Archive for ‘Sweetly Southern’

April 30, 2010

The 136th Run for the Roses

by Emily Grace

Most people do not know the significance of the first Sunday in May. Tomorrow is the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby. I suppose many people don’t even realize that this is going on, but I was raised in a house where you not only knew what the Run for the Roses was, but you had a plethora of Derby shirts, glasses, and probably thinking about your trifecta box for tomorrow’s race. I cannot wait for the day that I get to be a true spectator at Churchill Downs for the running of the Kentucky Derby.

My grandparents have been frequenters of the Kentucky Derby for years, but living in Florida now, they don’t get to make that trip to watch “the fastest two minutes in sports” as often as they would like anymore. In the cookbook my mother provided us she briefly told us about the lavish Derby parties that have been hosted by our family – mint juleps served in Derby glasses, dozens of red roses decorating the house, a betting table set up so that guests could place their bets on their favorite horses, even a life size horse in front of the house to greet guests (now that’s just crazy talk).

Since the Derby is tomorrow, and I know that my sister will be throwing a party and odds are my parents will be attending one and my grandparents placing bets for each of the granchildren, I thought there’s no better post to make than one to honor Derby Day.

With that being said, I feel as though I should share the recipe to two Derby treats – mint juleps and Derby Pie. Derby Pie wasn’t always served as the parties, but one year, our Grandma called Magnolia Bakery in Ocala, FL to order a Derby Pie.  They said they would be happy to make one if she could get them a recipe, and the one I’m sharing is the one she provided.  I think they should have at least given her the pie free because they have continued to make this pie for other horse racing enthusiasts in Ocala, the “Horse Capital of the World”.

Derby Pie

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
½ tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
9” pie crust

Mix flour and sugar, add eggs and melted butter and mix. Add pecans, chocolate chips, then fold in vanilla.  Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Pie is done when it looks like a crust has formed on top.

Mint Julep

2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
32 fluid ounces Kentucky bourbon (obviously whatever your favorite is)
8 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish

  1. Combine water, sugar and chopped mint leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow syrup to cool, approximately 1 hour. Pour syrup through a strainer to remove mint leaves
  2. Fill eight cups or frozen julep goblets with crushed ice and pour 4 ounces of bourbon and 1/4 cup mint syrup in each. (Proportions can be adjusted depending on each person’s sweet tooth). Top each cup with a mint sprig and a straw. Trim straws to just barely protrude from the top of the cups.

I hope you enjoy the races tomorrow! May your luck be as good as my little sister’s for her long shots always seem to bring her a win.

April 28, 2010

Stop! It’s Koozie Time

by Emily Grace

I’ve been in utter shock! It is surprising to me the number of people that have no clue what a koozie is. My roommate and I have made it our mission to bring the wonder of koozies to the world (or maybe this is just my mission and I am secretly pushing her to join the forces). Anyway, for you out there who are uneducated in the field of koozies, I have comprised a Top Ten List of koozie facts and rules for usage. Please feel free to add your own uses, tips, facts, and best koozies you’ve seen.

1. Use your koozie to keep beverages cold and your hands warm (or just not cold). This is the primary purpose of a koozie. You can use them on cans or bottles. Your beverages will stay cold for a long time, even if it is hot where you are.

2. Use your koozies to keep condensation off cans and bottles. When cans and bottles are cold, water condenses on the outside. This leaves the containers wet and slick. You can prevent this with the use of a koozie. Your hands will stay dry and you will not have to be bothered by water dripping onto your clothes, or the worst case scenario, a party fowl due to a slippery bottle sliding out of your hands.

3. Start with a cold drink. You can store your drinks in a refrigerator or in a cooler with ice. Your drinks need to be pre-chilled in order for the koozie to work. Then, dry off the drink container if it has been in ice.

4. Put the koozie on your drink container carefully. They are pretty durable, but you should not tug on them too hard. If you do, you could tear them. Pull it onto your drink.

5. Position the koozie on the container. If the koozie has a bottom, make sure the bottom of the can is on the bottom of the koozie. Also, make sure the opening of the bottle or can is clear so you will be able to drink from it.

6. Carry your koozie with you around your apartment, your favorite bar, a picnic or party area. Take the koozie with you, ALWAYS! You will find that you will finish off what is in the containers more often than without koozies. This is because they keep it at a good drinking temperature.

7. Use personalized koozies! If you have personalized koozies made up for yourself, you can use them to show which drink is yours. You can also use koozies with different team or school logos to show your pride and also so they don’t get mixed up with drinks from rival teams or schools.

8. Be proud of your koozie. They are a great conversation starter! Also, if you use your koozie with utmost pride, that confidence is notable by koozie lovers of the opposite sex. Trust me, this move works, big time!

9. Take koozies with you to events. You might go to places where drinks will be served out of bottles or cans. It is nice if you can pull out your koozie and use it right on the spot.

10. Make sure you do not throw your koozie away with the container. If you are not paying attention, you might not notice that your koozie is still on your drink container. If you are not careful, you can throw away a lot of them before you get the idea. I have made numerous koozies for friends that are completely unaware as their drink is being tossed. This can become an expensive habit.

Koozies are fun and easy to use. When the hot summer sun is beating down and your drink is still cold, you will be glad you gave this wonderful invention a try.

Are you in need of the chic-ist of drinking accessories? If you are at a redneck rest stop you’re sure to find one with a witty saying, but if you’re looking for something a little more classy, I can make that happen.

Have a koozie for every occasion! Game-day koozies, picnic in the park, Party in the USA, Girls Nights, cruises… the possibilities are endless. With monograms and witty saying to ribboned accessorizing and hand-painted logos, there is a koozie out there for everyone!

Girls Night Valentine's Day Extravaganza

Go out and share the koozie love!

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April 3, 2010

{Holidays}: Hoppy Easter!

by Emily Grace

You know what’s better than Easter? Easter treats!

Check out these yummy looking Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg Cookies that were featured on the blog, Picky Palate, the other day (thanks for sharing). I want them though I know they will destroy me!

How come the Reese’s eggs taste better than the cups? Maybe it’s in my head, but I L-O-V-E them!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg Cookies

2 sticks softened butter

1 Cup packed brown sugar

1 Cup granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons corn syrup

2 large eggs plus 1 egg white

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Cups chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, 12 total eggs (find them in the Easter Candy Section, quick!)  You can also use regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer beat the butter, sugars and corn syrup until well combined….light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.  Mix only until just combined.  Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 9-11 minutes until just turning golden around edges.  Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Eat with tall glass of milk!!

4 dozen cookies


March 2, 2010

Sinful Potatoes

by Emily Grace

Sometimes it takes losing someone to realize how special they really are to you. This has been a tough week for me and my family because we lost an incredible woman. As my sisters and I pull our favorite memories of Dad’s mother we are reminded of the wonderfully witty woman that will always remain a part of us. My older sister Meghan not only looks the most like our Granny, but also has her love for shelling. My younger sister Sarah definitely got her sense of humor and wittiness–no one compares with Sarah’s humor. As for me, I received her love for shopping and affinity for nice things (don’t know if that’s really a good thing), and also her passion for cooking (though I’m not as adventurous as she was). Our Granny will always be remembered as an incredibly loving and inspiring woman, and I know that whenever I cook up one of her delicious concoctions it will be a pleasant reminder of how she in a ways has shaped me into the person I am today.

I have included one of my favorite things my Granny used to make. My mom included this recipe in a cookbook that she made for me and my sisters for Christmas and with a fun story/explanation on the name of the recipe. I hope you enjoy! I hope that this is something we’ll be eating when I go home this weekend. It will surely provide a little comfort to me… and my stomach.

The Famous Bettie Lou!

Granny’s Sinful Potatoes

The Sinful Potato casserole was always a favorite covered dish prepared by Granny. The name originates from the sinful amounts of Velveeta cheese and bacon that are mixed with the frozen potato cubes. This dish goes well with ham or makes a hearty offering for a covered dish breakfast. I like to double the amount of bacon when I make the dish to double the sin.

1 Bag of Ore Ida Cubed Hash Browns
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1lb of Bacon (this is the doubled amount)
1 lb block of Velveeta Cheese

1)    Cook bacon and then crunch into bits.
2)    Cut the Velveeta into small cubes.
3)    Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4)    Place in a 9 x 13 glass pan.
5)    Cook in oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. The top of the casserole will turn golden brown. Check by tasting potatoes for softness.

I hope you make this recipe and share it with all of your friends. It’s exactly what my Granny would have wanted… spreading the deliciousness of this sinful dish to all.

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February 19, 2010

Boston Cream Cupcakes

by Emily Grace

I’ve been in a mood for some Fancy Nancy cupcakes lately. I made funfetti the other night because it was easy, but I’ve really been craving something special. I came across this delightfully delectable Boston Cream Pie Cupcake recipe on the Martha Stewart website, and thought I’d share. I haven’t tried this recipe out, so I don’t want to make any promises, but I have tried the cheater BCP cupcake recipe that I provided as a side note at the bottom. Whichever you choose to try, let me know the results. As soon as I attempt the Martha one, I will let you know how it goes!

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes (makes 18)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tins
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
3. Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold, about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.
4. Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon vanilla cream on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each, and serve immediately.

Vanilla Cream (makes 1 1/2 cups)


2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
3. Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Chocolate-Ganache Glaze (makes about 1 1/4 cups)


2/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup


1. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.

***These are pretty delightful, but they are also kind of time consuming. If you want a simplified and super easy version just use boxed yellow cake mix (the kind with pudding is good for this), instant vanilla pudding as the vanilla cream, and milk chocolate icing warmed to be pourable in the microwave (about 30-45 seconds). It’s not perfect, but it makes for a super quick counterpart to this fancy recipe. Just follow the assembly of the cupcakes provided above, and you’ll have a treat that looks just the same.

What do you think? Perhaps they’re worth trying.

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February 16, 2010

Pancakes Alive

by Emily Grace

Happy National Pancake Week!

I love pancakes. I really do. I love when my dad makes me pancakes. Growing up my dad would usually make us pancakes on Saturday mornings. Whether you were rolling out of bed at 8, 9, 10, or 11 am, you just knew that you could get your hands on some delicious pancakes and the smell of bacon (sometimes you had to make sure you were up early to actually get a slice of the bacon, we tend to devour it in our house). Sundays were usually reserved for waffles or french toast, both of which I love, but I loved that I could count on having Saturday morning pancakes.

Yums in my Tums!

I always liked to wake up early so that I could have the first batch off the griddle. This meant they were cooked in the fresh bacon grease, and that makes them even tastier. They get a nice crunchy edge around them. Yums in my tums. I eat mine with just butter or with a little dribble of syrup. It doesn’t take much. The best part though, is getting to share them at the breakfast table with my family. Even if we are too groggy to talk to each other, just eating meals with my family is something to be excited about.

I’m sad that I don’t get pancakes every Saturday anymore. I make them occasionally, but they never taste as good as my dad’s. However, this week is National Pancake Week, February 14th-20th, that is just super exciting to me. I wish that meant that I could wake up to a wonderful stack of fluffy pancakes each morning, but then again I’d be 500 lbs. Perhaps I’ll treat myself sometime this week.

Here’s the recipe we use:

The basic pancake recipe uses 2 cups of Bisquick mix, 2 eggs (beaten), and 1 cup of milk. Simply beat all the ingredients together until well blended and then pour approximately ¼ cup portions onto a sizzling hot greased (we like bacon grease) or nonstick griddle. Cook until the edges begin to dry and a lot of bubbles appear in the batter and they are golden brown on the bottom, then flip and continue cooking until that side is golden brown, as well. Serve hot with butter and syrup and watch them disappear. You can also serve them with jam or fresh fruit or add fun things in them, but I don’t need that to satisfy my belly.

How do you like your pancakes? Do you have a favorite recipe you use?

Eat up!

February 7, 2010

Sip your way into the Super Bowl

by Emily Grace

With just meer hours to go before kickoff for the Super Bowl, I’m sure few preparations for your party are still left up in the air.  The snacks are almost done, and beer is chilling in the fridge.  Like most people, we’re probably going to lack in creativity on the sippable side of our Super Bowl menu since we’ll probably just be drinking beer and sodas, but if you’re looking to be a little more adventurous try out these fun cocktails to support your team during the game tonight!

If you’re wanting a fun cocktail to show your support of the New Orleans Saints, try out this awesome drink!

A Black & Gold is a super easy cocktail that makes a dramatic statement, both in taste and look. It features Blavod Vodka, which is black, and Goldschlager, that luxury cinammon liqueur with the gold flake floating around inside. The result is a beautiful, black and gold cocktail with the flavor of cinnamon.


  • 2 oz Blavod vodka
  • 1 oz Goldschlager


  1. Pour the Blavod into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Top with Goldschlager.

Wanting to show your Blue and White spirit for the winning team?  Cheer for the Colts with this cocktail!

A Dreamy Blues is a Chocolate and Orange Martini that takes on an entirely different look with all the same, luscious flavors. It’s a layered cocktail of white creme de cacao and blue curaçao that is best if both liqueurs and the glass are chilled. It can also be made into an eye-catching, layered shot. This is the perfect light cocktail for the girls cheering on the Colts today (though guys, feel free to get in check with your feminine side with one of these bad boys if you wish).


  • 1 1/2 oz white creme de cacao
  • 1 1/2 oz blue curaçao


  1. Pour the creme de cacao into a well-chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Float the blue curaçao on top.
Will you be serving anything out of the ordinary tonight to show support for your favorite team?  Enjoy the game, and commercials, of course!
February 5, 2010

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl!

by Emily Grace

Whether you care about the game, care about the commercials, or simply care about the party, it’s officially here—this weekend is Super Bowl XLIV! It is a tradition in our family that we do not eat dinner on Super Bowl Sunday. We do our favorite Super Bowl Snack Day where as soon as we return home from church we begin cooking up our favorite snack foods of all times. This is definitely the meal that my mother excels at (not that she doesn’t cook other things well, she’s just awesome at snack foods).  Unfortunately, being in New York means I won’t be spending this Super Bowl with my family or at a fraternity house, but rather at a friend’s apartment, but there will be no shortage in the tradition of the snack food.

Check out a few of my favorites.  I will for sure be making the buffalo chicken dip because it has already been in popular demand, we’ll see about other delicious options.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (courtesy of sorority sister Sara Dastin)

Sara Dastin's Buffalo Chicken Dip

4 half chicken breasts
1 bottle of Wegman’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (though I use Frank’s)
1 brick of cream cheese
8 oz. of shredded cheddar cheese
Ranch Dressing
Tortilla chips

Boil chicken breasts for 20 minutes, let cool and shred by tearing apart with a fork.  Mix chicken with 1 bottle of Wegman’s Buffalo Wing Sauce.  Spread cream cheese in bottom of pan (I use a 9×13).  Spread chicken mixture on top of layer of cream cheese.  Top with a thin layer of blue cheese or ranch dressing.  Cover with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 350˚ until cheese is melted.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Nacho Supremo (as seen on Martha Stewart today)

Martha Stewart's Nachos Supremo

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 (16-ounce) bags tortilla chips
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Black Bean and Cherry Tomato Salsa, for serving
Charred Tomatillo Salsa, for serving
Nacho Cheese Sauce, for serving
Guacamole, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Sliced jalapenos, for serving
Julienned radishes, for serving
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and wrap in parchment paper-lined foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.
3. Unwrap chicken; remove skin and discard. Remove chicken from bones and cut into small pieces; discard bones and set chicken aside.
4. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees. Layer one third of the chips on a large ovenproof platter or in a baking dish. Top with 1 cup cheddar and 1 cups of Monterey Jack. Repeat process twice with remaining chips and cheese. Transfer to oven and bake until cheese is melted, 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and top with reserved chicken, both salsas, cheese sauce, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, radishes, and cilantro; serve immediately.

Meatballs (just have faith!)

Mommy Dee's Meatballs

1 pound hamburger
½ cup dry bread crumbs
½ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. pepper
¼ cup shortening
1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce
1 jar (10 ounces) grape jelly

Mix hamburger, breadcrumbs, onion, milk, egg, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; gently shape into 1-inch balls. Cook meatballs in shortening in 12-inch skillet until brown.  Remove meatballs from skillet; drain fat.  (If you’re lazy, you can just buy a bag of the frozen Hormel meatballs and heat them in the microwave, whatever.)  Heat chili sauce and jelly in skillet, stirring constantly, until jelly is melted.  Add meatballs and stir until cooked.  Simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Serve hot in crockpot.

What will you be serving up at your Super Bowl party?  Stay tuned for more Super Bowl updates!

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