December 23, 2011

Christmas! Christmas!


After a bit of a crazy week, I know we’re all ready for the Christmas festivities to finally begin. I can’t wait to be with my loved ones, eat delicious food and celebrate the greatest gift that’s ever been given to us.

I hope each of you has a blessed holiday! Oh and I’m guest posting over at The Trot Line today so I’d love to see you there too.

December 20, 2011

A Holiday Blogger Outing with Southern Belle Simple


Last night I met up with some fabulous local bloggers for a little dinner and friendly conversation. Some of the lovely ladies I’d met in person before and others were new friends, but we all had a great time and I’m excited to connect and support each other in this adventure.

I want to share their blogs so you can check them out and support them too! From left is moi, Heather of SprinkleBakes, Heather of The Mommyhood, Melinda of First Comes Love, Melissa of Frugalissa Finds, and Jennifer of Family Friendly Knoxville and Playgroups are No Place for Children.

Some of us are moms, some are wives, some pet owners, some artists, crafters and bakers. I would never have dreamed when I began writing a blog that my life would be so enriched by the friendships and connections I’ve made in the process, but it really has. Instead of competing against each other for readers and Facebook likes, bloggers, or at least the ones I’ve met, do support each other.

I look forward to many more get-togethers with these wonderful ladies and any others in our area who’d like to join. Thanks to all of them for attending our first event last night!

December 19, 2011

A Christmas Card from Southern Belle Simple

{Leon, age 7 & Bentley, age 13}
Wishing you and yours a most blessed Christmas season. From all of us here at Southern Belle Simple (including me, Leon & Bentley).
You, dear friend, are precious to me. Thanks for reading and thanks for making my blog part of your day.
-- Kate

December 14, 2011

From the Southern Belle Simple Bookshelf: Homemade by Clodagh McKenna


I recently stumbled upon a wonderful book and ended up purchasing it as a little early Christmas gift to myself. Homemade by Clodagh McKenna is one of those volumes I’m sure I’ll refer to again and again as it is filled to the brim with wonderfully easy recipes and creative ideas.

McKenna is an Irish television personality and she just exudes girl next door charm. From her preserved lemons and Christmas chutney recipes to her thoughts about the importance of having picnics and keeping life simple, her book offers a little taste of what things are like in her world. It is beautifully designed and has enough pictures to satisfy even my picky tastes (what can I say…I like cookbooks with a lot of pictures).

You can also visit Clodagh’s website where she shares a ton of recipes and other info that is found in the book. Maybe I’m drawn to her because a part of me longs to connect with my Irish roots. I’m just glad I discovered her because I’ve already gotten quite a bit of inspiration from the book and site.

If you still aren’t convinced, take a look at this recipe for onion soup with cheese toast and just try not to drool.

Hope everyone is having a blessed week! Mine has been busy but Wednesday means Friday is just around the corner so I think we’re gonna make it. Love y’all!

December 13, 2011

Only in the South: All-you-can-eat Breakfast with the Holy Family


My “Only in the South” posts are usually a bit humorous (or at least I intend for them to be), poking a bit of loving fun at the traditions and culture of my sweet south. This post is different. In a season that can so easily get derailed by the commercial aspects or stress of having to make everything just so, I’m glad there are places where the true meaning of Christmas is known and celebrated.

And only in the south is one of those places a Shoney’s All American Diner. There is one particular Shoney’s location in my town that is always decked out for each holiday. Maybe saying it’s decked out doesn’t convey the degree of décor I’m talking about, but just picture hundreds of giant snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, 8 ft Christmas trees in every room and a mural with polar bears frolicking in the snow.

All these things are nice and festive, but the life-size nativity is what really caught my attention. In a time when everyone seems so afraid of offending people or Heaven forbid, saying Merry Christmas to someone who might not believe in Christmas….I’m really happy that I could enjoy my bacon and eggs while the reason for the season is illustrated in the next room.

Hope you are having a great week! And if you’re ever in East Tennessee, visit the Shoney’s on Western Avenue….I guarantee whatever the time of year, it’s a feast for the eyes.

December 12, 2011

Small Traditions, Big Meaning


It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in my neck of the woods and over the weekend, the southern beau and I enjoyed one of our favorite holiday season traditions. Every year we like to bundle up, grab a coffee or hot cocoa and drive around the neighborhood looking at the lights.


By now, most everybody who is going to has put up his or her Christmas tree and outdoor decorations. We like to make our way around and see what festive décor can be seen. There are certain houses we always look forward to because we know they’ll be decked out in holiday brilliance. Plus, there’s something about seeing a lit-tree twinkling in each home that reminds me how much we are all connected.

It might not be very glamorous, but it’s our tradition and we really look forward to it each year. That’s the thing about traditions…they can be anything really, as long as they are special to you. I love to hear people talk about their own meaningful traditions. Anytime they get that wistful look in their eyes and begin a sentence like “oh and we always…,” you know they are going to share a story that matters to them.

I’d love to hear about a simple, but important tradition your family enjoys together. What makes the holidays feel like the holidays to you?

December 8, 2011

A Treat for Santa from Southern Belle Simple


When Santa comes to my house this year, he won’t be getting milk and cookies…but it’s not because he’s been naughty. I recently stumbled upon the most delish concoction and I think Ol’ Saint Nick will love it. Plus it’s something the rest of us can enjoy in the meantime.

I’m not much of a milk drinker, but I love almond milk and will occasionally drink soymilk. This time of year, Silk (the almond- & soymilk company) brings out a couple of its seasonal flavors and one of them is pumpkin spice. I grabbed a carton of it at the store this week and had a glass last night. With a generous shaking of pumpkin pie spices on top, it was truly decadent.

pumpkin spice silk.bmp

Have any of you tried the seasonal Silk flavors? There’s also mint chocolate chip and an eggnog flavor (which I’ve never had). I only tasted soymilk for the first time a few years ago, and I really prefer almond milk. What about y’all? Any other pumpkin lovers out there who’ve had this treat or might give it a try? I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

December 5, 2011

Celebrate the end of Prohibition with Bathtub Gin


On this day in 1933, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution was repealed, ending the 13 year period of Prohibition in the United States. It’s so strange to think about a time when it was illegal for adults to drink alcohol.

bathtub gin logo

To commemorate this day almost 80 years later, I wanted to share a truly wonderful product with you that was inspired by the days of speakeasies and Prohibition. Bathtub Gin is a line of jams and fruit spreads made with fresh fruits + liqueurs and other spirits. Created by two Nashville sisters who grew up helping their mom make homemade jams and preserves, the company has several flavor options and all are just so tasty.

bathtub gin products

The sisters offer several Bathtub Gin gift-set options for that foodie on your shopping list. I love how the jams can be used in the traditional sense, but also for sauces, mixed drinks and salad dressings.

Even if you aren’t a drinker, I think you’d still enjoy these great southern products! All this talk of Prohibition and the roaring 20s sort of makes me want to dance the Charleston!

Happy Monday friends! Missed y’all!