Rebekah Lyn's Kitchen

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone?  August 15, 2016

Filed under: Fresh Foods,The Garden — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:44 AM

Do you ever start projects then get distracted and lose track of what you were working on? If not, please comment below with your secrets to avoiding this trap. I started this blog in May, but it was late at night and I promised myself I’d finish it the next day. Alas, life happened and I didn’t sit down to work on it again until August.

 
I have this insatiable need to plant, but I can’t say I have a green thumb. My grandparents both grew up on farms, and in his retirement my grandfather returned to the land with a garden that filled a large portion of the yard. Maybe the need to plant is in my genes. (more…)

 

Simply Southern April 7, 2016

Pimento cheese sandwiches are one of my favorite simple southern foods. As a child I would sit at the kitchen table watching my grandmother mash up a block of cheese then mix in the mayonnaise and pimentos. When I got older she let me do the cheese mashing and there was something gratifying about it. The sandwiches we made weren’t anything fancy. Sometimes we might toast the bread a little, but this was a simple meal served with an ice-cold Coca-Cola.
The past few years, I’ve noticed a number of restaurants making more gourmet versions of the sandwich. Probably the most unique twist was at the Little Switzerland Cafe, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the pimento cheese was served as a dip with grilled French bread and celery sticks. It was so good I wouldn’t mind making the two hour drive back to the cafe for another serving. A few weeks ago, I was in North Carolina taking some time to work on my new book, Virginia, and had the chance to visit a new restaurant in downtown Franklin called The Bowery. It opened last year and I’ve wanted to visit ever since I noticed it during my trip in December.
Once inside, I immediately liked the place. The decor is a perfect balance of elegant and rustic. The booths have high backs, made from boards that look like they were reclaimed from a barn, that provide a feeling of privacy. The chairs were plush and upholstered in a cappuccino suede. Bare light bulbs hung inside simple glass jars. The lunch menu was simple and there were the pimento cheese sandwiches again. One was served with fried green tomatoes and the other came with a bowl of soup. It was a chilly day, so I opted for the butternut squash soup and pimento cheese sandwich, while mom ordered the smoked chicken sandwich with pasta salad.

The Bowery

The Bowery

Our meals arrived quickly and I was impressed with the taste of everything. The soup was creamy and the sandwich was warm, the cheese melted just right. I wish I’d taken a picture, but it looked so good I couldn’t stop myself from digging in. I’m not sure why this simple sandwich is showing up on so many menus, but I plan to enjoy them as often as possible.

 

Traveling in the Clouds July 9, 2015

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods,Southern Cooking — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:25 AM
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I had the pleasure of spending my Fourth of July weekend in North Carolina. The weather was 20-30 degrees cooler than

The rhododendrons were still blooming.

The rhododendrons were still blooming.

Florida and I basked in every minute of reprieve from the heat. Usually when I go to NC I spend most of the time working on my next book, but this time I only had time to cram in a few hours of work time.

 

 

Another Florida friend was already staying with my family and we had made arrangements to drop her off with her sister in Banner Elk, NC on July 2. This should have been about a 3-hour drive, but it ended up being more like 5 or 6 hours. I’m beginning to learn to be wary of anything that says it’s 3 hours. One day I’m going to be on a 3-hour trip and become the next Gilligan! (more…)

 

Birthdays and Markets August 29, 2014

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:27 AM
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Birthday cake

Sunday was my mom’s birthday so I flew to North Carolina to spend the weekend with her. The moment I stepped outside the airport I was welcomed by a cool breeze and the fresh, woodsy scent that always makes me smile and fills my heart with peace. I inhaled deeply while I waited for mom and dad to arrive from the nearby McDonalds and could feel the muscles in my body unwinding.

 

There weren’t any real plans for the weekend, but I was looking forward to visitng the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning. I was delighted to find out it was customer appreciation day and there were tons of free samples- garlic cloves, organic coffee, pastries, homemade pesto, homemade soaps, there was even a chance to win $200 worth of fresh produce and a fresh pie of our choosing. Sadly we didn’t win.

 

My own hometown has been trying to get a farmer’s market off the ground, but with only one produce vendor and a handful of other non-food related booths, it hasn’t gained much traction. This North Carolina market, though, it was what I always envisioned. Knots of people gathered between each booth to catch up the week’s events; multiple farmers with their fresh-picked crops; a table piled high with delicious-looking homemade bread that reminded me of a scene from a French movie; a cooler with fresh, free-range chickens; a table of fresh pastries, a lady with homemade soaps and other bath products, and even flower vendors. We bought some ears of corner and a couple of huge tomatoes before wandering into some nearby antique shops. Looking back now, I’m surprised that I can’t remember any sounds or smells and can only guess my eyes were so overwhelmed all of my other senses were dulled.

 

That evening I had a yummy tomato sandwhich, and was actually able to tell a difference between this tomato and those from my own garden. I had read that basil is an excellent companion plant and added one to my tomato area. There definitely is a difference.

 

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Making Old Traditions New Again July 7, 2014

Available July 20. 2014

Available July 20. 2014

With Jessie finally written, edited, formatted, and awaiting launch on July 20, I have started research on my next book in the Seasons of Faith series. A new character began tickling my brain a few weeks ago. He’s a blues singer and I know virtually nothing about blues music so to the library I went.

I didn’t know what exactly to look for, but managed to find a couple of books to get me started. When I was working on Jessie I found simple biographies in the children’s section on Neil Armstrong and Gus Grissom that provided a quick snapshot of information. I found a children’s book on blues and jazz on this trip to the library and again, it gave me a good basic understanding of the roots of both genres and ideas on where to go from there. The next book I started reading was by George Mitchell, Blow my Blues Away. Mitchell’s book is a collection of interviews with African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta region compiled during the 1960s.

I only had time to read one interview before I had to return the book to the library, but I was struck by the discussion of working in the fields, mostly cotton, as well as the home garden, which provided most of the family’s food. As I read, I thought about how the settlers of America had to rely on their home gardens until towns grew and markets could be established. Through the years home gardens continued to fall by the way side and many traditions were lost.

Over the past ten years or so there has been a movement to organic foods and more people are tying to grow their own vegetables. Large cities have started community gardens and those with tiny balconies as well as those with small yards are doing container gardening. Do a search on urban gardening and you will find pages of websites with educational videos and how-to articles.

Papa in the Garden, Summer 1992

Papa in the Garden, Summer 1992

Grandma picking beans, Summer 1992

Grandma picking beans, Summer 1992

 

My grandparents had a garden that grew a bit every year. Even when my grandfather’s health was failing, he still spent time in his garden, perhaps remembering his youth in the fields of North Carolina.I’ve been trying my hand at gardening the past couple of years. I don’t quite have the green thumb by grandparents did, but I am learning.

 

Last weekend I took some of my fresh tomatoes to a friends’ house and taught them how to make and can salsa. It made me feel closer to my roots, sharing an old practice that is being made new again.

Salsa in the making

Salsa in the making

Sharing old traditions

Sharing old traditions

 

The Joys of Spring March 17, 2014

Filed under: Fresh Foods,The Garden — itsrebekahlyn @ 9:23 AM
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Florida doesn’t usually see much spring. We tend to go from not terribly hot to disgustingly hot overnight. This year we’ve actually had some very pleasant days mixed in, with temperatures staying in the 60s and 70s. We even had a low in the 40s this past week. We don’t worry about frost too much down here when we start planting our gardens. (more…)

 

Laughter, Love, and Lemons February 3, 2014

Growing up, my family was part of a family life group at our church and the times we shared together were deeply ingrained on my subconscious. I don’t remember how old I was when the group started to drift apart for a variety of reasons, but then again, I am getting older and memories are harder to call upon.

However, I do remember the love, laughter, and feeling of safety of those nights singing and studying the Bible. I’ve measured every church group since then against the feeling that settled deep in my heart during those gatherings. (more…)

 

 
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