Friday, April 29, 2011

Teeny...I'm so very sorry.....

Teeny....I'm so very sorry. I have not done you proud this week...... I burned the cornbread...TWICE!

I don't know where my head has been....Maybe it was on the  royal wedding festivities (all southern girls LOVE weddings!) ...or maybe it's focusing on the excursion with bloggy friends this weekend...or maybe the paint fumes finally got to me.  Now understand this....I'm considered a really good southern cook. I rarely mess up recipes! And I even BURN things less often!!! I have no idea where I've gone wrong. But, I will persevere... goes again... 
Fried Green Tomato Salad...  

I even BOUGHT (heaven forbid!) already baked cornbread from the grocery store. Maybe this time, I won't burn it...(I. Feel. So. Ashamed!!!) 
One thing I learned the hard (burned) way...the croutons cook best when on a wire cooling rack over a baking pan. Tossed with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of cracked pepper, these croutons were DELICIOUS! Bake them in a 375 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes. The are not as crunchy as the "bread" croutons, but oh...they are tasty! My dil kept picking them out of the salad to eat!

At least the tomatoes cooked without mishap...and they smelled divine...kind of a sweet, corn/hushpuppy scent. Even with seeding the tomatoes and drying them on paper towels, they were a bit mushy inside the batter...but still good - so my family told me!

Thanks to a "new way" of eating, I can no longer have anything very un-southern of me. This new way of eating *%&^$!!!!!!!!! At least I can eat the salad and taste a crouton or two...

I have to say...I am not a huge tomato fan, but this looks really good. Judging the way MacDaddy inhaled his salad, I'd say the recipe is a SUCCESS!!! (We all decided that the cornbread croutons were the best...and personally, I would prefer non-fried tomatoes, rather than more cornmeal.) Give it a try.....

So thank you, Teeny, for sharing your recipe...

Oh...By the way...we also tried the Espresso Steak Rub. was delicious!

Happy cooking....

I am linking up with Designs by Gollum and Foodie Friday.

Be sure to get a copy of Gone with a Handsome Man to learn more about Teeny and her recipes. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ORANGE You Glad.........'s my new favorite color. Well, not exactly "new". I have been using all shades of orange in my home for years. BUT.....Yesterday, I was in Home Goods when I heard something calling out my name... The sound drew me to the back wall of the dish area...and there they were...ORANGE plates and cups! Not coral...not reddish orange...but true, citrus ORANGE...and I fell immediately in love. So...of course, I bought all they had...3! (I am on the hunt for more...)

I loved these cool luncheon plates! They're not quite round which adds lots of interest. And then there were the mugs...perfectly large for coffee or tea ( I'm not a cup and saucer kind of gal...anymore!)

So...of course I had to use them right away...

I called my girl friends and said it was time we had lunch together...we needed to catch up. And being the great friends that they are...they agreed.

First, I covered the table with one of my burlap cloths...made for WG's rehearsal dinner. Then I found the orange stripe placemats which I purchased YEARS ago at TJMax. The square chargers are from WalMart. The green square plates were purchased at Target for DB's wedding. The serving plates are from Home Goods...2 smaller green/white plates, a large orange platter sitting on a matching bowl...purchased for WG's wedding dinner. The floral plates are from HG...the green glasses are from Crate and Barrel...25 years ago. (I love Mexican green glass!) Old watering can with orange and hot pink flowers finish off the table...

Now I wasn't in the mood to really I hit The Fresh Market for some of their delicious chicken salad, some fresh pineapple, strawberries (from California, Shellbelle), and organic green leaf lettuce. 
I also found some wonderful multi-grain crackers to add a bit of crunch to our meal.  And to finish it off...I bought 1 lemon square and 1 triple chocolate brownie, which I cut into little bites. With the dark chocolate and angel food cake I had at home, we had a wonderful selection of tiny sweets. (I can only have 1 piece of dark chocolate a day....and nothing else sweet. It's my new way of eating....ugh! At
least I can still have that wonderful piece of chocolate...mmmmm....and let it melt in my mouth....Ahhhhhh)

Simple...fresh...and ORANGE.......Just my style!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love-Hate Relationships

Spring has definitely "sprung" around here...

We've already suffered the oak and pine pollen, 

feasted our eyes on Tababuia trees in their golden splendor, 

avoided the bees as they buzzed the bottlebrush trees,

Smiled as we walked past the riot of color of the neighborhood azaleas,

(these photos are from my new friend, Katy)

and reveled in the luxurious purple of the jacaranda trees (My boys always called this tree a "Jack and Anne-da" tree, in honor of their aunt and uncle.)

 And we survived...and loved every minute of the color show.  

After all that...and the many boxes of KLEENEX TISSUE... unscented of course....we have to enjoy the beautiful blooms of Confederate Jasmine and Gardenias.....and their (AH_CHOO!) scents.

Now I have to admit, there is much beauty to these flowers...and I truly like looking at them. BUT...I hate having a headache and sinus pressure so great that my teeth ache. I have single-handedly kept Sudafed and Tylenol in business since these two beauties...and the viburnum hedges...began blooming. Their heady scent is so strong, I can hardly take my poor Rowdy for a walk... Even HE is sneezing!!! and scratching...and dripping from his eyes...

I know...I know...This season will end soon....then we'll have...
HURRICANES! Yippee (said in a disgusted tone). I love hate Florida!!! At least we have lots of sunshine, beaches and warm winters...and no snow!


*Several of these photos were found on flickr

I am linking up with Outdoor sure to stop by.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Easter and Easter bunnies always bring to mind my momma's Easter cake...and cupcakes. Beginning the week before Easter, Momma would start the process of making these darling creatures...then she would make cupcakes until they were covering every flat surface in our kitchen. These were the special treats she would give to all the kids in the our classmates...and then, when I was a teacher, to the children in my classroom. The cake, itself, was just a "box cake" (usually yellow), the frosting was always homemade, but the decorations were so very special. Momma never relied on store-bought Peeps (my absolute favorite Easter treat) for her bunnies, she made them herself, using a single large marshmallow, some frosting, and a tiny bit of pink crepe paper. We kids always made a contest out of who could eat the bunny without removing the pink paper. (She finally began decorating the ears with pink keep us from eating the crepe paper!)

To make Greatma's Bunnies:

1 large marshmallow
scissors (spray with a little bit of non-stick spray, such as Pam)
pink frosting
pink crepe paper (i don't use this anymore - too much trouble to remove before eating!)

Cut the marshmallow about 1/3 down from the top. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH!!!

Fold the cut edge until it stands up. This makes the face/head.

Where the marshmallow bends, either make a tiny cut or pinch a tiny gash and press the "face"onto the raw, sticky gash. The head is now standing up a bit.

With the scissors, cut a V into the top of the face...just a short way down. This makes the ears.

Use the little cut piece to make the it onto the "butt".

Make little pink eyes and nose with the frosting. (Put a little frosting on the backs of the ears if desired.)

Frost a cupcake with Chocolate frosting (it's the dirt)...or any flavor you wish. Place the "bunny" into the frosting. Sprinkle a little coconut (tinted a light green) around the bunny. Press a few jelly beans (eggs) into the soft frosting. Let stand for a little while so the bunny and eggs have a chance to stick. Enjoy!

After years and years of making these special Easter Bunnies for her kids, grandkids, GREATgrandkids, and all their friends...Mom has continued her tradition, by making these adorable treats for all of her friends at her retirement residence. She is now 92 years old! Since she moved into the residence, she has baked cookies to share with the residents. She is called "The Cookie Lady". However, at Easter, she makes these cupcakes for all...and her name changes to
"The Easter Bunny Lady".
Picture this....Momma pushing along with her "fancy-dancy walker" (we always have a seasonal bow on her walker, so she will know which one is hers in the "parking garage")...cookies or cupcakes balanced on the seat. She is the most popular lady on these days.....

Wishing all of you a Blessed Easter.


I am linking up with Foodie Friday...Check out the fabulous recipes today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Musicians In Need of Help

I normally do not do this...but my son, MG (music guy), asked for some help for one of his bands...Please read, if you are so inclined, and check out the links. This band is one of the "good guys", says my son. He's been sharing links to Zach's music for quite awhile, now...and I really love his honky tonk sound. 

Musicians in need of help....

Below, you will find a link to Zach Williams and The Bellows. This is one of my son's bands (Music Guy). As many of you know, it takes a lot to "make it" in the music industry...lots of travel and little money. When something happens to one of the instruments, it can be devastating. Well....that's what happened to the bassist (upright). Somehow, during the trip between shows, Ben Mars' 150 year-old bass was damaged. The repairs will run almost $4000... MG sent me a link and has posted this link on FB...These really great guys (according to MG) are asking for donations to help with the repairs. As they say, even $1 will help. Watch the music video of this group...listen to the YouTube video by the bass player...and if you are so inclined, please help by sending, via the paypal account, a dollar or two. 
Thank you,
Jane (MG's mom)

Here's a link to one of their songs...I LOVE it!
(note from MG to me...when I could not get the video to play properly...
  ( the band defaulted it to be in HD. See the blue HD on the bottom right corner next to the full screen tab? Click that to turn HD off and it will load faster and shouldn't be all jumpy.)

And here is the link to the YouTube video of the bass player's request. This is a legitimate request... My son has vouched for it...

To donate...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

She Sells Sea Shells....

My friend, Rhonda, at Shellbelle's Tiki Hut, is the creator of these beautiful works of "driftshell" art. In all my years of shell collecting and decorating homes with shells, I have never seen anything quite like these intricate puzzles of "driftshells"... those often overlooked shells which have been tossed and tumbled for who knows how many years. They are amazing!

Not only does she create these hearts, she has gorgeous picture frames...and vases.... and candle holders...

I absolutely LOVE the candle holders...I have one of her very first designs! Right now it's resting on a pedestal, and looks fabulous in my tabletop display. It even came with shell crush, which adds that final designer touch. These candle holders would be so beautiful for a coastal-themed dinner...or a WEDDING...or a ........

(And to think that I often tossed these driftshells aside...DUH!)

Visit Rhonda's ETSY store for more examples. And please remember Shellbelle's Tiki Hut when you are looking for that one (or more!) special coastal touch for your decor.

And...from now until Mother's Day...Rhonda is offering a 15% discount on all purchases... Here's the code: PINKMOON15

I know I'd love one of these hearts! What a wonderful way to say "I love you" to a coast-lover.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


After the storms of the previous day, the sun was shining, the air was clear...the birds were singing...
It was such a beautiful day!

One of my favorite moments of the day...Julie's grandmother (late 80s) began quietly singing along with the music...Ave Maria.  This was the first time she had not sung a solo at one of her family events...she said her voice wasn't strong enough anymore...But oh, it was still beautiful!

"You may now kiss your bride..."

The minister was none other than our dear friend, Dave...husband of Becky, from  One Shabby Old House.

This sweet couple postponed their trip to Eufala, where they were participating in Heritage Days...They also celebrated their anniversary with our new DIL and our son. Now THAT"S friendship...

Mr. and Mrs. ......

(Notice WG's dimples...I think all 32 of them were showing that day...)

I love this.....

And this is one of my most cherished photos...Dancing with my son. He was so happy...tears in his eyes as we quietly shared this moment. (I'm still tearing up...)

We have not received the edited photos from the photographer...but  friends have sent these pics to me. (I still cannot believe my camera died!!!!!!)
When I receive photos from the photographer, I'll share. I want you to see the incredible work that Nicole (the photographer) does. Her vision is amazing...

Have a wonderful weekend...

ps I just found this photo of my son and his bride on the photographer's blog. I hope Nicole doesn't mind... You can see a few more photos from the wedding on her blog... Be sure to check out her website, too. Nicole has an interesting perspective...and I LOVE her work!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And To Think I Saw it on ....

Look what I saw in Cincinnati last week...


When this vehicle stopped at a traffic light, people ran from the sidewalks to receive free PEEPS and Peep hats. What a hoot!

(And no, MacDaddy and I did not run out...we were having lunch at a wonderful outdoor cafe...NADA. The meal was too tasty to leave!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

WHEW! IT'S OVER!!!!!!!

WHEW... It's finally over!!!!!
The last guests have departed...the photographer is in flight back to San Diego (we HIGHLY recommend her!!!)...the borrowed tables and chairs are being returned...and I HAD A FINALLY HAD LONG NAP!

The wedding festivities began Thursday with...STORMS...TORNADOES...FLOODS...and HURRICANE FORCE WINDS! Tampa Bay was hit by 2 days of major storms. Thankfully, our house only had rain - (LOTS of it! Think new lakefront property...) and extremely high winds. Our rehearsal dinner had to be moved completely into the was moved to the garage and bedrooms to accommodate 56 dinner guests.  The lightning and winds died down in time for our guests to arrive...and halfway through the evening, the rain finally stopped and the stars and tiki torches came out! The young crowd was able to retire to the lanai, to sit around the fire pit and smoke cigars and drink wine.

Our theme for the whole weekend of festivities was FAMILY HERITAGE. The bride's family is a true Italian family...and the wedding was planned around many of the traditions her family holds dear. My son wanted the rehearsal dinner to touch on our Cuban/Spanish heritage...

Here's the invitation...

Cigar Boxes, hemp-wrapped glass vases with hand-rolled cigars (my Grandfather was a cigar roller), dominoes, lanterns with candles (I changed the candles to a pale green)

Vases from WalMart  $1.47
Roll of hemp - $4.07 (WalMart)
Square of frayed Burlap over rented, chocolate brown tablecloths
Wooden cigar boxes

As I mentioned earlier, we had to move the whole party indoors due to the horrendous weather...1 table in the dining room, 3 tables in the living room, and the kitchen table were used to seat 46 guests. Other guests perched on sofas, hearth, chairs...wherever there was a spot. A buffet was spread onto the galley kitchen counter...a dessert table was tucked under the breakfast bar...a coffee bar was set up on the kitchen counter...iced tea was served in decorative beverage dispensers on a chest in the family and wine was set up on a table by the bar...soft drinks were in a decorative tub...

Crowded - YES.
Loud - YES.
Fun - YES!!!!!!

The buffet menu was planned by the bride and groom...Cuban sandwiches, yellow rice and black beans, plantains, deviled crabs with hot sauce, and salad. Desserts included gourmet cupcakes made by my WONDERFUL DIL...Hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting, strawberry champagne cuppies and the most decadent chocolate cupcakes with ganache frosting or buttercream frosting...YUMMY!!! We also had guava pastries (made by me) and guava paste and cream cheese with Cuban-style crackers and saltines. Thankfully, most of the food was catered by fabulous restaurants in the Ybor City area. Driving there for the pick-up was treacherous, but we made it without mishap. I wish I had more photos to share, but I was so busy corralling guests that I totally forgot to take photos...duh!

This photo of my boys will have to hold you until I get photos from the photographer...or from friends. From left to right....the groom (my eldest), his best friend (and "adopted" son), my middle son, and my youngest son....The wedding was held in a botanical garden. Unfortunately, the sun broke through the leaves just as I took the photo...and then my camera died.

More to come...when photos arrive.....