Cooking, Cabins, Crafts & Careers

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Archive for the tag “Cabins”

The Colorado River – Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

Image Ummm — Check

This trip for hubby’s birthday was BEYOND expectations!  I mean, really, how does a high maintenance girl like me spend 4 days and 3 nights without any electricity, running water (well I guess those rapids on the Colorado could be considered running), potty, shower, mirror, and heaven forbid cell phone or internet access???  What was I thinking when I said, “sure honey, I’d LOVE to take this trip of a lifetime with you for your birthday?”  I’ll tell you what I was thinking… I was thinking, “this martini tastes pretty good!”

So we sign up for our little adventure and off we go, just like to summer camp, “2 pair quick dry shorts, 1 long sleeve fleece top, 1 pair socks, sturdy water sandals, hat, sunscreen… you get the picture.

First up is to arrive at a small airport on the outskirts of Las Vegas.  After each person is weighed, separate from their expertly packed duffel bag, we are assigned a seat so that the weight is equally distributed on our little cigar plane… wouldn’t want this baby flying sideways.ImageWe take the 40 minute or so ride to Whitmore International Airport in Arizona, landing oh so carefully on the dry dirt runway, 80 miles from the nearest town.ImageWe arrive at the Bar 10 Ranch for lunch and a debriefing on the activities for the evening, (horseback riding, 4 wheeler tour down to the river, cowboy lasso school, hike over to the original cabin on the ranch for a history lesson, and the evening’s entertainment by the staff at the ranch).  Just a little chef note – dinner included beef from the cattle being raised on the ranch – it was quite tasty.  The evening was relaxing and we all got to mingle and meet our fellow rafters — you know scope out who you think will and won’t “rock the boat” so you can kind of make your way to the right side of the group when they are dividing you up into groups for the rafts.  For me, that’s basically people who want to get their hair wet versus people who don’t.

Our first night’s accommodations.  Image








The next morning after a hearty cowboy breakfast prepared by the fine folks at Bar 10, we were again, weighed, measured and grouped for our next transport.  I can’t begin to describe the exhilaration of getting into a helicopter that literally comes to your doorstep and then leaps off the mountaintop as you make your way down through the cabin landing on the banks of the Colorado River.  
















So we meet on the banks of the river for our next debriefing… distribution of our day dry bags, night dry bags, sleeping bags and an introduction to the guides that will be responsible for keeping us alive for the next several days, both on the water and off.  Our existence is literally in their hands… from picking a campsite, to cooking our meals, to helping locate a missing camper the first morning (SCARY), to treating those suffering from dehydration and hyponatremia (the opposite of dehydration).  Luckily, dear hubby and I were spared of any maladies.

Second night accomodations:  Image

And one of the most invigorating showers ever… 


There are just soooo many great pics, but none can show what it was really like to experience a trip like this first hand.  Here is the group we shared this wonderful adventure with on our last day ImageSo while that hot shower back at the hotel felt REALLY, REALLY good the next day, the four days spent completely enveloped by nature touched all of my senses and gave me and hub memories of a lifetime.  I am so blessed to have someone in my life that makes me push the envelope and get out of my comfort zone… and have a bucket list worth sharing. 

Just a few of those memories… ImageImageImageImageImage








One of the Coolest Cabins ever…

We recently rented this very cool cabin on the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge GA for our anniversary.

Toccoa River Cabin

Toccoa River Cabin

While a cabin that sleeps 14 would be considered a bit excessive for a party of 2,  the cool factor was just too much to resist for my architect husband and me.  There were walls of window facing the river… a two story windowed garage door that opened up the dining area to an outside deck… an indoor / outdoor fireplace… a hot tub… and a beautiful kitchen with concrete countertops.

We spent the first afternoon lounging down by the river soaking up some rays, relaxing and reading.  It was some much needed down time for us both and the comfort communing with nature brings doesn’t come often enough.

River reading chair

River reading chair


Vintage cookware

We spent the next day taking a scenic train ride into the Copperhill/McCaysville TN/GA area and explored the old mining towns.  While there we enjoyed a burger and onion rings at one of the local establishments, “Roger & Carol’s,” picked up a souvenir train themed necklace for my granddaughter and rummaged through the numerous antique shops, where my amazing hubby threw down some cold hard cash for this beautiful set of vintage enameled cast iron cookware from the 60’s. It was a perfect turquoise color that I just so happen to be using as an accent color throughout the house and it cooks like a dream!  (He conveniently had not already bought me an anniversary present, so this just worked out perfect for everyone!)

The day was finished off with an evening around the fire-pit, eating a delicious homemade pizza from “town,” smoking a cigar (well hubby did, not me) and enjoying a nice bottle of wine.  We completed our long weekend adventure with a two hour rafting trip down the river in a funyak… (basically a kayak shaped blow up inner-tube with room for two).  We started upstream in the Toccoa River and finished 6 miles down, just across the Tennessee state border in the Ocoee River.

The weekend definitely made it an anniversary to remember.

Next up… white rafting down the Colorado River!

C # 3… “C”rafts

granny-with-hannahI can’t remember a time I didn’t enjoy doing crafts.  My granny is responsible for this desire to be creative.  She was always making something, and a lot of the time, it was something for me.  And unselfishly, she not only shared her creation with me, but the knowledge of “how to” create it.  There were Barbie clothes, crocheted tablecloths and bedspreads, quilts, potholders, costumes, knitted sweaters & mittens, dolls and much, much more!  She was a Paula Deen kind of cook, but instead of starting everything with a stick of butter, it was more often a spoonful of bacon grease!

Her name was Mary, but everyone called her Betty or “Granny Patty.”  She also ran an in-home daycare, back in the day, and nap-time was during her favorite soap, “As the World Turns.”  Although I can remember when she kept me as a child that she was a big fan of Jack LaLane (circa late 1960s), not so much a watch and participate kind of fan, but she definitely watched.  She’s been gone just a few years now, but she continued to share her creativity with my daughter and she enjoyed it as much as I did.

original-full-apronsCrafting has always been something I enjoyed, whether in the early, early days, making potholders from a small metal loom, making “sand-art”, making all of the “break-thru’s” for my high school football team’s Friday night game – or later on… painting t-shirts and clothes for my kids and my friends kids, cross-stitching, stringing beads for different types of jewelry, painting canvas and an occasional pillow or apron.  So lately, I’ve been trying to find a “craft” to use with my personal chef business,  After some encouragement from my fellow chefs that are members of our association’s chapter,, I’ve been focusing more on the apron making.  They set my goal of making 200 aprons by the end of July (our National Conference in New Orleans, ).  Ideally, I’m going to do a test market on Etsy before so I know what are the most popular styles and color combinations. 

turq-brown-half-apron1My focus is on creating retro and hip looking aprons by using a combination of some vintage fabric and some vintage-inspired fabrics.  However, I’m also taking the “green” route and recycling some clothing into some pretty cool aprons.  So far I’ve bought a truly vintage pattern off of ebay and used to make a couple of “full” aprons (photos of a pink and a green up to the left), 3 styles of “half” aprons that I found on the internet… a “clothespin” style apron (which I am showing here in the brown/turquoise and the blue/green), a “bistro” style apron and a flirty apron with a ruffle on the blue-apronbottom (more photos coming).  I have about 10 of these different half aprons made that I’m getting ready to put on Etsy, although I have to admit, I’m having a little separation anxiety with some of them… Check back soon for my Etsy Shop Opening post.

Comments and suggestions welcome!floral-apron

The next C – “C”areers…

The first of the 4 C’s

Shrimp Ceviche
Shrimp Ceviche

Cooking – As I mentioned in my “about me,” I am a personal chef in Nashville, so obviously cooking is one of my passions, and I am lucky enough to be able to pursue that passion as a career (oops – I’ll cover the career “c” in a future post.  I became passionate about cooking 18-or so years ago when I was a Jazzercise instructor (hint, another one of my careers), and was lucky enough to be a part of a monthly “supper club” where several instructors would get together with a theme dinner and each one bring their own contribution to the dinner.  It was AWESOME FOOD!  I had no idea how easy it was to create great food – nor did I know food could be so great!  P.S.  It’s also where I discovered a “c”ocktail passion, martini’s… (note to any local Nashville folks – if you want to check out one of the best Jazzercise instructors in the US, go to her website and attend a class – schedule and info here…  Ahhh, an ice cold martini is the perfect start to a wonderful evening at home with great food to follow.

On another note, I’ve recently been helping a fellow USPCA chef, Mark Tafoya of ReMARKable Palate in New York test recipes for his first cookbook being created by his Culinary Media Network company entitled, The Gilded Fork: Entertaining at Home, A Year of Dinner Parties.  From what I’ve seen, it will be an awesome addition to any cook’s kitchen.  The shrimp ceviche photo above is one of the recipes I tested for Chef Mark.  There are more photos on my website, or you can follow Mark’s cookbook journey at his website,

There is so much about food to explore and keep a chef of any caliber busy.  Aside from my journey to the Personal Chef career over many years, I’ve spent the last two years experimenting with recipes for the crockpot – it has transitioned over to a side service for my clients known as Crockpot Wednesday!  April’s recipes run the gammet from Baked Beans to Mixed Berry Cobbler, ( I figure you can never go wrong by starting dinner with dessert).   

Over the last few weeks, in addition to recipe testing, I’ve been able to attend lectures on two different special diets.  At our February USPCA Chapter meeting we had two members from the local Celiac support group ( who gave our chefs tips and tricks for cooking for people with Celiac disease who require a gluten-free diet.  Last weekend I was in a class at the Ki of Life Learning center in Franklin (  and learned about the guidelines for following a Macrobiotic diet.  

On the whole, there are lots of topics I plan to explore here in my “C”ooking venue – come back for recipes, photos, cookbook and restaurant reviews, and more!

Next time… “C”abins…

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