Enjoying the Beauty of Becoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Summer Salad with Warm Shiitake Mushrooms and Lemon Mustard Dressing

 

For Salad

Red Leaf Lettuce

Radiccio

Canned Artichoke Hearts in water

Cherry Tomatoes

Cucumber sliced

Shiitake Mushrooms

Grilled Chicken Breast or Grilled Shrimp

Goat Cheese

 

For Lemon Mustard Dressing

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 cup good olive oil

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daddy’s Day Southern Fried Chicken

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

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

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

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

Southern Fried Chicken

Ingredients

4 Chicken breasts

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1/2 cup canola

Directions

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

To All the Momma’s Out There

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Potato Salad

Ingredients

12 Medium Red Potatoes, boiled whole with skin on

5 Hard Boiled Eggs, diced

1 Medium Purple Onion, diced

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

3/4 cup of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

1/2 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

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

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

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

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Granny and Grandaddy with My Mom and Aunti Chrissy


Me, Mom, Allie and Em

Me, Mom, Allie and Em

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Specialty?

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, So Graceful

Well, I have gracefully done it again.  As I peck away at my computer, cast around my right hand, I am feeling a little more optimistic than yesterday.  I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my right hand.  I cant even say I was having a wild and crazy night of table dancing.  No lifting, no cutting or chopping, no wrapping, no writing, no pony-tail making, no yoga, no stirring, no use with this right hand for 6 weeks.  As the Doctor says, I am lucky the bones didn’t shift.  If they do, I need surgery to pin them together. That sounds promising…

I have got to think outside of the box and I have to learn to ask for help.  I think I am pretty good with the first but terrible with the later.  I despise feeling like a burden on anyone.  And right now, this hand is burdening me.  I have had to think a lot of what I am grateful for… yes, the bones didn’t shift and I don’t have or know of anyone with Ebola.

Onward we march!

Lets work on the yummy biscuit recipe I brought back from France.  First of all, 100 grams is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon, so that isn’t correct on Petit Pavot Biscuit.  What is correct is that the cheese, flour and butter are equal measurements.

I used 2 egg yolks with 2 cups butter, 2 cups cake flour and 2 cups parmesan cheese and a tablespoon poppy seeds.  They are very flakey. The taste, however, is still just as delicious here in the states as it was in France. I may add another egg yolk to see if they will hold together a bit better.

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Since I am handicap at the moment, instead of mixing with my hands, I put the flour, frozen butter, and cheese in a food processor and blended until course.  I then blended in the egg yolk into the same bowl.  I laid it all out on a floured surface and pressed into a flat disk about an a half-inch thick.  I sprinkled the poppy seeds over the dough while pressing.  Lastly, I cookie cut out circles and baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown.  These would be so good with bacon or ham pieces in them…just say’n.

Take very good care of yourselves and be careful until next time we chat!  It is dangerous out there!  Cheers!

 

Petit Pavot Biscuit

IMG_5670It is 2:30am here in France.  I can not tell if it is the late night petite café or the excitement I am having over the most glorious dinner that I have eaten.  We traveled about 30 minutes outside of Vaison-la-Romaine to a small town called St. Cecile Les Vignes.  After a couple of wrong turns my school mate from Patricia’s cooking class safely drove us to the wonderful restaurant Campange Vignes Gourmandises.

I would like to first say, a woman, who I believe is the chef’s wife, was the most kind French woman I have met thus far.  As we all know, my french is terrible.  Her English wasn’t perfect but she took the time to explain to me what she thought was the best thing on the menu when I asked her what she thought I should get.  I agreed with her choice and got the lamb for my main course.  It was by far the best and most perfectly cooked lamb I have ever put into my mouth.  I am still trying to figure out how exactly he made it so moist and also added those delicious roasted garlic and vegetables.  The kind woman said the lamb was from the region and I am sure that it played a role in the freshness that the meat gave.  It was divine.

What also struck me as devine were these perfect little, what I will call, Small Poppy Seed Biscuits.  They were brought out at the beginning of our meal with some olives.  These little biscuits where what I think all southerners are trying to perfect when we make biscuits.  They were the size of a quarter, they were moist with butter and sharp with parmesan cheese, and light with the right touch of kneading.  These same words rang true from last week’s eating while in California’s gardens.  Was I still in heaven?  I think so, just on the other side of heaven’s earth.

At the end of the meal, I couldn’t help myself.  I had to ask for the recipe and if not, could I have a bag of those little biscuits to take back to my apartment?  To my astonishment, the chef was obliged to give me the recipe.  He had no more biscuits, of course, for me to take home, because why would any be left?  They were that good.

I must share this with all of my devoted readers.  How can I keep something this good to myself?   I haven’t made them, as I am still traveling but how hard can it be?  Just remember to use fresh ingredients and the best butter and cheese that you can find.   I’ll let you know how mine comes out when I return.  When I do get this down, they will most definitely be on the menu!  

Ingredients

1oog parmesan

100g flour

100g salted butter

25g poppy seeds (could also use sesame seeds)

1 egg yolk

Directions

Mix the first four ingredients by hand and when incorporated, mix in your egg yolk.  Make little balls with the dough and place in an oven that has been preheated to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Simple and delicious just the way we like things.

At the end of the meal, I did ask for my petit café with dessert.  Note to self, the french do NOT take their coffee with dessert.  That comes afterwards, making yet another course.

Bon Appetit!

Gratitude and Comfort

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Grits with White Cheddar, Ham, and Jalapeño

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients

4 cups water

2 cups stone ground yellow or white corn grits

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick butter

1 cup shredded white sharp cheddar

1 cup chopped ham

salt and pepper

1 jalapeno ~seeded and diced

 

Directions

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

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

 

 

 

Egg White, Spinach, Mushroom and Gruyère Quiche

Egg White Quiche with Spinach Mushrooms and Gruyere

Egg White Quiche with Spinach Mushrooms and Gruyère

This month is already beaming with surprises.  I love this time of year so much!  There are celebrations everywhere.  Graduations, outdoor festivals, weddings, and bridal showers are all on the calendar for this month and I will be sure to share them with you.   Spring is in full bloom!

As I sit outside typing away, I feel a breeze that is just lightly brushing my skin and the sun is warming my core.  A day like today calls for brunch outdoors with friends and family.  I have the best Quiche recipe for you and your loved ones to enjoy.  It will not disappoint. This is easy to throw together, healthy for our bodies and your guests will love it.  It is delicious to they eyes and mouth.  Feel free to mix in different vegetables.  Just use the same egg and milk ratio.

This filling can be used for 8 smaller Quiche or one large Quiche.   I am using a store-bought pie dough.  There is a time and place for making pie shells but not today!  It is too beautiful outside to be stuck in the kitchen cooking all day.

Ingredients

8 ounces chopped mushrooms

1 small shallot minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

6 large egg whites

1/2 cup milk

1 cup grated Gruyère cheese plus extra for sprinkling on the top

1 Pie shell

 

Directions

Warm your olive oil in a saute pan and add the mushrooms and shallots.  Saute until the mushrooms are soft and then add the garlic and spinach.  Remove from the heat after a minute and the spinach is wilted.  Let this completely cool.  In a separate large bowl, mix your egg whites, milk, cup of Gruyère cheese and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.   Add your cooled mushroom and spinach mixture to the eggs.  Pour your filling into the pie shell or shells and sprinkle the top with your remaining cheese.  Bake the smaller Quiche for 20-25 minutes and the larger Quiche for 35-40 minutes or until the egg is cooked through but don’t overcook the eggs.

There really is no need to have a pie shell if you are looking to leave out a few extra calories.  You can cook the filling in a glass pie dish but it will not take as long!

Serve this with your favorite fruits and a mimosa.  Here is to more beautiful days to come and healthy eating.  Cheers!

 

Healthier Granola

Healthier Granola

I love to try new things.  Sometimes a dish can turn out delicious and satisfying.  Sometimes it can turn out bland and missing that certain je ne sais quoi.  Sometimes that dish may have loads of cream and butter that is so devine that I cannot stop eating it, only to feel sick afterwards.  There have been times that I have tried something new with guests over, only to feel embarrassed because it wasn’t what I had expected and I disliked the impression of mediocre.   There are times that I will try a different brand of food.  Even though I know, the one I always buy is wonderful, only to deside never to stray from my brand of food again.  My brand never fails and more expensive doesn’t always mean better.  However, I usually get what I pay for.  Phew, I think I just confused myself.

Sometimes, I’ll learn from my mistakes in the kitchen.  For example, I don’t try new dishes out on my guests anymore.  I believe Ina Garten once said not to do that, but I’ve always had to learn things the hard way.   My Father likes telling the story of when I was a little girl and I  placed my hand on a hot stove eye.  He had told me numerous times that it was hot.  That was the first, of many times, that I have gotten burned in the kitchen.  

Sometimes I will try at something until I am in tears.  I am terribly stubborn like that.  I tried making a Black Bean Dip once using dried black beans.  For whatever reason, those pesky things took three days to get soft and edible.  I could have gone and gotten a can but that would have been too easy.

In keeping with trying things out, I have concocted a new Healthier Granola.  I love my original Granola recipe from Neiman Marcus Taste cookbook but, it is like candy, as my friend said to me.  It is made with brown sugar and vegetable oil.  There is definitely a time and place for it, like when Lingering Sunday Mornings.  However, this Healthier Granola is good, really good (which says a lot because it does have to compare to the sweet one).  And, I feel good after eating it.  There is no sugar in it.  So, no early morning sugar crashes.   I found the original recipe in the magazine Clean Eating.  They had a wonderful article on Glorious Granolas.   I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding more goodies to the granola, like walnuts, flax-seed, and pumpkin seeds.  I  don’t use the sunflower seeds they suggested because I couldn’t find them shelled and unsalted at the farmers market.

I do make this for my client who is working to lower her cholesterol.  This is a great way to start the day. Add a little greek yogurt and fresh berries and make a granola parfait.  Yum-

Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup chopped roasted hazelnut

1/2 cup ground almonds (also known as an almond flour)

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup honey

2 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp hemp seeds

2 tbsp freshly grated ginger

2 tbsp flax seeds

Zest and juice of one lemon, lime or a grapefruit (just use half of the grapefruit for juice)

1 cup dried cranberries (I do use the sweetened ones, unsweetened can be hard to find)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together first seven ingredients and then spread them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Stir around half way through.  After baking, mix in your citrus and cranberries.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

The trials and tribulations of the kitchen remind me of the Serenity Prayer.

“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”

I am still learning and attaining more wisdom, mostly, by trial and error.  Isn’t life grand?  Here’s to enjoying a Healthier Granola, with a little not so good for you Granola spinkled in every once in a while.  Cheers to trying new things and coming out on top!

Rainy Sunday Biscuits in Georgia

Salt and Pepper Biscuit with Jam

Salt and Pepper Biscuit with Jam

Good rainy, chilly Sunday morning in Georgia.  Today is a day to linger in your pj’s a little longer.  I am listening to some chill tunes and day dreaming.  I am such a romantic, which is probably why I try for the harder things in life to accomplish.  -Like a good biscuit.  I have had my fair share of rocks!  And, no, I wouldn’t change that about myself, at all.  The accomplishments are too great a reward when they are finally achieved.  -Like a soft airy biscuit.  Just be gentle with the dough and with yourself.  AND NEVER, NEVER let anyone discourage you.  🙂

I  made these wonderful little biscuits this week for the girls.  I wanted to test the recipe from this months Bon Appétit .  For those who know me well, know that I love a good biscuit or scone.  And these are quite delicious.  They have a different twist with the salt and pepper.  I made then into mini biscuits so that all the little kiddos could have a couple.  The only complaint was that they weren’t big enough.  I think that meant they liked them.

Here is the recipe from Bon Appétit:

  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper plus more
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk sour cream and 3 Tbsp. heavy cream in a small bowl.
  • Pulse baking powder, kosher salt, sugar, ½ tsp. pepper, and 2 cups flour in a food processor until combined; add butter and pulse until the texture of coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  • Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Using a spoon, mix in sour cream mixture, then gently knead a few times just until a shaggy dough comes together (a light hand is key to tender biscuits, so be careful not to overmix).
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until ¾” thick. Using cutter, cut out biscuits, rerolling scraps as needed.
  • Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with remaining 1 Tbsp. heavy cream; sprinkle with sea salt and more pepper. Bake until golden brown on the tops and bottoms, 15–20 minutes. Serve warm-

 

This is the perfect food for this morning.  Take your time while listening to good tunes.  Watch the family wait in anticipation of what is coming out of the oven.  These are priceless moments.

I served them with jam, but they would also be delicious as a sandwich with bacon and eggs.

I have always said, the best way to someone’s heart, is through the tummy!  Happy Sunday!