Southern Clouds

Submitted by Christi

Wow, getting this post done during a break from the storms. We were a couple of hours East of here today meeting with clients and when we got back there were small branches in the road and a shutter of a neighbor was broken off. We have had lots of lightening and thunder and rain since we arrived home. Always good to get back home.

I took some pictures of the awesome clouds as we were driving home.

Clouds and sun

Clouds and sun

clouds and sun

Clouds over Lake Norfork

These pictures were taken around 5:30 p.m. with my phone. Wish you could have seen them in person. They were crazy!

We have had some more storms this evening. We really needed the rain! Glad for a break in the heat. What is going on outside in your neck of the woods?

Outdoor Wedenesday

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

Today’s Lagniappe: Strawberry Ice Cream
Something yummy and refreshing for a warm summer day!

* 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
* 3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh lemon zest
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 2 large eggs
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 lb strawberries (3 cups), trimmed and quartered
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine cream, zest, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.

Whisk eggs with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F (do not let boil).

Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, at least until cold, about 2 hours, and up to 1 day.

While custard is chilling, purée strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through fine sieve (to remove seeds) into chilled custard. Stir purée into custard.

Freeze in ice-cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Southern Rainbow

Submitted by Christi

When the storms of life roar, it is always nice to see a rainbow to remind of of God’s love and give us a moment of peace! We were blessed to see a rainbow this past week.

God, thank you for the rainbows in the midst of the storms!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Honey Fried Rainbow Trout

2 trout.
2 tablespoons of honey.
4 tablespoons of butter.
1 lemon.
½ cup of cornmeal.
¼ cup of flour.
1 medium egg.
1/3 cups of milk.
Salt and pepper, to taste.
In a bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper.

In another bowl, mix the egg and milk.

Rub the fish with lemon and dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Dip in the milk mixture and then back into cornmeal mixture.

In a frying pan, heat the butter to almost smoking.

Put the trout in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Put the honey on top of the fish, lower heat, then cover and cook for 4 minutes.

Hope you are all seeing some wonderful sites in the great outdoors (in our case the very hot outdoors) this week.

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

Southern Blue Heron

Submitted by Christi

Our friend Jim Gaston at Gaston’s White River Resort has been at it again. He runs a wonderful resort, but I think his true talent is photography! If you have never visited, you absolutely should! Check out their Facebook specials right now!

Check out Jim’s great pics of the mighty Blue Heron on the White River:

I just don’t know that it gets any more spectacular than that. Thank you Jim Gaston for your wonderful photography. He has some great subjects, doesn’t he?

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

Today’s Lagniappe:  Strawberry Pie

* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 6 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 package strawberry flavored gelatin, 4-serving size
* 2 cups water
* 4 pints strawberries, hulled
* 2 9-inch baked pie shells, cooled

Preparation:
Cook sugar, cornstarch, jello and water until thick; cool. Place whole berries the baked pie shells. Pour sauce over berries and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping.

Southern Outdoor Rooms

Submitted by Christi

If you’ve been around A Southern Life for a while you know that I really enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. Outdoor rooms are the perfect place for me. What do you need to have an outdoor room? For me, all I need is a comfortable place to sit, a little shade and maybe a table.

What do you need for your outdoor room? Here are a few pics I found for inspiration:

My outdoor room is my own back porch. What do you need to turn your dreams into reality for your own outdoor room?

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe:  Strawberry Vinaigrette
The perfect time of year for strawberries!

# 1 cup olive oil
# 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, halved
# 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
# 1/2 teaspoon salt
# 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
# 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
# 1/4 teaspoon white sugar

In a blender or food processor, mix olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, tarragon and sugar. Blend until smooth.

Southern Bunnies

Submitted by Christi

Welcome to Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by Southern Daydreamer!

Click pic to see more great outdoor posts.

Click pic to see more great outdoor posts.

My neighbor across the street recently made a discovery. She was watering a little garden area in her front yard and these little baby bunnies hopped out. They weren’t too happy about getting wet!

Aren't they adorable?

Aren't they adorable?

My husband put his hand in the pic so you can tell how small they are!

My husband put his hand in the pic so you can tell how small they are!

This one got a little wet.

This one got a little wet.

They weren't real happy about being disturbed.

They weren't real happy about being disturbed.

This one is ready to get back to the nest.

This one is ready to get back to the nest.

So, we shooed them back under the tree. We didn’t want any neighborhood cats to find them! What a fun treat to get to see these little ones!


Today’s Lagniappe: Summer Tomato Sandwich
With fresh tomatoes available, you gotta find ways to use their yummy goodness!

  • 1 (1 pound) loaf ciabatta bread
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, sliced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 leaves butter lettuce
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Slice ciabatta bread in half lengthwise. Spread pesto on the cut side of each half. Top bottom half with slices of fontina cheese, and then place slices of tomato on top of cheese. Broil until cheese melts, and remove from broiler.
  3. Place lettuce over tomatoes, and then position top half of bread on top of everything. Slice into 8 or 10 small sandwiches, and serve.

Southern Spring Showers . . .

Submitted by Christi
Bull Shoals Lake

Sunset over Bull Shoals Lake

Yesterday, I wrote about how I enjoy being outside. After I wrote that post, I watched the news. Again, I was so grateful for the beauty of nature. The news was all about the swine flu. I looked out my window at the Spring rain (okay, sometimes storm), and everything was put back in perspective.

In these difficult times, I think it is a good thing for each of us to look for the beauty in our lives. One thing I have always loved about living in the South is the warmth. Not just of the weather, but, of the people. When I walk in my neighborhood, people wave. I know my neighbors names and enjoy sharing a wave and a smile when we see each other. There is beauty in a well set table with good home-cooked food that you share with someone you love.

I feel like Julie Andrews singing My Favorite Things :). Oh well, it worked for her, and, obviously it works for me.

I hope each of you finds beauty and a few of your favorite things in this day.

Today’s Lagniappe: Tabouli Primavera

When I was growing up, we spent many weekends at the lake. Occasionally, we would drive over to a restaurant called Neifi’s, where they had tabouli. It is a middle-eastern dish that is pretty exotic for a small town girl like me. I always enjoyed it.

2 cups bulgur
2 cups boiling water
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cucumber, chopped
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1 (4 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
2 (2.25 ounce) cans sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Dressing

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

DIRECTIONS

Place bulgur in a large bowl; stir in boiling water. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Drain and squeeze dry.
In another large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
Mix together dressing ingredients and pour over veggies.
Add bulgur and toss to coat.

Southern Outdoors

Submitted by Christi
Photo by Jim Gaston of Gaston's Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas

Photo by Jim Gaston of Gaston's Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas

I spent my weekend outside working on the garden. I’m a little sore now but it was well worth it and nothing that a little ibuprofen won’t cure.

I  love spending time outdoors. Always have. When you are inside, you sometimes, forget that there is a whole other world going on outside. There are birds flying around, singing their songs. The robins loved the freshly turned ground in my garden for gathering worms. The squirrels are, as usual, trying to raid my bird feeder. There are bunny rabbits hopping around. It is a bustling, busy world out there!

As I was working, the wind was blowing quite a bit. Every now and then, I would get a whiff of something sweet. Something sweet that is blooming somewhere and the wind was carrying the scent to me in my garden. I was very thankful for the breeze to cool me off from my toiling in the soil as well as for the lovely scent of blooms.

All of this puts me in mind of Louis Armstrong singing What a Beautiful World. Even with all of the turmoil in the world, all the strife and conflict, it truly is a beautiful world. You just have to stop and see it.

Today’s Lagniappe: Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Great as an appetizer or a side dish, this is tasty little bundle.

  • 1/2 pound prosciutto, sliced
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (try herb cream cheese or other flavors of cream cheese).
  • 12 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Blanch asparagus spears in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Submerge in ice water.
  3. Spread prosciutto slices with cream cheese.
  4. Wrap slices around 2 or 3 asparagus spears.
  5. Arrange wrapped spears in a single layer on a medium baking sheet.
  6. Bake 7 – 10  minutes in the preheated oven, until asparagus is tender.