A Little Trip and a Soup Recipe

overlookPath to Grotto Falls in the SmokiesBearsSmokiesSunset in the smokiesA few weeks ago (where did that time go?), my family headed south to the mountains in Tennessee where we ate too much and soaked up nature.  My husband found a sweet little house on Airbnb.com and that was just what the doctor ordered.  It had a hot tub where I soaked in the morning which is always dangerous because then you think you need one at home.  It also had a huge garden tub.  Extra dangerous.  Then I tell myself that it is these things that make vacation “vacation” and if I had them at home, they wouldn’t be as special.  It helps…a little.

We hiked to Grotto falls, saw some bear (two days in a row!), checked out the moonshine distilleries (ok we sampled some too), loaded up on grits (did I mention we ate too much?) and my husband drove a teensy tiny bit out of the way so I could go to my favorite fabric shop on the way home (Gina’s Bernina in Knoxville, TN).  I usually visit it when I’m at Jewelry Television, but I haven’t been there in a year, so I was overdue.  If you sew, you have to go.  Someday, I’ll tell you all about my sewing (but really fabric) obsession.

That brings us to the soup recipe.  When we got home, all of us had runny noses and stuffy sinuses.  Apparently the goldenrod was going haywire and we were feeling rough!Easy Thai soupThat’s when I whipped up a really easy Thai coconut curry soup.  It’s a very brothy version, that hit the spot.

First of all–I live in the middle of nowhere so I can’t get stalks of lemon grass.  I buy the paste at Kroger and I think it’s an ok sub.  If you can get the stalk, go on with your bad self!

Second, these are loose instructions and you can adjust however you like.


Bake the sweet potato for 45 minutes at 400 degrees (or until soft, but not falling apart).  Cut into small cubes.  

Brown the chicken in a little coconut oil with salt and pepper, then shred.

Heat a tbsp of coconut oil, saute the ginger, lemongrass, curry paste for a minute.  Add a little broth and stir.  Add the fish sauce and brown sugar and stir.  Add the remaining broth.

Add the mushrooms and the coconut milk and let the soup simmer for a few minutes.

Then add the chicken and sweet potato.  Heat thru.

Ladle into bowls and add a splash of lime and cilantro.  Salt if you want to!

 Bon Appetit!


We're all molecules bouncing off each other and it is encounters like this one that left a mark on me.  I hiked through this tunnel almost two years ago now.  It was filled with graffiti and completely overwhelming with layers and layers of color, lines and texture.  From words that I have no idea the meaning to a bird flying on scribbles—I loved it all!  This past year I rediscovered my love of painting and hope to do even more of it after January.  My work is all abstract and so far in jewelry form so that leaves it pretty tiny, but I have hopes of getting brave and painting on a larger scale.  It is images like this that can wind their way into our lives and our work without us even knowing it….I had forgotten all about these shots until I was going through pictures last night.  

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Navajo Fry Bread…

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I'm going to rewind back seven years to our trip to the Grand Canyon because that's when it all started…..  We were staying on the south side and drove around to the North rim.  Somewhere in the middle we decided to take what looked like a short-cut on the map through the Navajo reservation out around Tuba City.  That's where we met Lee.

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Lee was sitting in front of his house selling grapes and chatting with a friend.  We stopped, got some grapes, started talking and ended up getting a tour of the area.  We saw all the traditional housing, sweat lodges, dutch ovens, outdoor sleeping, and the sheep.  I loved the sheep.  Lee's mom was an artist, but all her weavings were locked up because she was out of town at a wedding.  Lee explaining this was hilarious.  We are always so lucky meeting the coolest people on our trips.  Later he told us about some petroglyphs up the road which sounded interesting.  So we three hopped in the car and headed out to see those.  They were in the middle of no where!  We ended up off roding (sorry rental car company) across some sand, up to some rocks and on the back side, there they were.  Crazy.  We left Lee and continued on, stopped for some lunch and that's when I had Navajo fry bread for the first time—a fluffy, not particularly low-fat (seize the day, already!), deep fried bread.

Fry bread

Two times, I ate it on that trip.  Dipped in honey, it was love at first bite.  I've thought about it off and on for the last five years and then it dawned on me to Google a recipe for it.  Duh.  I've since learned that fry bread is a magical concoction of milk, flour and baking powder, rolled out and deep fried.  Seemed simple enough.  A month ago I attempted to make it, but it came out hard as biscuits.  Edible, but not so enjoyable.  I later learned I had over worked the dough, thanks to some comments and this YouTube video.  Does it excite anyone else all the indie cooking shows on YouTube?  When I tried again on Sunday at my friend's house, I messed up yet another batch of dough—too dry.  So we, re-watched the video, did a huddle, broke and as they say, third time's a charm.  We did it!  And it took ALL of us!  Lord, it was funny.

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Like flipping through a photo album, eating this bread brings back many memories of that happy trip. 

Here's a link to the history of fry bread and some recipes.

See you back in Ch!na…


Lots of pictures to show you about our adventure yesterday that started with snorkeling and ended at Magellan’s shrine, but we have to get going to the airport.  I’m always sad to leave after a fun time.  Tomorrow another adventure starts at 6am—I’m going up to Suzhou to get some crafty supplies and goods with 4 other ladies from Norway.  See you then….

How’d ya do that?

If you are wondering how I commented on your blogs, it’s because Wednesday night I spent the night in HK;  a fabulous place where they allow you to visit bl()gsp()t bl()gs.  I’m really sorry I didn’t make it to everyone’s so until next time….I’ll be readin’, but no commentn’.  And while I’m on the subject, some folks have asked why I spell Ch!na with an !.  That would be because everything I write is f!ltered through the "you know what".  This is my way of walking around without a big red flashing arrow over my head.  I know, it’s weird….