Southern Tech Info

Submitted by Christi


Okay, in my other life I am a tech-y and marketing girl. So, today, this Southern girl is going to give you a little tech info. You’ve probably already heard about it but, tomorrow, April 1st this awful computer virus called confliker is supposed to wreak havoc on everybody’s computers. We’ve seen these kind of threats come and go causing different levels of trouble. You may be fine but, if you’ve ever had to deal with a computer virus, you will know that it is worth it to take a few precautions. By the way, if you are using a Mac you are okay. This virus only affects Windows computers. Here is what I advise:

Not a fun subject today, but, better safe than sorry!

Today’s Lagniappe: Broccoli Salad
My little sister makes a great broccoli salad like this. Crunchy sunflower seeds and sweet raisins and a great dressing – YUM!

* 5 cups fresh broccoli florets
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
* 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
* 1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
* 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed

* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons vinegar
* 1/2 cup sugar

Combine broccoli florets, raisins, sunflower seeds, crumbled bacon, chopped onion, and peas in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl or large cup, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well; chill thoroughly before serving.
Broccoli salad serves 4 to 6.

Southern Plans

Submitted by Christi


I visited Theresa over at Take A Sentimental Journey yesterday. She had the plot for her garden already plowed and was getting rid of the grass clumps. It was good to see that because that is what I have got to get done myself soon. My “seedlings” are now ready to plant outside whenever the weather is safe. It may already be safe but I’m always cautious. When Daddy had a grocery store they always had a greenhouse in the Spring. I remember them talking about how they always got to sell twice to people who planted too early. I’ve been know to wait until May to plant tomatoes even though I know the last frost date here has long since past by then.

It is funny how just one little memory from childhood controls my behavior still. However, I’ll have to say, I have never had plants that froze or were damaged from the cold!

It is a waxing moon again, so I’ll be starting some more seedlings this week. Already, I can almost taste those home-grown tomatoes and cantaloupes. Yum, nothing better!

Alright everyone – let’s make this a great week!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Sweet Pea Salad:
This recipe calls for frozen peas but, of course, if you have sweet peas growing in your garden you will want to use them – this salad is a good way to use them.

1 head lettuce
2 med. cucumbers
1 lg. red onion (sweet)
2 sm. boxes frozen sweet peas
1 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 c. sugar

Tear lettuce, put aside. Skin and slice cucumbers. Skin and slice onion (into rings). Drain sweet peas and rinse and drain again. Mix mayo and sugar together.

In large bowl layer, starting with lettuce, sweet peas, cucumbers, onion. Top with mayo, sugar mixture last. Cover. Let stand overnight in icebox. Serve with croutons , shredded cheese and crumbled bacon if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

Southern Frugal Friday

Submitted by Christi


With the uncertain economy, we’ve all had to cut back (if you haven’t – lucky you!). I’ve collected a few tips for saving money that I use and am passing them along. I would love to hear what your favorite tips are!

Grow a garden – this is a favorite. Save on all those great vegetables in the summer and grow some extra to put up for winter. If your neighbors or friends are growing a garden, get together with them to exchange goodies so everyone gets a great variety.

Cook at home – I do this anyway because I love to cook. We get great food that we know was cooked under clean conditions with clean hands. If you buy family packs of items, you can divide them up and freeze them. Planning menus ahead is great money saver but I’ll have to admit, I usually only plan a couple of days at a time.

Shop from a list – I’ve always done this one too – no matter what the economy is doing – just so I won’t forget anything. I rarely ever stray from the list so if my list so that really helps.

Use coupons – this one is tough for me because we read all of our news online and no longer get a newspaper. I usually end up looking for coupons online. If you know of a great online source let me know what it is.

Entertain at home – everyone can join in and it is more fun.

Use the library – I love to read so the library is an invaluable resource to me but you can get more than just books. You can check out movies, magazines, music cd’s, use their computers. Great way to save money.

Check out community events. Even in our little town their often events that are free or low cost that are great entertainment. I’ll admit, I live in close proximity to three national parks, two lakes and three rivers in the beautiful Ozark Mountains so I have a lot of options on that front.

Decorate with nature – As you saw on the tablescape yesterday, I cut some blooming redbud branches yesterday for my table. The are not in a vase sitting right here next to my computer. When getting ready to decorate I like to start in my own back yard.

Now one that I have discovered from my friends in blog-land that I haven’t done yet but I definitely will soon. Shop in thrift stores. Some of the great finds I’ve seen others get are unbelievable. Thanks for that tip.

What are your tips?

Today’s Lagniappe: Chicken Soup
I have a little bit of a cold so this is my lagniappe today. What would be even better is Mama’s chicken and dumplings.  I’ll get the recipe to post another day.

* 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 medium onions, chopped
* 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
* 3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
* 1 (6- to 7-pound) chicken
* 2 quarts chicken broth or canned low-sodium broth
* 1 quart cold water, or as needed
* 4 sprigs of fresh parsley
* 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups egg noodles
* Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken into 8 pieces.  Add the chicken to the pot and pour in the broth. Add enough cold water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Add the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.

Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is very tender, about 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the parsley and thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Discard the chicken skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Add the noodles and cook until done, about 10 minutes. Stir the meat back into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Southern Tablescape

Submitted by Christi


Okay, here it is. My first entry in Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. I set a table for Spring and you can find a lot of other inspirational pictures on Susan’s blog. Don’t miss her back porch transformation.

I have a little secret for setting my table. I can’t remember where I learned it but I use it every time I set my table. If you notice, all of the utinsels and main plates are aligned. The trick I use is to place the plates and utensil the distance between the tip of my thumb and the first knuckle from the edge of the table. This gives a polished, finished look to the table.

Now, I collect books on table settings and etiquette and absolutely love table settings. When I go to a restaurant that places all of the utensils on the same side of the plate the first thing I do is put them in their proper place so I feel comfortable.

I learned table setting from Mama. We always set the table for our evening meal with a placemat, knife, spoon, fork, plate, glass and napkin. I learned at an early age how to set them all in their proper places. On Sundays we would set the table with a tablecloth and nice china. That is another great thing my Mama taught me – use your good china. To this day, I never understand people who put their best china in a cabinet and never use it. So what if something gets broken? That is part of life and part of being a good hostess is taking things in stride and dealing with situations graciously.

The eggs in the crystal bowl are hand painted. I love them. Just before I snapped the pics, I went out to my redbud tree and cut off a few branches that I laid on either side of the crystal bowl. The ice storm damaged so many of our trees. I was really happy to get these.  So, here it is, this weeks tablescape:







Today’s Lagniappe: Green Salad with Chicken, Strawberries and Toasted Pecans

2 cups skinned and boned roasted chicken breast
1/4 cup pecans, toasted
2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups salad greens

Combine chicken, pecans, strawberries, onion, celery,  vinegar, and oil. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Serve over salad greens.

Southern Storms

Submitted by Christi


It is storm season in the South again. We had a nice one come through yesterday. A lot of rain and wind with a little thunder and lightening thrown in. It wasn’t too bad. When I was a little girl, I was terrified of storms. I would get sick whenever the tornado sirens went off. Finally, one really stormy Spring, the sirens went off so often that I finally got where they didn’t bother me any more.

My daddy used to say “God’s stuttin’ His stuff” when we would have a big storm or a beautiful sunset or some other awesome event. Again, I am reminded how blessed I am to have grown up in my family.

Speaking of family, Mama is on Facebook now. They say the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is people over 30. If you are on facebook, come on over and “friend” me (Christi Dicus Wharton). I would love to meet you. There is also actually a page for this blog. You can search on “A Southern Life” and become a fan if you like and post comments and stuff.

Alright, off to finish my tablescape for tomorrows post. Y’all have a great Wednesday!

Today’s Lagniappe: Asparagus Two Ways
I love asparagus and Spring is a great time to get it. Here are two recipes. I love the asparagus with the lemon butter sauce and that is the way I usually make it but the fried asparagus sounds really good. I like how the recipe sounds and will try it.

Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce

Clean and trim asparagus and then steam until tender. Melt some butter in a small saucepan.  Squeeze in some lemon juice and a little salt and pepper (add a little garlic powder if desired). Stir the sauce and then pour over the asparagus. If you would like a little thicker sauce, it can be thickened with a little cornstarch and water mixture.

Fried Asparagus
This recipe says to fry in olive oil but since olive oil has such a low smoke point, I might substitute canola or vegetable oil.

1 pound of asparagus, trimmed.
1 medium egg.
4 ounces of freshly-grated Romano cheese.
1 cup of fine dry breadcrumbs.
1 tablespoon of milk.
Olive oil, for frying.
Salt and pepper.
Instructions for Fried Asparagus:

In boiling, salted water, cook the asparagus spears until just tender.
Drain on paper towels.
In a bowl, beat the egg with milk.
Dip the asparagus in the egg/milk mix, then into the breadcrumbs.
Heat enough olive oil to cover the asparagus in a deep fryer or a large skillet.
Fry the asparagus until lightly browned.
Drain on paper towels.
Season with your desired amount of salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with grated Romano cheese.

Photo by Chrislrmo

Southern Lady Bug

Submitted by Christi


Yesterday, after working at my computer all day, I finally got myself out to the back porch to read a little. I saw my first lady bug of the season. This was a little bitty one. The poor thing was crawling around on my table and kept getting itself turned upside down. Then it would kick its little lady bug legs trying to get turned back over. I finally intervened and gave it a little stick to attach to so it could crawl on the topside and right itself.

I hesitated to intervene after a couple of failed attempts to help Mother Nature. There was the time I tried to run off the rouge birds that kept hanging around while bluebirds were trying to build a nest in my bluebird house. After doing a little research, I discovered that the birds I was trying to run off were juvenile bluebirds. Silly me, I felt terrible. Then there was time I was watching a spider build a web. It seemed to be struggling right at the end with attaching part of it to a branch. I decided to help by moving the branch closer. One touch and half of the web disintegrated.

After those two attempts, I swore off trying to help Mother Nature. Obviously, these creatures know what they are doing way more than I. However, I couldn’t resist helping the little lady bug and this time it worked! I didn’t get much reading done but the ladybug and I had a nice evening.

Today’s Lagniappe: Ladybug Appetizers
Try these at your next Spring Luncheon. They are from Taste of Home online


* 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 2 tablespoons sour cream
* Black paste food coloring
* 1/2 teaspoon snipped chives
* 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/8 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
* 36 butter-flavored crackers
* 18 cherry tomatoes, quartered
* 18 large pitted ripe olives
* 72 fresh chive pieces (about 1-1/2 inches long)

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Remove 1 tablespoon to a small bowl and tint black. Place tinted cream cheese mixture in a small plastic bag; set aside.
Add the chives, garlic salt and parsley to the remaining cream cheese mixture. Spread over crackers. Arrange two tomato quarters on each for the ladybug wings.
For heads, halve the olives widthwise; place one half on each cracker. Insert two chives into olives for antennae. Use tinted cream cheese mixture to pipe spots onto wings. Yield: 3 dozen.

photo by amateur with luck

Southern Spring Fluff

Submitted by Christi


I started out yesterday to fluff the house for Spring. I got as far as a Spring tablecloth on the dining table and a couple of decorations featuring Easter eggs until I was compelled by forces unknown (or maybe the beautiful blue sky and the 70 something degree temps) to get outside and get my seedlings in pots.

As I sat in the sun getting my hands dirty, I was thinking how good those home-grown tomatoes are going to be and how I love the smell of basil. I was remembering harvesting okra with my grandmother. Okra is not the most fun thing to harvest but I love to eat it. Growing things give me a sense of well-being that just feels good.

I’ll get back to the fluffing as I have time and post some pics. Today’s lagniappe is from the book I am currently reading called The Isle of Palms by Dorothea Benton Frank set in South Carolina. Thanks to Mari at for the recommendation. They talk a lot about food in this book. The scene where the main character, Anna, has Sunday dinner with her neighbors is mouth-watering – fried chicken and biscuits, red rice and snap beans – Yum!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Anna’s “Gourmet” Pasta
Quoting straight from the book:

First, you fry four pieces of bacon until it’s really crispy and then drain it. In some of the same grease – not too much or your heart will explode – you cook a chopped onion and dissolve a chicken cube. Then, you throw in a can of tomatoes and crumble the bacon back in. Cook and drain the pasta, throw it in the sauce, stir around some Parmesan cheese, and baby child, it’s Yum Yum Time.

Add frozen garlic bread, salad in a bag, and I’m feeling like the fastest cook in the East, or something.

Photo from Southern Living

Southern Spring!!!

Submitted by Christi


It’s finally here – the 1st day of Spring. Okay, the weather has already been nice for a while but now it is official. I’ve got on my robin’s egg blue jacket and I’m ready. A lot of people have more energy when the weather is colder but give me a warm spring day and I’m ready to go – which is a good thing because I have tons of things to get done. Oh well, one thing at a time.

Here are some links for Spring time inspiration:

Southern Decor for Spring

Table Settings for Spring

Spring Centerpieces and Table Decorating


Today’s Lagniappe: Basil Cheese Roulade
Something else nice for Spring from Southern Living Recipes

Click here to go the the Basil Cheese Roulade Recipe

Photo by Anguskirk

Southern Ramblings

Submitted by Christi


1 day until Spring!

Okay, now that St. Patrick’s Day is over, I’m ready to decorate for Spring. I’m going to try to get to that this weekend. Today, I have meetings and tomorrow I have meetings and then am leading a seminar. The seminar is over at 4 p.m. so I’l be ready to start the weekend after that and . . . the next day is the first day of Spring!

March 21 is also my husband’s birthday. How great is that to be born on the first day of Spring? Anyway, back to decorating, I’ve got to get out in the garage and look for what I’ve got and decide what I might want to do different. I love the switch from winter to Spring. It feels like the house is taking off an over-heavy coat and jumping to shorts and flip flops.

I put my seedlings outside yesterday (in the shade) to start hardening them off. I had planned to move them inside last night but, forgot. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought about going out and moving them back in but it is really hard to get me out of bed once I’m asleep. Oh well, I think it only got down to around 50 last night so all is well. Can’t wait to get them in the ground.

Today’s Lagniappe: Hummingbird Cake
The ultimate Southern cake

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3 eggs, beaten
* 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 2 cups chopped firm ripe banana
* Cream Cheese Frosting:
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup butter, room temperature
* 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together into mixing bowl several times. Add eggs and salad oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple and 1 cup pecans. Stir in the bananas. Spoon the batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Frost the tops of all 3 layers, stack and then frost sides. Sprinkle top evenly with the 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans.

Photo by Timothy K. Hamilton

Southern Yellow Bird

Submitted by Christi


2 days to Spring!

Hope everyone had a happy St. Patrick’s Day. Mine was very busy. I am doing a 3 hour seminar on Friday on blogging and social media for businesses for the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center.

After I finished yesterday, I went out and sat on my back porch and thought how it seemed everything turned green overnight. Maybe, I didn’t notice so much this weekend when it was grey and cloudy. As I was sitting there, a little yellow bird came and perched on the branch of a bush that is growing right next to the porch. He sang me a little song and flew off.

Y’all may think I’m crazy but I really have learned to appreciate all of those little things in life. After having lost too many loved ones at young ages, I realize that life has no guarantees and we better enjoy it while we can. When I get in a funk or start worrying, I try to think, “What if this were your last day on earth?” That helps put things in perspective. I wouldn’t want to spend my last day worrying about things that will eventually work out one way or another or being in a bad mood.

That is my piece of free advise (just what you were wanting, huh?) – strive to live everyday as if were your last.

Photo by Sean Dreilinger via flickr.

Today’s Lagniappe: Garlic Cheese Grits

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grits
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 16 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • cayenne pepper to taste

Bring water and salt to a rolling boil; gradually stir in grits with fork. Cook, stirring constantly, until all water is absorbed. Stir in butter a tablespoon at a time; stir in the beaten eggs, working quickly so eggs will not cook before thoroughly blended into the grits, then stir in the shredded cheese, garlic and a little cayenne pepper. Put into a greased 2 1/2-quart casserole. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes.
Serves 8.

Southern St. Patrick’s

Submitted by Christi
Photo: Courtesy of the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee

Photo: Courtesy of the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Hope you are wearing your green so you won’t get pinched. I remember as a kid people who didn’t wear green would say they were wearing green underwear so you wouldn’t pinch them. Didn’t you hate that?

One of the biggest celebrations in the U. S. of St. Patrick’s Day is held in the beautiful Southern city of Savannah, Georgia, which has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1813. According to the Chicago Tribune’s March 14th edition,

Savannah, Ga., is well known for its haunted mansions and Southern charm, but every March, the cobblestone streets along the Savannah River become the focal point of the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the nation. That’s right—it’s larger than Chicago’s and Boston’s, taking a back seat only to New York City.

Around here at our home, we have are having a quiet celebration. We will wear green and NOT pinch people who are not wearing green (although, we should). We will wish people Happy St. Patrick’s Day and maybe have something Irish (potatoes?) with supper.

I want to link to another blog article from our friend, Rhoda at the Southern Hospitality Blog. She is a stay at home wife who has a small decorating business that she runs from her home. Recently, she posted some great decorating tips that I am happy to link to and pass on to you. Go visit her and read this great article and tell her Christi sent you.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Y’all!

Today’s Lagniappe: Potato/Corn Chowder
A little something for St. Patrick’s Day. You could add green food coloring but I wouldn’t 🙂

  • 2-3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. diced celery
  • 2 c. diced raw potatoes
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. milk, warmed
  • 1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Pepper

In a large heavy saucepan fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. Pour off fat except for 1 tablespoon. Add onions to saucepan and saute until transparent, not brown. Add potatoes, celery and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add remaining ingredients and heat just to boiling.

For a richer chowder replace 1/2 cup regular milk with evaporated milk or light cream. Chowder has more flavor if it is made ahead and allowed to sit for several hours. Reheat before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Southern Roses

Submitted by Christi


This past weekend I planted a rose bush. At another home, I had 21 rose bushes. I love growing roses! It is really late to be planting in my zone (6b) but I found this rose bush on sale and couldn’t resist. It is a large bush rose. I’ve grown many of the mannerly tea roses but I must say, the bushy roses are my favorites. One of my all time favorite roses that I have ever grown was Frederick Mistral. Large, bushy, prolific pink, fragrant blooms – it was wonderful. They held up great in a vase and the bush was disease resistant.

Resistance against black spot is really important in the South where it is so humid. Even the disease resistant roses must be watched carefully for black spot. One of my favorite sources for roses is The Antique Rose Emporium. They sell roses on their own roots (rather than grafted). The roses I have ordered from them in the past were always healthy and did very well.  I just love going to their site and looking at the pictures. Once the rosebush I planted starts blooming, I’ll post pics.

Happy Monday everyone – have a great week.

Today’s Lagniappe: Easy Paella

This is twist on  Ina Garten’s recipe that is posted on the Food Network. I make a less expensive version by substituting shrimp for the lobster and I use a small amount of tumeric to substitute for the saffron when I don’t have it. Saffron Crocus are easy to grow if you want to harvest your own. They flower in the Fall.

P. S. Tumeric will not give the same flavor as saffron and is used just for coloring. It does have a strong flavor so use it sparingly.

  • 1/4 cup  olive oil

* 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
* 2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
* 2 cups white basmati rice or saffron rice
* 5 cups good chicken stock
* 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed or 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1 tablespoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1/3 cup licorice-flavored liqueur (recommended: Pernod)
* 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat or shrimp or combination
* 1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick
* 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
* 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice, chicken stock, saffron (or tumeric), red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. After 15 minutes, stir the rice gently with a wooden spoon, and return it to the over to bake uncovered for 10 to 15 more minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.

Transfer the paella back to the stove top and add the licorice-flavored liqueur. Cook the paella over medium heat for 1 minute, until the liqueur is absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat and add the lobster, shrimp, kielbasa, and peas and stir gently. Cover the paella, and allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.

Mama’s Southern Guest Post

Submitted by Christi

A couple of days ago I posted a recipe that my mother gave me for poppy seed rolls. Mama called and was telling me about how she got the recipe and that she should leave that as a comment. I thought a better idea was for her to write a guest post. So . . . here it is – enjoy:

<i>My Mother, Carrol Ward</i>

My Mother, Carrol Ward

The bread recipe on Christi’s blog (3/11/09) has an interesting beginning for us:
My husband, Chester and I were in Monticello, Utah last September doing a revival for a church there.  The Pastor’s wife invited us for dinner one night before church. The meal was delicious but when she set the bread on the table, I thought it looked soooo good, I was sure it was desert.  Well, of course, it wasn’t but it looked so pretty and tasted so good it could have been. She also served some  of her home canned apricot jam with it.  Well, I could have skipped church that night because I thought I had died and gone to heaven already.

I have since shared the recipe with several people.  I fixed it one night, along with a roast dinner for my next door neighbors.  The wife has MS and so her husband does most of the cooking, which he is learning to do, so they really did appreciate the meal.  He especially liked it and asked for the recipe.  He has sent it to several family members and friend all across the country.

The trip to Utah was also memorable for another incident which happened to us:
One afternoon The Pastor and his wife took us to the top of Abajo Peak which is 11,000 ft, located in the Blue Mountains.  It was a beautiful site and you could see forever.  They have two ATV’s and often ride on the mountains around Monticello. They suggested that my husband use them one day and even had one of the members of the church go along as a guide (thank goodness, we would probably still be there without him).

It had been at least 30 years since I had ridden an ATV and my husband had never ridden one.  So, we purchased some sweat suits at Alco, layered our clothes, starting with our pajamas, and put on the warmest clothes we could put together and met our guide at 7:30 one morning.  After a brief overview of how to operate the machines we took off.  Everything went great until our guide took off on what he called a trail, with lots of deep ruts, sheer drop-offs, low hanging tree branches and I don’t know what all. But, we kept up with him and it was fun.  We had reached about 10,000 ft.when the trail (if you can call it that) became more of challenge.  I was riding behind the guide and in front of Chester when I came to some ruts. The left wheels of the ATV kinda slipped into the ruts and began to “fall” over and . . . I began to pray! ” Lord don’t let this thing fall on me!”  I was yelling “Help!” but no one could hear me for the noise the ATV’s make. Chester could see something was happening to me and the guide stopped and looked back and later said that I just didn’t look right. Well of course I didn’t look right, I was slipping off the ATV!
When I got off the ATV to the ground, unhurt, the machine righted itself. After we decided that I was alright we remounted the things and took off again.

We were riding along enjoying the scenery which was beautiful and I began to thank God for letting me see all this and taking care of a 70 year old woman who didn’t have sense enough to take care of herself.  But I believe life  is to be enjoyed and shared. Good recipes should be shared as well.

Today’s Lagniappe: Also from Mama – Pear Relish
This recipe for Pear Relish is one of Christi’s favorites)

Pear Relish
16 -19  pears (fairly firm, not soft) cored and ground.
6 medium onions, ground
8 green peppers, ground
4 sweet red peppers, ground
6 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
6 cups sugar
3 Tbs. mustard seeds
2 Tbs. pickling salt
1 Tbs. ground tumeric
1 Tsp. ground allspice
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp. ginger

Let pears, onions and peppers stand in separate containers for 1 hour.  Pour boiling water  over each; drain very well.  Combine pears, onions, peppers, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings in a large kettle.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 30 minutes.
Pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 in headspace.  Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims.  Cover at once with metal lids and screw on bands.  Process in boiling-water bath 20 minutes.  Remove jars from hot water carefully and place on cloth to cool.  When the jars are cool enough to handle move to a cool place and let set for 1 month before opening.  Yield about 10 pints.

This is especially good with chicken and dumplings or pinto beans and corn bread.

Christi’s note: I think I have mentioned this before – my father died in 1992 of cancer. My mother has since remarried a wonderful man, Chester Ward. Chester is a minister who serves as Director of Missions for Kay Baptist Association in Oklahoma.

Southern Cooking Legend

Submitted by Christi


8 days til Spring!

Yesterday, I was in my home office looking for one of my gardening books when I came across Mme. Begue’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery. I had forgotten having this little gem. It is copyrighted @1937. The price on the inside cover was .60 but it was marked out in pencil and .75 was written in. Along with the recipes is an interesting story.

Shortly before the end of the War between the States, in 1863, a two-story brick building at the downtown corner of Madison and Decatur Streets, became a distinctive dining place . . .It was then, as was the custom, a “Coffee House”, and the proprietor was a Creole named Louis Dutrey. He attended bar, saw to the proper mixing of the beverages, and to meeting all guests. The presiding genius of the kitchen, where was prepared the delectabel dishes that lured the husky butchers of the French Market to Louis Dutrey’s Coffee House for their “second breakfast,” was the proprietor’s wife, she who had been Elizabeth Kettenring when she landed in New Orleans in 1853, a strapping German girl, born in 1831 in Bavaria.

Apparently, after Mr. Dutrey died, Elizabeth went on to marry Hypolite Begue who had worked for her, tending bar and was 8 years her junior (tre risque!).  In 1880 the coffee house name was changed to Begue’s and then later Madame Begeue’s


Many of the recipes call for frying in hot lard as does this recipe for Lost Bread or Pain Perdu:

Take six slices of stale bread and soak in sugared milk, to which has been added a large spoonful of brandy. Drain and when ready to use turn each slice in beaten eggs. Fry in hto lard, brown well on both sides, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve hot.

I enjoyed looking through this little book and reading about Elizabeth’s life and recipes. In 1900 Elizabeth wrote down her recipes. “In spite of her German birth she spoke French fluently, but she never became proficient in the English tongue, so when she set down in words the secrets of her cookery they were written in the language of France.” Madame Elizabeth Begue died October 19, 1906.

Today’s Lagniappe: Pain Perdue
or as we call it – French Toast

* 4 (1/2 inch) slices egg bread
* 1 egg
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 3 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 pinch salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 pinch ground nutmeg
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup milk
* 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Cut the bread and place on a wire rack to dry out a little as you prepare the batter.
2. Whisk the egg to blend. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan or on the stovetop and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the sugar, salt and spices into the egg. When the butter has cooled slightly, slowly drizzle it in to the egg, whisking all the time. A little at a time, add the flour to the egg mixture to make a smooth thick paste. After it is all added, slowly blend in the milk and finally the vanilla. Whisk until just smooth and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip a slice of the bread in the batter and allow to soak for 30 seconds, no more. Remove from the batter and allow the excess to drip off, back into the bowl. Place the battered slice in the skillet. Repeat with the remaining slices. Cook until golden on one side and then flip to brown the other. Serve immediately–a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and a good dusting of powdered sugar is traditional.

Southern Time

Submitted by Christi


9 days to Spring!

I must apologize to those of you who stop by early. As much as I love daylight saving time, it takes me awhile to adjust. It seems the older I get the longer it takes to adjust. When I was a kid I don’t remember taking any time. Anyway, as my husband would tell you, it takes me awhile to wake up. He is such a sweetheart. He brings me coffee in bed every morning to help me wake up.

I was out on the back porch yesterday when my neighbor stopped by to chat over the fence. When I went back inside, I looked at the clock and was shocked that it was 5:30. I was just sure that it was only around 4:00!

I am giving myself around a week to adjust to the new time. Surely, by then, I will have been able to reset my clock. Hope y’all are adjusting better than me.

Today’s Lagniappe: Poppyseed Rolls
Mama gave me this one. Looks lovely and tastes great.

2 cans of flakey Grands biscuits
1 stick of butter, melted
2 teaspoons poppy seeds (more if desired)

Pour the poppy seeds into the melted butter. Dip each biscuit in the butter and then stand them on their sides in a bundt pan. Continue stacking the buttered biscuits on their sides all around the pan. Bake at 400 for around 18-20 minutes or until done. Cool for a few minutes and then invert the rolls out of the pan on to a pretty plate. How easy is that!