Southern Women~

Southern Women

Life today is and must be a mix of modern convenience and old
fashioned simplicity…for me!
My goal is to live stylishly in the midst of all this….
A simple life, with simple style, simple pleasures, simple comfort.

Because I’m a seasoned ‘Southern Woman,’ we know it’s OK to wear roses in our hair when we garden!!
To have dirt on our feet at the end of the day…and a smile on our face
to know we did it our way~

Feeling Good and Looking Good From The Inside Out~

Botanical Bliss

I’ve written a lot on the benefits of herbs and natural ingredients and the goodness they supply to our inner being.

As few as 40 years ago, many women looked to plants for much of their skin care regiments.

Those options and ingredients have more recently been incorporated more and more into many mainline products.

All natural ( really natural ) organic and chemical free is always the “best” way to go…but, if and when that is not an option or a choice, one can still find products that are less harmful by considering the ingredients.

Examples:

Marine Ingredients…Undersea elements such as seaweed and algae are great hydrators, and they are rich in trace elements…very good for the skin. With minerals such as zinc, magnesium, vitamins A,C,and E-all will work to hydrate your outer skin.

Antioxidants…plays the starring role in the anti aging process by inhibiting the free radicals that cause collagen breakdown. Vitamin C, coffee berry, and argan oil are three of the most sought after…one of these 3 ingredients should be at the top or very near the ingredient list to be effective.

Caramides…lipids that are found in the skins surface that function like mortar to hold cells together, prevent water loss and keeping the skin plump and hydrated.

Peptides…these are amino acid chains that penetrate the skin’s uppermost layers and have the ability to tell cells to behave in a certain way…produce more collagen for instances.

Calming Agents…last but certainly not the least of the best. These are found in plant products…such as , chamomile, cucumber, and aloe…all have calming agents that reduce inflammation and redness brought on from rosacea or chapped and sensitive skin.

These are agents that should be found in the ingredient label of your foundation, lip gloss, eye care products, etc., as well as the most important part of your skin care routine…which is the cleansing, toning and moisturizing routine.

And don’t overlook the diet…beauty is, as we have come to know, truly from the inside out…when we don’t nourish our body’s need for proper fuel, it will compensate by taking from us…our healthy, bright, plump and beautiful outer skin.

Only in the South~

Bliss

Will you find happy hour devoted to ‘pie!

Well, in Hutto,Texas that is a fact….

Here at Sage Hill ‘Happy Hour” is devoted to Bliss!

Today’s lifestyle, regardless what that might be…is stressful…outside forces creep in regardless how isolated we try to be.
Whatever your cutoff time happens to be…really cut-off, unplug, dial down, check out…except for those things that bring you peace, calm, contentment… or…those things that feed your passion, ignite your thoughts and sparks your energy.
Bliss is not defined by perfect solutions….rather by solutions that leave us feeling accomplished, pleased, satisfied, and connected…either to self, another, or our creator….bliss unleashed is all three of those.

Fun and Fattening-Appetizers.

Fun~

Doesn’t have to be…fattening~

 
Appetizers should be mainly for fun, the function is to titillate the appetite, not to satisfy it.

Unless you put some real thought into them they will likely have a wicked lot of calories.

The French picked up the habit of pre-dinner snacking from the Russians, who call such tidbits “zakuskis.” The Italians will serve little plates of “antipasto.”
Scandinavians tend to do a “smorgasbord” and make a complete meal of it.

To maintain a somewhat healthy guideline around appetizers, think about them two ways.

One, always consider what the main meal will consist of….if plenty and well balanced, then make your appetizers as light as possible and few.

If , on the other hand dinner will be light, you can feel justified in serving something a little more filling on the Hors d’ oeuvres table.

Another point to consider is the balance of the flavors from appetizers to dinner fare.

Two of my very favorite things to work around for the pre-snacking time is ; turkey meatballs, baked in the oven and boiled/seasoned shrimp.

Both can be served with the same sauce and neither is laden with calories/fat.

Making meatballs and boiling shrimp isn’t rocket science, so I’ll not insult you with simple how to’s. Plus it’s a waste of time for me to pass on something you already know how to do…don’t you?

Cocktail Dip For Shrimp and Meatballs.

Adjust amounts according to the number of guest you will be serving.

This amount serves about 4.

1/2 cup catsup
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine and chill if preferred…it’s also very good heated just a bit, especially for meatballs.

A big plus with this sauce…all the warm flavors will add a big dose of protection to your immune system.

Enjoy the party!


Herbs and our Skin~

Comfrey

Herbs and our Skin~

I write a lot about culinary herbs, but do you know there are some simple ways to use herbs outside the body for healthy and beautiful skin.

These can all be made into tinctures and ingested…but, for now I’m talking about simple applications that can be derived through steeping and using as a splash or spray.

Red Clover and Nettle…will cleanse and detoxify

Yarrow, Chamomile and Calendula…reduces itching and redness from rashes and allergies.

Chamomile and Comfrey…soothe soreness-from exercise or injury.
Can also be used to easy stings, cuts, and has mighty wound healing properties. The leaves were used in WWI and WWII in place of bandages because of supply shortages.

Thyme and Echinacea…fights infections.

Lavender…healthy skin growth.

Yarrow and Nettle…helps eliminate waste via the kidneys.

Fennel and Clary Sage…helps balance hormonal fluctuations leading to skin blemishes.

Lemon Balm and Marjoram…eases stress.

Horsetail and Oat…promotes wound healing.

Bring a quart of water to a boil, add herb of choice and gently boil for about 5 minutes…remove from heat, cover and allow to steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and store in a glass container…..fill a spray bottle as needed or use with cotton balls to apply to needed areas.

I keep it in the frig, feels wonderful on a hot summer day-spritzed or applied to the face or even the feet,

Note…this in no way implies medicinal advice. And please avoid the eyes when applying to the face.

Happy and safe summer~Bug free we can wish !

A Month Of Enchantment # 5

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Photo by Jim Howton…

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Photo by Sherry Lynn…Pass Christian, MS.

I hope someone has enjoyed the month of Enchantment’s blogging as much as I have enjoyed compiling it …this is the last segment and I’m taking us to the Gulf Coast of South Mississippi…

As a child between the ages of 6 and 12 years of age my family transitioned from NW Alabama and farming to the Back Bay of Biloxi every year for the winter….our papa did this to work a saw-mill operation with a friend.
When I married at the age of 21, I knew where I wanted to live…my papa had died when I was just 17 and changed life direction for us all.

So….for 35 years Gulfport and Pass Christian were home to me, my family, including my mother and younger siblings…..this little blog post is dedicated to my sons and my siblings.
The “Coast” as locals think of it is without a doubt like no other place on earth.

American history would be so much different without the watershed moments of the 6 counties that make up the Gulf Coast area. It all starts of course with the water itself and the lush coastal landscape that has drawn newcomers to the area for centuries.

French explorers built a fort there in the 1600’s.
Still stands today and a must see for those who appreciate the reason why.

Britain and Spain planted flags on the coast before American statehood.

Migrants have come from all corners of the globe to find livelihoods on fishing boats, in forest and many other distinctly coastal pursuits.

Resource rich inland waterways meet the Gulf of Mexico in this area, giving life to terrain teeming with tall pines, swaying marsh grasses and fragrant magnolias.

National significant historic structures-including Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ home Beauvoir, the island stronghold Fort Massachusetts and the 1848 Biloxi Lighthouse…still standing strong after being battered countless times in horrific hurricanes.

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art and the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum are cultural gems to admire.

NASA’s Stennis Space Center, where rocket propulsion test are conducted in preparation for space missions has been a core attraction for decades.
There are so many more wonderful things to know and love…the food…the sunsets, the harbors, the sailboats, the beach strip…the people most of all…

I miss it all most every day of my life to some degree.

Info in part from the Mississippi Tour Guide Magazine…

A Month Of Enchantment~ #4

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Sinking your head into a soft pillow at the crack of dawn…hoping they will all go away….the males of the bird kingdom who gather around the windows and sing those good morning tunes.
This refrain may start at different times depending on light, but the species enter the chorus in the same order every morning.

A birds voice box is a double-membraned organ called a syrinx. He can alternate exhaling between the two lungs and harmonize with himself.

Now that is an impressive feat bound to attract attention from the opposite sex, and that my friend is the main purpose and goal of all those wake-up bird songs so early in the morning…

International Dawn Chorus Day is the first Sunday in May….

Tune in….

Healthy Cooking/Eating Tips~

 

Healthy Tips

Try these tips from Bea’s own kitchen to add health and flavor to all your favorite recipes.

The Worlds 7 Healthiest Oils

Olive oil

The health benefits have been well-documented for years as our understanding of the Mediterranean Diet has grown. In summary, this monounsaturated fat can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, while increasing life expectancy and quality of life.

 Grape-seed oil

A less popular oil, grape-seed, is made from- grapes, and it’s thought to have the same powerful disease-fighting properties as wine, also from grapes. Grape-seed oil has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce the risks of cancer, improve diabetes and vision problems, and act against the aging process.

Avocado oil

Avocado. perhaps the world’s fattiest fruit, is also one of the most healthful. Virgin avocado oil is green and delicious, and it’s extremely high in vitamin E and chlorophyll. As a bonus for every home chef, it also has a much higher smoke point than other vegetable oils (at a whopping 500°F), so you may feel more comfortable using it as a sautéing, frying or grilling oil.

Walnut oil

Walnuts, along with many other nuts, have been shown to be very powerful against cardiovascular disease, in large part due to their high concentration of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid. Walnut oil in particular is rich in antioxidants and contains strong amounts of heart-healthy, disease-fighting fatty acids.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil, while strong in flavor and intensity, is also rich in antioxidants, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, iron and calcium. The darker the oil, the more disease-fighting antioxidants – as well as heart-protecting vitamin E – are present.

Flaxseed oil

Commonly used by vegetarians seeking an animal-free way to ingest omega-3 fatty acids, flax-seeds are a rich source of the disease fighting fat. The oil, while not as powerful as the full seeds, has been shown to treat heart disease, lower cholesterol and aid with certain autoimmune disorders.

 Fish oil

Fish oil taken for years by grandmothers around the globe, has been used in households to prevent disease. We now know that the high concentration of DHA and EPA, two omega-3 fatty acids, are what’s responsible for making fish oil so powerful in fighting heart disease, strokes, mental decline and other aging disorders.

Herb and Spice Chart

While cooking with herbs and spices really have no hard and fast rules, there are some time-honored ways of using them that seem to be traditional.

Allspice – Stews, peaches, apple dishes and tomatoes.
Anise – Baked Goods, fruits, and some vegetables.
Basil – Tomatoes, fish, lamb and soups.
Bay Leaf – Stocks, stews, soups, chicken & tuna.
Cardamom – Baking, good cinnamon substitute.
Chervil – Asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms, fish, poultry.
Chives – Eggs, salads, baked potatoes and soups.
Cinnamon – Baked goods, rice pudding, coffee, Mexican food.
Clove – Sweet baking, sweet potatoes, apples, hot teas.
Coriander – Indian and curried foods, rice pilaf, chicken.
Cumin – Chili, curries, brown rice, black beans.
Dill – Fish, eggs, potatoes, pasta salads and squash.
Fennel – Seafood, pork, squash, beets and pasta sauces.
Ginger – Winter fruits, Oriental dishes, carrots, hot teas.
Marjoram – Vegetable soups, fish, poultry, most meats.(oregano substitute)
Mint – Roast lamb, hot/cold teas, fruit dishes and salads.
Nutmeg – Spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, cream soups, baked goods.
Oregano – Tomato dishes, vegetable juices, broiled fish, Greek dishes.
Parsley – Eggs, meats, fish, cream cheese.
Paprika – Egg salad, pasta salad, fish, Cajun cooking.
Rosemary – Lamb, beef, roasted potatoes, grilled foods, eggplant, tomatoes.
Sage – Pork, stuffings, squash, cornbread, stewed peaches.
Tarragon – Eggs, chicken, crab, mushrooms, herb vinegars, French sauces.
Thyme – Chowders, soups, stews, stuffings, meatloaf, cheese & grilled food.


Egg Substitute

This works very well for those who wish to use less eggs:

1 Tablespoon flax-seed (ground well)
3 Tablespoons water (other liquid can be used)
A large batch can be made and stored in the frig for up to a week or 10 days.


Sugar Substitutions

Warning: Sugar is a slow killer! Take as much as you can from your diet. This is vitally important for children. Try these hints to reduce sugar intake:

  • Stevia is a natural sweet herb, great for tea, coffee and simple dishes, and can be used in baking with some adjustments to ingredients.
  • Use a lot of nuts, raisins and other dried fruits in your baking.
  • Insist on healthy munch foods and save the “Dessert” for special times.

Remember, just a small amount of will-power will pay off in feel good ways!

Using Honey in Place of Sugar is a Healthier Alternative

While calorie counts are pretty much the same, honey is a natural substance and your body uses it in a different way. Sugar is a chemical and adds nothing but empty calories to your system and has long term side effects in many ways.

Cooking with honey is fun and beneficial…give it a try.

  • 3/4 cup of honey for one cup of sugar, up to one cup
  • Reduce all other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of honey
  • Lower baking temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over browning

Cooking With Cast Iron~

Iron Skillet

Ever wondered why your cornbread, fried squash, fried okra, fried chicken etc., doesn’t taste quite like grandma’s or your mothers. If so, it might be because you are not using the right pan? Nothing says “old timey” cooking quite like the use of a cast iron skillet. Cast iron heats evenly, retains it’s heat, and if properly seasoned it is virtually non-stick.

Here is how to season a cast iron cooking vessels (for those who don’t already know):

What You Need

Materials:
Dish soap
A stiff brush
Clean, dry cloth
Vegetable oil or shortening (or other oil of your choice)

~

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Wash the skillet with warm, soapy water and a stiff brush. Cast iron should not normally be washed with soap, but it’s fine here since the pan is about to be seasoned.

3. Rinse and thoroughly dry the skillet.

4. Using a soft, cotton cloth.. apply a thin coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside and outside of the skillet. Vegetable oil and shortening are the most commonly recommended oils used for seasoning, but according to Lodge, you can use any oil of your choice.

5. Place the skillet upside down on the oven’s center rack.

6. Place a sheet of aluminum foil below the rack to catch any drips.

7. Bake for an hour.

8. Turn off heat and allow to the skillet to cool completely before removing from oven.

Additional Notes: A seasoned skillet is smooth, shiny, and non-stick. You’ll know it’s time to re-season if food sticks to the surface or if the skillet appears dull or rusted.

Here are some tips on cleaning your cast iron cookware (NEVER use soap):

1. Clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. Avoid soaking the pan or leaving it in the sink, or it may rust.

2. Wash the skillet by hand using hot water and a cloth or stiff brush. Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, as these may strip the pan’s seasoning.

3. To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Stubborn food residue may also be loosened by boiling water in the pan.

4. Thoroughly towel dry the skillet or dry it on the stove over low heat.

5. Using a cloth ( I don’t use paper towels because they can leave bits of fiber in the oil) apply a light coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside of the skillet. Some people also like to oil the outside of the skillet. ( I don’t) Buff to remove any excess.

6. Store the skillet in a dry place.

Additional Notes:

Using soap, steel wool, or other abrasives is not the end of the world, but you may need to re-season the skillet. If the skillet is well-seasoned from years of use, a small amount of mild soap may be used without doing much damage – just be sure to rinse it well and oil it after drying.
Remove rust using steel wool or by rubbing it with half a raw potato and a sprinkle of baking soda (seriously, it works!). Again, it may be necessary to re-season the pan after cleaning.

A Month Of Enchantments #3

Enchantment #3

Rituals Of The Common Kind~

Come spring, we feel the urge to brighten every corner, as to prepare for a favorite guest. Roll up our sleeve, polish and dust…just as generations have done before us….our personal “welcome back” to the sun, the song of the birds, ring of the chimes…..