Memories of Home

It’s been two whole years since moving to the mountains of western NC from the beaches of sunny Florida. Was it a whim? Maybe. Was I sure I’d stay? No. Am I glad I made the leap? Absolutely. Do I miss home? Definitely. 

So much has transpired since our move…which accounts for my blogging absense. Happy-Go-Lucky Foods, the grand granola empire (well, not really, but we’re on our way) is doing better than I imagined. We’re about to start building a home, and are ready to start a family. My wonderful hubby has settled into his new teaching career at a local university and is loving life. And we love hiking in the woods along the Appalachian Trail and taking in the views. All is well, and we live in a place that few are fortunate enough to call home…

…but I have saltwater running through my veins; I’m a beach girl. I do miss our Florida home. I miss our friends, family, and our old favorite spots all up and down Daytona Beach.  And I miss our house. And I miss our street. And I miss our neighbors. But I now have the most perfect and gigantic thing to make me smile:

See this? This truly makes me happy.  The awesome people behind Modern Map Art create maps that are simple and beautiful. I’m so thrilled to have this right in our living room. And they have cities from all over the world! Just choose your location, color, and size, and that’s it. Transplants like us will always have a piece of home.

And now we don’t feel so far away. 

With love,



Local Shrimp with Lemon-Infused EVOO, Capers, and Chardonnay

Oooooooh, yum. Exorbitant amounts of yum. You know how every now and then you have a meal, and then when its almost gone, you feel a sadness? I had that tonight. Tonight’s dinner will be missed. But, on the bright side, it was extremely easy, and the shrimp is local. Lucky me.

For dinner this evening, we had local shrimp with lemon-infused olive oil, capers, garlic, tomatoes, and Chardonnay. We served it over angel hair, but you could put it on crostini, quinoa, couscous, rice, or an old shoe. It’s that good.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Unsalted butter
  • Good quality Chardonnay

To begin, heat 2 tablespoons lemon olive oil in large skillet on medium-high. While its heating, season the shrimp with a little salt and pepper.
Add the shrimp in a single layer to the skillet.
After one minute, turn them over. Tongs are the easiest tool for this.
Wait one more minute, remove them from the skillet and set them aside.
There will be some tasty bits on the bottom of the pan (called “fond”). Leave it there. It’s packed with flavor. Add the remaining two tablespoons of lemon olive oil to the pan. Then add the capers, garlic, and diced tomatoes.
Add a small pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper to this mixture. Let this simmer uncovered for two minutes on medium-high heat. It should start forming a bit of a sauce because the tomatoes will start breaking down. Now add the shrimp.
Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a 1/2 cup of good quality drinking Chardonnay to the mix. If you like it really spicy, add more pepper flakes. Let this simmer for another minute. Add one tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Work the mixture through and remove from the heat.
Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning.

As I mentioned earlier, serve this over whatever you’d like. We love pasta and served ours over angel hair and grated some fresh Romano cheese over the top. It was heavenly.

Happy eating, everyone!

A Delightful Rose Wine from a Local Winery: Did it Save its Kind?

Bring in the troubadours! Sound the alarms! Get me my megaphone! I have found a rose wine that makes my tastebuds do the cha cha! Thank you, San Sebastián Winery in lovely St. Augustine, Florida. I’m a changed foodie because of you. You see, if it weren’t for my family visiting the winery on a recent vacation, I’d have never purchased this on my own. NEVER. Wines that even slightly resemble White Zin scare me. The Kool-Aid quality just doesn’t work for me, and, for years, I’ve equated (admittedly unfairly) pinkish-colored wines with the nightmarish flavor of the first wine I ever tasted. Look I’m not the only one who’s shied away; guilt by association is real.

But the past is the past, and thank goodness. I couldn’t imagine missing out on this amazing rose bursting with peachy deliciousness.

What a treat for a warm summer evening! What a treat for a cold winter day! What a treat…period! So, I guess the moral of this story with a very happy ending is that although a White Zinfandel may be considered a rose, a rose isn’t at all a Zinfandel. It’s all in the grape, my friends. Cheers! 🙂

Straight from the City Island Farmer’s Market: Purple Bell Peppers

Yesterday, I scored big time at my local City Island (in Daytona Beach, Florida) Farmer’s Market. I found the most gorgeous, locally-grown purple bell peppers. I got 5 for $2! I used them in a garbanzo and black bean salad that I’ll be posting about later today, but I really thought that these beauties deserved a post all their own. Yummy.


Organic Papaya, Lime, and Orange Blossom Honey Sorbet

If a mango and a peach had a baby, it would taste like a papaya. I got one of these magically delicious fruits from the organic garden at work and was overwhelmed with intimidation and obligation. I had to do this thing justice. I’m a foodie, after all.

I stared at it for most of the weekend, and started to panic. But then…after complaining about how hot it is outside, I reached for a coconut popsicle. I did the cartoony wide-eyed blinking thing a couple of times, and forgot all about the popsicle I so desperately wanted. I had a pinky-orange sorbet vision. I scrambled around the internet for some basic tenets of sorbet making, and decided to dive in. Sunday nights aren’t for relaxing. They’re meant for culinary mess-making.

Despite having to make up the ratios for this recipe as I went, it came out exceptionally well. And it was pretty easy. This is the final list of ingredients:

24 ounces ripe papaya (peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks)
1/4 to 1/2 cup simple syrup (adjust depending on the sweetness of the papaya)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp local honey


To begin, puree the papaya until it’s completely smooth. This might take a while. Add the honey and lime juice and let it go for another 30 seconds.

Then, using a fine mesh strainer and a rubber spatula, push the puree through into a large bowl.

Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator. You could even leave it overnight if you want. When it’s completely chilled, transfer to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers freezing directions. After it’s done, transfer it to a lidded vessel and put in the freezer. And whether you dig in now or dig in later, you’ll be glad you did.


Nothing Beats Local, Farm-Raised, Low Carbon Footprint, Free-Range Eggs

There’s something about real eggs. Eggs can be truly glorious. And when I say eggs, I’m not talking about the slimy junk in containers or the thin-shelled, vitamin-deficient yellow blobs that come from conventional chicken farms hundreds of miles away. I mean EGGS…the kind that still have a bit of dirt on their shells, the ones that don’t look like they’ve been photoshopped to shiny white perfection, and the kind that come from a person you might even know. I got these yesterday at my farmers market.

Local eggs are becoming more en vogue, and it’s a great time to start appreciating their many benefits. They taste better, are better quality, they carry a much lower carbon footprint, and they’ve got more of the good stuff we want (vitamins E and A, Omega 3, beta carotene) and less of the bad stuff we don’t (cholesterol and saturated fat). Many people are hesitant to purchase local eggs because of the higher price tag these eggs carry. But buying better quality food, like local eggs, will save money in the long run because they’re better for you. If that’s not enough for you, then think about the higher quality of life the chickens have. I swear I can taste the happy! Look at the orangey color of these yolks!

I know the run-of-the-mill stuff from your grocery store might cost a bit less, but don’t let fifty cents make your decision. And, please don’t tell me you can’t get them. If I can get them in Daytona Beach, then I’m confident that you can find them in your town. And if you can’t, I’ll be glad to help. I’m serious.

Furthermore, local food, eggs, veggies, etc. is better for our Earth. Here’s the carbon footprint comparison between a dozen local and a dozen store-bought eggs (you can go to CleanMetrics to do this on your own, too):

Eggs from 25 miles away: 0.02 Kg of CO2e
Eggs from 1,164 miles away: 0.12 Kg of CO2e

Essentially, there’s a 600% increase in carbon emissions from transport. No bueno.

Quality food is an investment in yourself. Not only does it make better tasting dishes, but it makes you feel better, too. Local food is an investment in your local community, literally. It puts a human face on where your food comes from and keeps your dollars where they will do the most good for you, in the places of your daily life.

I strongly encourage you to seek out the growers and farmers in your neighborhood while making a meaningful investment in your future self.