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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Food · Holiday · Home · Travel

Breakfast prep for a weekend get away

The fun in a weekend get away is not having to work while you are getting away.  At the same time you want to eat and eat well so what is the answer to the question?  I have two favorite make ahead breakfast items that I make, freeze and take with me.  Both are perfect for the guest who gets up early and the guest who sleeps in late.

Sausage muffins:

Take one pound hot Italian sausage (either pork or chicken will do) and fry it until it is done.  In a separate bowl empty two jars of Kraft Old English cheese.  Scoop the done sausage hot from the pan and pour over the cheese.  Let the heat of the cooked sausage melt the cheese as you stir the two together to combine the sausage and the cheese into a spread.

Take one package of English muffins and slice each muffin in half.  On a cookie sheet spread the sausage and cheese topping on top of half of an English muffin.  Pop tray of muffins into freezer and wait to serve.  When you are ready to serve, pop the now frozen muffin into the microwave or the oven to heat until bubbly.  In the microwave eat for about 30 seconds.

Mini frittata:

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Dice onions, green pepper, and tomatoes and sauté them in olive oil in a fry pan. Do the same for prosciutto.  Set vegetables and prosciutto aside.  In a bowl add six eggs, salt, half a teaspoon of lemon juice, and several dashes of hot sauce.  Whisk together. Add in half a coup of grated cheddar cheese and whisk again.   In a cupcake  pan, preferably a silicon one, add the vegetables and meat into each cup then pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables.  The egg mixture should reach the top of each cup.  Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.  Once done let cool.  Pop each mini frittata out and place in a ziplock bag.  Microwave to reheat when ready to serve.

Exercise · Food · Travel

A Visit to Colonial Williamsburg

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Are you ready to take a trip back in time?  Colonial Williamsburg is the restoration of the town of Williamsburg, pre Revolution.  In other words, welcome to a living history museum set in the 18th century.  You literally take a trip back in time.  The buildings are restored and the docents are in period attire.  If you’ve not been, I can recommend you visit.

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I love visiting. Colonial Williamsburg operates multiple hotels on the property for visitors to enjoy.  My favorite is th Williamsburg Inn.  Every time I visit I feel like I’ve died and gone to pampering heaven.  The rooms are beautiful, the service designed to make you feel like a princess, even the Queen has stayed there.

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The Inn and the nearby Lodge are perfect for access to the historic area.  What better for exercise than a walk or run around the historic district? Merchant’s Square is a fun stop for shopping and eating.  The Cheese Shop is a must visit for a quick bite. The Fat Canary great for supper, although my personal favorite is the Blue Talon.

The Blue Talon restaurant is a French bistro within east walking distance to the Inn.  Their mac-n-cheese is to die for and the garden salad the perfect accompaniment.  The menu is replete with excellent choices and the wine menu is to die for.  Added fun are the replays of The French Chef, Julia Child’s tv program.  My favorite is that I can have a wonderful dinner and walk back to the Inn.  The Inn also has a wonderful breakfast.  Sunday brunch is legendary and don’t forget to grab a cocktail from the Restoration Bar or the patio bar, depending upon the weather.

No visit to CW would be complete without a visit to the spa. I always opt for a massage and leave time for the whirlpool and the steam room.

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CW offers so much from golf and tennis to museums to history to shopping.  There is something for everyone.

Food · Home · Organization

What’s for dinner? Kitchen Staples

 

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What do you keep in your pantry or kitchen?  I’ve been cleaning out closets and generally organizing things.  The kitchen is next on my list.  My cleaning binge sparked the question of what are my staples?  What are those items that are “go tos” for my kitchen?  Let me start with the fact that I cook.  Take out is a rare thing for me and while I love eating out, it tends to be a social occasion with friends for me.  This means that I cook dinner most nights, breakfast and sometimes even lunch.  My doctor is all for this.  She tells me to eat on the outside of the grocery.  By this she means fresh veggies, fresh meat and fish, avoid the frozen food section and go light on the canned goods.  Avoiding the canned goods may be the most difficult part.

So what are my kitchen staples?

Meat:  Chicken, chicken sausage, bacon, beef, pork chops, shrimp, salmon

Canned goods:  tuna, chicken stock, beef stock, green beans, tomatoes, beans of all types

Vegetables and fruits:  tomatoes, asparagus, lettuce, squash, apples, onions, grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, broccolini

Frozen foods:  corn, mixed vegetables, broccoli

Add in butter, flour, eggs, milk, sugar and cheese and I can whip up something healthy in minimal time.  I tend to go for soups and stews that I can make up on Saturday or Sunday and eat on during the week.  I love rice, potatoes, and pasta but they only love my waistline so I limit them to twice a month.

Suggestions for a new soup or stew?