December 2010

A few nights ago, HK and I were chillaxin’ by the fire when the doorbell rang.

“Hmmmm… wonder who that could be??”

As we walked to the door, we heard music. Intrigued, we opened the door. To our surprise, there stood our good friends Stef and Glenn. Guitar and tambourine in hands, they were belting out Christmas tunes while playing their respective instruments.  We immediately joined  them on the porch and sang a few more songs before inviting them in for a drink.

As the evening progressed, and after champagne-ginger cocktails, we decided to record ourselves singing a Christmas carol for YOU!  So sit back and enjoy.  And we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Girlz

This weekend,  HK and I had a small gathering of friends over for dinner. It is the same group that we have been going to Destin for Memorial Day with for the past 10 years. So we know each other REALLY well.  (Pajama Parties, skinny dipping, coast guard interrogations….oh, wait, that’s another story….)

Good conversations around a roaring fire, smooth music in the background, pups at our feet or on the couch. That’s how I’d rather spend quality time with friends most any day.  Anyway, there is just something about breaking bread with friends that warms the cockles of my heart, especially when I get to do the cooking!

I made my signature Brunswick Stew as the main course– so easy because you just throw everything in the crock pot that morning and leave it alone until time to eat.  I also made  a YUMMERS Onion Souffle Dip that was gone before i knew it. (I served it with both crackers and rutabaga  slices for a peppery, low cal dipper.

So, by popular demand, as my gift to you, (said with tongue in cheek-but really, you asked for it…) here are those two recipes. If you try them, plesas post back and let me know what you think, if you would make changes, etc…

Bon Appetit!

Jules’ Crockpot Brunswick Stew

  • 1 med. Onion, chopped
  • 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb each chopped pork (and/or beef) and chicken. ( I sometimes buy the Lloyd’s BBQ meat in a tub, sometimes just pre-diced chicken or a roasted chix)
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • Cup or so of lima beans,
  • Cup or so of okra,
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • ½ C. BBQ sauce (hickory smoked)
  • splash of vinegar or lemon juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • ½ to 1-C. broth, stock

Put it all in the crockpot and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally.  Serve w/ cornbread.  ENJOY!!!





Onion Souffle Dip

  • 2 pkgs lo fat cream cheese
  • 1 C. mayo (not fat free, but can be lo-fat)
  • 1 ½ C. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • T garlic powder; T worscestershire sauce; t. tobasco;
  • 1 ½ C. chopped onion (sweet)
  • 1 T. chopped scallions or chives

Preheat oven to 350. Combine everything except chives. Put in a casserole dish and top w/ chives, pressing lightly. Bake 50-55 minutes. Until the middle is set. Serve warn w/ chips or vegs (sliced rutabaga is yummy!)

the Boyz

Food— the gift of Love!


Had I known “Black Swan” was a psychological thriller (some say “psycho-sexual” ) set in the world of ballet, I probably wouldn’t have gone, quite frankly. But Sunday was a shitty, dark, rainy day in Atlanta, and I had just finished lunch at my favorite little Lebanese cafe, and I was cold and bored.  Black Swan was playing in my favorite Art cinema nearby, so I just figured WTF?

Am I glad I did!

Black Swan, brilliantly directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) has just been nominated for 4 Golden Globes, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Natalie Portman) and Best Supporting Actress (Mila Kunis)

In the movie, Nina Sayers (Portman) lands the lead, dual role in the company’s artistic director’s (played seductively by Vincent Cassel as Thomas) version of Swan Lake. She is perfect for the White Swan, but pulling off the darker role of Black Swan is a stretch for the dancer.  Enter exotic Lily (Kunis-hot enough to make any hetero woman jump ship) whose brazen sexuality is a natural for the role.  A relationship of sorts forms between the two dancers, based on what,  we’re not quite sure.

Barbara Hershey plays Nina’s overbearing, ballet- obsessed Mother, who makes it clear that she gave up her “career” to raise Nina, and frankly, she spooked the bejesus out of me.  As an ex family therapist, I’ve seen lots of fucked-up Mother-Daughter relationships, but this is one for the books.  Especially unnerving is the scene in which virginal Nina takes Thomas’ advice to let herself go and  touch herself.  In the throes of a self-induced orgasm, Nina opens her eyes to find “Mommie-Dearest” sitting across the room. OMG!

Black Swan gives viewers a glimpse into the brutal world of ballet. Yes, brutal, both psychologically and physically. Winona Ryder has a brief but important role as Beth, the previous lead Swan, now cast aside for a newer, younger replacement.  We see the drive for perfection so tragically strong it can easily lead to self-destruction.  This is evident in the bloody picking,  scratching and purging we witness in Nina, as well as the suicide attempt of deranged Beth.

The entire movie seamlessly threads these discomforting, creepy, bloody scenes throughout. You know, the kind of scene where you tense your ass-muscles, avert your eyes, and hold your breath, but just can’t seem to get enough.

Combining artful operatic scenes with acid-trances and bloody horror, it is difficult to tell what is real and what is a dream, which is one of the tactics that makes this film so brilliant.  It is also what will undoubtedly make some purists dislike it.  Undoubtedly, Black Swan will be one of the most talked-about films of the year.

Sailing with Chance

Some of you know that  I have recently begun writing a children’s book. This is new to me, as the focus of my writing in the past has been centered around travel–travel memoirs, product reviews, how-to’s and the like.  I am editor of the European Travel Site over at and also contribute to a couple of other online sites.  I actually have a VERY rough draft for my crazy, off-the-wall travel memoir stuffed under my bed. I just lost interest.

You may also know that recently, well, about 6 months ago, I became a foster failure and adopted a new doggy-member into our family, making a total of 3 dogs.   Our home has been so full of life these past months, and Chance has brought new life to my oldest dog, Kismet, who, at almost 13 is slowing down a bit.  It is heartwarming to have 3 dogs cuddling on the couch with me, running to the door upon my arrival (even if I’ve just gone to the mailbox), and yes, sharing the bed with HK and me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So a while back, I started toying with the idea of incorporating Chance into my children’s book.  Originally, my main character was Willy and the Boyz, but, after tossing that around in my head, I figured kids might not be able to relate to a napkin holder too well. Kinda hard to warm up to, ya know?

But Chance, now he’s another story altogether. He’s already got the personality, I just give it a voice.  And it’s fun! Children’s books are a completely different genre for me, especially since I never had kids.  I’ve been spending lots of time in book stores and at the library, getting a feel for wha’t’s popular. I think the main thing is that I’m feeling enthusiastic about this new project. So we’ll see where this goes. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.