when eating out is more than a meal…

Hope du Jour

Are you hungry today?  I hope so.  I hope you are hungry for many things in life like the love of family and friends, nature, and the simple joys that make our world a better place.  I hope you thirst for the taste of what each day holds.  This can be many different things for each of us, but like the saying goes, that is what makes the world go around.  True indeed, now I just need to remind myself of this about five times today.

Let me ask the question again though, are you hungry, really hungry?  This time however, I hope your answer is no.  I hope you are not truly hungry for many things: nutrients, energy, food that nourishes our body and keeps it healthy.   Sadly, there are many around us who are hungry.  Unlike me, they can’t hop in the car and drive to the store up the road to choose fresh produce for dinner.  There is no car, there is no store down the street with selections of fresh vegetables to choose from.  There is no money to buy it, either.  This makes my heart hurt, it makes my eyes well up with tears, it makes me want to run from the safe and comfortable walls of my home with a basket of food.  It makes me sad, heartbroken, to think of children in my own city who are going to bed hungry, crying because they have not had dinner.  Again.  In Forsyth County, Winston-Salem has the most severe problem with this situation, known as food deserts, and NC is now among the top states in the US with this problem.  The USDA defines a food desert as “a part of the country without access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.”

Doesn’t this stop you in your tracks and make you ask “Why?”  “How?”  How can someone who might live 3 miles away from me suffer like this?  Yet, this is what is happening every day to children and their families in our community.  As I write this I am fighting back tears.  I think of my own children, and your children and grandchildren, who come home from school asking what is for snack.  Children who grow up knowing a home filled with the smell of freshly baked cookies at Holidays and the smell of dinner in the oven each night.  Children who know the simple joy of smelling a fresh peeled orange, or who know the crispness of an apple in the Fall, a strawberry in May, or blueberries and corn in July.  Children who run in after sports hungry, asking what is for dinner without even giving pause that there is no option.  Thinking about this makes the word fair seem to have no meaning at all.  How can it be fair that there is another 8 year old girl in this city, perhaps another girl with beautiful curls and dark passionate eyes, but she is hungry every weekend?  How can this be fair, and what can we do?

Fortunately,  a lot of light has been shed on this problem recently and things are being done.  A wonderful organization called H.O.P.E. (which stands for Help Our People Eat) is going into the food deserts in Winston-Salem each weekend and feeding children.  They do not simply hand out meals to be taken home where the children often have to give them away, but the children eat at the HOPE truck.  It is a growing and magnificent program, and just like the name it gives me hope.  There is also Hope du Jour, sponsored by Crisis Control Ministries, that supports fighting hunger in our area.  Founded in 1990, this program now has over 125 participating restaurants and other small businesses (such as your very own Julia’s Take Away Gourmet).  When you dine out at a participating restaurant at least 10% of proceeds on Tuesday, May 6th will be donated to Hope du Jour.  So mark your calendars and dine out for a cause on that day, or by ordering from Julia’s TAG next Weds, April 30th.

So you see, every now and then, eating out is more than a meal.  Every now and then you know you are doing some good, helping in some small way.  It isn’t often I find irony by closing with a simple saying about enjoying the best of food and life, but tonight I do.  I wish everyone knew this joy.  My hope is that even if my contribution is small, it does matter.  That choosing the best of food and life today, means choosing to help someone else know this joy, too.

Correction, tomorrow is the 17th!

Working while at the dentist office has it’s advantages- and disadvantages! Sorry for the typo on my nifty little iPhone, but I desperately am trying to maximize time with an unexpected haul to the dentist! Just what I needed in an already packed afternoon…#justrollwithit

Freezer pleasers is tomorrow, Thursday, April 17- not the 18th. Please note correct phone number is 336-681-0675.

Freezer pleasers, if you please!

Freezer pleasers- tomorrow, April 18, while it lasts! I’ll be open from 10:30-1:30, no orders needed or taken, and have made some of the following goodies to help you out. Small batches, but big flavors! Text 336-681-0676 for details.

-Tex Mex Pies
-Chicken with Wild Rice and Broccoli
-Cheddar and Chicken casserole with Peas
-Salem Stew – if Brunswick stew married a stew from Arizona this would be their child! A thick, almost fork worthy stew with pulled pork, Lima beans, black beans, corn and onions and celery! $12-quart
Garlic -Ranch Dressing to go and a couple of other items, too!

All casseroles/pies serve 4-5, $20 each. Cash, checks and credit cards accepted!

Hope to see you at the kitchen!

life cycle…

Bloomin' peach tree in the Spring

Bloomin’ peach tree in the Spring

If I had to choose two seasons, they would be Spring and Fall.  I love the crisp air, tailgates, and fall colors as leaves change each Autumn.  Fall is “Boots and Patagonia” weather as I like to call it, and each Fall I hope my old black Patagonia vest can make it one more season.  I have to say, I am simply amazed at Spring though.  The daffodils emerge and bloom each year, just as the azalea’s are bursting with buds amidst a background of the green grass and lime green leaves popping out on tree’s above.  Hosta’s, deep green, white and purple, poke their spear like heads out of the ground from having been buried in some cold dormant place, just waiting for the sun to bring warmer days.  Kind of like us sometimes, we can lay dormant until inspired to wake up and live.  The peach and cherry tree in my yard are covered in blooms, promises of things to come, fruits waiting to be picked.  I can’t help but find so many ironies in this season of new life, hope and promises.  For those of you who share my Christian beliefs I’m sure you will agree this is no accident.  And for those of you who aren’t quite sure of your religion, I hope you find religion in the beauty of nature around us.

With the arrival of spring comes promises of…warm sunny days emerging from cool mornings, bright blooming fields begging for blankets and picnics, and farmers markets spring back to life with full speed.  I can just picture the baskets of fresh picked spinach piled high on a table at the Dixie Classic Fair Farmers market; not to mention the baby leeks; asparagus so slim and tender; artichokes; crisp lettuces… it isn’t fair to stop the list here.  What about ramps, garlic, strawberries, mushrooms and Vidalia onions & new potatoes so sweet my Dad would say to eat them like an apple.  Can’t you just taste it, too?

These are the things that inspire me, that bring energy to my life.  I get so excited I have about a hundred recipe ideas I want to share with you right now.  I want to share the little things I enjoy that make a simple life, well, not so simple.  Too much for a post!  I want to tell you all about what I call “fun finger food”, Steamed Spring Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Butter.  My children enjoy pulling the leaves off the choke and popping it in their mouth.  Truly, fun food, whole food, healthy food, and a great starter for dinner guests, too.  I want to tell you about sautéing garlic scapes, but better yet go to a market soon and purchase some and explore on your own.   And asparagus, not imported from Peru, but tender, slim, local and oh so delicious.  And for those of us living in this beautiful  City of the arts we named Winston-Salem, how can you resist the strawberries when you drive by the Children’s Home late spring?  I’m not sure the setting can accurately be described, not many places have an amazing farm of acres upon acres tucked in amongst the skyline of downtown?

These are the things that make me want to jump for joy, do a cartwheel in the grass, get my children from school early to go on a surprise outing just because… life is short.  Don’t postpone it.  So many things to relish in every day, every season.  Enjoy the best of food and life, and the amazing foods Spring serves us.

Double delicious…Easter Helpers & Freezer Pleasers in one day!

Easter Menu Helpers

All orders for “Easter Helpers” must be pre-ordered by this Sunday evening, April 13th.  Simply email Julia at bluemoose@triad.rr.com with your order.  Please note this pick up will be next THURSDAY, April 17th, 10:30-1:30.  Not only are there yummy items for the Easter table, but great gift ideas to take and meals to travel with as well!

Creamy Carrot Soup-
a hint of ginger makes this soup fresh and flavorful.  A great way to start your Easter meal or, your Easter weekend!  Be sure to save some for the Easter bunny…one quart, $10

Spring Calico Salad– a combination of fresh spring peas, green peppers, purple onion, yellow wax beans, mixed with black eyed peas, lima beans, white shoe peg corn, pimientos and more in a sweet and tangy marinade.  A delicious addition to a casual Easter Dinner or weekend lunches, just great to have in the fridge.  1 quart, $10

Mediterranean Leg of Lamb- the classic combination of fresh crushed rosemary, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and olive oil can’t be beat in this boneless lamb roast studded with cloves of whole garlic.  Complete with instructions on how to grill or roast, each New Zealand lamb roast averages 5 pounds, $65.  (Roast over 5.5 pounds, $12 each additional pound)

Herb Dijon Pork Tenderloins– although I love Easter hams, this pork tenderloin is a delicious and different pork alternative, not to mention a leaner option with great flavor.  Anytime I offer this it is always a popular entree!  Each order includes two pieces of tenderloin marinated in a blend of fresh herbs, red wine vinegar, garlic, and Dijon mustard.  One order, $22…(please note this comes marinated and is ready to grill or roast)

Wild Rice Casserole with Artichokes and Leeks- this creamy dish combines wild rice and long grain rice with herbs, quartered artichoke hearts and sliced spring leeks.  Topped with Swiss cheese and buttered bread crumbs, a great side dish.  Frozen, serves 5-6, $18

Juju Wafers with Black Benne Seeds–  I have tweaked my cheese straw recipe to where I like it, with enough cheese to be crispy and just enough pepper for a bite, and I love the addition of black benne seeds for color and texture.  I roll it into a log and all you have to do is slice and bake, then serve & enjoy!  Packaged in parchment paper tied with Spring ribbon on the ends, this makes a great gift as well.  One 8″ roll, $10…

Ham Delights– Yes, I do make this Southern staple for just about every Holiday, tailgate, brunch and so forth, but why not?  There isn’t much not to love about this classic party roll stuffed with shredded ham, swiss cheese and then steamy hot with melted onion poppy butter once heated through.  Is your mouth watering?  One package, frozen- $18

Julia’s Better Butter’s– choose either Sea Salt & Garlic Herb, or Orange Zest with Thyme & Honey. Packaged in a small (4 ounce) mason jar tied with spring ribbon, they are pretty on the table or as gift…$8.

Orange Cake-Muffins- not really a cupcake or a muffin, these amazingly moist muffins are topped with a sweet glaze and orange zest.  Half dozen/$8

**That’s the end of Easter Holiday helpers!  Please see below for frozen options.**

Freezer pleasers are on a first come, first served basis, no orders are needed or will be taken.  These items will be available next Thursday while they last, April 17th, from 10:30-1:30.  Questions?  Email Julia at bluemoose@triad.rr.com

Some goodies to be included are:
Tex Mex Pies
Low Country Cheese Grits
Chicken & Wild Rice Casseroles
Salem Soup (a yummy Southwestern twist to Brunswick Stew with pulled pork, lima beans, black beans, tomatoes, corn, & more!)
Lemon Squares
Kentucky Derby Pie Bars

back on the line…

I wrote a blog last year titled “Live hard, love hard, eat well“.  It was actually one of my most popular posts for the year and is among my personal favorites, be sure to check out the link.  The title itself really captures a lot of what I believe in, and definitely is a good summary of my past month.  As spring break comes to an end and I gear up for a busy couple of months ahead while school is still going, the excitement I feel is similar to what it was like starting a business again.  I can’t wait to be “back on the line” in kitchen speak!

Next week’s menu includes some of my popular items, including a twist on the traditional roast chicken which is fun not to mention yummy.   You can choose which cooking method you will employ in your own kitchen, and when your house is filled with the delicious aroma you can take every bit of the credit while you enjoy not having to cook, or clean up.  New meaning to the phrase living hard and eating well, right?  Enjoy the best of food and life, and thanks to all of you for sharing in my journey.  I hope to see you at the kitchen soon.
Dinner Pick up April 9th, 10:30 am -1:30 pm.

1.  “Faux-tisserie” Chicken…why haven’t I prepared this sooner?
One natural chicken with directions for how to
roast one of two ways, it’s up to you:

“Faux-tisserie” style which is a slow 2.5- 3 hour roast that yields a fall off the bone bird; or “traditional” roasting time with juicy meat & crisp skin.

Choose your flavor- Cajun rubbed or Italian Country with lemon, rosemary, garlic and olive oil; $18 per order

2.  Creamy Parmesan Orzo-  this is kind of like the “pasta cousin of risotto”.  Orzo with parmesan cheese, cream, lemon zest and light seasoning.  One small side, 2-3 svgs, $10

3.  Italian Stuffed Loaves– pizza dough stuffed with Italian meats and three cheese blend, then rolled up and baked.
All you have to do is re-heat, slice and serve!
Quickly becoming a blue moose favorite…one roll, $18

4.  Classic Caesar Salad– crisp romaine with ciabatta croutons, grape tomatoes and Caesar dressing, serves 2, $12


5.  Deep Dish Chicken & Broccoli Pie, a yummy twist on the traditional chicken pie…$18

6.  Cheddar Biscuits, $8/half dozen

Place your order by emailing bluemoose@triad.rr.com
by Sunday evening, April 5th.