Food · Home

Seasons Change from Summer to Fall: Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

I love that there are four distinct seasons of the year.  Each one is unique and leaves me with a bucket list of things to enjoy and do.  The official start of fall this week left me with a major “to do” list.  Top of the list was mums and pumpkins for the front porch to replace the geraniums and ferns I’d enjoyed all summer long.  Next up, the first pot of soup for the fall.

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I love soup and with a busy schedule it is quick and figure friendly.  I tend to make up a large pot each weekend.  It makes enough to have a weekend meal and have lunch and dinner over the next week.  For my inaugural pot of fall soup, I decided to go with an oldie but goodie – fire roasted tomato soup.  It is quick and easy.

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  • two chicken breasts cut into bite size chunks
  • two links of either chorizo or hot Italian chicken sausage
  • one large red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • two medium onions, diced
  • olive oil
  • cilantro
  • two 28 ounce cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • large container of chicken stock or bone broth

In a large stock pot, sauté the chicken, sausage, onion, garlic, pepper, cilantro, and salt and pepper.  When the meat is done, add in tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.  Add in the chicken stock and cook on low for two hours.

 

Family · Food · summer · Travel

Going Home, Charleston, SC

 

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I’m on my way to the 47th annual family reunion in Charleston.  Every summer growing up we planned a visit to Charleston for my Mom’s family reunion.  Held on Sullivan’s Island, the family with all the cousins would gather for a vast lunch, sno cones, the beach, and lots of fun catching up.

As the ladies of the family were wonderful cooks, lunch was always a treat.  Ham, Charleston red rice, shrimp, fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, coleslaw, and macaroni salad were among the traditional dishes found on the table.  The dessert table was not to be overlooked with poundcake, pies, and cookies.  Add in plenty of homemade sweet iced tea and good conversation and it was always a delightful day for all.

It’s been years since I’ve been able to attend but I’m headed there this year.  I’m so excited to be back in Charleston.  Flying in there was this sense that I was home.  From the plane I could see the marsh and the peninsula.  The humidity and heat enveloped me as I exited the plane bringing a large smile to my face.  This is the place I loved as a child.

With the passing of my grandparents, I opted for a reservation at Charleston Place Hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Charleston, it was ideally located for a walk to the battery and the waterfront parks, shopping on King Street, and a visit to the vegetable market.

King Street was always the place for a shopping expedition and continues to be the location for delightful boutiques.  I (re)discovered Ben Silvers and Sara Campbells.  A trip to Charleston would not be complete without a walk through the market to look at the sweetgrass baskets.  They are individual works of art and I always find creative uses for them at home.

Sullivans Island is a barrier island off of Charleston and home of Fort Moultrie, used in the Revolution.  White sand beaches and beautiful old homes mark it as a lovely location for a family gathering and a swim or day at the beach.

 

She crab soup, beautiful iron work, great food, and family, I’m going home!

Beach · Family · Food · summer

Egg Salad: Comfort Food

 

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Growing up summer at the beach included egg salad sandwiches for lunch.  I have fond memories of Mom boiling eggs and turning them into deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches.  She knew they were a favorite we shared.  Egg salad, chips and a coke and lunch was served.  I have so many fond memories of those lunches.  White sandy beaches, heat, heat, humidity and fun.

Although I never thought about it, the egg salad seemed to be seasonal.  The sandwiches would start appearing after Easter and end sometime after Labor Day.  These days I look forward to my egg salad at the Masters.  There is something about their version of the egg salad sandwich that takes me back to Mom’s.  I’ve  been trying to decode their recipe for years now.  Today as I mixed my egg salad for sandwiches on the beach, I finally came close!

 

 

One dozen eggs – hard boiled and dumped into an ice bath to make pealing easy.

Peel eggs, slice and mash

Add salt and pepper to taste

Mix in 1/4 of mayo to start, add additional as needed.  I used lite mayo,

Add a tablespoon of mustard.  I used Frenches

Spread on bread of your choice and enjoy!

Beach · Fashion · Food · interior design · Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

 

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Growing up Charleston was my second home.  My Mom’s family lives there and has for generations.  So when Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the summer rolled around, I’d find myself in a car headed to Charleston.  There is something special about the low country.  It is like this warm familiar embrace.  A feeling of peace envelopes me when I find myself in Charleston.

One thing I love to do is wander the streets below Broad.  The architecture is spectacular and the secret gardens that peek out from behind iron gates make you want to grab a cocktail and enjoy.

 

Recently I ventured back for the day and enjoyed the Charleston Sympathy Orchestra Design House followed by lunch and shopping on King Street.

The design house was wonderful.  A typical Charleston single house renovated as a fund-raiser.  I walked away with so many ideas.  Next was lunch on the river at Fleet Landing. The food was delicious , location amazing, but service – not so much.  My tip is to call ahead for reservations or pick one of the other fabulous restaurants in downtown Charleston.  There are many.  A long time family favorite is Poogan’s Porch.  Try the crab cakes!

King Street is and has been the center of shopping for generations.  In addition to Louis Vuitton, Talbots, Kate Spade and the usual luxury stops, you can find wonderful boutiques.  This time I discovered Gretchen Scott and J McLaughlin.  If you find yourself in need of a snack while you shop, check out the French Chocolate Cafe on Society Street (think King and Society).

There is so much to do in Charleston. Take a stroll through White Point Gardens and along the Battery.  Jump into a car and make your way to one of the many beaches on Folly, Isle of Palms, Sullivans, Seabrook, or Kiawah Islands.

Family · Food · Holiday

Thanksgiving Reflections

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  Family and friends gather to visit and give thanks, at least in my family.  This year I am going solo.  After changing jobs and moving, the usual family Thanksgiving seemed out of reach this year.

Growing up Thanksgiving was originally a trip to Charleston where my Grandmother cooked for twenty plus.  Turkey, ham, oysters, green bean casserole, rice and gravy,  dressing, squash, ambrosia, and apple pie were on the table.  I recall being taught how to polish silver and set the table as my contribution and wash the dishes after dinner.

Somewhere along the line we moved to Thanksgiving at my Mother’s.  We always attended a Moravian Love Feast on Wednesday night.  This was a community event with members of the church neighborhood participating.  The President’s proclamation was always read, coffee and a bun served, and there is one memorable sermon that I will always recall.  My Dad and I left the service under my Mother’s critical eye – as if we were both two.  The sermon used the refrain “over the river and through the woods”, unfortunately in my and my Dad’s opinion we went over the river one time too many.  Back home it was preparation for the big dinner the next day. Silver was polished, the table set, the turkey prepped.  The menu was similar to that in Charleston, after all my Mom learned from her Mom.  Ice box rolls and broccoli casserole were added at some point as an homage to my Dad’s side of the family and a coconut cream cake made an appearance.  Baked apples became part of the main course.  The family was slightly smaller and Mom served twelve to fifteen rather than twenty plus.

Then Thanksgiving came to my house.  Tradition is tradition. I’ve cooked for five and for twelve.  I have fried turkey and baked it in a bag.   The menu varies based on the number eating but is the one I learned from my Grandmother.   The silver is now handed down to me as is the china.  While I don’t have a Love Feast in my town, there is a community service that is reminiscent of those I attended growing up.

What I will always cherish is my family, gathered together for a few days.  The main dinner was delicious and fun.  Mom and Grandmom  were amazing cooks; but the turkey sandwich that followed our 2PM meal was as good, if not better, as it was with family.  It was at these gatherings that I learned about my Mom’s escapades growing up and how to cook.   I remain thankful for the many holidays with family who are now scattered near and far.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May your holiday be shared with those that love you.

Beach · Food · Skin care · summer · Travel

Packing for a day at the beach

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My love affair with the beach began while I was still in diapers.  Born in Eastern North Carolina with a Dad who grew up spending summers frequenting Cherry Grove, Myrtle Beach and OD and a Mom who spent her childhood summers in pluff mud, salt marshes along Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach, it was natural that I’d be whisked to the Atlantic Ocean before I could walk.  So what do I pack for a day at the beach?

The chair is key.  I love a good sand chair, one that is perfect to sit in the water with the tide.  Umbrella and straw mat are other necessities.  I typically grab a grass mat at the local beach store. They tend to cost around $3.00 and are great for lying on to sunbathe.  They also serve as a place for the cooler, beach bag and other assorted items to avoid dumping everything in the sand.  As gorgeous as the Carolina coast is with that sugar white sand, I try to avoid bringing it home with me.

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Next up is a cooler packed with ice, drinks, sandwiches and a spray bottle of water.  There is nothing better to cool off with than ice water.  I love Evian but there are multiple options that include just a drugstore pump spray filled with water.  I keep a bottle of Evian in the refrigerator so I always have one cold for tennis and the beach or pool.

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My beach bag filled to the brim with all those things one needs – sunglasses, sunscreen, towels, goldfish, my kindle and my iPod.  This year I’ve got a new beach bag, the Goyard Belharra.  I am loving it.  It is easy to stuff with everything I want for a day walking along the beach, reading in the sun, and swimming in the ocean.  See my post from last summer for What’s in My Beach Bag.

 

entertaining · Food · Uncategorized

The Incredible Egg, Southern Style

Summer to me is a gourmet paradise.  The farmer’s markets are laden with fresh vegetables, cheeses, fruits and other delicacies.  Tomatoes are my passion but there comes a time when you need something other than that ripe jucy tomato to eat.   Eggs here we come!  What is more southern than a deviled egg or an egg salad sandwich?  When I think of picnics, summer concerts or the beach, a deviled egg or an egg salad sandwich is the first thing that comes to mind.

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Both recipes are super easy.  Boil your eggs until they are hard-boiled.  Pour off the hot water and immerse the eggs in an ice bath to make them easy to peel.  Then peal away the shell.

For deviled eggs,  slice in half and remove the yolks to a bowl.  Then mash the cooked yolks and add salt and pepper to taste.  Then add mustard and a bit of mayo also to taste. Stir together with a fork and then stuff each half of the white.  Top with a bit of paprika for a fancy occasion.

Egg salad is a derivative of this.  If you made deviled eggs for dinner and had too many, simply mash them with a fork and you have egg salad.  If you are starting from scratch, slice the boiled eggs into a bowl and then mask with a fork or a potato masher.  Add salt, pepper, mustard and mayo, then stir.  Serve the egg salad on white bread for that true southern flavor.

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