Cool Days and Great Memories


The Punkin Patch…Hunter fit right in!

My Tiger Cub!  I think I did quite a good job on the costume!

Punkinhead!  Bless His Heart…
Oh, to have eyelashes like that.

Fall a few years ago, about 2004 and it seems like yesterday.

This fall….2011.  This Southern Soul and her boys are looking forward to many more cool days and chilly nights. 
I wonder if I can get either one of them to dress up like a tiger or wear that punkin hat??


Special Request from the Boys!

Whenever I get a special request for food, I just sit back and go ahhhhh.  It means someone has liked what I’ve made and they want more.  I am not a fancy cook, or one who goes out of their way for exotic ingredients.  For me, gettin’ in the kitchen, making a great dish, dinner or dessert that makes people happy is just heaven on earth.  So, here’s the story of this Special Request….

Once upon a time there were two boys, Creed and Hunter.  Like all little boys, they loved dirt, bugs, picking on each other, dirt, bugs and rocks, picking on each other…well, you get the idea.  Their crazy, good parents loved them, inspired them, encouraged them, scolded them and sometimes let them go out for ice cream.  The boys grew and grew, learning to read, write, make great friends, play soccer, lacrosse, the piano and become a Prince for a Princess.  While doing all of this….they also learned to love food.  Thus….the almost end of the story…..

Another school year is here and my boys have a special request – “That Grilled Tuna Salad Thing.” OK, I know you’re saying, “wow, how special can that be?”  Southern?  Probably not, and really, is that all she’s got for those boys?  Well…just hold on!  Fire up your grill, and let’s get cookin;…..

All ingredients – Fresh greens, baby Yukon gold potatoes, boiled eggs, green beans, fresh Sushimi grade Tuna, homemade vinaigrette.
  • Mix of fresh salad greens – washed, drained and put into crisper or clean towel in fridge.
    • I use a mix of Bibb lettuce, Romaine and Red Leaf
  • 4 boiled eggs – quartered
  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans 
    • trim beans
    • bring about 3-4 cups of water to boil – add 1 teaspoon salt
    • add green beans and blanch (bring to the height of color/until tender)
    • remove beans and add to ice bath (bowl of water with ice cubes) Let stand for 5-8 minutes and drain.
  • Wash and drain baby Yukon gold potatoes
    • bring 3-4 cups of water to boil with potatoes and cook until fork tender then drain.
    • add 1/4 cup of vinaigrette to warm potatoes, cover and set aside
  • Allow tuna to come to almost room temperature, about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Set grill to med/high heat Sear tuna on both sides and grill until desired doneness – I cook mine to medium (pink in middle)Remove tuna, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Let rest.
      • 1 Mason jar
      • add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
      • alt and fresh ground pepper
      • about 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or good vinegar (champangne, balsamic, red wine)
      • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – maybe more
      • 1 teaspoon of grated fresh garlic
      • 1 T. of honey
        • add all ingredients to jar and shake well
Place greens on large plate, layer with beans, potatoes, eggs and top with grilled tuna.  Sprinkle with S/P and then pour on the vinaigrette.  Serve with warm chunks of bread.
Even though today was a little bit intense just getting ready for the school year, it was great to sit outside tonight with my guys and enjoy “their” dinner and each other.  I look at my boys and realize how fast time passes….
Counting my blessings through many thankful tears,

btw – where in the heck are the tissues…..can a girl get some help around here?  You all just better hope you are asleep…..


What Happens When You Get Home

Boys building a moat.
Tide is going out so get ready
for some sand building.

My kitchen smells good! I’m making a big pot of “Mama Sauce” on this wet, cloudy, sometimes sunny day. Garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes and lots of herbs – it makes unpacking from vaycay a little easier.  We had an incredible week yet, when you get home there’s the “thing”… laundry – you already know how I feel about that, restocking the fridge, catching up with neighbors who’ve been so helpful, lovin’ on the dogs, and trying to get ready for another school year and life in general. 

 I am NOT complaining or begrudging any of these tasks….being away makes it all worthwhile, a little sweeter and I am thankful.  A Southern Soul has been out of touch, sorry friends.  What started out as a family joke about getting away turned into something GREAT!  Thanks for hanging in there with me ’cause there’s lots of good stuff on the way……

Counting my blessings,

Fresh Shrimp from Normans at Indian Beach – we had a FEAST! 
Menu coming….

Afternoon in Beaufort. 
Dinner was awesome AND…
Chef actually wrote down his recipe of something we LOVED and sent it via our waiter!!  Of course, I was just a little bit happy…..humming, giggling and smiling all the way home.


Summer…you are moving way too FAST!

Just so you know, I am pitching a small hissy fit.  I’m not sure what you all think, but summer 2011 is flying by!  It’s August 4th and I feel like I am just now getting my groove on.  This is upsetting to me because I’ve always been organized, mindful of what’s going on and pretty much on top of things….at least that’s the way it happens in my head.  My Mama Swain, (my mother’s mother who l had the privilege of living beside of from diapers to 12 years old) if she were alive today would be telling me, “Donya Leigh, settle down. Yes, you have a lot going on but just make a list and start working it”…oh, how I miss her!
So, tonight there’s no recipe to share – not yet anyway.  I’ve had a request from a friend to make Lemon Squares for his intern who’s last day is tomorrow.  I’ll be in the kitchen cooking, taking pictures and will send the recipe on shortly…..it’s an awesome one!

Mama Swain in her backyard garden.

I am STILL negotiating with the laundry, handling boy stuff, dealing with regular household things, my own business ventures, plus more boy sports stuff and  then YIPPEE (that one is sincere), packing to head down east.  We’ve decided to get a family vaycay in right before school.  Indian Beach is very special and I am claiming a good time will be had with Big Sweetie and the boys.  Poor Hunter will not know what to do with this surprise since he’s away at camp this week.  His feet will hit the ground from the church bus and then we’ll be on the move. He’ll be fine.
Now that I think about it….why am I in such a tizzy about things when I have so much to be thankful for? Then Mama Swain is in my head again….”Get yourself right and say your prayers, you are loved.”  I get it.  So, let’s make some Lemon Squares, do a little laundry, work on that packing list and spread some love…
My rant is over and the most important thing is….

Summer, I love you and it looks like I’ve been the one moving way too fast.
Counting my blessings,

*Just so you know, everyday, my Mama Swain wore a dress, pretty much like the one in the photograph.  I never saw her in trousers or pants.*

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