Posts Tagged ‘ southern ’

Homemade Limoncello

I’ve always wanted to make homemade limoncello. For those of you who’ve never had it, limoncello is an Italian lemon-flavored liquor. It’s often sipped as an after-dinner drink because it’s quite sweet. To get the flavor just right, making this requires around 80 days for it to steep. That gives me just enough time to make it and bottle it for gifts for the holidays (I plan to use cute little bottles with custom-made labels and tags).

I found a great recipe online at, and I’ve typed it up and re-formatted it here should you want to print it out and give it a whirl. If it’s too pixilated or fuzzy on your screen, be sure to double-click on the image for a higher quality version. Or, simply pop on over to the Epicurious website. Happy sipping!


The Porch in My Dreams

I talk a lot about dreaming of the south and while most people know I’m from Idaho, I was raised with a lot of southern influence in my life.  From fried green tomatoes, fried okra, a garden that grew vegetables so fresh you could just tear an ear of corn and eat it straight from the cob while  the crisp and succulent kernels exploded with flavor in your mouth…

I dream of living in a world where family matters; where friends and family alike gather together for BBQ’s, game nights, and joyous times filled with the sounds of joy, laughter, and the squeals of children running and playing in the grass;  warm summer days spent sipping lemonade while sitting on a wrap around porch, paper fans to cool the sweet sticky sweat dripping down the back of your neck, and waiting for the sun to go down to feel some semblance of air.  Crickets squeaking in the distance, frogs bellowing out to eachother…all the sounds of night minus the sounds of the city.  I dream of going to the lake and jumping from a rope hung from a mighty oak and yelling to the top of my lungs in my best Tarzan voice…

I dream of a time and place where children are outdoors exploring, running, chasing their imaginations…where the women gather to discuss children, recipes, or just sit around and share the town gossip…where men gather around the BBQ or get together to play a friendly game of football in the yard; or even just gathering together to watch a fight on t.v. or a basketball game; drinking beer and talking spit… I long to belong to a place with roots; a place to begin my own history…

I remember as a small child running through strawberry patches, watching my mother plant flowers or doing some sort of yard work all the while I’d try to hand her up mud pies made in my easy bake oven. As I grew older, I remember sitting in the kitchen watching my step-grandma who was from Arkansas trying to teach my sister and I how to cook or how to sew.  She encouraged the “artful” side of us…often joining us to do paintings…on canvas and material… the whole time we’d be squirming to get outside to play.  I look back know and understand she was trying to teach us how to be ladies, how to care for our future families….the southern way filled with spitfire and hospitality.

I remember not having to worry about locking our front doors…summers spent down at the canal…riding our bikes all over town…playing croquet…family gatherings: BBQ’s, picnics at the park…I have so many fond memories of my childhood.  There were times I was bitter or resentful of growing up on such a large property and all the responsibility that went with it.  It was a family affair and just because we were children did not mean we were exempt.  I used to hate all the “chores” and the upkeep that came with our property and our acre garden, the fields, the lawn mowing, all the weeding, and all the dusting that had to be done in that big house…especially when the wind storms would kick up dust everywhere….but looking back I realize we were being taught the importance of hard work, of learning responsibility, etc. 

I remember on wash days we would hang our sheets on the line to dry.  There was nothing better than going to sleep on the crisp, cool, sheets kissed by the sun.  Sunday mornings used to be my favorite day of the week.  We would wake to the smell of fresh ground coffee, homemade biscuits and gravy, fresh bacon (well, that was before we became SDA and turned vegan…) and always to the sound of the Everly Brothers shouting, “Wake up a little Suzy, wake up…”

(*came across this blog I wrote awhile back that was saved in my drafts…I will post and update at a later time…)

Vintage Art

Growing up Southern is a privilege, really.  It’s more than where you’re born, it’s an idea and state of mind that seems imparted at birth.  It’s more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football, and country music.  It’s being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies, and coca cola with peanuts for dessert.  In the south, the breeze blows softer…neighbors are friendlier, nosier, and more talkative.   Its a different place and a different way of life.  Our way of thinking is different, as are our ways of seeing, laughing, singing, eating, meeting, and parting.  Our walk is different, as the old song goes, our talk and our names.  

  “All I can say is that there’s a sweetness here, a Southern sweetness, that makes sweet music. . . . If I had to tell somebody who had never been to the South, who had never heard of soul music, what it was, I’d just have to tell him that it’s music from the heart, from the pulse, from the innermost feeling. That’s my soul; that’s how I sing. And that’s the South.”  — Al Green      

The Secret History of the Carolina Yayas


Long before the world was like we know it now, there existed a Wise and Mighty Tribe of YaYas.  The yayas were a band of women, strong and beautiful, who roamed the country.  The stars in the sky loved them so much that they would dip down and allow the yayas to ride through the sky, so that they could travel from Louisiana to all around the world.      

Our mothers who raised us, were the first yayas and were most beautiful and loving.  People adored them and no one messed with the tribal yayas.  So that we could remember who we are, a great book was written about our story.  It is passed from yaya to yaya and holds our Divine Secrets.  From this book, we remember the good, the bond of true friendships and the love from beautiful souls who are family, even when they are not born into our family.  We also learned to love the inner gifts that naturally spring from being raised as a southern woman, which include charm, manners, quiet strength, and the ability to laugh at one’s self and not take things too seriously.  We remember that the meaning of life is about opening up, being in touch with our spirit and our feelings and finding the friendships of a lifetime.      

The Lady of the Moon is our guardian and her silver light reflects the goodness in us all.  She is here to teach us that the true mission of the yayas is to empower women and serve as a place to help us remember who and what we are.  We know that women are divine love, full of generosity, kindness, creativity, and wonder.  We wish to help women “remember” that these gifts are within each of us.  We share them with others, so that our inner light can come out and shine.  The Lady of the Moon, knew that so many of us had been forced to move from our birth places and so she promised to be with us always.  She also told us stories of how we would one day meet our other yaya sisters and be reunited.  We no longer live in our birth homes and we know that our town does not realize we are loyal, but, we the yayas, secretly know our history and we are loyal to our tribal sisters and the women who were there before us.      

From this we have grown and created our motto, which is to Live Well, Laugh Often, and Love Much.  We come together in appreciation of women and sisterhood and celebrate how much joy there is in this world.  We believe that in coming together, if only for a few brief moments, that the spirit of the yaya restores us, renews us, and reminds us of the wonderful women that we are and were always meant to be.  This is the true spirit of the yayas , our journey in life, of traveling to the next level, and paving the way for the deeper connection.      

“Friendship is a rainbow between two hearts…”      

What does it mean to be a yaya:      

This story speaks to the incredible power and love of women’s relationships.  I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did:      

“Young and newly married, I relaxed under a pecan tree on a hot Texas summer day drinking iced tea and getting to know my new sister-in-law, Estelle.  Not much older than I, but already the mother of three, Estelle seemed to me experienced and wise.      

‘Get yourself some girlfriends,’ she advised, clinking the ice cubes in her glass. “You are going to need girlfriends.  Go places with them; do things with them.’  What a funny piece of advice, I thought.  Hadn’t I just gotten married?  Hadn’t I just joined the couple-world?  I was a married woman, for goodness sake, not a young girl who needed girlfriends!      

But I listened to this new sister-in-law.  I got myself some girlfriends.  As the years tumbled by, one after another, I gradually came to understand that Estelle knew what she was talking about.  I remembered that she used the word ‘girlfriends’ with emphasis.  As I went along, I discovered the subtle difference between friends and girlfriends.  You go to work with friends go to dinner with friends, go to church with friends, belong to clubs with friends.  You send friends greeting cards.  You need friends in your life; all girlfriends were once only friends.      

But girlfriends are different.  I offer this praise to girlfriends:      

  • Girlfriends don’t compete and aren’t jealous of each other
  • Girlfriends bring casseroles and scrub your bathroom when you are sick
  • Girlfriends keep your secrets sacred
  • Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it; sometimes you take it: sometimes you don’t
  • Girlfriends don’t always tell you you’re right; but they are always honest
  • Girlfriends still love you; even when they don’t agree with your choices
  • Girlfriends laugh with you and you don’t need canned jokes to start the laughter
  • Girlfriends pull you out of jams
  • Girlfriends don’t keep a mental calendar of who hosted what event last, who spent the most money, etc.
  • Girlfriends are the friends who came into your life and never left your side; they’re the one’s you call when you need a reality check, a shoulder to cry on, to celebrate your joys…and who will be there for you no matter what else they may have going on in their lives
  • Girlfriends are there for you, in an instant, and come to you genuinely when the hard times come
  • Girlfriends listen when you lose a job, a boyfriend, or husband
  • Girlfriends listen when you’re children break your heart
  • Girlfriends listen when your parent’s minds and bodies fall apart

My girlfriends bless my life.  Once we were young, with no idea of the incredible joys or the incredible sorrows that lay ahead.  Nor did we know how much we would need each other.  I want to tell all younger women to take my sister-in-laws advice!”      

Dance Like No One is Watching and Love Like You’ll Never Get Hurt!      

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice.  But for those who love, TIME is an eternity! – Henry Van Dyke