Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

1 year Blogaversary

One year ago we started the WhistleStop Cafe Cooking blog. Our first post was on October 1st; The beginning of a new venture for WhistleStop.

Our general idea was to introduce our great batter mixes and marinades, and maybe sell enough that I could retire to the beach (actually that was my plan!) I opened our little country store A Pinch of Dis &A Pinch of Dat to make it a little easier to find the products on the blog. I am learning all the links aren't perfect, when in doubt e-mail me!

I had hoped to post bits & pieces about the cafe, some good cookin' recipes, and a little bit about life in the south. I have posted just a pinch of recipes from our cookbooks or our products. We have had a few road trips, and I have tried to share those without boring you to death.

I would have never thought in one year I would 'meet' so many wonderful people from all parts of the world. I thank each one of you who stop in and leave a comment. It is through these comments that I have gotten to know you, and feel like we could sit and chat the afternoon away.
As a special thank you I am having a give away. This is our gift to you for our one year Blogaversary! Leave me a note and I'll put your name in the hat. We will draw for a box of goodies.

Thanks y'all for a fun year!
Sandi & Bill

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Man About Town

Check out this short film that Fannie Flagg has made for book clubs. It was filmed here in Birmingham just a few months ago.

Did you recognise the guy hanging out on the street?
Y'all enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Almondine Chicken

It's been a while since I have posted a recipe... and we thought this would be a cooking blog. I know that none of you ever get in a rut!

This is an old family favorite. That quick 'go-to' dish when things get busy, and you need something quick and filling.

Almondine Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbs flour
1/4 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic, diced
fresh rosemary
In a skillet, melt butter saute diced garlic. Dredge chicken breasts in flour with a little salt and pepper, and sliced almonds. Brown breasts in butter, turning once. Top with any remaining almonds and fresh rosemary. Add white wine. Cover and cook 10-20 minutes, until done. Serve with rice.

Any recipe that calls for you to 'brown breasts in butter' is traditionally southern cooking. Flavored sliced almonds make this that much easier~ If it could be any easier!
Y'all enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Centerpiece of the Month~ September

I almost let September slip by without my centerpiece of the month. Janelle at Talk of Tomatoes has posted the centerpieces from August and September. Once Upon a Tart shows off a wreath. Meeta has a beautiful Autumn display. Check them out!
This month I have a centerpiece with my Italian rooster vase~ in honor of our Slow Travel Get Together in 'Palma' desert in just a few weeks. Janelle is ready for a little well deserved break, so I am going to be the guest host for October! I will remind you again (you may need to remind me to remind you) The rules are~ anything goes! Send in a permi-link to your centerpiece, with a photo, to me at I will post a fun round up Nov 7th.
There are a lot of you who haven't done this in the past...but I know there are some georgous table tops that check in at the cafe.
Y'all show us what's on your table!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Marching Southerners

Isn't that a great name for a band? I am going to 'toot my horn' for a minute and show some pictures of the greatest band in the south. The Marching Southerners are from Jacksonville State University. We love it when we get to see them perform.

Now, Please don't be this guy... who felt the need to stretch his seat during the entire half-time show. (Along with his monster grandchildren.) Precious!

Some of us go just to watch the half time show!

Of course we can't go empty handed... How 'bout a big box of cookies?
You can't do much better than the Toll House Recipe, unless you add some peanut butter chips. They didn't last long!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

More Novels

Lisa at Champaign Taste, and Simone at Briciole have posted the roundup for Novel Taste. There were some great entries. Little Women, Chocolat, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and many many more. I need to introduce myself to Inspector Salvo Mantalbano, a series of novels for food lovers. Check them all out! What a lot of fun.

This would also be the perfect time to wish Fannie Flagg a Happy Birthday! We're her biggest fans.
Y'all have a good weekend. We're off to watch the Marching Southerners!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Novel Event

My bloggy friend Lisa @ Champaign Taste is co-hosting a Novel Food Event with Briciole. I saw this event and thought... that is right up our alley! The idea is to take a food that has a connection with a novel and then post it. Lisa will do all the work and round them up.

For this first Novel Food Event, I thought I would post a little piece from the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe. When Fannie Flagg was doing research for the novel, she spent time at the cafe and sitting talking with Mom. Many of the tales used in the novel are loosely based on stories from our cafe in Irondale.

Fannie Flagg's great Aunt was Bess Fortenberry. She is the person Mom & Dad bought the cafe from many years ago. She was quite a character~ much like Iggy in the novel. This story is about the relationships Iggy has, the food they love, and the lives they made. Fannie admits that she is not much of a cook, but her love of food and southern cooking has woven through several of her books. After all in the south life revolves around good food and good friends.

My Quote from the book...
" I may be sitting here at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home, but in My mind I'm over at the WhistleStop Cafe having a plate of fried green tomatoes."
Fried Green Tomatoes- Fannie's recipe

1 egg beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup self rising flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
6-8 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
bacon drippings or vegetable oil
Mix egg and buttermilk in a shallow dish. Mix flour, cornmeal, and salt in a shallow dish. Working in batches dip tomato slices into egg mixture. Allow excess to drip back into the dish. Coat each with flour mixture. Fry in hot bacon drippings in a large heavy skillet until browned. Turn once with tongs. Drain in a colander.

Don't be tempted to crowd the frying pan, to many at a time will cool the grease. Hot grease is the secret to crispy green tomatoes.

Of course I need to mention that if you'd like to take the quick and easy route... you can get your fried green tomato batter mix at our little country store A Pinch of Dis~ A Pinch of Dat. (I mention that only because it looks like we may not have won the lottery after all.)

Y'all eat lots!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You make me smile

I have been very lucky to recieve not one, but 2 tags recently. I am ashamed to say that I have been slow in thanking my friends for these. A southern gentle woman is always prompt in writing thank you notes. But~ I haven't even gotten the sand out of my suitcase yet. I don't think Scarlett ever had that problem.

First Sandi at Holding Patterns tagged me with the you make me smile award. She said "Sandi (I know it's not Bill since when she and the horsies were on a trip not a peep out of that Bill...bad Bill) over at the Whistlestop is fast becoming my favorite cook because she shares recipes and doesn't leave out ingredients, as some are wont to do. When I fix one of her dishes, it always makes me smile...when I see Whistlestop items in the local stores, I feel like yelling, hey, I know those folks! "

Sandi that just cracked me up! Don't think I won't use that as leverage with Bill.

Then she tagged me again with a special award ' You Lift Me Up'. This was an award for a handful of her bloggy friends. I am in good company! She used a picture of her moonflower with her award. I think as I pass this award on, I will use a picture of my own that will help my Friends know they 'Lift Me Up'. So let me tag Louise at Beachy's Cape Cod Cupboard , my friend Beach Kat who truly does lift me up everyday, Kari who is Living Large in Texas and helping us do the same, and Rhoda who is Southern Hospitality~ she manages to keep bloggin in spite of a busy work schedule.
Y'all Lift Me Up!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

When Pigs Fly

While we were being lazy at the beach, we did what most young couples do. We laid under the beach umbrella... and thought about what we would do if we won the Florida lottery.

Well, It could happen you know!

I suggested could give it all up and move to the beach.
Bill said... "When Pigs Fly".

Guess what I saw~
What do y'all think?


Friday, September 14, 2007

Promises kept

Back in January I made some Promises for the Year. I have done a pretty good job of keeping my promises so far.

This week I was able to check off another promise. Here is proof that I am painting my toes Strawberry Margarita Pink

There will not be a picture of me making my sand angel~ Believe me... that is not one you would have wanted to see! Do you know how sand sticks to sunscreen?

We had a great get-away at the beach. We stayed the Slow Travel way... in a condo. Our home away from home!

I am refreshed & recharged!

Hope Y'all have a good weekend~


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hummingbirds in a cake?

The Hummingbirds have been really busy lately... this is nothing like the shot Dot took. She lives in Georgia. I think this may have been the same baby doll flying between her feeder and mine!

How 'bout some Hummingbird cake? This is straight out of Fannie Flagg's Cookbook (you can find it in our Country Store)

Hummingbird Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 8oz can crushed pineapple
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped bananas
Cream Cheese Frosting

Pre-heat oven to 350° . Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs, oil and vanilla. Stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Drain pineapple. Stir in pineapple with nuts and bananas. Pour into 3 greased and floured 9in cake pans. Bake for 25-35 minutes until done.
Ice with cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate. Fannie says this is even better the next day.

Now, that is a piece of South in your mouth!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I can not let the anniversary of this day go by without a special tribute.
Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Friday, September 07, 2007


A cheese tray is always a nice things to have for your special Parisian fling. This is a fruit and cheese tray with a twist.

Stuffed Pears
3 ripe pears
1 round creamy swiss cheese
1 Tbs cream cheese
1/4 cup pecans
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs sugar

Allow swiss cheese spread and cream cheese to soften at room temperature. Cream together and set aside. In a pan, melt butter and sugar. Stir in chopped pecans, toast lightly. Slice pears, spread each with swiss cheese and sprinkle with nuts.

*if it is going to be awhile before you serve- soak the pear slices in water with lemon juice to prevent browning.

A while back The Winemaker's Wife at Bonfire Vineyards had a contest for naming their wines. I suggested Slow Burn for their new Port... and this is my prize!
I have some pears still in the fridge... I am planning to use my port to poach some pears for a special dessert. Get the camera ready (and some spoons!)

Y'all stay tuned!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Oui~Oui, It was Fifty!

My BFF just celebrated her 50th birthday... A big event in any life! (not that I've been there yet)
She had always said that she wanted to be in Paris for her big day. She is going in a couple of weeks, but in the mean time we thought we'd bring the Eiffel Tower to her.It was a fun event and we managed to pull off the surprise... thanks to a lot of co- conspirators.

As with any good party there was plenty of good food! We had bruschetta, chicken salad croissants, and of course, a spinach dip. A party isn't complete with out the all time favorite spinach dip.

Spinach Dip
1 pkg frozen spinach
1 can water chestnuts
diced red onion
1 container sour cream
1 small block cream cheese
Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 round fresh sourdough bread

Strain the spinach of most liquid, Slice water chestnuts. Combine all ingredients. Hollow the center out of a round of bread- creating a bowl. Serve with pita chips and a cute little spreading knife.

Speaking of birthdays...Y'all pop in to Kari's at Living Large and wish her a Happy Birthday today too!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Moving on up...

Birmingham Alabama is a lot like most large old cities.
Old, empty, and in need. Years ago we all started moving to the burbs... and left behind some beautiful and graceful old ladies of style.

The good news is that these old ladies are getting dressed up once again.

There is a new generation breathing life into the downtown areas. Can you tell this 1920's building used to house the Southern Bell offices?Loft living is becoming the ideal atmosphere for the young and hip.But~Mom doesn't mind when the view is of Police headquarters!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Grilled Pizza

SEC football starts today!
This starts a new season, a new battle.
If you remember, last November, Auburn won bragging right for 365 days. This is the beginning of a new era for Alabama fans... the Saban-Nation!

How 'bout some pizza to eat during the games?

I have a basket of fresh tomatoes from the market, my basil has survived the heat and the drought. Perfect! The secret here is the freshest ingredients.

Margherita Pizza
dough for one pizza
1 small can crushed tomatoes
2 roma tomatoes
bunch of basil leaves
pizza blend grinder
grated mozzarella cheese

Place the dough on a hot grill, cook until set on one side, 3-5 minutes. Flip dough. Smear the crust with tomatoes, top with slices of tomatoes and fresh basil. Sprinkle generously with spices from a pizza grinder. Top with cheese. Close the lid and cook 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and dough is cooked through. Allow to stand a few minutes before slicing.

Y'all enjoy!
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