5 ways to help friends in crisis mode

Posted: June 9th, 2015

5 ways to help a friend in crisis-mode

A couple of weeks ago some friends of ours had their baby 14 weeks early.  Thankfully she is doing well, but it has thrown their lives into a new kind of chaos.

It made me start thinking and brainstorming things we, along with some of our other friends, could do for them, and I thought I’d share some of the ideas we came up with here in case it might help anyone else who is looking for something to do for a friend going through a crazy/scary time in life.

1. Home cooked meals

This is just what we do in the South.  Someone has a baby, we bring them a meal.  Someone dies, we bring them a meal.  Someone has surgery, we bring them a meal.  I think it’s great to bring a hot meal, but I also love bringing already frozen meals that they can just put in their freezer to pull out when they need them.

Some of my favorite freezer meals are mushroom lasagna and pizza pasta.  But things like pulled BBQ pork or chicken in a freezer bag or chocolate quinoa muffins that could be eaten fresh or put in the freezer are great, too.

2. Toilet Paper and Paper Towels

This was an idea from my mother-in-law, who heard it from someone else.  And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  Because who is going to think to go buy paper towels when there is a crisis going on?  But I think any household staple could apply here: household cleaners, toothpaste, some shampoo and soap–anything that you would hate to realize you’re running out of when the last thing you have time or energy for is running to the store.

3. Fast Food Gift Cards

Because when you’re in crisis mode, grabbing fast food can sometimes be the easiest thing to do.  And in our particular case the past few weeks, we know our friends are going to be traveling back and forth to the hospital for awhile and will sometimes need to grab food on the go.

4. Gas Gift Cards

Especially great when a lot of travel will be involved.  Once again, we know our friends are going to be making a lot of trips to the hospital, and we thought a gift card for gas would be helpful.

5. Paper Plates and Plastic Silverware and Cups

I’m usually a big advocate for not using paper products so as to reduce waste/be a good steward of our resources.  But if there is a time in life to use paper products to eat and drink from, a crisis would be it.  Because who wants to do dishes during a stressful time?

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a month of meals {may 2015}

Posted: June 4th, 2015

a month of meals: may 2015

Here’s what we ate this month.

{An explanation as to why I’m doing this can be found in January 2015.}

{Past months: January 2015 : February 2015 : March 2015 : April 2015}

May 1Whistlestop
May 2–Chick-fil-a (we had been at Whistlestop most of the day)
May 3lemon rosemary chicken with potatoes, green beans

May 4–mushroom marsala pork chops, roasted broccoli
May 5–dinner at Gerrit’s parents’ house
May 6roasted red pepper pasta with chicken, zucchini with almonds
May 7–leftovers, roasted potatoes
May 8–dinner at my parents’ house–BBQ, sweet potato fries, corn casserole, chocolate pie
May 9–Gerrit’s mom’s birthday celebration–yogurt grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, grilled zucchini, peanut butter torte
May 10–sandwiches (we had had a family lunch for Mother’s Day at my grandmother and great aunts’ house)

May 11–pasta with cauliflower
May 12–dinner at Gerrit’s parents’ house–chicken enchilada casserole, corn on the cob
May 13chickpea pasta
May 14baked chicken thighs, green beans with almonds, cous cous
May 15–rehearsal dinner for a friends’ wedding
May 16–wedding (where I had the best stuffed mushroom I’ve ever put in my mouth, by the way)
May 17–sandwiches (we went out for BBQ for lunch)

May 18–rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, bread with olive oil for dipping, roasted broccoli
May 19chicken pesto panini (using rotisserie chicken), sweet potato fries (frozen)
May 20–dinner at my parents’ house–baked salmon, boiled parmesan potatoes, roasted squash
May 21mushroom marsala pasta
May 22–dinner at my parents’ house–an end of the school year celebration with some family friends–flank steak, mustard roasted potatoes, asparagus roasted with bacon, peanut butter pie
May 23pizza
May 24–neighborhood cookout

May 25–Memorial Day dinner at Gerrit’s parents’ house–burgers, sweet potato fries, quinoa salad, chocolate mint brownies
May 26–salmon, leftover quinoa salad
May 27–dinner at my parents’ house–grilled chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries
May 28–baked chicken thighs, roasted broccoli, zucchini fritters
May 29–fried rice with chicken
May 30–out to eat in Atlanta
May 31–scrounge (we had breakfast and lunch out)

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historic college park {atlanta}, ga

Posted: June 1st, 2015

chicken and waffles from the corner grille college park ga

I had no intention of writing any kind of travel post about our weekend.  We went to Atlanta for a concert, found a convenient place to stay, and that was that.  I wasn’t looking to explore any part of Atlanta.  I wasn’t particularly trying to find any good restaurants.  We were just there with some of our friends for one night for a concert.

But after we spent even just a few minutes in College Park (and especially after we ate at the restaurants we did) I couldn’t not tell you about it.  I can’t give you an all-inclusive detailed analysis of the community, but I can tell you this:  it is convenient (it was near our concert venue, and it is right next door to the airport…actually part of the airport is technically in College Park), it has a quaint downtown, the food was great, and it was friendly (which, I’ll just be honest, is not what I expected).  I mean, friendly like an older couple stopped and talked to us and asked if we were from out of town (probably because we were not regulars at the restaurant) and then a City Councilman came by while we sat on a bench outside as we waited to be seated and introduced himself to us.  As one of our friends put it, “I kind of feel like I’m being recruited for something.”

It’s not a place I would usually visit, but I couldn’t help but be a little bit charmed by it.

What I really really want to tell you about though is the food.  Because some of it blew me away.  We only had two meals there.  First–dinner at Brake Pad.  Everything we got was great, and my chicken sandwich hit the spot.

The real star of our weekend though was breakfast at The Corner Grille.  It absolutely blew me away.  My pancakes were studded with chocolate chips and laced with cinnamon, the bacon was cooked perfectly (and I, who usually do not eat bacon for breakfast, actually ate a piece).  One of our friends got French toast made of big pillow-y brioche and I was completely impressed by it (and I am not usually a fan of French toast).  And Gerrit got the most amazing chicken and waffles I have ever had.  I actually can’t tell you about the waffle part (although I’m sure it was good) because I used all my stealing-food-off-my-husbands’-plate allotment for chicken.  Because oh my goodness that fried chicken might have ruined me on fried chicken for the rest of my life.  I ate as much of it as he would let me under the guise of “Maybe if I taste it again I can figure out the seasonings so I can make it at home.”

I don’t have much else to tell you about College Park aside from that.  It’s not exactly a tourist destination.  But, if you are ever in Atlanta (especially near the airport) in need of a place to stay or in need of a place to eat (breakfast) especially, I just wanted you to know.

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zucchini fritters

Posted: May 28th, 2015

zucchini fritters

I feel like the story of my life is being late to the train (not actual trains, although that did almost happen once in Rome which, even though we spent the night in the airport and even though I lost my phone, was the closest I came to actually panicking on that entire trip).  But I am always late to the game in books and movies and food.  I’d like to think it means that am I particularly selective about things: if I’m still hearing about something months or years (yikes) after it’s been big, then chances are it deserved the attention.  Example: I just finished reading Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (SO GOOD).  It had been on my list since it came out, and because I was still hearing wonderful things about it years later, it finally made it to the top. Read more »

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peanut butter torte

Posted: May 19th, 2015

peanut butter torte

We have had a lot to celebrate this month, so I’m going to start at the end and work my way backwards.

First of all, this past weekend we traveled down to Auburn (my college town) for the wedding of one of my closest childhood friends.  Our moms are best friends and we grew up together (he is 3 months older than me and came to see me in the hospital when I was born), and it was such a joy to be there for their wedding day and get to play a part in it.  (Fun fact: he married my mom’s college roommate’s daughter–how is that for a small world?) Read more »

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