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, October 31, 2009

Photo Hunt ~Bags

The photohunt for this week is 'bags'.
How 'bout my favorite shopping bags?I'm not sure what this one says... maybe "she thinks she's hot because she paid 1 euro for this at the coop in Italy"
Happy hunting y'all!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Boo ha-ha!

Happy Halloween y'all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Early in the week, I posted about my adventures with my new BFF~ chalkboard paint. I had to share this cute idea as well. I see lots of uses for these galvanized buckets.
Candy Corn is just the beginning. Suggestions y'all?
I am linking up with Leigh's Thrifty Thursday in Bloggeritaville.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Did someone say chalk?

I finally gave in to the urge to buy some chalkboard paint. Everyone has been talking about painting with chalkboard paint and I just had to see for myself.
How much fun is this??
First I had to make a run to the thrift store... somehow painting other peoples old junk is more fun than painting my own old junk. A silver tray, and look at this cute pizza pan~ Baker's Secret.

It is as easy as 1-2-3. It did take several coats to get the coverage I wanted.
And the end result is so cute. The ideas are endless. I really think Bill could use a wall like this in his office. Until then, I will be happy with my new chalkboard in the kitchen.
I'm linking up to Kimba's 'do it yourself day'~
Y'all enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fresh links~

On my side bar, I have saved my favorite links...not sausage links. These are the bloggers I can always count on for fun and excitement.
One of the advantages of Blogger is that those blogs show with a thumbprint photo (usually the first one in the post) I Love seeing these change day to day! These fancier new blogs don't share a photo... but I have kept some of them as well.

Imagine my joy when over the weekend I found these posts...
More Than Burnt Toast posted a recipe for Nutella Swirled Poundcake~ be still my heart! Imagine a piece of this with a cup of coffee.
Lori Lynn at Taste with The Eyes made a special Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Pomegranates for a big party she hosted.
In the Kayotic Kitchen, Kay posted a recipe and beautiful photos for Tortellini with Mascarpone and Walnuts.

Thanks y'all, for making me smile!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Small Bites~ Pumpkin

Our Small Bite challenge for this week is the pumpkin. Is there anyonething that says 'Fall' like the humble pumpkin? I have listed several pumpkin recipes in this post. So the search was on to come up with something new for a small bite. I was so excited when I found this recipe from the Cooking Light site. I modified it a bit, because that is just the way I am. :-)
Pumpkin & Macadamia Nut Biscotti

3 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cloves
3 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbs butter
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts

Combine the flour sugar, baking powder and spices in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients until it is smooth.
Melt butter in a large skillet, add nuts and toast until lightly browned. Cool and chop coarsely. Knead into the dough.
Roll the dough out into 3 portions, place on a non-stick baking sheet. Slightly flatten the dough rolls so the biscotti will be dunkable. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 300°. Slice the cooled dough with a serrated knife into 1/4 inch slices. Spread out on to the baking sheet and toast another 15 minutes.
Store in an airtight container or share with the neighbors. These biscotti are perfect with a cup of coffee on a chilly fall afternoon.

Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky. Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Olives ~~~

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Photo Hunt~ Tied

The photohunt for this week is 'tied'.
Here I sit in Rome... waiting on my ride to Montisi.
My poppy scarf is tied on my bag... in case we stop by any churches along the way.

Don't forget to join our Escape to Tuscany fan page on Facebook, we'll post lots of photos!

Happy hunting y'all

Friday, October 23, 2009


There is something about the flavor of a snickerdoodle cookie. It just brings warm snuggies and happy smiles. The sweet and the salty mixed with a little cinnamon~ YUM! Traditionally these cookies were made with Crisco... I remember that huge can of crisco my grandma used to have. I don't even have Crisco in my pantry... Do you? This recipe is made with butter, and still tastes just like grandma used to make.
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Cinnamon and sugar for coating
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients. When smooth, cover and place the dough in the fridge to chill.
Preheat oven to 375°. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Then roll the balls into a half and half cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake at 375° degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight cookie jar.
How 'bout a cookie from the cookie jar.
Y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anthropology 101

No... I have not gone on to Medical School.

But I have been studying a little Anthropology 101.

I love Anthropologie... just a stroll around the store and I saw so many things that I had to whip out my camera.

The colors

The patterns

The textures

The whole image!

Forgive my poor photos... but I was trying to be discreet with my phone.

Now I'd better get busy with those knitting needles.

Y'all enjoy!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Presto it's Pesto!

The basil has been overflowing, and now with these chilly nights it is time to pick the last of it. The peppery flavor adds zing to just about any food. This is a pasta salad that is so fresh and yummy~ the pesto can go on anything!

Pesto Pasta
3 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh Italian parsley
3 garlic cloves
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 pound pasta

1 pint cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the pesto, toast pine nuts until lightly browned. Pack basil and parsley leaves with garlic, lemon juice, and pine nuts. Puree, adding olive oil through the top until a smooth paste. Add parmesan and pulse to blend.
Cook the pasta until done, drain. Toss with pesto, half or quarter tomatoes and add. Top with a few toasted pine nuts.
It almost tastes like Tuscany.
We have made an Escape to Tuscany page on Facebook. Be a 'fan' ~ we'll be posting photos.
Buon Appetito y'all!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Small bites ~ Pecans

Do you call them Pee-cans or pee-cOns?

Our small bite ingredient for the week is the pecan. My favorite nutty flavor! It must be the southerner in me. We had pecan trees in Montevallo, and it was easy to fill up a bag with nuts... cracking them is not as easy.

Y'all are truly lucky this week, because I am posting an old family recipe. This is a cookbook my sister made for me more than 30 years ago. These 'sassy tassies' are little bite sized pecan pies, the creme cheese crust is so flaky and there is just the perfect small bite of praline flavoring.
Mom's Sassy Tassies
1 stick butter
3 oz creme cheese
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs karo syrup
1 egg
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cream together the butter, creme cheese and flour until smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or several hours.
In another bowl combine remaining ingredients to make the filling.
Break off 1 inch balls of chilled dough and press into muffin tins (that have been sprayed with non-stick spray) Press down against the bottom and sides evenly. Carefully fill each little pie with filling. The nuts will rise to the top. Bake @ 400° 12-15 minutes.

This recipe makes about 5 dozen and they freeze well. Mom's sassy tassies can be served chilled or try them warmed with a scoop of ice cream. This small bite never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky. Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Pumpkin ~~~

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Photohunt ~free

The photohunt for this week is 'free'.
I wanted to show off a photo editing software that is free.

PhotoScape is an online user friendly software that helps even people like ME edit photos.
and make paintings
and change colorings
and improve on perfection.
Happy hunting y'all,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A thank you and a recipe

We can give KD credit for this post. This recipe is brought to you by a friend who got me my own blow torch for my birthday.
Am I excited or what?

Now I can make a proper crème brûlée. I have been trying this dessert for years and have never actually made one to be proud of. Now, I can create magic! This recipe is a variation of one I found on Food Network.

Crème Brûlée
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups half and half
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs Grand Marnier
fresh raspberries for topping

Preheat the oven to 300°
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and the cinnamon sticks slowly. You want the cream to be very hot but not boiling. The longer the sticks sit in the cream the more flavor it will absorb. In another bowl whisk the egg, yolks and sugar until just combined. Strain the cinnamon sticks out of the cream. Slowly add the hot cream into the eggs while stirring. Add the vanilla and the orange liqueur.

Place the ramekins in a 9x13 baking dish, fill each with custard. Fill the baking dish with water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 35-40 minutes until set. Cool and refrigerate until firm

To serve, sprinkle the tops with 1 Tbs sugar evenly. Heat with a fabulous, fancy-dancy, kitchen blow torch if you are lucky enough to have one. If not . . . place under the broiler and watch closely. Top with fresh raspberries before serving. Y'all enjoy!

I have been featured on FunkyJunk! Donna is fabulous... hop over and check her out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blue me away!

Paula at Half Baked blue me away with this challenge. The challenge is to find 7 blue things that will help to define my world. It was a challenge... but here they are~

My happy blue teapot! The utensil caddy was a find at a garden shop, it was to pretty for dirt!

Second would be my favorite room in the house. I have kept my sunroom blue and yellow... even when blue wasn't so cool.This is a blue sky that is leading to places far away... my idea of fun!

Indigo~ there is no wonder how they came up with the name for one of our favorite condos on the Gulf Coast.
Nothing makes me happier than the blue Alabama sky~ driving around in a VW bug with the top down.
You know you have a food blog when the color of the plate is as important as the cupcake.
Gorgonzola... blue cheese that is creamy and savory. Here in a fondue with pears, apples, cauliflower and bread.
This is my favorite piece of potery from Tuscany... that brings back happy memories.
Again, the challenge is to find seven blue things in your home, life, community, whatever; and give us a little show and tell into your world~ then tag 7 other bloggers.
I can't wait to see your blues! I am passing this on to...
Follow My Bliss with Barb
Char's Ramblin's
Leigh from Bloggeritaville
CindyRuth's Baked Alaska
Good luck Y'all!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Small Bites~ Smoked Salmon

This week's Small Bite challenge is~ Smoked Salmon. I found plenty of sites suggesting liquid smoke to flavor the salmon. Not this Southern Girl!

I started by smoking my salmon on a cedar plank. I got a pretty piece of wild salmon and soaked it in a salt water brine for a couple of hours. To smoke salmon using cedar planks, it is important to soak the planks first in water. Place the salmon in the center of the plank and put on the grill over indirect heat. Cook at 200°(low heat) for about an hour, until the salmon is flakey. For me, these cedar planks give a little to much woodsy flavor for just cooking fish... but it is perfect for smoking. For my 'Small Bite' I turned that smoked slamon into a tasty spread with fresh ingredients and a little bacon. Smoked Salmon Spread
1 (8 ounce) whipped cream cheese, softened
12 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 drops hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill weed
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
Combine all ingredients. Serve on crackers or on slices of cucumbers. Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky.
Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Pecans ~~~
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