January 31, 2012


I grew up thinking that Bisquick was what you needed to have in order to make pancakes.

And then I had breakfast at my sister-in-law's house.

My Sissy is the Queen of Big Breakfast. Not kidding. She can whip up waffles, eggs, sausage, bacon, homemade syrup (yep), and her infamous pancakes in record time without breaking a sweat. Trust me, you want an invitation to her house for breakfast.

Several weeks ago, we decided that breakfast-for-dinner was on the menu, and I pulled out Sissy's pancake recipe. It just so happened I had soy milk in the house. Since my Pumpkin is allergic to dairy and doesn't actually ask for soy milk to drink, I had not been keeping it in the house regularly. Well ... that has changed.

Sissy's Out of this World Pancakes

1 over-filled cup of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup milk (unflavored soy milk is a perfect dairy substitute)
Dash vanilla
3 shakes of cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together. (ps, the Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl I used above really is perfect for this!)

Pour onto a heated griddle pan.

 Once the bubbles start to pop and the edges begin to dull, flip.

Transfer to plates, top with butter (or soy margarine) and syrup, and ...

... enjoy, my loves!

xx JN

Forgive the quality of the pics taken on the go with my Blackberry

January 30, 2012

Fort Reno Provisions

"You can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take South out of the girl."

Especially when it comes to barbeque, folks. Promise.

When you are raised on Memphis barbeque there are very few options outside of the South that maintain the proper, seasoned, Southern integrity of the piggy. (Very similar to how I feel about eating guacamole outside of the Southwest.) Most attempts rarely comes close.

But when asked to join two friends this weekend at Park Slope's newest eatery, Fort Reno Provisions, I promised myself that I would be open to what this little spot had to offer.

Fort Reno Provisions is a rather small space, but it is maximized to the fullest with no details overlooked. Between the charming atmosphere and the "come as you are" vibe that you feel as soon as you open the door, you're definitely excited to sit a spell and eat up.

I knew we were off to a good start: a simple menu, key side-dishes, and a separate bar with perfectly-paired libations.

The three of us decided that hands-down, we needed ribs and pulled pork, and we had to try all of the side dishes. With my being gluten-free as of late, I had to leave the biscuits and the mac-n-cheese to my pals (all while trying to not be filled with envy as typically I would have had those just for myself!) We made our stop at the bar, all settling on our own beer of choice and waited for just a few minutes for our food.

Our meal was presented in a fun, family-style fashion with the meats taking center stage, surrounded by individual crocks of the sides. I'm a firm believer that good barbeque is all about the meat on its own, and from the first bite of the pulled pork, I was very pleased, and may have even felt a glimpse of that Southern accent come back.

Now ... although the meat must stand alone, I'm also a girl who must have made available to her a hearty amount of homemade sauce ... and you Southerners know exactly what I'm talking about. My friends at Fort Reno present a delicious one, but when you're ready to dig in to barbeque Southern-style, a little more sauce really does go a long way with the guests.

We ordered a 1/4 slab of ribs - and they were very, very tender. Ribs are an art in and of themselves, and Fort Reno really did make magic happen. There is no question that these folks have the know-how where the preparation of authentic, smoked meat is concerned. Bravi, tutti!

For sides, my only disappointment was the beans. Although the idea was spot-on, the execution not so much. They simply weren't flavorful enough for my taste, but I confess that I am very used to a much richer sauce. Out of the three of us, the beans got two thumbs down, and one thumb up.

The mac-n-cheese was simple and delicious according to my friends - it looked perfect with a dusting of bread crumbs atop the shells with a combination of cheeses, and my gluten-free self shed a proverbial tear knowing that I couldn't partake in its creamy goodness.

Collard greens were voted high on our list as well, and always nice to see them appear on a well-edited menu.

We were all extremely thrilled with the cole slaw -- it was delicious. Growing up accustomed to pulled pork sandwiches covered in cole slaw on a roll, this cole slaw was perfectly balanced: not too sweet, not to tart. It is one of the reasons I will make sure Fort Provisions becomes acquainted with my address as they ... deliver.

The homemade biscuits smelled like heaven, and my pals were in love. Each one of us wanted a side of honey to be on the plate with the fresh butter. With no desserts on the menu, it would have been a perfect way to close the meal.

The big Dinosaur might be coming 'round the bend, but folks, you need to take shelter at Fort Reno. There is no doubt this nook is going to become a neighborhood jewel, because behind such simplicity, there is well-rooted confidence - I hope they become your friends real soon as well!

Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

xx JN

January 27, 2012

Sugar and Flour and Migraines ... oh, my!

{ image via Caitlin McGauley }


Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Post-migraine hangover.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Yeah, not so much, friends.

I knew it was time to make a different choice when my 7-1/2 year old said, "Momma, can you pleeeeeeeeeeease not get a migraine today?"

I saw doctors. I kept journals. I had CT-scans.

But I continued to ask, "Why. Is. My. Head. Still. Hurting?"

I must admit I am the type of person who strives to find a balance between holistic medicine and traditional medicine. From my own personal experience, I have truly seen the benefit of both. However, I tend to lean toward the side of holistic when I hear, "I'm not sure what's causing it, but let's try another medication."

This mama is all about identifying the root cause.

Once I began to realize we were starting to embark on a similar medicinal journey with my recurring migraines, I had to wonder if the "garbage in, garbage out" scenario was happening with my body. When the CT of my sinuses came back clean as a whistle, my ENT deemed my migraines were not sinus-triggered. And although I knew there were more avenues to explore, I started to take notice of what I was putting in my body every day. My daily cocktail of Allegra-D, Nexium and now what seemed to be one too many Treximet were on the menu. But what about vitamin intake? Fluids? Am I eating vegetables? Or more over, what am I eating religiously?

No meat.
Too many refined carbs. (But the Trader Joe's pita chips are GOOD!)
Diet Pepsi.

Yeah, not so much, friends.

I have been down the "no sugar, no flour" path a few different times in my life - always as a holistic solution to a health issue. So I thought, alright ... let's try it again.

January 4th was the last day I consumed refined flour & refined sugar. And turned to leafy greens, tons of veggies, water, green tea, green drinks and good protein.

And not a migraine since.


Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

xo JN

January 2, 2012

New Year's Realizations

Pablo Picasso's "Dove with Flowers"
The holidays are over. The New Year is here. A fresh beginning. The next chapter.

I pondered two specific questions (among many others) during my 10-days off: "What has 2011 taught me?" followed with "What do I wish to achieve in 2012?"

I have always found the idea that you start the year with a "resolution" a tad perplexing ... because for me, a resolution comes at the end of a journey, not the beginning of a new one. Granted, I realize it merely boils down to semantics, but nonetheless, I would almost prefer them to be "declarations." After all, aren't the majority of these said declarations abandoned within the first few weeks of the year?

As I spent time contemplating the last 12-months, I was able to see that 2011 was a year about lessons & realizations for me, and with that, I believe that 2012 is about putting them into practice. I have been up in my head since August 2010, choosing to face some important questions in order to move forward from my own self-imposed roadblocks. And I asked millions of them, challenging many of my own beliefs and relationships, while allowing my core to be rattled when the answers did not instantly appear.

Sitting now with 2011 in the rear-view mirror, I am filled with gratitude that the Universe and my loved ones were patient enough with me (and I with myself) as I worked (and talked) a lot of mess out. It takes a village, right?

So, now, in a few words, I share with you some of the realizations I had over the course of the last year, and certainly ones I wish to carry with me into 2012:
Everyone has a voice and someone wants to hear it.
What you say, who you are and what you want matter. 
No one is put on this earth to fail. 
People really do change.
Our biggest challenge may in fact be our greatest blessing.
Expectations are not the same thing as intentions.
Work hard to play even harder.
It can be scary being real.
Nothing starts without action.
When we scatter seeds, we must be open to the possibility that they may sprout and grow in an unexpected place in the garden.
As you peruse your own list, know that you make a difference in the world merely by being you. And anything you do to improve yourself in the coming year, will make the world an even better place.

Here's to a beautiful New Year of 2012!

xo JN