"Growing up Southern is a privilege, really. It's more than where you're born - it's an idea, a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, high school football, country music, and acoustic guitars. It's being hospitable, being devoted to front porches, magnolias, the good Lord, and each other. We don't become Southern - we're born that way."


Speaking of English....

....I saw an interview last week with Todd English, celebrity chef. He was talking about preparing a special Valentine's meal for your special Valentine. But a few things that he said really stuck out for me.

"Absolutely, there is a connection between food and love. I always say, when there's love in my heart or I'm feeling particularly good, the food comes out that much better."

"And I will always profess that when you cook from your heart and not your head, that's when it's best. That's when you show the love on a plate."

I think he's been reading my blog!
Seriously though, I couldn't agree more. I'm no chef. But I put love behind my meals. Maybe that's what makes them so yummy!


True English Food

As I've blogged about before, I'm trying to introduce more foods from various cultures to my kids. Or, as I like to call it....

Shoving culture down my kids' throats....literally!

So anyway. This weekend, John and I were in St Augustine. We had a lovely romantic Valentine's Weekend there. While wandering around the historic district, we found a restaurant called The Prince of Wales Restaurant: A Taste of England. We knew we had to go; John's family is from England and he was raised on true English/UK food. Unfortunately when his family prepares English food now, it's rarely the dishes that he likes. (parsnips, ugh!!)
So, we had our Valentine's Dinner at The Prince of Wales restaurant.
Our starter was a Chip Butty. What's that, you ask? A french fry sandwich. And I am not kidding. Buttered bun with french fries covered with cheese in the middle. Carb-o-licious.

John ordered the fish and chips. Fried cod with french fries, for us Americans. His fish was ginormous!

I ordered bangers & mash, which is sausage over mashed potatoes with onion gravy. It also came with corn and steamed carrots.
It.was.delicious!!! So good I decided to make some at home the next day.

Our small country grocery store has a British section. One of our neighbors is from England, and she convinced them to start carrying some traditional UK foods, like PG Tips tea, sausage rolls, spotted dick, flake chocolate....so, I found Scottish bangers there. They had Irish bangers also, which I'd like to try next time.
Mine wasn't as good as my dinner at The Prince of Wales, but it was still very tasty...and the kids liked it too!
If you're ever in St. Augustine, Florida, I highly recommend The Prince of Wales Restaurant...we can't wait to go back and try some of their other dishes!


Mama's Best Trail Mix Ever

I make my own trail mix....OK, I buy all of the ingredients, but I mix it up myself!
And the family agrees, it is by far the best.

Toss together...
sesame sticks
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
corn nuts
shelled pistachios

That's it! Last night I couldn't find corn nuts and I was so bummed. I love those weird things...what the heck are they, anyway?

Mmmm. YUMMY, that's what they are!

Have a great weekend & Happy Valentine's Day!


Easy Cheesy Meatless Monday

So, I'm posting my Meatless Monday/ Meatfree Monday on....TUESDAY! Because that? Is how I roll.
Last night's meat-free meal was SUPER easy and very good.
It consisted of cheese quesadillas, sesame blue chips (OMG I looove those things!), fresh salsa (not HOMEMADE, just fresh from the produce section - this is EASY, remember?), and mexi-corn.
It could not have been much quicker & easier! The quesadillas consisted of flour tortillas and shredded colby jack cheese. You just toss some cheese on the tortilla, fold it in half, and cook it like a grilled cheese sandwich.
For the mexi-corn, I just added a couple of tablespoons of salsa to the corn.
The kids devoured it!

See? You too can try to go Meatless!
One day a week - give up meat!


Eating Adventures - Japanese!

I mentioned in my last post that I want to introduce more foods from different cultures to the kiddos.
This weekend, John & I took the kids to a Japanese Steak House for the first time. It was a blast!

It was a very pretty restaurant, and the waiter and chef were great.

The first course of soup was delivered....

....and did not last long. It was delicious!
{I loved the pretty dishes.}

After they finished the appetizer of bacon wrapped scallops,
Andrew and Shelbie were wondering what is coming next.

Our waiter, Ian, arrived, and after impressing the kids by juggling his utensils....

....he really amazed them by starting a fire!

He rolled the eggs around on the grill, cooked them in our rice,

...and seasoned and cooked our shrimp, chicken and steak.

He further impressed the kids by lighting a stack of sliced onion circles on fire....

...and cooking them with other fresh veggies.

We were full well before he was done cooking & serving everything! But we ate as much as we could & took the rest home.

And the kids had a wonderful, memorable experience!

Have you ever been, or taken your kids to, a Japanese Steak House?
How did you/they like it?


Winn Dixie Deals

I first read about these on a blog I was reading, but then one day the blog disappeared! I hate when that happens. So now I'm having to find them on my own, and I thought I'd share them with you.

Winn Dixie has these great deals going. I only learned about them a few months ago, but they seem to run these deals once a month. Each time, you buy two of a specific item and get a BUNCH of stuff for free! For example, this month's deal is:

Buy 2 Red Baron Pizzas, which cost 2/$11.98.

For FREE you will get:
one 10-13.5 box of Tyson Any'Tizers
one 16 oz package of Hillshire Farm Litl Smokies
one 48 oz. Edy's Ice Cream
one 2 liter Coca Cola product

for a total of $15.12 in free merchandise! Check it out yourself: Winn Dixie
John & I LOVE these deals, and while we're in Winn Dixie we often discover many more great deals (they have great BOGO sales). We end up saving a good chunk of money each time!

{I am not being compensated in any way for posting this. As I said, a blogger who apparently no longer blogs clued me in to them and I just want to share the savings with you!}

I plan on posting these each time Winn Dixie has these specials, so check back - or better yet, follow me or subscribe in your reader! =)


You Uncultured Swine!

(who knows what movie that quote is from? anyone?)

So, I am trying to bring some culture into our lives, food-wise.
I was raised on meat & potatoes. We had American food. Period. The closest thing we had to ethnic food was spaghetti. Things weren't seasoned. Things were fried.
I didn't have any ethnic food until I was grown.
And now, I try to expose my kids to lots of different types of foods. They love Mexican and Chinese. They've had real Italian food, and real British foods. I've cooked two Polish dishes from my friend Pauline over at Classy Chaos.
But I want more! So, if you have any recipes or ideas for ethnic foods that I can offer my family, please share them with me. Then I'll link to you in a post for all two of my readers!

Come on, share with me in this culture-fest!


Meatless/MeatFree Monday - Tuna Pie

On most Mondays, I try to keep our dinners completely meat free. But today I decided to make a dish that does include fish, because I haven't had this dish in forever and it is just SO good.
It's one of those things that sounds weird, but when you read the ingredients it doesn't sound quite as strange, and once you eat it...you're hooked. I don't even like broccoli but I LOVE this dish!! I mean, it contains sour cream, mayo, and cheese. How can you go wrong?
So do me a favor and try it - you might like it!

Tuna Pie
2 cans tuna in water, drained
1 cup shredded cheese
1 small onion, chopped
3 eggs
1 cup mayo
½ cup sour cream
1 box chopped broccoli, cooked per directions
2 pie shells, cooked per directions

Mix all ingredient except pie shells.
Pour half of the mixture into each pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.

ALL of my kids love this, even the little ones who don't like onions, even Andrew who doesn't like broccoli....and the clean-up is so easy!

Click one of these links for more information, ideas, &/or recipes for Meatless/MeatFree Mondays.