No Bake King Cake

Submitted by Cindy

Have you ever wanted to make a Mardi Gras king cake but were turned off by the complicated yeast bread recipes?  Here’s a quickie recipe with beautiful results – and no cooking necessary.

I attended a presentation today given by Cindy Pagragan of Cindy’s Sweet Sensations.  She showed us slides of her exquisite novelty and wedding cakes – have you ever seen one in the shape of a castle?  She taught us some fascinating things about cake icings, such as the trade-offs of transfat vs. smoothness and stability.  But what I really want to share with you is her creative king cake recipe.  This is the secret ingredient:

Read more…

Comfort Food Cook-a-Thon

Submitted by Cindy

I’ve been craving simple, home cooked food lately.  I’m still paying for the eating excesses of the Christmas holidays, and the less than nutritious fare of parade parties is just around the corner.  I devoted a dreary Sunday afternoon to restocking my freezer.

I’m sure the gourmands are rolling their eyes right now.  I’d love to cook an exquisite meal every night, but who realistically has the time?  Plus, most of my comfort foods are of the slow simmering variety – not the type of project you want to tackle after a long day unless your gang likes to eat at midnight. Read more…

Mardi Gras Gumbo

Submitted by Christi

It’s been pretty rainy around here for the past week. The perfect time for gumbo. Okay, really any time is the perfect time, but today, it chased away the gloominess from the sky and helped restore the Mardi Gras mood.

Okay, so I took a few shortcuts on the gumbo. Don’t judge me for being smart enough to not try making this for guests on a weeknight when I’ve been working all day without cutting some corners. 🙂

So, here is my “hurry up version.” Read more…

Cabbage…lots of it!

Submitted by Cindy

Every fall I plant broccoli.  It does quite well in pots on my patio – container gardening is a trade off in the city for a nicely landscaped yard.  In New Orleans transplants are generally available in early October, with harvest right around Thanksgiving.  I was a bit surprised to find transplants at a big box garden center in early September.  I decided to gamble on an early planting, perhaps getting a long season of side shoots if they could make it through our hot weather.

The transplants thrived, with lush, healthy green leaves.  In fact, they seemed a lot fuller than usual.  I was puzzled that no heads had emerged by mid November.  Had the hot weather caused some problems?  The leaves grew smaller and tighter, then one day I felt something hard in the middle.  It then dawned on me…I wasn’t growing broccoli but cabbage!

I have nine heads of cabbage just in time for the New Year.  Luckily they store well, to give me a chance to find some interesting and different ways to cook this humble vegetable.  In the meantime, here is a tried and true favorite.


Georgie’s Cabbage Rolls 

  • 8 large cabbage leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 14-1/2 ounces can Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Cook cabbage in boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender; drain.
  • In a large saucepan, saute 1 cup onion in butter until tender. Add the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar and seasonings. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • In a large bowl, combine the rice, remaining onion, beef, Worcestershire sauce, and ¼ cup tomato mixture.  Mix well.
  • Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place about 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up leaf to completely enclose filling. Place seam side down in a skillet. Top with the sauce.
  • Cover and cook over medium-low heat for approximately 1 hour.

     Yield: 4 servings


Wreaths and Garlands and Doors . . . Oh My!

Submitted by Christi

Recently, my husband and I took a walk down State Street here in New Orleans. It is a lovely tree lined street with beautiful homes and gardens. Now, at Christmas time, it takes on a whole new and beautiful look. I took lots of pictures and today, I want to share the doors with their festive wreaths and garlands and bows. Lots of eye candy here. Another reason to love New Orleans! Oh, and once you have seen all the pics, don’t forget to check out the toffee recipe at the bottom.

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Today’s Lagniappe: Christmas Toffee
Lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap) = a little something extra

Making candy around the holidays is a fun tradition, but sometimes, you just don’t have a lot of time available for all that is involved. This toffee, made with saltines is a great time saver that tastes great and is easy.


saltine crackers (enough to line a 13 x 18 sheet pan)
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of brown sugar (I used light but use whatever you have)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can use milk chocolate if you prefer)
toasted nuts (I used slivered almonds but chopped pecans or walnuts would be great too)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray it generously with non-stick cooking spray (do not skip this step – trust me). Place saltine crackers in the pan with the salt side up – like this:

Christmas toffee

Melt the butter and brown sugar over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Let the butter and sugar mixture boil for 3 minutes (stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick on the bottom). Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the butter/sugar mixture over the crackers (be careful, it is very hot). Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the toffee for 5 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the hot toffee mixture. The chocolate will melt. Once the chocolate has melted, spread it to cover the top of the toffee. Sprinkle the nuts on top of the toffee.

Christmas toffee

Let cool and then you can put it in the refrigerator to continue setting up. Once the toffee has set up, remove it from the pan with the foil lining. Either cut it up into small toffee pieces (as I do) or break it up. This is very rich so you will want small pieces.

Sorry, I forgot to get a “beauty shot” – guess I’ll have to make some more 🙂

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch


New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Submitted by Cindy

It’s Monday and I was in the mood for red beans and rice.  Just like my grandmother used to do, I put the beans on early so they could cook themselves while I worked.  Except I was sitting in front of the computer all day rather than doing the laundry.
Red beans and rice is what the locals eat in New Orleans, especially on Monday, and there are as many recipes as there are cooks.  Here is the one that I use – the seasonings are what make this one so delicious.    Whatever recipe you choose, the key to good red beans is long, slow cooking in order to develop a creamy texture with thick gravy.  As an old cook once shared with me, you need to “cook to goodness”.
2 lbs. dried kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water
2 cups chopped onion
½ cup sliced green onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 1/3 T. finely minced garlic
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. or more ham or pork *
1T. salt
½ t. black pepper
¼ t. cayenne
2 bay leaves, quartered
½ t. dried thyme
2 qt. cold water, approximately

Drain the beans, and put them along with all the other ingredients in a heavy 8-10 quart pot, adding just enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until beans are tender and a natural gravy has formed.  Stir frequently to make sure that the mixture does not scorch.  Add a cup or so of water toward the end if the beans seem too dry.

Ladle about 1½ cups of beans over 2/3 cup of boiled rice.  Makes 8 servings, and freezes well.

*My favorite meat to use is a ham bone with meat still attached.  The bone marrow will add to the creamy texture.  You can also use pickled pork, salt pork, or leftover ham.  Do not use country or smoked ham – it’s too salty.

Chargrilled Oysters!

Submitted by Christi

Oysters – an interesting little mollusk. People eat them raw, fried and yes, chargrilled (or charbroiled). I have often wondered, who was the first person to open an oyster and think, “Hmmmm, wonder what this tastes like?” Traditionally, oysters are said to be best during months that end with an “R.” With refrigeration, oysters are safe to eat any month but, apparently, colder months tend to produce better quality oysters than the warm months when they are spawning. Who knew?

We recently stopped into the iconic restaurant, Casamentos on Magazine street here in New Orleans and had some yummy oysters that were charbroiled. They were juicy, buttery and topped with cheese. How bad can that be?

I decided that this was probably something that I could make pretty easily and, sure enough, they were easy and delicious!


Served on this beautiful oyster plate, they were pretty to look at as well. I mean really, oysters can look a bit off-putting, don’t you think? Many of the recipes I looked at called for adding just butter and then topping with a cheese blend. Others added a bit more flavor with anything from garlic, to shallots, and even Worchestershire sauce. I tend to like things pretty kicked up so I added all of those and a little bit more. Here is how I did it:

Today’s Lagniappe: Chargrilled Oysters

Prepare your grill for grilling with charcoal. While the charcoal is getting hot, shuck one dozen oysters. Shucking the oysters was the hardest part of this recipe. Get a good oyster knife and be careful. There are lots of tutorials for how to shuck oysters on the web. Try not to lose too much of the oyster juice as you are shucking. I relegated this job to my husband while I prepared the butter sauce.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and add a couple of cloves of crushed garlic (or to taste), a tablespoon of finely chopped shallot, a dash of Worchestershire sauce, a bit of salt and pepper and a splash of hot sauce (I used Crystal hot sauce). Whisk these all together.

When the coals are white hot, place the oysters, shell side down, directly on the grate. Let them cook until the juice just starts to bubble a bit.

Pour the melted butter mixture over each oyster (be careful here because when it spills over the fire will flare). Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese blend on each oyster and grill until the cheese is melted. The total cooking time for us was about 5 minutes.

Remove the oysters from the grill and serve them on your favorite oyster plate or a platter and serve with hot French bread to sop up all that oystery, buttery goodness.

Bon Apetite, Y’all!

Want to find lots of great recipes? Check out Foodie Friday at

Easy Southern Gumbo

Submitted by Christi

One week to Mardi Gras! Can’t wait. We love gumbo around here, however on a weeknight, it is a bit much to get it all together. So, we take a shortcut!

Luzianne GumboWith a little help this gumbo in a box from Luzianne this can be a really tasty dinner! We start with some andouille sausage then follow the directions from there with a few minor changes.

When adding the mix, we omit the cayenne but add additional garlic powder, some Cajun seasoning (like Emeril’s Essense or Slap Yo Mama), and some hot sauce (I add Chrystals and then my husband adds additional Tabasco when just before he eats). We also cook it longer than it calls for by about 10 minutes so it gets a little thicker. About 5 minutes until it is done, we add Gulf Shrimp.

You can add other seafood like crab meat and crawfish at this point. Up here in our neck or the woods it is hard to find these kinds of products that are not from Asia. We occasionally special order these products but remember, don’t be bamboozled!

Anyway, we have tried different mixes and this tastes the closest to the way I make it homemade and it is quick and easy. Gotta love that!

Did you know that Luzianne also makes Blue Plate Mayonnaise?

blue plate mayonnaise

My friend Christy Keirn over at Miles to Go is from Mississippi and she swears Blue Plate Mayonnaise is her secret to making the best pimiento cheese. Check out her blog for her recipe.

Get in the Mardi Gras mood and make some of gumbo this week. With this easy shortcut, there is no excuse not to 😉

Laissez les bon temps rouler

Today’s Lagniappe:  Salade De Tomatoes Avec Sauce Re
If you’re going to get some Blue Plate mayonnaise, you may as well have another recipe to use it in. This is from the Luzianne website.

Makes approximately 1 ¼ cups

1 cup Blue Plate Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons minced scallions
½ tablespoon dried tarragon leaves

In a small bowl stir all ingredients until smooth. Keep refrigerated. Serve over sliced tomato arranged on a bed of lettuce leaves.


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Southern Valentine’s Dinner

Submitted by Christi

So, Valentine’s Day is upon us. I’m thinking this would be the weekend to celebrate.

Are you planning something special? Shrimp, lobster, steak? I’m thinking the best plans would be reservations! Let someone else do the cooking!

Maybe a steak.

Filet of BeeOr maybe lobster.

lobster-tailAnd, of course, you must have dessert!

 Chocolate Mousse

Sounds delicious! Of course, you could go out and then come back home for dessert!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Chocolate Mousse
From Kraft – use sugar free if you want to make up for some of the dinner calories! If you want to leave out the Irish Liqueur, you can save even more calories. However, it is once a year so, go ahead!

1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1-1/4 cups  cold milk
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
2 cups  thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

BEAT pudding mix, milk and liqueur in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP.

SPOON into dessert dishes. Refrigerate 20 min.

TOP with remaining COOL WHIP and berries.

Foodie Friday

With Designs by Gollum

Southern Snow Day

Submitted by Christi

It started snowing here this morning and is still steadily snowing at mid-day here in my neck of the woods in Arkansas. Got some pics to share with you as well as a recipe!

I love asparagus. Of course, we usually cut off the top part and throw the woody part away. I’ve always seen cooking channel people do this and then say to save the woody part for another use. Well, while I’ve always thought I should do that, I never had – until today. I actually just served the tips last night for supper (roasted with lemon, garlic and olive oil) and saved the rest to make some soup. Turned out to be a great lunch for a snowy day!

Set on the coffee table in front of the fire and I even had a little mini-tablescape!

I’ve also been feeding the birds. Watching them is not only entertaining for me, it also keeps Calli-cat occupied. I’ve got covered bird feeders in the front. My bird feeder in the back is unprotected, so it is covered with snow. I made a makeshift bird feeder on the back porch and then scattered a little seed on the porch. The birds have really enjoyed it.

I have had cardinals, bluejays, wrens, chickadees, tufted titmouse, robins and red finches, mourning doves, a couple of woodpeckers and, of course, squirrels. What fun it has been to watch them. I’ve been trying to get pictures. Of course, the beautiful red cardinal is just as pretty as a picture but always seems to fly off just as I get the camera focused on him!

As I am typing this, a big Bluejay is feeding as a robin waits on this fence for his turn. Don’t you just love snow days!

Today’s Lagniappe: Asparagus Soup
This recipe makes 8 – 10 servings. I quartered the recipe (I didn’t even need half) and it turned out great! I also skipped the step for the tips of the asparagus since we had them the night before 🙂 This is based on Emeril Lagasse’s recipe. YUM!
* 3 pounds fresh asparagus, rinsed
* 8 cups chicken stock
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, garnish

Trim the attractive top tips from the asparagus, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Cut the woody stem ends from each spear and reserve. Cut the remaining tender stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a medium pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the tough woody stems, lower the heat and simmer to infuse with asparagus flavor, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard, reserving the stock.

Add the decorative tips to the stock and blanch until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a strainer and refresh in an ice water bath. Drain on paper towels and reserve for the garnish. Reserve the stock.

In a medium stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When foamy, add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped asparagus stalks, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the reserved broth and simmer until the asparagus are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

With a hand-immersion blender or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. If serving right away, return to medium heat and add the cream and reserved asparagus tips. Cook, stirring, until the soup is warmed through, about 3 minutes.

Alternatively, if serving the soup later, do not add the cream and let cool at room temperature (or in an ice water bath). Cover and refrigerate. Before serving, add the cream and asparagus tips, and warm the soup gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Foodie Friday

With Designs by Gollum

Southern Warm Up

Submitted by Christi
Foodie Friday

With Designs by Gollum

While the snow is over (for now), it is still a bit chilly here. Time for some comfort food! Onion soup is yummy and the version I’m sharing today is Creole Onion Soup and the recipe is from Brennan’s New Orleans.


I love the traditional French onion soup but honestly, the mozzarella is just a tad difficult to eat as is the toasted bread crouton you have to fight through to get to the soup.

French Onion Soup

That is why I LOVE this Creole version of onion soup. It has yummy Parmesan cheese incorporated that will definitely not leave a string of cheese between the bowl and your mouth as you transfer the soup with your spoon!

Before we get to the recipe, I’ve got to tell you a story that explains another reason I love this soup. One beautiful Autumn when we were visiting New Orleans, yours truly was a bit under the weather. When I finally got to a doctor, it turns out I had a sinus infection. Grrrrrr, that can really put a damper on an otherwise fun trip.

What got me through was this wonderful Creole Onion Soup from Brennan’s. It was so soothing and warm and yummy.  Pretty powerful soup! Had to get the cookbook with that recipe on the double!

Oh, and one more thing, this soup doesn’t take HOURS to make. It is served with small croutons made with wonderful day old french bread.

Without further ado:

Today’s Lagniappe: Brennan’s Creole Onion Soup
If you don’t need 8 servings, you can easily halve this recipe.

(8 servings)
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 large onion
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef stock
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. white pepper
Salt to taste
2 tsp. eggshade or yellow food coloring (optional and I’m not sure why this is needed – CW)
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a large pot, and sauté the onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Blend the flour and cook the mixture over medium heat another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. If desired, add the food coloring. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then serve.

Southern Snow Day

Submitted by Christi

Yesterday was our first snow of  Winter! It was only a light dusting but enough for the schools to close. Even though I was busy working, I still love snow days.

Snow days always remind me of how exciting it was to get to stay out of school and stay home to “sled” and build snowmen. Of course, we didn’t have enough snow to warrant having a sled so we made do with pieces of cardboard and various items that we borrowed from Summer like the zip sled (meant to be used in the water) and inner tubes.

When we would come in for lunch, it was always Campbell’s tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches followed by snow ice cream. Somehow, the soup and sandwich just tasted so much better on a snow day. And, who doesn’t love snow ice cream.

tomato soupI made that lunch here yesterday. Believe it or not, I actually took a lovely picture of the yummy lunch to share with you. When I got ready to upload it, I realized that I did not have a memory card in the camera! Of course, the soup and sandwich had been devoured so I’m just sharing a picture of a can of soup. Sigh!

I remember visiting with my friend Donna Butler and her wonderful parents JoAnn and Pete Butler in Kansas City one year. JoAnn (or Mommy Jo as she is affectionately called) made Campbell’s tomato soup to the “peak of perfection.” It is all in the technique. I’ll have to get them to tell us all about the special way to make this soup.

These days, I still like tomato soup.  I love the convenience of a can, but sometimes, it is nice to take the time to make it from scratch.

Today’s Lagniappe:  Cream of Tomato Soup

• 2 14½ ounce cans whole tomatoes, crushed
• 3 cups tomato juice
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 12 washed fresh basil leaves
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 4 Tablespoons butter (½ stick)
• – Salt to taste
• ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

1. In a black cast iron pot, combine tomatoes, juice and stock.
2. Simmer 30 minutes.
3. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in a food processor or with a hand-held food blender, right in the cooking pan.
4. Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring, over low heat.
5. Garnish with basil leaves.


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Autumn Salad

Submitted by Christi

Oh, it is good to be back. Can’t tell you all how much I have missed blog-land while our business has been soooo busy. It is really good to have a busy business, but I really like it when we are busy and I still have time to spend with my blog friends!

One of our friends and neighbors recently passed away. I’ll tell you more about he and his wife soon. Anyway, as you know, in the South, the requirement when someone dies is to BRING FOOD!!!

Somehow, there is great comfort in the rituals of celebration, whether they be birth, wedding or funeral. It’s good to fall back on tradition to get through all of these times. I know our neighbor’s wife will have some tough times ahead, please keep her in your prayers.

In the meantime, my contribution to the celebration of life was an Autumn Fruit Salad.

Autumn Fruit Salad

To make the salad, I took a few liberties with the recipe that I found at All Recipes. Here is my recipe:

* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup flour
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 1/2 cups apple cider
* 1 teaspoon butter or margarine
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 6 cups cubed unpeeled apples
* 2 cups halved seedless red grapes
*1 small can mandarin orange slices
* 1 cup walnut halves


1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and flour. Stir in water; bring to a boil. Cook and boil until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, combine apples, grapes, orange slices and walnuts. Add the dressing and toss gently. Refrigerate until serving.

Keep an eye on that dressing. It thickens quickly. I would have added raisins if I had them. Of course, you can add whatever (3 or more) fruits you like. See the original recipe in today’s lagniappe.

What is your tradition to get you through life’s rough patches?

Today’s Lagniappe: Autumn Salad (the original recipe)

* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 1 teaspoon butter or margarine
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 6 cups cubed unpeeled apples
* 2 cups halved seedless red grapes
* 1 cup diced celery
* 1 cup walnut halves


1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and flour. Stir in water; bring to a boil. Cook and boil until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, combine apples, grapes, celery and walnuts. Add the dressing and toss gently. Refrigerate until serving.


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More

Southern Evening

Submitted by Christi

Oh, how I love these cool fall evenings! The sun is slanting at a different angle and there is just a hint of coolness in the air!

How about a little bite to eat on the porch for

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Spode - Reynolds

Spode - Reynolds

Purple Grape Glasses

Purple Grape Glasses

The sun is going down

The sun is going down

A fall centerpiece

A fall centerpiece

Time to light the candle

Time to light the candle

The sun is sinking below the horizon

The sun is sinking below the horizon

Oh, how I love these cool fall evenings!

The candle is flickering in the evening dusk

The candle is flickering in the evening dusk

A quiet Southern fall evening

A quiet Southern fall evening

Sorry to be so lax about posting lately. Life has been very busy, but in a good way. That means lots of work for us which is a very good thing. I have missed being a part of this wonderful blogging community this week!

Today’s Lagniappe: Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
The pears at the grocery store are perfect right now! You can use the vinaigrette here or check out this past post for some other vinaigrette ideas. I used the classic vinaigrette with a touch of honey. Delish!

* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 medium shallot, minced
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
* 1/2 cup olive oil

* 1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens
* 2 large ripe pears, halved, cored, thinly sliced lengthwise
* 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
* 1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped

Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss greens in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Divide greens among 6 plates. Top with pear slices, dividing equally. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Drizzle lightly with remaining dressing and serve.

Southern Trip to the East (Southeast)

Submitted by Christi

We are so happy to have business to the East of us in Jonesboro, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. Here are some pics form our recent early September trip to these lovely places.

The lake as we are leaving Mountain Home, Arkansas had a light fog over it.

Norfork Lake

Norfork Lake

As we pass through the small town of Ravenden, we see the Raven that watches over their city (a bit scary for my tastes, but to each his own!). I just think those eyes are kind of spooky.


Then on to the rice and soybean fields in the Delta of Arkansas. The fields had taken on some beautiful golden and green colors that just cried out for me to take a picture. Often as we pass through, we are treated to a fabulous show by the crop dusters dipping and lifting and soaring over the fields.

Rice field

rice field

soybean field

Just a beautiful drive through beautiful country!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Pecan Rice
Did you know that Arkansas is one of the largest producers of rice?

  • (7-ounce) package pecan rice
  • 3/4  cup  toasted chopped pecans

Prepare 1 (7-ounce) package pecan rice according to package directions. Stir in 3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans. Prep: 5 min., Cook: 20 min.

Note: Konriko Wild Pecan Aromatic Rice from Louisiana is a great source for pecan rice. Look for it in your local supermarket, or order directly from

Outdoor Wedenesday

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer