Southern Gardening Rest

Submitted by Christi

Working in the garden can really tire you out. I think I really need a nice place to take a break. This is my tablescape entry this week in Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Y’all stay tuned. There are robins building a nest on my porch and I’m taking pics of their progress that I’ll be posting.

A nice place to take a break.

A nice place to take a break.

A little lemonade.

A little lemonade.

A couple of cookies - gotta keep up my strenght!

A couple of cookies - gotta keep up my strength!

A couple of my favorite gardening books.

A couple of my favorite gardening books.

My garden gloves.

My garden gloves.

My garden trowel.

My garden trowel.

Some seeds.

Some seeds.

A watering can with flowers.

A watering can with flowers.

Hey, there's a bunny in my watering can!

Hey, there's a bunny in my watering can!

Everything I need.

Everything I need . . .

for a nice break from gardening!

for a nice break from gardening!

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did! – Christi

Today’s Lagniappe: Garden Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Something light and easy to enjoy.

Use your favorite salad greens and veggies and dress them with this lovely mustard vinaigrette. Easy!

* 1½ cups salad oil
* ½ cup white wine vinegar
* 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
* 1½ tsp Kosher salt
* ½ tsp ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)

1. Combine the mustard and vinegar in a glass or stainless steel bowl and whisk them together briefly.

2. Place the mustard-vinegar mixture along with the oil and seasonings in a blender and mix for about 10 seconds or until fully combined.

3. Serve right away, as the oil and vinegar will begin to separate as soon as you stop mixing.

Makes 1 pint of dressing.

Southern Outdoor Wednesday

Submitted by Christi

It is Outdoor Wednesday at our friend A Southern Daydreamer’s blog. Here is our entry in the post. These are pics from where I used to live. Spring in the Ozarks.

A sunrise like this makes it worth it to get up really early!

A sunrise like this makes it worth it to get up really early!

Redbuds and tulip trees.

Redbuds and tulip trees.

This was the view from the deck. See the lake in the background?

This was the view from the deck. See the lake in the background?

Beautiful view!

Beautiful view!

More of the redbuds.

More of the redbuds.

One last shot.

One last shot.

I loved living in that house. The view was great and the sunrises were greater!

See the other Outdoor Wednesday posts.

See the other Outdoor Wednesday posts.

Today’s Lagniappe: Pasta Primavera

12 ounces pasta, bowtie noodles
2 yellow squash, thinly sliced
10 ounces asparagus spears, cut in 2″ pieces
8 ounces baby carrots, cut lengthwise, half
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup sour cream, light
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Add pasta to a large pot of boiling water and cook 10 minutes. Add squash, asparagus and carrots and cook 8 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are tender. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.

Meanwhile put flour in a large skillet. Slowly whisk in milk until blended, taking care to get into corners of skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Pour over pasta mixture and stir to mix and coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Southern Spring Showers . . .

Submitted by Christi
Bull Shoals Lake

Sunset over Bull Shoals Lake

Yesterday, I wrote about how I enjoy being outside. After I wrote that post, I watched the news. Again, I was so grateful for the beauty of nature. The news was all about the swine flu. I looked out my window at the Spring rain (okay, sometimes storm), and everything was put back in perspective.

In these difficult times, I think it is a good thing for each of us to look for the beauty in our lives. One thing I have always loved about living in the South is the warmth. Not just of the weather, but, of the people. When I walk in my neighborhood, people wave. I know my neighbors names and enjoy sharing a wave and a smile when we see each other. There is beauty in a well set table with good home-cooked food that you share with someone you love.

I feel like Julie Andrews singing My Favorite Things :). Oh well, it worked for her, and, obviously it works for me.

I hope each of you finds beauty and a few of your favorite things in this day.

Today’s Lagniappe: Tabouli Primavera

When I was growing up, we spent many weekends at the lake. Occasionally, we would drive over to a restaurant called Neifi’s, where they had tabouli. It is a middle-eastern dish that is pretty exotic for a small town girl like me. I always enjoyed it.

2 cups bulgur
2 cups boiling water
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cucumber, chopped
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1 (4 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
2 (2.25 ounce) cans sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil


1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste


Place bulgur in a large bowl; stir in boiling water. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Drain and squeeze dry.
In another large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
Mix together dressing ingredients and pour over veggies.
Add bulgur and toss to coat.

Southern Outdoors

Submitted by Christi
Photo by Jim Gaston of Gaston's Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas

Photo by Jim Gaston of Gaston's Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas

I spent my weekend outside working on the garden. I’m a little sore now but it was well worth it and nothing that a little ibuprofen won’t cure.

I  love spending time outdoors. Always have. When you are inside, you sometimes, forget that there is a whole other world going on outside. There are birds flying around, singing their songs. The robins loved the freshly turned ground in my garden for gathering worms. The squirrels are, as usual, trying to raid my bird feeder. There are bunny rabbits hopping around. It is a bustling, busy world out there!

As I was working, the wind was blowing quite a bit. Every now and then, I would get a whiff of something sweet. Something sweet that is blooming somewhere and the wind was carrying the scent to me in my garden. I was very thankful for the breeze to cool me off from my toiling in the soil as well as for the lovely scent of blooms.

All of this puts me in mind of Louis Armstrong singing What a Beautiful World. Even with all of the turmoil in the world, all the strife and conflict, it truly is a beautiful world. You just have to stop and see it.

Today’s Lagniappe: Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Great as an appetizer or a side dish, this is tasty little bundle.

  • 1/2 pound prosciutto, sliced
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (try herb cream cheese or other flavors of cream cheese).
  • 12 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Blanch asparagus spears in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Submerge in ice water.
  3. Spread prosciutto slices with cream cheese.
  4. Wrap slices around 2 or 3 asparagus spears.
  5. Arrange wrapped spears in a single layer on a medium baking sheet.
  6. Bake 7 – 10  minutes in the preheated oven, until asparagus is tender.

Southern Frugal Friday in the Garden

Submitted by Christi


This is the weekend I put in my garden – starting today. I’ve planted my seeds, tended the seedlings, transferred them into bigger pots and now, I’m ready for the real deal.

I will be tilling the plot, getting rid of the grass and weeds, amending the soil, making rows, then TA DA!!!, planting the vegetables and flowers. This is a pretty labor intensive way to save money, but, it is a labor of love. And, it is well worth it.

Nothing tastes better than home-grown vegetables that you have tended with your own hands. Not only do I get to have yummy veggies and lovely flowers, I get to have the pleasure of accomplishment, the gratitude for the blessing of the earth and a connection to generations and generations going back forever who have planted seeds to grow food and flowers for their homes.

Here is some gardening wisdom from Mary Anne Potter of Herban Renewal Farms of Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is an herbal gardener who wrote a lovely book called Herbal Pleasures. Her words of gardening wisdom are wise words for life as well.

Gardening Wisdom

1.  Begin early. But it’s never too late to start.

2.  If it doesn’t work, try something else.

3.  Life is fragile. Protect it.

4.  Life is enduring. Trust it.

5.  Life is daily. Water it. Weed it. Prune it.

6.  Life is indescribably beautiful. Enjoy it and say thank you.

7.  Growth takes time. Be patient. And While you are waiting, pull a weed.

8.  There’s something for everybody – different blooms for different rooms.

9.  Pruning hurts. Pruning helps you grow.

10.  Recycle. Reuse. Restore. Repair. Reduce. Redo.

11.  Sometimes the tiniest flowers smell the sweetest.

12.  To everything there is a season.

13.  Dream big. But try not to let your joy turn into drudgery.

14.  Grow what you love. the love will keep it growing.

15.  Remember, never kiss by the garden gate. Love is blind, but the neighbors ain’t.

Isn’t that lovely? My mother gave me this lovely little book. Okay, off to the garden. I’ll take pics to show y’all next week.

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Garden Veggie Quiche

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cup sliced mushrooms
* 1/2 med. zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
* 1/2 small onion, diced
* 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
* 1/3 cup shredded carrots
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 5 eggs
* 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
* 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 9-inch pie crust

1. Heat olive oil in medium size pan.
2. Add veggies, garlic, and salt and saute until soft.
3. While veggies are cooling a little, mix together eggs, ricotta, and Parmesan until fully combined.
4. Stir veggies into egg mixture and pour into pie shell.
5. Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Southern Tablescape by Mama

Submitted by Christi


Well, this week I have been planning my Southern dream garden, my beautiful shrubs, my passalong plants and my herbs.

Today’s tablescape is by Mama.

She has beautiful Blue Danube dishes that were her mother’s. She used her dark blue tablecloth and added yellow tulips in a beautiful blue vase and yellow candles in her lovely blue candle holders. It makes a beautiful table, don’t you think?

Mama's Blue Danube china mixed with yellow - lovey!

Mama's Blue Danube china mixed with yellow - lovey!

Notice the cream and sugar pitchers.

Notice the cream and sugar pitchers.

And the butter dish is to die for!

And the butter dish is to die for!

The flatware is Michleangelo by Onieda.

The flatware is Michleangelo by Onieda.

A closeup.

A closeup.

Did you notice the gorgeous blue stemware?

Did you notice the gorgeous blue stemware?

There you have it. A beautiful table by my mother, Carrol Ward. She is the one who taught me at an early age to set a beautiful table properly. I’m so glad she did. A beautiful table from a beautiful mother.

Check out the other great tablescapes at Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe:  Lemon Pound Cake
What could be better than lemon pound cake served on these beautiful blue and white dishes on a warm spring day?


* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 3 cups sugar
* 5 eggs
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon lemon extract

* Glaze Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
* 1/4 cup lemon juice

Beat butter in a large bowl at medium speed of an electric hand-held mixer; gradually add oil, beating until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon extract. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place directly on wire rack.

Combine glaze ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Brush lemon glaze on sides of cake and spoon glaze over top, a little at a time. Let lemon pound cake cool completely.

Southern Garden Herbs

Submitted by Christi


Still working on the dream garden. It must have herbs. Lots and lots. I have always loved growing herbs. In addition to cooking with herbs, I have enjoyed growing herbs to connect to a history of herb use for all sorts of things. I searched out books on how traditionally people have used herbs for illness, cooking, good luck, bad luck and all sorts of things. It is interesting to grow things that have a story.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Rosemary – It’s very name is rooted in legend. The story goes that when Joseph and Mary were fleeing Egypt, Mary draped her blue cloak on a Rosemary bush. She then laid a flower on top of the cloak. That night, the flower turned blue and, thereafter, the bush was know as the “Rose of Mary: or Rosemary. It is believed to strengthen the brain and enhance memory.

Sweet Basil – It’s name means “be fragrant,” and it is.  Greeks despised it but the Romans loved it and made it a symbol of love an fertility. Today, it is planted in homes by Hindus to bring happiness to the family.

Dill – It’s name is derived from the old Norse word, “dilla” meaning “to lull.” It was used to lull babies to sleep. Romans used it as a stimulant for gladiators. It has also been used as an antidote for witchcraft and sorcery.

Garlic – It was worshiped by the Egyptians and they fed it to the the workers building the Great Pyramid at Giza, around 2600 B. C.  It was eaten by Greek athletes who believed it gave them strength. It has been used to ward off evil in the form of vampires and fleas.

Parsley – Medieval Europeans believed they could kill their enemies by plucking a sprig of parsley while speaking their enemy’s name. Roman put it around their necks to absorb fumes (don’t ask me what that is about).

Sage – It’s name is derived from the Latin word, “salia,” meaning “to save.” In ancient times, sage was used medicinally to cure snake bites and invigorate the body and mind. It has been burned to eliminate bad odors. It is now used as a culinary herb.

Thyme – The traditional story is that Thyme was in the straw bed of the Christ Child. Ancient Greeks considered it a symbol of  sacrifice and courage. Thyme has been used to treat melancholy and to improve digestion and has even been recommended as a cure for a hangover!

Growing herbs and enjoying learning about history at the same time! Who wouldn’t love that?

Enjoy more of the outdoors with A Southern Daydreamer’s Outdoor Wednesdays.


Today’s Lagniappe:  Herb Cheese Puffs
Traditional pate a choux pastry with herbs and cheese – Yum!

1 stick of butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon each of fresh, chopped parsley, chives and dill (or whatever combination of herbs you like).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In a saucepan, combine the butter, salt and one cup of water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Beat well with a wooden spoon until the four is well mixed. Return the saucepan to moderate heat and cook until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time (a hand mixer makes this job much easier). Stir in 2/3 cups of the cheese and the herbs.

Drop the pastry dough by tablespoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Southern Pass Along Plants

Submitted by Christi
Bee Balm in Bloom

Bee Balm in Bloom

Still building that dream garden. I would love to have lots of plants that I could pass along. Maybe I’m just dreaming that someone would pass all of these along to me and then I could pass them along 🙂 I’ve been told you should not thank someone for a pass along plant (bad luck or something) but show gratitude by passing it along as well. What a wonderful idea! Anyway, I love the old fashioned flowers that you can pass along by dividing, gathering seeds or with cuttings. Here is some of what I would have:

Bee Balm – I love the pretty, spiky blooms and the lemony smell. In another house where I have lived, I had bee balm that was passed to me. It grew prolifically and I passed it along to several of my neighbors.

Black-Eyed-Susan – who doesn’t love these cheerful flowers?

Day lilies – So many varieties and so easy to divide and so easy to grow.

Irises – Like the day lily so many varieties. I used to have one that I loved that bloomed all summer and had a great fragrance.

Blackberry lily – One of the favorite old-fashioned pass along plants.

Lily of the Valley – my mom gave me some of these and I had them for years before I moved. These will take over if you are not careful.

Violets – These can take over as well if you don’t watch them. But, they are so cheerful and easy to grow and fun to pass along. I had a friend in Master Gardeners who thought it was un-kind to pass along violets. If you pass these along, maybe it should be with a warning, lest someone is taken over by the pretty little plants.

Coleus – I have a big pot of coleus that was given to me as cuttings. I just rooted them in water and then planted them. That was two years ago and I think they will soon be at a point that I can pass them along.

Sweet Potato Vine – I got some of this with the coleus plantings and it has just done beautifully. A great pass along plant.

I can see this garden is coming along beautifully. What is your favorite pass along plant?

Today’s Lagniappe: Amish Friendship Bread
In the spirit of passing things along, here is a recipe for a pass along bread starter and bread recipe. This actually takes more patience than I’ve got right now. Maybe if I made it I would develop more patience!

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (110 degrees)
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. warm milk (110 degrees

STARTER FOOD: (every 5 days)
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk

In small bowl, soften yeast in water for about 10 minutes. Stir well. In a 2 quart glass, plastic, or ceramic container. Combine flour and sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in warm milk and softened yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. Refrigerate. Consider this Day 1 of a 10 day cycle.

Days 2-4, stir with a spoon.

Day 5, to feed, blend flour and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly mix in milk with a spoon, whisk or hand mixer. Stir mixture into starter. Return to refrigerator.

Day 6-9, stir.

Day 10, (which becomes Day 1 for the next series) feed again.

NOTE: Consider the 10 day cycle a guide. It doesn’t need to be followed exactly. If you need more starter, feed it more often. The starter is yeast culture and will grow when fed. To hasten growth, leave starter at room temperature for several hours.


2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/4 baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. Friendship starter
2/3 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 c. optional addition (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans with shortening.

In a large mixer bowl, sift or thoroughly mix flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add starter, eggs, vanilla, and mix well. Stir in optional ingredients and divide batter between the prepared pans. Bake about 55 minutes (exact time will vary because of differences of optionals). Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes then turn out of pans and cool.

Optional Additions:

Raisins, chopped pitted dates, nuts, dried cherries, mashed ripe bananas, blueberries, coconut, canned pumpkin, chocolate chips, chopped apples, grated carrot, grated zucchini.

Southern Garden Favorites – Shrubs

Submitted by Christi

Southern Gardenia
One of my favorite gardening books is The Southern Gardeners Book of Lists. In this book there are lists of all kinds – trees that flower, shrubs that do well in shade, perennials with a long blooming time and on and on.

This week, I’m making my own lists of what I would have in the garden of my dreams. Today, my list is my favorite shrubs. I would have shrubs that have long blooming times and a few that have exquisite fragrance. I would have some that have berries for the birds and I would have to have some that have beautiful Fall color. Here is my list:

  1. Gardenia – This would be a must. I love the fragrance. It is a little strong for some but it has always been one of my favorites. I get this from my mother. When I was growing up, on Mother’s Day, we always wore gardenia corsages. The florist would dye them red to signify that our mother was living. With their creamy white flowers, their dark green shiny leaves and wonderful fragrance, they definitely have a prized place in my dream garden.
  2. Hydrangea – I love their ruffly, round blooms. They always look cheerful. They bloom for a long time. The blooms dry well so you can bring them in and enjoy their beauty in the dead of winter. A Southern favorite.
  3. Forsythia – A Spring-time favorite with its beautiful yellow blooms, this one has great Fall color as well. You know Spring has arrived when the forsythia is blooming!
  4. Butterfly Bush – Colorful blooms all summer long and into the Fall, the blooms are also great for cutting. The blooms attract butterflies as well as bees (watch out!). Beautiful!
  5. Honeysuckle – Another one with a great fragrance that brings back great childhood memories. I remember as kids, we would pick the blooms and get the one little drop of the honey nectar out of little white flowers. Lovely!
  6. Crepe Myrtle – Sometimes these are grown as trees as well as shrubs. I love crepe myrtles because they hold up to the steamy hot heat of a Southern Summer so well. You can always depend on crepe myrtles to be blooming when it is 100 degrees outside in the shade with blooms from bright shocking pinks to cool whites. Definitely a must in my dream garden.

I could go on and on but I’ll stop with these. What shrubs would be in your dream garden?

Today’s Lagniappe: Old Fashioned Lemon Bars
Something lovely to enjoy while you are dreaming of your garden.

* 2 sticks (8 ounces) butter
* 2 cups flour
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 4 beaten eggs
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 tablespoons flour
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
* sifted confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 325°. Blend butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Pat into ungreased 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. For filling, blend together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Pour over first layer. Return to oven and bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Loosen around edges, cut into bars and sift confectioners’ sugar over the top while warm.

Southern Frugal Friday on the Porch

Submitted by Christi

To wrap up a week on the porch, here are some ideas of things to look for at garage sales and flea market for your porch. I’m sure many of you have fabulous ideas you could add for inspiration. Here is what I came up with:


Old chairs

Knock out the seat, add a favorite plant and presto!



Punch a few holes, add plants and hang them anywhere.

Bird Cages

Bird Cages

For plants, and lots of other things.

And, some other ideas:

old candle holders which you could paint any color for your porch.

Old lamps that you could remake into a candle stick.

Old trays, you could repaint.

Anything you can use for a plant container.



Bird Houses

I could stay all day thinking of more ideas. What do you think?

Today’s Lagniappe: Angel Biscuits
Biscuits that are as light as an angels wing.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and sugar, and allow to stand 5 minutes. Add buttermilk. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients thoroughly. Cut in shortening.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Pat dough together and knead gently 10 times.

Do not overmix or the biscuits will be tough.

Roll out to 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch thickness. Cut out circles.

Place on greased cookie sheets with biscuits just touching each other, closely spaced.

Brush with a small circle of melted butter.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

Southern Tablescape Thursday on the Porch

Submitted by Christi

We have been enjoying the porch all week. If you’ve missed it, check this weeks posts on A Southern Life. Today, we’ll have lunch on the porch. Yes, I braved the wind. Sorry, it wrinkled the tablecloth a little, but, those things are okay when you are enjoying the porch. Y’all check out how my little dog, Bailey (the ham) managed to get in the picture.

All ready for soup first, then an entree and bread.

All ready for soup first, then an entree and bread.

Wheat grass in a garden.

Wheat grass in a garden.

The squirrel is having lunch at the bird feeder.

The squirrel is having lunch at the bird feeder.

Ready to eat.

Ready to eat.

The dishes are Mikasa's Garden Bloom for Studio Nova.

The dishes are Mikasa's Garden Bloom for Studio Nova.

This bird is shy.

This bird is shy.

This bird is trying to hide behind the pretty purple glass.

This bird is trying to hide behind the pretty purple glass.

This bird thinks it has found something to eat.

This bird thinks it has found something to eat.

Glad you could join me.

Glad you could join me.

Wish you could all join me for lunch on the porch. Life is just better when you can sit on a porch.

Ya’ll go on over and see the other great tablescapes at Between Naps on the Porch.

Today’s Lagniappe: Spring Soup
This soup looks and tastes delicious and takes advantage of the abundance of Spring asparagus.

* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 pound leeks, chopped
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 quarts water
* 3 large potatoes, chopped
* 2 large carrots, chopped
* 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
* 1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
* 4 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 pound fresh spinach
* 1 cup heavy cream

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and onion, and cook until tender.
2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and rice. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, until vegetables and rice are tender.
3. Stir spinach and heavy cream into the soup mixture, and continue cooking about 5 minutes before serving.

Mama’s Southern Porch

Submitted by Christi

Here is another great “guest” post from Mama. Today, she tells us about her memories of the porch.

Southern Porch

After reading all the comments about porches it brought back memories of my childhood.  We had a big cement front porch, a porch swing and two views of the two streets since we lived on a corner.

Many summer mornings and afternoons my friends from the neighborhood would come and play jacks on the porch, swing on the swing, play house or whatever. We would sometimes play cowboys, annie over, rover rover, swinging beauty, or maybe just go to the library and check out books,ride bikes or skate up and down the sidewalk but we would eventually end up on the porch resting and planning what to do next.

When I reached my teens the porch was a “meeting place” for boyfriends to sit in the swing or on the steps with me. We were, of course, under the watchful eye of my parents who were in the living room with the windows open, and could(and often did) appear at any moment to join us. I had many a goodnight kiss on the front porch.
I now have a screened-in porch which we enjoy immensely.  Two of our granddaughters love to come and swing on the glider and play and of course the backyard is just outside the screen door so it is like being outside but protected from the wind, bugs, sun, etc.
It seems sad to see so many homes with closed doors, no porches and many times no communication with neighbors. How can we ever get any problems solved, without porches?

Today’s Lagniappe: Sweet Tea
In the South when you order tea, it is either sweet or unsweet. Southerners love sweet tea. Here is a recipe to make your sweet tea to drink with a friend on the porch.

Around 3 quarts water
2 cups Sugar
4 Quart size tea bags.

Bring water to a rolling boil, add sugar. (Stir to dissolve)
Add 4 tea bags. Stir. Let sit around 20 minutes
Pour up into gallon jug or container. Fill the rest with cool water.

More Southern Porch

Submitted by Christi


Here is a picture of the dogwood branches that I had originally planned to use for my Easter brunch tablescape. The table on the porch is big enough for them but the wind was not cooperating. I caught the branches and turned the whole thing over and, of course, spilled water on my tablecloth. I ended up moving the tablescape inside and my table wasn’t big enough for this arrangement. I thought the dogwood branches were pretty in this carafe and wanted you to see it. Sorry the pic isn’t so great.

After my post yesterday Southern Porch, some of my Facebook friends helped me out by telling me what they thought a good front porch MUST have. Here are some of their answers:

Rockers and a swing!

At least two exposures (sides of the house).

Hanging ferns or colorful flowering plants.

Definitely a porch swing…and creaky steps.

a blue ceiling!
a view

A good porch should have a loyal dog laying at the top of the front steps waiting to welcome friends and chase off others.

Three cats are equal to a dog, if one is a Tortie.
A boot scraper, too.

Mine has to have rocking chairs and I love windchimes. It needs to be a big porch too 🙂

oh and who can forget a swing!

And a screen door into the house so that you can open the main door and allow the sounds and smells from the kitchen spill out onto the porch!

Christi – I love the screen door where the sounds and smells from the kitchen spill out so I asked, “what should be cooking in the kitchen and this is what they said:

A crumb top apple pie served with sweet milk and followed up with some ice cold sweet tea! mmmm….

Anne Hillebrand
Fried chicken, green beans, yellow squash, cornbread sticks and baked apples.

Dean Workman
Grandma always had something cooking. Blackberry cobbler was my favorite. She would send me and my cousin out to pick them earlier in the day.

I loved all of these responses and just had to share them with you. What do you think a good porch MUST have?

Today’s Lagniappe: Perfect Lemonade
I found this posted by Elise on Simply Recipes and thought it would be great to make to drink on the porch. My mama makes great lemonade. I think she will like this recipe.


* 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
* 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
* 1 cup lemon juice
* 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)


1 Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

2 While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.

Serves 6.

A Southern Porch

Submitted by Christi

porch in Mississippi

Hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend. We had a beautiful day here on Saturday and then rain on Easter. I took advantage of the lovely weather on Saturday to get some work done on the porch. I’ll sit out on the porch anytime I can. We always have some days in the Winter when porch sitting is comfortable, but, when Spring comes around, it is time to get serious.

A porch is very important to Southerners. Even if we don’t have a porch ourselves, we tend to gravitate to someone who does or remember a favorite porch from our childhood. I’ve talked before about sitting on my grandmother’s porch helping her snap beans. That is a favorite memory.

To me there are a few elements that a good porch must have:

  • Comfortable seating. Your really need a good comfortable chair to sit and read a good book, watch the birds (or in my case, also the squirrels) at the bird feeder and other wildlife. You will need more than one chair so you can invite a friend or two (or more) to join you.
  • Dallas ferns. This is a personal preference for me, but, I love the look of big fluffy ferns hanging from the porch.
  • A table. Large enough to hold supper for your family or small enough to just be able to hold a cool drink, you must have a table.
  • A good fan. Ceiling fans, stand alone fan, tabletop fan, whatever you have, you need a good fan on your porch. The Summers in the South are brutal but an evening breeze with a boost from a fan can work wonders.

These are the essentials for me. I think the best porches server multiple purposes. A place to entertain, a place to read, a place to watch nature, all from one place.

My porch is always a work in progress. I am always moving things and changing things around. If you don’t have a porch, you can enjoy mine. You saw a corner of it in the Tablescape Thursday a couple of weeks ago. I’ll be sharing more of it with you eventually. I would love to hear what you think a porch must have. Let me know in the comment section and we can all share our ideas. Go out and make this a great week!

Today’s Lagniappe: Cheese Hooies
These are from a 1964 edition of A Cook’s Tour of Shreveport by the Junior League of Shreveport.

1 pound butter
1 pound sharp American cheese
7 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons salt
Cayenne – amount depending on personal taste

Grate cheese into butter and cream well together. Add salt and cayenne, then work in flour until well blended. This takes a good while, and a lot of “working.” Knead on board until smooth. Roll into a long, thin roll and put into refrigerator and chill thoroughly. When chilled, slice in thin slices and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until slightly brown, 8 – 10 minutes. dust with powdered sugar.

These will keep indefinitely in a tightly covered container. Rolls of dough may be frozen and sliced as needed.  – Mrs. Robert H. Nelson

Christi’s note: while it says they may be kept indefinitely, I wouldn’t advise it.

Photo by kdnxdr

Southern Good Friday

Submitted by Christi


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

The past few weeks, Friday’s meant Frugal Friday’s around here but today is Good Friday. I want to wish all of you a happy and blessed Easter and thank you for sharing part of your day with me and my ramblings here at A Southern Life.

Today’s Lagniappe:  Hot Cross Buns
Something yummy to have on Good Friday morning. In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the crucifixion. Take some to your friends and neighbors as a special blessing to them. I’ve found a shortcut method to making them that I hope you will like.

Makes 1 dozen

* 1  loaf frozen bread dough (1 lb.)
* 1/2  cup  golden raisins
* 2  tablespoons  brandy
* 1/4  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
* 1  large egg
* 3/4  cup  powdered sugar
* 1  tablespoon  milk


Thaw frozen bread dough following package directions. Place in a large bowl, cover, and let stand until pliable and no longer cold, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small bowl, soak raisins in brandy for 30 to 40 minutes. Add raisin mixture and nutmeg to dough. In bowl or on a board, knead raisins into dough. With floured hands, divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into round rolls. Place about 2 inches apart on a buttered baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 20 minutes. In a bowl, beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush buns with egg mixture (discard remainder). Bake rolls in a 350º oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let stand 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk. With a spoon, drizzle icing over buns in the shape of a large X.