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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin Time

We are ready for our little goblins to visit tonight. This will be the perfect night for a pot of warm soup. A friend sent her favorite pumpkin soup recipe, I will share it with you. It uses canned pumpkin and is quick and easy...which is good. This witch has better things to do tonight than stand over a hot stove, stirring a temperamental soup!

Pumpkin Soup
1 Tbs chopped green onions
2 Tbs butter
1 16oz can Pure Pumpkin
1 cup water
1 Tbs brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 chicken bullion cubes
2 cups cream (whole milk will make a lighter soup)
Salt &Pepper to taste
Sauté onion until tender. Stir in pumpkin, add water, spices, and bullion. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Add cream and heat through... do not boil. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of mint.

Y'all enjoy!

Monday, October 30, 2006


Halloween is one of those holidays that carries wonderful memories. As the kids have grown and moved away, this day has lost a lot of it's fantasy. I still look forward to seeing all the little goblins come to the door for treats, the older kids lurking in the background planning tricks. We are the house on the block that has good candy- hershey's chocolates, super bubble bubble gum, and those sour things that turn your mouth inside out.

'Back in the day' we used to look forward to caramel apples and popcorn balls. I will hold the tradition of dressing like a witch, and having the kids reach in to my pot of goodies..."He-He-He my dearies!"
Y'all have a gooly time!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Up & Running!

We started this bloggin' thing a month ago....I have learned a lot! I have gone from a total computer imbecile to a web surfer- OK, still surfing with swimmies on. Getting my feet wet was the biggest step, I have Robert Linthout our web designer to thank for that little push.

I have learned the most from friends at Slow Travel- a web site that is not only travel related, but a bit of everything, from food to fashion. A site like this shows what a small world we live in, Alabama to Australia, we are all the same. When you get down to the heart of things, we care about family, food, trying new things, and finding comfort in the familiar. We now have a new international counter that can track visitors. It will be fun to watch the flags pop up with friends around the world!

I have also learned some other things in dealing with the Internet...don't search with words like couple or sausage, images will pop up that can make you spew coffee. We really don't want to see our kid's 'My Space'. The html's and url's are really not as intimidating as they seem. (If this entire site disappears tomorrow you will know I goofed!) Words can always be edited, and God invented spell check to make us all feel smarter. I am still wowed by the things I have managed to do...Not uncommon in this quiet house to hear a 'woopie' when something actually works.

I have also learned that there is more to how to keep pictures from being fuzzy, how to be found by the search thingy's, and how to get Bill to start posting!
Bye Y'all,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Daylight Saving Time

This is the biggest misnomer of all time. In the fall this change of the clocks is 'Daylight Wasting Time'. The evenings are getting shorter as it is, and tonight we loose another hour.
We can look forward to driving home from work with headlights on. Kids will be getting off the school buses at dusk. We will be feeling the need to start dinner at 4 in the afternoon. No more hide and seek, or kick the can in the streets- it will be dark so much earlier. How can just one hour make such a difference?
If it would only work the other way, we would be more invigorated to get up at 5 am, with the roosters. I tend to be an early riser anyway; but I'd bet most people won't be getting up an hour earlier to see the sun rise.

Time to turn those clocks back!

By Y'all!


Friday, October 27, 2006

Baked Potato Soup

It is a rainy and nasty day in Alabama! Perfect weather for a big bowl of hearty soup.
This potato soup is great for a Saturday watching football...especially if Friday night you bake potatoes for dinner. Bake 2 extra potatoes and put them in the fridge for the next day.
Baked Potato Soup
2 large baked potatoes
2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
1 can chicken broth
1 1/2 cup milk
salt & ground pepper to taste
4 slices bacon- cooked and crumbled
cheddar cheese, grated
sour cream
Saute onion, celery, and garlic in butter. Add chicken broth and simmer. Chop baked potatoes into chunks, add to pot. (the potatoes will smish down while cooking) Over low heat, add milk. Simmer 10-15 minutes, careful not to boil and burn the milk.
When serving, top with bacon, cheese, or sour cream~ or a little of each!

When I am baking potatoes I usually rub the outsides with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. We like our soup with the potato skins on. If you would rather you could easily skin them.
Enjoy a pot of steamy soup, and Stay Dry!
Bye Y'all

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How 'bout some chowder?

On a cold and rainy day soup is the perfect meal. We love to make a big pot and then have plenty for leftovers. This is a chowder that is quick and easy- and delicious as well! This is a southern chowder that is made with shrimp instead of the traditional New England clams. The best shrimp to use are the small frozen popcorn type shrimp. Keep them on hand in the freezer for another rainy day.

Shrimp Chowder
4 chicken bullion cubes
1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cans creamed style corn
2 cans whole kernel corn
2 12oz cans evaporated milk
1 12oz pkg frozen shrimp (peeled)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup water and bullion in a large pot, bring to a boil. Simmer onion, garlic, and peppers until tender. Add 1 cup water, undrained cans of corn, and milk; bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer over low heat 15 minutes or until well heated. Stir in shrimp. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil and cracked black pepper when serving.

Serve with a hot pan of cornbread for a complete meal. How easy is that?
Y’all enjoy,

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New England in the Fall...

The fall colors have been beautiful this year. I understand that it has to do with the amount of moisture in the leaves, the heat of the sun, the temperatures at night, the amount of wind; basically the glory of God!
I have spent a week in New England, from Providence, Rhode Island to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I ate my way across country~ clam chowder in Providence, wellfleet oysters and lobster in Boston, butternut squash soup, pumpkin soup, and more chowder in New Hampshire.
I think this proves that good home cookin’ is not just a southern thing! There is good eatin’ all over this country.
We took a boat ride in the small boston whaler up (down?) the north river- which is on the south shore of Boston. Go Figure! It was beautiful. It is hard to believe that in another month it will all be covered with a layer of snow. To cold for me!!
I would love a recipe for some good pumpkin soup- anyone have one?
Y’all let me hear!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Off to Boston!

I am off to Boston!. My sister and her family live in a small town on the south shore. She is a southern girl who is learning to bloom in the cold New England weather.
Good home cooking is the same no matter where you are. I love a great pot of chowder-- in fact one of our first stops will have to be Legal Seafood.
There are so many things she is not able to find in the stores. I think it is a hoot that 'southern food' is in the foreign foods section! Grits can be found next to the soy sauce. Mexican, Asian, Southern.
I plan to pack a suitcase with treats from Alabama. The security check point will wonder what-the-heck? I don't dare carry anything on- unlike years ago when I had a small backpack cooler full of cream corn and krispy kreme donuts.
I better start looking for my long-johns! Then I am off to the store for pecans, buffalo rock gingerale, Zatarans shrimp boil, and of course some WhistleStop marinade
Bye Y'all,

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thought for the day

Thought for the day:
If diet food tasted like bacon and biscuits,
We'd all be thinner!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fall is here!

It is beginning to feel like fall. The dogwoods are just beginning to turn red. We have had 80 & 90 degree days up until now. We are ready for some cool temperatures!
Who wants to sit at an Auburn or Alabama football game when it is hot enough to fry an egg?
Bye Y'all !

Monday, October 09, 2006


In an earlier blog I mentioned that our family sold the WhistleStop Cafe and Mom & Dad retired from the resturant business. I found these pictures and thought...who wouldn't rather wash babies?

They had spent years working day after day serving a 'meat and three' menu to hundreds every lunch, and some breakfasts and dinners as well. At home we can all still count on good southern cooking. They stay involved in the business and have been helpful with new cookbooks, and are always with trying out new products. But they now have the time to really appreciate Mary Joan- the newest McMichael.

Life is to short to not enjoy the special moments! It isn't always about the money you make or the success you achieve... Sometimes it is just about living in the moment!

So, If you have a choice between washing dishes or washing babies... babies are so much sweeter!

Bye Y'all!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

It's chili time!

We are finally starting to get some chilly weather here in Alabama. That can only mean one thing- it is chili time! We've been working on a new chili starter...but until we can get that out here is a great chili recipe.

Chili with Chutney
1 pound lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic
2 onions, chopped
3 cans crushed tomatoes
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1 jar Chutney
1 can beer
3 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs oregano

In a large pot brown beef, drain off grease. Add onions and garlic, saute until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes or more.

I love the chutney, it adds a mildly sweet flavor. Most people will never be able to identify it. We, of course, like our chili with grated cheddar cheese and cornbread. M-M-M The perfect meal while watching the ball games.

Bye Y'all !

Fried Green Tomatoes

Who hasn't seen the movie? Fannie Flagg started by writing a novel about the little cafe her great- aunt Bess owned in Irondale, Alabama. The title 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe' made the name known around the world. Many people have never tried frying green tomatoes; they are now being served in fancy restaurants- and hometown cafes alike.

October is the perfect time to pick those tomatoes while they are still green. The first frost is around the corner! The best tomatoes for frying are firm and green, any red spots and they won't do as well. Start by washing and slicing them into 1/4 inch thick slices- about 5 slices per tomato.
Here's our recipe:
Fried Green Tomatoes
3-4 green tomatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
vegetable oil
Mix together flour, cornmeal, salt & pepper. Add enough milk to create a thick batter. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet. Batter each tomato slice, and wipe off excess. Carefully place in hot oil, browning on both sides. (may or may not need turning, depending on the amount of oil) To cool, drain in a colander to keep tomatoes from becoming soggy. Salt to taste.

If you don't want to mix your own ingredients, we developed a batter mix that makes perfect fried green tomatoes every time. Find the batter mix at WhistleStop Cafe website We find that using a hot oil will actually make the tomatoes crispy, but not greasy. We also like to fry other things...try some dill pickle slices while you have the mess out!

Bye Y'all!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

All Aboard..

I am posting under my own image...Not that it, in itself, is any thing to blog about! I , personally like to put a face and a name together. (Which is probably my biggest problem with the world wide web.)

I am excited about meeting all kinds of people in our new Bloggin' Cafe. I hope that we can find other people who are interested in a few new recipes, sharing ideas about cooking, and of course eating!

Our family owned the WhistleStop Cafe in Irondale, Alabama for many years. The McMichael family knows about good cooking...and good eating. Mom & Dad sold the cafe in 2000; it was the only way to get them to retire. (We're still in the food business) After years of serving Sunday dinner to hundreds, Mom now cooks Sunday dinners for our family. We don't always eat fried chicken and fried green tomatoes, but you can usually find lots of veggies; potatoes, greens, squash, and of course mac&cheese.

Good Southern Cookin' is all about family sitting around the table, passing around plates of good food....not that different from the rest of the world. Our macaroni and cheese is thick and gooey, with lots of cheese. Made more like a casserole, and enjoyed on sundays!
Momma Mc's Mac & Cheese
1 8oz pkg macaroni
3 Tbs butter
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until just tender, drain and rinse with cold water. Leave in colander to drain. Combine melted butter milk, salt & pepper in a bowl. Whip eggs into the milk. In a large baking dish, layer half of the noodles, top with grated cheese. Repeat layer of noodles and cheese. Pour milk and eggs over entire casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until set.
There are lots of variations on this basic recipe. Let us hear some of your ideas! The kids love it...and adults do to.

I am going to try to post frequently, with recipes and cooking ideas. We have several cookbooks, and I am always trying something new. I especially like to take a basic recipe and add some spices or herbs to make it different. I hope to hear from you with some new suggestions.

Bye Y'all!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Good Home Cookin'

This is a new adventure for a blogger. We are all about good home cooking, and great food products. We hope to offer a site that has recipes...some old favorites, some new delights.

Our adventure really started when my family bought a small cafe from Fannie Flagg's great-aunt Bess, who later was to be known as Idgie. 20 years later the movie 'Fried Greeen Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe' made our popular diner famous. We were already outgrowing our space when Fannie walked in and introduced herself, saying that she was doing research for a novel. Who would have know where that would lead. Visit our web site at for more history about the cafe, and to see where we are today.

It is fitting that this blog starts on the weekend of the WhistleStop Festival- it is all about small town, good folks, good food, and fried green tomatoes.

Let us know what you think. We will have some new recipes to post soon. My wife Sandi will also be helping with new posts, and lots of chatter.

All A-board~
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