Happiness

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Last night I met my sister and her kids at the park after work.  We spent some time on the different rides, like the Carousel, the boats, the helicopters, and the trucks.  After playing at the park, we walked over to Mayberry restaurant and had dinner and we took ice cream with us for the walk home.  The kids were covered in ice cream by the time we reached my mom’s house.  We put the kids in the bathtub and put them in pj’s before loading them up to go home.  After a hum drum day, my evening was wonderful.  I walked home after loading the kids up feeling really content and really happy.  Life is too short not to fill it with as much happiness as you can find.  Where will you find yours today?  

Saxpahaw is Happening

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Saturday night we met our super, sweet friends, Todd and Bekah for dinner at the Eddy. They are expecting their first child in about a week and going out to dinner with them could be pretty rare for a while, so we were excited to have a night out with them. It’s also pretty funny to watch her laugh right now. Those giggles do wondrous things to a belly with a 9 month old baby inside. I think we scared the staff a little. It was raining off and on outside and seeing her standing in a puddle freaked out everyone. It was pretty funny to me. Granted it could have happened. We were prepared and had a mad dash plan, just in case. The Wilhelm Brothers were playing at 8pm and Bekah told us that Pandora had just picked up one of their songs. I was really excited for them! They reminded me a little of Mumford and Sons. Check them out sometime.
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We were in Saxpahaw and they had street vendors and food trucks, too. If we had not already planned on dinner at The Eddy, we would have just hit the food trucks. The aroma from the food trucks was very enticing.
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The menu at The Eddy is superb. They only serve locally sourced food and it really does make a lot of difference. To start we had a few apps: the cheese plate and the hummus and baba ghanoush plate. Can you see the fuschia belly in the background? Awesome.
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I had the porch chop with peach glaze and blue cheese potato croquettes for my main entree. Yummy! Of course the beer selection was pretty awesome, too.
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And of course, why not have dessert? I mean, how could anyone resist the Tres Leches cake? Well, I couldn’t and I didn’t share either. 🙂
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Of course the best part is always sharing an evening with my B. 07
Saxpahaw is a hip little town with lots of great local food and history. Check out Saxpahaw and The Eddy sometime. It’s happenin’.
Here’s the link for The Eddy’s facebook page-https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Eddy-Pub/101614926573669>
and this one is for The Wilhelm Brothers -http://www.thewilhelmbrothers.com/

What to Expect When You are Expecting

Do you remember the days of pen pals? When I was growing up we used to have pen pals. I would get so excited when I would receive new stationery. Back then it was a special gift to receive a box of fine paper and/or a special Cross pen for writing. I was especially fond of my Camp Don Lee stationery with the red and blue sail boat. I loved to write letters. In fact, I still do. Not just the written letters of correspondence and love, but the email variety, too. I always encourage the penned letter. No one can deny the feeling of excitement in receiving the 5×7 or 4×6 standard size card with a handwritten address in the snail mail. It’s a pleasant reminder of the human touch amidst the Rooms to Go and Rent for Life papers.
Tonight I met for dinner a blogging friend and her husband. I have grown fond/close to my fellow blogger simply from my love of her writing and the genuine kindness and support she seems to illuminate in her life and writing. Her blog is andrawatkins.com and well worth a visit. Her words are pure, dark and wholesome-all at the same time. That’s what makes it so good. I was very excited to meet her face to face tonight if for no other reason to tell her how much she rocked. The three of us met for dinner at the Print Works Bistro in Greensboro and enjoyed a beautiful Rose with gazpacho, a frisee salad, a tomato tart, cheddar gougeres, Seared Scallops over black rice and spinach and Steak frites. The food and the company were perfect. I was enchanted by Andra and her husband MTM. It’s funny how I can still feel the tickles of anticipation, like I did when I was in middle school when meeting new friends. The build up is almost intolerable, but the reveal is almost always even better than imagined. As was the case for my thoughts on meeting Andra and MTM in person. I had a really lovely time and look forward to future dinners with them both. It just goes to show that you can get entirely too worked up when you start expecting. What should you expect when you are expecting; hopefully the best, because life is too short not to make each moment the best it can be. >Image

Welcome to the Light Show

Welcome to the Light Show

So I’ve mentioned before my adorable nieces and nephews, but in review for those who are new to my blog…I am blessed with five total and two live within two miles of me. Last night I picked up my niece and we stopped by for a quick Mr. Sugarbears hug. She does not have a dog at her house and she likes to call him “her dog” to my delight. I want the children to love dogs, but also know how to approach dogs. My sister and I have both tried to be extra conscientious of how we supervise them together. The children have learned how to feed him and give him treats. It can be a little intimidating having a dog that is 101 pounds in your face when you are three and five years old. It has been joyous watching the three of them bond over the last year. DG, my niece, actually had him shake her hand last night. Woo Hoo. I was so proud of them both.
So after stopping by for a little Mr. Sugarbears time, we stopped for a quick celebratory toy. (I am the aunt, ya’ know) We picked up Chicken Souvlaki, Greek salads and hummus with pita bread to join the rest of the family. I had a lovely dinner with my sister and her mother-in-law, Pat, or Yaya as the kids call her. Obviously, it was an easy clean up with the takeout boxes. I helped the kids take their baths and then we read some stories together. Before, Aunt Shanny was allowed to leave, the kids told me they had a Light Show for me. I was more than intrigued. The kids turned off the lights and told my sister and I to close our eyes, while they prepared. All of a sudden we were told to open our eyes and they were artistically dancing and tumbling with balls of light in their hands. (the lighted balls were apparently a leftover from mom’s tablescape for St. Patty’s Day). Sometimes I just can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the love I have for my family. Last night, was one of those “sometimes” moments, especially hearing the angelic voices say, “Aunt Shanny, Welcome to the Light Show”.

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

Before we left the coast Tuesday, my husband picked us up a cooler of fresh shrimp to take home. Tuesday night I made grilled shrimp tacos and last night I made Shrimp Pad Thai. I love Thai food and this one is super simple. Like most of my recipes, this one changes slightly with each preparation, but last night, it went like this…

Ingredients:
-1 pound peeled & de-veined shrimp
-7 oz thai noodles
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
-1 red cherry pepper diced
-1 whole egg beaten
-1 cup bean sprouts
-1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts chopped
-juice of 1 whole lime
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-2 tbps canola oil
For the Pad Thai Sauce
-1 tbsp tamarind paste
-3 tbps brown sugar
-3 tbsp fish sauce
-1/4 cup hot water
-1 tsp ponzu sauce
-1 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro (preference)
-Sriracha-for serving

First heat a wok or saute pan with 1 tbsp of oil and add the chopped pepper for about 1 minute and then add the shrimp. The shrimp will need to cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side. I find it easier to use tongs to flip the shrimp. Remove shrimp and sit to the side and stir in eggs and cook well done and remove to the side. Saute the bean sprouts in the remaining oil with the pepper flakes. In the meantime, boil a large pot of water. (about 6 cups) When the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and drop in the thai noodles. Let them sit in the water for 3-4 minutes and remove and submerge into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain noodles. Submerge the tamarind paste into a small bowl of hot water to dissolve and then add the brown sugar, fish sauce and ponzu sauce. Using your same saute pan or wok, stir the noodles and pad thai sauce together over medium heat and mix in the eggs, shrimp and bean sprouts. To serve this you will top with the chopped nuts, lemon and lime juice and either cilantro or parsley. I was out of cilantro last night and the parsley seemed to work just fine. Of course, I have a need for a lot of heat in my food and I added a lot of Sriracha to my serving, but left it out of the whole mix since everyone doesn’t like the burn.
I hope you will enjoy this recipe. I make it a lot in my house. This makes 4 servings.

Sometimes You Just Have to Put the Electronics Away and Just Float

I just returned from a few days of relaxation.   The forecast called for 40% chance of rain each day and we had none.  Our boat that has been worked on a lot this year worked perfectly.  The books I took were barely looked upon.  My laptop left its bag only to land on a table and stay there unopened for days.  So what did I do?  I floated and laughed and grinned the whole time.  

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We ate at our favorite breakfast spot, Yana’s one morning.  I had a bacon, egg and cheese on an english muffin with hash browns on the side.  So Good! It definitely beats my normal Luna bar breakfast.  (Not that I don’t love them, because I do) The other mornings were started with beer for breakfast.  We were really healthy.  In fact, I am working on a detox juice right now in order to get back on track. My favorite meal was at the Icehouse.  My husband had the crab-stuffed flounder and I ate my favorite Grouper Oscar over mashed potatoes and asparagus. Yummy!

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Not only was the floating and boating grand, but the company was outstanding.  It was really nice to have quiet time on the boat with my husband.  He is still my favorite friend.  

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And perhaps, the coolest thing we saw at the beach was the couple who had the hot dog and snow cone ferry.  They had awesome music blasting and pulled right up to the beach to dispense their goodies at reasonable rates.  The woman on the boat is a teacher and has the time off in the summer to do this.  I have to admit that I was a little jealous of the brilliance of their idea.  It’s always such a pleasure to see people doing a job that makes them happy.  Judging from the looks of this couple, I’d say they made the right decision to start this ferry business.  I hope to see them for years to come! And as for this blog…I missed the daily interactions with my fellow bloggers and I am happy that I get to play catch up today. But I needed a break. Sometimes you just have to put the electronics away and just float.

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Vitamins for Life

I am a huge advocate of natural supplements.  In the early 90’s I worked as a receptionist for a chiropractor and holistic healer.  As a young woman from the BBQ capital of NC, I was in new territory. I remember how excited I would be to go home for the holidays and tell my family and friends all about the ways they could live a healthier life.  At the time, I was a smoker which made me an ideal person to preach good health.  For real.   There are times when doctors need to intervene and prescribe us a dose of something heartier, but mostly I stick to the natural stuff.   If you have read my blog before, you know that I am in a constant state of trying to balance my life.  I love food and although I stay away from almost all fast food and almost all fried food, I still eat plenty of meat, dairy products, and drink loads of wine that can take their toll on me pretty quickly.  My friend Cynthia always jokes about prosciutto cheeks.  We all seem to get a little puffy the next morning from the excessive yummy salt of the glorious cured meat. As well, my job requires 8 hours a day of sitting on my rear end which is pretty bad on me, too.  I try to walk and run as much as possible, but that can easily be thrown off by a good week of fun.  Soooooo….what do you take each day for a healthy life?  Of course, well-balanced nutrition is the best thing to do and of course talking to your healthcare practitioner is the wisest thing to do.  So listen to me with caution.  Anything I suggest should be researched with your healthcare provider to see what amounts work best for you and what areas you may be more deficient in.  

Daily needs-Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E

Vitamin A-This is great for your eye health.  natural sources are sweet potatoes-yummy, cheese, broccoli, liver, cantaloupe and fish oil.Recommended daily dose for women is 2300iu

Vitamin C-This helps heal wounds and fight free radicals. It helps the production of collagen, also.  Natural sources are cranberries, tomatoes, cabbage, cantaloupe, spinach and blueberries. recommended daily dose 75 mg 

Vitamin D-helps your body absorb calcium from foods which is essential for maintaining strong teeth and bones.  Natural sources are from 15 minutes of sunshine, oysters, cream and butter.Recommended daily allowance for women 15 micrograms

Vitamin E-is essential for normal production of red blood cells.  Natural sources are found in asparagus, liver, yams, corn and hazelnuts. Recommended daily allowance for women 22.4iu per day

Many women are iron deficient and I fall into this category.  Doctors recommend 18mg per day, but you should always ask your doctor what is right for you.  It can interfere with medications and you don’t want to take too much of it.  I take 4 drops of liquid kelp in the morning as my natural alternative to iron pills.  I drop it in a shot glass with a little water. If you take over the recommended dosage or just more than your body needs you can cause toxicity in your body, so listen to your body as you start trying new things. In the cooler months, I try to add zinc into the mix. I really should take it year round, but I don’t. I think of it only as an immune booster, but really it functions in eye health, skin health, taste, smell, and cognitive functions. Really, I should take this year round. Recommended daily dose for women is 8mg per day.
Another great need is calcium. Calcium is not only important for bone health, but heart regulation, too. Recommended daily dose for women is 1000mg per day.
Clearly finding a good multivitamin is the easiest thing to do. I have not found one that I would suggest, so I still take a lot of things separately. B vitamins can be essential for women’s health. They can also increase your energy.
B1-helps the body turn carbohydrates into energy
B12-helps the development of red blood cells and helps the functionality of the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system, and bone marrow.
Early on in my twenties, I took a natural colon cleanser and thought it really helped with my stomach. I ate a lot of fast food in those days and the cleanser helped balance that out. These days, I do a detox cleanse every couple of months. I have tried the Suja cleanse and the Blueprint cleanse which were both awesome for me. Next week I will start mixing in homemade smoothies with chia and flax seeds, so I’ll update everyone on any changes I feel from those. My sweet friend Betsy shared a wonderful recipe. I will ask her if I can share it next week with everyone. And then my sweet sister picked up the chia and flax seeds for me. Yay and thanks.
Really, I just wanted to talk about vitamins today. I know if I continue to focus on eating locally sourced food that is at its peak of nutrition, I will reap the benefits more, so I do try. If only avocado trees would grow in my backyard. Dang NC weather. Anyway, as I said multiple times before, please consult your healthcare provider before trying anything I have suggested. I just wanted to start the conversation. What do you do?

“Honey, Look what I bought for the weekend”

The planner in me is constantly thinking about ways to make every moment of life better. It can be a nightmare to the people in my life and occasionally it can be a welcomed neurosis. I ordered this float in preparation for the upcoming weekend. I have been having fantasies about this float with me in it all week. The cooler is perfect for beer or wine. The handy drink holders on each side are another welcomed bonus. This float screams enjoyment to me. My plan is to tie a line to the boat and just soak all weekend. My rear end will look like a raisin by lunch time Saturday. I found this at Overton’s for 49.99. Score! Luckily, the hubs thought it was pretty cool, too. He’ll probably freak me out and try fishing from it. I keep trying to remind him that we are not bait and that casting out while you are in the water sure makes us a tempting treat. Here’s to floating and fishing.

Black Bean & Chorizo over Polenta

Black Bean & Chorizo over Polenta

Ingredients:
10 oz Rotel-Diced tomatoes with Lime Juice & Cilantro
16 oz Chorizo
2-16 oz cans black beans
4 oz Extra Sharp cheddar Cheese
8 oz Manchego Cheese
1 Cup Polenta
2 Cups Chicken Broth

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Start by removing the chorizo from its casings and cook in a saute pan until done. It will take around 7 minutes. While this is cooking, start a pot of chicken broth boiling. When it comes to a boil, whisk in the polenta. This will take 3-4 minutes of constant stirring. Drain the black beans and rinse. Grease a 10×13 casserole dish-I used olive oil. Spread the cooked polenta on the bottom and then pour beans on top. On top of the beans spread the Rotel. Next layer is the chorizo and finally top with shredded manchego and cheddar. Bake for 10 minutes and serve. Dollop sour cream on top with a little avocado. Yummy. This will serve 10-12