Big Summer Potluck 2013

BSP 2013 Collage FinalDear Maggy, Erika, and Pam,

Driving back to the hotel after dinner Saturday night I very much wanted to be able to take a moment and write each of you a thank you note.  My traveling companion, however, saw to it that the opportunity to reflect on this year’s Big Summer Potluck did not come until the ride home on Sunday.  And maybe that’s for the best.  It allowed some time for the meaning of the weekend to reveal itself a bit more fully.

Having attended two previous Big Summer Potlucks, I can attest that each one is unique; what I take away is going to differ each time.  And while every BSP has it’s own personality there are common threads that run through each event.

It is obvious that you put a great deal of thought into creating something that is fresh and new through the choice of speakers and topics.  From Shauna talking about having the courage to ignore the negative editor in our heads, to Alice embodying the power of authenticity, to Joe and Jeni and Jessamyn speaking about allowing a vision to change, you offer us the opportunity to nourish a different part of our spirit every year.

At the same time you manage to keep each BSP feeling comfortable and familiar by fostering a sense of community among a pretty varied group of attendees.  Regardless of whether we are seasoned veterans, brand new bloggers, or if we’ve stepped away from actively blogging, we are a valued member of the BSP family.  We are each greeted with a warm smile, an open heart, and an embrace.  You allow each of us to (literally) be a guest in your home.  Knowing the power that comes from sharing a meal together, you cook for us and allow us to contribute our own dishes to the group.  It really is a potluck.

There is no one BSP attendee experience. For the introverts among us, it is possible to hang back a bit and observe.  And for those of us who are more outgoing, the opportunity to meet and greet and network with other bloggers and the brands we love happens organically…on the bus, at a meal, or during Open Mic time.  Some years those  discussions lead to tears…big, mascara smearing, salty sobs of realization and understanding.  Other years, the epiphanies are private.

In some ways I feel my BSP experience has come full circle.  It was while I was at BSP 2011 that my mother passed away.  The Universe saw to it that I was surrounded by a community of friends at a moment when my emotions battled and raged within me. I was not alone when one chapter of my life was so abruptly shut.  At BSP 2013 I was able to introduce my BSP family to the newly opened chapter of my life…Miss Libby.  Is it a coincidence that my daughter was born almost exactly one year after my mother died? I don’t think so. Bringing Libby to BSP this year felt like coming home.

To everything there is a season.  For me, BSP is the season of new beginnings.  Those beginnings can be big and life changing.  Or they can be quiet opportunities to recommit to myself.  That may not be what you set out to achieve when you plan each year’s event.  But somehow that is what you create.

I’m already looking forward to BSP 2014.





These Jargaritas would have been perfect for Cinquo de Mayo.  But since that ship has sailed for another year, you’re just going to have to find another excuse to make them.  Like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or the random weekend cookout.

But they come with a warning…these adult slushees have a way of sneaking up on you and knocking you on your arse.  So proceed with caution.


Adapted from Bluebonnets and Brownies and Souffle Bombay

  • 12 ounces frozen limeade, thawed
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups tequila (I prefer patron silver)
  • 3/4 cup triple sec
  • 1 cup chambord
  • 4 cups cold water

If you plan to freeze these in individual portions, go ahead and get your jars and lids ready.  Otherwise find yourself a nice big pitcher or jug and combine all your ingredients.  Stir well.  Give it a taste and add more lime juice or tequila as desired.

Drinks can be portioned into jars, sealed tightly, and stashed in the freezer for about 4 or 5 hours or until they reach your desired level of frozen.  Or they can be enjoyed in a completely unfrozen state.

{printable recipe}

Big Summer Potluck 2011

I have said time and time again that The Universe gets me to the places I need to be at the exact moment that I need to be there.  I may not even realize in the moment that something profound is happening. Or there may be an awareness that washes over me that I need to pay attention.  I may not know why, I just know that I do.  And at a later time, the why makes itself known.

I have also made a confession or two here on the blog.  They have been tongue in cheek confessions but it would not be dishonest to say that I use this platform the way some people use religion.  Through this blog I have found a community that is overflowing with love, understanding, support, and encouragement.  Being in the presence of the people I have met as a result of BAH brings me peace and lifts me up.  It touches me deeply to share time in their presence and to share a meal of communion with them, in a way that religion and church never has.

So it really should not have been unexpected that at some point in my life these two bricks in my foundation should intersect.  And on July 30th, in a converted barn in rural Pennsylvania, at Big Summer Potluck 2001, that’s exactly what happened.

My cell phone was put away.  I wasn’t checking email or tweeting.  I made a conscious decision to be in the moment…to give up control.  I was listening to Shauna Ahern speak.  We were at a blogging event so ostensibly her remarks were about this activity we all engage in.  And yet, it was so much more.  I can’t speak for anyone else in that room, but as Shauna’s words reached me I heard her telling me that it’s ok to be vulnerable, to face my fears, and not to let myself get in my own way of finding happiness and success. Not just in blogging, but in life.  That sometimes there are thing that you absolutely have to say and trying to ignore them will simply give them more power.  In that moment, I knew why I have struggled so mightily with finding the words for BAH.  I have been trying to ignore the words that needed to be said because they scared me.  In my mind, I could pick out on one hand when I was truly being authentic instead of merely filling space to get to a recipe.  And I thought that was where the lesson ended.

Then at lunch, in a completely unrelated conversation, I finally admitted to myself that I was filled with sadness because I did not have a single happy childhood memory of a time with my parents.  They had divorced when I was very young. I had absolutely no context of them together.  And through my experience as their child, I could not wrap my mind around what had brought them together in the first place.

It was being out of my normal routine, away from the usual barriers that I put up to avoid this truth, that I finally acknowledged it.  There was no laundry to do, no dishes to wash, no food to cook.  Once those were stripped away and I was surrounded by these people who valued me for me that I could finally have the courage to admit to my own profound sense of loss and regret. It was powerful in a way that I could have never anticipated.  And I thought that was where the lesson ended.

Later in the afternoon, Penny De Los Santos spoke about capturing moments and making pictures.  She spoke of patience and waiting for the moment and being able to connect to another person through the camera.  She painted vivid pictures for us with her words instead of her photographs.  There were tears in the room as she painted these pictures.  Tears of humility and vulnerability.  Tears of acknowledgment. Tears of sadness.  And then I thought that was where the lesson ended.

We shared in a wonderful dinner.  We raised our glasses to one another and the sense of community that we shared.  We hugged…we hugged a lot.  And we cried….both quietly during presentations about our own fears and anxieties and openly during one on one conversations.  This was no mere “blogging conference”.  This was more.  It was a retreat.  It was spiritual.  It was people being vulnerable and human and asking for acceptance and validation.  And through the tears, there was comfort and acceptance.  I felt validated and accepted for me…that I was a good person worthy of good things.  And I thought that was where the lesson ended.

At the end of the day, back at the hotel, I finally pulled out my phone.  And I saw a string of missed calls and messages from family members.  And I knew that whatever had been said in those messages was not good.  Both of my parents were terminally ill.  One was in hospice care and the other had recently undergone another round of treatment to try and prolong the inevitable.  It was merely a question of which parent it was.

It was my mother.

We had a difficult relationship.  I had drawn a boundary over the years.  We did not communicate.  I made a point of not being in the same place as she was if I could.  I could not reconcile my sense of empathy for her as a person with my sense of disappointment for the pain that she had caused me a a parent.  I knew that she was terminally ill.  I had struggled over the last few weeks about whether I should go and see her. I got updates through my siblings.  I drove my grandmother to see her only child in hospice, but I did not go in.  From the outside it looked as though I was cold and uncaring.  But I protected myself…I carried too much hurt at her hands.  I could not imagine what words she could ever say to bring me to a place of forgiveness.  I thought that her death would merely be a physical end to the emotional relationship that I had walked away from years ago.  I expected it to be easy.  To be a relief.

And then suddenly, I was faced with the reality that I knew was coming.  Her life had ended.  And in as much as I place my faith, whatever it is I have, in The Universe, I knew that I was where I needed to be to get that news.  I was not alone.  I was surrounded by people who could never possibly understand the significance that their presence played in that moment.  I was surrounded by warm embraces and hugs that forever linked me to the people behind them.  I reached out to my community and they gave me unconditional support.

I reached out to a friend who knew me; knew the situation and the dynamic.  As I sat on the floor of the bathroom, sobbing, she gave me a safe space.  She gave me refuge to say that I didn’t know how to feel.  And the next morning, surrounded by the people who are my community, my tribe, they collectively embraced me.  Both those with whom I had shared this information and those who had no idea…who thought the sunglasses at breakfast were because I had enjoyed my wee box of wine too much the night before.  And I thought the hard part of the lesson was over.

I drove home and got back to my life. To the dirty litter box and the dirty laundry.  To the messages in my voicemail and the dishes that needed to be put away.  To my grandmother who now had lost both her husband and her only child.  And my heart ached for her loss; not for my own.  I could not fathom how forsaken it must feel to lose the people you love; to outlive most of the people you know.  I did not sleep that night.

I drifted between dozing off and realizing that I was wide awake.  The minutes passed like hours and the hours were days.  And in the morning, with the sun streaming brightly through the window, the world had kept moving on.  Death didn’t stop it.  Tears didn’t stop it.  It just kept going.

As I left the house that morning, I realized that I hadn’t brought in the mail when I got home the day before.  Opening the mailbox, there was a bright yellow envelope.  Canary yellow.  Sunshine yellow.  The return address was my mother’s.  I took it and walked to the car not knowing what to expect when I opened the envelope.  When I did, the typewritten words on the page made me angry at first.  I had no idea that someone could reach out from beyond the grave to try and manipulate my feelings.  But as I read further, pieces of a puzzle that I hadn’t realize I was working on fell into place.  Halfway down the page, I read:

“I don’t know if anyone has told you this or not, but your mother has been talking to you on your blog for years…All those stories about her mother were actually stories of her childhood and your grandmother.  She did not do this to hurt you.  She did it because she wanted to be close to you  and it was the only way she could have any contact with you.  She is very proud of you and all that you have become…”

I didn’t even have to read the name that was given in the letter to identify her on my blog.  In my heart, I had known.  There was always something familiar about her.  Always something that didn’t quite add up with the comments that she would leave and the facts that she would give.  There were moments in our correspondence through the blog that I nearly came out and asked her who the hell she really was.  But I never did.

In that immediate split second, I heard Shauna’s voice in my head saying that our first instinctual response is our true response and that everything after that is our internal editor trying to create a socially acceptable response.  And my first response was that without knowing what I  needed to hear, my mother had finally given me the validation that I needed.  That by doing what we essentially all do and being someone else online, she had finally been able to speak to me in a way that I could hear and cut beyond the anger and hurt.  I could see her as just a name on a comment and not be weighed down by a lifetime of a disappointing relationship and unmet expectations.

The irony is that it was easier to be the best version of myself, the person that I hope I really am, to someone with whom I have no intimate relationship.  It was easier to be free and kind and caring towards someone who I didn’t associate with pain and neglect and contempt.  And while it makes me sad that the two of us could never be these people to one another in real life, I am so profoundly grateful for the knowledge that she  wanted to and found a way to connect with me in a way that actually did respect the boundaries that I had established.

As a parent, and as a person, she had many flaws.  And as a daughter, and a person, I have many flaws as well.  But as two people who corresponded through my blog, I think perhaps we were able to be the best versions of ourselves to one another.  If I can take the gift that she gave me and finally get to a place of forgiveness, then I think the second half of my life could be much happier than the first half.  If I can consciously make an effort to let go of the weight that I have carried for forty years, then maybe I can see the happiness in the small, quiet moments and recognize them for being the perfection that they are.  And maybe, just maybe, I can be a little more forgiving of myself and those closest to me.

If you have read this far, have stuck with a very stream of consciousness rambling with very little editing (and no spell check), I thank you.  This post is not so much about the events and activities of Big Summer Potluck 2011 as much as it is about me selfishly using this space to finally say that I have been sad and angry for a long time and that a weekend in a converted barn in rural Pennsylvania took me a few steps further on my journey to moving beyond that.  That was the lesson. That was my church where The Universe knew I needed to be.

To those of you that were part of that weekend, I thank you for your support, even when you didn’t realize you were giving it.  To those who knew and hugged me extra long, you will always have a special place in my heart.  To Shauna, who sparked that first moment of realization, I would not have had the courage to say these things if you had not shared your story with us.  I hope that through my words, I have painted as memorable a picture as Penny De Los Santos did.  In their own way, both of these incredibly strong women inspired me.

Food Memories – Chicken Pot Pie

Today’s Food Memory comes from fellow Big Summer Potluck attendee Jennifer of Bread and Putter.  I had no way of knowing at the time that Jennifer and I would become bff’s on Twitter (@breadandputter).  Don’t tell The Mistah but I think she knows more about me via my twittering than he does after 6 years of marriage.  Is that bad?

Here’s a little of what Jennifer has to say on her About page:

My early cooking adventures were kind of pathetic.  I once cooked a hot dog in a frying pan that was burned on the outside and still frozen in the middle.  I could always bake – I can follow instructions pretty darn well, but cooking always seemed a little more loosey-goosey. There are things about cooking apparently you are just supposed to know instinctively or something, and I didn’t.

Yeah, I can totally understand that.  Maybe she and I are kindred kitchen spirits.

If you still need another reason to skip on over to Bread and Putter and check out what’s going on in Jennifer’s kitchen, I give you this:

I really love cheese and bacon. I hate coffee, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, beets and anything that leaves orange cheese powder on my fingertips. Dark chocolate is the best chocolate but milk chocolate is good too if there’s peanut butter in it.  There’s nothing quite like hot crusty bread fresh out of the oven with some good butter on it.

I’m going to pretend that she didn’t include coffee, brussel sprouts, beets, and cheetos on her list of dont’s.

Chicken Pot Pie

For our second date, my now husband invited me to his house for dinner. I didn’t know what to expect.  I arrived with a bottle of wine in hand but he didn’t have any wine glasses. So, we drank it out of regular glasses but in retrospect, who was I to judge? It was white zinfandel.

When it was time for dinner, I was impressed when his creation came out of the oven – a homemade chicken pot pie! This guy was racking up points fast! For our first date, he had invited me to a play.  Classy, right?  And then he bakes up a pie for me. What wasn’t to like? When he cut open the pie and served me a slice, my excitement waned a bit. In addition to the chicken and gravy, there was a lot of broccoli in the pie. At the time, I really was not a broccoli fan.  And all I could taste in that pie was broccoli. But, I was gracious and I ate up my whole serving and I complimented him on that pie.

I would later learn that the pie dough was from a box and the gravy was from a can, but I still give him lots of credit for that pie.  There was still a lot of measuring, preparation and assembly involved. As the years passed and I confessed my non-love of broccoli, the pie took on other incarnations with carrots and peas replacing the wretched broccoli.

And then a funny thing happened. He was a single father and was doing his best to put food on the table for his two daughters and trying to set a good example. So, in turn, when I was dining with them, I tried to set a good example and not be fussy and eat what I was served. And over time, my palate grew in an unexpected way.  I learned to like, if not tolerate, just about everything. Including broccoli! These days we even grow broccoli, in our garden at our home together.

Here is his original chicken pot pie recipe. These days I usually make my own crust and my own gravy if I am making it, but I promise, it is still pretty darn good with the boxes and the cans.  And if you make it for someone else with love, isn’t that what really counts?

B&P Note: I’ve transcribed this exactly as written. It amuses me.

2 boxes –total of 4 Pillsbury or whatever pre-made pie crusts. Take out 15 mins before using

2 ¼ + lbs boneless breast of chicken, trim crap off – cut up, refrigerate

2 medium potatoes diced

1 bunch + broccoli crowns, trimmed of most of stem

3 or 4 carrots cut up diced


Boil veggies till soft (nothing falling apart.) Strain.

Open 2 cans Franco-American chicken gravy – cook till hot.

While cooking gravy, prepare two pie shells in pans.

Throw in chicken & veggies into hot gravy. Mix. Fill pies. Cover pies with remaining pie crusts. Baste with butter. Slit pie crust tops to vent heat before putting in oven. Cook covered in preheated 425 degree oven 20 mins. Remove foil cover & cook 25 mins more. Remove & let sit a minute before cutting.

Mr. Bread and Putter’s Chicken Pot Pie

BAH Note: I have to admit that I didn’t exactly recreate the original incarnation of Mr. B&P’s chicken pot pie. I was short on supplies and had a pie crust that was well past its prime.  My loosey-goosey version went something like this:

  • 1 rolled pie crust (premade)
  • 1 jar chicken gravy
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • frozen peas and carrots
  • diced rotisserie chicken (without the skin)

Heat oven to temperature called for on the back of the box of pie crust.

Combine gravy and cornstarch in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the gravy has thickened.  Add the peas, carrots, and chicken and stir to combine.

Transfer the filling to a 9 inch pie plate.  Top with the pie crust, crimping the edges as you go.  Cut four small slits in the top of the dough for steam to escape.  Place on a sheet pan and bake until the filling is bubbly and the top has browned.

If the edges of the crust are browning too fast, cover them with a ring of aluminum foil.

{printable recipe}

Doughnut Muffins

Back at the Big Summer Potluck, there was one dish that caught everyone’s attention. That’s not a small feat among a group of food bloggers. But one morsel was the belle of the ball.  And they may very well be my undoing.  Because nothing tastes as good as mini muffins that have the texture of a doughnut and a buttery, spiced sugary coating.  I purposely redid the recipe to make them bite sized because I know firsthand that making them full size is no guarantee that I won’t just keep eating them.  I’ve joked with Jen of How To: Simplify, to whom we all pledged our allegiance for bringing these into our lives, that the secret ingredient in the recipe is crack because these morsels are utterly and completely addictive.

And as if the original isn’t enough, now I see that Tracy of Sugarcrafter, another Potluck alum, went and made a Caramel Apple version for fall.  I sent them both a passive/aggressive tweet saying that I will hold them personally responsible when I can no longer fit into my jeans.

But there’s a little part of me that says that if I have to go up a pants size, these muffins are a pretty damn good reason. And please, hold your judgment until you have experienced the ecstasy that is the mini doughnut muffin.

Doughnut Mini Muffins

Adapted from Jenn at How To: Simplify

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray two mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Combine the oil, sugar, egg, and milk in a large bowl.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fill each muffin cup approximately 3/4 full of batter and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the muffins are baking, combine the 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a small bowl and make sure your butter is melted.  When you remove the muffins from the oven, immediately remove them from the pan, dip them in the melted butter, and then coat them in the spiced sugar.

{printable recipe}

Peanut Butterfinger Cookies

So what does one take to a potluck hosted and attended by food bloggers?  With enough forethought, I imagine that I could have pushed my creative boundaries to come up with something more original than cookies.  But I had to keep in mind that whatever I chose to make had to transport easily and not require refrigeration or reheating.  Oh, and it needed to be simple enough to work into a weeknight that was filled with the likes of Mad Men, The Closer, and Real Housewives New Jersey.  Because when I jump on board the crazy train that is RHNJ, my attention for anything that does not involve hair pulling, table flipping, or botox parties stays behind at the station.

So I pulled out my “dessert” binder and looked for inspiration.  I mean I have a ridiculous collection of recipes that I’ve made and liked enough to photograph, develop a story about, post for your use, and print for mine.  But nothing was really calling to me.  It wasn’t until I stumbled across a post on Plain Chicken that I got inspired.  By Butterfinger.  You know, the chocolate and peanut butter candy bar.  I can only say that the Universe meant for us to be together. How else would you explain me finding a recipe (on a site that I had never been to before) that called for 5 king size Butterfinger candy bars on the same day that I happened to stop at 7-11 for a Diet Coke and saw a ginormous display of Butterfinger with…wait for it…coupons? Continue reading “Peanut Butterfinger Cookies”

Big Summer Potluck

I’m not a gambler by nature. The risks I take are calculated, not reckless.  However, there are moments when I throw caution to the wind, say what the hell, and let the chips fall where they may.  These moments are few and far between, but they do happen.  My most recent spontaneous, caution thrown to the wind decision involved me, one untested cookie recipe, a set of Mapquest directions, six hours of driving, 39 food bloggers, several food professionals, and three deer.

The destination was called the Big Summer Potluck.  Organized by women who know food, blogging, and photography – Maggy Keet and Sharon Anderson of Three Many Cooks and Erika Pineda of Ivory Hut – this was a day to come together with other food bloggers to talk about the challenges we all face. It was an opportunity to build our food blogging community, to support and encourage one another, to learn more about our craft, and to eat some amazing food.

These ladies pulled out all the stops.  On the agenda:

Pam Anderson (food columnist, cookbook author, Three Many Cooks food blogger, and former executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated) shared her thoughts on recipe development and recipe writing, in addition to graciously hosting us at her home.

Abby Dodge (food writer and instructor, cookbook author, and contributing editor to Fine Cooking magazine) demoed a dessert from her upcoming Desserts 4 Today cookbook (brilliant concept y’all…a cookbook full of desserts that utilize four ingredients), and shared some of her tips and tricks (stabilize whipped cream by replacing half the heavy cream with marscapone…yum).

Melissa DeMayo (food stylist extraordinaire) shared her food styling expertise and tips (texture, height, ingredient shots), demoed building the picture perfect sandwich, and told us the best way to do {fill in the blank with your question of choice} is whatever results in the prettiest shot.

Erika Pineda (photojournalist, sports photographer, and Ivory Hut blogger) spoke about the Holy Trinity of photography (Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO), point and shoot vs. dslr, and processing.

We had a lively discussion about video content and media campaigns with Auritt Communications.

And then there was Alice.  Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life and Everyday Alice.  Alice Currah who was named one of’s “Eight of The Very Best Food Bloggers” and Saveur’s food photography “Cover Contest” winner. Maybe you’ve heard of her?  She’s the bomb.  Alice spoke to us about the importance of being authentic in our craft, speaking (and blogging) from the heart and from what we know, carving our own niche out of the blogosphere while also supporting and encouraging and honoring other food bloggers.

I go on and on about The Universe this and The Universe that and it may sound trite but hear me out.  I was originally supposed to be in New York city for BlogHer this summer.  My plans changed and I didn’t have the opportunity to attend and to finally meet in person some of the people that I have grown to think of as part of my extended family.  And I was disappointed about that.  But The Universe more than made up for it by getting me to Big Summer Potluck.  BlogHer is mega big. It’s huge.  Which for my socially awkward self is completely overwhelming.  Big Summer Potluck was intimate.  It was warm and welcoming.  It was a conversation among old friends who may have just met each other that morning.  It was exactly where I needed to be.

Remember my post You Might Be A Food Blogger If… That’s how Big Summer Potluck made me feel.  I was anxious about walking into a room with an untested recipe (and we know I have strict rules about untested recipes) where I didn’t know a soul.  My lack of navigational skills resulted in me getting lost in rural Pennsylvania and being the very last person to arrive 30 minutes late.  Hello, I consider showing up on time being late.  And yet, once I set foot in the door all of that melted away.  I was embraced by these people.  I was part of their tribe.  I belonged.  And isn’t that what we all want?  To be accepted.  To be validated.  To be inspired.

There was laughter.  Warm sun, clear skies, and cool breezes.  Amazing products supplied from KitchenAid, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New West Knifeworks, The Spice House, Fine Cooking, Green Valley Organics, Green Mountain Coffee, Cypress Grove Chevre, Naturally Nora, and Lindsay Olives.   And incredible food.  Because you have to know that at a food blogger get together we’re going to nosh on good eats.  To see people who know and make good food eat my potluck contribution and have their faces light up was priceless.  In my head, I sounded like an insecure adolescent saying OMG, Alice Currah is eating my cookie and she LIKES it!!!  There may have also been jazz hands and the Peanuts dance going on in my head as well.  I was too excited in the moment to accurately recall now.

So I’ve been quietly sending my thanks back to The Universe for giving me the opportunity to be part of Big Summer Potluck.  For the people who made it all possible and the people whose presence made it what it was.

I’ve also been thanking The Universe for allowing me to come to a complete stop on that winding back road in time not to hit the deer that decided to pop out of nowhere and lazily cross the road.  I don’t know if there is any symbolic meaning to seeing three massive bucks other than the obvious – slow down.  But that is one of the small moments from the weekend I hope to hang on to.  Yes Universe, sometimes I hear what you’re trying to tell me loud and clear.

Hungry for more Big Summer Potluck?  Check out:

Bread and Putter



Smells Like Home

Tickled Red

Add A Pinch

The Sensitive Pantry

Three Many Cooks

Fine Cooking

The Dinky Kitchen

Dine & Dish

The Coquettish Cook

What’s Kookin’ In Kara’s Kitchen

How To Simplify

My Kitchen Addiction

Four Chickens

Modern Wench

The Ivory Hut

Smith Bites

Souffle Bombay

The Peche

She Wears Many Hats

Bluebonnets & Brownies

Abby Dodge

Do you wonder what a Big Summer Potluck looks like?  Check out Erika’s lovely photos of the day.

And stay tuned for the Peanut Butterfinger cookie recipe that I took a gamble on being Big Summer Potluck worthy.