Southern Derby Day and Some Pink!

Submitted by Christi

It is Derby Day! Time to run for the roses, but in my case it will be for the pinks!

Ready with a mint julep on a pale pink napkin in front of the pink flowers. Where did I get the flowers?

From the back fence! Aren’t they beautiful. Let’s take a closer look.

Now, I just have to get out my pink hat and I’ll be ready! I’ll try to remember to put a pic of the hat on once I get it out. But, for now . . . I’m going to enjoy a lovely Saturday. Hope you will too and have a great:

Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Today’s Lagniappe: Kentucky Hot Brown
Something to eat while you sip that mint julep! This recipe is from Bobby Flay.

  • 4 ounces butter
  • Flour to make a roux (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
  • 1 ounce whipped cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Sauteed mushrooms
  • 1 whole tomato, sliced
  • Slices roast turkey
  • 8 to 12 slices of toast (may be trimmed)
  • 8 to 12 strips fried bacon

Melt butter and add enough flour to make a reasonably thick roux (enough to absorb all of the butter). Add milk and 6 tablespoons Parmesan. Add egg to thicken sauce, but do not allow to boil.

Remove from heat. Fold in whipped cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place 2 slices of toast on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with mushrooms and thinly sliced tomatoes, then cover with a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey and toast. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, cross 2 pieces of bacon on top and serve immediately.

Southern Entertaining Plans

Submitted by Christi

Do not forget to entertain strangers,
for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

The holidays are upon us. Only a few more weeks until Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Years are right behind. It seems like just yesterday we were enjoying the long summer days. Well, November is here now and daylights savings time is over and the days are getting shorter. Even as I am writing this, I can look out my window and see beautiful yellow gold and red trees against a brilliant autumn blue sky.

With the holidays comes entertaining! Here a few easy to make bites for just such occasions.

Hot Brie Kisses
This recipe uses puff pastry, but you could use pre-made phyllo cups to make it even easier.

Hot Brie Kiss

Hot Brie Kiss

2/3 pound brie cheese
2 sheets puff pastry
hot pepper jelly

Thaw puff pastry at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Unfold pastry and roll lightly with a rolling pin to remove creases.

Cut each sheet into fourths, then cut each fourth in half. Cut each piece in half again to produce 16 even squares of dough per pastry sheet.

Lightly spray mini-muffin cups with vegetable oil.
Fit a square of dough into each cup. The pointed edges of the dough should extend straight up.

Cut brie into 1/2″ squares. Place a piece of cheese into each dough-lined cup. Top with 1/4 teaspoon pepper jelly.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until golden.

Famous Disappearing Spinach Dip
Serve this in a hollowed out round of bread or cabbage with crackers and crudites.

Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed (do not use fresh)
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1 c.good mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) pkg. Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped

Squeeze spinach until dry. In medium bowl, stir together spinach, sour cream and soup mix. Add finely chopped water chestnuts and green onions. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Shrimp Cocktail Dip
When I was growing up, shrimp cocktail was served for really special occasions or at fancy restaurants. It went out of style for a while, but is back strong now. This dip is a twist on an old favorite. Serve it with crackers, or toasted baguette slices.


1 cup chili sauce
1 medium celery rib with leaves, finely chopped
1 green onion (that is a scallion in Yankee talk) – white and green parts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon bottled horseradish (more if you want it a little spicier)
Tabasco (to taste)
8 oz. cooked, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped shrimp
One 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

In a medium bowl, mix the chili sauce, celery, scallion, parsley, lemon juice, hoseradish, and hot pepper sauce to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (this part can be prepared up to 2 days in advance).

Stir the shrimp into the cocktail sauce. Place the cream cheese on a serving platter, and pour the shrimp mixture over the top. Serve immediately with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Be sure to have plenty of cocktail napkins and nice candles on hand for an instant party anytime you please.

Today’s Lagniappe: Bloody Mary’s
Make up a pitcher and serve the vodka on the side so your friends who are driving or prefer not to drink alcohol can still enjoy the great taste of this classic cocktail. To make them extra special, rim the glasses by wetting with lemon juice and then dipping in celery salt.

  • 3 large stalks celery from the heart, including leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 36 ounces tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon grated yellow onion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco), or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka

Cut the celery in large dice, including the leaves, and puree in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until finely minced. In a large pitcher, combine the rest of the ingredients except the vodka. With the food processor running, pour 1/4 of the tomato juice mixture into the food processor through the feed tube. Then pour the contents of the food processor into the pitcher with the remaining tomato juice mixture. Add the vodka and chill or serve the vodka on the side.  Serve in tall glasses over ice with a stick of celery.


It’s a three-for Tuesday! Join these great blogs for more recipes and great ideas.

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More Tuesday

Southern Drinks on the Porch

Submitted by Christi

You may remember, Monday, I mentioned that last Saturday night a few friends came over for drinks on the porch. Well here are the pics for Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.

Click on the logo to see all of the tablescapes this week.

Click on the logo to see all of the tablescapes this week.

I am always looking for inspiration and I get so much from all of you. Here is the inspiration for this weeks table:

I saw this on the save on crafts website (you can go there by clicking on the pic). This look was created for a wedding. I loved the double shepherd’s hook on the table. I had a double shepherd’s hook but I didn’t want to use it in the middle of the table, nor, did I need anything that formal. I just took their idea and made a less formal, kind of rustic, shabby chic version. This is what I did:

I put up the hook, covered the bottom with moss, added a hanging plant on one side and a candle in a bird cage on the other.

I put up the hook, covered the bottom with moss, added a hanging plant on one side and a candle in a bird cage on the other.

Added some good food and drinks.

Added some good food and drinks.

Some friends.

Some friends.

And we had a great time!

And we had a great time!

A robin had tried to build a nest in one of our trees and it had blown out. The nest is at the top of the hooks.

A robin had tried to build a nest in one of our trees and it had blown out. The nest is at the top of the hooks.

Here is the candle in the cage.

Here is the candle in the cage.

As it got dark we lit the candles.

As it got dark we lit the candles.

We watched the fireflies, listened to the crickets and birds and visited and had a wonderful time.

Wish all of y’all could have been there. I’ll admit, mine is not nearly as polished as the magazine shoot. I just used what I had on hand and I was not planning anything so formal as a wedding. I actually didn’t have to purchase anything for the shepherd hook look and I kind of like the shabby chic approach to this.

I think there are a lot of possibilities here. Maybe in the fall, hang mums and wrap around a fall garland. For a patriotic look add red ribbon to the hooks and patriotic plant pokes to the hanging plant. I’ll try some different ideas and let you know how they turn out.

Oh, by the way, my friends Mark and Kim brought the beautiful  hydrangeas in the jar with the pretty plaid ribbon. They looked very pretty on the table. Wasn’t that so sweet of them?

Today’s Lagniappe:  Grilled Shrimp
We kind of went with a Mexican flavor for the party and all of the recipes are on this blog. Southwestern Cheesecake, Shrimp Dip, Guacamole and Lemon-Thyme Cookies. This grilled shrimp would have fit right in!

1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp (any size)
olive oil
garlic salt
Old Bay Seasoning
1 lime
Drizzle enough oil over the shrimp to coat. Sprinkle paprika, garlic salt and Old Bay, to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of each for 1 lb of shrimp).Place on wooden skewers which have been soaked in water for 1 hour.

Put on grill, cooking until shrimp tails turn white. Flip and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more (depending on size).

Squeeze lime over the cooked shrimp and serve as an appetizer, or add to corn tortillas for shrimp tacos.

Southern Evening

Submitted by Christi


This weekend is a good weekend to have a couple of friends over to sit on the porch and have margaritas and a few eats.

This Southwestern Cheesecake is a good choice to go with margaritas. It is a combination of a couple of recipes. You could use jalapenos instead of chilies or use a different kind of cheese or even add shredded chicken to this recipe.

  • 1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips (about half of a 13 1/2-ounce bag)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5 large eggs
  • 8 ounces grated Cheddar
  • sour cream
  • chopped greed onion
  • diced tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the chips and butter in a small bowl and mix to blend. Press the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Add the cream cheese and eggs to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold the vegetables, chicken, grated cheese,  and remaining tablespoon salt into the cream cheese mixture. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and bake until the center has set, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack. When cool, cover with sour cream. Top with green onions and tomatoes. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill thoroughly before serving.

The jalapeno pepper plants in my garden have not produced any pepper yet. I can’t wait until I can just go out in the garden and pick them and use them fresh.

I know it is still officially Spring, but, it feels like Summer to me!

Go on over to Gollum’s by clicking on the Foodie Friday logo here to see lots of great recipes.

Today’s Lagniappe:  Easy Dip for Fruit
This dip is in just about every church cookbook I have. It is a favorite with fresh strawberries or other fresh fruit, and, it couldn’t be easier to make.

8 ounces marshmallow cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Blend together and you have a delicious dip for fruit!

Southern Tablescape

Submitted by Christi


Okay, here it is. My first entry in Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. I set a table for Spring and you can find a lot of other inspirational pictures on Susan’s blog. Don’t miss her back porch transformation.

I have a little secret for setting my table. I can’t remember where I learned it but I use it every time I set my table. If you notice, all of the utinsels and main plates are aligned. The trick I use is to place the plates and utensil the distance between the tip of my thumb and the first knuckle from the edge of the table. This gives a polished, finished look to the table.

Now, I collect books on table settings and etiquette and absolutely love table settings. When I go to a restaurant that places all of the utensils on the same side of the plate the first thing I do is put them in their proper place so I feel comfortable.

I learned table setting from Mama. We always set the table for our evening meal with a placemat, knife, spoon, fork, plate, glass and napkin. I learned at an early age how to set them all in their proper places. On Sundays we would set the table with a tablecloth and nice china. That is another great thing my Mama taught me – use your good china. To this day, I never understand people who put their best china in a cabinet and never use it. So what if something gets broken? That is part of life and part of being a good hostess is taking things in stride and dealing with situations graciously.

The eggs in the crystal bowl are hand painted. I love them. Just before I snapped the pics, I went out to my redbud tree and cut off a few branches that I laid on either side of the crystal bowl. The ice storm damaged so many of our trees. I was really happy to get these.  So, here it is, this weeks tablescape:







Today’s Lagniappe: Green Salad with Chicken, Strawberries and Toasted Pecans

2 cups skinned and boned roasted chicken breast
1/4 cup pecans, toasted
2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups salad greens

Combine chicken, pecans, strawberries, onion, celery,  vinegar, and oil. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Serve over salad greens.

Southern Wednesday

Submitted by Christi


Well, all of the Mardi Gras decorations come down today. My husband is sad about this. He really enjoys the Mardi Gras season. He is ready to have another party! He suggested St. Patrick’s, I countered with Kentucky Derby. I think the first Saturday in May will be sufficient time for our friends to recover from the Mardi Gras party (not to mention me).

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for family celebrations in that time as well. I love the Easter season – definitely family time. The return of Spring! It makes me happy just to think of the blooming dogwoods and redbuds and daffodils and forsythia.

Okay, I’ve talked myself into the mood for more party planning but it will have to be after Easter. I think I’ll go out and buy some seeds to get started for the Spring and then start thinking about a Kentucky Derby party!

Today’s Lagniappe: Baked Potato Soup

12 slices bacon
2/3 cup margarine
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups milk
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
  • In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the margarine over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix in bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.

Southern Party

Submitted by Christi

Oh, the Mardi Gras party was fun. We had lots of great food and drinks. My friend Darlene made 2 kinds of hurricanes, the traditional and a blue hurricane. We had mint julep punch and the winner of the drink category was boozefish sangria made with homemade strawberry wine by Debra Alexander.

We had jambalaya, bacon-wrapped, pepper-jack stuffed, grilled shrimp (I’ll have to get that recipe for you – yummy), crab dip, andouille in a blanket, and much more including the award winning gumbo by Edna Rhoades.

My friends Mark and Kim Sheaner got the baby in the King Cake. Lots of laughs and lots of fun.  The pics are posted on flickr, here is one of them:

Mardi Gras Fun!

Mardi Gras Fun!

Today’s Lagniappe: Boozefish Sangria (This is not Debra’s recipe, she used her own homemade wine.)

cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup juice
1 1/2 cups orange juice
3 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup sparkling water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced

  • In a small saucepan, add the water and sugar.
  • Set temperature to medium-high and bring sugar-water to a boil.
  • You want to keep boiling until you dissolve the sugar and the syrup is clear. This takes about 10 minutes.
  • In a large container, pour in the lime juice and orange juice.
  • Then, stir in the sugar syrup and mix thoroughly.
  • Next, add the wine, brandy, sparkling water, lemon slices, orange slices, and apple slices.
  • You want to let the Sangria sit for 10 minutes.
  • Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a lime

Southern Mardi Gras Party Preparation

Submitted by Christi


My friend Darlene came over yesterday and we started decoration for the Mardi Gras party next Saturday. The picture above is my dining table with some of the decorations ready to be put into action. We put on the jazzy Mardi Gras music and went to work. We still have plenty to do.

We strung lights all over the house and hung beads from the ceiling fans and light fixtures. I am still working on a wreath for the front door. My note for future reference is to check after-Christmas sales for items to use for the Mardi Gras party. If I had thought about having a Mardi Gras party earlier, I definitely would have done that. Live and learn, huh?

I’ll be making the Southern Praline Cheesecake and the King Cake on Friday afternoon. I am teaching a business seminar at the our local ASU campus Friday morning and as soon as it is over, I am heading home to do the last minute, finishing touches.

I’ll be sure and post pictures when we are through and also pictures from the party.

Happy Monday everyone!

Today’s Lagniappe: King Cake
(From Emeril Lagasse)


  • envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 cups warm milk (about 110°F)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 plastic king cake baby or a pecan half
  • 5 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sugar sprinkles

Combine the yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk and warm water. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook. If the dough is uncooperative in coming together, add a bit of warm water (110 degrees), a tablespoon at a time, until it does.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar. Blend by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.

Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn’t a seam. Insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.

Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the icing. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, the lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups confectioner’s sugar in medium-size mixing bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.

The cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance.

YIELD: 20 to 22 servings

Southern Sunday Lunch

Submitted by Christi


I remember Sunday lunches when I was growing up fondly. When we got home from church we would set the table with the good china and all gather round the table. Often, we would have company and spend 2 or 3 hours at the table visiting.

I remember one occasion when my mother had put a roast in the oven before church. When we got home, she had a migraine headache so we were going to just have a low key lunch so she could rest. As it happened, there was a mix up in dates and one of the ministers from the church and his wife thought they were invited for lunch that Sunday and, of course, showed up ready to eat. My poor mother, got us to set the table and she went ahead and presented a lovely meal with a smile (even though she felt terrible).

I’m not sure how my mother managed. She often didn’t know how many would actually show up but there was always plenty of food for everyone served with grace and beautiful Southern hospitality. I always appreciated how everyone always felt welcome in our home. I hope people feel as welcome in my own home as my mother made them feel in hers.

Todays Lagniappe: Mama’s Sunday Roast

Place a 3 to 5 lb. roast in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper.

Mix together cream of mushroom soup, 1 pkg. of Campbell’s beefy onion soup mix and a can of beef consumme.  Pour over roast.

Put roast in 325 degree F. oven and roast for 2 to 3 hours.

Place potatoes that have been quartered or cut into 8ths and carrot chunks into pan around the roast after the roast has cooked for 2 hours or so.

Raise oven temperature to 35o degrees F. and cook for an additional 30 to 40 minutes until vegetables are soft.

Remove roast and vegetables from pan and make a gravy with the pan drippings. Serve roast and vegetables with hot rolls, a green vegetable and a smile.

photo from mc-q via flickr

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.