Homemade Country Cornbread & Peach Cobbler

Last night I made ham and lima beans with rice and cornbread. Talk about comfort food at it’s finest! My littlest said, “My momma cooks soooo good!”. Talk about making a mom smile! After dinner I realized that I still had a half a pan of cornbread left. My crew doesn’t really eat cornbread for breakfast and I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I pondered up a way to use it. I remembered that my Granny would use leftover cat head biscuits from breakfast for cobbler, and I thought, why not??

So I present to you, Homemade Country Cornbread and Peach Cobbler….

I took the same cast iron pan that I cooked my cornbread for dinner in and placed several cubes of regular salted butter. The pan went into a pre-heated oven (375 degrees) for about 5 mins. This allows the pan to be nice and warm and gives a good base for the next step.

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I then then crumbled up the remaining left over cornbread and spread it evenly over the melted butter. At this point, I could have just eaten the cornbread and butter mixture straight from the pan, but I figured my curvy hips didn’t need any help…..so, onto the next step.

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I had a quart size bag of fresh peaches that I had put up from the summer in the freezer that I popped into the microwave for a quick defrost. If you have fresh peaches that works too. I would add 1/2 cup brown sugar to the peaches and allow them to sit for a few minutes while your butter is melting in the oven. The sugar allows juices from the peaches to release and makes a really nice syrup. If you only have canned peaches, that works as well. As long as you have about 2 cups of peaches it really doesn’t matter. Spread the peaches over the cornbread crumble and prepare the cobbler dough.

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In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup of self rising flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup milk (I use 2% but whatever you have is fine). Whisk that all together and pour haphazardly over the peaches.

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Next, chop up several more cubes of regular salted butter over the top of the cobbler dough and place the pan in the oven.

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Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. You will begin to notice the sides rising and looking crusty as the cast iron almost fries the dough as it bakes. I mean really, what says southern more than butter, dough, cast iron, cornbread, and peaches?

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You’ll know the cobbler is done by utilizing the wiggle test. No, not the wiggle test you use to fit into your jeans! You grab the pan by the handle (please use a pot holder), and wiggle the pan back and forth. The center of the cobbler will still look a little doughy but when you wiggle it, you shouldn’t see a wiggle in the middle. Maybe a jiggle, but not a wiggle! 😉

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When there is no longer a wiggle, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Get a big bowl, a large slice of cobbler, and plop a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top and enjoy!

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What kind of dessert just screams comfort food to you? Can you remember making a special dessert with your mother or grandmother?

Until next time, happy baking!

Love you all! XOXO

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Wedding Garlands

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Wedding Garlands can make such a huge impact! Try magnolia leaves for a low budget, high impact decoration.

(*disclaimer* this is a guest post from FTD, I have in no way been compensated for this post, rather, I thought it would be beneficial to my readers)
Saying that wedding planning is hard, is certainly an understatement. From choosing the dress, the dinner menu, and the venue, it’s certainly a lot to take in for a bride-to-be. Of course, the goal is to pull off a wedding that both you and your guests will remember forever, and the best way to make a statement is through your wedding decor!
Wedding garlands are one of the most popular ways to decorate your wedding, and there are so many ways to get creative with them. To help inspire your wedding decor, FTD came up with these creative wedding garland ideas below. These unique arrangements include fun elements such as arrangements using florals, ribbons, photos and even paper cranes and will certainly help you make a statement that everyone will remember.
Check out the ideas below and get inspired!wedding-garland-car
photo by: http://jenhuangphoto.com/

Six Easy Steps to Home-made Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

 

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How many of you struggle to come up with new ideas for dinner? I don’t know about you but sometimes the deciding what to fix is harder than the fixing itself. Anytime you ask your family what they would like for dinner you’re probably met with the dreaded “I don’t know!” Ughh!

Well tonight, we had a ‘Take it back Tuesday’ to an oldie but a goodie. We love having breakfast for dinner at our house. Usually that constitutes pancakes and bacon or bacon, eggs, and grits. But tonight, I took it a little more comfort food style. And the amazing part is that it’s soooo easy and quick. We had homemade sausage gravy over biscuits with scrambled eggs. Rarely do my children rave about something I’ve made, but tonight they asked me to make it again tomorrow night! #winning If that’s not something to brag about I don’t know what is!

So, if you’re ready to be a super hero in the kitchen tonight, or in the morning, here’s 6 easy steps to get you going.

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1) Bake some biscuits…don’t feel the need to hand make Biscuits, save yourself some time, and anxiety, and just pop a can of Pillsbury and bake accordingly.

2) Brown a 1 pound tube of ground sausage. I used mild, but you can use whatever you’re family has a taste for. DO NOT DRAIN! I know this is counter intuitive, and uber unhealthy, but…this is comfort food, not fit food. You can thank me later.

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3) Add 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour. Stir thoroughly until the sausage is coated and begins to look thickened. This takes about 5 minutes.

4) Gradually add 2 1/2 cups of milk. I used 2%, but only because that is what I had on hand. You want to cook at medium heat and stir continuously to prevent the milk from scalding. The gravy will begin to thicken after a few minuses.

5) Salt and Pepper to taste. I tend to like more pepper than salt in my gravy. Keep in mind that the sausage itself will have some salt already, so be careful not to over salt! Make sure to taste your gravy before you serve it!

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6) Serve your gravy over open faced biscuits along side some scrambled eggs and fruit for a well rounded meal. Enjoy!

Is there an easy comfort food that’s your go to? What’s your favorite thing to cook for dinner?

Until next time,

Love to you all! XOXO

Desiree

 

Raising the Strong-Willed Child

imageI became really spoiled after I had my first child. She was a very mild mannered, laid back, self soothing, smiling, loving baby. Everyone told me how lucky I was because she rarely cried, she was on a good sleeping schedule very early on, and as she grew she was easy to handle and well-mannered. Fast forward 5 years, and it was time for baby #2.

Almost immediately I could see the difference between my two girls. My new born was the complete opposite of her sister. She was very demanding, cried a lot, and wanted to be held all the time. Often times I would have to wear a Baby Bjourn with her in it to even wash dishes or sweep. Talk about stressing a mom out! When she turned about six months old, her impatience began. She wanted what she wanted, how she wanted, when she wanted or there was going to be trouble. Now, I’m a loving, stern, “because I said so” mom. We had a huge problem!

I loved my child, but I didn’t like her. GULP….that was hard to admit. I mean what kind of mom can say that?! I would literally sit on the porch stairs and cry almost every day and think “Lord, I can’t do this!” Luckily, one day while at the pediatrician’s office, I saw an article in a half ripped magazine that read “Conflicting Personalities in parents and their children.” I was intrigued. It covered intellectual parents vs. sporty child, neat parents vs. messy kid, laid back parent vs. strong willed child, among others.I quickly realized that my child was strong willed.

Strong willed children are often described as impatient, bossy, argumentative, manipulative, fussy, and difficult. I found many of these things to be true with my daughter. She had mood swings of anger and frustration and had a hard time expressing her anger in an appropriate way. She was always very particular about how things were going. She doesn’t like to wait for anything. She always wants to be right, and more importantly to prove me wrong. No amount of discipline would work. If I fussed, she shut down. If I begged, she shut down.  I could promise her the sun and the moon, but if I was going against her I was wasting my breath.Finally, after some research, I figured out a few things.

Strong-willed children need to feel like they’re understood and that their opinion matters. Sometimes all it takes for my child to snap out of her “mood” is for me to allow her to vent to me and explain why she’s feeling this way. I may not agree with how she’s acting, but usually I can understand and relate to her feelings. Verbalize to your child that you do understand! After that, suggest ways they may fix the situation, or offer another option that your child can agree with.

Getting cooperation with your child usually requires giving them choices, but only offer them choices that still end in the desired result. For instance, I have  a list of certain things that must be done every night before my daughter can go to bed. It’s up to her in what order she does them and how long it takes her do them. She is in control of her time. If she takes too long, her TV or free time decreases.

Make sure they know what to expect. From my experience, my child does so much better when she knows ahead of time if something is changing. For example, if every Tuesday night the family goes to the grandparents’ to eat dinner, but this Tuesday night you have a business meeting to attend, let your child know ahead of time and explain why you’re not going to Grandma’s and that the family will go the next Tuesday. Generally, my daughter will be much more level headed and calm because she was included in the plan making. Crisis averted.

Stand your ground. It can be really easy to give in and let your child have their way because you’re tired of hearing the fussing, but if it’s an issue that you feel matters don’t back down! You certainly want your child to feel that they’re a vital part of your family and can have their own opinion. They need to realize tho that you are the commander and chief and have their best interest at heart. With that being said….

Realize that everything isn’t life or death. If your child wants to wear her fuzzy pink sweater with her green and purple polka dotted shorts and black and white Mary Jane’s….who cares. She needs to figure out her own style! Anyone that has kids can relate! If she refuses to eat her dinner, explain to her that she will be hungry if she doesn’t eat and if she still refuses to eat, let her go to bed. She will soon realize, and hopefully learn, that she doesn’t like being hungry and will eat her dinner from now on.

Happily, my daughter and I now get along amazingly (most of the time). And it’s wonderful! I see her being a leader and doing great things one day! Smart, determined, organized, outspoken, and self-assured….sounds like a natural born world changer to me!

Whew!! That was alot guys! If you’ve made it through this L O N G post, thank you!! This post is really close to my heart and I hope it helps someone.

If you have any similar stories, or suggestions, or questions, please drop me a comment!

Love to you all! XOXO

Desiree

Wedding Trends for 2017

imageOne of my favorite things to do is to help people design and carry out their perfect wedding. I get just as impassioned putting together color schemes and flower combinations for other peoples’ weddings as I would my own. I mean really people….I obsess. What makes designing weddings so exciting is that, just like with fashion, trends change every year! Sure, there will be the tried and true elements, but even those take on a new spin every few decades or so. This year is no different.

  • One of the shifts we are seeing is the shift to smaller, more intimate weddings. Smaller doesn’t mean unimpressive though! People, especially millennials, are opting to have 50-100 guests at their wedding. This allows the couple to have more extravagant decor, entertainment, or food.
  • Many couples are choosing to travel and say their vows in a location significant to both of them and combine their wedding with the honeymoon. In order to include their family and friends into the special occasion, the couples will host a large reception full of fun and food when they return.
  • AND THE PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR IS…..Greenery! And the wedding industry is no different! All shades of green are going to be coveted this year for anything wedding related. Sage, emerald, lime, bold, ALL greens.
  • The color wheel is steering away from the pastels, and more into bold, unexpected colors and color combinations. Although, the wedding industry is seeing a huge up-tick in dusty colors. Think dusty sage, smokey grey, dusty ash blue.
  • Speaking of colors, patterns are making a huge come back! We will see more brides focus on patterned linens for tables and chair coverings. Large, bold floral prints in different textures will be a must. I expect to see patterned chargers or plates for table settings.
  • Metallics are changing from bright gold and silver into more muted, flat golds. Silver will tend to be foiled instead of shiny. Copper,bronze, and rose gold will take center stage in the metal categories.
  • Wedding dresses will be more traditional with long sleeves, lace, and low cut backs.
  • Veils are a thing of the past. In their place are emerging crowns made of flowers and dainty, intricately woven metals.
  • Lastly, weddings will be more laid back, intimate, Bo-ho natural inspired affairs.

What are some of the trends you hope to see, or not see this year?

Love to you all and happy wedding planning!

XOXO

5 Tips to prepare for a c-section

image.pngIf you’ve ever thought about being pregnant, or envisioned the birth of your children, chances are you think of a grueling, sweaty labor while your significant other rubs your back, wipes your forehead, and feeds you ice chips. Next, you push, and breath, and push some more. And TA-DA!! They lay a beautiful, screaming baby on your chest while you and your partner kiss and stare lovingly at the child. Two days later, you’re on your feet and the happy little family is off to live happily ever after.

Reality check pumpkin…life ain’t a fairy tale! Sometimes things out of our control happen and for whatever reason, the decision is made to have a cesarean section. Sometimes it’s planned, sometimes it’s an emergency. Either way, it happens, and there you are undergoing a major surgery  (as if child birth isn’t stressful enough) with a several weeks recovery time, and a new born to take care of to boot.

I’ve been there, done that…three times. Never fear! There are some things you can do to prepare for child birth that will make the coming home a little easier on you whether you have a natural birth or c-section.

1. Make sure to clean ahead of time. If somehow you’ve managed to skip the infamous “nesting period”, suck it up and force yourself to clean really well. It will go a long way toward making you feel better when you return home and you don’t have to worry about cleaning.

2. Make sure the clothes, towels,and linens are clean and prepared ahead of time. Hang outfits together on a hanger or lay them out so that you nor your family has to worry about finding clothes.

3. Meal prep! One of the biggest things I could have ever done to help myself was to make meals ahead of time. I used the foil pans from the dollar store, or heavy duty freezer bags. Either could be used for freezing things like chili, soup, chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, breakfast casseroles, pot roast, spaghetti or lasagna, or really anything that you can make and freeze and someone else can thaw and re-heat (aka hubby).

4. Pay bills ahead of time. Pay whatever you can, and schedule the rest. It really will require some careful planning and foresight, but it’s so worth it not to have to worry about bills in the first couple of weeks home. Along with this, I would add to try to keep in mind any special events, birthdays, or anniversaries. Try to plan ahead of time and buy and give your gifts before the delivery.

5. Communicate. Send out a card, email, tweet, post, snapchat, or any other form of communication you desire just to let everyone know that, while you love them all, and are eager to share your miracle with them, you would appreciate the first two weeks to be as peaceful as possible to allow you, your partner, and the baby to bond and heal. This also will help keep well meaning people from coming around your new born with all of their dangerous germs until the baby has had a chance to develop some immunities.

In all, just remember that child birth is a beautiful and miraculous thing, regardless of how it occurs. In this modern society women often put unrealistic expectations on themselves to bounce right back. But if you’re not careful, you could really injure yourself and extend the healing process by weeks or months, which just simply isn’t worth it. Above all, enjoy your baby, relax as much as possible, and welcome any help that is offered. You can resume being Wonder Woman soon enough!

Love to you all! XOXO

 

 

Not your Granny’s chick’n-N-dumplins

imageOK, so Its true…I’m a cheater, and my husband loves it! Now my Granny on the other hand is probably rolling over in her grave, God rest her soul. You see, at a very early age my Granny taught me how to make home made, from scratch, chick’n-N-dumplings. We would get a raw whole chicken from the grocery store, clean all the extra feathers and things up, boil it, de-bone it, roll out some dough, cut it up, and carefully place each dumplin in and boil it gently with plenty of southern seasonings.

Fast forward about 20 years, a husband, and three kids later and ain’t nobody got time for that! So instead, I make the sweet and simple 20 minute version.

1. I purchase a traditional rotisserie chicken and de-bone it.

2. In a large pot I pour a large container of chicken broth (I use Swansons)

3. Stir in one quart of heavy cream, two sticks of softened butter, two tablespoons salt, two tablespoons pepper, two TEAspoons onion powder, and 1 & 1/2 cups water.

4. Bring to a boil, add chicken and dry OR frozen store bought dumplins.

5. Boil softly for 20 mins.

6. Sit back and enjoy this month’s issue of Better Homes & Gardens.

 

Let me me know what you think!

Much love to you all! XOXO