Southern Observations

Submitted by Christi

Dr. Andrew Weil wrote a book called Eight Weeks to Optimum Health. One of the things he recommends is having fresh flowers in your home. That is a wonderful idea. I love having fresh flowers. To make it even more affordable, I grow my own! Even in the winter you can go out and find evergreens and holly with red berries in the woods without spending a dime. Here is one of the ways I “dress up” the flowers I grow:

Spiky leaves

Spiky leaves

I can use the spiky leaves from this house plant. It is really tall. Sorry to cut off the top in the pic.

Interesting foliage

Interesting foliage

I can use the greenery from bushes outside my home. Here is a bush on the side of my house that not only has interesting greenery, but, also, great berries. The birds love these berries, so, I go easy on cutting them off and using them indoors.

Zinnias

Zinnias

Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers to grow in the summer. Just plop in the seeds and they are good to go!

Here is an arrangement with my zinnias, greenery from a houseplant and greenery from a bush outside my house:

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I can see how having these lovely things around you can make you healthier.

Even if you don’t grow flowers yourself, you can buy inexpensive flowers from the market and dress them up with the greenery from around your home.

What a lovely and easy way to add some beauty to  your home!

Join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see a lot of great ways to transform your home.

met monday

Today’s Lagniappe: Pumpkin Gingerbread
The county fair starts this week. I look forward to seeing all of the harvest from the summer. Pumpkins are always a favorite!

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice and cinnamon.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Southern Sunday Favorite

Submitted by Christi

As I was looking at past posts today, I found this one from February in which I discuss the girl who was my best friend, from 7th grade to her death from breast cancer in 2005. It was about  her great ability to have fun and be happy in the midst of the worst of times. I miss her EVERY day. What a wonderful person she was and how blessed I was to have her as a friend.

Reading this post again, I keep going back to the scripture:

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!

Do something fun today and enjoy your life and be thankful to the Lord for all of His many blessings!

From February 24th, 2009:

bubbles


In the midst of all of the bad economic news, something has to give. When things are tough is the time when we have to make time for fun.

I learned this in a major way from my best friend. She died from breast cancer on Christmas day 2005. No matter how bad things were, she made sure that she had opportunities to have fun. I remember talking to her on the phone one time. She told me that I was too stressed and that I needed to have more fun. She told me this often. The last time she told me about having fun was a week before she died. She was actually planning a party – from her bed. She had called a caterer and sent out invitations and was really looking forward to it. We were planning to go to this party (she lived in Nashville and we lived in Arkansas). She told me we should have a great time but she hoped we wouldn’t be disappointed. I know she knew she wouldn’t be there.

I think about her every day and know how much better she made my life. When times are tough, I can smile and remember to have fun in her honor. She would love that.

Do at least one fun thing today.

Today’s Lagniappe: Bubble Blowing Recipe

  • Combine 1/2 cup dishwashing detergent, 4 1/2 cups water, and 4 tablespoons of glycerin in a large container with a cover.
  • Mix well, then allow the mixture to rest, covered, until ready for use.
  • Pour bubble solution into a shallow container. Dip bubble wands — such as cookie cutters, shaped pipe cleaners or wire — into the solution and blow!

Tips:

  • Joy is usually the recommended brand of dishwashing liquid.
  • For best results, use distilled water.
  • As an alternative to glycerin, some recipes recommend using white corn syrup.

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Join Chari at Happy to Design for Sunday favorites and Charlotte and Ginger at Blogger Spirit for Spiritual Sunday and enjoy your Sunday!

Hooked on Southern Apples!

Submitted by Christi
Apples!

Apples!

Okay, not just Southern apples, any apples. I love when September comes around and we start getting that fall feeling.

I love the taste of apples and the smell of apples as in Aromatique’s cinnamon cider candles:

cincider

How about the smell of Apple Crisp?:

applecrisp

See today's Lagniappe

You can decorate with apples:

appleholder

Eat off apples:

appledishes

You can even drink and apple:

Appletini

Appletini

Appletini:

1 1/2 oz Smirnoff® Green Apple Twist vodka
1 oz DeKuyper® Sour Apple Pucker schnapps

Stir ingredients together with crushed ice in a cocktail/martini glass, and serve.

Hooray for apples!

Today we are joining: Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses and Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

If you haven’t voted for your favorite place setting yet, go to yesterday’s post and get your vote in!

Today’s Lagnippe:  Apple Crisp

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cream or Ice cream, if desired
1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.

2. Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.

3. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with cream.

Southern Fair Entry

Submitted by Christi

Welcome to my entry in Tablescape Thursday. Hosted every week by the very talented Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.

Last year, I entered a place setting in the County Fair. Since I enjoy doing tablescapes, I thought this was a fun thing to try. Lo and behold, I won Best of Show for this place setting!

county-fair-best-of-show

Isn’t that a lovely blue table they gave us to place our settings – not! The rules state that the setting must be on a placemat. That is kind of a problem for me because I don’t have that many placemats that are suitable for my more formal china. In the setting above, I used a large napkin.

So, I’m thinking about entering again this year. I can’t decide what to enter. I’ll show you some possibilties and you can vote on your favorite. Of course, I would welcome any suggestions as well. I’ve heard they are sticklers on the proper placement of flatware. That is okay, I kinda am too. The categories are casual, formal, holiday and other. You can only enter one setting.

Okay, here are the place settings (in no particular order).

Sterling Rose by Royal Tettau (formal):
There are actually two placemats because the top one is kind of sheer. I put a plain white one underneath. Don’t want that blue table showing through if I enter this one in the fair!

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With silver charger

Chantilly Silver

Chantilly Silver

Silver Victorian knife rest

Silver Victorian knife rest

Small bouquet and white candle (optional)

Small bouquet and white candle (optional)

The same place setting without the silver charger

The same place setting without the silver charger

Okay, up next is Citation Gold by Lenox (formal):

The crystal is also by lenox

The crystal is also by lenox

The candle holder matches the crystal

The candle holder matches the crystal

And, of course, gold flatware

And, of course, gold flatware

Next in our lineup is Ribbon Holly by Mikasa (holiday):
Note: I don’t have as much of this setting. Only the basics, dinner plate and coffee cups.

A pretty red goblet and coffee cup

A pretty red goblet and coffee cup

A little gold frame for a place card holder

A little gold frame for a place card holder

Gold flatware, a glass candle holder with a gold leaf candle ring

Gold flatware, a glass candle holder with a gold leaf candle ring

And our last contestant, Golden Wreath by Lenox (formal):

Gold flatware and gold rimmed goblets

Gold flatware and gold rimmed goblets

A glass knife rest from France

A glass knife rest from France

Burgandy colored candle

Burgandy colored candle

Okay there they are.

n

n

{democracy:2}

I’ll see who wins and probably enter that one. Thanks for helping me out. If I win another Best of Show ribbon, we can all take credit!

Today’s Lagniappe: Autumn Delight
Got this from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

* 2 cups flour
* 3/4 cup milk
* 6 tablespoons shortening
* 4 level teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt

Combine the above ingredients and roll as for biscuits. Place on the dough:

* 4 apples, sliced
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Roll up like a jelly roll, then slice and place in a buttered 2-inch deep pan. Make a syrup:

* 2 cups water
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1-1/2 cups sugar

Bring to a boil and pour over the pan. Bake at 375° for about 40 minutes. Serve warm with or without whipped cream.

Southern Fun

Submitted by Christi

My friend Darla (who was introduced to me by my friend Darlene, whom you may remember from the Mardi Gras party), posted a picture on her Facebook page with the caption “Here’s to you, Christi”

Drinks on the boat.

Drinks on the boat.

Isn’t that great? I had to call her to tell you that I loved her pic. She told me that she had been swimming and had seen a snake near the boat. After much screaming, she finally got back in the boat and needed a drink. Not only did she have a drink, from the picture, it looks like she definitely had it in style!

Sunrise on Norfork Lake

Sunrise on Norfork Lake

This is another one of her pictures from their boat dock on the lake. Just beautiful!

You may recall, my friend Darlene was the one who had the great lighthouse and seashells that I used for a previous tablescape (also outside).

Looks like a lot of Southern Fun!

Enjoy more outdoor pics with Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.

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Psalm 67:2-3
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations
.

Today’s Lagniappe: Crockpot Pork Loin

Crockpot Wednesday

Crockpot Wednesday

Pork Loin
salt and pepper
1 large can of sauerkraut
1 large onion, sliced
1 large cooking apple (granny smith, rome, jonathan, etc.), sliced

Sprinkle pork loin with salt and pepper and place in crockpot.

Add one large can of partially drained sauerkraut. Place onion and apple slices on top.
Cook on low for approx 6 hrs or high 4 hrs.

Southern Fried

Submitted by Christi

fried-apples

Today, I’m going to share a beer batter that can be used to coat many things for frying.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg. Stir in the beer. Add the flour and salt. Mix until the batter is smooth. Set aside.

Now all you need is to heat oil to 375 degrees and start frying. Fry all items until golden brown and drain on paper towels. Here are some possibilities:

  • Onion rings – sprinkle with a bit of salt after frying, serve with ketchup
  • Apple rings – peel and slice and apple into rings, removing the core. Sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar mixture (3 tbsp. cinnamon, 3 tbsp. sugar, 1/4 teasp. salt)
  • Mushrooms – sprinkle with a bit of salt after frying, serve with ranch dressing
  • Zucchini strips – sprinkle with salt after frying and serve with ranch dressing

Okay, I think you get the idea. For labor day, we smoked a pork tenderloin over applewood and had the beer battered onion rings and apples. With a green salad, it was quite the tasty meal!

Today’s Lagniappe: Apple, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
How about a salad to go with our fried food?

Salad
8 cups torn mixed salad greens
2 medium Fuji apples, halved, cored and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

In large bowl, combine salad greens and apple slices. Add vinaigrette to salad; toss gently to coat. Arrange salad on large platter; sprinkle with cheese and walnuts.

Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In small bowl, whisk together ingredients; set aside.

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It’s a three-for Tuesday! Join these great blogs for more recipes and great ideas.

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More Tuesday

Southern Change

Submitted by Christi

It’s time for Met Monday with Between Naps on the Porch, and I am so excited about today’s metamorphosis!

met monday

Notice anything different around here? That’s right! A Southern Life has a new look. I’ve kept the colors and header because I really like them. Here is how the site used to look:

old-ASL

Now, there are 3 columns, and, things have moved around. The search bar is on the top right above my Facebook and Twitter badges.  I like how the blue on the Facebook badge looks against the red. I think it is pretty enough to add it to Blue Monday at Smiling Sally’s

bluemonday

The navigation has changed. There is also a background framing the 3 columns. There are a lot of internal changes that I won’t bore you with, but, I’m very happy with the new look.

I have been wanting to make some changes for a while now and I am so glad to have the holiday weekend to get to jump right into it. Oh, I have also added the featured picture on the top right. It changes every time you reload. There are 6 pictures that rotate in that position. I’m thinking about making it few but haven’t decided yet.

There are some other additions to A Southern Life that will be coming soon that I think you will really like (I hope so!).

I hope you like the changes so far! What do you think? Some things have not changed, like the lagniappe. It’s still here. Enjoy! Hope everyone is having a great Labor Day!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Tomato and Pesto Bruschetta
I’m still harvesting basil from the garden, so, I thought I’d made some more pesto and use it for some easy bruschetta.

1 loaf, crusty Italian baguette
olive oil
1 recipe of pesto
chopped tomato (best if you get it right out of your own garden!)
fontina cheese (or cheese of your choice)

Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices.  Brush the sliced bread with olive oil and bake them in a 375 degree oven until crispy and light brown. Remove the bread slices from the oven and turn the oven up to broil.

Spread about a tablespoon of pesto on each slice of bread and top with tomatoes and cheese.

Place the bread slices back in the oven and broil until cheese melts.

Southern Sunday Favorite

Submitted by Christi

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Join Chari at Happy to Design for Sunday favorites and Charlotte and Ginger at Blogger Spirit for Spiritual Sunday and enjoy your Sunday!

Today’s favorite is from August 18th. I think the verse is perfect for this post:

I am always in awe of the beautiful things in nature. Today, for Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer, I want to show you some pictures taken by Jim Gaston of Gaston’s White River Resort. Photography is one of his hobbies and he does a beautiful job at it.

Enjoying Bull Shoals White River State Park:

2397_10BSWR park

A bluebird in flight:

bluebird

And, a bluebird at home:

bbhouse

A bluejay posing on the fence:

bluejay

A flock of geese in the evening:

geese

And . . . the majestic eagle:

eagle

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not;
and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.
Luke 12:27

Today’s Lagniappe: Fig and Mozzarella Bites
Do I love figs? YES! I found this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis that sounds divine.

  • 6 sheets phyllo dough
  • 6 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 6 equal pieces
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 ounces dried figs, stemmed and quartered
  • 3/4 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 teaspoons black sesame seeds

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a dry work surface. Place one slice of cheese about 5 inches from the top of the narrow end of the sheet. Fold the top of the narrow end over the cheese, leaving 1 inch between the fold and the cheese. Next fold over 1 of the long sides then the other, again leaving 1-inch between the folds and the cheese. Then fold the cheese over, again leaving 1-inch between the fold and the cheese. Continue folding to make a package about 3 1/2 by 4-inches. Continue with the remaining pieces of cheese and phyllo.

Fry the phyllo and cheese packages, 2 or 3 at a time, in the oil until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

Meanwhile, heat the figs and honey in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is warm. Set aside until the cheese packages have finished frying.

To serve, place 1 cheese package on a plate. Spoon some figs and drizzle some honey over the top of each cheese package. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve immediately.


Southern Somthing Easy

Submitted by Christi

Foodie Friday Logo 2

Can you believe it is already time for Foodie Friday again? Where is the time going?

My days seem to be getting busier and busier lately. I have needed some easy recipes that I can make and forget. This is one I really like:

Mexican Beef

1 beef roast, any type
1 can RoTel Tomatoes with Green Chilis

Pour 1/2 can of RoTel Tomatoes in bottom of crockpot. Put roast in pot and pour remaining 1/2 can of tomatoes over roast. Cook on low 8-12 hours.

You can serve this as is or shred it with a fork for beef tacos. For the beef tacos, just put on soft tortillas and add your favorite toppings.

Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Hope your days are easy and that you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. I’ll be here this weekend on the blog and will also be here on Monday. Hope to see you!

Christi



Today’s Lagniappe: Fresh Tomato Salsa

Something yummy to have with that beef!

4 to 6 lg. ripe plum tomatoes
1/4 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley or cilantro (personally, I’m not a fan of cilantro, so I improvise)
2 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, with seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1/4 inch dice and place in a glass bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, toss well.

Be careful to wash your hands well when you are working with hot peppers and make sure you don’t touch your eyes while you are working with them. Trust me, it is not a pretty picture!

Southern Football!

Submitted by Christi

tabelscape

It’s Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!

Miss Kbeau at Life in the Slow Lane told me about this party, so, I just have to link it up for her!

Alabama Bloggers

College football season is upon us. In the South, we take football very seriously. For that reason, I think I have some “splainin” to do.

You see, my dad was an Oklahoma grad (I graduated from a small Oklahoma college – East Central University). Anyway, I grew up with the crimson and cream, singing Boomer Sooner, wearing red and white, the whole nine yards. My dad even had a horn on our car that played Boomer Sooner when you honked.

I marred an Arkansan. He graduated from Tulane (New Orleans) then got an MBA from Emory (Atlanta), but, he is a dyed in the wool Arkansas Razorback fan. I had to learn to “call the hogs” before he married me! I’m sure he would have married me anyway, seeing as how I was such a great catch and all, but, I didn’t choose to test that out.

So . . . where does that leave me? The little college I graduated from doesn’t play on national TV, so, can’t really follow them. So that leaves Oklahoma and Arkansas. Actually, I root for both. Yes, occasionally they play each other and that is when it gets interesting. In those cases, I can root for both (at the same time) and be happy either way. Whew! What a juggling act!

Today’s table is for the Razorbacks (but I’ll be watching OU too)!  One good thing about these two teams – their colors are the same!

A lot of red and white:

IMG_5259

This is actually a sock for a golf club, but, on my table it is a bottle cover:

IMG_5260

The hog hat:

IMG_5261

Even the forks got the “red” treatment:

IMG_5263

Gotta have your pom poms:

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And, in case it rains, we have an umbrella:

IMG_5269

A seat pad to keep us comfortable:
IMG_5266

Deviled egg anyone:

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I think we’re ready!

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Today’s Lagniappe: Pig Sooie Spinach Dip and Sooner Cider

Pig Sooie Spinach Dip

I pkg. frozen spinach (thaw and drain before using)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 cups shredded monterrey jack (mozzerella also works well)
Splash of milk
Garlic salt, salt, and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the first five ingredients in a baking dish, with the spinach on the bottom. Cover. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, stir to combine ingredients and distribute cream cheese. Add splash of milk, garlic, salt, and pepper and stir until well blended. Bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.

Sooner Cider
This is great on top of the stove or in a crockpot.

1/2 gallon apple cider
12 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 c. orange juice
1/2 c. lemon juice

Heat apple cider. Add all ingredients. Allow the mixture to simmer for half hour or more. Add spiced rum if you want to kick it up a notch!

Southern Sunset

Submitted by Christi

It’s Outdoor Wednesday again! This is one of my favorite days because I love showing and seeing all of the beautiful outdoor pictures. Thanks Susan for coming up with this great party!

Outdoor Wednesday logo[5]

Here are some pictures of sunsets that I have been blessed enough to get to enjoy:

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101_0126

101_0127

101_0131

Hope you have had some beautiful sunsets to enjoy!

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
1 Corinthians 15:41

Today’s Lagniappe: Praline Apple Bread
My mother sent me this one from Southern Living. She said it was wonderful!

  • 1 1/2  cups  chopped pecans, divided
  • 1  (8-oz.) container sour cream
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  tablespoon  vanilla extract
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/2  cups  finely chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples (about 3/4 lb.)
  • 1/2  cup  butter
  • 1/2  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 1/2 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 4 minutes.

2. Beat sour cream and next 3 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until blended.

3. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to sour cream mixture, beating just until blended. Stir in apples and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chopped pecans; lightly press pecans into batter.

4. Bake at 350° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.

5. Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a 1-qt. heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, and spoon over top of bread; let cool completely (about 1 hour).

Note: To freeze, cool bread completely; wrap in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.