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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Winston-Salem Chefs Heat Up Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad

I hit the jackpot when I attended Fire in the Triad of “Got to Be NC” Competition Dining series on the evening that bacon was the featured ingredient. Six glorious courses with the magic of bacon worked into every bite, including bacon tasso sushi, wrapped in collard greens with shrimp lobster bisque, culminating in almond-dusted chocolate-covered bacon for dessert! If you missed my guest blogger post reviewing the event (a.k.a, "bacon bliss"), check it out here!
Whetted your appetite yet? All the more reason to go --  It’s also local food. The series travels across the state to highlight the best culinary talent, agriculture and artisan foods North Carolina has to offer. Several Winston-Salem chefs compete in our area’s Competition Dining series: Fire in the Triad. Full of secret ingredients and similar in concept to the popular “Iron Chef” television show, it’s the only contest where the diners get to be the judge!
The 15 competitive dinners take place April 22 - June 2, 2014 at the Empire Room at 203 South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC.

Chefs from across the Triad applied for the competition. Each chef leads a team of three. The final 16 contenders include eight chefs from Winston-Salem (many are my favorites!), including chef Matthew Culpepper of Quiet Pint Tavern (April 22); Chef Tim Grandinetti of Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar (April 30); Chef Kevin Reddick from Artisan restaurant will compete against Chef Donny Smith of New Town Bistro (May 5); Chef Richard Miller of GRAZE will compete against District Roof TopBar & Grille’s Brandon Sherrill (May 6); and Chef Travis Myers of RiverBirch Lodge will compete against Mitchell Nicks of Mad Hatter (May 7). Winners of these rounds will go on to compete with each other in the quarterfinals to determine who qualifies for the semifinals, with the final battle taking place June 2.
The Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series is part of a larger movement. Because we are all chefs, farmers, and/or diners, the mission of Fire in the Triad is to connect and celebrate our community through a dynamic, entertaining, North Carolina culinary experience.
Paying guests savor each of six courses in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of 15 dinner competitions. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination format. There are three dishes from each chef created around a “featured” ingredient from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer. The featured ingredient is revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking, and it must be used in each of the three courses.

Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, rate each dish and determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home. At stake in each series is a grand prize of $2,000, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge in Charlotte, and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket.” The runner-up receives $500. Reservations for dinners are $59, excluding beverage, tax and tip. Reservations for the semi-finals and final are $69. To get a seat at the table, make your reservations early at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's RiverRun Film Festival Season!

All has been quiet on the blog lately. That's because I dove headfirst into RiverRun season as their Publicity Manager (a step up from last year)! This work truly is a labor of love. The Festival is hard work, but it's exciting and worthwhile, and sometimes, it's life-changing for those who experience it.

RiverRun International Film Festival will be held April 4-13 in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Now in its 16th year, RiverRun has grown not only in support and attendance, but also in prestige. This year RiverRun International Film Festival was recognized by the Academy Awards® as a qualifying festival for the Oscars® in the documentary shorts category. This designation means that this year's winning documentary short selected by an expert jury panel may be entered for consideration for an Academy Award® without having to run the usual festival circuit. This is not only exciting news for the Festival, but especially for our filmmakers.

Speaking of filmmakers, there will be more than 80 film industry guests attending the Festival, introducing their films and staying for Q&A following their screenings. Director David Gordon Green and actor Tye Sheridan will be on hand for the screening of their film "Joe," also starring Nicolas Cage. Elizabeth Spencer (age 94) author of the famed novella "Light in the Piazza," will attend "Landscapes of the Heart: The Elizabeth Spencer Story" along with director Rebecca Cerese. Donna Zaccaro, daughter of Geraldine Ferraro will attend the screening of the documentary about her mother she directed, "Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way." Director Damian Lahey, UNCSA alum, will attend for his film "Heroes of Arvine Place," along with the film's star and Winston-Salem native, Cullen Moss ("East Bound and Down," "One Tree Hill," "The Secret Life of Bees," "The Notebook"). And another favorite of mine is "Hank & Asha," a sweet romantic comedy directed by UNCSA alum James Duff and starring NC native Andrew Pastides. Director Tommy Oliver will attend with his gritty film "1982." The list of guests is too long to include in this post, y'all!

The 2014 Festival will screen 145 films from 33 countries in 10-days! There is truly something for everyone, whether you're a fan of documentaries, dramas, comedy, foreign film, sci-fi, or horror. This year even has a curated selection of rare 35mm and other archival films from collections around the country that you'll likely never have the opportunity to see again in your lifetime. Two of these archival films, "Lonesome" and "Upstream," are silent and will feature live piano accompaniment as they were screened in days of old.

Kids can enjoy RiverRun's Saturday Morning Cartoons both Saturdays of the Festival for FREE (up to age 18), along with a free pre-screening concert by Chuck Folds' (yes, brother of Ben Folds) band, Big Bang Boom, and chase it all down with free Krispy Kreme doughnuts after the screening.

Other free screenings the whole family will enjoy include the dog-friendly outdoor screening of Pixar's "Up" April 5 at 6:30pm (festivities, film at dusk) at One Park Vista (that grassy square at Fourth & Trade Streets) and the rare chance to see "The Wizard of Oz" on the big screen April 8 at 6pm at Hanesbrands Theatre.

Opening Night Film "To Be Takei"
Join us and find out what all the buzz is about at our Opening Night Gala April 4 at 9pm at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) following our two opening night films. Tickets to the Gala are only $12.

For the full film lineup, visit I hope to see you there!

Want more details? Read my post RiverRun Insider Tips.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why I am Not a Fan of Elf on the Shelf® Shenanigans

This post is not going to win me any popularity contests. In fact, a friend warned me before posting that several people may block me from their Facebook friend list. I'm okay with that. I'm writing this not to judge those families who choose to engage in this fad, but to offer a different perspective on the trend and hopefully relieve some moms of the guilt of not participating in this "festivity."

I don't consider myself a Grinch at all. But I am not a big fan of the current Elf on the Shelf® fad. According to the official website, the little guy is a "special scout elf sent form the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists." Okay, so it's about behavior modification and the age-old threat of coal in their stockings, hanging the threat of Santa over their heads to get the kids to behave because "bad kids don't get presents and good gets get loot for behaving as they should." (There are even "citations" your Elf can issue to your children available on Pinterest. Which reminds me, I'm adding Elf on the Shelf® to the "100 Ways Pinterest is Killing Me Softly" list.) Is this the Christmas spirit we want to perpetuate in our homes? If that is indeed a parent's intent when purchasing the Elf, psychologists proved long ago that this is not an effective or positive tool in behavior management.

Naughty Elf

And if behavior modification through intimidation is the purpose of the little guy, then why is he often so mischievous? I've seen photos of elves making "snow angels" in spilled flour, wearing mom's bra while dangling from the chandelier, and scrubbing his rear end with the kid's toothbrush. How does such an elf have any right to fly off to tell Santa when your kids have misbehaved? 

Scaring the Kids

Not only is the Elf threatening to tattle on your kids, isn't it a frightening thought even to adults that there is a strange little "Big Brother" doll watching your every move that mysteriously moves around your house, messing with your stuff while you are sleeping? Sounds like the makings of a Holiday horror movie. One of my mommy friend's child was so afraid of their Elf, that he would not be in the same room the Elf. Ever. My friend felt terrible that what she had intended as a cute gag traumatized her child that Christmas and she sent the elf back to the North Pole never to return.

Spirit of Christmas?

Every year when the Christmas season rolls around, we hear a lot of "Remember the reason for the season." As annoying as that little rhyme may be, it does hold truth for my family. We have many family Christmas traditions, from attending advent services and Lovefeasts and holding advent devotions each night of December, to adopting an "angel tree" child in need, and decorating the tree together to the sounds of our favorite Christmas albums while drinking hot chocolate (no matter how warm the temperature outside!) and telling the story of the many handmade, gifted and travel souvenir ornaments as we hang them on the tree.

In thoughtfully considering our Christmas activities, I decided that if I'm going to add another tradition to our long to-do list to make the season bright, it had better fit one or more of the following criteria: 

1) Make us more mindful of the Christ Child
2) Help those less fortunate
3) Bring our family closer together

This little Elf guy does not do any of those things. In fact, he instead adds anxiety to an already hectic season. From the "Oops! I forgot to move him last night!" To scouring Pinterest Elf on the Shelf ® boards to find the cutest creative ideas for Elf activity, only to then compare our Elf photos to others on Facebook and feel like we've come up short. It would be an unnecessary addition of stress to my life.

I just don't have time for that.

That said, if you do have time for Elf shenanigans in your home, here is a link to a blog post by a mom who takes a different approach with their family Elf, entitled "Jesus, Santa & the Elf on the Shelf." 

May you make many happy memories together as a family, however you choose to celebrate. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lotta Latkes - Gluten & Dairy Free Recipe

As many friends begin celebrating Chanukah tonight, I thought I'd make latkes, or potato pancakes, a traditional Chanukah food. Though we are not Jewish, I love cooking with my kids and using cultural meals as teaching moments. Besides, latkes, though hard to say, are delish!

Instead of making straight-up latkes, I tweaked the recipe to accommodate a gluten allergy and I added carrots to make it a little healthier. I've found that the key is making them thin and using lots of oil. Use just a spray of nonstick cooking spray and you'll have some sad latkes.

Latkes are traditionally served with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and applesauce, though I failed here. I only had strawberry applesauce in the house, so I opted instead to Southern-ify the dish and eat it with homemade apple butter, which I have in spades!

This recipe makes roughly a dozen or more small "ladyfist"-size latkes.

Gluten & Dairy Free Potato Carrot Latkes 


  • Safflower or canola oil
  • 3-4 russet potatoes, shredded
  • 3-4 Yukon gold potatoes, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 small onion, grated
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 Tbsp gluten free matzo meal or brown rice flour
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat a large frying pan filled with 1/4 inch of oil. Warm the oil over low heat while you prepare the latke "batter."
2. If you prefer to keep the potato skins on, scrub them. Peel the carrots.
3. Finely shred the potatoes, onion, carrots and garlic with a food processor or hand grater and mix together in large bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the potatoes/carrots and mix thoroughly.
5. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and blend well. Gently stir in the scallions.
6. Raise the oil temperature to medium. The oil is ready when a bit of potato batter dropped in sizzles. Using a spoon, drop the batter into the hot oil and flatten with a spatula (think thin for a crispier latke).
7. Cook until golden brown on bottom, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook other side until golden, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate covered with paper towels to absorb the oil. Serve immediately with a dollop of applesauce or apple butter y'all! Or keep warm in 200┬║ oven. When warming leftovers, I like to toast them in the toaster oven to bring back the crisp!

Happy Chanukah!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

French Apple Pie (Gluten Free Dairy Free)

This is a fall family favorite! After a trip to pick apples at the apple orchard, this is one of the first dishes I make. I love that the filling batter makes its own crust!

Filling Ingredients:
  • 4 medium tart baking apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/2 c. gluten free baking flour mix (GF Bisquik in a pinch)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. sweet coconut milk or vanilla rice milk
  • 2 tbsp dairy free buttery spread, melted (I use Earth Balance)
  • 3 eggs

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c gluten free baking flour mix (or GF Bsquik in a pinch)
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp firm dairy free buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)


  1. Heat oven to 350˚F. Butter (with dairy free buttery spread) 9" pie dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss apples, cinnamon and nutmeg then pour into pie dish.
  3. In the same medium bowl, stir remaining filling ingredients until blended and pour over the apple mixture in the dish. 
  4. In the same bowl, mix all streusel ingredients with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Sprinkle top of streusel with shaker of cinnamon.
  5. Bake 45-50 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.
  6. Serve hot. Store in refrigerator. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tree Hugger

The original title of this post was "Ancient Tree Hugger" until I realized it sounds like I'm the ancient one - so I changed it to "Hugger of Ancient Trees I am," but that seemed too Yoda-speak.

I'm a literal tree hugger (see photo evidence, left. Still digging for Muir Woods redwood hug session photos), especially when that tree is older than dirt and these are. Well . . . some dirt anyway. Warning: Excessive but absolutely appropriate use of the word "amazing" in this post.

I was thrilled to check something off of my Bucket List: a trip to Colorado, with a bucket list of must-sees all its own! One of those sub-listings was to get high . . . on a Colorado mountain! Since it was a short trip and I wanted to get a lot in, Mount Evans it was -- on the highest paved road in North America! It is a long way up "the road to the sky" to 14,130 feet! I was very tempted to buy a "Got Oxygen" T-shirt after my dizzy, breathless, headachy bout of altitude sickness at the summit!

Though the summit lakes, the friendly mountain goats, snow falling on me in July at the summit, and the breathtaking views are each easily worthy of a blog post all their own, I'm inclined to devote this post to the amazing ancient trees we encountered, the Bristlecone Pines, which according to the forest ranger, are the "oldest living thing on this earth."

The Bristlecone Pines of Mount Evans are approximately 1,700 years old. You read that right. One THOUSAND, seven hundred years old! And though these are certainly not whippersnappers, there are some in California that are 3,000 years old! These trees are beautifully gnarled and twisted by the winds, snows and harsh conditions and the are stronger for it. Even a dead Bristlecone can stand for hundreds of years before their root system finally decays and they topple over.

I am both inspired and humbled by Bristlecone Pines' perseverance in the heart of adversity. The lyrics, "I shall not be, I shall not be moved. Just like a tree that's planted by the water." come to mind. To ponder the amazing life and miracle of these ancient ones brings deeper meaning to the term "awe struck" and makes my small life seem so very short and fragile. But like glorious canyon views, fiery sunsets and brilliant star-filled skies, it is a gift to see and experience these moments and it causes my heart to sing praise to the Maker. I want to touch it, to embrace it, yes, hug it and feel connected to it, perhaps in hopes that in doing so I might gain some of its strength and wisdom to face adversity in my own life.

Okay . . . one happy mountain goat pic from the summit because I can't resist!
This post is dedicated to Chris & Jason for their Colorado hospitality, tips (drink water!) and guidance. Much love.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Buy a Newspaper Today to Feed the Hungry!

September is Hunger Awareness, or Hunger Action Month! TODAY is Celebrity Hawker Day. Buy a paper from local celebrities downtown (including me!) to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. I'll be selling the Winston-Salem Journal during the lunch hour on Trade Street in the Arts District in front of Sweet Potatoes Restaurant and sporting my shirt. Many thanks to for the sponsorship donation! Stop by, say "Hi," make a donation and buy a paper to feed the hungry! Can't make it downtown but still like to make a donation? Message me! Hope to see you!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Slice of Summer in My Mouth

Long time no post! I've had lots of irons in the fire the last few months, but it is one of my FAVORITE seasons of the year .... TOMATO SANDWICH season! The only time I eat white bread. 

I wanted to give a shout out for the Dixie Classic Farmers Market Salsa Contest happening this Saturday. Salsa entries are due by 9am, judging begins at 9:30am with free public tastings! I am absolutely thrilled to be acting as a judge for the competition. I've been a judge at a gourmet iron man-style chef competition, chili cook-offs, and a Mac & Cheese Fest and I'm excited to add salsa made from fresh Southern tomatoes to the list!

There is still time to enter! Entry form here. First prize winner takes home $100 cash, Second place = $75 and Third place = $25 and all winners will be awarded ribbons. I'll be sure to add photos of the contest and announce the winner!

Can't make it Saturday but still need your fresh tomato fix? First Friday Gallery Hop August 2nd from 7-8pm the Winston-Salem Journal will again host their annual "Slice of Summer" Tomato Tasting on Trade Street in the Winston-Salem Downtown Arts District with food editor, Michael Hastings. Also on hand will be author Miriam Rubin, signing copies of her book Tomatoes, a Savor the South Cookbook.


I enjoyed judging the salsa contest, though I must admit, having habe├▒eros and ghost peppers for breakfast was quite an experience!  And the winner is .... Abigail Blake! For her recipe, see the Winston-Salem Journal article.(I'm quoted in there too!)

Also, the results of the Slice of Summer Tomato Tasting are in! First place went to Mountain Magic variety, 2nd place = Sun Sugar, and third place went to Aunt Ruby's German Green. For full details, see the Winston-Salem Journal article.

You might also like:
Savory Outerbanks Green Tomato Pie recipe
Panzanella (Tomato & Bread Salad) recipe from the New Southern Garden Cookbook


Friday, April 26, 2013

Easy Kale Chips

I know I'm late on the kale train, but I was at our awesome Cobblestone Famers Market, which is an all-local, sustainable, producers-only market that sets up downtown, when I spotted a glorious bunch of kale and decided it was high-time I tried this healthy green.

My first kale project was these kale chips, which were a hit, though I had to have my kids close their eyes while eating the first one. I agree with my 7yo, that it tastes much like a paper potato chip! Note: The thicker Dinosaur kale works best for these, or winter kale. Summer kale grows very fast, and is thus very thin.

Easy Kale Chips


  • 1 large head of kale
  • enough EVOO to coat (around 3 tbsp)
  • fine sea salt


  • Preheat the oven to 275°. 
  • Strip the kale from the stems, leaving leaves as large as possible. 
  • Toss leaves in olive oil to coat
  • Loosely lay the leaves on a baking sheet (letting them stick up as much as possible, as it's easier to remove them)
  • Very lightly salt them
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove with a frosting spatula

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gluten & Dairy Free Blueberry Scones

I am soooo late to the party. I had no plans to make scones today, but after playing Irish music all morning and showing the kids my Ireland photo album and youtube videos of Irish dancing, my daughter became very enthusiastic about St. Patrick's day, bringing down every green article of clothing (including my lucky underwear) she could find and insisting we all dive in to find something to wear; and she begged to make scones. Now scones have always been a bit of a mystery to me -- part biscuit, part muffin, but not so sweet. This recipe is Gluten Free and also Dairy Free, but if you're not allergic, by all means, feel free to add the butter and milk back in! I like my scones a skosh sweeter. Feel free to cut the sugar in half if you are not so inclined.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Scones

1 3/4 cups Multi-purpose Gluten free baking flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup dairy free margarine (I use Smart Balance or Earth Balance)
1 cup frozen blue berries (or dried berries, apricots or raisins)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cold rice milk, vanilla flavored
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract (I use Kirkland's from Costco)

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease or line pan with parchment

2) Whisk together the flour blend, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and nutmeg.

3) Work in the cold margarine with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.

4) stir in the dried fruit (if using frozen blueberries, hold off until just before dropping onto the pan)

5) Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla until frothy.

6) Add to the dry ingredients, stirring until well blended. The dough will be sticky.

7) Drop dough by the 1/3-cupful onto the pan. Let the scones rest for 15 minutes.

8) Sprinkle the scones with sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Best enjoyed warm with dairy free margarine or jam.

Yield: 8 scones

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 14th= 3.14 Pie Day!

It's March 14th (3.14) -- Happy Pi Day!

When nerds and dessert unite! Now this is a holiday I can sink my teeth into! Custard, cream, fruit, and for dinner... shepherd's! Normally I would throw one of my pie recipes up here for you, but it has been an insanely busy time (thus the lack of blog posts), with not a lot of busyness in the kitchen lately. I was mourning my lack of pie-ty today, and then I read about thisssss....

Photo: Come to our Lord of the Pies event tomorrow, from 11-1pm! Try different pies and donate $5 to throw a cream pie in the face of our Marketing Team Leader, Benji! All proceeds generated go to the Whole Planet Foundation.

So this is where I'm headed today! Our local Whole Foods is hosting a pie tasting and for a $5 donation, I can throw a cream pie in some poor guy's face. Proceeds benefit the Whole Foods Foundation. Here are the event details:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Whole Foods - Winston-Salem
41 Miller St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27104

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cash Bash #11: J'adore Pompadours!

At Cash Bash with my red flower aglow
It's that time of year again when I'm humming "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I've Been Everywhere" more often - time to celebrate the birthday and the music of The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, at The Garage this weekend, February 22 & 23 at Cash Bash #11! 

It is a fantastic event for people-watching. Feast your eyes on retro rockabilly babes, neon mohawks, Rosy-the-Riveter ensembles and my favorite, the young James Deans. J'adore pompadours! The eye candy is worth the ticket price right there, but the bands are also great! 

Words of Wisdom from The Man in Black: "Don't take your guns to town."

Here's the lineup for Friday night's CashBash:

photo credit:

7PM Sarah Shook and the Devil

10PM The return of the Bo-Stevens !!
photo credit:

And Saturday night:

7PM Hanging Thread

9PM Phatlynx

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hunka Hunka Grilled Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich

In honor of Elvis' birthday, I'm playing "Don't Be Cruel" and bringing back the banana. Grilled peanut butter banana sandwich, that is. Happy Birthday to the King of Rock-n-roll!
Grilled Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich
I grew up on banana and mayo (Duke's of course) on white loaf bread sandwiches. Perhaps it's a Southern thing? We often ate peanut butter banana sandwiches too, but it wasn't until I was watching Nigella Lawson demonstrating a grilled peanut butter banana sandwich from her White Trash Cooking cookbook, that I tried grilling it. The trick, she says, is to mash the bananas before spreading them on the sandwich.

This was apparently one of Elvis' favorite foods. They even came out with a special edition Elvis Reese's Peanut Butter and banana creme cups. 

Elvis Presley's Grilled Peanut Butter
and Banana Sandwich

  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 small ripe banana mashed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Crispy bacon - optional (The King ate it with bacon sometimes)
Play "Love Me Tender" or other inspirational Elvis music.Spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the mashed banana on the other. Press the slices gently together. Melt the butter (or to be truly Elvis-like, melt bacon fat!), over low heat in a small frying pan. Place the sandwich in the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides. Wash it down with a glass of buttermilk.
Crazy Fact: Elvis tended to eat 12-15 sandwiches a sitting! So belly up!

Sorry Elvis, but this sandwich is also good with strawberry jam, honey, or Nutella!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Honey Lemon Ginger Tea

Warning: Feverish Post Written While Literally Feverish

Normally, I’m one who prides myself in my health. As if my strong constitution has anything to do with a strong mind. Part of me believes in the power of mind over matter, that in most cases, one can will themselves not to be sick. The power of positive thinking and all that with a dash of hubris has served me well over the years. I come down with a cold or sinus infection about once a year – sometimes. Even then, I deny it for days and press on, so that it seems they only last a few days at most.

Not this time. I brewed a half-gallon of ginger lemon honey tea. Not the fake stuff in a tea bag, mind you, the for-real kind. Bubbling and boiling my brew of lemon juice of two lemons, complete with rind and knob of grated ginger, I felt like I was a witchdoctor or healer of old as I strained it and added local honey fresh from Milk and Honey Farm from northern Iredell County (they are regulars at the Cobblestone Farmers Market). I drank it hot. From my Miss Piggy mug for extra healing mojo. It was strong and sour. It smelled like a pungent honey-lemon cough drop but the ginger added a spicy kick. After three cups of the hot potion’s acid had cut through the foul coating on my throat I truly felt better.

Ginger Honey Lemon Tea Recipe

2 lemons
knob of ginger
5 tbsp honey (one per cup)

Fill your tea pot almost full of water (approx. 5 cups). Halve the lemons and squeeze their juice into the water and then drop in the lemon rinds as well. Peel a one-ince piece of ginger (I like to add more) and grate into the tea. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain into cup. Add one tbsp honey. Drink while hot. Drink at least 3 cups. Once all the liquid is strained, add more water and boil again for a second batch.

Luckily, the fever only lasted a day and although I could nap for three days, I am already feeling much better. May it be the worst sickness of 2013 for our family and may yours be well. Just in case, keep this lemon-ginger-honey tea recipe handy. It’s golden liquid, I tell you, both literally and figuratively!