One Savannah Evacuee’s Account: Waiting and Watching Hurricane Irma

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We unplugged electronics and brought inside all of our outdoor patio furniture, including the grill and my potted herbs.

During a natural disaster, when one is forced to sort through their belongings to decide what to take and what to leave behind, it provides perspective. Tonight I sit on my parent’s windy patio in Blythe, Georgia, a quaint little community outside of Augusta, where my husband and I, along with our 10-pound Shih Tzu, Ewok, and my in-laws have evacuated from Savannah. It’s been a long, unsettling and anxious few days, traveling, waiting and wondering if our homes will be standing when we return and what path Hurricane Irma will decide to take. Watching the weather and the news on TV is grueling, as one of the most unpredictable and historically strong hurricanes makes its way passed Puerto Rico and the Bahamas up through the west coast of Florida.

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My Suburban and husband’s truck are loaded down with luggage, including a precious wedding canvas I could never leave behind.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal called for a mandatory evacuation of Savannah on Thursday last week. That’s when we began packing our bags, praying for the best and preparing for the worst.

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We set about bringing inside our front porch furniture and securing anything outside with the potential of blowing away during hurricane and tropical storm-force winds. We filled our bathtub with water in case the power is out when we return home.

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An empty patio appears lifeless as we await the fate of Hurricane Irma.

We secured our city garbage cans and got out of town a day before the primary evacuation began to avoid heavy traffic as much as possible, joining the thousands of other Floridians already on the road.

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In the background, a nervous Shih Tzu waits to go for a ride.

As I sorted through my closet, I chose to bring my best work clothes, my fall boots and some other clothing items that are newly purchased and well fitting. I opened my jewelry box to gather only the most valuable and sentimental pieces – a Claire’s friendship necklace that two of my best friends and I share and gave to each other in the 6th grade. It hung on the rear-view mirror of my Z-71 Chevrolet Camaro throughout my high school years; a gold seashell necklace left to me from my late grandmother Betty; a gold palm tree necklace that my husband gave me on the day before we wed and a sterling silver six pence necklace custom made for me on a trip to London from a dear family member. I tossed in a few other pieces of value, before grabbing up some irreplaceable photographs.

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These were the clothes and shoes that didn’t make the cut.

From there, I made my way to pack a few things from the kitchen. Oh, my precious kitchen. How could I possibly pack up all the things I hold dear in the heart of my home? My favorite cookbooks, my treasured appliances, my cake stands and cherished dishes. I quickly realized how selfish and insignificant my dilemma seemed, as I considered what cookbooks were worth saving, when others’ homes in the Caribbean Islands had already been leveled by the devastation and catastrophic storm surge of the Category 5 Hurricane.

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My husband, Kurt, loaded up our vehicles and drove separately behind us to Augusta.

I found myself getting emotional as we locked up the house. Uncertainty and worry, anxiety and fear, all of these emotions whirled through my mind as I pulled out of the driveway. When would we be cleared to come home? Would we have a home to return to? Would a tree fall through the roof? Would flood waters overtake everything? Would my furniture and all the material possessions I’d worked so hard to attain be there when we got back? What would happen to my place of business? Would it too survive the storm? So many thoughts and questions…so much unpredictability.

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From left: Rebekah’s beloved 8-year-old Shih Tzu Ewok, Rebekah, her husband Kurt, brother-in-law Mac and mother-in-law Ms. Leslie arrive safely in Blythe after a nearly 3-hour drive from the Georgia coast.

The scriptures that are written on my heart combat these very thoughts as I pray for that peace that passes all understanding. Luke 12:25 says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” I also think of Philippians 4:6-7 which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

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Mac, Kurt and Joe (Rebekah’s Dad) secure a generator in case power is lost. 

As of the latest tracking information, Hurricane Irma has weakened to a Category 2 Hurricane and has shifted west, further away from Savannah, although strong winds and potential tornadoes are still a serious threat. No one can really know the impact this hurricane will have on our city and our Nation until it has passed.  What I do know tonight though, I am so grateful for: I have the shelter and safe haven of family, a place to go and the means and resources to get there. I am not unaware that so many evacuees are without these simple comforts.

Join me in praying for a weak and quick end to Hurricane Irma. I believe in a Jesus who can still speak to the wind and calm the storm.

 

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Dip for the Win

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Dip
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Dip makes a sweet snack for enjoying with pretzels, vanilla wafers, fresh strawberries and ginger snaps.

Twas the day after the Super Bowl and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even an Atlanta Falcons fan. Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Dip for the Win”

Finals and Finishing Strong

I have just one week of finals to go before I complete my second semester of culinary school. Finals week marks the end of the most rigorous 16-week schedule I’ve experienced yet, and come December 9, it will be time to celebrate! Continue reading “Finals and Finishing Strong”

Have a Sweet St. Patrick’s Day with Green Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser of Some Kinda Good in Savannah, Georgia, wishing everyone a ‘Top of the Mornin” from Lafayette Square on St. Patrick’s Day , March 17, 2015.

It’s that infamous time of year in The Hostess City when everyone, no matter who your people are, becomes Irish for a day. Since I met and married a bonafide Savannahian, my life has never been the same. On March 17 each year, come rain or shine, we will don our green and orange, raise our glasses, pack our picnic baskets and join the hundreds of thousands of others in the Spanish moss-covered oak tree city of Savannah, Georgia.

Continue reading “Have a Sweet St. Patrick’s Day with Green Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies”

Some Kinda Good Teams Up with Paula Deen LIVE!

Paula

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!

I couldn’t be more excited to announce that the Paula Deen team contacted little ol’ me this week with some GREAT news! I’ve been invited to attend Paula Deen Live! in Savannah as a special guest on Friday, August 8 where I’ll be LIVE tweeting and posting about the show on Facebook from the historic Lucas Theatre!

The surprise came earlier this week when I checked my food blog’s email account. The subject line read, “The Heart of Home Cookin’ Coming to Savannah, GA!” It was Paula’s social media coordinator requesting my presence in the Hostess City. Be still my heart. As a life long fan of Paula’s, you can imagine my excitement when I read these words:

To get right to the point, we came across your blog, Some Kinda Good – and we love it! Paula is so excited about her LIVE event, and she wanted to invite some of her biggest fans and supporters, specifically Southern bloggers and influencers.

Do y’all know how many Southern bloggers there are in the world?? I am beside myself and honored that they chose me. Mama and them already purchased their seats!

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Join the conversation using #PDLIVE!

If you’d like to join the fun, check out Paula’s website for all the details or, follow me on Twitter and LIKE Some Kinda Good on Facebook so you don’t miss a thing. Join the conversation on social media using #PDLIVE. During the event, word also has it that there’ll be a few small surprises in store for you! Paula’s come back tour kicks off on Friday, August 1 with stops all over the country. Be sure to check back after the event for a follow-up post, too. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Here’s a sneak peek at the fun that awaits. Good times…See you soon PAULA!


Related Content:

My Inspiration
Not Your Average Hash Brown Casserole
Shrimp and Grits at Home
Paula Deen is Not a Racist Y’all

St. Patrick’s Day Episode of “Statesboro Cooks” including Featured Recipes On Air Now

A brand new episode of “Statesboro Cooks” is on air now! You can watch the 30-minute program featuring my St. Patrick’s Day menu on local cable Channel 99 at 7:30 p.m., 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily, or right now by clicking on the video below. Featuring the musical talent of lead vocalist and guitarist Justin Dukes of The Tiger Creek Band, this show was the most fun episode to film yet! Special thanks to Hunter Cattle Company, Sugar Magnolia Bakery & Cafe, and Simply Sweet Cakery for all your help in making the meal Some Kinda Good! Without further ado, enjoy the show and the recipes below. Cheers to St. Patrick’s Day!

“Statesboro Cooks” is a Georgia Southern University Department of Communication Arts multimedia communications team production.  

Mixed Green Salad with Seasonal Strawberries and Candied Georgia Pecans
Mixed Green Salad with Seasonal Strawberries and Candied Georgia Pecans

Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Strawberries

  • Organic Mixed Greens
  • Seasonal, Fresh Strawberries, hulled and halved
  • Candied Georgia Pecans, toasted
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Feta Cheese
  • Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Directions:
Toss all ingredients (except dressing) together in a trifle bowl. Serve alongside Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Soda Bread. To candy pecans, dry roast the nuts in a saucepan until fragrant. Add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar, stirring until melted and coated evenly. Remove from the heat. For the dressing, combine equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil by whisking briskly. Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Dress salad lightly.

Shepherd's Pie Featuring Hunter Cattle Company's Grass-Fed Beef
Shepherd’s Pie Featuring Hunter Cattle Company’s Grass-Fed Beef

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 2 pounds Hunter Cattle Company Ground Beef
  • 4 Large Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 stick of Unsalted Butter
  • 8 oz. Sour Cream
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Bundle of Walker Farms Rainbow Carrots
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 Large Onion, Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Sharp Cheddar, Grated
  • Bella D’ Olivia Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Flat Leaf Parsley, for Garnish
  • Salt, Pepper, Dried Thyme

Directions:
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring it to a boil. Liberally salt the water. Add potatoes and cover. Let boil for 20-25 minutes until fork tender. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet or 10-inch frying pan. Add in diced onion and carrots stirring until soft. Season with salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes, add in ground beef and brown. Stir in garlic. Season again with salt and pepper, adding in thyme. Incorporate peas and corn. Let cook for about five minutes. Drain potatoes and put them back in the same stock pot. Add in butter, heavy cream, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher. Grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Pour ground beef mixture into the dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

The spread!
The spread!

Irish Coffee
Serves 1

  • 1 Cup Brewed Strong Coffee
  • 3 Tablespoons of Irish Whiskey such as Jameson
  • Fresh Whipped Cream
  • CinnamonDirections:Stir three tablespoons of whiskey into one cup of brewed coffee. Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, sprinkle with cinnamon.

Announcing the St. Patrick’s Day Episode of “Statesboro Cooks” Starring Country Music Artist Justin Dukes

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My boyfriend Kurt (right) and I at the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013.

March is finally here and that’s something to get excited about for SO many reasons–1) I’ve got a new episode of “Statesboro Cooks” premiering this Friday, 2) Daylight Savings Time and 3) St. Patrick’s Day!

Here in Statesboro, I’m just a few miles down the road from Savannah, Georgia where one of the largest parties celebrating Irish history and culture, second only to New York City, takes place in the United States every year. Last year was my first experience at the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and what a blast it was! My Savannah-born-and-raised boyfriend and I donned our green, packed a festive picnic including Paula Deen’s Green Grits Pie and Trisha Yearwood’s Green Punch (spiked of course) and spent the day on Johnson Square playing beer pong with complete strangers at 10 a.m., watching the horse and buggies pass us by and enjoying the sound of bagpipes. It was an unforgettable event I believe everyone should experience at least once.

On my upcoming episode of “Statesboro Cooks,” a local 30-minute televised cooking program produced by students in the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University, I share an Irish menu featuring Shepherd’s Pie and a Mixed Green Salad with seasonal strawberries and candied Georgia pecans. To round out the meal, I get a little help from some local businesses: Simply Sweet Cakery provides dessert (you won’t believe these cupcakes!) and Sugar Magnolia Bakery and Cafe sends me home with a loaf of fresh-baked Irish Soda Bread.

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Extra Stout Guinness Beer

With a couple of extra stout Guinness beers and an Irish Coffee or 12, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in true Savannah style. Also on the show, I couldn’t be more excited to introduce one of my dear and talented friends from Vidalia Georgia’s Tiger Creek Band, lead vocalist and guitarist Justin Dukes. Justin entertains us with one of his new singles, “Rolling with the Flow,” and the two of us join voices singing Luke Bryan’s, “Tailgate Blues.” This is my favorite episode to date and I’m on the edge of my seat just thinking about it. Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!

Justin Dukes (right) and I met in the line during American Idol auditions during the summer of 2011 in Charleston, SC.
Justin Dukes (right) and I met in the line at American Idol auditions during the summer of 2011 in Charleston, S.C.

Tune in to “Statesboro Cooks”on local cable channel 99 at 7:30 p.m. seven days a week beginning Friday, March 7. The show will also air again at 1 p.m and 1 a.m. daily. Be sure to check back right here on “Some Kinda Good” to get my St. Patrick’s Day menu, including all the recipes featured. If you’re not local, no worries! The program will be available on my blog.

Now, here’s an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look on set during the filming of “Statesboro Cooks.” Will you be watching? Thanks for tuning in!

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New to Some Kinda Good? Welcome!
 A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” I’m the Statesboro Herald food columnist as well as host and executive co-producer of “Statesboro Cooks.” Some Kinda Good is a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. I hope you’ll stick around, and follow me on Twitter at @SKGFoodBlog or find me on Facebook. Thanks for visiting!

Sophisticated Flavor in a Laid Back Kind of Style

wpid-IMG_20140125_193457.jpgCoco’s Sunset Grille
Tybee Island, Georgia

During Tybee Island Restaurant Week, I had the privilege of meeting a fellow blogger–one of my longtime blog followers, and discovering a new place I had seen in the distance many times while crossing over the Lazaretto Creek Bridge, but had never taken the time to stop and explore. After a little menu research on participating restaurants, the Fried Strawberries at Coco’s Sunset Grille caught my eye and the marina filled with shrimp boats and sunset views lured me in.

wpid-PhotoGrid_1390937193152.jpgImmediately, Coco’s has the feel of a fun and festive Florida vibe with its bright, cheerful paint colors and lively bar. While my boyfriend, Kurt and I were waiting to meet our friends, Jon and Lydia, we took a walk around the docks and saw the Bait & Tackle Shop and Kayak Rentals on the marina.

wpid-PhotoGrid_1390760034387.jpgThis view never gets old.

wpid-20140125_174415.jpgOur waitress, Megan, a laid back girl in holey jeans and a Hawaiian shirt, had a great sense of humor and made sure we were always taken care of.

wpid-20140125_173057.jpgWe kicked things off with a couple of Landshark Lagers and dove right in to making our selections. For just $25, the special menu offered choices in appetizer, dinner and dessert categories. In the appetizer round, we had our choice of French Onion Soup, a Shrimp Cake, Fried Green Tomatoes or Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.

wpid-20140125_175720.jpgServed with a Thai-chili sauce, the scallops were presented atop a bed of greens alongside an inviting wedge of lemon. From the plating to the service, Coco’s had me happy at every turn.

wpid-20140125_181118.jpgFor my main course, I ordered the Shrimp Cakes with sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes. This was something new for me. I had eaten crab cakes before, but never a shrimp cake. Cooked to perfection, the plump, wild Georgia shrimp were sweet within the seasoned breading and left me wanting more. Rustic including the red skins, the mashed potatoes sang on the plate. The house-made remoulade was mayonnaise based and one waitress commented, “I put it on everything. I even dip my fries in it.”

Other dinner selections included Sirloin Steak Marsala with scalloped potatoes and grilled asparagus, and Thai Tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies. Coco’s is the place to go for sophisticated flavors minus the fuss of fine dining.

The Fried Strawberries totally surpassed my expectations! After the delicious meal we’d eaten, this came as no surprise. Served with fresh, sweetened whipped cream and a pretty pink strawberry sauce, the fresh fruit was fried in pancake batter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. I can’t wait to recreate this experience at home. They were Some Kinda Good! 

So much of a customer’s dining experience is affected by a restaurant’s environment. From the attitude of the staff to the sound of live entertainment and the tastefully decorated, clean bathrooms, Coco’s Sunset Grille is a place I will definitely return, especially in the summertime. Their website took the words right out of my mouth–“Just add an ice-cold beer…great music, and a few of your best friends, and you’ve got a recipe for Tybee living the way it’s meant to be.”

My friend Jon (right), editor of The SOG City Oracle blog.
My friend Jon (right), editor of “The SOG City Oracle” food blog.

Special thanks to my fellow blogger and new-found friend, Jon, of “The SOG City Oracle” (SOG is abbreviated for South of Gandy). Though we’d interacted before in the blogsphere, our visit to Coco’s was the first time we’d met in person. He’d suggested a “blogger convergence” during Tybee Island Restaurant Week, and we had such a great time meeting (and eating!) together. On his Tampa, Florida blog, Jon shares his passion for food and more, with “only an occasional opinionated detour.” While reading “The SOG City Oracle,” you’ll appreciate his witty sense of humor, be enlightened by his Quote of the Day and you’ll come across several restaurants worth paying a visit.

Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!

Coco's Sunset Grille on Urbanspoon

Explore A Taste of Tybee January 17-26

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Image courtesy of VisitTybee.com.

Seafood on the Georgia coast with good company gets me more excited than a child on Christmas morning. Moreover, restaurants that want to show off their menu offerings at affordable prices are that much more enticing. Tybee Island Restaurant Week begins this Friday, and I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy a little taste of Tybee, from beer battered oysters at North Beach Bar and Grill or Killer Key Lime Pie at Fannie’s on the Beach to homemade pizza at Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze. Why not join in the fun at perhaps the most laid-back destination on the Southeastern seacoast?

Fantastic place, I'd go back again!
North Beach Bar and Grill is offering a free dessert course and coffee during Tybee Island Restaurant Week!
TIRW
Image courtesy of VisitTybee.com.

From January 17 – 26, 2014, each participating restaurant will offer 3-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $25-$30 per person (not including tax and gratuity). “Prix fixe” simply means the chefs have predetermined a few of the most delicious selections to showcase in each category–appetizer, entrée and dessert. You choose whatever suits your palate, then sit back and enjoy the experience. It’s a fantastic time to explore a new restaurant and experience variety in a wallet-friendly way. On my list of places to stop? Tybee Island Social Club and Coco’s Sunset Grille. Bacon wrapped scallops or fried strawberries, anyone? Yes, please!

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The Crab Shack is known for its famous Lowcountry Boil.

As it turns out, many of the restaurants I’ve reviewed right here on “Some Kinda Good™”are participating! Check them out below:

The Crab Shack – “Where Friendship and Fine Food Collide”
Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze – “A Heavenly Vibe at Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze”
Sting Ray’s Seafood – “White Zinfandel and Wild Georgia Shrimp”
North Beach Grill – “Pastured Poultry Week: So God Made a Farmer”

"The Federale"  at Huc-A-Poos: Mexican pizza with grilled chicken, red onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and jalapenos.
“The Federale” at Huc-A-Poos: Mexican pizza with grilled chicken, red onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and jalapenos.
The Wild Georgia Shrimp at Sting Ray's Seafood are caught and served fresh from the Atlantic.
The Wild Georgia Shrimp at Sting Ray’s Seafood are caught and served fresh from the Atlantic.

Get a complete list of participating restaurants, including the restaurant week menus by visiting this page on the Tybee Island Restaurant Week website. See you on the coast!