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, April 30, 2009


Who doesn't love new blog sites?
For all of us foodies who need a little inspiration now and then.... this is PhotoGrazing A foodie-blog-photo-sharing site. We have all heard about Serious Eats~ well this is their serious photo link!
It is a site you can spend hours grazing through.
Just what y'all need!
You can also see that I am now sporting a new Blogher add on my sidebar. I hope it is not to obtrusive. They actually approached me~ you know I am a sucker for a compliment!
Y'all enjoy~

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

We are coming into strawberry season. The perfect compliment to the sweetness of strawberries is the tartness of rhubarb.

These stalks may look like celery, but they cook down to a tart and tangy sauce. Spring time is the best time to find some fresh rhubarb at the market.

I needed a quick and easy dessert for friends who were dropping in for dinner and dominos. This whipped up in just a few minutes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
6-8 stalks rhubarb
1 pint strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch

Slice the rhubarb into 1 inch chunks, slice the strawberries in half. Melt the sugar with the rhubarb over low heat. Add cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add strawberries to blend. Pour into a 8x8 baking dish. Top with cobbler mix. Bake at 350° till the top is crispy. Serve with a scoop of ice cream.
If you don't have any cobbler mix (I know how to get it to you!) you could try this recipe for a rhubarb crumble.
Served with a scoop of frozen vanilla yogurt, this makes a quick and easy dessert!

Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Little bugger~

Remember those beautiful hostas I moved the other day? Well, I went out to water them and look...
What the?????

Some little bugger decided that they looked too yummy to pass up. I guess they heard we were sampling salads on Sunday.
Well, now they will also know that Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner~ because I have sprinkled them with cayenne pepper.
Do y'all think it will work?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spice it up a bit

These are pecans that I usually make at Christmas time, but I needed a batch for my salad yesterday.
They are quick and easy to whip up, and last a long time. I keep mine in a zip loc bag in the freezer.

Sweet and Spicy Pecans
2 Tbs karo syrup
1 Tbs sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss in pecan halves and allow to sit. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake @ 325 for 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
These pecans have just a kick of spice and are good on ice cream, salads, or by the handful!
Y'all enjoy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Slow Series

Springtime is here and we are ready to start a new series of Sunday Slow Cookers.
In the past we have done Scoops, Baking, and Soups... Now we are going to start a series of Salads!
Welcome the Sunday Salad Samplers.
Eden's blog is Wanderings and Wonderings, and she is kicking us off with a great springtime salad. She has called this the Palma and Jerry salad~ based on their creation with blood oranges. It is a great fresh salad. Here is Eden's 'recipe'.
"I did not have any recipes, so here goes what came to my mind -
Some greens - use your favorite or a a combination of favorite greens
Blood Oranges - at least two or three if they are small
Berries - I used yellow and red raspberries when available
Dried Cranberries - because I had some and love them
Crumbled cheese - like Feta
Roasted candied pecans
Croutons, if you wish
Eden's really simple put together method:
(I found out that slicing the blood oranges and then peeling them with a knife going around the circumference of the slice was much easier than peeling and segmenting them. This will take the most time, so start with preparing the blood oranges.)
On your salad plate or your serving bowl, start with a bed of greens. Continue by assembling the ingredients on top.
Just before serving, you can add the cheese and your favorite salad dressing. I had croutons on the side but no one used them. "

I left off the dried cranberries and added my spiced pecans (come back tomorrow for that recipe). The produce manager at Piggly Wiggly thought I was joking about the blood oranges... so I had to go to 'Whole Funds' for those. I think you could substitute with regular oranges~ but the burgandy oranges are so pretty!
I am excited about the salads every Sunday... maybe I can get off a few of these pounds from all that good baking and cream soups.

Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Photo Hunt ~ Protect

The photo hunt for the week is 'protect(ion)' .
That could be a lot of things...But I finally settled on my wellies and matching brolly.
They protect me from the rain in London!
Happy hunting y'all!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day '09

Happy Earth Day~
We spent the weekend playing in the dirt... the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.

I moved some hostas
While Bill moved some trees.
Even the ladybugs enjoyed the spring time weather.

All is good on God's green earth!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday Slow Soupers

I have posted many times about the 'web' friends I have made through Slow Travel. We are folks from all over, with common interests and a zest for life. Apparently we also have a zest for food! We have posted ice cream recipes as the Sunday Slow Scoopers and baking recipes as the Sunday Slow Bakers.

Last November we decided to become the Sunday Slow Soupers (do you see the pattern here?) We each took a week and posted our favorite soup. All of the soups are listed on my side bar... under the title 'soups on!' It is like a handy cookbook to have all the recipes right there~ I rely on it myself.

Each soup was wonderful... Bill is admittedly not a soup eater and gave up months ago. I have enjoyed all of them. There was quite a variety~ from Gumbo to curry soup. If anything, I have realized that making a fresh homemade soup doesn't have to be that hard. The fresh ingredients really make a difference.

Now that we have worked our way around the world with soups, we are moving on... Drinks? Desserts?? Diets???

Y'all will have to come back next Sunday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The final bowl~

Most of you know that a group of friends from Slow Travel have become known across the web as the Sunday Slow Soupers. We have been posting soup recipes for 22 weeks now. This is our final bowl.

This is Ida's choice~ here is her recipe.
Cream of Artichoke Soup

3 Tbs butter
4Tbs minced shallots
1 1/2 Tbs flour
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 cans artichokes (drained)
1 cup half & half
Melt butter in a skillet over med heat, allowing to brown just lightly. Add shallots and saute briefly till softened. Stir in flour and cook 2-3 min.
Heat stock in a 2qt saucepan. Add flour mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 3-5 min.
Puree artichokes in a food processor. Add thickened chicken stock and half &half. Blend about 30 seconds.
Season with salt & pepper. Serve hot or cold. I serve it hot.
Can be made ahead and refrigerated.
I have had artichoke soup many times, but had never thought to make it myself. It can't get any easier than this! Canned artichokes and cream with a few shallots and broth. The soup was yummy but it did have a flavor of canned artichokes... next time I will grab a bag of frozen artichokes instead.

We had it with a pizza margherita. It won't be long now, and we'll be having a meal like this at the villa in Montisi!!
I will post a round up of all the Sunday Slow Soups tomorrow.

Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Photo Hunt ~ Purple

The photo hunt for this week is 'purple'.
Lula is my good luck travel fairy~ she has made several trips with me.
Across the pond to London
Over the mountain and through the woods to Savannah
To the Beach
To my bella Italy
She is always on the lookout for the travelocity gnome.
Happy hunting y'all!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

More egg salad

Before Easter I died some Easter eggs and posted about my favorite easy egg salad...

Someone suggested I try olives in my egg salad. Hmmmm~ I thought about it. Then I did just that. Actually I used a couple of tablespoons of my favorite olive tapenade from Costco. It was fabulous!
If you haven't tried this tapenade, it is good on bruschetta and pizza. Now we can add egg salad to that list.

Y'all try it!
Barbara reminded me that I didn't include any kind of recipe... what kind of cooking blog is this???
3 hard boiled eggs
2 Tbs diced olives (I used the tapenade)
1 Tbs mayo
Dice the peeled eggs and stir in the olives. Add enough mayo to bring it to the right consistency. Salt and Pepper if you'd like. My tapenade is mixed olives and olive oil~ so I didn't need any.
Thanks for keeping me straight!
This post was featured on Photograzing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How 'bout some sweet tea?

I know y'all have heard about the wide spread TEA Party that is going on today. I don't know about you, but we think we Taxed Enough Already!

So, come join us for a glass of southern sweet tea~ you always get more with a little suga'! We didn't get to go to the local tea party. We are to busy working to pay our taxes.

Y'all join us anyway!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Burris Market

If you have driven down hwy 59 to Gulf Shores in the last several years you have been right past Burris' Market in Loxley. They are one of our favorite WhistleStop markets, so we stopped by on our way to the beach last month.
Loxley is the home of the Strawberry Festival in April. This small town festival is complete with a Little Miss Strawberry and lots of fun and games. Burris has a huge blow up strawberry in the parking lot, so you will know where the market is.

Our friends at Burris Market are carrying all of our WhistleStop Products, so this would be the perfect place to stock up on your batter mixes and marinade. You can even pick up some seafood batter mix to make your own crab claws at the beach. They carry our cookbooks too, so you can pick up a Mother's day gift. While you're at it... try a bowl of their cobbler and ice cream. It was worth the splurge!
Y'all enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Springtime Bouquet

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter.

Ours was fun with the nieces and nephew hunting easter eggs. Don't get between a McMichael and their chocolate Easter eggs.
I brought a bouquet of springtime flowers.

It isn't as beautiful as one that we could have picked from the garden.

~but it sure was sweet!

Happy springtime y'all~

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Slow Suppe

This week's soup recipe is from Kathy... she has a lot of experience with Gulaschsuppe from her trips with European Experiences. Kathy and Charley take small groups on tours through Provence and southern Germany. She would know her gulashsuppe!
She says that she has made the soup a couple of times from different recipes, and this one seems to be the best starting place. She says she found the recipe in The New German Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Hedy Wurz.
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into bite-sized cubes (a little more doesn't hurt)
3 tablespoons butter
2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet rose paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups cold water
2 cups rich beef broth (homemade or canned)
2 medium-size potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Brown the beef in two tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy kettle over high heat. Transfer the beef to a bowl using a slotted spoon.- Add the rest of the butter to the kettle, then the onions (and green pepper if added), and saute for about five minutes. Add the garlic near the end. - Return the beef to the kettle, add the paprika and thyme, and cook together over moderate heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. - Add the water and broth, bring to a boil, adjust the heat to simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes.- Add the potatoes. Re-cover and simmer 45 minutes longer, until beef and potatoes are tender. Stir in the tomato paste, salt and pepper, heat through, and adjust the seasonings if neeeded.

Hungarian sweet paprika is different from the smokey paprika we usually find. It is the secret to making a real yummy gulash.

I lived in Germany for several years back in the 80's and love a good bowl of thick stew. I served it with a toasted kaiser roll on the side~ Es schmeckt gut!
Guten Appetit y'all,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Photo Hunt ~ Triangle

The photo hunt for this week is 'triangle'.
You say that is not a triangle... but this is!
Happy Hunting Y'all!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter Egg Salad

Who doesn't know how to make egg salad? This is hard to mess up...but I guess it has been done. Egg salad is something I don't even think about until Easter comes around. Then I get a craving 'flung' on me. It is the perfect solution to those leftover colored eggs.
When using colored eggs, the whites can be 'tinted'. This doesn't affect the eggs at all and adds a bit of excitement to a boring egg salad.
To make eggs salad I use...
6 hard boiled eggs
3 Tbs mayo
1 Tbs spicy mustard
1 Tbs pickle relish
2 green onions, sliced
Smish and smash to the desired consistency. Salt and Pepper to taste.

When I was pregnant... many, many moons ago~ egg salad on an avocado accounted for at least 30 of those pounds I gained.
It is still just as yummy!
Happy Easter y'all!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Is it a bunny or a bug?

Some people buy costumes for their children or their pets.
I couldn't resist this~
So is this a bunny or a bug?
Happy Easter y'all!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hot and Sour Sunday Slow Soupers

The soup of the week is Annie's Hot and Sour soup. This is always a favorite of mine when we order takee-outee... so I was excited to give it a try.
Here is Annie's recipe~

Hot and Sour Soup
Two 13-3/4 ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
Three slices of fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons tamari or dark soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil (more or less)
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup bamboo shoots
1/2 cup of firm tofu, diced into small squares
one egg lightly beaten
1 or 2 scallions, including greens, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Bring the chicken stock and the fresh ginger root to a slow boil for two or three minutes.
Remove the ginger slices and discard. Turn the heat down slightly.
Add the rest of the liquid ingredients, the sugar, and the white pepper. Simmer for about five minutes and then taste to make sure it’s hot and/or sour enough. Adjust as needed.
Add the bamboo shoots and the tofu. Stir gently.
Bring the soup to a slow boil again and quickly add in the lightly beaten egg while stirring. Remove the pot from the heat immediately and continue to stir to break up the egg pieces. Garnish and Serve.
Other things I might add:
Fresh baby spinach leaves or other green leafy thing
Sliced mushrooms
Water chestnuts
A can of stir-fry vegetables with baby corn
Mung bean sprouts
Snow pea pods
Let me say that Bill has been a good sport through all of these soups. But a man has to draw a line somewhere. Tofu, raw eggs and vinegar?
You've gottobekiddinme!
I offered a fresh spring roll on the side~ but even with that, there was no way he was even trying this one. I thought it was great, lots of flavor and as good as any chinese restaurant.

When I cracked my egg look what I found... Twins! I had to google it, and found a lot of interesting facts about odd eggs.

See~ one more reason Bill wasn't touching this soup.
Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Photo hunt ~ Stripes

The photo hunt for this week is 'stripes' .

I hunted and hunted, and finally decided on
Duomo di Orvieto with it's stripes of black and white marble and golden mosaics. It is one of Italy's most fabulous cathedrals.

Happy Hunting Y'all!


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