Posted in Poetry


I vowed never to return

not in winter

but Mom made her departure in February leaving us

to book flights from Orlando to Chicago

carry-ons, one each

and an empty bag for grief

to be filled up there

checked on the return


Blizzard warnings

school closings

a rental with Arizona plates

(That’s not snow-worthy rubber!)

we raced ahead, we thought,

of the storm

into its waiting arms

snow pouring off the Lake

I didn’t pack enough

Kleenex to wipe it away


I couldn’t help but wonder

as we slid towards that

18-wheeler that if Mom

only knew

she might have lingered until June

She always was a worrier.

© Jilly’s 2016

Posted in Food!

Italian Beef Sandwiches

It’s a Chicago Thing!

Okay, so my guilt will get the better of me if I don’t level wich ‘ya right up front; I don’t eat beef – haven’t in ages. (Long, dull story.) But, hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t love you guys with this great recipe, not to mention it can be made with chicken instead!  So, let’s get to it.

You’re going to need a crockpot, first and foremost.  And a good long day of cooking time.

Here’s the ingredient list:

4 pounds rump roast, trimmed (4 pounds chicken breast)

1 TBSP oregano

1 shallot, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

10 ounces beef broth (if you use chicken, you can switch to vegetable broth)

6 ounces beer – seems like something from Milwaukee would be regionally appropriate.

8 ounces tomato sauce

6 ounces pepperoncini peppers, with juice

6 hard rolls – you’re going to have juice, so don’t be afraid!  I use hard hoagie rolls.

Brown the roast on all sides in a frypan with a touch of oil.  Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients (except the rolls) in your crockpot.  Put it on high!  Transfer that roast beef to the crockpot and let it cook on high for about 8 hours.  The peppers will be all cooked down, so I like to add some nice fresh ones at this point, for presentation, ya know?

Remove the roast and shred the meat.  Slice the hard rolls and place meat, peppers and several ladles-full of the juice on each one.  This is a knife and fork kinda sandwich, obviously.

Oh, Man!!!! You are gonna love this!  It will be perfect for Sunday night football!

© Jilly’s 2016


Posted in Photos, Poetry


0410161842a turn
There Is No Balance


there beneath

dimpled laptop

holder of all things

work the half sheets of secret

thoughts drained off in small squirts

answer email coach student essayists grade

modest summaries of Swift epic hero analysis narrative accounts


words berate

headache of verse

clamors against sinus

cavities eardrumming

mutter placations of ego look

at me listen to me write me procrastinate

drag working feet no further no farther stop Englishing

correcting red penciling penicillin of the soul must be unleashed


I slide the paper

from the hiding place

pen scrawl pay obeisance stanza

back and survey that which I have little sway

over less credit for merely a vessel holding ink





© Jilly’s 2016

Only Breathing

dVerse Prompt: As April winds down, let’s take a moment as a community to consider what it is we do to create balance in our lives. What do you do to integrate work, family, exercise, leisure and spiritual commitments with writing, posting, reading and commenting on your blog?

Posted in Photos, Poetry

secretly admiring


this turbulence

of heart

inducing me to run


not from

into the arms

of the songs



heard sung

from the womb

before I was.


© Jilly’s 2016

From dVerse Prompt:

Write about a poet you know … how you as a reader connect to their words.  The only rule is do not mention the poet.

0411150721 (2)
Into the arms of the rising sun
Posted in Food!

The Shrimp & Grits Blues

Now, I know what you’re going to say, but just hear me out.  I love traditional Shrimp & Grits – really, I do!  But, the first time I ever had blue cheese grits, well, I just wept right there in that high –class seafood joint in Columbia, SC.  I never looked back.  This recipe was birthed from that emotionally laden moment.

Grits are a philosophy.  In my poem The Bends (posted today) I mention Pat Conroy, who was a foodie extraordinaire and he would blanch at quick grits.

½ cup yellow grits (the quick kind, like I said)

2 cups chicken broth

This is an art, like Cream of Wheat.  Bring the broth to a boil, then s-l-o-w-l-y add the grits, stirring constantly.  Turn the heat way down to low and let those little grits simmer for about 5 minutes.

1 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (Use something good, okay?)

1 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (Again, spring for it!)

¼ pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 pound shrimp, grilled

Once the grits are done, stir in the cheeses until they are melted and blended.

The bacon and shrimp go in at the very end.  If you put the bacon in too soon, it will become all UNcrisp – not cool!

If you like some zing, dust those shrimp babies with Old Bay or Zataran’s while they are grilling.  You can also add a bit of that to the grits if y’all want to.

Let me know!  Cheers!  Jilly

© Jilly’s 2016

Posted in Poetry

The Bends

The Bends

There are some authors

I just can’t read

without coming up for air

in between like

Conroy or Hall

there is just too much


too much

Real Life



Kneeling in the grits

then rising up


© Jilly’s 2016

Posted in Food!

Red Beans & Rice

Musical Choices: Blues – Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton, anyone who makes you feel real bad so that you feel real good while you get the kitchen messy!

[This is just right for two; double it up if you feed a crew!]

3/4 cup rice

1 1/2 cups water

Bring to a low boil, cover, reduce to low temp.  Steam 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, let’s make red bean heaven!

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

14 oz. can red beans, rinsed

14 oz. can broth, chicken or vegetable

1 bay leaf

2-3  Andouille sausage links (I use chicken sausage – healthier! Trader Joes / Whole Foods)

Toss the onion & celery in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan sprayed with cooking oil.  Saute over medium heat for a few mintes.  Add the garlic, beans, broth & bay leaf.  Simmer on low with the lid on while we deal with those beautiful sausages.

There is a personal philosophy of the sausage in Red Beans.  Many like them left as a whole link while some cut them up.  Either way you choose….

Roll those babies in a frypan over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until you just can’t stand it any more and you are sure you’re going to starve!  Add them in to the beans and leave the cover off that pan.  Y’all will know when it is done when the broth is about 3/4 reduced.  Now, if you’re a purist, toss a little pat of butter in there just before you spoon the beans over the rice.

Bonus:  Add some kind of hotsie-totsie sauce to it.  I live and die by Cajun Power Sauce (order it from some place in Louisiana), but you might go for Tobasco or Cholula.  Up to you, baby!  Let me know!  Cheers, Jilly

© Jilly’s 2016



Posted in Poetry

JC’s Blues Cafe

Hooker sings

don’t know how how how

JC’s Blues Café makes

bakes shakes and brings

you to the very edge

of Red Beans and Rice

peel off your jacket

put on your blues

wading shoes the music

runs deep the low country

cookin’ ain’t all that’s cookin’

Shrimp and Grits and they

sure is lookin’ finely

chopped for Miles haint

lost his chops nuh uh

Come on in the kitchen

is jumpin’ and the juke joint

is bubba gumpin’

pass me a little of that Cajun

Power sauce over here

the collards have hollard

they’s feelin’weakly

we’s here every Saturday

nightly at JC’s Blues Café.

© Jilly’s 2016