Monday, February 13, 2012

Quick trip to Charlottesville, Va.

My husband, youngest son, and I enjoyed a quick trip to Charlottesville, Va., last month. The trip was centered around a doctor's appointment, but we squeezed in some sightseeing and a couple of meals, too! Of course, Charlottesville is home to Thomas Jefferson's masterpiece, the University of Virginia. This also is the town where we had our mini-honeymoon in 2006, and has been a favorite travel spot for us for many years.

We dearly love Maharaja Indian Restaurant and made a stop there long enough to pick up some takeout for dinner. We love the entire menu, but we opted to split an order of vegetable korma, some pappadum (fried lentil wafers) and a couple of samosas (meat and vegetable filled pastries). The food was terrific, as always. Here’s a link to their menu, if you are inclined to visit. Vegetable korma is an easy, delicious recipe to make at home. Here is a version from

We also made a quick stop to one of our favorite stores, Foods of All Nations. I picked up some Indian spice mixes, a box of super crispy rice crackers, and a jar of olive tapenade. Of course we wandered through the extensive coffee and tea offerings, fresh produce, overwhelming hot sauces, and the extensive seafood selections. I could spend a grand in that store every time I walk through the doors! Of course, on our budget, I usually drop about 20 bucks.

After the doctor's appointment, we enjoyed a casual lunch at Guadalajara’s, before heading back to Bristol. This restaurant has terrific Mexican offerings, full of fresh ingredients. Their refried beans are something special – a bit spicy and silky smooth. I enjoyed chicken tacos that were fresh and tasty. Robert enjoyed a lunch combo plate and Miles had his go-to favorite, beef enchiladas. All were terrific!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sweets for the Sweet

Healing Hands Health Center in Bristol, TN, is accepting orders for giant cupcakes as part of its second annual Sweets for the Sweet fundraiser. Each cupcake underwrites the cost of patient care expenses, including medications and medical supplies. A donation of $50 will include a hand-delivered cupcake on Valentine’s Day to the person you choose. Also included is a personal message and a note saying a gift has been made to Healing Hands Health Center in their honor. The cupcakes are designed and donated by Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, Va.

This is a wonderful way to deliver a delicious gift to someone, while helping a local medical outreach project by giving uninsured workers access charitable health care. Healing Hands serves residents in Bristol TN/VA, and Blountville, Bluff City and Piney Flats, TN. For details about Healing Hands, click here. For more information on how to donate to the cause, click here.

The deadline to order a Valentine cupcake is Feb. 9, 2012, and quantities are limited. For more information, contact Helen Scott at (423) 652-2516 or