Love deeply. Laugh. Cry. Talk to God. Be realistic about the to-do list. Stay in touch. Hug. Dream. Smile. Break Bread often with Family. Spend Time with your Girlfriends. Shop til you Drop! Extend Grace. Be Quick to Forgive and Slow to Anger. Walk. Breathe. Sing. Dance. Read. Eat Chocolate. Savor a Good Glass of Wine. Wiggle your Toes. Sleep well. Life is Good!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


C U P C A K E    D A Y !

Shortly after my granbaby girl arrived this morning,
 she remembered today is cupcake day! 
While persusing the aisles at Tarzhay yesterday,
she picked out a yellow cake mix and chocolate frosting
(Papa's favorite)!  I know this is a shortcut.
We've all taken them. I will add: I am collecting 
made-from-scratch recipes because I now abhor
all the preservatives and chems in ready-mades. 
If it makes my organic friends feel any better,
we did use organic free-range brown eggs! 
Anywho .... on with the baking project! 
After getting our aprons tied on, gathering ingredients
 and the stepstool, we were off!

We took a raisin snack break
while the cupcakes were baking!

First things first!  I handed her a cupcake to frost. 
While I was loading the mini-spatula with frosting,
she had to test it first .....
just to make sure it was safe, I guess! 

Now, which one do I want? 

Yes!  Sprinkles were everywhere! 
Somehow, I missed getting a photo of that phase! 
Imagine that!

What fun!  "Gramma!  We made cupcakes!"
I think I had as much frosting on me as she did! 
What a joy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sorry for the lack of posting this past week.  What a week it has been!  Nothing extraordinarily special going on.  Just life!  Fish fry/company earlier in the week. Working in the garden.  Preparing for upcoming art show (Shrimp Fest) in October.  Playing with my granbaby girl!  Keeping house!  Just life! 

I try to cram way to much into a weekend!  Lots of errands and garden work!  This weekend (so far!  It's not over with yet), I've planted strawberry plants, blackberry plants, more collards, three different kinds of basil and four different mints, and rhubarb (never had it, but curious!  It's such a pretty color!).  We installed a trellis for the sweet peas and blackberries.

I lugged every single box of my art prints inside from storage.  I've gotta spend this week inventorying and boxing them up for the Shrimp Fest.  Then I have to go by the gallery and pick up a few originals and maybe more prints ... and the notecards and rack.  You can also pick up Tyler Candles and hand painted stemware by Terry Thompson there too, as well as some really cool picture frames!

Coming soon:  I bought me a pressure canner/cooker this weekend.  Yep!  I'm gonna revisit my roots and learn all over again how to do this!! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

What a busy, whirling dervish of a weekend! 

We ended the weekend with a bass fishing excursion to our pond near Dixie Landing.  I out-fished my dear husband four to one!  I have to give him kudos for putting me on the right spot and taking (all but two) of the fish I caught off the line! 

Saturday we attended an Aloha party for a dear friend!  I met, what turned out to be, an incredible woman.  We chatted for a few minutes at the party.  I ran into her again later that evening at another function across town!  A mutual friend told me later in the night that Mary was a platelet donor.  My heart was deeply touched.  I finally got around to talking with her again before she left.  I had to thank her and let her know how much I appreciated what she did.  She donates in honor of a dear friend with leukemia.  I told her about my mom's plight with Myeloid Dysplasia and AML.  Mom was getting multiple units of blood and platelets every single day for over nine months before she passed away.  Because of my anemias, I can't donate either.  I often wondered about the people who unselfishly donated on a regular basis.  I'm honored to have met one of them this past weekend.

Mary shared with me that she donates every few weeks and volunteers at LifeSouth in Mobile.  This is a community blood center ... meaning the donations stay in the area for local needs, unlike the Red Cross.  I'm not saying don't give blood at a Red Cross blood drive .... so don't send me hate mail.  I'm just thinking it was a good thing for my mom this was available, considering how often she needed it just to stay alive.  So, next time you see a LifeSouth Blood Drive bus, stop in for a visit and thank them for what they do for our community.

FINALLY!!  After having read the book several months ago, I had the opportunity to see The Help with a friend yesterday!  Loved it!  It was bittersweet.  Both joyful and heartbreaking.  I really loved seeing Cicily Tyson in the movie too! The movie evoked a multitude of emotions from days gone by.  A time when I was barely nine years old.  An elementary school student.  A few years before we became latchkey kids.  My family was not a prejudice one.  In fact, our attitudes were probably more along the lines of Celia Foote and her husband (from the movie!) ... grateful, appreciative and eager to hear about the goings on of each others' day to day lives.

After returning to Mobile from living in Andalusia, both of my parents were faced with working outside the home full time with four young daughters either in grade school or diapers.  Our Mattie worked for my parents for several years.  I'm not certain how long she was an important aspect of our daily lives.  She was there with the younger girls while me and my older sister attended school.  Eventually we were all attending school during the day and returning home in the mid afternoon to find Mattie waiting at the door.  I remember a couple of summers with Mattie, before I started summer-long visits with my grandparents in Florida. A few times during summer break, Mattie's grandaughter (who was around our ages) would come for the day!  What fun we had playing games all day!  Among the fun, we had one quiet play hour during the day.....when Mattie's "story" was on!  I remember Mattie keeping us entertained, fed and encouraged!

I know Mattie cared for us as much as Abilene cared for May Mobley in the movie.  My younger sister, Tammy, proved to be quite a handful. She began locking herself in bathrooms and hiding outside.  Poor Mattie was a basket case worrying about Tammy's safety.  If I recall correctly, the final straw was when Tammy had hidden outside and snuck back in while Mattie was out there looking for her.  She locked Mattie out of the house that day.  My mom was furious!  Not with Mattie though!  Mattie was so shaken by the possibility of Tammy being harmed or hurt during some of her antics!   To the best of my recollection that's how Mattie came to leave our family and move on.  : (   

Back to the movie now!  It amazed me how much little Mae Mobley reminded me of my granbaby girl!  I was already missing her and the weekend hadn't even began.  Abilene told that sweet child often "You is Kind. You is smart. You is important."   What better way to encourage a child ... of any age?!

Wrapped up in the emotions of the movie, there was an ugliness about it.  The racial bias.  The racial slurs.  The distrust.  That's stuff that turns my stomach.  The haughtiness, think-your-too-good attitude nauseates me.  I'm not talking necessarily attitudes across colors either.  Some folks are just that way, regardless of race, status or address.  It saddens me that some people can't see the pain they cause and justify their reasons with the "it's the way I was brought up" statement.  How safe that must feel to them.  I can think of a few people deserving more than two slices of Minnie's terrible awful chocolate pie ... for such attitudes.  Thank God for grace. Bless their heart(s).  I know.  I know.  I said it.  Fortunately, I'm not a passive-aggressive individual.  

The part of the movie that really moved me to tears was near the end when Skeeter's mom faced down Hilly on the front porch and then told Skeet how proud she was of her.  Hug your kids today!  Hug someone and let them know how proud you are of them!!!  Quite often the words of encouragement or affirmations you need to hear from a particular someone is exactly what they need to hear from you, whether it's your mom, your child, your spouse, your friend, your boss or your neighbor.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Ghandi

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remember the bread I baked the last two days?
Since it was the first use of the starter, the loaves didn't
turn out as light as I'd hoped for. 
When all else fails (using that term lightly), make bread crumbs,
toasted sandwiches or slice and brush with yummy sauce and bake!
For lack of sounding gourmet, and except for their size, I'd just call these crackers!

Ready for the oven!
Toast at 250 degrees for one and one half to two hours.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Baguettes

Basil/Olive Oil Baguettes

Did you know?  If you cut up herbs and lettuce with a plastic knife,
it won't turn dark around the edges?  Who knew?!!
You can get a straight edge or a serrated edge! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

So, I'm feeling a bit discombobulated right now. 
Maybe it's because I've been feeding, rising,
kneading and baking bread for two days.
Maybe it's because I've been tasting bread for two days.
Maybe it's the butter on the bread I've been tasting for two days.
Maybe it' the rebellious spirit of the foodie in me
getting even for thirty days of juicing.
I just don't know.  I think the bloating is a dead giveaway. 
Ya think?!
Tomorrow I start a three day juice fast
I'm pretty sure three days is all I'm gonna need
to get back-on-track and for the realization that
I can't return to my old way of eating ..... evah!

Good Morning! 
Good Morning!

I made my weekly drive to the local farm stand this morning!

Came home with sacksful of softball sized peaches and
thirty juice oranges, as well as bananas, cucumbers,
potatoes, lettuce, Amish butter, pasta, cornmeal and yellow grits!

Made juice with half the oranges!
Then, I snipped the peels for composting!

Over the weekend, I fed one of two sourdough starters
I received from King Arthur Baking Company. 
It was a 24 hour ordeal!
Baked some bread last night. 
Turned out pretty good, but the next round
should be even better after another feeding. 

Later last night I fed the second package
of starter and twice already this morning. 
It should be ready to mix another batch
of bread (this time whole wheat) by late afternoon! 
I'll have two starters in the fridge for baking anytime!
I am gonna try to start a third starter on my own ...
one like I used to bake with years ago. 
It is made with water, sugar and potato flakes!
No yeast required and it's the easiest bread I've ever made!!!

  Four Sourdough "sponges" fed and waiting for bread making!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One of My Fave Blogs!!

I love this blog!  She has a bucket list of food
she wants to learn to prepare!
I'm gonna add my own bucket list today. 
I love setting goals!  I love reaching goals!
I love to cook!  I love reading recipe books! 
I love experimenting with food!

My Foodie Bucket List!
a/k/a Foods/Foodie Techniques I want to Master!

Creme Brulee
Sourdough Bread
yeast bread
Decorated Cut-out Cookies
Cinnamon Rolls
Salted Caramel
Canning (anything)
Pie Crust
Homemade Pasta
. . .

Among those I've accomplished ...

Crab Cakes
Bread Pudding
Chicken 'n Dumplins
Caramel Cake
A good bit of Chinese!
Chicken Pot Pie
rice (yes, rice!)
. . .

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Two of my sisters, one of my daughters, my great niece, my granbaby girl and myself took a roadtrip to Crestview, Florida, today to pay a visit with my dad and the rest of the extended family, my stepmom and stepsister and her family.  What a great time we had!!  What a meal!  What a drive!  We made it back thru Pensacola early enough to make a pit stop at TJMaxx!  Woo Hoo!  Came home with a few bags of treasures (of course!)! 

It gets really interesting when my sister, Tammy, joins us for family events!!  By the time we hit the Crestview exit, Lindsay was excitedly talking on her walkie-talkie app with her friends, Toni had stuffed tissue paper into her ears, Keller was jabbering non-stop and Britney was giggling at Tammy's singing two lines behind every song on the radio or singing an entirely different song than was playing.  She is definitely our entertainment no matter where we are!  I just drove along joyfully taking it all in!  Togetherness!!!

Lindsay and Tammy,
just before we all broke into a Dirty Dancing sing-along!

Exhausted Granbaby Girl!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


After pleading with my husband to build me a compost bin
so I could spread some "liquid gold" in my garden, I gave up!
I learned I could bury my kitchen refuse under a shovel-full of soil
right in my garden, amongst and between my plants. 
Scoop out a hole at least ten inches deep so the dogs,
cats or other vermin don't sniff it out and dig it up!
Really!  I'm already seeing earthworms!  A good sign!
With all the juicing I'm doing, there is no shortage of veggie or
fruit peelings or pulp!  Tossing in eggshells and coffee or tea grounds
and shredded newspaper too (not the colorful ad section!)!

Looking forward to seeing how much better things grow next spring!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash!
Don't be intimidated!
It's soooooooo easy!
Spaghetti Squash
Sweet onion, sliced into thin strips
Bacon, 2 pieces, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Wrap Spaghetti Squash in foil (No! I don't pierce the skin)
and bake at 300 for one to one and half hours.
Remove from oven.  Unwrap.  Let it cool.

While the squash is cooling, saute onion and bacon til lightly caramelized.
While this is cooking over low heat,

Slice the squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds.  (See bottom of page re: seeds)
Using a fork, lightly "fork" the spaghetti-like strands away from the walls of the squash.

Toss with onion and bacon and season to taste.

That's all there is too it!

Don't be silly!  Of course I used an iron skillet!

The sky's the limit with spaghetti squash! 
I've had it with marinara sauce and it's great!
It's great tossed with parmesan/romano cheese!
Go ahead!  Google it and see what combinations you come up with!
We're having it with low-and-slow grilled chicken!

While I haven't ever toasted the seeds from a spaghetti squash,
there's a first time for everything!  Here is a link which shows us both how!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Seeds


One Week later:  Yes!  I found some leftover spaghetti squash in the fridge!
Warmed it.  Added a little chicken stock and an itty bitty bit of buttah!
Pureed it smooth with my immersion blender.  Added a couple tablespoons of heavy cream.
Heated thru.  Ladled into bowl. Drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkled with parm/romano!
Bon Appetit, Y'all!

Bonus Recipe:

Try Spaghetti Squash Au gratin!  The recipe is right here on my blog!
I found it at the Dandy Dishes Blog!!  There are some GREAT recipes there!
You must go check out the Recipe Index!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

('tis the season!)

"Gramma, Where's my U Alabama shirt?"
Oops!  Had to raid Aunt ZZ's closet!

Tailgate Party Ready!

Touchdown Alabama!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I ♥ Cast Iron!

                Making Better Choices!  Altering Recipes! 
                           Experimenting in the Kitchen!

                                    What's for Dinner?

Legumes (beans) are a pretty decent soure of protein!   Soybeans are, of course, higher in protein than Great Northerns.  But, because I steer clear of soy products, Great Northerns are on the menu tonight.  It's a dreary rainy day and is expected to remain this way for the next 4-5 days!   Transitioning off of a 30 day fast with some of my favorite comfort foods ... in moderation, of course!

Great Northern Bean Soup
1 # Great Northern Beans (or Navy Beans)
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 Tablespoon oil or Bacon Fat
       (yeah, I use it in moderation!
        C'mon! It's a huge pot of beans!)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 T chopped parsley
1 hambone (yep! found one in the freezer -
       prob from last Easter's leftovers!)
4 quarts of water (I'm not using stock, because
       I expect the hambone will be sufficient flavor!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Spinach (optional)
Carrots, grated (optional)

Saute diced onion in oil or Bacon Fat! til slightly caramelized.  Add garlic and parsley.  Saute a little longer.  Add water and hambone (You could use any meat, or no meat.  Pork is my choice.  Got Bacon?  Go for it!)  Bring to boil and stew for a few hours til the meat is falling off the bone.  Remove bone and add more water to bring level back to four quarts.  This is where I season with salt (or Lawry's) and pepper to taste.    Now, add one pound of Great Northerns.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook approximately two hours or until beans are tender, then add the spinach and carrots.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary and cook about twenty minutes longer.  I love this addition!  It's so much more nutritious and really colorful!  Ladel up bowls full and enjoy with some "legal" cornbread!  Recipe below!

By the way, I hope you are using a cast iron dutch oven and skillets for preparing this meal!  Nothing beats the flavor from cooking with cast iron, not to mention the iron leeches into the food, which is a good thing for us anemics!

Aunt Jenny's Cornbread

This cornbread recipe was developed for diabetics!
Low Glycemic! Don't let the ingredients throw you off! It's delicious!
We have used it for cornbread dressing too!
Double the recipe if you want it thick!

2 Tablespoons oil (for skillet)
1/2 cup Cream of Wheat (yes! really!)
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Heat oil in cast iron skillet in oven.  Combine and mix remaining ingredients and pour into HOT skillet.  Bake til browned!

Dessert!  Okay. Now, first, don't gross out on me! I'm using fruit pulp and some of the juice from my morning juicing! The pulp includes peaches, oranges and cherries and is very flavorful!!! You can used anykind of fruit. I will also be adding a fresh peach and a few cherries to the mix!

Fruit Crumble

Fruit Pulp and fruit to equal four cups
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In an 8" square casserole dish (guess what?  I'm using a cast iron skillet for this too! Imagine that!), spread fruit and pulp in bottom.  Combine remaining ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbles.  Sprinkle evenly over top.  Bake for 30 minutes til beautifully browned and bubbly!


Last weekend we got off to a good start!  Amended soil. 
Put in transplants.  Seeded.  Less than a week later,
seedlings are peeking out from beneath the soil! 
(Photo on right includes radish and beets emerging!)

We have a lot going on in several areas!  Collards, eggplant and peppers (still producing from late spring plantings), cucumbers, tomatoes (Early Girl and Talladega), broccoli, cauliflower, onions, squash, zucchini, red cabbage, basils, and emerging seedlings of spinach, lettuce mixes, radish, beets, parsley, carrots and cilantro!  Notice the grid over one of the lettuce mix boxes?  That's to keep the cat out!  I ran her off, grabbed some twigs and short bamboo and the orchid clips to get a makeshift cover over it!  I already had to replace soil and reseed both boxes because the dogs made a bed in them! 

Now, we wait, hope and pray that the tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico doesn't wash it all away.  The forecast predicts over a foot of rain for our area along the coast.  Ugh.  We moved the containers under porch cover, except the ones next to the raised beds.  Gonna keep an eye out on the freshly planted 4x4 ..... supplies on hand to build a quick cover if needed!  Y'all stay dry out there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Now that I'll be getting back into the swing of cooking, I thought I'd share a few favorite blogs and sites with my readers.  I am a FOODIE at heart and love to cook!  I love experimenting with recipes (interpret as tweaking!) and trying new foods. Healthy versions when I can swing it!  Moderation when I can't!  There is pleasure in small bites and I can practice restraint! 

The holidays are fast approaching and I love the smells of baking!  I'm on a mission to master cookie decorating this year!  I have been mesmerized with this cookie baking  blog!  Oh the possibilities!!

photo from
Another favorite food is grilled cheese.  Anything from ordinary to wild and crazy!  I can't wait to sink my teeth into a grilled smoked gouda on sourdough!   I do my best to find the healthiest cheeses, which usually leads me to Amish and organic farm products.  Yeah! I hate what some so-called dairy farms do to cows.  I don't think those places should even be called dairy farms.  Farms shouldn't be mean in nature.  Ok. I'll get off my soapbox.  Anywho!  Check out this grilled cheese recipe!  It reminds me of my favorite home-made pizza!

I recently visited a friend who is recovering from surgery and took her a treat of her favorite frozen yogurt .... salted caramel!  Heaven!  I ran across this recipe on Pinterest this morning for salted caramel frosting and thought 'do I need a special occasion to make this?'.   Surely someone has a birthday coming up!  Just to run my finger through the bowl ..... dreamy!

SPLASH!  Ok!  I needed that cold water in the face!  While juicing, I collected a repertoire of recipes more suitable to nutritious living .... healthy choices .... low meat and dairy, included!  A girl can dream, right?   I do believe moderation to be the key to living the good, sweet and savory life! 

DAY 30!

Juicing Fast ends today!
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at the top of this page
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and the changes!

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