Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year

Tonight is New Year's Eve.
I have BIG plans!
I plan to spend the evening browsing Home Depot.
And, purchasing a new area rug for my dining room.

I'll be starting this new book....

And, popping open a bottle of my favorite red...

I know...
My life is so exciting.
Please don't hate me.

Seriously y'all...
I'm exhausted.
I've had a house full of guests since the weekend before Christmas.
Thank goodness, they all finally went home this past weekend.
But, I have more guests arriving this next weekend.
I should get the "World's Best Hostess" award.
All this festivity is killing me.

Happy New Year!
Happy New Beginnings!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Wonder

There's nothing like a little child at Christmas,
is there?
This is our lovely little Lena.
As we wind down, and approach the beauty
of Christms Day,
I wish for us all the wonder of Christmas,
as seen through the eyes of a child.
Peace.  Love.  Joy. Amazement.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas

                                                                        from Garden and Gun

From my little corner of the South,
Merry Christmas.....

Christmas snuck up on me this year.
Like a mischevious child, sneeking up from behind,
shouting "Boo!"
The planner, always wanting to be prepared.
part of me is in a tizzy.
Final presents to purchase,
and wrap,
and menus to plan,
and food to purchase,
and cook,
guest room preparations to make...
all these things swirl around in my head,
this week before Christmas.

Then there is the one thing...
that looms over it all,
the great sadness of those families
in Conneticut.
I imagine the presents under the trees,
and presents yet to be wrapped,
who's receipient is missing.
And, my heart breaks.....

Why should I be in a tizzy? 

I wanted to blog about my home decorations,
family celebrations, meals and recipes.
But I can' doesn't seem right for me right now.

My Christmas wish is for comfort for the children and adults of Newtown,
peace for us all,
a friend for each of us,
and to love and be loved.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Do not be afraid."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Helen & Charlie

I am absolutely intrigued
by this photo.
Its a photo taken in 1919,
Helen Keller meeting Charlie Chaplin.
Just think about that for a moment.....

I love how he has taken off his hat.
And, how her fingers seem to be touching his moustache.
He appears to be smiling,
and there is just the faintest hint of a smile on Helen's face.

I love it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Red & Black

Its a big game for my Dawgs tomorrow.
The SEC championship game.
And, if we can beat Alabama...
We head to the National Championship!

As a little girl,
my daddy made sure to raise me as a Georgia Bulldawg fan.
He took me to games,
"between the hedges."
I remember one game specifically.
I must have been about 12 years old.
It was cold, it was windy, it was rainy...
but we yelled and screamed,
and cheered on our Dawgs.
Today, I'm blessed
that my 85 year old daddy and I still love
watching the Dawgs together.
Daddy doesn't make it to the games anymore.
But he never misses a Saturday the Dawgs are on TV.
My daddy gets all the credit for making me the
football fanatic I am today. 
My absolute favorite part of Fall...Football.
But most especially college football.
Even more...SEC football.
But the beloved Georgia Bulldawgs.
I sure hope we win tomorrow.
It would be a special special day for my Daddy...
and for all the Bulldawg Nation.
Our hopes are high.
Our excitement is over the moon.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

One of the things I'm always hoping for,
on Thanksgiving Day,
is beautiful weather.
In Georgia, every so often on Thanksgiving,
we're blessed with a warm and sunny day.
When that happens,
I like to throw open the back door,
and set up a table on the deck.
Our deck is off our dining room,
so its easy to just extend the dining area
I'm really hoping for a nice 70 degree day this year.
I already have a tablescape of sorts,
on the dining table.
But, if by chance I can also set up a table outside,
look at these gorgeous tablescapes I found on Google....

I love the natural elements.

And, the green glassware reminds me of my Granny.

I'll have about 15 people at my house on Thanksgiving Day,
so to extend the dining room to the outside would be perfect.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.
Its been a challenging year at times,
with a wedding, the loss of a sweet family pet,
several major and unexpected home repairs,
and at this very moment...two days before Thanksgiving...
new flooring being installed over a majority of our house.
But, I'm thankful for those new, badly needed floors.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today, in 1863

November 19, 1863,
President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous two minute speech
the Gettysburg Address,
dedicating the National Cemetary at the battlefield
of Gettysburg.
There were actually five copies of Lincoln's speech.
Contrary to legend, Lincoln wrote his speech a day or so before the address,
while still in Washington DC.
He revised it later,before the cemetary dedication,
while staying at the home of a local attorney,
David Wills.
Later he penned three more copies of his address,
to autograph and provide to acquaintances.
Interestingly, in several of the later copies,
Lincoln removed the name of God,
where he had originally penned it,
near the end of the speech,
when referring to "this nation under God..."
However, historians tell us that there were many accounts
stating Lincoln did indeed use the name of God
when delivering the address.
One hundred and forty nine years ago today....
To me, one of the most profound lines in the address is:

"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

Little did we know....
Thousands of children, like myself, would memorize this famous 272 word speech,
long remembering what was said there on that Dedication Day.

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Info gathered from the National Park Service.

This photo, taken at Gettysburg is one of only few rare known photos of President Lincoln.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall Weather and Chicken Perloo

As much as I love Summer, I have to admit, I love Fall too. Something about the cooler temperatures, football games, wood smoke, and the mountains painted with brilliant colors makes me feel all cozy inside. Ultimately it leads me to comfort foods.

I grew up spending weeks in the spring and summer traveling between Athens, Savannah, and Gainesville. Having family in all those areas, I was priviledged, blessed really, to an exposure of different regional foods. My paternal grandmother exposed me to all things Athens and central and southern Georgia. My maternal grandmother and great grandmother exposed me to Coastal Georgia and Lowcountry foods. My mom and aunts taught me early on of those wonderful dishes coming out of the farmlands and foothills of North Georgia.

But... when I want a simple, one pot, warm and cozy comfort food, I remember Great Granny's Chicken Perloo. Perloo is a lowcountry dish, made of basics...rice, chicken, pork, savory seasonings. Perloo is actually the gullah pronounciation of the word "pilau," a dish that originated with the people of the gullah nation. The folks north of Savannah and Charleston probably use the "proper" pronounciation, Chicken Pilau. But I prefer the old term my Granny and Mama used, "perloo." Another spelling is "perlo." Recipes for Chicken Perloo are as varied as the pronounciation. Some are simple, like my family's. Others are all gussied up with herbs, olive oil, mushrooms and peppers. I like mine simple. Here's the recipe as I remember it from my Mama, Granny, and Great Granny.

1 fryer chicken, cut up
4 - 5 cups water
Salt, pepper, chicken boullion cubes or poultry seasoning
1 lb. country ham, or thick bacon (later my mom started using polish sausage as a substitute)
1 - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
1 - 2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups white rice
(Optional - 1 chopped tomato, chopped bell pepper)

Place chicken in a large dutch oven, or soup pan as my mama would say, cover with the water, season well with salt, pepper, a couple of chicken boullion cubes or poultry seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook chicken 20-30 minutes until done .
Remove chicken from broth, saving the broth, and set chicken aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, skin and debone, and shred or cut up chicken. Add the chicken back to the broth.
In a large fry pan, heat the tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. Add cubed country ham or bacon and cook until crispy. Remove pork from the pan and add the chopped onion and celery, adding a bit more oil if needed to prevent veggies from sticking. Cook veggies until tender and translucent. Add pork and veggies to the broth and chicken. Bring to a boil.
When broth begins to boil, add the rice. Stir well. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer slowly until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. Stir occasionally and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Final thoughts....
** Many recipes will call for pouring the broth into another container and setting aside. Use the same dutch oven or soup pan to brown the pork and saute the onion and celery. Then, pouring the broth back over the veggies. My family always cooked the pork and sauted the veggies in a large fry pan, then deglazed with a bit of broth, adding it all back to the broth.
** Sometimes Mama or Granny would add chopped tomato to the mix after everything was combined back into the broth. Sometimes they even added chopped green pepper to the onion and celery.
** Polish sausage is a nice hearty substitute for ham or bacon. In fact, I prefer it. If you use polish sausage, you'll want to slice in about quarter inch rounds.

Chicken Perloo ~~ takes me back to Savannah and my island everytime.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My One & Only Political Post

Its the day after...
in the words of a friend....

"Whether or not your sociopath won or lost, be kind to your neighbors today, buy from local businesses, tip well, manage your health, and don't be a jackass. You know.... things that will actually change the world." JE

Stay calm, and move on.  Cheers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia

"Life itself is the proper binge."

Julia Child would have been 100 years old today.
As far back as I can remember,
in the deepest depths of my memory,
I remember watching Julia's cooking show,
with my Mama.

How can we ever forget that distinctive voice,
her charm, her wit, her humor.

No, they don't make 'em like Julia anymore.

As a very young bride, it was Julia,
who taught me a love for cooking,
the proper way to roast a bird,
and dared me to attempt Creme Brulee.
I would hear her voice in my head,
and I learned my way around my new kitchen,
teaching me how to use various utensils and kitchen tools.

I wonder just how many cooks are out there today
that were influenced by her. 
Those such as myself.
that grew up watching, listening, absorbing
Julia's teachings.
Surely there must be thousands.

Happy Birthday Julia. 
There will never be another like you.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How Did This Happen So Fast

He went from this....

To this.....

He agreed to pose for me this the fireplace
Not with his bookbag,
but with his dog instead.

Today my baby becomes a senior in high school.
I've had three seniors before him.
But he's always been the baby.
How did it happen so fast?
That he grew up, right in front me, and I'm not sure I saw it coming.
He went from being a wild and crazy "Dennis the Menace" type of boy,
full of mischief, adventure, curiosity...oh the never ending curiosity, which
often left a path of destruction in his wake;
To being funny, sweet, sensitive, gentle, shy,
and oh so smart.
He went from taking apart vacumn cleaners and lawn mowers,
to writing music, recording songs, and painting pictures.

He has so much waiting for much ahead of him.
This child from another planet. 
I cannot wait to see what he does with this amazing, incredible life.
But, I think, whatever he does, nothing will surprise me.
This child from another planet.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Peaches & Blueberries

July in Georgia brings peaches, and blueberries.
Two of my favorite fruits, and
two of my favorite fruits to eat together. 
Peaches and Blueberries go together in the most delightful way.

Our little town holds a local Farmer's Market, during the season,
on our little town square every Friday.
This past Friday I loaded up on peaches and blueberries.
I wandered among the tables and booths,
set up with all sorts of garden delights.
It was hard to pass up the jars of honey,
baskets of tomatoes, and fresh corn.
But, I went that day with peaches on my mind.
Then the blueberries woo'd me and I couldn't resist.

This past Sunday, my family gathered for one of our favorite
summertime suppers....
Low Country Boil
Fried Green Tomatoes
and I made a Peach with Blueberries Crisp.
Its a crazy simple recipe,
one long inheirited from my Mama.
I'm bettin' every southern girl has this recipe, or a variation of it.

(I just added a couple of handfuls of blueberries, for good measure.)

For a 9x11 baking dish:

1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks softened, room temp butter or margarine
Enough peaches to generously cover the bottom of the dish.
1 1/2 cups water
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Spray baking or casserole dish with non stick spray.
Peel and cut up (I like nice size chunks) enough peaches to almost, but  not completely fill up the dish.  I used about 10-12 peaches, depending on the size.  Sprinkle the fruit with cinnamon.  I give it a light covering.  Pour the water over the fruit, enough water (about 1 1/2 cups) to cover the bottom half of the fruit.
Mix flour, sugar, and butter together to form a crumbly topping.  You can use a pastry cutter but I use my hands.  The mixture should be a separated, pea like crumble.  Crumble the mixture over the fruit to cover completely.
Bake at 350 for about an hour, until top is golden brown. 
Its best eaten warm, with vanilla ice cream.  Yum....

For a smaller dish, you can cut back the amount of fruit, cut the dry ingredients back to one cup and one stick of butter, and one cup of water. 

This recipe is especially yummy in the Fall, with apples.  For an apple crisp I add more cinnamon for that apple cinnamon-y goodness.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ahhhh, June...

June is my favorite month of the year.  Yes, I am the quintessential summertime girl.

Why I love June...

Long lazy days on the dock, swimming and boating.
Lightening Bugs
Jasmine on the lattice, and in the air.
Black Banks Creek, and crabbing.

Wearing the scent of sunscreen, and salt water.
Skirts, shorts, and sandals.
Spanish moss and Resurrection ferns.

I love June, yes I do.
I'm at my best in June.

"If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance."
~ Bern Williams

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today is....

National Mint Julep Day!

from Google images
Believe it or not, this so southern girl has never had a mint julep.  I know, a sacrilege, right? 

But, for some reason, a few months back, and I do think I'll blame this on pinterest, I've been longing for a set of mint julep cups.  All the pretty pins I've seen on flower arrangements in mint julep cups have me seriously shopping.  I found these about a month ago, and have been playing the "Should I or Shouldn't I?" game....


I have a feeling that eventually I will...............

Also, coincidently, Damon Lee Fowler, one of my all time biggest Author crushes, posted a very tempting mint julep recipe on his blog a few weeks ago.  

I love Mr. him.  His Savannah Cookbook is one of my favorites.  Plus, his keen interest in historical southern cooking touches my very soul.  Being a lover of southern history, and cooking, his writings on the relationship of both just puts me over the moon.  But I digress....

Mr. Fowler posts his favorite mint julep recipe here, along with some very cool historical background of the South's signature cocktail, dating back to even Biblical times.  Makes me want to try a mint julep today...and well, it being National Mint Julep Day and all.....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Other Things

I've had a hard time keeping up with blogging.  It seems like for a few years, I really enjoyed blogging, and blogged regularly.  Nowadays I do well if I blog once a month.  I still keep blog post ideas in my head, and I'll think, "I need to blog about that!"  And, my camera still hangs at my side, sometimes with pictures that I want to share.  But sitting down to actually "do it" often evades me.  Maybe its because I'm back at work full time.  Maybe its because the last 5 months or so have been a whirlwind of activity with wedding planning, college graduation, end of school, and the illness and loss of our sweet old girl, Sophie. 

Our girl Annalee was married to her sweet Jeff last week....two weeks after her graduation from college.

We lost Sophie in April.  She was my best good friend, and a faithful and loving companion.  I've had dogs, and pets of almost every variety through out my life.  Sophie was an exceptional pet, a member of our family.  I miss her terribly.

I'm heading to my island in a few weeks.  Home.

I miss my blogging friends.  And, I'm sure they've all given up on me.  But I do still get by your blogs on a regular basis, to read, and sometimes comment.  Hopefully I can spend more time here on my blog and hanging out with my blogging friends again. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tee Time!

Its the Masters week in Augusta.

 I love watching the Masters. 
 I still can't get over that year Greg Norman choked on the final round.  I loved him so much,
 loved everything about him...the total package. 
 I was brought to tears that year.   
Through the years I've enjoyed watching the careers of
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and the wonderful
Payne Stewart, RIP. 
Will we ever forget his signature look?

When I was growing up, my Daddy always went to the Master's.
From the 1960's to the 1980's.
Do you know how many times he tried to get me to go with him?
Numerous...too numerous.
But, I was a dumb teenager, too busy with friends, dating, partying.
And, its a regret I'll always live with.

Its ironic now, how much I love Golf.  Love the game.
I don't play, but I sure love watching,
and just being around a golf course.
Its a wonder that I love it so much.
As a teenager, I caddied one summer at our local Country Club.
I got hit in the head that summer, by a wooden club.
Of course, I cried, and walked off the course,
swearing I would NEVER come near another golf club
or golf course, for the rest of my life....But I lied.

This weekend, as my family marks the death and resurrection of our Lord,
we'll also be enjoying a weekend filled with family...and golf.
May you be blessed with the knowledge, love, and grace of a risen Lord.
May you enjoy fellowship of family and friends...and of course, good food.
I'll be serving two traditional Master's weekend dishes...from the cookbook,
Tea Time at the Master's.

The "Now Famous" Cheese Ring
1 lb. of grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup of chopped pecans
3/4 cup of mayonaise
1 small or medium onion, grated
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1 cup Strawberry Preserves
Combine all ingredients except the strawberry preserves, mix well, and chill.
Form into a ring.
Fill center with strawberry preserves (I like to put this in a small compote and set in the center)
Serve with crackers.

Sometimes its hard to find peaches this early in the season, but if peaches are available, I love to make the following cobbler.  If not, then early and mid summer is Peach time in Georgia.

Peach Cobbler
2 cups fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sifted plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix peaches with 1/2 cup sugar. Let stand 30 minutes or until juice forms.
Melt butter in 2 quart baking dish.
Use remaining ingredients to make the batter.
Pour batter over the butter,
then pour peaches and juice over the batter.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Of course, Easter dinner this year will be served with Arnold Palmer's tea,
much to my Daddy's delight.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In Like a Lamb

from Google images

March 1
came in like a lamb today.
You know what that means...
According to folklore, March will go out like a Lion.
"March. In like a lamb, out like a Lion."

I've always liked that old saying. 
The thing is, I've never remembered to notice how March "went out."
But one thing's for certain.
In Georgia, March brings both beautiful soft weather, and
roaring windy, rainy, and sometimes cold weather.

According to the Farmers Almanac,
this old saying is myth,
started by those who came before us.
People often believed that bad spirits could affect the weather adversely.
Because of that, they were often cautious about what they did,
what they did not do, and how they did it.
They believed in a balance between weather, and life.
So, if a month came in bad, like a lion,
it should go out good, or calm, like a lamb.

March is such a changeable month.
I think nowhere is this more true than in the South.
We will probably see warm, spring like today. 
It was 62 degrees at 7:30 this morning.
Or, we may see late season snow flurries, or cold driving rain.

Regardless, I'm anticipating spring...anxiously. 
And, enjoying a morning of sunshine, warmth,
and the hint of buds on my azaleas.

"See the winter is past.  The rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth.
The season for singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land."
~The Song of Songs~

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras Tuesday

Its Mardi Gras today in the Crescent City.
I've always wanted to go.
I love NOLA,  but have never been during Mardi Gras.
But...its on my bucket list.

Today, in honor of Mardis Gras
I'm making Grillades & Grits for dinner.
I haven't made these before, so today will be a first.
And, what better recipe to follow than one from New Orleans' own...

I'm  using this one...


Happy Mardi Gras, Y'all!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This Is How We Do It

Winter in the South....
My daddy's camellias, in full bloom

Jonquils (or are they daffodils?) peeking up through the ground.
A bit of sunshine in my otherwise dreary brown garden.

And, this little fella. 
I think the bluebirds take advantage of the warm days,
not too often seen in February,
to flit around the field. 
When they fly together, they look like they are playing.

from Google images

I think February likes to tease those of us
who are lucky enough to live in the south.
Today, its sunny, and 60 degrees.
A hint of Spring is in the air.
But tomorrow...or next week...
Who knows what Mother Nature will send our way.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day in Georgia

An early spring for Georgia, says General Beauregard Lee!  Can I just get an "amen!"

I'm always hopeful on Groundhog Day, that General Lee will not see his shadow.  Spring never comes to early for this girl.  My southern blood is just too thin for cold weather.

This was on our local news website this morning, and I'm happy:

The South's iconic groundhog, Gen. Beauregard Lee, waddled out of his "Weathering Heights" mansion and failed to see his shadow on the Georgia red dirt.

The development bodes well for warm weather, since no shadow means an early spring. Hundreds of spectators were on hand as the prediction was made around 7:30 a.m. Thursday outside Atlanta.
The groundhog emerged to make the prediction moments after a crowd cheered, "Go Beau, Go Beau, Go Beau!"

Beau's caretakers at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn say he has a 94 percent accuracy rating, giving him a better record than Punxsutawney Phil, his famous Pennsylvania counterpart.
The ranch says that every year on Feb. 2, the Georgia groundhog wakes up to the ringing of an antique bell to forecast the spring weather.

Hurry Spring!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ahhhh, January

January in Georgia tends to be cold, and wet. 
Always, during this season, I find myself homesick for Spring in Savannah,
and on my Island....

And, the mysterious places.

There are places on my Island,
Magical...and Spiritual.

Where sometimes, the lines between reality,
and imagination, become blurred.

Where the scent of plough mud,
and salt water,
often unpleasant to others,
suddenly becomes a perfume to the soul.
A balm of Gilead.

Where it sometimes seems that time
really does stand still.
And, memories linger.....

This place, I dream about...
On a cold, wet January day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ain't Love Grand?

He told her he would not be home before Christmas.  The demands of school and work would keep him an entire state away from her until Christmas Eve. 
The weekend before Christmas, her best friend convinced her to go to "their restaurant."  "That's our restaurant," she told her friend.
"Yeah? So?"  her friend replied, with a smile.
At the restaurant the waiter would deliver to her a scrolled message on parchment paper.  This message would send her on a scavenger their favorite waterfall on their river, finally to the schoolyard, where it all began.  Where they met, and their love would blossom.
When she came into the schoolyard, there he was....
"But, you're suppose to be in Tennessee......."
"No, I'm suppose to be right here, at this moment, with you...."

Congratulations to our sweet girl, and her new fiance. 
It's going to be a busy year!

Images were provided by Paige, at Simple Thoughts. Visit her lovely blog at