Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Ribs

We really love the "minor" holidays - you know the ones you get off work for but no one really expects you to travel? The first Memorial Day we lived in Jackson all our friends who moved here at the same time we did for pharmacy school had just left, and we couldn't find anyone to come celebrate the day with us. Nevertheless we decided just to grill out ribs on our own. It was hot and fabulous! And we fell in love with our patio.

We had no clue how to cook ribs on the grill so we called Net for advice (always) and then went to Kroger. We were looking lost on the BBQ aisle and a man comes us to us and says: You know a black man knows how to B-B-Q, here's what you do:

Five hours before grilling, rub in: lemon juice, pepper, Tony's, salt, garlic powder, Worcestershire, rendezvous seasoning

Wrap baby back ribs in heavy foil and put in fridge.

Right before grilling re-rub in previous seasonings

Grill over charcoal two hours in foil when meat pulls away from bone take out of foil and grill 20 minutes. Baste at 20 minutes and 10 minutes in Neely's BBQ sauce.

We've done exactly that ever since on Memorial Day. Here's some other great grilling recipes for a hot day. Have a great weekend!

Another great recipe: Pepper Nachos on the Grill

Image from:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Senatobia for a Vote

Senatobia is collecting signatures for a petition to allow for an alcohol vote. My uncle is spokesman for the group "Senatobia for a Vote" and was interviewed by WMCTV in Memphis. I think he did a great job!

Dry Mississippi town pushes for alcohol vote

I really hope this at least comes to a vote. It's ridiculously that Hernando and Como are getting so many dollars that should be staying in the city. Not that I want a liquor store on every corner but I'd love to have a good meal and glass of wine on Main Street. It has long been said that the "Baptists and bootleggers" will keep this from ever passing. The last time we voted on this I was a junior or senior at Ole Miss and I wrote my final feature story on the issue. If I can find it, I'll share it on here!

The "I'm Feeling Richer Effect"

Have you seen this commercial?

Doc (someone finally read my blog last night and said not to use his name!) says this is what happens to me when I drive his car. I drove it Monday to work to take some tires to the shop, and while waiting on said tires, did a little shopping!

My mom loves to give us a hard time about our "Sunday car" and says we are like "old people" because we usually just drive it to church, on long road trips or to carry big loads.

For some reason, Cornish game hens aren't much fun to buy in a 13 year old Honda Accord.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grillin' Time

Just about every Saturday morning the Williams-Sanoma here offers a free cooking demonstration and last weekend Net and I took advantage. It was fabulous.

Menu: grilled flank steak with a grilled salad with feta and a lime vinaigrette dressing. And bagettes.

I was so eager to try it at home, I made the meal the next night for our supper and Ryan was very impressed. I made a few subsitutions: You can't find skirt steak in this area so I used flank steak (look for one with marble in it). I think it was $12 at Kroger and would feed 4 to 6 easily. I cooked it on my Lodge cast iron grill pan about 6 to 7 minutes per side.

When it's finished you pour on 2 T belted butter, 2 gloves peeled garlic and 3 spings of fresh thyme. Melt all this in a small sauce pan while the meat is cooking and baste meat occasionally. After the meat is cooked (we cooke to med-well at 165 degrees) let it "rest" for 10 minutes before you slice - this is very important or only the first slice will have juice. Next time we're going to cook it on the grill outside and I think it will cook a little faster and be more tender.

On Monday for lunch we still had boiled shrimp and romaine lettuce leftoves and so we just whipped up this little lunch:

I felt like I should get to go sit on the beach with a good book after such a great meal and not go back to work! But back to work I went.

For the lettuce: Heat grill pan to medium-hot heat. Cut romaine hearts lengthwise  and grill about 20 seconds until slightly charred. Transfer to plate and cover with any kind of crumbling cheese (feta, cotija cheese, blue cheese, etc).

For the lime vinaigrette: Juice 3 limes plus zest of 1 lime. Whisk together the lime juice, zest, 3 T fresh orange juice, 1/4 c chopped cilantro, 1 chopped garlic clove and pinch of sugar. Gradually whisk in 3/4 cup of EVOO and season with salt and pepper. (I'm about out of olive oil so I did about 1/4 cup EVOO and 1/2 cup canola oil - that's what many restaurants do to make olive oil stretch faster).

To grill baguetts drizzle with olive oil and rub peeled garlic over bread. Grill and set aside.

*Let me take a second to brag on Jackson - the lady who gave the cooking demo at Williams-Sanoma said our store was the only one in the country who did the cooking demos on Saturdays instead of Sundays since the store managment had quickly discovered there wasn't a big enough of a Sunday crowd since nearly everyone goes to church.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Net

Happy Birthday to Net! Net came to Jackson on Friday and we had a birthday celebration that evening and then "played" all weekend. We went to a cooking demonstration at William Sanoma, ran errands and visited with friends on both the front porch and back patio. And had a birthday party with Laura and Thomas. Hurry back, Net!

After we sang "Happy Birthday," Thomas remarked that he remembered Net saying after some other birthday singing that none of us could carry a tune. I will spare you the video of us serenading her with our off-key voices (we were missing our musically-talented cousins)! Net cooked an amazing meal for us to eat - boiled shrimp, a stir-fry and new potatoes from Tate County.

I re-purposed this centerpiece from the Junior League Luncheon last week. It's a plastic drip tray with florist foam. The flowers are arranged in a heart (about 2 inch stems) and moss is arranged around it to hide the tray. Some people are so clever!

For the cake, I made a recipe that was in the latest issue of Mississippi Magazine. It's an Ombre Cake and was really a "piece of cake" to make but looked fancy. Basically, you make two white cake mixes (the recipe said to add 1/2 teaspoon of almond flavoring to each mix but I left this out since I didn't have any) and then a buttercream frosting.

As you divided the cake mixes into four separate pans add varying amounts of food coloring. Next time, I will be more precise in measuring out the layers.

For buttercream frosting: (1 c shortening,1/4 t salt, 1 t butter flavoring, 1/4 t almond extract (I subbed vanilla extract), 1/2 c water and 32 oz bag confectioners' sugar). Beat shortening until light and fluffy. Combine flavorings and water. Add sugar and water alternately. Beat until combined. Use an "L" shaped icing knife to make the icing smooth.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Katelyn's Recital

Katelyn had her very first ballet recital today. It was precious. She did wonderful! The program was an underwater themed and all the groups had on costumes like sailors, starfish, mermaids, etc. Katelyn was a coral, or, as her grandmother said "a very cute rock." The music made me want to watch the Little Mermaid. So proud of Katelyn!

Net is here visiting and we are having a great time. More on that later!

Friday, May 18, 2012

South of the Border Vension & Carolina Slaw

I feel like I go in rounds with my cooking. Some weeks we will eat the same thing over and over and some weeks I get "inspired" to try something new. This usually happens after a night out at a really nice restaurant. I tried two new recipes this week and they were both really good! Our friend Daniel had graciously shared some of his venison with us (and you can so tell his dad is a butcher!) during deer season, and we've had fun trying new recipes with it. The Carolina Coleslaw was inspired by Nick's in Fondren - it's the only slaw I like and this isn't as good, but it is a close second.

South of the Border Venison
100 Venison Recipes by Henry Sinkus

2 pounds boneless venison roast
2 cups cranberry juice
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. beef base or 1 bouillon cube
1 15-oz can sliced stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 16-oz can kidney beans

Slice the venison 1/2" thick then cut into strips about 1" wide. Dust the venison with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Place venison, onion and tomatoes in a large bowl.

Mix the beef base with the mustard. Slowly whisk in the cranberry juice and garlic and add to the venison. Cover and cook on low for at least 6 hours. Add the beans and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Serve over steamed rice with cheese and sliced green onions.

*I didn't bother with cutting up the roast. I dumped the thing in the crock pot (after soaking in milk overnight) and dumped in everything else. I cooked on low for about 8 hours. I don't usually like venison and this was really good! The first night we had it over rice and the second night we put it in hamburger buns like a BBQ sandwich.

I gave this book to Ryan for Christmas and we have loved it! Each recipe has whether it should be served with beer or wine and a difficulty rating of one to four forks. This recipe is one fork and suggests beer.

Carolina Slaw

1 large head of cabbage, finely shredded
1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium sweet onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated

•1 cup sugar
•1 teaspoon salt
•2/3 cup vegetable oil
•1 teaspoon dry mustard
•1 teaspoon celery seed
•1 cup cider vinegar

Combine coleslaw vegetable ingredients; chopped cabbage, chopped bell pepper, chopped onions, and grated carrots in a large serving bowl.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved; pour over vegetables and toss well. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Enough slaw for 8 to 10 servings.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

News You Can't Use

My favorite segament of Morning Joe is the "News You Can't Use" during the last 10 minutes of each hour. Well, here's a localized version of that. I have no idea why I find this so funny!

Pastor has unusual response to church's air conditioner theft

Usually I try not to watch the 10 o'clock news because it can be kinda scary. But this story just made me feel good about Jackson. I sure hope these theives know Jesus!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Good Morning God and Other Lessons by Elisie

I mentioned last week that Elise gave a beautiful eulogy at her grandmother's funeral. She shared it with me and gave permission for me to share it on here:

     We’ve all heard that expression, “What’s in a name?” Well, I hope there’s a whole lot! I’m “little Elise,” Elisie’s namesake.  Like my grandmother, I’ve always loved performing and being on stage, so it is only appropriate that I stand up here today to remember the woman who gave me my first, albeit informal, acting lessons. I remember like it was yesterday the very first dramatic poem she taught me, “An eagle flew into the air!...He can stay there for all I care.”  
     I think I can best eulogize Elisie by telling you the life lessons I’ve learned over my nearly 30 years of knowing her. These lessons came in various ways such as during our “tea parties,” where she would always light a candle for a little ambiance, during prayers, when I had friends spend the night, but most often, she taught by example.

 A Dozen Life Lessons I learned from Elisie:

1. Always greet others warmly.
No matter if you can’t recall their name. Everyone responds to “honey, precious or dahlin’.

2. Never say an unkind word about anyone.
Elisie was the epitome of a southern lady, and never had anything negative to say….She was certainly known to say “bless her heart,” but again, nothing negative.

3. Love fully
To hear Elisie talk about her late husband Spec, you would think he had died recently, but in fact he died over 40 years ago. It was a beautiful thing to hear Elisie talk about her husband. Until the end whenever she spoke of Spec, her eyes would light up, and she would often tear up.

4. Elisie had great marital advice for wives.
My mother tells the story of the best marital advice Elisie gave her. When my parents were newlyweds and living on their farm, my mother mentioned that she intended to get right in there and help out, even saying she was going to learn to use the tractor. My grandmother stopped her quickly, and with a wise, yet insistent tone said, “Honey, don’t learn.” I guess she figured if my mom learned to use the tractor, she might be expected to do so the rest of her married life.

5. We’ve all heard that expression, “dance like no one’s watching.” Well, Elisie loved to dance, and she did so with that spirit.
I recall watching the Lawrence Welk Show with her as a child. She would get up and dance around the room to the music and try to teach me the dances of “her day.” One of my favorite funny memories was during one of these spontaneous dances in her living room, she was laughing and singing along, and looked over at me (maybe five years old at the time) and said, “Remember that one? Oh! I ‘spec that was a bit before your time dahlin’.” I guess you could say Elisie got lost in the moment.

6. Enjoy your food.
Elisie loved food. She always had buttermilk in her refrigerator and candy hidden under her “divan.” She also loved to salt her food….a lot. I remember sitting at the table one Sunday after church. My daddy watched her shake and shake and shake that saltshaker, and he finally said, “Elisie! Don’t you think that’s enough salt! Too much is bad for you, you know!” She looked at him, cocked her head and said, “Well honey, we ARE the salt of the earth!” Who could argue with that?!

7. Express yourself properly and like a lady.
As I young child, I remember coming inside from a hot day playing outside with the twins (Kara and Julia Givens). I told Elisie that I was sweating. You should have seen her face as she exclaimed, “Dahlin’!!!!! Ladies don’t sweat; they PERSPIRE!”

8. Always say thank you.
Last year after she was featured on the famous Smucker Jar on the Today Show, we were talking on the phone and she mentioned, “I’ve just written a thank you note to the folks at the Today Show.”

9. Be a gracious hostess at all times
Elisie loved to entertain whether it was her bridge club, family gatherings or someone just dropping by for a visit. Right before her 106th birthday, my dad mentioned having a cake in her room to share with Providence’s staff, family and friends. She promptly said, “We’d better have mixed nuts too, honey.” Keep in mind this was two days before she passed away. She was a gracious hostess until the end.

10. Always keep God first.
Elisie would read what she called “her lesson” each and every morning and would begin her morning prayer, “Well good morning, God!”
If ever I, or my parents missed church, Elisie, without fail, would call us and say, “You missed a mighty sweet sermon this morning!”

11. Look on the bright side of everything. And I do mean everything.
When asked about living through the Great Depression, she would say, “Honey, we didn’t know there was any ole depression. We just had a grand time!”
You never heard Elisie complain and she certainly never mentioned any ailments. Most of you know that she was a Christian Scientist, so she never took medicine. If she wasn’t feeling well, she would pray about it. And that was that.

12. And finally, never, ever lose faith.
I remember talking with her one hot summer when Senatobia had a drought. In a matter-of-fact, bordering on indignant voice she said, “I told Neesie to bring in the cushions off the patio. We’ve been praying for a rain, so we’ve certainly been expecting it!” Keep in mind there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and there was no rain in the forecast. And do you know what? It rained.

Back to my original question, “What’s in a name?” Well, I don’t know, but I promise you I will do all that I can to live up to it. Thank you.

By: Elise V. Stacey

Monday, May 14, 2012

Catching up

Here's a look at a little of what we've been up to during my absence in blogland:

We went bowling one night with Dee Dee and John Eric after our standard Friday night viewing of Shark Tank. We were looking for some excitement.

Elizabeth Magee turned ONE on February 20 and had a very fun birthday party. Sis and I took her to the zoo the day before the party and had a blast. We also celebrated after church with brunch at the Beauty Shop (sans EM) and had fun remembering when Mom and Dad took us all there when Sis and I turned 21 - it was the last trip we attempted in the minivan and I think Oliver's first family dinner!

Mom had my diploma from MC framed for me - it's still waiting to be hung in my office. I am so glad that part of my life is over!

Chad threw a surprise 30th birthday party for Kristen at Julep. It was perfect. Apparently, she's not the only party planner in the family.

For St. Patrick's weekend we went to Montgomery for Cally's wedding. She was beautiful and it was so fun to see all the Andersons (photo of her and Uncle Mark stolen from Facebook). Now we're looking forward to Kristina's wedding this fall!

We went home for Easter and heard Warren and Ivy play with their band at a party in Hernando. They were awesome! You can learn more about the W.B. Givens band at their website (how's that for a plug?).

Visiting with friends - the Conns have visited TWICE this year (so glad Rachel has moved here!). They came for New Year's and then again in April. At New Year's Rhetta shared with us a 1984 bottle of wine - it was wonderful - and they were so impressed that I made it to midnight. Parker changed so much in between visits. By April, he was calling Pepe and Scout "Jack Jack" after his dog and walked all over the place.

Levi, Lindsey, Wyatt and Tate came for a visit in April before they return to India in June. It was wonderful to see them and hear more about their daily life there. Wyatt is a doll - he had a blast playing at our neighborhood park - and the friendliest baby. I am so amazed with all they are doing - and particularly amazed with Lindsey dealing with rats that snarl and hiss at you. Some how, I didn't get any pictures so I stole this one from Facebook!

And speaking of rats: Scout is better than any cat or rat trap. We've had a bit of a rat problem and that dog has just about eradicated all of them. The ones we are finding dead by the back door are significantly smaller than the ones that we used to have. I've graciously spared you the pictures, but the mere mention of rodents makes Pepe want to do this:

Baseball season has started and Witt has gotten so good. His games are so fun to watch now that they are actually making plays. His first game fell on Chad's birthday so the Blackards brought a cake to the pool afterwards. Katelyn asked Ryan "what's the theme on this party?" - I guess you can't be the daughter of a party planner and not expect a theme!

Well that's our life at the moment in a nutshell. I'm looking forward to some time off in May and a fun trip to Nashville to celebrate Sarah Hunt's upcoming wedding.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Herding Cats & Graduations

Our weekend started on Friday morning with Laura's graduation from law school.

Mom and Dad came for the ceremony and spent the night. We attempted to go to Pepsi Pops but put it off thinking it would rain. When we finally decided to go see what it was about we got there just in time to see the last few fireworks. Maybe next year!

On Saturday Millsaps had graduation and thanks to the wonderful weather, the ceremony was moved to the rain location in Madison which makes it all more hectic. My main job is organizing the honorary degree recipients, trustees, administration, award winners, etc for pictures. I think herding cats would be easier!

I made my first run to the farmers market for the season this morning and got collard greens, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, squash, peaches and brown eggs. I've decided it really does help my grocery bill to get as much as possible at the farmers market (plus it helps local farmers) and I know its more nutritious.

The rain may have messed up lots of weekend plans, but it sure is making my hydrangeas happy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hello Blog World!

Did you think I'd dropped off the face of the earth? Well, don't fret, I'm here! We've had a very nice start to 2012 - Ryan has stayed busy, busy with school and I am so proud to say that med school is half-way over. You may have heard me shouting for joy when his last exam was over. Now, he's in full-study mode for the STEP 1 exam that happens the last week of May. Then you will probably hear him shouting for joy!

I made a quick trip to Senatobia mid-week to celebrate the life of a very dear lady and in the process got to spend the morning with sweet Elizabeth Magee!

We checked out the new playground at the Methodist church - she approved!

We also checked out Granddaddy's bench at the park. We had a short visit with Net and then headed home for a nap.

I was so glad to be able to attend "Big Elise's" funeral - it was a true celebration of her amazing 106 years of life. My memories of playing with "Little Elise" at her house when she lived next door to Mammy are wonderful and numerous. We would have tea parties and play Go Fish or Old Maid. For breakfast, she'd offer us oatmeal with a side of bacon (where she would generously sprinkle bacon bits on top of our oatmeal) and take us to get Happy Meals for supper. I went to a bridge club game at her house about a year ago and I felt transported back into my childhood sitting in her warm living room watching her, Net and their friends enjoy the game. They were very patient trying to teach me to play. And very quick in telling me what to fetch from the kitchen.

Elise gave a wonderful eulogy and her grandmother would have been so pleased! Mrs. Veazey attended Senatobia's 50th, 100th and 150th celebrations - how amazing! It tickled me that both ministers began their remarks with exactly what, when and where she had instructed them to say - and then proceded to do just that. One of her grandsons remarked during the service that Elisie would often say, "You can't win a slam if you don't bid a slam." That applies to bridge and so much more.

I hope you bid a slam.