Southern Favorites

Submitted by Christi

The last week of the year! Thought it would be a good time to look back at some of my favorite tablescapes of  the year. Actually, all of my favorites are from blogs that I visited this year for:

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

I got a little behind on the settings around here. However, I did get a few done. Here are some that I really enjoyed:


From Valentines Day

Donna Buttler Douglas

Hey, there are even dots on the plates. - From my friend Donna Douglas with her fabulous Donna Dots

The Crazy April Fool’s Day Table:

Colorful but crazy!

Colorful but crazy!

A centerpiece with Easter eggs, Christmas ornaments and . . . apples!

A centerpiece with Easter eggs, Christmas ornaments and . . . apples!

Hey! Who left the apple core in the centerpiece?

Hey! Who left the apple core in the centerpiece?

One candle has a Christmas candle ring and the other a spring candle ring.

One candle has a Christmas candle ring and the other a spring candle ring.

Let’s take a closer look at those place settings.

Christmas plate with a visiting bird. Is that any way to place the flatware?

Christmas plate with a visiting bird. Is that any way to place the flatware?

Ah, it looks like Spring, except for that turkey!

Ah, it looks like Spring, except for that turkey!

Pretty pink florals and stips with a pretty pink . . . pig?

Pretty pink florals and stipes with a pretty pink . . . pig?

Fall and Mozart - now that makes sense. Way more than where the knife, fork and spoon are placed.

Fall and Mozart - now that makes sense. Way more than where the knife, fork and spoon are placed.

Beautiful china with an elephant crawling on top.

Beautiful china with an elephant crawling on top.

Can't find my knife! Oh, there it is at the bottom of the plate. I need it to fight off that turtle.

Can't find my knife! Oh, there it is at the bottom of the plate. I need it to fight off that turtle.

April Fool!

April Fool!

Tea Time with Mama:

Tea and cookies and strawberries.

Tea and cookies and strawberries.

Any time I can be out on the porch, I’m a happy girl!

Green glasses, edged in gold (to match to gold edged plates).

Down at the River:

On the White River

Just a few of my favorites. Hope you enjoy!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Chili Roasted Black-Eyed Peas
Saw this in Southern Living and thought it would be a great New Year’s Day snack!

  • 2  (15.8-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 3  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  pepper
  • 3/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

A Southern Life Favorite

Submitted by Christi

A favorite post from December 4th 2009 for:

Sunday Favorite

With Chari at Happy to Design

A Christmas memory? Oh, so many it is hard to narrow it down.

Christmas 1967

Christmas 1967

How about this one. Those are kind of peachy pink pajamas aren’t they Beverly? This was taken in 1967 (yes I am that old). From left to right that is my little sister Linda, my big sister Tammy and me with the silly grin.

It looks like Tammy is trying to make some cotton candy with a little cotton candy making machine. I don’t really remember that, but I do remember the easy bake oven. Actually, our family had a real cotton candy machine that was used to make cotton candy for the family grocery store when we were just little kids.

The year this pic was taken, I remember getting up really early with my older brother, Jay and my sisters and sitting around the Christmas tree with a flashlight telling ghost stories until we thought it was late enough to wake up our parents (probably around 5 a.m.!)

That year, I got a Chrissy doll. It had hair that would grow and then you could make it short again by turning a dial on the back of the doll. I was so excited and loved the doll. What a great memory.

I feel very blessed to have so many wonderful happy memories from my childhood. I grew up with a wonderful family full of love and that was, and is, the best gift of all!

Today’s Lagniappe: Cocktail Smokies
I remember my mother making this recipe for our annual caroling parties (more details to come on that later!).

1 lb cocktail wieners
1 cup bbq sauce
1 cup grape jelly
1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Place all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hrs or place all ingredients in large pot and cook on low for 1 hour.

Southern Christmas Favorite Carol

Submitted by Christi

Today is going to be a baking day here. Love to listen to Christmas music while I bake. It just really puts me in the mood. My very favorite Christmas song is Silent Night. It is what my mother and my sisters and I traditionally sing together every Christmas.  I think we will have to do it long distance this year as we are all staying in our far-away-from-each-other homes this year. We can be together in spirit however.

I love Christmas songs that remember the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Christ is Born!

Silent Night

Silent Night, Holy Night
All is Calm, All is Bright
Round Yon Virgin,
Mother and Child
Holy Infant so Tender and Mild
Sleep in Heavenly Peace
Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Happy Pink Saturday to everyone!

Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

And blessed Spiritual Sunday with Blogger Spirit.

Spiritual Sunday

Gift Basket Winner!

Submitted by Christi

We have a winner and it is


Thank you to everyone who participated!

Southern Christmas Table and Give-Away!

Submitted by Christi

Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes while we were under the weather around here. I appreciate being missed!

Today, I want to show you a Christmas table I did back when I first started blogging. I had not thought to post the pictures when I took them. I just liked the table and took pictures because I wanted to.

Eventually, I discovered all this incredible tablescaping going on out in blogland and jumped in to join fun! Thanks to Susan for hosting!

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t take but a couple of pictures. Now, I know to get lots more!

Christmas Tablescape

Chrsitmas Tablescape

The china pattern is Golden Wreath by Lenox. Sorry the pics are not close enough to show a lot of detail, but if you look closely, you can see that I used little miniature frames for placecards. The centerpiece is just a hurricane that I filled with red ornaments and placed on a brass tray and surrounded with gold ornaments and greenery. I love red and  gold together.

Now, on to the give away! This wonderful treat is provided by Kountry Kupboard out of Jonesboro, Arkansas. Kountry Kupboard is a great bulk and specialty food item store. They have lots of hard to find baking items as well as just some really tasty stuff!

Kountry Kupboard Gift Basket

The contents of this basket are:

Jake & Amos Zesty Pepper & Onion Relish – this makes a great dip and the recipe is on their website
Jake & Amos Seven Day  Pickles – they say this is one of their customers favorite items
Cinn/Van/Nut Cappuccino – a yummy drink to enjoy by the fire
White Chocolate Spoon – something to make your favorite hot beverage taste even better
Micro Marshmallows – the better to melt in your hot chocolate by
Tabasco Praline Peanuts – You have to taste them to believe them

To win this fabulous gift basket you have several ways to add to your chances!

  1. Leave a comment here.
  2. Go to the Kountry Kupboard website (, look around and then come back here and leave a comment telling me what product at the Kountry Kupboard you liked best.
  3. Become a fan of the Kountry Kupboard Facebook page and then come back and leave a comment letting me know that you have done that.
  4. Become a fan of A Southern Life on Facebook and then leave me a comment letting me know. If you are already a fan, just go ahead and let me know that you are in the comments.

Okay, so you can have up to 4 different chances to win! How fabulous is that?

The winner will be announced here at A Southern Life on the morning of Saturday, December 18th. That this coming Saturday! Good luck!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Chocolate Rum Cake
This just screams, “eat me for the holidays!” If you want to leave out the rum, you can just substitute a couple of teaspoons of rum flavoring in place of the rum.

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark rum (or 2 teaspoons rum flavoring)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white rum (or 2 teaspoons rum flavoring)
1/4 cup water (if using rum flavoring increase water to 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F . Grease one 10 inch Bundt pan. Place chopped nuts in the bottom of the Bundt pan.

With an electric mixer beat cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, 1/2 cup of the water, and 1/2 cup of the rum on high speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan over the top of the chopped nuts.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes.

To Make Rum Glaze: In a saucepan combine the butter or margarine, sugar, 1/4 cup of the rum, and 1/4 cup of the water. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

Pour some of the glaze on the warm cake while it is still in the pan. Do this slowly so in can be absorbed into the cake.

Turn the cake out on to a cake plate. Prick the cake several times with a fork. Drizzle the rest of the glaze onto the cake and let it soak into the cake.


What room in your house is your favorite to decorate? Check out Joan’s post at:

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Christmas Around the House

Submitted by Christi

Well, the decorating is going really slow this year. We’ve been passing around the pre-Christmas crud around here the last couple of weeks. We are planning on being back to 100% this coming weekend! For now, I’ll post what we’ve got done and will try to post more once our ailing bodies have recovered. First stop, the dining table for a Christmas tablescape:








Next stop, the Christmas tree. So glad we got this up before the ailments began. It has been nice to enjoy the tree while we have been stuck at home.

Christmas Tree

I’ll get some more shots of the tree tomorrow (when I predict I’ll be back to at least 90%) and add them to the post.

Then there is the nativity, which I showed you earlier this week. We still have not put ours together yet. The pieces are still awaiting us on the back porch. I just hope ours looks even half as nice as Mama’s.


Still working on the fireplace. Somehow the lights are not cooperating as I would like.

Christmas Fireplace

A little touch of Christmas in the kitchen:

Kitchen Wreath

I like to hang the wreath above the kitchen sink. It has some of my favorite ornaments on it along with some old silver. Here is my Christmas piggy chef:

Kitchen Christmas

A little Christmas cheer on the cabinets:

Christmas Cabinets

Stockings for the pets (we have no children so we make do):

Bailey stockin

Cali Stockin

Our Christmas decorations are still a work in progress. Hopefully a lot more progress this weekend!

In the meantime, I promised the Christmas fruitcake story. As you may remember, I posted a fruitcake recipe earlier this week. Well, that fruitcake has been around for a long, long time. My Mama remembers that My Daddy’s father’s (my Grandpa’s) bookkeeper, who was named Jelly had a wife who would always make this fruitcake. Now, this was before my Mama and Daddy married, so that was over 50 years ago. My grandmother got the recipe and our family has been making it ever since. My mother and grandmother just didn’t soak it in the sherry. If you missed the recipe, just go back one post and check it out.

For tonight, we’ll stick with something easier.

Today’s Lagniappe:  Chocolate Coffee
This sounds like a yummy recipe for after a fun time in the snow or just for some Christmas Cheer.

4 heaping teaspoons of cocoa mix
1 scant teaspoon of instant coffee mix

Makes one serving.

Okay, hope everyone is having lots of holiday fun (without any of this yucky stuff). Lots of parties going on! Here are the ones I am linking to!

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Holiday Home

Hooked on Houses

Southern Nativity

Submitted by Christi

Recently, my mother and bonus father created this beautiful nativity.


They ordered the pattern online. I love the simplicity of the silhouette. It looks so nice at night with a light shining on it. I’ll try to add some night time shots later.

They were gracious in allowing me to borrow the pattern to make my own nativity.

Here are all the pieces, cut out, painted and ready to assemble.


All of the pieces were cut out of a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood and then sanded, primed and painted.

Mine is awaiting assembly on the back porch. Here is the finished project:




It takes a bit of time to trace the pattern, cut out with a jigsaw and then sand and paint but I think the results are very much worth it. What do you think?

UPDATE: Adding pictures of the nativity scene at night and adding a bit to the Lagniappe below.



What creations are you up to for Christmas?

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

holiday home

Today’s Lagniappe: Betty’s Fruitcake
My grandpa’s wife, Betty makes this fabulous fruitcake soaked in cream sherry. My mother is making an old favorite – white fruit cake that I will share with you soon.

Christi’s Note – after posting this, I received an email from my mother telling me that this recipe is the white fruit cake that our family has made for years instead of Betty’s fruitcake. There is a story to this fruitcake. I’ll share that on my next post. Stay tuned! 🙂

1 lb. butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 oz. lemon extract
3 tablespoons sherry
8 oz. candied cherries
8 oz. candied pineapple
1 lb. white raisins
1 quart pecans

Sift flour, salt and soda together. Add fruit and pecans. Mix well. Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks, lemon extract and sherry. Add to dry ingredients. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour in a tube pan (grease bottom only) and bake at 200 degrees for 4 hours.

Cool cake.

Soak cheesecloth in sherry and wrap around cake.

Southern Fireside

Submitted by Christi

It is still pretty cool here today. Glad to have a fire in the fireplace. Definitely time to stay in and have a cozy supper by the fire for today’s edition of Tablescape Thursday.


I started with a small table in front of the fire. So glad I got a red tablecloth. It has had so many great uses.

I added my gold, fluted chargers.


Then, I added my Mikasa Ribbon and Holly china.


Etched glass goblets with long stems in red.


Gold flatware and a candle complete the scene.


A cozy fireside supper on a cold evening.


But it is nice and warm in here.


The decorating blitz around here is coming up this weekend. Check back for new photos and ideas!

Today’s Lagniappe: Caramelized Onion Potato Gratin
Something warm and comforting to have on a cool day from Southern Living.

* 1 1/4  cups  soft, fresh breadcrumbs
* 1/4  cup  chopped fresh parsley
* 3  tablespoons  grated Parmesan cheese
* 2  teaspoons  lemon zest
* 3  tablespoons  butter
* 2  large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
* 3  garlic cloves, minced
* 3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
* 3 1/2  cups  milk
* 1 3/4  teaspoons  salt
* 1 1/2  teaspoons  dried Italian seasoning
* 1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper
* 1  (8-oz.) package shredded Italian six-cheese blend
* 3  pounds  baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion, and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes or until onions are caramel colored; add garlic, and cook 1 minute.

3. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and next 3 ingredients. Cook, whisking often, 8 to 9 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; whisk in cheese until melted and smooth.

4. Layer half of potatoes in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish; pour 2 cups sauce over potatoes in dish. Repeat layers once.

5. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown and potatoes are fork tender, topping with breadcrumb mixture during last 15 minutes of baking. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes.

Lightened Potato-Caramelized Onion Gratin: Substitute 1% low-fat milk for whole milk, decrease butter to 1 1/2 Tbsp., and increase flour to 1/4 cup. Proceed with recipe as directed.