Train of Thought

I’m still here y’all and my fingers are just a twitching to post something for you guys. Unfortunately we, including me, will have to be patient for just a little while longer. I need to figure out the new format and do some final tweaks over on the new platform. If I post anything with a bazillion photos on here I’ll be the roast turkey for Thanksgiving…seriously.

I will however tease you all just a smidgen. I tried something new in the kitchen this weekend. It has apples, cinnamon a secret ingredient and involves my favorite dessert. Can you guess what it might be? Keep your fingers crossed that everyone loves it. If so I will have it up this week in all its glory. YUM! Not to mention the water temperature here has dropped so you know what that means.

Oh yeah, that’s right! The wetsuit came out. He poured himself into it. I snapped photos. It truly is the simply things in life that bring me the most joy. A few yards of neoprene and I am good to go.

I hope that you all had a spectacular weekend. My weekend totally rocked!

Love ya,

Tickled Red


You all might’ve been wondering why it has been so quite here the past few days. Trust me it’s not for my lack of desire to get on here and ramble endlessly about my guys, surfing and scrumptious recipes. Nope, but I was told that I talk too much. Well let me be honest, I wasn’t told that in exactly those words… not really. I have been asked to chill on my posting for a bit though.

You see I have a dear friend working on Tickled Red now. Part of what she’s doing is transferring all of my posts onto another platform where we will be able to stretch our wings a bit more. It’s like planing a 3 month trip around the world and having your girlfriend pack for you. Great for you but not so much for her. Evidently I’m a bigger jabber jaw than I realized, boy do I owe her big time.

Then again 4 days of letting the random minutia that runs through my head build up is making me twitchy man. So I’m busting out today with an idea for some fun we can have on here over the next few days. Hopefully it won’t take up too much space or cause my girl undo stress. You’ll have to wait for it though, work comes first. Meet you back here late tonight.


Tickled Red

Well guess what y’all, I have some good news. Last week I  started a new adventure in my life. If you are new to TR and don’t know my story this post One door closes, another opens will give you a little background. It has been nine long, trying, yet rewarding months since I wrote that post.  I knew deep down with enough patience and determination something good would come along.

Last Monday I started work at Brax Ltd. Fundraising, a wonderful company providing a fresh new outlook on fundraisers for schools, little leagues and organizations trying to raise money for our children. A company that deeply cares about it’s employee’s as well as the whole community. Quite frankly y’all, I lucked out.

Now even though I lucked out I don’t want you all to think that this means the end of TR. I’m here to let you all know that I am not going anywhere. I discovered something during those nine months. I adore getting on here and chatting with you guys! I have such a blast sharing all of our shenanigans, coming up with some crazy concoctions in the kitchen, baking delicacies and well sharing my hedonistic thoughts about my surfer to his amused chagrin. Along with all of that I awoke a monster so to speak. A creative beast that has been asleep for far to long and will not stand to slumber again. My love for food and story telling, that I assumed were simply small aspects of my character, have shown their true colors and are in fact passions.

So I may have to burn the candle at both ends but I’m not going anywhere. Y’all may be encountering some absurd, random, sleep deprived thoughts dribbling out of my head from time to time but that is to be expected. I can’t promise that every post will be coherent at 2 am, then again I’m not always coherent at noon either. Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t burn the house down, loose the monkeys or run over my surfers board during the next few weeks while I adjust to a new schedule. I having a feeling that there will be many other doors opening and that we will all be going on exciting adventures. I can’t wait to hear about yours as well.

Thanks so much y’all for keeping my spirits up during the tough times and I can’t wait to see what all we share going forward, this is just the beginning!


Tickled Red

I want to chat with ya’ll for a moment this morning about an issue very near to my heart. But first a quick Earl update. We are absolutely fine, he did not bring us any winds or even rain. Thank you so much to everyone who reached out with concern and blessings, we truly appreciate all of the love. We were fortunate and do count our blessings. Not everyone is lucky enough to dodge disaster or tragedy.

You may or may not have seen a post I shared on my Face Book this week, so I wanted to mention it here. The post came from Maggy with Three Many Cooks and Alice of Savory Sweet Life. Maggy and Alice (as well as many others, including myself) have a wonderful friend who is in dire need of help. A very dear, sweet, generous woman Erika of The Ivory Hut, that I had the pleasure to meet in NY at the Big Summer Potluck. She and her family met with a grave tragedy this week. In the early wee hours of Monday morning their home burnt to the ground and when I say burnt, I mean completely reduced to ashes & dust. Here is what Erika wrote later that dreadful morning from a friend’s computer…

Sept 1, 2010

Last night, my head was preoccupied with last minute work on a special project and putting the finishing touches on a post. My husband Tom and I had also been discussing the logistics of possibly attending BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco. These were the things that weighed on my mind.

A mere hour or so later—and instant, really—we were outside, in our shirts and shorts, watching our house crumble as it was engulfed in flames. I’ll never forget that hissing and crackling noise as my husband’s home of almost 30 years practically disintegrated before our eyes.

But we were safe. All of us. Our son Tim, without hesitation, ran back inside when he realized his grandmother was sleeping upstairs. By the time he got to her, it was too late to try and exit the house the same way he came in. Fortunately, Tom had devised a fire escape plan years ago, and Tim was able to bodily carry his feeble 82-year-old grandmother out the window, onto the roof, and eventually down on the deck. The sight of this brave son of mine carrying his grandmother as he ran down the lawn and away from the house is one I will never forget.

Obviously, none of us slept last night. We are fortunate to belong to a congregation that is as close to us as family, and one of our dear friends drove to our house last night to pick us up and take us to her home, which is where I sit right now, typing this.

The magnitude of the loss is almost too much to comprehend in its entirety. So last night, I mentally walked through all the rooms in the house, taking stock of what was valuable in that room, and then systematically making peace with the loss. I said goodbye to my new MacBook Pro, my 500GB drive of photographs, another 500GB drive of music files. My purse, with all my identification cards, and all the car keys—car keys that are useless anyway, since the flames have likely taken our cars too. Our passports and birth certificates. My husband’s prosthetic leg, without which he is unable to freely move around. Our shoes, all our clothes, and our musical equipment. My engagement ring and my wedding ring, and a gold bracelet passed on to me by my mother on my wedding day.

My baby pictures, which are the only remaining proof that once upon a time, I was actually cute. My iPod Touch, the value of which is immeasurable because it held all my half-finished songs, poems, and writings.

But when I weigh it all against the value of being able to hold my husband’s hand and my son’s hand last night as we said a family prayer of thanks for our survival, as well as a petition for strength to deal with the days to come, and the fact that this morning, I woke up to a day with both of them still with me, then I still think I got the better end of the deal.

Oh, and I’m sorry there are no photos in this post. You see, my beloved Canon 5D and all those lenses I had? They’re gone too.

Which stings, I’ll admit. But all I have to do is throw a glance my family’s way and yep, I’m still blessed.

I can not begin to imagine the terror Erika must have felt to stand there and watch her child run back into a burning building for his grandmother. Not to mention having to stand there for what must have seemed an eternity while she watched her home, the sheer essence of her inner self and her family fall to the heat and flames. It is unimaginable.

So here is what Maggy and Alice have done. Seeing as how it will take weeks for any insurance issues to be resolved and Erika and her family have absolutely nothing to their names but the clothes on their back, they have started a donation at Friends of Ivory Hut to help them out.  The donations will go to Erika in order to replace everything from toothbrushes to heavens knows what all you would need to make it through the day. I honestly can’t fathom it?! This a 100%  donation going directly to the family. Maggy lives an hour away so she is taking the Paypal money directly to Erika. There is also a set monetary goal, once that is reached the account will be closed. As I said this is just to help them meet their immediate needs.

Now I know that we are all experiencing hard times in this economy, trust me I know, but $5 goes a long way when you add it up. If 25 people donate $5 each that is $125, if 50 people donate that would be $250, you get my point.

Erika is truly a rare beautiful woman, inside and out. She is selfless, private and an absolute nurturer. I can bet you anything that she is not even thinking of herself now, rather she is the one being the stalwart rock of strength for her family and friends through this crisis. As I sit here listening to the radio writing this I remember how much Erika loves music and this song is playing. How appropriate… don’t you think so?

The Bravery


So give me something to believe
Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

Something’s always coming you can hear it in the ground
It swells into the air
With the rising
Rising sound
And never comes but shakes the boards and rattles all the doors
What are we waiting for [x2]

Let us be what she can believe in. That though she might be everyone else’s rock now, we are here to be her support. And that the rising sound she hears is not the echoes of loss, but rather a glorious cacophony of love, friendship and community welling up around her…even from people that she has never met. I know that we can all give up our Starbucks and Big Mac’s just this once and show Erika how great our southern/surf/blogging communities are. Please ya’ll, go to Friends of Ivory Hut and make a small donation today. They will stop taking donations after 9-8-10. I tried to put the Paypal link up here to make it easier but as you all know I am a techno dork.

Thank you Maggy & Alice for putting all of this together for Erika and passing on the information, along with the Paypal link .

And ya’ll…thanks so much for listening to me today and letting me bend your ear about helping out this wonderful family. I also truly appreciate how you guys looked out for us during the storm.

Love you all,

Tickled Red

Do you see that big ole’ orange swirl? That would be Earl. Danielle has left and now Earl is knocking at the door. If you look on the map we live in the vicinity of Wilmington and since we have people who care about us calling, tweeting & emailing I thought that I would give you all a little bit of information as to what we do during a hurricane.

Living along hurricane alley you get used to watching out for any type of swirl forming off the coast of Africa. Also being married to a surfer you learn all about tide charts, the gulf stream, warm water flow patterns, wind and any other minuscule aspect of the weather that will have an impact on your daily life.  Let me just say that if I have to choose between earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes  I will always choose a hurricane, hands down… no contest.

Fortunately we have plenty of time to gauge the situation and make a decision. We will either hole up and stick it out, or head for the hills. If we have to leave it will give us a chance to visit family up in the mountains. That is not a option with earthquakes or tornadoes, with those two creeps you get hit fast and hard with hardly any warning. No thank you, I’ll stick to the east coast. As of right now we are not too concerned about Earl but we are keeping a very close eye on him.

As you can see from the projected path it looks like he will skirt our section of the NC coast. It helps that we live in the “C” part of the coastline, which means we don’t quite jut out enough to get clipped…sometimes. What we have to keep an eye on tonight and early in the morning, is Earl’s development as he moves into the warmer waters of the gulf stream. Once he moves into those waters he could bobble and weave, you just never know. Any deviation to the west will bring him on shore, that is not what we want. Unfortunately the Outer Banks do stick out quite a bit into the Atlantic and the projections seem to be steering Earl in that direction. So all of our prayers right now are with everyone close to the Outer Banks and on up past Cape Cod.

You might be wondering what we do in the meantime. Other than stocking up on provisions and making sure that we have boards to cover the windows my surfer is on the hunt. If you haven’t figured it out a hurricane also brings in swell. Every surfer from Florida to Maryland sends out a fervent prayer with each big storm that forms to please swing in close. Not close enough to damage homes or cause havoc but close enough to make their hearts pound with adrenaline and sing with joy. Finding that perfect break is always a merry chase right about now.

Another tradition would be Hurricane Parties. Yes you heard me right. We coastal crazies party it up during hurricanes. Not the big ones of course, those we run from. Our hurricane parties are similar to tailgating. Only inside…in the dark…with howling wind…for hours on end. Everyone preps their snacks and sandwiches ahead of time, board up their windows and head on over to the designated party house. Always, always making sure that there is plenty of water, batteries, flashlights, charged up blackberry’s or a radio. Some will also have a generator if they are lucky. I won’t lie, this is a college town so some parties will more than likely have some drinking going on. I have children, my hurricane parties are G-Rated.

Hurricane parties are basically a way to keep everyone from going bored out of their ever lovin’ minds once the power goes out. I would suggest a pack(s) of cards and some nifty travel games in your emergency kit whether you decide to stay and ride out the storm or go inland. If your husband is anything like mine the old motorcycle helmet comes out when the eye of the hurricane passes over. That way he can safely run around outside to get a good look at the damage without worrying about a stray branch flying by and conking him in the head. I’ve always wondered what would he do if it was a stop sign or the neighbors cat that came winging towards his head from out of nowhere?

Let me please stress that if you are reading this and live in any area being affected by Earl, please be safe. Listen to your city officials and evacuate when they tell you. Do not take any unnecessary risks. If my surfer happens to choose to ride out category 3 or 4 hurricane, do not follow his lead. He is an extremest… not an example. Just so you know on those occasions I flee with the monkeys and Zach, leaving him behind to guard the house. His personal choice, not mine.

There you go ya’ll, that in a nut shell is how we deal with hurricane ‘s. Now if I have left something out or if you have a question that I didn’t cover in this post please hit me up. I’ll keep chatting until the power goes out or my surfer steals my laptop so that I will cook dinner. Or snuggle. If that happens please know that I love ya’ll to pieces… but I’ll choose snuggling with that dripping wet man over my laptop all day long.

Did I mention that hurricanes TICKLE me? A happy surfer is a happy Red…Thanks Earl.


Tickled Red

When things aren’t going my way and I am loosing my glue like today, I turn to cheesecake. I can’t post my latest cheesecake recipe, the Reef Sweetwater contest or anything requiring a photo as of yet due to an upgrade that seems to be taking FOR- E-V-E-R to process. So in the meantime I am re-posting this. Why? Because dadgum it Chocolate Mint Cheesecake makes everything better. That is… I believe that it does.

When you look at the photos keep in mind I was way more clueless in Feb. with my camera than I am now but that isn’t saying much 🙂  Anyway  I hope that you all enjoy the blast from the past and I truly hope to have new posts up very, very soon with LOADS of photos!


Tickled Red Lovely spring days are calling my name. I have daydreams of temperate, late evening, backyard parties, under shady old oak trees with the scent of jasmine perfuming the air. Spanish moss gently moving with the breeze, the laughter of children playing as they run around the yard. Colorful summer dresses, faded denim, breezy white shirts and flip flops. Mostly I day dream about a long table overflowing and laden with all sorts of scrumptious yummys.

On that table would be this decadent Chocolate Mint Cheesecake. Or as my darlin’ surfer calls it…gone! If you do not enjoy the flavor of rich, dark, sinful cocoa with mint, then this is not the cheesecake recipe for you. Don’t fret you guys, I have plenty more where this came from. As well as some new ones that I am dreaming up 🙂

Now those have me TICKLED. This recipe is an old Williams and Sonoma one. As ya’ll know I love my Williams and Sonoma. You can not find this particular chocolate mint recipe any longer on their website but they do have others. Such as chocolate mint ice cream…oh my!, chocolate mint tart…yum! and more that you will just have to check out for yourself. Fortunately for you guys I am bringing this particular recipe back .

I will go ahead and apologize for the lack of pictures with the crust. This cheesecake was made the other day along with three others. Four cheesecakes in one day will make anyone’s brain go a little loopy, never mind my kooky one. That’s okay I can talk you all through it and slip in pictures from other crusts to get my point across.

Here are the ingredients that you will need. Chocolate Crust

1 package (9oz) chocolate wafer, cookies broken. I use Teddy Grahams…they are easier than pulling apart Oreos.

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Now for the talking you through it part.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with so that the crust will not stick. Also wrap the sides and bottom with foil.

Most recipes suggest mixing all of the ingredients for the crust in a blender. I mix mine in a bowl with a fork, it’s just easier for me that way. You can do either, whichever works best for you. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, you will want to pour the crust mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan and gentle shake, in order to evenly distribute it across the bottom. Then slowly go around and form the crust about two inches up the sides. Excuse the graham cracker crust photos. Take your time. For me this is the fun part. I am usually jammin’ to some tunes as I make my crusts and cheesecakes. Turn on your i pod and get your groove on as you make some yummys. You are never to old to cut loose in your kitchen 🙂 At least your kids or honey bunny will be privilege to some hilarious free entertainment. Chocolate Mint Filling 10 oz bittersweet chocolate 2lb cream cheese at room temperature 1 1/4 cups  sugar 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa 1 tsp peppermint extract (essence) 4 large eggs at room temperature In a heavy sauce pan over very low heat, melt the chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove and set aside. In a mixing bowl  combine the cream cheese and sugar. At medium speed beat until well blended and smooth. Beat in the peppermint extract and cocoa. Add in the eggs one at a time. Beating each egg until just combined. Add the melted bittersweet chocolate, beating until smooth. Don’t forget to pause occasionally to scrape down the sides to make sure that everything is blended. Pour the filling into the crust (it will just about fill it). See… there is that yummy chocolate crust. Bake until the center is just set, approx. 50 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Then cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. This image makes my surfer and monkeys go, Oooo…Ahhhh…cheesecake! At least this time they get to eat some. Usually the cheesecakes are for someone else. Now all I need to go with this is a Mint Julep, a nice spring day… a shade tree, a hammock and some good music. As well as family and friends to share it with. I hope that you enjoy this if you make it. Let me know how it turns out for you. Tickled Red

*Warning: Ramblings of a disorganized, frazzled redhead*

Where did she go?

What did she do?

Is she no longer Red?

Is she now blue?


Nope! Still here.

Still Red.

Life grabbed me by the rear.

As always, crazy in the head.


One child in school, one out.

First catering gig tomorrow,

I am trying not to freak or shout.

Where are my organizational skills?

I know I had them,

They must’ve run screaming for the hills.


What about this weeks posts you say?

The answer: Very slow technological upgrade delay 😦

Chaos…gotta love it! Actually I kind of do…I’m weird, I know.


Tickled Red

Next Page »