A Southern Girl in Thailand

I was invited to join a friend for her 40th Birthday Girls trip to Thailand. It didn’t take me long to say yes. In fact, within a week I had already secured support staff (my hubby & mom) to hold down the fort for 12 days.

4 months seemed to creep by I was so excited I had nothing else to do with my energy but google. Yes, Google (verb). I googled everything from the weather in the region to our choices for day trips. Although I had nothing to plan, the planner in me was still planning. I guess in my mind all those years my mama told me that God blesses a prepared heart, she was actually talking about this moment. Not career choices or late night partying back in college. Nope, she was talking about traveling halfway around the world and leaving your family behind (picture her saying it as you read this). So I knew the one thing I had to do was return safely. If I had come back to the states with anything as petty as a cold. I would never live it down.

So imagine my anxiety when I realized we were going to sea canoe in Phang Nga Bay! Not just a boat tour but canoeing into the limestone caves or “Hong” in Thai.
Don’t forget to face your fears…

 

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And of course, I can’t forget the food. All fresh and prepared onboard our boat for the day. Locally caught and sourced… The was basically canoe, eat, repeat for about 6 hours.IMG_E3950IMG_3953IMG_E3954IMG_3955IMG_3958

Fear will stop you from having amazing experiences and seeing things you would have never seen. It’s important to know while growth sounds exciting it is and will be uncomfortable. But from my experience, its always been worth it. IMG_9229

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12 Top Fall Food Festivals​

Travel +Liesure has a great run down about the perfect Autumn Food Festivals across the U.S.

3 of recommendations on the list are located in the SouthEastern U.S. Proximity to home definitely puts these Southern FEASTivals on the top of my list. After the top 3 it’s all about interest for this Southern Fried City Girl.

cornbread

1. Arkansas Cornbread Festival Little Rock, AR

Did I know this was even a thing? NOPE. I will assume you didn’t either. Cornbread is such a staple in the southern dinner table. So much so, my Grandma told me after I got married that if “he ain’t eating your cornbread he’s eating someone else’s” (remind me to tell you that story later).

2.  Beignet Fest   New Orleans, LA

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Sweet or Savory ( yeah, said savory) beignets are little-fried pieces of heaven. Even if you have been to the iconic Cafe’ Du Monde at 3 pm or 3 am, this French donut fest amps it up to the next level.  Babes & Beignets has a great post about what to expect from the 2017 event.

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Flashback to my hubby’s first beignet Cafe’ Du Monde

 

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3. Fall for Greenville  Greenville, South Carolina

While the other festivals focus on one component of a satisfied palate. This SC festival is a “something for everybody”, “eat what you want” 3-day festival adventure.

4. Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta Santa Fe, New Mexico

5. Avocado & Margarita Street Festival Morro Bay, CA

6.  Hawaii Food and Wine Festival Big Island, Maui, Oahu

7. Colorado Mountain Winefest Palisade, Colorado

8. Feast Portland Portland, Oregon

9. Pickle Day New York, NY

10. Wellfleet OysterFest Cape Cod, MA

11. Eagle River Cranberry Fest Eagle River, WI

12. Lewistown Chokecherry Festival  Lewistown, Montana ( sorry Montana, I don’t know what a Chokeberry is, but I can’t wait to try it)

Which Autumn Festivals would make up your top 3? Which Fall Festivals would you and the Travel + Leisure list?

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Easy Breakfast Flatbread 

My dear husband works 6 days a week. So Sunday mornings have long been the perfect time for us to enjoy breakfast together. While I’m callin it breakfast it is truly brunch because we don’t seem to open our eyes before 8am. Even the 2 year old knows to “keep it down” until daddy wakes up. 

I had already planned out my weekend menu in an attempt to not waste our budget on weekend splurges (like we’ve done all summer).  I was feeling a little more gracious than normal and decided to cook breakfast flatbread. 

Whole Grain Naan bread was marked down and the harvest tomatoes were amazing at the grocery store and that pretty much set things in motion.

Then it was just eggs, extra sharp cheddar, and ground turkey sausage to round out the  meal.  

Sure I could have just taken the same ingredients and served them all separately but the look on his face when he swore I had been cooking all morning was priceless. I almost felt bad because it literally took 15 min start to finish. 
Mommy always eats last, so I made my version a little more grown up with a fried egg before I added my toppings. 

Breakfast Flatbread:

  1. Naan Bread 
  2. Eggs – 2 eggs per flat bread 
  3. Turkey sausage (any sausage or omit for meatless option) 
  4. Cheddar cheese (sharper the better) 
  5. Tomato or Salsa **for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  2. Ground meat 
  3. Scramble or fry egg to your liking *slightly under cook eggs to avoid over cooking when Flatbread is placed in oven 
  4. Assemble ingredients except topping on Naan bread 
  5. Place in oven for Aprx. 5 min until warm and bread is soft. 
  6. Serve warm with toppings 

Motivational Monday Moment – 7/31/17

I could not have said it better myself, so I am honored to share it.

A Thomas Point of View

Today’s Motivational Monday Moment came to me after hearing the original song “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers. You know that great song that came out in 1972? If not, click the text and listen to it. Awesome song.

That song was floating in my spirit as I went to go see the movie Girls Trip for the second time with another set of girlfriends this weekend. So, my Motivational Monday moment is about the importance of friends. Friendship is essential to the soul and you should never go through life without having a couple of friends that you can depend on.
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Not just your spouse, but your girlfriends or homeboys. You need someone who knew you before and has invested time in nurturing and developing a connection with you. Someone that you can call on when the s*it hits the fan. The person that not only knows where all…

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 Pineapple Rum Punch


On a recent family vacation I needed a punch that I could make by the pitcher. 12 of my family members and friends had a great 4th of July weekend outside of Atlanta, in the Chattahoochee Hills. We know the majority of would certainly be spent enjoying the pool. My hubby already had already made plans for the grill and next we need a cocktail.

This recipe first appears on Beyond Frosting as Tequila Pineapple Punch. Good Tequila in large quantities can get rather expensive. So I thought why not a Rum Punch without the heavy Fruit Punch vibe.

Enter Malibu Black … more citrus and less coconut. Equally as tropical.

Next, I needed a tequila. Lately I’ve leaned a lot more towards Repesado than traditional blanco tequilas for cocktails.
Add oranges and lemons ….viola’. The perfect summer pool concoction was born.

I usually don’t do recipes. But here you go:

PINEAPPLE RUM PUNCH (60 oz pitcher): 

  1. Can of pineapple juice
  2. 2 cups Malibu Black
  3. 1 cup repesado tequila
  4. Seltzer or club soda
  5. Oranges / lemons

Slice fruit and place in pitcher or punch bowl.  Stir in ingredients and mix. Chill punch or serve over ice.

 

Hog + Hominy

Back in June I treated one of my very best friends to brunch at Hog and Hominy. My pooh bear joined us because who wants to bother with a babysitter at 10am.
The food really was fantastic. The shrimp and grits were amazing, perfect flavor and richness. The biscuits were also delicious. You could absolutely taste that they were made from scratch. Next time, I will get the gravy on the side and maybe Pooh will at least try it.
While I enjoyed catching up with old friends & great food. I just knew my little pooh bear would love something familiar, like pizza. I had never been so wrong. I ordered a cheese pizza. That’s it just cheese. How did I fail so miserably, you ask?
I somehow assumed Pooh Bear could appreciate fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce cooked a brick oven.

He did not appreciate it at all! In fact his only words were ” No, MOMMY” and ” More CHEESE”. Then this happened …. he smiled & said “CHEESE”.

D.C. and Around the World in a Weekend: Days the start with ‘S’

SATURDAY

So here we are on Saturday and after sleeping in we caught the last few hours of the Passport DC.  

The short version is that you can basically travel to different countries without ever leaving the U.S. Countries display and highlight the most unique aspects for their culture including food, music, dance, art, you name it. Some super poplar countries had lines that wrapped around several blocks. You know I do not have that type of patience, so we sought countries where we could just walk right in.

First stop, Indonessia. It will be a very long time before I actually get my passport stamp, so this was certainly a great commercial for what’s to come.

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Our next stop and probably my favorite was Botswana. The people were amazing and they took time to talk with us about their country. I love the pride, smiles, and genuine feeling of love.

But what didn’t go over well was the worm snack … Let’s just say dried worms didn’t go over to well.

Nothing wraps up the day like dinner at Cafe’ Dupont. While ridiculously priced, its a great place to people watch or meet your group in the Dupont Circle area. The salmon tartare really was amazing! Perfectly diced, chilled, and flavorful. Which is a trifecta that is not easily accomplished. The jicama not only served as a garnish but a nice crunch and change of texture. Delightfully light after a long day.

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Sunday

To wrap up an amazing weekend we traveled out to Potomac for the 2017 D.C. Holi Festival. A festival all that celebrates love with colors, music, and food. It was an amazing experience. A month later, I’m still trying to get color out sneakers, but so worth it.

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D.C. & Around the World in a weekend: Friday

I recently went to D.C. to visit my little sister, Liv, at her first apartment. I have to admit if my first apartment ever looked as cute as this one. My friend for the past 17 years went with me to and we agreed to rough it in the studio space. One thing you have to know about  my family is the we are maticulous planners. We live by the saying “Its easier to change a plan than it is make one.”

So Liv, worked tirelessly at planning this weekend getaway. So cute and comfort was going to be key. Armed with my Sperry Top-Sider Women’s Katama Cape Slip-On Loafer, Gold/Metallic, 8.5 M US It started with a Cinco De Mayo bar crawl. Let me be clear my sister is 12 years younger than me so she was stoked about this very long night ahead. The Bar Crawl provided a map of bars with a various specials, including a laundry list of very cheap margaritas and even cheaper tequila. I completely forgot how quickly you fill hungry when drinking cheap tequila (glad I had plenty of Weight Watcher points). So we enjoyed a really good Tex Mex special of at The Dirty Martini in Dupont Circle, to take the edge off and toasted with a good quality margarita with a Grand Marnier floater.

Next up was the Nightly Spirits Tour. This tour consisted of a guide dressed in colonial attire sharing super entertaining ghost stories of the hidden history of many historical buildings in the D.C. Area. The Occidental, The Willard, Old Ebbitt, and The Hamilton all were included on the list.

Liv had us on a tight time line and despite the tequila adventure prior, we arrived a WHOLE Hour before the tour started, so we sampled a specialty drink called the Pretty Woman. Strawberries and quality Gin, yeah it was amazing!

So when the next stop included a classic mint julep we thought we would strike gold twice. NO SUCH LUCK! Trust me, I have had my share of strong libations but this thing is horrible. WHY on earth would people drink this. The Willard was beautiful but if I have another Mint Julep It will be too soon.

If your evver in D.C. late night The Hamilton has an amazing late night menu including…. (wait for it)….. Sushi! Great, high end sushi. I’m talking freash salmon, Wagu beef, rice with that actual hint of vinager. Yeah, they have burger and fries too, if that’s your thing.

 

Finally, called a Lyft around 2am and I pretty sure 2 out of 3 of us slept on the way home. Because well I was one of them.

Girls Weekend Day 1.  Done.

What your favorite group weekend adventure?

Some Like It Hot🔥

So I put my own spin on a version of a one pot Jerk Chicken from African Bites. I have to admit, I thought it was delicious. But my husband on the other hand thought his mouth, tongue, cheek, lips, were completely on fire. In the summer one of our favorite dishes is Jerk Ribs. It’s always a huge hit with guest and an unsuspecting hit in the throat for people who aren’t ready for the heat.

I’m all about WalkersWood. It has great flavor and comes in a less spicy variety in case you live with someone with a sensitive palate (like I do). If you do like a little spice in your life use cautiously and be creative. You’ll find a 101 ways to use this sauce in your Kitchen.

What are your favorite go to sauces?
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Walkswood Spicy Jamaican Sorrel Chutney -7 oz (pack of 6)

Updated August 9, 2017 of the daily prompt: Spicy