Friday, August 31, 2012

Laughing It Up at the Silly Goose Lounge

I really want this picture of Gandhi ..
It's always a blast to discover someplace new for food and drinks with friends. If you happen to be in downtown Memphis the Silly Goose Lounge is a swanky fun place within walking distance of Beale Street and The Orpheum Theater, as well as most anything else you'd want to do while hitting downtown in the Bluff City.

Wondering what to do in Memphis? Click here!

Surrounded by hip decor that combines urban swank with a funky elegance, you'll want to pile in to one of the cozy seating areas with friends whether you are cranking up for the evening or winding down. The atmosphere is more slick than silly,  more sophisticated swan than goose. Offering a full bar where you can even get a mint julep (you may have to tell the young bartenders how to make it) which is difficult most places if you've tried to order one.
I love it when the folks who prepare your food want to talk to you about it!
I didn't really expect a lot from the menu since they offered "bar food" which conjures up images of wings and cheese plates. It was refreshing to see hummus and pita on the menu. We ordered that along with chicken quesadillas. I was pleasantly surprised at how good both items were. We were there in the early evening before attending a show, so it wasn't crowded. What the scene and service are like later in the night I hope to go back and find out.

All in the name of research, naturally...

The Silly Goose on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chocolate For Breakast: Healthy Grown Up Style

When I was a kid chocolate for breakfast meant someone had had a birthday the day before and there was cake left or my mom had bought those disgusting chocolate Pop Tarts. Oh...the things that pass for food...

But we're in the midst of a food revolution.

Today, you can have chocolate in the morning without the guilt. It may even be good for you.

Read about the health benefits of cocoa consumption here.

Here's what was served up this morning in the 99% kitchen:

Before cooking

This is a new oatmeal brand that I found at Target by a company called Earnest Eats. This is the Mayan blend, one of 3 flavors, it has cocoa, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. You can read about the American and Asian blends here. It's a little pricey at $6.99 on their website but I found it at target for less than five bucks. If you buy cashews for a snack as I do you know that they aren't cheap and I'm willing to pay for quality ingredients. Aren't you willing to pay a bit more for actual food instead of a collection of chemicals and preservatives? It cooks in the microwave in 2 minutes. Now let me warn you if you are use to eating sweetened prepackaged oatmeal (why are you doing that?), this is NOT sweet. Of course the more you cut sugar from your diet the less you need that sweetness. I would say that most people will want to drizzle a little honey on top of this, but the aroma, texture, and taste scream YUM!

For a breakfast that covers all the bases on frantic back to school mornings, pair this with a chocolate peanut butter smoothie. Blend dark chocolate almond milk, frozen fruit and all natural peanut butter (the ingredient list should list peanuts and salt ONLY ).

 These are some of the ingredients I like to mix up. When those bananas are turning brown and your kids won't eat them, slice them up and freeze them. They are the base for a wonderful banana smoothie made with almond or coconut milk. Frozen bananas have an ice cream like texture. For extra protein add a tablespoon of all natural peanut butter. You can also add a bit of organic coconut oil or protein powder to any smoothie. I'm a big fan of fresh grated nutmeg on top.

Read an article about the benefits of coconut oil here.
And one for nutmeg here.

This power packed breakfast doesn't really take that much longer than a cold bowl of cereal. Whole grains, fruit, protein, nuts, and yogurt. Your gang will be ready to take on the world!

Or at least anything from fractions to chemistry. Happy breakfast! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Scarlett VS. Melanie: The Southern Female Paradox

We went to see Gone With the Wind last night on the big screen. So if today's post looks a little familiar that is because it's from the archives.

Men always think that women want to be Scarlett and in some ways I guess we do, I don't think any of us would turn down being the most beautiful woman in the room if we had the chance.  Any woman worth her salt however will tell you that when she watches this movie she is secretly thinking "I wish I were more like Melanie." While the film is actually a coming of age story for Scarlett, Melanie is something to aspire to.  She isn't as lovely as her sister-in-law or feted for her charm and beauty but as the story unfolds we see something worth more than all of that. We see her character, kindness, and grace under pressure.  She is actually a very good representation of Christian charity and femininity, without insecurity or weakness.  There isn't a catty bone in her body. She is comfortable in her own skin. She is  has nerves of steel despite her tender exterior. No one is allowed to speak unkindly of anyone else in her presence...oh girls, we all need to work on that one, don't we?

It is Melanie that we see pick up on and play along with a lie (which tells us she's smart) coolly when necessary to protect those she loves. We see her always thinking of and speaking of others with the benefit of the doubt and a spirit of love. It speaks volumes of her character when she not only accepts Belle Watling's gift for the "cause" but later steps into her carriage at risk to her own reputation to treat an outcast of polite society with dignity and kindness. She is the picture of compassion in this scene: 

Belle Watling: "And, Miz Wilkes, if you ever see me on the street, you -- you don't have to speak to me. I'll understand..."
Melanie: "I shall be proud to speak to you. Proud to be under obligation to you. I hope -- I hope we meet again."

While Scarlett gets attention, Melanie gets R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

We see her refuse to embarrass Scarlett at Ashley's birthday party even though everyone is waiting for it and no one would have blamed her under the circumstances.  One can only imagine Scarlett's reaction had the situation been reversed. 

That's something to be known for isn't it? To be the one who is unfailingly forgiving and kind. To live in such a way that people would know you to be a person who spoke the truth in love, always.  The coquettish antics of the heroine are what most people remember from the film (and the book, which is even better) but alongside and often lost, is a very charming depiction of something worth aiming for; a fictional role model from the past...Southern or not.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Assembling Your Tribe

I was at a wedding recently and the bride and groom had written their own vows (Why do people insist on this?) and promised to be each other's "best friend."
I cleared my throat and squirmed in my seat. That's kind of a lot of pressure. And there is a gender gap about it. If you ask a married man who his best friend is, he will more often than not (especially if she's standing there) name his wife (Don't even get me started about what that says about the lack of male bonding and support in our culture). Ask a woman the same question and without hesitation, no matter who is there, she will name the woman to whom she most regularly complains about her marriage. She isn't insulting anyone, she just knows the difference.

 Life is long, if you are lucky, and complicated if you are breathing. Among other things you are going to need friends, mentors, confidantes, counselors, travel companions, work out partners, lovers, people to challenge you, people to accept you, inspire you, prod you, hold your hand and kick you in the pants. You are going to drain a single human being, putting all those expectations on them.

Take a deep breath right now and exhale the word "release" into all of your relationships...Release your death grip, release your expectations, release the people you care about from obligation.

There. Doesn't that feel better? 

You don't need one person. You are going to need a tribe. This idea is promoted by Sir Ken Robinson in his book, Element. He is specifically speaking of finding the people who share interests in your creative ventures. Those people who encourage you and share a passion for something with you. Musicians, for example, seek out other musicians to learn from, teach, and share with. It's why people with common interests form associations and clubs. If you are married to someone who has no interest in your passion for SCUBA diving or Star Wars then you already know how important your outside alliances can be.

I'd take it a step further than Sir Ken. Depending on your family circumstances, mobility, etc. you may need to fill family positions with people unrelated to you. If you have a parent who isn't trustworthy or family members who are distant, you should seek out friends for support. A friend of mine is a new mom and fairly new to town. So last year when she was pregnant with twins our coffee group became surrogate sisters dishing up advice. She dubbed us her Village People . Whether you believe it "takes a village to raise a child" or not, it certainly takes a village to keep mothers out of psych wards world wide.

I imagine my friend list as concentric circles narrowing toward the center like a target. The extremely small and carefully guarded center, I call The Inner Sanctum. Remember the ending of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Making it to The Inner Sanctum is like that. These are people who have proven they can be counted on to keep confidences, give sound advice, listen, and provide encouragement. I'm also more than happy to do all of those things for them. You know immediately in your own mind who these people are for you.

Are you holding on to a relationship where you are doing all the work or one where you feel emotionally exhausted after spending time with that person? Think of relationships as investments. You are investing your time, interest, and attention in someone. Don't waste your time making big emotional investments in people who don't have your best interest at heart, are unreliable, or untrustworthy. Do a gut check. You know who these people are too. You may not be able to cut them loose completely for a variety of reasons, but you can limit access. It may take a while for some people to reveal their true character. Don't ignore red flags.

People drift in and out of our lives for all kinds of reasons. The game changers come to stay. They make time for you no matter how busy they are. They have a genuine concern for your well being. They refuse to allow distance or any other obstacle to come between you. They are also rare.

Choose wisely.