Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guest Bedroom: Phase One

Dear Deep South Sweets,

My name is guest room and I have been feeling...well...blank lately. All the other rooms have such better "outfits" than me. I am stuck with boring beige. Please help me coordinate and spruce myself up so I may fit in better. I have even heard musings that there is company coming to stay this weekend that might like an actual bed. I know I am asking for you to do a lot in a short period of time, but hey I have faith in you. Let me show you what you will be working with:
This is looking from the doorway. You will see I currently am "dressed" with a sewing table and a office armoire. Can we say B-O-R-I-N-G.... "boring".
Gee this armoire really detracts from my beautiful window. Do you think you might move it to another wall. Who cares that the internet hook ups are on this wall. Have you ever heard of the word disguise?
This is looking from me into my really close friend the guest bathroom. So much work, so little time. Maybe after you enhance me you can move onto my buddy so it doesn't get too jealous.
Wait, what is this? Is this my new wardrobe? You say I am going to get a upholstered, diamond-tufted headboard out of this marine blue suede? I have also heard rumors that the grey on grey clover sham at the top is awaiting the delivery of a matching duvet. I am just thrilled by these chartreuse accent pillows from IKEA. Fancy!
Foam, batting, and pillow forms? Where is the plywood and 1x4s that must be cut to exact dimensions? Oh, you are going to get them tomorrow and drill the tufting holes, adhere the foam, staple the batting and fabric, and hand tuft? Well what are you doing blogging about it? Get to work!


Your Guest Room

*Stay tuned for more updates as I work myself like crazy to get this project semi-completed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

Some weeks the motivation to try new recipes fizzles quickly as I look through our weekly calendar and discover it is going to be a hazy, crazy week. When you have a week that is going to pull you in 15, 482 different directions it is important to not over commit yourself within your weekly menu.

On weeks such as these I devote myself to cleaning out my pantry, refrigerator and freezer. I look closely to see what all I have and combine meals with the various items. I am a little wary of creating "surprise" meals, so I stick with basics like pasta and sauce, crock pot meals, etc. This week I have several nights I am going to the hospital for work, large projects that need to be finished around the house before company comes on Saturday, and the SEC kick off football game Saturday night. There is no reason to kill myself this week to produce fabulous meals. My goal this week is to provide filling, healthy meals that will keep my dear family from coming down with rickets or scurvy.

Monday: Whole Wheat Linguine, Tomato Basil Sauce, and Walnut Green Beans
Tuesday: Crockpot Stew Meat, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday: Island Chicken, Boiled Corn on the Cob, and Baked Pineapple
Thursday: Club Sandwiches, Raw Veggies with Dip, and Fresh Fruit
Friday: Pizza and Tossed Salad
Saturday: Out to Eat at Football Game
Sunday: Grill Out Hamburgers and Hot Dogs for a Pre Labor Day Party (Labor Day is my summer holiday to work at the hospital)

I hope that you will look at your weekly calendar when planning your weekly meals, and make sure you aren't adding additional stress with complicated meals on busy weeks.

Coming up this week:
  • Guest Bedroom Redo: Phase One
  • Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie Empanadas
  • Top of Cabinets: To Decorate or Not to Decorate
with Belles and Beauxs

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Deep South Manual: September Edition

Run, run, run to you mailboxes ladies and gents. The September Southern Living has arrived! Now everyone take out your "manual" and face the front of the class. Your teacher will go over the finer points of this issue.

First of all, hats off to the folks over in Birmingham at our beloved Southern Living. What a fabulous issue they turned out this month. I believe I doubled the size of my magazine by all the corners I dogeared. My husband and I are true believers in our southern magazines. I stand by Southern Living and he is a Garden and Gun fanatic (I am sure if you egg him on he will guest blog on the issues).

Several delights:
  • Page 28 featured Serenbe Farms. For those of you who live within the reasonable driving distance for Serenbe, this is a must see. Take your wife for an overnight trip or pack up and drive down for the day. The houses are breathtaking and idea inspiring through varied architectural elements. The inn allows for ample relaxation and pampering, and there is something truly refreshing about farm to table dining.
  • Page 35 is near and dear to my heart. It features recommendations for a Georgia lowcountry road trip. Those of you who know me on a more personal level know that a small portion of my brain is sitting in a chair on the Georgia coast every day. If my dear husband said we could move to Saint Simon's, my house would be packed up overnight and we would be on the road by 5 am. If you are thinking about a trip to Savannah, venture south down 17 and enjoy the simplicity of Georgia's coast.
Trip Details
  • http://www.southernliving.com/travel/south-east/savannah-st-simons-island-travel-00417000068690/
  • Page 48 is something I have on my list of places to check out. My dear husband has a love affair with the clothing from Sid Mashburn. Sid's wife Ann has now opened her own store. I love the timeless classics they both view as essential to a wardrobe. Ann explains how timeless clothing choices can support your wardrobe for years.
  • I could truly go on and on, but you would know too much and not go pick up your own copy of the magazine. I will leave you with one last favorite from the magazine. The highlight article of the issue is The Secret to Being Southern. Tip #3 is something that I am so picky about. I want to preface this by saying I am not here to offend anyone at all, but the description of how to write a charming thank-you note is a blessing to my soul. A well written thank you note can make my day. I have saved a box of good thank you notes and shall we say less appealing notes. I hope to use these some time in the future to teach my peanut how to write thank you notes.
I hope I have left you hankering for more. I feel like I should start from the beginning with my issue and read it all over again. Go pick up your "manual" this weekend and sit by the pool, sip your sweet tea, and educate yourself on the intricacies of Southern culture. I am sure if you encourage me enough I will give away a one-year subscription at some point. I guess you will just have to wait and see!

with Belles and Beauxs

** I am in no way affiliated with Southern Living. While I would love to work for this fantastic magazine in my dreams, in reality I just read and learn the "manual" on a monthly basis.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deep South Eats: Tomato Basil Soup

Sitting around the pool this morning on a play date, I was talking with my fellow moms about how a recipe longer than 45 minutes is a big turn off. Every now and then I love a long, drawn out recipe, but for the day to day life 45 minutes or less is the way to attract this Southern girl.

This soup is a staple! While not the most healthy you can make substitutions to some of the ingredients in order to lower the calories. Of course that would be for the wimps though! I love this recipe because it makes a TON. You can share it with a friend who has just had a new baby, call your mom and say you are bringing her dinner, or just hoard it for yourself and drink it with a straw. It is very versatile and pairs well with grilled cheese, salads, paninis, warm crusty sourdough, etc.

Tomato Basil Soup

2 (28 ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can of chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic, minced
10 fresh basil leaves, minced
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 cup of whipping cream
1/2 cup of butter (or margarine - wuss)

In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring the tomatoes, broth and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted.

Tip: Bottle this up in a large mason jar and stick it in a basket with a french baguette and Caesar salad kit from your local grocer. This would be a great treat for your children's teachers, a friend that has just had a baby, or even taking to your husband at work.

with Belles and Beauxs

*adapted from All Recipes' Basil Tomato Soup with some addition and subtraction

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen: Whats on the Menu?

And the winner is...
Drum roll please...
Drawn by the little peanut. Sarah you are the winner!!! Email me at rreiboldt@gmail.com and we will talk colors. I will be using the winning white board for a tutorial! If you didn't win this week there will be many other giveaways in the future!

Deep South Sweets is eating good this week! I love the weeks that come occasionally where I am off work (except for a little call I picked up). I really try to invest my time wisely and try a few new recipes. Adding variety to the weekly menu is essential to me. I would go crazy in a world where it was spaghetti one night, poppy seed chicken another, etc. Some weeks I try new recipes that are challenging and other times it is recipes that I know will be comfort food.

Everyone has a different approach to meal planning. I hope to give you a few tips that will be helpful for those of you that aren't set in your ways. I try to cook at least four meals on a normal week. These usually are based in chicken/turkey, beef, pork and vegetarian/egg.

Sit down each week with your favorite grocery store ad and circle the meats or produce that are on sale and appeal to you. This will provide a good base. For example this week, rotisserie chicken and lean ground beef were on sale. I then searched my recipe books and online to find the best fits with considering my time commitments. This led me to the Chicken Pot Pie Empanadas and Mini Cheeseburgers. Two recipes I have never tried before and include meats that are on sale at my grocery store.

Next week, we will talk about building a rotation of side dish options.

Monday: Pork and Cashew Stir Fry with Brown Rice and Broccoli Slaw
Tuesday: Tomato Basil Soup, Tossed Salad, and Parmesan Toast
Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie Empanadas and Garlic Green Beans
Thursday: Breakfast Casserole, Cinnamon Rolls and Mixed Berries
Friday: Mini Cheeseburgers, Baked Potato Chips and Fruit Salad
Saturday: Out to Eat
Sunday: Leftovers or Sandwiches

Let me know if you would like any of the recipes featured this week!

with Belles and Beauxs

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deep South Saturday

What better to do on a gloomy Saturday morning? Venture to the local farmer's market. I loaded up the little peanut and portable potty training potty (you never know how close the restrooms will be when the nut is "locked and loaded") and headed to pick up a good friend. We travelled a whopping two miles. The farmer's market that we went to is on the small side but provides the perfect variety of stands without being overwhelming.

I picked up some gorgeous peaches that I am hoping to use to make peach and toasted pecan ice cream this week. I was really hoping to find some peaches from my home state, but these beauties were brought in from South Carolina. They also had some delicious looking corn, snap beans, tomatoes and melon. Since this was my first trip to the farmer's market I decided to start small so that I wouldn't have tons of produce to plan my weekly meals around.
This delicious honey whole wheat bread is melt in your mouth good. The lady at the stand was giving full sliced samples accompanied with honey butter. Sweet girl you know just how to sell a Southern girl. I could have licked the butter off the bread and then eaten the bread plain they were both so tasty. Unfortunately, that might have been awkward for my little peanut and my friend. I also indulged and bought some ham and cheese croissants, chocolate croissants and soft pretzels. They were so so so good and now my Weight Watchers account has self combusted. You ask where are the pictures of these treats? They disappeared so quickly that my camera was simply not fast enough.
Last was this awesome salsa my friend recommended. They had about 6 or 7 samplings and this beauty was the right balance of spicy and fresh. It was specially bought for my husband who loves all things spicy. My mouth was on fire and he was like yeah that was so mild I might use it to wash my face.
We rounded out our day with taking the peanut to the aquarium where we celebrated her being potty trained - like the water theme? It was the perfect Saturday and I can't wait to show you my winnings from next week's farmer's market.

Don't forget today is your last day to enter the giveaway! Check out the The Sweet Kitchen post for details. In order to add a little incentive. Everyone that enters this giveaway will get an automatic extra entry into the next giveaway.

with Belles and Beauxs

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Deep South Party: Hydrangea Wedding Shower

Every Southern girl loves a good party. I would throw a party every single weekend, but my husband might commit himself to the local insane asylum if that were the case. My brain tends to overflow with ideas to the point I have a hard time narrowing down specifics for a party. My key to party planning that helps narrow down all the ideas is to pick a theme. No, I am not saying to go all Winnie the Pooh on me, but it can be as simple as a color or a feeling that you want the guests to take from the celebration.

This past weekend I had the honor of throwing a wedding shower for a friend from my work. We tend to have showers for coworkers at the hospital, but this girl was just so deserving a blow out pretty shower. She is getting married this fall in Charleston. Those of you that know me well know that "fall" and "Charleston" make by knees go weak!

I chose the theme of Southern chic - the whole feeling I want for guests. It went well with her colors - a navy teal and dark green. It was easy to plan food for the shower with the "Southern" concept. The menu included fresh summer fruits, vegetable crudites (definition = fancy word for raw cut vegetables) with ranch dip, warm yeast rolls with maple honey mustard and ham, cornbread muffins with jalapeno jelly and smoked turkey, cheese krispies, white cake cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and a chocolate fondue station (not pictured).
The food was delicious and light enough for an afternoon affair. The buffet table was accented by cream roses and greenery tied to the corners with navy tulle, hydrangeas in Mason jars, burlap tablecloths, and candles in small jewel Mason jars.

I am a big fan of using reusable resources for party decor. Burlap tablecloths are so inexpensive when you can buy burlap for 3.99/yard and cut to fit the size of table. Handle burlap gently if you would like to reuse it as it tends to stretch out of shape easily. Once the party is over they can be folded up and stuck in your party cabinet/box. They are great to bring out around fall with different colored leaves and pumpkins or even in the spring with garden fresh flowers. Mason jars are one of my favorite things. I mean seriously at 9.99 a flat you can use them multiple ways. I grouped them in different numbers around the house with cuts of hydrangea and tulle and ribbon tied around. The small jeweled jelly Mason jars show beautiful reflections with a tea light.
The picture below is one of my favorite accents from the party. I took a large Mason Jar and hot glued a 4 inch strip of burlap around the jar. I then took a sharpie (acrylic paint watered down would work well) and free handed a T for the couples married initial. Two of these flanking the mantle looked awesome but so simplistic.
I hope that you have found some of these ideas helpful. A few of my biggest tips for party planning is that simple decorations with fresh flowers are classy and chic. I would rather spend less and be able to reuse stuff down the road than fork out a fortune and throw it out with the crumbs.

with Belles and Beauxs

Don't forget to check out the giveaway from yesterday's post. Giveaway ends Monday, August 23 at 8:00 pm EST.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sweet Kitchen

Oh did I fail to mention that this Southern girl tends to be a bit OCD organized from time-to-time. I believe that a weekly meal menu is a staple in every home. Not only does it save money but it helps with eating healthier, time management and knowing how to put variety in your meals. This is a talent that was passed down to me from my dear mother. Southern girls learn to respect the traditions of our mothers that helped the home run more smoothly.

Every Sunday afternoon you can find me planning our weekly menu and grocery list. This can be as easy as just planning your dinners Monday through Friday or as detailed as breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyday of the week (I told you I had some OCD tendencies).

This week our sweet kitchen is cooking up:

Monday - Pineapple Chicken Bites, Onion Rice, and Green Beans
Tuesday - Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomato Basil Sauce and Salad with Homemade Caesar Dressing
Wednesday - Taco Salad with Fresh Fruit
Thursday - Leftovers (Hey a girl has got to take a breather from time to time)
Friday - Corn and Bacon Chowder, Cheese Scones, Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
Saturday - Marinated Flank Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and Steamed Garlic Broccoli
Sunday - Church Potluck (Yes the Deep South lifestyle includes a good potluck)

In order to kick off this blog and get my readers enticed to make weekly menus I am giving away one of these decorative white boards. The winner will be able to choose colors/patterns of their choice to match their home.

First Entry: Leave a comment including your first name and email address telling me on a scale of 0-10 how well weekly menus work for you. 0 being "no way, bless her heart" and 10 being "duh, don't know how to survive without"
Second Entry: Tell a friend to enter the giveaway and have them leave your name in the comment line.
Third Entry: Tell me something that you would like to see featured on the blog.

Warm Welcome

Let me extend a gracious Southern welcome. I am sure you are asking yourself who is this girl that loves all things about the South? I am a girl that can feel the anxiety of SEC football building in my heart seconds after the last season ended. I find that Mason Jars tend to just show up in my home decor, and my subscription to Southern Living is religious. Food just isn't tasty without a healthy dose of butter. While I don't profess to be an expert on all things Southern (there is always something new to learn) I have lived in the South... my entire life.

Whether it be what is cooking in my kitchen, the latest project to which I have devoted my time, the places in the South that make my heart swoon, or anything else I dream up I hope to give you a glimpse of the things that make this deep south life sweet.

If all else fails and you are bored to tears just throw out a "bless her heart" and all will be well.

with Belles and Beauxs