Feelin’ Stronger Every Day

Really! I am. I usually lift weights once or twice a week. Now, with all my free time, I’ve been lifting free weights three or four times a week, and using heavier weights. I started swimming as well, as it is SO HOT here in Miami (like 98 degrees!). It feels great to jump in the pool after walking around the neighborhood. I’ve even lost two pounds!

My house is getting really organized. I bought two drawer organizers for my kitchen drawers and organized my kitchen “junk drawer”. All my drawers had kind of turned into “junk” drawers, now they are neat and tidy. I ordered some grey velvet hangers from Amazon and am slowly phasing out the ugly plastic white ones, for the skinnier, more elegant grey ones in my bedroom closet.

I’ve begun weeding and pruning around the yard, a little bit every day. We had a gentleman named Peter come by yesterday and repair our coral rock wall, that had been damaged by a gumbo limbo tree. He also repaired another part of the wall that had started crumbling. Zeke’s been raking leaves every morning, after he comes home (earlier and earlier it seems) from work.

“Look how great our yard looks!” he proclaimed proudly, one day last week.

“But there’s no one here to see it,” I said, sadly.

It’s kind of ironic when our house and yard look so good that we can’t have anyone over, but as a friend pointed out, we are here to see it and enjoy it. And when would we ever have the kind of time for all these cleaning and organizing projects? I still have many more things to do on my to-do list, so much I think I would panic if the stay-at-home orders are relaxed. Of course, that would be a good problem to have.

The highlight of my week was definitely getting to see and babysit my grandson Wyatt. His Dad got food poisoning and was unable to watch him Tuesday, so Gigi stepped in to babysit so his Mom could work. He rode his bike and I walked beside him, as we went to see the stuffed animals on 76 street.

My daughter A.J. was organizing an event for Women Who Rock, benefitting Lotus Children, children with Autism who are staying at Lotus House. The event, Denim and Diamonds, was Friday night and the rehearsal was Wednesday night, which is why I was baby-sitting.

Another milestone, I finally got out of my yoga clothes and wore a dress twice this week. The first was for a Zoom meeting for the Coral Gables Community Foundation. We discussed what the foundation is doing to help the community- distributing meals with Threefold Cafe to workers and their families in the Gables who have lost their jobs- and other topics. It was nice to see everyone (even through the computer), but I have to say there was a weird vibe to the meeting. Serious and the unpredictablity and uncertainty of the future weighed heavily on all of us.

The chair of the Gala, which was to be “La Vie en Rose”, a Paris-themed gala at the Biltmore Hotel, poo-pooed the idea that the gala would not go on in October. But the rest of us were silent, because really, who knows?

Things that we’ve lost.

And it dawned on me around the same time, that there will more than likely be no UM football games to attend this Fall. My husband and I are season ticket holders and really look forward to going to the games and tailgating with friends and family. Now, that doesn’t seem likely; and that makes me really sad. Going to UM football games and supporting the ‘Canes is part of what makes us, us.

Also, my Pinecrest Garden Club, which meets the second Tuesday of the month in the Hibiscus Room of Pinecrest Gardens, doesn’t seem likely to reconvene in September. Many of our members are elderly and we normally have around seventy people crammed into the room, eating, drinking and chatting in close knit groups, all things that don’t seem advisable until a vaccine is available. I’ve been sending photo cards to the members with a quote from Emily Dickinson, as a way to keep in touch.

So, the second time I donned a dress was Friday night for the Denim and Diamonds fundraiser my daughter was the event planner for. I put on a denim dress and my diamond earrings for the occasion. No one saw me but my familia, but that’s ok. The event was held on Facebook Live and many people joined in the fun, via Zoom. My nephews, Mike and James Gerrard, played their guitars from their living room and sang two songs; I was also able to see my sister Elise watching with her boyfriend. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, check out TheLotusChildren.org.

Dinners this week consisted of a Vegetable Lasagna on Sunday (with bread, roasted garlic and salad). The inspiration came from a lasagna I saw on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It was made with one layer red sauce, then lasagna noodles, one layer of ricotta and spinach, then noodles, one layer of pureed sweet potatoes, then noodles and another layer of ricotta and spinach, and topped with mozzarella and parmesan. Since it made a lot, I shared some with my sisters Kelley and Elise and my neighbor Maggie.

Vegetable lasagna.

One day, we just ate leftovers, Thursday we had Chicken and Vegetable Tikka Masala my sister Elise made, which I served with white rice. Friday, I had Wyatt, so we just had pasta. My enthusiasm for cooking interesting meals is waning. I made two pizzas on Saturday, made with a two-ingredient Pizza Dough that doesn’t require any yeast. Yeast has been a hot commodity in the pandemic.

Our take-out this week was from Root and Bone in South Miami. The Family Supper consisted of one fried chicken, biscuits, Mac and Cheese, coleslaw and corn for $40. It was all delicious and pick-up was curbside and easy. I also ordered Ribs, fried green tomatoes, sweet potato croquettes and a watermelon salad, all yummy, although the salad was a little wilted. I highly recommend Root and Bone‘s Family Supper. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

You know how they always ask chefs what their last meal would be? I asked Lauren and Zeke last night, where the first place they would want to eat when restaurants open again. Lauren said Hillstone, where she likes to meet a friend to get the Spinach Artichoke Dip and get a glass of wine. Zeke said Capital Grille to get a dry aged steak, with sides and a nice bottle of wine. He really is a meat and potatoes guy. I think I would like a nice seafood dinner, somewhere in the Keys, on the water. With music and the perfect margarita.

We finished two puzzles this week (well, it was really Zeke) and watching McMillions. We liked McMillions, but it’s no Tiger King. We also started watching a corny show- Listen to Your Heart on ABC, part of the Bachelor franchise, to sate our Monday night Bachelor withdrawals. I finished reading the book for my Book Club, Blood, Bones & Butter. It’s written by Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef and owner of a popular Soho restaurant named Prune. She wrote an article about closing her restaurant in the pandemic and what the future holds for Prune. Read about it (or listen to it on the Daily) at http://www.nytimes.com>closing-prune-restaurant-covid.

Emma just took her last exam and is set to graduate from F.S.U. this Saturday; Lauren’s in the middle of finals online at UM Law School. Other good news: our tenants in our Keys condo are finally leaving! They stayed an extra month, due to the pandemic and we’ve been dying to go down to our “little slice” of paradise.

Zeke and I are doing well. We’ve gotten into a pretty good system. He cleans the kitchen, I do the laundry. He cooks one night a week, we get take-out one night and I cook the other five. It’s starting to get a little dangerous though, because he’s getting used to this situation (me as hausfrau) and likes the fact we’re saving money by eating in and not having a housekeeper. He said:

“I like the way you fold the laundry. I don’t think we even need Isa anymore.”

Ugh, yes we do! My housekeeper texted me last week. I was hoping it was to tell me she was coming back, but she was just checking in. Hopefully, when restrictions loosen up, she will back at our house.

When Zeke and I first started walking together, we talked about which of the kids we thought would disregard the social distancing rules, and come home and give us the dreaded coronavirus. We had different theories of who the most likely suspect would be. Living in the pandemic is like being in an Agatha Christie murder mystery, where we sit around the living room and look at each other suspiciously. Emma has even turned the tables on us and said: “How do we know where you guys have been? You’re probably going to give it to us.” And every time someone goes to the grocery store (I’m still Instacarting), my heart drops. Twenty-four Publix grocery stores have employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

One thing about being in such close quarters with your spouse are the smells. Normally, we aren’t together 24/7, but now that we are… I had a friend who insisted separate bathrooms were the key to a happy marriage; I now know what’s she’s talking about. I now also know one month is the amount of time it takes for a toilet ring to develop. And Zeke has this habit of taking his socks off, and leaving them wherever he happens to be that is really starting to get on my nerves.

I’ve got sock in strange places.

I saw a meme with a husband and wife on the couch where she says: “You’re breathing too hard” and I get it. It especially bothers me when he comes into the family room after dinner, with a glass full of ice cream and I hear the clink, clink, clink of the spoon hitting the glass. For some reason, it reminds me of my ex-husband and really bugs the s**t out of me. He knows this and persists on doing it. I just have to leave the room. Deep breaths.

And, even with all the ice-cream eating and wine drinking, Zeke’s lost seven pounds. Another reason to want to kill him.

On the day we had Wyatt, he biked, swam, took a bath, ate dinner and was still up around 9, with no nap. He was exhausted, but refused to sleep. I gave him apple juice and milk (his drink of choice) in his sippy cup, let him watch one of “his shows”,(which are inane) but then turned on ours (McMillions) and he was furious. He started crying. I told him he could either watch our show or go to bed.

“I don’t ever want to be in this family ever again!” he said.

I feel you baby, but our family is all we’ve got right now. We may even eye each other suspiciously, but at the end of the day, we all go to bed under one roof. Luckily, after his outburst, he promptly went to sleep.

So, here’s the Two Ingredient Pizza Dough from the Food Network. One of the ingredients is Greek Yogurt. The recipe called for full fat, but I only had 2% and it turned out fine. I made one with Fig Jam, carmelized onions and Gorgonzola cheese, the other with marinara sauce, mozzarella, basil and parmesan cheese. These were all things I had in the fridge. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use an upside down cookie sheet. The hardest part of this recipe, is you have to knead the dough for eight minutes, but I find it’s good therapy and we can all use some therapy right now.

Two-Ingredient Pizza Dough Food Network Kitchen


  • 2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • Pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella, for topping


  • 1 Put a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
  • 2 Put the flour and yogurt in a large bowl and mix with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. (The dough may appear dry and crumbly at first, but it will come together as you mix it.) Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and slightly elastic, about 8 minutes, dusting with more flour if neccessary. If the dough feels too dry, add water, a tablespoon at a time and continue kneading until it is soft and pliable. Divide the dough in half, roll into balls and then use a rolling pin to roll out into two 10-inch pizzas. Dust the back of another inverted baking sheet or pizza stone with more flour and place a circle of dough on top.
  • 3 Top the dough round with sauce and shredded cheese as desired, leaving a half-inch bare border around the edge. Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone or baking sheet, top as desired and put the sheet in the oven to bake. Cook until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a large spatula, transfer the pizza to a cutting board and let sit 5 minutes.

We are all human beings. We all have a role to play and together is the only way we will make it out the other side. Be kind, be present, be well.

Micheal Beltrane, chef at Ariete, Taurus. Chugs

Up next: Fun Kitchen projects and How to Shop Safely at the Grocery Store

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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