Southern Home Farming

Submitted by Christi

The weather is getting hot, hot, hot and that is a great time to skip turning on the oven and just use veggies from the garden!

So many wonderful possibilities springing from a few seeds! Tonight, I want to tell you about a wonderful site set up by Triscuit. Yes, Triscuit! Those wonderfully, delicious wheat crackers. They are promoting something close to my heart – growing your own HOME FARM! Check out their great site at for some great ideas and tips on how you can grow your own home farm! They are even including seeds with their promotional boxes of Triscuits. You know, even if you have already planted herbs, you can still plant more to extend your herb harvesting season!

Triscuit was so kind to let me know about this program so I could pass it on to you here. They sent me 2 boxes of Triscuits – both original and reduced fat. By the way, there is very little difference in the taste of the original and the reduced fat – gotta love that! They also sent a $20 gift card to help pay for some potting soil to plant the wonderful seeds that were included with the Tricuits! One card of dill seeds and one card of basil. I didn’t have dill already growing, so I am really looking forward to that. I did have basil growing so I will use those seeds to extend the season.

Growing herbs and veggies from seed is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have! Thank you Triscuit for encouraging this activity! Y’all enjoy your time in the garden – even if it is just a pot on your patio!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Classic Caprese Toppers
Something else yummy from the Triscuit website!

Prep: 5 min Total: 5 min

8 TRISCUIT Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Crackers

1 oz. POLLY-O Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cut into 8 thin slices

4 grape tomatoes, halved

8 small fresh basil leaves

1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper

TOP crackers with remaining ingredients.

Makes 4 servings, two topped crackers each.

Information: 60 calories, 3g total fat, less than 5mg cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 7g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein

Enjoy your Wednesday and be sure to check out:

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

and What’s on the Menu Wednesday with Dining with Debbie!

Southern Pruning

Submitted by Christi

The Crepe Myrtle is one of my favorite trees/bushes. When everything else in the garden starts looking a little tired in the hot days of summer, the Crepe Myrtle still shines bright.

Pink Crepe Myrtle

Pink Crepe Myrtle

Unfortunately, the beautiful Crepe Myrtle is also one of the most abused of plants. I have seen such abuse in my own neighborhood just this week. It makes me very sad. Cutting the poor tree down to the knuckles or “topping” them by cutting off all the beautiful arms is just wrong. It has even been referred to as “Crepe Murder.”

Crepe Murder

Crepe Murder

I am writing this post in an attempt to “stop the abuse.” If you want a short Crepe Myrtle, buy the dwarf variety. The natural form of the Crepe Myrtle is a lovely bottle shape that makes a wonderful addition to the landscape.

Southern Living wrote a great article on the proper care of Crepe Myrtle and included alibis for anyone who may have been guilty of abuse 🙂

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday – and feeling PINK!

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Today’s Lagniappe:  Lemon Garlic Chicken Breast
Something light and delicious.

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lg. cloves garlic, minced
Grated peel & juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
4 lg. chicken breasts, skinned & boned
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. coarse ground pepper

Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. When oil is hot add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper and bring to boil. Set aside. Arrange chicken in single layer in a lightly buttered shallow baking dish. Pour lemon garlic mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with lemon peel. Cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove foil and bake additional 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to individual dinner plates and keep warm. Pour liquid from baking dish into small skillet. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cook until reduced by half. Whisk in butter. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

A Southern Garden Grows

Submitted by Christi

I showed you some pictures earlier this week of how my garden has grown. Here is my garden now – a little closer look.

















Elephant Ear

These are just a few close up scenes from my garden.

It is Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer.


Today’s Lagniappe: Tomato Pie
Courtesy of Carol Shackleford Benson of El Dorado, Arkansas. Carol says, “With summer tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden, it is heavenly! I have already made several, and friends and family continue to ask for more!”

pie crust – I use Pillsbury in the dairy case
4 medium  tomatoes – mixing red and yellow makes the pie so pretty – I have also used halved cherry and grape tomatoes
Whole milk mozzarella cheese, sliced about ¼ “ thick
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Thinly slice tomatoes and spread out on papers towels.  Salt them liberally and let them sit for about 15 minutes.  Place pie crust in 10-inch tart pan and poke holes with a fork.  Bake the pie crust for 12 minutes at 400 degrees or until lightly brown.  Remove the crust from the oven and cover the bottom of the crust with mozzarella slices.  Distribute basil leaves evenly over cheese.  Cover with tomato slices.  Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper over the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and bake 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees.  Let the pie rest about 30 minutes before slicing.  It is best at room temperature.
I have also made this on a pizza pan and just used thinner slices of cheese.

Southern Stroll in the Yard

Submitted by Christi

We have had a lot of rain lately. This afternoon after the rain, I took a stroll through the yard and snapped a couple of pics for Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer.

Click on the logo to see some great outdoor pics.

Click on the logo to see some great outdoor pics.

Okay, so here we go for the stroll.

Here is another pic of the little robin teenager looking for worms. We are so glad that they have stuck around. Apparently, they will stay within 1/4 mile of the nest.

Here is another pic of the little robin teenager looking for worms. We are so glad that they have stuck around. Apparently, they will stay within 1/4 mile of the nest.

Here is the garden. A little soggy,but loving the rain.

Here is the garden. A little soggy,but loving the rain.

Can’t wait to harvest some of the vegetables out of the garden. They are growing really fast. I usually already am able to harvest by this time but got a little bit of a late start this year.

I've had this for a long time. I just moved it to the veggie garden.

I've had this for a long time. I just moved it to the veggie garden.

You can see the clover, as well as the veggies, love the rain.

You can see the clover, as well as the veggies, love the rain.

She Who Loves A Garden
Has A Very Special Treasure
For She Has Found Her Private Paradise.

Today’s Lagniappe:  Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
This recipe is very similar to the Lemon Thyme Cookies, only with Rosemary. Hmmmm!

By the way, a friend asked what a lagniappe is – it is “a little something extra.”

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar for decoration
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour salt and rosemary until well blended. The dough will be somewhat soft. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees F). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rectangles 1 1/2×2 inches in size. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tops.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden at the edges. Cool on wire racks, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Southern Garden

Submitted by Christi

Several years ago, I built this herb planter. It originally resided on a side porch. Now it is in my yard.


The thyme that is hanging over and the thyme in the left corner have been there for about five years.  The rosemary really struggled this past winter with the ice storms. It has come back a little bit, but I boosted it with a new planting this year. I have nasturtiums, cat mint, chives, oregano, and basil. I’ve thrown a few seeds for dill and parsley around as well.


Of course, I have to have a sign telling me that these are herbs 🙂


This is a saying that I love so much, I put it on the front of the planter:

A kiss of the sun for pardon.
The song of the birds for mirth.
One is nearer God’s heart in the garden,
Than anywhere else on earth.

This little guy holding the wind chimes . . .


used to be a part of this rowdy little group, playing tug of war.


I also have some herbs planted among the other plants in the vegetable garden. This is the first year that I have planted my entire vegetable garden from seed. It has been a learning experience. I think, I should have started sooner. At this time of year, I normally would already be harvesting veggies. This year, I’m a little behind normal.


Hope you have enjoyed the tour of my little herb garden and the glance at the veggie garden.

Click for more 2nd time around.Click for more 3 or more.

Click the pics above for more 2nd Time Around and 3 or More Tuesday posts.

Today’s Lagniappe: Heavenly Angel Food Cake
Quick, easy and no baking! (Unless you want to bake your own angel food cake).

1 Angel Food Cake
1 Large package of vanilla pudding
2 Cups sliced strawberries or whole raspberries
1 Small can crushed pineapple
12 Oz. Cool Whip

Slice cake horizontally. Mix Cool Whip, dried pudding mix and drained pineapple together with mixer on low speed. Fill between layers and ice cake with it. Top with strawberries or raspberries.

Southern Morning Glory

Submitted by Christi

This is my Metamorphosis and Blue Monday with Between Naps on the Porch and Smiling Sally.

Morning Glory bird feeder.

Morning Glory bird feeder.

This lovely tray bird feeder was made for me by my wonderful step father. If you have read my blog you may have met him. His name is Chester Ward and he and my mother married after the death of my father. My husband, Joe B. and I are so happy to have him as a part of our lives.

The bird feeder was originally green. When the paint started to fade, I painted it this color of blue and planted it in a pot along with some morning glories. I love the way it turned out.

This is the view from my porch. I fill it with bird seeds and the beautiful birds love it. I love watching them from my porch.


The pretty blue morning glories make me smile. I hope they make you smile, too!


Today’s Lagniappe:  Basil Cheesecake
I’m still hung up on basil this week.  I love using herbs from my herb garden!

* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
* 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
* 2 1/2 cups basil, fresh
* 1/2 cup parsley
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 clove garlic
* 1 lb ricotta cheese, room temperature
* 2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
* 1/2 lb parmesan cheese, grated
* 5 eggs
* 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
2. Butter bottom and sides of 10″ spring form pan.
3. Mix bread crumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
4. Sprinkle mixture into pan, turning to coat completely.
5. Mix basil leaves, parsley, oil, salt and garlic in food processor until smooth paste forms, about 2 minutes, scraping sides occasionally.
6. Put ricotta cheese, cream cheese and Parmesan in a mixer bowl and mix until smooth about 2 minutes.
7. Mix in the eggs.
8. Remove about 1/3 of this mixture to a small bowl.
9. Into the original 2/3 cheese mixture, fold in the basil mixture until well blended.
10. Pour the basil mixture into the prepared pan and carefully spread an even layer of the cheese mixture on top.
11. Sprinkle with pine nuts.
12. Set pan on a baking sheet.
13. Bake 1 1/2 hours.
14. Turn oven off and cool cheesecake about 1 hour with the oven door slightly ajar.
15. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.
16. Serve at room temperature, or slightly warmed.

Southern Frugal Friday

Submitted by Christi
Knock-out Rose

Knock-out Rose

I’ve had so much fun with y’all this week. I hope you have had a good time as well. So, Frugal Friday, finds me trying to find inexpensive ways to garden. Well, yesterday, I stumbled upon the best garage sale I have ever been to. I’m not sure where the sellers got all of these plants but it was like going to a nursery right there in their yard.

I got two very nice knock-out rose bushes for next to nothing. Can you believe that? They had so many nice plants, I felt like I was at Disney World (You might have to be a gardener to get that).

This weekend is also time for the Master Gardener’s plant sale. They divide up the plants in their own yards or root them or propagate them somehow and pot them up and sell them at a local park for great prices. This is one of the ways they fund their projects all around the county. I really appreciate the work they do making this area beautiful. They have gardens in front of the police station, at some of the local parks at the fairgrounds and many more places that they volunteer their time to keep up.

By the way, I’m still taking pics of the robin that is still busily building her nest on the drainpipe near my porch. I’ll be posting some of them sometime next week.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Today’s Lagniappe: Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
Getting ready for the Kentucky Derby? Try this recipe for Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole.

* 1 lb Ham; thinly sliced
* 1 lb Turkey breast; thinly sliced
* 3 can cream of mushroom soup
* 1 lg can asparagus pieces
* 1/2 lb American cheese slices; (or Velveeta)
* Bacon; cooked, crumbled
* 1 Tomato; sliced

In a large casserole, layer all ingredients, except bacon and tomato in the following order. Using 1/3 of each ingredients in each layer: soup, ham, turkey, asparagus, cheese. After making all three sets of layers, top with tomato slice sand crumbled bacon. Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Serve over toasted English muffins or toast points. Serves 8-10.

Southern Frugal Friday in the Garden

Submitted by Christi


This is the weekend I put in my garden – starting today. I’ve planted my seeds, tended the seedlings, transferred them into bigger pots and now, I’m ready for the real deal.

I will be tilling the plot, getting rid of the grass and weeds, amending the soil, making rows, then TA DA!!!, planting the vegetables and flowers. This is a pretty labor intensive way to save money, but, it is a labor of love. And, it is well worth it.

Nothing tastes better than home-grown vegetables that you have tended with your own hands. Not only do I get to have yummy veggies and lovely flowers, I get to have the pleasure of accomplishment, the gratitude for the blessing of the earth and a connection to generations and generations going back forever who have planted seeds to grow food and flowers for their homes.

Here is some gardening wisdom from Mary Anne Potter of Herban Renewal Farms of Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is an herbal gardener who wrote a lovely book called Herbal Pleasures. Her words of gardening wisdom are wise words for life as well.

Gardening Wisdom

1.  Begin early. But it’s never too late to start.

2.  If it doesn’t work, try something else.

3.  Life is fragile. Protect it.

4.  Life is enduring. Trust it.

5.  Life is daily. Water it. Weed it. Prune it.

6.  Life is indescribably beautiful. Enjoy it and say thank you.

7.  Growth takes time. Be patient. And While you are waiting, pull a weed.

8.  There’s something for everybody – different blooms for different rooms.

9.  Pruning hurts. Pruning helps you grow.

10.  Recycle. Reuse. Restore. Repair. Reduce. Redo.

11.  Sometimes the tiniest flowers smell the sweetest.

12.  To everything there is a season.

13.  Dream big. But try not to let your joy turn into drudgery.

14.  Grow what you love. the love will keep it growing.

15.  Remember, never kiss by the garden gate. Love is blind, but the neighbors ain’t.

Isn’t that lovely? My mother gave me this lovely little book. Okay, off to the garden. I’ll take pics to show y’all next week.

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Garden Veggie Quiche

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cup sliced mushrooms
* 1/2 med. zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
* 1/2 small onion, diced
* 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
* 1/3 cup shredded carrots
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 5 eggs
* 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
* 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 9-inch pie crust

1. Heat olive oil in medium size pan.
2. Add veggies, garlic, and salt and saute until soft.
3. While veggies are cooling a little, mix together eggs, ricotta, and Parmesan until fully combined.
4. Stir veggies into egg mixture and pour into pie shell.
5. Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Southern Garden Herbs

Submitted by Christi


Still working on the dream garden. It must have herbs. Lots and lots. I have always loved growing herbs. In addition to cooking with herbs, I have enjoyed growing herbs to connect to a history of herb use for all sorts of things. I searched out books on how traditionally people have used herbs for illness, cooking, good luck, bad luck and all sorts of things. It is interesting to grow things that have a story.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Rosemary – It’s very name is rooted in legend. The story goes that when Joseph and Mary were fleeing Egypt, Mary draped her blue cloak on a Rosemary bush. She then laid a flower on top of the cloak. That night, the flower turned blue and, thereafter, the bush was know as the “Rose of Mary: or Rosemary. It is believed to strengthen the brain and enhance memory.

Sweet Basil – It’s name means “be fragrant,” and it is.  Greeks despised it but the Romans loved it and made it a symbol of love an fertility. Today, it is planted in homes by Hindus to bring happiness to the family.

Dill – It’s name is derived from the old Norse word, “dilla” meaning “to lull.” It was used to lull babies to sleep. Romans used it as a stimulant for gladiators. It has also been used as an antidote for witchcraft and sorcery.

Garlic – It was worshiped by the Egyptians and they fed it to the the workers building the Great Pyramid at Giza, around 2600 B. C.  It was eaten by Greek athletes who believed it gave them strength. It has been used to ward off evil in the form of vampires and fleas.

Parsley – Medieval Europeans believed they could kill their enemies by plucking a sprig of parsley while speaking their enemy’s name. Roman put it around their necks to absorb fumes (don’t ask me what that is about).

Sage – It’s name is derived from the Latin word, “salia,” meaning “to save.” In ancient times, sage was used medicinally to cure snake bites and invigorate the body and mind. It has been burned to eliminate bad odors. It is now used as a culinary herb.

Thyme – The traditional story is that Thyme was in the straw bed of the Christ Child. Ancient Greeks considered it a symbol of  sacrifice and courage. Thyme has been used to treat melancholy and to improve digestion and has even been recommended as a cure for a hangover!

Growing herbs and enjoying learning about history at the same time! Who wouldn’t love that?

Enjoy more of the outdoors with A Southern Daydreamer’s Outdoor Wednesdays.


Today’s Lagniappe:  Herb Cheese Puffs
Traditional pate a choux pastry with herbs and cheese – Yum!

1 stick of butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon each of fresh, chopped parsley, chives and dill (or whatever combination of herbs you like).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In a saucepan, combine the butter, salt and one cup of water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Beat well with a wooden spoon until the four is well mixed. Return the saucepan to moderate heat and cook until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time (a hand mixer makes this job much easier). Stir in 2/3 cups of the cheese and the herbs.

Drop the pastry dough by tablespoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Southern Pass Along Plants

Submitted by Christi
Bee Balm in Bloom

Bee Balm in Bloom

Still building that dream garden. I would love to have lots of plants that I could pass along. Maybe I’m just dreaming that someone would pass all of these along to me and then I could pass them along 🙂 I’ve been told you should not thank someone for a pass along plant (bad luck or something) but show gratitude by passing it along as well. What a wonderful idea! Anyway, I love the old fashioned flowers that you can pass along by dividing, gathering seeds or with cuttings. Here is some of what I would have:

Bee Balm – I love the pretty, spiky blooms and the lemony smell. In another house where I have lived, I had bee balm that was passed to me. It grew prolifically and I passed it along to several of my neighbors.

Black-Eyed-Susan – who doesn’t love these cheerful flowers?

Day lilies – So many varieties and so easy to divide and so easy to grow.

Irises – Like the day lily so many varieties. I used to have one that I loved that bloomed all summer and had a great fragrance.

Blackberry lily – One of the favorite old-fashioned pass along plants.

Lily of the Valley – my mom gave me some of these and I had them for years before I moved. These will take over if you are not careful.

Violets – These can take over as well if you don’t watch them. But, they are so cheerful and easy to grow and fun to pass along. I had a friend in Master Gardeners who thought it was un-kind to pass along violets. If you pass these along, maybe it should be with a warning, lest someone is taken over by the pretty little plants.

Coleus – I have a big pot of coleus that was given to me as cuttings. I just rooted them in water and then planted them. That was two years ago and I think they will soon be at a point that I can pass them along.

Sweet Potato Vine – I got some of this with the coleus plantings and it has just done beautifully. A great pass along plant.

I can see this garden is coming along beautifully. What is your favorite pass along plant?

Today’s Lagniappe: Amish Friendship Bread
In the spirit of passing things along, here is a recipe for a pass along bread starter and bread recipe. This actually takes more patience than I’ve got right now. Maybe if I made it I would develop more patience!

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (110 degrees)
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. warm milk (110 degrees

STARTER FOOD: (every 5 days)
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk

In small bowl, soften yeast in water for about 10 minutes. Stir well. In a 2 quart glass, plastic, or ceramic container. Combine flour and sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in warm milk and softened yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. Refrigerate. Consider this Day 1 of a 10 day cycle.

Days 2-4, stir with a spoon.

Day 5, to feed, blend flour and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly mix in milk with a spoon, whisk or hand mixer. Stir mixture into starter. Return to refrigerator.

Day 6-9, stir.

Day 10, (which becomes Day 1 for the next series) feed again.

NOTE: Consider the 10 day cycle a guide. It doesn’t need to be followed exactly. If you need more starter, feed it more often. The starter is yeast culture and will grow when fed. To hasten growth, leave starter at room temperature for several hours.


2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/4 baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. Friendship starter
2/3 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 c. optional addition (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans with shortening.

In a large mixer bowl, sift or thoroughly mix flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add starter, eggs, vanilla, and mix well. Stir in optional ingredients and divide batter between the prepared pans. Bake about 55 minutes (exact time will vary because of differences of optionals). Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes then turn out of pans and cool.

Optional Additions:

Raisins, chopped pitted dates, nuts, dried cherries, mashed ripe bananas, blueberries, coconut, canned pumpkin, chocolate chips, chopped apples, grated carrot, grated zucchini.

Southern Garden Favorites – Shrubs

Submitted by Christi

Southern Gardenia
One of my favorite gardening books is The Southern Gardeners Book of Lists. In this book there are lists of all kinds – trees that flower, shrubs that do well in shade, perennials with a long blooming time and on and on.

This week, I’m making my own lists of what I would have in the garden of my dreams. Today, my list is my favorite shrubs. I would have shrubs that have long blooming times and a few that have exquisite fragrance. I would have some that have berries for the birds and I would have to have some that have beautiful Fall color. Here is my list:

  1. Gardenia – This would be a must. I love the fragrance. It is a little strong for some but it has always been one of my favorites. I get this from my mother. When I was growing up, on Mother’s Day, we always wore gardenia corsages. The florist would dye them red to signify that our mother was living. With their creamy white flowers, their dark green shiny leaves and wonderful fragrance, they definitely have a prized place in my dream garden.
  2. Hydrangea – I love their ruffly, round blooms. They always look cheerful. They bloom for a long time. The blooms dry well so you can bring them in and enjoy their beauty in the dead of winter. A Southern favorite.
  3. Forsythia – A Spring-time favorite with its beautiful yellow blooms, this one has great Fall color as well. You know Spring has arrived when the forsythia is blooming!
  4. Butterfly Bush – Colorful blooms all summer long and into the Fall, the blooms are also great for cutting. The blooms attract butterflies as well as bees (watch out!). Beautiful!
  5. Honeysuckle – Another one with a great fragrance that brings back great childhood memories. I remember as kids, we would pick the blooms and get the one little drop of the honey nectar out of little white flowers. Lovely!
  6. Crepe Myrtle – Sometimes these are grown as trees as well as shrubs. I love crepe myrtles because they hold up to the steamy hot heat of a Southern Summer so well. You can always depend on crepe myrtles to be blooming when it is 100 degrees outside in the shade with blooms from bright shocking pinks to cool whites. Definitely a must in my dream garden.

I could go on and on but I’ll stop with these. What shrubs would be in your dream garden?

Today’s Lagniappe: Old Fashioned Lemon Bars
Something lovely to enjoy while you are dreaming of your garden.

* 2 sticks (8 ounces) butter
* 2 cups flour
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 4 beaten eggs
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 tablespoons flour
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
* sifted confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 325°. Blend butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Pat into ungreased 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. For filling, blend together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Pour over first layer. Return to oven and bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Loosen around edges, cut into bars and sift confectioners’ sugar over the top while warm.

Southern Marigolds

Submitted by Christi


I am just itching to get my garden going, but, as I’ve written about before, I know the folly of planting too early. My seedlings are getting anxious as well, I think. They are ready to get out of their restrictive pots and get into the soil where they can spread.

I’m starting my marigold seeds today. Old wives’ (of old wives’ tale fame) knew planting marigolds with anything made everything grow better. Actually, this is one old wives’ tale that some scientists dispute (the nerve!). They say that marigolds are good to discourage some garden pests but not all. Okay, I’ll take my chances and keep the marigolds and deal with the pests if they come. I love how cheerful marigolds look in the garden. Marigolds petals are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and are edible. Looks like the benefits of marigolds wins!

Today’s Lagniappe: Orange-Marigold Iced Tea
I found this recipe in an online edition of The Washington Post and couldn’t pass it up.

The cool taste of citrus and flowers makes this an especially refreshing drink.
Make sure the marigolds you use are organic and suitable for eating; they are usually available at the organic growers’ stands at farmers markets. Their essence is thought to contain anti-inflammatory properties.

5 servings


* • 1 quart water
* • 1/3 cup sugar (optional)
* • 3/4 cup organic, edible marigold petals
* • 3 tablespoons whole-leaf tea
* • 2 medium oranges, well scrubbed
* • Ice


Place the water in a medium saucepan over high heat and add the sugar, if using; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the marigold petals. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the tea leaves and remove from the heat. Let steep for 3 minutes, then strain into a pitcher, discarding the solids. Refrigerate until cold.

Cut the oranges crosswise into thin slices. To serve, line the sides of tall glasses with 5 to 7 orange slices each. Add ice, then pour in the iced tea.

Photo by turtlemom4bacon

See you tomorrow for Tablescape Thursday!

Southern Plans

Submitted by Christi


I visited Theresa over at Take A Sentimental Journey yesterday. She had the plot for her garden already plowed and was getting rid of the grass clumps. It was good to see that because that is what I have got to get done myself soon. My “seedlings” are now ready to plant outside whenever the weather is safe. It may already be safe but I’m always cautious. When Daddy had a grocery store they always had a greenhouse in the Spring. I remember them talking about how they always got to sell twice to people who planted too early. I’ve been know to wait until May to plant tomatoes even though I know the last frost date here has long since past by then.

It is funny how just one little memory from childhood controls my behavior still. However, I’ll have to say, I have never had plants that froze or were damaged from the cold!

It is a waxing moon again, so I’ll be starting some more seedlings this week. Already, I can almost taste those home-grown tomatoes and cantaloupes. Yum, nothing better!

Alright everyone – let’s make this a great week!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Sweet Pea Salad:
This recipe calls for frozen peas but, of course, if you have sweet peas growing in your garden you will want to use them – this salad is a good way to use them.

1 head lettuce
2 med. cucumbers
1 lg. red onion (sweet)
2 sm. boxes frozen sweet peas
1 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 c. sugar

Tear lettuce, put aside. Skin and slice cucumbers. Skin and slice onion (into rings). Drain sweet peas and rinse and drain again. Mix mayo and sugar together.

In large bowl layer, starting with lettuce, sweet peas, cucumbers, onion. Top with mayo, sugar mixture last. Cover. Let stand overnight in icebox. Serve with croutons , shredded cheese and crumbled bacon if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

Southern Roses

Submitted by Christi


This past weekend I planted a rose bush. At another home, I had 21 rose bushes. I love growing roses! It is really late to be planting in my zone (6b) but I found this rose bush on sale and couldn’t resist. It is a large bush rose. I’ve grown many of the mannerly tea roses but I must say, the bushy roses are my favorites. One of my all time favorite roses that I have ever grown was Frederick Mistral. Large, bushy, prolific pink, fragrant blooms – it was wonderful. They held up great in a vase and the bush was disease resistant.

Resistance against black spot is really important in the South where it is so humid. Even the disease resistant roses must be watched carefully for black spot. One of my favorite sources for roses is The Antique Rose Emporium. They sell roses on their own roots (rather than grafted). The roses I have ordered from them in the past were always healthy and did very well.  I just love going to their site and looking at the pictures. Once the rosebush I planted starts blooming, I’ll post pics.

Happy Monday everyone – have a great week.

Today’s Lagniappe: Easy Paella

This is twist on  Ina Garten’s recipe that is posted on the Food Network. I make a less expensive version by substituting shrimp for the lobster and I use a small amount of tumeric to substitute for the saffron when I don’t have it. Saffron Crocus are easy to grow if you want to harvest your own. They flower in the Fall.

P. S. Tumeric will not give the same flavor as saffron and is used just for coloring. It does have a strong flavor so use it sparingly.

  • 1/4 cup  olive oil

* 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
* 2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
* 2 cups white basmati rice or saffron rice
* 5 cups good chicken stock
* 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed or 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1 tablespoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1/3 cup licorice-flavored liqueur (recommended: Pernod)
* 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat or shrimp or combination
* 1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick
* 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
* 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice, chicken stock, saffron (or tumeric), red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. After 15 minutes, stir the rice gently with a wooden spoon, and return it to the over to bake uncovered for 10 to 15 more minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.

Transfer the paella back to the stove top and add the licorice-flavored liqueur. Cook the paella over medium heat for 1 minute, until the liqueur is absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat and add the lobster, shrimp, kielbasa, and peas and stir gently. Cover the paella, and allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.

Southern Sprouts

Submitted by Christi


10 days to Spring!

The seeds that I planted last week are coming right along. The tarragon and basil have already sprouted. The cantaloupe I pre-planted is also coming up quickly. I had to plant a few things that germinate fast to help me have patience for the other things that take longer like the tomatoes.

It is another beautiful day and I am getting anxious to start planting outside, however, it is supposed to get cold again this week. I have learned the hard way not to set things out to early.

Hello to everyone from North Carolina. Y’all are now 3rd in the most  readers of this site. I remember being in Fayetteville on Easter one year and the dogwoods and azaleas were breathtaking. I have a funny story about an experience in Charlotte that I will have to tell y’all about sometime.

Thank you to everyone who visits and reads my ramblings. I wish I could personally meet everyone of you. I bet that would be a lot of fun.

Today’s Lagniappe: Green Beans with Bacon
You probably don’t need a recipe for this. Just watching my Mama taught me how to make it. Just in case your Mama didn’t show you how:

* 2 1/2  pounds  green beans, trimmed
* 3  bacon slices
* 1/2  cup  chopped shallots
* 1  teaspoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


Cook green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. (Now, we know that Mama cooked them longer in the day but she might do it this way now).

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add beans, juice, salt, and pepper to pan; toss to combine. Cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Remove from heat. Sprinkle bacon over bean mixture; toss.