Flooding Susie’s Inbox

March 12, 2011

Thai-ing something new or It really IS windy in the Windy City!

Filed under: Books, Boring, Chicago, Food — sashyjane @ 5:10 pm

Cut me some slack on my terrible title, I’ve only got two weeks worth of writing classes under my belt.

Let me first apologize for not posting more often but do you have any idea how many episodes of Pit Boss are broadcast each week? Just try to resist precious pit bulls and costumed Little People. I dare you.  Somehow I managed to tear myself away from the television yesterday afternoon and take a nice walk around town.  I bought two books on clearance from Urban Outfitters (they were each $10 and I’ve wanted this one for a while. This one was written by a couple whose wedding was featured by Martha Stewart), perused the overpriced stuff at Anthropologie and successfully avoided a GreenPeace worker on the sidewalk.

All that walking built up a thirst so I stopped in a Starbucks for an overpriced glass of tea. I whipped out my notebook and recorded the people and atmosphere. To the untrained eye, I probably looked like every other pretentious writer who goes to Starbucks to be seen writing but the careful observer could discern that I am actually a pretentious writer who goes to Starbucks to be seen writing.

After thoroughly recording my subjects, it was time for supper. Since I was already out, I decided to Thai out Garlic & Chili, the tiny Thai kitchen just a half block from my apartment.  Garlic & Chili is located in the bottom of a transient motel so it isn’t exactly fine dining but the staff was super friendly and quick. I took my chicken pad Thai and spring rolls to go and they did not disappoint. While the pad Thai recipe was very different from the dish I loved in Augusta, it was still delicious. So delicious that I spent the rest of the night prostrate on the sofa, bemoaning the fact that I ate the whole thing.

Later that night, I was startled awake by a high-pitched howling and loud smacking noises. These noises were very different from the loud clunking my living room radiator makes so it was slightly concerning. Turns out, they don’t call it the Windy City for nothing – the wind was whipping and it hasn’t stopped all day.  The sun has finally come out now so I think I’ll go out for another walk. Just as soon as I watch 5 more episodes of Pit Boss.

Shorty and Hercules photo from here.


December 13, 2010

Mark My Words…

Filed under: Books — sashyjane @ 9:41 pm

I shall have a library like this one day.

And if I’m really fortunate, I’ll have one like this:


Sorry for the super-long hiatus. I’ll be back soon with some really exciting news!

September 7, 2010

Stuff I Want – A Purely Selfish Post

Filed under: Books — sashyjane @ 12:17 pm

I keep a favorites file of “Stuff to Buy” on my computer. Most of these things will continue to sit there until they shut down the internet, some of them have already been purchased.

I bought these beauts a couple weeks ago and haven’t been able to keep my hands off them.

If that Domino book was a man, I’d marry it.

These boots may or may not have come home with me too (I’m not linking to them because it’s shameful how much they cost)


Here are a few other things to strike my fancy. Maybe they’ll eventually strike my Visa card.

This bag found through Annie

This rug for the living room I don’t currently have

This watercolor that reminds me of growing up in Effingham

June 18, 2010

A Weekend Read

Filed under: Books, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 4:38 pm

I’ve been reading T.R. Pearson’s first book, A Short History of a Small Place and LOVING.EVERY.WORD. He is a literary genius. Each sentence is perfectly crafted and I’m torn between wicked jealousy over that fact that my writing could never compare and sheer amazement at his brilliance.  Just take this excerpt for example:

Pinky, however, got on with his life a little more successfully than Bubba did. He married one of the Jeeter girls whose family had inherited a chicken ranch in Draper and so had relocated there from Rock Hill, South Carolina. There were five Jeeters altogether, Momma and Daddy Jeeter, Grandma Jeeter, and the two Jeeter daughters, who had legitimate Christian names that got no sort of wide circulation and who were known instead as the fat Jeeter and the bald Jeeter. Daddy said the fat Jeeter was what Momma might call hefty, which according to Daddy was a lady’s way of saying she had the girth of a tractor tire, and Daddy himself said the fat Jeeter was a girl of tremendous quantity who cut an imposing if not disgusting figure. But Daddy said she was the one Pinky lost his head over at first and he wooed her and courted her and kept her in chocolates for the best part of three months before the wind changed, Daddy said, and blew what flame there was from the fat one over to the bald one and Pinky began to call on her and bring her candied fruit since chocolates made her scalp break out. Daddy said the bald Jeeter had not been born bald but lost her hair in childhood during a bout with scarlet fever and had been slick as an egg ever since. And Daddy said once she got old enough to care that she was hairless her Grandma Jeeter made her a pair of wigs out of a combination of human and horse hair, one of which was satiny black while the other, taken mostly from a chestnut mare, was a lovely natural brown and heightened the otherwise drab features of the bald Miss Jeeter’s face. And Daddy said once Pinky married the bald one and left the fat one to go her own way, most everybody agreed he’d done the wise thing since the bald one was not bald or always brunette or always chestnut-headed, but the fat one was always fat. Daddy said Pinky had simply opted for variety, which nobody much was willing to blame him for.

I could literally type the whole book out for you because every paragraph is a brilliant as that one but I wouldn’t want to rob you of the privilege of checking the book out from your library and I’d like to prevent myself from getting carpal tunnel.

What have you read lately?

August 6, 2009


Filed under: Books, Food — sashyjane @ 2:31 pm

Susie beat me to the punch with pictures of our Tybee trip and I am having a hard time getting motivated to blog about fabulous things happening (there are quite a few) all around me but I did want to share a few quick recipes.

Last night, my all-girls Bible study had our end of the summer supper.  I was asked to bring a side and I turned to the cookbook Susie gave me for my birthday. my mama made that

My Mama Made That is an adorable cookbook filled with tips and tricks and sayings from the mamas of the Hampton Roads, VA Junior League.

I decided to make their recipe for tomato pie.  I’ve seen a number of tomato pies in my day but this one was a little different as it had bacon and a second crust- aka completely canceling out the last shred of nutritional value the tomatoes held. It was absolutely heavenly and gorgeous! I didn’t take a picture because it was too yummy and we gobbled it up as soon as that golden crusted treasure was pulled out of the oven. (Can you tell I’m proud of it?) So here’s a stolen picture for demonstration purposes.

tomatopiesliceTaken from here.

Tomato Pie

2 rolled, refrigerated pie crusts (I always use Kroger brand and they always turn out heavenly)

4 very ripe tomatoes

1/2 medium onion

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese

3 slices bacon crumbled

3 TBSP mayonnaise

1 tsp dried basil divided

salt/pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425. Slice each tomato and place in a colander over a large bowl or the sink, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow tomatoes to drain while preparing the other ingredients. (I don’t have a colander that big so I spread out the tomato slices on paper towels on cookie sheets and let them drain.)  Slice the onion very thinly. In a bowl combine the cheese, bacon, and 3TBSP mayo. Mix thoroughly.Carefully lay the bottom pie crust in a 9″ pie plate. Arrange a layer of tomatoes, sprinkle with half the sliced onion and 1/2 tsp dried basil. Cover with about half of the cheese mixture and repeat layers. Top with cheese mixture. Add the second crust, seal the edges, and cut air vents in the top. Bake for 45 minutes, checking after 30. Cover with foil to prevent the crust from browning too darkly.

Remove from oven and eat until you break the chair legs. One girl told me she doesn’t even like tomatoes but she loved this pie. She then followed that comment by saying it tasted like something she’d have at Olive Garden… I’m not sure if that was an insult or a compliment. Haha

I also brought a simple but oh so yummy trifle recipe from the same cookbook. It was so light and yummy and was the perfect compliment to our decadent supper. Again, no pictures, I’m not really a picture taking kind of girl (unless an adorable dog is the subject). Sorry.

blueberry7_39114sImage from here.

Lemon Blueberry Trifle

1 4oz. package of instant lemon pudding

1 tub of cool whip

4 c. fresh blueberries

1/2 angel food cake or pound cake (I used a lemon pudding cake from the Kroger bakery)

Prepare the pudding according to package directions.  Once the pudding has set, mix with the cool whip and refrigerate.  Cut the cake into cubes and layer half of the cubes at the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Top with half of the pudding mixture and half of the blueberries. Repeat layers (the pudding and blueberries should be on top.) Serve and eat until you have to be hauled out to your car in a wheelbarrow.

So far, I’m mega impressed with My Mama Made That.  Tonight, I’m having my married friends Scott and Lenka over and I’m shamelessly serving them the leftover tomato pie, field peas, a MMMT recipe for Sweet Bacon Pork Tenderloin and the leftover trifle.  I’ll let you know how the tenderloin turns out but if history has taught me anything it’s that you cannot go wrong when you wrap something in bacon.

Pics_Food_Bacon_Wrapped_PorkTenderloinGoogle image of that deliciocity ganked from here.

August 4, 2009

A Yummy Thing

Filed under: Books, Food — sashyjane @ 10:47 am

I really thought I’d have time to post about our fabulous and relaxing time at the beach but the trouble with vacation is that the stuff going on back at home doesn’t stop just because you’re not there.  I’ve had the most whirlwind week back at work and it’s only Tuesday! So in the meantime, here’s a little pre-prepared something to whet your summer appetite.

Sarah Raven—writer, cook, broadcaster, and teacher—is the expert on all things to grow, cut, and eat from your garden. She teaches cooking, flower arranging, and gardening courses at her farm in East Sussex. Her mail order company sells her favorite things for the kitchen and garden. She has written for Country Living, House & Garden, Gardeners’ World Magazine, and Domino. In short, she’s the British Martha Stewart. I had a terribly difficult time leaving the bookstore without her garden-fresh cookbook, “In Season.” The gorgeous photography and mouth-watering recipes had me squealing (and probably causing some raised eyebrows) in the floor of the cookbook aisle.
The book is divided into six chapters, each covering two months of the year. Within these chapters, there are subchapters dedicated to the prominent ingredients of the season. For example, in the March/April chapter you’ll find the following produce with accompanying descriptions, photos and recipes: Cauliflower; Purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese, and spring greens; Rhubarb; Spinach; Spring herbs; Watercress and wild garlic. Naturally, the most fruits and vegetables fall in the summer months. Because of the overwhelming abundance during this time period, Raven gives plenty of recipes for pickling, canning, and making preserves.

With both home and restaurant chef’s growing awareness of the benefits of eating locally grown food and therefore seasonally, this book offers a plan for how to best use the harvest at its peak. Raven gives personality to the ingredients covered in this cookbook. Take for example the following description: “Pumpkins and winter squashes are fantastically buttocky and boxomy, and generous of form. Their sheer pregnancy makes you want to gather them up like a flock of expectant mothers.” Doesn’t that make you want to find the nearest pumpkin patch?

You’ll find that many of the recipes are a bit unusual, such as zucchini and ginger jam, which Raven describes as an Edwardian recipe. Then there are recipes for orange pasta, cranberry bean hummus and basil ice cream that I can’t decide if I would love or hate but this makes the book all the more interesting. You’ll find many creative ways to use up your own harvest or your finds at the popular road-side stands and farmer’s markets, while never growing tired of seasonal abundance.

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

June 8, 2009

Reminders of home

Filed under: Books, Food, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 1:43 pm

For as far back as I can remember, Mama and Grandmama (and every other woman in my family) have all subscribed to Southern Living. Each month, Mama would flip through the magazine and tear out all of the delicious sounding recipes for classic Southern dishes and modern twists on the classics as well as helpful hints for around the house. She has a huge notebook stuffed full of recipes for fresh creamed corn, hummingbird cake, barbequed ribs and chicken casserole just to name a few. When Southern Living published their All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, I think Mama was one of the first to order a copy.

Southern Living Cookbook

Contained in the book’s nineteen chapters are 1,250 recipes for pros, beginner cooks and everybody in between. Each recipe has been throughly tested by the Southern Living kitchens and split into categories like Quick, Make Ahead, Freeze It and Family Favorite. You can easily decide what to make that evenly by glancing over the prep and cook times as well as the complete nutritional analysis of each dish.

Try out Southern classics with a twist like Cheesy Grits Bread, Mac and Texas Cheeses with Roasted Chiles, Smoked Turkey Tetrazzini and Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake. Learn to make special occasion recipes like Holiday Beef Tenderloin, Molasses-Coffee Glazed Ham, Chocolate Truffle Cake, Caramel-Coconut-Pecan Cheesecake Bars and Bistro Grill Chicken Pizza.Picking up ingredients at the grocery store is a snap using the simplified ingredient lists helping you determine what to buy and how to shop.

Each chapter begins with basic tips, guides and tools to help you get started. Familiarize yourself with different cuts of beef, herbs, spices, knives, cooking terminology and more. Take the guesswork out of cooking by consulting the timetables and charts. No more undercooked pork and overcooked fish! Be sure to check out the party and entertaining section. And guys- there’s a huge chapter full of sizzling favorites from the grill.

For the past forty years, Southern Living has prided itself in, “delivering definitive Southern cuisine to its readers, making it one of the most trusted recipe sources in the country that reaches over 16 million readers monthly.” With that kind of history, you know the information contained between the covers of this cookbook is culinary gold.

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

May 6, 2009

Mighty Mississippi

Filed under: Books, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 11:50 am

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Garden & Gun.  I also love the look of old barns, quaint schoolhouses, old storefronts- anything that’s indicative of that sort of beautifully, sad Old South.  Apparently, author Gloria Norris appreciates that same forlorn beauty because Garden & Gun has just done a feature on her Highway 51 pictorial series documenting her travels through Mississippi.

Here’s the article on the website:

One for the Road

In a world of eight-lane superhighways lined by strip malls and Ruby Tuesdays, Highway 51 remains a road that’s worth slowing down for. Bob Dylan recorded a ballad named after it. William Faulkner and Eudora Welty grew up alongside it. But never before has the storied stretch of two-lane highway that bisects the Mississippi hill country—wending its way south from Memphis to Jackson—been the subject of a photography book.

With ninety original images, and an introduction by Rick Bass, Highway 51 (available May 1) is a sumptuous tribute to the legendary route and the distinct culture that has grown up around it. Taken by hill country native and author Gloria Norris, the photos capture swamps and pasture, a lone crawfish shack, the mist in the air after a good rain, and music, always music (the area is known for the likes of blues masters R. L. Burnside and Mississippi John Hurt).

If you can’t hit the road, we suggest having a seat on the couch, throwing open the windows, cranking up some road tunes, and cracking open the book. It’s the next best thing to cruising down the blacktop.

The images speak for themselves so I won’t ruin them (even though I’m really tempted!) with corny captions .



a-hwy-51-img-1*One quick interjection: Who knew that monks loved Elvis?!





a-hwy-51-img-6*Another quick interjection: The above image captures so many aspects of the South that can’t accurately be put into words.






*The below is my favorite image and it’s my computer background right now:a-hwy-51-img-8

*All photos by Gloria Norris

I’m seriously going to pick up a copy of this book because if the other images are half as good as these, I won’t be able to put it down!

April 27, 2009

The Good Book

Filed under: Books — sashyjane @ 3:17 pm

I’ve just finished reading Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams.  He is hilarious.  I love his writing style and witty observations.  Here are my favorite exerpts:

P. 102 There was a new janitor for the new school.  In those days before anyone had coined the descriptive word “redneck,” he was known as a white man.  He had a high voice, a mouth full of snuff, and a back which was humped across the shoulders but erect at the waist.  This resulted in a loose-legged, arm-hanging gait that shrieked “country” from a half mile away.  He had a five pound bunch of keys, a  massively puffy wife, and a houseful of crusty-nosed, snarl-headed children.  He did not wear overalls but dressed in khaki pants and a white shirt with the top button always fastened.  His best friends were the ninth grade boys and at lunch he could be found under the cedar tree at the rear of the building, where this worldly and highly sophisticated group of males gathered.  Here they conducted their own version of the Kinsey investigation and provided, without tuition, raucous and graphic sex education classes long before such a service was even imagined by the Board of Education.  It was simpler to avoid the cedar tree.  Everybody else called the janitor “Edgar,” but the boy invariably addressed him as “Mr. Bannister.” He had learned at an early age that polite formality can be a very effective social barrier.

P. 172 She had married Mr. Billy Boy Carruthers just at the end of the World War and had been busy trying to make something out of him ever since.  He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. William Boyd Carruthers, Jr., and it had never entered his head that this exalted position was not the ultimate goal of existence.

p. 198 About this time the waitress came to the table for their order.  She was an older woman, at least twenty-five, and moved with the deliberation and patience of one who had worked long enough with the public to expect anything and to express surprise at nothing. Her uniform had been fresh three days before and had never been big enough for her.  She was so fat that when she stopped walking it was several seconds before her buttocks settled down.

I highly recommend this read.  Pretty much anything by Ferrol Sams is solid gold.  Happy Reading!

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