every sunrise is a new journey…

Every sunrise is a new journey.  This is not my original phrase, but one I wanted to use because I love it enought to share.  Every sunrise is a new journey, a new day ahead of you with fresh beginnings and life to live.  There are meals to prepare, jobs to work, people to love.

If there is anyone who can wake up and think of a reason to have a party and entertain, I am among them.  The art of planning a menu, thinking of fun little touches, and preparing an event large or small, holds all the fun for me.  Wrapping it up with friends, family, and a good meal are the icing on the cake.  Like other Holidays, Memorial Day is filled with fun celebrations everywhere.  Yards across America will be firing up their grills, flippin’ burgers and hot dogs, and hanging American flags.  And yes, my family will be doing the same with yummy grilled pimineto cheese &   caramelized onion burgers and Annies’ Deviled Eggs. 

And, in the midst of it all, I will pause to remember why we have this day off.  I will remember why banks are closed, flags fly high, and why we are able to share the freedoms that make us proud to be  American.  For a moment  today I will close my eyes and picture the quiet serenity of Arlington Cemetery, and imagine I am there.  I will envision the faces of those who are there to remember, to honor, to miss the ones they have lost.  I hope you will also pause to do the same.

As I drove home this weekend through country roads in the mountains, I passed a small country church whose sign out front said it all: “In memory of some, in honor of all.”  Because of them I am able to enjoy the best of food and life, I hope you do the same.

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rise and shine…

Generically speaking, people can be broken down into two categories, which is a pretty broad spectrum across the world.  Morning people, and not morning people.  I wonder which you are?

I love mornings and typically I make the most of them, in different ways dependent on where I am.  At home, I love the color of the sun peeking through the sunroom blinds, as I scurry around getting everyone ready for the day ahead, breakfast made and lunches packed.  The birds seem to enjoy it too as they chirp and tweet all around.  Morning is my “get it done” time.

There are quiet mornings, too.  Those beginning in the mountains by enjoying the beauty of a blanket of fog in the field, waiting for the sun to burn it off and reveal the grass and life underneath.  Or perhaps, that certain quietness felt only in a tent, with dew all around and the smokiness of last nights campfire still fresh on your skin.

Then there’s the rumble of waves as they crash against the sand, bringing the dawn of a new day with each moon driven tide.  If you stop to think about it you’ll quickly realize what a miracle this is.  Fresh new shells, coral, sharks teeth, and pieces of the sea strewn across the sands, creating a natural treasure hunt for those who seek the fun.

Rise and shine also means coffee… a cup of joe… java…morning brew… one of the planet’s most universal and popular drinks.  And it means breakfast, literally fuel for your body after a night of rest.  Some argue it is the most important meal of the day, while others are lucky to grab a granola bar or bowl of cereal and go.  Breakfast varies a lot in our house, from breakfast sandwiches and French toast to precious baby quail eggs hard boiled like a breakfast candy.  I find leftovers create some of my favorite and yummiest breakfast, such as “Rise & Shine” breakfast potatoes with scrambled eggs, or the Huevos Mexicanos we had yesterday.  A delicious fried egg nestled on a perfectly toasted English muffin half topped with strips of roasted poblano peppers that I roasted from a friends produce box leftovers, then topped with last night’s leftover guacamole and salsa.  The only thing missing was a Mexican beach and fuzzy memories of the night before.  I will share the recipe at the end, but basically you have all the information you need to know to create your own version.  One of my favorite things about breakfast is that unless I am making bread, it is a quick and thought free menu.  The longest process of it is the amount of time it takes me to stare into the fridge and take inventory of what is there to “play” with!

Except today…today is Mother’s Day and I am not allowed out of bed yet.  Unless I am sick or on a kid free vacation, it is probably the only day this happens.  And I relish it.  I relish the sound of the kids in the kitchen with their dad making me a cup of coffee.  Their precious tradition is to go out the day before and buy fresh croissants, to be paired I imagine with fruit and eggs.  Utensils cling against dishes and it’s fun to be “on the other side” for a moment.  This morning I am not getting it all done first thing, but in a way I am doing more.  The accomplishment on their faces and joy in doing something for me that I usually do for them is such a great feeling.  Soon to come is the joy of home made cards and surprise gifts made at school.  That is all I need.

The love of a mother is a challenge sometimes, and any woman knows this even if not a mother.  As women, and especially moms, we are providers, care givers, lovers, chefs, nurses, chauffeurs, teachers, magicians, police, coaches, and more.  We are housekeepers, schedulers, gardeners, waitresses, referee’s, bankers, and handymen.  This morning a few moments ago I opened a handmade Mother’s Day book from my daughter titled “My Mom Wears Many Hats”.  It produced a tear or two and brought a smile to my face and my heart.  I don’t know, maybe it was reading the words written by my child that said “thank you for making me feel better by kissing my “boobose”, or this one: “My mom is a teacher.  She taught me how to be who I am now and I can not thank her enough.” It is then that every minute of feeling like you want to throw in the towel because you think you’re doing it wrong pays off.  It is then that the nights you go to bed exhausted from running a million different directions are worth it.   It is then that you realize once again through your own children how much your own mom and dad did.  It is then, and just then, that wearing many hats is a blessing and a privilege at the same time.  Taking it for granted is part of life, but relishing the moment when we can is what really matters.

Enjoy it today, and every day, these moments are the best of our life.  Happy Mother’s Day to all…

 

Huevos Mexicanos

Ingredients: (one of each per serving)

fresh eggs                                                         guacamole

English muffin half                                        salsa

roasted poblano peppers, warmed             cilantro or sour cream if desired

Directions: Have all ingredients set out and ready to assemble.  Toast English muffin half to a golden brown.  While toasting muffin, prepare your egg in your favorite way.  I prefer mine lightly fried so the yolk creates a yummy sauce when cut, but if you like your eggs scrambled then go for it!  Place warmed roasted poblano’s on top of toasted English muffin, about three strips according to their heat and your preference.  (You could use roasted red peppers or green chilies as a substitute.)  Place egg on ‘nest’ of peppers, top with guacamole and salsa, sour cream and garnish with a sprig of cilantro and serve hot!  **Get creative with this…if your family loves cheese, melt cheese over the English muffin while toasting.  I had some salsa verde I used as well, and of course a dash of hot sauce will really wake up your morning!

 

 

 

the art of Sunday supper…

Sunday after church was almost always the same growing up.  A quick change out of church clothes if I was lucky, then my mom would load up her platter of deviled eggs and we would be off on a short drive to Grandma’s for Sunday dinner.  All five of my uncles, their wives and all the cousins would be at my grandparents farm, throwing horseshoes and letting kids jump out of the hayloft at the top of the barn.  Ruby, my grandmother and amazing Southern woman, fried chicken and prepared dish upon dish of Southern comfort food for her family like it was her religious duty every Sunday afternoon.  As a young child, I recall looking up to her tea ‘pot’ perched on the front corner burner of the electric stove.  However, her tea pot was a stock pot full of sweet tea, enough for all.  Only the adults sat in the dining room, kids were lucky to get a seat at the small red kitchen table or any other open seat, to enjoy the meal before us.  Trust me when I say I can taste the squash fritters and fried okra to this day, and Ruby’s chicken which was like no other, so much that I still crave it.

The art of Sunday supper, or Sunday Dinner, seems to be slowly be fading into one of “those old Southern traditions”.  Traditions from the past, fading but not forgotten.  Just like the farm of my childhood, which is now a strip mall covering the areas where we played barefoot as a kid.

Traditions, old and new.  Change is good, although hard at times, we carry on.  Tonight at our house we are enjoyed one of our family traditions, Grilled Carolina Treet Chicken, (that is not a typo either).   Years ago a neighbor introduced my parents to this fabulous marinade made in Wilmington, NC.  Carolina Treet really is a “treat” you should try.  Tonight and many more nights to come, we will relish the art of Sunday supper and get ready for the week ahead.    Our Sunday Supper menu is below. And in case you did not grow up here and are scratching your head about the whole supper/dinner thing, Sunday dinner means lunch and Sunday supper is what we commonly refer to as dinner.

Sunday Supper...

Sunday Supper…

Sunday Supper- night on the Grill

Carolina Treet BBQ Chicken

We like to marinate our chicken in a Ziploc bag with about 1/2 cup Carolina Treet marinade and plenty of apple cider vinegar to well cover all pieces of chicken.  I swear the vinegar just makes magic with the chicken in that bag!  Marinate overnight, then grill your chicken low and slow instead of a hot grill where the meat tends to not finish cooking before the skin is charred.  We slowly begin to baste ours about 3/4 of the way trhough cooking.  All said and done, we grilled the chicken for about 45 minutes flipping often.

Carolina Treet while grilling

Carolina Treet while grilling

Rice with Avocado & Pickled Red Onion

Grilled Zucchini & Squash with Fresh Thyme & Lemon, Chopped Tomatoes-

Drizzle with chunks of zucchini and squash with  olive oil, grill to your preference.  When done garnish with chopped tomatoes that have been sitting in their juices while you’ve been grilling and serve.

BBQ Bread on the grill

Another family tradition that is old school “oh so good”.  I like to butter each piece of bread and then grill it until golden brown on each side.  Tonight I used some garlic herb butter (a Julia’s Take away Gourmet specialty) and it was divine!

The one and only BBQ Bread by Bunny!

The one and only BBQ Bread by Bunny!

 

Just a few things I wanted to share of the simple pleasures in my life.  I hope it helps inspire you to enjoy the best of food and life, too.