August 31, 2010

Pommes d’Amour


I promise this is not another post bemoaning my sad little tomato plants that never produced any tomatoes! I’m just trying to savor the last wonderful bits of summer and that includes the bounty of tomatoes that have been available in my local farm stands and markets.

Because they were believed to have aphrodisiac qualities in 17th century France, these glorious fruits were known as “love apples” or pommes d’amour. How do you like them love apples? And we’ve all heard the on-going argument of to-may-to vs. to-mah-to. No matter what you call them, I call them wonderful! I froze a small batch of stewed tomatoes for soups and chili this winter. I really want to go all out next year and can some too.

DSC01187 {I spotted these orange beauties at one area market}



{then i munched on these fried greenies at a delicious local eatery…i promise there is a healthy food under all that batter…the southern beau said these were the best he’d ever had, but i say my me-me’s hold that title!}

Here is a quick and easy tomato recipe if you are looking for something with a bit of a twist…

Chevre Tomatoes

Halve 2 tomatoes horizontally and shake out the seeds. Place the halves cut side up on a broiler pan, salt lightly and broil until sizzling (about 3 minutes). Sprinkle 3 ounces of crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and top with a few grinds of pepper. Broil a while longer until the cheese softens. Sprinkle with chopped fresh oregano. Yum!

Are you doing anything delicious with your love apples? Do tell!

August 30, 2010

Southern Happenings: SoFestofBooks


You all know how I love a festival and there’s one coming up that leaves me tickled pink! I’m referring to the Southern Festival of Books, a weekend-long event taking place in Nashville October 8-10. What better way to celebrate all of our favorite authors and their books than with a huge free event on Nashville’s War Memorial Plaza? The list of authors in attendance is pretty impressive and if you’re on twitter, you can follow sofestofbooks for a chance to win exclusive access to book signings, author meet-and-greets, and more! (I’m on twitter now, too! If you care to follow me…sthrnbellesimpl).


Part of the reason I’m jumping for joy about this event is that I won last week’s twitter contest and will hopefully get a chance to meet one of my favorite authors, Ms. Lee Smith. Her book Fair & Tender Ladies is seriously just that good. I re-read it at least once a year. Another reason I’m looking forward to attending is that the Southern Beau and I fancy ourselves aspiring writers and the man who facilitated our meeting way back when as the professor of my first college creative writing class is going to be at the festival too. Mr. Michael Knight is a talented southern writer and all-around classy gent. We credit him for bringing us together…cue the sappy music and birds flying overhead.

Anywho, since today’s post is about beloved books, I want to know yours! Has there been a book that left you feeling changed for the better? Maybe it’s a volume that you cherished as a child. I’m always looking to expand my library, so please share! And think about attending the Southern Festival of Books…we can meet up!


{ Grab a button for this event if you’d like to help spread the word! Here.}

August 26, 2010

Anti-recipe: Chili Coconut Pulled Pork

vintage cook

I have never claimed to be a learned chef…I just like to eat, so I enjoy cooking things that are tasty and easy. I hate long recipes and stick to dishes with few ingredients. Here is my most recent culinary amalgamation. Hope you like it as much as we did!


{1 pork loin roast}

sriracha chili

{a teaspoon or 2 of sriracha hot chili sauce}


{vita coco pure coconut water}


{1 bottle of terrapin ale}

Put your roast into a cold slow cooker. Dot it with Sriracha Chili Sauce (as much as you like…a tiny bit won’t make it spicy). Pour coconut water and beer over the roast. Put the lid on and let it cook (High 4-6 hours, Low 8-10 hours). You can shred the pork and eat it on sandwiches or just soak up the juice with bread. You can lick the plate. We did.

If you haven’t had Sriracha Chili Sauce, you must track some down. Apparently it is great in just about anything. I only got mine this week so this is my first time using it, but I can’t wait to try it out with other dishes (hamburgers, slaw, soups?). Also, I’ve been drinking the coconut water for its health benefits, but thought I’d try it for cooking too. Anybody else a fan of either product?

August 25, 2010

A horse of a different color


Today is the 71st anniversary of the nationwide release of one of my all-time favorite movies. I have loved The Wizard of Oz since the very first time I saw it way back when I was just a tiny tot. I’ll never forget being swept up in the ‘magic’ of cinema when Dorothy stepped out of her house into pure Technicolor fantasy land. I still get that feeling a little when I watch the movie.

I got a great book from the library called 100 Years of Oz and it has some fabulous images in it, pertaining to the whole franchise.

i'd turn back if i were you

wizard of oz album cover


dorothy w of oz


wizard of oz 2


My mom likes to tell the story about how she and her siblings would beg to skip church on the one Sunday night per year that the film was broadcast on television, and then stay up late watching it. I can’t imagine not being able to watch my favorite movies and shows anytime I please, but in a way this would make it much more special. It’s always interesting to revisit beloved childhood films and books to see how our adult selves process them. I’m a weepy-eyed mess by the time Dorothy is saying her good-byes…and Charlotte’s Web? Can’t even go there unless I have a huge value pack of kleenex.

Is this one of your childhood faves? If not, what movie did you love in childhood and continue to watch? Maybe you’ve shared it with your kiddos. Do share!

August 24, 2010

Only in the south: Passin’ judgement


We are taught from an early age not to judge others…lest we bring judgement upon ourselves. Thank goodness the old adage didn’t say “thou shalt not judge thy neighbor’s biscuits!” or we’d be in a mess of trouble! We take our biscuits pretty seriously around these parts. It was oh so tough to see these ribbon winners at the fair and not get to sample the goods. By the way, I’ve shared both of my sweet great-grandmothers’ biscuits recipes on this blog, but still haven’t attempted to make either one. For shame!


Now don’t think that biscuits are the only baked good worthy of a prize! We’ll be happy to judge your coconut pies, apple stack cakes, and brownies around here too! Aren’t we so sweet! Just imagine if you were a certified cake judge! Is there such a thing? If there is a open position anywhere, sign me up! I already fancy myself an amateur cupcake taster.


{latest cupcakes that I graciously lent my tasting services for at Magpies…Spumoni! so delish}

apologies to my lovely readers for this carbohydrate-laden post…from here on out it’s going to be images of green veggies only until we wake up from our sugar comas…also, my computer is trying to tell me that ‘judgement’ should be spelled ‘judgment,’ but I promise you that the version with the ‘e’ is in my dictionary! It just looks better to me. xoxo

August 23, 2010

15 Days of Linen


I know everybody doesn’t adhere to the strict fashion rules we follow down in the sweet south. Some folks even go as far to say we’re ridiculous for putting such sartorial restrictions on ourselves, but it’s how I was raised, so there. The particular rule to which I’m referring maintains no linen after Labor Day. Linen is a lightweight fabric that signifies summer and since we like to think of Labor Day as summer’s unofficial end, it marks the end of wearing linen. Now I might bend a tiny bit and wear darker linen through the month of September, but not light linen and definitely not seersucker. I would say the only exceptions to this rule are if you live in Key West, but actually doesn’t everyone in Key West wear whatever he darn well pleases anyway? Seeing as it’s only 15 days until Labor Day, I have decided to wear all my linen as much as possible during now and then.

white shoes make your feet look fat

You might be thinking about the ‘other’ rule we follow in the south about not wearing white shoes after Labor Day. I happen to play the trump card that says white shoes make your feet look fat and prefer to avoid wearing them anytime of the year. Basically I can count on my feet to look slender as my ace in the hole…and just can’t risk the alternative. This is me. Please don’t take offense. But if you do wear white shoes after Labor Day, I will totally call you out. Even if not to your face.  So yeah…wearing linen and enjoying the next 15 days. What do the next 15 days hold for you my dears? Can’t wait to hear about it!

August 20, 2010

sweet southern couple: At the fair

katelyn m shoot2

First of all, I guess I should apologize for the influx of fair-related posts in the last 2 weeks, but when I saw these images I just knew I had to share them. I had heard about a local couple having their engagement pictures taken at our county fair, but I had no idea how incredible the photos would turn out. The sweet bride-to-be is simply glowing and her groom looks pretty happy too. I love the retro feeling captured in these. So many engagement pictures are stuffy and formal, but not these! How could you not have a great time doing a shoot like this? I think they belong in a magazine!

katelyn m

{so sweet}

katelyn m shoot1

{i know what he’s thinking: she’s the prize!}

katelyn m shoot5

{what a perfect shot}


[All images by Daniel Sutton of Creative Push Photography]

August 19, 2010

Tea or coffee?


I know that everyone isn’t a fan of antique silver, but I’ll be the first to admit that it makes this belle’s heart go pitter-pat. Such was the feeling that came over me recently at a church rummage sale when I spotted a 6-piece silver service. Everyone else was passing it right on by, possibly because of the tarnished state it was in. If there is anything I have learned from being raised by the queen thrifter, it’s how to distinguish good silver from not-so-good. I could tell from first inspection that I had found the goods.



The set includes a teapot, a coffee pot, a creamer, a sugar bowl, and another bowl I haven’t identified (lemon maybe?). Also a cute little napkin holder. I’ve been polishing for days and still haven’t quite finished all the pieces. But the ones I have done look gorgeous. Each item is marked Wm. Rogers with the name surrounded by an eagle and star. I researched this mark and found that it was used by the Rogers company between 1825 and 1841. The same mark was also applied by International Silver Company until at least 1939, so it’s hard to tell the exact age of the set. 



If antique silver feels too stuffy for your style, you can always repurpose it in new ways. I even kind of like leaving it tarnished sometimes for a different look. But I enjoy polishing so much, it never stays that way for very long in my house. Are you a lover of silver like yours truly or does something else give you something to write home about? I’ve already given full disclosure about my other obsession as well. Now, pray tell…what is yours?


August 18, 2010

Local Joe

Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day, but I don’t always have time to enjoy it as much as I would like. My usual routine consists of me chugging my Carnation instant breakfast shake while driving to work. I rarely make coffee at home, but I love drinking it so I'm not sure what the deal is with that. Maybe it's because real coffee shops always have the fancy equipment. There's nothing like a cup of coffee shop coffee, as opposed to what I can make with my regular old drip coffee pot. 

One day last week I had an early morning appointment at the auto mechanic and was pleasantly surprised to see a cute coffee shop across the street where I could wait on my car. DSC01083
Mojoe’s is a neat little local place that serves delicious coffee and other fun drinks. The atmosphere is bright and cheery, boldly colorful, but relaxed and laid-back. I enjoyed a cappuccino and a blueberry muffin. Kind of a sweeter breakfast treat than I usually go for, but it fortified me for when it came time to write that big check (for another post: why is it fun to buy $300 shoes, but not $300 tires?).
I hung out on this comfy couch while I waited. Don’t you love the burlap coffee sack curtains?
On my next trip, I’m planning to try one of the non-coffee drinks. I think this is a very smart option because a lot of folks who aren’t necessarily coffee drinkers still enjoy hanging out and chatting over tasty treats.
I even added my blog initials to the chalkboard door! Oh I would have loved this place so much in my youth…and unlike the ‘scary’ coffee shop in my hometown, I’m sure my parents would have allowed me to go here! If you’re in Knoxville, you should definitely stop by!

August 17, 2010

i heart art: Danielle Duer


I recently stumbled across the work of a wonderful artist and was so mesmerized by her images that I decided I must share them. Danielle Duer is a painter living and working in Nashville, TN, but her work has garnered recognition all over the globe.  She says that her images are ‘manifestations of a romantic walk inside her own head.’ I am simply mad about her bold use of color as well as the whimsical depictions. Her works evoke a feeling of magic and wonder that capture the viewer and feed the imagination. 





{all images via…with permission from the artist}

If you are interested in making one of Danielle’s pieces your very own, contact her here. If you’d like to see more of this talented lady, you can also become a fan on facebook.

August 16, 2010

Fair thee well!


Last week I mentioned that the county fair was in full swing in my hometown and this past Friday, I was able to attend! It was everything I had hoped for and then some! There is something so special about revisiting events that you enjoyed as a child and feeling transported back in time. Of course it helped to have my partner in crime, the southern beau, accompany me. Hope you don’t mind that this post is a little image heavy, but I wanted to share!


{the agriculture stuff is always my favorite part…i wish all these gorgeous cans were going in my cellar}



{prize winning ‘maters…i’m trying not to be jealous since my tomato plants have yielded nothing this year}



{blue ribbon tobacco crop}



{this fella is a champ!}



{such a sweet face…redheads hold a special place in my heart}



{not sure this little guy was too happy having his picture taken with me}



{last shot of the fair…until next year!}

What excitement did you fine folks discover this weekend?