Sunday, August 11, 2019

Strike a Pose

If you're visiting Greenville, SC and want to work in a bit of yoga (particularly if you've indulged in the happening foodie scene) then look no further than Soul Yoga.  It's located at 25 Delano Drive.
Soul Yoga offers are variety of different classes, such as Power Flow and Yin Yoga.  They occasionally even offer a class entitled The Missing Peace for families with children on the Autism spectrum.  Emily, Claire, and Susan are so positive and nurturing.  They do a fantastic job of leading that particular class.  You can check out upcoming dates and locations for The Missing Peace HERE.

The vibe at Soul Yoga, in general, is welcoming, supportive, and uplifting.  I received smiles and warm greetings by just about everyone I encountered.  There's no need to fear judgement.  Beginners and yoga masters alike are all welcome.  I was very thankful to Susan who took time out to show me several beneficial stretches that I have started practicing at home.

I took my own mat and water bottle but yoga mats, water bottles, clothing, and healthy snacks are all available for purchase at Soul Yoga.  They actually have a rather nice assortment of things.  Anyway, if you're in Greenville, go find your peace at Soul Yoga. Namaste


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Blackberry Wine Cake - Using A Cake Mix

If you want to whip up a deliciously moist and tasty cake without putting in too much effort, this is the recipe for you!  I'm often thrilled by the response I get when I make the cake for potlucks or serve to friends who come over for a 'chat and chew.'  I hope that you and yours will enjoy it too.  Here's the recipe:

1 box of yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines for this cake)
1 small box of blackberry Jello, UNPREPARED
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup oil
1 cup blackberry wine (yep, it's okay to buy the cheap stuff for this recipe)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside.  Mix the cake mix with the Jello.  Add eggs, oil, and wine.  Blend on low speed of your mixer for about 2 minutes.  Pour into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake another 25 - 30 minutes.   Remove the cake from the pan while warm and drizzle with glaze.

Glaze:  2 cups powdered sugar mixed with 1/4 - 1/3 cup blackberry wine (depending on your preference for consistency.)

As we move forward this week, may grace, mercy, and favor be with you.  May your joys be many and your worries few.


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Asheville Afternoon

If you're ever in Asheville (North Carolina), make your way over to the historic Flat Iron Building.  To be more precise, have the building's elevator operator take you up to the 8th floor.  

Once there, you'll find yourself at the Sky Bar! 

You'll love the mountain views and there are several terraces that you can choose from to sit, sip, and chat. 

 Speaking of sips, the selection at the Sky Bar rules.  
Strawberry Fields and the mixed berry mule are my favorite cocktails on the menu.  There's champagne, wine, domestic and imported beer on offer as well. 
Russell, pictured with me above, bought the 52,000 sq. ft. Flat Iron building back in the 1980's.  After owning it for more than 30 years, rumor has it that he may be looking for new opportunities and adventures in a year or so.  He's quite the gentleman and I wish him well no matter what decision he makes. (Hint:  Visit the Sky Bar while you can.)

The Flat Iron building, built in the 1920's, is in a great location, on Battery Park Avenue.  It's surrounded by unique shops, eateries, and things to do.  A particular favorite with locals and tourist alike is Chai Pani, which specializes in Indian street food. The aloo tiki chaat and pakoras are simply delicious.  

Thursday, July 18, 2019

I love waking up in Lynchburg, VA because I know that my day is going to be good.  I got things started with brunch at Urbavore.  Their waffles are deliciously warm and fluffy.  I'll certainly be back again....and again.  I found a nice flower stall on Market Street.  The vendor was bubbly as we chatted while I selected flowers for my bouquet. 

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of activity:  A softball game, Lynchburg Museum, Maier Museum of Art, shopping, cocktails, and the Riverwalk....and maybe more shopping.   


Prior to heading back to our inn, we stopped in at Dublin 3 for  coffee and pastry and a lively discussion on current events.  Despite having coffee at such a late hour, I didn't have any difficulty falling fast asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.  
Another day involved a visit with family, a big country farmhouse breakfast, a carriage ride, laughing, chatting, and the sort of good time that money just can't buy.  Now that I've returned home, I have various things to attend to and people to see.  I enjoy going away but it's always good to be home as well.  
I hope your week is going well and that you've found happiness and peace filling your days.  Until next time, may blessings rain upon you and yours. 


Wednesday, July 03, 2019


So, a certain friend of mine is known for his awesome homemade pretzels.  He lived in Germany for several years and learned to make them there.  His brezeln are soft yet chewy and, in my opinion, better than any pretzel you could possibly buy.  I like them piping hot, straight from the oven, slathered with butter.  Others enjoy them accompanied with mustard or a cheese sauce.
I was quite appreciative when my friend invited me over for a private tutorial.  Here's how we made them:
4 Tblsp. warm water
1 Tblsp. active dry yeast
2 Tblsp. barley malt syrup
Stir together and let sit for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, get the dry ingredients together:

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup rye flour
4 tsp. sea salt
Combine the dry ingredients then mix in 3 TBLSP. BUTTER.  Use your hands to do this.  Add the wet ingredients AND up to 1-1/2 cups cool water.   The dough should be soft.  Knead for 15 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 2 hours.
Now gently punch the dough once or twice then roll out into a long thick rope. Cut the rope into equal sized slices.  Put the slices back into your bowl.  Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Roll each slice into a long narrow rope, about 18 inches.  Form each rope into pretzel shapes. Dunk each pretzel into a mixture of 2 Tblsp. FOOD GRADE lye mixed with 4 cups of cold water.  Be very careful with this.  Wear gloves to protect yourself.  Goggles or glasses to protect your eyes might help too.  Use good judgement.  Anyway, dip each pretzel into the solution and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  You will need two baking sheets.  Sprinkle with coarse Kosher salt.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.   If you want to do it in my friend's style, enjoy the pretzels around a bonfire with good friends, a cold bier, and your favorite guitar.

Note:  For experimentation purposes, my friend and I made two batches, one with white all-purpose flour and the other with whole wheat flour.  The all-purpose batch was the best and more traditional.  The whole wheat batch was good too but the general favorite was for the traditional batch.


Saturday, June 22, 2019


If you are visiting the Biltmore, in Asheville, it's very convenient to stay at the Inn.  Among other amenities, a shuttle is available to take guests to various parts of the estate.
You'll want to wear comfortable shoes for touring the Biltmore house and gardens. There's a lot to see and do!

The Biltmore has 250 rooms. You'll see an in-home bowling alley, indoor pool, billiard room, smoking room, gun room, library, breakfast room, dining hall, bedrooms, etc.   Although an elevator is available, some parts of the home can only be accessed by taking stairs.  Once you complete your tour of the house and expansive gardens, visit the shops, eateries, or even the winery.

If you're staying at the Inn, be sure to take advantage of the luxurious treatments available at the on-site spa.  The staff is friendly and will help you select treatments that meet your individual needs. They use Priva products. The ultra rich body butter, scented with verveine and lavender,  smells great. Another coveted experience offered at the Inn is afternoon tea in The Dining Room, which the Forbes Travel Guide rated as "One of the finest four star properties in the world," in 2018.

Afternoon tea at the Inn is a sumptuous affair.  The offerings are served in courses.  I had mocha almond scones.  Sir Knight had sweet and savory scones that were served with clotted cream, strawberry lemon curd, and pimento cheese.  The savories were delicious.  Sir Knight's savories differed from my own because I requested vegan options, which were delicious.  Sir Knight enjoyed the potato topped with caviar the best.  He also had  squid ink shortbread topped with salmon mousse, harissa spiced lamb meatball, green curry gelee, and charred strawberry with whipped feta and basil foam on an almond cracker.  The cheese course, which consisted of grilled halloumi with chermoula, watermelon, and pine nuts was favored by Sir Knight too.   The vegan chocolate cake with fresh berries was a big hit with me.  Keep in mind that the menu changes with the seasons.  The fall afternoon tea menu is expected to debut mid-September.

Thank you for visiting the Biltmore with me!  I'm glad you came along.  Peace and blessings.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Home Sweet Home

Today is one of those days where 'home' is the only place I want to be.  After an early breakfast of steel-cut oats (topped with mixed berry compote), toasted brioche, and hot coffee, I got down to business by doing quite a bit of deep cleaning.  I'm ready to start slowing down now.  I still have 2 loads of laundry left to attend to and a few other tasks that require my attention. I'll get to them soon.  Right at this moment though, a cup of tea, a bit of rest and time here on the blog are what I need.
The postman delivered my latest Cire Trudon candle earlier today.  I've mentioned my love for Cire Trudon before.  The Spiritus Sancti candle has been my standing favorite.   That hasn't changed.  The scent instantly creates an atmosphere tranquility.  However, I wanted something a bit different this time around and ordered the Ottoman scent. 
It's very different from Spiritus Sancti but pleasant.  It somehow seems more masculine. My chap has really been enjoying it since I lit it,  which was soon after it arrived.  I think the Ottoman scent may be his new favorite.  

Combining with the scent of the candle, is the scent of the roast I put on for The Mister a few hours ago.  The roast cooks for 8-10 hours on low in the crockpot.  
I plan to serve the roast with mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, a garden salad, and rolls. In case you are wondering, to make the roast you just sprinkle a roast with freshly cracked black pepper, sear it, then put it in your crockpot.  Be sure to use a liner to simplify cleanup.  Top the roast with a packet of au jus, a packet of ranch dressing mix, and a whole stick of butter.  Surround the roast with 4 -6 pepperoncini peppers.  Cover and cook.  It's amazing what those ingredients get up to in that crockpot. I go to tackle that next load of laundry.   Have a beautiful weekend and be blessed.  


Strike a Pose

If you're visiting Greenville, SC and want to work in a bit of yoga (particularly if you've indulged in the happening foodie scene)...