Southern Whirlwind

Submitted by Christi

Wow, it has been such a busy week. I feel like I have been in a whirlwind for a while (kind of look that way too!). Fortunately, I got to start the week by having my friend Paula over for lunch. She was such a sweetie. She brought me these flowers.

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As I have been running around this week, I have enjoyed seeing these flowers. They just really brightened the week. I love being busy, but I really appreciate a friend who reminds me to stop and enjoy the beauty in life and for giving me something to share for:

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Happy Pink Saturday to all!

Today’s Lagniappe:¬† Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
A yummy classic, this version is from Alton Brown.

  • 8 ounces young spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 ounces red onion (1 small), very thinly sliced

Remove the stems from the spinach and wash, drain and pat dry thoroughly. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the eggs into an electric kettle and cover with cold water by at least 1-inch. Turn the kettle on. Once the water comes to a boil, the kettle will turn itself off. Leave the eggs in the water for 15 minutes. Remove and peel off the shell. Slice each egg into 8 pieces and set aside.

While the eggs are cooking, fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.

Add the mushrooms and the sliced onion to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls and evenly divide the egg among them. Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.

Southern Fun

Submitted by Christi

My friend, Margaret Banks will be debuting her new radio show The Margaret Banks Show on Mountain Talk 97 radio on February 27th!

margaret-banks

Margaret is so much fun and so talented. I am very happy and honored that Margaret has asked me to co-host her premier show where we will discuss how technology and social media have changed the ways we connect with friends, businesses and the world. In her promo she says,

“Christi, whose seminars on social networking are often SOLD OUT in advance, will share ways to navigate through the opportunities, fun and pitfalls of social sites.”

That is just too great! Especially since I am late in getting this post up because I was doing a sold-out Facebook seminar yesterday ūüôā

Margaret is the president of Margaret Banks & Company which is a financial advisement company. Margaret is the founder of the annual Women’s Financial Empowerment Summit and her show will be about issues that women are interested in. It will also be a lot of FUN!

If you are interested in hearing the show and live in the North Central Arkansas area you can tune in to
Mountain Talk 97.1 at 8:30 a.m. Central Time Saturday, February 27th.

For those outside the listening area, go to www.mountaintalk97.com to hear the live broadcast, or click “Audio on Demand” to hear the show on your computer at your own convenience.

Okay, on to

With Designs by Gollum

With Designs by Gollum

and . . .

Today’s Lagniappe:¬† Southern Omelet Casserole
Kind of like a “western” omelet, but made into a Southern favorite, a “casserole!”

* 1 dozen eggs
* 1 pint (16 oz) sour cream
* 12 oz shredded cheese – jack and/or cheddar
* 1 lb cooked ham, chopped
* 1 large green pepper, chopped
* 1/4 C chopped onion
* 2 cloves garlic (optional)
* salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F.

1. Saute onion, pepper, and garlic until beginning to soften.

2. Put eggs and sour cream in blender with salt and pepper. Blend well. (You can do this in a bowl with a whisk if you prefer.)

3. Put half the cheese into a 9X13 baking pan, followed by the ham, the rest of the cheese, and the vegetables. Pour the egg mixture over the whole thing.

4. Bake 50-60 minutes, until top is golden brown and knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serves 8.

Southern Bird Watching

Submitted by Christi

One of my favorite set of tables in the house is this little set of nested tables near my back porch.

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This table holds a few of my favorite things to have on hand. A book on birdwatching, a scented candle, a pretty Lenox music box (the lid on top and the musical part on the middle table) It has a hummingbird sipping from a morning glory and it plays Vivaldi’s Allegro from The Four Seasons.

I also keep a pair of binoculars and my camera nearby, to catch a few bird pics.

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The birds have certainly been plentiful this winter. LOVE to watch them!

What would be yummy to have cooking on the stove while I’m watching the birds?

Today’s Lagniappe: Creole Shrimp and Grits
This will cure what ails ya!

  • 2¬† pounds¬† unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp (26/30 count)
  • 1/4¬† cup¬† vegetable oil
  • 1/3¬† cup¬† all-purpose flour
  • 1¬† medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2¬† celery ribs, chopped
  • 1¬† medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2¬† garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1¬† (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1¬† bay leaf
  • 2¬† teaspoons¬† Creole seasoning
  • 2¬† teaspoon¬† lemon juice
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2¬† cups¬† milk
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1 1/2¬† cups¬† uncooked quick-cooking grits

1. Peel shrimp, reserving shells; devein shrimp. Bring shells and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes. Pour shrimp broth through a colander over a large bowl, pressing shells with back of a spoon; discard shells.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is caramel colored (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add onion and next 3 ingredients, and cook, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Stir in 2 cups shrimp broth, tomato paste, and next 4 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes. Add shrimp, and cook 10 minutes, stirring in 1/4 to 1/2 cup remaining shrimp broth to reach desired consistency.

3. Meanwhile, bring milk, 2 1/2 cups water, and salt to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Gradually stir in grits. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Serve Creole Shrimp over grits.

Join these blogs for some great inspiration this week!

TabletopTuesLg

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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 Red, White and Blue

Submitted by Christi

I found this bird cage a few years ago. I used crackle base coat and finished it in red, white and blue.

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This will hold a candle in the tablescape I will show on Thursday. Love the red, white and blue! It worked out really well that this little bird cage already had stars on the roof.

It was really, really hot for the Red, White and Blue Festival here last week but it was really fun. How about a preview of some of the fireworks?

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Hope you are all having a great Independence Day week!!

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Today’s Lagniappe: Blueberry Summer Salad
Hope you enjoy a little something blue this week!

8 cups salad greens
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans
Bottled or homemade raspberry vinaigrette

Toss together first 4 ingredients; drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette. Toss gently to coat.
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It’s a four-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

2nd Time Around with A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Southern Fun

Submitted by Christi

This week I’m posting about our local Red, White and Blue Festival here in Mountain Home, Arkansas. It started off with a vintage car rally. This car rally attracts drivers from all over the world. They stopped here for lunch.

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These old cars have been restored and are driven through this rally. It was really, really hot and I don’t know how these drivers took it.

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One car was all the way from Australia.

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We welcomed these drivers by waving flags and cheering for them. They had lunch here and visited with our local residents.

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It was a fun way to start off the Red, White and Blue Festival here.

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Here’s to the Red, White and Blue!

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Today’s Lagniappe: ¬†Grilled Corn on the Cob
Something to have for the fun Independence Day weekend!

Corn on cob with husks on
Butter (stick works best)
Aluminum foil
Pull back small amount of husk. Put small amount of butter on corn. Put husks back over again. Wrap in foil. Put on hot grill turning once in a while. Leave on grill 15-30 minutes. Corn won’t burn too fast. Be careful very hot when husking corn.

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Visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday and Smiling Sally for Blue Mondays. You will find wonderful and talented women with fantastic posts!

Southern Watermelon

Submitted by Christi

watermelon

This coming Sunday, summer is officially here! Nothing says summer to me more than watermelon. I remember, as a kid, eating ice cold watermelon on hot summer evenings. We always ate it outside since it can get kind of messy. Every time I eat watermelon, it brings back good memories of those simpler times and makes me feel a little bit like a kid again.

Many years ago, my father owned a grocery store in Norman, Oklahoma. Daddy was a master at picking out produce for the store. I remember, one time, for some reason, one of his refrigeration trucks full of watermelons was parked in front of our house. The truck had two small doors over the cab, in addition to the back door. My older brother and sister, Jay and Tammy, climbed up on the cab, through the small windows and dropped down into the truck. Once inside, they proceeded to eat watermelon.

Come to find out, getting in the truck was a lot easier than getting out. They couldn’t get back up to the doors to get out. Fortunately, my parents found them and they got out safe and sound and full of watermelon.

Daddy could give classes on how to pick out good watermelon, cantelope, strawberries and on and on. Here are some of his tips on watermelons:

  • Choose a watermelon that is uniform in size.
  • Look for the light yellow side of the watermelon. This light color forms as that side of the watermelon is on the ground while it is ripening. Watermelons do not continue ripening once the are cut so you want to choose one that ripened as it was on the vine, in the field.
  • Look for a watermelon that is blemish free and has a hard rind. Many people check the hardness of the rind by thumping on the watermelon. A thump that makes a hollow sound means the rind is hard. Personally, I just kind of knock on them to see if the rind feels hard.
  • Choose a watermelon that is a deep green and dull in color. Hopefully, your store will not polish their watermelons so you will be able to see the dullness.

Refrigerate the watermelon or ice it down in an ice chest for several hours to get it really cold before slicing it.

Join Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday by clicking on the logo.

    foodie-friday-logo-22


    Today’s Lagniappe: Watermelon Basil Vinegrette
    Use this yummy vinegrette over greens and garnish with sweet chunks of watermelon.

    4 cups fresh watermelon, chopped and drained
    1/4 cup red onion, diced small
    2 Tbsp honey
    1/4 cup champagne vinegar
    3/4 cup canola oil
    2 Tbsp fresh basil chopped
    1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Combine watermelon, red onion, champagne vinegar, canola oil, basil, and parsley in a blender. Pulse on and off about 30 seconds until combined. Add pepper to taste.

Southern Random Things

Submitted by Christi
Who's that behind the feathers?

Who's that behind the feathers?


I’ve read several of these “random things about me” posts and have always found them very interesting. I was asked to write one myself and I’ll have to say it was kind of fun to write.¬† So, here it is, 25 random things about me. Probably more than anyone wants to know ūüôā

1. I decided I wanted to learn about gardening. I took the master gardener course and was an active master gardener for 3 years.

2. I attended a tea with then, First Lady, Laura Bush at the White House.

3. I have attended a Presidential Inaugural Ball.

4. I have been to Camp David.

5. The most fun wedding I have ever been to was my own.

6. I was involved in an injury-free accident while riding on the back of a motorcycle in Switzerland when I was 16.

7. I haven’t been to a movie in over 13 years. No reason – just haven’t.

8. Some people think I know a lot about wine but I really just make lucky choices.

9. I have won best of show ribbons at the county fair for a double delight rose and for a formal place setting.

10. I have naturally curly hair that gets frizzy when it is humid.

11. I make really good cheesecakes.

12. My husband and I flew first class to Jamaica on our honeymoon for $29 using my frequent flyer miles (with stops in stops in New Orleans both ways).

13. I have been to every state but North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island and Alaska.

14. I pinched the tails and sucked the heads at the Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

15. I have never broken a bone (knock on wood).

16. I’m a Gemini but I don’t really believe in astrology.

17. My husband brings me coffee in bed every morning. I think I’ll keep him :).

18. My best friend since 7th grade, J.Ann Nelson Richey died of breast cancer on Christmas day 2005. I’ll always miss her. Whenever I was stressed she used to tell me I needed to go do something fun.

19. I collect cookbooks and etiquette books.

20. I write 2 blogs. One for business – http://whartonmarketing.biz/blog/ and one for fun – https://asouthernlife.com.

21. I love New Orleans. My husband was born there and the first time I went was with him. He knew all the best places to go and we had a great time. We have been back many times and plan to go many times more.

22. I got everyone on a trolley car in New Orleans to sing happy birthday to my husband.

23. I took piano lessons from 2nd grade all the way through college. I can play okay but not great. My fingers always shook whenever I had to play in public.

24. I’m claustrophobic.

25. I am a fan of the show – 24 and love to read suspense, mysteries and just about any other kind of book, fiction and non-fiction.

Today’s Lagniappe: The Great Puffy Pancake

1/2 cup flour
1/2  cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
pinch nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 425. Mix four, eggs, milk and nutmeg together, leaving batter a bit lumpy. Melt butter in large frying pan and add the batter. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and return briefly to oven. Cut into wedges. Serves 2-3.

Southern Fun

Submitted by Christi

bubbles


In the midst of all of the bad economic news, something has to give. When things are tough is the time when we have to make time for fun. I learned this in a major way from my best friend. She died from breast cancer on Christmas day 2005. No matter how bad things were, she made sure that she had opportunities to have fun. I remember talking to her on the phone on time. She told me that I was too stressed and that I needed to have more fun. She told me this often. The last time she told me about having fun was a week before she died. She was actually planning a party – from her bed. She had called a caterer and sent out invitations and was really looking forward to it. We were planning to go to this party (she lived in Nashville and we lived in Arkansas). She told me we should have a great time but she hoped we wouldn’t be disappointed. I know she knew she wouldn’t be there.

I think about her every day and know how much better she made my life. When times are tough, I can smile and remember to have fun in her honor. She would love that.

Do at least one fun thing today.

Today’s Lagniappe: Bubble Blowing Recipe

  • Combine 1/2 cup dishwashing detergent, 4 1/2 cups water, and 4 tablespoons of glycerin in a large container with a cover.
  • Mix well, then allow the mixture to rest, covered, until ready for use.
  • Pour bubble solution into a shallow container. Dip bubble wands — such as cookie cutters, shaped pipe cleaners or wire — into the solution and blow!

Tips:

  • Joy is usually the recommended brand of dishwashing liquid.
  • For best results, use distilled water.
  • As an alternative to glycerin, some recipes recommend using white corn syrup.

Small Town Southern Man

Submitted by Christi


Great song by Alan Jackson. Enjoy!

Click on pic to hear the song.

Click on pic to hear the song.


Happy Wednesday everyone!

Southern Mardi Gras Party Preparation

Submitted by Christi


mg-table

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)

kingcake

  • 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¬įF)
  • 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¬įF.

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 Fun

Submitted by Christi


I saw this at the Southern Sinful Bliss Blog. Thought it was kind of fun. Didn’t come out like I would have thought but glad to know a rainbow thinks I’m intelligent. This is just for fun. Try it and let me know what it says about you.

Your rainbow is shaded green.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You feel strong ties to nature and your mood changes with its cycles. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Today’s Lagniappe: White Trash
This is really good. A good combination of sweet and salt.

  • 9 cups assorted unsweetened cereals* 3 cups salted nuts
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 2 – 12 ounce packages (4 cups) white chocolate chips

Cover large surface with waxed or parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, mix together cereals, nuts and pretzels. In a microwavable bowl, melt white chocolate chips in microwave on 70 percent power for 1 minute. Stir. If necessary, continue to microwave in 10 to 15 second increments until melted. Stir melted chocolate into cereal mixture until well coated. Quickly spread out over covered surface. Once cooled, break-up and store in resealable containers or bags.

*Cereals such as Cherrios, any and/or all Chex flavors.