I've been keeping a secret. I've taken on a new project this summer and I can't wait to tell you about it. I spent several days debating about the right time to tell you about it and I finally came to the conclusion that there really is never going to be an exact "right" time. So here goes - allow me to introduce to you the project that's demanded a big portion of my time and attention this summer - the Grace Community Kitchen.
Let me start at the beginning. I'm a proud member of Grace Church in Monroe and in 2017, the church purchased the original Monroe High School campus which was later used as an elementary school. The school had been abandoned for almost a decade and let's just say - it was desperate for someone to breathe new life into it. The very first time I stepped foot onto the future church campus - I was greeted by more than one wild animal who had taken up residence - inside the building. 🤣
I could go on and on about the amazing transformation that's already taken place on this land and the exciting plans for the buildings that are still left to be renovated, but for the purposes of brevity - I'll stick to the building that I've been focused on - the cafeteria. No surprise, right? 😅
The story about how this incredible space fell into my hands is truly extraordinary and an incredible testimony of how God moves in the most magnificent (and unexpected) ways. At the risk of oversimplifying - let me just say that I felt the undeniable call of God to step into the role of spearheading this project and when He calls --- I answer. Needless to say, I am both honored and humbled to be taking on this massive project. Have I mentioned that, there is currently an active birds nest in the electrical box. 🐦😂
So what is the plan, you ask? The plan is to convert this old school cafeteria into a Community Kitchen. A functional, modern commercial kitchen space that will be available to members of the church and the community. Plenty of cold storage, lots of prep space, dry storage lockers and commercial cooking equipment in a beautifully renovated and modern commercial kitchen space. The perfect space for young entrepreneurs to launch their food business and established food venders to expand their offerings.
This is all very exciting but I've still only told you half the story.😅 The cafeteria space is only a small part of the building. The original lunch room, where presumably, the kids sat at long tables to eat their lunch, is going to be transformed into an event space. The beautiful room is bathed in sunlight from the floor to ceiling windows on two out of three exterior walls. Granted, most of the windows are broken right now, but if you can look past the boarded up windows, you will get a glimpse into the incredible possibilities of this space.
The new rentable, event space will also be home to a beautiful and functional demonstration kitchen. I feel like there is a need in our community for a dedicated space for teaching and educating people about the preparation of food. A space created specifically for chefs and cooks to be able to use to share their talents and skills with others. How cool would it be to be able to have cooking classes, right here in Monroe? 👩🏻🍳🥘
In case you couldn't tell - I'm over the moon excited about this project. 🤣 I've never been a part of a journey quite like this one and I'm excited to share it all with all of you - right here on the blog. I won't be blogging on a regular basis - but you better believe that I will be checking in with you and sharing any updates on the space. Oh, be prepared for me to be asking lots of questions of my followers. This is all new territory for me and I've got LOTS of questions. 😅
So until next time - Ciao!
On July 20, 2011 - I published my very first blog post. It featured a Shrimp Salad recipe and it was, to put it nicely - succinct and to the point.😅 If you're looking for a reason to giggle today you can check it out here. Obviously - I was new to the blogging world and I had a lot to learn about writing, photographing food and website design. Even though it's not great content, I leave the post up because it's motivating for me to look back and see how far I've come as a blogger over the last 12 years.
The evolution of MyStoryinRecipes.com has been a wild ride. I've moved from using the blog format as a means of recording and organizing my recipes to monetizing it as a way to earn extra money. Then I switched back to blogging as a hobby again and using it as a way to share recipes with my family and friends. (And yes, I consider my blog followers to be friends.)
I've enjoyed all the stages of blogging and now that it's simply a hobby - the stress of producing content and publishing on a regular basis is off. The blog is still the place where I can vent out all my frustrations and share my victories. #Bloggingismytherapy 😅 I've shared so many stories and experiences from my life and I'm so grateful to all of you who have joined me on this journey.
It only seems fitting that on my 12th blog-aversary - I would share with you some new and exciting news about the blog. From this day forward, the blog is going to look a little different. I will still continue to share my favorite recipes but I'm also going to be sharing some new (non-food related) content as well. There are some super exciting projects and trips that I'm going to be a part of this summer and I want to use this format to share all of the exciting details with you - without the distraction of a recipe. I feel like sometimes the activity or the journey needs to take center stage instead of a recipe.
Here's a little clue to help you guess what my latest blogg-able project, might be. Any guesses?🤣 I can't wait to share this, and the other exciting projects, that I'm working on, with you.
Foodies don't fret. Creating new recipes is still my hobby and I will still continue to share them with you - just not on every single blog post. Sometimes this space might look more like a travel blog and at times it will look like a community connection page but it will ALWAYS be my story.
Make sure that you're signed up to get my blog posts in your email inbox so that you don't miss out on any of the exciting news or recipes that I'll be sending your way. Don't let recipes like this one for Breakfast Sliders, for example, slip away.
If you've ever made mini sandwiches on sweet Hawaiian bread with butter sauce poured over the top, these breakfast sliders might look familiar to you. It's a variation on the popular make ahead tailgate snack - rebranded as a breakfast treat. Baked eggs, ham and cheese on a sweet roll or a slider sized brioche bun. They're easy to put together, you can make them in advance, they're customizable and they're DELICIOUS!
12 dinner rolls, cut in half
4 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon butter
9 slices cheddar cheese
18 thin slices of deli ham
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 Tablespoon spicy mustard
Cover and refrigerate or bake 15 minutes at 350.
Remove from pan and slice into sliders.
Cooking classes taught by friends, sailing adventures, kayak trips, fishing excursions, outdoor dueling piano concerts, boat rides, doggie swims, winery brunches, breweries visits, family cooking sessions, water skiing and lots of family time --- these are the days we've been dreaming of. ⛵️🎣🐶🍷🎹🎶
Our weeks spent on Johnson's Island are exciting, amazing, fun and exhausting -- all at the same time.😅 I did a little bit of baking while I was there - mostly biscotti. There is never any shortage of great food --- and wine --- when we visit my family. We actually kicked off our trip with a surf and turf dinner - thanks to my brother who picked up lobsters in Massachusetts and drove them to Ohio.🦞
Taking a break from work is great - but I also love my "day job" so getting back to work isn't a chore. I am so lucky to be able to share my love of cooking and baked treats with my community. My Gluten Free clients are some of my most grateful and appreciative people that I bake for. Finding new, delicious gluten free recipes for my special diet customers has become a new hobby of mine. This gluten free cinnamon coffee cake is amazing and if you are sensitive to gluten --- you need to try this.😋
Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake
1/2 packed brown sugar
1/3 cup gluten free flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 gluten free flour
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
How's your summer going? I feel like mid - July is a good time for a summer check in. I hope that you're living your best life - poolside and not counting the days until school is back in session. ✏️ 🤣 As for me and the rest of the people who chose to live in the South, we'll be sweating it out over the next couple of months. July in Georgia can turn the simplest of tasks, like watering my garden, into a sauna like experience. 😰😅
Most afternoons in July and August I don't even consider going outside to grill our dinner. If my deck is hot enough to melt the soles of my shoes - it might be too hot for me to stand in front of the grill.🍳 The only other option for summer grilling is to do it before it gets to hot - you know, at like 7:00 am.🤣
When I'm not organized enough to get outside just after sunrise, it's indoor cooking for me in July. 🍔🤣 This Sherry Braised Chicken is actually a delicious summertime meal for indoor cooks like me. This is a dish that can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the frig until dinner. It makes plenty --- enough for dinner AND leftovers for lunch. And it's delicious. 😋
Sherry Braised Chicken
8 bone in chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt
4 ounces chicken sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound small red potatoes, halved
1 onion, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon dry sherry
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
Serve chicken over vegetables and garnish with thyme.
Roll with it. My motto for the summer. My plan was to spend leisurely summer afternoons, lingering by the pool, sipping lemonade and getting lost in my favorite mystery novels.👙🍹📖 But, I really should know by know that things hardly ever go according to my plan. 😅
Even though my days haven't been as relaxing and tranquil as I might have envisioned, my summer has been full of fun and adventure. The first week of June, I made the decision to dive head first into a new project (more on that later) which has allowed me to have some new experiences and meet lots of new people. This new undertaking is scary, fun and exhilarating --- all at the same time.😂
I've taken my Roll With It motto quite literally this summer. To the extent that I've carried it into the foods that I've made.🤣 Pepperoni roll is something that I've never made before but I was inspired to give it a try my my pepperoni loving daughter in law.
My pepperoni roll was actually intended to be a side dish, but we decided to turn it into lunch instead.😅 I pulled this pepperoni roll out of the oven at noon and it smelled so good that instead of saving it to serve with our evening meal - we ended up sitting around the table nibbling on the warm bread almost immediately. A side of pizza sauce or marinara is the perfect compliment to this yummy treat.
1 pizza dough
3 ½ tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 ounces sliced pepperoni
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Bake 20-25 minutes at 375.
Let cool 10 minutes. Slice and serve with pizza sauce or marinara.
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