Archive | May, 2012

Friends for all seasons

13 May

I am a woman blessed with many friends.  I have friends from the neighborhood, friends from church, book club friends.  Friends met thru friends, school friends, work friends, and parental friends of my children’s friends.  Friends everywhere!  Friends I read with, friends I share a glass of wine with, friends that I cook with, friends I run with, and friends that I can call and vent daily frustrations to-they are great listeners.  How lucky am I?

I have a group of friends that I see fairly often in the course of family life, but we get together 4 times a year specifically to cook.  We share fellowship, prayers, wine, laughs, and, of course, dinner.  It is a group of 12 friends, and 3 of us host one dinner party 4 times a year.  Once a season.  We rotate homes, hosting duties, and menus.  We have been getting together for over 10 years.  The 3 hostesses for the upcoming dinner get together to select the menu.  The hostesses also select the recipes to use.  We used to mail them out, but now we embrace emails and texting.  Each person makes one thing to bring, so we all contribute to each dinner.  Getting together takes some doing because we are all busy working mothers.  But our time together is priceless and so joyful!

At our dinners, we have the recipes printed and ready for all to take home.  I have a binder full of over a decade of fantastic recipes, and refer to it often for some of my most favorite dishes.  When I leaf through the pages of my Four Seasons recipes, not only do I enjoy the recipes, but I also enjoy the warm hearted memories of our evenings together.

Sometimes we have a themed dinner, other times we just make favorites.  The food is always wonderful, but the friendship is the real treat with this bunch.  We love each other, support each other, and our friendship is pure in heart and spirit.  The women in this group are funny, kind, and generous.  Women together supporting each other in family life, faith, and hard knocks makes us unstoppable!  Powerful!  Successful! And we appreciate the gift of the fellowship that we share.  The food that nourishes our bodies.  The love that surrounds us.

It is my goal for this blog to addresses wellness of the mind, body and spirit.  My Four Seasons group is a component of this in my life.  These women definitely contribute to the wonderful quality of my life.  They make it better.  I encourage you to gather a group of friends together.  Eat.  Talk. Laugh. Share.  And be grateful for people that surround you, for food on your table, and for the countless blessings in your life.  The experience is certain to improve the quality of your life, so jump in and start your own version of the Four Seasons group!

Figs. Naughty…or nice?

7 May

Figs.  Hhhhmmm.  What do we know about figs?  Well, they are a biblical food, so they have quite a history.  A long history.  And for as wonderful as they are, they still a little mysterious in this country.  I mean, they are grown in California, so they are a native food.  We tend to associate them with mediterranean cuisine, which may seem a bit exotic.  It’s time to demystify them.  Lets learn about figs!

First, we can enjoy figs either dried or fresh.  To enjoy them fresh, remember that they are in season generally from May to January.  Choose fresh figs that are soft and have a sweet aroma.  Dried figs can be enjoyed all year.   They can be found in the produce section of your grocer.  Start looking for them.  They are there…really, they are!

Time to dig into the nutritional value of figs.  Figs are high in dietary fiber.  (Um…not sure if that falls under “naughty” or “nice”…)  With our busy lifestyle of today and eating on the run, getting enough fiber can be challenging.  Figs can help meet the recommended adult intake of 25-35 grams of fiber a day.  As far as vitamins and minerals go, figs are a good source of b complex vitamins. Great for the immune system.   Minerals like copper and iron are also found in figs.  Surprised?  Wait!  That’s not all!

Figs are also a very good source of calcium.  It is a fantastic option for folks that can’t get their calcium from dairy.  Calcium is an important component of a healthy diet.  Figs also have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.  This is important for good heart health, so eat up!

Interestingly enough, some folks believe that figs have some medicinal properties.  Some say that when applied to pimples, acne or boils, it can improve or even cure them.  Also, figs can be used as a skin cleanser. Not sure if these are old wives tales or not, but  it is believed that figs soaked in water may cure hemorrhoids. Fig leaves have also been used to reduce the need for insulin in some diabetics.  Good stuff, right?

So much for the nice.  Let’s move to the naughty side of figs.  Figs can be a sensual finger food.  Sexy.  Fun!  Pick up these simple ingredients.  Grab your significant other because this will be fun and is meant for two!  Here is the recipe to get the naughty started.

  • 6-8 figs (this is a recipe for 2)
  • Blue cheese
  • 4 slices prosciutto cut in half
  • olive oil

Split the fig open but don’t cut through.  Stuff with blue cheese and push it back together.  Wrap 1/2 piece of prosciutto around the fig.  Place on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Put under the broiler for 2 minutes.  Pull them out, remove the figs from the baking sheet,  and place on a plate.

Now grab your honey and find a cozy spot.  Light some candles and turn the lights low.  Sit close to your honey.  Pour a glass of your favorite wine (I recommend a bold red with this dish).  Toast each other.  Flirt.  Giggle.  Loosen up and let your naughty come out!  Pick up a fig with your fingers and feed your sweetie.  Lick your fingers.  Enjoy the succulence of this dish and the moment.  Figs are nutritious, but can also be sexy.   So remember the nice of figs, but also let the naughty out!