Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beware of Southern Ladies Who Smile

When we moved from Texas to Colorado I learned really quick that the phrase "go big or go home" defined a Southern girl. I quickly found out I was a fish out of water and had to learn to adapt to a more relaxed style. I did not enjoy this change at all!, it made me feel completely unsettled.
A trip to the mall was suppose to help me, but what it did was horrify me because no one had on makeup! And even worse was the fact that they had their hair pulled back with a headband. Most traveled very well on a bicycle...and seem to have a water bottle everywhere they went.
What I finally learned was they were...HEALTHY...and it wasn't so hot outside that you would die on a bike in the summer. As I thought about this I reconsidered my life so far and decided that this would be like an extended mountain vacation.
I never gave up my make-up, refused the headband, not a bike girl, but I did get a really pretty water bottle. Hey , it was a fashion accessory!

Southern girls are known for their sweet smiles. We are taught by our mom's that we can smile through anything. My mom could smile and make anything seem like a good idea, even things like grounding me for a week! To go along with that smile, we have that Southern twang that makes us sound like Scarlett. I have been known to use that at times to get what I want, but when you leave the south, it doens't work as well. Then they just look at you and say.."I'm sorry, what did you say...and where are you from?" So many times I wanted to say "New York City", but Southern girls are never rude to strangers! I have learned that women everywhere have their own little clubs and could write this from a Northern, Eastern, Western or Midwestern view. We all are the product of our environment and the nicest thing is...we all are women and love being us!

Happy Easter to everyone, enjoy the celebrations at your church & with your family!  Those of you that aren't Southern...if you need a menu, decorating ideas, etc...ask a Southern girl to help, she has a 3-ring binder somewhere full of ideas!

Day 4- Southern Ladies insider's tip for today. Southern women have to be careful with those not from the South. I have been known to overwhelm a few people north of the Mason-Dixon line. 
We tend to be a little over the top with many things such as our consuming need to feed people, our neurosis about decorating everything and of course our hair.
Never change to fit other people's style , just be yourself and you will be the belle of the ball.
Day 5 - Southern Ladies Club
Those who can perfect a smile that never changes regardless are lucky indeed.
Only Southern ladies over 40 know that every smile doesn't mean the same thing.
 We smile because, we are holding back comments that would be less than ladylike, tears that would smear our makeup and at times because we are already planning the demise of those who caused them. Not that we would act out those plans, but a girl has to dream!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Southern Ladies, Cooking, & Football

As little girls in the South, we watched our Mom's work in the kitchen while everyone else was resting in the Living room. I believe it was a woman who came up with the open floor plan that brought the kitchen and living area together. Although I do enjoy doing all the cooking (probably because I don't think anyone else can do it as well as I can...another tip for another day!) I want everyone to stay in the kitchen and visit with me.

I am the oldest of three girls and was an only child for 10 years. I learned to love football because my Dad wanted someone to watch with him and Mom wasn't crazy about it. Learning quickly that if I left the table to go watch football with Dad, Mom was glad she didn't have to and I got out of washing dishes.

Fast forward 30 something years..I'm the one getting left in the kitchen. Payback always comes, but I have figured out a plan to get me out of the kitchen and on the couch for kickoff or the first pitch of spring baseball. Being from the south, we can't even watch a game without it being an event so...planning is very important.

I can make guacamole in about 10 minutes and it's healthy. I can make a pot of chili the day before and it can warm in the crockpot till game time. The one thing that I can't work out is the grilling during the game without missing the live action dilemia. Don't tell me to DVR the game, that's just not right! So as any sweet Texas girl, I have figured this one out to my benefit...I have the best griller in the world do it for me.

My husband is an incredible man who can do so many things well, but he can make a hockey puck out of a burger in a flash. He smokes the most incredible brisket & pork in the world so I knew he was teachable. I bought him a timer and told him for burgers never longer than 4 minutes each side at high direct heat. After burger class he is now a pro at that too!  And quess who is sitting on the couch while the self-proclaimed Grilling King cooks during the game?

Day 3 -Southern Ladies Club , over 40 insider's tip- It's okay to love football or any sport as much as the guys! It does not make one less of a lady by any means. And to make it easier, always tell him that his cookout's are the best so you don't miss the game!

Southwest Squealer Burgers

1 lb 85% ground beef
1/2 lb Jimmy Dean hot pork sausage
1/4 c Real Bacon bits by Hormel
1 T dried onions
 1 T New Southern Pantry Chili Blend or your favorite chili seasoning

Salt if you need it!

Mix together and form patties to desired size.
Makes about 6 large and 8 medium burgers.
Cook at direct high on the grill for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on doneness desired. We top with grilled onions and candied jalapenos.

 Candied Jalapenos

3 Jalapenos
1 Tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon sugar

 Wash, de-vein & remove the seeds from 3 medium jalapenos. Slice into small rings and set aside.
In a medium skillet heat olive or canola oil & add  butter.
Heat on low until butter is melted then add the sliced jalapeno peppers.
Cook until peppers begin to soften,stirring as they cook, about 3 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir well, cook at low heat while stirring, about 3-4 more minutes until sugar begins to candy on peppers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome Back to the Southern Ladies club

Southern girls are taught from adolescents that one of our greatest  joys in life is welcoming people into our homes. Those lessons showed us that our life is meant to be a blessing to others as well as a joy to ourselves. Most Southern women who love to cook learned this at an early age, probably from a Mom, Grandmother, Aunt or friend.

My Grandparents survived the Great Depression and lived through World War I & II. Times were hard and my grandmothers knew how to make a dollar stretch and never wasted anything. Any grace & hospitality that I exhibit certainly comes from those two beautiful ladies, as well as from my Mother.  My Mom taught me if you are going to do it, do it up right!

One thing we all seem to forget is the value of these ideas that we are given by family friends. Regardless of your own life experiences, when we live to make others lives better, we make our own richer and more blessed. Life changes and new ways of doing things make life easier! I bet my grandmothers would have used my shortcut hints and smiled when they fooled everyone!

This is my favorite brand of frozen dough.
I like it because they offer White or they have a 100% Whole Wheat also.

Day 2: It is perfectly acceptable to use those new frozen loaves of dough in place of homemade dough. This of course will require the use of some other "additions" to the dough to make it your own creation. A true Southern Lady would never just plop the dough in and bake it! The choice of most in the South is butter infused with garlic and herbs of some kind. We would never shy away from cheese and a little bacon never hurts!  Now baking purists would be right to say it's not homemade, but if you have to pick between making it from scratch or finishing your makeup....that's a no-brainer!

If you need ideas or more information, check out Rhodes Rolls website. They are my favorite frozen dough company and I will admit it's all I use to make fresh bread. Here's a link to their website

 There is nothing like the smell of baking bread to make company feel welcome. That's what hospitality means regardless of where you call home!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Southern Ladies of a Certain Age Club

Welcome to the Southern Ladies Club! You have achieved the great age of 40 and now you can know all the secrets of the club. If your not in that group, we are going to make your life easier and share all our well kept secrets with you!  

Have you been told all your life to do things a certain way in the South? Were you made to feel less than a gentile Southern Belle if you didn't? Did you feel like you might be asked to surrender your Mason-Dixon club card at any minute?

Don't despair, I have 40 suggestions that I gifted my sister with on the celebration of her 40th birthday. I know she will be okay with my sharing those with you...considering she is now well over the shock of that birthday!

Now for all those reading this who are not Southern born...I'm sure you have a set of "rules" passed down from your female relatives that are equally as thought provoking and frustrating as some of these Southern Ladies rules.

Day 1: You will not catch pneumonia without a slip on under your clothes in the South, even in the winter when it hits 40 degrees. My mom has literally chased me out the door with my undergarment in her hand. She could become completely hysterical in her concern over my delicate respiratory system. Now a nice slip is a must with that gauzey springtime skirt....enough said!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Guacamole is healthy!

Guacamole, you either love it or you just haven’t tried it. It was always one of those “don’t eat foods” when you were watching your weight. In the 1970’s we were encouraged to eat raw vegetables dipped in Ranch dressing…. What were we thinking? Ranch dressing is loaded with calories & the fat it contains is rarely the healthy mono-unsaturated type. Avocados are an incredibly healthy, very filling & satisfying food. They are cholesterol & sodium free & have only a small amount of saturated fat. this is the best source for everything avocado!

California grows the best avocados in my opinion. We can get them from other places, but I think those grown in California are the freshest, least bruised, & most tasteful on the market. I like to buy mine a little green and let them ripen at home. If you are going to use your avocados that day you should buy those that yield to gentle pressure when squeezed. Lots of good information on the website above regarding picking and storing these great fruits.

If you have never been brave enough to try making your own guacamole, step up to the cutting board and soon you will realize that you can make it just like the restaurant’s do…probably better than most. There are many recipes for this wonderful green treat but I think that keeping it simple is the best idea. My recipe is very simple & can be adjusted to fit the things you like to add or want to leave out. It’s all about freshness & flavor, so enjoy. I use 1 avocado for every 2 people that will be served. This recipe is for 2 servings but can be doubled or tripled or….you get the idea!
Texas Guacamole              
Makes 2 servings
1 large avocado
1 small roma tomato
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno, 2 tablespoons if you like it spicier
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
½ lime or lemon
¼ tsp. salt, can add more if needed
 Begin by washing the tomato, jalapeno, & cilantro, pat dry with paper towels
Guacamole should be mixed in a medium size glass, ceramic or plastic bowl. Metal bowls will cause oxidation of the avocados, causing them to turn brown.
·       Slice off the stem end of a jalapeno, cut open & remove veins & seeds then finely dice, place in bowl

·       Dice the tomato into small pieces, removing the seeds and liquid, place in bowl
·       Peel the red onion & chop into small pieces, place in bowl
·       Chop cilantro, removing most of stems if possible, place in bowl
·       Stir ingredients in bowl to mix.
·       Cut lime or lemon in half & squeeze one half over the ingredients in bowl
·       With a small sharp knife, cut avocado in half. To do this start at the top where the stem was, putting knife tip in and carefully running down length of avocado to the bottom & then back up to stem area. You should have cut deep enough to feel the seed/pit in the middle.

 Now with your hand on each side of the fruit, twist and the avocado should separate.

Remove the pit & squeeze part of the remaining lemon/lime on the halves.

With a small paring knife, slice the avocado into pieces.

While still in the peel, use a spoon to scoop out avocado
If you didn't cut it in the peel, slice on a cutting board
 Squeeze remaining lemon/lime juice over guacamole.
·       Place diced avocados in bowl with other ingredients and mix well with a spoon.
·       With a fork, mash mixture until desired consistency is reached. I like it chunkier, but some like it more smooth.
·       Add salt and mix well. Taste and add more salt if needed.
·       Cover with plastic wrap or lid sealing well. Air causes guacamole to turn brown.

·       Serve with in 1 hr for best taste & appearance

·       I serve with baked whole grain tortillas chips or packaged tortilla chips

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet & Sassy Southern Cornbread

I have so many cornbread recipes and I love them all, but wanted something different. I combined several of our favorites and Sweet & Sassy Cornbread was the winner. Sadly when I crashed my computer last month, the photo of this delicious cornbread was lost. I am making it this week and will post the picture then, but wanted to share the recipe today.

It has just the right amount of sweet and heat to make you realize this isn't just plain ole cornbread! The cheese and sour cream makes it so moist and yummy ....don't expect any leftovers. This recipe could be made in a muffin tin, but I always use a well seasoned iron skillet.

Goes well with grilled or smoked meats, which seems to be on everyone's mind as the weather warms up. I think it would be great for brunch with a Southwestern scramble too!  Southerners love their cornbread with any meal....of course every meal wouldn't be bad either!!!

    Sweet & Sassy Cornbread
  • 1 ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons molasses or honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
  • Oil to grease skillet or pan


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease an 8-inch square pan or 8 in cast iron skillet.

 In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, chopped jalapenos and salt.

In a separate bowl beat the egg & add the milk, sour cream, shredded cheese, molasses or honey and the oil.
Stir wet ingredients until mixed.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, Mix gently until all dry ingredients are moist. Do not over mix; this will make your cornbread dense & tough.
Heat greased pan or skillet in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Remove it and pour the batter into pan or skillet. Place back in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let cornbread sit for a few minutes prior to cutting. May be turned onto a plate or serving dish to serve. If you want to omit the jalapenos, it will not affect this recipe. You could substitute green or red bell peppers or even green onions and it would taste great