Two Weekends

Nottaway Plantation held its second annual wine walk a couple of weeks ago. I fell in love with this white castle when I was a young girl in 1980. It had been restored and opened to the public for tours. My parents and I took a road trip and we were some of the first visitors through their renovated doors.

 

So, when I saw on social media that Nottaway was having a wine walk, I wanted to go. Problem was I know nothing about wine and didn’t want to go alone. Enter my birthday sister Trina. When I asked if she would go, she was all in. And even though the home was serving heavy hor dourves, we made it fun, by bringing our own: Plain and Barbecue Vienna Sausage. You know, real foodie minds have tried to answer the question for years: Which wine to serve with Vienna Sausage?

Eight stations for wine tastes were set up in the beautiful home. We test tasted sips of different wines and only the sommelier at table five gave us legit suggestions as to which wines would go better with Vienna Sausage.  There was a sparkling Brut Rose from J Vineyards that was just lovely to sip. Another  I liked was an inexpensive Charles Smith called Kung Fu Girl Riesling. So, to answer the question of which to serve with your chicken meat sticks, go with a sparkling white wine or rose.

This past weekend, we had an early Thanksgiving at my farmhouse. This year is the only time that all three of my sons will be in their twenties, so to commemorate that milestone, pictures were taken. Out to the big barn we all went.

20171119_14392720171119_144320

 

Team Player became a brotherhood catch phrase many years ago. The three were playing football with their Uncle and my oldest scored. My middle son kind of pouted and their Uncle said he needed to be a team player. The youngest eagerly announced that he could be a team player. He was no more than 5 at the time,  hand caught up in his sweaty t-shirt, exposing his belly, he asserted: “I team player! I team player!”

The three brothers have been just that: team players. We nicknamed them Adam,  Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright. They have always had each other’s backs. They are fun to be with. I hope that you have the same blessing with your children.

And speaking of children! I have two more grandbabies on the way!

20171119_145602

Thanksgiving Blessings from the Exiles Kitchen.

Cabinets

I’ve learned a lot the last few years. Day to day stuff. Sure. Managing life on my own. Well, not completely alone. The One who will never leave me nor forsake me walks with me, or rather, I Him. I try to.

Strength, deep down,  surfaced after age fifty. I come from a long line of strong women. I am fortunate to have such great examples of feminine fortitude.

My father was a mechanical engineer and could build anything. He was more than just creative; he was more than just talented. Smart and brilliant.

Now, I know I’m not as smart as my father was, but I can see the potential in ordinary, or worn out, or throw-away things. During this last year of renovating my farmhouse, I have often reminded myself that I am George L. Ellison’s daughter.

Equally so, I have recalled the courage and resilience of my mother Madoline when we lost my father in 1981. My mother’s full name is Berenice Madoline. She was named for one of her aunts, who was named for a character in a book her father was reading at the time of his daughter’s birth.  Berenice is Greek, meaning ‘to bear’. Her name also means ‘victory’. Both describe my Mama. She had to bear much, to finish rearing her family by herself. I never heard her complain or play the poor widow. Deep down, her strength surfaced. God Bless Her! What a lady! She never lost her femininity.

Several people have told me that they couldn’t do what I have done. My reply? “You could if you had to.” Who knows? You would probably surprise yourself.

I have been painting kitchen cabinets the last few weeks. Have I ever done that before? Nope. YouTube is great for finding out how. Sand and prime. Sand and paint. Sand and paint again. And again, if need be. The sandpaper represents the rough times in my recent past. Without the sanding, the coats of satin wouldn’t be smoothe or durable. The sanding makes it beautiful.

My father taught me to figure things out. Mama taught me to be beautifully fearless.

20170909_154629

20170909_154842

Miss you, Daddy. Love you, Mama.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

I have a wedding shower to help with in the morning and I signed up to bring muffins. Here’s the recipe:

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins



Ingredients:

1/2 cup Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter

1 stick Land of Lakes butter

1 egg

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups Bisquick

Big dash cinnamon

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons homemade jelly (your choice, I used my mayhaw)

4 tablespoons of Bisquick

What to do:

In a big bowl, mix first 4 ingredients till creamy. Then add the 1 1/2 cups Bisquick and cinnamon. Pour in milk and gently incorporate.  Your muffin batter will be light and fluffy. Next, fill your muffin cups with batter, a little less than half way. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the jelly and remainder Bisquick. This is your muffin filling. The baking mix stabilizes the jelly, so it won’t burn or bake out of your muffins. Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of filling into the center of each peanut butter muffin cup. Top with the rest of the peanut butter mixture.

20170825_201300
Silicone muffin cups are great to use. Your muffins will pop right out. Oh, yeah. I made a sweet potato pie to go with store bought chicken for tonight’s supper. That recipe is It’s A Pecan Not A PeeCan.

 

Silicone muffin cups are a great thing to use instead of traditional paper. Your muffins will pop right out. Bake in a  350° preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the tops puff up and are golden brown. Yield about 15 medium sized muffins.

20170825_204957
That one in the back tried to make a liar out of me, but really, had I not combined the jelly and Bisquick all of the mayhaw jelly would have baked out and been a sticky black mess.

Best wishes to the happy couple.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Aunt Gayle’s Day Lily

I dug it up from the front flower bed of the house I once shared with the man that I thought would always be there. Placed right by the front porch, I lovingly tended it year after year. My Aunt Gayle, Mama’s twin sister, loved day lilies. Many hot summer weekends, day trips ended with a trunk load of day lily risomes. Our eyes were often bigger than our flower beds, so more spots in the yards were created.

The one planted by the porch is very special, because my aunt had become ill and we could no longer go on our excursions. One of her daughters brought it to me- a lovely surprise ordered from a flower catalog.

“Mama says it’s suppose to be a true pink, Mandy. Let her know when it blooms or maybe take a picture of it.”

April of 2015 I went out to the house in Amite County to gather bridal wreath and roses (my bridal wreath and my roses) to decorate tables for a wedding shower. While there, I found the shovel and a bucket and dug up Aunt Gayle’s day lily.

There were others around the yard and vegetable garden, the pool deck. And I did think about digging my favorites up that afternoon. They were mine, after all.

But the then soon-to-be-ex showed up and I decided to let them have my flowers (and my fruit trees). I’d had a lot of fun finding and planting them once, Lord willing, I’d get another chance to start over.

The other flowers, had I taken them, would have reminded me of my past. I am over that. Aunt Gayle’s day lily reminds me of her: her smile, her kindness, her laughter. She was a beautiful lady.

I miss you, Aunt Gayle, but a part of you comes for a month long visit every May.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

20160526_170928