dare to be different

Crepe Adventures

I got a last minute invite to a breakfast spot I had never been to. I thought of why I shouldn’t go but then said I’ve never been so just go and check it out. I’m glad I made that decision.

It was fabulous! The table of girls did a share order so we could sample and to my surprise I loved all of it. Not just one, but three amazing and oh so different crepes.
First one was a sweet one. Big mounds of Chantilly (whip cream), fresh strawberries, and just a little drizzle of other sweetness. Great presentation and such a delicious delight that seemed so light. Maybe it felt light as we shared. No photo as it was gone fast.

Next one was eggs, chicken, and brie cheese. I wasn’t sure if I would like the chicken but it was flavored so well. Paired with the eggs and cheese was just right. It was not long until it was all gone. Every item on the crepe was just right. The seasoning. The presentation. The flavors. A repeat order for sure.

Number three was mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and strips of fancy bacon. A little crunch. A little munch. A lot of goo from the cheese. Oh was it tasty. Another one down the hatch. There were a lot of mushrooms but they tasted good and were sliced just right. I could see the care of presentation in this dish.

This little place was a great find. We all had so much fun we invited a few friends to go back the next day. Guess we needed to try some more crepe flavor combinations. So many to choose from. I am so glad I took a chance on a new place.

I almost forgot to mention I grabbed a coffee to go. It has a twist I couldn’t resist. Ice cream, caramel, espresso and Chantilly. Yes more whip cream. It tasted so good on my drive home. Sneaking a peek under the lid was confirmation of the goodness.

Until next time. Take a detour. Try a new place for a change. You might be surprised what you find.

adventure

Ice Cream

Who wants ice cream? This girl I suppose. I haven’t really beeen a super big ice cream person but in the past few months I’ve been tempted or teased by available options especially when traveling.

I was on trip to Maryland and had a chance to grab an ice cream at a local dairy farm shop. It was delicious. Tons of homemade flavors that were ever so creamy and tasty. This has been my favorite treat this summer and I’d classify it as a must stop again spot.

On another adventure in Colorado I had a different ice cream experience. Here you picked your flavor but you got Mix-ins. I opted for the tasty cream flavor and mixed in some graham crumbles. The little gritty feeling and taste made this one a good choice. On the flip side my kiddo opted for cinnamon ice cream which was good if you tasted it solo but she chose all the crazy fixings like colored sprinkles and others. That dulled the ice cream flavor and left it half eaten or more wasted than eaten. Two similar experiences, two different outcomes. This was good but not great when I consider available options.

I have a spot I hit in the mountains on my travels to the farm. Locally made. Creamy. Limited flavors but the best butter pecan I have ever had. Hours of operation are limited and the lines are long so I don’t stop often. When I do stop, I enjoy the indulgence.

Then I was in the famous area of Hershey, Pennsylvania where I once again landed in an ice cream shop. Here it was Hershey ice cream that was served of course. They had many flavors but not out of this world creations. This was a big disappointment for me. The ice cream seemed like what you would get in the grocery store. A big dud for me.

Now as I got this calendar reminder for ice cream it was yet another sign to see what was out there on my next trip. Cape May, NJ area had a big selection. Funny though I was going to have an afternoon treat before dinner after a day by the ocean. Fate said otherwise. Most shops were closed and don’t open until 4 or 5pm. Had to skip the ice cream as the good rating places were not open during my available time to indulge.

Late night it was for me at the end of the short stay. A trip to Ben and Jerry’s shop on the street. I got two scoops of my favorites smeared on a cookie. No cone for this girl. A soft freshly baked cookie bottom. Such a treat. Maybe the same flavor from the local grocery store but the vibe was present in the locally-owned shop on the stretch of street that folks visited for shopping and dining. This store flavor was different than the Hershey experience above. Kudos to the Ben and Jerry brand for consistency in their deliverables. 

My ice cream adventures surely added to my waistline this summer but it also took me down memory lane. Visits to boardwalks and barn-like shops when I was a kid to get a treat. I even extended the experience to my mom who doesn’t get out as often these days. Taking a pint to go can make for a great delivery to a loved one. It was nice to reciprocate with my kids and share the stories of yesterday when sharing some sweet treats on the road too.

Orange sherbet from the local dairy stand where I grew up will still have my most memorable days of childhood but today I look to add to my list with my kids and savor the flavor of many places in as many new towns as we get the chance to explore.

Travel with an open heart and an eye for adventure but keep Yelp close for a sweet treat stop to fill in a bit of your day. You can skip the calorie or carb count for a few hours!

author moments

What I Know for Sure, 2021 Edition

A group of friends recently shared their thoughts on “What I Know for Sure.” This task, based on Oprah’s essays and so on, was a pleasant challenge.

I jotted mine down in quick scribbles. Nothing really took too much thought. I just did 20 in no particular order. Most of them are pretty basic. There was some head-nodding as we shared at the dinner table. Here’s the list I shared:

1.) The most important approval in my life is my own.

2.) I feel better when I move first thing in the morning.

3.) I can do without way more than I imagined (e.g., cheese)

4.) The main thing I can control is my own choices.

5.) Focusing on what I can control eases my anxiety.

6.) Bring food, a book, and something to do with you.

7.) I can provide guidance, but walking the walk and being an example is the most powerful, grounding thing I can do for others and myself.

8.) I can’t expect anyone else to prioritize my physical, mental, and emotional health – that’s my job. They also may not understand what prioritizing those things look like. That’s also not my problem.

9.) Garbage in, garbage out – reading, media, food, all of it.

10.) Most people are doing the best they can based on what they know and are capable of at a given time.

11.) Play is important at every age. Laughter is, too.

12.) Local places beat chains.

13.) If it’s worth it, go for it.

14.) Nature heals, redeems, centers and grounds.

15.) Writing matters.

16.) Dogs are amazing and make most of the people in my life happier than other people do.

17.) Most things that seem like a big deal really aren’t that serious.

18.) To be on time, leave at least 15 minutes before you think you should. Always leave a buffer.

19.) Time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give other people.

20.) Thank people often for things big and small.

Most of this stuff is not groundbreaking. What I marvel at is how my list would have changed from even 5 years ago. I didn’t work out in the morning. I was beset with anxiety most of the time. I didn’t spend much time outdoors. I didn’t write for myself. I didn’t like dogs. Life is changing. I am changing. If my list stays the same, have I really learned or grown? What will the next 5 years bring?

I have a number of friends who are on the cusp of this time of great change with me. It’s wonderful to share such an exciting and transformational time with people. Instead of a stumbling, fumbling block it can be a launch pad.

What do you know for sure, right now?

3Splitz Farm, celebrations

Sprouting

I have said a million times a picture is worth a thousand words. This I do believe. For purposes of this post I will limit my words, emphasize my photos and celebrate how all things sprout in our little world.

Lettuce didn’t surprise us but we saw it in abundance. We ate. We shared. We smiled.

The flowers bloomed. So pretty. So bright. Mother’s Day was full of blooms instead of gloom this year. A big step up from 2020.

Sunflowers, dahlias, zinnias and so much more are soaking up the sun and the rain day by day in the mountains. From seed or tuber to blooms. Fresh picks to make everyone smile. So much happiness around us.

We even got to feeling corny when our second round of corn showed signs of life. We did the happy dance when the berries spurred growth. Our first tree planted showed so much development in the past year. Such a whirlwind but a reflection point. The tree grew along with us. In nature. Beaming with pride.

Cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, herbs in abundance. So fresh. So healthy. All home grown by us. From farm chores to commutes to dirty jobs and planning galore. We struck it rich in more ways than one.

Progress is measured by many. Progress measurements can be one’s perception or another’s reality. For us, reality is we are growing. Sprouting. Blooming. Oh we have had failures, annoyances, messes and down right shit storms but in the end, the rain, the sun and the hard work has yielded so much.

Fresh flowers from the field to the end user. A prideful role we play in today’s crazy world. Did you know visitors are still limited at Assisted Living facilities? How would you like to know your loved one is still missing human interactions and love of all kinds?

We wanted to make a difference. Our flowers made it to some local elderly stuck in those four walls to put a smile on their faces and to let them know sometimes the world isn’t a bad place. Flowers have power. We share our power with others vs. worrying about who sneaks a peek in our flower field when one passes by the beauty of it.

Kindness is simple to duplicate. When we grow we ignite the passion for smiles, healing, happiness and so much more. A trio of new farmers. Learning, living, doing life on their terms.

Seeing our flowers shine on kitchen tables and in businesses show how bright our future is. Hang tight as we expand production into greenhouses, visit farmers markets with our blooms and just deliver smiles near and far without hesitation.  2022 planning has been underway for some time. Hopefully nature will be on our side.

We didn’t just plant. We erected. We used hammer and nails too. We created a space in our field to be one with nature. Fancy camping to some. glamping to others. Visitors can come enjoy a slice of our paradise to see what farm life is like. We know it’s not for everyone but it’s an experience. From couples to families to scouting groups. There is an outdoor experience for everyone.

Today’s post is to honor 3Splitz Farm. A sister organization of sorts. Supported by many. Don’t forget to do your part to support local. Think about your local farmer when you shop at the big box grocery store or a local farm stand. Buying local is great choice when one can make it.

challenges

Fries With That?

Pulled up to the speaker. Ordered a burger. Sat for a minute. Then it appeared sort of by magic, sometimes even on roller skates. It used to be simple.

Then came the combo meal. Would you like fries and a drink with that? You’ll save 10 cents. Then it was super size. Sweet potato fries. All kinds of extras. A brilliant invention for marketing and calories. Who can resist? Save a dime, get a whole big bag of food and a soda. Combos are brilliant! Seems like a great deal, right?

But…

What if the combo isn’t what I want? If I don’t really like fries? What if they’re not good for me? What if it keeps me from reaching my goals?

When is a combo deal not so great?

Maybe it’s the big packages of yogurts or energy drinks at Costco or Sam’s club. A 12-pack of Chobani costs less than a buck a piece, but I know good and well no one is going to eat the blueberry. The lemon-lime gatorade will collect dust in the bottom of my pantry long after the red and blue are gone.

I have grown more comfortable with passing up things I don’t need just because they come as a part of a combo. I will pay more for just the nuggets because the waffle fries aren’t worth it. I’ll pass on the coke unless it’s a special occasion. Yes, I know I can save money. Yes, I am sure. By the same token, I will also pay more to get the super premium salad as a side if it is best for me. Maybe it’s a luxury I can afford, but goals are goals. I try to stick to what works for me.

Sometimes this is easier said than done. For example, what happens when people are the package deal? If you’re having a party and want to invite a friend, but you know that friend probably won’t come without their obnoxious or otherwise unsavory partner. Do you ask them to leave the person at home? If so, how? Do you risk missing out on the parts you like by refusing the pieces you don’t?

Family ties may make this even more complicated. If you want to visit family, spend time with them, or connect with them, but they come as a package deal with someone else you don’t like, what do you do? Can you just order the nuggets and be done with it, or are you stuck with the fries and just try to ignore them? Do you just skip that restaurant and not eat there anymore? Does knowing that choices involve a side of junk make you avoid the things you love, too?

A few thoughts about food, friends and family to start this day. Are there things in life that come as a combo that you’d rather have some of than all of?