Friday, August 28, 2009

Free Hugs

Every once in a while I watch this youtube. It reminds me all over again that hugs are great! They connect us and comfort us. They are warm and happy.
Have we become possibly a bit distanced or distractedly hurried to seize the moment and give a hug?
I recently met a friends boyfriend and after a brief introductory exchange she told me that he was going to give me something that I already felt coming - - a hug! It seems he hugs everyone he encounters and it comes naturally and without thought.
Was I surprised by his hug because really we did just meet?
It made me think - who wrote the unwritten hugging guidelines? And, why was I following them?
Freeing myself to hug . . .
Hugs are Free!

"Sometimes a hug is all that we need."
   [from the youtube follow up]

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Yes, I really do need that new cookbook . . .

I have a few cookbooks that I really like a lot and I have others that I find very useful to have around and then there are my go to first favorites that I love having on my close to the action in kitchen shelf. In these special cookbooks, I find what I want to make and then spend a little more time flipping through and reading the stories and looking at the pictures and making a mental note to for sure come back and make that sometime. And then, I spend even more time imagining what that picture might taste like if I was sitting at that table . . . for example in my Pacific Northwest cookbook - wow good!
Do we even need to ask the question: should I buy that totally cool must have in my kitchen cookbook - a kitchen which does have some cookbooks already with plenty of recipes yet to make? 
Still, no - cookbooks are amazing definers of who we are in a way! These books represent me - food that I love, places that I love, ways of eating that I am passionate about. They provide ideas, information, inspiration and conversation about food and life!
And, I am just loving the pictures, the food talk with friends and the discovery of my coolest new cookbooks and all the great secrets inside!
Every time I pick up this book I get pulled in . . . a must have!
"Super Natural Cooking" by Heidi Swanson
This treasure of a book was bought right here in Phoenixville at Wolfgang Books - a second floor beautifully detailed inviting space with library shelves filled with the new and old the funky and literary. It is the old style bookstore that you want to hang out in for hours and the front sofa overlooking town is just the place!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tarocco Orange Zest & Dark Chocolate Kisses

I love hanging out in a café - -
I have spent many hours at Starbucks [I know, I know I hear you ok some of you and will get back to this] finding that for sure cup of coffee with my favorite road tripper Tom, hanging out with my friends, playing chess with my dad, or just by myself in a big, soft, comfy chair listening to my music, reading, doodling in my book, writing a letter to a friend, thinking, staring off into space, people watching, and just being - with an Americano or endless cup of tea on the table by my side - total happiness!
There is something about the atmosphere of a cafe and here is where we get back to Starbucks. We do have to give them total credit for figuring out the art of taking places like a round used to be a tile store or even an old gas station and providing us with a familiar comfortable place to plop down and hang.
Definitely, there are other solid cafes and when I get some time back I think checking out some new venues is a project that I must take on.
This love of the cafe atmosphere is why I am in the process of transforming my front room in to The Wildflower Cafe. Although, still a virtual cafe I felt possessed to create an atmosphere that you enter in to when picking up your baked goods and spending time perusing the art and craft section. And, I get to hang there too!
So, about the Tarocco orange zest that was spraying across the counter and the dark chocolate kisses adorning the peanut butter blossoms [and absolutely brilliant the individuals that bumped into each other to create the peanut butter and chocolate combination] - these were some of the smells and flavors of the first week at The Wildflower Cafe. 
There are some pretty cool stories, too. 
Thank you to everyone for making the first week most memorable!
I am thinking that I may need to search out that big comfy chair for my cafe ; )

Friday, February 13, 2009

Road Trip - yea!

When is the last time you hopped in the car with a great group of friends and hit the road? 
Last Saturday my awesome friends and I did just that - destination Talula's Table in Kennett Square. [If you know me you already know this is one of my favorite places.] Talula's is the gourmet market that if in town you could find me at most mornings having a good cup of coffee or the best mocha with whipped cream, sitting in the front window, doodling in my book, working on my computer - ok or just spacing out. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, the pastry chef amazing, then there is the homemade bread and artisanal cheeses and and I have to mention the home made sausages and prepared foods made with organic and local ingredients. Aimee and Bryan are truly inspired and passionate about what they do at Talula's! 
Anyway, the trip down was filled with catching up conversation and quickly we were there. After several laps around the shop making the important decisions about what would be going home with us we set about on the serious fun of tasting a bunch of cheeses - - see with more people everyone finds a couple they must try, then we all get to try adding up to a varied and excellent cheese tasting.
Kind of unplanned but the perfect next stop was Manatawny Creek Winery, a family run winery in Amityville.
But, first we arrive back in Phoenixville, grab the eggs, stop at friends house, get out and circle the car until the music stops to stretch the legs out, just kidding about this last thing we switched cars and drivers because this was one of their favorite places and they knew the way.
I know that some of us wonder why people try to grow grapes and make wine in PA but the Manatawny Creek Winery will give you hope and, a friendly and pretty awesome tasting. They had 24 wines [yes and wow] in their cellar last Saturday and I am not thinking that you will like all of them but you will definitely appreciate the sensory experience of trying the many different varietals. Oh, and you will go home with at least one bottle. 
Fortunately, there was enough space in the trunk for all that the five of us were bringing home!
We already have started a list of road trips for the future and I have to say that taking a smaller car had at least two awesome advantages on this trip - the cookies brought along for the road trip were easier to reach and being in the middle in the backseat kept me warm the entire ride home ; )

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Whisky and Cheese at the Colonial

How fortunate are we to have a theatre in our cool little town!
I can not believe that this sentence is flowing out of my head and on to this page but I remember when most towns had a theatre - -
Reminder to us to support the Colonial whenever we can . . .
So, you may have noticed on the marquee last week that the Colonial was having its second annual Robert Burns [totally worth googling this character in history] whisky tasting which is a very awesome event benefitting the Colonial and led by Riannon Walsh, an expert in the field, an interesting speaker and a local resident inspired to donate her time and expertise.
Do you have to like whisky to attend? I would think that it would be a good idea but more important I think you do have to realize that it is not the mouth burning fire water that we have somehow let become a part of our concept of whisky. I was actually sitting next to someone who professed to not liking whisky but even she appreciated the single malts [you will have to attend next year to get a full appreciation of the definitions involved, me too, still!] in front of us. The place mat, as you can see above, was very helpful as there were seven whiskies to try and even with the beautiful labeling I was a bit distracted and went out of order [but only once]. The smells and tastes were so unique [how cool is it to find out what a difference a glass or a drop of water can make] and then there was the cheese plate. That was my part in supporting the Colonial - although I could not totally donate the cheese I did have a great time picking out and procuring the cheeses and crackers and helping prepare the plate. I was not alone though - Tom was particularly helpful [note for next year to have the bread sliced so Tom does not have to slice all 4 loaves] and then the rest of the volunteers who had been doing everything else to prepare for the event helped pull it all together just in time.
Back to the whisky - I have to say that my favorite story this year [and yes totally worth going every year] was the person who blended, bottled and labeled one of Riannon's new favorites right in their own kitchen. Of course, I would really like this story ; )
In the spirit [ha] of the evening I created a little blend my self at the end of the night!
For more of the story check out the article in the Phoenix: