Southern Sprouts

Submitted by Christi


10 days to Spring!

The seeds that I planted last week are coming right along. The tarragon and basil have already sprouted. The cantaloupe I pre-planted is also coming up quickly. I had to plant a few things that germinate fast to help me have patience for the other things that take longer like the tomatoes.

It is another beautiful day and I am getting anxious to start planting outside, however, it is supposed to get cold again this week. I have learned the hard way not to set things out to early.

Hello to everyone from North Carolina. Y’all are now 3rd in the most  readers of this site. I remember being in Fayetteville on Easter one year and the dogwoods and azaleas were breathtaking. I have a funny story about an experience in Charlotte that I will have to tell y’all about sometime.

Thank you to everyone who visits and reads my ramblings. I wish I could personally meet everyone of you. I bet that would be a lot of fun.

Today’s Lagniappe: Green Beans with Bacon
You probably don’t need a recipe for this. Just watching my Mama taught me how to make it. Just in case your Mama didn’t show you how:

* 2 1/2  pounds  green beans, trimmed
* 3  bacon slices
* 1/2  cup  chopped shallots
* 1  teaspoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


Cook green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. (Now, we know that Mama cooked them longer in the day but she might do it this way now).

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add beans, juice, salt, and pepper to pan; toss to combine. Cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Remove from heat. Sprinkle bacon over bean mixture; toss.

Southern Style

Submitted by Christi


11 days to Spring!
On one of the boards I frequent, someone asked the question. What low-cost decorating solutions are you using during the recession? My first response was recycle!

My sofa needs re-upholstering. I had a beautiful king-size matelasse bedspread that I was not using. Voila. I used the spread as a sofa cover, changed the pillows and I love it.

As I have written previoulsy, I love to decorate with houseplants. I’m always cutting from one to start another. I even have a lovely houseplant that I started from an avocado seed. My grandmother was always rooting plants and she had several in her home. Of course, she was also a very talented seamstress and also made beautiful crochet afghans. I don’t do well with crochet and my sewing skill leave much to be desired. I can sew in a straight line if it doesn’t have to be too straight.

Tough economic times are challenging. However, it is possible to live graciously with less. Good manners are always in style and a kind word is free. What are you doing to make your world beautiful today?

Today’s Lagniappe: Shrimp Butter
Serve this to guests with crackers – yum!

* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 2 (4 ounce) cans shrimp, drained
* 1 tablespoon chopped onion
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise


1. Place the butter and cream cheese into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Add the shrimp, onion, lemon juice, garlic salt and mayonnaise; beat until fluffy. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. Allow the butter to come to room temperature before serving.

Southern Sunshine and Mobile, Alabama

Submitted by Christi


Hooray! Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend. I don’t mind the dark mornings for a few weeks. Of course, I love it in June when you start hearing the birds singing around 5 a.m. and the days are looong.

I love sitting on my porch long into the evening. In the Summer, I even brave the mosquitoes to sit out and watch the lightning bugs. I love how the world (or at least my world) wakes up in the spring and the flowers start blooming and the air smells so fresh. I think I’m sounding a little crazy, must be that Spring Fever again.

By the way, thank you to the readers from Wisconsin who came to visit. Welcome! And, of course, thank you to the people from Alabama. You are great to come and visit. For the life of this blog, which isn’t actually that long, you have been great about visiting from the start.

I have to tell you how crazy I was when visiting Mobile, Alabama one time. I was staying at the Ramada Inn downtown and doing work at Christ Church, an old Episcopal church downtown. First, about the church. It is a beautiful church that was established in 1823. It has a great history and features stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Anyway, I left my hotel room in search of Mobile Bay. I love to watch the water. I drove and drove and ended up on some remote road. After driving several miles, I finally turned around and returned to my hotel, disappointed. I asked the desk clerk how to get to the Bay. She told me, “It’s right there,” pointing in the opposite direction from where I had come. I could actually see the ships masts from my hotel window! I had been driving away from the Bay all that time!

Okay, I think I’ve told on myself enough today.

Today’s Lagniappe: Gooey Butter Cake

* 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix cake mix, melted butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 eggs with a spoon.
  2. Pat into a 9 X 13 inch pan.
  3. Mix cream cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar. Pour over cake layer.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool.

Southern Spring Fever

Submitted by Christi


15 Days to Spring!

If you’ve been reading this blog this week, you know I have it – Spring Fever. Spring fever has appeared in love poems, stories and medical literature. There have even scientific studies to try to define it and it’s symptoms. Personally, I don’t need a scientific study. I know the signs for me

Needing (yes needing) to be outside.
Finding myself daydreaming about blooming flowers.
Humming “It’s a Beautiful World” as I sweep the porch.
Craving strawberries.
Wanting to take a nap on the porch.
Planting seeds so the plants will be ready to plant in the garden.
Looking forward to daylight savings time.
Examining my feet to see if they are ready for sandal weather.
Enjoying how the sun shines in the window from a different angle.
Wanting to swing on a swing set or a porch swing.

These are just some of my symptoms. Do you have Spring fever? What are your symptoms?

Today’s Lagniappe:  Strawberry Napolean

Yield: 12 servings

8 pieces phyllo dough
cooking spray
6 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sugar
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 tsp orange zest, freshly grated
3/4 cups whipped topping
4 cups strawberries, thinly sliced, about 1/4-inch thick

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a sheet pan, coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar; repeat with remaining layers of phyllo, cooking spray and sugar. Cut the stacked dough lengthwise into 3 strips and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a mixer, beat the cheese until fluffy. Add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, sour cream and zest, and continue to beat until light and airy; fold in the whipped topping.

Carefully place one phyllo strip on a serving dish and spread with half the cheese mixture; top with half the strawberries. Repeat with the second phyllo strip and remaining cheese and berries. Top with the third phyllo strip, slice into 12 pieces and serve.

Small Southern Town

Submitted by Christi
Small Southern Town

Small Southern Town

16 days until Spring

Just some random things running around in my head.

I was at the grocery store the other day comparing prices on crackers. Another lady who was shopping said to me, “It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?” We went on to discuss the rising prices of items. I had never met this lady. As we parted with a smile, I thought, “It’s good to live in a small Southern town.”

I was talking to my Mama on the phone yesterday. She was telling me that she was making a banana cake (see today’s lagniappe). She told me this recipe made a beautiful cake, but it was kind of big. When she last made it, she took half of it to her next door neighbor. She said she would probably do that again. I thought, “It’s good to live in a small Southern town.”

Last weekend, my neighbor dropped by to pick up her pitcher that she had brought punch to the Mardi Gras party in. I offered her refreshments, and we sat and chatted for a bit. She got her pitcher and went on her way. Just a small break in the day. I thought, “It’s good to live in a small Southern town.”

Last summer, a part in our car overheated and the car stopped. It had done this before, and we knew once it cooled down a bit, we would be able to be on our way. We were on a somewhat rural road in the county. Every car that passed stopped and asked us if we needed help. I thought, “It’s good to live in a small Southern town.”

A small Southern town . . . is a good thing.

Today’s Lagniappe:  Mama’s Marvelous Banana Cake

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups sugar
2 cups mashed bananas
4 eggs, beaten
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon or orange juice
1 cup chopped pecans
Banana-Nut Frosting

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add bananas; mix until smooth stir in the eggs.

Combine flour and soda. Add to banana mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. mix after each addition. Stir in vanilla, bourbon, and pecans.

Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a  pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Banana-Nut Frosting between layers and on top of cake.

Banana-Nut Frosting

1/2 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 (16 oz.) package plus 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Combine banana and lemon juice; set mixture aside.

Cream softened butter at medium speed of an electric mixer; add powdered sugar and milk, mixing well. Add banana mixture, beating until fluffy. Stir in toasted coconut and chopped pecans.

photo courtesy of  Flickr Creative Commons

Southern Beginnings

Submitted by Christi
<i>Hello world!</i>

Hello world!

17 days until Spring!

I saw daffodils blooming yesterday! Now, I feel like I’m on a mission – there must be more somewhere. I’m also really enjoying the cardinal family that is visiting my bird feeder. From where I’m sitting, writing this, I can look out the window and see the bird feeder in the back. This is very convenient, not just for enjoying the birds but also, for seeing the squirrels when they attempt to raid the feeder. Then it is time for me to let Bailey, the wonder dog, out to chase them off.

Bailey loves to chase off the squirrels but he never really even tries to catch them. I’m glad he is happy just to chase. Once he has chased them off, he comes trotting proudly back in ready for praise and pets for his daring exploit.

I’m also watching to see where the robins will build their nest. Last year, a robin couple built a next on the porch outside our bedroom. It was so much fun to watch them build and then tend the nest. We watched when the baby robins were hatched and watched mom feed them. We watched as they left the nest and how the mother watched after them as they first got started.

Boy, I’m ready for Spring!

Photo by Plesantpointinn at Flickr Creative Commons

Today’s Lagniappe:  Chicken Fried Bacon with Cream Gravy
I posted on Facebook the other day that I was looking for inspiration for this blog. I was sent an article about chicken fried bacon. I’ve actually never had it and it really inspired me to take a walk. I found this recipe this morning. I’ll have to admit, it sounds pretty good.

Fried Bacon

* 1 lb thick sliced bacon, cut in half
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup milk (or cream or half & half)
* 1/2 cup flour
* spices (optional)
* oil (for frying)

Cream Gravy

* 3 tablespoons drippings or butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 2 cups milk
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream (whipping)
* salt and pepper, heavy on the pepper

1. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-high heat.
2. Whisk egg and milk together in a bowl.
3. Place flour in another bowl – season it if you’d like (garlic, pepper, salt, lemon, cajun, etc.).
4. Double dip – first in the egg mixture, then into the flour and repeat.
5. Fry in oil until golden brown.
6. Serve with cream gravy for dipping; also good served with steak.
7. To make cream gravy:.
8. Put drippings or butter in a sauce pan over med-high heat. Whisk in the flour until well blended; cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbly. Remove from heat and gradually add milk whisking constantly; return to heat & whisk until the gravy thickens; Whisk in the cream, salt & pepper.

Southern Planting and Old Wives’ Lore

Submitted by Christi


March 2nd – only 18 more days until Spring!

I was going to start planting seeds inside last week and got really sidetracked. I’m going to give it another try today. Buying plants and setting them out and watching them grow is certainly gratifying but nothing compares to watching something beautiful grow from planting a seed. I admit, I tend to get impatient for those first shoots of green to sprout but once they do it is nothing less than miraculous.

The moon is waxing so that also is a good time to get this done. My Grandmother and Grandaddy always had a large kitchen garden. I remember so many times Grandmother looking at the sky and telling what the weather was going to do or whether or not it was a good time for planting. More often, than not, she was right. They call that “Old Wives’ Tales” or “Old Wives’ Lore.” I love finding books about weather lore or gardening lore. So much of what is contained has been found to have a scientific basis. So glad that scientists have found that they knew what they were talking about all along.

This is from one of my books Old Wives’ Lore for Gardeners by Maureen and Bridget Boland:


Consider the Moon

Every Old Wife will tell you to sow seed and to transplant only with a waxing, never a waning moon. The scientists have now caught up with this, discovering the effects of lunar rhythms on the earth’s magnetic field which in turn effect growth. They have established that all water everywhere, including that inside the tiniest living organism, moves in tides like the sea. The moon also effects the earth’s atmosphere so that statistically it is more likely to rain heavily (just as you would like immediately after planting) immediately after a full or a new moon. They say that a potato grown at constant levels of heat and light under laboratory conditionsl will still show a growth rythm that reflects the lunar pattern. The Old Wife, without laboratory conditions or statistical tables, learned from experience how bst to get her plants off to a good start.

Sow seed generously:

One for the rook, one for the crow,
One to die and one to grow.

P. S. Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece Taylor.

Today’s Lagniappe: Hot Chicken Salad
I need to meet with several people next week. Rather than going out for lunch as we usually would do, I’m having them over and making a batch of this hot chicken salad that I will divide up and freeze so I can pull it out and have it ready for “meeting days.” I’ll sprinkle on the cheese and chips just before baking.

1 c. mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated onion
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. cooked, diced chicken
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. grated sharp cheese
1 c. crushed potato chips

Blend mayonnaise with next 3 ingredients. Mix lightly with chicken, celery and nuts. Spoon into casserole. Sprinkle cheese, then chips on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until piping hot.