Friday, February 27, 2009

Ideas Anyone????????

I LOVE gathering ideas for decorating, cooking, and entertaining. Yesterday after a very long day Kent and I returned home around 8:30 or 9:00 pm I suppose. We were really too tired to eat dinner. Now that's tired! We ran thru Arby's Drive Thru for me and Kent decided he would eat yogurt and fresh strawberries once we got home.

As I was at the table eating Kent came in with the mail. I was so excited that he was bearing a good gift. You know sometimes the mail isn't always good gifts. He had folded around the mail my March/April edition of Southern Lady Magazine. This month's edition is subtitled "The Annual Entertianing Issue". I didn't have a chance to read it last night but I did flip thru it's pages. Beautiful! The cover boasts of Spring parties, celebrate Easter, layered desserts, table settings, and centerpieces. Aaaahhhhh just the things I love!

If you need fresh ideas rush to the news stand and purchase your copy today. Make sure you get the correct issue. In fact once your purchase your copy tear out the litle card and subscribe. You will not be sorry. Thank you Sue Davidson for your generosisty in giving me a gift subscription. I LOVE it!!!! Each time I read the pages of Southern Lady I think of you, a person I only know thru blogging.

Just sitting here looking at the cover of the awesome magazine makes me want to drag out my beautiful bunnies, foil covered eggs, and grass from the attic. Is EASTER on it's way??? I think I hear the bunnies hopping. Really, I'm priviledged to enjoy the beautiful wild bunnies in my yard all the time. Also, every day I enjoy the resurrection of Christ in my heart and soul. It must be EASTER....ideas anyone???

Let's decorate! Let's celebrate!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blueberry Seasoned Pork Roast

Definitely a deep south favorite is pork. One of my Mom's and Mamaw's favorite was the pork roast. Of course Tony Chachere's gives a little different flavor to a more traditional southern flair. The blueberry fruit spread brings it right back into line, however.

1 6 or 7 lb. Boston Butt Pork Roast (trimmed)
1 packet - Lipton onion / mushroom soup (dry)
10 oz. - Blueberry fruit spread or Blueberry Jelly
Tony Chachere's Seasonings
Black Pepper
Kitchen bouquet
Garlic powder

Rub and coat roast with Kitchen Bouquet. This allows seasonings to stick to it. Sprinkle generously with Tony Chachere's Seasonings, garlic powder, and Black Pepper. Sprinkle and pat with Lipton onion / mushroom soup mix. Spread Blueberry jelly or fruit spread over the top of the roast. Wrap very tightly with 3 layers of aluminum foil. Place in preheated oven @ 250 °F and cook slowly for 8 hours (overnight is easiest). Leave wrapped until ready to serve to hold in juices. The recipe makes its own "Au Jus ". Slice and enjoy!

Approximately 8-10 servings

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Share ..... Another word for Hospitality

I know during the holidays we have lots of house guests. In fact if your home is like mine by January you grow a little weary of entertaining. No, I didn't just say that! I never truly grow weary of entertaining it's just the work getting ready for parties that wearies me.

Today, I challenge you to share....why not share the best gift. I truly believe the best gifts aren't monetarily based or even tangible. Rather I feel the best gift is to share of one's self. An easy way to accomplish this is through hospitality. How long since you've had someone over to share of yourself?

Of late Kent and I have challenged our church to CARE. Why not think of someone that may need a little CARE shown to them? Think of what the people need most. Are they stressed with life? If so plan a relaxing evening. Are they missing joy? If so maybe find a couple of fun games to laugh and play. Do they just need someone to talk with? If so plan to sit around the living room sipping on coffee or tea and enjoy desserts.

You will be amazed how you will be blessed when you share of your hospitaility with others. It is truly more blessed to give than to receive. When the guests leave I promise you will fee rewarded. Go ahead make the it...share!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sausage Bread

1 loaf French Bread
1 lb Owens Italian Flavored ground Sausage or add Italian flavorings to mild sausage
Minced onion to taste
Black Pepper to taste
5 oz fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Cream Cheese
½ c water
Mozzarella Cheese Slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown Sausage with Onion and pepper. Add cream cheese, water, and Parmesan cheese. Heat till melted. Slice French Bread in half. Place Mozzarella cheese on both sides of bread (insides). Pour meat mixture on bread. Top with other ½ of bread and Mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 10 -11 minutes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken / Sausage / Peppers / Onions

Last night I cooked one of Kent's favorites. Let me share it with you. Who knows you may enjoy it as much and he and Donie did! :)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg smoked sausage (Eckrich, Chappell Hill or similar)
1/2 white onion, cut in thin rings
1 large green bell pepper cut in thin rings
coarse gound black pepper, to taste

Cube chicken breasts about 1" x 1". Slice sausage in thin circles. Combine meat and veggies on double stovetop griddle. Sprinkle with black pepper. (I use alot!) Cook until meat is done and veggies are grilled.

I complimented this wonderful entree with whole green beans, wild rice, and delicious hot buttered yeast rolls. Of course we enjoyed southern sweet iced tea, too. We decided to take our dessert next door and share with my parents, Uncle Billy & Aunt Nancy, and Scott & Courtney. I served a Southern Pecan Pie from Pie in the Sky with Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Try it and then stop back by and let me know what you think!

Happy cooking to each of you....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Baked Ziti - Easy Italian Dinner

Baked Ziti

1 pkg. (16 oz.) ziti pasta or small penne pasta
1 can (26 oz.) traditional spaghetti sauce
1 container (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 lb of hamburger meat.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown and drain hamburger meat. (I don’t like the smell of hamb meat cooking without seasoning. I add some minced onions, salt, pepper, and some Italian seasonings) Cook pasta as directed on the package while meat is browning. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Mix spaghetti sauce, Ricotta cheese and reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water in large bowl. Add pasta, hamburger meat and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese; mix lightly. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Cover.

Bake 30 min. Then uncover and bake an additional 10 min. or until heated through.

Add a salad and hot buttery garlic toast and you have a easy wonderful meal. My family enjoys adding corn to the menu, too. I melt 1 stick of margarine and pour 1 small frozen bag of corn into the melted margarine. Then I add 1/3 cup sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Idea

Often Valentine's Day encompasses the popular ideas of flowers, chocolates, or going out to eat. While the femine side of us enjoys these things what about going beyond the normal or the expected? First off, as a Pastor's wife having talked to many couples or even only 'one side' of the couple let me say it's important to talk about things that the opposite in the relationship would enjoy.

While Kent may surprise me with 'what' we do or 'what' he gives me we normally discuss some ideas. This year I received a very sweet note telling me some ideas that he was considering. The note itself was really a great part of my Valentine's gift. I still enjoy receiving loving notes after almost 27 years of marriage and one year of talking/letter writing/dating. We are going to dinner tonight which is our normal for a Friday night. For Valentine's, however, he suggested doing something different. He said the day was mine...that is the best gift - spending a day together! We've decided to TRY to sleep until 7:00 or 8:00 am. Then we'll enjoy a lite breakfast at home. We are then going to take a little road trip. We haven't decided the destination. We may go west through the countryside or south to Galveston. We talked about not doing the fancy meal but rather enjoying a quaint lunch along the way. Then of course we will find coffee and dessert along the way. I love just being with him!

A fun idea is to pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful outdoors with the one you love. What about beginning the day with coffee or breakfast in bed? Going to have manicures and pedicures together is fun, too. What about preparing a romantic table and atmosphere at home and cooking dinner together?

I truly would urge that Valentine's Day not be pressured to spend a lot of money on someone. Though giving expensive gifts may be nice love can never be bought. I think the most important part of Valentine's Day is expressing our love to those we love.

I think this Valentine's has meant more to me than any other. I have endeavored to show others that I LOVE them. I was blessed to show a great group of single adults @ CUPC with a small snack gift bag that I love them. I have given two people special to me flowers this week. I shared my day yesterday with my sisters. There is something great that happens within when I endeavor to show others that I love them.

Girls, I become frustrated when it is perceived that the husband is the one that is suppose to do all the work and giving on Valentine's Day. What a shame! Kent is MY valentine. I want to express my love to him on Valentine's and every day. I am not some little princess that he has to bestow good gifts upon. Rather I am his help mate his soul mate and we share our love one to another. I want to express my love to him just as he expresses his love to me.

This year Trent will enjoy his first Valentine's Day as a married man. I hope he learned well from Kent and me the way to enjoy a perfect Valentine's Day. I, also, wish he and Calah a loving day together. I hope they will not get caught up in the commercialized spending of a holiday but rather will cherish their love together....I'm privy to a few plans and I think they are going to have a romantic day spent together!

Feel free to leave your ideas for Valentine's Day in the comments....

Hope your day is filled with love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cupcake Week, Continued

Confession is good for the southern girl's soul!

Today we met Pastor & Mrs. Ted Cox of Abbeyville, LA for lunch @ Maggiano's on Post Oak. This was our first meeting with this great couple. They are more of our online friends. Wow! This is twice in 4 days. We are making lots of friends these days. I love it!

Enroute I mentioned to Kent that after we leave Maggiano's I would love to get a cupcake. Kent mentioned my silly cupcake craving to the Bro. & Sis. Cox. They had never heard of a cupcake shop and wanted to join us. Crave Cupcake was only 4 or 5 blocks away. Unfortunately when we got there they only have a bar with about 4 seats and it was full with people standing everywhere. We left the Cox's car and they rode with us about 4 miles away to Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique.

Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique is the cutest cupcake shop ever! The color scheme is black, pink, and white. It is very charming with lots of tables and chairs. The cupcakes were delicious. They serve them on little trays. I chose an Italian Cream Cupcake. It was so cute! It even had cream cheese in the middle of the cupcake. Yes...totally to die for! I had a glass of water served in a glass patterned with black toille and pink roses. Of course they serve coffee, milk, and various soft drinks. The boutique has the cutest cupcake themed gift items. They also had adorable cupcake pedestals. I really want two sets of them. They would be adorable for desserts served at each place setting. Aaaahhhh such southern charm. They are made by Wilton if anyone is interested in researching them. I think I will buy some later this week.

Remember, our friends left their car at Crave Cupcake. You guessed it when had to purchase cupcakes there when we returned. I had to get some for my babies. Of course I got one for me for a snack later tonight, too! Redonia loved hers. I just texted Trent that I bought him a 'lil edible prize. Guess what...he and Calah are coming over after choir practice to get their treat! I know I daughter-in-law is just going to giggle. She loves all my lil prizes! ha

I still haven't gotten around to making any cupcakes...I've gotta do it! I can't wait to take my sisters to Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique - they are going to LOVE it!!!! Twice in week...hummm I may need to exercise! ha

Ok...bake some cupcakes or at least go and buy some to enjoy. If you live in Houston another great place for cupcakes is the Dessert Gallery....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cupcake Week

Ok this is it...I declare this week cupcake week! Friday night enroute to meet someone for dinner I told Kent that I have been craving a cupcake. Saturday night I did enjoy a cupcake at a party at my sister, Kristi's, home. Then this morning Kent told me that I must go to my blogging friend, Karen Hopper's, blog. Ahhhhhhhh cupcakes!!!!

I wish I had small children to help me enjoy baking cupcakes. Redonia, Trent and I certainly baked many cupcakes. I remember dragging out the colored sugars, gel icings, sprinkles, and candies for the kids to decorate the freshly baked treats. Often one color of icing wouldn't do. One child would insist on one color while the other would firmly protest another color. Normally in these cases the food coloring would be brought out and we would do two or three colors of icing.

Another great variety to our traditional cupcakes was baking them in ice cream cones. Of course these would be frosted with either pink or chocolate icing to resemble strawberry or chocolate ice cream. Of course these cupcakes would be decorated with assorted sprinkles.

Cupcakes have always been a southern tradition. Of late cupcake shops are making a popular come back across America. Unfortunately, we don't have one in Conroe. I am blessed to live in the Houston Metro and I know of two such shops in Houston. Maybe just maybe I will make it by one of them this week! yummmmm One is Sugarbaby's Cupcake Boutique and the other is Crave Cupcakes.

I do have a cupcake stand, cupcake pans, and probably most everything to make some delicious cupcakes. My only lacking ingredient is a little girl to enjoy the fun. I'm sure Redonia would love to use her artistic abilities to help but there is simply nothing like the twinkle in a little girl's eye as she puts the finishing decorating touches on a cupcake. Then to watch her bite into her first decorated cupcake with a smile and a little bit of icing left on her lips. Maybe I will borrow my niece, Madeline this week. If so I'll be sure to post a few pics for all to enjoy.

Happy Cupcake's not's just what I've been craving!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Best EVER Grape Salad

There are several varieties of grape salads but this is truly the best I have tried! Let me know what you think....

Best EVER Grape Salad

2 pounds seedless green grapes
2 pounds seedless red grapes
1 8oz cream cheese
1 8oz sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar

Wash and stem grapes, let dry and set aside. In a large bowl cream together cheese, sour cream, white sugar and vanilla. Add grapes. Add brown sugar and pecans. Toss again. Chill 2 - 3 hours before serving or can be made the night before.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Helping Adults Learn Manners

Parents and other adults typically teach good manners to their children. This is done by example and reinforcing them with direction and praise to children. However, some parents neglect this responsibility. How can you help another adult learn social graces? Good manners are essential in social situations, professional settings, and interacting with people. Adults are perfectly capable of learning these manners; however, some of them will be resistant to instruction and guidance. Following are a few helpful hints will that can be used in a subtle and non-offensive way.

Be sure to practice proper etiquette at all times. Find a subtle way to emphasis good manners when you are in the presence of someone who lacks manners. Eventually, they will follow.

Teach and talk about good manners to your children while you are with an adult lacking manners. Be careful not to embarrass your child. Do it in a teaching fun way rather than in a correctional manner. This will enable you to offer specific instruction without actually directing it toward the offending individual.

Act as an interpreter. If you witness the adult being rude to another person or persons, take him or her aside and explain how that may have come across to other people. For example: "I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but it sounded like you were ordering her to get you a cup of coffee. A 'please' probably would have softened the request."

Interject good manners on their behalf. For example, say "excuse us" if the unmannerly person bumps into someone. Or if he or she fails to thank someone, say "thank you," yourself. This is not as subtle as some methods, but may make a bigger impact.

A good way to help someone think about manners is by seeking their input on etiquette. Ask for their advice regarding manners in a particular social situation. Steer the conversation, if necessary, to arrive at the most mannerly solution.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Scents - I Prefer the Good Ones!

I love the smell of cookies in the oven! Yummm I'm smelling that right now. Peanut Butter Cookies with a Hershey Kiss in the middle..aaahhh

I also love the smell of my scent diffuser from Bath and Body. Currently I'm burning Carmel Apple Oil. Delish....Calah came in last week while I was burning that scent and immediately wanted to know what kind of cake was I cooking! I have about a half of dozen of Bath and Body oils at all times. I don't like the floral or perfumey scents but all the spice or food fragrances are so yummy.

I love the smell of fresh sheets on a bed. Sometimes I cheat and mist the sheets with a linen spray from Bath and Body.

I love the Mexican cleaner that our janitor at the church uses to clean with on Wednesdays....this week she used the purple bottle of Fabuloosa. Despite the commercial cleaners we keep. She always finishes up with her yummy smell....I love it!

Of late I've written cleaning tips and declutter tips. I thought I'd remind us all that no matter how clean or straight the home if it doesn't smell clean it just might not be clean to a southern girl!

There are lots of tips...boil cloves and cinnamon in water....mist a cotton boil with a fragrant oil and put in the return a/c vent...and on and on we can go.

Tonight I thought I'd just simply share the yummy scents of my home....homebaked cookies and the oil scent diffuser...

Aaahhhhh inhale....exhale...refreshed!