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!

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Long Rough Roads That Do Lead to Somewhere

_MG_1162

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.

IMG_7429

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!

 

 

 

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!

IMG_7103

Granny and Grandaddy with My Mom and Aunti Chrissy


Me, Mom, Allie and Em

Me, Mom, Allie and Em

 

 

 

 

 

A Lighter Side

IMG_2745

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.

IMG_2744

What’s Your Specialty?

IMG_6901

Chicken Cacciatore

I hear this question all the time.  What is your specialty?  I have always been a little dumb struck by the question.  Specialty?  Eh, I cook, a lot.  Well, that answer doesn’t work so well when we are trying to market this puppy.

So I have been thinking about this question a bit.  And here is what I came up with…

There are three separate entities to Grits and Honey.  First, there is the personal chef side.  This part of the business cooks on a more personal basis for clients.  I find out what your family may or may not like, how many people we are feeding, do we have health parameters, do your children eat “adult” food, and so forth.  This part can be very creative, since we change the meals on a weekly basis.  This keeps clients excited about what’s coming for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.  It is so fun to get to know clients on a personal basis and to catch up weekly.  Most importantly, I love seeing clients feeling excited to have a healthy dinner made with less stress at the end of the day.

Another part of the business is corporate lunches.  We deliver to Sun Trust Robinson and Humphrey in Buckhead every Tuesday and Thursday, some other local offices and real estate caravans in the neighborhood.   Clients get so excited to have their Organic Spinach Salad with Sockeye Salmon or Pimento Cheese BLT’s (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato).  I know what everyone wants because they get the same thing every week after almost two years of feeding them.  We are creatures of habit!  We help corporations by allowing them to work through lunch and hopefully leave a little earlier to get home and to stay out of Atlanta traffic.  Most importantly here, G&H is so much better tasting and better for you than a vending machine at half past starving!

The last segment of G&H is the weekend events that we cater.  This would include showers, weddings, birthday parties or graduations.  This takes a lot of work and preparation but are always so fun to attend.  It is wonderful to be such an integral part of these types of special occasions.  These are marked in the memory books.  We want the client to feel special on their special day.  And, I feel so privileged to be a part of it!  These events can be more stressful because we want everything to go perfectly, but that is our specialty.  We take the stress out for the client.  I have a great group of people who work with me to make the larger parties work smoothly.  There is no more satisfaction that comes from having an event end and seeing everyone leave with a smile and full belly.

All three components are really important to make G&H thrive.  But the main idea, in each, is one thing.  That thing is that I like to help people.  I specialize in helping you with your Grandmother’s 90th Birthday Party.  I help you with your daughter’s wedding.  I help you with making your family a healthy meal because life is can be so crazy busy.  I bring your neighbor, who is not well, a week’s worth of soup.  I help you eat lunch at your desk so that you can leave at 4 instead of 5 to get to your family a little sooner.  We simply want to fill your belly with fresh, delicious food and to see you smile.

This week we made Chicken Cacciatore for our weekly clients.  You can freeze the sauce too.  Just double the recipe and have dinner ready for another time.

Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

Olive oil

1 Red Bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced

1 Lg Onion, diced

1 Fennel bulb sliced

8 oz mushrooms sliced

4 Cloves Garlic Minced

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 15 oz Can of Whole Tomatoes

1 15 oz Can of Tomato Sauce

2 Cups Chicken Broth

12 Torn Fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Oregano

2 Tablespoons Capers

Sprinkle of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Whole Wheat Spaghetti cooked

Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

Pour olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pan or dutch oven that has a lid.  Add your bell pepper, onion, fennel, and mushrooms.  Sauté the veggies for a few moments before adding in the garlic.  Saute for 30 seconds more, then add chicken thighs, red pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes, tomato sauce, capers and chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer with the lid on.  You may cook this over the stove on medium heat or you may put it in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven.  Both ways will cook for about 1.5-2 hours.  The chicken will be cooked through and easily shredded.  Pour your Cacciatore over whole wheat pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Here’s to being special!  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

This Too Will Pass…Thank Goodness!

IMG_6549

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!

IMG_6509

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!

DSC_0063

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

 

 

 

Pesky Chili Mistakes

DSC_0058
“Advertise Your Mistakes”, is what Alan Fox says!  I am reading a great book by Fox, People Tools for Business. I highly recommend it to anyone who works.  That could be inside the home, outside the home, as an entrepreneur, an employee or an employer.  He gives wonderful advice for business and for life.  I have a horrible time admitting mistakes.  Fox writes “there is a small part of me that still believes that the word “admit” implies weakness.”  I could not have said it better.  I feel that if someone sees my mistakes or hears me admit my mistake that I will be seen as weak or worse, a failure.  We all know this isn’t true for any of us and spending time trying to hide mistakes can be pretty miserable.  It is my fear of admitting mistakes that keeps me from connecting to loved ones, friends, employees and clients.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  Humbling myself to admitting mistakes takes a huge weight off my shoulders because now I can be me, human, with flaws.
When I was in grade school around the age of 11 or 12 I made my first chili dish that I was going to take to the church to share in a pot luck.  I didn’t read the instructions so well.  It is a fault I still have when trying to use electronics or putting something together from Ikea.  I assumed that the recipe said one cup of salt instead of one tablespoon of salt.  Clearly, I had not cooked much.  We all know what happened to the pot of chili when I added one cup of salt.  It was inedible and dangerous for those with high blood pressure!  Instead of admitting the mistake, when I tasted it, and my eyeballs were almost sucked into my brain, I tried to fix it, ignore it and still served it.  Now I was only 12 years old so I will give myself the benefit of the doubt.  But how different could this have been if I “advertised” my mistake before everyone else tasted it?  Everyone knows when we make a mistake especially those that work with us daily and live with us.  Pretending a mistake didn’t happen can make it grow and sometimes become more painful when we do have to confront or correct it.
Three things I learned from my mistake from my early years of cooking 1)read the recipe thoroughly 2) don’t serve a mistake 3)we all make mistakes, so try not to take them too seriously.  If I am laughing at my mistakes, it will make everyone else around me a LOT more comfortable to get past the mistake.  And because I have people who look up to me, I can show them it is ok to give yourself a break when they too make mistakes, because they will.  Most importantly, life is too short waste time trying to hide mistakes.  We all want to move on from them.  It can be hard to do, admitting mistakes, but I will continue to try!
Here is my chili recipe more than 25 years later.  I just love it during these colder months.  There is nothing better in my book than a great hot bowl of chili simmering on the stove after a long day of work.  It is comforting and the smell makes the house into a home.  Just don’t go add a cup of salt!!!

Ingredients
1 lb (or more if you like it really meaty) of ground sirloin (I have also used ground bison which is just as delicious I do not like using ground turkey)
1 large onion diced(can be purple, white or yellow, use what you have on hand)
3 fresh jalapeños 2 sliced, one whole
1 green bell pepper diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin (whole cumin freshly toasted and then ground in your mortar and pestle is best way to go here)
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14oz can tomato sauce
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans black beans (or whatever beans you prefer)

Toppings
greek yogurt
fresh jalapeños sliced
fresh cilantro
shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
fresh avocado

Directions
In a large dutch oven sauté your beef and onions until the beef is brown throughout.  Add jalapeños and bell pepper and sauté for a minute then add your spices.  After your spices are mixed through, add your tomatoes and sauce.  The hard part is… to wait.  Let this simmer on low heat as long as you can. Try at least an hour before you add salt and pepper to your taste and add your beans.  After the beans have gotten warmed (less than 5 minutes), make yourself a delicious bowl of chili and add whatever toppings you choose.  I prefer a spicier chili, but the greek yogurt will cut the heat for those not so brave.

I hear next week, the temperatures are supposed to be brutally cold.  I will have some of this on the stove for when the girls get home from school.  My home smells amazing and everyone is grateful for a delicious hot bowl to warm their fingers and souls.  If you want to double the recipe and freeze some, that is just fine too!

If you are like me, I tend to make more mistakes when I am cranky and cold.  I am definitely a creature of the warm sun.  The way I think of it is this: the sooner I admit I have made a blunder, the sooner we can all get back to enjoying what really matters and move on to laughter with those we love.   Here’s to the perfect chili!

Parties, Picnics, Sunshine, Oh My!

Pasta SaladIt is here!  This must be the last little cold snap we will have until fall.  Warm, wonderful sunshine is here!  Here is a fantastic recipe for you to use when you want to go out and enjoy this wonderful sunshine (even if only for a lunch break from the office).  This pasta is great for taking to the beach, to the pool, to a picnic, or sitting on the dock at the lake.  The reason~ it is delicious and light but it can be pulled out of the fridge and served at room temperature.

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives

1/2 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup olive oil

1 medium minced garlic

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

1 16 ounce package pasta such as bow tie or penne

1 cup chopped cooked Chicken Breast or Tenders

crumbled feta cheese for topping

Directions

Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside for an hour to let flavors mix.  While flavors marinate, cook your pasta to al dente.  For a healthier option, use a whole wheat pasta.  Mix together cooked pasta, tomato/oil mixture, and your chicken pieces.  Season with salt and pepper.  Finish off with the crumble feta.

It doesn’t get easier than that!  With busy schedules, we need this quick recipe on hand!  It is also great for  last-minute entertaining or grilling.  You can omit the chicken and make it a side for your hamburgers on the grill.  The kids love it and so will you!  I could have an endless list of recipes with tomato and basil.  It screams sunshine!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter holiday and here’s to spring!  La Votre!

 

Pump the Brakes

Pasta with Tomato Basil Chicken and Feta

Pasta with Tomato Basil Chicken and Feta

I am a full speed kinda gal.  I get going on one thing, get pretty fixated and BOOM, realize I need to “pump the brakes”.  I really need a lesson on pumping as well.  It is usually a full on slam!

I have been focussing all my energies on getting my business up and running.  It has only been a little over a couple of months that I have been going full time with Grits and Honey.   In my irrational mind, I think I should be opening my 100th franchise.  In my realistic mind, I couldn’t be happier with what I have accomplished.  Companies  wanting to include me as a full time weekly vendor.  Clients wanting to me to cook for them personally twice a week.  I still have to pinch myself.  Me?  Don’t they know I do not have a clue and that I am just following my heart that doesn’t think.  I am a romantic.  It really is a strange concept.  I hope the bank will be so loving when I ask for that business loan.

So, in order to go enjoy lunch with a friend, I decided to make a simple meal of Pasta with fresh Tomato, Feta and Basil for the girls.   I made a little extra for them to take to lunch the following day.  This is also a favorite on the catering menu.   I like to add grilled chicken, kalamata olives or fresh grilled squash and zucchini.  This can be made in advance so if your lunch goes to two glasses of Pino you don’t have to sweat what is for dinner.  It is already done!

All you do is cook your pasta of choice.  Add fresh chopped tomato, fresh chopped basil, chop some grilled chicken, chop your olives, and mix it all together with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle the top with crumbled feta and Viola!

I need reminding to enjoy life through the hectic day to day as mother and business owner.  We can all get smothered with stress.  I hope you will be reminded to take a moment and enjoy whatever it is that gives you peace.  Pump your brakes!