You know what I miss about Hollywood?

The fruit trees.

It’s not like there aren’t any on the east coast, but in Los Angeles you can’t walk five feet without getting bopped on the head by a neighbor’s freshly ripened lemon.


Here in Wilmington, I buy my citrus at the grocery store.  Yesterday while stuffing juicy local naval oranges into my basket at Harris Teeter, I heard a soft voice over my shoulder.

“Excuse me.  Do you know if those oranges are very sweet?”

I turned to find a woman in her sixties with kind eyes and a gentle smile holding a crinkled shopping list.  As I thought to myself, “boy did you ask the right person for food advice!” we began to chat.  She shared stories with me of being recently diagnosed with Diabetes and how a nutritionist had recommended a lifestyle change in her eating habits.  She confessed to being a Southerner at heart and we both agreed that two of the most important food groups are bacon and butter.  I told her all about my food blog and love for making healthy, fresh, vibrant meals (not you Whiskey Bacon Jam).  She told me about how the passing of her husband and, soon after, her mother brought her from Florida to Wilmington where her daughter currently resides.

She went on to tell me stories of her dearest group of friends–some from as far back as 9th grade–and how she missed them very much.  Her eyes lit up mid-sentence while describing their planned visit in September and I immediately thought of the cooking classes I had just begun to offer.  I told her I would love to have her friends over for a fun night of cooking and wine-drinking and story-telling.

As we talked away in the chilly produce section, shoppers all around us squeaked by with their carts and screaming children–but neither one of us seemed to notice.  We were woven into a moment in time where two strangers stood absorbed in a heartwarming and friendly conversation–a rare feat in a busy world of text messages and always having somewhere to be.  As we exchanged information and said our goodbyes, I suddenly remembered a wonderful quote my dad once wrote in a blog post about my grandmother–who is currently 85 years old and better at texting than I am.


“My mother always finds something to talk about with people whose lives have intersected hers.  And when she learns about some important emotional nugget of information, she never forgets it as if she was empowered to be part of their support system.”

As we parted ways, I was overcome with gratitude for crossing paths with such a sincere, friendly soul.  I’m constantly communicating with people on a networking level, so having such a genuine interaction was a refreshing and wonderful feeling.  As promised, I emailed her a link to my blog, told her to reach out to me any time, and most importantly that–“you never know who you’ll meet by the oranges!”

This morning I woke up with the following email in my inbox:

Hello Fanny,

How nice to open my email today and find your message.  Thank you for sending the link to your blog.  I will certainly be checking it out. It was nice of you to take the time to chat with me, by the oranges.  I love meeting new people. Especially sweet, patient ones such as yourself.  Thank you for taking that time with me.  I will keep in touch!  Hope you have a wonderful day!

As a thank you for her kindness–and encouragement towards her healthy eating–this recipe is dedicated to Linda, from Florida, who now lives in Wilmington.
Who I met in Harris Teeter…
By the oranges.
Kale and Fresh Orange Smoothie with Honey
Ingredients: the juice of one sweet naval orange / 1/3 cup POG (Passion Orange Guava juice made by Bolthouse Farms) / 1 large banana / 2 tablespoons non-fat blueberry Greek yogurt (I like Chobani but any brand will do) / 1-2 tablespoons honey / 1 pinch cinnamon / 4-5 big leaves of kale with the stems removed; preferably a tender variety like Dino/Lacinato kale) / ice
Directions: Blend all ingredients, except ice, until smooth (make sure the juices go in first).  Add ice and blend for another 2-3 minutes until mixture is smooth and velvety looking.