Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 The Year of Searching For Direction

I've spent the better part of this year on some personal projects for me that will hopefully help me to improve as a blogger, writer, and give me some definite direction for my work.  I've felt a little overwhelmed by the blog lately and feeling like, what am I wanting to accomplish here?  I've been working toward some goals and though I'm closer than I was this time last year I'm still yet so far away.  I read something the other day that really stuck with me and provided a little moment of clarity.  It's an African proverb that says, "Whenever someone dies a great library burns."  And I think that honestly puts into perspective and gives words to my feelings about why I write.  I don't want to leave this world without getting some of that library out of my head and out where others can read it.  This need to document has been a passion of mine for years.  I think that's where my love of photography really comes from.  So I'm going to keep on studying and plotting and planning.  I hope you'll hang on for what I'm working on and working towards.  Time to put all this study to use and get to work!

Hope you're having a great week my lovelies!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

Foodie Fridays - Banana Oatmeal Muffins

(This is a recipe I submitted to the newspaper around August - Hope you enjoy!)

It’s that time of year. School has begun. New clothes have been purchased, the perfect pair of shoes found, and just the right backpack. And now the morning hustle and bustle begins daily. I’ve been trying to do some meal planning and thinking about what I’m going to pack my girl for lunch now that she’s moved up to in her words to, “big girl school.” I’m also trying to plan some quick grab and go breakfasts that are healthy and will give her energy and keep her full until lunch. One thing she for sure loves is muffins. Muffins are a perfect grab and go breakfast and since these include just a little sugar your little one will not crash an hour later and the oats will keep them full. They only take a few minutes to whip together and baking time is around 25 minutes. So for a few dollars and about an hour you’ll have some scrumptious homemade muffins for breakfast before school and honestly before work. Hope you enjoy!

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup self rising flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 to 3 ripe bananas
⅓ cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup chocolate chips or
⅓ cup chopped pecans or walnuts or
⅓ cup raisins

Mash bananas and then combine with eggs, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and then combine with wet ingredients and mix until flour is completely incorporated. Last fold in oatmeal and an optional ingredient if you choose. Bake in a well greased muffin pan for 20 to 25 minutes until brown or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Makes around 12 muffins.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Stories of the South - Outhouses & Family

Photograph by my grandmother Nancy Pepper Lancaster 1987
Outhouse from John and Ethel Pepper's homeplace Chickasaw County Mississippi 

My family, both sides, are definitely farm people.  

All of my great grandparents were farmers and my grandparents grew up on farms and didn't get jobs in town until after WWII when mechanization changed farming forever.  

One set of great grandparents from Hohenlinden, MS were farmers their entire lives, this was my immortal MawPep and PawPep also known as John Henry Pepper and Ethel Beard Pepper.  PawPep was a true southern Renaissance man.  He was a farmer, a craftsman of baskets, furniture, and homes, a trapper, a hunter, and a lover of animals.  His wife, my MawPep, grew up on a farm and a sawmill.  She was right there with him when it came to having multiple skills.  She sewed clothing, made quilts, crocheted, cooked, canned, gardened, and farmed right along side PawPep raising hogs, picking cotton, and raising my grandmother and great uncle.  

John and Ethel Pepper with some of their handmade split oak baskets

Their farm is located in the Hohenlinden community which is west of Woodland and not close to much of anything else.  They probably didn't have electricity until the 1930s and also had a well for their water for years.  (As a child I can remember being told explicitly to stay away from the old well.  It had been bricked up but the ground was soft.)

Of course when you don't have running water inside you can't have an indoor toilet.  I barely remember this outhouse.  My Dad found some old pictures my Granny had taken and passed them along to me.  

While there is a lot of that simple living that I love and try to strive toward I'm proud of my nice, warm, snake free bathroom. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Foodie Fridays - Creamy Garlic Cheese Grits

This week’s recipe is super simple but I wanted to share it anyway as it’s a great staple for any recipe box.  One of the first things I learned to cook was grits.  My mom would buy those little packs of microwave grits and it was something quick and easy that I could fix in the morning before school.  As an adult I still like cheese grits but I’ve left those microwavable packages behind.  I do use quick cooking grits though and my favorite brand right now is Dixie Lily yellow corn grits.  They are even grown and packaged in the USA!  I make these creamy garlic and cheese grits often for breakfast and supper.  If you’ve never served grits for supper they make a great side dish for pot roast and of course as the perfect base for shrimp and grits.  One of the best things about this recipe are all the flavor combinations you can make by just changing out one or two ingredients.  I’m using shredded colby jack cheese but you could try sharp cheddar, Parmesan,or monterey jack.  I normally use 1% milk but it works with 2%, whole milk, and to really splurge add a dash of half and half.  It’s a simple recipe but you can customize it to fit your taste.  One quick tip I will give you I learned through hard won experience, use a larger pot than you think you need for this recipe.  The milk will make it boil over in a heartbeat and I don’t want you having to clean burnt milk off your stove-top like me.  I hope you’ll give it a try and I really hope you like it.      

Creamy Garlic and Cheese Grits

1 cup milk
1 ¼ cup water
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grits
½ cup shredded colby jack cheese

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, water, butter, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a low boil and add grits.  Simmer on low heat whisking often to avoid lumps for 3 to 5 minutes.  Before serving whisk in ½ cup of cheese.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.  


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