Monday, May 28, 2007

Cinco de Mayo... and then some

The thermometer has pretty much stabilized in the 80s for now, and that means outdoor living, even for the city slickers, has hit its peak season. All over Atlanta people are seeking out decks, porches, verandas, patios, stoops and steps to bask in the balmy, breezy May weather… before that Southern summer sun realty starts to swelter.

Patio perching requires but a few key items to guarantee you’ll lose track of time while luxuriating outside for hours:
* Good company
* Good food
* Good beverages

Since you’re more or less in charge of the company you keep, I can’t say much there, but I can weigh in on suggestions for tasty morsels and libations because on May 5, I had a trial run at the housewarming of my dear friend and style maven, Natasha Gullet. Yes, that’s right, Cinco de Mayo! The perfect day to get started on summer fare.

The Cinco de Mayo Spread:
For this particular soiree I pulled inspiration from traditional Mexican cuisine and muddled it up with some other Latin and Spanish influences such as saffron rice with pimento and olives, Mojo chicken tortilla wraps with a creamy jalepeno sauce ... stuff like that.

The Menu:
* Smoked Chile Chicken Tortillas and Zesty Vegetarian Wraps with a creamy jalepeno sauce
* Ensalada of Jicama, Oranges and Corn over field greens with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette
* Dip Trio of Guacamole, Salsa Fresca and Queso Picante
* Tres Arroz y Frijoles de Hispania (an exercise in hubris) featuring Yellow, Red and White rice with Mexican Vegetarian Refried Beans, Cuban Black Beans and Corn, and Savory Puerto Rican Pinto Beans.

“The” Margarita for 2007:
The absolute stars of the day were these drop dead delicioso margaritas Natasha made – scratch that – lovingly hand crafted. I’m going to try and ply the recipe from her because it changed during the course of the night as we ran out of mixers. But I can say the basic ingredients included fresh lime juice, Cointreau, pomegranate juice and mango nectar and some Jose Cuevo.

“Where’s the mix?” you ask. “Hush your mouth!” I say. The “pure” margarita has no such thing. Instead let the ingredients shine for themselves. The tartness of fresh lime is a must, as is the orangey-essence of Cointreau, Grand Marinier or some other type of or Triple Sec. The juices lend gorgeous color, and somewhere between the pop of the red pomegranate juice and the brilliant yellow-orange of the mango nectar, which is thick and sweet, the drinks took on a beautiful rich hue the color of the setting sun in a tropical locale far from the swank digs in Inman Park where we were partying.

Until I can get the mix-mistress herself to give up the ratios, we’ll have to suffice with the standard Pom Margarita recipe. This is a good base to play with and see if you can come up with your own sexy version:

The basic Pomegranate Margarita:

* 1.5 oz. Jose Cuervo Especial
* ½ oz. Triple Sec
* 2 oz. pomegranate juice (or other juices)
* 1 oz. lime juice
* Ice Cubes

Shake and pour, baby. That’s it. You can garnish with whatever your heart pleases including salted and/or sugared rim, but I’m a purist and this beverage was simply fantastic with the original cocktail garnish: ice.

So you have your crew assembled, and some snacks to munch on. Be prepared to make several pitchers of these margaritas and move your self and your posse out to the closest piece of outside you can find. It will be hotter than noon during July in Hell soon, so don’t squander these end of spring days doing something foolish like working late at the office or spending your weekends indoors rearranging your storage space.

Sunglasses, hats, tank tops and flip flops are optional, and sunscreen is recommended. Now go. Get off the computer… Go!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

May 19 "Gathering in the Garden" at Emory University

This lovely event at the Miller-Ward Alumni House on Emory University's campus is about Balanced Food and Balanced Living. It's coordinated by Joyce Dillon of Healthy Living and Balance, an Atlanta-based wellness coaching company.

Joyce is a certified coach specializing in work-life balance and health coaching. Joyce combines a Masters Degree of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Consultation and Education with twenty-five years of clinical experience and extensive training in mind-body medicine, meditation, energy medicine and transformational work.

Joyce is also the publisher of Healthy Living and Balance eZine, a monthly lifestyle subscription newsletter featuring innovative ideas and resources that empower people to pursue optimal health and a balanced lifestyle. You can subscribe at her website. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to interview her personally about her business and I'll post that here in a date soon to come.

Meanwhile come dine with us at the Gathering in the Garden event on May 19. I'll be donating a healthy salad of organic black beans and corn with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette and I'll be representing for the Dish team b/c Sheri will be at another function that same day. Hope to see you there! Proceeds from the $25 ticket sales will benefit the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

* * * * * *

Balanced Food, Balanced Living
Gathering in the Garden Spring Brunch

AWE (The Alumnae Women of Emory) and the Office of University Community Partnerships Present
A Benefit Brunch and Lecture for the Atlanta Children’s Shelter

May 19, 2007 • 10:00 am – 1:00 pm • Miller-Ward Alumni House

Join the Alumnae Women of Emory (AWE) for Balanced Food, Balanced Living, a summer brunch and panel lecture on eating and living well in balance.

Balanced living is a choice. When you become aware of what you eat, how it’s prepared, where it comes from and how it’s grown, you live in balance. You live in balance when you consider the human body and its innate connection to nature; and again when you seek the sensory pleasures of eating whole, natural food.

Join us for a summer brunch of convivial presentations on eating and living well in balance. Local purveyors Dish, Whole Foods, Chefs Avalon Catering and others will provide a luscious spread of thoughtful cuisine.


Benefits of Balanced Eating
· Delicious food
· Health and wellness
· Community enrichment
· Sustainable lifestyle
· Healthy planet

How to Get Started
· What to eat
· Why it’s healthy
· How it’s grown
· Where it’s grown
· Where to get it

Joyce Dillon. Panel Moderator.
Alice Rolls. Georgia Organics.
Julie Shafer. Slow Food. Atlanta Coordinator.
Amanda Manning. Edible Atlanta.
Laurie Moore. Moore Farms.
Tara Simpson, MPH, RD, LD. Nutritionist.

Purchase tickets Online for $25.00 at then join us for brunch at the Miller-Ward Alumni House, 815 Houston Mill Road on campus. For more information, please call Joyce Dillon at 404-881-1322 or

This Alumnae Women of Emory event benefits the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

May 29th "Meet the Author" Wesley Chapel Creative Writers Group

Hey y'all. I'm going to be discussing my life as a writer on May 29th at the Wesley Chapel Library. Check out the details below...

The Wesley Chapel Creative Writing Group Presents
Meet the Author

WHO: Ms. Asata Reid, Journalist, Cross Roads Newspaper

WHEN: Tuesday, May 29 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

WHAT: Ms. Asata Reid is currently a staff writer at Cross Roads News (with a weekly readership of almost 100,000) where she has interviewed physicians, nutritionists, legislators, activists and patients on a number of health and issues: lung cancer, birth defects/premature birth, HPV vaccine, diabetes, obesity/overweight and HIV/AIDS among others. Come hear Ms. Reid share her writing process for publishing non-fiction articles in newspapers and magazines.

WHERE: Wesley Chapel Creative Writing Group is a support group for aspiring writers. The group meets the last Tuesday of every month from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Wesley Chapel – William C. Brown library. 2861 Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur.

CONTACT: Tuwanda Muhammad at (404)579-2715 or for more information. Registration is not required.

June 9th "Mature Woman's Guide" Class

Join me at the Sylvan Hills Curves on June 9 for the "Food for Live: The Mature Woman's Guide" class.

In the class we'll discuss every day ingredients that can help aleviate and even prevent common ailments that tend to show up in women as we mature:

Protect Your Heart * Fight Cancer * Cool Hot Flashes & Mood Swings
Strengthen Bones * Nourish Skin & Hair * Boost Energy & Improve Sleep
Relieve Joint Pain * Protect Your Teeth
Ease Reflux & Heartburn * Improve Digestion & Elimination

12:30 -1:30 p.m. Saturday June 9 @ Curves Sylvan Hills
1683 Sylvan Rd. SW Atlanta, GA 30310
Only $10! Register @ 404-755-8434