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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Photo hunt ~Thankful

The photo hunt for this week is 'Thankful'

I have so many things to be thankful for... this is a tough decision. If I am going to narrow it to only one photo. We always feel thankful when we are with friends and family at the beach. There is something about the calming waves that can clear your head and wash away stress. The sun and the sand that can re-energize. I am thankful for all of God's great gifts... this is one of the best.
Y'all enjoy!


Friday, February 27, 2009


We have had so much fun with our new toy. We got a Wii!

We decided that it is a good way to keep a couple of couch potatoes active. My tennis game has really improved. ( sorry for the fuzzy picture... but I am moving really fast!)I suck at golf! Bill is an ace bowler and the Atlanta Braves may be calling any day for his baseball skills.

I promise to post pictures if he ever tries the yoga.
Or maybe not.

Do y'all Wii?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All Tuckered Out!

I wanted to post a few pictures of my dognephew. Don't you know there are some dogs who are just so special. Tucker is one of those. He is a wheaten terrier~ such a fun breed!
He had his 9th birthday party while I was visiting. Cake, ice cream and dancing!
Tucker loves to walk... he will wear you out! I'm not sure who was walking who (whom?).

(This picture is obviously from the summer)There is nothing like a wheaten greetin.

I think we might need to hook up with our bloggy friends Miss Daisy and Crumpet. Don't y'all think?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday... it's all about the Moon Pies and beads.
This is the end of Mardi Gras season in the south~ everywhere I guess. No where is it celebrated like it is on the the gulf coast. NOLA they throw the beads in Mobile they are known for their moon pies... you can hear people calling.

"Throw me sum moon pie!"
In the past I have posted a recipe for a quick and easy King Cake, complete with a baby inside. Tonight we party...
Y'all enjoy~ tomorrow Lent begins!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A visit and kitchen makeover

Most of y'all know, sister lives in Boston~ sometimes!

They have a wonderful house on the South Shore. It is the perfect east coast get away for me and I don't get the chance to visit often enough.
When they bought their home they had visions of renovating the kitchen. Well, the project is finally done, and it is just perfect! These are some before shots~
The sign of the best renovation is when you walk in the door and wonder 'now what is it that is new?'
The cabinets and trim just work.
The floors and countertops are comfortable and functional. I loved the black and white tiles before... but these are so calming. The appliances are softly disguised as more cabinets. Freezers are all tucked into drawers.
The furniture can be used in so many different ways and is comfortable and cozy.
I can't think of a thing that could be improved... except maybe a garbage disposal (heaven forbid!!) I did have to bring in a touch of the south.
Now y'all can visit her blog as well! She has been blogging for a while, but kept it private and people could only visit by invitation. Silly! This will be so much easier for her. I'll put her on my side bar so you can find her. Stop in and say 'hey y'all'.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slow Soupers~ French style

The slow souper's soup of the week is offered by Sharon from California. She says the secret of this delicious soup is to caramelize the onions before adding the broth... adding an extra layer of flavor~ much like a good roux.
French Onion Soup
2 lbs. yellow onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, then sliced thinly crosswise
2 T oil
2 T butter
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf or 2 fresh bay leaves
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
2 tsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ C dry white wine (or red wine)
6 C reduced-sodium beef broth (48 fl oz.)
6 diagonal slices of baguette
½ lb shredded Gruyère (or Comte or Emmental) cheese
2 T finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
Heat butter and oil in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot. Add onions, thyme, bay leaves, sugar and salt. Stirring frequently, cook onions over moderate heat until they are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Add flour and pepper, and stir for 2 minutes.
Add wine and stir for 2 more minutes. Then add broth and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
While soup simmers, preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange bread in 1 layer on a baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove croutons from oven and preheat broiler. Put heat-proof soup bowls in a shallow baking pan.
Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among bowls, then put a crouton in each. Add enough shredded Gruyère to cover crouton, then sprinkle each with Parmigiano-Reggiano (if using). Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.
If you want to make ahead: Soup can be made and refrigerated or frozen (of course, do not add croutons and cheese to soup if making ahead); cool soup completely, uncovered, then refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze. Reheat soup before proceeding with recipe. The only change I made was to add 2T of WhistleStop Marinade to the sliced onions a few minutes before cooking. This was awesome!
I made our soup before heading to Boston... It would sure be warm right about now!

Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Photo Hunt ~Warm

The photo hunt for this week is 'warm'There is nothing like the blast of flames that lift the hot air balloon over Tuscany.
Here's the postcard I sent to my friends on Slow Travel.
Y'all enjoy!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Polishing the Silver

You can see that I have been working since I got to Boston. I had to pull out a quick jig-saw puzzle for yesterday's post. To busy working to blog.

Well, at least, I have been taking pictures of my sister working!

It was time to get out the family silver and get it polished. I'm glad these are at her house not mine. For anyone who might know anything about antique silver~ this was our great grandmother's silver set, probably from the early 1900's. Each piece is marked Barbours.P.Co, Hand Chased, Internationals Co, with a number. We have great memories of our mom using these for family dinners.
And polishing it!

Good thing I'm in charge of the camera.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Get Jiggy

These Jigsaw puzzles are so fun!
Click to Mix and Solve
Y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Road Trip


The kitchen is finished and Aunt Sister gets to help with the decorating!
My sister has been working hard on renovating their house in Boston. Now that the work is done I get to fly in for the fun stuff.
I have packed my long johns.
I'll try to keep up with the daily blogs... we'll see.

Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eat this... not that

Have y'all seen this book? Eat This Not That by David Zinczenko. There are actually several editions.

I recently got the grocery store guide... It is amazing! I have been fooled several times by things I had thought were good food choices.

Since I am posting every frigginday in February, I will let y'all in on some of the secrets.
For instance... If you had to choose between a Reeses Peanut butter Cup or a Butterfinger? The Reese's Cups have less saturated fat, sugar, and less calories. Who knew?
Microwave popcorn?
American's Best is bester than Newmans Own. Pop secret seems to rule the Not That page with it's trans fats.
Salad Dressing?
The Newman's Own Italian mist is better than Ken's Italian mist with it's chemists list of ingredients~ although with a mist of dressing you can't go to wrong. I was distressed to see all of my favorites Newman's balsamic, and Wishbone 'light' Raspberry Vinaigrette are both on the Not That list.
If you have any particular questions, leave a comment... I'll see if I can look it up.

Y'all stay tuned!

Monday, February 16, 2009


I have another new widget on my sidebar.
This one will actually be a widget for ME. I can learn a new Italian word every day. This is awesome... at this rate I will be fluent by May (May 2020 maybe)

Which brings me to 'widgetmania'.
Y'all know exactly what I am talking about. Some bloggers have gone overboard with the widgets~ I'm afraid I am becoming one of them. There are widgets for every little thing, every award you have ever gotten, links to favorites, updated links to updated blogs, recipes lists, food searches, google searches...
What to do??
Somebody stop me!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Slow Soupers~ Potato Soup

I love baked potato soup. In fact I posted on my recipe in 2006~ I notice at the time there was no picture (:-0) and my niece was still trying to help Holly figure out how to work blogger. A lot has happened in 3 years. It is still a favorite potato soup recipe that actually calls for baked potatoes.
This slow soup is a recipe by Anne. She says~ this is a recipe I got at a Weight Watchers meeting years is very easy to make, and can easily be adapted for different tastes.

Baked Potato Soup
Olive oil (to cover bottom of pot)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups chicken broth
1 30 oz. package shredded potatoes (don't get flavored, or cubed; just plain shredded potato)
1 package country gravy mix (I use non-fat)
Salt & pepper to taste
Saute onion, pepper, celery and garlic in olive oil over low-medium heat until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of broth and stir; make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom. Turn up heat until soup is bubbly. Add rest of broth, then add frozen potatoes. (Make sure they aren't all in one clump... I bash them on the counter to break them up before I open the package... picture what you would do to bust up a bag of ice before pouring it into the ice chest).

Make sure you have enough broth. You should be able to stir, and the soup should be somewhat thin at this point. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are soft, you are ready to thicken the soup.
Take 1 cup of hot water, and stir in the gravy mix. Make sure you have WHITE gravy (i.e., country gravy), not brown gravy!. Make sure you don't have any lumps, and stir into the soup. Soup should be bubbly, but not boiling before you add the gravy. Make sure you mix the gravy into the soup well. Turn down to a simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Soup should be very thick now. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The gravy mix has a lot of seasoning in it, so make sure you don't season till after that is in. I also add about 2 tsp. of dried basil. Sometimes I add more garlic powder...just up to the cook!
This is your basic soup. Makes about 10 cups. Without any other additions, it is 1 point per cup, for you WW members out there. You can top it with shredded cheese, bacon bits and chives, or just have it plain.

Variations: Add a can of creamed corn for corn/potato chowder. Add chopped ham for ham/potato soup. Leave out the garlic if you don't like it. Add more if you do! This is a very flexible recipe...I can't wait to see what all of you do with it. Freezes well.

This is a great basic soup recipe. I made mine early, and had a recipe that called for 70 oz of potatoes. I ended up with a huge pot of potato soup. I doctored it up with my rosemary garlic grinder and some red pepper flakes. I served it with a bit of parmesan cheese and some Italian taralli. Everyone at work loved it.

We especially liked that it was right on our 'Scale Back Alabama' path.
Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Photo Hunt ~Nautical

The photo hunt for this week is 'nautical' .This is one of my favorite sights when riding on the north river near Boston.
I'll be there soon.
Y'all enjoy!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Love is in the clouds~

It's Valentines Day
Love is in the air...
or is that in the clouds?
I saw this one day and thought I saw a heart...
What do y'all think?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

and the winner is...

I have put all the names into the hat to draw for our One World One Heart event. We had a total of 54 people leave comments. Thank you so much for stopping by the cafe and I hope y'all will come back again, and again.
The whole idea of this worldwide bloggy event is to visit new blogs and to meet new people. I have traveled around the world, there are some fabulous blogs out there!

Now for our giveaway~
I drew the name out of my new sun hat... The winner is Melissa! She has not one, but two blogs The Land of Foo and Mixing it up in the Land of Foo is her cooking blog. I took a quick peek, and can't wait to spend some time in the land of Foo.

I will put a gift box full of WhistleStop goodies in the mail as soon as I get her address.
Thanks y'all for playing,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Super simple side

I recently posted my recipe for Lemon Caper Chicken and served it with grilled broccoli for a healthy dinner. Lianne asked for my recipe for grilling broccoli. I am almost embarrassed to admit how simple it is.
~And here y'all have been thinking I am some fancy super southern cook. There is nothing difficult about roasting broccoli in the oven.
It is quick and easy and goes with anything!

Grilled Broccoli
2 cups broccoli florets
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt/ garlic salt
Preheat oven to 400°
Toss the broccoli and onions with olive oil to coat. Spread onto a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt. Roast in a hot oven for 10 minutes until caramelized and tender.
Now y'all know my secrets!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2 days left...

Y'all know that I have been taking part in the One World One Heart bloggy event this year, along with 911 other crafty bloggers.

This year I am giving away a box of WhistleStop goodies... A cookbook~ signed by the author:-) A box of WhistleStop Chili mix.
Some Fried Green Tomato batter mix.
An Apple Crisp for dessert.
...and whatever other treats I can find in the warehouse.

My Giveaway was posted on January 19th. For some reason (in spite of a multitude of emails to Lisa) I never made it to the main list... but I am still going to follow the rules.

The winner will be announced on Thursday. I will pull the name out of a hat at noon on Feb 12th. You have until then to post a comment HERE.

Now, I'm off to get my name on some of the other lists.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sweets for the sweetheart

Valentines Day is around the corner. I can't resist making a few sweets for my sweetheart. I know that these homemade cookies are not on the scaleback diet... but I just couldn't resist.
Maybe he'll be able to eat just one.
Or 2 little cookies

Y'all enjoy!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Slow Soupers~ 5 Islands

It is time for another Sunday Slow Souper specialty. This is Sheena's favorite soup, I'm sure it is warm and filling for those cold Canadian evenings. She wasn't sure how it got the name of 5 island chowder... there is enough seafood in it to account for 4.

I served it at our 'Souper Bowl' party last weekend. With roast beef and gorgonzola sandwiches, cheese dip and wings, this soup was just perfect.
5 Island Chowder
Sheena says~This recipe serves 12, and leftovers do not freeze well. Unless you are feeding a crowd either cut the recipe in half, or divide and freeze a portion when you get to the ‘may be prepared ahead to this point and frozen’ bit.
1 cup butter
2 cups chopped onion
4 cups chicken stock or clam juice
2 cups chopped celery
6 carrots – chopped
2 tsp salt (now that we watch our salt intake I greatly reduce or omit salt)
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 lb haddock fillets cut into chunks
4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cans baby clams
1 lb cooked small shrimp (reserve a few shrimp for garnish)
1 lb crab (I sometimes omit the crab unless it is in season (i.e. cheap) or I am making the chowder for a special occasion)

In a large saucepan or soup kettle melt the butter. Add onions and cook over low heat for a few minutes until soft. Stir in stock, celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Add fillets, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
(May be prepared ahead to this point and frozen; thaw and reheat before continuing to next step)

Stir enough of the milk into the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually stir paste into the soup, then stir in remaining milk and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly. Just before serving stir in clams, shrimp and crab, leaving on stove for long enough for these additions to heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning.
The next time I make it I will cut back on the butter for sure and maybe half the recipe! Other than that it was a great and filling soup.

Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Photo Hunt ~Bridge

The photo hunt for this week is 'bridge'
I had to choose from London, Florence, Venice, Rome...
but when you think of bridge, there is only one that comes to mind.Tower Bridge!
Y'all enjoy~


Friday, February 06, 2009

Lemon Caper Chicken

We are still trying to 'scale back'. My scale doesn't seem to be moving very much. I am still trying. As long as the food is yummy...

Here is another great light recipe... good food= satisfaction in my book. With something healthy in front of me I am more likely to keep it up.
Lemon Caper Chicken
4 chicken breasts
10 cloves garlic
3 T olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup chicken broth
1T capers
1 T oregano
Place chicken breasts on top of the garlic cloves. top with olive oil, lemon juice and broth. Cover with capers and oregano. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake until the temp of the chicken reaches 160° -165° .
Serve with rice and some grilled broccoli , a salad on the side and that is healthy eating.

Y'all enjoy!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Go Red!

Just a reminder that tomorrow is Go Red for Women Day. Feb 6 has been chosen as the American Heart Association's day to recognise heart disease in women.

Check out their National Wear Red Day campaign and add your support.
*know your numbers
*eat baked not fried
*choose to move not sit
*be empowered
*show your support by wearing RED
Thanks y'all,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Daily posting in February

My Slow travel friends and I are all posting everyday in February. Thank goodness this is a short month.

There are about 30 of us... more than I will have time to visit everyday. I will try my best.

Now, if I can just find something worth blogging about~

Y'all stay tuned!


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bundle up...

Well, by now I guess y'all have seen the news. Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow... 6 more weeks of winter.

In my neck of the woods we have Birmingham Bill... he saw this shadow too. He lives at the Birmingham Zoo. To tell the truth~ I think this is rigged, because yesterday was a nasty, cloudy, rainy day. The only way a ground hog could have seen a shadow would be with the aid of the bright television lights.

This just goes to show that Reality TV just might be skewed.
Which reminds me~ What is up with the bachelor? He sent home the perfect mommy for Ty. I still want to know when DeAnna is coming back in the picture.
Maybe Phil could predict “most dramatic rose ceremony ever”?

Y'all stay warm!
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