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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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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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!

 

A Lighter Side

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Asian Slaw

Someone told me before I moved here that Atlanta is really just a big forest.  I thought he was exaggerating, but this past week,  I’ve witnessed the forest bloom into existence. I wake up to bird babbles and pollen soaked everything. Spring has taken over the city.  I’ve even spotted some forest dwellers on their back patios sharing food and drinks, a sure indicator of warmer weather, longer days, and lighter fare.  Last week, I made an Asian inspired slaw–a delightful companion to any barbecue or sandwich.

You can use bags of pre-chopped slaw, or you can buy a head each of red and green cabbage. I prefer the latter for a few reasons. 1. It just tastes better. 2. The road to freshly chopped cabbage is much more exciting. If you take this route, PLEASE remember to stop and marvel that a red cabbage cut in half looks like a Van Gogh painting, even more than his own cabbage still lifes.  Here is the recipe!

Asian Inspired Slaw

1 head Red cabbage

1 head Green cabbage

OR a bag of pre-chopped slaw (the boring shortcut)

2 carrots, chopped or shaved

3 large scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped as  garnish)

Dressing

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2  tablespoons brown sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional ingredients:

1/2 red onion, chopped

1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1-2 teaspoons chopped Jalapeño, if you’re feeling hot

Directions:

Chop the vegetables and whisk the dressing separately, then unite in a big bowl. Garnish with cilantro.

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The Doctor Is In!

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Arugula with Walnuts, Grapefruit, Goat’s Milk Blue Cheese and Lime Dressing


Today we received some wonderful news!  My dear client, Becky,  that I have been working with for a year in January has gotten her lab results back from her cardiologist.  Our goal was to lower her cholesterol without having to take medication.  Her LDL Cholesterol was a high 156 and is now a low 126!  When people have high LDL thier arteries build up with plaque causing higher risk of a heart attack.  So on top of this great news, Becky also learned that she had no plaque build up in her arteries!  She took control before the build up.  Way to go Becky!

One way Becky wanted to tackle her high cholesterol was to eat healthier, which is why she called me.  We worked together to find the right things that she enjoyed eating but with a healthy twist.  I began making her breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks.  I had her eat a breakfast of healthy granola, greek yogurt and fresh berries or smoothies.   I made salads with sockeye salmon or lean meats for lunches that she could bring into work.  Dinners ranged from Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with olives and capers to Asian Stir Fry’s with as many fresh vegetables as possible.

This is such great news for all of us looking to take control of our lives with out the quick fix of a pill.  Now, I won’t go ranting about my personal opinion of drugs, because I have taken my fair share.  However, I will say, the magic pill isn’t always the answer and, we as individuals have to decide what is best for ourselves.  In my humble opinion, it does take time and giving yourself that is most important.  This is not the easy way out.  This takes dedication and patients to see great results.  Good news though!  There are no strange side effects of eating healthy other than looking at yourself in the mirror wondering who the stud is staring back!

Becky and I continue to work together to keep her happy, healthy and out of the Doctors office.  I have added new clients this year that would like help with their diets, too.  We all want to feel good and that starts with eating and sleeping well.  If we are on a mental journey of wellness, it is super hard to focus when our belly hurts!   I encourage all of you to start your journey to wellness and reach out to someone who can help you on the path.   G&H would be thrilled to help you with your meals!  It is super easy.  Many of us don’t have time to plan, shop and cook.  Some of us just don’t want to do the planning, shopping or cooking!  Either way is ok!  That is what I am here for.  And, you get to continue on with your life but in a healthier way.  And, selfishly, I get to fulfill my desire to help others with something I know a little bit about!

Today I am sharing one of the most simplest of salads but so beautiful and delightful.  I like it because it is simple to make and beautiful to see but mostly because it is mouthwateringly fresh in the mouth.

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Grapefruit Segments

 

Arugula with Walnuts, Grapefruit, Blue Cheese and Lime Dressing

Ingredients

1 large bunch Arugula

1-2 Pink or Yellow Grapefruits (or both) cut into segments with out skin or peel

Handful of Walnuts

3 ounces Maytag’s Goat’s Milk Blue Cheese

1 Lime Juiced

1/4 cup Good Olive Oil

pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Mix Lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set the dressing aside.  Assemble a nice pile of your arugula on a plate.  Then sprinkle some walnuts, blue cheese and segments of grapefruiton top.  Drizzle your dressing over the salad when you are ready to serve.  Now, that is simple, fresh and delicious!  Just the way G&H likes it.

We are all on different journeys in our lifetime.  Life can be terribly difficult and wonderfully satisfying all in the same week.  One thing we all need though is food.  Here’s to taking control and living and eating wholeheartedly!  la vie est belle!

 

This Too Will Pass…Thank Goodness!

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jardin congelés

 

 

 

All those hard things that I’ve put off, like taxes and the empending move, are fast approaching. Excitement had turned into paralizing fear.   The creative work in the kitchen, which is the work I am passionate about, is now needing to be on the back-burner for a bit, while we look at the books.  The fear is there and I am swimming in tears.    I so dislike this part of the job.  When I talked to the book keeper, AKA, Guardian Angel, she says, “I am part accountant, part psychologist”.  It is true, she needed to talk me off the edge.  My head races, will she tell me I need to get a day job, and quit this silly quest of owning my own business?  Will she tell me I am working so hard for absolutely nothing?  Who will take care of the girls if I have to get a 9-5 job?  Will she say I am the dumbest client EVER to make all these bookkeeping mistakes?  The self-doubt in my head is amazingly ridiculous.  If you could hear the chatter going on in my head, you wouldn’t believe that we had accomplished what we had in the last year.  In fact, I HAD forgotten.  I had forgotten all the people we have helped to make their lives simpler, healthier, and more joyful with each event or dinner we had prepared.   I HAD forgotten what this quest was all for, helping those that need it.  We all face different challenges that can seem overwhelming.   Some worse than others but it is all relative to our own lives.  I know I felt hopeless and stopped believing in myself.  Heck, I was having trouble recognizing the woman staring back in the mirror.

Through these trials we get a little bit stronger.  We are all a little stronger after going through difficult times and we WILL get through them.  Whether it is the business books, a loved one who is sick, a child whose tantrums seem to be unruly, or just a rotten day at work, we push forward.  The clouds do move out, leaving the sun to shine.   The clouds come and go, but the sun is always there.  I saw this once on an airplane.  The sky was so crystal clear, beautifuland sunny above the clouds, then we dipped down to land and it was the most grey day below.  The visual will forever be with me as inspiration to be patient for the clouds to move out.  Mimi Thorrison, model, writer, mother and chef wrote in her last blog post on Manger this, and it speaks directly to my heart even though there is a huge ocean between us and she was writing of something much deeper.

In the past week I’ve come to realize that simple things like sharing a table at dinner with the whole family are never more important than in times of turmoil. The comfort of good food, the healing power of a shared moment is never more needed than on a cold January night when bad news reaches your door.
So we continue to lead our lives, cook, eat, laugh and cry together and hope that by raising our children to the best of our abilities will help create a better world.

Today, it is time to get back in the kitchen.  All the hard work isn’t over, but I want to give myself a little sunshine before trudging through the mud again later this week.  I am going to treat myself and my little ones with a little creative fun that I hope you will enjoy too.  This dish is a wonderful rainbow!  My Dad says, “you want every color on your plate”.   This one serves that purpose!

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Rainbow Thia Chicken Salad

 

Here’s Ali’s recipe for Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad-

INGREDIENTS

3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1 (large) carrot, julienned or shredded
1 red pepper, cored and julienned (or diced)
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped cashews or peanuts
PEANUT DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2-3 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce (if you are gluten-free, use GF soy sauce or tamari)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
juice of 1-1 1/2 lime
DIRECTIONS:

Toss all your salad ingredients in a bowl leaving out the peanuts and some of the cilantro for garnishing the finished salad.  In another bowl, mix together all dressing ingredients.  You can set aside until ready to serve.  When you are ready to serve, mix together your salad and dressing.  Top with peanuts or cashiews and cilantro.

I found this recipe on Gimme Some Oven‘s website.  I thought her peanut dressing was a little too thick but she mentions that may happen and to add hot water.  I added more fresh lime juice and tamari (gluten free soy sauce) as well as hot water.   Again, the most important thing is getting all these wonderful colors on your plate.

The rainbow makes its way into your mouth and then to body and soul.  It will be sure to bring out the sun, if even for a moment at lunch!  Whatever clouds may be hovering around you, remember the sun is there, we just may not be able to see it.  Here’s to the sun during this cold February!  Cheers!

 

 

So Delicious that it Can’t be that Healthy!

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Shiitake Mushrooms and Dinosaur Kale

Shiitake Mushrooms and Dinosaur Kale

Ingredients

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms sliced

1 bunch dinosaur kale chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tablespoon miso paste

Directions

In a saute pan, add kale, shiitake, and oil and sauté on medium high heat until kale becomes slightly wilted.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Lastly add miso and 1/4 cup water and mix well.  When the water is mostly evaporated, you are done!

This is a great snack, a fabulous side dish, or a great addition to soups or an omelet.  And, as you see, so simple and easy.  But hold on, let me tell you about what I have learned about the health benefits of these ingredients.  I have been making this because I think it is delicious.  Then, I was given this list of healthy foods to cook and eat for 2015 and guess what?  Every one of these ingredients where on the list!  Phew, I feel so grateful not to add eating healthy to the long list of resolutions.  We were already on our way to healthy eating!

We know that kale is good for us and it is packed with fiber.  It is all over the place right now as the new health trend.  It’s a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and cancer-fighting phytonutrients says Men’s Fitness Magazine.  The Shiitake  Mushrooms are just as beneficial.  I have heard a number of times from people who thought mushrooms where just a fungi that added calories with no health benefits.  This is far from the truth.  The American Cancer Society mentions that there are more studies that need to be conducted but that they should be a part of our diets.

Studies in animals have found antitumor, cholesterol-lowering, and virus-inhibiting effects in compounds in shiitake mushrooms….Shiitake mushrooms are promoted to fight the development and progression of cancer and AIDS by boosting the body’s immune system. These mushrooms are also said to help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and to help treat infections such as hepatitis…

Garlic has been around for 1000 of years as has Shiitake Mushrooms.  Reader’s Digest says that garlic is another antioxidant but may also keep mosquitos away if you want to rub it on your body.  I am going to go a step further and say that it may keep some people away if you want to go bathe in it!

Lastly is the health benefits of the miso.  Now, I don’t usually add miso but its fermented soy sister tamari (no wheat soy sauce).  But because my best bud took my tamari from the fridge and hasn’t returned it, I only had red miso paste.  I like the miso better but if you don’t have any handy, use a dash of tamari.  Miso has vitamins and minerals and studies show it is good for digestion.

Now if I haven’t convinced you to make this dish with all the health benefits, you must because it just tastes so dang good.  Go for it!  Be crazy in 2015 and feel great while doing it!  Enjoy and cheers!

 

I

 

 

 

Envisioning a Wonderful 2015

It’s New Year’s Eve!  I am thinking about this past year feeling extremely grateful for everyone and everything.  I am getting really excited about 2015 too.  There are so many new things coming up personally and professionally.  As I think about upcoming events, like moving from my home of 10 years, I am super excited about the next kitchen that I will move into.  I am envisioning a wonderful new workspace and living space for 2015.  It isn’t big or extravagant.  It is simple, warm and charming with lovely patinas.  I am envisioning happy healthy clients living their dreams with Grits and Honey’s help.  As the New Year approaches, I feel more excited about all the wonderful things that are on the horizon.

As I read through different cookbooks, like David Lebovitz’s  My Paris Kitchen, I feel so inspired to try new recipes and play with different spices.  I feel so heartened that I am on the right path of living and eating well.  I love these little inspirations and I want to sway those around me to go get inspired!  Let’s do it together.  I don’t want to make this another year gone by with dreams undone.  Let’s begin living those dreams even if it is just one simple one.  And let’s gently remind eachother when we find ourselves off track.

This past week, I decided to eat healthier before the 1st of the year so that I could get a head start on feeling good.  I also just felt like crap from all the sugar, booze and family drama I had been consuming to get through the holidays.  I find that I go through peaks and valleys of healthy eating.  The valleys are a little less and maybe that is why they affect me so greatly.  When I do eat crap, I can really feel it.  I don’t really believe in diets though.  I believe in lifestyle changes.  Life style changes won’t happen by feeling restricted or deprived.  At least, it doesn’t work for me.  Sometimes I want a little family drama and booze.

But back to being healthy…let’s take Guacamole.  An avocado is rich in so many vitamins, minerals and healthy fat.  I am hesitant to include the “fat” in the sentence because of the stigma that comes with it.  Do you know how important that fat is?  Most importantly, we need fat to live.  I am not talking about saturated fat.  I am talking about good fats from avocados, almonds, salmon, etc.  The kind of fat that makes your skin look good, lower cholesterol and improve your thinking.  Some of you already know this, but there are so many that are misinformed about food.  That topic is for another blog.

Back to the Guacamole. This snack is so easy to make, delicious, healthy, and simple.  4 ingredients plus your veggies to use for dipping.

Ingredients

2 Avocados

1/2 fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

salt to taste

Directions

You have two choices on direction. 1)add all ingredients into a food processor and blitz or 2) chop up your garlic finely then mix in other ingredients by mashing the avocado and lemon juice into the garlic.  The later direction will make your guacamole a little more chunky but both are delicious.

You could leave the dip as is or if you have other ingredients you want to use, throw in that cilantro, jalapeño, tomato, or cayenne pepper.  Go crazy, or not, depending on your mood.  There is a time and place for both.

Dont always use it as a dip for corn chips!  Use it for dipping carrots, celery, or raw zucchini.  This is a great healthy filling snack or appetizer for yourself and the family.

Envision making more of this in 2015 and it will happen.  Envision yourself as healthy, happy and living your dreams and it will come true, sometimes with a better outcome than you had imagined.  Happy New Year and here’s to making and living our dreams!  Cheers!