Newsflash…Today is Valentine’s Day. You know heart shaped everything, stuffed animals, perfectly wrapped gifts and bouquets of flowers…Le Sigh. Technically this is my second Valentine’s Day without a valentine of my own. Yes, I am still legally married but we no longer do those kind of things. To be totally honest this will be the first one that we aren’t living together and it’s got me wondering if I even know what love is. I know it’s an immense feeling of want and desire but…. there has got to be more to it than that. So I have decided to make a list of things that I love and find out what the common denominator is between them.
I love a steak cooked medium-well with a beurre noir sauce
I love a good sale that becomes even better when I can still use my coupon
I love a pair of shoes or a purse that are so unique some may think them ugly
I love a chef knife with a nice weight to it and a really sharp edge
When I stop and look at the makings of this list I notice something immediately. So far all of these things are just that…things. If it came right down to it I could live without them. They are great to have but I wouldn’t lose any sleep if they weren’t in my life. So now I have to dig a little deeper. I was with a man I love, yes I still have love for him, for over 20 years of my life. It has not been easy walking away from our marriage so I know love is more than things that I can easily dispose of. Love has got to be more than objects we collect. The roses that you hope pray you get today with the card from that special someone. Is it really about the roses? Or is it something more? My list continues…
I love brunch with my friends.
I love when my oldest child calls me so we can catch up as he drives home from work.
I love Mother/daughter time with my Mom
I love Mother/daughter time with my daughter.
I love when my middle child texts me about the crazy things his college roommate has done for the week
I love being able to express myself to others through my food and writing.
These are more than things. This list consists of people and connections. These occasions I reference are what memories are made of. And yes there may come a time when I may not be able to partake in some of these activities with the aforementioned people. But until that time I will still have the memories and the connections we made. People and situations change daily but the memories never change. The connections you make with people for that time is what I feel LOVE is all about. Without them it would just be things we do with no real meaning. I believe that as humans we all want to be able to connect with others on some level…ultimately leading to love. We all just want to be loved. So yes I can truly say that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Having had a connection you can reminisce over and maybe even shed a tear about is way better than never having had one to recall.
So today go do something you LOVE with someone you LOVE and make wonderful memories. It’s Valentine’s Day and LOVE is in the air afterall. I know some of you may have been looking for a post about what to cook today or what you could wear but this was what was on my heart. Please leave me a comment if this rings a bell with you.
~The Chef In Pearls
Photo by picjumbo.com
Okay it is almost the end of the first month in the New Year. I haven’t even taken the timeout to wish everyone a happy new year. Well, Happy New Year Everyone! I hope your start was better than you could ever anticipated it being. Great. I am glad that I have gotten that out-of-the-way. I didn’t want you guys to think I am rude. Now to let you in on what’s been going on with The Chef In Pearls. On January 9, 2016 (I like how the new year looks) Anyway on the second Saturday of the new year I threw a Ladies Brunch. Yep that’s right I cooked, they ate and it was grand. Actually there was a little bit more to it than that. Well let me show you some of what went on. I mean a picture is worth a thousand words. So here you go…
There was something for everyone. Motivational speaking by Kym Edwards helped the ladies through the new rules for 2016 and how to enjoy them. I taught the ladies how to make a mushroom tart (which happened to be on the menu for the day and a few other things). We even celebrated the birthday of one of the attendees, Miss Katrina Parker. How could I not take this chance to give her hearts desire, strawberry cake…from scratch I must add. It was a wonderful day had by all…especially me. I created so many memories that I cannot wait until the next one.
I want you to now go forward and make your own memories. Call up a few of your girlfriends and plan a brunch. I want you guys to sit down and connect on levels you may not have had a chance to do before. And by all means write down your goals and aspirations for the year. Nothing makes it more real than seeing it on paper. And to help you on your way I am going to include the new rules for 2016 so you can share with your girlfriends at your brunch.
Rules for enjoying your Sweet ‘16
by Tony Gaskin
Now go forward and make some new memories of your own….Welcome to your Sweet ’16!
P.S. If you are in the Atlanta area and would like to attend the second meal of the year with The Chef In Pearls you can purchase tickets here.
There is nothing cooler than being able to say you know Santa and actually knowing him. Yep. Your girl the Chef In Pearls not only knows Santa but recently did a photo shoot with him and Mrs. Claus. I mean I can’t get any cooler than that or can I? I probably could be cooler but that’s a whole other post.
Actually let’s not save it for another post. Let’s deal with it in this post. You know what makes me cooler even than just knowing Santa? The fact of being able to call him my brother. Yep Santa Dee of The Real Black Santa is my brother and the young lady who plays Mrs. Claus with him is actually my mother. So yeah I think I am way cooler that I previously thought I was. The only other person I think is cooler than me would be his 10 year old daughter who gets to tell everyone, ” Santa is my Dad”.
My brother gained a lot of popularity in a world where his skin color makes him different or not the norm. But he is the real deal. His beard is not fake but actually grows from his face. It is naturally white not bleached or died to get the color but actually white because it grew that way. It’s a family trait, the gray hair thing we got going on. He earnestly looks forward to the season because he likes the smile he puts on the children’s faces. I still remember how in awe I felt when I first saw him in a Santa suit. Instantly I just wanted to tell him what I wanted for Christmas in hopes that it would be waiting for me under the tree.
I know a lot of people don’t believe or even like the concept of Santa Claus. If for nothing else, when presented correctly, it’s the ideal of showing love to others. That’s what this season is all about. All anyone is really looking for is to be loved. Even the smallest token is appreciated when truly given out of love. That’s all Santa Dee wants to show the world. It may be a concept for children but believe me when I say it touches even the adults. They look forward to the chance to be able to bring their children in to take pictures. To be able to share a few words with him. At times they are more excited than the kids. They want to be the cool parents. I guess them, like me, want to be able to say they know Santa. That gives them some kind of kid cred amongst their children and other children they may know.
Keep up with me and Santa Dee because we’ve somethings in the making. Hopefully we can help you with your memory making this season through cooking, some pictures or even some kind words. Now get off the computer and go makes some memories.
(All Photos by Nicole Denise)
It’s that time of the year again. You know where family gather and people eat like there’s no tomorrow. It’s also the time of year when everyone wants to show off their culinary skills (or the lack there of) with tables full of traditional and not so traditional meals. Well with the weeks leading up to the big turkey day and Christmas fast approaching after that The Chef In pearls will be sharing video tips to get you through the holidays with ease. You’ll be able to participate in the videos by catching them live on Periscope. You can download the app for free in your app store, Apple and Android users alike. Once downloaded look for me as, you guessed it, The Chef In Pearls. Then listen out for that sexy whistle because I will be coming to you live . You can always let me know some of the things that are your biggest challenges and I will try to address them in the scopes. Looking forward to helping you make new memories this holiday season
I love when I can find something new to do with eggs. Not just something new but something that taste great too. I mentioned in my previous post that I have come into being addicted to Pinterest. Well, while on one of my many visits to Pinterest I came across an Israeli dish named Shashuka. Now I know the name doesn’t do much on giving you a hint of what it’s made from ( well at least not in English) but I promise you it is full of flavor. Even better than the taste is the ease of making this dish. In less than 30 minutes you’ll have something that tastes wonderful and looks just as appealing. It’s something you can do and invite a couple of friends over for brunch. It won’t damage your pocket and everyone will be happy. Canned tomatoes, eggs, some herbs & spices ( I added onions, mushrooms and spinach to my base), feta cheese and some crusty bread. Who wouldn’t be happy with an invite to a meal like that? My version of Shashuka was adapted from Food 52.
So get out your contact list, invite a few friends over and go forward & make new memories.
Okay, what do you do when you want dessert for dinner and you don’t want to bake a whole cake? You pull out your grill pan of course. (You guys must be tired of my grill pan but know that I love my grill pan) I had a nicely ripened peach, some vanilla yogurt, granola and honey. It was the making of a really good dinner. I hope you try this one.
Now go forward and make new memories
P.S . This is a good one for those watching their figure…I still don’t know what the calorie count is on this. *Shrugs shoulders*
I have spent the last few days super excited about where The Chef In Pearls is heading. I have actually been walking around here or dare I say floating on cloud 9. I am always happiest when I can see that my passions are accepted and needed by others. The birth of Exclusive Party Of One was not easy ( financially, physically and even emotionally) but it’s here and being well received. In moving forward with this series I bring you a dish made for one, Penne Pasta in a Herb Goat Cheese sauce. I was able to do a live broadcast of me cooking this dish on Periscope. If you weren’t able to catch it I am sharing it here today with the recipe. Please keep in mind that recipes are really suggestions, not just mine but all. If there is something you don’t care for (I HATE cilantro) leave it out or substitute something else in its place (I usually use flat leaf parsley in cilantro’s place) . Get creative with it. This was a meatless dish but you could add chicken or even shrimp or whatever you like. It’s up to you. Okay enough of the yabbering. Here’s the ingredients to go along with the video above.
1 cup dry penne pasta (cooked according to package)
1 TBSP of olive oil
I cup packed spinach leaves
2-3 baby portabella mushrooms sliced
2-3 slices of red onions cut in half
1-2 oz of herb goat cheese ( depends on how rich you want the sauce)
1/3 cup half & half
zest of half of a lemon
1/2 TBSP chopped parsley
fresh parmesean cheese
P.S. If you can make this dish for one you can sure make it for two . So go invite the cute guy from down the hall over for dinner. Just a thought : )
Now go forward and make new memories.
P.S.S. If you re-create the dish please share a pic on our Facebook page @TheChefInPearls I’d love to see what you did ; )
For as long as I can remember I have been cooking for a large amount of people. My immediate family consisted of 5 people. Add in the family and friends my mother often took in to help them out in their times of need. I can still recall the first time I ever cooked anything on my own. We had family visiting from England. My Dad had decided to make pancakes for breakfast (Aunt Jemima, just add water mix) and he completely destroyed them, even though I kept telling him he was doing it wrong. Thinking he was being funny he told me, then 5, that if I thought I could do better I should. I still remember that kitchen table and how I had to pull a chair up in order to be able to mix the batter. Once the batter was done I moved my chair to the stove and proceeded to make pancakes that everyone happily ate. Everyone except my Dad who, out of pride, ate the ones he made which were burnt on the outside and doughy in the middle.
Fast forward 38 years later, I have learned how to feed larger masses. I went from cooking for hundreds to a family of three that expanded to a family of five so my cooking was always evolving. Now I am in a new place in my life. My oldest is married and moved away from home. The middle child is away at college enjoying his freshman year. The baby girl lives at home on the weekends as she uses Grandma’s as a home base for school. And I am in the middle of ending a 20 year marriage. I am appreciating how to cook for one. It is not an easy task even just trying to figure out proportions but also accepting it on an emotional level. I am not the first woman to go through this nor will I be the last.
None of these things happening around me and to my life will define me in a negative light. As with most things in my life, I am choosing to learn from it. I am using these experiences to make me a better person. I can still eat well, live life to the fullest, and enjoy this time in my life being single. It’s not a bad thing but a chance for me to re-connect with myself on so many levels. My cooking is improving and I am becoming more creative because of these changes. Cooking is actually easier for me because I don’t have to take into consideration who doesn’t like what. I just cook how and what I feel, when I feel. I get to be selfish in the kitchen and I am enjoying it.
There are so many others that are finding themselves cooking for one. It may be a recent divorcee or an empty nester, a widow or someone who chooses this life style. I want to be able to make that transition a little easier for them. The Chef In Pearls will be doing a special series just for them or rather for us. ExclusivePartyofOne, a celebration of cooking for one with me, The Chef In Pearls. I’ll showcase recipes, classes and so much more on all my social media including Periscope. So make sure to follow me on all platforms as @TheChefInPearls. Please keep an eye out for the hashtag #ExclusivePartyOfOne. You will be able to follow all of the goings by search for that hashtag. I am excited about all the things I want to share. So shake off all the negative vibes out there about cooking for yourself and where you may be in life because you’re not alone. We can and will make it through this stage of our lives better than ever.