Get Ready……Get Set…..Go!

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I’m doing my happy dance now that it’s September!  We watched our first college football game on Saturday evening with friends…..GO DAWGS!  This all means that fall and cooler weather can’t be far behind.  Thus my most favorite time of year!

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I’ll be taping a very special segment for my radio show tomorrow morning.  It’s not like other shows have been because I’ve actually taken a challenge to join the good people from “Paddle & Putt”, Davis Love III’s fun store here on St. Simons Island to a little lesson to get me back out in the water.  My bestie, Pat Shelnutt and her husband are all into this sport that offers a full body workout.

paddle boarding

 

Did you know you can burn up to 1500 calories when you Paddleboard for just one hour????

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Having been rather sedentary all summer after knee replacement surgery I’m ready for an adventure. I actually lost quite a bit of weight just from the sheer effort to move, but lost a lot of muscle tone at the same time. Pat has mentored me through this whole time, having gone through the same surgery a little over a year ago.  Our doctor at Emory is also part of the challenge, wanting pictures of us on the boards.  My physical therapist says I’m ready…..she’ll even be present to photograph the event.

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Stay tuned for more as the time draws near.  I’m already back in the pool working on so I think paddleboarding is the next, natural step.  You won’t want to miss the radio show next Tuesday evening and Thursday too…WWEZ fm radio 94.7….or live stream it at www.wwezradio.com!  Life is meant to be lived and we’re meant to have fun….here’s to my next adventure!  Then…..to learn to do yoga while on the board….in the ocean….why not???

 

Rest and Relax!

HappyLaborDay

It’s Labor Day!  There are many signs from the present and the past  to hearken the day.  Love this from the World War II era.

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And this from a bygone era when postage was a mere three cents….I wonder what gas was!

Labor-Day

Whatever your plans, relax and enjoy a day with family and friends.  Seize the day!

Simple Sundays

Enjoy the lovely sound of Lindsey Stirling as she plays “River Flows In You”.  This is the last weekend of a long, hot summer.  One I feel like I sat on the sidelines of as healing continues.  I cannot believe tomorrow is already Labor Day.  I’ll be taking a rest from blogging, but there will be something special on the site for you to enjoy!  Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday where all of your dreams can come true.

On The Radio

Anytime I get to spend time with Stacy Bass and Jay Anderson of Straton Hall Events is a good time!  We got together to discuss their lives, projects and the new Southern Table Restaurant and Bar now open on Thursday and Friday evenings.  These two guys are such a valuable part of our community!  They are always giving back and always creating events that will never be forgotten.  Make reservations to join them for dinner soon!  You’ll love it!

Finally Friday!

I’m sharing a tried and true recipe that I’ve been preparing for years.  Marilyn Diamond wrote the “Fit for Life” cookbook to partner with her then husband, Harvey, as they led many devotees to a healthier lifestyle back in the 1980′s.  I’ve got both the small paperback’s as well as Marilyn’s “American Vegetarian Cookbook” that is filled with some of the most delicious recipes.  I’m not a vegetarian, preferring to think of myself as a “Flexitarian”.  I eat red meat when my body craves it, which is not often.  This particular recipe is enough to sate anyone’s appetite with delicious fingerling potatoes mixed in with all sorts of greens, all topped off with a yummy lemon garlic vinaigrette.  You can easily bring meat into the meal with a grilled steak, chicken breast, fresh fish or seafood.  So, here is one of all time favorites, updated a bit from the original recipe!

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Award Winning Potato Lover’s Salad

1/2 pound yellow, fingerling potatoes

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

2 cups broccoli florets, slightly steamed, substitute with string beans if you’re not a broccoli lover

4 cups butter lettuce, chopped

2 cups organic baby spinach

1 cup radicchio, shredded

1/2 purple onion, finely diced

To assemble the salad:

Steam the potatoes in a vegetable steamer until just fork tender.  Remove the potatoes, save the water for the broccoli to steam.  Melt the butter and combine with sea salt and paprika.  Toss the tender potatoes in this mixture.  Break the broccoli into two inch pieces and steam for about 3-4 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water.  Place all of the salad greens and onion into a large salad bowl with the brocolli.  There are two methods you can choose from to prepare the potatoes.  I saute them in a skillet until they are a bit crusty and browned.  You can also put them under your broiler, on medium high, and cook them that way if you choose.  When the potatoes have cooked, scattered them over the top of the salad and drizzle with lemon garlic vinaigrette.

For the dressing:

1 large clove garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper.

Crush the garlic and put into a small mixing bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.  Drizzle this dressing over the salad with more on the side if needed.

That’s it!  Simple and really delicious!  I’d love to know if you try the recipe.  Happy Weekend!

For Miss Skylar…

I may be in a “heap” of trouble for this post…lol.  But I can’t let this event go by and NOT write about it!  My lovely daughter, Skylar, turns 18 tomorrow.  A milestone birthday for a special young woman.  I don’t know where the time has gone, but it has melted away like a stick of butter on a hot summer day.  I cannot imagine my life without her lively, creative and sometimes mischievous free spirit in it.  I clearly remember the day I learned that I would be able to adopt her.  Having gone through several miscarriages and being told I would not be able to have children was pretty traumatic for me, but this little soul was bound and determined to find me and so she did.  We’ve been together since the moment I cut her umbilical cord, at around 5:50 in the morning on August 29, 1996.  Our connection began and on it goes.

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Whether she’s snuggling with Emmeline……

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Playing on the beach with Graham…..

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Dressed in her Junior R.O.T.C. finest…..

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Or posing for the camera, Skylar is a oner!  Our hearts found each other and nothing will ever change that!  Happy Birthday to one of the finest people I know.  My friend, my pride and joy…..always and forever!

Miss Emmeline….

For as long as I can remember I have been writing.  I have kept diary after diary and more journals than I can count over the years.  But until recently I never really knuckled under and worked to create a career for myself as a writer.  I am living proof that it is NEVER too late to be what you might have been.  My dream of writing professionally is coming true at last.

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Miss E and G-man at our wedding

When I remarried five years ago I became an instant grandmother.  Mr. T got to raise his fifth teenager and I got to embrace the joy of having Emmeline and Graham in my life.  They are both so incredibly bright and funny, it’s always a treat to spend time with them separately or together.  Emmeline is probably the more outspoken of the two, although our last visit with Graham and his family in Atlanta showed me that he is developing into quite a talker himself!

Skylar and Em in the French Quarter

Skylar and Em in the French Quarter

Emmeline’s history of outrageous one liners led her mother to begin writing things down that she would say or do.  I quickly learned that you don’t want to miss anything Miss E has to say!  Mr. T kept telling me I needed to write a children’s book that would feature our dear granddaughter and her one of a kind way of looking at the world.  I let that sit and brew in my mind for quite some time before coming up with the idea of a trilogy of children’s books featuring Emmeline and even introducing Graham in the second book.

emmeline at CP

Since Emmeline lives in New Orleans with her parents there is plenty of writing material to be found.  Having visited Commander’s Palace on several visits, where our son-in-law is a manager, an idea began to form.  To combine my love for New Orleans with my passion for wonderful food, especially the food at Commander’s Palace, and put them together in a story.  ”Emmeline At Commander’s Palace” is the result of all of this.  Everything began to fall into place once I had the text written.  My dear friend, Marion Snyder, an uber talented local artist, stepped forward, eager to illustrate her first children’s book, which she did so beautifully!  And when it came time, Bob Drury, put the finishing touches on each page before handing everything over to Three Dolphin Press to take the final steps in getting the book published.

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I am so excited that the book is now available on Amazon.com as both a hard copy and an e-book!  I enjoyed writing this little story, sharing Emmeline’s quick sense of humor and adventure and, of course, including a bit of culinary flavor to the story.  At the end of the book is a small collection of easy “French” oriented recipes that are child friendly to encourage young readers to get in the kitchen, with the help of an adult, and experiment!  Take a look here:  www.amazon.com, enter the name of the book and search.  If you happen to be in New Orleans, I’m very excited to say that the books will soon be available at Commander’s Palace and other area book stores.

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The more I grow as a person, the more I realize the importance of playing.  We tend to forget this aspect of our lives as we age and become set in our ways.  Having Emmeline and Graham in my life is a never ending adventure that will continue to provide me with material for stories for quite some time!  I’ve already begun the second book which finds Emmeline and her cousin having an evening at City Park in NOLA at Christmastime.  You won’t want to miss it!  Being creative is my passion and finding my muse has changed my life…..join me on the adventure and let the good times roll!

Something Special….

The weather must be changing because I’m beginning to feel like cooking again….look out!  After the huge rain storm that hit the island on Sunday the weather cooled off a bit.  I invited my parents over for a very casual Sunday night supper and treated them to this delicious one dish meal.  I did serve a small salad of torn butter lettuce with radicchio and a freshly made lemon garlic vinaigrette.  Crusty bread to dip in the sauce and it turned into a yummy, festive, last minute meal!  As I’ve mentioned, I cannot leave a recipe alone.  I’m always adding a little bit of this or that.  This particular recipe originated with Libby Summers, the talented, chef/author/food stylist, from Savannah.  With the slight shift in the weather yesterday it became the perfect time to give this a try!  It’s a keeper and will reappear on our dinner and brunch table many times with many variations!

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Sunday Night Baked Eggs

8 eggs (I get free range/organic)

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Pink salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to broil and adjust the broiler pan to sit in the bottom of the space.  I used a small crockery paella pan that I’ve had for years to make this…oven to table perfection!  Put the butter and heavy cream into the dish and place under the broiler to melt, four minutes.  Since all broilers/ovens are different, keep a watch on this dish as it cooks quickly once you get going.  Crack the eggs into individual ramekins/bowls.  When the butter and cream have melted and begun to boil, carefully slide the eggs into the dish.  Cover with the chopped fresh chives, top with feta cheese and return to the broiler for another 4-5 minutes.  This is where you will wnat to keep a watchful eye to be sure some of the eggs are not cooking more quickly than others.  You may want to rotate the dish as the eggs cook.  When the eggs are cooked, sprinkle with pink and pepper.  Place the dish in the middle of the table and let everyone serve themselves.  The pan juices are extraordinarily delicious so make sure to save a slice of french bread for dipping!

The Songs Live On…

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I have long been enchanted by the paintings of Maxfield Parrish with their fantasy quality, the iridescent shades of blue and gold he achieved on the canvas giving his work an otherworldly quality. He reigned as a master of the arts throughout the Art Nouveau period, living into his 90′s and strangely regretting not to have pursued a more musical career in place of his beloved art.

Thought to be Lydia Parrish

Thought to be Lydia Parrish

But this post is not about Mr. Parrish.  I’m always looking through any material or book I can find about Coastal Georgia.  Mr. T has a lovely older book entitled, “Recollections of Glynn”, filled with amazing photographs, sketches and drawings that fill in many historical gaps for me.  On one of the pages I noticed a small picture at the bottom.  In it a lovely older woman, taken in profile, is pictured.  The caption reads, “While Maxfield Parrish achieved fame as an illustrator, his wife, Lydia, lived quietly on St. Simons Island and gathered almost forgotten fold songs.  Her book, Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands was published in 1942 and is regarded as a significant contribution to the genre.”.

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While Maxfield Parrish made his home in his beloved New England, his wife spent part of her life in Coastal Georgia.  This is a bit of history you may be aware of, but I am just discovering the information.   Lydia made it her life’s work when in the area to meet local people and ask to hear the songs the slaves sang as they toiled on the land, working themselves into an early grave, for the most part.  These songs are a bit haunting, but uplifting at the same time.

georgia sea island singers

Our famed  Georgia Sea Island Singers continue performing these songs of old, passing them down as a part of history, never to be forgotten.  The oppression of any people is never a good thing.  But history shows, throughout time, that music has been a form of medicine that soothes the soul of those who gave so much.  Many of the songs tell a story, they piece together a history we might not see in any other way.

Here is a recording, if you’d like to give a listen, it’s a 1959 recording of Bessie Jones singing “Sink em Low”.  You’ll hear the pathos and the soul in this music that was originally sung by chain gangs as they worked in the hot sun.

As you begin this new week look around and see the history that surrounds you.  Listen to the music and imagine the spirit that brought these tunes and lyrics into being.  We live in an area so full of interesting history…what will you discover this week?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

Simple Sundays

Enjoy the beautiful music of Marcus Viana on this quiet Sunday morning.  Sit, relax and renew.  What will you do to make this day special.  How will you nurture yourself?  Make it a special day, spent with special people…..seize the day!