Sometimes it’s more fun to color outside the lines!

Why is it so hard to color in the lines all of the time? Sometimes it’s just too much to bear and ya just have to scribble in a wild color all over the page…and that is exactly what I did over the long holiday weekend.

Did anyone else wake up this morning feeling like a big fat baby back rib?

Let me illustrate…Friday night…chocolate chocolate chocolate…Saturday…too many boiled peanuts to count while out on the lake followed by hot dogs, corn on the cob, Cajun baked beans and blue cheese cold slaw punctuated with vinegar pie and fresh berries…Sunday….pork chops, mashed potatoes and lemon berry cake which I made and sampled a significant amount of batter from the bowl…and for the grand finale…..July 4th….breakfast began with homemade french toast,,,,club wrap with bacon-served with french fries..more boiled peanuts….and another cookout with buffalo chicken dip, homemade cheese biscuits, ribs, baked beans, slaw and fresh watermelow…did I mention a lot of wine, vodka sodas and a few beers? Oh my…I so wish I hadn’t written this out. *This post brought to you by Tums!

Feeling a little guilty, not to mention a little pressure on my stomach, I was anxious to get to hot yoga this afternoon to sweat it out. Did I mention that those ribs and boiled peanuts were much more delightful going in than coming out. OUCH…my body is protesting my irreverent behavior.

Note to self…color in the lines next holiday.

Summer is here

As if the thermometer on your car didn’t give you a big enough clue…summer is here. In honor of the heat…I mean the first day of summer, C. and I had the best summer dinner imaginable. If I could eat summer style all year I’d be so happy…and skinny.  The juicy sweet peaches, the tangy tomatoes and the slimy but oh so delish okra. Man….can’t get better than that. Tonight, after a long day in the office,  we had a simple summer supper – grilled mahi, a tomato, corn, basil relish and fresh avocado. Dessert- the sweetest watermelon imaginable.

I can remember how drastically our childhood summer supper menu changed from the menu the other nine months of the year. We would often just have veggies for dinner…always fresh…always from either a local farm or from Dad’s garden. Growing up in a small southern town, fresh veggies were always available and were meant to be shared with neighbors. 

This is probably foreign to you city slickers….My grandmother used to “put up” vegetables in the summer. Bags and bags of zip locks filled with corn and peas and butter beans…Can you even imagine shucking all that corn and then cutting off the husk? Or shelling peas…how dreadful. Guess that is why sitting on the front porch rocking and shelling was so popular. A different time we live in today…but the same summer flavor creates special memories. 

What’s your favorite summer food?

 

purpose

Purpose. What is purpose? Have you ever thought about your purpose? I mean REALLY thought about it? Does your purpose change during various phases of life? Or – Are you born with purpose? Is there a defining moment that solidifies your purpose? What if you never “discover” your purpose? Can you live without purpose?

At the top of my mind has been my own purpose. I recently read “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron (http://adogspurpose.com/). Of course this fictitious book really is about a dog’s purpose as this dog is reincarnated several times, each time with a different purpose. This little book  has made me think about my own purpose. I have always had goals and I often think about goals. I’d like to think that maybe subconsciously I know my purpose. But I know it’s not something I keep at the forefront of life…which seems really absurd. Shouldn’t I know my purpose and live each day to fulfill that purpose?  

The fall was trying on so many levels, crazy work, international travel, the construction of our house….career decisions, house decisions, life decisions. There was a lot to think about. But looking back, I really did not think about my purpose and how all of the actions I was taking were related to my purpose. I was simply swimming through the  motions, trying to get through it all as best I could. And somehow I held it all together. And now that I can take a deep breath and do some thinking…its time to get some real purpose.

So I continue to ponder….. purpose?  And I ask…what does purpose mean to you? Is your life true to what you define as your purpose?

I’m Back!

Stress: Some people indulge on chocolate and high carb foods. Some people avoid food all together. Some manically exercise. As for me…I become paralyzed. Like a deer in headlights. Stress has a crazy effect on me. I become completely one tracked. I can’t move. Creativity Zapped.

That’s what happened this fall. The imaginitive spirit inside me was temporarily frozen. Between the final details on our house, a speaking engagement in Singapore, a major project at work and the other family demands that the holidays brings, the stress was overwhelming. I had to let something go.

Each day, it became harder and harder to find the creativity to keep up this blog and try something new. And one night, as I sat down to write, C. said,”please spend time with me. Surely I am more important than your blog.” Imagine the pain in my heart. Of course C. is most important. So at that moment I walked away from blogging and told myself I wouldn’t return until I felt the “muse”.

I’M BACK!!!!  Holidays OVER.      House FINISHED.    Work Project LAUNCHED.

I’ve missed you friends. Give me a few days…and I’ll soon have my creative groove back!

my first car

My first car was a 1974 BMW. 2002. Inka Orange. Not my first choice considering the car was older than me! And orange…..not a 16 year old girls dream car. But my Dad LOVED BMWs and he convinced me that this was a really cool car. German instructions (yes the “fasten seat belt” light was in German), four gears and a crank sunroof! We were the third owner-it was brought over to the the US from Germany by someone in the Army. We had the original brochure on the 1974 2002- featuring an inka orange model! Looking back, it really was a cool car- wish I still had it. Though that silly little car broke down all the time and I hated it. As a matter of fact, the first time I drove it to school, I rode home in a tow truck!  I swear I could have had a new car for the amount of money that Dad spent fixing it.

When I learned that the Best and Brightest celebration would held at BMW Zentrum and we would have an opportunity to go for a spin on the race track, I knew that my Dad just had to come. My honor aside, I knew he would love this!

OMG- I can’t explain what the drive was like on the race track, tires squealing, 360 degree spins, the smell of rubber burning. It took my breath away. After our lap, I begged our driver to do it one more time….and he did! This time, we blew out a tire! Fantastic.

I am so happy that I didn’t know at age 16 how steady the BMW really is! I could have gotten into some REAL trouble. Though not reliable, that little car had some fun power!

Thanks for joining me at the event Dad! I owe so much of my success to all of your love and support (and all of those cool BMWs!)

meat and three…hold the meat

I love a plate of good southern vegetables. I don’t even need meat when my plate is filled with yummy southern veggies-fried okra, corn, butter beans, collards, sweet potatoes, field peas and much much more. My grandmother’s country cookin’ was the best. No one….I mean no one could ever cook collards (Collard Greens) quite the way she did…not to mention the spicy sweet chow chow that she made to top the greens.

We all have comfort foods and we use those comfort foods to soothe our souls. I don’t feel anything real stressful or challenging…yet I am craving comfort foods. Cookies yesterday, southern veggies today.

My schedule was stacked so I didn’t have much time to pursue lunch, yet I couldn’t quite shake the veggie craving. I pass by an S&S cafeteria everyday on my way in for lunch- though I have never eaten there, so I decided to give it a shot. Not too far from the office and an easy place for take out. I ordered a plate with four veggies- green beans, collards, fried green tomatoes and squash casserole. They were out of the fried green tomatoes so I subbed for cooked cabbage.

Oh dear….perhaps it was because it was after 1:00 before I could get out for lunch, BUT these were the WORST, MUSHY, overcooked, over salted veggies I have ever tasted. I’d like to think my standards are too high, but it had been so long since I’ve had a veggie plate such as this, I feel certain I wasn’t being overly picky.

Now I know that a cafeteria is designed for the blue hairs and they probably eat around 11…but seriously this place should have been flat out embarrassed to serve up a plate such as this. Only a few bites taken and I was finishing out my lunch with Halloween candy. Candy corn is considered a veggie right?

No one will ever be able to cook up veggies quite like my Momo…so I guess my comfort food cravings will have to be satisfied with precious memories of days spent with her shucking corn and making peach preserves!

A fall hike

The weather has changed…there is a crisp feel to the air and the leaves are beginning to rustle. It’s time to break out the hiking shoes. Perfect time of year to enjoy the North Carolina mountains. C and I packed a little picnic and headed up to the mountains for an afternoon of hiking. We stopped along the way at tucked away mountain bluff about a mile off of the main road. The sky was so clear that we could see all the way to Gville. Our picnic was sort of a joke. I am not eating carbs so I had a chicken breast and a nasty greek salad (which for some reason was topped with potato salad….weird) and C had a sandwich. And of course some boiled peanuts just because it seemed like the right thing to do.

We had a fairly challenging hike of about 7 miles. We hiked down a mountain to a beautiful series of waterfalls that were criss-crossed with a rope bridge- a place I have never been before.  Scout, the dog, didn’t like the bridge…but I thought it was fabulously romantic.

To all men: Do not give your wife a garbage disposal for any occasion

In four years of marriage, C and I have had very few disagreements. I can only remember two raise your voice kind of moments. One such disagreement was a couple of months in to the marriage…and I couldn’t tell you for the life of me the reason why. The other, I will NEVER forget.

I have a real problem with garbage disposals. It’s not a new thing. In my single days, I had a handy man on stand by to come to my rescue. James would come over to unclog the drain…no matter what time I called. I think it happened once a week. Clearly I am slow learner on this front. Old habits die hard and I still have a really hard time remembering that not EVERYTHING goes in the disposal…and you can’t just cram it all in. I get it…but sometimes when my mind is somewhere else or I am in a huge hurry, I start to cram. I can hear the sound of the disposal clogging as I write. It’s like finger nails down a chalk board. It starts as a hard charging grind then all of sudden it goes into a numbing mono sound. BZZZZZZZZ. Oh and what a mess it makes.

C. is fairly handy and in the early days would proudly scoot under the sink to fix the clog- doing his husband duty…super C. to the rescue. Keep in mind, James the handy man, whom I paid, was no longer an option because he lived in a different city. So on about the 6th clog in 6 weeks, C. had had enough. This wasn’t funny anymore. He warned me…next time you are doing it.  Oh how I wish I had listened, because on this clog, C. instructed me to put on the yellow gloves and roll my sleeves up. WHAT?  Say it isn’t so. You have got to be kidding me. I screamed. I cried. How could my husband expect me to do this nasty job? It’s a mans work.

Well….he stood his ground and instructed me as I disconnected the pipes and got all of the YUCK out. It really is quite nasty. I think this was a combo of ground egg shells and collard greens. Not a pretty site mixed together. And it goes without saying that I learned to be a garbage disposal pro.  No egg shells, no asparagus stalks, soup in small batches…all in moderation. I don’t really think I ever clogged it again.

So for our fourth anniversary, C. thought it would be “cute” to give me a high powered garbage disposal for the new addition. Though it is top of the line…serious horsepower and dual chambers, it is NOT an appropriate gift for ANY occasion.

Enough said. Men take note.

Do you wonder if I weigh a million pounds?

I just realized that my new thing blog seems to be taking on a food slant…everything seems to come back to food. I do love food. All kinds. I could easily weigh a million pounds, but I am constantly on a diet of sorts. It’s a curse to like everything…and I really do love to cook and eat. oh well. I’ll work on expanding my horizons a bit in the coming week. The problem is that it is too hot to do much else.

So today I decided to try a chocolate bar with a little Asian slant…to continue on my Asian theme. If you remember from “Chocolate Week”, Vosges is my favorite kind of chocolate. My dear mil bought this for me…guess I am not driving her too crazy yet! This dark chocolate bar contained ginger, wasabi and black sesame seed. It didn’t appear to look different from your average joe dark chocolate. It didn’t smell different either…and quite frankly, it didn’t taste very different either. I could definitely taste a hint of the ginger, but not the sesame seeds or wasabi. I was not too excited about the wasabi…couldn’t figure out how that would complement chocolate. I followed the correct chocolate method…to smell, to let it melt on my tongue, to savor. But I have to tell you, this was not one of my favorites. Go for the bacon flavor! It’s to die for.

Boiled peanuts go well with everything

My typical boat picnic is less than gourmet. Sometimes its a soggy turkey sandwich on plain ol’ wheat bread and sometimes its cold fried chicken from a convenient store (which isn’t good hot so imagine it cold-yuck). When C and I first started dating, I would dream up fab picnics- gourmet wraps, a light pasta salad, fresh fruit and homemade cookies. Oh the glory days. It didn’t take long to realize that C was happy with a basic lunch as long as there was sunshine and cold drinks…and some good tunes of course. So I quit putting much adieu into the lunch and let boiled peanuts be the centerpiece of the lunch (really there are some days when the main course is so bad we just eat peanuts!)

But this particular saturday, we had a very special guest joining us- C’s cousin M…who we both adore and don’t get to see nearly enough. I couldn’t possibly subject her to our typical less than stellar lunch. As I was flipping through this month’s Bon Appetite, I found a great sandwich recipe- surely a great complement to a day on the boat catching up. I hoped upon hope that Snag would be there to sell us some of his unbelievable boiled peanuts. No need for dessert…too hard to keep it cool on the boat.

So I stopped at the Fresh Market to pickup the ingredients: Ciabatta bread, black forest ham, oven roasted turkey, genoa salami and provolone cheese. I decided to make the pesto mayo to accompany the delish cold cut assortment. But….they were out of pine nuts. I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $8.00 for pesto when we practically have a basil farm in the back yard. I decided to try a substitute for my pesto. I used raw almonds. It actually turned out pretty well. I don’t think it was as good as my normal recipe, but it is better for you and much less expensive. Pine nuts are really expensive and apparently they easily go rancid.

I mixed a little of the pesto with the mayo for a perfectly delish accompaniment to the sandwich. And Snag didn’t let us down…he was there at the convenient store next to the boat ramp with big ol vat of peanuts. A perfect lunch…a little bit of southern and a little bit of gourmet.