there”.

My sweet friend and lover says, ” we need to go a little further.”  I am so glad I listened and believed.  I’ve learned there are no short cuts and believe me, I have tried them.  I’d like to think my journey will become my story and those who travel it after me will know they too will get there.  And once we have arrived, we will know it.  It is breathtaking.  It is paradise.  It is heaven.  It is a state of mind.

We did get back in the car that day.  It was the shortest leg of the journey.  I thought our little Tracker would tip right over going through some of the holes in the road or those tires would just pop.  But we made it.  When we did arrive, we both knew we were in the right place.  We made it together.  We made it to our paradise.  The water was the clearest I have ever seen.  It was clearer than pool water.  We saw hundreds of fish, a sea turtle, and miles of coral and white sand.  It was really stunning.  And to think, I was almost ready to quit and settle for rough waters.

Now, after traveling so far, you will of course need some nourishment.  What better than a picnic lunch?  If nothing else, we all need a little food to keep us going.  Stephen and I loved this Beet Sandwich that we discovered at a cafe called Da Perk in Governor’s Harbour.  Here is my recreation of this healthy sandwich.

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Beet Sandwich from Da Perk

Ingredients

Multi Whole Grain Bread (cut into 4 thick slices)

2 Red Beets

Hummus

1 Onion sliced

1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Lettuce

Tomato

Goat Cheese

Directions

Preheat your oven to 4oo degrees Ferinheight.  Place your washed beets in foil paper with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of kosher salt.  Bake for around 20-30 minutes or until you can easily poke with a toothpick in it.  While your beets are roasting, saute your onions until they are wilted and carmelized.  Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to your onions and a pinch of salt.  Spread a bit of hummus on one slice of bread.  Stack your sandwich high with the slices of roasted beets, balsamic onions, lettuce and tomato.  Spread the soft goat cheese on the other slice of multigrain bread and place on top.  Viola!  Now you have a delicious, healthy, meatless sandwich!  This is perfect for a picnic to the park if a beach isn’t your destination.

Here is to going the distance!  For all of us who think on occasion we can not walk another step in our journey or that this is not the place we belong, I tell you, keep going, you are almost there.  Just pack a healthy lunch, it can be a long jaunt.  Cheers!

 

 

 

I Scream for Good Ice-Cream

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Raspberry Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream with Fresh Peaches

This was so fun!  And, dang is it HOT in Atlanta!   My car temperature is reading 100 degrees.  Throw in the humidity and we need to eat some ice-cream to cool things off a bit!

So, I am also reminiscing of France today in this heat.  Not because of the heat but because of the ice-cream.  One of the first things I wanted to buy after my trip to France and cooking with Patricia Wells was an ice-cream maker.  I immediately bought the ice-cream maker back in October and now, 9 months later, it is finally getting some great use.  Patricia’s ice-cream is what made me want to own my own ice-cream maker.  The flavor is like nothing you could ever buy in the store (or at least nothing I’ve ever tasted).  The tangy goat’s milk yogurt brings me right back to Patricia’s beautiful Provençal yard overlooking the grape vines and olive trees.  Smells, tastes, breezes… what wonderful memories.  Now, I can make more great memories right here in Atlanta with my own family and loved ones while making and eating ice-cream.  I am feeling extremely grateful for the experience, Patricia, and to be able to enjoy it back home with all of you.

We can’t always be in France but we can surely eat more ice-cream.  This one especially because there isn’t a lot of sugar and no cream.  You can also experiment with different flavors.  Being from the south, we will be adding peaches to our next batch!

One thing to remember!  Go ahead and have your ice-cream base frozen.  It really takes a good 12 hours to freeze completely.  I forgot to do this and had to wait a full day before digging in.  It did make the experience that much better but I am terrible at being patient.  If I don’t have to wait, then why would I? Now, my ice-cream base stays in the freezer patiently waiting on me to make that next batch of yummy, cold ice-cream.

DSC_0105Raspberry Lemon Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream

Ingredients

1/2 Pint Fresh Raspberries

1/4 cup Simple Syrup

1 teaspoon Lemon Zest

2 cups Goat’s Milk Yogurt

3 lg egg whites

1/3 cup Ginger Honey (or plain honey)

Directions

First you will need simple syrup.  If you don’t have any on hand it is super easy to make.  Add 2 cups sugar to 2 cups water.  Simmer this down to a somewhat thick syrup.  Actually, my last batch wasn’t that thick, but still does the job.  It will take about 15-20 minutes.  Patricia adds a squeeze of lemon to hers, as well as do I, but it is not necessary.  Store your extra syrup in a jar in the fridge for another time.  It will keep for a month (or so).

Take 1/4 cup simple syrup and raspberries and simmered them for just a minute or two to break the raspberries down.  Strain your raspberry infused syrup with a sieve to separate the seeds.  Put this aside to cool. While the syrup cools, beat your egg whites in a mixer until stiff peaks form.  Fold in your yogurt, lemon zest, honey and cooled raspberry syrup.  After everything is mixed together, pour into your ice-cream maker.  Then, the ice-cream maker does the rest!  Viola!  And this is how memories are made!

Now, you may say, goat’s milk yogurt?  Don’t judge until you’ve tried it, as I tell my children.  It is addictively good.  Even the Goose likes it.  She says it tastes like a raspberry cheese cake.

Now, I am contemplating.  Is this an ice-cream or a sorbet?  I will have to google the difference another time or you guys can answer that question.

Wherever you are, hot or cold, in France or Atlanta, I hope you are making great memories and enjoying your summer.  Here is to ice-cream on hot days.  Cheers!

 

Fireworks!

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Ice-cream with Strawberry Sauce and Fresh Blueberries

I am sitting at my new home in what I call my “Lady Parlor” (Lauren dubbed it this) or office/art space.  Haha!  I love it.  My desk faces a large window overlooking my front yard where Knockout Roses, herbs, and plants galore flourish.  It is so inspirational.  Last night we had a good summer shower, so this morning is quite fresh and green.

This weekend is July 4th!  Memories of family vacations abound.  Most all July 4th vacations include some type of water fun, fireworks, lobster rolls, corn-on-th-cob, watermelon, and home-made ice-cream. This weekend our family will head to Lake Jackson to join my childhood friend and her family.  There is nothing sweeter than joining up with old friends that you know so well and don’t get to see very often.  The bond seems to be just as strong as 20 years ago.  I feel absolutely rejuvenated after these rendezvous.  I don’t always give myself permission to take off with my girlfriends so we have to make the kids think it is their idea.  It’s a win-win!

One thing that I need for this weekend get-away is simplicity.  A little less fireworks if you know what I mean…  Now that the move is complete and work is rocking and rolling, I want a simple summer vacation to feel, well, lazy.  I am seeing a lot of lovely work on instagram for the 4th festivities.  But, it looks like too much work for me.  So, to make things a bit more calm, I have prepared a simple Strawberry Sauce to pour over some Vanilla Ice-cream (Lemon Sorbet would be good too) with fresh blueberries to top.  Now, that seems easy enough and I’m pretty sure the kiddos (and adults) will feel pretty special with this red, white and blue treat!  But, most importantly, I can relax and enjoy it too.  😉

 

Simple Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 Pint Fresh Organic Strawberries

1 Cup Sugar

1/3-1/2 Cup water

Directions

I began by blending my washed and trimmed strawberries in the blender.  I then mixed the strawberry puree, sugar and water in a sauce pan.  I did not strain my strawberries but you could.  I personally think it adds a little more fiber and again, I am looking for the simple road.  Simmer this on very low heat until it begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.  But, don’t burn it.  Let your sauce cool then refrigerate it until you are ready to pour over your ice-cream.  This sauce is great over pan-cakes the following morning too!

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Summer Time Ice-cream Break!

Next blog we are going crazy and making ice-cream to go with our Strawberry Sauce.  So, stay tuned… Have a fantastic 4th of July and I hope you too are having a wonderful time with your friends and family.  OR, at least being lazy!  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

To All the Momma’s Out There

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

I was wondering what I should write about this week.  And then I remembered.  It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday.  This time of year always brings with it a great many feelings.  Gratitude is one.  I am so grateful for my mom and to be a mother.

My poor mom had to put up with a wild child.  I was a free spirit who demanded attention (and possibly still does).  When I think about how tired I am, I think about all the mothers before me and around me.  I want to give a group hug to all the mothers out there.  Here’s to you!

My mom would always share this story about being in a Rose’s Department Store.  I began running away from her and she couldn’t catch me.  I was running around and around those circular clothes racks.  My mom asked a gentleman to grab hold of me so that she could catch me.  The gentleman told her “children will be children” and walked away.  I think she wanted to hurt that gentleman more than she wanted to hurt me at that moment.

My third little princess was a screamer.  She would scream at the top of her lungs when I told her no.  She would then throw herself onto the floor and it was always a real scene.  If her head could have spun around, it would have.  I swear I thought she was possessed.  My friends, to this day, will say “remember when Gabby used to have those fits?”  Uh, yeah, I lived them.  And gratitude comes to mind again… I am so glad she has outgrown them.

My grandmother, who is German, used to always make a wonderful german potato salad.  She has Alzheimer’s disease now and I am not really sure if she remembers me or her potato salad recipe.  Today I want to share a similar recipe to hers.  She used to put sweet pickles in her recipe, but I do not.  I never have liked those sweet pickles.  Granny’s mom died when she was three years old.  Gratitude comes to me again.  I am 39 years old, and I have gotten to share many years and memories with these wonderful women.

Southern Potato Salad

Ingredients

12 Medium Red Potatoes, boiled whole with skin on

5 Hard Boiled Eggs, diced

1 Medium Purple Onion, diced

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

3/4 cup of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

1/2 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

You will first medium dice your boiled potatoes.  You will know the potatoes are done when a fork goes through easily.  This takes about 10-15 minutes.  In a large bowl, mix potatoes, eggs, onion, mustard, mayo, parsley, salt and pepper.  If your salad looks a little dry, add a couple more tablespoons of the mayo.  It’s as easy as that.  In the summer, I love this side dish with a grilled hamburger and corn on the cob, just like my mother.

As I finish up, I am remembering those sweet chubby hands of all three of my girls when they were little. I am feeling gratitude again, for the memories of yesterday and those to come.  And most importantly, I am thankful for the honor of being a mother and for my own Momma.  I love you!

Cheer’s to every mother!  And a very happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

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Granny and Grandaddy with My Mom and Aunti Chrissy


Me, Mom, Allie and Em

Me, Mom, Allie and Em