Archive | July, 2014

When In Rome…

31 Jul

Coworkers in the office were talking one day about a local, and quite beloved  burger place that had been in the community for as long as they could remember.  They were lamenting about not having eaten there lately.  It was time to think about going there for lunch soon.  I had never heard of it.  So……. always one for a culinary adventure, I was drawn in (okay, I butted into) the conversation.  I am a fan of any cuisine and always willing to try something new, but the food was not what drew my attention.  It was the beverage of choice that piqued my interest.  It was the Witch Doctor.

What in the world?  Witch Doctor?  “Oh yes, it is delicious!”  Erica and Lisa, two coworkers, stated with emphasis.  “In fact, now my mouth is watering for a witch doctor” Erica said.  Okay, now I was hooked.  I had to score an invitation to have lunch at this local institution.  I am not one to hint, so I just flat out asked (and would have resorted to begging if necessary) if I could come a long the next time they went to “Whataburger number 10 in Midway”.  Midway, by the way, is a locale, not a town.  So much to learn!

A few days later, Erica announced that today was the day that we were going to Whataburger number 10 for lunch.  I could hardly wait!  A warning though…they only accept cash.  I immediately dashed off to my office, relieved to find $11.00 cash in my wallet (as the mom of 3 kids, readily available cash is a hot commodity!).  Whew.  That was enough money for the requisite burger, fries, and witch doctor.  I could go along.

At one o’clock, off we went to Whataburger number 10 in Midway.  I was so excited and could hardly stand it.  It did not disappoint.  Whataburger number 10 is an old fashioned drive in restaurant, but there is seating inside too.  We went in.  The large menu posted on the wall listed all food and beverage.  A quick scan of the menu, and I zeroed in on what I was looking for.  The witch doctor.

Local drive in, Whataburger number 10 in Midway, as it is fondly referred to by local folks.

Local drive in, Whataburger number 10 in Midway, as it is fondly referred to by local folks.

Here goes.  What is a witch doctor?  It is listed on the menu, which makes it totally legit.  It is a mixture of all of the different sodas from the soda fountain. But that’s not it.  It is topped off with a dose of dill pickle slices.  Yup.  Pickles.  So how was it?

And here it is.  The long anticipated Witch Doctor.

And here it is. The long anticipated Witch Doctor.

Here is the soda fountain.  Of course hailing from Chicago, I call it pop, but in North Carolina, this is soda.  When in Rome...

Here is the soda fountain. Of course hailing from Chicago, I call it pop, but in North Carolina, this is soda. When in Rome…







 here I go.  My first with doctor...the excitement is building...

Okay…so here I go. My first witch doctor…the excitement is building..

Slurp!  Delish!

Slurp! Delish!










It was yummy. What went along with my witch doctor?  A cheeseburger and tater sticks.  Man oh man, it was good.   I do not usually eat a lunch like this as I typically brown bag it.  Whataburger was a fabulous splurge.

Tasting local food (even when it’s a newly discovered place close to home) is crucial to life experiences.  A true pleasure. Always a must when the opportunity presents itself.  It is also a fun to “photocdoc” the experience (thanks Miranda!).  As I always say…when in Rome do like the Romans.  And when in Kannapolis North Carolina, grab a witch doctor!







Toddlers in the Kitchen!

21 Jul

Having a toddler around is a blessing, but can be a challenge at times too. Especially at meal time. It can be stressful to get meals onto the table while juggling parental responsibilities. Ease parental duties a bit by getting your toddler involved! Getting children involved in meal preparation is important for a couple of reasons. It can decrease work load and increase confidence of the child. It also provides a wonderful time to interact, chat about the day, and plan for future meals.

When working in the kitchen with your child, always begin with hand washing. Encourage your child to sing the ABC song or the Happy Birthday song while lathering up to assure proper hand washing time. This is an excellent habit to get into, not only for yourself, but for your child as well.

Start slowly when engaging your child in the kitchen, and be patient. If your child is young, you can begin by having them:

  • Wipe a table top.
  • Measure and pour dry ingredients.
  • Take salt and pepper shakers to the table for a meal.
  • Put toast into the toaster and pop it down.
  • Take forks to the table for meals.
  • Place cups on the table for meals.
  • Clear items off the table following a meal.

Remember that children need instruction. Resist the urge though, to hover or to micromanage the child when they are trying to help. Praise their efforts. Doing something well takes practice, and it is important to remember that no one does something well the first time. Only practice improves performance! Try to give the child a rough time limit, but remember that they work on their own time.

Mealtime is a great opportunity to interact with your child. It is also a good opportunity to talk about nutrition and portion size with your child. Expect spills, and then teach your child how to clean them up! Keep the television off and the distractions to a minimum. Enjoy your child, the time together, and the experience of teaching.

As parents, it is our job to raise our children up to be self sufficient. This can start early. Toddler hood is not too early to begin teaching your child about how to prepare a meal, appropriate serving sizes, and nutrition. And it can be a lot of fun if you let it!

P.S.  This post also applies to teenagers.  Replace the word toddler with teenager.  I’ve had both, so this is the voice of experience talking.  Just saying…





This ‘n That

16 Jul

The weather is hot.  Summer is in full swing.  It is hot outside, and the air conditioning is blasting inside.  That adds up to one thing…time to take the cooking outside.  Fire up that grill!  Marinate and toss some tuna, chicken or tofu on the grill.  Cook a meal without heating up the house.  Oh, but wait.  There has to be a side dish to go with the delicious grilled food.  Hhhmm.  What is an easy cold refreshing summer side dish?  I have the answer and I just made it!  Try it!

Amy’s Summer Side Quinoa Salad

  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced free onions including green tops
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped arugula
  • 1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ounces feta cheese


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix vinaigrette and set aside.   In large bowl, combine quinoa through cheese.  Stir.  Add vinaigrette and stir to combine thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate.  Next step..enjoy!

This is an easy recipe to quickly toss together as a side dish. I had the leftover salad for breakfast the following morning after my morning workout.  It is a nutrient packed salad, and the ingredients can be easily substituted with any veggies on hand. Toss in some of this, a little of that.  Make a this ‘n that salad!  So go ahead!  Keep the energy bills low and take the cooking outside.  Toss this fabulous cold salad together and enjoy!


Fresh summer side dish.  Yum!

Fresh summer side dish. Yum!