Thursday, September 25, 2014

Relationships Are Like A Picnic With Variety !

My last post was about a picnic and the variety of  delicious food that was prepared and brought to the vineyard . Can you imagine what the dining experience would have been like if all the courses had been the same ? Six plates of herbed tomatoes...six dishes of banana cake...six servings of cous cous !  Snore...... We would have gone out of our minds and been completely bored !!
   Some spouses in marriages expect the other spouse to be just like him/her, to like all the same activities, to have the same energy level, to act the same, etc. This type of person likes to be in control  and to not allow the other spouse much freedom to be him/herself. We can only imagine the struggles this one sided relationship would have.
   Marriage, like a variety of foods at a picnic, brings two different, individuals together with varied backgrounds, interests, temperaments, strengths, and weaknesses. These unique qualities can damage or strengthen the couple depending on whether the husband or wife are determined to live selfishly, or  if they are willing to appreciate and embrace the differences.Often times,where one person is weak,the other is strong,and vise-versa,which can be a good thing. It is also good to do things that are the same  together, and to have separate interests that make one interesting, as long as they don't hurt the other person.
   If we acted the same as our spouse all the time,then one spouse would be unnecessary. ! Let's seek to understand our differences, grow, learn from one another,and let each other be who God created them to be. Sometimes we just have to have a sense of humor,breathe, and say....that's Fred....or thats's my Sally ! Now go have a picnic...and don't bring boring food.....spice it up lovers !!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Mediterranean Feast in a Vineyard !

   Awhile back,when I was visiting Santa Barbara,I was wondering what activities I could do that would be fun. The thought came to me to check out local cookbook author and cooking instructor  Pascale Beal's website ,where she lists her cooking class schedule. Pascale was raised in England and spent her summers in France,learning to cook French food from her mother and grandmother. Although a lot of her classes are held in her home,of which I have taken a couple, I noticed that she was going to be creating a picnic lunch to be held outdoors in the Zaca Mesa vineyard,which is in the Santa Inez Valley, a beautiful hilly area behind Santa Barbara. That being my supreme cup of tea,I immediately signed up and I think I may have gotten the last spot !
   The drive out there was beautiful, taking the winding roads up into the Oak Tree filled hills, going past pastoral vineyards lined with rose bushes out in front.
   Pascale and her friendly helpers were at the serene vineyard site to greet our group of eight. She  was cutting into a gorgeous, rectangular Mediterranean Quiche filled with onions,mushrooms,zucchini,eggs,cheeses,and tarragon,and the other ladies were tossing the gorgeous salads !

Along with the quiche,we indulged in a Mache and Pluot Salad (a pluot is a cross between a plum and an apricot) with an Herb and Pesto Vinaigrette..., Little Herb Tomatoes..., Roasted Carrots with Spices in a Herb Yogurt Sauce..., and a Couscous Salad with  Fresh Apricots.The hungry guests introduced themselves to one another,coming from various locales in California, and we listened to a representative from Zaca Mesa Winery tell us about the wines they were serving with our picnic feast.

For dessert we had sweet,but not too sweet Banana-Date Cake with a Mixed Berry Salad, that had orange juice and mint leaves added, along with Vanilla Cream.....a perfect ending to our delicious lunch !
   The combination of the beauty of the vineyard, the scrumptiousness of Pascale's Mediterranean cooking,and the camaraderie of the guests made me feel like I had died and gone to Heaven ! Woooweee ! We each received a signed copy of Pascale's "Spring" Cookbook ,which Haleluia had the picnic recipes inside, and we could  also  purchase more cookbooks if we had wanted to !
   If you are ever in the Santa Barbara,California area, check out for a schedule of her cooking classes, the lovely kitchen and food items she sells, her  gorgeous seasonal cookbooks ,and her entertaining writings about cuisine ! She has a new cookbook out called "Salade" which is overflowing with beautiful salad recipes !
   P.S. Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful cities in the world....Mediterranean architecture, purple Jacaranda trees,Bird of Paradise flowers lining the main State Street,the azule Pacific Ocean.....well, you get the picture ! Just one of God's beautiful and incredible creations !!

Thank you Pascale, Sherry, and all the others who helped to create this fabulous cuisine and a memorable experience ! You are truly using and sharing the gifts,talents,and passions that God has blessed you with, to bless others and me ! Au Revoir et que Dieu vous benise !

P.P.S. I  hope God is recreating France in Heaven...because I reeeeally want to spend a billion years there...learning to cook from French mothers and grandmothers too...before moving on to Italy !!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back in the Day Bakery and Sananna

On the third day,we drove into Savanna to walk around the city,exploring the streets,nooks,crannies,and the sites.Our first stop was the bakery called "Back in the Day".This bakery was created by Cheryl and Griff, a husband and wife team. He bakes the delicious breads and she bakes the sweets. The interior design was whimsical with lots of pink,baby blue,and turquoise colors.There was a chandelier made of marshmallows, old-fashioned signs hung on the walls and there were were cute dishes and stripped drinking straws for sale. I had a delicious chicken salad sandwich on the best rosemary foccacia bread I've ever had ! My only regret was that I didn't have one of their sweets for dessert ! What was I thinking ?!!
Savanna is a charming town.Some areas have old cobblestone roads.We enjoyed exploring the streets and discovering interesting shops and restaurants. I loved a French store that was filled with treasures from France on two levels.There was a tiny,adorable fabric store where some of the ladies bought fabric to use in their food photography.I found Georgia peach jam and grits in a darling chocolate store.We peeked in Paula Dean's "The Lady and Son's" restaurant and went next door to her lovely gift shop,filled with kitchen items and souvenirs from Savanna.
   Many of the trees had moss hanging from them There were gas lamps,reminiscent of yesteryear.Savanna is located on the Savanna River.One of our gals saw a huge 7 story yacht pull into port there ! I wonder who owns it ?!!