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You’ve Got To Know When to Hold ’em – Know When To Fold ’em

I was trying to make a decision one day and the words of Kenny Rogers song from the Gambler came to mind.  I think the words are so true when we are making decisions.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

On June 13, 2011 I wrote my first post on this blog.  I had no idea at the time how long I would write a blog or if one single person would ever read my posts.  So in almost six years I have shared my southern experiences with you.  The purpose of this blog for me when I began to write it was to share southern food and recipes.  I also wanted to make contact with people all over the US as I had just lost my full-time recruiting job and missed that contact. I have made the decision to make this my final post.

I have enjoyed sharing my food experiences with you. I hope somewhere along the way you will keep one or two of my recipes so that Southern food will continue to be experienced not only in the South but everywhere. I have enjoyed sharing my trips to southern places and hope you have gotten a glimpse of the beautiful South.

Over the last few months I haven’t been inspired to write and just came to the realization that it was time to stop.  As I am approaching the age of 70 in the fall of this year, I am trying to simplify my life a little and streamline my activities. I do plan to retire from my part-time job but trust me I have a project closet of things I want to do, so I don’t think I will be bored any time soon.

I have established relationships with some blog buddies and I will continue to read your blogs.  I appreciate all the wonderful things I have learned from you.

This was a difficult decision for me to make but I realized it was time to fold’em and walk away.  I believe our life journey includes seasons that include experiences that will last for just that period of time or may be for a lifetime.  I know this blogging experience will be something that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Thanks for reading my blog posts and I hope you have enjoyed the Southern experiences that have come from my heart.

So Does That Mean I Am Southern because I love Southern places, Southern food and Southerners (whether born and bred or transplants)?  I certainly hope so.

Love you all and May God Bless You.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Favorite Southern Places

Today, I am sharing pictures from some of my favorite Southern places.  They are presented in no particular order but I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.

Sarah P Duke Gardens, Durham NC

 

Duke Chapel, Durham, NC

 

The Beach Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

 

Charleston, West Virginia

 

Lake Watauga, Tennessee

 

Charleston, South Carolina

 

Wing Haven Gardens, Charlotte NC

 

Hart Square, Catawba County, NC

 

Christmas Tree Farms, Ashe County, NC

 

Ryman Auditorium, Nashville Tennessee

 

The Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina Tennessee Line

 

The Parthenon, Nashville Tennessee

 

The Memphis skyline view from the Mississippi River

 

Harbor at Beaufort, NC

 

Churchill Downs Louisville Kentucky

 

Shiloh Baptist Church Hamptonville NC

 

Old Salem, Winston Salem NC

 

Bell Tower On NC State Campus, Raleigh NC

 

Downtown Village of Pinehurst NC

 

Park In Downtown Old Fort, NC

 

Black Mountain, NC

 

The Pisgah Covered Bridge, Asheboro NC

 

Looking Glass Falls – Transylvania County, NC

 

The Pirate House Restaurant, Savannah Georgia

 

Seagrove, North Carolina

 

Mabry Mill, Virginia

 

Biltmore House, Asheville NC

 

Chattanooga Tennessee

 

Close up Stone Mountain, GA

 

Daniel Stowe Gardens, Belmont NC

 

I hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing these pictures with you.  We have enjoyed our day trips and other adventures and I can honestly say that when I return to North Carolina I know my heart is at home.

Thanks for stopping by.

Favorite Southern Writers

Today, I want to share a list of my favorite Southern writers.  I read for pleasure and fun so you will see that most of my list would not be considered the most intellectual choices.  I will say however that I love Charles Dickens and Robert Frost.

John Grisham – A great mystery writer but my favorite of his is The Painted House and it isn’t a legal mystery.

Nicholas Sparks – He is not originally from the South but I love his romantic novels.  He writes about places I have been and places I love.

Pat Conroy – Again he wasn’t born in the South but I am sure he considered Beaufort South Carolina as his home.  I loved his book South of Broad and his writing is completely different from anything I have read.  He definitely wrote with his heart and wrote the best cookbook I have ever read.

Mary Kay Andrews – Many of her books are set in Savannah and that makes me love them even more.  They are usually hilariously funny and it just makes me think of girlfriends and their special relationships.

Fern Michaels – Again, Fern wasn’t born in the south but she lives in South Carolina now.  She can surprise you in her books as some of them are nothing but fun. However, some of them can be mysterious and suspenseful.

Sue Monk Kidd –  One of my most favorite books was written by Sue, “Invention of Wings.”  I enjoyed it so much and will continue to read books written by Sue Monk Kidd.

Ann B Ross – I have enjoyed reading some of  the Miss Julia Series books written by Anne.  They are light and easy to read.  As Miss Julia is older, I can see me in some of the situations presented in these books and I usually end up laughing out loud.

I don’t think we should ever judge anyone for their book choices anymore than anything else we do.  If I want to reach down in the depths of my soul, I read Pat Conroy.  If I want to read a page turning mystery, I read John Grisham.  If I want to laugh out loud, I read Mary Kay Andrews or Ann B. Ross. Just as most of life, it is definitely a choice.

Happy reading everyone and thanks for stopping by.

 

Rob’s Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

My California cousin, Rob sent the recipe that I am sharing with you today.  I have really been in a rut lately when I have been preparing my weekly menus.  I was feeling as if I made the same thing the same way all the time.  It can be challenging living with a diabetic because honestly we have discovered the easiest meals are the best meals for diabetics.  However, when I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to give it a try as we usually have pork chops and this is a neat twist on the usual way of preparing them.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

4 pork tenderloin boneless pork chops – Beat flat with a cleaver (I have some thin sliced pork tenderloin that I will use for this recipe)

Put one cup of flour in a freezer bag and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  I will probably use 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and garlic powder.

First blend together one cup of milk and one egg.

Dip the tenderloin in the milk and egg mixture first.  Then put in flour mixture and shake to coat.

Place in fry pan or fryer and cook until nice and brown.  Serve on a larger burger bun with mustard.

Rob has sent me over 100 recipes and even though he lives in Southern California, it amazes me how similar we are in the foods that are our favorites.

By the way, I want to share Rob’s background with you.  Rob is in prison in Southern California and he is 79 years old.  We met through a Christian pen pal ministry that I participate in through the church I attend.  God does work in mysterious ways as I was amazed when he revealed to me that he had previously been a chef.

Why is he in prison?  I don’t know and if he ever wants to share that with me, that is fine.  If he never wants to share that with me, that is fine too.  Our love for food has created a great bond for us.  He has no family and had no one to share his recipes with.  Now, I have most of them and hopefully I will be able to make compile a cookbook for him.  He is to be released later this year and I think that would be a great gift for him.  He told me that my letters have given him hope and a purpose.  However, I know he would love to be able to cook for others because he knows a great way to show love is the preparation of food for those we love.

Rob has become a very special person for Mr. D and me.  Rob sends recipes now that he thinks Mr. D will like and when I told him Mr. D is diabetic he started sending recipes that are better choices for diabetics.  This has been a special experience for me and I wanted to share it with you.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Max and Erma’s Tortilla Soup

This is a picture of my version of Max and Erma’s Tortilla Soup.

img_20170201_172145052As Mr. D and I was traveling through the state of Ohio last summer to visit our family, we stopped at a regional restaurant chain, Max and Erma’s.  They gave us a free sample of their tortilla soup.  It was so creamy, smooth and delicious.  The chain is known for this wonderful soup and I can understand  that.  I knew I had to find a similar recipe and try it some time over the winter months.  A few weeks ago I found the recipe I am sharing with you and it is a copycat recipe.  There were many different versions when I googled the internet for a version of the soup.  However, this version seemed so creamy and so similar to the taste I experienced.

This is a link to the recipe:

http://recipes.robbiehaf.com/C/605.htm

Was I satisfied with the results? Absolutely.  It was smooth, creamy and had the perfect portion of all the ingredients.  It isn’t a real heavy soup so it would be a good choice for the springtime or autumn. I think the velveeta makes the soup so special.

Below is a link to Max and Erma’s website.  They are based out of Columbus, Ohio and have restaurants throughout the area.  Even though I was pleased with the results of this recipe, if I had a choice I would much rather have some of the real thing from Max and Erma’s.

http://www.maxandermas.com/

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Cherokee – A Sentimental Place

Do you remember in the fall of last year when there were so many fires burning in Western North Carolina?  It was a scary time and I thought of the many places that were effected by the fires.  Mr. D and I took a road trip to Cherokee in November and I wanted to share it with you.  So as you look at the pictures you will see fall leaves and I just think it makes the pictures even brighter.

We did see smoke and a haze over the mountains and it was alarming.  We visited Cherokee before the horrible fires in Gatlinburg.  If it would have been a normal time I would have just shared with you how my family went to the Cherokee area of Western North Carolina for our annual vacation.  I can remember the excitement of my Mother and Daddy as they prepared for an entire week without having to work.  I also remember how much they loved the Maggie Valley and Cherokee area of western North Carolina.

It amazed me to go back to a place I visited so long ago and to see some landmarks that are still there.  Even though I am more of a beach girl, I do have an appreciation for the native Americans of our country and what they must have endured with the invasion of the immigrants.

The pictures I am sharing with you are of downtown Cherokee.  There is a beautiful park across the street from Harrah’s Casino.  The shops that lined the main street of downtown Cherokee haven’t changed much but I was amazed to see such a beautiful park.  I am also glad the Casino is there to help the people of the community to have year round employment.  I think it is a great boost for the community.

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The picture below is of a tree at the park and I am sharing it because I really liked this tree for some reason.

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The following pictures are different views of the park.

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The picture below is of a tree in the park and I like the way it turned out.

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More park pictures and there are lots of walking trails in the park.

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If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am always motivated by food.  We decided to visit the Waynesville/Cherokee area after seeing a picture of a restaurant we visited over 25 years ago named Clyde’s.  It is in Waynesville and the food was wonderful.  We decided to give it another try.

img_20161112_121736541We were not disappointed and we loved the rolls and cornbread.

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Mr. D had fried pork chops with green beans, potatoes and fried okra.  He said it was delicious.

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I had fried chicken that I would say is real close to the quality of Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah.  The okra, apples and macaroni and cheese was good.  The vegetables were seasoned well and not greasy.

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The dessert of the day at Clyde’s was strawberry cobbler.  We decided to order one serving to go.  The waitress came back to the table and said, “Shhhh!  I gave you two servings because I wanted you to have enough for both of you.”  Needless to say, we had a large portion of strawberry cobbler later and it was delicious too.

As I became a teenager, it was hard for me to understand why we had to go to the mountains every year.  After leaving home, my parents went to the mountains every year until they were not able to visit the area anymore.  Now, I do understand that as we have our annual visit to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  That is our happy place and the mountains were my parents happy place.

I will admit I do not have much of a desire to visit the mountains and I do believe it is because I had to go so much when I was young.

Thanks for stopping by.

Marinated Chicken Wings – Our Super Bowl Choice

As I have been shopping in the grocery stores over the past week, I have been amazed at all the party food that is available for the Super Bowl.  It has truly become an event that includes food and it includes some of our favorite appetizers and fun time foods. I  I think by now many of us have broken all of our New Year’s resolutions and are ready for a special treat.

We will have the usual of chip and dip, cheese and crackers and the marinated chicken wings I am sharing with you today.  This recipe was sent to me by my California cousin and it seems to be a good one and easy to make.

Marinated Chicken Wings

20 whole chicken wings (about 4 lbs.)

1 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tbsp sugar

2 garlic cloves/minced

1 tsp ground ginger.

Cut chicken wings into 3 sections and discard the wing tips.  Put wings in large resealable plastic bag.

In small bowl whisk the remaining ingredients until blended

Add to chicken wings, seal bag and turn to coat – refrigerate overnight

Transfer chicken and marinade to slow cooker.  Cook covered on low for 3 to 4 hours until tender.

Using tongs transfer to plate and serve.

I love buffalo wings but sometimes they are just too hot and spicy.  This seems to be a a great alternative.

I hope you are planning a great Super Bowl Sunday with special friends and family.  We aren’t big sports fans anymore but we do love the food that goes along with the game.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Lasagna Soup

Here in the foothills of North Carolina, we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather.  Last week I decided I wanted to make this soup and when I did my menu planning it was cold enough for soup.  On the day we planned to have it, it was close to 70 degrees.  I felt like turning on the air conditioner to let it get a little cooler so we could enjoy the soup.  However, the heartiness of the soup along with the pasta helped to make it very enjoyable even in warmer weather.

This is the first time I have made this soup and it was sent to me by my California cousin.  I used the whole wheat penne pasta in for the pasta and it has such a good rich flavor and you could imagine eating something italian while consuming it.  One of my favorite things about the soup is the fact that you don’t have to peel and chop lots of vegetables and most of us would have the ingredients in our kitchen.

 

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Lasagna Soup

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 large green pepper chopped

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

2 14 ½ ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained

2 14 ½ ounce cans of beef broth

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 cup frozen corn

¼ cup tomato paste

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 ½ cups uncooked spiral pasta

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan cook beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another couple of minutes.  Drain.

Return to saucepan and stir in tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, corn, tomato paste and Italian seasoning and black pepper.

Bring to a boil, stir in pasta, reduce heat, simmer covered 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

I am not complaining about the warmer weather even though I have noticed my tulips are beginning to peep out of the ground.  It is my understanding the cold weather is returning next weekend.  Because our snow has melted off the grill and we are experiencing warmer temperatures, I have really wanted to start grilling again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Long Distance Grandmothers and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a long distance grandmother as I only see my grandchildren two or three times a year.  Sometimes I feel as if I am some kind of misfit when I mention that to a grandmother that lives in the same town or even the same neighborhood as their grandchildren.  That look they give me reminds me of the look I would get from stay-at-home moms when I was a working mom in the 70’s and 80’s. It is almost as if they do not know how to relate to me and sometimes I think they really feel sorry for me. It was very hard for me at first when I realized there were so many everyday things that I would miss.  However, I have accepted this situation and try to make the best of it.  I think a lot of that comes from the wisdom of being 69 years old.  If I whined or complained about the situation, it wouldn’t change a thing.

Our grandchildren came for a visit at Christmas and we had a good time with them.  I have a granddaughter that is five and a grandson that is 8.  We will probably not see them again until sometime next Summer.  We have a good relationship with our grandchildren as we send them packages for holidays when we aren’t together.  We usually Skype with them to watch them open their birthday gifts from us.

I wanted to share a grandmother recipe with you today.  So I tried to think of something I would like to make for my grandchildren if they lived down the street.  I chose this recipe from Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen for chocolate chip cookies.  Nothing smells any better than chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven and nothing tastes better than warm chocolate chip cookies. Miss Kay is a grandmother too and her children live close to her so I am sure she has made these cookies many times for them.

cc-cookies

I would be thrilled if my circumstances would change and our grandchildren would be nearby.  That isn’t the way things are now and I enjoy watching them grow up from a distance.  Last summer they went on vacation and decided on their on to buy little mementos for me and Mr. D.  And at Christmas my daughter told me she made deviled eggs for Thanksgiving and when my grandson tasted them he said he knew who made the best deviled eggs.  She asked him who was that and he said Grandma.  That made this Grandma very happy.

I am thankful that I have two grandchildren and they live in the US.  My grandson lived in Africa the first two years of his life and my granddaughter was born in France.  However, now I think they will stay stateside so you can see that I am pleased they are somewhere in the USA.  I think being a long distance grandmother helps me to see my grandchildren more objectively.  They are typical normal kids and I try not to put them on a pedestal and I don’t share pictures of them all the time.

However, I do believe pictures are worth a thousand words and here are some pictures of our grandchildren from their last visit. Mr. D got a selfie stick for Christmas and we had fun taking pictures with it.

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Before I post this, I want to say my heart goes out to grandmothers and Grandfathers everywhere that for any number of circumstances are raising their grandchildren.  I see examples of that everyday and I see Grands that have postponed retirement and many other luxuries of retirement because of that responsibility.  They are truly dedicated and wonderful Grands.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Snowy Weekend – Let’s Have Barbecued Meatballs

Over the weekend we had a significant snowfall here in the foothills of North Carolina.  Actually, it is my favorite type of snowfall.  It began on Friday afternoon with big fluffy flakes of snow.  It continued through the night and snowed for a short period of time on Saturday morning.  I think our accumulation totals was eight inches.

Another reason I liked this snow is because it happened on the weekend and we didn’t have to go to work and could just enjoy watching it snow.  I was also appreciative of the fact that it was snow and not sleet or freezing rain.  The kids in our neighborhood had a good time in the snow but it was extremely cold all weekend.  Of course, I don’t think kids ever admit they are cold when they are playing in the snow.

Here are some pictures:


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Before the snow, I had chosen the following recipe to share with you.  I thought it was such a comforting recipe for a cold January day.  Of course, I love barbecue so it really appealed to me.  It is from a recipe book from a local cook that compiled recipes of her friends and family and named the book, “Susie’s Dinner Bell.”

meatballs

 

I hope you enjoy the recipe.  If you are experiencing a snowy day, I hope you are safe and warm.  Thanks for stopping by.

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