Happy 2012!
Best wishes for a great year full of love & happy times with family and friends.
Once I figure out how to maneuver around my kitchen and keyboard with a cast on my right arm, I promise that this Southern Soul will be back with gusto!  In the mean time, my goal is to use my time wisely and I’ll definitely keep counting my blessings…



Marinated Cheese is a HIT!

Last night we got together with friends for a little social time.  Of course, we couldn’t go over empty handed so I put together my new favorite appetizer – Herb Marinated Cheese.  This was the 3rd time I’d taken this treat to a “get together” and once again, it got rave reviews!  Besides the GREAT flavor, it’s really easy to make because I use an herb blend from the new spice shop at Friendly Center. 

I made my way over to Savory Spice Shop in Friendly Center the week they opened.  It was lots of fun exploring all the different flavors of herbs and spices!  The folks there are friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful.  That day I purchased a bag of Cantanzaro Herbs and set my imagination on GO.  I’ve tried this blend in several dishes, all turned out great but the big hit has been the marinated cheese.  I hope you’ll give it a try…..be sure to make extra cause you’ll be munching away while you build your platter!

Herb Marinated Cheese
1 cup of Olive Oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Cantanzaro Herbs
1 Tablespoon Course Salt
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Teaspoon Fresh Garlic

Put all ingredients in a jar and shake well.  Make at least an hour ahead of serving so that flavors can marry.  Pick one or more types of cheese that you like, slice and place on a platter.  Gently spoon the herbs in oil over the cheese.  Leave at room temp until ready to serve with your favorite cracker.

Pecans and more Pecans have arrived!

While out sharing a little Christmas spirit last week, I stopped by to see my dear friend Peggy.  I was greeted at the door by Anna, Peg’s daughter, with a hug and a big “Merry Christmas!”  Then….from the kitchen came a big holler out, “Donya, get in here!”  Of course, I followed that command right away. 

When I entered the kitchen, I saw why Peg was SO intense with her welcome…she was sitting at the bar surrounded by pounds and pounds of FRESH ALABAMA PECANS!  Peg, Anna and hubby had been down to visit family and brought back bags of pecans that had been collected from her sister’s trees.  Oh mercy! 
Ok…back to the nuts.  Peg graciously offered me as many of her pecans as I could carry, really?  They had been “cracked” while in Alabama so all I needed to do was pick through them and make sure they were clean.  No problem!  I packed up about 6 lbs and headed home.  With tools in hand, the boys and I started to work.  There are some jobs in life that seem mindless but produce great results, this is one of them, just take a look.
So, my freezer is stocked with fresh Alabama pecans and there are good things in my oven this evening.  With that, I will say a great big thank you to my friend Peg and the great state of Alabama…..Oh, and to Peggy’s sister too.

Counting pecans and my blessings,
ps and btw – ROLL TIDE!

Spicy Toasted Pecans

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ginger
  • 1/4 t. smoked paprika
  • 4 cups of pecans
    • Whip egg white with whisk until white and bubbly. Mix all dry ingredients in separate bowl. 
    • Add pecans to egg white and mix until coated.
    • Sprinkle dry ingredients over nuts.
    • Place on a foil lined sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn after about 10 minutes being careful not to burn.
    • Cool for 30 minutes.
  • Great with a cold beverage or in a green salad.  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas After….

Oops!  I didn’t really get any posting done with great food and entertaining ideas, did I?  Sorry!  This Southern Soul was wrapped up in Christmas carols, shopping, family and friends.  IT WAS GREAT.  So, today, I cleaned up a lot of stuff, bossed everyone around….they were expecting it, and cooked a really good meal.

  • Bibb lettuce salad with toasted pecans and blue cheese crumbles
    • home made balsamic vinaigrette
  • Grilled Beef Tenderloins with herb butter
  • Roasted red potatoes with olive oil and sea salt

To finish off the night…everyone put on their new “jammies”, got their favorite drink, blanket and place in the great room.  Big Sweetie put on a movie. Out came the last of the fudge and Creed made popcorn.  It was so good being together and the boys had lots of fun making fun of me….I only used 2 tissues during the movie – it was a record!  Now, I’m snuggled in with my sweet girls…Dixie and Pepper – they are exhausted!  Shh – don’t tell “you know who” the girls are sleeping in the bed.

Sleep tight everyone, and keep dreaming of Sugar Plums and Angels…..D.