Last day of 2016; it finally got here.

I can hear Ella Fitzgerald singing What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?  Well, to answer that, not a whole lot!

A morning of pampering myself, going to the hardware store, and then out to my house to discuss options with the gentleman refinishing 115 year old pine floors.

Jimmy is on top of things out at my old farmhouse.

Took an informal poll on Facebook to see what others were having tomorrow for their New Year’s day dinner. Black eyed peas and cornbread was on everyone’s menu. The meat portion varied a bit, common theme being some dish of pork. Two Boston butts showed up in the running, however. Potato salad also appeared to make the list. I don’t think of potato salad during the cooler months – always think of it for the 4th of July. To round out everyone’s menu tomorrow,  the choice green is cabbage. 

My pampering started with making up a batch of my head to toe body scrub. Equal parts coconut oil and baking soda, a little sugar and lemon zest.


I am also putting a rinse on my hair. My prerogative.  Am I vain? Maybe a little. But aren’t we all about something? Perfectly clean house, in the perfect neighborhood.  The perfect SUV, parked in the garage of that perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood. Ooh, I guess I’m judging now, but let’s face it,  some of you judged me because I color my hair. I forgive you.

Which is something I have learned to do this last year. Forgiving the one or ones who hurt you and do you dirt, is for your benefit more than it is theirs.   It is my duty as a Christian to forgive, but here’s something to chew on along with your New Year’s dinner: it’s not my ‘right’ to be forgiven.   Think about it for a while. I know people who throw out scripture about forgiveness and judging others,  but they never change, making it really hard to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t a one-and-done. We’re all human and ain’t nobody perfect, so we must  go back to the well of human kindness and pull up another bucket of forgiveness. Even if they have never asked, do forgive them anyway and then give them to God.

Skillet corbread

What’s on our menu tomorrow? Pork chops (Mama’s request), cabbage,  black eyed peas, skillet cornbread, and stewed down apples.

Happy New Year!

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.


Black-eyed Peas and Cabbage


Happy New Year! Are you stirring  yet from your late night, or should I say, early moring? I slept to nearly 10 o’clock this morning, something I haven’t done since I was a kid.

I immediately started in the kitchen; New Year’s lunch needed cooking, after all. In our part of the world of Southerness, the first day of the year is greeted with a full plate of black-eyed peas and cabbage. Why? They bring good luck, health and wealth for the new year.

It’s tradition in our family to eat the above mentioned on New Year’s day. And,  considering how many heads of cabbage I saw in grocery buggies yesterday at the store, it’s everyone else’s too. I looked up a few explanations for this cooking phenomenon and came up with these: During the Civil War, invading Northern armies thought black-eyed peas were cattle feed and left them alone, thus also leaving the much needed food source for the Confederate forces.  Which was good fortune for our gray clad boys. Good luck and health. Greens are served, because they are, well, green, the same color of folding money in our country. Why we do not deviate from serving black-eyed peas and cabbage, instead of other greens or other legumes? Because that’s what my mother did and her mother before her and her mother before her and way, way back.

Mama made her stuffed bell peppers. I added a pot of white rice and slightly sweet cornbread to the meal. Our plates were full, and now, so are we.

Here’s the cornbread recipe:

1 egg, beaten

1  1/3 cups milk

1/4 cup cooking oil, plus a little more for the cast iron skillet

2 1/4 cup self rising white cornmeal

1 tablespoon pickled sweet peppers

1/2 teaspoon Tony’s seasoning

The oil bubbles up, as the batter is poured into the skillet. Be careful, it’s hot!

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400°. Pour a little cooking oil in your iron skillet and swirl it around to coat. Place in the oven to get hot, while you mix the ingredients.

In a bowl mix the beaten egg, milk and oil. Add the cornmeal, pickled peppers and seasoning. Stir till well combined. Pour into hot cast iron skillet ( I just open the door, pull out the rack the skillet is on and pour the batter straight into the skillet, then close the oven and bake it). Be careful, of course. It’s hot!!!

Bake for about twenty minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. The top will be golden brown and the edges will pull away from the sides of the skillet. Let cool for a few minutes, before cutting. Serve with butter.

Enjoy and New Year blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.20160101_122130