Tuesday, November 20, 2012

You Are What You Eat... Cleaning Out Your Pantry




May I Offer You A Drink To Start With?
Greeting, Din-HERs!!! Yes, yes, yes.... I know it has been a longgggggg while since my last post.
So much has changed in such a short matter of time, but trust me I still found time to dine around and stuff my face.
          

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eat, Pray, Love....and be HEALTHY

May I Offer You A Drink To Start With?
This morning while doing my mile run Rihanna's song Cake came on and all I could think about was the red velvet cake I had from Cake Man Raven's Bakery  and Momma Barnes' "melt in your mouth and slap a baby" pound cake.  As I started to run faster I heard people clapping and cheering me on, only to realize it was my thighs rubbing together and my booty clapping.  Ugh, the horror!  So I scrolled up to Beyonce's Move Your Body  tune and went for the gold.

Bon Appetit!

 


                                                             Appetizer
Although I love to dine out and cook, finding a healthy balance and fitting exercise into my schedule is also very important to me and my fellow Din-HER Club girls.  I gained my freshman 15lbs at 26 years old instead and although my metabolism wasn't in agreement with my new fitness and eating promise, I went for it!   I love to eat and I will never be my college size 4 again, but I will not let myself go either.




 

Side Note:  Congratulations to my favorite TV Cooking Queen, Mrs. Paul Deen on her recent 30lbs weight loss! Although her battle of diabetes made her tighten up, it was better late than never that she decided to take off the weight and started exercising and making healthier choices for HER. So if she can do it at 50 something, so can I!
#inspiration #motivation #go-girl!


 Like many I have tried all types of dieting from; The Lemonade/Master Cleanse, Sadkins, Acupressure and simply eating just air.  None of these have worked for me and if I did lose a pound or two from it, I gained it right back times three when I started eating normal again.  So I learned to come up with realistic healthy meal choices and exercises that work for ME.

I indulge and stuff my face twice a week, which is usually on the weekend, but Monday through Friday I stay away from certain carbs like pasta, white rice, bread etc.,  I also stay away from fried foods, red meat and the skin on chicken.  I add flax seeds to my oatmeal or my egg white omelet.   I use olive oil to cook with, purchased a Foreman grill and drink lots of water.  I use a great app on my phone called My Fitness Pal  to help me keep track of my calorie intake and weight loss progress.

 I love workouts like spinning, cardio kickboxing, zumba and other high intensity cardio workouts. When I do not feel like going to the gym, I either run a mile and do some burpees and squats or pop in my favorite workout DVD that I have a serious love/hate relationship with...INSANITY.   I love the Insanity workout because unlike other workout DVD'S,  this 12 piece set is not boring and you feel like the Instructor Sean T is literally in your living room yelling and motivating you.  You do not need any equipment or weights because you use your own body weight.  The workouts are gruesome and hard! You would think it would get easier over time, but it doesn't! Although you build up your endurance, you still sweat like a pig and pass out like a drunken frat boy when it is over.

 
 






























Entree
Outside of my regular diet, I have recently decided to do a  fast 5 out of 7 days, every week until my birthday in August. There a different variations of fasting, but this one is MINE.  It is also partly spiritual for me as well to sacrifice some things and pray more throughout the day.

I start with a saltwater flush when I wake up in the morning.  This process helps me to eliminate any waste and toxins in my body and BOYYYYY DOES IT WORK!  I cussed out my friend Marissa for not warning me how fast this process works. I will not go into any details, but just don't plan on going anywhere for a hour.

Salt Water Flush Instructions: 2 Bottles of Purified Water, 1tbsp Sea Salt, and 1 tsp of Lemon Juice. 
Mix it, shake it all up and drink!  I am not going to lie, the taste is horrible from the sea salt, so I chase it with a shot of my mango smoothie (don't judge me).  They say for better results to lay on your right side for a few minutes after drinking the mix.


Then throughout the day I will drink water, green tea with honey, make fresh smoothies (no protein powder) or drink the premade Bolthouse  brand smoothies (in moderation).  It is a challenge so if I do crave a solid I will eat a banana or my infamous black bean and corn guacamole, since it is mushy and easily digestible. (Hey, it's better than the Five Guys burger I was craving yesterday). WARNING: when you decide to stop any detox or fast be sure to gradually reintroduce your body to normal/processed foods, by eating soup, salads and yogurt and fish or else your stomach will do flips.



 Tori's Black Bean & Corn Guacamole Recipe (copyright) : 3 Avocados, Fresh Cilantro, 1/2 of a Red Onion, 1 Lime, 2 Plum Tomatoes, Can of Goya Black Beans,  Mini can of Corn, 2/3 tsp Minced garlic, Sea salt,  Honey, 1 tbsp Chardonnay Wine .  
- Blend or mash up the avocados.  Dice up the onion, cilantro, black beans & tomatoes. Mix everything together then add the minced garlic. Sprinkle in the sea salt and Chardonnay (to your taste). Squeeze in some lime juice, add a little honey & mix it all up again.

  

Dessert
While my Din-HER friend Shawniel is the one in the group with the diamond encrusted halo and caution sign AND I'm the friend of the group with the black liquid spandex yelling "YOLO " (You only live once).  I promise I mean well!  I just like to have some good wholesome fun and be spontaneous, but like many, especially my belated grandmother my goal is to become a servant of God and be more like him. 

So during my detox I sacrifice my wants and focus on my needs.  For instance; I need to eat, but I do not need a burger or cupcake, although I want it, a banana will do me just fine.  God gave up so much for us so it is only right that we try and do the same.  I won't go into the details, but in the Bible  fasting is a way of doing so.  I also spend more time praying and simply having talks with God, read inspirational quotes (God Promises Daily Devotional) and do some bible reading on the word. 

I know religion is touchy for some and not everyone believes in God like me, but if you're just a spiritual person, you can enjoy the beauty of nature while taking a jog, doing yoga or reflecting at the beach like I do.

I am only on day 4 and although my patience has only gone from only a 0 to 2.5,  I am absolutely more in tune with myself , peaceful and thankful. 
Like I mentioned in my latest blog, I have had a few rough weeks recently, but yet  I have this internal peace of mind and since of trust that everything will be just fine.


My two friends said it best:   
Bryan Deliz  in his recent blog:  " Though at times I lose it for a day.  I wake up and every morning it’s like God places it right back into my soul.  I still wonder, plan, and hope. However, I find myself questioning my life a little less and less and feel myself living it more and more.  Just living, loving, embracing, forgiving, and discovering a path full of righteousness and fulfillment.  Walking towards freedom and purpose, without questioning the journey."


Adwoa A. - God Promises Daily Devotional:  "God did not promise that we would not grow tried and frustrated as we strive to reach our heavenly goal.  Nor did he promise we would not experience setbacks or failure.  He promised to give us an eagle's strength and to rise above our circumstances and go the distance."






Cited Links: 
1. June 2012/Bryan Deliz - http://bdeliz.tumblr.com/post/25799881218/the-truth-about-me-is

2. 2012/Adwoa E. Ansah -  God Promises Daily Devotional
http://www.amazon.com/God-Promises-Daily-Devotional-ebook/dp/B007WZTI18/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340917207&sr=8-1&keywords=god+promises+daily+devotional



















Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Special Water", Special Times


May I Offer You A Drink To Start With?
This blog is dedicated to my Din-HER Club girlies. The past few weeks have been a little difficult and rough for me, but my girlies always know how to turn my frown into Chuck E Cheese smile.  The past few weekends with them has been amazing and super spontaneous. I love them because we just go with the flow, don't partake in drama and make the best out of everything and anything.
I can't help but laugh because this subtitle alone draws up a memory of me sneaking in and spiking everyone's drink with the special water at our last Din-HER Club outing.

 Bon Appetit!

Appetizer
Last weekend we all decided that we needed to get out, leave the kids and boyfriends/hubbies home and just have a good time. We decided we were all going to wear dresses or as I would say " mission big butts in skirts", have dinner and dance the night away.  All of us in our own way are very much homebodies and don't club or party often, so this was absolutely like going to the prom for many of us.
  
      The Official Din-HER Club Divas
 

Shawniel...excuse me, I mean "Chaneeeeel" (her alias) picked the restaurant this time.  She selected a sushi buffet place in Hamden, CT called Sushi Palace.  Now, for those that know me, know I dislike buffets (except for Shoney's down south).  Call me prissy or boogie, but I just don't like everyone picking over the food or  lil' Billy or Emma coughing over the meat station while trying to reach for a chicken finger (yuck). Although, I was skeptical and attempted to change the location several times, I sucked it up and ended up just going with the flow.

Sushi Palace
Cuisine: Japanese
1473 Dixwell Ave.,Hamden, CT
                                                             
Price:$$($20 all you can eat)



Since I attended undergrad out there, I was familiar with the area and knew there was going to be trouble finding parking.  The place has a very small parking lot and is in front of a busy street, so some of us had to park elsewhere.  We walked in and to my surprise it was a little cute restaurant WITH NO BUFFET STATIONS! Our reservation was for 7:30pm, but our table wasn't ready (like the reviews on Yelp indicated), which was a good thing for our Din-HER Club member Coco, who is ALWAYS LATE...I swear she'd miss her future child's birth if her vagina...... you get the point!   Anyway, we finally sat down and our server handed us these sheets of paper that listed the menu items on them and next to each item you had to select your desired quantity. 
For example:
__1_ Godzilla Roll            __2__ Miso Soup         __2__ Spring Rolls        __3__ Pink Lady Rolls

 I was elated because I was dreading fighting, pushing and knocking down someones six year old trying to get to the spring rolls. Our friend Esther must have ordered two of everything on the menu. It was so funny because we swear we saw the sushi chef give us a dirty look once our server handed him our order slip.


I packed some special water (rum & vodka) I had left over from a BBQ I hosted (ghetto, I know) and our cranberry juices went from a maroon red to a blush pink color. Our appetizers came out and we were a little confused at first because instead of them giving us our own individual orders on single plates, they served everything family style on a large plates, so we had figure out who's was who. I had the flavorful seafood undon soup, while all the other ladies had miso soup, the ginger and crab salad, calamari and spring rolls. Next to Jamaican and Soul food, my third favorite cuisine is Japanese, so I was actually very surprised and delighted at how yummy, fresh and authentic the food was. 


  Crab Salad, Ginger Salad & Miso Soup
   
 Sushi, spring rolls and chicken teriyaki



Once our large plates of sushi came, all we saw and heard were chopsticks clicking and lips smacking. The sushi was pretty, colorful and so good! Our fellow Din-HER Jen who hates to try anything new, ordered boring chicken teriyaki, BUT as always I forced her to try a piece of sushi. Mind you, she sort of cheated because she only tried a sweet potato roll and not the raw pieces, but you would have sworn she was eating a live octopus by the way we all had to coach and convince this sushi virgin into eating the sweet potato roll. 

Look at Jen's face at the bottom.... Epic!

After the many laughs and talks of B12 (insider) and other nonsense we discussed, we headed to a little spot downtown Bridgeport called Metric Grill & Bar. Metric specializes in awesome Haitian cuisine (which I will feature another day), but after dining hours are over they turn their main dining area into a dance party. 

Before we went in, Terri and I practiced this new line dance/step called the Co-Sign  so we could show off our new moves on the dance floor....and that we DID!  Because as soon as the DJ played it, we were the only two on the dance floor that actually knew the dance.lol  (Look it up and practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAp4gyipmAE&feature=related). 
Between DJ Juan Coon keeping the crowd rocking, dancing in 4 + inch heels, running into old boyfriends, pouring more special water etc., we had a great time! We always have fun together, but we really had a great time that night....just the girls!

Overall, I would give Sushi Palace a rating of 4 out 5. 
You can't beat the price for the quality all you can eat sushi and although I think the waitstaff was talking about us in Japanese, they were very attentive and quick.



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Cheese-steak Factory aka Philadelphia

 May I Offer You A Drink To Start With?
Hi Din-HERS I am back and I hope you all had an amazing weekend! Mine was VERY eventful, fun and I tried a new restaurant with my Din-HER Club girls, but I will blog about that on Thursday.

I am sooooooooo super excited to be heading back to Philadelphia this coming Saturday for the Jill Scott concert.  I miss living out there so much!  Socially and entertainment wise it was a happy medium between slow moving CT and fast paced NYC for me.  It was new, exciting, scary and fun all in one, but the most important part was learning so much about myself and just enjoying ME. 
Bon Appetit!

Side Note: This blog is dedicated to my belated friend Elie Joseph












Appetizer
I moved to the Philadelphia/South NJ area last spring for a year.  I'm an only child, super close to my family and friends, but as sociable and in the mix as I may seem and my career requires me to be, I am truly a homebody and anti-social at times, so making the move to Philly was different for me. It's almost like trying a new restaurant for the first time, picking a location, scanning the menu and finally taking the first bite.

Two years ago when I was 26 I had been working at a major non profit organization as the Lead Special Events Coordinator for our chapter for three years, I experienced my first major breakup, loss my grandmother to pancreatic cancer and some other stuff.  Although I loved my career and was doing well for my age, I wanted a change in my life...I wanted to hit the refresh button for some reason.  I didn't know what type of change, but I knew with prayer and patience God would help me find what I was looking for.

I come from a long and deep rooted family of entrepreneurs/self employed business owners, so it was only natural that I'd get the entrepreneurial itch too, so since I already had the professional experience I started freelancing and consulting as an Event/Wedding Planner in 2009.  Although my business picked up it still wasn't the change I was looking for.  I always played with the idea of moving out of state from CT, but like I said I was the only child and super close to my family and friends, so being scared would have been an understatement to describe how I felt.

Over that next year I talked to a few of my undergrad buddies that moved away from CT after college and I loved hearing about how they made the decision to move, how liberating it was and how it was the best decision they had ever made.  My good friend Chauncey who has moved to Ohio and now lives in the DC area told me, "Tori, you're still young, no kids, no real obligations so if you move away and don't like it you can always come back to CT."  I hate to admit when he's right, but to admit he was right in a public setting like my blog is another story (waves hello).  As I digress...so one day I started looking at jobs in the south New Jersey and Philadelphia area and out of all the jobs in my field I could have applied for, I only applied to one.  Subconsciously I did it that because
1. I didn't think I would land a government sector job so easily
2. I figured the distance and relocating me from CT would deter employers
Basically, I wanted excuses so I wouldn't have to face my fear of moving away, BUT of course they called, I did the interview, got the job and within 3 weeks I had to find a place, pack up the Uhaul and all my shoes and move south. Everything happened so fast, but I am a firm believer that when GOd gives you the answer or green light on something you have prayed for, you GO!

Luckily, I had a friend (Mr. Bentley) that lived out there already and was able to show me around the area and the ins and outs. I should include him into the Din-HER Club because we would dine around often (Welcome to the club Mr. Bentley! lol).  Anyway,  I started the job and loved being able to travel, work with various government higher ups from NASA, DOD, NIH, DOE etc. planning their conferences and meetings and going to different security bases and labs.   I loved my apartment because it was right in beautiful Cherry Hill, NJ and 7 minutes away from downtown Philadelphia. My place was cute, cozy and had so much character (so did my neighbor's kid...little Emma was a riot .lol).  At first I was home sick and would come  to CT every other weekend, but that stopped especially when toll rates went up. lol.  Outside of the no left turns and silly jug handle turns, I loved it...I was home!!!

Entree
My cousin and friend heard of my move and introduced me to their friends that also lived in Philly (Ashley and Elie).  I first met Elie at Tinto Wine Bar in the lovely Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia.  I watch wayyyy too much Criminal Minds and Law and Order, so being single, living in a totally different area alone and meeting new people was a little scary to me at first, but Elie ended that notion quick.  He was super tall, poised and funny.  The big bonus was that he was a Personal Chef for a well known celebrity family in Philly.  Of course I was excited because we both shared a common love for food.  He was shocked at how cultured and into food I was (rolls eyes).  Even though he's Black/Haitian, he felt like a lot of black women were scared to try different foods, but boy did I prove him wrong (team black women 3 points lol)!  Elie knew the head chef at Tinto so we indulged and ate aged manchego cheese, tuna tar tare, duck, wrapped figs, almond gazpacho and sipped various red and white wines.  Since that day we became good friends and he took me to the Market Place where all the chefs and real foodies go to buy fresh food, the infamous South Street strip and all the hot restaurants like: Cuba Libre, Warm Daddy's, Distrito, Relish, Pattaya and more.  Although he was a Professional Chef, he actually hated cooking on his personal time ( I totally understand because I hate planning my own personal events) so he really enjoyed critiquing others food and dining around.
Elie was truly a good guy and blessing, but unfortunately he passed away.  His passing truly hurt my heart, but I am so very fortunate, honored and blessed he was a character in my life story. He helped teach me how to really enjoy life and not feel guilty for liking the finer things in life.
 #missu #gentlegiant #gucci #bestbrowniesonearth

 

 Elie (R.I.P) and his wonderful creations

 My "Philly Wife" (Ashley) was/is my Thelma. I remember us first meeting at Ms. Toosties Soul Food restaurant for happy hour.  Her southern accent she picked up from attending undergrad in ATL with her Cali born swag was refreshing.  Ashely is an old soul just like me so we hit it off instantly! This little woman is a bag full of fun, tricks and Ashly-isms ...No, really she has her signature phrases, like:
"Child please"
"Point, Blank and to the Period"
"I need to lay my burdens downs"
"I know that's right"
Ashley loved to shop and also dine around and cook. We would just walk around in Old City when it was nice out and talk, enjoy the nightlife, go to lunch at Devon's Seafood on Sundays and alternate cooking for our girls nights.  She loved my green curry mussels and shrimp dish, but Ashley makes a serious, jaw dropping cajun seafood alfredo...so good!  From our man issues, taking road trips, having our cars towed/ticketed and housewarmings, this little lady is also and still is a blessing from God, especially during that new period/journey in my life.   #ihearther #finnatodo #sweetred #youtheone...lol

 My "Philly Wife" Ash and I                                              Road trip to DC
       Lunch at Devon's Seafood                                       My Thai green curry mussels & shrimp dish

 I have lived alone before, but something about living alone out there was exactly what I needed.
I loved the artsy; boho-chic and eccentric culture out in Philly, I cooked all the time and tried new dishes, loved washing clothes, I liked adventuring out and getting lost and finding my way around the city, walking around my place naked (tmi), going to the King of Prussia and Cherry Hill mall, having my CT girls visit, meeting new people, dating, the Amish market, lunch with my co-workers (Tara and Lauren), curling up on my couch watching reality TV or reading a book with a glass of wine and being interrogated by my neighbors 7 year old daughter Emma about where I was going when she would see walking to my car all dressed up. My mother and I were already close, but for some reason when I moved we became closer and I actual shared my dating and relationship stories with her.

Geno's Cheese Steak (Nasty)                                   Jim's Cheese Steaks (Awesome)

El Vez (Mexican Restaurant - Good)                                    My neighbor's nosy daughter Emma
     My CT Din-HER  girlies came to visit (Pod Restaurant)                Pole Dancing  Aerobics #fail


 
  The cherry blossom trees on my street                                         Day trip to Atlantic City


 Dessert
All that time I knew God would help me find what I was looking for, but what I didn't expect is that the thing I would be finding was ME!  Of course, I thought I knew it all before the move and was doing pretty well for 26 back in CT, but I really didn't know myself as well as I thought. It's not that I didn't know anything about me at all, but I became even more aware and confident in who I am (LOVE it or LEAVE it), realized the things I won't settle for, I became more forgiving and easy going and I learned to take a break from being so heavily involved with various activities and focus more on me and give back again later.  Instead of group retreats, I learned to go on ME-Treats and treat/spend time with myself.

I think it's very important, especially for women to find, explore and know themselves. There is nothing more freeing and attractive than a woman who is confident, God fearing, knows where she's going and how to get there in 4inch heels and has her own life outside of her man, family and/or girlfriends.  Although I recently moved back to CT for business purposes, if I could go back to Philly I would!  But I know things happen for a reason and since my trust is in God, I am sure he will reveal to me the real reason I was called back home.

I'm not saying moving away is the answer to everything, but if you have the urge and opportunity to move, Do it! Like I was told back then and now able to testify to "You can always come back home if needed."


A Few Of My Favorite Philly Restaurants:
 PYT, Farmicia, The Wine Bar, Honeys, The Continental, El Vez, Carabas, Ms Tootsie, Devons Seafood, Silk City Diner, Cantina Dos Segundo, Relish, Blu2o, Barclay Pho, Pattaya, Milk Bar, Pinsetters, Fat Nygoya Sushi, Tuesdays, Jim's, Emerald Fish, Vango, Maggianos, North Bowl, Copa Banana and more.


                                                             Brunch dishes at Farmicia



 Caraba's Brownie (Yum)                 Cabana's Ice Water                                      Pho (Vietnamese food)




















Thursday, June 14, 2012

Food From The SOUL

Ok, ok, ok...I know I said I wouldn't post again until Friday, but a link my friend Steve posted on facebook last night inspired me to go ahead and blog today anyway.  

 May I Offer You A Drink To Start With? 
In my first blog Welcome To: The Din-HER Club, I said "Everyone loved my Grandma's southern hospitality, cooking and warm smile. Her faith in God and commitment to the church was so strong, it made us believe that the reason her cooking was so good and put people at peace after they ate it, is because God was guiding her hands and measurements".  #fact  Well, my fellow Din-HERs and Foodies to me that's what real soul food is all about, it's cooking from the soul! It doesn't matter what you cook as long as it's made with love. You don't need measuring cups and spoons when you're cooking from the soul because somehow over time you master how much to add/give and how much to take away/omit.
Bon Appetit!



Appetizer
If you leave it to me I could write this entire blog about my family's cooking all day everyday, but that would defeat the purpose of my blog.  One cuisine that I love and is in my top 3 is..... JAMAICAN FOOD!!!!
 (Oh boy, I can see Terri-Ann and Shawniel reading this now with their lighter fingers up in the air with joy.)
 
Outside of the southern fried chicken, grits, cornbread, collard greens, candy yams apple brandy and pound cake etc., I grew up on, I also fell in love with Jamaican/Caribbean food.  From the ackee and salt fish, stew peas, cracked lobster, brown stew red snapper, sorrel, red stripe, curry goat, bun and cheese, grape nut ice cream, ting etc....I just love it ALL! 
 
I have visited Jamaica (Negril, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay) for vacation every summer for the past 4 years.  I even dated a Jamaican guy that I attended undergrad with for 4 years and mastered a few of their infamous dishes, how to speak patois and do some of  their dancehall moves (nuh linga).  Terri-Ann and Shawniel ask me all the time "Girl, are you sure you're not Jamaican?"
 
 I use to enjoy going over my ex's house for gatherings and Sunday dinner. I would just sit in their kitchen with the lace curtains and watch his Mom and Dad (The Johnsons) chop up all the fresh produce, clean the meats (yuck), while he jerked the chicken on the grill with red stripe. His Dad's fish soup was my favorite and it was absolutely fantastic!  Like I said he's my ex so I don't eat over there anymore, but I am happy they were once apart of my life and able to teach me a few Jamaican soul food recipes.  
There were a few Jamaican takeout spots in my hometown, but nothing could come close to Mr. Johnson's Jamaican soul food, until one day my original Dinner Club buddy/BFF (Bootsy) took me to this little Jamaican restaurant out in Mt. Vernon, NY.  The food at this family run restaurant reminded of eating at the Johnson's home and even my home because it was so intimate and the food of course was made with love and from the soul (Mi tell yu di food wicked mon!).

Ripe Kitchen & Bar
Cuisine: Caribbean 
51 W. Sandford Blvd
Mt Vernon, NY 10550
 (914) 665-7689
Price: ($16-$25)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What & Where to Eat? Such is Life

May I Offer You A Drink To Start With?

Before I sip my tea (pinky up) and start writing/blogging, I think really hard about a topic, but yet I don't think hard about the actual content to follow.  I guess you can call this free spirited writing.  I almost feel like Julia Roberts in the movie Eat, Pray, Love and how she also related her life experiences to food, but for me it's without all the international traveling and humorous fortuneteller Ketut.  Sigh, as I digress and open my fortune cookie from the other night.
Bon Appetit!


Appetizer
In my professional life and most of my personal life, I am such a controlled, think 16 steps ahead, have a bomb shelter plan, overly organized and decisive person, but hunny, when it comes to picking a nail polish 
color, what shoes to wear and what I want to eat.....I'm totally clueless!  With that being said, my pallet for food is enormous and I can never decide if I want a simple arugula salad, tabbouleh, drunken noodles, p&j, saag   paneer, brie, a Pepsi (can of course) or a glass of gewurztraminer wine.  In these cases I have found it's best I just go with my gut craving...I mean gut feeling.

I'm no food connoisseur, I just know what taste good to me and for the past year, I have wanted to try this Peruvian spot, but I would either end up at my favorite Thai place or this sushi bar around the corner.  The other day I was taking a stroll downtown with my cousin (Tegan), and if you think one hungry indecisive person is bad, try two hungry hippos...smh.  We literally walked into two restaurants and walked back out after viewing their menu.  Then we strolled passed the Peruvian spot and went to another place AND walked out of there too.  On the way back we walked by the Peruvian spot again, but for some odd reason this time the sun was shining on its awning and the aroma of fresh seafood, saffron and cilantro hit us like a bag of bricks so we stopped, took a step back while accessing the menu hanging in the window and IN WE WENT!

Quechua
Cuisine: Peruvian
21 N. Main St., Norwalk, CT
203-810-4480
Price: $$ ($10-$16)


The Entree 
I'll go back to my dining experience at Quecha in a minute:  This experience kind of reminds of that good guy women sometime pass up, over and under-look for the playas, hustlers and busters, when MR. RIGHT is staring in our face.  Let's be honest, we tend to ignore listening to our intuition/gut feeling & God about many life choices.  (Ummm yea, if you just felt some type of way about those last few sentences, then yep it relates to your current situation).

I'm not perfect, I always had to fall on my butt not once but twice before learning my lesson because I'm a leo and a leo woman.  I can see my Mom's face now projecting this out her mouth sounding like Kevin Hart "You don't ever listen, but you gone learn today".  I will admit (mom close your eyes for a sentence or three please. ughhh, I know she's reading) it's also good sometimes to take WISE ADVICE from others (Mom).  Not, from someone who's traveling the same road or just loading up their car for the journey, but someone who has already lived it, experienced it and has a testimony to share.

Women do it all the time, for example, a woman in an actual relationship some where right now is taking advice from her veteran single friends. Child please!  You can't always listen to what others say, BUT you can take their advice into consideration.  At times you have to just stop, pray, take a step back, watch and access what's in front of you and make a move.  I did it picking my career and the journey isn't always easy, but like the GOoD book says in Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing..." because in the end the reward, peace of mind and feeling of self you have is so amazing!


 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

WELCOME to: The Din-HER Club

Greetings Everyone & WELCOME to my new blog:

 The Din-HER Club

Side Note: This blog is dedicated to my belated Grandmother Sarah Brown


Bon Appetit!
I have always wanted to do my own take on a food/dining blog, but I was a little afraid because I am not the best writer in the world, but from what I am told that is the beauty and essence of blogging because I get to speak MY own language. Besides, I have seen worse and you only live once so here I go...

I'm an average size woman, but I truly LOVE food and going out to dinner with my girlies 
(hence the name Din-HER). Unfortunately, that means I have to workout extra hard each week to keep my girlish figure.   So many people relate to food in various ways, especially emotionally/socially. The way I relate, is some of everything lol, but it's mainly to gather with my girls to eat, talk, laugh, drink, laugh again, cry then laugh harder.

The Din-HER Club blog is not only a way for me to rate and share my own cooking experiences and opinions on various restaurants I have visited; It's also about sharing a part of my life and Din-HER conversations about our joys, man-problems, kids, work issues and revelations. 

Your Table is Ready & Please Enjoy My Blog!

                                                                    Personal History                                                     
  As a little girl, I was raised in the kitchen by my Mother, but my Aunt and belated Grandmother were also a major influence in my life. As long as I can remember my Grandmother always loved to garden, cook and host all our family and church functions. Our roots stem from good ole Santee, South Carolina...home of  soul-food (yes, I said it), Myrtle Beach, the best golf courses, the infamous south of the border rest-stop and orange dirt roads. Although I grew up in Fairfield County CT, I was raised like a southern belle, where addressing adults as "No/yes Ma'am/Sir" was a must.  

All the women in my family from generation to generation knew how to cook well....It was actually MANDATORY!  My grandmother not only made sure her two daughters knew how to cook, but also made certain that her grand-daughters did too.  Ughhh, I remember I use to hate snapping green beans and grating cheese, while listening to the gospel music of Mahalia Jackson on my Grandmother's record player every Sunday after church. My first time learning how to clean a whole chicken, I was ready to faint (yuck). Seriously, by the age of 12 I knew how to make a full breakfast, simple dinner meals, set-up a formal dining table and make a mean pan of cornbread.

 Everyone loved my Grandma's southern hospitality, cooking and warm smile. Her faith in God and commitment to the church was so strong, it made us believe that the reason her cooking was so good and put people at peace after they ate it, is because God was guiding her hands and measurements.
                  
                      (My Grandmother..I miss her so dearly)

  My mother was into fashion and interior/exterior design and also loved to cook as well, but since she grew up around a more culturally diverse area (CT & NYC) than my grandmother did, she enjoyed trying and making foods of other cultures. Regarding food, she taught me that I had to try everything at least once. She use to yell and say " How do you know you don't like it, if you haven't tried it?" Outside of eventually loving Indian & African cuisine, calamari, alligator, caviar, duck etc., little did she know that force fed teaching (lol) has opened up so many doors for me and how I think about life on multiple levels. That's why I fell in love and became a professional Event, Meeting & Party Planner because it encompasses everything I grew up on (food, hospitality, art/design, people, music and fashion).


-(My Mom & I)                               
 -(My Mom, Aunt, Me and Cousin)
               

Past Din-Her Club Blogs...Catch Up

Translator - For Our International DinH(n)ERs