Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baibry's Coffee and Cafe: A Review

On Saturday, while the kids and I were out running errands, I told them I was taking them to a restaurant that they had never been to before. Now, Rincon, Georgia is a relatively small town and there isn't a lot of restaurants there that we haven't tried. My husband and I have eaten at Baibry's Coffee and Cafe quite a few times over the last couple of years and have always enjoyed it. But I have never taken the kids there because I didn't know if they would like it and if they would behave once we got there. But, this weekend, I was in the mood for a chicken wrap and pasta salad. I knew just where to go and thought I would take the kids along for the ride.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

This has become one of my favorite casseroles ever! And, if you use a rotisserie chicken, it's probably one of the quickest and easiest ones to make, too. The only thing this casserole needed was more of it! My husband was left alone with the leftovers and I never saw another bite of it. I miss it already! I made this for a large gathering in December and I've have several requests for the recipe since then. So, be prepared to share. 

The Winners Are...

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. It was a great turnout! I'm looking forward to my next Early Bird Review and hope you'll drop back in to get a sneak peek and sign up for another great giveaway. One little hint on what I'll be reviewing:  Ho, Ho, Ho...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Closing the Book...

It's no secret that I love cookbooks. Reading, reviewing, and recreating recipes has become my second, albeit non-profit, career. But, for a while now, my husband has been encouraging me to close the cookbooks and create my own dishes, the way I do under normal circumstances when I'm not working towards a blog post. He's a staunch and utterly biased supporter of my cooking skills, fully convinced that I can run this blog based solely on my own culinary talents. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cookbook Reflections: "Second Helpings" by Johnnie Gabriel

We imitate and reflect our Creator in that we nourish and comfort and create as He does - we just do it with food.
-Johnnie Gabriel

If you think that the only thing that you can take away from reading a cookbook is a serious craving and a handful of recipes, you would be wrong. I've mentioned before that I consider myself a student of culinary lit. I approach cookbooks like I approach novels - studying the plot, familiarizing myself with the characters, and trying to connect to the writer's voice. I became a fan of Johnnie Gabriel with her first cookbook, Cooking in the South. I've become a student of Johnnie Gabriel with Second Helpings, copyright 2010.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mother Nature is quite the tease. Here we are in February and the weather is in the 70's in Georgia. It makes you think that spring is here, but I know better. We always have a few more cold snaps between now and April. But, to take advantage of this warm weather preview, we're hitting the grill with some boneless chicken breasts and chilling it down with this salad from Goosberry Patch's Mom's Very Best Recipes, copyright 2011. This recipe was submitted by Kathy White of Cato, NY. While I'm a huge fan of couscous, I normally stay away from recipes with "Mediterranean" in the title simply because I don't like black olives or feta cheese which I associate with this region of cooking. But, Kathy was clever, she used black beans to mimic the look of the black olives. Well played, Kathy, well played!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Oyster Roast

About once a year, Eric roasts oysters. His brother, Greg, is a welder by trade and has made the McCallie Family Oyster Roaster. Today was beautiful and uncommonly warm even for the south. So, Eric and his brother thought it would be perfect to roast some oysters and enjoy the early spring thaw. 

China Delight, My Delight: A Review

Over the last year or so, I've come to love Pad Thai. I do realize that Thai food is not the same as Chinese food. But, once I developed a love for the fresh, full flavor of Thai food, it pretty much made Chinese food seem a little ho-hum. We have several Chinese restaurants here in Effingham County, Georgia and I've tried them all. There's a fairly large buffet-style restaurant in Rincon that is always busy, folks packing in to load their plates with fried rice and coconut shrimp. And, my kids are among them, sucking up their lo mein and gnawing on chicken wings. But, I couldn't help but look around me at the seemingly happy diners and wonder, "Why can't I feel the love?"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Simple Supper: Sausage & Potatoes

One day, years ago, I had an idea for a dish. Before that day, my husband and I had enjoyed this dish simply prepared with potatoes and onions baked in the oven. I came up with the brilliant idea of adding a sausage to it, turning a side dish into a meal. Eric seemed hesitant as he can be sometimes when faced with my epiphanies, but I forged ahead and made this dish. He's never regretted it. One evening, my father-in-law visited and I prepared this dish for our dinner. He's never stopped raving about it! I just keep telling him, "It's easy really - sausage, potatoes, and onions." But still, he remembers. So, I humbly present to you this simple supper.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tailgate Bacon Dip

I've found another gem of a Southern cookbook. It's Tammy Algood's The Complete Southern Cookbook, copyright 2010. I've enjoyed reading through it and have found many recipes that I'm planning to prepare and share here with you. I'm also planning to do a complete book review in the near future. Now, I know it's not football season, but dip never goes out of season as far as I'm concerned. This dip is perfect for a picnic, oyster roast, low country boil, or a night of television viewing with the family. Do you really need a reason to make this dip? Come on, people - it's bacon!! And, that's reason enough..

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wit and Wisdom

He's witty! He's wise! He's six years old!

And, yesterday, he made this statement: "When Mommy was little, the dinosaurs were still alive and the grass was very green!"


Sunday, February 13, 2011

On the Outside Listening In: My Reflections on Six Months of Blogging


When I was in the second grade, my school held a dance in the gym during the school day. To attend the dance, you had to bring in a signed permission slip from your parents. From what I remember, every kid in the school attended the dance except for two little girls. And, one of them was me!

The Wow Factor: Shrimp Dauphine

It would be nice to go out to an expensive restaurant for Valentine's dinner but, with two little kids, that's not always possible. So, instead of going out for a fancy dinner, I brought the fancy dinner to my house. No, it's not take-out. It's a recipe from Johnnie Gabriel's Second Helpings, copyright 2010, and I cooked it all by myself channeling Ms. Gabriel's spirit throughout the cooking process. See the little pastry shell up there? I've never baked one of those before but it turned out just fine. Sometimes you have to challenge yourself,
stepping out of your comfort zone, to accomplish the WOW factor. I did and I'm glad. And, I think you should, too.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Romance Ahead: Scalloped Oysters

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, romance is in the air. I've been flipping back and forth between two of my favorite rom-coms on television - 27 Dresses and French Kiss. But, I thought I might need to get off the couch and go to the kitchen to create my own love story. What food is more famous for setting the mood than oysters? So with a little help from Martha Nesbit's Savannah Celebrations, copyright 2010, I cooked this luscious dish that should come with a warning: Caution - Romance Ahead!

Happy Valentine's Day: Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Are you feeling the pressure to bake up some Valentine's Day treats? And, everywhere you look, you're seeing red as in red velvet everything. Although I'm a fan of Red Velvet Cake, Red Velvet Brownies, and Red Velvet Cake Balls, I just didn't want to tackle any of those this weekend. Since I loved the Brownie Crackles I made at Christmas, I thought I would make Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies using a recipe that I adapted from the Duncan Hines web site. Cupid would be proud!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup: A Cure for What Ails You

It's been a long week filled with two sick children and little to no sleep for this old mama. And, even though the kids missed some school this week, they're finally on the mend and have their appetites back. I'm grateful for the weekend and two days of rest. Since their appetites have returned, so have the familiar chants of "What are we going to eat?". So I'm making a family favorite - chicken noodle soup - a definite cure for what ails you. It's simple, basic, and beautiful!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chipped Beef Spread

You don't have to tell me. I already know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Kim, this isn't the most attractive dish you've ever made." I know. But, when I was reading through Martha Nesbit's Savannah Celebrations, copyright 2010, I just kept getting drawn to it. The photograph in her cookbook showed the spread in a pie plate sprinkled with pecans. It was a little more attractive than this, BUT my husband nixed the pecans as soon as he read them in the recipe. Men like meat!!! Don't complicate that with nuts. But, if you can look past the first impression, I think you'll like what you taste.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Review & Giveaway: "Best-Ever Cookies"

To me there's nothing prettier
Than a well-filled cookie jar!
-Elsie Duncan Yale

I have several Gooseberry Patch cookie cookbooks. I must confess that my favorite is Old-Fashioned Country Cookies, copyright 1995. There is something about the complete disorganization of the recipes that I find totally charming: No categories - just cookies - drop, shaped, bar, all living together in complete harmony.

Buttermilk Brownies

Yes, I'm still preaching the virtues of baking brownies from scratch. If you haven't done it before, try it. I know you'll enjoy the outcome! When I found this recipe in Gooseberry Patch's Best-Ever Cookies, copyright 2011, I was immediately attracted to it for several reasons. First, it called for buttermilk which I have never used in brownies, but I had a full carton in the refrigerator and thought this would be the perfect excuse to use it. Second, these brownies are frosted! I don't think I need to explain my excitement for that little fact. Finally, all of the ingredients were already in my pantry and fridge - a huge selling point. This recipe is close to that of Texas Sheet Cake - one of my favorites! So, if you're a fan of that luscious cake, try these brownies. They are wonderful!

White Chocolate Toffee Bites

Years ago, I used to make white chocolate pecan cookies for my husband. It was a long time ago, before the kids came along. He's probably already forgotten about that little treat. But, I'm going to remind him of the good ole days when I give him a plate of these White Chocolate Toffee Bites from Gooseberry Patch's Best-Ever Cookies, copyright 2011. Life is better with toffee bits!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Review & Giveaway: "Mom's Very Best Recipes"

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me,
but I think she enjoyed it.
-Mark Twain

My mom's very best recipe is her potato salad, tangy with mustard, sprinkled with paprika, and at its best when the potatoes are still warm. Everybody loves it! My kids would say my best recipe is seasoned noodles - vermicelli seasoned with olive oil and garlic salt. Fancy...I know! But, they've been eating it since birth and the dish means home to them.

Recipe Snapshot: Yummy Pork Ribs

This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch's Mom's Very Best Recipes, copyright 2011 and is part of an Early Bird Review. Click here to read the complete review.

Recipe Snapshot: Alabama Chicken Casserole

This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch's Mom's Very Best Recipes, copyright 2011 and is part of an Early Bird Review. Click here to read the complete review.

Recipe Snapshot: Flavor Craver Shrimp Dip

This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch's Mom's Very Best Recipes, copyright 2011 and is part of an Early Bird Review. Click here to read the complete review.