Author Archives: jjbegonia

City Guide to Charleston, South Carolina

I have been to Charleston, South Carolina three times now, and with each visit I fall more in love with The Holy City.  It lives up to its charming rap; seeped in history and filled to the brim with beautiful details.  I am never not enamored with all of the colorful facades, flower-filled window boxes, and the Southern hospitality that the city itself seems to exude.

Below you’ll find my “hit list” of where to stay, eat, and shop, and some suggestions as to what else you can do while you are there.



Chopped Salad with Herbs and White Beans, and Honey Shallot Dressing

Thank You so much to Cavit for sponsoring this post!  As always, all opinions are my own.


“Can you bring theeeee salad?”; emphasis on the “the”.

When I get this particular request from anyone in my family, I know exactly which pile of greens they are referring to.

…”You know, the one with all of the herbs…and stuff.”

Yes.  I am on it.

I began making this salad a couple of years back when my garden was overflowing with branches of lemon thyme, crawling bundles of mint, and heaps of basil.  I tossed the freshly chopped herbs into a bowl of lettuce, and added them to my go-to shallot salad dressing too.  Those ingredients in tandem with a can of small white beans are the main components of this dish.

From there, you can really go anywhere you wish – but my favorite add-ins are slices of fresh cucumbers and fennel, chopped radishes, and bits of a good quality salami (Although omitting the latter and keeping it vegetarian-friendly is just as satisfying!).  This salad is a complete meal in-and-of-itself; pair it with a loaf of crusty bread and a light white wine  such as Cavit Pinot Grigio and you are good to go.

In fact, there is no better time to enjoy a glass of this variety as tomorrow (Friday, May 26th), has officially been named National Pinot Grigio Day.  From here on out, the holiday will be celebrated every year on the Friday before Memorial Day.  I for one will be raising my glass to the start of summer, and more white wine in my near future!  Cheers!



Ukrainian Borscht with Potatoes

Thank You so much to Potatoes USA for sponsoring this post!  As always, all opinions are my own.


As kids, my sister and I spent many weekends staying with my Polish/Ukrainian Grandparents.  At one point in time, we lived right down the street from them, but to us visiting their house still somehow felt like venturing into another world.

My Grandma being big on tradition and my Grandpa being very much a creature of habit meant that on both counts, our visits rarely deviated from a routine.  On Friday night, we ate dinner at the Polish Home.  There we shared fried fish and large platters of potato and cheese pierogi.  If I was lucky, I got to have a 7-Up too (It was the only time I was allowed to drink soda!).

Saturdays were spent lounging around, reading “The Funnies” (comics) in the paper, and watching my Grandma cook, before heading to church later in the evening.  The dishes that she made were the typical Ukrainian fare, which she grew up with, including golumpki (stuffed cabbage) and borscht (beet soup).  This is her recipe for borscht.

If you have ever searched for a borscht recipe before, then you might know that there are hundreds of variations.  My Grandma thought it necessary to use a sparerib for the flavor that the fat imparts.  If you prefer, you can omit the meat altogether and make a Vegetarian version of this soup as I often do.  You must include the potatoes, however, as they not only thicken the broth, but soak up all of that gorgeous red beet color too!