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


Happy New Year

Submitted by Christi


Hope everyone is having a wonderful time on this first day of 2013. I am looking forward to all that 2013 will bring. As most of the country is winding down from the holidays, New Orleans is just taking a bit of a breather to gear up for the upcoming Mardi Gras season.

This coming Sunday is Twelfth Night or the Epiphany. This is the time in which the church celebrates the visit of the Christ Child by the magi. In New Orleans, it also marks the beginning of Carnival Season that will end on Mardi Gras. I am hosting an Epiphany brunch this Sunday and I’ll certainly have pictures of that and of all the upcoming fun.

Of course, the Superbowl will also be held in New Orleans this year so that brings yet another level of excitement. In fact, the city is splitting up the 2 weeks of Mardi Gras parades to accomodate the Superbowl on the weekend of February 3rd.

I hope you will join us here at A Southern Life to enjoy life in New Orleans and that everyone will have a wonderful and prosperous new year!


Merry Christmas!

Submitted by Christi

Merry Christmas from A Southern Life in New Orleans.


Caroling in the Park

Submitted by Christi

Beautiful music abound here in New Orleans. You may be familiar with the beautiful caroling that takes place at Jackson Square.

Photo courtesy of Fleurty Girl – click on pic for link.

What you may not know about is the smaller caroling events that take place in neighborhood parks around the city. We had one of these in our neighborhood recently at Palmer Park.

Our crowd was not quite this big and it had rained a bit just before we started so that made for a smaller crowd as well but still it was a lovely evening. It was also an opportunity to donate food to the 2nd Harvest Food Bank. There were vendors set up with hot chocolate, eggnog, crepes and more with proceeds benefiting 2nd Harvest as well.

It was fun to see the children enjoying the singing and playing in the park and I think the adults enjoyed it just as much. I know I did. The singing was led by the choir of the Mater Delorosa Catholic Church.

Here are some pics:

After the caroling, we came home and enjoyed some hot and hearty beef stew. What a lovely way to spend an evening. New Orleans has so many wonderful neighborhoods to enjoy. Don’t miss them!

Today’s Lagniappe: Beef Stew

Lightly dredge 2 lb. of stew meat in flour. Brown the meat in a little oil in the bottom of a dutch oven. When the meat is brown, add a couple of potatoes and 3 or 4 carrots that have been cut into bite size chunks 1 can of beef broth, 1 lg. can of tomato sauce, 2 cups red wine, a few tablespoons of Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt and pepper (to taste).  Bring to a boil and then simmer for a couple of hours. Serve with cornbread.


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


Music in the Air

Submitted by Christi

In New Orleans, there is never a shortage of great music to enjoy and that is especially the case at Christmas time. There are many places to enjoy free concerts by great musicians and some you can join in creating the music yourself. One of the more unusual opportunities to join in is presented by Trinity Church’s Messiah Sing-Along.

Once upon a time, I enjoyed being part of different choral groups that performed Handel’s Messiah so this event was very appealing to me. The Christmas portion of the Messiah was performed and the audience could join in with the magnificent Trinity choir on the choruses. How fun is that? I admit, I ended up listening more than singing – can’t really hit the high notes anymore (not that I ever could hit them that well). Also, I just enjoyed hearing the beautiful voices. It was a wonderful event. Here are a couple of the highlights (the choir is located back by the organ pipes that you can see on the left side):

For Unto Us A Child Is Born:


The Hallelujah Chorus

Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did! Merry Christmas!



Christmas in New Orleans

Submitted by Christi

New Orleans is a great place to visit and live anytime but I think it is just especially magical at Christmas time. There is so much to enjoy! In addition to the beautiful Christmas decorations, there are the Reveillon dinners, the caroling at Jackson Square and in Palmer Park and . . . well, obviously, this is going to take a few posts. Yesterday, I showed you a little about what is going on here in my home, specifically, the fireplace mantel. Today, we’ll step outside and see the porch and a bit more of the house.

Let’s start out on the porch.

Christmas in New Orleans

Keeping it simple with a few bows, some garland, and of course some lights.

Christmas in New Orleans

The weather has been lovely, and that calls for some porch sittin’, don’t you think?

click on any picture to enlarge:

Before we go inside, let’s look around a little more outside.

Christmas Gate

The front gate is decorated for Christmas.



And, of course, we don’t want to forget the Reason for the Season!

Now, come on in and I’ll show you a couple of rooms.

click for complete pictures and to enlarge

Now, I think it is time to get out in the city and see what is going on! I hope you’ll join me to see some more of Christmas in New Orleans.

Christi’s Lagniappe: Louisiana Christmas Strawberries
Lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap)= a little something extra

Louisiana early crop strawberries are already coming in! They are beautiful and delicious. I just cleaned them, dipped them in melted white chocolate, then rolled them in green decorator sugar. Pretty and delicious!

Louisiana Christmas Strawberries

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

New Orleans Christmas Mantel

Submitted by Christi

Glad you could come and join us here in New Orleans where we are gearing up for tons of fun in the city and plenty here at home as well. Lots of posts coming up to tell you about the caroling, the dinners, the decorating, and  . . . well, let’s just say it is going to take a few posts to cover Christmas in New Orleans.

We’ll start here at home with the mantel. In New Orleans, it doesn’t get cold enough very often for a fire. Maybe, that is why the fireplace in my home is not functional. However, I do think I can get by with candles in the fireplace. After all, during Hurricane Isaac, some water (mixed with soot) did actually spatter down the chimney! 🙂

Well, hurricane season is over. It is now time for some Christmas celebrating!

Christmas Mantel

Ignore that lady in the mirror LOL!

I can’t pass up the opportunity to hang Christmas stockings on the mantel. It is only my husband and me and our dog and cat, but still – can’t let that go to waste!

Here is the Christmas Mantel Gallery:

Tomorrow, we’ll explore some more of the house and then we’ll head out to see the beautiful city of New Orleans celebrating Christmas. There will be lots of decorating, recipes and events. I hope you will come back and join us again!


The Lettered Cottage
Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch


Meanwhile . . . Back at the Ranch

Submitted by Cindy

Both my husband’s parents came from ranching families, and I realized early on that cattle were in his genes.  They have passed on, but Ed inherited the ranch that has been in his father’s family since 1877.  That’s how a city girl from New Orleans happens to be running cattle long distance in Atascosa County, Texas.  We raise Herefords, the brown ones with the white faces.

We made a trip over Thanksgiving to check on things.  Thankfully we have had enough rain this year to go into winter with lots of grass and water in the tanks (ranch speak for ponds).  It was a relaxing week, watching the cattle graze, enjoying the late fall sunsets, and unplugging from the electronic world.

I wasn’t always so fond of the ranch.  For someone used to lights and action, rural Texas seemed so ….. boring.  But Ed is a pretty shrewd guy, and a while back he got me my own horse, figuring I would want to go over often to visit.  It worked!  Ringo is the big boy on the left, with his BFF Sandy.  They just finished rolling in the dirt after a long ride.

Sit back and enjoy some scenes from the ranch.  It just might grow on you too!

Click on pics to enlarge

Outdoor Wedenesday

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

Riding the New Orleans Streetcar

Submitted by Christi

One of the most iconic and enduring symbols of New Orleans is the streetcar.

New Orleans Streetcar

It is a great way for visitors to get around and see the city and it also a great way for locals to get to locations along the line and avoid having to find parking! We are 3 blocks away from the St. Charles line in the Carrollton area of New Orleans. We love to ride the streetcar down the Avenue (St. Charles Avenue) to church, to meet friends for drinks at The Columns, to the Palmer Park Arts Market, and to many of the wonderful neighborhood events around the area.

New Orleans Streetcar

The fare is just $1.25 with discounts for seniors and the disabled, and children under 2 ride free, so it is family and budget friendly too. A day pass is $3.00 and you can get on and off as often as you like! There are 3 streetcar lines, the St. Charles line is the oldest continually running streetcar line in the world.

New Orleans Streetcar

The other lines are the Canal line and the Riverfront line. You can see maps, schedules and fare information HERE.

If you are coming for a visit, don’t miss riding the streetcar. It is a fun way to see the city, it is economical and you can be a part of history.

New Orleans Streetcar

New Olreans Streetcar

The New Orleans streetcar – just another reason to love New Orleans!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Old New Orleans Streetcar #9 Cocktail Recipe
Made with Old New Orleans Rum, distilled right here in New Orleans by Celebration Distillation. The distillers and creators of this cocktail caution, “This ain’t your average trolly. Enjoy in moderation or you may feel like you were run over by one of these historic forms of transportation the next day.”

  • 2 ounces Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/3 ounce lemon juice

Shake with ice. Wet rim of a cocktail glass with lemon, then coat with a sugar and cinnamon mixture. Strain drink into glass, garnish with a lemon twist and a dust of cinnamon.

Porch Sittin’ in New Orleans

Submitted by Christi

November has brought some lovely cool weather to New Orleans. Chilly mornings warm up to glorious afternoons that fade into spectacular evenings. As the days are shorter, we have a more limited time in the evening to enjoy sitting on the porch to catch those last rays of sunlight.

This particular evening, we enjoyed the evening and shared a scrumptious combination of apple pie liqueur (which I found at a wonderful little shop on Magazine street) and cheese straws.

nola porch

Apples and cheese – a classic pair with a twist!

The apple liqueur is definitely a slow sipper and we enjoy it chilled. The cheese straws are from the grocery store. The last time I served these cheese straws to friends on the porch, one of my friends commented, “Oh, and I’m sure you made these, didn’t you?” Well, I am known for putting together little goodies but not this time. While I would love to take credit, it was just too easy to pick these up off the shelf. The brand is Dulion and they are made in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Yummy!

Porch sitting in New Orleans is a fabulous way to spend the evening. One of my favorite porches to sit upon in New Orleans is at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles where you can sip and sup and wave to the streetcar as it passes. If you stop there, try their home made potato chips. They are crunchy and crispy and delicious.

Another great “porch” is located at Brisbi’s on the Lakefront. Seeing the sunset over the Lake as you sip icy champaign and enjoy freshly shucked raw oysters is a delight not to be missed.

However, this evening it is just us on my own porch, as the sun sets.

Let’s just sit back and enjoy the sights.

Click to enlarge

Today’s Lagniappe:  Cheese Straws

If you can’t find cheese straws at the store where you are, or you are just feeling industrious and want to make them yourself, here is a great recipe:

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 softened butter. Add all other ingredients and work into stiff dough. Put though cookie press with star design in long rows on a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Cut in 3-4? strips.

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Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

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Relaxing at The Fly

Submitted by Christi

New Orleans has and abundance of flora and fauna and beautiful parks. Audubon Park is a beautiful park and tucked away way at the back on the river side of the park is an area know as “The Fly.” It has a fabulous river view and wide grassy areas. While it is not as well “manicured” as most of the park spaces in the city, it is a great place that is nearby (to me at least) to get relax and enjoy God’s creation.

Many people enjoy the day at the fly, grilling, tossing a football, playing with their dogs and watching the ships pass on the mighty Mississippi River.

the fly new orleans

Recently, we took a break from work around 3 p.m. and headed out to the fly. The temperature was a balmy and breezy 73 degrees and the light on the river was spectacular.

Mississippi River

As a barge passed by, it was lovely passing through the shimmering water.

river barge

We also enjoyed seeing the big ships pass by (I’m sure there is a more appropriate term than “big ship” but I don’t know what it is).

ship on the Mississippi

Okay, that was very nice, but the coolest part was that, as we were watching the river go by, we heard a brass band. At first I thought it might be music coming from someones stereo but it sounded so good that I finally realized that it was live! It was a second line and it was passing on the park side of the fly. It was too far away for me to catch up but I did get at least the music on video. You have to look towards the back of the setting to see them. I realized that as I was trying to video them, I was about to walk through the middle of a football game and most likely would be tackled so I had to stop the tape, but you can still get the feel:

I should probably stop here and explain what a “second line” is. Of course, that deserves a post of its own and of course more and better pics. You can look forward to that in the future, but for now, I’ll just give you the quick version as defined by Wikipedia:

Second line is a tradition in brass band parades in New Orleans, Louisiana. The “main line” or “first line” is the main section of the parade, or the members of the actual club with the parading permit as well as the brass band. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the “second line.” The second line’s style of traditional dance, in which participants walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called “second lining.”

What a lovely way to spend the day!

Another reason to love New Orleans.



New Orleans Friends

Submitted by Christi

Since moving to New Orleans, I have so enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends. It is especially fun when I meet someone who I have much in common with, and who wants to share the New Orleans experience with the world, just as I do.

Cindy BushCindy Bush is a New Orleans native who shares my love of gardening, cooking, pets and, of course, New Orleans. Cindy and her husband, Ed, have helped me learn so many fascinating things about this city, and I can’t wait for Cindy to share some of those things with you. Cindy will be writing with me, here at A Southern Life, and I know you will love getting to know her.

Cindy has a sweet bluetick hound named Maizie and a cutie pie cat named Tex (notice his burnt orange coloring). She also has a horse named Ringo that lives on the ranch that she and her husband own in Texas. Oh, and I don’t want to leave out the box turtle and the Russian tortoise that also are a part of their family.

Beautiful Maizie

And . . . her friend, Tex

And . . . her friend, Tex

Sooo, without further ado . . . Here is Cindy’s first post for A Southern Life – enjoy!

Satsuma Season in New Orleans

by Cindy Bush

Years ago my father planted a satsuma tree in his small back yard.  He babied it along, counting each and every fruit he picked.  Today it seems to thrive despite total neglect, not even water during periods of drought.  It has grown unruly, and my mother keeps threatening to cut it down.  We protest, since an abundance of fresh fruit is such a treat.

satsuma tree
Not sure what  you call the “seedless and easy-peeling citrus species” in your part of the world.   Officially known as Citrus unshiu, they are also referred to as mandarins or tangerines, or variations of these.  They are a major South Louisiana crop, despite being susceptible to our occasional prolonged freezes.

I went over today to check the tree out.  The branches were so laden with fruit that some were almost touching the ground.  Time to pick!

New Orleans satsumas
Most of the time we just peel and eat, but satsumas are great in salads and other dishes.  Here is a tasty recipe for a fall salad.

Salad with Satsumas and Pecans

¼ cup olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T orange or satsuma juice
1 T maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Greens  for six servings
2 satsumas, pealed and sectioned
¼ cup chopped green onions
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Hurricane Reflections

Submitted by Christi

Watching all the devastation that is happening on the East coast this week has had me reflecting on my first hurricane experience here in New Orleans this year. Back in late August and early in to September, we endured Hurricane Isaac.

Hurricane Isaac stayed in this same location for hours and hours.

While we did not experience such devastation in our neighborhood, many in surrounding parishes are still struggling to get back on their feet.

Debris in the street during Hurricane Isaac

The worst we endured here was hour after hour of high winds as Isaac just didn’t want to leave us and the resulting power outages. Lots of limbs and leaves and a little bit of roof damage was also a result.

More debris – thankfully, the powerlines held up (even though we did not have power).

My heart goes out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. I heard lots of advice about how to get past the psychological stress that is caused by natural disasters from people who had endured many hurricanes, including Katrina. The advice ranged from eat lots of carbs and take a Benedryl to leave town and drink alcohol (afterall, this is New Orleans).

I think what helped the most is helping and being helped by neighbors and friends. When you stick together as a community it is very comforting. Without electricity, there are not the distractions presented by tv, computers and other devices. There is just survival and community.

I am praying for all of you involved and invite other readers to join in prayer as well.


A New Southern Beginning – New Orleans Style!

Submitted by Christi

Things are looking different around here. With a new city and coming back after a long hiatus from writing at A Southern Life, it was time for some changes. I’m so excited to show you what is going on in my Southern Life that is now being lived in New Orleans. So, really, what’s not to love? New Orleans definitely has the Southern thing going on but it is also known as a Caribbean city, the Paris of the United States, the “City that Care Forgot,” and so, so much more.

Let’s start where we are now. It is officially Autumn. I’ve been decorating and enjoying the Fall colors that I’m getting inside from my Fall decorations and the mums that I picked up, because, let’s face it, New Orleans is a sub-tropical city and there just aren’t a lot of Fall colors here. It reminds me of when I lived in Dallas and Fall was 2 weeks in December and that was it. That is fine by me. The winters are also much shorter.

When we moved in, we had an empty dining room with a lovely (yet non-working) fireplace:

A room that we call either the living room or the library (because of the bookcase and all of the books to follow):

And lot and lots of boxes to unpack. It took some time to get that done and then, unfortunately, I spent a couple of months recovering from a rib injury and subsequently, pneumonia. Of course, then we had to get past hurricane Isaac (the hurricane that loved New Orleans so much, he just didn’t want to leave). Now, all that is past, and the weather is spectacular and fall has arrived!

Here is some of what is going on:

We are all set for some cooler weather. We don’t really need a roaring fire anyway so these candles will do nicely.

Lots of fall color. What about the table?

Then, of course, there is the porch and the courtyard to show you as well. I think I’ll save that for tomorrow and then, be sure to come back for all the fun Halloween decorations around town to show you. Sunday afternoon, we took the streetcar down St. Charles to see the fabulous decorations there. Can’t wait to share them with you.

Okay, off to get some hot apple cider on this cool Fall evening. Have a lovely week!


Be sure to check out the great before and after posts at Between Naps on the Porch

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch