Southern Style

Submitted by Christi


11 days to Spring!
On one of the boards I frequent, someone asked the question. What low-cost decorating solutions are you using during the recession? My first response was recycle!

My sofa needs re-upholstering. I had a beautiful king-size matelasse bedspread that I was not using. Voila. I used the spread as a sofa cover, changed the pillows and I love it.

As I have written previoulsy, I love to decorate with houseplants. I’m always cutting from one to start another. I even have a lovely houseplant that I started from an avocado seed. My grandmother was always rooting plants and she had several in her home. Of course, she was also a very talented seamstress and also made beautiful crochet afghans. I don’t do well with crochet and my sewing skill leave much to be desired. I can sew in a straight line if it doesn’t have to be too straight.

Tough economic times are challenging. However, it is possible to live graciously with less. Good manners are always in style and a kind word is free. What are you doing to make your world beautiful today?

Today’s Lagniappe: Shrimp Butter
Serve this to guests with crackers – yum!

* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 2 (4 ounce) cans shrimp, drained
* 1 tablespoon chopped onion
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise


1. Place the butter and cream cheese into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Add the shrimp, onion, lemon juice, garlic salt and mayonnaise; beat until fluffy. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. Allow the butter to come to room temperature before serving.

Impromtu Southern Party

Submitted by Christi


When you need to entertain at the drop of a hat, what would you serve? For some crazy reason, I think about this a lot. I have a vision that 12 people could show up unexpectedly on my doorstep and I could entertain them beautifully without blinking an eye. In real life, I might could handle 2 people if they were visually impaired enough to not see dust on my furniture or dishes in my sink. I could feed them cheese and crackers and maybe a glass of wine (if not wine, I could probably come up with some lemonade).In my dream world, everything would be spotless and I would have everything on hand. I think having these items on hand would work:

  • Sausage cheese balls and cheese and olive roulades and cheese straws served on a pretty silver tray (that doesn’t need polishing)  I would just happen to have these in the freezer, I would just pop them in the oven for a few minutes and serve piping hot.
  • A variety of wines, soft drinks, etc. with sparkling clean glasses and garnishments at the ready.
  • A variety of cheese and fruit or antipasto fixings that I would throw on a tray and they would land in an artful arrangement that would wow my guests.
  • Fresh flowers arranged beautifully.

Of course, I would also serve these with my flawlessly manicured hands in my beautiful hostess attire without a hair out of place.

Luckily for me, I have never had 12 people show up at my door unexpectedly. I have had 2 show up occasionally and I managed just fine. Thanks to my mother for teaching how to be a good hostess, I know how to smile and put things on pretty plates or trays and wing it.

You know, I could probably put some of those things in my freezer, just in case . . .

Today’s Lagniappe: Sausage Cheese Balls

2 cups Bisquick
1 pound hot sausage
1-1/2 cup medium or sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Roll mixture into balls a little smaller than a golf ball. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 20 minutes.

Christi’s note: I like to add garlic powder, a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce, a dash of cayenne and sometimes a little dried parsley to this mixture.

Southern Snow?

Submitted by Christi

In the upper Midwest, they are experiencing extreme cold. Here we are bracing for some cold weather ourselves. The high here tomorrow is supposed to be 24! No snow in the forecast however. In the North, they take snow and cold weather in stride. In the South, we  shut down. No school, government offices close, trash pickup is delayed and even the mailman has been known to have a day off. Then there is the phenomenon of the grocery store rush. We all flock to the grocery store and clear the shelves. For some reason, bread is very popular for snow preparation. We are ready to be socked in for weeks by the half inch of snow expected.

When we do get snow we go out and make scraggly looking snowmen and try to find a bank of snow deep enough to gather snow for snow ice cream. Snow is an event in the South. It is like a holiday. We enjoy it while we have it because we know that soon it will be gone and we will be left with extra loaves of bread on our shelves.

What is your favorite snow day activity?

Today’s Lagniappe: Recipe for Snow Ice Cream

8 cups of snow
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place snow into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls.

Christi’s note: This recipe may be halved in event of not being able to find 8 cups of clean snow!

**Photo by MGShelton via flickr

A Southern Accent

Submitted by Christi

I am currently living farther North than I have ever lived in my life. It is still considered the “South” but it is different. I got to thinking about it. The South is a pretty vast region that is bound together with a common history but with still a lot of differences. We all say y’all but there are definitely different flavors of Southern accents. There are the Carolina’s with their flavor which is decidedly different than that of Georgia and Alabama. There is Mississippi and Arkansas which are different from the Georgia. There is Louisiana with its Cajun flavor and the strange almost New Jersey sounding accent of some from New Orleans. I think this is part of what I love about the South. It is a region rich with diversity but bound together with a heritage that is as thick as molasses.

I have traveled quite a bit, thanks to my former job, training all over the United States. (See my “places I’ve been” on my facebook page) Nothing makes you feel more Southern to be in Chicago and have them whisper behind your back, “Did you hear her say y’all?” Or the time I was asked if we wear shoes all of the time. I’m not really sure what that was about. It seems when you are a novelty it just brings out the real Southerner in you. My Southern drawl would tend to get a little drawlier (if that is a word) and I enjoyed their smiles when I would say I was “fixin” to do something. Being a novelty is fun for a while, bless their hearts. It is always nice, though, to get back to the people who talk like you do (even if it is in another flavor) and share with you the common bond of being “Southern.”

Todays Lagniappe: Recipe for Cheese Straws

10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1-1/3 sticks butter
1-3/4 cups flour (not sifted)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix cheese and sofented butter. Add all other ingredients and work into stiff douh. Put though cookie press with star design in long rows on a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Cut in 3-4″ strips.

Mind Your Southern Manners!

Submitted by Christi

I recently read an article stating that 2008 saw an increased amount of rudeness. Surely, they can’t be talking about Southerners. I’m sure you could find rude Southerners around, bless their hearts, but, hopefully, they are not the rule. Maybe in 2009, we should strive to promote Southern hospitality and manners. Even if you aren’t Southern, you can at least act like it. Here are the rules (adapted from the Facebook group “Ain’t Nothin’ Like Southern Hospitality”).

The Rules

  1. “Sir” and “Ma’am” are not just for occasional usage.
  2. Men hold doors for women/ seniors.
  3. If someone else needs a seat, you give them your seat, and you don’t complain.
  4. “Being a good Samaritan” is not just a saying, its an understood way of life.
  5. “Darling”, “Sweetheart”, “Honey”, and “Dear” are used, for the most part, as endearing expressions.
  6. You can dislike someone as much as you want, but when you see them you act cordially.
  7. When you bump into someone you say “pardon” or “excuse me.”
  8. Waving at people you don’t know or asking how they’re doing is not to be looked down upon.
  9. You can take time to slow down. Slower paced lives are happier lives.
  10. Say “God bless you” when someone sneezes.
  11. When in doubt, be as polite as possible. Only confront others when confronted.
  12. People hug one another, its OK.
  13. If you disagree with something, be polite. “Oh….I see,” or “Oh…thats nice, Darlin” will suffice.
  14. Saying grace at the table, even to yourself, should not be looked upon with disdain.
  15. The only place where cars still stop (even on the highway) for funerals.
  16. ALL people have the ability to behave like Southerners, though not necessarily recreate the accent.

A Southern Confession

Submitted by Christi

Recently, I read the book SWAG (Southern Women Aging Gracefully). I read this knowing that at some point I am going to have to accept that I am actually aging. I’m not real happy about that. One of the ways to know if you are a SWAG is that you have stolen magnolia leaves or you know someone who has. I really, really, really hate to admit it, but this year I actually did this. It is kind of funny because I know the people wouldn’t have minded me cutting a couple of branches. You can’t even tell that they are gone. I’ll probably end up telling them that I cut some eventually. It is just in my nature. Maybe, I’ll invite them over for a drink and cheese and olive roulades (recipe follows) and let it slip. Anyway, the leaves made a lovely candle ring for my coffee table.

Ten Ways to Know if You Are a SWAG

1. You feel the urge to bake a pound cake after reading the obituaries.
2. You have had professional photographs made of your children barefoot and dressed in their Sunday clothes.
3. You believe that cocktail dresses do not double as church clothes.
4. You’d rather have a fight with your husband than with your best friend.
5. You have stolen magnolia leaves, or you know someone who has.
6. You have monogrammed the middle of your shower curtain.
7. You could live without Yankees who equate your accent with a low IQ.
8. You know better than to eat the potato salad at a family reunion.
9. You are socially conditioned to believe that tanned fat looks better than white fat.
10. Your children hide their Easter baskets and Valentine’s Day candy from you just in case you have a dieting lapse.

Cheese and Olive Roulades

1 lb of grated sharp cheddar cheese, softened
1 (10 oz.) jar of small stuffed olives
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Creole seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, cayenne, garlic and Creole seasoning. Blend well then add cheese, melted butter and Worcestershire sauce. Stir ingredients until a dough consistency is created. Pinch off enough of the dough to flatten into a 2 inch round patty in the palm of your hand. Place 1 olive in the center of the dough and wrap around the olive. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

These will also freeze well. Either thaw and bake 10 minutes or bake frozen for around 20 minutes.

Southern Resolution?

Submitted by Christi

I think I missed out on the organization gene. My mother has it. Both my sisters have it. Somehow it skipped me.

A trip to the mailbox is a major ordeal for me because I know I will come back inside with things that I don’t know what to do with. I’ve started going through the mail by the trash can and making myself throw away things that I really won’t read later. I’m terrible about putting things aside to “read later” and then I never get around to doing it.

I have a small piece of leftover pork tenderloin that I saved thinking it would be good for lunch. I haven’t taken time to actually eat lunch since I saved it. I should probably just chop it up and feed it to the dog and get it over with.

I see a pattern here of good intentions with no follow through. Okay, they say the first step to recovery is admitting the problem, so there it is. I can do this. I can get organized. Is there a 7 step program for disorganized people?

Being Dead is No Excuse

Submitted by Christi

I collect two things, cookbooks and etiquette books new and old. One of my favorite books is a combination. It is called “Being Dead is no Excuse – The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral” by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays. This is no small thing. Really, funerals are one of the things we do really well in the South. As the aforementioned book says:

“Friends and family begin arriving with covered dishes, finger foods, and sweets as soon as word is out that some body has died”.

This is why all good Southerners keep a can of cream of mushroom soup in the pantry. You never know when you will need to make a covered dish casserole for a grieving family.

After my dear Daddy’s premature demise, my Mama remarried another wonderful man who happens to be a Baptist minister. They have great funeral stories. When the hearse wouldn’t start for the ride to the cemetery at one funeral, they took it in stride. They loaded the loved one in the back of one of the pall bearer’s new red pickup truck and with pall bearers on either side they led the rest of the bereaved to the cemetery.

When we were leaving the church after my Daddy’s funeral we noticed three elderly women in the foyer crying their eyes out. We didn’t think that was strange because Daddy was a wonderful, well-loved man. However, later when we were talking about it, we realized that none of us knew who the ladies were. Daddy was buried in our home town but we had all moved away long ago so we were not familiar with the current professional funeral goers but we appreciated them showing up to show Daddy their respect just the same, bless their hearts.

I have had some great times at the home of the deceased, laughing and remembering the loved one and catching up with people I hadn’t seen in ages. Although these are sad occasions, they are rarely without some moments of levity. I recommend the “Being Dead is No Excuse” book to anyone, Southern or not. Of course, if you are not Southern, some of it may make no sense to you. If you are Southern, you will probably be nodding your head and laughing out loud.