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, July 31, 2007

A New Neighbor

We have a new neighbor!

The kind of neighbor that makes you want to visit every day, just to see what's new. We are only 2 miles apart... I could walk if I wanted to.

I visited the other day and found these precious red rubber gloves. I don't know what I will be using them for... not cleaning!

What a fantastic neighbor to have!

Where else could you find such cute things, hot new fashions, chic decorating ideas...
The Target is open!Whoo~Hoo!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

These are the dog days of summer. By the end of the day we are just dog tired. It is to hot to do much of anything but lay around.

If you can't get to the beach, you may as well eat like you are there. This is a quick and light summer meal, when you don't want to heat up the kitchen.

Shrimp & Spinach Pasta
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1# shrimp
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
3 cups fresh spinach
linguine pasta

Make a lemon oil with 1/2 cup olive oil and the zest of one lemon, set aside.
Cook pasta in boiling water with a tablespoon of olive oil. Dice onion, mince garlic, and chop parsley. Clean and stem spinach, chop if large leaves. Remove shrimp shells. In a skillet, add lemon oil, saute onions and garlic. Add shrimp and cook until pink and curled. Add the juice of 1 lemon, parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat. Just as the pasta is done add spinach to the shrimp, allow to cook only until wilted. Combine pasta and shrimp to serve. Top with lemon zest.
Y'all stay cool!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Roosters and more...

I was lucky enough to win a 'blogiversary' prize from Sandy at Dream, Create, and Inspire. It is a painting that she created of a rooster, and I was thrilled to win it! You can see that he matches our kitchen perfectly.

I'm in awe of her work, check out her site for some of her other beautiful paintings. She also teaches art lessons.

I am secretly a frustrated artist (guess it is not such a secret anymore!) I have painted a few things... my daughter has them hanging in her apartment. They are fun bright colors.

Maybe one day I will find the time to take some lessons. I'm going to be an artist when I grow up.

What will y'all be when you grow up?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


My friend Kat who is Just a Beach Kat had the most brilliant post today~ I hope she doesn't mind but I am going to be a copy-Kat.
Xerox is hosting an event called Let's Say Thanks. It is a way for all of us to send a card to the troops who are fighting for us. It is so simple and doesn't cost a penny! Go to Children all over the country have done drawings; just find the one you like and attach it to a card. Xerox takes care of the rest. These cards are sent to the troops who are fighting everyday while we enjoy our freedoms.

Here are some of the messages that have been sent by people just like you and me. You can see that it means so much to the troops.
This is a whole lot easier than sending ducks! I have my rubber duckies ready to go, now I just have to figure out how to get them boxed up. This is on my 'to do' list this week. You would think with a shipping warehouse at WhistleStop this would be the least of my problems.

Ally at Simply Nice has honored me with a Blogger Reflection Award. I'm touched! I am s'posed to tag 6 others... but instead I will say that I am just proud to be in the company of Dot , Mrs Nesbitt , the Real Estate Girl , Jill , Rhoda , and the Beach Kat .

Y'all let the troops know how much we care!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Centerpiece of the Month~ July

In spite of the dry hot weather, the hydrangeas have been beautiful this year. I love the big balls of blue flowers, they can always bring a smile.

So what could be better for a Centerpiece of the Month for the month of July?
Each month we send a picture of what is in the center of our tables to Janelle at Talk of Tomatoes. She does a great job of rounding every one's centerpiece up into one fun post.

In June we saw Glenna use some cherries from her Fridge Full of Food, Laurie always has some vintage things around for a Charming Design. From Yum Sugar we had the cutest vase of green grapes and bright red gerber daisies. Sher shared a special vase full of beautiful flowers. I always look forward to A Spot of Tea ... and Joy's centerpiece. Mish Mash was the most creative with a ice sculpture/bowl and Vegan Visitor had a new use for an egg cup.

Right now... look at the center of your table!
Y'all take a picture and send it to Janelle.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Butter-Rum Peaches

I am down to the last of the peaches (do I hear a hallelujah?)

They have been great; especially since they were fresh peaches a friend's son just brought to me. I have made peach salsa, peaches &pork chops, peach cobbler, and a prosciutto &peach pizza. Someone suggested that I either start some blender sports or add alcohol... so this last peach recipe is for you my 'anonymous' friend!

Butter-Rum Peaches
1/2 stick butter
5 Tbs brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbs rum
5-6 small peaches
In a skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and stir until smooth. Stir in cinnamon sticks and vanilla. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce is thickened. Add rum (a rum flavoring would do) and sliced peaches. Continue to simmer until peaches are soft. Serve over a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for a quick and tasty treat.

This is a peachylicious dessert that will be perfect for a family night or a fancy dinner. Everyone will be licking the bowl. If you don't have friends bringing you fresh peaches, frozen will work as well.

Y'all give it a try!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Peaches and Pizza

Are you tired of peaches yet? Hang with me~ I'm not done yet!

I've been thinking pizza. If a Hawaiian pizza is ham and pineapple; what would a pizza covered with peaches and prosciutto be... and Italian pizza? I wouldn't dare go there, after all Italy is known for it's pizza.

We'll just call this pizza Southern I-talian.

Peach &Prosciutto Pizza

1 pizza dough
6-8 slices prosciutto
2 peaches sliced
1/2 cup mozzarella
fresh rosemary
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Make your pizza crust, spreading the dough very thin. Brush the dough with oil, sprinkle generously with rosemary, salt and pepper. Top with slices of peaches and prosciutto cut into thin slices. Cover the top with a good mozzarella. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° 10-20 minutes- depending on the thickness of your crust.

When we make pizza at home~ which we do a lot~ the effort goes into the dough. I have been known to 'dress up' frozen pizzas, or to make my own dough. Mostly, I like to buy the dough pre-made in the bakery department; it is ready to roll out onto a pizza stone. It saves so much time and mess. You can also get pre-made crusts like these from Hormel. I prefer the dough in the bakery. Either way no fuss, no muss.

So if you have a bunch of peaches~ try a prosciutto and peach pizza. If I can't be in Italy... I can at least eat like an I-talian.

Ciao y'all,

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gimme Some Sugar

Ilva at Lucullian Delights asked us all to show her our kitchens, I did a while back in Heart of Our Home. That blogger roundup was a lot of fun, and there was a huge turnout. Now she is playing show and tell again and is hosting a Show Us Your Apron event.

This is the best chance to show off our WhistleStop Aprons. Aren't they fun? We have several sayings...'The Secret's in the Sauce', 'A pinch o dis~ a pinch o dat', and 'Gimme Some Sugar'.

'Gimmie some sugar' is perfect to wear while I turn my pile of peaches into a yummy peach cobbler. I actually used our cobbler batter mix, because it is so quick and easy. I don't think you can make it any better... but I'll post a recipe in case you want to do it the 'hard' way.

Peach Cobbler
4 cups sliced peaches
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup self rising flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Slice peaches, put in a 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with half the sugar and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar, mixing until smooth. Stir in egg, then add self rising flour. Add vanilla. Spoon batter onto peaches. Bake @350° 30-35 minutes.

You have to serve it warm, with a scoop of Mayfield vanilla ice cream.
Y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Peaches and Herb

More Peaches! Here is our version of Peaches and Herb...

Peachy Pork Chops
4 pork chops
4 slices pineapple
4 peaches
1/2 cup marinade
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbs rosemary
1 cup crushed pineapple
diced peaches
Combine marinade and honey. Place pork chops in zip-loc bag with marinade and allow to sit for about an hour. Pour the marinade into a small sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add rosemary, pineapple, peaches, and spices. Reduce to a thickend sauce. Pre-heat grill to high heat. Cook chops on high heat for 1-2 minutes, turn and reduce heat to continue cooking until done. Place pineapple and peaches on the grate to lightly grill. Serve each grilled pork chop atop a slice of grilled pineapple & peach, cover with peach sauce.
You youngsters may have not even followed my title...

Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

That's just Peachy!

Chilton County is known for it's peach crop, peach festival, and giant peach tower. The peaches have been extra sweet this year. The drought kept them from getting big and juicy~ instead this season they are smaller than usual, but oh so sweet!

A friend's son brought us some fresh picked peaches last week. Actually, he said they just backed the truck up and filled up the bed with peaches~ that is a lot of peaches!

I have been trying to come up with a million ways to use these little peaches before they go bad. Of course peach cobbler, and peaches with pork chops... How 'bout some peach salsa?
Quick and easy style~

Peach Salsa
1 jar store bought salsa
1 cup diced peaches
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Dice peaches, combine with a fresh salsa. Add extra fresh cilantro to taste.
Serve with chips

This might even go well with a peach margarita... I may need to give that a try next!
Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Restaurant MeMe

Jill at Who Could Ask For Anything More passed on a tag for an
Oh-so-Delish restaurant meme.
Here are the rules:
*Link to the name of the person that tagged you
*Include state and country you live in
*List top 5 favorite local restaurants
*Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged
This is a piece of cake for me... If I know anything, we know local restaurants! There are a lot of great restaurants in the Birmingham area. Like most cities, more and more restaurants are chains that move into town~ all very good and very successful. So, rather than highlight the Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris, and PF Changs... I am going to list our favorite locally owned places.

I have posted before on our favorite local hang-out. Margarita Grill is the place to go for great mesquite grilled food and a fun atmosphere. Their steaks are wonderful, I like the grilled chicken k-bobs, and of course they do tacos of every kind. The guacamole is almost as good as mine, and the cheese dip is the best. Mention to Javier and Rodrigo that Sandi & Bill sent you... guaranteed free chips and salsa! To get to the grill~ it is off I-65 at hwy 119, the Oak Mountain State Park exit. We'll meet you on the patio!

The Fish Market is a local favorite. It is known as the best inexpensive fresh seafood in town. We are never disappointed. The 'old' fish market was in a cramped building near UAB; they have since moved around the corner to a huge renovated warehouse on 21st st south. There is also a location in Calera on Hwy 31. Both have been decorated with wonderful photos of George and many of the locals in Greece, huge pots and urns, and Greek olive oils. You have to make a trip into the girls bathroom at the downtown location... to see the cool fountain. With enough sweet tea that won't be a problem.

If you like Thai food Surin West in 5 Points South is the place to go. It is in the heart of old Birmingham on 11th street south. The decor is funky Thai, bright colors, wonderful artwork. My favorite is the spicy beef salad.... make sure you have extra water on hand! Bill likes the Masaman Chicken, and the basil rolls. They have a great fresh sushi bar, with plenty of wasabi to clear the sinuses.
O'Carrs Deli is a local bakery/deli that is the hot spot at lunchtime. The original location is in Homewood, and is well worth the wait. The tiny restaurant packs in carpool moms and suits alike, everyone shares cozy seating. Sandwiches and a soup of the day are always on the menu. My favorite has to be the chicken salad and fruit plate, a large serving of yummy chicken salad piled with a selection of fruit from strawberries to star fruit. Save room because you will want to top it off with a piece of warm cheesecake and a cup of coffee. Their slogan is Eat By Color~ easy to do with a menu so full of fruits and veggies.

The Irondale Cafe is the same cafe that our family owned for 30 years. It is still known as the WhistleStop Cafe and sits on the train tracks in Irondale. Jim, the new owner, has changed things some; but still serves the famous fried green tomatoes and fried chicken. If you are looking for a taste of the south this is the place to go. While you are there, pick up some of our batter mixes- you can make you own authentic fried green tomatoes at home.

Bill has got one more to add~ and as co-contributor to this blog I'll allow him to bend the 5 restaurant rule.

Mr P's Deli is off Shades Crest the Bluff Park area. It is not only a great little sandwich deli but a fantastic butcher shop. If you are in the market for fresh Italian sausages or a unique butcher cut of meat Pilleteri's is the place to go. They serve more than 50 types of sandwiches and burgers, and have a grocery market with lots of Alabama products. Get a bottle of wine and a couple of steaks to go!
What a fun post! I am selfishly going to pass this on to friends in areas I'm likely to visit.We are always looking for great restaurants.


Just A Beach Kat in Paradise

Show Me State Of Mind in Montgomery

Where else but the cape~Beachy's Cape Cod Cupboard

Flip Flop Floozie in Savannah

I'd like to see Southern Hospitality also in Birmingham.

Where do y'all eat?


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

S'more fireworks please.

When is the last time you had an ooey, gooey, smore?

It isn't good unless you are licking chocolate off your fingers. Hope y'all have a finger- licking 4th of July!


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Low Country Boil

For years we have gone to the gulf coast for the 4th of July. We rented condo's for the week and had a big time. This year we are staying closer to home, and the rest of the family is spread around the world. I am having a hard time~ wishing we were flying kites on the beach!

One of the favorite things to do while at the beach is have a Low Country Boil. This is more a process than a recipe. It is so simple to do and can feed 4 or 14~ just add more goodies! Here's the scoop~

Low Country Boil
2# large shrimp
4 ears corn, shucked
4-8 small potatoes
1# sausage
1 package shrimp boil

In the largest pot you have boil 2-3 cups water, add shrimp boil in the package. In the bottom of the pot place sausage cut into ~2inch pieces. Add whole potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender. Break each ear of corn in half, layer in pot on top of the potatoes. Cook 10 minutes until corn is tender. Top with shrimp, cover and cook 5 minutes until shrimp is pink and curled. When ready to serve, scoop out some of everything onto each plate or pour out onto a table covered with newspapers. Serve with french bread and plenty of cocktail sauce.

As with most American holidays~ the 4th of July is about family, friends, and good food. I hope you are planning a fun day!

Y'all enjoy!

Monday, July 02, 2007

A special day~

'Grow old along with me... the best is yet to be.'

Happy Anniversary!

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