My wonderful niece, Alycia/Baked Scampi

39CB89F3-574E-497C-BA4C-B6B0BBD08EE7After many years of raising two very energetic little boys my sister, Rose Carol, had a precious baby girl. She called her Alycia Marie. I’m not sure where the Alycia part came from but I know Marie came from our maternal grandmother, Dessa Marie Tracy.  Alycia grew up not in the shadows of her older brothers but very independent and capable of doing whatever she set her mind to. Along with this strong personality though she has this sweet gentle feminine side that matches her mother. Even with her living in California and us living way on the other side of the country we have managed to be together almost every year and when we do it’s for a week or two or three….so we’re very lucky to know each other well.  On my last trip west she had us come to her house where we shared a meal from one of her favorite chefs, Barefoot Contessa , called baked shrimp scampi. It was a perfect evening between the sounds of enjoying the meal and the laughter that is always present when our family finally gets together again and we catch each other up on all the happenings of our lives since we were together last.

My younger sister, LaDonna

3436A92E-2148-4ED9-BFC1-924CDDDA50D0.jpegHer name was LaDonna, and she surely lived up to her name, which in Italian means “The Lady”. She went through life abiding by the rules. She didn’t break the speed limit or  eat food past its date. She worried way more than she should have about her three boys or as the announcement of her third son said “My Three Sons”. This is her fourth birthday she in heaven. How does a young woman who exercises, eats right and has everything to live for die so young? She never took drugs or smoked, like the saying goes, “life isn’t fair”.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

While I was fixing dinner and sweetening my fresh carrots with brown sugar I noticed a recipe on the back of the brown sugar box. It looked simple so I made it. Not only was it the perfect dessert topped with fruit but the kitchen smelled like I had been burning a sugar scented candle.

Drink lots of water/Rosemary

You hear about adding lemons or limes to your water to add flavor so you’ll drink more. And mint leaves are good too. But have you heard of adding a fresh sprig of rosemary, either to your glass or to the pitcher? I’ve been reading lately how rosemary helps with memory too. I didn’t even like rosemary very well but it’s been growing on me lately. Maybe I will try it on chicken next👍

Pomegranates/Christmas fruit

Pomegranates are beautiful dark pink or red fruits. I’ve always thought they were hard to eat until this weekend when my friend Barbara Johnson showed me how to get into them. You can’t eat the outside skin but inside they are filled with these little seeds called arils. This is what you eat. Each aril surprisingly not only has fiber but vitamin D and C and potassium. You can eat them just as there are or add to your fruit salad or tossed salad or on top of your yogurt or cottage cheese. My sister, Rose Carol, tops her ice cream and sherbet with these seeds and the sweet and tart together make a perfect pair. So don’t be afraid. Go buy one and cut off each end then slice like you would a grapefruit. To think all these years I’ve only gotten to eaten them when my sister prepared them for me!

When you’re Seaside, Eat Shrimp

When you aren’t at home you make the best of what you can find where you are. I used blankets for table cloths and starfish for centerpieces. Found the freshest shrimp just down the road, only problem is we had to peel and devein them ourselves. But New Orleans style BBQ Shrimp is worth it.

490EE94E-30F8-447A-87A2-BF7E06BC2626

069CDD00-9082-4B4C-8BA8-249C78043D43

Melt the butter add all the spices then add the shrimp, heat 3 minutes with the lip on top. Stir everything and cook 3 more minutes until the shrimp is nice and pink. Serve with rice and crusty French bread to tip into the sauce.