Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting Back on Track

New River in the fall
Well it's been over a week since my last post, and I'm trying to get back on track with the blog and life in general. May 15, 2012, I lost a very special person; my best friend's father passed away. He was like family to me and has been a part of my life since I was in elementary school. I've never lost anyone that close and it's been an emotional two weeks. Blogging seemed, well, not important. This loss, as I'm sure most in life do, has made me think about some pretty heavy things. 

Yet through the pain, I've been blessed to be surrounded by my closest friends and family. He was a wonderful man and it's impossible not to be happy to have known him. We've celebrated his life by sharing memories, listening to his favorite music, visiting some of his favorite places, and most of all appreciating what we still have...each other. My perspective has seemed to shift these past two weeks.

More than usual, I notice the sweet air and chirping birds. A beautiful sunset.
I hold my friends and family a little tighter when we hug.
I savor every little lick and cuddle I can from my pup.
I let little annoying things go instead of dwelling.
I realize, more than ever, the importance of this moment.
I'm trying not to rush life and wish away the not-so-fun moments, they're still moments.
I'm thinking about what's truly important to me, what I want to do while there is still time.

Because that's just the thing, we have no clue how much time there is. I have found solace in this poem, written by Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow, 
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the uplifting rush
Of quiet birds circling in flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Veggie-Licious Soup!

After a very carb-filled Mother's Day celebration, I was craving lots of fresh veggies. I whipped up this soup one Sunday evening and ate on it for three days! Definite soul-warmer.

Ingredients: onion, celery, carrots, red bell pepper, garlic, broccoli, green beans, napa cabbage, Pomi tomatoes (love these b/c they're boxed not canned), vegetable broth, splash of red wine, water (as needed), bit of curry-tumeric-salt-pepper.  I topped each bowl with sprouts from Sunny Creek Farm, a splash of red wine vinegar and squeeze of lemon. Delicious! I don't care if it's 85 degrees outside...I love SOUP!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mother's Day Fun

Mother's Day 2012 was so much fun! I love celebrating the special ladies in my life. I surprised my mom with a loaf of bread from Poilane Bakery in Paris (sent overnight) so our celebration was filled with lots of yummy bread eating! The loaf was HUGE and the staff at Poilane was so kind and easy to work with. To complement, I brought her some French wine, Dave Matthews wine, gruyere cheese and gouda cheese. She was so surprised! 

 The bread from Poilane was so tasty. We had it with cheese and fried eggs, mom took it to work and shared, PLUS we made a delicious breakfast with it...

Baked french toast with strawberries and cream!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy birthday to my sweet and loving mother! We celebrated her birthday last weekend while I was in town. And no, she's not seven, we kinda forgot candles (oops) so we recycled one!

On a sad note, I just want to recognize the loss of a dear friend, David Caldwell. He is a very loved man and will be incredibly missed...Love you Caldwell family!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Right before she walked me down the aisle!
Happy Mother's Day to the best mom a girl could ask for! Thanks for always being encouraging and supportive, kind and understanding, loving and nonjudgmental, and an absolute blast to be around! Love you mom!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nature Lately

Check out this monster fungi growing under a tree in the neighborhood!

 I treated myself to these gorgeous flowers last weekend from a booth at a local open air shopping/dining center. Only $10! Can't beat that! As I walked around with them in my arms, so many people either smiled or exclaimed, "such beautiful flowers!" It made me (a) want to own a flower booth, and (b) walk around with flowers all the time to make people smile.

Finally got a little herb garden going! Basil and sage in this pot. Pesto, here I come!

I feel the need to note how disappointed I am in the voters of North Carolina who supported Amendment One, AKA the Marriage Amendment. It's a shame when personal opinions and beliefs are used as weapons to take rights away from people who mean no harm.

Friday, May 4, 2012

This Week...

Having this right makes me very proud and in awe of the women who fought to make it happen! Thank you!

Yep, two cupcake pics in one week. The voting location was so close to the cupcake place, I couldn't resist! My husband had the lemon and I had the chocolate turtle...perfection!

I love grabbing lunch at Earth Fare every now and then. Their veggie chili is awesome; I don't care how hot it is outside. Be sure to add some spinach and mozzarella from the salad bar for added deliciousness. After eating, I usually stroll around the store finding all sorts of new treasures. Oh a whim, I grabbed these carob / spirulina energy chunks. They're really tasty! It was my first time trying spirulina and I had some serious energy. After about 4 or 5 chunks I was ready to run home after work. Maybe 1 or 2 is more appropriate, haha.

 There is still a touch of beach depression in my heart. I love this seagull shot I got while we were there. Happy weekend everyone! What are you up to?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Food Lately

I always intend to take food pics and usually realize that I've forgotten when I'm taking the last bite. Case-in-point, last night I made my first tofu scramble (with Indian spices) and it was beautiful and scrumptious (I mean seriously why haven't I tried this before?). But I forgot to take a photo! Being mostly vegetarian (I eat seafood sometimes), leads to some creative culinary pursuits, and sometimes I even surprise myself with how good it turns out! Here's to posting more "made-by-me" food pics in the future...who knows, someone might be interested in my weird recipes! I love scouring the net for new things to try!

(Please excuse the quality...iPhone pic) Ending the day with chocolate and hot tea is truly comforting. Have you been to a Teavana? Their tea blends are soul warming! I LOVE the Spice of Life, Peach Tranquility, and Jasmine. Be careful, they sell tea per 2oz and that can add up really quickly! If you can get to a store, they make hot and cold tea to take on the go!

Grilled portobello mushroom and onions, roasted red pepper, steamed carrots, and mixed greens served on top of grits. This was a hodge-podge dinner and it tasted so good! My go-to portobello marinade: balsamic vinegar, olive or coconut oil, dijon mustard (rub on the mushroom), dash of A1, pepper, and garlic. What do you marinade with?

 Unfortunately I didn't bake these beauties but they were so tasty. They're from Just Baked Cupcakes and were devoured at my aunt's birthday party! Tip: If you buy one cupcake per person at the party and cut each into fourths, you get to try four different flavors but it only equals one cupcake! Flavors (clockwise, upper left): signature vanilla, signature chocolate, grasshopper, vanilla salted caramel, vanilla chai tea, and red velvet. The signature chocolate is so nice!