An Affogato

For an afternoon pick-me-up or an after supper dessert, an Affogato is delicious. Simply, it’s just coffee doused ice cream.

I have said before that I didn’t drink coffee till I turned fifty. And I guess, the first version of an Affogato that I ever had was at the Wharf, when I dumped my complimentary strawberry frozen dessert in my tiny cup of coffee in lieu of creamer.

The Wharf

About a year ago. I stopped by a local coffee shop and saw Affogato on the menu and asked what it was. The server explained and I ordered one. Yum! Reminded me of the Wharf.

I have been making them lately. Different ice creams, different flavored coffees- all good. Todays was Blue Bunny Neopolitan with Community Coffee French Vanilla and because it’s my world, a Hershey Miniature candy bar. Why not, right?

This one was made with Rockyroad Ice Cream. I drank it while yelling at the LSU Tigers the other night. Poor Coach O…

Coffee Time Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.


I name all my scarecrows Herman. It just seems to fit.

Made of cast-offs and stuffed with balloons, Herman donned his WallyWorldHalloweenHat and helped set up the tea party in field at Flowers Proper. He waited for his young guests to arrive in an old farmhouse kitchen chair, that had been pulled into the morning sun. (It was chilly this morning.)

With a sublime smile, he greeted his guests and invited them to sit down for light refreshments. Later they would fill their little blue pails with butterfly kissed zinnias.

Towards the end of the garden party, Herman drew the men closer and spoke words of wisdom. Herman was the perfect host.

Soon it was time for his friends to leave. And so, he packed up his garden party gear and headed to the house.

September Saturday Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Randomness For September

Some randomness at the close of Summer.

Unicorn Tea Party

Did you see the dark clouds in the back horizon? Life gets hectic and rough. We all need an outlet; a loving pet who’s as much as a family member as human biped or a fantasy tea party in the field. It’s good to be distracted by simple things.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Use the Pretty Dishes

Trite, but true: life is short so, use the pretty dishes. Just an ordinary Saturday breakfast, first one of the waining summer to speak of cooler weather to come, made me want something with apples. Here’s what I did.

Apple Granola Muffins


1/2 a box of Duncan Hines Classic yellow cake mix

1/2 cup of biscuit mix

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1 cup Cascadia Farms Apple Cereal

2 cored, chopped Gala apples with skins on

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 egg

1/4 cup of corn oil

3/4 cup of apple juice

What to do:

Set oven temperature to 350° and line your muffin cup pan.

Mix in a big bowl all dry ingredients. Fold in chopped apples and walnuts. Make a well in the center, add egg, oil and apple juice. Mix till combined.

Big scoops divided between each lined muffin cup. Bake till tops are nicely browned and bounce back when touched.

We ate from pretty dishes that belonged to my grandmother. Do you use the pretty dishes sitting in a dark cupboard? Bring them out into the light.The world outside is ugly. Your home should be a welcoming haven. Using the pretty dishes is a good start.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Practically Free Fun

This Labor Day Weekend I took my family on a trip to the Alabama Coast. Two of our family activities cost pennies. Well, a tank of gas is more than pennies, but you get the idea.

We skipped the tourist traps for a more family connected activities.

Hunting sand crabs after the sun sets has been a family tradition, when we take a beach trip. Flashlights were passed out along with the assignments of net and bucket handlers. For the preschoolers, this was their first time catching sand crabs along the waters edge.

The second practically free detour was searching for Bamahenge in Elberta, Alabama. Lots of quirky fiberglass statuary near the Barber Marina, including a replica of Stonehenge, 4 big dinosaurs, knights, and Neptune’s Fountain.

Family fun can be different and practically free.

End of Summer Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Monday Supper Before Payday: Homemade Mac-n-Cheese

Payday is three days away, so what to cook for supper, using ingredients on hand? Mac-n-Cheese. None of that boxed stuff. And look, I eyeballed this recipe. Cooking is an art. Baking is a science. Feel free at the stove to add whatever you Iike.


2 cups shredded cheese- I had Swiss and Dubliner, combined

1- 5 oz can evaporated milk

2 slices crisp bacon

3 slices Brioche, toasted and cubed

2- 1/2 sticks of salted butter

3 qt pot of salted water

Enough elbow macaroni to feed 3 people

What to do:

Bring water to a boil and dump in the elbow macaroni. Cook till tender.

While that’s boiling, combine 1/2 cp shredded cheese, bacon and toasted Brioche cubes. Butter a casserol dish.

In a 2 quarter pot, pour in the can of evaporated milk and heat till its just about to boil. Add half a stick of butter and melt. Then add in the rest of the cheese. Whisk together for your cheese sauce. Drain the cooked macaroni and pour the cheese sauce over the elbows. Combine well and put in buttered casserol dish. Top with the cheese and bacon and Brioche mixture. Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter and dribble all over the top of mac-n-cheese. Bake at 350° till the crust is crispy and browned. Won’t take long.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Butterfly Approved

The perfect butterfly approved landing spot.

Nine out of ten butterflies will say they prefer zinnias… Oh, who am I kidding? Ten out of ten butterflies prefer zinnias over any other flower in the garden. Here’s proof.

Swallowtails, both yellow and black, Gulf Fritilaries, those greenish/yellow Sulfur (no pic, as they are too quick) have been the big tourists this summer to the cutting garden. Still waiting to see the Monarchs parade through. Summer isn’t over by a long shot, so I’m certain they will arrive.

Butterfly Blessings from the garden at Flowers Proper.

Adds A Little Sumpin Sumpin

I’ve made my mayhaw syrup for our ice cream tomorrow (the 4th). Not all of it would fit in the jar. So, it went in the bottom of a tall glass, along with ice and a cola. The mayhaw syrup added a little sumpin sumpin. Nice!

Here are a few pics of the drink plus some photos of out and about.

Happy Independence Day Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.


The conversation between my grandmother and me went thusly:

“Amanda, I know you are very capable of learning to drive the tractor, but as long as you don’t have to, well, don’t.” That was thirty-six years ago, right before I got married. This year it has become necessary for me to learn to drive the tractor.

The little orange Kubota was my father’s and now it’s mine. She- yes, she- has a name: Tilly. My daddy named her way back in the mid-1970’s.

When I bought my property, I knew Tilly would be utilized. My middle son has been asked to cut around Flowers Proper, to till up the flower/garden patch. Different farm implements have been added to Tilly’s accessories. She can do whatever a bigger tractor can, just on a smaller scale. My place isn’t huge.

Bamboo had been growing really close to my farmhouse, plus several trees. So, this spring I had that cleared. However, debris was left, about a foot deep. The bamboo had been growing since about 1997…. I hate bamboo. It’s not native to our part of the world. I would like to go back in time and convince the lady who thought she needed it for a natural fence to plant something else, anything else.

It’s taken forever to get the mulched bamboooo up off the ground and dumped in a designated area. Our state is way above average for rainfall this year. To make things go quicker, my youngest son asked if I could try to drive the tractor and work the new rake, while he loaded the trailer. I said, reluctantly, Grandma’s words sounding in my head, “Yes.” I climbed up into Tilly’s seat.

“Okay,” my youngest son began to explain, “it’s a lot like driving a car with a stickshift.”

“I don’t know how to drive a car with a stickshift,” I admitted.

My son’s blue eyes got a little more round behind his glasses, but he continued to explain. “Clutch on the left, break on the right, excellerator on the right, wiggle the shift to put it in neutral, straight down into first, over to the left and down for reverse, the arm on the right to raise and lower the rake and most importantly, the little lever in front shuts her down. Got it?”

“We’re about to find out,” I said with a nervous chuckle. In my head I explained to my grandmother’s memory that the time had come for me to learn to drive the tractor.

Now, there’s about a ten foot drop to the road where we were working. I cranked Tilly up, put her in gear, eased off the clutch and she jerked forward with a learch and, yep, headed straight for the precipice. I know, I panicked! I screamed! I reached for the little lever and pulled. Mercifully Tilly sputtered to a stop, before I hurt myself. As I climbed down, my son came jogging up.

“You alright, Mama?”


I couldn’t make eye contact with him. I was embarrassed. I was scared, too. (I knew a lady who had a terrible accident with a tractor, lingered in the hospital for a week and then died.) But during the last seven years, there have been so many times I have had to square back around, tell myself that I am George L. Ellison’s daughter and try again. So, I climbed back up on Tilly. I wiped my tears away, as my youngest son again went through instructions.

The short of it is, I learned to drive Tilly. Up and down the the rake lowered to put the bamboooo debris where it would be easier to load. I am not strong enough to change out farm implements. I will still need someone to do that for me but I can drive her.

My daddy, I like to think, would be proud of me. And I know my grandmother would understand.

Here are some pretty pictures from my garden work this morning.