September Saturday

What am I doing? Well, waiting on a guy to get out here to give an estimate for tearing down and hauling off a shed that’s falling in. I’m also waiting on a repair man for the satellite to be fixed. It’s college football season, after all.

And then, I’ve got canvas drop cloths spread out on the floor. Painting? No. Trying to figure out how to sew together a cover for the cars backseat. Marigold’s hair gets everywhere; you wouldn’t think a bloodhound would shed like she does, but oh, my goodness!

First, though, coffee and breakfast.

Traditions fill the counter top and old window sill. LaSolana pottery, Louisa Glass, Fire King pieces remind me of trips to Clinton, Louisisana each spring for a gigantic antiques fair. It was tradition to go that Easter weekend to the Felicianas, where my Grandmother had  roots. The church ladies of that town got together and served sweets, gumbo, and the best chicken salad sandwiches ever! The  LaSolana pottery sugar and creamers were found in the back of a farmhouse kitchen cabinet, when it was being demolished. Perfect for a small arrangement of fresh flowers. The Louisa glass is a compote dish I started collecting way back when ( attached to excursions to Clinton, LA). The Fire King mug is part of a set bought at an auction. And in that mug, another tradition: Community Coffee. Community Coffee is based out of my hometown of Baton Rouge. I didn’t start drinking coffee till a few years back. Making up for it, though.  Coffee Time

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Saturday Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

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Half-a☆☆Works

Scared of the lawn mower, the praying mantis crawled up my leg. A few stomps and it fell back to the freshly cut grass. I moved a lawn chair and got popped by a wasp. Bugs aside, cutting grass in August is brutal, especially with a mower that has a broken self-propelling thingy. I had one a couple of summers ago that worked beautifully, but a crackhead thought he needed it more than I did. The mower that replaced it has not been worth the money and keeps breaking down and I’m tired of taking it to get fixed, but can’t afford a really nice riding lawn mower, sooooo….. There’s a note written in black Sharpie for anyone coming for a free mower: half-a☆☆ works; not worth stealing. Dear Mr. Drug Head – A Vent To An Idiot

The back garden, near the old orchard is hilly and the wild hogs visit frequently- I fell. Right down on my tail. Sweat dripped into my eyes. A few more turns and I decided to go inside to cool off. And make cookies. Of course. Why not?

Sweep of the Kitchen Cookies

Ingredients:

That mushy banana that’s been on the kitchen counter all week

The last 2 tablespoons of Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter

1 egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

A healthy generous squirt of local honey

A splash of vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

A couple of dashes of cinnamon

1/2 cup chocolate chips

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the next 4 ingredients. Dump into the banana and peanut butter mixture and stir till combine, but don’t overbeat. Stir in chocolate chips.

On insulated, parchment lined cookie sheets, drop three inches apart scoops of the cookie dough. I did 6 cookies per 2 cookie sheets; these cookies spread a little and I wanted them to have some room to bake up pretty. Bake for about 12 minutes, till the edges brown and the tops are golden. Makes about 18 nice, flavorful cakey cookies.

After cookie making and a light lunch, the garden hat and sunglasses were adorned again. I like cutting grass. It’s satisfying, seeing it all mown. Marigold likes to roll around in freshly cut grass. Maybe with this dog days of summer heat, the grass will slow down in growing and won’t need to be cut again for a while. My hand hurts from the wasp sting. Oh, well. A cookie and a Mayhaw Soda will make it feel better. Note To Self

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Summertime Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Somehow Carrots Were Put In My Refrigerator

The house was filled with company the week of July 4th. Different ones made multiple trips to the grocery store and somehow carrots were put in my refrigerator and then left. What to do with them? Too hot for a stew. Or a souffle’.

It is also pear season. One of my daughters-in-laws gifted me with fresh pears. For about a week, I canned pear preserves and pear butter.

In a simple muffin batter, the carrots and pears made a nice flavor combination.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped pear preserves

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk

An additional 1/2 cup white surgar with a generous dash of both cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in

1/4 stick of melted butter

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, combine first six ingredients. In another mixing bowl sift together the next seven ingredients. Alternating between the flour mixture and milk, add to the carrot and pear base.

Prepare muffin cups, big or small with vegetable spray. I used a mini muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until tops bounce bake, when tapped and golden in color.20190810_135958

Loosen with a knife, cool slightly.  Dip into the melted butter, then swirl around into the spiced sugar. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Y’all Know How to Do This, Right?

Mancakes

I used to do this for the first day of school when my boys were growing up and also on their birthdays. Y’all know how to do  this, right? Basic pancake recipe poured  into a gingerbread man cookie cutter, set on top a Lodge cast iron griddle equals mancakes. (You can use any metal cookie cutter, by the way.) Coat both the griddle and cookie cutter with vegetable spray, before filling the cutter with batter. When the batter cooks up with bubbles, take a set of tongs and gentle pull the cookie cutter away. Flip with a spatula and cook on the other side.

 

My great nephew visited all week and he enjoyed his plate of mancakes.

Later…

In the country, the garden needed tending. Miscellaneous items came together for a little girl scarecrow. She is guarding the late planted pumpkins.

 

Know-how Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Note To Self

Simple syrups; I’ve been trying out a few recipes. For Independence Day, I mixed up Mayhaw Sodas, using a simple syrup made with-you guessed it!- mayhaws. The taste is bright, sweet and tangy, like my favorite jelly.

I had a bag of lemons in the refrigerator and I needed to do something with them, before they ruined. I thought about a honey lemon simple syrup. The bag of lemons were halved and juiced. I reached and got one of my many measuring cups and poured the fresh lemon juice into it. Spooning out a few errant lemon seeds, something else floated around in the bottom of the cup. Eight whispy legs and a slight bulbous body of a daddy-long leg spider! Note to self: examine measuring cups before filling. Briefly I considered fishing out the sinister bug, but knew I would think about the floatsum every time I used the syrup, so down the kitchen drain went the juice and the spider.

Switch in plans. Two simple syrups. Two homemade sodas.

Honey Lemon Simple Syrup

Here’s what to do: In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup honey, 1 cup water and 1 cut lemon peel. Stir to combine and bring to a light simmer. Pluck out the lemon peel, with a pair of tongs and continue to simmer syrup for another 30 minutes. Let cool and pour into a jar, lid it up and keep it in the frig. Use it up in 2 weeks. You won’t have a problem doing this.

Next.

Mayhaw Simple Syrup 

Ready? Well, follow the above directions using 1 cup water, 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup frozen mayhaw berries. If you don’t have mayhaws, use blueberries, cherries, blackberries. You get the idea. Again, when the syrup is combined and begins to reduce, remove the berries and simmer following the above.

Now, get out a set of pretty of glasses and mix up a refreshing summer soda. Into a 4 ounce glass pour 3 tablespoons of your simple syrup. Add 4 big ice cubes. Top off with club soda.  Give a vigorous stir with a long handled ice tea spoon.

So pleasantly different from store bought soda and pop. Inexpensive to make, you know exactly what is in it. Homemade all the way, baby!

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The Honey Lemon Simple Syrup is a deep amber and the Mayhaw Simple Syrup is a beautiful berry- go figure…

Simple Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Tongue In Cheek or We Shook the Family Tree and Another Yankee Fell Out

Tongue in cheek
Indulge me please.
My eldest is doing genealogy for both sides of his family.
Papaw (My father’s father) always said to not go digging around in the past; you never know what you might find. Horse thieves from Missiouri, perhaps… If only that were the case. Thieving horse stealers would be so preferable to what he has found out about my great-great-grandfather. The dirty Yankee! It pains me greatly to admit it. Damn Yankee! Multiple wives. A preacher to boot! Oh, oh, oh!! I am beside myself with this information. Now we know why he was never mentioned- no family story about him to pass down.
Horse thief/Yankee. Not equal in my estimation. Yankee is far worse.
What would my Daddy have thought? I wonder.
Thank God for my Southern Grandmothers. A praying group of women they have always been.
God bless the Southern Belles that the Yankee men fell for…. at least for a time, because they didn’t stay around long till they skedaddled back to their Yankee mothers.
And here I was calling my ex’s people traitors and opportunistic raccoons for siding with the North up in Tishomingo County during the Northern Aggression. Guarding Grant himself. I think. Maybe Sherman..? That’s still worse because they were Southern born and bred.
Oh, my identity, proudly Southern, has been smeared with Yankee blue on both my mother’s and now my father’s side. Oh, oh, oh.
So, all of this begs a question: what the heck am I? Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Live in Podunk Mississippi. Does your geographical position make you Southern? I do hope so.
I don’t like cold weather. Snow is a big No for me. My blood is too thin to live above the Mason Dixon Line.
I cringe when I hear children answer adults with a plain yes or nah. That should be “Yes, ma’am” or “No, ma’am”, thank you very much.
While in Washington, D.C. a few summers back, I toured some of the Smithsonian. Going through a metal detector, the young girls ahead of me ignored the security guard’s greeting to have a nice time touring the museum. He wanded my purse and also told me the same that he had told the girls. But I responded the way my very Southern Grandmother would have wanted, “Thank you, sir,” I answered. He stopped me. “Ma’am, ma’am. Where are you from?” he asked. “Mississippi,” I replied. “Ah, Mississippi,” the security guard said wistfully with a smile. He gently shook his finger at me and said again, “Well, you have nice time visiting D.C., ma’am.” He heard my Southern accent. He recognized my Southern manners.
In an antique shop in a suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, my accent opened the shop owner’s want for conversation and to find a thin thread of commonality between us. “Oh, you’re from the South, ” she said when she heard me say that I was just browsing. “Quite South,” I answered. “Quite South?” the shop owner repeated. “Yes, I am from Mississippi, by way of Baton Rouge.” “Oh, Baton Rouge! Are you Catholic, by any chance?” “Uh, no”, I replied. “I ask,” she said, “because I went to Catholic school and all the nuns were from Baton Rouge.” That thin thread connecting.
And I enjoy my cornbread and peas every New Year’s Day. I had a Northerner tell me one time that catfish was a bottom feeding trash fish. Might be, but next to hushpuppies and coleslaw I call that a mighty fine meal. Grits! Try ordering that in northern environs. If one could find it on a menu, you’d have to gain access to the kitchen to teach them how to prepare them. The joys of a ripe tomato between two pieces of lightly toasted bread with a slathering of mayonnaise. Did that last word have you confused? If it did you are probably a Yankee. ‘Cause y’all shortened that word to just mayo and now everybody calls it that. Being from Louisiana, and growing up in the Southern part of the state, the Cajun influence was deep. Mayonnaise was pronounced ‘my-nez’. It’s not your “nez”, it’s my “nez”. I know, I know. Wasn’t until I moved to Mississippi that I learned to pronounce it correctly. Mayo-naise. Ah, well.
No white shoes or clothing after Labor Day and never before Easter. And you don’t leave the house with wet hair or not brushed either. You go out the door as an example of your upbringing. You represent your family at all times.
All of the above makes me Southern, right? Can we not just rebury that Yankee? It was a difficult time. The War Between the States. He was young. She was younger. It was a border state. Emotions were high and off kilter. Poor little Susan. She didn’t know John would turn that Yankee coat and head back home right after the war was over.
I’m going to say I’m Southern. Claim it for my own.
P.S.
(I love you my Yankee friends. You’re down here. You must know a good thing when you see it.)
Thank you for reading.

Genealogy Blessings from the very Southern Exile’s Kitchen.

(this was first posted on my fb acct last year and has been edited)

Coffee Mug

20190710_063329Three places I love and in no particular order (that depends on the time of year and my current project needs): kitchenware stores, hardware stores and garden centers. Oh, just for continuity, let’s call them gardenware stores.

Way back in 1984/1985, I worked at Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge. There was a kitchenwares store privately owned and outfitted with gadgets, table linens, serving pieces, chafing dishes, fondue pots, glassware, coffee makers. Across the back wall were bags of flavored coffee beans and a commercial grinder. Yes, you could request a special blend and they’d make a batch for you. I often spent my half-hour lunch break in that little store, just to smell the coffee.

At Christmastime in 1984, I went into that kitchenware haven and bought my mother a set of coffee mugs. Elephants tumbling together in a happy jumble artworked their sides. Up until about six months ago they had stayed in the back of the coffee mug cabinet. My mother liked the coffee mugs, but considered them too nice to use everyday. Nice things should be used everyday, especially cheerful coffee mugs when you need a pick-me-up to start your day.

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This morning’s coffee offering was Community French Vanilla and 2 Land-O-Lakes Mini Moos. Well, good morning!

A mug of Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

#CommunityCoffee

#LAND-O-LAKES

#BatonRouge

#Coffeemugs

 

June

 

 

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Going through a difficult time a few years back, I remember looking out an upper church window and seeing crepe myrtles in bloom. I thought, “How can it be June already?” Time had stood still, during that dark period. Wrapped up in my troubles, I lost track of the days. The frilly, periwinkle pink blooms snapped me into my then present.

Five Junes have come and gone. Crepe myrtles start to bloom now and last through August. With them come a reminder of getting through a tough transition and also the gift of a beautiful future.

Here are some pics from my evening stroll through Magnolia, Mississippi. The park in the old depot yard is serene and harkens to days gone by.  Enjoy your walk on the quiet streets of Small-town, USA. Try to hear the mockingbirds singing their various trills,  the cars passing on Hwy 51, children’s voices calling out in a game of chase outside the barber shop.

Blessings.

Daisies Take A Year

 

Last summer I planted Shata Daisy seeds around the base of my mailbox. Plants emerged from the ground and they were maintained, but no blooms. I didn’t despair, for I knew from experience in another life that perennial daisies take a year to mature and bloom. So, one plants the seeds and the payoff is 365 days later. Worth the wait.

Also worth the wait are birthdays of grandchildren. Born 21 days apart are Levi and Hazel. Sweet, Sweet.

Daisy and Birthday Blessings from theexileskitchen.

 

 

 

Summer Begins When…

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, when we honor our fallen service people. Thank you for your complete dedication and service. It is also the unofficial start of summer; school is out in this part of the world and picnic/cookout season has begun.

When does summer really commence? June 21 is the official beginning of the seasons changing from spring to summer. The weather has been quite warm and muggy here in Southwest Mississippi. But I don’t need a calendar or a thermometer to know that it is summer, or at least close to being summer: the day lilies are in bloom.

My favorite day lily is the one given to me by my Aunt Gayle. The winter of 2017 was harsh, with two unexpected snowfalls and then the following spring was very dry. Aunt Gayle’s day lily set only a few blooms and then they quickly dried up and fell off.

I was anxious about the plant living through this past winter, though the weather was mild. The pot it has been in for the last 4 years is cracked and 10 year-old day lily needs to be repotted. I have been hesitant to do it. I don’t want to do something that would kill it and my connection to a beloved aunt- my mother’s twin sister.

Then early in this month, Aunt Gayle’s day lily started putting up scapes. On each scape are multiple buds. The blooms are a wide and ruffled peachy pink. So pretty.

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May 2019

So, for me summer begins when Aunt Gayle’s day lily blooms. When does summer start for you?

Blessings.

(Note: here’s the link to the back story to my favorite garden plant. Aunt Gayle’s Day Lily  )