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.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

K-bobs & Salsa

I promised recipes for some of the things we had on Memorial Day... Promise made~promise kept.

It really was a simple menu~ I was more interested in spending time with friends than spending time in the kitchen. That is my definition of a party! All of this I was able to do ahead of time. Bill manned the grill while I manned the sangria.

Chicken K-bobs
4 boneless chicken breasts
6 small potatoes
2 yellow squash
1 bell pepper
fresh mushrooms
Sage leaves
Slice the chicken breasts into large chunks, and place in a zip-loc bag to marinate. Boil the potatoes for 5-10 minutes until tender. Slice squash and pepper in large chunks. Skewer all of these ingredients onto a skewer. Using the sage leaves around the potatoes. Grill over a low flame 20-25 minutes turning until the chicken is done. (this serves 4- double or triple as needed) Serve with fruit salsa.

Fruit Salsa
1 cup diced honeydew
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 apple diced
8-10 leaves fresh mint, chopped
8-10 leaves fresh basil, chopped
3-5 slices jalapeno, diced
1 tsp vinaigrette dressing
Combine all ingredients. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
I hope you were able to celebrate with friends and family as well. Memorial Day is the beginning of summer~ Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Decoration Day

We had a wonderful Memorial Day Celebration with family and friends. This holiday is a special holiday to remember those who have served our country. It is still known as 'DecorationDay' in the south.
How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our
hero's and she-ro's.
Maya Angelo
In addition to being a great American holiday~ it is the 'official' beginning of summer. What a better way to start the summer off than to have a houseful of friends, a dip in the ice cold pool, burn some citronella candles, and a big cookout.

In the great southern tradition of a cook- out we fired up the grill. These are just some highlights... I'll post recipes as the week goes on.

Chicken K~bobs...

Fruit Salsa~ with jalapenos...

Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Basil...

Orange Cheesecake with raspberry topping...


All of this was simple and basic foods, really no recipes needed. I got the prep done ahead of time~ so when every one arrived we could just enjoy the company. There is something about standing around the grill with Jimmy Buffett in the background (on the ipod of course).

I hope y'all had a fun day too!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Centerpiece of the Month~ May

It is that time again... Time to post our centerpiece of the month. Janelle at Talk of Tomatoes has done a great job of keeping this going.

Our goal every month is to come up with a new time goes by it is getting harder to be original.

Last month there were some really fun ideas. Dhana brought tomatoes and basil into her Fresh Kitchen and made a yummy centerpiece. Sherry at What Did You Eat? show'd what the cow had eaten. Janelle has a second blog Brown Bag Blues and used that alias to post a great centerpiece. I posted with the help of springtime in Alabama.

So just the other day I was sitting outside with a glass of sweet tea after pruning the gardenia bushes. My mind wandered to the centerpiece of the month~ I needed something really good this month. As with most brilliant ideas~ it was right in front of me!

So here it is a jar full of fragrent gardenias and a glass of mint sweet tea.
I hope we get a few new posters for the centerpiece of the month~ we've been lagging a little! Janelle's instructions are simple. I wonder what's on your table?
Y'all get busy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tomato Upsidedown Garden

I had mentioned that I was planning to try growing my tomatoes upside down this year...

It's working so far!

First I cut a hole in the bottom of a bucket. I planted the tomato with the stem going through the bottom of the bucket. I used a coffee filter to keep the dirt from pouring out the bottom. My dad always said to plant tomatoes up to the bottom leaf, so there would be more roots to feed the plant. In this case, I planted them so that only the top leaves poked out the bottom.

I planted some marigolds in the tops of the buckets~ that was so they didn't just look like buckets hanging in my yard (gotta keep the neighbors happy!)
So far so good, they are growing well, I even have some babies. I've got Big Boys, Romas and some cherry tomatoes growing. I've also planted some yellow squash and snap peas. We'll see how much the rabbits and deer leave behind. We don't have a traditional garden like most southerners do. Just lots of pots and things mixed in with my flower beds. The herbs are growing like crazy~ mint, basil, rosemary, and sage.

At this rate, maybe I will have something to share by the end of summer. In the mean time I'm off to Wayne's Market to buy some beautiful tomatoes.
How's your garden growing?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tagged again

Our friend Josh has come out of the HOV Lane long enough to tag me. For those of you who may not know blogger tag is the equivalent of hide and seek. Once you get tagged ~ You're it!

Josh's tag required that I pick up the book closest to me at the time of the tag, announce the book's title and share the content of the 3rd paragraph on page 128. I am embarrassed to admit that just before I got this tag I had just been thumbing through a magazine. So here goes~

I was looking at the May 28 edition of People Magazine. Full of timely scoop. For instance...did you know that Sheryl Crow has recently adopted a 2 week old boy? She is now cancer free and I say more power to her. Of course there were more awful pictures of Brittany Spears, 'Bless her Heart', and poor Paris. Let me say that I didn't buy this People but since it was sitting there I decided to read it... catch up on the news you know.

So that is how I was caught when I got Josh's tag... According to the tag you have to pick up the book closest to you and turn to page 128.
How appropriate~ A recipe!

Watercress & Watermelon Salad

2 cups diced watermelon
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
3 bunches watercress greens
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Honey Orange Vinaigrette
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp chopped mint
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup EVOO
Whisk all ingredients except oils in a small bowl. combine evoo and canola while whisking, slowly pour into orange juice. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
To serve~ In another bowl, combine watermelon, nuts and watercress. Add just enough dressing to coat. Serve topped with cheese.

This was more than just the 3rd paragraph... but a half of a recipe just would have made us all nuts. I've never tried this recipe, but it looks good. When I do make it I will use pecans.

So, now I get to tag 3 others. First, let me tag Barb at A Chelsea Morning - she has recently been through a lot... I'm wondering if she even has time to pick up a book. This may be her chance. Next, let's tag Louise at Beachy's Cape Cod Cupboard who owns a great little shop- and carries WhistleStop products- maybe she's reading a cookbook? Finally, I hope that Shelley who is At Home In Rome will play tag, I'd love to know what she is reading with a glass of wine in Trastevere.

So, what are y'all reading?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Taste of Yellow

Barbara at Winos and Foodies posted her 'A Taste of Yellow' roundup. If you remember, we all posted something yellow in support of LiveStrong Day. There were 148 fantastic entries~ and she did an amazing job of putting them all together.

If you can think of something yellow~these food bloggers used it! Yummy desserts included Lime Mango Sorbet, Lemon cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, Lemon Bars, Banana Cream Pie, Lemon Berry Cream, Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie. I posted my Limoncello Cheesecake. There were lots of breads like Banana Bread, and a Very Corney Cornbread.

Yellow meals included Sole with a Corriander and Carrot Puree, Fresh Lemon Pasta with Mint, Stuffed Yellow Peppers, Asparagus Custard, Asparagus with Blender Hollandaise. An all time southern favorite Macaroni and Cheese. Who wouldn't love a Margarita Style Polenta Pizza, or Swordfish with Mango Salsa.

If all that makes you thirsty have a Sunshine Smoothie.

The one that I'm most excited about is Dandelion Syrup! I'm still not sure what to do with it...but it caught my attention.

The purpose of the Taste of Yellow event was to bring awareness to LifeStrong Day. Most of these posts have a personal story of cancer; the fight and the hope. Take a minute to click a few and visit their blogs. A great southern kudos to Barbara and all of her work!

Thanks y'all,

Thursday, May 17, 2007

They're Here...

Check this out from You Tube...

My hummingbirds are here! They are more skittish than the ones you see here. They will let me sit on the back porch and watch~ I just have to get up earlier.

I read somewhere that we shouldn't use red food coloring in our hummingbird food... We always have added a few drops to our 4:1 water & sugar solution. Which, by the way, is almost the same ratio that some people use for sweet tea around here!

Y'all enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2007


Where are the hummingbirds this year?
I'm ready!

They must be stopped at one of the outlet malls along the way.
Have y'all seen any yet?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Mother's Day Tribute

I have been trying to think of a tribute for Mother's Day~ and remembered the perfect thing. This is the foreword that is in my recent cookbook, Starting Fresh. I can't think of a better way to honor Moms... and all of the women in my life.

A Piece of Cake

This cookbook is a tribute to the wonderful women who have been the ingredients in my life.
My grandmothers, who would be each the butter and the spice.
My own mother, a peach, strong and sweet, who perished much to soon.
My mother-in-law, who having spent her life in the WhistleStop Cafe, is self rising flour.
My sister, who has been both the whisk that keeps me going, and the stable source of my flame.
My delightful daughter (my son too) and my nieces, all the sprinkle, nuts, and topping that have kept my life interesting.
My sisters-in-law who have shared their recipes for life.
My dozens of friends, who have kept my strong shell from cracking.
All in all, life has not been a piece of cake... but still, soo sweet.

For that I am always grateful.

Have a Happy Mother's Day y'all!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

War Eagle!

There are only a handful of days in a person's life that are truly life changing~
Pivotal Moments.
~A time when you step over a bridge to a new beginning.

This week we had one of those moments... so indulge me a minute!

Our niece graduated from Auburn University!

The entire family was there to celebrate her pivotal moment. We are so proud and wish her only the best as she heads home to Boston.

I have been thrilled to be her 'Southern Mom' for 4 years now.
I'm allowed to brag!

War Eagle Y'all!
There's more y'all~ at the end of graduation the president of Auburn University asked for the newly commissioned officers to stand and be recognised. At the time we didn't realize that those young people were actually our good friend, Robert Linthout's, son and girlfriend. We're all proud of you too. War Eagle!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Orange Glazed Salmon

Have you seen the recent reports about the benefits of salmon? This fish is known to be rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which has been proven to be helpful in reducing heart disease and cholesterol. I am just glad to know that something I like is actually on the good food list!

Salmon is our favorite fish. It can be one of the easiest things to prepare for a quick dinner, but also can be fancy enough for company. We enjoy it all the time.

You will find that I have a lot of salmon recipes... I am always trying something new. This is a great citrus-y dish that is light enough for a warm summer evening.
Orange Glazed Salmon
4 salmon steaks
1/2 cup marinade
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbs EVOO
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1 onion, sliced
1 orange, sliced

Place salmon in a combination of marinade and orange juice for 20 minutes. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sprinkle fillets with red pepper flakes, place in the hot pan and sear both sides. Remove from heat. Pour the marinade into the skillet, bring to a boil and cook to reduce to a thickened liquid. Add onions and orange slices and cook in the simmering liquid until onions are tender. Return the fillets to the liquid and cook another 5-10 minutes until the fish is flaky. Serve with rice, using the orange marinade as a sweet glaze.

Y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a very confusing holiday~ that is if you are looking for the reason we Americans celebrate it. The 5th of May does not celebrate Mexican Independence, instead it has to do with the Mexican liberation from the French. Apparently the Americans offered assistance in the Battle of Puebla, using Union soldiers and ammunition (guns that were left after the war of 'Northern Aggression')

So, I can see that in the south we celebrate Cinco de Mayo as the day that those yankees took their guns and left. Ok... that might be a stretch, but~ Anything for a party!

Cinco de Mayo is a time to hang out at your local favorite Mexican restaurant, enjoy some chips & salsa, a frozen margarita, and maybe even dance a little salsa. Bill & I will be with our friends at Margarita Grill right off of I-65... come find us on the patio.

This is my favorite quick and easy recipe for guacamole, from our Starting Fresh cookbook. Serve it with some fresh tortilla chips that have been warmed in the oven, and you might just be able to pretend you are with friends at Margarita Grill.

1 large avocado
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1/4 cup diced onion
1 lime
Drain Rotel tomatoes. Mash ripe avocado with tomatoes, add the juice of 1/2 lime (the other half is for your beverage). Store covered in the fridge, with the seed in the center until ready to be served.

Does anyone recognize where this Cinco de Mayo hot spot is???

Adios Y'all!

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