Happy Birthday Jones! I love you!
Happy Birthday Jones! I love you!
Each year as my birthday approaches, I remember how Ronnie and I used to joke about our February birthdays--how we were probably meant to be friends because we both had such hard heads and that people used to wonder why we were always together. He always called me baby, unless he was mad at me and then it was Ms. Stewart! A VeryVera event wasn’t complete without Ronnie. Nothing was planted in my yard without him and you could easily find us from day break until dusk when it was time to plant pansies, impatiens, or spread pine straw for the season. Work just wasn’t work when Ronnie was around.
I’ll never forget that call on December 23, 2007 saying that Ronnie had been rushed to the hospital. When I left work on Christmas Eve, I went straight to Doctor’s Hospital ICU and waited until I could go in. I held his hand and although he didn’t seem to know I was there….my heart tells me he did. He never woke back up. Ronnie died 2 days after my birthday on February 23. I think of him, especially during the month of February, and on this today. I can’t plant pansies in my yard to this day…just because those were ours. But this year I’m making a pledge to bring those back. This fall when everyone starts preparing their pansy beds, I’m going to prepare ours. I think Ronnie will be proud of my decision, and I promise that I will do my best to remember all his little tricks he used to use to guarantee that ours will look the best in town!
You’re still a big part of my life, Ronnie. I miss you and will always love you.
In the last few months, I have received numerous emails, calls, and notes from people--I even have people stopping me in the grocery store--just to tell me how much they miss the VeryVera Cafe. They miss the homemade soups, sandwiches and salads. They miss the friendly atmosphere of a neighborhood eatery. To all of these people, I have two words (and an ampersand): Finch & Fifth.
Nestled in the heart of Surrey Center, Finch & Fifth is a delightful restaurant for lunch, dinner, or a cocktail. The soups are so delicious that I want to lick the bowl when I was done! I'm not kidding! And the salads are fresh, and so flavorful--do not even get me started on their sandwiches. And guess who you'll find in the kitchen? Chef Tyrone from the VeryVera Cafe.
So if you are missing the VeryVera Cafe, and are wondering where to grab an amazing meal, now you know where to go: head to Finch & Fifth. There's a strong possibility that you'll see me there.
I received a very touching email Saturday night from a man who used to dine at the VeryVera Cafe. He said that, while he was deployed in Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013, he sent a cake to himself to share with coworkers, and sent cakes to other friends serving along with him. This note reminded me that I should be thankful for the wonderful memories I created for so many people and for the memories we all create on a daily basis--none of us ever know the impact we have on others. It also reminded me how fortunate we are as citizens of the United States of America, so I want to take this opportunity to thank you, Capt. Chad Young, for your service to our country, and your service to us all. I am truly grateful.
I've known Virginia Willis since 1997. We met while she was in Augusta spending some time with her Mom at Christmas, and she worked for VeryVera during that time. I am so proud of Virginia and all she has accomplished.
Virginia Willis has cooked Lapin Normandie with Julia Child, prepared lunch for President Clinton, and catered for Jane Fonda. She is the author of the acclaimed cookbooks, Bon Appétit, Y'all! Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking, and Basic to Brilliant, Y'all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company. She has appeared on Martha Stewart Living Television, Paula's Best Dishes with Paula Deen, Food Network's Chopped, and as judge on Thrown Down with Bobby Flay.
Since the first of January, Virginia has been writing and taking photos for the weekly Food Network blog, Down Home Comfort, which highlights authentic Southern cuisine. Be sure to check out her blog and to support Southern chef, and my friend, Virginia Willis.
The Wier/Stewart staff recently joined us for lunch at the VeryVera Café to celebrate the last few days of operation. Wier/Stewart, a full service advertising agency based in Augusta,GA, is responsible for the current VeryVera look, which the team rebranded sometime back. From packaging to website to marketing materials, Wier/Stewart designed it all; however, I owe a big thanks to a man named Porkchop.
Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman, a visual artist and graphic designer at Wier/Stewart, is the creative genius behind the VeryVera graphics. Concepts, fonts, color palate—Porkchop translated the VeryVera idea and experience into visuals that truly represent me and my company. When I picked the staff up in my van for a lunch road trip to the cafe that day, you know Porkchop sat up front with me. Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman, thank you for all of the LOVE that you put into all things VeryVera. You have a left a visual legacy, and I look forward to working with you on future projects.
Now that semi-retirement is here, I have more time for family. Granddaughter Lucy and I had some tummy time this morning. I know I am an over achiever, but wow! It looks like I must have worked little Lucy way to hard! She is worn out!
Five Years makes a tremendous amount of difference when you’re a little kid. As the older sister and the middle child, I think I took some of my frustrations out on my little sister. Just look at that face – how could I have been mean to her? As we grew, so did our relationship, and Lou has always had a very tender place in my heart. Our families and busy schedules prevent us from getting together very often; however, this past weekend we set all of that aside and had a wonderful time together. Today marks her birthday and I celebrate her life, her gifts, and her talents. She is truly one remarkable woman!
Happy Birthday Lou!!
1 can crescent rolls
4 oz. Cream cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 cups shredded chicken
2-3 TBSP hot sauce
Party Ranch dip:
16 oz sour cream
1 packet ranch seasoning mix
1 tbsp hot sauce
Bleu cheese crumbles for garnish
In a small mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, ranch dressing, celery, chicken, hot sauce, and cheddar cheese. Place crescent rolls in a circle on a baking sheet with the large part of the triangle on the inside part of the circle and the points facing out. Place a dollop of the chicken mixture onto each triangle. Once filled, fold the triangles over and bake at 375? for approximately 12 minutes.
To make the dip:
Mix sour cream, ranch seasoning, and hot sauce together. Garnish with bleu cheese crumbles. Serve in a small bowl in the center of the pastry ring.