Southern Hotness!

Submitted by Christi

Yikes! As I write this it is 98 with a heat index of 105! That is actually not as hot as it was supposed to be today. Of course, the day is not over.

When it is this hot, turning on the oven is just not something I want to do. Actually, cooking with any kind of heat is to be avoided if you ask me. I really would prefer not to do laundry or start the dishwasher either. So, I guess, it is really just an excuse to be lazy! LOL!

Okay, so maybe we’ll order take-out but I can still serve it on pretty dishes, can’t I?

Mikasa platesMy Mikasa Studio Nova Garden Bloom plates on a clear placemat that is rimmed in gold, with my gold flatware and, of course, a wine glass.

That is a nice place to serve some take-out!

Take-out at homeI still have some pink flowers leftover from last week so I just dressed up the table a bit by adding them along.

Cool tablesettingOne of the things I like about the placemats is that I don’t have to launder them! I can just wipe them down and they are ready to go again.

green placesettingA great way to beat the heat – don’t cook and eat inside!

Green, pink and purple placesetting.

What is your favorite way to beat the heat?

Today’s Lagniappe: Italian Spinach and Mushroom Salad
From Wishbone.

  • 1  package (10 oz.) fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1  package (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms
  • 1  can (19 oz.) chick peas or garbanzos, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3  cup  bacon bits
  • Seasoned croutons
  • 1/2  cup  Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing

1. Combine all ingredients except Dressing in large salad bowl. Drizzle with Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing; toss gently. Serve, if desired, with additional Dressing.

TIP: Make it a main dish salad…just Flash Marinate! Brush meat or poultry repeatedly during grilling or broiling with Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing for that marinated taste; then slice and add to salad.

Go check out some wonderful, inspirational table ideas at

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Southern Figs

Submitted by Christi

Figs are in season right now and oh, how I love them. I used to have a fig tree. It was a brown turkey fig tree. It would bear a few figs in the late spring and then really start to flourish in the late summer, early fall. I tried moving it around with me to a couple of different houses in a pot. Unfortunately, it didn’t survive one of the winter moves.

Fig Tree

If your only experience with figs is Fig Newtons, then you really have to search out some fresh figs to see how extremely different from the well known cookie filling the fresh fig tastes. I’m not knocking Fig Newtons. I actually think they are very tasty. They just don’t really have that fresh fig taste.

Of course, the fig leaves are also quite attractive. They work great as a foundation for a cheese plate (with which figs would work very well). They are also famous for covering Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Fig Leaves

Figs are also known as a healing food. They are said to control cholesterol, prevent colon cancer, and lower high blood pressure. That little fig packs a lot of power!

There are several types of figs. I’ll tell you about 3.

Brown Turkey Fig

Brown Turkey Fig

This is the kind of fig I grew. They have brownish / copper-colored skin, often with hints of purple, and mostly pink/red flesh with some white flesh.

Celeste Figs

Celeste Figs

The Celeste Fig is very common in the South. They are small and sweet and delicious.  The are a purplish-brown when ripe, and have a dark, sweet, moist, purple flesh inside.

Mission Figs

Mission Figs

Mission Figs are one of the most well know figs. They were named for the mission fathers who planted the fruit along the California coast. This fig is a deep purple which darkens to a rich black when dried.

Let’s all have a “figgy” day! What is your favorite fig recipe?

Today’s Lagniappe:  Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Peppered Honey
I found this easy and yummy recipe at

1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh figs
1/4 cup soft fresh goat cheese

Combine honey and pepper in small pitcher; stir to blend. Starting at stem end, cut each fig into quarters, stopping 1/2 inch from bottom to leave base intact. Gently press figs open. Spoon 1 teaspoon cheese into center of each. Arrange figs on platter; drizzle with peppered honey.  – 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 Summer Birds

Submitted by Christi

While summer is in full swing we have fewer birds at the feeder. There are abundant insects and berries for the birds to feast on. Now is a good time to make some plans for fall feeding and maybe just add a little extra for the few birds that do regularly visit the feeder in summer.

We have doves and cardinals and blue jays that are regular visitors right now. Occasionally, a robin will stop by as will the little red finch couples. Here are a couple of projects for adding some critter attractions to your yard.

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

From one of my bird books is this cute and easy idea for chipped teacups. You may have some around your house or can find some pretty ones at garage sales, flea markets or thrift stores. Just screw some hooks in a board and hang them up and then fill them with bird seeds. There are lots of things you can do with this idea. You could cup the board in the shape of a teapot and paint it. You could arrange the cups in a pretty decorative pattern. What ideas do you have?

teacup bird feeder

Here is one for the squirrels. It is called a squirrel IQ Test. Just take an empty, clean soda bottle, remove the lid and fill with peanuts in the shell. Hang up by wiring it to a post or fence and watch the squirrels work at getting the peanuts in the right position to remove them! Fun and inexpensive entertainment!

Squirrel IQ Test

One thing that is good for attracting birds any time of year is moving water. Apparently, they love the sound of water. It is easy to make your own fountain. Just search on line for easy directions or look here. All you need is a waterproof container, a pump and some tubing.

garden fountain

Even a sprinkler will do, and they make some very decorative ones these days.

decorative sprinkler

What do you do in your yard and garden to transform it into an attractive place for birdwatching? Would love to hear your ideas!

Today’s Lagniappe: Hummingbird Cake
The ultimate Southern cake. I’ve run this recipe before but I thought it would go well with this post and who can ever get enough Hummingbird Cake?

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

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

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

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

Southern Sunday

Submitted by Christi

It is time for another

Sunday Favorite

With Chari at Happy to Design

I wrote the following post when it was really hot. Guess what? It still is! Oh well, that is what summer is all about 🙂

From July 14, 2010:

Southern Sunny Table

It is hot, hot hot here! As I write this, the heat index is 101 – down from 105 today! So, summer is in full swing. What makes me think SUMMER? The sunflower!

Earlier this week I posted this pic of a sunflower about to bloom.

Now it looks like this:

I love those colors and it reminded me of some of my china that has sunflowers on it.

So, of course, I braved the heat and set the table for a late evening supper on the back porch.

The sunflower china (Spode – Reynolds) with golden flatware and some summery flowers.

See the bird feeder in the background. The doves that were feeding flew off when I went out. Hated to disturb them 🙂

A close up of the summer flowers:

And, of course, my table doves were invited too!

Happy summer evening! Hope you enjoyed this tablescape and will go and visit a lot more at:

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe: Smothered Okra
Found some okra, along with some heirloom tomatoes and some other delicious treats at the Farmer’s Market today!

1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 pounds okra, washed under cool water, stemmed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
2 (1-pound) cans whole tomatoes, crushed with their liquid