Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Deep South Home: What is on your playlist?

Opportunity #2 for Motivated Moms Giveaway (Remember this will work well for everyone, not just moms!)

When it comes down to it I really do not despise cleaning all that much. I just have a few requirements for bridging the gap to enjoyment.

1. I must have a caddy on each floor of the house filled with all my favorite cleaning products. Since you all shared yours with me I am going to share a top ten list of my favorite cleaning products in no particular order.

#5 (hey I told you no order) Method Tub and Tile Scrub. Simply amazing are the only words that come out of my mouth after I use this product. It is great for getting the grime out of a bathtub or even making that stainless sink really shine. It smells wonderful and it isn't harsh on your hands - win!

#8 Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes and Spray. I definitely prefer the wipes over the spray for convenience and longevity, but they both do amazing things with pesky stainless steel appliances. I can usually stretch one wipe for two appliances (stove and dishwasher/microwave and fridge). If you live near a Publix they go on great sales for BOGO.

#4 Method Wood for Good. Best dusting product out there and smells like almond oil. Your house smells so fresh and not overly scented.

#10 Weiman Granite Cleaner. I have under my sink three other granite products I have tried and they just don't make the cut. This also goes on sale at Publix BOGO and I stock up. Spray all the surfaces and then wipe down really well and they are left streak free. Trouble spot? Just spray a little right on the spot and let it soak for a few mins and it will wipe right up.

#3 Colored sponges. I know this sounds so simple but since all my products are in a little caddy the colors help me differentiate and keep things sanitary. Blue for toilets you know and other colors for counters, sinks and tubs.

#7 Swiffer Dusters. These are great for baseboards (really any wood work), lamp shades, tvs/electronics, etc. There are always coupons and you can use one many, many times (that is if you have cleaned your house recently - if it has been five years you will probably go through a box per room).

#1 Tilex Mold and Mildew. Gives you that nice bleachy smell (which is totally warranted from time to time). Great for showers to prevent mold and mildew and clean up any little spots that creep up on you unexpectedly.

#9 A toilet brush for every bathroom. Who wants to cart a toilet brush all over the house...not this girl! You can get these guys for so cheap and instead of buying them all at once, you can just pick up one from on different grocery trips and add to your collection.

#2 Clorox Wipes - I keep these under all our sinks like most of you and in accordance with the binder wipe them out at the end of the day when they get a little toothpaste grunge going on.

#6 The Original Swiffer. Whip it out and sweep the kitchen at the end of the day or if your kiddo spills a bowl a cheerios. Simple. Easy. Functional!

Still in search of a really good hardwood floor cleaner. I have a love hate relationship with most of the ones in my life. If you are in love with yours please let me know!

2. I always have to have music while I clean. It makes it so much more fun and enjoyable when you are dancing and singing all the grime away. Anything from Taylor Swift to Eminem to OAR it all works for me.

That leads to your entry opportunity -

  • Tell me one song that is a must have while cleaning. If you enjoy peace and quiet just say your favorite song for the car.
  • Refer a friend to comment and you get an entry.
  • Post on your blog about the contest to link back here and you get a third entry.
  • Facebook about it and you get a fourth entry - just comment here that you facebooked Deep South Sweets
with Belles and Beauxs

Monday, December 13, 2010

Deep South Eats: Pork and Cashew Stir-Fry

Pork and Cashew Stir-Fry around our house is a go-to weeknight meal. It meets the three judging categories of easy, filling and absolutely delicious. If it was in the Super Bowl of weeknight meals it would be walking away telling you it was going to Disney World.

  • 3 Tbsp of stir-fry sauce (I prefer House Tsang Stir-Fry Sauce - you know it is made by Hormel so it has got to be super authentic)
  • 1 Tbsp of frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (Just scoop one tbsp out into a bowl to thaw and stick the rest of the container in a baggy and back in the freezer)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of corn starch
  • 1/2 pound boneless pork loin cut into 1/2 inch pieces (When the boneless pork chops are on sale I buy them and they work just as well)
  • 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
  • Assorted chopped veggies (I just use whatever I have on hand but prefer julienne cut carrots, celery and green onion)
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted cashews
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Stir together stir fry sauce, orange juice concentrate, and corn starch until mixed well. Do not worry if you cannot get all of the corn starch globs mixed in.
  • Pour over pork and toss to coat.
  • Heat oil in non stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook pork for 4 minutes and add any vegetables you want. Continue cooking 2 to 4 minutes until pork is fully cooked.
  • Stir in cashews and serve immediately over hot cooked rice.
Original Recipe: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000000258165

Stay tuned: tomorrow is entry opportunity #2 for the Motivated Moms giveaway.

with Belles and Beauxs

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Say Hello to My Little Friend

A blog that I confess that I stalk introduced me to the hallelujah glory that is Motivated Moms. I often find that I let the cleaning around the house pile up. When the house becomes a desperate situation I would much rather sit on the couch feeling overwhelmed than actually clean. Then came Motivated Moms. It is a system that breaks down your house cleaning day by day into a very manageable list. It includes daily chores to keep the house sparkling as well as the things you should be doing every day in the house. The working mom might find the schedule overwhelming, but someone that works from home, stays at home, or works part time will find this extremely helpful.

Think about it this way: what sounds more overwhelming, clean the whole bathroom or clean all the toilets in the house? Breaking it down into segments takes the overwhelming factor out and keeps the house maintained. I actually timed myself and it took me 12 minutes to clean all 5 toilets! I could go on and on, but please go check it out. Over the month of December I will be having several chances to enter the contest to win a free year subscription to Motivated Moms.

First question for entry: What is the one cleaning product you cannot live without?

Disclaimer - I am in no way a part of Motivated Moms, I just think it is totally awesome!

with Belles and Beauxs

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

I apologize for the blogger silence over the last week. Mine and my husband's cars have both been under the weather. Instead of getting to share with you all I was stuck driving from car shop to dealership to rental, well you get the picture. Hey, in the process of having to tell people our contact information over and over my little nut learned my phone number (not kidding).

I am excited for December because I have a great giveaway to introduce you all to tomorrow. It is low on the monetary scale but in terms of applicable value within your life it is HUGE!! Stay tuned!

This week at Deep South Sweets, I am cleaning out the meat that I have frozen in our freezer. I know it can last longer, but I like to use it no later than the 3 month mark. Two of my meals center around getting rid of my stock!

Monday: Pork and Cashew Stir Fry with Steamed Rice and Broccoli (This is a staple food that I plan on featuring Wednesday)
Tuesday (Work Night): Leftovers from the end of last week
Wednesday: Tomato Basil Soup, Cheese Biscuits, and Tossed Salad (Splitting the meal and taking to a family member with a new baby)
Thursday (Work Night): Leftovers/Sandwich
Friday: Spaghetti with Homemade Meat Sauce and Garlic Green Beans
Saturday: Poppyseed Chicken, Kernel Corn, and Sugared Raspberries
Sunday: Church Class Party - I am bringing Chocolate Cake

with Belles and Beauxs

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deep South Eats: Polynesian Pork Chops

Polynesian Pork Chops

This recipe is originally from Erin Howell with a few additions/changes.

2 to 4 Boneless Pork Chops (or up to 2 lbs)
3/4 cup of White Vinegar
1/2 cup of Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Sugar

Mix white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper in a plastic bag (aka Ziploc). Add pork chops. Seal bag and toss pork chops in marinade. Open bag and purge of all air and reseal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 30 minutes up to overnight. Once ready to cook, turn your oven onto broil or preheat your grill. Take pork chops out of bag reserving the marinade and place on broiler pan or grill. I like to foil line a baking sheet and place the meat on a wire rack on top of the baking sheet. This allows for very minimal clean up. I broiled mine for 7 minutes on the first side and about 10 minutes on the other. Cook until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees. While cooking, place the marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Use a spoon to skim off the foam. Add the 2 Tbsp of sugar and allow to simmer until pork is finished in oven. Serve in ramekins with pork for dipping.

***Side note - I know that my directions for recipes seem long and lengthy sometimes. This is not an indication of the complication level of the recipe. It is just me being overly OCD thorough.

with Belles and Beauxs

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Winner is...

Wow! These were three amazing entries for the challenge. Each would pair excellently with the onion rice. It definitely came down to what was the easiest/quickest to make for a weeknight meal and what had the overall best flavor.

Was the winner....

 Polynesian Pork Chops
with Sesame Noodles and Steamed Broccoli


 London Broil with Bearnaise Sauce
with Risotto and Roasted Lemon Green Beans


 Breaded Chicken Cutlets
with Spinach Salad and Sugared Raspberries

***Remember the side dishes had nothing to do with the judging***

The Winner is...

Polynesian Pork Chops by Erin Howell
(recipe to be featured tomorrow)

Your Prize!
Southern Living 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern: The Ultimate Treasury of Southern Classics

It was  a very close contest but these were so quick and easy to make. My family loved them and the flavor was excellent. The only thing I would do different next time is to add a little sugar to the marinade when it came time for boiling.

Erin please email me at rreiboldt@gmail.com to let me know if you want me to bring you the cookbook or have it mailed to you home. Kim and Lauren, please look through this link: http://www.tinyprints.com/shop/custom-gift-tags-stickers.htm
and email me at rreiboldt@gmail.com with your selection and address so I may get these adorable gift tags to your house before Christmas.

This picture is just to prove that my little nut is such an amazing eater. She eats whatever we eat sesame noodles and all! I meant to get a picture of her plate to prove she actually eats it, but it was washed before I could get the camera back out. Amazingly she told me the broccoli was her favorite and has asked for it for lunch today.

with Belles and Beauxs

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

I have found that it is hard to plan a weekly menu during Thanksgiving week. That one day full of delicious food clouds your judgement for all other days. All I can think about is maybe we should fast or just eat sandwiches until Thursday so that the food is that much better. Who are we kidding that would be crazy! I have however planned my meals according to things found in my pantry and fridge during the great clean out this week. I want to be more conscious of using what I have in order to throw away less food.

Monday: Leftovers from the past week/Clean out the tupperware day!
Tuesday: Bowties with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream with Tossed Balsamic Salad
Wednesday (Work Night): Frito Chili Pies with Apple Slices
Thursday: THANKSGIVING! I will be taking Green Bean Bundles, Cranberry Orange Sauce and Chex Mix for munchies
Friday (Work Night): Leftovers or Sandwiches (dear husband loves all Thanksgiving leftovers piled on a sandwich)
Saturday: Pizza or Carry Out
Sunday: Small Group Fellowship Night

The winners of the cooking contest will be announced tomorrow night!

with Belles and Beauxs

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deep South Eats: Sausage Pinwheels

Hold onto your seats ladies and gentlemen. I am presenting you with a superbly technical recipe. I mean we are talking difficult...well not really. If I were truly honest I imagine my little nut would be able to make these herself with a little help in the cutting and cooking department.

Sausage pinwheels are a regular attendee at any function where my side of the family has breakfast or the potential for breakfast. Have to bring a baked breakfast good for bible study and expect my dear mother to show up with a platter of these gems.

1 lb. sausage
1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese - (A little secret for the non wimpy or shall we say not worried about overall appearance of their coronary arteries - I like to buy one of those little 3 oz blocks as well to make them extra creamy)
2 cans of crescent rolls
p.s. I know that this picture does not show a block of cream cheese. I sent my dear husband out to get fruit dip once for a party and he came back with two tubs of cream cheese, so I must get rid of it!


Slice open your sausage. Someone once taught me this little trick to make getting the sausage out of the roll easier. This may be old news to some of you. Simply slice off the ends and then make a slit down the middle long ways. Doing this allows you to roll the sausage right out of their package and then squeeze the little bit out of the ends.

Brown your sausage until there is no pink remaining. I have found the easiest way to drain the grease out of sausage is to layer foil first and then 2 or 3 paper towels on top of a deep dinner plate. Then spoon the sausage onto the paper towels so it will soak up the grease. Once finished you just have to fold up the foil with the greasy paper towels inside - no mess!
Mix the cream cheese with the cooked sausage.
 Roll out one package of crescent rolls onto a piece of plastic wrap lightly dusted with flour. Pinch the seams of the crescent rolls together. Spread half of the sausage and cream cheese mixture all over the surface.
Roll the crescent rolls from the long end away from you to the long end close to you. Do not worry if a little squishes out the ends. Once completely rolled up, pinch the long end into the dough to seal it up. Then wrap the flour dusted plastic wrap very tightly and repeat with second set of crescent rolls. Refrigerate both rolls for at least an hour if not overnight.
 Slice the rolls about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick slices. Place around an inch apart on a greased or parchment covered (my preference for any baking) baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-15
Allow them to cool slightly and then remove to a wire cooling rack. Enjoy right away, later, at 2 in the morning, or they may even be frozen in planning for future breakfasts.

with Belles and Beauxs

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

This week I will be cooking our contest entries. I am so excited to get started on these dishes because they sound awesome! I did make the executive decision to not have the onion rice with any of the dishes. If I served it with one I would have to serve it with all of them to be fair and then the people at Weight Watchers would revoke my membership - I am already on the verge.

Monday: Leftovers/Clean out the Fridge - I am astonished at how many carryout boxes and Tupperware containers cluttered up our fridge over last week. Time for a little smorgasbord (yeah look it up).

Tuesday: Polynesian Pork Chops (compliments of Erin Howell), Sesame Noodles and Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday: Happy Birthday! No cooking allowed!

Thursday: Breaded Chicken Cutlets (compliments of Lauren Tarpley), Spinach Salad and Raspberries (I barely thaw frozen raspberries, add a little bit of splenda and they are the perfect icy treat)

Friday: London Broil with Bearnaise Sauce (compliments of Kim Rowell), Risotto and Garlic Green Beans

Saturday: Happy Anniversary - 6 years!

Sunday: Leftovers

If anyone wants to cook the three main dishes this week with me (as in cook in your own home with your family not mine - you know "with me" in spirit), leave a comment and you can join in on the voting for grand prize!

with Belles and Beauxs

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Deep South Home: Learning to Love Laundry (or at least like)

I am so excited to try the recipes that were submitted. Look for each of them in next week's meal plan with a winner announced on Monday, November 22. The good news is that with three entries, each of you will automatically win a prize!

In my ever amounting laundry pile I have learned so much. I have lessened my amounting hatred for laundry day and even found ways to expedite the process and become increasingly efficient. Today, I pass on to you a completely random list of ten of my laundry tips.

1. If possible for your schedule designate a laundry day. This will require you to have enough pairs of underwear to make it through a week - such a crazy thought! Having a laundry day allows you to get it done in one clean sweep rather than having the need to do laundry always looming over your head. I declare Sunday my laundry day. This way our family starts off the week with fresh clothes and whatever needs to head to the dry cleaners can go on Monday.

2. Sort , sort and sort again. Our piles look a little bit like this: delicates, lights (whites, light yellows, light greys, creams), darks (jeans, blacks, browns, purples, blues, greens), colors (with the nut around it is mostly pink pink and a little more pink), and household (dishtowels and bibs). Delicates are first in the line up because most of them have to dry flat or drip dry. Doing them first allows them ample drying time so they can be ironed and put away with all the other clothes. I always save the household laundry for last because somehow it makes me feel better that my clothes aren't swimming around after the stuff with food bits go for a swim.

3. Which ways is right ways? Turn everything right side out - especially socks. This cuts down SO much time on folding and ironing.

4. Do the zip and snap. Zip all your zippers up before washing with other articles of clothing. Those little metal tangs can do a number on T-shirts and the like. Go ahead and button the top button of your pants and such before they head into the wash to keep those zippers up and cut down on ironing time.

5. Containment. Those little mesh bags for lingerie and the like are also great for holding socks. It is amazing to actually have all the socks have a pair when you pull them out of these bad boys. I can't say enough about mesh bags. I usually have three on hand. That way one is in the wash with a load and then follows it to the dryer, one is in the dryer and can come out for folding time and the third is on deck for the next load. They are very cheap and can even be found at your local grocery store.

6. Did you know? Not to long after their purchase, we had to have our front loaders serviced. Oh the things I learned from these service men. The next three points will include them. First, your washer only requires about 2 Tablespoons max of detergent. Run your washer once with nothing in it and no detergent. Shine a flashlight in that bad boy and take note of how many sudsy bubbles are swishing around. Front loaders retain a lot of residue from detergent so cutting down on the detergent helps this problem significantly. If you have ever noticed a very slight mildewy smell on your clothing - this is usually the culprit.

7. Give the tub a clean. Run the clean cycle once a month on your washer and then leave the door open overnight to dry out. This reduces detergent residue and mildew smells. The service men recommends Affresh tablets with a little bit of bleach in the bleach drawer. While they are hard to find I have been super happy with the Affresh tablets. They also make a Grit Grabber which is a wipe you run around the rubber part where the door seals to get rid of the yuckies.

8. In the front load dryers (especially LG) you are not recommended to use dryer sheets. You will find they can get stuck and make a lovely noise and then you get to meet said service men. They will also become decoration for your flower beds where they will be perpetually blown. The service men said this was written in the manual but for this OCD girl I never found those instructions. Instead they recommended using a small amount of fabric softener in your washer drawer.

9. So I am a little bit addicted to having ironed clothes, but don't really like to iron. Conflict. Overtime, I am slowly learning that if I can't get to ironing right away I need to hang up the clothes right away rather than shoving them in an overflowing basket. My husband can attest that I am still learning this fact.

10. Learn to iron a dress shirt. This is a great link and such a great skill to learn: Real Simple: How to Iron a Dress Shirt

Now go and wash, dry, fold and iron! Post a comment if you have a laundry tip!

with Belle and Beauxs

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

Hold on to your seats folks, this menu is the most exciting yet - sarcasm sarcasm. Whenever the month of November rolls around a small sense of dread fills the pit of my stomach. While there are so many exciting things that take place this month including anniversaries and birthdays, it can be overwhelming in terms of time management - hence the lack of regular posts.

This week is especially busy with my dear husband working diligent long hours and me working several days. This all adds up to less than thrilling meals and thoughts of ease rather than excellence. Without further ado:

Monday: Out to Eat with friend whose husband was out of town while my husband was working late - we definitely did not eat Five Guys after the original plan was to go walking than eat at Atlanta Bread Co

Tuesday: (Work Night) Sandwich Melts, Chips, Fruit, Carrot Sticks

Wednesday: Island Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli

Thursday: (Work Night) Pioneer Woman's Chili, Cornbread Muffins

Friday: Angel Chicken Pasta, Salad, Breadsticks

Saturday: Out to Eat

Sunday: (Work Night - for all you NSH folks that read this I would love to give it away) Small Group Bible Study Dinner

Don't forget that today is the LAST day to enter the recipe challenge. With only one entry so far Erin Howell is the front runner for one AMAZING cookbook! http://deepsouthsweets.blogspot.com/2010/11/deep-south-eats-recipe-challenge.html

Stay Tuned: Deep South Home: Learning to Love (ok honestly Like) Laundry

with Belles and Beauxs

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Deep South Eats: Swiss Chicken in Wine Sauce

This chicken dish is a such a great weeknight meal. It is very hearty and filling which requires simple side dishes, but also pretty enough to serve for company. Although the bake time is lengthy it requires very little preparation. If you are someone that works a typical 9-5 job, I would recommend setting your oven to preheat before you get home. This would allow you to walk in the door quickly prep the dish and be sitting down to dinner at a reasonable hour.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
6 slices of Swiss cheese (sandwich size - around 6 oz total)
1 can of cream of chicken soup (the healthy version works well)
1/4 cup of white wine
1 cup of herb flavored stuffing mix, crushed (I used Pepperidge Farm)
4 Tablespoons of butter melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish (spray or butter - whatever helps you sleep well at night). Place chicken breasts in dish and season with salt and pepper. Layer Swiss cheese slices on top of chicken breasts. Mix soup and wine together and pour over chicken and cheese. Sprinkle stuffing evenly over sauce and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 1.5 hours (some recipes call for 45 minutes but because of the sauce the longer cooking time allows the chicken to be fork tender).

This is also delicious with 6 slices of ham layered underneath the Swiss cheese (on top of the chicken) to create a Cordon Bleu type dish.

with Belles and Beauxs

DON'T FORGET - Recipe challenge ends November 9

adapted from Paula Deen's Lady and Sons Cookbook

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Deep South Eats: Recipe Challenge

There is a side dish that I have made for years and years. It was probably one of the first recipes I ever learned to make as a teenager. It is probably on one of my top tens in terms of ease and flavor, but I run into a problem every time I want to make it. It packs so much flavor that it is very difficult to find a main dish that will compliment it without adding too much flavor to the overall meal.

My challenge to you is to try the side dish in your own home. Think about what main dish recipes you make that would go well. Submit the recipe here on Deep South Sweets under the comments section. I will narrow down the submissions to 3 and then try them myself. The winner and 2 finalists will receive prizes.

First Prize:
1,001 Ways to Cook Southern by Southern Living Magazine Editors: Book Cover
Finalist Prizes:
Personal Stationery: Holiday Gift Tag Stickers Cookie Cutout
The requirements are as follows:
1. Must be weeknight easy - I have plenty of complicated recipes for weekends, but I am looking for something that can be fixed quick and easy (can be slow cooker and don't worry if it has to bake for an hour)
2. All entries must be submitted by November 9 at 8:00 pm (EST). This gives you a full week!

The recipe is as follows:
Onion Rice
2 T butter
7 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained well
1/2 cup rice
10.5 ounce can french onion soup
1/2 cup water

Melt butter in medium saucepan and saute mushrooms. Add rice and saute until brownish in color. Add soup and water. Cover and simmer over low heat until water is absorbed - approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Now go and cook and bring back your ideas!

with Belles and Beauxs

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

This week the menu is short and sweet with the addition of 3 new recipes!

Monday: Beefy Pizza Casserole with Tossed Green Salad
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Creole Chicken, Steamed White Rice and Sugared Raspberries
Wednesday: Dinner out for a company meeting
Thursday: Same as above
Friday: Birthday Dinner for my brother - I am bringing Sour Cream Pound Cake
Saturday: Birthday Dinner for my niece - I am making Creme Brulee French Toast Casserole with Sausage and Fruit for Breakfast
Sunday: Leftovers

As I said, short and sweet. Stay tuned for a Recipe Challenge (with prizes) starting tomorrow and Swiss Chicken with Wine Sauce on Wednesday.

with Belles and Beauxs

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cruising Past Refineries and Plantations

On Sunday, Day 2 of our NOLA trip, my dear husband and I made plans to drive up River Road along the west bank of the Mississippi (look I spelled it right!) River and enjoy the scenery. Once we had roused from our ability to sleep in without a 2 year old nut to wake us up, we drove over to Cafe du Monde in hopes of beignets and cafe au lait. Unfortunately, we didn't think about the fact that there was a Saints game in town that day with a 12 o'clock start. Think line wrapped around the corner and down the side walk. We could not imagine enjoyable thoughts of standing in the spit of rain for an hour. Off we headed to Starbucks for our own version of beignets and cafe au lait - sour cream donuts and iced coffee. Thank you to the Starbucks employee who whispered that she gave me two extra donuts since the first two were "a little bit broken". Thanks - 4 donuts - just what this girl needed while stuck in the car for hours.

Driving up River Road is a mix of refineries (oil, chemical, grain, etc.) that are incredibly large and impressive, quaint towns that have turned back the clock 30 years, sugar cane fields that go on for miles and beautiful plantations. There were times that we got a glimpse of a very large barge or ship over the levee that was carrying supplies up and down the Mississippi. It is just amazing to be driving among towns so simple in nature that are driven by the industry of the river and the accompanying refineries. The sugar cane fields have inspired my husband that we should buy land along the river in Louisiana and build our own little plantation.

Our first stop was Oak Alley Plantation. It was GORGEOUS! We were able to walk the grounds and go on a quick tour of the home to learn more about the way of life and people that had occupied the home in times past. I will let the pictures do the talking:
 Oak Alley
 The reason it is called Oak Alley - isn't this breathtaking?
 Loved the tall magnolia trees.

After a lunch of Zapps potato chips and Dr. Pepper - yeah the picture of health - we continued along River Road. Our next stop was Nottoway Plantation. The mister took me to this beauty for one of our first dates while he was attending LSU. We took these pictures from the levee across the street since they were setting up the grounds for a wedding.
 Nottoway Plantation
 View along the levee
Way down yonder on the Mississippi (that is how it goes right?) Just kidding.

After leaving Nottoway we drove through Baton Rouge and the LSU campus. There is no way to describe the magnificence and magnitude of Tiger Stadium. Even from the bridge over the Mississippi it appears larger than life. We headed back to NOLA along I-10 in order to meet a friend driving over from Gulfport. We met up in the quarter and enjoyed a dinner at Crescent City Brewhouse followed by dueling pianos at Pat O'Briens. The dueling pianos is a must on your NOLA to do list. The crowd can be a bit rowdy, but that is what you should expect in the quarter. Finished off with our long awaited beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde, it was the perfect day!

with Belles and Beauxs

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Louisiana Purchase Deep South Sweets' Style

My dear husband on the levee in front of our weekend purchase. Big spenders - eh?

Just kidding, but the mister and I did head off to NOLA for a business trip turned weekend getaway. He was a speaker at a large conference there this past weekend and I tagged along for fun and games. The last time I had visited the crescent city was when I was in 4th grade and my dad took me on a walk down Bourbon Street after dark. Lets just say that the images are still burned into my brain! 

The first day we arrived in the morning and located our hotel in the warehouse district. I loved the views of the lofts and flats that people had made into their permanent homes. It was a more quiet and quaint part of the city but walking distance from the French Quarter. 

We left the hotel and made our way over to the French Quarter. The smells and sights haven't changed much but the atmosphere is fun and carefree. We had a authentic Cajun lunch at Pierre Masperos. I am not to the level of taking pictures of my food before eating yet because I am a dig in and devour kind of girl. I lunched on Red Beans and Rice with Grilled Andouille. It was amazingly creamy and smooth with all the right spices. The Andouille was just enough to kick it up a bit. The large pieces of french bread were perfect for sopping up the last bits of red beans that were lacking in rice counterparts. The Mister enjoyed a Gator Po-Boy which satisfied his desire to "eat some gator" in his words.

After putting in some serious walking around the quarter including the infamous Bourbon street, we made our way back to the hotel for a little rest and pitiful LSU football. What better to raise us from our game day depression we took a cab over to Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse for a reservation the Mister made the week prior. The atmosphere was typical of a steakhouse but the service was impeccable. It was eye catching to watch the dance of their waitstaff along the expanse and I mean expanse of the eating area. 

I ate the typical steakhouse meal. Starting out with a steakhouse salad that was dressed in a delicious green peppercorn dressing. Very similar to a Caesar salad with a lot more punch. My main course was an 8-oz Filet cooked perfectly to medium with a side of Bearnaise sauce. The seasoning on the steak carried the Cajun spice you expect without overpowering the meat. All of the dessert choices looked incredible, but unfortunately at that point our two waiters might have needed a wheel barrow to get me out of the establishment. We chose to walk back to the hotel to hopefully burn off the plethora of calories we had just consumed and enjoy the breezy night air.

Day 2 - Plantations and Refineries: Driving Up River Road

with Belles and Beauxs

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Deep South Home: Cupcake Costume

Another October Project under my belt and now 3 more to go. I think I can, I think I can. I finished up the nuts Halloween Costume just in time for her to wear it to Trunk 'n' Treat at our church. I definitely learned a lot in the process of sewing and know ways I would do it differently next time around. All in all I am happy with how it turned out but the loops of icing might be a little on the snug side for the nut.

Without further ado...
Little Miss Cupcake
She is pretty darn proud of her costume and tells everyone else that they too will be a cupcake for Halloween.

with Belles and Beauxs

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Deep South Home: Trick or Treat Banner

I am so excited to say that I have accomplished two of my October projects. The first one was this lovely little "trick or treat" banner for my mantle. My mantle is currently B-O-R-I-N-G because I am slowly redoing the color scheme for the entire living room. I love the color this added to the room and brought in a little Halloween spirit.

I used the $1 aisle paper packs from Target and cut them into triangles. I then punched a scalloped circle out of black card stock and added the letters by adorable glitter stickers. I then attached the circles to the triangles using sticky dos (no clue how to spell that one but I can't live without them). Finished the whole thing up by tying each triangle together with black and white polka dot ribbon. It is simple and not over the top but brought out the fall colors in the room.

with Belles and Beauxs

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deep South Eats: Low Country Boil

This weekend was full of celebrations in honor of my dear husband's birthday. The peanut and I packed up and headed out on the road on a business trip with him to Florence, AL. Saturday night, our group of friends from church came over to enjoy a feast of Low Country Boil. Sunday, we rounded up the celebrating with an after church lunch with family. I catered Smoke Jack ribs and chicken which were simply amazing accompanied by Boursin Cheese Potatoes and Romaine Crunch Salad. Simply delicious and simply stuffed.
***(in the haste of celebrating I forgot to take a picture of my own boil)

Low Country Boil was one of my husband's requested birthday dinners. It is a meal to be shared with friends and family because there is SO much food to go around. I use this Paula Deen recipe from this cookbook as my guide but definitely adapt it to our own tastes. 

Crab Boil (I prefer Old Bay)
3 lbs red potatoes, washed but unpeeled
1 lb good quality Andouille sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces
6 ears of corn, cut in half
2-3 lbs. shrimp unpeeled

Fill a large pot or two with enough water to cover ingredients. Add two teaspoons of crab boil per quart of water and bring to a boil. Adjust crab boil to suit your taste. When the water boils, add potatoes and sausage. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Next add corn and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, add shrimp and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Drain and serve on newspaper covered tables (or platters for the OCD at heart).

This is great served with warm, sourdough bread and a crisp, tossed salad. I am not good at guessing how much it will serve, but I would say around 10 people easily. I often will slice the Andouille sausage slanted and the smoked straight so that those who are less fans of spicy (loser) will avoid eating the wrong sausage. I also will make one pot with shrimp and one without for parties to avoid a whole epi pen disaster!

with Belles and Beauxs
(my spell check wasn't working so I apologize for my lack of spelling abilities)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Deep South Eats: Suzy's Taco Soup

This beauty comes straight out of my amazing church cookbook. There are so many "regulars" I have from this cookbook. Basically 325 pages of goodness. This recipe is the perfect fall/winter soup. It is fast and super easy. It freezes very well and makes a huge quantity. I have altered the recipe a little bit to match my families personal preferences, but I have also included the original amounts.

Suzy's Taco Soup (because everyone's church cookbook recipe starts with some one's name - j/k)

Ingredients: (DO NOT drain any of the canned goods - the juice helps make the base)
1 lb. lean ground beef (may use up to 1 1/2 lb.)
1 large onion, chopped
2 (16 oz) cans of chili beans (Mexican style and up to 3 cans may be used)
1 (16 oz) can whole kernel corn
1 (16 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 (4.5 oz) can chopped mild green chiles (may use up to a whole can)
1 (1 1/4 oz) package of taco seasoning mix
1 (1 oz) envelope of Ranch-style dry salad dressing mix (I use Hidden Valley)

Cook beef and onion over medium high heat until well browned. Drain grease. Put into a large Dutch oven or soup pan. Stir beans and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Serve with desired toppings - Frito's, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, chopped avocado, etc.
Can be doubled or prepared ahead. I like to freeze it in single serving containers so they can thaw overnight and be ready for lunch or to take to work for dinner (that is why there is no picture because it is currently all frozen).

with Belles and Beauxs

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

This week there is a very important birthday in the Deep South Sweets house... my dear husbands. When it is your birthday in my household we try to go all out. This means that the Weekly Menu Plan goes to the birthday person's favorites. Then next week it is back to my personal cooking whims!

Monday: Mini Pizza Pockets and Salad
Tuesday: Chuck Roast Barbecue Sandwiches, Chips, Watermelon (If I can still find any that is good - it is Mark's favorite)
Wednesday: Chicken in Wine Sauce, Garlic Green Beans, Rice Pilaf
Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
Friday: Out to Eat
Saturday: Low Country Boil, Salad, Sourdough Bread, Ice Cream Cake
Sunday: Family Birthday Dinner: Ribs and Barbecue Chicken and sides to be determined

Let me know which recipe you want to see, and check back this evening for the Taco Soup Recipe. It is amazingly delicious and simple.

with Belles and Beauxs

Friday, October 8, 2010

Deep South Home: October Projects

I begin with a semi-heartfelt apology for the blog silence the last week. My peanut was sick with a high fever to start our week off and I just never regained my footing. I know you all have missed me sooooo much. The 500 pieces of fan mail were a good indication that I needed to blog blog again (you know like try try again - and j/k about the fan mail I only got 100 pieces - no seriously...none).

This weeks meal plan round here was B-O-R-I-N-G with the exception of my taco soup. I will try to post that recipe tomorrow because it makes for a great SEC football watching meal. This week I have been compiling projects that I want to finish before the end of October.

1. The Peanut's Halloween Costume
This year the nut is going to be a cupcake. I saw a picture last year and just knew that one day the nut would be fully enveloped in this costume (best way to describe it based on the picture). I didn't push my choice on the nut, but gave her a few choices and she was set on being a cupcake. I am making a few changes from the original such as the base pink felt that is accordion folded. The frosting is going to "banilla" as the nut says, otherwise known as white, and the sprinkles are going to be glittery pink. I am going to top off the costume with a beanie hat died red and a stem to boot for a cherry on top!

2. Trick or Treat Mantle Banner
This is pretty self explanatory and check out this web page for a how-to: http://thecraftingchicks.com/2010/09/diy-trick-or-treat-banner-mantel-decor.html

3. Pumpkin Tie-Dye T-Shirt
 I know the nut will look absolutely precious in this shirt on wear orange day next week at school. Check out Family Fun magazine and website for the how-to: http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/pumpkin-shirt-674600/

4. Elastic Waist Skirts for me and the nut
I bought the most precious fabric for these skirts and cannot wait to see how cute they look with a long sleeve shirt and tights!

5. Chalkboard Labels and Chalkboard Glasses
I have had all the supplies for these bad boys for quite some time. They are screaming at me from the depths of the craft room to just go ahead and make them already. So I will take heed of their calling and go forth and create.

Hope that you have maybe found a little inspiration and some great projects to check out. In the words of my craft supplies - go forth and create! If you do make any of the projects please post on your blog and comment with the link. I would love to see them!

with Belles and Beauxs

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Deep South Eats: Sour Cream and Bacon Chicken

This recipe is super easy and filling - our family can usually only eat half a piece of the chicken each. The only thing that can be tricky from time to time is the timing of cooking. It calls for being cooked on LOW 6-8 hours. The 6 hours is optimal for cooking to lock in the juiciness, but 8 hours is still good just a little dryer. Most people during the weekday will have to cook it 8 hours for timing with work and such, so just be mindful that it may need more of the gravy.

Sour Cream and Bacon Chicken
4 bacon slices (I prefer center cut)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 can roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of sour cream (I use low fat or fat free - definitely better with the full strength version)
1/4 cup flour
parsley (optional)

Wrap one slice of bacon around each chicken breast and place in crock pot. Season lightly with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine soup, sour cream, and flour. Mix well with a wire whisk to blend. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken and bacon are cooked through. Serve over hot rice with gravy from crock pot and sprinkle with parsley.

If made with center cut bacon and fat free sour cream, a half piece of chicken is 4.5 points.

with Belles and Beauxs

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

Many of you were interested in the Sour Cream and Bacon Chicken crock pot recipe, so I made sure to incorporate that into my weekly meal plan. If that is all you want to see and don't really care about my weekly menu just fast forward your DVR to Wednesday night when that recipe will be posted with pictures.

This week is another busy week - aren't they all? There are several nights that I will be working accompanied with the dear husband's hectic work schedule. I am committed though to cooking some sustenance as last week we did not eat well....at all. 

Monday: Loaded Taco Salads with Fresh Fruit
Tuesday: Ginger-Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Oven Roasted Potatoes and Lemon Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
Wednesday: Drumroll please...Sour Cream and Bacon Chicken, Steamed Rice and Spinach Salad (This meal was brought to you by the letter "S").
Thursday: (no one will be home for dinner)
Friday: Out to Eat
Saturday: Calzones with Caesar Salad
Sunday: Leftovers

Let me know if any of these recipes sound appealing, but otherwise hold tight to your seats for the crock pot recipe on Wednesday night!

with Belles and Beauxs

Friday, September 24, 2010

Deep South Eats: Crock Pot Delish

After my post on fall readiness, I was asked for a list of 8-10 go-to crock pot recipes. I have a ton that I love to cook, but I definitely think this list represents the foods cooked most often in our crock pot.
  • Beef Tips served over Egg Noodles
  • Taco Soup
  • Golden Chicken served over Rice
  • Pot Roast and Assorted Vegetables
  • Chuck Roast Barbecue Sandwiches
  • Buffalo Chicken (for Salads)
  • Sour Cream and Bacon Chicken
  • Berry Cobbler
  • Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce
  • Creamy Ranch Potatoes
I can't just leave you with your mouth salivating, so I included a recipe for Chuck Roast Barbecue Sandwiches. These are delicious and great for nights when things will be busy. Since they are prepped in the morning they require very little work when ready to eat.

Chuck Roast Barbecue Sandwiches

1 (2 to 2.5 lb) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
2 medium onions, chopped
3/4 cup cola soft drink (I love to use Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper to switch it up)
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp butter or margarine (for the whimps)
6 hamburger buns

Combine roast and onions in a 4-qt. slow cooker. Combine cola and next 7 ingredients; save 1/2 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator. Pour the remaining mixture over the roast and onions. Cook, covered, on HIGH for 6 hours until the roast is fork tender. Drain and shred the roast (I use a large slotted spoon to remove it from the juices in the crock pot and place in a serving bowl to shred). Combine reserved 1/2 cup cola mixture, ketchup, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until thoroughly heated. Pour over shredded roast and stir gently. Spoon onto buns and serve.

I love to serve these with watermelon or fruit slices, carrot sticks, and chips. I will be happy to feature some of these recipes this fall, so please drop me a comment with the recipe you most anticipate seeing. Remember that there may or may not be a secret giveaway for every comment submitted this week!

with Belles and Beauxs

***This recipe was originally from the Southern Living Book: Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Deep South Dirty: Fall Prep Tips

You will notice that their is no weekly menu this week on Deep South Sweets, and that is simply due to the fact that we are busy, busy, busy. The menu would read something like Mon: Leftovers, Tuesday: Sandwiches and rinse and repeat. When the dear husband has to go out of town and this girl has to work it is just a combo for nothingness in the food department.

Here in the South it is still feeling a lot like the summer, but you can still make the inside of your home feel festively fall. You know sort of the if they build it they will come mentality. These are in no certain order, but intended to help you find a few things you can do around your house to make fall more warm and cozy. Without further ado, here is a list of my random tips for fall prep.

  • Pull your crock pot out to where it is easily accessible. Find 8-10 solid recipes that you enjoy in your crock pot and plan to cook at least one every week. Nothing says fall like coming home to the smell of a roast or soup cooking in the crock pot.
  • Find cinnamon, pumpkin and vanilla candles. Even a home that is not spic-n-span can quickly become inviting with a warm, spicy scent.
  • Toss comfy, plush throws over living room chairs and sofas. When the chilly breezes start blowing outside it is amazing to curl up under a blanket and read a good book.
  • Make sure and stock your pantry with hot apple cider and hot cocoa mixes.
  • Purchase a couple of different sized mums for your front porch. Don't be like me and buy them when it is crazy hot still or you will now be looking at dead mums on the front porch.
  • Clean out that closet and make it ready for your fall/winter wardrobe. Don't simply pack away your summer clothes. Take the time to go through them and toss out what is unnecessary. If you did not wear it once this entire summer - toss it! I promise you that if you hang on to it saying to yourself "I'll wear it again someday," you won't. Toss, toss, toss it! Pass those clothes on to someone who truly will wear it again or Goodwill. Same goes for shoes, purses and accessories. Hanging on to things will only clutter up your closet. Do the same thing with the fall clothes you wore last year. If it was never worn during last fall/winter season, toss it!
  • Wash your windows. This is a great thing to do once every season to get them bright and shiny. I recently tried the Windex Outdoor All-in-One Glass Cleaning Tool, and was very pleased with the results. It took all of 30 minutes to get the lower level windows clean, and saved a fortune from hiring someone. 
  • Get out in your lawn and trim your hedges and bushes back. Have your pine straw and mulch refreshed. This is something I will be hiring someone to do for me. I do not mind doing the weekly lawn work myself, but these harder tasks I leave to the professionals.
  • Lastly, pull out your fall decor from the attic and decorate! I love pumpkins and fall fruits on tables and in glass bowls. Different colored leaves are great to scatter along sideboards and tablescapes. Don't go overboard, but simply add a few accents here and there.
I know these are completely random, and I could go on and on. Take the time and find a few things to do around your house to get in the fall spirit. Leave a comment if you have something on your brain that you can add to the list - who knows - a few comments might entice me to do a fall favorites giveaway!

with Belles and Beauxs

Monday, September 20, 2010

Deep South Home: Furniture Redo

Here in the South, furniture is an heirloom. Pieces are passed from generation to generation (along with sterling, jewelry, etc). The find of a great antique is like scoring that winning touchdown in the fourth quarter with 15 seconds left on the clock. 

The piece that I chose to redo is one that was originally my parents. I can remember exactly where it was from house to house growing up. My dear husband and I have had this piece in our first apartment where it served as a bookshelf and then in our first home holding our TV in the living room. When we moved into our current home we were unsure of where we could use it to its full potential. It also needed a little rehab after our dear daughter had pulled the handles off the drawer and broken one of the slats within the drawer. The right leg had also been lost somewhere in a move.

It has sat in our garage for months holding the gasoline can and weed control sprays high from the reach of two year old hands until I recently looked in and noticed it had two rows of hooks. Brainstorm!! It would be perfect for our garage entry area or mudroom as we say in the South. I color-matched the paint with the curtains in the adjacent hall bath and then got down to the nitty gritty.

Starting out I took a damp cloth and wiped down every surface that was going to be painted. Even if your piece of furniture hasn't sat around in a dingy this still is helpful for giving yourself a clean painting surface. My dad also gave me the tip of painting a small area to make sure the paint would actually adhere or if the surface needed to be sanded. Then take a quality painting tape and tape off the lines of where you plan to paint. This may seem a little silly, but this particular piece was not going to be painted on the inside. I love Frog Tape 82011 Pro Painters Masking Tape, Green 1-Inch by 60-Yards. It is worth the extra money to get those beautiful clean lines!
After your surface is prepped, you want to paint a single coat of primer. This insures that you get all those pine surfaces evenly covered so they do not show through the paint. The people at Home Depot recommended Gripper Primer. I was very pleased with the results, just don't look at the large white spot on my garage floor where I dropped the can! I also recommend using a very good brush Purdy 400730 Pro Extra Swan Paint Brush 3-Inch. I have heard of some people rolling furniture. I tested this method and did not like the texture it created. Let this dry for the maximum amount of time listed on your primer can. I gave it overnight to be generous.

Once your primer is dry, brush on your paint. Use a small one inch brush to get the detailed areas and your edges. I had my mom come out and help me and it was useful to have one person doing the detail and the other brushing the large surface areas. We were then able to stop and see each others work and note what places were missed. Do two coats and let dry overnight before moving into your home.

Finished product! I added new hardware to the drawer to give it a more modern look. Sorry for the picture quality but this was a funny angle that only a wide angle lens could capture. I still have to fully fix the leg.  It balances very well as of now, so I can just prop the broken leg up to make it look even.

with Belles and Beauxs