October is here…or at least it was.


October 30, 2016

For me, this is a long awaited and much coveted month. I was born in October. Perhaps this lends a bit of nostalgia to the month itself. Mostly however, I think that October brings a beautiful freshness to the eye and mind with the ever changing, always exhilarating palette of chromatic foliage. As those longer nights flirt with the dancing leaves in darkness, lethargic bees search in vain like like drunkards in their slow and dizzying flights for any remnants of the sweet nectar from the summer’s dried and dying blossoms. Bright butterflies are drawn to the azalea blooms with soft and delicate landings. Although daylight wanes at an even pace each fall, it is the amount of moisture in the soil and the weather itself that ensure a uniquely different autumn each year. The trees slow down their production of chlorophyll, (which is produced during the growing season and gives leaves their green color) thus revealing the distinctive golden, orange, and yellow hues of carotenoid pigments that have been ever present, but hidden by the abundance of chlorophyll. A third pigment (or class of pigments really) that occur in leaves are the anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are especially common in berries, including blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries. Anthocyanins absorb blue, blue-green, and green light. Therefore, the light reflected by leaves containing anthocyanins appears red. Those cool evenings and fresh mornings whisper to us that the hot, dusty imprisonment of summer’s long days have come to an end.

It’s time to get out and bike, or hike without the brutality of triple digits sucking the life out of us!

Well, this is what I would normally say anyway. This entire month, I have put off posting this… just waiting for ‘october’ to show up. It is now the day before halloween and I am finally posting this. Today we hit a high of 87 degrees. A possible record high. We are also in a drought, which is kind of crazy for a ‘sub-tropical’ zone that touts no dry season. With that being said, I have not been able to photograph any amazing fall foliage or dewy leaf covered lawns. Instead, lawns are dry and dusty – trees are drab and mostly still green. How sad that October was forgotten this year.


Most years people say the same thing throughout the seasons, “it’s never this hot” or “I cannot remember a winter this cold!”. Early into this summer when it was very humid and oh so hot – even early in the mornings, I actually said to a neighbor on a morning walk: “I don’t know what I was thinking back in February when I said that I could not wait for summer to arrive!?” Yet, here I am, once again looking towards the cool, freshness that a southern winter will bring to me. How quickly we forget. But, with October just being a long extension of summer this year, I want to forget the dry, thirsty heat and the dusty haze that has hung on for way too long.

Having lived for a more than a decade in northwest Ohio, with its bitter cold winters, a couple of years in southeastern Wiltshire, in the UK with its balmy, wet and rainy climate, and an entire childhood in East Texas/Southwest Arkansas- I begrudgingly respect the sultry hot south that I once again call home. For those of us who truly have a four seasons where we live, we absolutely love, anticipate and happily embrace each change. We look forward to each season with renewed vigor throughout the years, no matter how short our memories might be regarding the details on the heat or cold! I feel a bit cheated this month- no doubt about it.


I did joyfully celebrate my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and loved the few crisp mornings that we did have this October. But now, I guess I am looking forward to November, for surely I will get to see some spender of fall foliage! As I bid farewell to my 2016 October, and enter into the true celebratory harvest month, my goal is to be thankful- out loud and with more conviction than ever before to the people with whom I share my love and my life. To my husband, my children, my extended family and my friends, I wish you all a happy November!


Leftovers again!?

Well, yes.  When I am only cooking for me and I want a quick and healty meal…it’s always a stir fry that summons me to the leftover rice in the fridge.


We were at Costco recently and grabbed a new item- TruRoots Sprouted Rice & Quinoa Blend.  We love it!  I had some left-over from my lunch two days ago and decided to use it in a stirfry today.  Turned out quite well!


We didn’t name our blog cornbread and chopstix without reason. This dish was definitley asian inspired- with a southern flair.  How so?

Well, I decided to add a little fresh okra to the sauteed veggies in the beginning. Not bad, not bad I tell ya!

20160415_142628 One large Portabello, one green onion and 4 small fresh okra pods, with pepper flakes.
Cold rice and quinoa, toasted sesame oil, less sodium soy sauce and garlic (minced)
About 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice. Haha, is that dust on top of my five spice lid?
Hot skillet or wok…toasted sesame oil and saute on high heat.
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Just a bit more to ensure the okra is tender…
Add the cold rice mixture and sautee on high, just until heated.
Prepared for the egg to be dropped in and scrambled.
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Why are eggs so beautiful in a dish…I don’t know, but they sure get me excited! Scramble into mixture for a few moments, add a bit of soy sauce and serve hot!


Super tasty!  Delightfully healthy and oh so quick and easy!!


Hello Okra…my little Gumbo friend.
Vince is on his way back from NYC today…had to save half for him or he will be jelly!

You can of course use any left over rice that you have. It’s better to use cold rice for stir frys so that it doesn’t get too mushy. On occasion, I use leftover black rice, also known as forbidden rice. Feel free to add chicken, pork or shrimp if you’re more of a meat eater than I am.

Did I mention that I never waste food!?


Honestly, I take each meal with a prayer for blessings and nourishment- I always reflect on those who went to bed hungry and wake up hungry with the possibilty of not getting any food again for the day. Be mindful of those who have less than you do and those who have nothing at all.

God Bless!




Vince and I on a Caribbean Cruise July 2014.


We are a multicultural family. Half Asian – half Southern; whole happiness! Full of fun and silliness, we enjoy food, the outdoors, music, laughter, fitness, travel, friends and family! We LOVE life! We will take you on a fun-filled ride  of delicious food, travel destinations, outdoor excursions of biking, paddle boarding, hiking and photography. We will show you our home DIY projects; our crafting, art and holiday decorating. We will open your eyes to great books that we have read and great products that have used. We will share our family’s favorite recipes, new food creations, cultural fusions, and kitchen tips & tricks.

Please join us on our journey of life, love and laughter!

I’m Dawn. I am a southern girl; a country girl. I was a beans and cornbread kind of kid. I lived on fried potatoes, fresh tomatoes, and okra anyway it could be cooked, and almost always served with hot fresh skillet baked, crispy, yet steamy cornbread. Thank you Mom! I dug potatoes, picked peas, shelled those peas and shucked corn with my Grandpa on his little garden patch in southwestern Arkansas. When I wasn’t popping corn for an after school snack every day, I was asking Grandma for their leftover cornbread. Cornbread and popcorn were and still are two of my favorite foods. (Not that I don’t love almost any kind of food you put in front of me.)

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Family vacation cruise to Alaska…this was Glacier Bay. Vince’s sister Mae is another expert photo-bomber! Happy is as happy does!

My Vincent is a Chinese-American. He was born and raised in New York. His parents met at the University of Illinois; both having emigrated to the U.S. from China. Vince is as American as I am- but with a rich and mystical Chinese culture deeply embedded in all that he is. He grew up going to Saturday Chinese school with his little sister- as his parents hoped that they could maintain, enrich and instill that ancient culture to an even deeper degree than what the children experienced at home. Vince was, however, every bit as American as any other little boy I knew. He had a love for back yard hunting with his B.B. gun and love for playing football at Saturday Chinese school…more so than learning Chinese enrichment! In fact, football is what he seems to recall the most.  As an adult, he has lived in Texas, North Carolina and a little over 20 years in the Atlanta, Georgia area. If you ask him, he will says he is as redneck and hillbilly as me…or my brothers. But don’t be fooled. He is as hillbilly as I am Chinese!

While we both have a lust for fine dining, it’s that melange of flavors from down to earth foods that have been tastefully prepared with just the perfect amount of seasonings and love that really make us happy!

When we first started cooking together, we discovered how much we loved each others’ family favorites and childhood comfort foods. We had some crossovers and some twists in our meals. I began learning some new words! So did he, ha-ha.  Soon I was learning some new recipes and even more unique and exotic flavors and dishes. Man, I could not have been happier. I felt like I had been invited to a new land, a new secret life, a delectable culture of mouthwatering nirvana. The taste and flavors were nothing like the ‘Chinese’ restaurants in the towns that I had lived in throughout my adult life- and I THOUGHT that food was good! I almost felt cheated…then I realized I was blessed!  I began to embrace the simple but amazing foods with an intensity that would suggest that I had too much to learn with too little time to learn it. This nosh was overwhelmingly wonderful.

I remember my first trip to my in-law’s home- it was unbelievable! It was for the Christmas holidays. That meant that I got to taste extra special dishes that are usually only served at the holiday season. My sister-in-law, Mae, asked me after a few days if I was sick of Chinese cooking and food yet. I could not make her believe that I was in food heaven. She kept asking if I wanted Mexican food or Italian or anything else.

Nope, I’m good. Really good!

A Mother’s Day surprise! My son Robert, front and center, always the clown- drove from Texas to Georgia to see his Momma. His wife Nicole could not make the trip. My daughter and her fiance came too. Whitney Dawn is in the Master’s of Fine Arts program at East Tennessee State University. Her boyfriend, Evan, had just returned that morning from a semester abroad in Chile. Poor Vince is just trying to see over the clown boy. Robert is a master at photo-bombing. Long before photo-bombing was a hipster trend. : )
Vince and Emily….with Robert sneaking in to bomb the photo!