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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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!

 

 

 

Spanish Tortilla with Gazpacho

Whew, summer has rested her warm hands upon us. It’s always every year around the 4th of July that I really feel it and think summer’s almost over! Need to take advantage of the warm breeze out the car, the beads of sweat that grace our foreheads, and the blanket of warmth that we often write off until we yearn for it come January.

June 1, we moved across town into a bigger space. A partially finished Beltline in our backyard, a park in our front, I can’t complain. We’re still getting settled. After a month and a half without a washer and dryer, we are finally getting one installed. Every day I’ve had to give my sweaty yoga clothes a soak in the tub. I just finished a load. As I rung them out and hung them on the line, the penetration of the sun took me back to my first trip to Spain. Our very first day, our host Mati made us come up to the roof to help her hang the sheets on the line. The terra cotta colored roof was hotter than blue blazes. Growing up in a house with a laundry shoot and ample appliances, I remember naively groaning in my head, we have to do housework? Ha, and now here I am 10 years later using all my might to ring out my clothes for the line.

That summer turned out to be a good one. We did have to work, and get accustomed to things like crunchy air dried towels and no A/C on the 7th floor of an apartment building. It was a summer of discomfort, big adventures, and growth.

Mati cooked most of our meals. She was aware of my roommate Leslie’s vegetarian diet and would attempt to make 2 batches of everything. “Carne,” she’d say, pointing to mine. “No carne,” she’d say, pointing to hers. It was quickly clear that she’d cooked all the food together in meaty broths and gravies and then would just pull the big meat pieces out to make a “vegetarian” meal. It most always had tiny residual meat chunks in it. Poor Leslie would pick through and try to tell Mati that there was still meat in it while the Simpsons played in Spanish on the small TV in the background. I think I gained a few pounds that summer making it look like Les had eaten her food–we felt rude being wasteful.

Fortunately, we did have a favorite meal that we could both eat and enjoy together: Spanish tortilla. Similar to a frittata, the egg and potato dish is a staple in most Spanish households. It is fairly simple to make. The trickiest part is flipping it onto a plate from the pan and then sliding it back into the pan to cook the other side (see below). Paired with a side of gazpacho (a tomato based cold soup), you’ve got yourself a memorable Spanish lunch. Before Summer whistles her last call for departure, you might as well sneak a siesta in there, too. ¡Que aproveche!

Spanish Tortilla

4 potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch pieces

1 white onion, chopped

6 eggs

½ jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional, I had some from the gazpacho so I decided to throw in there)

salt and pepper

olive oil

2 or 3 skillets

1 large plate

Directions: Lightly coat a medium pan with oil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. While that’s happening, in another pan, do the same with the onions (these won’t take as long).

When tender, set each aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Then put in a bowl, add the jalapenos if going that route ( or really whatever extra you would want to throw in) and then add the eggs. Stir the mixture and then pour into in an oiled skillet on medium heat.

Slowly let it cook, around 10 minutes, but BEWARE! The next step is the trickiest part. Pay attention to the sides. The object is to get the sides and bottom cooked enough that you will be able to flip it onto a plate. If you cook it too long, it will burn and stick to the pan. If you don’t cook it long enough and try to flip it before it’s ready, its a eggy mess (think omelete). The top surface will still be runny but it will all hold together with the bottom and the sides cooked enough.

FLIPPING: When you think it’s ready, and this takes some practice and maybe another person to help, put a large plate over the skillet and hold it firmly, then flip the skillet over to transfer it to the plate. Then, put the skillet back on stove and gently slide the tortilla from the plate into the skillet to cook the other side. Probably won’t take as long on this side. When done (golden to your liking), let cool and serve at room temperature with a bowl of gazpacho (see recipe below).

Gazpacho

5-6 ripened tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped

2 cups of tomato juice

1 Bell Pepper (your color of choice)

1 medium red onion

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 ½ tsp balsamic

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional- add more or less for desired spiciness)

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper, to taste

1 lemon or lime juice, to taste

¼ cup olive oil

Cilantro or basil to top it off

Directions:

This recipe is great because you can really modify it to your liking without changing the gyst of what you’re doing. Basically, put all the ingredients in a large bowl. From there, you can decide how fine you want it pureed. I like mine a bit chunkier so I only puree maybe half of it in a food processor and then combine it all back together. Again, you can make it as fine or chunky as you like! Top with cilantro, basil, or herb of your choice. Chill and serve.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Hats Off to the Bluegrass

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Mint Julep


I’ve been nostalgic about Kentucky this week. Partly because I’ve never been gone this long. But also it’s the way the mid-morning sun nestles on the leaves outside my window. I’ve seen the sun perch like this before on old trees back in Louisville. I’m reminded of brisk, silver cast walks to school and sweaty, sunny walks home, with the relief and excitement of a summer almost ripe. The sun has a particular way of shimmering just so at the dawn of May, and that can only mean one thing: it’s Derby week in the Bluegrass.

I can see my Dad at the kitchen table with his racing form, handicapping the horses. Today’s copy of The Courier Journal—filled with thoroughbred facts and hat histories– resting close by. The local news anchors chattering about specialty cuisines, fashion, and celebrity sightings. Like many, my Dad doesn’t attend the derby anymore, but you don’t have to actually go to feel the spirit of the city. It’s alive, and you can pick up on its pulse from anywhere. The season kicks off with a spectacular fireworks display, a hot air balloon race, and includes a marathon, a parade, and the Belle of Louisville swaying down the Ohio in the Great Steam Boat Race.

If ever there’s a time to feel the spirit of Louisville, it’s now. I bet even the weatherman has a pep in his step. The forecast for the first Saturday in May (because yes, I’ve checked) shows sunny and in the 70’s. This means a dry racetrack, oddly patterned sunburns, and copious amounts of mint juleps. I can see Louisville grinning all the way from Georgia. Cheers!

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Mint Julep

Ingredients

KY Bourbon

Simple Syrup (equal parts water and sugar, boiled ’til the sugar dissolves)

Ice

Fresh mint leaves

Coarse sugar (optional)

Directions:

Put the leaves in the bottom of the glass (or shaker) and pour an oz. of the simple syrup in. Muddle the leaves. If you don’t have a muddling tool, improvise. I used a spoon to mash the leaves down. Add in the ice, then Bourbon to taste. Mix. To jazz it up, put some sugar around the rim. 

Balance

IMG_7073When delivering lunches last week at Suntrust, a client that normally buys a sandwich ordered the grilled chicken salad instead.

“ Do you want your grilled chicken on spinach or field greens?” I asked. He wrinkled his forehead in thought.

“ I want to be healthy, but not too healthy…I’ll take the field greens,” he replied.

I chuckled, thinking that’s the spirit! Yes, spinach is packed with vitamins and minerals, but when the heart wants a lighter, crunchier, albeit less potent lettuce, listen to it. More importantly, I liked the essence of his decision making process—balance. Eating healthier doesn’t have to be a sacrificial ritual; you can have your salad and eat it, too.

Today I give you an easy salad recipe that’s healthy, but not too healthy.

Ham and Brie over Mixed Greens (Makes 4 servings)

3 cups mixed greens (or spinach/ lettuce of your choice)

2 large apples, chopped into ½ inch pieces

4-5 slices of deli ham, pieced into small squares

6 oz. brie, sliced into small squares

Fresh berries (optional)

Rosemary vinaigrette (see below)

Rosemary Vinaigrette

¼ Cup olive oil

1/3 cup honey

1 TBSP Fresh rosemary

ENJOY!

Let’s Bake a Cake!

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Yellow Cake with Butter Cream Icing and Fresh Strawberries

The rain is heavy this morning.  I imagine that this is what a rain forest would feel like.  Everything is wet but growing and green because of the warmer weather.  There also seems to be a thousand birds, bugs and little critters scurrying around.

The weather seems to be a bit of a reflection of my feelings today.  The weight of moving to a new home and the whisper of a new beginning.  As I signed my name on the closing papers to the house, I realized how much one piece of paper and signature can mean to someone.  It could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars, it could mean a burden gone, it could mean no roof over your head, or it could mean a gratitude for not having the burden of fixing one more thing in the house.  It could mean many things I suspect with different perspectives.  So, as I left the closing, I realized I may have shifted internally  with this simple signature, but everything is still moving swiftly in Atlanta.

I am feeling nostalgia over this closing chapter.  I brought home a baby girl in this house.  I started a business in this house.  I had many gatherings with friends and family in this house.  I found my inner voice and authenticity in this house.

But with each beginning comes and end.  I am ecstatic about the new chapters that are to come.  I read in the Artist’s Way the other day about our finite thinking.  We can’t always see what tomorrow will bring us.  The unknown can be a paralyzing.  But thinking about the infinite things that the universe has to offer is so amazing.  I see the peddles on a dog wood tree.  I see pollen all over my back yard.  There are so many things the universe brings down upon us that we can not count or grasp an understanding on.  We can not wrap our limited head around what is possible.  I believe the universe has an infinite joy that lies ahead of me and around everyone who believes it.  I may not be able to see it, just as I can not count the leaves on a tree but it is there.  I may feel fear creep up because of the unknown but just as in good vs. evil, the good always wins.  As my dear friend Jo said, “one foot in front of the other”.  If we wake up enough times telling ourselves the universe wants to give us infinite joy, we start to believe it.  Just as I feel a heaviness with the rain clouds.  I also feel a wind of weightlessness that carries me to soar to the next chapter and joy that lies ahead.

One of the many joys that I have is to bake.  As Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake!”  Strawberries are in full season here in the south, and I have some in the house.  We will add those to our cake too!

Yellow Cake Recipe

Ingredients

2 Sticks Butter (room temp)

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  I used two 8″ cake pans.  Butter and flour your cake pans.  Begin by mixing your butter and sugar on medium high-speed for about 5 minutes.  While this is mixing, mix your flour, baking powder and salt.  (I have to be honest I don’t always sift these ingredients.  I just don’t feel like it sometimes, and I certainly don’t want something extra to clean.  I know every baking chef out there will disagree with this method but sometimes it just works).

Add your vinegar to your milk.  This will break down the milk into what is like a buttermilk.  I don’t always keep buttermilk in my fridge which is why this method works better for me.  I usually always have milk and vinegar.

After your butter and sugar mixture is creamy and fluffy, alternate adding in the milk mixture and the flour mixture.  Don’t over mix this part.  Mix until it just comes together making a nice cake batter.  Add in your vanilla extract.  Lastly pour your batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

Check out the Butter Cream Icing recipe on The Goose blog page.  It is super easy and delicious.  I put about 1/4 of the prepared icing on the cake.  This cake recipe is so good I don’t want to overwhelm it with the butter cream.  I put sliced fresh strawberries in the center between layers and a pile of strawberries on the top.

I am now wondering if the heaviness is from the rain or from not being able to stop eating this delicious cake.  And look, the sun is peeping out!  Let’s go for a walk and dream about what my new home and kitchen will look like… The possibilities are endless.  Cheers!