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From Strangers to Friends

Think back to when you met your dearest friends. Was it easy? Was it hard? I met one of my dearest friends when she moved in down the road. I took her a pie to welcome her and she thought I was crazy. We’ve been inseparable ever since!

They say it is easier when you are a kid. As a kid you just start with a question like, “What’s your favorite dinosaur?” and you are in! As an adult, its a little tougher. If you ask someone about their favorite dinosaur, they might think you’re a little strange.

One of the things I love about my little café, is how it brings people together. We have regular customers who come in and have gotten to know other regulars. I love to hear them calling their greetings to each other from across the room. Sometimes they’ll even pull up a chair or share a table.

Earlier this week, I was privileged to watch a new friendship bloom. The dining room was full and finally a table opened up. The next party in line was a single lady but the table could seat 4 people. She went to the two ladies behind her in line and offered to share her table. They agreed and by the end of the meal they all exchanged phone numbers!

I have such a great group of people who dine with us and I’m honored to call them my friends. Thank you for your kindness to others as you walk through my doors.

Below is the recipe for what my family had for dinner tonight. I hope you enjoy!

Stay Peachy, friends!

-Charity

*** Cafe update: The patio hasn’t been open lately due to weather. I do have heaters out there but it can be a loosing battle if the wind is too cold. We’ll open it back up as soon as we can.

***Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! Our dinner will be Friday, February 11, 2022. Reservations are booking up fast! Call soon to put your name on the list. 317-825-0669

Crack Chicken Pasta One-Pot-Meal

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds Chicken
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 package of Ranch Mix
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 pound pasta (I use bow tie)
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 cup Spinach (or more if you really like spinach!)
  • 6 pieces crumbled, cooked, bacon

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Use a 12-14″ covered skillet, pour a drizzle of olive oil in the pan, and heat on medium. Cook the chicken till done. To skip this step, buy a bag of diced cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken.

After chicken is done, add Ranch mix, broth, and pasta. Cover and cook until pasta is done. Add cheese, cream cheese, bacon, and spinach. Stir till cheeses are melted.

Thank you for being a friend!

The season of teeny-tiny socks

Oh my! It has been a hot minute since I have posted anything! Life has been quite the roller coaster and I’ve been enjoying the ride!

Most recently, my husband and I have been remodeling our bedroom. When we got married in 2003, we bought a beautiful cherry bedroom suite. It is big, sturdy, heavy, and exactly what I wanted. So we have had this set for over 18 years. We have moved into three houses with this set and it always feels like home. This weekend we broke it down and changed it out for a perfect farmhouse-style mismatched set that goes with our old farmhouse. I’m so excited about the new look but it was such a shock to wake up not surrounded by my cherry bedroom suite!! Then to make matters more interesting, while cleaning out the dresser, I found teeny, tiny little boy socks that have to be 15 years old. My boys are now 15(almost) and 17 and teeny, tiny, cute socks are a thing of the distant past. Yet, here they were. The memories and nostalgia that came with this weekend were a roller coaster in themselves.

I’m so thankful for that beautiful bedroom set that represents the first 18 years of our marriage. The years of my boys running to jump on the bed and wake us up or them falling asleep between us. The little clothes that filled the drawers before they warmed their feet. The piles of coats during holiday dinners or nieces and nephews taking their naps.

There is a season for everything and as our lives together move forward so do the memories we make. It’s ok to transition into the next phase. I love thinking of those tiny socks but I’m so proud of the men in progress who fill the big stinky ones now.

I’ll try to not let another 8 months pass between posts!

Stay Peachy, Friends!

-Charity

Maybe 2010? Ma, Gavin, Cole (nephew), & Garrett****** Days of teeny-tiny socks

2021 Elliott Brothers (Gavin & Garrett) ****Tiny socks are long gone!

Grandma Elzada’s Recipe

Lovin’ life!

You can’t feed them from an empty cupboard. Make sure to replenish yours every once in awhile!

Stay Peachy, Friends!

-charity

Campfire Garlic Butter Steak & Potatoes

  • Strip steak (sliced into strips, marinated in oil, 1 clove of pressed garlic, salt & pepper over night)
  • Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 stick butter (NOT MARGARINE!)
  • 1/2 Onion (sliced)
  • Red Potatoes (diced into bite sized pieces)

Make fire in fire ring & place cast iron skillet on grate over fire. Add butter, onions, potatoes, & mushrooms. Cook until tender stirring often. Once tender, push veggies to side (or remove) add steak. Don’t over cook. Once done, add veggies back in. Pull off fire, toss, together & serve!

Stepping out of that comfort zone isn’t for the weak…

It has been a busy and exciting week at Just Peachy Cafe! When I first opened, I had the opportunity to use a computer system or old fashioned pen and paper. I opted for pen and paper. It made me feel more in control and well. let’s be honest, when starting a business you have to count every penny! BUT, after a successful first year, we were able to install a new system and you’ll be seeing the changes when you come in! The new computer system will help us be more efficient in serving you.

Business is constantly changing and evolving. It can be exciting and scary all at the same time. Transitioning from such a tried and true, simple method to such a complex program was a bit nerve wracking. Apparently, the saying isn’t true though, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! We just had to be brave enough to get out of our comfort zone to try it.

So next time you come in and the server is taking your order with a small computer, please be patient and speak slowly!

Stay Peachy, Friends

-Charity

Let’s do a recipe that really gets you out of your comfort zone from a woman who knew a lot about being out of her comfort zone…..

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into lardons
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups red wine, like a chianti
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 small pearl onions
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 herb bouquet (4 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf)
  • 1 pound fresh white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 Simmer bacon lardons in 4 cups water for 10 minutes (Lardon is the French culinary term referring to thin strips of bacon, cut approximately 1/4-inch thick). Drain and pat dry.
  • 2 Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large Dutch oven, sauté the bacon in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 3 minutes, until it starts to lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • 3 Dry the beef with a few paper towels for better browning. In batches, sear the beef on all sides in the Dutch oven. Set aside with the bacon.
  • 4 Back in the pot, add the sliced carrots and onions; sauté in fat until browned, about 3 minutes. If there’s any excess fat, drain it now.
  • 5 Add the bacon and beef back to the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Toss. Sprinkle with flour and toss once more. Place in the center of the oven for 4 minutes.
  • 6 Remove pot from oven; toss beef and place back in the oven for 4 more minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and reduce the heat to 325°F.
  • 7 To the pot, add the wine and stock. The liquid should barely cover the meat and vegetables. Add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme. Bring to a light simmer on the stove, then cover and simmer in the lower part of the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is easily pierced.
  • 8 In the last hour of cooking, bring 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons oil to a medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the pearl onions and toss around in the fat until they’ve browned, 10 minutes. Then stir in 1/2 cup beef stock, a small pinch of salt and pepper and the herb bouquet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the onions for about 40 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated, and the onions are tender.
  • 9 Remove the onions and set aside. Discard the herb bouquet and wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining butter and oil and bring to a medium heat.
  • 10 Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan to coat with the butter.
  • 11 Place a colander over a large pot. Drain the beef stew through the colander and into the pot. Place the pot with the sauce over a medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, skimming any fat on top. Pour the beef and vegetables back into the Dutch oven. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot. Pour the sauce over the beef mix and simmer an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian.
An amazing opportunity to visit the Smithsonian while in Washington D.C. with the Indiana School Nutrition Association in 2019

A year of trials & blessings

March 16, 2020…. The restaurant was packed. Every seat was full. I think I even gave a customer a hug when she came in. Then our Governor dropped the bomb on us. Every restaurant in Indiana was required to shut their dining room doors and function on carry out only starting the next day. Just Peachy was 2 days shy of celebrating 4 months of business. When opening, I just kept saying if I could make it through winter, I’d be good. Then COVID gets thrown in there too? Restaurants that had been in business for years were falling. It was terrifying. I had only been open 4 months.

My staff went home to not return until May. My mom, best friend, her kids, and my kids all ran the restaurant for the next 2 months on carry out only. Prices of supplies sky rocketed, while other items just couldn’t be ordered. BUT.. the support from our community was amazing. We even had one faithful customer come in and lay down a $100 bill. Said he hadn’t been able to make it in lately because his office was closed too but he wanted to help. Small town Shelbyville made a HUGE difference to us little mom and pop places.

This week marks one year since this happened to Just Peachy and my brother and sisters in the industry. We do what we do because we want to serve you. We love seeing your faces and hearing the ‘mmmms’ as you take that first bite. We love celebrating with you and meeting every new person that comes to visit us. Without you, we have no business doing what we do. We missed you during the shut down. We have missed you during this last year as everyone is distancing themselves from one another. Some of you have been trickling back in, and I’m so excited to see you! I CANNOT WAIT for the rest of you to come back too!

I have a sign by my register that says ‘Too Blessed to be Stressed’. That is what we are here at Just Peachy. We might be finishing up a year of trials but there are always trials. There will be more, the restaurant business isn’t easy! How you handle the trials will determine your success or your demise.

Stay Just Peachy, Friends.

-Charity

Grandma Elzada’s Pickle Recipe
Our faithful pandemic workers during carry out only.
E-learning in the morning and curbside deliveries during lunch!

“No” is not a bad word

I am a terrible juggler. Like in literally juggling. I cannot keep all 3 balls in the air at one time. I am not sure if it is hand eye coordination or lack of focus, but it is not my thing. Good thing too, since there hasn’t been much work around for clowns lately!

Now when you talk about metaphorical juggling (home, work, volunteering, side work, helping friends, running kids, and on and on), I’ve got that down. I became a professional metaphorical juggler years ago. I was really proud of that for a while. Then, you know what I figured out? I was tired. Too many balls in the air and it is exhausting keeping them all going. When the kids were little, I was the room mom, on the PTO, sold cooking items for a direct selling company, ran fundraisers, and worked full time. I am not complaining because I loved it all, but I hadn’t mastered the word ‘no’ yet.

Life isn’t a race to see who is the busiest. No one wins in that race. By filling every minute of our days with ‘stuff’ we miss the important things. I love sitting and listening to my boys tell me about their days. My oldest, who is 16, will sit and talk to me for hours. My youngest, 14 years old, talks about his future and college. If I never say ‘no’ to more duties and more commitments, I’d loose that time with them. A balanced life requires prioritizing. That is the reason I’m writing this blog at 5am on a Monday morning instead of Sunday like I usually do. I said ‘no’ to the blog yesterday, and ‘yes’ to the family.

Don’t get me wrong. We still need to help our fellow man, be kind to one another, and step up when we can. We also, for our own sanity and well being, need to know when we just can’t. Know when too much is just too much. I always feel like I’m most productive when I am busy, BUT when things get too much then everything I’m working on suffers. You’ve heard “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Yeah, that is a hard lesson to learn.

So don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Keep that priority list in your head and know your limits. I don’t want to win the ‘Busiest woman in Shelby county’ award. Someone else can have it. I’d rather win the ‘Happiest woman in Shelby county’ award. I hear there are multiple spots for first place in that category.

In the spirit of PTO and Room Moms, here is my favorite party punch recipe.

Keep it Peachy, Friends!

-Charity

Party Punch

  • 1 carton Orange Sherbet (or another solid color. DO NOT use rainbow, it is ugly)
  • 1 Pineapple juice (tall can)
  • 2 – 2 Liters of Sprite, 7UP, or Ginger ale

Put sherbet in punch bowl, Pour 1/2 pineapple juice in and 1-2 liter. Let sherbet melt some. Taste. Add more pineapple juice and Sprite as needed.

Behold, the beauty of the mountain

Writing a blog is not as easy as some might think. I spend the week trying to figure out what might possibly be interesting enough to write about that people would want to read. Some of you know me well. Some of you are new friends brought on from the cafe. Some of you might have just stumbled on this blog looking for a good recipe. No matter your reason for being here, thank you for reading.

As the weather warms up, my attention starts to drift to the woods a lot. I’m a hiker. Love everything about it. I love the challenge of the climb, the quietness of the surroundings, the hiker chit-chat, the weight of all my belongings on my back, and I even love the mud. I have a very particular place that I enjoy the most though: The Appalachian Trail. I discovered the beauty of the trail 5 years ago and I have been hooked ever since. I try to make it to a section of the trail once or twice a year. “A section?”, you might ask. The whole trail runs from Georgia to Maine, it crosses 14 states, and is 2190 miles total. Some people hike the whole thing in one swoop, which takes about 6 months. Others split it up into sections and complete it over multiple years. I am a section hiker. 6 months away from my family is a little much for me. I think the most amazing thing for me is the scenery from the top. Knowing that the same God who could make such beauty, chose to make me as well, is very humbling. It is a good reminder that we all have a purpose here or we wouldn’t be here.

I learn something new with each hike. Not necessarily about hiking but about myself. What I can do, where my limits are, and who I can be when things get challenging. Our last hike was 3 straight days and 2 nights in complete rain. I mean all rain, all the time. I learned that (1) I don’t like hiking in the rain and (2) everyone gets to the top in their own time. I realized I have to set my own pace, that I cannot achieve my goals on someone else’s timeline. Sometimes the things I learn are things I already know, they just hit you in the face when you are out in the middle of nowhere.

Since hiking season is just starting, I’m sure I’ll bore you with more hiking/backpacking stories as the year goes on. My first trip out was a doozy and will make a great story some day! Until then, happy trails to you (whether you are on foot, wheels, or hooves)

Stay Just Peachy, Friends!

-Charity

Campfire Bananas

  • Bananas
  • Mini Marshmellows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Any other toppings you might like (strawberries, peanut butter chips, carmel)
  • Foil

Cut banana peel long ways down the middle to make a banana pocket. Fill with toppings of your choice. Double wrap it in foil.

*If you are camping, put the foil wrapped bananas in the hot coals until the chocolate is melted.

*If you are at home, put the foil wrapped bananas on a baking sheet and heat at 350° for about 10 minutes or until chocolate is melted. If putting in the over, a single layer of foil will be enough.

Eat right out of the foil and banana peel!

The AT is marked with these white blazes to keep you on the trail.
The Great Smokey Mountains sunset view

Positive Thoughts, Positive Outcomes

I found myself at Hobby Lobby this week. It is one of my favorite stores. If I want to make something, I find the components there. If I don’t have time to make it, I can usually find a finished product there. Best store ever, in my opinion. So here I was, walking through the aisles that were all decked out for spring and I couldn’t stop smiling under my mask. All the spring things, the bright colors, and the upbeat music was really helping my mood. I’m not saying I was in a bad mood exactly, just the winter blues mood. Know what I’m talking about? So much snow, so cold, so much negativity on the internet – it all just weighs on a person.

Then today, the weather got up to a balmy 45° and sunny! Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing. This sunshine girl was LOVING it! Not only that, someone started a ‘Say something positive about a local business’ thread on the big ol’ FB and it was flooded with positive vibes!

Here is the thing. The snow is going to come. The cold is going to come. The gloomy days are going to come. Good news though, it doesn’t last forever. So be kind to your fellow man. Be the sunshine in their day if they can’t find it somewhere else. Say hello, hold a door, put someone’s cart up for them. It is the little things that can make someone else smile under their mask. We all need a little mask smiling during our day.

I don’t have any mask smiling related recipes but I do have one from a lady who knew how to smile through it all. My great grandma Rose. I hope you enjoy her Dumpling recipe.

Stay Peachy, friends! -Charity

Great Grandma Rose’s Dumplings

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Chicken broth to mix

Put a pot of broth on the stove top over med/med-high heat to prepare to cook the dumplings. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add enough chicken broth to make a sticky dough. Mix well. Then add extra flour to be able to roll out dumplings. Cut into dumplings and drop into hot broth. Cook till tender.

**My Great Aunt Do (Dorothy Henderson), put this recipe in a family cookbook one year. It was a collection of recipes from different family members across the generations. She said that Great Grandma Rose (her mom) never measured anything. One day Grandma was going to teach her to make the dumplings. Every time Grandma Rose would put an ingredient in the bowl, Aunt Do would have to take it out and measure it. And that is how we were able to get a recipe from someone who never measured anything!

Great Grandma Rose & Great Grandpa Cooper

Robert Frost (and Mr. Swift) said it best….

These woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

I read the passage above and envision a white canvas of snow that coats the trees. The carpet of white untouched and silence that comes with that blanket will still the world.

This terrain, in my mind, is best conquered with a sturdy pair of boots vs 4 wheels. When the temperature is just right and the sun is warming you as you hike, the silence is calming and gloreous.

Hiking not your thing. Bundle up and head out to your driveway before the rest of the world awakens. Just stand there for a moment. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and just BE for a minute.

Now get your behind INSIDE! It is January in INDIANA! Are you crazy?!?!

Now down to the nitty gritty – SNOW ICE CREAM

Stay Just Peachy, Friends!

-Charity

SNOW ICE CREAM

Find a patch of clean snow (unless you thought to set your bowl out before the snow hit). Get about a gallon of clean snow, 1 cup or so of sugar, then add milk till it becomes melty and ice cream consistency. Then add a splash of vanilla, stir, & serve!

Big Blue River at peace

No Bake Cookies

Do you ever look up a recipe on the internet and the author wants to tell you about what made her love this recipe? She wants to tell you what the weather was like and how she felt when she first stumbled upon the delicious concoction she is about to grace your computer screen with? Well, yeah, I’m going to do that too. Feel free to scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

When in college, I was able to intern with a company that owned a lot of Arby’s restaurants in my junior and senior year. There were 10 of us total interning at the restaurants in Lafayette and West Lafayette. I learned a lot from the people there. My GM, Mike Garrity, was the best. He knew how to lead and how to have fun at the same time. He seemed to be able to balance the craziness of food service with his family life. He had the respect of his team which made people want to have his respect in return. He was engaging with the customers and ran a tight ship. I was incredibly lucky to have had him as one of my first important managers and leaders of my career. Those managers can shape a person’s career in either a positive or negative way. Even if I wouldn’t have continued into food service, I know the lessons I learned from him would stick with me and mold me into the person I am today. I am eternally grateful to him and my time spent at the West Lafayette Arby’s .

So what does this have anything to do with No Bake Cookies?? While there, another manager, Mary, gave me my first No Bake Cookie recipe. I have been following this recipe since 1999. I hope you enjoy!

Thanks, Arby’s team of 1998-1999 for the lessons and the love!

Stay Peachy, friends.

-Charity

NO BAKE COOKIES

Ingredients: 2 cups sugar, 1 stick butter, 1/2c peanut butter, 3 Tablespoon cocoa, 1/2c milk, 3c oats, splash of vanilla

Instructions: Combine sugar, cocoa, butter, & milk in sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add PB. Stir till mixed well. Add vanilla and oats. Stir until thick and completely blended. Drop by the spoonful onto parchment paper and let cool. Enjoy!

Mike, General Manager, mentor, role model – 1999

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