Finally Friday!


It’s not summer without pesto.  Many people think of basil and basil only when they hear the word.  I have expanded on the subject and add spinach, arugula, parsley, pecans, walnuts, or even almonds in place of the traditional basil and pine nuts.  Actually, pesto comes from the Italian word, which means to pound or to crush.  My menu today is short and simple, yet really delicious!  The pasta I use is gluten free so no worries there!  Also…join me at Golden Isles Olive Oil tomorrow where you’ll have a real treat.  I’ll be there with books for signing and delicious sweets for you to taste.  Chefarmer, Matthew Raiford, and Jovan Sage, food alchemist, will be offering a savory bruschetta bar with a twist.  Culinary fun from noon until 3:00 pm!


Quinoa Spaghetti with Fresh Pesto

Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salsa

Outshine Pomegranate Fruit Bars

Pinot Grigio


Quinoa Spaghetti with Fresh Pesto

2 cups fresh, organic baby spinach, stems removed

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup pecans or walnuts

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 – 3/4 cup good olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 package Quinoa Spaghetti, cooked for eight minutes in rapidly boiling water, drained, tossed with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside

In a food processor, combine the spinach, basil, nuts, garlic and cheese.  Process until well ground.  In a steady stream, pour the olive oil through the feed tube until a thick emulsion forms.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss with the warm pasta , top with a large spoonful of the tomato salsa and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salsa

1 small box heirloom cherry tomatoes

1 clove garlic peeled and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE:  You may also serve this is as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish.  I love it on its own on a warm summer evening!

Outshine® Pomegranate Package

This is my newest, refreshing discovery for cooling off on a hot summer day!  I love the slightly tart flavor of pomegranate and this bar delivers!  The perfect dessert!


Discovering Brooklyn

Join Nancy Kirkpatrick as she continues her voyage up the East Coast to Brooklyn!  You’re in for a real treat today.  Thank you Nancy for contributing your beautiful writing and photography for all of us to enjoy!

In the port of New York a smooth pearl gray fog lifts slowly to reveal the city. A proudrow of multi colored buildings guards the shore while we pass under the VerrazanoBridge, glide past the Statue of Liberty, a quiet, soft green in the mist. A tugboat joinsalongside. We are about to dock in the world’s largest city.
Having visited the city numerous times, I’m aware there is a certain assault on the senses when you first see New York, when you enter, while you explore. Depending on how you are wired, that assault can evoke anxiety, frustration, even fear. Or it mayenergize the artist, the explorer, the adventurer in your soul. But what about Brooklyn?Not entirely sure of my reasons, I choose the tour of Brooklyn.

And I wonder. How does one discover Brooklyn? Is it part of the city or an existence all its own? Do you cross a bridge dragging pieces of Manhattan behind you? I visualize historic brownstones lining streets that crisscross in neat squares. People live here but work in the city. Like suburbs on steroids. That’s what my limited mind conjures up. And yes, there they are! And trees line those streets. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” flits through my mind.

Once my mind settles its yearning to see the Brooklyn of my imagination, I begin to experience a different Brooklyn. Shops, restaurants, schools, offices, apartment buildings and at last the neighborhoods. Just like Manhattan, there are separations from the whole. German, Italian, Chinese, Hasidic Jews. They pass before us on the sidewalks, the shop windows, the signs, the places of worship.

Especially intriguing are the Hasidic neighborhoods. Our guide gives insight into baffling customs they adhere to as a means to ensure their continuing traditional existence.  Married women shave their heads to be unattractive to men other than their husbands.But they wear dark tressed wigs, all looking eerily alike as they stroll the sidewalks with their children. Another sect is set apart by the tiny balconies on their apartment buildings which allow them to be “outside” for certain religious observances. They are tightly woven communities. They live in a world visibly apart ‐ similar to the Amish in Pennsylvania, I remark. Yes. The guide agrees. Just like that.

We visit Coney Island. Hear about the devastation from Hurricane Sandy. Have a Nathan’s famous hot dog. It’s iconic Americana. Not yet open for the season, its boardwalks swept clean by the abrasive sand filled wind, it promises colorful, noise filled summer days and nights.

But for all the local color and historical uniqueness, the rise of “glass boxes” is evident everywhere. Our guide bemoans the disappearing Brooklyn. It hurts. This new Brooklyn.  And as we return to our ship, the tour over, our guide reads off an astounding list of famous natives of Brooklyn. A breeding ground of artists, writers, painters, poets, actors, musicians. And I send a tiny prayer into the Universe ‐ don’t let Brooklyn change too much…the world needs the artists. And the artists need the Brooklyn‐like neighborhoods of this world.


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When Nancy Krabill sent me information on the upcoming art tour she and Atlanta artist, Kathy Rennell Forbes, are planning for October, I knew I had to write about it!  Just imagine traveling to beautiful Tuscany with a group of creative spirits intent on savoring all the area has to offer.

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I love the idea of journaling through watercolor.  What a wonderful way to save memories of a trip than through painting!

Listen to Kathy Rennell Forbes as she shares this journey in a brief description….and imagine, all of your supplies fitting in that small bag?  My kind of packing!  You’ll travel through historic villages, experience farm life….including harvesting olives and capture all of the beautiful scenery with your paintings.

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You can learn more about this opportunity on Saturday, June 6th at 10:00 am when Nancy and Kathy will host a special introduction to the trip at Glynn Visual Arts.

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Doesn’t this look like just the place to enjoy a bit of fall weather this coming October?  I think so!  Join the tour and meet Francesco for a cup of espresso!

For further information go here:

Good Times!

Em, Sky and Gman

Another Memorial Day come and gone.  We spent time in the  Atlanta with family.  I got to see Miss Emmeline and present a copy of my book to her in person.  She is delighted to have her name in the title and a story that takes place in her hometown of New Orleans.

PicMonkey Collage fresh market

My most favorite place, foodie heaven, The Fresh Market, in Marietta…..if I’m ever lost, this is where you’ll find me!  Oh how I love this store.  I could spend hours looking at the bulk items and exploring every aisle and every nook and cranny.  The music, the displays, the flowers and more.

Time at Leon’s, one of my favorite places to eat in Decatur did not disappoint.

And music in the Decatur square was fun….love the people watching.

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We’re back on the island, unpacking and settling back into our routines.  It’s always good to get away…..missing family already!

Prayers and Thank You’s!

Today is Memorial Day.   I’m honoring those who gave their lives for our country in all of the wars.  All the way back to the Civil War when this holiday first appeared on the calendar.  It’s a day of remembering those who have served as well as their families.  Never forget that it’s the soldiers as well as those who love and support them who are affected by the ultimate sacrifice.  If your community has a special celebration or service to honor the fallen, plan to attend.  This holiday is commonly thought of as the beginning of summer and a great day for a BBQ, which it is, but its true meaning is one we cannot afford to forget.  Whenever you meet a veteran or service person currentlly serving our country always stop and say thank you….and never forget the fallen.

Simple Sundays

I love to listen to Mozart!  On this Sunday morning I you’ll enjoy this video of piano Concerto No. 19 with Radu Lupu as pianist.  It’s light and lively, perfect for a beautiful morning.  We’re in Atlanta enjoying time wtih family.  Be safe, be happy and enjoy!

On The Radio


The show I taped for this past week was mistakenly not aired.  It was with Dave Olender and we discussed the upcoming Memorial Day events that will be taking place in Brunswick on Monday.  The show will air this evening at 7:05 so that all of you can hear it and plan to attend this very important day of giving thanks and prayers to those who have served our country and lost their lives.  It’s a wonderful show so I hope you’ll listen in!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Vacation Time!

Google Images

I posted my weekly recipe yesterday in Finally Friday.  We’re in Atlanta for the holiday weekend.  Leave a comment guessing in which part of this huge city we are staying.  The first one to get it right wins a free copy of my wonderful new children’s book, “Emmeline At Commander’s Palace”.  Here’s how it works!  Leave your guess in the comment section, like my Facebook page, The Permanent Tourist and type your guess in the status bar!   It’s that simple!  Here’s to a great weekend!

The Magic!

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I’m passing the platform over to my friend, Nancy Kirkpatrick, today!  She and her lovely husband are on a Disney cruise aboard “The Magic”.  This magnificent ship will take my friends up the East Coast and across the Atlantic to Europe.  Nancy is going to share her experiences, photographs and observations with us as they make their way on this trip.  What a treat for us all!  Enjoy and look forward to more posts from Nancy as she travels!

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The Magic is real. And Disney’s cruise ship, “The Magic”, is a personification of that real magic. Let me explain.

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Walt Disney was a person of this world. Very much of this world, but also of the world of dreams. Big dreams. Huge dreams. And the drive to activate those dreams. And that’s magical. So let me introduce you to the Magic that I discovered on my first ever Disney cruise, beginning on embarkation day and the first day “at sea” (how I love those marine terms!).

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First is an eight year old girl in line for check in. How many cruises have you been on? Eight? And you are eight years old? She giggles and moves on.

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Then there’s Ed. I hear Ed describe himself to another passenger not in terms of what he does for a living, but what gives him pleasure. He loves to help people. As he chats with us at dinner the second evening, he is engaged in the conversation, for sure. But you see his eyes dart here and there. He halts the conversation politely…he’s spotted someone dining alone and that won’t do.

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Ed excuses himself, speaks with the solo diner and shortly she is seated atour table and her story unfolds. Dena’s husband and three daughters missed their plane and won’t be allowed to board until Halifax, she explains. So for five days she sails alone. She is tense. Sad. Trying to make the best of it. So we invite her to become part of our story. And she does. Next night at dinner she joins the table with a huge smile and we all bask in her glow. Thank you Ed, for bringing this new, lovely person into the fold. You do that so well.

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That’s the Magic. The real Magic.

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Then there is Savio, Luis, Lana, David, Linda, Jennifer, Al. Hailing from Brazil,Peru, St Lucia, Ohio and Georgia. And Jerrod, Ellen, Don and Gabrielle (notGabby!). We collect names and nationalities.

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Luis. What do you do when off the ship? I have a restaurant with my father.When I am home, I am building a bigger restaurant with a bar. Talk drifts tophotography and Photoshop. And when we part, he gives us the name of hishometown and restaurant. Says confidently we will have a drink together there some day and I will show you my hometown.

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And that is the Magic. The real Magic. It’s the people. Luis, Lana, Jerrod,Savio, Bianca, Yanupa, Hernando, Francisco. They all know what makes thereal Magic. And and they live it for you. They ARE the Magic.

Nancy Kirkpatrick

Finally Friday!


LA bayous

I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, outside of Houston.  The neighborhood was as much a part of Louisiana as it was Texas.  I remember eating Shrimp Creole, Chicken Gumbo and all of the various seafoods that were available in the local waters .  Every holiday meal that involves a turkey in our home results in a big pot of gumbo to be served a couple of days later.  Otherwise, as in this case, I use chicken, with the bone in and andouille sausage.  You can add oysters and shrimp to the mix as well!

One of the most important parts of making any gumbo is the “roux”.  If the roux isn’t right the gumbo will not be either.  When I say in the recipe that you want to slowly cook the roux, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it is the color of rich peanut butter, I mean this:



Come to think of it, there really isn’t a recipe that I follow.  I’ve made this for so many years it just comes together instinctively!  I think I can list everything in a way that you can follow, however.

Melissa’s Chicken Gumbo

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the chicken pieces in the oil, season with salt and pepper then add the browned chicken to a dutch oven, cover with water and boil for 2-3 hours.  Remove the chicken pieces from the pot, take the skin off and debone the pieces, returning the meat to the pot with the cooking liquid.

For the roux:

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup unbleached flour

This takes a bit of time and patience, but it’s worth it!  Combine the oil and flour in a cast iron skillet and cook over low heat,  stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture’s color is the same as the photo above.  Then add the Cajun Trinity and the other ingredients.  Let this simmer for 10 minutes, add to the pot with the chicken and broth.


The Cajun Trinity:

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

To the Trinity add:

1 cup chopped scallions, green ends included

1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1/4 cup minced, fresh garlic

To season the pot

1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning (I use Sangre de Cristo Spice Company, Zatarains’s or Tony’s will also do…add more if desired.)

1 bay leaf

1 pound andouille sausage, thinly sliced

Let the gumbo simmer, covered for a couple of hours.  In the last half hour you can add 2 cups of fresh, sliced okra if you desire.  Make a big pot of sticky white rice to serve the gumbo over.  I use a professional ice cream scoop to get just the right serving size.  To serve I sprinkle each bowl with chopped flat leaf parsley and scallions.

chicken gumbo

This is a great meal for a rainy Saturday evening, served with a crisp green salad, or the traditional creole potato salad you would find on the table in Louisiana.  Hot garlic bread is a must and plenty of ice cold beer, whatever your favorite brand is.

Creole potato salad

Courtesy of Chef Patrick Mould (thank you
January/February 2013

  • 5 cups peeled and cubed red potato
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Creole mustard
  • 1/4 cup minced green olives
  • 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brine from green olives
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, combine potatoes, eggs, and 1 teaspoon salt with enough water to cover. Bring to boil; reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes, and refrigerate until cold. Cool eggs by running under cold water; peel and dice eggs, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, olives, bell pepper, celery, all onion, parsley, relish, vinegar, olive brine, Worcestershire, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fold in potatoes and eggs.

pecan pralines

For dessert you might make a batch of pecan pralines, let them harden and crumble them over good vanilla ice cream.  We’re talking delicious now!

Pecan Pralines

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 pinch of salt

1/2 cup of milk

2 tablespoons Karo syrup (light)

1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla

2 cups pecan halves

Mix sugar, salt, milk and Karo syrup in a heavy pan and bring to the soft ball stage.  Add butter and vanilla, beat with a whisk and cool.  Add pecans and drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.  When the pralines are firm they are ready to eat.

As they say in New Orleans……Bon Apetit, ya’ll!

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