There’s a Storm but the Sky isn’t Falling

There is a tumultuous storm named Coronavirus (Covid-19) pounding and drenching the world right now. It’s frightening for many reasons but for most of us, the sky is NOT falling. Many weren’t fortunate to have warning. Their tragedy began striking before they knew what was even happening.

We’re hearing a lot of screaming around us. The Chicken Little crowd is loud and wants to always force us to see only doom and gloom. However, if we’re wisely adhering to precautions, it can be just a very dark storm and the sun will shine again soon.

I don’t want to discount the big disappointments for all of us. There will be financial repercussions for most. There are many beautiful plans being cancelled left and right. It seems every day we’re forced to give up something a bit more from our “normal” life as we know it.

Things are very weird and chaotic and yes, it feels scary and unsure. Let’s feel our feelings and validate them. Let’s validate other people’s feelings about it too.

These feelings associated with this pandemic have been piled on top of what we were already facing.

This will challenge our character.

Our flexibility, creativity, and resilience are being dared by the minute.

Whenever life knocks me down, I try to get back up as soon as possible. Standing up quickly makes me feel powerful and in control, regardless of the situation. Part of getting up is quickly looking for positive perspective.

We’re all feeling the same way. How often is the whole world on the same team? How often do we all wake up with same problem to solve? We’ve all been sucker punched by Coronavirus. But if we don’t have it, let’s stand back up as quickly as we can. Let’s not let Coronavirus make us feel like we’re sick patients if we’re not. Let’s punch back at it and see how many beautiful and healthy things it actually may bring.

There isn’t a lot we can control in life. We can only control our perspective and they way we receive the things that happen to us.  We gain a sense of control when we build ourselves to have a beautiful perspective. We do have control of the beauty happening inside our minds and hearts.

If we’re following safety protocol, we will have more time on our hands than we’ve had in a long time. I don’t want this virus to make us act sick if we’re not. Let’s find the beauty and all of the silver linings right in front of us. Let’s create them. Let’s be brave and brilliant, not bored. Let’s use this unusual time to pray, meditate, value and thank.  Let’s exercise, rest, sleep and rejuvenate. Let’s dream, imagine, think, solve and create. Let’s read, learn, strategize and plan. Let’s love, be present, listen, connect and help. Let’s cook and sing! Let’s build. Let’s evolve and excel. Let’s make beautiful contributions to ourselves and others.

The sky isn’t falling unless we let it.

#growyourselfbeautiful

 

Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com or https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-Following-Focusing/dp/1532057342/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=grow+yourself+beautiful&qid=1567376389&s=gateway&sr=8-1 or https://sharonpeddieblog.comhttps://www.pinterest.com/sharonpeddie/pins/

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

 

 

 

Summer Grillin’ and Chillin’

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Hey there blog friends! I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on my blog. It’s been a month of full of busy! It’s finally Summer though…..ahhhh deep breath. Summer is my favorite time of year! I’m not sure it will slow down much for me but at least it will be filled with longer days of sunshine, family and friends. I hope that’s the case for all of us!

I promised you a variety of inspiration on my blog and no season inspires me as much as Summer. Maybe it’s because I’m a Summer baby?!

Besides the vibe, warmth and sunshine, one of my favorite things about Summer is the gorgeous bounty of food it brings. Everything is so ripe and colorful! Farm to Fork is my favorite way to create a menu and eat, so I try to get to our local Farmers’ Market as much as possible during the Summer. I absolutely love the palettes of fresh, beautiful fruits, vegetables and flowers!

I also love that Summer is grilling season. Can we all agree that grilled foods are some of the tastiest? Grilling allows us to present food so clean and unfussy. Fresh fruits, veggies and grilled food make for such a perfectly delicious Summer food combination. It’s art for the eyes and food for our souls.

Loving grilled food, I’ve made sure I have that skill in my personal tool box. My husband has had to travel a lot for work over the years so I’ve gotten pretty handy at various tasks around the house. Grilling is one of them!

In general, I enjoy the creativity and love involved in cooking. It warms my heart to make food for my family and friends–it’s definitely one of my love languages. Summer evenings and temperatures are so lovely in Oregon and cooking outside feels more like a beautiful experience than a chore.

Throughout the Summer, I’ll share a few of my favorite grilled Summer meals. I hope it inspires you to be outside, get to a local Farmers’ Market and hone your “grill skills”.  All of those things I promise, will fill your heart with some of life’s simple joys.

Here’s what was on the menu at our house for Father’s Day. My hubby loves a juicy pork chop and a Summer peach so that’s what we gave him!

Grilled Pork Chops with Traeger’s Apricot BBQ Sauce, topped with balsamic glazed grilled peaches, Grilled Corn on the Cob and a Watermelon, feta, mint leaf salad with a balsamic glaze.

Link to Traeger’s Apricot BBQ Sauce:https://www.traegergrills.com/sauces/apricot-bbq-sauce?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=1818582670&utm_kwd=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwo7foBRD8ARIsAHTy2wl4L0-u71ooWwbP4F_zCmWwY7IH7Q-9J-g2KCdmBXJMwJlsBlCzR_4aAiP6EALw_wcB

I paired this meal with an Oregon Pinot Noir of course!
Link to Ponzi Wines:
https://www.ponzivineyards.com/product/2015-Ponzi-Pinot-Noir-Reserve?pageID=3F5D6E95-ACCA-B533-3700-17F0E1015B40&sortBy=DisplayOrder&maxRows=10&

Another delicious Ponzi Pinot Noir is their Tavola (often available at Costco and wine.com see link below )
https://www.wine.com/product/ponzi-tavola-pinot-noir-2017/522571?state=CA&s=GoogleBase_CSE_&cid=GoogleBase_CSE_522571_3664&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_campaign=Google_Shopping_CA_Beta&gclid=Cj0KCQjwo7foBRD8ARIsAHTy2wmLTm2wvHGhbt0tV-yaiO9yE80CgPVK3SS005gIaBTag30yc5KGbAgaAqXTEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds#

Perfect Food and Wine Pairing for a Cozy Night in-Truffle Cheese Popcorn and Tamarack Cellars Red

My only gig as a wine sommelier is in my own kitchen haha, but living in Oregon Wine Country, I’ve gotten a chance to get pretty decent at it! When I create a great pairing, even a simple one like this, I love to share it! Great food and wine pairings are one of life’s simple pleasures and should get to be enjoyed by many. You know it’s special, when a combination of food and wine just hit the palate with that yummmmm factor! It’s like a beautiful symphony of the most perfect notes dancing in your mouth!

I’ll set the stage that possibly added to making it seem so good. It was cold and rainy all day and last night. A fire, candles and comfort food were definitely in order. I decided to make a cozy zucchini, lemon risotto for dinner. I’ll share that recipe too, very soon! Since risotto takes patience and we were hungry, we decided we should have a little snack to enjoy during the slow cooking process. I needed to tend to the risotto so whatever I was going to whip up for a little delicious nibble needed to be fast and easy. I decided on popcorn but also wanted it to be a little special like the dinner we were waiting on. I remembered I had a block of delicious truffle cheese so the minute the popcorn came out, I began shaving the cheese all over it! I thought it deserved a velvety red wine that would be great with the risotto too. This is super simple but it tasted so special, that I want to share it. It’s a perfect pairing for a cozy night in!

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Perfect Pairing-Truffle Cheese Popcorn and Tamarack Cellars Red

Popcorn with fresh shredded truffle cheese and Tamarack Wine Cellars “Firehouse Red” 2015 wine.

  • Author: Sharon Peddie
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes, 30 secs.
  • Total Time: 6 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: Food and Wine

Ingredients

Microwave Popcorn ( I love Costco because it’s not too buttery but just enough!)

A bar of Melkbus Truffle Cheese ( I get it at Whole Foods- any kind of truffle cheese will be great)

Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red wine, Columbia Valley 2015

Instructions

So easy- Spread the popcorn out on a long tray so all pieces get a nice coating of cheese! Shred the fresh truffle cheese generously on the popcorn while it’s hot. Watch the cheese melt as you pour the wine. Relax and enjoy every delicious bite and sip!

Notes

Perfect pairing! Easy! Creamy + crunchy + velvety = delicious!

Why it’s a perfect symphony for the taste buds.

The truffle cheese is a warm combination of garlic, creamy, earthy, nutty flavors that meet so well with popcorn and this red blend from Walla Walla Washington (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc +) that also has earthy flavors, but of fruit, herbs and spice tones. It’s like when 3 new friends meet and just all hit it off! Even if you can’t find this exact pairing, I hope it inspires you to try a fun combination of popcorn, cheese and wine that you have access to. It’s funny how something so simple can be so special! Not everything needs to be fussy to be great!

If you’re a cheese nerd like me and want to learn more about Melkbus Truffle cheese here’s a fun link for you:  https://culturecheesemag.com/cheese-library/melkbus149-truffle

Keywords: Truffle cheese, popcorn, red wine, red blends, perfect pairings, gourmet popcorn, easy fancy snack

An Accidental Paella Party!


Paella and I began our long romance about 25 years ago when my dear friend Cristina, invited me to her house for dinner. It was that night, I was introduced to Paella for the first time through her Cuban family’s delicious recipe. When she opened her door to greet me, it smelled like a toasty warm hug that I can remember to this day.


Paella is one of the oldest and most well-known dishes in the world. It has a beautiful heritage back to farmers in Spain. They would make rice lunches out in the fields with whatever food resources were on hand. It’s hard working roots, make it a beautifully humble dish.

For Paella to be “traditional”, I’ve learned it depends on who you ask! Some say it can have seafood, some say mixed meats only, some say all the above! I’ve learned the many Paella “rules”, stories and variety of recipes are part of it’s charm.


My love for Paella grew to new heights when I visited my oldest daughter while she was studying in Spain. Every restaurant had it on the menu. Each time I dared myself to try something new, a waiter would walk by with a Paella that looked challengingly different than the one I had in the town before. The reason it never got old, is I quickly learned that Paella was not only a pan of fresh ingredients available to the town, it was an artistic canvas for the artist crafting it. Each Paella reflected the heart, resources and creativity of the chef.


I love to cook and I have made Paella many times over the years. When my kids were little they didn’t care for seafood so it became a romantic dinner for two on a Valentine’s day or a date night in. It’s cozy and perfect for a couple but Paella is also a dish of love to be shared with many! Paella has invited me to paint with it many ways depending on the taste preferences of who I’m cooking it for.

After years of making Paella in my iron skillet or dutch oven, I decided a few years ago, it was time for a real Paella pan. I was on the chase for the “Socarrat”, the toasted, crusty, rice bottom technique that can really only be achieved with a real Paella pan, because of it’s shape! So click click on the internet I went. I found a really fun website: www.tienda.com and over enthusiastically placed my order right away!


Fast forward to a giiiiigantic box arriving on my doorstep that my hubby found first. C’mon ladies, you know that feeling when you know you have some explaining to do. My husband and I both giggled at me pulling my new, gigantic Paella pan out of the box! Oops! I did not realize it would be THAT BIG! Of course my intention was to be able to make Paella for company, but the size of this pan took it to Paella Party level! What’s wrong with that?


Nothing makes me happier than having a kitchen full of family and friends and cooking for them! To me, that’s love at its highest level and that’s what makes a house a home.


While I might have thought I didn’t order the right Paella pan at first, I believe the right Paella pan found me!

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Paella Party!

Paella Party

  • Author: Sharon Peddie
  • Prep Time: 30-45 min.
  • Cook Time: 45-60 min
  • Total Time: 90 min.
  • Yield: 4-6 generously
  • Category: Paella, Meat and Seafood Rice Dish
  • Method: Stove top, pan
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Ingredients

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS:

         1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika

         2 teaspoons oregano

         1 package of trimmed chicken thighs cut into pieces

(I make chicken ahead of time, cut into bite size pieces, set aside to add later)

 

         PAELLA:

         1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or enough to cover bottom of pan

         2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced (you can use ground chorizo too)

         Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

         1 Spanish onion, diced 

         4 garlic cloves, crushed

         1 each, red and yellow bell pepper

         Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, keep some for garnish

         1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

         4 cups short grain Spanish rice (I like “Matiz Valenciano Paella Rice”. I get it at Whole Foods)

         6 cups chicken broth (have extra on hand)

         Generous pinch saffron threads

         1 dozen clams, scrubbed

         1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined

         2 dozen rinsed mussels 

 

         Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

PAELLA IS A PATIENT, ROMANTIC PROCESS:

Combine the paprika and oregano in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator. I like to have the chicken cooked prior to starting the Paella. When it’s done, I cut into bite size pieces and set it side to add later.

 

Heat oil in a Paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. If you used ground chorizo, you can leave it in the pan and move to the next step.

 

In the same pan, make a “sofrito” (sauce) by sauteing the onions, garlic, peppers and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture/sofrito/sauce caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. 

 

Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains.  Pour in broth, add saffron threads and simmer for 10-15 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. (Have extra broth on hand to add if rice isn’t as tender as desired…taste test!)

 

Add chicken and chorizo- mix it into the rice. 

 

Add the clams, mussels and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. You’ll know it’s done when it turns a beautiful orange. The clams and muscles will show you their done when they open.

 

 

 

When everything is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, the seafood looks done, turn the heat up for 40ish seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom. It will smell “nutty” and then it’s perfect. This is when Socarrat happens.  “Socarrar,” means to lightly singe and toast. Be careful not to burn! This is the key to mastering Paella. It takes awhile to perfect the technique but think of it as a challenge!  Regardless, it will be so delicious and colorful no one will know but you whether you achieved it or not! 

 

Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. During that time, add the parsley and lemon wedges-Presentation is everything! You and your guests will not help but smile at this beautiful gift you are presenting!

Notes

Check the size of your Paella pan to determine recipe size.

Keywords: Paella recipe, rice dish, spanish rice, paella, Spanish cuisine, seafood rice, meat and rice, saffron rice,


Making Paella is a fun, patient, romantic process. Having a kitchen full of friends keeping you company and sharing laughs while you make it, is one of life’s best, simple pleasures. If you want to add some love and color to your life, learn to make to Paella! The hues of red from the tomatoes, red peppers and chorizo- coupled with dark black mussels and bright orange shrimp become the adorning accessories nestled perfectly in the beautiful golden backdrop of the yellow rice. Paella is colorful, romantic, fun, gorgeous and delicious. It is a dish that says come on in, I love you!

Why we celebrate birthdays for a whole week in our house!

Somehow over the years, birth”day” celebrations have extended themselves in our house from a day to a whole week. As I began to realize it, I was like hey, what’s going on here… haha, but I have actually come to cherish it! I love it because it honors our family member and truly takes some time to acknowledge them as one of our blessings. After all, if we do this right, our family will be our forever friends!

I love what celebrating a birthday signifies! Besides the obvious of being the day someone is born, it’s the day someone we get to love and that loves us back was born! With busy lives, days can sometimes all run into each other. So why not spread a birthday over a week in order to really celebrate someone we love and show them what they mean to our life? How often do we have a week devoted to us for people to really see us and show us they care? Not only does it make them feel special, it makes us all reflect and take stock with that person. How are they at this age? What struggles have they faced or are they facing? What are their triumphs and joys? What are their hopes and dreams for their coming year? How have we been part of their support and how will we continue to help them grow? Can all of this really take place in a quick moment or day once a year? Of course, I think this is something I hope we try to do all year, but it gets blurry during our daily routines and hustle of life.

I’m not talking about an over indulgent week of “things” just promoting a week of really paying attention to that person we love and making sure they know how loved they are. Our family birthday week plans vary a little person to person based on what they like. They may include a family hike, movie night, homemade birthday cake or pie, favorite restaurant, home cooked meal of choice or all of the above. However, we all include our “favorite home cooked meal” night. Having someone make our favorite home cooked meal warms our heart, right? If you can have everyone sit down together at the same time and share your favorite meal, it becomes soul food!

Birthdays are so special because we really don’t know how long we have with each other. Just taking a simple life pleasure like a birth”day” celebration and extending it over week has been a fun bonding experience for our family. With 5 family members, it has brought 5 extra weeks of comfort and joy into our year, making hearts brighter and souls stronger!

This past week, we celebrated my hubby’s birthday! I’ve attached a picture of his homemade birthday meal request–and the Tyler Florence recipe I used. It was Smothered Pork Chops, rustic mashed red potatoes, homemade applesauce and sautéed spinach. It was very comforting, pretty easy and so tasty if you want to give it a try! https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/smothered-pork-chops-recipe-1941069