Sundays in the South : Link Love

Southern States Link Love

Since I’ve lived all around the South my entire life, I thought I would share with you just a few of my favorite places in each of the states I’ve lived in.  This will definitely give you the travel bug – and I hope you can live it out to the fullest!  Enjoy the Around-the-South tour and dream on this Sunday – that God would enable you to see more of the world He created!

Florida: The Sunshine State

Hontoon Island was a relatively new find for me.  Traveled there last year.  Your littles will love the little ferry ride over to the island.  There are also good hiking and biking trails – but most of these trails aren’t conducive to strollers.  Moss abounds!

If you are looking for a hole in the wall seafood restaurant – you need to come here. My Dad has ties to the owners and I love their fried grouper sandwich.

The best chicken and yellow rice and cuban bread – EVER.  My first trip I remember to this Florida (chain) but staple, was in high school with my Spanish class after going to the Salvadore Dali museum.  A must EAT!

And one of my favorite places in the city that I being an adult in – and one that I love and could retire in forever because I love it so – Barnacle Bills.  Only thing you ever need to get there is the Datil Shrimp.  Enough said.

I attended this private school most of my schooling years (except for half a year).  I loved the principal then and my teachers.  Some of the ministries I got to be a part of and friendships made still impact my life today.

The college I went to was in the heart of St. Augustine.  College for me turned out to be different than I though mostly because we had no football team.

North Carolina: The Tarheel State

Durham landmark

Oh, this could be a while.  I love it here and consider it home more than any other place I’ve lived.  Its where I fell in love with the Word, ministry, college students, the ocean, my husband, and where I became a momma for the first time.

Guglhupfs – best pancakes hands down.

Ketchie Creek Bakery – 5 flavor pound cake – need I say more?

I went to seminary here.  The first time I saw the campus I knew I was going to love it there.  Arrived on campus 4 months after my initial introduction.

I fell in love with missions, college students, and brooklyn tab while doing ministry at The Summit.

Had my first road trip with my husband and our first random stop was to one of the older cities.  Loved it.

Kentucky: The Bluegrass State

Louisville Zoo

I wasn’t here for a long time, and the seminary I worked for became home – and I loved the ability I had at the time to travel all the time and see people and things that I never would have otherwise.

Where I fell in love with Meditteranean food.

Where I grew to love this ministry and all that is stands for.  And Dr. Mohler spoke in our Sunday School this morning – and this ministry will have such a vital role in the church in the coming years (maybe even more so than before).  Owen and Courtney – you and your teams have my prayers as they always have!

And how I fell in love with gospel centered preaching was by listening mostly to this man at this church.

Arkansas:  The Natural State

Hot Chocolate

I was here the briefest and made some really sweet friends.  It is also where I fell in love with my second little boy!

ARWB – thank you Stephanie and Debbie and all of you other bloggers.  Yall were a great community!  Hopefully we will have that in GA soon!

Georgia: The Peach State

Georgia Aquarium

I’m growing to love this state more and more.  I’ve always had ties to this state and now my husband and boys are here.  Lovely combination

This is the church we get to be a part of.  Thankful for faithful preaching each week.

This is the bestest place in the state for me.  I’ve been going here since I was a kid and get to go with my family in 2 weeks.

And then the islands and Savannah – get me to the ocean!

There you have it.  If you have lived in one of these states – what are your favorite things to do, see, eat?  Help me out!

Eat This: Banana Pancake Oats

posted in: food | 3

banana pancake oats

This breakfast reminds of two of my favorite morning meals.  Pancakes at Guglhupf in Durham, NC.  And oats in the Bay Area of California with my Dad.  Let me tell you about them.

There is a little bakery/café in the central part of Durham that I still crave their pancakes.  Ask my husband: they serve the best most amazing, perfect textured pancakes EVER.  I wish I could get their recipe.  The pancake plate comes with apples, butter, and syrup.  At most restaurants, I have to ask my server for my syrup because the pancakes just need help.  I rarely have ever used all the syrup at Guglhupf.  They don’t need any more.  I can devour the plate and be completely satisfied by the rich goodness that I inhale on my fork.  Then I want to go home and recreate them – but have yet been able to.  My husband is sitting here beside me making up an ode de Guglhupf.  Funny man I live life with.

The Bay Area of California.  With so much going on – its a place I’ve only been to once but would love to explore more of – and most directly north of there in the wine country of Napa.  But as I look at pictures of the Bridge and the Bay, it pulls me and calls me to travel there to explore all of its goodness.  One such goodness is the breakfast I had. I don’t remember where we went, but the oats were amazing.  This was really before I started eating oats on a regular basis.  I grew up a Life Cereal girl.  A whole tray of goodies came out with a big steaming bowl of oats.  Bananas, raisins, syrup, brown sugar, all to create your own bowl of goodness.  I thought to myself oatmeal could be fun!

Well, thinking about these two delicious breakfasts helped me create this mornings bowl of oats.  Oats are a healthy and inexpensive way to feed your whole family in the morning.  This recipe serve 2.5 (Eli doesn’t eat quite a whole bowl yet.)

Banana Pancake Oats
Recipe type: Breakast
Cuisine: Oats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
Banans, brown sugar, oats, and syrup - yummy concoction for breakfast
  • 1⅓ cup whole oats
  • 1⅓ whole milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • ½ banana, pureed
  • 1 banana
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chopped pecans, optional
  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the oats, milk, and water to a boil and let cook until done.
  2. Halfway through cooking, add in the salt, cinnamon sugar, brown sugar, and pureed banana.
  3. When done, spoon into bowls, top with sliced bananas and maple syrup. If desired, add chopped nuts.


Taste of Durham: Pop’s Trattoria/Rue Cler

posted in: food, restaurants, Uncategorized | 0

Two delicious downtown restaurants: one week: one owner.

Rue Cler is about a block from First Durham, a french restaurant and bakery (I’ve heard their blueberry muffins are just excitement for your mouth).

A friend and I went.  Dinner menus are daily reads, so I couldn’t plan ahead of time (ACK!).  They are pre-fixe menus, but you can substitute for anything, or you can do it a la carte.

I got the salad frisee (frisee greens, croutons, vinaigrette, bacon (which I left off for meatless year) and an egg – broken down into the greens – maybe all the time from now on.  Then I had a side of the pomme frites (really yummy seasoned french fries).  I didn’t care for the sauce (butter/tarragon) but I refrained from asking for ketchup. 

We had a great waitress who was patient in answering all of our questions because neither of us specialize in French cooking.

The other restaurant I tried this week was Pop’s Trattoria on Main Street.  They recently moved buildings – into an urban/warehouse type feel with local artist’s work adorning the wall.  We walked right in on V-day weekend because of reservations.  They sat us right next to beautiful precious friends which made the night even more special. 

Mussels with tomatoes, white wine, and red chili – AMAZING.  You really want a straw to sip up all the broth – but instead you dip the bread.  They come around to the tables periodically with a big basket and a set of tongs to give you as much bread as you desire. (1 1/2 for me).  The olive oil they served was delicious and fruity, but it didn’t compare to the mussels’ broth, so I chose that for my dipping choice.

Those we devoured – we also got the apple brie ricotto pizza topped with a truffle oil cream.  Very rich, we took leftovers.

The food was better than the service.  That’s not to say the service was bad, just not STELLAR – but the food definitely made up for it.  I could go back every night just to have the mussels.  Will definitely be going back to Pop’s!

Taste and Heard in Durham: Beyu Caffe

posted in: food, restaurants | 0

I don’t know really how you say it, but I pronounce it: good eats.

On the side of Five Points in the downtown district of the Bull City, sits a gem.  Jazz, spinach gruyere dip, vegan and vegetarian choices on a full menu, wines and coffees, luscious desserts, and wifi – really – need I say more.

We walked in with only about 35 minutes for dinner.  I stated that to our waiter and he was on it.  Thankful for the service! 

I think I may have had the best spinach dip I’ve ever had: spinach and gruyere cheese – that’s all (well, the two main ingredients) – baked in my own little ramekin so I could devour it all to myself (I did share a bite, and saved some for leftovers).  No artichokes – I think I like it that way.

The sauce that I tried from my friend’s choice: chorizo quesadillas: guacamole mayo – splendid.  That would go good on just about anything – but maybe perfect on a BLT.  Yum.

The dude singing – perfect, not too loud, we could still carry on a conversation.  Must. Go. Back. for more.

Taste of Durham: Amelia Cafe

In the middle of the Brightleaf Square corridor sits a little cafe that serves desserts and real food.

I spend 4 hours there on Sunday, taking pictures, talking w a dear friend, and sipping on an espresso macchiato. 

The cake we chose was moist, texture-perfect, and delicious.  I could have easily eaten the entire cylindrical – goodness, but I shared, like a good girl.  We chose the coconut tres leche cake and the toasted coconut on the outside was supreme.  The filling of the tres leche cake was rich and pale yellow taste-bud delight with every bite. 

They serve many other beautiful creations and then have a full menu as well.  You can sit there for hours and have no one bother you.  And they have refills on their coffee – serve your own.  So, I’ll definitely be heading back there, especially when it gets warmer and I can sit outside.

Finds like Amelia’s are what makes Durham a great place to eat!

Only negative: their photos both on their website and menu need help.  Hey folks at Amelia’s: I’m available.  Contact me!

Favorites of RDU

posted in: chocolate, food, photo shoot | 2

Ice.  That is what today is about.  There is ice, not snow, in RDU.  This has been one of the coldest winters I’ve experienced in RDU since moving here in 2000.  Note: we haven’t had 24 inches of snow (like in January 2000) or TONS of ice like we had in 2005 (or was it 2004)?  But, with temperatures not even reaching 50, really, not even 40, for most of the days for the past 6 weeks, its cold.

So, I thought I would talk about something happy and fun: favorite places in the Triangle.  There is a reason I love this place and am glad to call it home!

These are in no particular order:

Fosters Durham/Chapel Hill: I love her home-cooked food but upscale.  It is a place to sit all day with a book or a laptop and enjoy a scone with some snickerdoodle coffee or a glass of wine.  Her omelettes are fantastic and any of her baked goods are usually just what the doctor ordered.  I haven’t figured out which location I like better.

Best Dessert I’ve tried so far in RDU: Butterscotch Blondie at Bogart’s.  I had to share, it was my birthday, but I could have eaten the whole thing – with the ice cream.  So good.  Oh, and the inside out pb cup from Cafe Carolina .  So good.  Wish I could make.

Best Wine Experience: Sip in Cary.  Such a quaint, decorative place that you want to stay and get to know the owners and everyone who stops in.  They know their stuff: and everything is eco-friendly!

Best Thai Food: Chai’s in Durham on Erwin Road.  I haven’t been back since I returned to the state, because I’ve been trying out new places.  But, hands down, this is the best place by far if I want some delicious salty steamed edemame or a huge bowl of spicy chicken pad thai.

Go sit all day: Panera Crabtree.  The reasons are this: refillable unsweet tea, wifi free usage, overhear engaging conversations, 5 minutes door to door, and cheap, somewhat healthy food.

Outdoor Activities: Volleyball courts at Pullen Park, Shelley Lake for walking, Umstead park, summer movies at the museum of art, July 4 at Cary Amphitheatre, photo shoots at NCSU Arboretum or Duke Gardens, or anywhere on the campus of SEBTS or UNC

Best Cheap Mexican: Salsa Fresh is at least every 2 weeks – I’m going there tomorrow.

Best Jewelry: Moon & Lola

Best Pizza: Anna’s Pizzeria in Apex or Lilly’s at Five Points

Best Sushi: Champas at Briar Creek

What other places do I need to try?  I can branch out to anywhere in the Triangle.  I love new things.  What are some of your favorite things about living in the Triangle?