Southern Moon

Submitted by Christi
Outdoor Wedenesday

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

On our way back from Oklahoma last week, we had an amazing show of the full moon rising over the Ozark Mountains. Between Fayetteville, Arkansas and Mountain Home, Arkansas, the full moon led the way! We took a few pictures with our phone. I probably would have had better pictures if we had stopped, but stopping along this road is not really a good idea. Very little shoulder and deep ravines beyond, kept us on our way. You can see that the headlights were on, but the moon, still, was very beautiful rising above the Ozark Mountains.

Full August Moon

The moon is peeking out from behind the horizon.

Full August Moon

Moon rising between the Ozark Mountains

It really was a beautiful sight. Very calming and a reminder of God’s blessings to us.

If you haven’t been over to YouTube yet to see my nephew’s audition for Top Shot, please check it out. He is my favorite nephew and is just as good a guy as they come! It is a great encouragement to him (and to me to) to see all of you who have visited and I really appreciate everyone who checks it out!

Thanks for visiting A Southern Life. I really, really appreciate all of you!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Apple Upside Down Pie
September 1st already~ Time for some apples! What is your favorite apple?

* 1  cup  chopped pecans
* 1/2  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1/3  cup  butter, melted
* 1  (15-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts, divided
* 4  medium-size Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 3/4 lb.)
* 2  large Jonagold apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 1/4 lb.)
* 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
* 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
* 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together first 3 ingredients, and spread onto bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Fit 1 piecrust over pecan mixture in pie plate, allowing excess crust to hang over sides.

2. Stir together Granny Smith apples and next 5 ingredients. Spoon mixture into crust, packing tightly and mounding in center. Place remaining piecrust over filling; press both crusts together, fold edges under, and crimp. Place pie on an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape.

3. Bake at 375° on lower oven rack 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly, crust is golden brown, and apples are tender when pierced with a long wooden pick through slits in crust. Shield pie with aluminum foil after 50 minutes, if necessary, to prevent excessive browning. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Place a serving plate over top of pie; invert pie onto serving plate. Remove pie plate, and replace any remaining pecans in pie plate on top of pie. Let cool completely (about 1 hour).

Southern Spice

Submitted by Christi

After so much time not wanting to turn on the oven or turn on burners on the stove, it is nice to finally get a chance to cook again!

Tonight we had squash with cherry tomatoes and basil butter and jalapeno basil pork chops. Just from the recipe names you can see that I had to go out and harvest a good bit of basil (that would be 3 or more leaves).



I’ll leave you with the jalapeno basil pork chops – after the video of my nephew’s audition for History Channel’s Top Shot. Please go and view the video and if you have a YouTube account, leave a comment!

Today’s Lagniappe: Jalapeno Basil Pork Chops

1 (10 oz.) jar jalapeno pepper jelly
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork loin chops

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook 1st 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Add  salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes or until pepper jelly melts. Remove from heat and let mixture cool completely.

Pour 3/4 cup pepper jelly mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag, reserving remaining mixture; add porch chops, turning to coat. Seal and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, turning pork chops occasionally. (I recommend a bit more than 30 minutes).

Remove chops from marinade, discarding marinade. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Grill, covered over medium-high heat 7 to 10 minutes on each side.

Serve with remaining pepper jelly mixture.

4 servings.


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More

Southern Top Shot

Submitted by Christi
Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

Happy Monday everyone! Personally, I am really ready to get back to some kind of normal after last week. Thank you again to everyone who posted such nice things after the loss of my Grandpa.

I’m revisiting an old post with an update today. You may remember my post about my nephew and his “metamorphosis” from a young man to a Marine. Well, he has been invited to apply as a contestant on Top Shot. Top Shot is a series on the History Channel where shooters compete for the Top Shot title. Bryan really is a great shot, believe me, I’ve watched him! Besides that, he is just a really cool guy and my very favorite nephew (okay, he is my only nephew but it still counts!).

I would love for all of you to watch his 5 minute application video and then give him a thumbs up on YouTube. I don’t know that it will count towards getting him on the show, but I think it would be very encouraging for him.

Oh, and by the way, not only is he a good shot – what most people don’t know is that he lost 98% of his vision in his left eye during a training exercise while he was stationed at Camp David in the Presidential Guard. You would never know it because he just never calls attention to it. I think it is amazing what a great shot he is even without that vision in his left eye!

Check out his video and then you can read about him below! Hope everyone has a wonderful, wonderful week!

I have posted about my nephew (the Marine) before. It is a different kind of metamorphosis to be sure. But, it is an important kind of transformation.  I am so proud of my nephew for so many reasons. I wish you could all meet him. He is a fabulous cook and makes his own wine. Quite the Renaissance man.

Pic of Bryan with me when he graduated from Marine boot camp.

Pic of Bryan with me when he graduated from Marine boot camp (1996).

Today, I want to introduce you to my nephew, Bryan. Bryan is a Marine. He is not actively serving, but, I learned early on, “once a Marine, always a Marine.” The metamorphosis here is what happened to him at boot camp. They took a bright, energetic, clever boy and made him into a bright, energetic, clever man.

My sister, Tammy (his mother), and I went to his boot camp graduation. It was a life changing experience for me. We met with the drill instructors first. They spoke well of my nephew, which was a good thing. My sister and I were ready to take on the entire Marine force, if, for any reason, they didn’t have good things to say about him (which was unlikely). Luckily for us and for them, the drill instructors had nothing but good to say about him.

It was a goose bump moment when we heard the cadence from the young men as they marched towards us in the dark. You could hear them coming from a distance. Once they arrived, they stood at attention until they were dismissed to find their families. That was an awesome time. We saw him go in as as a young man and he came out a Marine!

The day he graduated from boot camp, I asked him what he had for breakfast. He said duck. I was surprised and said, “duck?” He told me that they had duck a lot. He told me that you duck your head and eat as much as you can before they kick you out. Never heard of that “duck” recipe before!

I am so proud of my nephew, then, and now. After boot camp, he was assigned to the presidential guard. He served in Washington D. C. and then at Camp David. He served in Kuwait during the initial invasion of Iraq.

He is no longer actively serving in the Marines but he still has that Marine attitude. He is a truly wonderful man that I am proud to have as my nephew. He is now married to a wonderful young lady and is still making me proud every day. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful young man as my nephew, and, we as a nation, are blessed to have so many like him who serve our nation so we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads.

Thanks Bryan and to all of the other Marines for all they have done and continue to do for our country!

Today’s Lagniappe: Mussels with Garlic, White Wine and Butter
My nephew has become quite the connoisseur. He makes his own fine wine and is quite an accomplished cook. On one of our trips together, he ordered mussels. He loved them. Here is a recipe that I’m sure he would love.

  • 3 pounds mussels
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Rinse the mussels under cold running water while scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Remove the stringy mussel beards as you wash them. Discard any mussels with broken shells.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables cook down, about 5 minutes. Add the mussels and give everything a good toss. Add the white wine. Cover and steam over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the mussels open. Stir occasionally so that all the mussels are in contact with the heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and a drizzle of olive oil to the sauce remaining in the pot and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with hot crusty French bread.

Southern Inspiration

Submitted by Christi

Today, I’m participating in the Miracle Makeover Party! Read the details at the bottom of the post and start commenting! Thank you to Guideposts Magazine for bringing us the video of Colette and her miracle makeover. The link to see the video is at the bottom of this post.

Colette’s story is inspiring. Many things inspire us in life. Special people, the song of a bird, rainbows, a refreshing breeze – all of these remind us who we are and Whose we are. They remind us of our Creator and our salvation! Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!

As many of you know, I lost my beloved Grandpa last Friday. He inspires me to live life well and fully.

Grandpa Dicus

Frank Dicus

I lost my father in 1992. I’m inspired by him to care about people and to let them know that I care.

Eddie Dicus

I am very fortunate to still have my mother. She inspires me to put my heart in to everything I do, whether it is teaching a class, working with clients, making dinner or setting a table – give it your all and do it well.

Carrol Dicus Ward

Carrol Dicus Ward

I am also inspired by my husband. He inspires me to be committed and he makes me laugh.

My husband, Joe B. Wharton and me on our wedding day (almost 13 years ago)

My husband, Joe B. Wharton and me on our wedding day (almost 13 years ago)

I could go on and and on about all the inspiration in my life – sisters, brother, nieces and a nephew, a bonus father and on, and on it goes.

Today, I’m inspired by a cool morning after so many hot, hot summer days! What inspires you today?

Check out the information below on the wonderful Miracle Makeover Party and join in!

Please take the time today to thank Guideposts Magazine for bringing us the video of Colette’s story.  Please leave a comment thanking Guideposts Magazine, and telling them what you loved about the video – and be sure to click “Like It”. The comment you leave on each participating site will generate a $1.00 donation by Design Gives Back.  These donations will facilitate another Miracle Makeover.

  • Please comment here on  Pink Saturday post for a $1.00 donation.

    Pink Saturday

    Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

  • Comment at Country Wings in Phoenix for yet another $1.00 donation.
  • And, of course visit Kelee at The Katillac Shack, and comment for yet another $1.00 donation.  At Kelee’s you will view the awesome Miracle Makeover video, meet and learn more about Colette, and have the opportunity to see and be eligible to win awesome prizes.

And, be certain to post this event to Facebook, and for another $1.00 donation leave  a comment at  Be certain to thank Guideposts for sponsoring the video, tell them what you like about the video, and be sure to click “Like It”.

Southern Thanks

Submitted by Christi

Thank you for all the prayers and thoughts for my family upon the passing of my wonderful Grandpa, Frank Dicus. The “funeral” was a wonderful celebration of a life well lived.

We shared a lot of wonderful stories, some tears, some laughs and in the great Southern tradition, some wonderful food!

Thank you to all the wonderful cooks who contributed to the wonderful fare we enjoyed while remembering Grandpa!

So, of course, I have to share some recipes, don’t I?

One of the wonderful dishes we had was roasted brisket. Delicious and versatile. it is a great funeral dish!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Slow Roasted Brisket

* 4 to 6-lb beef brisket
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 tbsp paprika
* 2 tsp  salt
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* 4 large onions, sliced
* 1/2 cup red wine, broth or water

Cooking Instructions

1. In a bowl or small food processor, combine the minced garlic, brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper. By hand, rub this mixture all over the brisket, wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Live a wonderful life and enjoy as much as you can, and . . . join:
3. Lightly grease a roasting pan with vegetable oil cooking. Place the brisket in the pan and add the sliced onions. Pour the red wine or other liquid and cover the roasting pan very tightly with heavy duty foil (or the lid, if there is one). Place the pan in the oven and roast, undisturbed, for 3 hours. Uncover the pan and continue to roast for an additional hour, basting occasionally with the juices from the pan.
4. If you want to serve the brisket right away, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before slicing. Arrange slices on a platter, skim off any fat from the pan juices and spoon some over the meat. Serve the remaining pan juices separately.
5. If you are cooking this a day ahead of time, let the brisket cool completely, then refrigerate without slicing (it’s easier to slice the brisket when it’s cold). Skim off any congealed fat from the pan juices, slice the brisket thinly and arrange in the baking pan. Cover tightly with foil and reheat in the pan juices at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until heated through.

So, my message today is to live a wonderful and fulfilling life! Eat wonderful food and enjoy:

With Designs by Gollum

Southern Rememberance

Submitted by Christi

I’ve posted many times about my wonderful Grandpa – Frank Dicus. How influential he has been in my life. How his positive outlook and zest for and love of  life have always been an inspiration. When I think of my Grandpa, I always see him with a smile or laughing his infectious laugh as he tells one of his wild tales about his incredible life.

Grandpa Dicus

Grandpa turned 94 this year on January 24, 2010. He died yesterday on August 20th. The world will never be the same. It is, in fact, hard for me to imagine a world without him in it. I feel the same about the world without my father, (Grandpa’s oldest son) who we lost 18 years ago. Some people are just larger than life and their loss just really leaves a void. I’ve learned, in the case of my father, that eventually, we can fill the void with the wonderful memories and lessons learned from those who have had so much influence in our lives.

I take comfort in knowing that, in fact, time does heal and soften the pain of losing those we love, especially when we have the comfort of knowing of their salvation through Jesus Christ.

Sunrise over Lake Norfork


Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

From Grandpa, I learned to live my life fully and not in fear, to embrace each day, to work hard and well. From Grandpa, I learned not to be pretentious, just be who you are. I’ve learned to embrace tough times and learn from them and become stronger. I’ve learned to be on time.

It is a wonderful thing to be so proud of the family you come from (on both sides!). Today, I feel like I am one of the most blessed people on earth because of the people that I have had and continue to have in my life.

Thank you God!



Rest in peace Grandpa! We love you very much and will miss you dearly.


Join Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday (sunrise/sunset) and Ginger and Charlotte and Ginger at Blogger Spirit for Spiritual Sundays.

Southern Fun

Submitted by Christi

Welcome! Glad you are here. Tonight we are having a cocktail party!

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

I found these adorable cocktail napkins. They each have the name of a cocktail and then a cute little character for each. Click on the first one to scroll through and see all 8.

Are those cute, or what?

Grab a glass.

cocktail glass

And one of these retro canape trays.

canape trays

Check out the flowers while your at it.

pretty flowers

And join me for a cocktail out on the porch!

Cocktails on the porch.

Today’s Lagniappe: Cuba Libre
I wasn’t familiar with this cocktail when I saw the napkin. It is a drink with a story (gotta love that). If you prefer a non-alcoholic drink, just omit the rum and you will still have a very tasty drink.

The Cuba Libre (Spanish for Free Cuba) originated around 1900 in Havana, Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Patriots aiding Cuba often toasted the West Indian Island and its freedom with this rum, cola, and lime cocktail.

  • 1-1/2 oz. dark or white rum
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Ice
  • Coca-Cola
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the ingredients. Stir and garnish with lime wedge.

Southern Basil Pesto

Submitted by Christi

Yesterday’s lagniappe was a recipe for basil pesto. Why? Because my basil is growing beautifully and I need to do something with it!



So, I’ll make some pesto with it. But then what do you do with the pesto? Today’s Lagniappe will feature 3 different recipes using basil pesto!

Here is the recipe for the pesto from yesterday:

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Do you make pesto? Is your recipe similar to the one above? What do you do with the pesto after you have made it?

Today’s Lagniappe: 3 Recipes with Basil Pesto

1. Melted Pesto Cheese Dip
3 ingredients and very easy!

  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, fresh if possible
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If using packaged cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes and place in oven safe serving dish. If using fresh cheese, slice it and place in oven safe serving dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 4-6 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven and drop pesto by teaspoonfuls over cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese and return to oven for 1 minute. Serve with crackers. Serves 6-8

2.  Pesto Brie Bruschetta
Tomatoes and basil – a classic combination.
  • 8 slices french bread
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 (8 ounce) wedge Brie cheese
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

Spread each slice of bread with some pesto and top with cheese slices, cut to fit. Place in toaster oven and toast until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly. Top each slice with some cherry tomatoes and serve.To grill, place bread on grill over medium coals. Grill for 2-3 minutes until toasted. Turn, remove from grill, and top with pesto and cheese. Return to the grill and cover. Grill 2-4 minutes until bottom of bread is toasted and cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with cherry tomatoes and serve.

3.  Pesto Pasta
Last but certainly not least!

  • 1 lb. uncooked linguine pasta
  • 12-oz. container refrigerated basil pesto
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta as directed on package; drain and return to pot. Stir in basil pesto, tossing gently over low heat until pasta is coated. Add grape tomatoes and toss for 1 minute. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. 4 servings


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More

Southern Fun With Mirrors

Submitted by Christi

When we married, one of our gifts was a window that had been recovered from an old school. The panes had been filled in with mirrors. That window frame had seen a lot in its day and now it is living in our home.

When I was in a creative mood (and when I had more time to express my creativity), I decided I wanted to do something with that mirror and was inspired by this book:

Glass Art

The book had great instructions and patterns. The product (Plaid’s Gallery Glass) lets you create a stained glass look with gel paints.

gallery glass

It was a lot of fun. For the longest time, I had the mirror on my back porch. Unfortunately, a storm brewed while I was away and strong wind blew the mirror over. However, it only lost one pane!

The trick now is to take some photos of the mirror to show you. Taking pictures of mirrors is always a challenge, huh? Sorry, they are a little blurry because I didn’t use a flash.

Gallery Glass Mirror

Galler Glass bluebird


galler glass birdhouse


gallery glass bees


galler glass hummingbird


gallery glass mirror

It was really easy and I loved how it turned out. You can make art for your windows and you can even peel them off and move them around. So, now, I’ve got to decide what my next project with Gallery Glass will be!

What are you transforming today? Check out some great transformations at:

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

And find some great blues at:

Blue Monday with Smiling Sally

And find some creative fun at:

Its so very creative

Today’s Lagniappe:  Basil Pesto
I’ve got tons of basil growing right now so it looks like it time to make some pesto!

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Southern Sunday

Submitted by Christi

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



What a week it has been. Very busy and very, very hot! My favorite post today for Sunday Favorites is from July – when it was still hot but we got some cooling rain! I took pictures of the clouds as we were traveling down the highway. They were so awesome.

The awesome clouds call to mind God’s glory!

Isaiah 44:22:

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Psalm 57:10

For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

Revelation 1:7

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

From July 6th 2010

Southern Clouds

Wow, getting this post done during a break from the storms. We were a couple of hours East of here today meeting with clients and when we got back there were small branches in the road and a shutter of a neighbor was broken off. We have had lots of lightening and thunder and rain since we arrived home. Always good to get back home.

I took some pictures of the awesome clouds as we were driving home.

Clouds and sun

Clouds and sun

clouds and sun

Clouds over Lake Norfork

These pictures were taken around 5:30 p.m. with my phone. Wish you could have seen them in person. They were crazy!

We have had some more storms this evening. We really needed the rain! Glad for a break in the heat. What is going on outside in your neck of the woods?

Outdoor Wedenesday

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

Today’s Lagniappe: Strawberry Ice Cream
Something yummy and refreshing for a warm summer day!

* 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
* 3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh lemon zest
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 2 large eggs
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 lb strawberries (3 cups), trimmed and quartered
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Southern Summer Morning

Submitted by Christi

I’ve already been out to the Farmer’s Market this morning. Lovely tomatoes and Arkansas peaches – YUM! When we go home, I did a quick cleanup of the driveway before the heat get too unbearable. It is going to be over 100 degrees here AGAIN today! I really love Summer, but this is getting a bit old.

I love the Farmer’s Market – maybe there is just something about shopping outside! Of course, there is also the great benefit of getting local produce and actually meeting the people who grew it. There is the man who is telling me about the corn that he just picked last night. Then there is the lady who picks many of her tomatoes green for the market – “Cause, you know, you can’t just get those anywhere.”

The Amish family had fresh flowers today. I love that. Especially, since I didn’t plant my big garden with the zinnias this year. I have to be content with zinnias from the Farmer’s Market or with looking at pictures of my zinnias from last year.

Pink zinnia

Do you have a great Farmer’s Market near you? What is your favorite thing about your Farmer’s Market?

Today’s Lagniappe:  Ideas for Local Tomatoes
I found this at There are also a lot of great ideas for other local produce there. Check it out!

Quick idea No. 1: Mix chopped tomatoes and basil with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Spoon onto toasted baguette slices.

Quick idea No. 2: Cut green grape or cherry tomatoes in half and top with a half-teaspoon of fresh goat cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Southern Heat – Part 2

Submitted by Christi
Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

vignette friday

Wow, I had big plans this week, but it is still SO HOT!!!! Heat index of 110 today! So, no cooking again tonight. We have actually done some grilling this past week, but absolutely no turning on the oven.

Remember last week’s takeout? Well, after working all day, I’m thinking of doing a repeat with different takeout. Tonight we are going really easy with pizza in the living room, on the coffee table with, horror or horrors, paper plates. I rarely ever use paper plates but they really actually have some pretty nice ones these days.

Red plates with red and white napkins.

Red plates with red and white napkins.

The roses were on sale at the grocery store for $4.99. They aren’t opening up real well, but hey, they were only $4.99 and I think they add a nice touch to the table.

The placemats are too big to fit horizontally, so, I just turned them the other way.

Pizza take-out

This looks pretty good for pizza! No need for flatware either. How easy is that?


One for you . . .

casual table

one for me.

white roses

A closer look at the roses. They are pretty nice!

casual dining

Staying in . . .

take-out dining

and staying cool!

That is what we are doing around our home. What are you doing to stay cool?

Today’s Lagniappe: Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
This one is from Mama. She says it is delicious and very easy. It is supposed to feed 4. She said if you are really hungry, it won’t go that far!

* 8  ounces  Dried Fettuccine
* 2  tablespoons  Butter
* 1  cups Whipping Cream
* 1/2  teaspoons  Salt
* 1/8  teaspoons  Black Pepper
* 1/2  cups  Parmesan Cheese
* 12  ounces  Shrimp, cooked
* 1  teaspoons  Dried Basil

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt butter. Add cream, salt, pepper, shrimp, and basil. Bring to boiling: reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Drain pasta. Add pasta to hot sauce. Toss to combine. Transfer to warm serving dish. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.

Southern Talent

Submitted by Christi

I want to introduce you to a very talented photographer. Her current choice of subject is nature. Let’s look at some of her photographs.










What makes this photographer so special?

She just turned 9 years old!

Quite talented, don’t you think? Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Banana Split Ice Cream Cake
Cool and yummy!

* 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
* 1/2 cup butter, melted, plus 1/4 cup butter
* 4 to 5 medium bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
* 1-1/2 quarts strawberry ice cream, softened
* 1 cup chopped walnuts
* 1 cup chocolate chips
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 cup evaporated milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (8-ounce) container nondairy whipped topping

In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture, then press the remainder into the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch pan.

Place the bananas in a single layer over the crust. Spread the softened ice cream on top and smooth. Sprinkle the nuts on the ice cream, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

In a large saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup butter and stir until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and evaporated milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until slightly thickened and smooth, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool the mixture, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture over the ice cream and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with the reserved crumbs. Freeze for at least 3-1/2 hours. Remove the dish from the freezer 10 to 20 minutes before slicing. Serves 18.

Outdoor Wedenesday

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

Southern Salads

Submitted by Christi

It is salad time around here. Love something that tastes great, is fresh, healthy and you don’t have to turn on the oven!

southern salad

Now is the time to enj0y all those garden veggies and some great lettuce. But, of course, and good salad has to have the perfect dressing, right? I love to make vinaigrette.  There are endless possibilities.

So, here are some of my favorites:

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

apple cider vinaigrette

1 1/2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley
2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil


1. Whisk the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and chopped parsley together in a bowl.

2. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until thickened.

3. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

4. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

5. Bring apple cider vinaigrette to room temperature before using.

This would be great with some blue cheese and apples with walnuts. It’s beginning to sound like Fall (even though it is still really hot!).

Herb Parmesan Vinaigrette

garden herbs

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup low-fat Plain Yogurt
1 teaspoon Dried Herbs such as Oregano, Basil, Thyme or a blend
1 tablespoon. Dijon Mustard
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste


1. Combine all ingredients in blender until creamy and smooth.

2. Pour into bowl, cover and store in the refrigerator.

3. Makes about 2 cups of herb parmesan vinaigrette.

Mmmmmm, sounds like it would go great on a salad with grilled meat!

Strawberry Chardonnay Vinaigrette

strawberry vinaigrette

1 Cup Strawberries, hulled
1/2 Cup Chardonnay Wine
1/3 Cup White Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Fresh Mint, chopped

1. In blender, place all ingredients except oil and mint.

2. Cover and blend until pureed.

3. Slowly stream in the oil until vinaigrette thickens.

4. Transfer the vinaigrette to serving bowl or airtight container.

5. Stir in the mint when ready to serve.

6. Will last up to 4 days when refrigerated.

Something lovely to have with strawberries and nuts and maybe some feta cheese!

I love salads – how about you? What is your favorite salad?

Today’s Lagniappe: Classic Vinaigrette
The classic from which so much can evolve.

1-1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Dijon Mustard
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper


1. Whisk together the oil, mustard, vinegar and pepper in a small bowl.

2. Serve with salad.

3. Cover and seal and refrigerate for up to one week.


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More

Southern Gourmet

Submitted by Christi
Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

Hooray, in our little town, we now have a gourmet market. It is small, but it is wonderful! They are attached to our newest fine wine and spirits store. I love the name of the store. It is “The Peeps Little Bit Gourmet” – how great is that.

This store is the dream of four women. How wonderful that they metamorphosed their dream into reality!

The Peeps Little Bit Gourmet

They have some wonderful products. You can just make one stop on your way to a party and pick up a bottle of wine and a great hostess gift from The Peeps and you are set. Or just pick up some great items for your own party!

I love it when a dream comes true for anyone with guts to step out and take a chance! Judicious Spirits – the wine and spirits portion of the building is bright and cheerful, with wide aisles and wonderful selection.

Judicious Spirits

The Peeps has a great selection of cheeses, including chocolate cheese. I know that sounds weird, but really, it is great. Kind of like a really smooth fudge. Anyway, if that is not to your liking, they do have other great products.

The Peeps Little Bit Gourmet

The Peeps

The Peeps

The Peeps

The Peeps

Chocolates at The Peeps

At The Peeps Little Bit Gourmet, they even have a television that plays the Food Network so you can get some great ideas while you are there!

The Peeps

Wish you could be here and see it. Check out to see all about them. You could always call to get some of their great products if you are not in Arkansas!

Great job ladies. I wish you the very best of luck!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Cheese Straws
A Southern classic. You can get some great cheese straws at The Peeps. If you can’t get these where you are, here is a fabulous recipe!

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

Sift together the flour, salt, and dry mustard. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles meal.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over and stir with a fork until flour is moistened and forms a ball. Add more water, a small amount at a time, if necessary.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle half of the dough surface with 1/3 cup of shredded cheese and 1 teaspoon paprika.

Fold plain half over the covered half and pinch edges to seal. Roll out to a rectangle again and sprinkle half with another 1/3 cup shredded cheese and 1 teaspoon paprika.

Repeat rolling and sprinkling one more time. Roll into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick and cut into 3-inch strips.

Place cheese straws on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 425° for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.